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DeMetris Sampson

Lawyer DeMetris Sampson was born on July 30, 1955 in Tyler, Texas. Sampson earned her B.B.A. degree from the University of Texas, Austin in 1977. She received her J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1980, and her M.L. degree from Southern Methodist University in 1986.

Sampson began her career as chief counsel for the Texas House of Representatives’ Judicial Affairs Committee in 1981. She remained as chief counsel until 1985, when she became the assistant district attorney for Dallas County in Texas. Sampson then joined the law firm of Blair, Goggan, Sampson & Meeks and became the first African American partner of a major Dallas, Texas law firm. She then joined Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP as a managing partner. Sampson was the first African American woman to be named a managing partner in a majority firm in Dallas, Texas. She also served as an advisor to Ron Kirk, who was the first African American mayor of Dallas from 1995 until 2002. Sampson retired from Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP in 2014.

In 1990, Sampson was named an Outstanding Young Texan by the University of Texas, Dallas. She also received distinguished honors from the university in 2008 and was awarded the Legacy of Service Foundation Award in 2012. At her retirement in 2014, Sampson was honored by Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for her distinguished career. She was also awarded the 25th Image Award by the Legacy of Service Foundation in 2017.

During her career, Sampson served as a member of University of Texas President William Cunningham’s Black Alumni Advisory Committee, as a member of the Ex Students Association’s Black Alumni Task Force, as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and as board chair for the Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Community Outreach Center. She also served as president of the J.L. Turner Legal Association and as president of the Dallas Association of Black Women Attorneys. In 1994, she was named to East Texas State University’s Board of Regents.

DeMetris Sampson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.169

Sex

Female

Interview Date

09/16/2017

Last Name

Sampson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

DeMetris

Birth City, State, Country

Tyler

HM ID

SAM07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy or South Africa

Favorite Quote

If it were easy everybody would so it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

7/30/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pancakes with homemade syrup

Short Description

Lawyer DeMetris Sampson (1955 - ) was the first African American partner of a major Dallas law firm, and the first African American woman to be named a managing partner in a majority law firm in Dallas.

Favorite Color

Royal blue

Ethel Bradley

Civic leader Ethel Bradley was born in Tyler, Texas to Benjamin and Lucille Arnold on February 9, 1919. In 1941, she married Thomas Bradley, a man she met at The New Hope Baptist Church as a teenager. Thomas Bradley, the son of share-croppers, was from a less socially prominent family than Bradley. Thomas worked as a police officer and then went on to earn a law degree. The Bradley’s had two daughters, Phyllis and Lorraine.

Thomas Bradley’s political career began when he was elected as a representative of 10th District to the Los Angeles City Council . In 1973, Thomas became the first African American mayor of Los Angeles, California. Over the next twenty years, Ethel Bradley would become a humanitarian as the first lady of Los Angeles. As first lady, she was known for being an avid Dodgers fan and cultivating fuschia flowers at the Getty Mansion, the mayoral residence. Bradley organized a women’s volunteer corps, Las Angelenas and was co-founder of the Black Women’s Forum. She also worked with the YWCA and the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. In 1992, Thomas Bradley joined the downtown law offices of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. His law career came to a premature end when in 1996 he suffered a heart attack and stroke, which left him unable to speak. Two years later, her husband suffered a fatal heart attack. Over 1,700 people attended his funeral at the African Methodist Episcopal Church. One attendee at the funeral, Vice President Al Gore, spoke in his honor. Bradley donated over 100 of her late husband’s artifacts to the California African American Museum in 2000.

In 2003, The Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation was established. The goals of this foundation were, to honor the legacy of both of the Bradley’s and to encourage individuals to become responsible citizens. In 2006, The Ethel Bradley Early Education and Health Career Center was unveiled by the Los Angeles Unified School District, it was envisioned by the co-founders of the Black Women’s Forum. This center was designed to provide training, employment and childcare to the Los Angeles, California community.

Bradley passed away on November 25, 2008 at the age of 89.

Accession Number

A2008.113

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/18/2008

Last Name

Bradley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Occupation
Schools

Julia C Frazier Elementary School

Jefferson High School

Los Angeles City College

First Name

Ethel

Birth City, State, Country

Tyler

HM ID

BRA10

Favorite Season

February

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/9/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Death Date

11/25/2008

Short Description

Civic leader Ethel Bradley (1919 - 2008 ) was the first lady of Los Angeles during Thomas Bradley's mayoral administrations from 1973 to 1992. Bradley organized the Women’s Volunteer Corps, Las Angelenas, and was a co-founder of the Black Women’s Forum.

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:2375,92:4750,194:15176,381:17154,452:17756,460:31158,711:31550,717:31942,723:38092,860:41496,909:42232,915:42600,921:46096,976:46740,985:54100,1224:66857,1335:69926,1568:70949,1580:71321,1585:76405,1835:81060,1886$0,0:11356,321:13158,428:19836,541:20472,548:24880,583:25304,588:27124,682:32886,804:33355,812:37308,995:46420,1102:46960,1185:54636,1249:57680,1301:58448,1311:60464,1354:66376,1467:67852,1502:73405,1680:74520,1691
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ethel Bradley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ethel Bradley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ethel Bradley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ethel Bradley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ethel Bradley talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ethel Bradley recalls her family's move from Texas to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ethel Bradley describes her community in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ethel Bradley recalls singing professionally with her sister

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ethel Bradley talks about her childhood pastimes

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ethel Bradley talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ethel Bradley remembers her favorite teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ethel Bradley describes her family's social activities

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ethel Bradley describes the reason for her family's move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ethel Brady describes her transition to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ethel Bradley remembers the earthquake of 1933 in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ethel Bradley describes the logistics of her family's move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ethel Bradley talks about her higher education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ethel Bradley recalls opening a hair salon in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ethel Bradley remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ethel Bradley talks about her professional singing career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ethel Bradley recalls her marriage to Tom Bradley

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ethel Bradley describes her husband, Tom Bradley's career at the Los Angeles Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ethel Bradley describes her involvement in social organizations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ethel Bradley remembers her husband, Tom Bradley

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ethel Bradley recalls her initial involvement in politics

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ethel Bradley remembers moving to the West Side of Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ethel Bradley talks about her fuchsia garden

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Ethel Bradley recalls her love of baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Ethel Bradley talks about the Crenshaw Democratic Club

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Ethel Bradley recalls her husband, Tom Bradley's campaign for the Los Angeles City Council

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Ethel Bradley describes the impact of her husband's election on her family

Tape: 2 Story: 17 - Ethel Bradley talks about her husband's experiences on the Los Angeles City Council

Tape: 2 Story: 18 - Ethel Bradley recalls the impact of the Civil Rights Movement in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ethel Bradley describes her husband, Tom Bradley's mayoral campaigns

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ethel Bradley remembers her husband's mayoral inauguration in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ethel Bradley recalls the threats to her family during her husband's mayoralty

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ethel Bradley remembers the supporters of her husband, Mayor Tom Bradley

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ethel Bradley talks about the Getty House in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ethel Bradley describes her role in the establishment of the Getty House

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ethel Bradley recalls the founding of the Black Women's Forum

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ethel Bradley remembers Jessie Mae Beavers and Ben Weisman

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ethel Bradley talks about her love of the Los Angeles Dodgers

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ethel Bradley remembers the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ethel Bradley talks about her sports memorabilia

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Ethel Bradley remembers the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Ethel Bradley remembers participating in parades

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Ethel Bradley reflects upon her life and shares a message for future generations

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Ethel Bradley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Ethel Bradley's daughter, Phyllis Bradley, narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Ethel Bradley remembers meeting her husband
Ethel Bradley describes her involvement in social organizations
Transcript
(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Okay, were you married yet?$$No.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): So it had to be before you got married, and you got married in 1939, right?$$It was '41 [1941].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Nineteen forty-one [1941], okay. And how did you meet your husband?$$At church.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): In church. Which church?$$New Hope Baptist.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): New Hope Baptist Church [Los Angeles, California]. So you met your husband in New Hope Baptist Church. Did your husband go to school?$$Yeah.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): And who was your husband?$$Tom Bradley.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Tom Bradley. So he was going to school. What else was he doing? Was he an athlete?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Okay, what, what, what sports was he, was he in?$$He ran track.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Ran track and--$$Played football.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): --and played football, okay. Did you guys, did--he tells the story that, that he got a kiss from you if he won some race. What race was that?$$In track.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): At track.$$The 440 [440-yard dash].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): The 440. If he won the 440, you'd give him a kiss?$$(Unclear).$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Is that the story that we hear? So did he win the race that day?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): (Laughter) And so, he got his kiss.$$(Pause).$$Now, who did he run for? What did he--he was in college?$$(PHYLLIS BRADLEY): Poly High [John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles, California].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Was he in high school then?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Yes, so he was at Poly, Polytechnic High School (simultaneous).$$(PHYLLIS BRADLEY): (Simultaneous) Technical.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): And he ran in the Coliseum [Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los, Angeles, California], right?$$Yes (simultaneous).$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): (Simultaneous) At the Coliseum?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Yes, the 440.$You can ask her about, I guess, clubs and that sort of thing. 'Cause I know that was a big part of (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): (Simultaneous) Oh, okay, okay.$$(PHYLLIS BRADLEY): She didn't go to clubs.$$No, no, not those kind of clubs. I'm talking about, you know ladies clubs and social clubs and that kind of thing.$$(PHYLLIS BRADLEY): Oh. Social clubs.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Oh, okay, okay. When you first got married and you were--you know, you had your beauty shop and everything, did you belong to any women's social clubs?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): What kinds?$$The Kappas [Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Oh, the Kappas. That was, that was the, your husband's [Tom Bradley] fraternity.$$Yeah, right.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): And the women's, the women's organization were called the what?$$Silhouettes [National Silhouettes of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): They're called the Silhouettes. And so what kind of services did you perform? You were a service group?$$Hostess, hostesses.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Hostesses, social activities.$$Yeah, right.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Okay, and what kinds of big activities did you do during that time? What were the big, big events?$$Black and White.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): The Black and White dance, and that's held during what? During Thanksgiving time?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Yes.$$Black and White Ball.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): Yeah, so that was the Black and White Ball, right?$$Yes.$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): And where was that held?$$The Elks club [Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World].$$(LORRAINE BRADLEY): At the Elks club. Okay.

Donald Carpenter

Distinguished professor of sociology Donald Ray Carpenter was born on September 27, 1943 in Tyler, Texas to Modestine Truesdale Carpenter. In the absence of his father, he was raised by his grandmother, a Seventh Day Adventist. As a youth, Carpenter moved to Ogden, Utah, a city known for its historical involvement as a railroad town saturated with black night life, when his stepfather, John Carpenter, a radio repairman, was hired at Hill AFB near Ogden. Carpenter attended T.J. Austin Elementary School before graduating from Ogden High School in 1962. He performed as an organist and pianist for New Zion Baptist Church for forty-seven years. Carpenter went on to enroll at Weber State University where he majored in sociology and minored in anthropology. While attending Weber State, Carpenter also earned a living by working for Wonder Bread Bakery and the U.S. Post Office.

In 1972, Carpenter entered the University of Utah where he pursued his M.S.W. degree in social work. Afterwards, he returned to his alma mater in 1973 and began teaching in Weber State’s Social Work/Gerontology Department. In 1974, he attended the summer institute at the University of Chicago where he studied curriculum development for social work education. Carpenter went on to further his education by earning his Ph.D. in cultural foundation of education in 1986. He was awarded tenure at Weber State University that same year, and in 1993, he became chair of the Department of Social Work and Gerontology at Weber State University.

After retiring in 2003, Carpenter became the Administrator/Head Start Director of the Ogden/Weber Community Action Partnership, an organization that helps the disadvantaged on the local, state and federal levels. He has received many awards and recognitions including: Social Worker of the Year, Utah Chapter of NASW, 1998; 33 Degree Mason, 1988; Past Master of Mt. Ogden Lodge #20, Ogden, Utah; Past Commander-in-Chief of Ben Lomond Consistory, Ogden, Utah; Past Potentate of Rabbak Temple #218, Ogden, Utah and LCSW Social Worker, State of Utah.

Carpenter has been married to the former Elizabeth Ann Washington for forty-six years. Together they have two daughters, Tamera Lynn and Leslie Ann, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Carpenter passed away on November 9, 2018.

Carpenter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 14, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.051

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/14/2008

Last Name

Carpenter

Maker Category
Schools

Ogden High School

North Davis Junior High School

T.J. Austin Elementary School

Lewis Junior High School

Roy Junior High School

First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Tyler

HM ID

CAR17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Utah

Birth Date

9/27/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Salt Lake City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beef (Ground)

Death Date

11/9/2018

Short Description

Social worker and sociology professor Donald Carpenter (1943 - 2018) served as the chair of the Department of Social Work and Gerontology at Weber State University. He was also the administrator and Head Start director of the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Employment

Weber School

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:9222,163:18136,230:21354,266:30078,353:32589,383:38076,463:38820,475:68341,832:75646,870:75950,875:76482,884:79142,922:79902,935:83030,949:85437,980:85935,987:91685,1011:91985,1016:92360,1022:93410,1044:97085,1121:97460,1127:98885,1155:101885,1216:107402,1250:109900,1274$0,0:3600,113:12336,148:13337,161:18966,239:21786,284:22350,293:27760,321:33106,355:34900,392:37006,428:38020,445:41140,517:44829,526:45194,532:50750,609:51200,615:52100,627:52550,633:60459,727:63820,766:69608,815:75812,946:76791,960:78110,974:79295,1000:80401,1032:80717,1037:82771,1069:83324,1077:83640,1082:94068,1378:95095,1393:95648,1400:98334,1431:98650,1436:111184,1526:111776,1535:124500,1644:130060,1659:130456,1667:131446,1686:131842,1701:136890,1740:137298,1747:143878,1849:144293,1855:144791,1862:147990,1896:151830,1931:154458,1985:155480,2002:157232,2037:157524,2042:163476,2114:163866,2121:164490,2137:165348,2152:166050,2163:166986,2185:177394,2297:179878,2344:182728,2354:200258,2635:211398,2784:217582,2842:218734,2867:220678,2905:221254,2914:229025,3020:232066,3046:236034,3084:243552,3148:245300,3179:245604,3184:245984,3190:248416,3231:251912,3299:252216,3304:259580,3410:259975,3416:261634,3431:261950,3436:270102,3530:273510,3643
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter describes his birth father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his birth father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his stepfather's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Carpenter talks about how his mother met his birth father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald Carpenter describes his mother and stepfather's marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter describes his neighborhood in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter remembers the Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with the elders in his community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter remembers T.J. Austin Elementary School in Tyler, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter recalls his family's move to Clearfield, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter remembers Ogden High School in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter remembers marrying his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald Carpenter recalls his mentors at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donald Carpenter talks about his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes the demographics of Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter talks about race relations in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter remembers Professor Ray Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter recalls his work at the Clearfield Job Corps Center in Clearfield, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter remembers the guidance of his mentor, Professor Ray Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter recalls becoming a tenured professor at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter describes his Ph.D. dissertation

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter talks about the termination of Director H.C. Massey from the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter talks about his directorship of the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter describes his plans to honor H.C. Massey

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter recalls the controversy over H.C. Massey's termination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter describes his achievements with the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his directorship of the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter describes his hopes and concerns for the communities of color in Utah

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter talks about H.C. Massey

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Carpenter describes his concerns for the Head Start program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Carpenter talks about the role of the church in the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Carpenter describes his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Carpenter talks about the history of African Americans in Ogden, Utah

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Carpenter reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donald Carpenter describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

12$5

DATitle
Donald Carpenter describes his relationship with his mother
Donald Carpenter reflects upon his directorship of the Head Start program in Ogden, Utah
Transcript
When you think about the personalities of your mother and your stepfather [John Carpenter] in particular, who do you think you take after the most?$$My mother, no question. Her and I be--she had so many children and they were so close in particular when we came to Utah I had to really kind of step in and help her quite a bit with those children, and even now my father was a good person, but in the early days he drank quite a bit. So, I had to be the buffer quite a bit between him and her and she depended a lot on me because she was quite young. See she was only about twenty-two, twenty-three when we came to Utah, so she was a young woman herself. In fact, my mother and I are more like brothers and sisters than mother and son. In fact, I call her Modestine [Modestine Truesdell Carpenter]. I don't call her mother, I call her by her name. And, but we--I know what she went through for me, so therefore I'm pretty wired close to her, which gets into a whole lot of things later in years, but she make great sacrifices, I mean no question in my mind. I can name them, go through them. So, we have quite a close relationship. In fact, she says to me all of the time, even today, "If I lost any of my children," the most difficult one would be if she lost me.$So this will be your last job you think as such (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, oh absolutely.$$Okay.$$I'm just, I've got to stay until we've overcome the obstacles. I, I don't know how much longer I'll stay. I, it's really a more rewarding job to me than when I was teaching school. That was an easier job, but this job is more rewarding in the sense that--well it think one of the things that have worked, I've had a career, I've had positions, so I don't have nothing to prove other than to come here and help the staff here. I'm not coming in on an ego trip, I, I've been there, done that. And these people bust their butts for me, and a lot of these people have been here twenty years they know a hell of a lot more than I know about Head Start, but they are so committed and since I've been here I mean they make sure that--it was the staff that led this agency [Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc., Ogden, Utah] to a zero finding, which is very unusual in the Head Start world. But one of the things I like about it is that it's put me in contact with people I never would have met at the college level, you know like Bob Coard [Robert M. Coard] out of ABCD [Action for Boston Community Development] out of Boston [Massachusetts]. I don't know if you're familiar with him. You really need to do him. I mean he's got the biggest community action program in the United States, Coard, ABCD. He's got four thousand kids in the Head Start program. But, at the nation, at the, at the regional and national level the contacts that I made have just been invaluable, and I think his help helped the, helped the agency tremendously. It's no secret in terms of people knowing about the troubles of this agency, but people coming in saying we want to help has a lot to do in terms the network that I've developed with it and we're making progress and we're, we just don't have those problems anymore and so I've got to stay just long enough that I get the seed planted where it continues to grow. It's got to do even better when I leave, and I'm trying to look at succession planning that when I leave you don't have to go all around the country to find a new director, you have one right here, right here in this agency.$$To have, so--$$People who and I've convinced the board we need to do succession planning. I've made sure that the managers understand if you want this seat it's gon- you gonna have to have at least a master's degree to get it. So, through your T and TA [training and technical assistance] plan I sent them to this Johnson and Johnson Institute in California [Irvin, California] to get that certification, the Head Start certification, you know the career development. I'm saying that, "My last hoorah in this agency is to see--I got five managers. One of you five ought to get this job. I want all of you to be so qualified until the board is going to struggle with who to give it to because you paid your dues." And I think when people feel that they can, if, if I work hard, if I do what I need to do, I might have chance to be promoted when something come up. And so it's, it's, it's, it's work, worked well and I mean I have great respect in the region. I'm, like I say, president of the Region 8 board. I deal with Denver [Colorado]. I deal with D.C. [Washington, D.C.], deal with them all. And it's really been a fun job, in particular with the state level CSBG and that whole system. I, it's, it's worked out really well, so it's been a great experience for me. Actually I'm having more fun here then I did at Weber [Weber State College; Weber State University, Ogden, Utah].

Alonzo Pettie

Named for a grandfather born in slavery, Alonzo Pettie was born on June 18, 1910 in Tyler, Texas. His mother died in 1919 and after his father’s death in 1926, Pettie learned to break horses to support himself. Two years later, he began working on a West Texas ranch, and the rancher saw his skill with horses and taught him to ride. Pettie began riding professionally in rodeos and, although he no longer rides horses, he has been a cowboy ever since.

In 1929, Pettie failed to dismount from a bucking bronco on the correct side in an Odessa, Texas, rodeo. He was thrown, dislocating his shoulder. Undaunted, he went on to win the bull riding contest the same day with his arm in a sling. In the years that followed, he suffered many serious injuries, including a ruptured navel that required surgery and a broken pelvic bone in 1930.

Pettie served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1944. Returning to the United States, he continued in the rodeo circuit, traveling to Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. While competing in Colorado’s first black rodeo in 1947, he broke his pelvic bone again, spending three months in a body cast. After that, he stopped riding broncos and bulls. In 1962, Pettie began working in the maintenance department at the Sears Seminary South store in Fort Worth, Texas. The next year, he tied for first place in a best-dressed cowboy competition. He transferred to Denver in 1965 and eventually retired from Sears ten years later. He continued to ride horses until 1995 and was featured in a 1996 Levi Strauss ad campaign for Red Tab jeans.

Pettie, a storyteller and speaker of renown, is chronicled in the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in the Five Points district of Denver. “The Champ,” or “Ole Alonzo,” as he was called, was an active member of the Colorado Black Cowboys and Horseman Association member since its formation. Working with youth, the association organizes rodeo events with bareback riding, calf and steer roping, and barrel racing.

Pettie passed away on August 2, 2003.

Pettie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 17, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/17/2002

Last Name

Pettie

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Greenville School

Pleasant Green School

Red Oak Elementary School

First Name

Alonzo

Birth City, State, Country

Tyler

HM ID

PET03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

United States

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

6/18/1910

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cornbread, Peas (Black-Eyed), Buttermilk

Death Date

8/2/2003

Short Description

Cowboy Alonzo Pettie (1910 - 2003 ) is the oldest living African American cowboy in Colorado. Pettie, a storyteller and speaker of some renown, is chronicled in the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in the Five Points district of Denver. "The Champ," or "Ole Alonzo," as he is called, has been an active member of the Colorado Black Cowboys and Horseman Association member since its formation.

Employment

Denham Garage

Brown Garage, (Denver, CO)

Western Spring and Wire Ltd, Denver

ABC Bowling Lanes

Sears Roebuck & Company

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alonzo Pettie interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alonzo Pettie's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alonzo Pettie talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alonzo Pettie recalls growing up in Longview, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alonzo Pettie discusses his family's property and lineage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alonzo Pettie explains furnishing stock for a rodeo

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alonzo Pettie recounts his early schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his parents' deaths

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alonzo Pettie describes his transient life following his parents' deaths

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his childhood activities with neighbors

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alonzo Pettie discusses the guidelines he followed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alonzo Pettie speculates on the longevity of some of his family members

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alonzo Pettie shares family stories about slavery

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alonzo Pettie recalls spending time on his grandfather's farm

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alonzo Pettie recounts how he learned to ride rodeo

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alonzo Pettie remembers the rules of segregation among children

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his mother's contributions to home and community

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alonzo Pettie describes Saturday night dances at his uncle's house

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his sisters' deaths

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alonzo Pettie recalls how he started riding in the rodeo

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alonzo Pettie explains how he injured his shoulder

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alonzo Pettie remembers participating in rodeo competitions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alonzo Pettie recounts some of his riding injuries

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alonzo Pettie describes his riding style

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alonzo Pettie talks about breaking wild horses

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alonzo Pettie discusses his service in the United States Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alonzo Pettie remembers racial attitudes in the Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alonzo Pettie describes some of his duties in the Army

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his post-Army career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alonzo Pettie details his involvement in rodeo from 1948 through the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alonzo Pettie remembers being named Best Dressed Cowboy, and a cattle drive

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his marriage in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his career with Sears Roebuck in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alonzo Pettie discusses how he has kept his cowboy style through the years

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alonzo Pettie discusses black cowboys and rodeo

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his rodeo days

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his horses

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alonzo Pettie recalls his work for Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alonzo Pettie remembers his Red Tab jeans ad for Levi Strauss & Co.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alonzo Pettie recounts being honored by Mayor Wellington Webb

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alonzo Pettie reflects on his life and career as a black cowboy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alonzo Pettie shares stories about his brother's mule

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alonzo Pettie discusses some of the difficulties faced by black cowboys

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alonzo Pettie shares his views on race

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alonzo Pettie expresses his views on discipline

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Alonzo Pettie recalls how he started riding in the rodeo
Alonzo Pettie remembers being named Best Dressed Cowboy, and a cattle drive
Transcript
It's time now to talk about the rodeo now, how you got involved in the rodeo--?$$Well, with the white guy. See, I worked with these people out there in West Texas. See they, the younger boy, he was a clown, he was a clown, see.$$Ed Turner's people?$$Yeah, Ed Turner's people, see. He was a clown, see. Then this other guy, he was, he was something in there, the other brother was older than him, he was something in there. And then Ed was something in the rodeo there. And so we all got to working together. See, then, see, then I wasn't in the contests, but I could ride the exhibition ride, you see. Now, I could ride a bull. I could ride a bareback horse. See, a bull was two dollars. A bareback horse was three dollars, a saddle horse was five dollars. And I used to ride as many of them as I wanted to, as exhibition. See, I couldn't ride in the contest, but I could ride in the exhibition. The colored couldn't, see, and I was the onlyest colored guy out there with 'em, see, all white. And so I, and this, the baby boy, he was a clown. He'd be the clown with the, the cows and things out there on, on the rodeo. You see how the clown do and that. And then they start them, them Brahman bulls, in later years. See, the Brahman--didn't have no Brahman bulls then. They had all ole, just old, it was Texas longhorns. They used to call it Texas longhorns. That's what they used then. But in later years, that, that Brahman bull come in. They shipped him from overseas over here, brought--.$$Brahman is India, right?$$Yeah, brought him over here, the Brahman, and started them like that. See, them Brahman bull is much faster and, and quicker than a, than a regular old Texas bull, see, the Texas longhorn, the ole Texas bull. And boy, they had horns on, oh, three foot long. They said some up here last year. I was, I didn't see none this year cause I wasn't at the parade up there this year. And they called me to Texas, so and I, I worked with those peoples out there on, on the--but I, I'd go there on a Saturday, I'd make more money on a Saturday and Sunday than I make all the month.$$Just riding the bulls and horse?$$Bulls. I'd saddle ride me two bulls--two horses, bareback horses. I didn't have to ride 'em, you just ride out there and jump off of 'em and go back and get me three dollars, go back and get me another one and ride him, and get me three dollars. The bulls come out, I'd ride me a bull; I get two dollars. Go back and get me another one, and ride another one. See, that's four dollars, that's, that's ten dollars I done made. I wouldn't be making but fifteen dollars a, a month. Fifteen back, it was twenty, twenty-eight, and twenty-nine, and so. And that's Saturday and Sunday. You do that twice, twice a week, look what you done made. If you make you, say, six dollars Sunday and six, or six dollars Saturday, and six dollars Sunday, that's twelve dollars. That's, that's one day, that's two days. Now, you got a whole, whole month to go before you get fifteen more dollars off your job, and you do that every Saturday, see, especially this time of year. That's every Saturday clear up until it get cold in, in November. They have that rodeo, exhibition rodeo. That was in the white, do that, out there, out there in West Texas.$$Were there any other black cowboys making that kind of money out there, doing that--?$$Every once in a while, some in the fall of the year, some come out from down in Houston, San Antonio, back down in there. They'd come up there to have a few rides with 'em, you know, out there. They could get some--ride a saddle horse, that's five dollars and bareback horse, three dollars, a bull two dollars, a mule one dollar, all that, just fun, see. Just fun. You didn't have ride 'em. See, I was, I worked with 'em, so I got a chance to make that kind of money, but, but I was the onlyest back out there. Now, they'd come out there to see the show, but they'd be--wasn't nobody in the rodeo but me. Now, every once in a while, they--one might come in there and, and ride him a bull or a horse or something like that, but not regular as I was. See, I was there every, every day, every Sunday and every Saturday. See, I was out there with 'em cause I worked with the peoples that, you know, helped with the rodeo and things like that.$And that night, I was the best-dressed cowboy with this picture here, in that frame up there. Somebody stole the picture, but I still got the, the toffer there, right there. See sitting up in that corner there, see that toffer there, sitting up in there. See, I was the best-dressed cowboy, I won that. And see, there in Fort Worth, now, there in Texas, back in, when I first started working at Sears and Roebuck, down in Texas in forty, '42 [1942], we had that in '43 [1943], down at--that's the mayor, Mayor Justin, John Justin [Jr.], the man that owned the Justin Boot outfit, the Justin boot, the, the boots, that night, that's the mayor of Fort Worth. I'm standing up there, I was the best-dressed cowboy with them guys, see, up there, down there in Texas for Sears Roebuck.$$So you like to dress up in your outfits?$$Oh, yeah, yeah. I just--I come sharp or something when I'm, when I'm round about. You see that little, see, this picture right here. Now, see that was in eighty, eighty--we was having a, we're getting ready to have a cattle drive from Broadway to, to the stock, to the, to the railroad station, down there on 17th Street, right here in Denver. But we was getting that, that morning, we was getting ready to, to get started there. That was the horse--I didn't--.$$Did you participate in that?$$Yeah, I participated, yeah. But they, I didn't have my horse up here. That was another guy's horse I was holding, this other guy, that's his--and, the--but they had me in a buggy. I went in a buggy. They carried me in a buggy down there, rode me down there in a buggy, down to the, to the, to the railroad station. We had a cattle drive down there from, from Broadway, had a bunch of cattle. We drove down there on Broadway, down at, downtown here. And that was back in eighty, eighty-something, eighty, '87 [1987], I believe, something like that.