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Matthew Holden, Jr.

Political scientist Matthew Holden, Jr. was born on September 12, 1931 in Mound Bayou, Mississippi to Estell Holden and Matthew Holden, Sr. He received his B.A. degree in political science from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois in 1954 and served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois in 1956 and 1961.

Holden joined the faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1961. In 1963, he was hired at the University of Pittsburgh. During this period, Holden also worked at Resources for the Future, Inc. in Washington, D.C. He returned to the faculty at Wayne State University in 1966, where he remained until 1969. Holden was then hired by the Washington, D.C. based independent think tank, the Urban Institute, and later became professor of political science and public policy administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, serving in that capacity until 1981. In 1973, Holden published The Politics of the Black Nation, followed by The White Man’s Burden in 1974. From 1975 to 1977, Holden was appointed by Wisconsin governor Pat Lucey to serve on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Holden later became the first African American appointee of President Jimmy Carter’s, where he served on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 1977 to 1981. In 1981, Holden was named the Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and served there until 2002. He later became the Wepner Distinguished Professor in political science at the University of Illinois, Springfield in 2009.

From 1969 to 1972, Holden served on the Social Science Research Council board and held a part-time position on the President’s Air Quality Advisory board in 1972. In 1974, Holden served as chairman of the Elections Committee for the American Political Science Association; and, from 1998 to 1999, he served as president of the American Political Science Association.

Holden also received an honorary L.L.D. degree from Tuskegee University in 1985, and the Otto Wirth Award from the Roosevelt University Alumni Association in 1998. Two years later, he was awarded an honorary L.H.D. degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary. In 2012, Holden’s biography was entered into the U.S. Congressional Record.

Matthew Holden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.031

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2019

Last Name

Holden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Northwestern University

Roosevelt University

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

University of Chicago

First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Mound Bayou

HM ID

HOL24

Favorite Season

None

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

9/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Corn

Short Description

Political scientist Matthew Holden, Jr. (1931 - ) was the professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1969 to 1981, and the Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia from 1981 to 2002.

Employment

University of Virginia

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wayne State University

University of Pittsburgh

University of Illinois at Springfield

Cornell University

Jackson State University

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr.

Activist and pastor Reverend B. Herbert Martin was born December 28, 1942, in the historic all-black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. He attended Mound Bayou Training School. Martin was set back in his senior year when he was severely beaten by local white thugs, and graduated from Mound Bayou High School in 1963. Martin earned a B.A. from Philander Smith College in 1967, studied at Payne Theological Seminary before receiving a master’s of divinity from Garrett Theological Seminary in 1970.

Martin served as pastor Sherman, Clair Christian, Gresham, and St. Mark United Methodist churches from 1968 to 1979. He then became the pastor of The Progressive People’s Community Center – The People’s Church where he still presides.

Martin joined the NAACP as a child under the Mississippi state leadership of Dr. T.R.M. Howard. As president and executive director of the Chicago South Side NAACP, Martin led the largest branch in the nation. He served as chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority, and as executive director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Martin is active in many religious and civic activities such as the boards of Christian Laity of Chicago, One Church One Child, the Million Man March – Chicago Organizing Committee, and Operation PUSH. In 1999, Martin attempted to heal racial tensions caused by the baseball bat beating of a black youth by white teens in Chicago’s Bridgeport community.

He is probably best known as the pastor of late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Martin lives in Chicago where he has two daughters and a son. For his outreach activities in El-Mina, Ghana he was awarded the name, Kojo Oyeadizie.

Accession Number

A2003.294

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/11/2003

Last Name

Martin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Herbert

Schools

Mound Bayou High School

Philander Smith College

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

First Name

B.

Birth City, State, Country

Mound Bayou

HM ID

MAR07

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

West African Coast

Favorite Quote

Stay Strong.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/28/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cornbread, Greens

Short Description

Civil rights activist and pastor Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. (1942 - ) was president and executive director of the Chicago South Side NAACP, chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority, and executive director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. He is also the pastor of The Progressive People’s Community Center – The People’s Church.

Employment

Sherman United Methodist Church

Clair Christian United Methodist Church

Gresham United Methodist Church

St. Mark United Methodist Church

Progressive People's Community Center

Favorite Color

Royal Blue, Green

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. shares stories about his maternal family in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the influence of Mound Bayou, Mississippi on Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about his adopted father Willie Martin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about his adopted father's family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the mix of African American and Native American cultural traditions in his family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers his calling to ministry in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the importance of music in Mound Bayou, Mississippi during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. defines the qualities of Mississippi Delta Blues and gospel music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the activities he enjoyed growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the assault upon him and his best friend in 1960

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the teachers that influenced him in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls his high school activities at Mound Bayou Consolidated Public School and Country Training School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the influence of Reverend T.C. Johnson at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his religious conversion experience at age nine

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the aftermath of the assault he experienced as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls seeing a childhood playmate initiated into a white supremacy group

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the spiritual influence of his maternal grandmother

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains how he entered Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers his early experiences at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls his first job with Methodist Youth Services in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls important figures from the Civil Rights Movement that he encountered in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the importance of remembering the history of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his reaction to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the need to address the pain of racism

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the political organizing that occurred after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls his time at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls the fallout of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the loss of collaboration between the Jewish and African American communities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the divisions between African American and white ethnic communities

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers the development of Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls Harold Washington's election as mayor of Chicago, Illinois in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers witnessing Mayor Harold Washington's declining health

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls being the pastor and friend of Mayor Harold Washington up until his death in 1987

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers the aftermath of Mayor Harold Washington's death

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the painful effects of Harold Washington's death upon Chicago, Illinois' African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains the history behind the assault on Lenard Clark and Clevon Nicholson

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his attempt to reconcile communities after the assault upon Lenard Clark and Cleavon Nicholson

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. remembers the interfaith service held in response to Lenard Clark and Clevon Nicholson's assault

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the anger and pain he saw in the aftermath of the attack on Lenard Clark

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains the political motivations involved in the prosecution of Frank Caruso, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. ponders political solutions to anger

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the need for developing a "healthy paranoia"

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains how he became chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains how his protest against HUD led to his dismissal as chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. recalls his time as chairman of the City of Chicago Human Relations Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about his involvement with various community organizations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his philosophy of religion

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the challenge of enacting a philosophy of unconditional love in everyday life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the need for acceptance of diverse religious beliefs

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. evaluates the mega-church phenomenon

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the negative impact of mega-churches

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes the embrace of African traditions by African American churches

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the dangers of certain spiritual traditions

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. philosophizes about the spiritual nature of evil

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. shares memories of his trip to Ghana

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his visit to El-Mina Castle in El-Mina, Ghana

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. expounds on the spiritual, cultural and natural resources of Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his hopes for Pan-Africanism

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about his symbol of return, the Sankofa

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. talks about the influence of Mound Bayou, Mississippi on Chicago, Illinois
Reverend B. Herbert Martin, Sr. explains how his protest against HUD led to his dismissal as chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority
Transcript
And [Dr.] T.R.M. [Theodore Roosevelt Mason] Howard, of course, came to Chicago [Illinois] and became a very successful physician here on the South Side of Chicago. He was a great hunter. He was a guy who showed us our first real live monkey, because he built a zoo in Mound Bayou [Mississippi]; we had a zoo. The first time I saw an alligator, or I saw a rhesus monkey or black monkeys and apes and all these, you know, very beautiful exotic animals--birds and everything--he would literally bring these things back from Africa. Those were the days when they could do. He created this huge reflection pool where all the exotic fish of the world, you know, would live and swim. And we would come and--He built a swimming pool, you know, for us to come and how to learn to swim and do diving and acrobatics in water, and so forth. And he had also established a medical center called the Friendship Clinic [Friendship Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois]. We had two hospitals. The Friendship Clinic was one founded by Dr. Howard. The Taborian Hospital [Mound Bayou, Mississippi] was founded by an organization or fraternity called the [The International Order of the Twelve] Knights and Daughters of Tabor, Mount Tabor. And, and, we built that hospital, and it was literally manned by interns from Meharry Medical School [sic. Meharry Medical College] in Nashville, Tennessee who had come. So, we had these two medical centers right there in the town, both ran by African-American people. All the physicians were black. So, you grew up with this sense of ownership, with the sense of somebody-ness, with a sense of achievement, seeing successful role models, and all of this before you. The first judge I saw was black, Judge Green [ph.], who was the grandson of Benjamin T. Green, the founding father of the town. And he was both judge and lawyer. He was our town lawyer. The first banker I saw was a black, you know, Charles Banks, is black. The first schoolteacher I saw was black. I mean everything, our whole environment was this way. And so, you grew up with a sense of real history and a real story that you can pass on to your own children. And so, there is a sense of great pride on the part of Mound Bayouans. I wish we were more actively involved in the life of the town at this stage. I think those of us who left in the 1960s, at this stage, which is my generation, we need to be returning to that town, which I plan to do after I retire which will be about four years from now.$$There's so many Mound Bayouans--$$There's hundreds of us.$$--in Chicago.$$Yeah, in Chicago and around the country, you know, who have become very successful people, and very knowledgeable people. And so, we need to be back now contributing, you know, to the development of the young people and the future generations of leadership of that city, yeah. So, we're headed there. So, Mound Bayou has a long, rich, wonderful history. Some of it is very exciting and some of it is very thrilling, but at the same time, some of it is very sad. Because we did not escape the reality--even though we have like our own little utopia we grew up in, ultimately white people in the state of Mississippi were in economic control and could determine the economic destiny of that little town, which eventually they did. And, and we--but we have not quit. We're still there, it's still an all-black town. White people haven't chosen to make it their home. And we have one or two residents who occasionally come in, maybe who connected with the medical center there or with the high school [Mound Bayou Consolidated Public School and County Training School, Mound Bayou, Mississippi]. But it's a very temporary kind of arrangement. But it remains a 99-1/2 percent African American village, city, there in the heart of the [Mississippi] Delta.$I was appointed and became chairman [of the Chicago Housing Authority, CHA], but I am a people's advocate. I am not a executive CEO [chief executive officer] of something. That is not my role. So, and Harold [Washington] knew this--and that I would change things in favor of the tenants, and not in favor of the administration. Neither would I put up with HUD's [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] paper war with CHA [Chicago Housing Authority], and that's what was going on. Got a paper war between the regional office and the Chicago Housing Authority--they spent their time shooting paper, you know, from one side of the town to the other one. So, I said, well this is crazy. So, what I did--and this is shortly after Harold was dead. We had these commissioners who were just there in name only, you know, with the exception of Artensa Randolph, the sister in the wheelchair, boy. And we were gallant soldiers and fighters. So what I did, I told her. I said, "Listen, I know I'm supposed to be the chairman of this board. And I know that's a highly visible office." I said, "But you know what? This takes another action." So I went to HUD at 5:00 a.m. in January, one January morning, and tied myself with a log chain to that door, to make them shake loose $32 million in organizational funds so that we could begin--we could stop the tenants, and Ida B. Wells [Homes, Chicago, Illinois] at this time, from wading around in water ankle deep in January, man, and they're playing paper games--shooting paper, memorandums from HUD over to CHA So, okay, direct action is needed. I go and tie myself to the front door of the office building at 300 South Wacker [Drive], wherever that is over there. And, and when daylight comes, here I am with this log chain. And the tenants have placards saying, "HUD, the name of HUD is mud," whatever it was. And then all hell breaks loose in the city. The media is there to capture this stuff. It goes all over the country immediately. Sam [Samuel] Pierce, who is the HUD--who was the head of HUD in Washington [D.C.], calls Gertrude Jordan who was in the regional office where I had tied myself, and said "What in the hell is going on?" She said, "This crazy preacher has tied himself to the front door of the building." And of course, I was trespassing, all right? Because I went--I was barring the public way, so the police will arrest me. And they issued this thing. But if I had got arrested, then all the 224,000 tenants that I'm out there protesting for--you know, to get the money to repair their buildings--would have showed up down there. So, they negotiated with me and they sent the $32 million. But I had done something that was completely non-traditional. I had done something that was appropriate publicly, you know, as a public person, and stepped outside of the role of chairman of the board. And so then my time was limited, I was a problem child. The [Chicago] Tribune called me crazy and out of my mind, and all kinds of stuff. All kind of bad editorials were written. But I had achieved what I was after, and that was to at least get enough money to stop those families from wading in water ankle deep in their apartments. Then I was moved. I left the CHA, of course in those days.$$Well, now who was mayor [of Chicago, Illinois] when you left the CHA?$$[HistoryMaker Eugene] Gene Sawyer--$$Okay.$$--under great pressure from, of course, you know, his sponsors.

Val Gray Ward

Val Gray Ward, actress, producer, cultural activist and internationally known theatre personality, was born Q. Valeria Ward on August 21, 1932 in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, America's oldest all black town. As the daughter of a successful minister, Ward showed an interest early on in performance. She eagerly read poems and did readings for her father's congregation and eventually won various oratorical competitions in school. Above all, she was keenly interested in African American literature.

After graduating from Mound Bayou High School in 1950, Ward dreamed of going to college. Instead, she moved to Chicago in 1951, got married and became Val Gray and a mother to five children. When the marriage failed, Ward went back to school and became active in Chicago's African American cultural activities. She was a regular at the South Side Community Arts Center and the DuSable Museum of African American History as she developed friendships with Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Gwendolyn Brooks, Don L. Lee, Haki R. Madhubuti and Abena Joan Brown.

In 1965 Val Gray met and married journalist, Francis Ward as she continued to make a name for herself as an actress, television host and cultural consultant. Now known as Val Gray Ward, Ward was recognized as part of Chicago's activist Black Arts Movement. In this context Ward founded the nonprofit Kuumba Theatre in 1968. Kuumba is Kiswahili for clean up, create, and build and was dedicated to the revitalization of the black community through the arts.

With Kuumba, Ward has produced and directed such plays as The Amen Corner by James Baldwin, Welcome To Black River by Samm Art Williams, and Five On The Black Hand Side by Charles Fuller. Touring has also been important. Ward took the cast and crew of Useni Eugene Perkins' play, The Image Makers to Lagos Nigeria as part of the FESTAC '77, an international African arts festival. Ward brought Kuumba's musical production, The Little Dreamer: The Life of Bessie Smith to Japan in 1981 and produced Buddy Butler's In The House of The Blues in Montreal, Canada. Ward and the company received Emmy Awards for the PBS television production of Precious Memories: Strolling 47th Street in 1988.

When she is not producing, Val Ward performs one woman shows in the United States and abroad. Performances include Harriet Tubman by Francis Ward, Sister Sonji by Sonia Sanchez and I Am A Black Woman which includes the poetry of Mari Evans.

Over the years, Ward has provided opportunities in the arts for hundreds of inner city youth and adults. All five of her children were or still are active in theatre. Ward currently lives in Syracuse, New York.

Accession Number

A2002.077

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/2/2002

Last Name

Ward

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Mound Bayou High School

John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Val Gray

Birth City, State, Country

Mound Bayou

HM ID

WAR02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

No Preference

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: plus travel and lodging expenses

Preferred Audience: No Preference

State

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

As We Go Into Ourselves, We Come To Ourselves Naturally.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/21/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Greens

Short Description

Artistic director, stage actress, stage director, and stage producer Val Gray Ward (1932 - ) is the founder of the nonprofit Kuumba Theatre, and was dedicated to the revitalization of the black community through the arts. Over the years, Ward has provided opportunities in the arts for hundreds of inner-city youth and adults.

Employment

Kuumba Theatre

Favorite Color

Black, Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Val Gray Ward's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward talks about her father's upbringing in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward talks about her father's family's origins in Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Val Gray Ward talks about her maternal grandmother, Anna Mae Moten

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Val Gray Ward talks about how her maternal family ended up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Val Gray Ward describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Val Gray Ward describes her earliest memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward talks about the history of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward describes herself as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward talks about attending the private Alice Morris preschool and B.O. Felder elementary school, and the public Mound Bayou High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Val Gray Ward talks about the encouragement she received growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Val Gray Ward describes her role in her family growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward describes growing up as a minister's daughter

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward describes herself as a strong-willed child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward talks about the uniqueness of Mound Bayou, Mississippi as an all-black Southern town

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward describes her move to Chicago, Illinois, where she was molested and became pregnant in 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward talks about her first marriage to John Gray from 1951 to 1957

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward describes meeting her now husband, HistoryMaker Francis Ward

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Val Gray Ward describes her Civil Rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Val Gray Ward talks about her early performances in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward talks about the people involved the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward describes founding Kuumba Theater in 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward describes founding Kuumba Theater in 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward describes the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward describes the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward talks about creating Kummba Theatre to address issues in the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Val Gray Ward describes Kuumba Theater's Twelve Principles

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Val Gray Ward talks about creating The Ritual at Kuumba Theater

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward describes early performances of The Ritual at Kuumba Theater

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward talks about developing The Ritual at Kuumba Theater

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward describes a performance of The Ritual at Kuumba Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward talks about the influence of Kuumba Theater performances to the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward talks about the various places that housed Kuumba Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward describes the significance of Kuumba Theater, including attending the FESTAC World Festival of Black Arts in Nigeria in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Val Gray Ward talks about the support that African American business leaders provided Kuumba Theater

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward talks about the support Kuumba Theater received from publisher and HistoryMaker John H. Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward describes the launch of 'The Amen Corner' at Kuumba Theater in 1989

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward talks about producing 'Precious Memories' at Kuumba Theater and on PBS in 1988

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward talks about the financial support that Kuumba Theater recieved

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward talks about Kuumba Theater's role in black theater

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward talks about her friendship with Hoyt Fuller

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward talks about losing her friend, Hoyt Fuller, when he passed away in 1981

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward talks about losing her friend, Gwendolyn Brooks, when she passed away in 2000

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward describes her friendships with HistoryMakers Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward talks about the status of Kuumba Theater and black theater

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward reflects on the significance of black theater

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Val Gray Ward reflects on the significance of Kuumba Theater and its ritual

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Val Gray Ward describes the beauty of black people

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Val Gray Ward narrates her photographs, pt. 4

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Val Gray Ward describes Kuumba Theater's Twelve Principles
Val Gray Ward talks about developing The Ritual at Kuumba Theater
Transcript
So what were Kuumba's twelve principles?$$Oh, now you would ask me. One is not to--enough to show a black reality, that we must tell why our art exists, its effect or offer some necessary alternatives. Meaning that, for instance, during black exploitation films, lot of people say, oh, '[Sweet] Sweetback' is revolutionary and we say yeah, really, what is revolution and what is revolutionary about it? Let's look at it. Kuumba had a newspaper. We had forums and we would analyze what made--how was it revolutionary and somebody running from here to Mexico or wherever and having a young boy exposed to older women, how is that revolutionary? What do you mean by revolutionary? So those are the serious things we did. And we brought in--we had panels, up to the time of Colored Girls with the sociologists and psychologists. We'd bring people from Lake Forest [College, Illinois], Northwestern [University, Illinois], [HM] Vernon Jarrett and oooh, I'm sure that you've--Herbert Martin, who's also from Mound Bayou [Mississippi]. You know, and we would talk about it and analyze it and then bring in the playwrights and bring in the people, you know, and that's why we had discussions. But we did, you know, plays that were like [Useni Eugene Perkins] 'The Image Makers'. Their reviews--I was just looking over some reviews at the [Chicago] Tribune did twelve pages, way back when and that was about black exploitation films. So it was not enough to talk about 'em because people would say, oh, these militants--or these troublemakers and I--my house was fire bombed. Oh Jesus, there's all kind of stuff and because of this art, right? And Chicago [Illinois] had a red squad and [HM] Margaret Burroughs said, will you and [HM] Francis [Ward] sign this thing with me 'cause I'm getting dossiers--you getting' what? Dossiers, so she got 'em. And what would it have? I was at the Packing House [Chicago, Illinois] and Stokely [Carmichael, Kwame Ture] would say, I said, for instance, "What shall I tell my children who's black," and I was wearing whatever a description of that on there, and if the three of us, Paul, you and Paul--I mean other people were there--they would just cross out, and you tryin' to think, who else was there and that's all you were doing, creating art. And there were as many whites involved as there were blacks in terms of, you know, the struggle of our people coming, you know, getting involved and so forth.$Let's talk about how The Ritual--how did The Ritual develop and what was The Ritual?$$The Ritual developed out of exactly what I do in the one woman show today. I was doing it prior to the founding of Kuumba, starting off with, you taking my blues notes on commercial theater, with the blues and the spiritual and then the things that I'm tellin' you about either prose and/or poetry or just the story that had taken place in the news--out of the newspaper. You had to--I mean in workshop, I mean we'd work on it and create that. So that you could hold the people while you were telling it--they didn't know you were tellin' a story--and then you give credit to the or whomever had the by-line.$$But The Ritual--was it broken down into a certain number of parts?$$Yeah, it was always--it was 'Destruction or Unity,' that was the name of it. But under 'Destruction and Unity,' we would do church. We would do current events, what was happening. And when I say church, the old church and some of the songs like, we used to take songs like, and this is how we got a lot of the church people involved in it. "Were You There", I don't know if you ever heard (singing)-"were you there when they crucified my Lord?" Well, we would change it, (singing)-"were you there when they shot poor Malcolm [X] down," and Fred Hampton or whatever and we would do all the (singing)-"oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble"--people would just be crying and we'd, you know. You know, we would sing well and we would put it together and so we would take what people already knew and then you could always bring anybody, young or old, black or white, and you didn't have to worry about all that cursing. Because a lot of people wouldn't go to--they say I don't want to go to this black theater because first thing they're doing is shooting their momma and their daddy and they're putting down the church and everybody. No, we would just take the forums that people already knew and create from that and so originally when it's time to change it, somebody change it, you know. Change it, if you're the changer, you're the thing from--I mean to blues and gospel or whatever. It was wonderful.