The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Priscilla Sims Brown

Insurance executive Priscilla Sims Brown was born on August 14, 1957 in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Marta Gabre-Tsadick. Her mother was the first woman to serve as a senator in Ethiopia until her family was forced to flee the country after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie. Brown was later adopted and reared by Hattie Sims Roberts and attended the U.S. International School in Birkenfeld, Germany; Navajo High School in Many Farms, Arizona; and Richmond High School in Richmond, California. She went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University.

In 1980, Brown worked as an intern and then business reporter at KQED-TV in San Francisco. After briefly working as a stockbroker at Sutro and Co. and PaineWebber and Company, Brown joined the staff of the Equitable Life Assurance Society in Northbrook, Illinois in 1986. She remained there until 1991 when she became the vice president of Lincoln National Investment Management, a subsidiary of Lincoln National Corporation. Brown was promoted to chairperson of the Lincoln Advisor Funds in 1992 and then president of their broker dealer in 1994. In 1999, she was named vice president of the company’s investor relations group. Brown served as vice president of corporate and public affairs at the Lincoln Financial Group from 2003 to 2006 until her appointment as chief marketing and brand officer of the entire company. She raised the company’s consumer awareness, led the integration of key acquisitions and managed the company’s partnership with Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles. Brown left Lincoln Financial Group in 2009 to become the head of marketing at Sun Life Financial. There, she secured naming rights to Sun Life Stadium. After briefly serving as the chief marketing and development officer at AmeriHealth Caritas, Brown became the senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer for AXA US in New York City in 2014. She left AXA US in 2016 to pursue philanthropy and entrepreneurship and  become the CEO of Emerge.me in 2017.

Brown serves on the board of directors for her family’s nonprofit organization, Project Mercy, which provides comprehensive development in Ethiopia. She also serves on the board of directors of the Eagles Charities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the TIAA. Brown is a member of the International Women’s Forum and Executive Leadership Council. Brown has received several awards and honors for her work including the CMO Content Engagement Award in 2017. 

Brown has two children, Cole and Faith.

Priscilla Sims Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.174

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2018

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

Sims

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Priscilla

Birth City, State, Country

Albuquerque

HM ID

BRO67

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Mexico

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lalibela, Ethiopia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/14/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Insurance executive Priscilla Sims Brown (1957 - ) served as chief marketing and brand officer for Lincoln National Corporation and was senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer for AVA U.S.

Favorite Color

Purple, Blue

William Pajaud

Artist and insurance executive William Etienne Pajaud, Jr. was born on August 3, 1925 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, William Etienne Pajaud, Sr., was a trumpet player and bandleader; his mother, Audrey DuCongé, a college professor of social work. Pajaud and his mother moved around in his youth, from Nashville to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then to Tyler, Texas. He returned to New Orleans to attend Xavier University, where he graduated with his B.F.A. degree in 1946.

Upon graduation, Pajaud moved to Chicago, Illinois and worked as a sign artist and a freelance designer. In 1949, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he enrolled at the Chouinard Art Institute and earned a certificate in advertising and design while working as a postal clerk. Pajaud was the first African American to be admitted to Chouinard’s day school and to complete a degree.

In 1957, Pajaud was hired at the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles, California, where he later became vice president of public relations and advertising. At Golden State, he developed and was curator of the company’s African American art collection, which was considered one of the most important in the world. In his free time, Pajaud painted and exhibited his own artwork in Los Angeles at places such as the Heritage Art Gallery, black-owned Brockman Gallery, and later at the M. Hanks Gallery in Santa Monica, California. He retired from the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1987, but continued to paint and exhibit his art widely in museums and galleries throughout the United States.

Pajaud was a member of the Society of Graphic Designers, the Los Angeles County Art Association, and the National Watercolor Society, of which he served as president from 1974 to 1975. His honors include the 1969 PRSA Art Exhibition Award of Merit, the 1971 National Association of Media Women Communications Award, the 1975 University of the Pacific Honor, the 1978 Paul Robeson Special Award for Contribution to the Arts, the 1981 PR News Gold Key Award, the 1981 League of Allied Arts Corporation Artists of Achievement Award, and the 2004 Samella Award.

Pajaud passed away on June 16, 2015 at the age of 89.

William Pajaud was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.231

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/1/2014

Last Name

Pajaud

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Etienne

Schools

Corpus Christi Catholic School

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

Chouinard Art Institute

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

PAJ01

State

Louisiana

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/3/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Death Date

6/16/2015

Short Description

Artist and insurance executive William Pajaud (1925 - 2015 ) developed and was curator of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company’s famous African American art collection. He was also an accomplished painter and exhibited his own artwork in Los Angeles, California and across the United States.

Employment

Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company

U.S. Postal Service

Stephanie of _______

Louis Dodd

Insurance executive Louis Price Dodd was born on February 15, 1944, in Winona, Mississippi, to Willie and Corene Dodd. Dodd graduated valedictorian from Chicago’s Dunbar Vocational High School in 1959. He received his B.A. degree in education from Chicago State University in 1963 and has also taken advanced courses at Northeastern Illinois University.

Dodd worked as a Language Arts teacher for the Chicago Board of Education from 1966 to 1971 and was the Director of General Education for Chicago Youth Centers from 1969 to 1971. During this same time period, he was also the Co-Owner and Vice President of Marketing for Bailey’s Stamp Works. Since 1971, Dodd has been in the insurance business as an independent agency affiliate of Allstate Insurance. Throughout this time, he has been president and CEO of Dodd’s Insurance Agency. Dodd has received numerous awards for his work in the insurance industry and has been Allstate’s leading sales agent for the Chicago Metro Region for over fifteen years. From 1977 through 2003, Dodd was the director of Highland Community Bank in Chicago. Building on his success in the insurance industry, Dodd entered the hotel business and is co-owner of three Chicago hotels, The Amber Inn, The Dew Central Motel, and the South Parkway Inn. He is also a partner in two other enterprises, the Rolls Royce Car Wash and Kermit Coleman Medical Center.

Dodd is married to fellow insurance agent Alma Dodd. They have three children: Robert Dodd, Kimberly Yelverton, and Courtney Dodd.

Accession Number

A2008.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/21/2008

Last Name

Dodd

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Price

Occupation
Schools

Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School

Chicago State University

Edmund Burke Elementary School

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Winona High School

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Winona

HM ID

DOD03

Favorite Season

Birthday

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

It Is Not Easy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/15/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sole

Short Description

Insurance executive Louis Dodd (1944 - ) was president and CEO of Dodd’s Insurance Agency since 1971. A former teacher, Dodd was also co-owner in three Chicago hotels, and was the director of Highland Community Bank in Chicago from 1977 through 2003.

Employment

Allstate Corporation

Louis Dodd Insurance Agency

Bailey's Stamp Works

Forrestville Upper Grade Center

Montgomery Ward

Esquire Lounge

Rolls Royce Car Wash

The Amber Inn

Dew Central Motel

Chicago South Loop Hotel

Kermit Coleman Medical Center

Dodd's Insurance Agency

Highland Community Bank

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:336,15:21694,354:24360,415:32784,495:38976,590:39320,595:40524,613:42158,643:42846,653:44394,677:47146,711:55634,753:60298,815:86383,1099:90002,1151:97240,1329:104848,1377:107170,1407:109578,1429:109922,1434:113050,1546:113690,1557:114090,1563:114570,1575:119405,1656:119713,1661:120021,1666:124333,1736:176095,2465:178687,2494:179497,2505:180955,2527:195626,2678:198958,2736:199230,2741:200250,2751:201542,2767:203038,2792:206310,2799$0,0:13650,195:15690,221:23880,280:24564,290:26502,312:27186,319:28212,328:33018,337:33846,347:35410,361:35910,366:37285,379:38035,386:38660,392:42910,432:62314,569:62682,574:63142,580:63602,586:74180,701:74596,706:75324,715:76156,723:80030,748:80302,753:83682,794:84540,811:85320,825:86178,842:87192,858:87972,871:88362,878:91092,932:103974,1055:123440,1242:126212,1264:140747,1454:141314,1470:141881,1481:143501,1505:144878,1524:146660,1554:149495,1602:149900,1608:153640,1618:154914,1635:157735,1674:158190,1680:158554,1685:160829,1718:161739,1741:162376,1751:163013,1760:163832,1770:166107,1805:168109,1839:182810,2037
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Dodd's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd talks about his maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd talks about his maternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd describes his siblings and maternal aunt and uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd remembers his father's car

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd describes his childhood home in Winona, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis Dodd talks about his maternal grandfather's role as a pastor

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Louis Dodd recalls his family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Louis Dodd remembers his first impressions of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Louis Dodd describes his mother's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Dodd describes his father's occupation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd remembers the death of his father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd recalls his return to Winona, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd remembers Winona High School in Winona, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd describes Edmund Burke Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd remembers Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd describes his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd describes his activities in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Louis Dodd remembers his neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Louis Dodd recalls his guidance counselor at Dunbar Vocational High School

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Louis Dodd describes his activities at Dunbar Vocational High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Dodd recalls his interest in athletics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd remembers his scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd remembers the Chicago Teachers College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd describes the founding of Bailey's Stamp Works

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd talks about the Chicago Board of Education examinations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd remembers the Forrestville Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd describes his students at the Forrestville Upper Grade Center

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd recalls the uprisings on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd talks about his rubber stamp business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Dodd remembers his introduction to the insurance industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd describes his position at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd recalls his experiences of discrimination at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd describes his work at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd remembers moving to Matteson, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd describes the changes in the insurance industry

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd talks about his role at the Highland Community Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd talks about the practice of redlining

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd talks about the role of African American banks

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Louis Dodd describes his Rolls Royce Car Wash business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis Dodd describes his business partners

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd describes his mentorship at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd describes his advice to aspiring insurance agents

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd recalls his first venture in the hospitality industry

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd remembers the Kermit Coleman Medical Center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd talks about the Michigan Plaza Hotel investment group, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd recalls his first investment in the hotel industry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd talks about the Michigan Plaza Hotel investment group, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd describes his land acquisitions

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Louis Dodd talks about the Amber Inn in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Louis Dodd talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Louis Dodd describes his activities in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Louis Dodd remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Louis Dodd talks about St. Ailbe Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Louis Dodd describes the South Loop Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Louis Dodd reflects upon his business philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Louis Dodd reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Louis Dodd describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Louis Dodd describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Louis Dodd describes his decision to share his story

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$8

DATitle
Louis Dodd recalls the uprisings on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois
Louis Dodd talks about the practice of redlining
Transcript
Now, this is a pretty exciting period, or a changing period in Chicago's [Chicago, Illinois] history during that time. You had--$$The riots.$$--the riots.$$Sure.$$Tell me what, what are your remembrances of that and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well--$$--if you had any involvement?$$The riots in '68 [1968] I remember vividly, I had just left the teaching situation, I had gone to Wards [Montgomery Ward] to work. And they made that announcement of what was taking place and the streets were, particularly downtown were shut down. The areas particularly on the immediate West Side were just being looted like you wouldn't believe and smoke and fire was everywhere and people were frightened and almost like panic throughout. And, and that had really certainly been fueled a lot by the frustrations of the inequities at the time and a, a numb realization of society of what was brewing as far as people being held back and the issues of what was impending in their minds and in their bodies.$$Now, when you say the inequities can you elaborate a little on that?$$Well, keep in mind even at that time in Chicago there was still areas that you could not live in, Bridgeport [Chicago, Illinois] was one and you knew not to go over there and that was where the mayor [Richard J. Daley] lived. There were other areas too by which you know you would not welcomed. Keep in mind too that during the time that I graduated from high school [Dunbar Vocational High School; Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois], it was only a few years before that that you could not have a prom in the Loop [Chicago, Illinois]. So those things were such that the disparities, the inequities, the prejudicial situations were such, were still perpetuated.$$Where was your prom?$$The prom that we had was on the North Side in a hotel that I, I, I can't recall but right on the lake [Lake Michigan].$$But it wasn't down, it was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It was not downtown.$$--it was in an acceptable area?$$Yeah, right, on the Near North Side, right, uh-huh.$$So I'm sorry go ahead.$$No. But again, the riots were certainly a intimidating time and a time by which, you know, you recognized what was going on and you somewhat stayed close to home but the issue of the time though, I guess no one would ever condone that type of thing and certainly I wouldn't, but immediately afterwards there was change and you could see it. Not that it was a, a thing by which one could say tremendous progress was made but change was in the process of being made. In other words opportunities by Corporate America, you could see differences in terms of how they viewed the situation as far as opportunities were concerned and they were taking on minorities as a project to integrate the system.$Tell me about, if you don't mind, the situation with Highland Bank [Highland Community Bank, Chicago, Illinois] and Allstate [Allstate Corporation] with the redlining? Wasn't there a problem--$$Well--$$At--$$--insurance companies have been accused of redlining for a lot, a long number of years. And what that really means is that the companies have what has been described as unfair rules that not allows certain segments of the community to be insured. And that historically has been a problem. And the reconcilement of the problem today has been that they don't have these rules that you quote unquote, are out there, but they price you out. In other words, rather than to say there is a rule that will not allow a community to be insured, they will raise the price in that zip code by which you cannot afford or you will not pay, so indirectly they force you to make a decision as to whether you want to pay that price and stay with them or to get a, a better price and go to another suitor.$$And during this period though when there was a issue with Englewood [Chicago, Illinois], with the Englewood communities specifically, you were with Allstate as well as with the bank, so how did you, how did that, tell us a little bit about that?$$Well, with the bank that's the easy part in the sense that Highland is a black bank from the standpoint of ownership from the posture of Allstate, you don't make the rules, you interpret the rules and you work within the rules. So consequently one had to market the product that they put out there. The companies don't ask your opinion as to what you think about any situation. They explicitly describe what they have and under what circumstance they want to market this product. So, you know, you have two different hats. And when I'm in the banking industry have one hat, I'm in the insurance industry have on a different hat, so it, you, you separate the two and you move forward. And the issue is that you look for progress and accomplishments depending on what hat you have on.

Alma Dodd

Insurance executive Alma Leola Dodd was born on September 5, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois, to George and Velma Roberts. Dodd received her B.S. degree in education from Northern Illinois University in 1966. She received her M.S. degree and completed her post graduate work in education with a focus on special education, learning disabilities, and administration & supervision from Chicago State University in 1974.

Dodd began her career in education as a teacher at Woodson North Elementary School in Chicago, where she taught from 1967 through 1970. She then worked as a language arts teacher at Dixon Elementary School in Chicago from 1970 to 1975. From 1975 to 1979, she worked at Victor F. Lawson School, Center for Learning Disabilities as a teacher of reading. From 1979 to 1981, she taught reading at Gillespie Elementary School, Center for Learning Disabilities. Dodd then worked as an instructional intervention teacher for the District 17 Learning Disabilities Program in Chicago from 1981 to 1985. Dodd was promoted to District 17 Supervisor, a position in which she coordinated Chapter One Programs, and supervised 42 Chapter One programs in area schools between 1985 and 1988.

In 1988, Dodd began a new career in the insurance industry when she became part owner and operator of an Allstate Insurance Company in Calumet City, Illinois. From 1990 through 1994, her agency was recognized as the Top Allstate Insurance Agency in Illinois. Dodd is a charter member of the Windy City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and is a former chapter president. Dodd also serves on the board of directors for ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Black Creativity, The HistoryMakers, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dodd has been honored as an outstanding member of the community. The organization 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc., honored Dodd for her exemplary support of youth. In addition, Chicago Magazine recognized her as an outstanding leader in the Chicago community as part of the Marshall Field’s Project Imagine.

Dodd is married to fellow insurance agent Louis Dodd. They have three children: Robert Dodd, Kimberly Yelverton, and Courtney Dodd.

Accession Number

A2008.139

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/21/2008

Last Name

Dodd

Maker Category
Middle Name

Leola

Occupation
Schools

Oakland School

Holy Angels Catholic School

St. Elizabeth Catholic School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago State University

First Name

Alma

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DOD02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Service Is The Price You Pay For Occupying Your Space On Earth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/5/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Insurance executive Alma Dodd (1944 - ) worked twenty-one years in Chicago public schools, ending as a district supervisor. Then she became part owner and operator of Dodd’s Insurance Agency, recognized as the best in the state from 1990 to 1994. Dodd was a charter member of the Windy City Chapter of The Links, Inc., and has been honored for her services to the community.

Employment

Woodson North Elementary School

Arthur Dixon Elementary School

Victor F. Lawson School

Gillespie Elementary School

Instructional Intervention Teacher

Dodd's Insurance Agency

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1387,28:10001,189:11461,216:11972,223:19917,262:21294,285:21780,293:22104,298:26914,341:27785,358:28053,363:28321,368:28589,373:29192,386:29795,400:31537,457:31872,463:36160,595:36428,600:36897,612:45522,705:45850,710:46178,715:46752,722:47490,733:48638,750:51628,766:52230,775:53950,798:54294,803:55584,823:56358,831:57132,848:58250,864:59712,883:65157,902:70292,1018:71161,1032:81379,1131:82564,1155:85013,1200:86593,1245:87778,1262:88252,1269:96996,1365:97812,1378:98628,1392:99716,1415:100396,1426:100668,1435:101756,1448:104136,1522:104476,1528:104816,1534:105972,1554:109390,1561:110365,1579:112390,1611:113365,1631:113665,1636:114190,1644:117790,1712:118315,1721:119290,1735:119740,1743:120565,1757:121990,1776:122740,1789:124090,1815:124390,1820:131007,1848:131352,1854:132387,1872:134388,1906:134871,1915:135975,1934:139590,1956:140046,1964:140350,1969:140882,1977:142250,2002:142554,2007:142858,2012:143770,2030:144150,2037:145062,2051:146126,2066:146506,2072:147418,2114:148938,2146:149698,2163:150078,2169:150762,2183:154714,2314:172090,2479$0,0:2128,109:5244,200:9044,298:9348,303:11400,332:11932,340:16408,361:16984,368:17752,377:20728,414:22360,448:22936,454:24472,475:26490,487:27615,499:30690,528:30982,533:31274,538:31566,543:32077,552:34160,563:35888,587:36560,596:37328,605:38000,613:40630,629:42755,652:43435,661:44115,672:44455,677:44965,685:47168,697:47598,703:48458,714:51422,737:52254,746:53606,771:56900,787:59552,822:60878,839:61268,845:62282,860:62906,870:63452,878:64388,893:67390,903:68006,911:68622,920:69326,929:74694,997:76718,1023:77070,1028:77422,1033:77774,1038:78126,1043:78654,1049:79798,1058:80414,1066:80766,1071:82526,1096:83318,1107:83846,1113:85342,1134:85958,1142:86310,1147:91420,1154:91835,1160:92416,1168:94823,1199:95653,1212:96815,1229:98143,1253:99471,1265:102127,1294:103206,1304:108886,1353:110026,1369:110634,1380:111090,1387:112230,1409:112534,1414:113066,1425:114966,1467:115650,1479:116562,1492:124196,1582:127550,1621:130210,1630:130805,1662:131400,1670:133185,1752:133525,1757:140879,1829:141495,1838:142573,1855:143112,1863:144421,1886:149141,1906:154367,1956:154906,1979:155522,1988:156677,2074:162610,2159
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alma Dodd's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd describes her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd recalls the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd recalls the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her activities at the South Side YWCA

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd remembers her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd recalls her mentors in school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers her scholarship to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes her experiences at Northern Illinois University, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd describes her experiences at Northern Illinois University, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd recalls her involvement with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd describes the role of religion in her upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd remembers her first student teaching assignment

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd remembers her first teaching position

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd recalls her challenges as a teacher, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd recalls her challenges as a teacher, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd remembers Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers earning a master's degree at Chicago State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes her work at reading clinics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd talks about the graduation rates at disadvantaged schools, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd talks about the graduation rates at disadvantaged schools, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd describes her role as an instructional intervention teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Alma Dodd recalls Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd recalls the corruption in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her decision to leave the teaching profession

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd describes her decision to enter the insurance industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd describes Dodd's Insurance Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd remembers a life insurance policy she sold

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alma Dodd describes the role of life insurance in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alma Dodd talks about the clientele of her insurance agency

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alma Dodd describes her role at The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alma Dodd talks about her family's hospitality business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alma Dodd talks about her community involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alma Dodd describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alma Dodd reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alma Dodd reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alma Dodd talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alma Dodd describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$9

DATitle
Alma Dodd recalls Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois
Alma Dodd describes her role at The Links, Incorporated
Transcript
Now this is the, the Harold Washington era, too. Did, did you get active in the campaign?$$Very much so (laughter).$$I know a lot of teachers were active.$$Right. Very much so, and I can remember, you know, it was like a feeling in the air that you knew that, because I lived in the city at that time and you just, I don't want to go into politics but you just knew that some kind of change had to come. I lived through the big snow, I lived through not being able to drive to work, my husband [HistoryMaker Louis Dodd] had to take the kids to my mother's [Velma Morrison Young] and I had to just make it the best way I can, because you couldn't even get down the street for weeks at a time, and so we just knew that a change had come and I could remember that I took off work three days of the week that he, I took off Friday, Monday, and then Tuesday was the election. We made calls, we had, the office was set up on 47th Street, where the South Center [Chicago, Illinois] was, and so we would make calls to the people in the neighborhood and set up ways to have them picked up and brought to the election, et cetera. And I still knew a lot of the people in the community because I had taught down there and I still had a lot of teachers down there so we really worked with getting the parents out to come out and vote, and so on, and I knew that Harold was particularly interested in coming in and making a difference with the schools. He came in, he put Dr. Manford Byrd [HistoryMaker Manford Byrd, Jr.] in, our first black superintendent, you know. Just a lot of the changes, and I knew Manford had been there. He had been sitting there as assistant for so long. He knew the ins and outs of how to keep the system going, what we needed to do, where our emphasis should be in terms of the reading, the math programs, and so on. So, I think that's why it was important to, I just looked at it from the perspective of the educational viewpoint more so than overall city and all of that. I just knew that Harold could make a difference to help us on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois], and he did, you know. The streets changed, the schools changed, money went into the schools. At one time, as nice as Dixon [Arthur Dixon Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois] was, I could remember it snowing in my classroom, you know? So, it wasn't like it was all gravy. When Harold came in, the money went into those schools on the South Side. And, it did make a difference.$(Simultaneous) Now you've mentioned eta [eta Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago, Illinois], Parkway Community House [Chicago, Illinois], the well (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm. The bulk of my time now is with The Links organization [The Links, Incorporated]. Have you heard of The Links? It's probably one of the premiere women's organizations, about twelve thousand membership and it's an international organization, you know. We're in South Africa, the Bahamas, Germany, as well as the U.S., and I've done a lot of work with them over the years, but right now I am what you call the national program coordinator, so with 270 chapters, all chapters have to do some kind of service for their respective communities and as the national program coordinator, I'm responsible for helping to set the program agenda, really being out there supporting the chapters, helping them to design programs, working with the business community to bring in funds to finance the programs, and so on. It takes a lot of travel. I just came back from South Africa. Earlier this year we built fifty-five schools in South Africa, so I've been working with them. We're working with the women of Rwanda. You know, in the aftermath of the genocide, there were so many orphan children and the society was almost 70 percent women for a while and so they took on an entrepreneurial project of basket weaving, and from the work with their basket weaving, they've been able to turn around that economy, the education, the hospitalization. They've done a lot of things. So I've been working a lot with them, and then there are a lot of domestic things that we're doing. We're working with HIV AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome], teen pregnancy, you name it, we're out there, and I'm kind of sitting in the driver's seat in terms of working with the chapters, the presidents, and the executive consult of our organization.$$Okay. Is Chicago [Illinois] the national headquarters for the Links--$$Washington, D.C., um-hm (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Washington, D.C., okay, all right.$$Yeah, we're sixty-one years, sixty-two years old.

James Speed

Corporate executive James H. Speed, Jr. was born on June 13, 1953 in Oxford, North Carolina. Speed’s father was a laborer in the town of Oxford, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1956, Speed’s mother suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed on the left side of her body. Still, she persevered and became a role-model to young James. Speed and his family lived in a mixed-income neighborhood, and he attended the segregated Orange Street Grade School where he excelled in math. Speed also distinguished himself as an athlete and had dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. In 1969, the Oxford Schools were integrated, and Speed attended J.F. Webb High School and was a member of the school’s integrated baseball team. Later that year, Speed participated in marches, protesting a racially charged murder in Oxford. In 1971, Speed graduated from J.F. Webb High School and entered North Carolina Central University.

Speed flourished as a basketball player and accounting student. He joined the National Association of Black Accountants and made the Dean’s List his senior year. Upon graduation, Speed accepted a job at Pittsburgh Plate & Glass as a staff auditor. In 1979, Speed earned his M.B.A. degree from Atlanta University and was named the "Most Outstanding Student" in the business program. After graduation, Speed joined the international accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche as a certified accountant where one of his principal clients was North Carolina Mutual. In 1991, Speed joined Hardee’s Food System as vice president and controller. Four years later, Speed was promoted to senior vice president, and, in 1997, he became a member of the company’s five-person senior management team. A short time later, Speed began work as a consultant for North Carolina Mutual. In 2000, he formed the Speed Financial Group but was recruited in 2003 to join North Carolina Mutual. He became president and CEO in 2004.

Speed lives in Raleigh with his wife and daughter. He serves on the Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Speed was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.187

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/25/2007

Last Name

Speed

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Orange Street Grade School

J.F. Webb High School

North Carolina Central University

Mary Potter High School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Oxford

HM ID

SPE04

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

AON

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Out Of Every Adversity, There Is A Seed Of Equal Or Greater Benefit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

6/13/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Insurance executive James Speed (1953 - ) is the president and CEO of North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company.

Employment

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

PPG Industries

Deloitte

Hardee's Food Systems

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:528,30:5720,152:14551,276:20713,407:21108,414:31818,607:37138,730:37518,736:40634,789:42838,832:54951,974:61182,1084:68131,1241:72076,1329:72466,1336:77692,1469:89297,1658:90452,1686:93917,1777:94225,1782:97767,1867:102948,1912:118170,2316:120830,2429:125380,2527:132794,2573:133122,2585:133942,2596:134270,2601:139354,2716:147190,2817:149500,2863:149780,2868:150200,2876:152440,2919:156286,2932:157182,2954:158206,2974:159038,2990:159486,2997:170990,3197:171900,3216:177760,3299:181140,3397:181465,3403:183675,3427:185170,3464:185560,3471:186210,3483:187445,3511:190174,3527:194194,3609:194529,3615:194931,3622:195534,3632:197410,3677:198415,3702:199152,3729:204780,3900:215628,4089:218211,4167:218715,4176:219030,4182:221046,4228:221613,4240:223755,4298:231916,4379:232304,4404:245943,4483:248430,4501:248880,4508:250605,4533:251280,4544:254130,4566:257712,4595:265660,4717$0,0:13448,320:14600,344:21434,407:29500,594:33348,679:42142,806:42454,811:42844,817:44560,828:50020,923:51034,948:54388,1014:55012,1030:55636,1040:56182,1050:68744,1253:75075,1346:76520,1372:77965,1406:80770,1466:81790,1479:83320,1506:89675,1611:103565,1805:107294,1888:107996,1904:108464,1912:110882,1963:111428,1972:112598,1992:120590,2094:121360,2144:121640,2149:124160,2213:130740,2411:141572,2568:144452,2650:161138,2897:163430,2919:166423,2989:171630,3056:172894,3089:174553,3120:177555,3179:177871,3185:179056,3219:186750,3275:188432,3324:191530,3364:193610,3403:196410,3454:199370,3508:209974,3645:214865,3754:217858,3810:218150,3815:218953,3831:219391,3839:219683,3844:220121,3851:226750,3938:227268,3947:227934,3958:230154,4008:232296,4104:232758,4109:250155,4335:250830,4347:251130,4352:251730,4364:252855,4384:254150,4389
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Speed describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Speed describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Speed describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Speed remembers his early childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Speed describes his childhood neighborhood of Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Speed recalls learning about North Carolina Mutual in his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Speed describes First Baptist Church in Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Speed remembers his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and First Baptist Church in Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Speed describes a teacher who inspired him at Orange Street School in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Speed describes the racial makeup of neighborhoods in Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Speed recalls his time at Mary Potter High School in Oxford, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Speed describes the integration of J.F. Webb High School in Oxford North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Speed recalls the impact of "Dickie" Marrow's murder

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Speed remembers deciding to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Speed describes his time at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Speed talks about his childhood extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Speed remembers his activities at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Speed recalls how he became more studious at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Speed describes his first job at PPG industries in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Speed describes his experiences at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Speed talks about working for Deloitte & Touche in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Speed describes the attitude toward racial inclusion at Deloitte & Touche in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Speed describes his work habits as an M.B.A. student and a young accountant

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Speed talks about meeting his wife in 1972

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Speed explains his focus on corporate and financial success during the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Speed recalls his hiring as vice president and controller at Hardee's Food Systems

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Speed describes the improvements he implemented as vice president and controller for Hardee's Food Systems

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Speed talks about improving processes at Hardee's Food Systems

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Speed talks about the importance of positive thinking

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Speed talks about Peace Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Speed talks about diversifying the staff at Hardee's Food Systems in Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Speed describes the Lightner and Lewis families in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Speed talks about his daughter, Kiera Speed

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Speed talks about becoming president of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Speed explains why he loves North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Speed details the history of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and its importance to the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Speed describes North Carolina Mutual's mission and contributions to the community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Speed explains why the title, President of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, does not define him

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Speed compares his hometown of Oxford, North Carolina in 2007 to his time growing up there

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Speed reflects upon his greatest accomplishment at North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Speed reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
James Speed talks about working for Deloitte & Touche in Raleigh, North Carolina
James Speed talks about becoming president of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, North Carolina
Transcript
So what did you do next? You graduated in 1979 from Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia].$$Uh-hm.$$What was your dream? To work for a big--$$Accounting firm. In the next, next, I'd say next move, major point there for me was, I was, again, I was reading in a magazine, the Journal of Accountancy, it was Fortune magazine or Journal of Accountancy that after spending ten years with a major accounting firm, a partner could expect to make about $100,000 and that's when I said, you know what, I've got to be one of those partners. And so at that point in time, my focus was on public accounting. Dr. Johnnie [L.] Clark again recommended me to Coopers & Lybrand [PricewaterhouseCoopers] my, after my first year, Coopers & Lybrand, she recommended me to go to work for them and they hired me off of her recommendation, as a summer intern. Well, in 1979, I was fortunate enough to have now, undergrad, no offers. I was fortunate enough to have eighteen job offers when I came out of Atlanta University, all eight accounting firms. So I chose Deloitte & Touche [Deloitte LLP]. One of the reasons I chose Deloitte & Touche [Deloitte LLP, Raleigh, North Carolina] is because there was a partner in charge by the name of Charlie Chuney [ph.] and Charlie Chuney [ph.], when I interviewed with him, was such a caring man but I never thought I was going to interview there and then he, during the interview, before I was getting ready to leave because I had already decided I was going to work for, at the time, Peat Marwick [KPMG], that was another firm in Raleigh [North Carolina], it was just, I was going to Deloitte as the last person in town to interview with and he asked an individual by the name of Willie Closs [Willie T. Closs Jr.], now, to come over, who was another African American, and talk to me about why it would be good to work at Deloitte & Touche. And he mentioned that we had a client by the name of McKennis [ph.] in [Mechanics &] Farmers Bank. Now I knew of McKennis [ph.] in Farmers Bank because it was here in Durham [North Carolina]. And Willie Closs who is now today the executive vice president of marketing at North Carolina Mutual [Life Insurance Company, Durham, North Carolina] here. So Willie and I had worked together years ago and Willie convinced me that Deloitte & Touche was a great place to work. So between Charlie Chuney and Willie Closs convincing me that that was a great place to work, I ended up at Deloitte & Touche and I stayed there and had a very successful career there until 1991.$$What are some of the highlights from your career at Deloitte & Touche?$$One of the highlights at Deloitte & Touche was I had an opportunity to work on, what we considered in our office, some very important clients. One of those very important clients, first of all, during my early years there, we were able to secure North Carolina Mutual as one of our clients. At that time, it was the largest black-owned business in the United States and we, I was having an opportunity to work on that, the engagement, and to really to come over to North Carolina Mutual and to be around those, if you will, legends that I had heard about, to walk in a room and there would be Mr. Bill Kennedy [William J. Kennedy III] who, at the time, was the president who was well-known on the boards at Mobil Oil [Corporation] and Pfizer [Inc.] and these major companies back in 1980, early '80s [1980s], and to be around people like a Bert Collins who is our chairman today and to be around guys like, Mr. Cicero Green [ph.] who was the treasurer and you had all of these people that were just people that you had heard about and was just at the top of their game and I had a chance to work with them on the audit staff. Another one was Hardee's Food Systems. Hardee's Food Systems, at the time, was the large, was the second largest client we had in our office and a lot of times you could tell where your career was going by the clients that you got assigned to. So when I was a client of North Carolina Mutual and also, and I realized that they wanted to assign me to North Carolina Mutual because that was an African American owned company but to get assigned and to eventually stay and to manage the Hardee's account was a big achievement because that indicated to me what Deloitte & Touche thought about my talents.$$What were your various titles?$$My various titles was staff accountant, staff accountant in senior accounting, in manager, and then senior manager and I was in the process of being admitted to the partnership in 1991, have an opportunity to be admitted to the partnership when Hardee's Food Systems offered me the job as vice president, controller.$What did you do next? How long did you stay in retirement? And did you start your own firm for a while (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well I did and I was an investor, I was an investor for a while there and so I started a group called Speed Financial Group [Inc.]. Speed Financial Group was there to, to do pretty much investing kinds of things and so, and one of the endeavors that we took on when I first left Hardee's [Food Systems], it was a group of five of us who was the former president of Hardee's, our former chief operations officer, myself and two other individuals had put a company together and what we were going to do was buy, we were going to buy Hardee's Restaurants in, out of the Charlotte [North Carolina] market. We were going to buy the entire Hardee's Charlotte market and a long story short, the chairman of the company kind of derailed that and after working on this project for about six, seven months, but it was just, at my own leisure of helping find the financing and doing a couple of other things to make that deal work, we're about ready to go to closing and all of a sudden the deal kind of blows up. But I learned a lot in that process from the standpoint of just putting all this infrastructure and so forth together to basically form a company. Well, I was doing this kind of in my spare time but I still had Speed Financial Group. Now Speed Financial Group later on, unbeknownst to me at the time, ended up being the organization that I provided consultant services to through North Carolina Mutual [Life Insurance Company, Durham, North Carolina]. I had lunch with Willie Closs [Willie T. Closs Jr.] and Bert Collins one day, well, let me back up. I can remember my wife [Thedora Speed] had given me a surprise retirement party, April 14th of 2000, two weeks after I had retired and all my high school friends had come and a lot of the people who said that it would never be possible to retire in your forties, they all came and out in the audience was Mr. Bert Collins and Willie Closs. My wife had invited Willie and, 'cause we had worked together at Deloitte [& Touche; Deloitte LLP] for many years and Bert and Carolyn [ph.], his wife came along and I had just given my speech about how great it was to not to be working anymore, to get up and kinda do what you want to do and at the end Mr. Collins comes up and says, [HistoryMaker] James [Speed], we'd love to have you come work at North Carolina Mutual and I said, Mr. Collins, I'm never working again. But, anyway, long story short--$$Now they were on the board?$$Mr. Collins was the president of North Carolina Mutual and he was on the board but I had known them through my relationship, I had known Willie from working together, I had known Mr. Collins through the relationship as being his outside auditor in over the years. And so, you know, we went to, we had lunch a couple of times and, long story short, they asked me one day, Mr. Collins asked me if I would come to work, come to work for Mutual. Well, after I gave him my rate, he says, how about coming one day a week? So, I started one day a week and when I came here that one, started that one day a week, because I realized that initially that I thought I really didn't want to work anymore and what I later found out is all I wanted to do was have a choice. I just wanted to have a choice to say what I basically did and then I got to North Carolina Mutual and we started working on a, well I had worked on some of the issues that we had around our auditing and so forth was helping North Carolina Mutual fix some of those issues. I think about six months after that, Mr. Collins put a team of people together, made of the management team at North Carolina Mutual to put together a strategic plan and this strategic plan would take place for about four to five months about where North Carolina Mutual would go to the future. And he asked me if I would, would be willing to come in and help serve on that strategic planning team and so I did. And as I sat there I saw the huge opportunities we had but more importantly than that, the thing I realized was, I was absolutely loving being here. I would just enjoy myself and I kept saying, my inner self kept saying, you're not supposed to be enjoying work, you're not supposed to be enjoying this but every day I came here, I was thoroughly having a ball.

Ronald McNeil

Retired insurance executive Ronald Dean McNeil was born on November 4, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan to Dorothy and Elijah McNeil, who both emphasized the importance of strong faith, personal accountability and education. While attending Wayne State University where he studied finance and business economics, McNeil answered newly elected Mayor Coleman Young’s call for more African Americans to join the Detroit Police Department.

After earning his degree in finance from Wayne State, McNeil joined the Allstate Insurance Corporation. He is well known and highly respected throughout the insurance industry and is considered by many to be an industry trailblazer. McNeil was the first and only black officer in Finance at Allstate. He was elected to four senior management team positions, served as chairman of two Allstate subsidiaries and was also president of three local Allstate companies. McNeil’s vision and innovation is reflected in his major accomplishments which include: 1) The Neighborhood Partnership Program--an initiative which redefined and improved Allstate’s relationship with urban communities; 2) The Product Operations organization which changed the way the company priced, underwrote and delivered products to the market place and is the foundation of Allstate’s multi-access business model; and 3) Creation of Allstate’s first integrated distribution organization where he completely reorganized all aspects of the agency value proposition by channel.

In March, 2007, McNeil retired from Allstate after thirty-one distinguished years of service. At retirement, he was Senior Vice President of Protection Distribution and a member of Allstate’s Senior Management Team with fiscal and leadership responsibilities totaling $30 billion and 70,000 employees, making him the industry’s first African American to attain such status. McNeil was personally responsible for the recruitment and/or development of more than a quarter of the most senior leadership group.

In retirement, McNeil and his wife, Regina, focus their time and efforts on The Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc., a private, not-for profit foundation with a focus on providing educational scholarships.

Ronald McNeil was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.160

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

McNeil

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dean

Occupation
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Wayne State University

Barbour Magnet Middle School

Marcy Elementary School

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

MCN01

Favorite Season

College Football Season

Sponsor

AON

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

In God We Trust And Everybody Else Bring Facts.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/4/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

North Barrington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Insurance executive Ronald McNeil (1952 - ) was senior vice president of Allstate Insurance Company and the co-founder of the Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc.

Employment

Campbell-Ewald Company

Detroit Police Department

Allstate Insurance Company

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown, Earth Tones, Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:6386,107:23396,269:24773,316:27851,363:28985,384:29309,389:32792,455:40406,588:40811,594:49256,641:51272,656:53120,692:53792,701:54380,709:54800,716:55304,723:58160,775:59840,804:76008,1033:76418,1039:77648,1069:82226,1111:82886,1123:83150,1128:84206,1147:87110,1213:88694,1249:90080,1283:90344,1288:92258,1328:92522,1333:92918,1340:94964,1381:95822,1398:96152,1404:99386,1465:99650,1470:110750,1568:111075,1574:112635,1603:114910,1654:115170,1659:115885,1689:122385,1846:122645,1851:123165,1860:124855,1901:125115,1906:125375,1911:125765,1918:128495,1967:135400,2039:139460,2134:139950,2142:143520,2239:150870,2409:153670,2471:160345,2484:164170,2576:164920,2598:165820,2611:168820,2708:171390,2718$0,0:495,12:7615,178:9484,204:9929,210:20781,287:26878,375:42221,607:43197,624:43563,631:43807,636:44112,643:44783,658:49688,675:54776,746:55640,759:57176,781:67502,877:68322,888:69306,899:69798,906:72176,945:72668,952:73242,960:73570,966:73898,971:74390,978:74964,986:75456,993:82451,1050:83375,1061:84222,1077:84761,1085:85069,1090:85377,1095:85762,1101:86917,1115:87302,1121:95812,1230:96340,1237:96956,1245:102412,1360:117282,1532:117697,1538:118776,1559:120187,1590:120934,1600:125710,1606:126145,1612:126580,1618:127189,1627:127537,1632:133018,1735:147427,1900:166414,2171:167662,2201:173394,2239:173678,2244:174956,2276:178080,2343:178648,2352:178932,2357:180210,2385:180636,2394:185322,2482:186245,2496:187097,2511:189582,2569:200930,2711
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald McNeil's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil describes his maternal family's migration to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his father's move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil describes his parents and his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes his parents' commitment to education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil describes his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil remembers his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes an encounter with law enforcement in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil remembers Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil recalls his start at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ronald McNeil remembers joining the Detroit Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil remembers joining the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil talks about the dearth of African Americans in the insurance industry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes the insurance industry at the start of his career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes the creation of the Neighborhood Partnership Program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about redlining in the insurance industry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil talks about Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s ownership of the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil recalls his early mentors at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ronald McNeil remembers the networking opportunities at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil talks about the importance of leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil describes the parameters for a successful finance career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his conversations with his father

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil remembers his first role at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his career at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil remembers his role as regional vice president

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes the Neighborhood Partnership Program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil recalls joining the senior management team at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about his strategy for risk based insurance market segmentation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil remembers reorganizing the distribution operations at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil explains the concept of market segmentation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil talks about the presidency of the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his mentoring style

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about his guiding principles

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes the Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil describes the relationship between the insurance industry and communities of color

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about Hurricane Katrina's impact on insurance companies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his activities during retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

4$11

DATitle
Ronald McNeil remembers his first role at the Allstate Corporation
Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1
Transcript
Can you kind of walk us through your career at Allstate [Allstate Corporation], and, and kind of you know, well just you know I guess and, and tell us what, what you learned at each stage?$$Well, you know started in the finance function and was lucky to start with the first black officer there [Joseph P. Harris]. Starting in finance was, was, it was a godsend because I learned so much about the whole business, it's not like you can learn a lot about sales. You can learn about claims or underwriting or actuary; you learn a lot about the, the whole business. So I quickly got to a place where I was--both recognized that and was told that, that you know you're gonna get a look at the business from a, from a unique perspective and take advantage of that, and I did. Because I'd have to tell you that I, I mentioned at an early age in the learnings that I had had and the time I spent with my dad [Elijah L. McNeil, Jr.]. And, and, and my, my mom [Dorothy Harrison Vary] as well, there was this platform of choices, and the first choice, and I said there were four, the first choice is choose to learn because the best title you can ever have as a student because when you think about it, you're paid to learn. And that's your title. And when you think about it, the, the most underutilized muscle you're gonna have, when you're born you got far more brain capacity and when you die you still have untapped, unused brain capacity. So, choosing to learn both spiritually and cognitively if you make that affirmative choice that's the deal, that's huge. So going into Allstate in the finance department, I was poised that I was gonna learn as much about it. And again I can go back to lessons that my father would teach me, y- my father put in his own driveway changed the furnace, rebuilt half the house. He did all those things by just watching people and asking questions. Now at the time that wasn't something that was so this huge revelation to me until he kind of put into perspective to me. He said you know, "Son, I only had a six grade education, but I think if I can sit down and watch you, and I can ask you certain questions, I can do just about anything," and, and he did. Rebuild engines, put--he, he did all that and other kind of stuff, didn't have the money to do some of the other alternatives, but he, he did again with this six grade education. Could learn all this stuff that, hell, I can't do today. So as I got to Allstate it was clear that I figure I could, I could just about learn anything that was out there. I mean because those were the, the kind of expectations that he had put on me, so being a student of the business. So I learned a lot in that that that first job.$What was it like being a police officer in Detroit [Michigan]? Now you're one of the few black officers maybe you say 20 percent of the officers were black pretty much?$$True.$$This is with a 80 percent black population?$$Right, right.$$So how did you, how did you take to it?$$I, well first off I didn't know what I was doing but I, I got hooked up with a couple of older, Bill Downing and Sam Jones who were--Sam William- Bill Downing [ph.] and Sam Williams [ph.]. Two older police officers had been around for a long time who kind of took me under their wing, and they took me under their wing for the sole purposes of making sure that I would not be a cowboy. And, so that was the, the grounding that I got that was beneficial. The thing that was eye opening that a lot of people have little insight into, is how fractured the police department was. I could, I've got story upon stories of things that happened when I was--when I was a police officer from, from fights between police officers in the, in the briefing room, to un-handcuffing prisoners, black prisoners because they were being mistreated by white officers. I don't characterize that as the all of what the, but, but the eye opener for me was the level of racial tension inside the police department that I, that I had no clue walking into. I, you know you think about this, this blue brotherhood of and, and that really (laughter), really wasn't the case. But the other thing that it helped me get sensitive to was the, the plight of the f- person on the other side of that badge. Because I've been into so many instances where black folks would do just about anything the police officer would ask you to do. Whether or not you should or shouldn't, it was just kind of what you decided to do. But then the, the flipside of that was to, to get insight into the level of compassion that black officers would have in those situations was, was, was kind of a, a real good educational exposure for me, as, as a young man. So, and then but then the other side of it was the, the danger aspect of it was something my family didn't want--excuse me--didn't want me to be a police officer. But I, I used to tell them I said, you know, the, the crooks have always had more firepower than the police. But back then when I was a police officer we did have the element of a slightly more sophisticated communication system. That was pre-beepers, pre-cell phone, pre- all of this other kind of stuff, pre--so our communication network was at least a little better than that of the criminal. So I, I would use that to kind of defuse the notion of, why do you wanna be out there chasing crooks and putting your life in harm's way all the time?

James O. Webb

Former Glencoe, Illinois Mayor and insurance industry veteran James O. Webb, Jr. was born on November 25, 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio to Bessie Eubanks and James O. Webb, Sr. Webb attended Miles Standish, Empire and Glenville high schools in Cleveland, then graduated from Morehouse College in 1953 with his B.A. degree. He served two years active duty in the Korean War and spent six years as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

In 1954, Webb married Frankie L. Lowe in Atlanta, Georgia, where the couple lived across the street from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Webb graduated from the University of Michigan in 1957 with a M.B.A. in actuarial science in 1957, the same year as the birth of his daughter, Pamela. In 1957, Webb worked as a Management Trainee Actuarial Assistant for Mutual of New York. Six years later, he joined Supreme Life Insurance, the first African American-owned and operated insurance company in the northern United States.

Webb moved to Illinois Blue Cross & Blue Shield in 1966 and held numerous positions. He began as an assistant actuary, and was promoted to Assistant VP-Product Development, where he helped to develop a new product line. Webb also designed the first Illinois HMO, as well as a national think tank for Blue Cross & Blue Shield executives called the Business Development Institute.

In 1967, Webb’s family moved to Glencoe, Illinois, a village in Cook County and became one of the few African American families to live in that area. Webb became treasurer for the American Academy of Actuaries in 1977, and in 1984, Webb joined the Dental Network of America, where he served as Chairman, President and CEO. There, he helped to guide the organization’s growth into the leading managed dental care company in the United States.

In 1993, after being encouraged to run for public office, Webb was elected mayor of Glencoe, Illinois, where he would remain for two full four-year terms. He successfully tripled the village’s tax income while overseeing certain land acquisition projects. Webb also helped enact ordinances for tree preservation and a teenage smoking ban. He left Dental Network of America in 1994 and became Director of Harris Bank, where he would remain until 2001. That same year, Webb retired from his position as Mayor of Glencoe and moved to North Carolina, where he lives with his daughter. In 2006, Webb became a member of the Durham, North Carolina Arts Council Board of Trustees.

Webb was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 12, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/12/2007 |and| 3/8/2007 |and| 4/25/2007

Last Name

Webb

Middle Name

O.

Schools

Case-Woodland Elementary School

Glenville High School

Miles Standish Elementary School

Empire Junior High School

Morehouse College

University of Michigan

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

WEB06

Favorite Season

Christmas

Sponsor

Edward J. Williams

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, the Beach

Favorite Quote

I Always Listen To Advice. It Is Needless To Refuse It. Besides The Giver May Be Nice And I Don't Have To Use It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

11/25/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Bacon

Short Description

Insurance executive and mayor James O. Webb (1931 - ) served as Chairman, President and CEO of Dental Network of America, and as mayor of Glencoe, Illinois for two consecutive terms.

Employment

Dunbar Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company

Supreme Life Insurance Company of America

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Dental Network of America, LLC

James O. Webb & Associates, Inc.

Mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:12676,212:22490,313:23390,323:27390,378:27790,383:28190,396:32090,457:32490,462:34190,495:79050,1016:80040,1033:81300,1050:99591,1275:99987,1280:115573,1468:116350,1485:119203,1579:119659,1589:130322,1697:130874,1707:131334,1713:133266,1748:137958,1845:138694,1854:145860,1935:150400,1960:158160,2049$0,0:990,37:1254,42:1518,47:1914,55:2178,60:6336,171:6930,185:13266,352:13860,362:14520,374:17094,414:17424,420:29230,556:29650,564:30070,571:33150,626:33640,634:35670,678:41620,807:42180,817:50710,878:51718,896:55462,952:56326,966:58774,1021:59278,1029:59926,1041:66670,1108:67310,1118:67630,1123:74350,1234:76590,1269:77870,1287:87182,1364:90960,1426:91576,1434:92104,1442:92544,1448:92896,1453:94347,1460:94809,1467:95194,1473:96195,1486:96811,1495:99506,1537:101739,1574:103510,1596:104973,1618:107129,1640:112750,1696:113135,1702:113905,1718:116446,1777:117293,1790:122910,1857:123657,1867:124653,1880:126645,1908:127973,1942:128471,1949:130795,2034:131293,2041:132289,2055:139759,2108:154462,2287:154922,2293:155566,2302:168772,2457:169168,2465:169630,2474:172640,2493:173084,2498:174638,2526:175082,2531:178238,2552:178908,2563:179645,2576:180114,2584:180717,2597:181923,2628:182526,2638:183263,2654:190097,2815:190365,2820:191571,2844:192442,2861:195524,2946:196127,2956:196596,2965:196998,2973:201470,2979:202005,2985:202647,2993:211849,3132:212491,3140:213347,3145:215915,3162:216557,3169:220811,3191:221420,3221:224813,3263:225335,3271:226466,3288:231200,3353
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James O. Webb's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James O. Webb lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James O. Webb describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James O. Webb talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James O. Webb describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James O. Webb remembers his neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James O. Webb talks about his schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James O. Webb recalls his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James O. Webb remembers the holidays with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James O. Webb remembers the public housing in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James O. Webb recalls his early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James O. Webb remembers Miles Standish Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James O. Webb describes the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James O. Webb talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James O. Webb talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James O. Webb recalls winning a contest at Empire Junior High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James O. Webb remembers the influence of his neighbor

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James O. Webb talks about growing up in a majority-white neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James O. Webb recalls his father's influence

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James O. Webb talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James O. Webb remembers graduating from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James O. Webb describes his first experience of discrimination in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James O. Webb recalls an experience of discrimination at his part time job

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James O. Webb remembers an instance of discrimination on a bus in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James O. Webb describes his first impressions of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James O. Webb recalls his academic focus at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James O. Webb remembers the chapel services at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James O. Webb remembers Morehouse College President Benjamin Mays

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James O. Webb recalls his mentors at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James O. Webb remembers his classmates at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James O. Webb reflects upon the racial discrimination in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James O. Webb recalls his confinement to the campus of Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James O. Webb describes his impressions of Benjamin Mays

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James O. Webb remembers his mischief at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James O. Webb recalls his decision to remain at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James O. Webb recalls his sophomore year at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James O. Webb recalls pledging to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James O. Webb remembers changing his major to business

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James O. Webb recalls his graduation from Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James O. Webb reflects upon his experiences in the South, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James O. Webb reflects upon his experiences in the South, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James O. Webb describes his activities as an alumnus of Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James O. Webb remembers his senior year at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James O. Webb remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James O. Webb recalls working for the Dunbar Life Insurance Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes his wife's family background

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James O. Webb talks about his wife's relationship with the King family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James O. Webb remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James O. Webb describes his wedding

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James O. Webb recalls being stationed in Anchorage, Alaska

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James O. Webb recalls his return from U.S. military service

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes the actuarial science program at the University of Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James O. Webb talks about the early African American actuaries

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes the actuarial profession

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James O. Webb remembers his experiences of hiring discrimination

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James O. Webb describes his position at the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James O. Webb recalls his recruitment to the Supreme Life Insurance Company of America

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James O. Webb remembers the birth of his children

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James O. Webb describes his experiences at the Supreme Life Insurance Company of America

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James O. Webb recalls joining the staff of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James O. Webb recalls moving to Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James O. Webb describes his career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes his role at the American Academy of Actuaries

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James O. Webb talks about the opportunities for African Americans in actuarial science

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes his activism in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James O. Webb describes his role on the school board in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James O. Webb recalls joining the Dental Network of America, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James O. Webb recalls joining the Dental Network of America, LLC, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - James O. Webb recalls his mayoral campaign in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - James O. Webb describes his achievements as the mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - James O. Webb describes his children's involvement in the community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James O. Webb narrates his photographs

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Slating of James O. Webb's interview, session 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James O. Webb recalls discrimination as treasurer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James O. Webb reflects upon his position as the treasurer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James O. Webb recalls becoming the CEO of the Dental Network of America, LLC

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James O. Webb reflects upon his experiences at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James O. Webb talks about the changes in the healthcare industry

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James O. Webb describes the growth of the healthcare industry

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - James O. Webb talks about the history of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - James O. Webb recalls the acquisition of the Dental Network of America, LLC

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - James O. Webb remembers the growth of the Dental Network of America, LLC

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - James O. Webb reflects upon the growth of the Dental Network of America, LLC

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - James O. Webb describes his role in the Chicago Caucus, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - James O. Webb describes his role in the Chicago Caucus, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - James O. Webb describes the Chicago Forum

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - James O. Webb remembers Eleanor Petersen

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - James O. Webb recalls his role with the Chicago Black United Fund

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - James O. Webb reflects upon the impact of the Chicago Forum

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - James O. Webb talks about race relations in Corporate America

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - James O. Webb describes the Home Investments Fund

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - James O. Webb reflects upon the success of the Home Investments Fund, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - James O. Webb reflects upon the success of the Home Investments Fund, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - James O. Webb remembers purchasing a home in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - James O. Webb describes his neighborhood in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - James O. Webb recalls his civic activities in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - James O. Webb remembers his recruitment as a mayoral candidate in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 12 - James O. Webb describes the notable African American families in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Slating of James O. Webb's interview, session 3

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - James O. Webb talks about moving to Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes the community of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - James O. Webb describes the African American community on the North Shore of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - James O. Webb talks about his interest in the community of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - James O. Webb describes the changes in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - James O. Webb talks about raising children in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - James O. Webb reflects upon his role on the school board of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - James O. Webb recalls being approached to run for mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - James O. Webb describes the system of government in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - James O. Webb describes his experiences as mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - James O. Webb talks about his achievements as mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes the election process in Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - James O. Webb recalls his initiatives as the mayor of Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - James O. Webb talks about the development of downtown Glencoe, Illinois

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - James O. Webb remembers directing the board of the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - James O. Webb reflects upon his corporate board membership

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - James O. Webb talks about his role at Bank-Eubanks, LLC

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - James O. Webb reflects upon the racial progress in Corporate America

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - James O. Webb talks about the opportunities for African Americans in Corporate America

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - James O. Webb describes the importance of mentorship in Corporate America

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - James O. Webb describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - James O. Webb reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$3

DATape

3$12

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
James O. Webb describes his first experience of discrimination in the South
James O. Webb recalls his initiatives as the mayor of Glencoe, Illinois
Transcript
Now we're on our way to Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. What preparation did you mother [Bessie Eubanks Webb] give you for going to the South?$$You know, I, I, I don't recall, but I don't, I, I don't want to say none, because I'm sure she must have said some things to me. But, you know, being seventeen years old, I didn't hear most of it (laughter). And I went down there. There was another fellow that had been accepted to Morehouse from Cleveland [Ohio], and so we went together; in those days obviously the train. And I got into trouble as soon as I got there.$$What happened?$$The--we got off the train, and a couple of upperclassmen met us at the train. And as we were walking out of the train station, you know how you walk along the platform and we passed the flatbed car. And there was a fellow, a white fellow there handling the trunks. And I just happened to glance up, and he was handling my trunk. And so I told the fellows, I said, "Wait a second." And I said, "When do you think that'll be delivered to the school?" And he ignored me. And so I, I said it again: "When do you think they'll be delivered to the school?" He said, "Are you talking to me, boy?" I said, "Yeah, I'm talking to you," (laughter), you know. And then by that time, the upperclassmen, one grabbed each arm and just sort of lifted me up and walked me out of the train station. And when we got outside they said, "You just don't do that; you do not talk to him." I said, "He was handling my trunk. All I wanted to know--I asked him a decent question. All I wanted to know is when the trunk was gonna be delivered." And he said, "You don't talk to him." And so there were a number of other incidents that occurred. And, and finally, I was called into the dean's [Brailsford Reese Brazeal] office, and they confined me to thirteen acres of Morehouse campus for my own safety for the next six months. So for six months I couldn't go off campus unless I had an upperclassman with me.$$Now what year was this?$$That was in 1949.$The other question I have for you is what were some of your other key initiatives, things that you were proud of that happened in those eight years [as mayor]?$$Well, the first was the reason that the two fellows that, that the village manager [Robert Morris] and the president [Roland Calhoun] came to me and asked me to run. I saw that as a, a real challenge because the community was in, in turmoil. And, and quite honestly, up until that time, I had not gotten into that fray at all, and so I was, I just watched it as an observer. And so I had not taken a public position on, on, on the issue at all. So it gave me a certain objectivity, where it allowed me to present myself as an objective individual in getting, in getting the matter resolved. And we did get it resolved, and, and there were a number of things that we did. We, we took a fresh look at the, at the project as to the recommendation. And again, I, I used the method of, of involving the community. Again, we involved, I don't think it was a hundred people, but quite a few in studying different aspects of the, of the issue and coming up with recommendations. And so in the final analysis, the, the recommendation was the, was the recommendation of the community that came to the, to the council for their action. The other thing that helped at that particular time, 1994 was 125th anniversary of the founding of Glencoe [Illinois]. And so we decided that we would make this a twelve month celebration, positive celebration. And every Thanksgiving, for example, we would have an ecumenical service in one of the temples or one of the churches. And we put together a choir, 125 voice choir, representing the 125 years from all of the churches in Glencoe, and there are quite a few, all of the churches and temples in Glencoe. And it was absolutely beautiful, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving ecumenical service and, and things like this. Then we had an annual banquet at the botanic garden [Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois], where the entire community was invited, celebrating our 125th. We had contests for children to come up with a logo celebrating the 125th. It was won by one of our residents, a little girl. I think she was in the seventh grade. And we made it into buttons and these kinds of things. So, it was, it was a good feeling. By the end of our, of 1994, it was--people had a good feeling about their community. And so now we were then able to begin to work on some other more positive things.$$Well, you were also, you know, in a leadership position and running things. And this was--you had already left Corporate America at this point, right, 1990, yeah, not?$$It was, it was a little bit of an overlap--$$It was a little bit over.$$--but not much.$$Okay, okay, okay, okay. I mean but you were able to--you--it wasn't like a part time situation, was it, this whole--$$Oh yes, yes. The present--$$Okay, okay.$$--it--the president does not need to spend forty hours a week.$$Oh, I see.$$As a matter of fact, if he did, he'd be micromanaging too much. I would say that I, I, I'd probably put in twenty-five hours a week between just the social aspects and, and, and working with the council, and with the community, and then, and, and of course, with the village manager. So I'd, I'd say it was a good twenty-five hours a week.

Ernesta G. Procope

Ernesta G. Procope was born in Brooklyn, New York. During her early childhood, Procope studied piano and at age 13 appeared at Carnegie Hall showing early promise as a piano prodigy. By the time she had graduated high school in the 1940s, Procope’s interests had shifted from music to real estate and insurance. In 1953, she founded E.G. Bowman, a private insurance company that offered insurance to the residents of the predominantly African American Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York.

Serving as president and chief executive officer, Procope made history in 1979 when she relocated her business from its Brooklyn storefront to 97 Wall Street. The E.G. Bowman Company became the first African American-owned business to be located on Wall Street. Procope became the broker of record for the New York City Housing Authority and the insurance broker for the construction of the United States’ portion of the Alaska Pipeline. Licensed in all 50 states, the company counts IBM, Avon Products, Philip Morris Companies, General Motors and Time Warner among its clients. Procope is also the founder and president of Bowman Specialty Services, LLP. This extension of her business provides engineering and safety services.

In 1972, Procope was honored in a White House ceremony where she received the Woman of the Year award from First Lady Patricia Nixon. She was appointed by President Gerald Ford as a Special Ambassador to Gambia and has served on many corporate and community non-profit boards, including The Chubb Corporation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the New York Urban League. In addition, she has been a Trustee for Cornell and Adelphi Universities and served as Chairperson of the Adelphi Board of Trustees.

Procope holds Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Howard University, Adelphi University and Marymount Manhattan College, as well as a Doctor of Humane Letters from Morgan State University. She has received numerous awards. In 1993, Ernst & Young named her Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2003, Ms. Procope was inducted into the African American Hall of Fame and in 2006, she was named to the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum.

Procope’s husband of 40 years, John Procope, is former advertising executive and publisher of the New York Amsterdam News, and a trustee of Howard University.

The Procopes reside in New York City.

Accession Number

A2006.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/13/2006

Last Name

Procope

Maker Category
Middle Name

G.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ps 3 Bedford Village School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Brooklyn College

First Name

Ernesta

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

PRO02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados, Sarasota, Florida

Favorite Quote

We're Not Selling Potatoes Or Onions. We're Selling Service.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

?

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cake (Pound)

Short Description

Corporate executive Ernesta G. Procope (? - ) founded E.G. Bowman, an insurance company that became the first African American owned business to be located on Wall Street. Procope also founded Bowman Specialty Services, LLP.

Employment

E.G. Bowman Company, Inc.

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
0,0:412,4:882,14:1446,70:2292,80:5582,132:11470,157:12030,166:13706,179:16332,191:17272,203:17742,209:21686,247:21934,252:25902,345:28812,358:29204,367:30044,383:30380,390:37494,533:38482,550:49333,641:49681,646:50377,655:50812,661:53645,673:53961,678:56884,739:59412,782:60044,792:60439,799:60992,807:61703,812:62098,818:62414,823:63046,832:63915,846:65337,881:65732,887:67470,927:68181,941:68576,947:70551,974:70946,979:79929,1041:90320,1210:98000,1332:98880,1365:102443,1384:103132,1415:108126,1441:108734,1450:113000,1490:113574,1511:114066,1518:120031,1617:120299,1622:120567,1628:126731,1771:126999,1776:133480,1856:133736,1861:135775,1880:136117,1888:136573,1897:136915,1905:137428,1920:137884,1929:139020,1937$0,0:250,3:4170,57:6010,77:6810,90:7450,100:8010,108:11958,146:12684,160:13014,166:13476,175:16116,227:16446,233:17370,254:17898,264:19880,272:20456,279:20840,284:21608,293:23780,299:24329,309:24634,315:25244,328:31710,489:31954,494:32442,503:32808,510:35065,563:35309,568:36956,610:42858,647:43106,652:44842,692:45090,697:46454,726:46826,733:48314,767:55328,829:56008,843:56552,857:57708,878:60725,910:61364,921:61861,929:62216,935:62784,949:64133,969:65482,996:67470,1043:68251,1055:68677,1062:69600,1077:80790,1142:81082,1150:81447,1156:88200,1254:88575,1260:88950,1266:90150,1298:90450,1303:92025,1338:92400,1346:93000,1357:93450,1364:93975,1373:96375,1420:100070,1439:100470,1445:104888,1504:105448,1516:105672,1521:112718,1602:114050,1624:114346,1629:114716,1635:115974,1660:116270,1665:116640,1671:121080,1773:126629,1843:127213,1849:128162,1864:128527,1870:129476,1889:130498,1908:131520,1928:131812,1947:132469,1957:135097,2058:137725,2123:139623,2156:140134,2164:152459,2317:152655,2322:153096,2334:153292,2354:154713,2382:155301,2395:155644,2403:155889,2409:161261,2513:162137,2528:163962,2548:164838,2562:165203,2568:165641,2575:166079,2582:166371,2587:173539,2744:174070,2755:175427,2783:179675,2812:180195,2822:181235,2840:181755,2849:182340,2865:182600,2870:186560,2923:186860,2929:187460,2940:188780,2967:189140,2975:189500,2983:194316,3076:194688,3084:198780,3139:199280,3152:200130,3175:201880,3221:202230,3230:206960,3265
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernesta G. Procope's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernesta G. Procope lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls her childhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls her family's Christmas traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her mother's community activism

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls her church and her mother's wisdom

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ernesta G. Procope remembers studying piano at the New York School of Music

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her school years

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls meeting her husband at Brooklyn College

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls her first date with her husband, John Procope

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernesta G. Procope remembers beginning as an insurance broker

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernesta G. Procope remembers redlining in the insurance industry

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernesta G. Procope describes the creation of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls her responsibility to hire African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls operating her company in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernesta G. Procope recalls moving her business to Wall Street

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernesta G. Procope describes the continuing importance of affirmative action

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her husband's work at the Amsterdam News

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ernesta G. Procope talks about the insurance industry and its history

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her parents' reaction to her work

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernesta G. Procope talks about African American companies on Wall Street

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernesta G. Procope reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her hopes for Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernesta G. Procope describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernesta G. Procope describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernesta G. Procope reflects upon her career and accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernesta G. Procope reflects upon the importance of education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ernesta G. Procope narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Ernesta G. Procope recalls moving her business to Wall Street
Ernesta G. Procope talks about the insurance industry and its history
Transcript
And then from that it [E.G. Bowman Company, Inc., New York, New York] developed into--$$Right.$$--Fortune 500 companies?$$Well from that we decided, well we found it difficult to attract the business of major corporations in Brooklyn [New York]. Very often the risk managers, he is the person who handles the insurance portfolio for a specific corporation, would be reluctant about coming into Bedford-Stuyvesant [Brooklyn, New York] to see us and so it was James Drake [James E. Drake] and Harry Ennevor who's here with me now and John Procope who decided to go to Manhattan [New York] to see what we could find in 1979. And we came upon this location right here and we felt that it was important for us to be in Manhattan because it's close to the insurance market place and we would not have a problem with white risk managers coming to our office to see us. They could come right here, and it would be safe in quotation marks. So we moved from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Wall Street in 1979 and we been here ever since.$$How did you feel about the move? Were you sad to leave the Bedford-Stuyvesant community? Did you feel you were--$$We kept the office open there for about two years.$$So it was more or less of an expansion as opposed to a--$$Yes, it was. What we did was we took space in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation [New York, New York] building. We felt that we should not leave there completely so we, we took space at Restoration and then we decided to give that up and have the entire operation right here. We, we, we brought our personal lines, personal lines would be insurance on your home, insurance on your automobile. We call that personal lines and that's what we did mainly in Bedford-Stuyvesant and many of the homeowners were very happy to see us make the move and stayed with us and did not leave. So we were very happy that we were able to convince them to maintain their business with us.$In fact I wrote an article back in 1979 for an insurance publication and the title of the article I believe said, "Insurance Isn't Glamorous" and that's why we can't find the kind of help that we need, and this is not only for black people, this is both black and white. Nobody does anything about educating young people as to what the insurance business is all about. What the insurance industry is all about. And I blame the industry for not doing anything about it because we do not have talented people coming up through the ranks from the time they enter high school, they say to themselves I wanna be involved in insurance because it's a very interesting industry and it employs not only insurance people, it employs almost every phase of business you could think of. Administration, finance, everything that you would want to run a business, the insurance industries employs. But the industry does nothing to attract young people to the business insofar as education is concerned. I think they need to get involved with the whole educational system throughout the country where perhaps they could introduce to the, to the powers that be about making insurance part of the curriculum and even lecture on the subject concerning insurance. To teach young people from the time they enter high school as to what insurance is all about. Most young people think in terms of automobile insurance and that doesn't mean anything. It means accidents or life insurance and that means death. But the business is very glamorous and they need to talk about it, the industry does, and they don't.$$So when you were and I'm just going back to I mean I've done some other research on just insurance and things that I know and maybe you can just comment on if they relate to your business--insurance business or not, but I read once that in the South that they when black people went to the hospital, they you know, that they you know there were no companies that whereas you can get Blue Cross and Blue Shield [Blue Cross Blue Shield Association] for African Americans, you--that there were only you know if you went to the hospital, there was no insurance company that was backing you up saying that--$$Not only for blacks but for whites if you didn't have health insurance back then. I didn't see you talking about life insurance. Life insurance, the insurance companies used to discriminate against black people and North Carolina Mutual [North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, Durham, North Carolina] started in the late 1800s to write insurance for black people across this country. Metropolitan Life [Metropolitan Life Insurance Company] would not write and neither would the other insure. If they did, they would write you the premium up higher than it would be for some other person your age. There was discrimination no question about it in the life insurance end of the business. I think they used to write industrial insurance like twenty-five cents a week or something and they could--they would send somebody to your house to pick up this twenty-five cents a week insurance. I remember that as a little kid. But that was the only type of insurance that they might write for you but it would be rated up higher if they did write it at all.

Gerard Peterson

Gerard M. Peterson was born on September 10, 1932, in Hartford, Connecticut; he was the second of five children born to Edythe and Rufus Peterson. Peterson attended Hartford public schools, and graduated from Bulkeley High School. From there, Peterson received a B.A. degree in economics from the University of Connecticut.

With Aetna Life and Casualty, Peterson’s first position was administrator of Aetna’s Corporate Insurance Division as an assistant secretary at the corporate level, directing sales for field office group insurance representatives. Active in Aetna’s commitment to corporate involvement, Peterson was a loaned executive to non-profit organizations. From 1965 to1966, Peterson then was manager of Plans for Progress, one of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. Between 1969 and 1970, Peterson was again on loan as the executive vice-president of the National Alliance of Business, which was created to find jobs for the unemployed. In July 1970, Peterson left Aetna to become assistant dean in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in California, where he served for three years.

Peterson returned to Aetna in 1973 to become the marketing director of Aetna Public health Management’s Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). From 1975 to 1983, Peterson, as Aetna’s Marketing Manager, directed sales representatives and managed national advertising and marketing services. Peterson completed his distinguished twenty-three year career with Aetna Life and Casualty in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983.

After leaving Aetna, Peterson served as executive director and CEO of the Hartford Civic Center; this multi-purpose facility had a convention venue and one of the largest arenas in New England. During his tenure at the Hartford Civic Center, 18.5 million customers visited the Center while contributing a surplus exceeding $11,000,000 to the City of Hartford. The Hartford Civic Center received the 1986 Arena of the Year Award from Performance Magazine while Peterson himself was recognized as Facility Manager of the Year for major convention centers.

Peterson’s contributions to national, regional and local organizations included being director of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, a council member in the town of Bloomfield, Connecticut, and serving on committees of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Accession Number

A2005.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2005

Last Name

Peterson

Maker Category
Schools

Bulkeley High School

University of Connecticut

Naylor School

Burr School

First Name

Gerard

Birth City, State, Country

Hartford

HM ID

PET05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

I Know A Few People Who Are Living As Well As We Are, But Nobody Is Living Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

9/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken (Roasted), Gravy

Short Description

Corporate executive and insurance executive Gerard Peterson (1932 - ) worked in various executive roles for Aetna Life and Casualty over a distinguished twenty-three year career. In addition to his work with Aetna, Peterson also served as executive director and COO of the Hartford Civic Center.

Employment

Hartford Civic Center; XL Center

Aetna, Inc.

Plans for Progress

U.S. Government's taksforce on Youth Motivation

Stanford University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:3024,113:4116,130:11004,239:15731,296:16176,302:18674,331:21560,368:21872,386:22418,394:23198,410:23510,466:25616,559:26396,584:36536,759:42622,782:43318,791:44362,805:49582,905:50278,916:50626,921:51844,997:60283,1117:61327,1138:61675,1144:70772,1201:71202,1207:71804,1223:72492,1234:73524,1252:74212,1261:75674,1286:76276,1293:80445,1409:81246,1421:81780,1428:96788,1577:97444,1587:97854,1594:99604,1605:101314,1623:104848,1644:105646,1653:114132,1692:114602,1698:115448,1708:117234,1736:120242,1776:121558,1792:122968,1803:124848,1834:126164,1852:131500,1892:135924,1948:136259,1957:149290,2095:150270,2213:152020,2245:152370,2251:159569,2328:161108,2344:161432,2349:161999,2363:166050,2379:166490,2384:167260,2391:170554,2421:170964,2427:171292,2432:171702,2438:172522,2449:177705,2541:178941,2559:179868,2569:180589,2574:182340,2597:183473,2613:184606,2626:194607,2755:197960,2793:202970,2892$0,0:14396,292:15156,304:15460,309:18956,395:31998,504:34038,523:36792,559:37302,565:40872,618:48058,669:49990,706:50326,711:52006,741:53434,762:56962,813:57718,824:73790,1012:74630,1023:77150,1064:89817,1229:90314,1244:90740,1251:92373,1288:92728,1294:93225,1307:93864,1319:95071,1359:110992,1587:111616,1596:117029,1650:117337,1655:117722,1676:118954,1688:120340,1695:120879,1703:124960,1770:133414,1882:142832,2028:146360,2057:150418,2086:153290,2112:153562,2117:159546,2185:164258,2231:167954,2301:170506,2338:170858,2343:172970,2385:173410,2391:174202,2401:175170,2417:179340,2423:180076,2433:180904,2445:181548,2454:181916,2459:185044,2509:185412,2517:189644,2609:194260,2653:202038,2723:202812,2733:205134,2761:205478,2766:205822,2771:206338,2783:207972,2806:209500,2825:209925,2831:212730,2853:216300,2905:217915,2921:218680,2931:219190,2939:222680,2960:227210,2988
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gerard Peterson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his maternal grandparents' move to Connecticut

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes New England's demographics during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gerard Peterson describes his paternal grandmother's occupation and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes his childhood neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls his family's holiday celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his parents and siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes his parents and siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his sister's nursing career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's move to Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson recalls playing sports and working odd jobs with his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes attending Hartford's Dr. James H. Naylor Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls Alfred E. Burr Junior High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his dreams and aspirations in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson recalls Hartford's Morgan Gardner Bulkeley High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson recalls the difficulties of attending a predominately white school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his decision to attend the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes caddying at Wethersfield Country Club

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes his time in the U.S. Army during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson remembers playing golf in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gerard Peterson describes returning the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes his activities at the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson describes his wife and sons

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson recalls working as a computer programmer at Aetna Life and Casualty Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson recalls his position at the Plans for Progress program

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson recalls working in Washington, D.C. during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his motivational work for the Plans for Progress program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson recalls becoming assistant dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls his work as assistant dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls notable people at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes Stanford Golf Course

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes how Stanford Graduate School of Business influenced his career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his return to Aetna Life and Casualty Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson recalls becoming executive director at the Hartford Civic Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes his role at the Hartford Civic Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson recalls working as a project manager for Johnson Controls

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls the racial discrimination he faced playing golf

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson describes the impact of golf on his career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his affiliations with golf organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes the state of golf in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1900s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his golf affiliations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson recalls meeting Earl Woods and Tiger Woods

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes teaching golf at the senior center on Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson shares his advice for young golfers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson describes his involvement in nonprofit organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls coaching midget football, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls coaching midget football, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson speculates about his future plans

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Gerard Peterson recalls working as a computer programmer at Aetna Life and Casualty Company
Gerard Peterson recalls becoming executive director at the Hartford Civic Center
Transcript
Let's move back to Aetna Life and Casualty [Aetna Life and Casualty Company; Aetna, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut] because you were there from June 1957 until February 1965. So say a little bit about the details of your--the progression of your development at Aetna during those first roughly, oh eight years?$$Yeah, I started as a computer programmer back in the days when there wasn't anybody that I knew who knew what I did for a living. So when they said, "Well what do you do there?" And I'd say, "Well I'm a computer programmer," and they'd say, "Well what is that?" And then there were some people who'd say, "What do you mean you're sweeping up over there? What are you, tell us the truth what you do there?" I said, "Well I write instructions for this computer, and the computer does what the instructions say." Oh wow, this guy is--and that's what they called us the eggheads at the Aetna. There were only about ten of us in the department and as a matter of fact when I joined the department it was called the data processing development department they weren't sure if it was going to be permanent. Because they weren't sure, they were going to keep the computer. In the country in those days, there was probably a hundred and fifty computer programmers in the whole United States of America. I went to school for three days at the IBM [International Business Machines Corporation] school across this street from the Aetna and came back as a programmer. And really learned on the job but loved it, enjoyed it very much worked a lot of overtime and learned enough so that I became the supervisor of the programmers and then became a systems analysts. And then became the human resources director if you will of the computer area and that meant that I was responsible for hiring and training the new programmers. Because I told my boss we had such an inadequate training program, he said, "Well write one," and I wrote one and sent the memo to him. He said, "Hey this is pretty good, now you are in charge of training." I said, "Well does that mean I've been promoted?" He said, "No you're just in charge of training (laughter)." But it was a great experience because it sent me off to the personnel department now called human resources and I did some projects with them. And computerized some of their records and met some people in the process. About that time I also thought that I needed to learn more about presenting myself, so I joined the Toastmasters Club [Toastmasters International] at Aetna. And loved that and that was something that allowed you to prepare speeches and be evaluated by your fellow Toastmasters. And you improved as you went on, I was a Toastmasters for many years, you know, six or seven or eight years. I remember it, and became the president of the, maybe the vice president I'm not sure, but I was one of the officers of the club.$What came next at Aetna Life and Casualty [Aetna Life and Casualty Company; Aetna, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut], what was your next step up?$$Well I stayed in that area until there was a mild depression that happened (laughter) in our economy and the Aetna decided to get out of managed-care business at that point. Even though if you look at them today they're one of the largest managed-care companies in the country. It was done the second time by mergers and acquisitions. They went out and found organizations that were Aetna-oriented in their way of doing business. And that's the way--the reason they're so large in the managed-care world today. But we, we actually went out of business, and I went back into the group insurance division and went to marketing group insurance again. And then one day received a call from the city manager of City of Hartford [Connecticut] asked me to come and spend a little time with him. And he asked me if I was interested in being the executive director of the convention center and arena that we had at Hartford called the Aetna--the Hartford Civic Center [XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut]. And I said no, but thank you very much I'm flattered that you would ask me. And he said, "I would really like you to do this and you ought to think about it and when you go back to the Aetna why don't you talk to John Filer [John H. Filer] 'cause I've been talking to him also." And I went back to the Aetna, and I thought about it and because of my Stanford [Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford, California] thinking, I started thinking outside the box. And saying well what would that be, what would I do when I do that? Then when I thought about, oh I probably could do a better job in marketing than we're doing now. I went to the back--some back issues of the Hartford newspaper [Hartford Courant] and looked at the record, at least, the way it was portrayed in the media, and they weren't doing very well. And they didn't have very, very good reputation. They were at best neutral, but in some senses negative. And I thought this my chance to make this a better organization and I also thought, you know, working in show business that might be fun. So I did--I went back to the city manager and said I'd be willing to do this, and John Filer agreed that it would be a good place for me to be. The Aetna had a very large financial interest in the shops that were around, and offices, that were around the Hartford Civic Center it was, you know, a several million dollar investment (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) When was the Civic Center built and finished?$$It was built in 1975 I believe and then it--the roof fell in, in 1976 and I think in 1978 or something like that. As I remember it they went back in the business the roof went back on. And five years later, 1983 I went to work as the executive director and at that point it needed a lot of marketing kind of assistance. And the organization was pretty sad.

Darwin N. Davis, Sr.

Darwin Nathaniel Davis, retired senior vice president of AXA Financial (formerly Equitable Life Insurance), was born on April 10, 1932, in Flint, Michigan; his maternal grandfather managed General Motors Executive Garage, and his father, Abner Davis, became the first black postal clerk in Flint. After attending Clark Elementary School, Whittier Junior High School, and Flint Central High School, Davis played football at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas A&M University) where he earned his B.A. degree in business administration in 1954.

Snubbed by General Motors because of his race, Davis served in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957, tracking missiles at White Sands, New Mexico. Returning to college, Davis earned his M.Ed. degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, and then worked as a mathematics teacher at Duffield Elementary School and Jones Elementary School. One of the black salesmen Equitable Life Insurance hired in the wake of 1964’s Detroit race riot, Davis became a district manager by his third year. Between 1971 and 1974, Davis earned every type of managerial award Equitable offered. Promoted to vice president of manpower development in 1974, Davis served as the company’s first African American regional president in 1975. In 1989, Davis was promoted to senior vice president of Equitable Life Assurance Society and recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 25 most important African American executives. A mentor to many young African American executives, Davis retired as senior vice president of AXA Financial in 1998.

Davis served on the African American advisory board of Pepsi-Cola and the boards of the Albert Oliver Program, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Executive Leadership Foundation, the National Minority Golf Foundation, and the Jesse Owens Foundation. Davis also served as vice president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Davis, a recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, had four grown children and lived with his wife, Velmarie, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Davis passed away on Sunday, April 16, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Accession Number

A2005.050

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/16/2005

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Nathaniel

Occupation
Schools

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Flint Central High School

New Mexico State University

First Name

Darwin

Birth City, State, Country

Flint

HM ID

DAV16

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

Sponsor

Lincoln Financial Group Foundation

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, North Carolina, South Carolina, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

4/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Stamford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Death Date

4/16/2006

Short Description

Insurance executive Darwin N. Davis, Sr. (1932 - 2006 ) was one of the black salesmen Equitable Life Insurance hired in the wake of the 1964 Detroit race riot. Davis quickly rose from his entry level position to become the company’s first African American regional president.

Employment

Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Detroit Public Schools

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:4120,53:8878,96:9234,101:13684,158:14396,167:18820,267:19380,276:25080,296:25640,304:31240,392:32760,432:33080,437:36220,442:40376,461:40796,467:46280,521:50005,557:56150,598:58530,632:58955,638:61675,681:72980,829:79185,901:95401,1283:96473,1304:100024,1399:100292,1404:100694,1412:107250,1519:108290,1537:114090,1650:123975,1792:126006,1803:126294,1808:126798,1816:132580,1864:142192,2004:147685,2098:164488,2287:164776,2300:168088,2363:168376,2368:183699,2510:185239,2584:194665,2742:196765,2808:197215,2815:198115,2839:206530,2919:210983,3012:211640,3023:213392,3057:213830,3065:214122,3070:214414,3075:214925,3082:216166,3109:225664,3257:229024,3297:234810,3324:235170,3330:235530,3336:245780,3412:253792,3460:254088,3465:255568,3480:256530,3489:256826,3494:257492,3550:258232,3561:258824,3573:260156,3606:260748,3618:261192,3625:261932,3633:262968,3671:272580,3783$0,0:15595,123:19345,145:19629,150:20268,171:20623,177:28958,281:29920,304:35886,390:44154,609:60922,786:61987,814:65120,837:65408,842:67136,872:68072,896:68504,903:69800,952:70448,962:82488,1118:88248,1213:94604,1284:105382,1482:105762,1488:108042,1527:108878,1539:110018,1561:110930,1580:111234,1585:117314,1705:121659,1715:122074,1721:123817,1748:126730,1784:128022,1815:139790,2005:140245,2012:143988,2087:144762,2099:145536,2109:146052,2116:146826,2127:150968,2174:153186,2186:155022,2216:161510,2273:162770,2286:163130,2291:165370,2304:169284,2336:175625,2412:182094,2549:182508,2556:185585,2590:186265,2599:190510,2661:191150,2672:193985,2708:194269,2713:194766,2721:196825,2767:218746,3002:223399,3027:223731,3032:227120,3088
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darwin N. Davis, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his maternal family's life in Ayrshire, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis recounts his maternal family's move from Ayrshire, Indiana to Flint, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis talks about his mother's job at the Murray's Superior Products Company in Chicago, Illinois and his parents meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his paternal family's reunion at a Louisiana sugar refining plantation

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls how his father became the first black postal clerk in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls his father's kind-hearted, generous nature

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, describes his childhood neighborhood and schools he attended in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers learning about slavery at Whittier Junior High School in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recounts growing up with Dr. Herbert Odom

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his experience at Flint Central High School in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls his initial plan to work at the Flint, Michigan automobile factories after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects on playing football at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis describes his studies and influential teachers at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes college classmates, including HistoryMakers Malcolm Hemphill, Jr. and Jeff Donaldson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. recalls challenging a racist bus driver while traveling in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about enlisting in the U.S. Army after being denied a job opportunity at General Motors in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about teaching in Detroit, Michigan public schools during the late 1950s and early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes how he met and married his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. explains how he began working for Equitable Life Assurance Society of America in 1966

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his career at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers responding to a racist coworker at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes the racism he encountered while a manager for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about the promotion of black professionals in corporate America

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about African American women at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. names foundations and organizations with which he is involved

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his father

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. talks about his mother's pride in his accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Darwin N. Davis, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Darwin N. Davis, Sr. remembers learning about slavery at Whittier Junior High School in Flint, Michigan
Darwin N. Davis, Sr. describes his professional ascent at Equitable Life Assurance Society of America, pt. 1
Transcript
What were your favorite subjects in school?$$I liked history. I liked math. I had, I had some good experiences. To tell you one, remember when we studying American history and this is in junior high school [Whittier Junior High School, Flint, Michigan]. Studying American history and we were talking about slavery. Which was, was you know was taught in a way very, you were made to feel very uncomfortable if you were black in this room with 92/94 percent white kids. You were made to feel very bad about, inferior almost about it and we were talking about Nate [sic. Nat] Turner's Rebellion where he rebelled and killed some white people and got some, led some slaves to do that. And the teacher was talking about what a maniac he was and how ridiculous he was and all she just went on and on and on. And then she asked people in the room what do they think about that. Oh I wasn't about to volunteer any thoughts about that. She said then, "Well [HistoryMaker] Darwin [N. Davis, Sr.] what do you think about that?" And I said, "Well I think that more slaves would have been like him, they would of been better and better off." I mean, I couldn't understand how they let people do that, do all those things to them. And she was appalled. She was upset and angry. She kicked me out of the school. Kicked me out of the room and sent to the principal's office and I was not allowed to come back to school unless my parents [Marrietta Todd Davis and Abner Davis] came. Well I went home and told my father about this and he said, "Well what happened? What did you do?" And I told him what happened and he said, "That's all you did, you didn't mouth off or anything did you?" And I said, "No dad, I didn't I just, she asked me a question and I answered her." So he went to the school the next morning with me and the principal said that you know he started. He said, "Wait before we do this, let's get the teacher here too because I want to hear what everybody says about this." Teacher came and my father said, "Now what happened?" And she said, "Well you know he just upset the class, he started real trouble, he was very ill-mannered." And so, "Well what did he do?" And so, he asked her and she said, "Well, he can tell ya" so I said exactly what happened and he said, "So is that what happened?" She said, "Yes." He say, "Now the way I hear this, you asked him a question, he answered you, very manneredly, and you didn't like the answer so you kicked him out." And she said, "Well that kind of thinking is just not acceptable." "No but you did ask him a question and he did answer you and he was not ugly about it and I don't understand why you kicked him out." And I, I, he told the principal, he said, "And I think something should be done about this. She kicked him out of school because he answered the question and she didn't like the answer." Well I was so proud of my father man because, I was already made to feel very bad. This whole thing about slavery in junior high school was just denigrating. I mean you are made to feel less than a person. The way that this teacher taught it she was just really bad. And I always remember that about my father. How proud I was he stood up for me. Because I hadn't done anything wrong and I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. Well, you know, that, nobody bothered me in that school again. But I had a wonderful schooling. Schools were good. They were tough and I had a good life in junior high and high school [Flint Central High School, Flint, Michigan] and elementary school. We walked of course. There were no busing. We walked through snow up to your knees. You walked to school, nobody bothered you. You know, it was very different in those days. The '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s].$I went into the insurance business in Detroit, Michigan in 1966, '65 [1965], '66 [1966], '66 [1966] and as a salesman. In October 1st and I did real well even with those three months, I really did well. And I loved it, I was fascinated with this business. That first of all you could do a lot to help people and make money at the same time. And I'd been, this whole thing about helping people had been handed down to me through my father [Abner Davis], as I told you about. And I always wanted to do something to help people. I like, that's why I liked teaching school I could help people. I would see kids. In math teaching--math you could see the change. In reading it takes years to see the change but in math, sometimes you can see it in two weeks. And I was very in love with the insurance business because I grew to know that because of me, I could pass a school with--there'd be thirty kids in that school, I knew were going to get an education because their parents had talked to me. I was going to be the one who provided the information and the financial prowess that they would be able to get an education, go to school, and I was very proud of this. I was proud of what I did and proud of what the result would be. I clearly understood the insurance business from the very beginning. That people looked at the insurance business says well you know you pay some money and when you die somebody get some money. I looked at all the living benefits and I, my whole presentation would be about the living benefits of insurance and how you could take care of your family. You could pay a mortgage off early by buying a policy and taking the cash values and dividends and pay off the house ten years early. And I was just was fascinated by that. And I was very successful at it from the very beginning. And I then became a district manager. And Al Carlton [Jr.] and I, he was the district manager and I was the assistant district manager. We built the number one district in the United States in the Equitable [Life Assurance Society of America; AXA Financial] system. Al became an agency manager in Chicago [Illinois] and I took over the Detroit office. We grew that office into the top three of the whole United States. And it was a powerful financially, rich organization that did very, very well. As a result of that, the Equitable, I won two President's Trophies in two years, which most people don't do.$$So what did you do (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) President's Trophies the highest honor you can win as a branch manager. It's a test of you as a business person. They test you in eight areas. But the whole idea is production growth through manpower development with expense control. In other words, you had to grow the business but it had to be--grow it financially profitable. And with expense control. And I did that and at that time I guess I became agency manager in four and a half years and I don't think anybody ever done that much quicker than that. And then I became vice president, they moved me to New York [New York] in 1974.