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Joetta Clark Diggs

Track and field athlete Joetta Clark Diggs was born on August 1, 1962 in East Orange, New Jersey to Joseph Clark and Jetta Clark. She graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey in 1980, and received her B.A. degree in public relations from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1984, where she won nine collegiate titles in track and field and was a fifteen time All-American.

In 1980, she participated in the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships and earned a gold medal in the 800 meters event. In 1988, she competed in her first Olympic Games, ranking within the top ten track athletes in the world. Diggs was a member of four U.S. Olympic teams and competed in 1992, 1996, and 2000 as well. She also participated in the World Indoor Championships in 1993 and won a bronze medal in the 800 meters event. In her final year on the Olympics team, Diggs was named captain of the women’s team. During her career, she ranked among the top ten American track and field athletes for twenty-one years, as well as among the top ten track athletes in the world since 1991. In 1998, Diggs was ranked number four in the world.  In 2000, Diggs was joined by her younger sister Hazel Clark, sister-in-law Jearl Miles-Clark and their coach, brother JJ to make Olympic history as the only family to comprise all three sports on the Olympic Team in the same event. In addition, she is the daughter of Jetta Clark and noted national educator and Principal Dr. Joe Clark, who was portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the popular motion picture, Lean On Me.

Following the end of her track and field career, she established the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation in 2002. The organization promoted physical activities for children of all ages and offered scholarships. She was also the president of Joetta Sports & Beyond, LLC, where she served as a motivational speaker.

In 1998, Diggs received the VISA Humanitarian Award. She was also chosen as Sports Illustrated “Hometown Hero.” Diggs was inducted into the University of Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2001, the Penn Relays Hall of Fame in 2004, the U.S.A. Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2009, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013. Diggs was selected by The Star Ledger as the “Woman Athlete of the Century.”

Diggs and her husband, Ronald Diggs have one child, Talitha.

Joetta Clark Diggs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 10, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

04/10/2017

Last Name

Diggs

Maker Category
Middle Name

Clark

Organizations
Schools

Maple Avenue Annex Elementary School

Columbia High School

University of Tennesee

First Name

Joetta

Birth City, State, Country

East Orange

HM ID

DIG03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nice

Favorite Quote

In order to be successful you have to have the ability to remain focused.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

8/1/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fettucini Afredo

Short Description

Track and field athlete Joetta Clark Diggs (1962 - ) was a four-time Olympian who specialized in middle-distance running in the 800-meter and 1500-meter races. She was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2009.

Employment

Nike

Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation

Joetta Sports and Beyond, LLC

Favorite Color

Orange

Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick was born in East Orange, New Jersey, on December 12, 1940. The oldest of three siblings, Warwick was raised in a deeply religious and musical family. Her father Mantrel, promoted gospel records while her mother, Lee, managed the Drinkard Singers, a gospel group comprised of Warwick's aunts and uncles.

At the age of fourteen, Warwick, along with her sister and cousin, formed The Gospelaires. The gospel trio sang in local churches, college campuses and African American theaters. They received widespread recognition by winning an amateur contest at the famed Apollo Theater. Over the next few years, The Gospelairs sang behind many of the most prominent artists of the time, including Dinah Washington, Chuck Jackson and Solomon Burke.

In 1959, Warwick received a music scholarship to the University of Hartford in Connecticut. During a session with The Drifters, music conductor and composer Burt Bacharach heard her unique voice. Warwick signed a recording contract in 1962 and her first single, "Don't Make Me Over," was a hit, attracting both R&B and pop audiences. From 1963 to 1966, Warwick achieved unprecedented success by becoming the first crossover artist to have a dozen consecutive Top 100 hits.

In 1968, Warwick became the first African American solo female artist to receive a Grammy for "Do You Know the Way to San Jose." By 1970, she had recorded thirty hit singles, close to twenty best-selling albums and received a second Grammy for the album I'll Never Fall In Love Again.

Warwick brought her dynamic singing talents and commanding personality to television outlets, as well. She hosted the successful music programs Solid Gold, the Soul Train Music Awards and starred in her own show, Dionne And Friends.

Warwick has used her fame and influence to support causes close to her heart. A tireless activist, Warwick has served as the U.S. ambassador of health, a post that she held through both the Ronald Reagan and George Bush administrations. As one of the first artists to heighten public awareness of the AIDS epidemic, Warwick's concerted efforts raised millions of dollars.

Warwick maintains a busy schedule. She completed an international tour with Bacharach, performed with The National Opera Company of Japan, and recorded the critically acclaimed album Aquarela Do Brazil (Watercolors Of Brazil). Additionally, she runs her own television production and interior design companies. Her sons, David and Damon Elliot, are pursuing careers in the music industry as well, as the writers and producers of numerous hit songs.

Accession Number

A2001.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/15/2001

Last Name

Warwick

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Lincoln Grammar School

Burnell Davey Junior High School

Hartt School, University of Hartford

First Name

Dionne

Birth City, State, Country

East Orange

HM ID

WAR03

State

New Jersey

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Singer Dionne Warwick (1940 - ) was the first African American woman soloist to win a Grammy Award.

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - List of sponsors for 'An Evening with Dionne Warwick'

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Introduction to 'An Evening with Dionne Warwick'

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Diahann Carroll introduces Dionne Warwick

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Diahann Carroll greets Dionne Warwick

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dionne Warwick discusses her parents' involvement in her early career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dionne Warwick names her church

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dionne Warwick names the schools she attended

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dionne Warwick discusses her early exposure to music

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dionne Warwick remembers her favorite performers as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dionne Warwick discusses her beginnings in the music industry

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - A review of Dionne Warwick's early career

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dionne Warwick discusses the challenges associated with crossover success

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dionne Warwick considers the success of 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?'

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - A presentation of Dionne Warwick's successes in the 1970s

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Dionne Warwick discusses her split with Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - A review of Dionne Warwick's musical collaborations

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Dionne Warwick describes her reunion with Burt Bacharach

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Dionne Warwick discusses her film debut

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - A presentation of Dionne Warwick's 'Solid Gold' success

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Dionne Warwick discusses friendship and her recording of 'That's What Friends Are For'

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - A discussion of Dionne Warwick's humanitarian efforts

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Dionne Warwick discusses her marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Dionne Warwick discusses her two sons

Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Dionne Warwick discusses her rap collaboration, 'What The World Needs Now Is Love'

Tape: 1 Story: 25 - Dionne Warwick on giving advice and being a role model

Tape: 1 Story: 26 - Dionne Warwick considers her legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 27 - Conclusion of 'An Evening with Dionne Warwick'

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

13$20

DATitle
Dionne Warwick considers the success of 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?'
Dionne Warwick discusses friendship and her recording of 'That's What Friends Are For'
Transcript
There is a song that Burt [Bacharach] and Hal [David] wanted you to do, and you didn't want to do it. You really did not want to record this song. You want to take a look at this song?$$Do you know way to San Jose? I've been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way. Do you know the way to San Jose? I'm going to back to find--$$In 1968, Dionne won her first Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance for the gold-selling record, 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?'--$$I've got lots of friends in San Jose. Oh, do you know the way to San Jose?$$--Making her the first African-American female artist of her generation to win the award.$$Could you share with us what it was that you held so fast--that you hated about this song?$$Well, "whoa whoa whoa," I mean they'd been writing such prolific, wonderful words for me to sing.$$Yes.$$Hal David I feel is probably the best lyricist of our time. And he's written songs that will live long after we're all gone. And I got to the point where they would play songs for me, and if I said I hated it, that would be the single.$$Say you'd have to do that.$$That would be the single.$$That's the single.$$Definitely. Absolutely.$$That's always the way. How did you feel? What did it feel like? Can you remember how you felt?$$Oh, yeah. Every single recording that I've made I remember. Every single I've made I remember, whether they were hits or not. I equate my recordings as my children, you know, and people always ask me, "What's your favorite song?" All of them. Every single one of them happens to be my favorite.$$Yes.$$You know, you can't distinguish your favorite child.$$No.$$You know, and that's the way I feel. And some wonderful things are--accompanied each song. So yeah, they're all babies.$$I understand that completely. You do know that in my act at this moment, I am doing a tribute to you. I have stolen everything you ever recorded.$$Oh, great.$$And I'm having the best time, really.$$Good.$$But I have to tell you, sometimes, they make me cry because they bring back such memories.$$Oh, good.$$And they're so beautiful and important. So I must say that the true test of your relationship is in the songs.$I was very moved the first time I saw you do that, because I know how you are about your friends. And you are very supportive, and you have been to the ladies that were on there with you as well as a few others.$$Yes. A friendship to me is vital. It's the blood that runs through my veins, you know.$$Yes.$$They're very important for me to be there when I need to be.$$Yes.$$And I'm finding that when I call somebody a friend and they reciprocate, that they'd really been there. They are friends, so.$$Yes. That's lovely.$$Yeah, it's important$$I'm going to say this quite seriously to you. As you age, you will find that that is more and more important. Those friendships that you built as you were coming along, and they hung in there and vice versa, you hung in there with them, very important when little muscles and things are not sitting up as high, and little things are getting, you know. It's great to be able to talk to you about this. You came together with a group, and you recorded something that I think means a great deal to all of us. I don't really know how that came about. The song is called 'That's What Friends Are For.'$$Right.$$How did you do that? How did you make that happen?$$You know that was the weirdest thing in the world. I was doing a project for Arista [Records] at the time, and [Burt] Bacharach and his then-wife--don't keep track--Carole Bayer Sager.$$Oh, Carole.$$I had just left their home, listening to songs because they were going to produce a few songs for the new project. And that night, you know how we all--well, I know I do it. I cannot sleep without my television on. It's like I've got to hear noise.$$Yes.$$And I was in that twilight, you're almost asleep but you're not quite, and it was the end of the film. And the music woke me up, and it was that song. And it was being sung by Rod Stewart. It was the song from a film called 'Night Shift.' The next day, I knew it that night. I knew immediately whose music it was. I mean nobody writes like Burt.$$Right.$$I don't care what they tried to imitate, nobody writes like this man.$$He is a genius, indeed.$$But I had no clue as to who wrote the lyric. And the next day, when I went back up to hear some more songs, I brought this song up. And it was so funny. He said, "Well, now we know four people that know this song."$$Right.$$You know, Carol, Burt, Rod, and Dionne. And I wanted to record it. And as a result of it being about friendships and the meaning of friendships and--I felt that I wanted to include some of my friends.