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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

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/4/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

USA

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
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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

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/30/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

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

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/12/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

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

Douglas Holloway

Television executive Douglas V. Holloway was born in 1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the inner-city Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. In 1964, Holloway was part of the early busing of black youth into white neighborhoods to integrate Pittsburgh schools. In 1972, he entered Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts as a journalism major. Then, in 1974, Holloway transferred to Emerson College, and graduated from there in 1975 with his B.S. degree in mass communications and television production. In 1978, he received his M.B.A. from Columbia University with an emphasis in marketing and finance.

Holloway was first hired in a marketing position with General Foods (later Kraft Foods). He soon moved into the television and communications world, and joined the financial strategic planning team at CBS in 1980. While there, Holloway became interested in the new field of cable television, and helped to develop the CBS Cable project. From 1982 to 1983, he served as the National Accounts Manager for Time, Inc.’s TV-Cable Week Magazine. He began working at USA Networks in 1983 and developed their affiliate relations program, becoming the president of the department in 1998. When NBC purchased USA Networks in 2004, Holloway was named president of cable investments and managed the joint venture companies of NBC, including AETN, Shop NBC, Peacock Productions, Weather Plus, and National Geographic International. From 2009 to 2011, he served as a corporate advisor to American Express and America One/One World Sports; and, in 2011, he became the president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc.

Holloway received the National Cable Television Association’s Vanguard Award for Marketing in 1997. He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, and was named one of Black Enterprise’s Top Ten Most Powerful Blacks in Hollywood in 2007. Holloway was named as one of Crain’s 40 Under 40, and has received both Columbia University’s Alumni Heritage Award and Emerson College’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, he has been a trustee of Emerson College since 2002, is a member of the New York chapter of the Boule, and is a member of the Westchester Clubmen Foundation.

Douglas V. Holloway was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.322

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/13/2013

Last Name

Holloway

Maker Category
Middle Name

V.

Organizations
Schools

Northeastern University

Emerson College

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Douglas

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

HOL17

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens, Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No, but preferred

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Know Something, Do Something, Be Something.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/3/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken Wings

Short Description

Television executive Douglas Holloway (1954 - ) is the president of Ion Media Networks, Inc. and was an early pioneer of cable television.

Employment

General Foods Corporation

CBS

TV-Cable Week Magazine

USA Networks

NBC

American Express and America One

ION Media Networks, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Douglas Holloway's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes his mother and maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes his parents' unusual relationship and how they met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway remembers being featured on the children's television series, 'Romper Room,' at four years old

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloways describes the racial demographic in his childhood neighborhood on the north side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes living with his mother, grandmother, three uncles, and cousins together in his Pittsburgh home

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood Pittsburgh neighborhood and holiday seasons

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes building his family's summer home in Cockerton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Douglas Holloway lists the elementary and high schools he attended

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks briefly about his extended maternal family ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes his experience being bullied and fighting at Belmar Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway explains why his mother elected to have him bused, and describes his experience at Sterrett Classical Academy in Point Breeze, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about the influence of the Civil Rights Movement in his home life, and describes delivering papers and developing work ethic

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway remembers the real-life Pittsburgh influences for August Wilson's 1983 play, 'Fences'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about numbers runners

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway talks about the influence of the Presbyterian faith in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes skiing in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes the social consequences of busing, and remembers the race riots in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes the gradient of political opinions within his family

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks about his childhood interests in arts and entertainment

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and talks about his experience at Taylor Allerdice High School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and talks about his experience at Taylor Allerdice High School, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about being threatened at gunpoint

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about his undergraduate experience at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about racial demographics and discrimination in Boston's college communities, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway talks about his roommate, the descendant of a black gangster family in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about his transfer to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway and remembers a racially-motivated altercation at Faneuil Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway describes the racial violence he experienced as a student at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes meeting HistoryMaker Peter Bynoe working in the Boston Black Repertory Theatre

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway talks about getting career advice from television executive Eugene Lothery and deciding to enter the television industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes being accepted into the MBA program at Columbia University in New York, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes being accepted into the MBA program at Columbia University in New York, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway describes instructing an FCC licensing course at the Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan's Opportunities Industrialization Center [OIC] in Pittsburgh

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway describes producing a multimedia bicentennial special on blacks in Pittsburgh in 1976

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about his independent study in the Riverside Church jazz radio station, and joining General Foods in consumer marketing

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes his experience as a student in the MBA program at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes his tenure at General Foods in brand management

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Douglas Holloway lists other African Americans in General Foods' corporate office

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway explains why he missed his final sign off interview with the NBC network's Associates' Program due to a snowstorm

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway explains how he got hired into the finance department at CBS and describes his tenure at the network

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes the projects he worked on at CBS, and the climate of the broadcasting industry in the early 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes the development of the CBS cable network and his entrance into television programming

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes working in affiliate cable sales for CBS in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about joining TV Cable Week at Time, Inc., and the introduction of the broadcast and print weekly television guide

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how the conflict between Time Inc.'s publishing and video companies destroyed TV Cable Week

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about the launch of the USA network, and joining affiliate relations at USA

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway lists executives involved in the sale of the USA Network to Paramount and Universal

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway explains how he became vice president of affiliate relations at the USA network

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway talks about the launch of the USA network's competitor TNT, and being dropped from Jones Intercable cable operator

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes the success of "target marketing" and original programming production for the USA network

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about declining a job with Ted Turner at CNN

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway describes launching the Sci-Fi Channel in 1992

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how the Cable Act of 1994 threatened the growth of the SyFy channel

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes how he entertains and charms his clients

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks about African American executives in cable and television from the early 1990s

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway talks about the development of original programming at the USA network, and the sale of USA to Vivendi Universal Entertainment

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes the USA Network, Inc. under the leadership of Barry Diller

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes being harassed by new executives after the acquisition of USA by Vivendi Universal Entertainment

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about the sale of Universal to NBC in 2004 when NBC merged with Vivendi Universal Entertainment

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway explains why he left NBCUniversal in 2009

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how he was appointed president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway explains how he was appointed president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway talks about competition between contemporary cable channels and systems

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes cable channels and systems of the future

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about his affiliation with the National Association of Minorities in Cable [NAMIC] and the lower earnings of minority executives

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about screening programming at USA, and representation of African Americans in media and the telecommunications industry

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway describes his concerns about bias and discrimination in contemporary America

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about being denied phantom stock and the discrepancies between the earnings of executives in public vs. private companies

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes USA Network founding president Kay Koplovitz's leadership

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway describes what he would like his legacy to be and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes what he would like for his sons to know about him

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes how he would hypothetical title his memoir

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Douglas Holloway describes the projects he worked on at CBS, and the climate of the broadcasting industry in the early 1980s
Douglas Holloway explains how the Cable Act of 1994 threatened the growth of the SyFy channel
Transcript
Can you talk about the overall broadcasting industry at that time, and what are the issues that they're dealing with, and what were some of the strategic--you know, issues that were presented in terms of strategic planning? Was it growing the market share? Was it, I mean, what was it?$$Well, one, at CBS and at all the broadcast networks, there were very few blacks. There were, maybe, one or two in sales, one or two in finance, nobody that I knew in programming, a couple in news, radio. But it was a very stark, very white business. And this is in 1980, right?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And so we all kind of knew each other. And we started an organization called Braining to try to promote blacks in the industry and support them. And then at--what was going on strategically was, you know, Ted Turner was getting ready to launch CNN [Cable News Network]. The Madison Square Gardens Sports Network had launched, which later became USA [Network]. ESPN [Entertainment and Sports Programming Network] was in development. MTV [Music Television] was in development. And so there was a lot of concern about, you know, what's going to happen--were these--will these new upstart networks, you know, perform, will they get distribution, cable is not going to go anywhere; there were only a couple million cabled homes at the time, because the big cities hadn't been wired other than New York City [New York]. And most cable was rural and some suburbs, but mainly rural and in places where you had reception problems because of, you know, antenna fade. So there was also the issue of the use of satellites to transmit the signals because at that time, all of the signals from the broadcasters to the local TV stations were done via landline. And they were just beginning to use satellites for backhaul, but they were expensive and they were not that reliable. And then there was the new technology, upgrading the studio facilities. I worked on that. All the plant, the ENG [electronic news gathering] cameras, you know, the wireless cameras and use of microwave was--all those things were in development. And those were all projects that I worked on for CBS.$So when you launched that [Sci-Fi Channel, later SyFy], how much of investment did you make into the--? Do you know the--$$I believe we've paid $15 million for the concept. And we spent, I want to say, probably fifty, sixty million dollars before it turned a profit. And one of the problems, and it almost was shut down, because in, I believe it was 1993, '94 [1994], the government was feuding with cable operators. And that's when the whole process of the 1994 Cable Act was being put into place. And so what the government did was, they put a freeze, because there was so much concern about cable operators raising prices and gouging consumers on pricing and offering poor service, that they put a freeze on launching new cable networks for almost a year or so. And there was a freeze on price increases. And that freeze was right in the infancy of the Sci-Fi Channel. And so we just were dead in the water. We couldn't sell it. They--we couldn't get launched. Very, very little. There were special circumstances where you could, but we couldn't meet our targets for growth. And without the growth, we couldn't generate new and more advertising revenues. And we couldn't put marketing in--dollars in programming and marketing. And the studios who were so cost conscious, were becoming very impatient. And so, they wanted to shut it down. And fortunately, just as they were thinking about shutting it down, the freeze got lifted, and we had substantial growth right after that, which saved the business, and saved probably my career at the time, because I had this (simultaneous)--$$Because you were--you were the one who brought the project.$$Yeah, and then I was the one who was responsible for selling it and then the other thing that was going on was the rebuilding of the cable systems. And so there was a lot of tiering going on. And the (simultaneous)--$$Explain the tiering, 'cause that--$$Well, they created higher packages, higher priced packages that were full smaller services, and there was--they were launching networks, but they were putting them on these smaller packages; and so some of USA's distribution in those days was going into these smaller packages. Well, the movie studios didn't like that. And so, given their aggressiveness, they wanted, you know, USA [Network]'s--more growth, they wanted it faster, and they wanted it more profitable. And so I was kind of at the forefront of that. And it was funny, 'cause I'm on the executive committee of USA at this point, and so I sit in on all the board meetings. And I became the target of all their animosity, anger, and aggression. And since they didn't want me in the job anyway going back, they made an example out of me in those meetings. It was so bad at one point, all my fellow executives from USA, we would go into the board meetings and they would take a seat, and then everybody would move away from me. So they would joke at it and say, "We don't want any more blood splashed on our nice"--'cause in those days, everybody wore Armani suits,"--so it's like, "You know, my cleaning bill on my Armani suits is getting too high, so I'm not going to sit next to you 'cause I keep getting splashed." Because I would go into these meetings, and they would just wear me out, in particular, Tom Wertheimer, who is from Universal [Television]. And he was very, very aggressive, and just a--you know, he came out of the--he worked for Sid Sheinberg, and so that's they were just, you know, aggressive, you know, mean guys. Which is funny 'cause now Tom sees me, he's very nice to me. He's now retired. But they would--it was really--it was an arena.

Erroll Davis, Jr.

Education administrator Erroll Brown Davis, Jr. was born on August 5, 1944 and grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While Davis had a close relationship with his parents, Erroll, Sr. and Eleanor, his strongest influence as a child was his grandfather, John Boykin, a Georgia farmer who had migrated to Pittsburgh and worked as a chauffeur.
Davis graduated from high school at age sixteen, and then worked his way through Carnegie-Mellon University, becoming, along with his sister Diana who graduated the same year, the first members of his family to graduate from college. Davis received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1965 at the age of twenty. He moved to Chicago for graduate school, receiving his M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business in 1967.

Following his graduation from Chicago, Davis worked briefly at ARCO, an international oil company, and then spent two years as an U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam War. In 1969, Davis joined the Ford Motor Company as a systems analyst. He later spent five years working in corporate finance at Xerox Corporation. Davis worked for Ford Motor Company until 1973, when he left for a position in Stamford, CT with Xerox Corporation, with whom he was affiliated until 1978. At Xerox, his focus was on strategic financial planning. Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Davis worked at Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL). From 1978 to 1990, Davis received several promotions through the senior management ranks at WPL, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and President.

Davis’ higher education experience includes serving as a member of the University of the Wisconsin System Board of Regents from 1987 to 1994, and as a former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, where he is a life member. From 2006 to 2011, Davis served as chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He was appointed superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools in July of 2011. He is a member of the board of directors of General Motors and Union Pacific Corp., and serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) board and on the advisory board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) along with numerous professional associations and civic organizations. He is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board (2004-2008) and the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.

Davis is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “100 Most Influential Atlantans,” one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine. Davis also was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America” by Fortune Magazine in 2002 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1993. In addition, Davis was honored by the magazine U.S. Black Engineer as the “Black Engineer of the Year” in 1988.

Davis and his wife, Elaine, live and in work in Atlanta, Georgia.

Erroll B. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.251

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2012

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Carnegie Mellon University

Westinghouse Academy

First Name

Erroll

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DAV27

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

All Problems Are Leadership Problems.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/5/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops (Smothered)

Short Description

Education administrator Erroll Davis, Jr. (1944 - ) served as the chancellor of the University System of Georgia and was appointed superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools in 2011.

Employment

Atlanta Public Schools

University System of Georgia

WPL Holdings

Wisconsin Power & Light, Inc.

Ford Motor Company

Xerox

Alliant Energy

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Erroll Davis, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal relatives' names

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his father's aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his maternal grandparents' employers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his parents' discipline

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the Homewood community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his parents' civic involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers entering kindergarten at four years old

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hobbies

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his start at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his favorite teacher at Westinghouse Junior Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his high school graduation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his university applications

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his course of study at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers his activities at the Carnegie Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his decision to attend the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the black community on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his graduation from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls working at the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers joining the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his time at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his career at the Wisconsin Power and Light Company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls leaving the Alliant Energy Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about forming the Alliant Energy Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the representation of African Americans among corporate executives

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as chancellor of the University System of Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his membership on the board of BP P.L.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his chancellorship of the University System of Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the historically black colleges in the State of Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. recalls his appointment as the interim superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Erroll Davis, Jr. remembers the discovery of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon the problems in the Atlanta Public Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about the strategies for increasing student achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about school disciplinary policy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Erroll Davis, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes his advice to aspiring businesspeople

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Erroll Davis, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Erroll Davis, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Erroll Davis, Jr. talks about his mentors at the University of Chicago, pt. 1
Erroll Davis, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
Transcript
So, now, were there any particular--did--was there--did you have an advisor, I guess, in the business department there?$$ No, I didn't, but I had truly great professors who were giants in their field, such as Sidney Davidson. I wanted, in my naivete, to waive accounting, which I just thought seemed boring and dull. And, and after a while, after going back and forth, they finally said, "Look, son, you are going to take accounting." And so I took accounting, and I found it trivially easy, because they were solving for the concept of an unknown, and that's what engineers do every day of their life, except there's a lot of dog work and rules and steps to get to these. And I just aced every exam, every, every homework because it was just trivially easy. But the one thing I do remember is that Dr. Davidson called me in after one exam, and he said, "You've got this entire section 100 percent wrong on the test." And I said, "What, what are you talking about?" And he said, "Well, your answers are all wrong." And I looked at them, and I said, "Oh, my God, I misread the instructions. I thought it meant this." And he said, "That's what I was afraid of. I thought that I had done something wrong 'cause you're such a good student." And he said, "And I could see how you could interpret it that way. So I'm just gonna give you a quick quiz on the spot." So he gave me a quick verbal quiz, and I aced them, and so he gave me like an A plus in the course. But I never forgot that, because he knew I was such a student that I wouldn't screw up, other than the directions not being good, and he took that upon himself. But then he says to me after the course, he said, "You know, Erroll [HistoryMaker Erroll Davis, Jr.], this was too easy for you, and you obviously are walking around here with this I'm a hotshot attitude. So I'll tell you what: how would you like to make even more money by being a grader for me the next semester?" And I said, "Sure, no problem; I'll do that." And I learned more accounting being a grader, looking at how people could go wrong than I did from sitting in a lecture listening to how it should be done, because once they told me how it should be done I would do it. That way I would apply rules, solve for unknowns, but it was just stunning to me the mistakes that people could make and misapplying the rules. And I had fun caustically correcting them and saying such things as, "Congratulations, you just proved two plus two equal five." And we had a, had a good time. But I'll never forget him. He is a great man, a great professor. And a lot--and I went through life and went through there with a, I think, a, an unmerited and unwant- unwarranted degree of insouciance and arrogance. I remember having a course with Gene Fama [Eugene Fama], who is the father of random walk theory of the stock market. But he was a full professor at University of Chicago [University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois], and he was probably not even thirty years old at that point in time a full professor. And we played basketball together. And I remember one question on one exam where he said you know, list the contributions of Pierce [ph.], Arrow [Kenneth Arrow], couple of other people, and Fama to capital asset pricing theory. And I said you know, how arrogant, to give a course and have somebody list your contributions on their--I mean, he was right. But at that point I remember writing the answer, was that I felt that Fama's contributions were really nothing more than sophisticated mathematical reformulations of somebody else's theories. You know, that sort of set him off, but we got a kick out of that as, as well. And so, I had a great time. I mean, things that people take for gospel in business education and in M.B.A. programs were, in fact, being invented in the middle '60s [1960s].$I don't want to be known as the worst performing school, because with the rise of charter schools, people will take kids out of my school, and pretty soon they'll close it. And so I have to demonstrate to parents that they should send their kids here. They'll get good education and good grades here, even though there is not a lot of integrity in that process.$$Okay, okay. So, you said it's taken a, a year to, and you're still not quite at the, at the--finished with this investigation?$$ Well, the--one of the reasons this has taken so long is that the special prosecutors turned their evidence over to the district attorney. They didn't turn their evidence over to us. And so the only evidence we've ever had is that which the district attorney has seen fit to share. And that sharing has been a lot slower than we would have liked, but I respect that he's trying to put together criminal cases and conspiracy cases. So they're not giving out a lot of information, particularly at the admin level or in this office, as opposed to, well, we're not gonna bother with some people at this school, so you can have the information related to such and such school.$$So the, the perpetrators of these, of this cheating [on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests] face two forms of jeopardy I guess. They, they can lose their job, or, or be penalized in Atlanta Public Schools, or face criminal prosecution too, or both.$$ Yeah, there's three, actually, avenues.$$Okay.$$ One, of course, is our administrative reviews here at APS. The second is the Professional Standards Commission [Georgia Professional Standards Commission], our licensing body; they can get their license revoked. And in fact, they've revoked some licenses before we get to hearing our own administrative hearings. And we say well, you know, you're not gonna have a license. I can't put you in a classroom without a license anyway. Even if it is under appeal, I can't take the risk of the appeal being sustained and me having to take you out of the classroom. And so, my need to serve children with a stable teacher is greater than your need to be placed in the classroom. And the third avenue is the criminal avenue. When you falsify official documents it's criminal. When you order somebody to destroy evidence it's criminal, for example. And so we have all three, three avenues working, you know--$$Okay.$$ --although the district attorney has yet to file anything or make any charge.$$Okay, okay. All right, so this is--but, I guess the scandal side, what, what are--what things are you trying to do with the Atlanta public school system to bring it up to where--$$ Well--$$--it needs to be?$$ --we spend a lot of time here putting an effective teacher in every classroom. And then we surround that effective teacher with some of the worst systems imaginable, registration systems that don't work, scheduling systems that don't work, inconsistently and sometimes inappropriately applied discipline systems, et cetera. And so, what we have is a plan that says I'm gonna get these operational things working; I'm going to hire and train and retrain great people, that's a second. The third is I'm gonna put in more rigorous curriculum around the Common Core [Common Core State Standards Initiative]. And this is all this three tiers should lead to improve student achievement, higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates, et cetera.

James Winston

Communications attorney James L. Winston was born on August 24, 1947 to Corrie Conwill Winston and Jeff Winston in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has one other sibling, Frances Winston Adderley. Winston graduated from Belmar Elementary School in 1959 and enrolled at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh. After attending Westinghouse, Winston was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He graduated with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1969. Three years later, he received his J.D. degree in law from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Upon graduation, Winston was hired as an attorney for the Roxbury Multi-Service Center in Boston. He then worked for the New York-based law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae as an attorney specializing in public utility law before serving as associate counsel for the Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C. In 1978, Winston worked as a legal assistant to Federal Communications Commissioner Robert F. Lee. After two years with the FCC, he was hired as an associate attorney by the Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen law firm, also in Washington, D.C. Winston then became a managing partner in the law firm of Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, LLP in 1981, specializing in telecommunications law. Additionally, he served as executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc. starting in 1982.

For nine years in a row, Winston was named one of the “Leading African Americans in Radio” by Radio Ink magazine. He was also inducted into the American Urban Radio Network Hall of Fame and presented the “Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award.” Winston was also inducted into the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame and presented its “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

In addition to his achievements, Winston has served on the advisory boards for the Federal Communications Bar Association Executive Committee, the Elon University School of Communications in Elon, North Carolina and the Florida A&M University School of Journalism & Graphic Communication in Tallahassee, Florida. Winston is married and has four adult children. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

James L. Winston was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.083

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/3/2012

Last Name

Winston

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Belmar Elementary School

Westinghouse Academy

University of Pennsylvania

Harvard Law School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WIN07

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

Think for yourself. Don't let others do your thinking for you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/24/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken (Blackened)

Short Description

Broadcast executive and telecommunications lawyer James Winston (1947 - ) is one of the leading advocates for African American radio broadcasters in the country.

Employment

Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, L.L.P.

National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)

Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Western Union Telegraph Company

LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP

Roxbury Multi-Service Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Winston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Winston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Winston describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses his mother's childhood in Rienzi, Mississippi and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Winston describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his father's career at Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about how his parents met and married and he talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Winston describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about his mother's success as an insurance salesperson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about segregation and "white flight" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1960s

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Winston describes his earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Winston describes his childhood home and neighborhood in Homewood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about his childhood interest in drawing, television, and movies

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about the racial makeup of Belmar Elementary in Homewood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about sports in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was young, and the dearth of black professionals in his neighborhood of Homewood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about his parents' church attendance

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about his family's newspaper and magazine subscriptions

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his favorite subjects and his favorite teacher in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about his changing interests in middle school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about being a Boy Scout and an Explorer

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about his favorite teacher in middle school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about attending high school at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James Winston talks about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the streetcars and the winters in Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James Winston talks about working in an electrical engineering laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University/Carnegie Tech

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James Winston talks about his first transistor radio and his memories of listening to WAMO Radio in Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - James Winston talks about being the swim team manager in high school, and his skill as a chess player

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - James Winston talks about his teachers and mentors in high school and his academic excellence

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - James Winston talks about the sound academic counseling that he received in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about choosing to attend the University of Pennsylvania, his experience as an engineering student there, and considering law school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about his involvement with the Society of African and Afro American Students (SAAS) at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Winston recalls his reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about his interaction with other black students in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about focusing on his academics in his senior year at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Winston describes his decision to attend Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Winston describes his positive experience at Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about working as a community activist and as a part-time anti-apartheid activist in Roxbury, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about leaving the social service sector and accepting an offer from a law firm on Wall Street, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Winston describes his positive experience at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm, and his decision to leave New York to start a family

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Winston recalls the encouragement that he received in the New York office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Winston describes his experience at the Washington office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm, and his reasons for leaving

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about working at Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about working at Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about Commissioner Robert E. Lee of the FCC, and his positive experience as his legal assistant

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and his longtime involvement with this organization

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about the FCC commissioner, Robert E. Lee's support of UHF television

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Winston discusses the popularity of FM radio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about Robert E. Lee's leadership of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Winston explains the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Fairness Doctrine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Winston discusses the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) promotion of minority ownership of broadcast properties, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) promotion of minority ownership of broadcast properties, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about the huge growth in African American ownership of radio and TV stations in the late 1970s and early 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about how the Reagan administration weakened FCC policies that promoted minority ownership of broadcast properties

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about the challenges that he faced as the director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about the deregulation of broadcasting during the Reagan Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about U.S. Congress legislation that hurt minority ownership of broadcast properties

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about the consolidation of radio and television ownership as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Winston reflects upon the importance of minority ownership of businesses and the changing face of television and radio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Winston reflects upon the lack of African American entrepreneurship in the technology industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about the lack of a strong African American voice on the internet

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses the shortcomings of Arbitron's portable people meter, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Winston discusses the shortcomings of Arbitron's portable people meter, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his law firm, Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris, & Cooke

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Winston describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Winston reflects upon his legacy and the need for young African Americans to pursue entrepreneurship in technology

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about the future of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the significance of radio for social change

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

16$9

DATitle
James Winston talks about the sound academic counseling that he received in high school
James Winston talks about leaving the social service sector and accepting an offer from a law firm on Wall Street, New York
Transcript
So what kind of counseling did you get [at Westinghouse High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]? Did they, did you have a good counselor in terms of--$$Well, it's very interesting, because most of my classmates will tell you that we did not have a good counseling system. However, I'm the exception. She did a good job by me. It was an older white woman named Miss Simon, and so you were scheduled to come in and meet with her at the appropriate time. And so I came and met with her, and she said "Where do you want to go school, what do you want to major in? I said, "I really hadn't thought about where to go to school, and I really hadn't planned what to major in." And she said, "You're good in math and science. You ought to think about becoming an engineer." Then she told me that--this is now, this is the spring of 1965--and she said "Schools are looking for--." I'm sure she called me, I'm sure she said a colored student. "They're looking for good colored students, and I think you can get a scholarship to a very good school. I think I can get you in college, to an Ivy League school." I said "Okay." So she said--she mentioned Penn, University of Pennsylvania, to me. I assumed she was talking about Penn State [University]. She said, "No, no no, not Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania. It's an Ivy League school based in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]." So I went to library, looked up Penn, saw it was based--it's inside the city of Philadelphia. I said well, inside the city of Philadelphia, that's cool, because if I don't like the school, I can hang out in Philadelphia. And then I looked up engineering as a career, and I saw that electrical engineers were the highest paid college graduates that year. And so I said "Yes, I'd like to go Penn, I'd like to major in electrical engineering." Well, my father [Jeff Winston]--when I told my father, and this is 1965--I told my father that Penn cost $2500 a year. And he told me I'd lost my mind because he was making about $6000 a year. So the notion that I could go to--and this is $6000 before taxes. So, the notion that I could go to a school which cost $2500 a year was absurd to him. And so I said "Ms. Simon thinks I can get a scholarship." And he says, "Nobody's going to pay you that kind of money to go to school." And so--$$He didn't equate being on the Honor Roll with being able to get a scholarship?$$No, not at all. Because, you know, I mean, because he's a poor black boy from [Boonville] Mississippi and his son is just a poor black boy's son. (laughter) And so, and he was making very little money. And so I told Ms. Simon that I couldn't apply to Penn because my father wouldn't pay the $15 application fee. And so Miss Simon said, "Well ask your father to come in and see me." And so I went home and told him what Miss Simon said, and he actually came in to see her, which was surprising. And what was also surprising was he didn't give her any of the objections he gave me. So she said, "I think your son can get a scholarship to Penn, and I think you ought to pay the application fee." He says, "Oh, okay." I'm like, "Why did you give me all that grief?" (laughter)$But after a year of that [working at the Roxbury Multi-Service Center as a community activist and on the anti-apartheid movement], for a variety of reasons I decided it was time to leave Boston [Massachusetts] and move to New York. And I went to New York and worked for a large law firm there. And so I did a whole 180 in terms of my work life. So, going from a social service agency to working for a big Wall Street law firm--$$Now, what was it, was there any incident or some revelation that took place?$$It was, well, a couple things. At the time, I was married to my first wife. And her name is Carmen Tyler Winston--$$Did you meet her at Harvard [Law School]?$$No, we met at Westinghouse High School [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. We met in junior high school. We go back a long ways. And, so Carmen wanted to go back to school. She had been working while I was in law school. My last two years of law school, she was there. We got married at the end of my first year. So, she was working my last two years of law school and she wanted to go back to school and get another degree. She wanted to become a nurse. And she already had a bachelor's degree in biology, so in order to get a bachelor's degree in nursing without doing the whole four year program, there was a program at Cornell Nursing School in Manhattan [New York] where you could get a bachelor's degree in nursing in two years. And so she wanted to go there and do that. And, I had decided that the work I was doing at Roxbury Multi-Service Center, well, I didn't find it fulfilling. I didn't feel like we were making any change whatsoever. And--$$What kind of work were you actually doing there, in terms of--?$$Well, we were advising the social agency on how to develop sustainable change in the community. So, it was, for example, trying to figure out to help tenants, but not going to court and helping the people that were being evicted, but trying to think through programs for how to make the community change in a more meaningful manner.$$So it wasn't really necessarily legal work.$$Right, exactly. And, what happened was it was clear to me that if you're a social service agency, you live by getting grants. So, whatever the grant making community decided was a hot subject that year, that's what you would apply for a grant for. And so the agency got a grant for an ex-offender program, and they hire an ex-offender to run it. And they hire the ex-offender at $10,000 a year. I was making a $10,000 a year. He was an ex-offender and I had a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Harvard [Law School]. And I looked at this, and I said I'm probably over-qualified for where I'm working. And so I realized that I had too much education for the work I was doing, and decided that I wanted to do something different. So, when my former wife, when my wife at that time decided she wanted to go to Cornell in Manhattan, I said, okay I'll try to get a job in Manhattan. Well, I was not a member of the New York Bar, so I couldn't get a job with the Legal Aid Society, and I couldn't get a job with the public defenders, because I wasn't a member of the New York Bar. And they told me they'd have to pay me like a law student who had just graduated from law school. I was a member of the Massachusetts Bar, so I said well, this is unacceptable, because I was going to make less money in New York than I was already making in Boston. They were offering me $7,000 or $8,000 or something. And so, I decided, you know this doesn't make any sense. I need to get a job at a real law firm and make real money. And I got interviewed by a big Wall Street law firm [LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae], and they represented a lot of public utility companies. There were a lot of technical issues in their representation. So, they liked the idea that I was an electrical engineer, and so they hired me and I went to work down on Wall Street.

Barbara Ciara

Television news anchor Barbara Ciara was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on July 27, 1956 to Robert and Georgia Jones. Ciara received her G.E.D. at the age of 16 before moving on to Pima Community College and the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1974. Ciara left school to take a full-time position at Tucson television station KZAZ-TV in 1976. Two years later, Ciara was promoted to news director at KZAZ-TV, becoming the youngest and first African American female to attain a management position at a television station in the southwest region of the United States.

After working for KZAZ-TV, Ciara landed a co-anchor position with Norfolk, Virginia area television station and NBC affiliate WAVY-TV in 1983. She then served as a news co-anchor with Hampton Roads area television station and ABC affiliate WVEC-TV. After 12 years at WVEC, Ciara landed an anchor role with CBS affiliate WTKR-TV in 2000, anchoring three news telecasts. That same year, she completed her undergraduate education at Hampton University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In addition to being a notable presence in the Hampton Roads community, Ciara gained a national profile in 2007 when she was elected president of the National Association for Black Journalists, the largest organization for journalists of color in the world. In the following year, Ciara assumed the role of president for UNITY: Journalist of Color, a coalition of four organizations representing Native American, Hispanic, Asian American and black journalists across the country.

Ciara is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including an Emmy Award and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her broadcast journalism. She has also won an Associated Press award for her journalism and has been inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Ciara was featured in Ebony magazine. Her stateside coverage includes political campaigns, investigative reporting and interviews with luminaries like Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

She has provided analysis on CNN, CBS News, XM Radio, National Public Radio and the Tom Joyner Morning Show in addition to providing quotes for the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other news outlets. Ciara is married to her husband, Arthur Jarrett, Jr.

Barbara Ciara was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.023

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/7/2012

Last Name

Ciara

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Hampton University

University of Arizona School of Law

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

CIA01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Favorite Quote

Thanks For The Company.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/27/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Norfolk

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Strawberries

Short Description

Television anchor Barbara Ciara (1956 - ) is a pioneering news journalist and past president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), serving as the Hampton Roads, Virginia area’s most enduring and visible broadcast news presences.

Employment

WTKR TV

WVEC TV

WAVY TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Pink

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Ciara's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara describes her mother's growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her life there

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara talks about her father's education and his employment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Ciara talks about growing up in Pittsburgh, her parents' divorce, and their joint custody of her

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Ciara describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Barbara Ciara talks about her childhood household and religion in her family

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Barbara Ciara talks about her father introducing her to the football and baseball teams in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Barbara Ciara talks about her early days in school and her and her family's interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Barbara Ciara talks about the role that television and newspapers played during her youth and to the black community

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Barbara Ciara talks about how she began to work on her school's newspaper

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Ciara talks about attending Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the cultural activities of her childhood in Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara talks about her singing group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara describes the demographics and close-knit community in the St. Clair Village projects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara talks about her English teacher in junior high school, and her involvement in the school newspaper

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara talks about the drug problem in her neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while she was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara talks about her role models as a child and the appearances of African Americans on mainstream television and in the movies

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara discusses her teenage pregnancy, her tensions with her mother, and running away to York City at the age of fifteen

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara discusses her tensions with her mother, and running away to New York City at the age of fifteen

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Ciara talks about completing her GED and her desire to attend college to study broadcasting

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Ciara talks about her two years of separation from her parents and her son, and her decision to attend college in Arizona

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Ciara talks about her family's secrets around mental illness

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara describes her experience at the University of Arizona and her motivation to perform well academically

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara talks about the racial climate in Arizona in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara discusses her studies at the University of Arizona

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara describes how she got her first full-time job in television in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara talks about the sexism against women in the newsroom in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara talks about becoming the youngest woman to be promoted to news director at a commercial station in the southwest

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara talks about her involvement with the Urban League and the NAACP's activities

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Ciara talks about her experience as news director of KZAZ in Tucson, Arizona, and her coverage of political news

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Ciara talks about athletics at the University of Arizona and her decision to move to Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Ciara describes the racial climate in Norfolk, Virginia in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara talks about being racially discriminated against at WVEC in Norfolk, and her decision to move to WAVY instead of filing a lawsuit

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara describes her experience at WAVY, the NBC affiliate station in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara talks about the Colonial Parkway serial murders in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara talks about her return to WVEC in Norfolk in 1989

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara talks about her coverage of diverse news items in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara talks about the Hampton Roads area of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara talks about her decision to leave WVEC and move to WTKR and her Emmy Award nominations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Ciara describes her involvement with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara discusses her coverage of Operation Haiti in 1997 and receiving the Edward R. Murrow Award

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara talks about going back to college and completing her undergraduate degree at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara talks about her reason for moving to WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Virginia, and her experience there

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara describes the highlights of her experience at WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Virginia and her one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara talks about her coverage of local stories and her projects in the community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara talks about becoming the president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in 2007

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara talks about dealing the National Association of Black Journalists' (NABJ) response to race-based issues in the media

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Barbara Ciara talks about dealing the National Association of Black Journalists' (NABJ) response to race-based remarks in the media

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Barbara Ciara talks about UNITY

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Ciara talks about the disassociation of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from UNITY

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Ciara reflects upon her coverage of more controversial stories in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Barbara Ciara talks about her 2011 story covering a terror arraignment at Guantanamo Bay

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Barbara Ciara reflects upon her legacy and her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Barbara Ciara reflects upon her life and career choices

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Barbara Ciara describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Barbara Ciara talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Barbara Ciara talks about her family's health and he health of the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Barbara Ciara talks about how she would like to be remembered

Billy Martin

Lawyer Billy Martin was born on October 29, 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania One of eight children, in his youth he aspired to earn an M.B.A. degree and become a marketing executive. After receiving his B.A. degree from Howard University in 1973, he accepted a scholarship to study law at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned his J.D. in 1976. For the next fifteen years, Martin worked in various governmental positions. He served as assistant city prosecutor for the City of Cincinnati from 1976 to 1978; Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio from 1978 to 1980; Special Attorney in the Organized Crime Strike Force in San Francisco from 1980 to 1984; Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1984 to 1988; and Executive Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1988 to 1990.

In 1990, Martin began his private practice as a partner with Eckert Seamans in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which represented all three major Pittsburgh sports franchises. It was at this time that Martin got his start defending famous athletes, and it was at this time that the late Johnny Cochrane became Martin’s mentor. In 1993, Martin defended NBA star Allen Iverson, before moving to the firm of William R. Martin & Associates in Washington, D.C. a year later. From 1997 to 2000, Martin worked as a partner in the litigation department of Manatt Phelps & Phillips, and in 1998, he defended Monica Lewinsky and her mother, Marcia Lewis, during President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. He managed block a second grand jury appearance by Lewis and obtain an offer of blanket immunity for Lewinsky. In 2000, Martin moved to the firm of Dyer Ellis & Joseph, which merged with Blank Rome in 2003. While at the firm, Martin defended Chandra Levy’s parents in 2002, former NBA player Jayson Williams in 2004, and former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell in 2004. From 2007 to 2009, Martin led the white-collar criminal defense group at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, where in 2007 he defended football player Michael Vick on his dog fighting charges, and in 2008 he represented Senator Larry Craig in his effort to overturn his disorderly conduct conviction. In addition to his celebrity clients, however, Martin also worked to defend Fortune 500 companies. In May 2009, Martin joined Howrey LLP in their Washington, D.C. office, where he heads the White Collar Criminal Defense Practice.

Ranked fourth in The Washingtonian’s list of “Top Lawyers” and selected as one of the National Law Journal’s “50 Most Influential Minority Attorneys,” Martin is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from both Howard University and University of Cincinnati College of Law. Martin currently lives in Washington, DC, with his children and wife, Michel Martin, an Emmy Award winning American journalist and correspondent for ABC News and National Public Radio.

Billy Martin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.065

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/25/2010

Last Name

Martin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of Cincinnati College of Law

Quaker Valley High School

Howard University

First Name

Billy

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

MAR14

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/29/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken Caesar Salad

Short Description

Lawyer Billy Martin (1949 - ) has defended many celebrity clients, including NBA star Allen Iverson, Monica Lewinsky and her mother, Chandra Levy’s parents, football player Michael Vick, and Senator Larry Craig. He was ranked fourth in The Washingtonian’s list of “Top Lawyers."

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billy Martin describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes his maternal ancestors' life in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about his mother's education in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about his father's migration from Pelham, Georgia to Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billy Martin describes how his parents met in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Billy Martin describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Billy Martin lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billy Martin describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billy Martin talks about the neighborhood where he grew up in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billy Martin describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes his experience in public schools in the Quaker Valley School District in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about race relations in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about his involvement in church while growing up in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about his role model while growing up in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billy Martin describes facing racial discrimination from a football coach at Quaker Valley Junior High School in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Billy Martin describes how an incident of racial discrimination in junior high school affected his athletics in high school in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Billy Martin talks about his heroes in sports and his interest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's professional sports teams

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about the Pittsburgh Baseball Negro Leagues

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billy Martin talks about playing basketball in high school in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billy Martin talks about being on the college prep track at Quaker Valley High School in Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes his social life in high school in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about his exposure to the Civil Rights Movement while growing up in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about the night that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the Black Power Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billy Martin describes his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. for his undergraduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Billy Martin describes his admission to Howard University for his undergraduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Billy Martin talks about working full time while studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Billy Martin talks about his mentors at Howard University, and the 1969 shootings of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about prominent African American lawyers who were at Howard University while he was a student there in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billy Martin reflects upon his lack of childhood role models for a career as an African American role models

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billy Martin talks about studying and writing about the African Liberation Movement while at Howard University in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes the incident that gave him the encouragement that he needed to pursue a career in law

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about past presidents of Howard University and the priority that was placed upon student safety and welfare

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about his daughter's birth and his decision to attend the University of Cincinnati's College of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about his early experience with stereotyping at the University of Cincinnati's College of Law in Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Billy Martin describes his experience at the University of Cincinnati's College of Law in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Billy Martin talks about interning at City Hall, and his first job as a city prosecutor in Cincinnati

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about Congressman Elijah Cummings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billy Martin talks about his interest in criminal law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billy Martin talks about racial polarization in Cincinnati, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billy Martin recalls the Watergate hearings

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billy Martin describes his experience as an assistant prosecutor for the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1976 to 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billy Martin describes some of the cases that he worked on as an assistant prosecutor for the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1976 to 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about being appointed as assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Ohio in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Billy Martin talks about HistoryMaker The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Billy Martin talks about being appointed as a trial lawyer to the Organized Crime Strike Force in San Francisco, California in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Billy Martin talks about his experience as a trial attorney to the Organized Crime Strike Force in San Francisco, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about his investigation of Al Capone's "Chicago Outfit" in the 1980s and the murder of Allen Dorfman

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Billy Martin reflects upon the protocol for arrests for high-profile indictments in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Billy Martin discusses the difference between the rules that the mafia followed in the 1980s and those followed by current-day gangs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes his homicide unit's interviews with teenage shooters and their reasoning behind engaging in gang violence

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about his involvement in cases against labor unions, and decline in labor unions' power during the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about moving from San Francisco, California, to Washington, D.C., to be closer to his ailing father

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about rising up through the ranks at the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Billy Martin discusses the beginning of the crack cocaine epidemic in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Billy Martin reflects upon drugs and gang activity in the community, and the role of community policing

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about quarterback Doug Williams' and the Washington Redskins' Super Bowl win in 1988

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Billy Martin reflects upon the high volume of black on black homicide in Washington, D.C. in the late 1980s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Billy Martin reflects upon the drug epidemic and the volume of the drug-related prison population in the U.S.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Billy Martin talks about transitioning into private practice at Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellott, LLC, and building a name in sports practice

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about his mentor, Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about his mentor, Coach John Thompson, Jr. who introduced him to high profile sports agent, David Falk

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about representing professional basketball player, Juwan Howard

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Billy Martin talks about Allen Iverson's conviction as a high school student in Hampton, Virginia in 1993

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Billy Martin talks about forming his own law firm, William R. Martin & Associates in 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Billy Martin explains how he came to represent Monica Lewisnky's mother, Marcia Lewis, during President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Billy Martin talks about representing Monica Lewinsky's mother, Marcia Lewis, during President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Billy Martin discusses serving on Monica Lewinsky's defense team during President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Billy Martin talks about his views on President Bill Clinton's presidency, and being politically impartial while representing his clients

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Billy Martin recalls his involvement in investigating the disappearance of Chandra Levy and representing her parents, Susan and Robert Levy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about serving as the defense lawyer for the Cincinnati, Ohio, Police Department following the riots in the city in 2000, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about serving as the defense lawyer for the Cincinnati, Ohio, Police Department following the riots in the city in 2000, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about corrective measures taken by the Cincinnati Police Department following the riots in 2000

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Billy Martin talks about police brutality in urban settings

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Billy Martin talks about former Atlanta, Georgia, mayor, Bill Campbell, and the charges of racketeering levied against him

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Billy Martin describes his involvement as defense attorney for former Atlanta mayor, Bill Campbell, on racketeering charges, in 2004

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Billy Martin talks about his defense of basketball player, Jayson Williams in 2004

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Billy Martin describes his involvement defending Fortune 500 companies involved in commercial and civil litigation, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Billy Martin describes his involvement defending Fortune 500 companies involved in commercial and civil litigation, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Billy Martin describes his involvement as defense attorney for NFL player, Michael Vick in 2007, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Billy Martin describes his involvement as defense attorney for NFL player, Michael Vick in 2007, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about his defense of Senator Larry Craig on lewd conduct charges in 2008

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Billy Martin reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Billy Martin describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Billy Martin reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Billy Martin talks about his involvement with professional associations and the recognition that he has received as a lawyer

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Billy Martin talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Billy Martin talks about being racially discriminated against at a club in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Billy Martin talks about his law practice and HistoryMaker The Honorable President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Billy Martin describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Billy Martin describes the incident that gave him the encouragement that he needed to pursue a career in law
Billy Martin talks about his investigation of Al Capone's "Chicago Outfit" in the 1980s and the murder of Allen Dorfman
Transcript
I read in some of the material that a car accident kind of kicked you over the line in terms of becoming, wanting to become a lawyer--$$Absolutely.$$What happened?$$You know, not to confuse that with the fact that I always wanted to be a lawyer, but I didn't think I had, I didn't have the-- as, as confident as people think I am and I am, you know I have, have grown to be. I didn't think I could do it, I was a little afraid to think that you know this poor kid from you know whose mom [Harriett Isabelle Jones Martin] was a domestic and a maid, his dad's [Felton Martin, Sr.] a steel worker and you know dirt poor as a kid, could become a lawyer. I thought that was for someone else, I was almost afraid to really dream that I could do that, because I didn't want the disappointment. So while I was studying hard and, and wanted to do that, I was kind of afraid to, to go after it. And one day during my, my jun- I think it was my, the summer of my junior year [at Howard University, Washington, D.C.], we were--I'd gone home, I told you I bought my first car for myself. It was a Volkswagen Beetle, and I'm driving in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] and you know kind of a, what we called the Georgetown [Washington, D.C.] section of Pittsburgh which was Shadyside [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. The Shadyside section of Pittsburgh which was then, it's the '60s [1960s] or the early '70s [1970s] and it's kind of cool. You know the hippies are out and you know people are hanging out and I'm driving my Volkswagen down the main street where people were hanging out and I get rear ended. Bang and you know I get out and I got a big dent you know the engine's in the back.$$Yeah, that's, that's a big problem.$$That's a big problem, and I get out and a guy in a Porsche has run into you know the, the back of my Volkswagen I now know he's probably a lot more upset with his Porsche than I am with my Beetle butt. And I get out and I you know without you know without cussing, fussing at him, you know I started a discussion with him like, "Excuse me, what you do?" And we--and he says, "Well you know I was looking"--I said, "Wait a minute, you can't just run into the back of my car." And we started talking and the guy start smiling, I said, "What you smiling about?" He says, "How old are you?" I tell him nineteen, twenty, he says, "What you do?" I said, "I'm, I'm a college student, why, what do you do?" And he said, "I'm a lawyer," I said, "Really," he said, "Yeah," he said, "Have you ever thought of going to law school?" I said, "I really want to be a lawyer, but you know that, that's a dream; I don't think I can do it." He says, "Yeah, you're, you're pretty good on your feet," so we started, I said, "Really?" Then my guy says, "Hey man, he's sweet talking you, make him pay for your car," so you know he said, "That's not a problem," he says, "What do you think that's gonna cost?" You know I looked at him, whatever it was, I said, you know, "Three hundred dollars," he brings out his checkbook; he writes me a check for three hundred dollars. He says, "I'll take care of your car, but you know why don't you come down to look at my law firm someday," and I said, "You serious?" And he said, "I'm, I'm serious [HistoryMaker] Billy [Martin], I'm serious," so I you know in a week or so, you know, got dressed up, I remember going down to his law firm, we're walking around, and you know thinking you know wow. A small firm, just a small firm and I remember thinking you know wow, he says, "You know, you can do this; it's not that big a deal Billy you could do this, if you train yourself. You really want to do it, you can do this," and you know I've lost his name, it's just recently, you know well I say recently, past ten years, we stayed in touch for years. But he really kind of gave me that push to say you know, hey man you're--you can do this. And it's, you know you talk about--we did a pro bono program here at the firm [Howrey LLP, Washington, D.C.] yesterday, and one of our pro bono, pro bono clients stood up and said that you know the help that we'd given to her was like God had placed an angel along the path. That guy was one of my angels, 'cause I probably would've been afraid to do it if some random man hadn't run into my car and not given me the idea but given me the encouragement, you wanna do that, try it. And it was a big, you know made a big difference in my life, it really did, and you know I don't think of, I don't think it's just happenstance you know. I think that you know, I'm very religious in my beliefs and I believe that God knew you know I needed somebody to help me out and give me some courage. And this random person just said, "You know here's what I do, I think you can do this too," and it's, it's like a story that's almost too good to be true. And my buddies who were with me, the one, there was only buddy with me, later said, you know, "Wow man, you know, it's kind of strange you--a lawyer like that run into us and inviting you down." And you know forty years, forty-five years later; it helped me in a time that I probably needed somebody to say you know you can do it.$$Okay, all right so. You're a junior then so, from your junior year on, did you kind of think that's what you wanted to pursue when you got out?$$Yes.$$Oh, okay.$$There's no doubt that, that I wanted it, I was almost afraid to tell people that I wanted it because I didn't want the rejection. You know I, I had no failure, I started being very successful as a student, but being a lawyer was beyond my wildest dream. I wanted it, I really wanted it, but I was kind of afraid to reach for that ring.$Okay, well tell us about--okay so Allen Dorfman's the son of [Paul] "Red" Dorfman who was Al Capone's--$$Money man.$$Money man, okay.$$And that--the allegation was that the, they were--the mob was trying to infiltrate a union in the, the [San Francisco] Bay Area [California], so the justice department [U.S. Department of Justice], we set up wiretaps and which an organized crime investigation so we're investigating the organized, the Chicago [Illinois] organized, Capone organized crime family, and it's you know kind of interesting. Earlier this year I had a chance to talk with the U.S. attorney in, in Chicago, and they recently returned indictments against people called Joey the Clown Lombardo [Joseph Patrick "Joey the Clown" Lombardo Sr.] and others. Those were same, some of the same people that we indicted, or we investigated back in 1983, '84 [1984] so they were still involved in the organized crime, that many years later. So it was a, a very fascinating investigation, I learned you know a lot about organized crime. You know I had FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] agents assigned to me full-time to work on this matter; I received death threats from the mob. But once we got too close to the money, and then you know fortunately you know we had the FBI and we knew where the threats came from you know on monitored phone calls. So the FBI the enforcement action go after the people who were making the threats. But it was you know kind of scary and, and challenging at the same time. We indicted Allen Dorfman, the government allowed that, when I say the government, the decision was made by the Department of Justice. Rather than to go you know send people out to arrest him this very prominent insurance executive in Chicago. They allowed him to voluntarily surrender and to travel to San Francisco [California] to answer to the indictment; this was a real eye-opening experience for me. Because I learned in time that you know these gangs are real, the mob is real. Allen Dorfman went to lunch, he was supposed to fly Monday morning, he went to a lunch on Sunday in Chicago as he's leaving the lunch, I can remember as though it were yesterday. He walks out of the restaurant whoever was with him, turns to him, kissed him on his cheek, pulled out a 22 caliber, put the caliber to his temple and fired two or three shots. After he fell to the ground, they laid a black glove on top of his body; it was the sign of the black hands. And I told people then that this stuff is real.$$The Carbonari, the Black Hand.$$So, I, I actually had a case where they, the client that I--we're hoping to bring to the Bay Area and hope to try to talk to him, Black Hands killed him before he ever got on the plane. So it was a lesson learned to me that that this stuff is real, and it's long before--you know we got gangs out there now, these street gangs and drugs, but this was the original gang. And the original sentence of death taken by who may betray or infiltrate or disclose information. And this young prosecutor--that, that was 1984; I learned a lot.

Howard Simmons

Commercial photographer and photojournalist Howard Simmons was born on June 11, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother, Lillian, was a day worker from South Carolina while his father, Luther, was a contractor from Pennsylvania. Simmons and his older sister Margaret were often moving around as children. In 1961, Simmons graduated from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Immediately after graduation, Simmons enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he played French horn with Air Force service bands until 1966. While serving, he became interested in photography and began photographing arrangements he would make with various materials from the barracks.

In 1966, Simmons began working for Gateway Studios as a photo lab technician with the desire to become a commercial photographer. The following year, he compiled a portfolio and presented it to Ebony magazine where John Johnson hired him as a staff photographer. With Ebony, Simmons covered Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta and Coretta Scott King’s subsequent rally in Washington D.C. In 1968, friend Bob Black told Simmons the Chicago Sun-Times was hiring so Simmons joined the staff doing photojournalism until 1976. In 1973, Simmons, John White, Ovie Carter, and Bob Black created the exhibit “Through The Eyes of Blackness” which displayed the everyday life of blacks.

In 1976, Simmons left the paper to become a self-employed commercial photographer. He did advertisements for Coca Cola, McDonalds, Sears, Folgers, Amoco, Kelloggs and others traveling as far as Zimbabwe and Paris. In 1980, Simmons shot the first cover for Black Family magazine and in 1983, he bought a building in Chicago and turned it into what became his favorite commercial photography studio. Simmons work is showcased on his website, HowardSimmonsPhotography.com, opened in 2009.

Simmons is married to Marva E. Simmons and together they have three children: Robbin L. Mugnaini, Tracey L. Mcghee, and Christie R. Edwards.

Howard Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.038

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/25/2010

Last Name

Simmons

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Crescent Elementary School

Madison Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Howard

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

SIM09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

Seize The Time. Let Not The Moments Wane. So Precious Is This Day That Even Now It Slips Into Eternity.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/11/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Thai Food

Short Description

Photographer Howard Simmons (1943 - ) was a news photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times and Ebony magazine, who captured legends like Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Brown.

Employment

Gateway Studios

Ebony Magazine

Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. Air Force

Judge Studio

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Simmons' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons talks about his maternal aunts

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes his mother's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers the lawsuit against his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons talks about his father's resourcefulness

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons remembers the death of his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his family's frequent moves

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons talks about his homes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers his early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his introduction to photography, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons describes his interest in the French horn

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about talented French hornists

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons recalls his disinterest in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons remembers the influence of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons remembers joining a field band in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons talks about the celebrities from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers falling ill during basic training for the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers being stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons describes his introduction to photography, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his early camera equipment

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons talks about the process of developing and printing photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his experiences in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons recalls his apprenticeship at the Judge Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons remembers his decision to pursue a career in photography

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons describes his photography work for Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Jim Brown on the set of 'The Riot'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons recalls photographing Harry Belafonte at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons describes his decision to leave Ebony magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes the competitive environment of news photography

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences as a photographer at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences as a photographer at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons recalls his experiences at the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons talks about the emotional burden of news photography

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons talks about the importance of timing in news photography

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons describes the 'Through Eyes of Blackness' photography exhibit

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons remembers photographing Minister Louis Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons describes his transition to commercial photography

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons remembers joining the staff of Vince Cullers Advertising, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howard Simmons describes his experiences as a commercial photographer

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howard Simmons talks about his transition to digital photography

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Howard Simmons talks about the utility of digital photography

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Howard Simmons describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Howard Simmons talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Howard Simmons reflects upon his gratitude to his parents

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Howard Simmons talks about his concerns for the field of photography

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Howard Simmons describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Howard Simmons describes his introduction to photography, pt. 2
Howard Simmons describes the competitive environment of news photography
Transcript
You're in the [U.S.] Air Force, you're in Biloxi, Mississippi. And you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$--then, then you went from Biloxi to?$$I was discharged from Biloxi.$$Discharged from Biloxi.$$Right. Right.$$So, did you stay in Mississippi long to savor the atmosphere there or did you--$$The joy of Mississippi?$$Yes.$$No. I--$$In 1965.$$--ran screaming from Biloxi back to Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] and I was fortunate to be able to stay with my [maternal] aunts. That's where I stayed. My sister [Margaret Simmons Jackson] was there and so that was home for me. And I secured a job three days after discharge.$$Really? And, and what, what kind of job was it?$$It was working with an industrial photographer.$$Now, did you do any photography in the [U.S. military] service?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$As a matter of fact--$$Now, we're, we're skipping something here, so--$$Oh, okay.$$--we need to go back and, and pick this up. Now, you said on that on leave, you were on leave when you first used one of the more sophisticated cameras where you had to adjust the shutter speed and, and distance and that sort of thing.$$Right.$$And, and, and that enlightened you as to what the power of a camera might be.$$Right. And this was--I was on leave from Chanute Air Force Base [Champaign County, Illinois] and a good friend of mine had a, a camera that he borrowed, and it was a folding camera with the bellows kind--the old black cameras that folded up, you opened them up and they had the bellows, and it was adjustable, unlike the box cameras like the, the old Brownie Hawkeyes [Kodak Brownie Hawkeye] and the Brownie Starflash [Kodak Brownie Starflash] type of cameras that I had used in the past.$$Was, was it using a bigger film than 120?$$Right. It was similar to--I don't know if it was really 120, but it was almost that size. It might've been 620 film. But, I asked my friend [Devon Gaines (ph.)] if I could borrow the camera and so I knew nothing about photography, using an, an adjustable camera. So, I bought the film and I followed the instructions in the--and it comes with the film and it tells you the adjustments for bright sunlight, cloudy or inside. And so I looked on the camera and it had the shutter speed and the exposure for, you know, shutter speed and aperture. Of course, I didn't know what either of them meant. It just had the numbers and I looked on the paper, and it showed the numbers, and there's f/11, f/8 and what have you and, and for the--for the shutter speed. And so I translated that, twisted this and twisted that. And then I would guess the distance. I'm five feet from you and I would--you know, it was what's called zone focusing. You would guess and then if you were to infinity, you would put the infinity number. So, I took pictures according to the paper and I put it in the drugstore and picked it up in a day or two. There was no such thing as one hour photo then. It might've been three days. So I got my pictures back and opened it up and said, wow, look, they're sharp. They look so crisp and it, it was just as nothing I had seen before because with the box cameras with no focus, the pictures always come out milky looking. And they--it just--it looked so pretty to see them nice and sharp and, wow. I was--I bought some more film and went out and shot some more. And then I started doing little experimental things. I, I shot some things at night because I began to understand that if you change the shutter speed and left a little more--little more time and opened that little thing up (laughter), you could shoot at--with, with less light. So, I started playing around, and I got my film, my pictures back and, wow. So--I mean, I really--I was smitten. So, I returned the camera to my friend because I was going back to the base and I decided I had to get a camera, and that's the way it started.$Did [HistoryMaker] Bob Black, was he the person that kind of mentored you or helped you or, or was there someone else there? Because this is a whole new, you know, kind of thing, right?$$You just come on board and you gotta do it. Nobody mentors you, nobody trains--you're going to--going on assignment. And things are happening and--at, at Ebony, sometimes there are things you cover, too. Ebony prepared me because there, there are jobs that I've had where I've been on demonstrations and things are happening at Ebony too. But most news assignments or many news assignments were that way. But I didn't--I didn't appreciate the news photographers until I started working for the paper. And when you're working with a stable of guys and you see what these guys bring back, and sometimes you don't have time. You're out there and these guys come back from assignment. And to--see, I had more side by side with photographers. You're both--or maybe you're with a whole bunch of guys at the same assignment. So your stuff has got to compete with their stuff and you got the competition out there. And you have to come back--and your stuff is going to be in the paper with their stuff; that's the challenge. See, if I'm shooting for Ebony, I'm by myself. It's just my stuff showing in--only one in Ebony. It's not even as if t- other magazines are gonna be there. Not--no other magazines on the assign- I'm just (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Who were some of the better guys there at Sun-Times [Chicago Sun-Times]? How, how many were in the pool in the stable and who were some of the (unclear)?$$There might have been a dozen guys, you know, maybe a dozen. But, the challenge is, at that time, you had Chicago Today, you had Chicago Tribune, you had--you had the Daily News [Chicago Daily News], the Today, Tribune, Daily News, Sun-Times, and I think there was some--somebody off the paper but even--and then you had the Sengstackes' paper.$$The Defender [Chicago Defender], yeah.$$Yeah, the Defender.$$And the Reader [Chicago Reader]--$$But--$$--I guess, yeah.$$But you had--okay, if you're on an assignment, if it's real big news, everybody is going to be there, be it a, you know, morning publication, evening publication. And all the--I'm not talking about all guys in the Sun-Times--from the Sun-Times, but I'm talking about the other papers. And if you're there and everybody is shooting at the same thing, you can get blown away if somebody comes back with a fantastic picture and you don't have a fantastic picture. That's the challenge. You're competing against these guys. And there's nothing worse than to see this guy over there and you know he's got a angle or a perspective that you don't have. You know it. You know--you said, darn, man, he's got--he's over there and he's got something (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, so what's your--what was your strategy? You want to get there first and get--and get your--$$You may not even be there first. You may all be there at the same time, but this guy moves a certain way. Like the picture I got with the guys looking at, at, at city hall [Chicago City Hall, Chicago, Illinois]. And it's almost--and it's a great feeling when you know, I got this. You know, you say, I got this and nobody else has got it. It's a good feeling, too, when you got it and nobody else has got it. But, it's a terrible feeling when, when the other folks don't. And you know when your stuff shows up in the paper you got a great shot and the other guys were there and they didn't get that shot.

Rod Doss

As the editor and publisher of The Pittsburgh Courier since 1997, Rod Doss has helped elevate the status of the publication into one of the most widely circulated African American newspapers in the country. Born in Pittsburgh, Doss is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Technical Institute and attended the University of Pittsburgh.

Doss’ career with The Pittsburgh Courier dates back to 1967 when he was appointed as a sales representative. His ultimate promotion to editor and publisher in 1997 came following the death of his mentor, legendary publisher and founder of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, John H. Sengstacke, who owned the Courier at the time. With a staff of only twelve full-time employees, Doss produced hard hitting stories, while still portraying the African American community in a positive light.

Doss has been the recipient of the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania Service to Journalism Award, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Man of the Year Award and the Duquesne Light African American Leadership Award. Doss has also been honored by the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners and Pittsburgh City Council.

In 2007, Doss and The Pittsburgh Courier Archives Committee traveled to Washington, D.C., to petition U.S. Representatives John Lewis, Mike Doyle and Jason Altmire for funding on a project to restore and digitize over 750,000 images spanning nearly 100 years of African American history of the Courier’s collection. Congressman Doyle presented them with a $150,000 check in January, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.107

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2008

Last Name

Doss

Maker Category
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Rod

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DOS01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/10/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Newspaper editor and newspaper publishing chief executive Rod Doss (1943 - ) has edited and published 'The Pittsburgh Courier' since 1997. He has helped elevate the status of the publication into one of the most widely circulated African American newspapers in the country.

Favorite Color

Gold