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The Honorable Kurt Schmoke

Mayor, city attorney, and academic administrator Hon. Kurt L. Schmoke was born on December 1, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland, the only child of Irene and Murray Schmoke. College-educated, Murray Schmoke was a chemist while Irene was a social worker. Schmoke attended Baltimore City College, a public high school, where he was the quarterback of the school’s state champion football team. Schmoke’s parents and pastor, Marion Bascom of the Douglas Memorial Community Church, encouraged his academic career. Schmoke was also mentored by Baltimore Judge Robert Hammerman, who asked him to join the Lancers Boys Club, a youth organization that Hammerman ran in his spare time.

Schmoke attended Yale University, where he continued to excel in school and athletics, and was chosen to represent the student body during the turmoil that surrounded the 1970 trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale. Schmoke graduated with his B.A. degree in history in 1971, after which he was selected for a Rhodes Scholarship. He studied at Oxford University in England for two years, traveling throughout Europe and Africa in his free time. Schmoke attended Harvard Law School, graduating with his J.D. degree in 1976. While in law school, he met and married Baltimore native and ophthalmologist Patricia Locks. The couple has two children, Gregory and Katherine.

After passing the Maryland Bar Examination, Schmoke joined the prominent law firm of Piper & Marbury, where he worked for less than two years before being recruited by the Carter Administration to work as assistant director under Stuart Eizenstat on the White House Domestic Policy Staff. Schmoke, however, decided to return to public service in Baltimore as an Assistant United States Attorney in 1978. Four years later, he successfully ran for State’s Attorney, Baltimore’s chief prosecuting officer.

In 1987, Schmoke became the first elected African American mayor of the City of Baltimore. Schmoke was re-elected to his second term with more than 70% of the vote in 1991. As mayor, Schmoke developed a reputation for his pioneering approaches to the problems of urban America. During his time in office, he instituted needle-exchange programs for drug addicts, attracted a new football team to the city and promoted citywide reading. President George Bush awarded him the 1992 National Literacy Award for his efforts to promote adult literacy. Two years later, President Bill Clinton praised his programs to improve public housing and to enhance community economic development. In 1999, Schmoke elected not to run for a fourth term and was succeeded by Martin O’Malley. From 2000 to 2002, he was a partner in the law offices of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Baltimore. Schmoke is the Dean of Howard University’s School of Law, a position he assumed in 2003. Schmoke is on the board of directors of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Children’s Health Forum, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Legg Mason, Inc. and McGraw-Hill Companies.

Hon. Kurt Schmoke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.271

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/25/2007

Last Name

Schmoke

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Gwynns Falls Elementary School

Baltimore City College

Yale University

Harvard Law School

Garrison Middle School

First Name

Kurt

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

SCH03

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/1/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cheesecake

Short Description

Academic administrator, city attorney, and mayor The Honorable Kurt Schmoke (1949 - ) was elected Baltimore, Maryland's first African American mayor in 1987 after serving four years as state's attorney. He served as mayor until 1998. Schmoke was Dean of the Howard University School of Law.

Employment

Howard University School of Law

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Bos

Baltimore (Md.). Mayor

Baltimore (Md.). State's Attorney.

United States Attorney-General

White House Domestic Policy Council (U.S.)

Piper & Marbury

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Kurt Schmoke's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke talks about his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his early experiences of discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes the history of his maternal family's enslavement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers his step great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers Coach George B. Young

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke reflects upon his high school football experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his aspiration to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers his early interest in politics

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke talks about segregation in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his aspiration to become the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers Garrison Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers travelling in the segregated South

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke talks about segregation in Hope, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes the presidential election of 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his experiences in the Lancers club

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers the lectures at the Lancers club

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls serving as class president at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke recalls his athletic activities at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his childcare center at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kurt Schmoke remembers Bobby Seale's trial in New Haven, Connecticut

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his childcare center at Yale University
The Honorable Kurt Schmoke describes his experiences in the Lancers club
Transcript
Today, if you asked me in terms of extracurricular stuff, what was the most important thing I did at Yale [Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut], it was starting a childcare center. I, I opened, along with a couple of other undergraduates, we started a childcare center. It was for, it was designed for, to help the employees, the blue collar employees of Yale. Later on, we found that it really did help mostly the secretaries and graduate students' children, because the blue collar workers generally were older. There was a secretarial group. And, but, anyway, and we named it--got Calvin's [Calvin Hill] permission to name it after him, and so, the Calvin Hill Daycare Center/Kitty-Lustman Kindergarten [Calvin Hill Daycare Center and Kitty Lustman-Findling Kindergarten, New Haven, Connecticut] is still in operation in 2007. We started this in, in 1969. We started that daycare center and it's still in operation in New Haven [Connecticut] in a converted firehouse that used to be a little fire station that the city donated to us, and we renovated it, and now it's been built on, so it's a nice, it's really considered one of the best early childhood education centers in the State of Connecticut.$$Where did you get this idea?$$My college roommate and I were talking about some of the problems at the university one day. And he had come back from working in the dining hall. We both worked in the dining hall my freshman year, but he continued to work in the dining hall, and I did some other jobs, library assistant, all that kind of stuff. And, he was telling me this story about a lady in the dining hall who was having terrible childcare problems and that the boss, the manager of the dining hall, was just giving her a lot of grief, wouldn't cut her any slack, wouldn't let her come in a little late, wouldn't let her leave a little early and everything like that. And I said, "This is, this is just wrong. We ought to do something about this." And we went around and asked some administrators at the university, whether, "What was Yale doing about daycare?" And Yale wasn't doing anything about daycare at the time, and so we decided that we were gonna start a, a daycare center. Now, we didn't know much about daycare centers. All that we knew was that there were things called foundations out there that gave money to--and we started writing these letters. And, I, I think today about some of the letters I wrote, thinking that the longer the word, the more impressed they would be, and I got zero response from, from any foundation. But along the time that we started with the idea, Yale, by the spring of 1970, was hit with this massive demonstration in New Haven related to the trial of the Black Panthers [Black Panther Party]. And, demonstrators came in from all over the country and among the things that they needed, and this is amazing, always amazed me, the people brought little children with them to these demonstrations. So we changed our residential college for the weekend of that demonstration in May of 1970 to a daycare center, and the university, the light bulb went off and said, "We gotta do something here." And so, they agreed to match dollar for dollar, anything we could raise for the childcare center, and that's, it got going. We started it in the basement of a church, St. Thomas More church [St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center, New Haven, Connecticut], and then later, in later years moved to the fire station.$$Wow, that's amazing--$$Yeah, yeah, it's still going on--$$--young men, who would think, concerned about childcare?$$Well, that was, I, listen, you, you are now talking to one of your classic nerds, I'm telling you now. So--.$$(Laughter).$How did you get to college [Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut]? I know you had some strong mentors, you mentioned Judge Hammerman [Robert I.H. Hammerman]--$$Yeah, I, someone, one of my classmates in high school [Baltimore City College, Baltimore, Maryland], my particular class that I was in, was overwhelmingly with Jewish. I was a, kind of a minority in that class, even a--I told you, we were in a huge high school, four thousand all boys, and it had various grade levels and sections, and I was in a class though that only had two blacks in it, and most of the kids were Jewish. And there was a club, a boys club [Lancers] in town that had been started by a, a juvenile court judge named Robert Hammerman. It--that club was overwhelmingly Jewish boys, and a, a decision had been made to integrate. I didn't know about this, that the decision had been made to integrate. Again, I didn't even, I didn't there, didn't know of the club's existence and I didn't realize that it had been segregated, but I was invited, along with some other guys, to, to join the club. And I just loved it because it would meet every Friday night at a local elementary school. We listened to a speaker and then we got to participate in sports. And the, and the judge was all, constantly writing to speakers all over the country, "If you're here in the D.C. [Washington, D.C.] area, could you come up to Baltimore [Maryland] and speak to this group of eighty young boys," et cetera. And we're, I mean we had congress people come in, we had supreme court judges, we had a lot of folks in Maryland, business and education leaders. I mean, and they would come in and they would talk about something at our level, for maybe twenty minutes, and then let us question them. And, most of the time, we would question them about, "Well, how'd you get where you are?" Now, every once in a while--'cause we had some really brilliant guys in there, they would get into policy debates, "You said in the following--." "I read this in an article--," and I'm sitting back there saying, you know, "Oh, my god, where'd these guys learn all this stuff?" (Laughter) So, it was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Do you remember some of the speakers?$$Oh, well, I mean, we had, yes, many of the Baltimore Colts--what was then the Baltimore, before Colts moved to Indianapolis [Indianapolis Colts] they were in Baltimore, so, we had a number of their players. We had a number of the, the Orioles [Baltimore Orioles], Brooks Robinson, I know, came to speak there. We had a Congressman Charles Weltner [Charles L. Weltner], who was from Georgia and he was a very interesting man. He made a lot of votes in the [U.S.] House of Representatives against his party, trying to buck the lingering segregationist ideas. And so, he was kind of, progressive Democrat from Georgia and he came up to speak.

The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr.

Attorney Anthony William Hall, Jr. was born on September 16, 1944 in Houston, Texas to Quintanna Wilson Hall Alliniece and Anthony William Hall, Sr. Hall received his B.A. degree from Howard University in 1967, and served in the military from 1967 to 1971. While in the military, Hall attained the rank of captain and received the Purple Heart as well as three Bronze Stars. After his military service, Hall worked for the Harris County Commissions Office in 1971 and served as a State Representative from 1972 until 1979, when he was first elected to the Houston City Council. Upon his appointment, Hall was the third African American, after Judson W. Robinson, Jr. and Ernest McGowen, to be elected to the city council in Houston.

Hall obtained his J.D. degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in 1982.
In 1990, he became the first African American chairman of the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority, an agency which was created as a response to the public’s desire to have an efficient and reliable transportation system that would replace the existing malfunctioning busing system. During this time, Hall also became one of only three African Americans among the 50 partners in the Houston law firm, Jackson Walker, LLP. The firm, which has offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo and San Antonio, represents clients in litigation for intellectual property, health care, labor and employment, technology, bankruptcy and numerous other fields. Hall served as the City Attorney for the City of Houston from 1998 until 2004, when he became the Chief Administrative Officer for the city. Hall’s key responsibilities included implementing some of the Administration’s significant priorities, participating in the budget process, and overseeing the Houston community’s safety issues.

Hall is also the Chairman of the Boulé Foundation and is involved with Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, serving as the past national president of the organization, and is currently on the board of trustees. He has devoted many years of his life to public service and has been given several awards for outstanding civic work. These awards include the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program’s Heart of Houston, the Black Achiever Award from the YMCA, the George “Mickey” Leland Community Service Award from the Barbara Jordan—Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in 2006, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators Marks of Excellence Award for Public Service Leadership in 2009. After years of public service, Hall returned to private practice law in the city of Houston in 2010.

Anthony Hall was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 9, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.229

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/9/2007 |and| 5/6/2014

Last Name

Hall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Schools

Texas Southern University

Marshall Education Center

Miller Intermediate

Jack Yates High School

Howard University

First Name

Anthony

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

HAL11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; Barbados

Favorite Quote

Simply Achieve.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

9/16/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo (Seafood)

Short Description

City attorney and city council member The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. (1944 - ) was the third African American man to be elected to the city council in Houston, Texas. He was the first black and minority chairman of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority, served as city attorney from 1998 to 2004 and was the chief administrative officer for the city.

Employment

Law Office of Anthony W. Hall, Jr.

City of Houston

Jackson & Walker

Williamson, Gardner, Hall & Wiesenthal

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his mother's early education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls how his parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers his community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the ward boundaries in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the segregated education system in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his grade school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his college selection process

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers his high school community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about the Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls majoring in economics at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers being wounded in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the start of his political career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about the end of the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls serving in the Texas Legislature

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. explains his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about African Americans' role in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the progressive movement in Houston's politics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers serving on the Houston City Council

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about chairing the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls Republican politicians in Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about mayoral races in Houston, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls serving as Houston's city attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his career in management

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his role as chief administrative officer of Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his membership in Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. lists his favorites, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his stepfather

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers his relationship with his stepfather

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his stepfather's family background

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his mother's family history

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his maternal grandparents

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his maternal family in Cedar Lake, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his mother's education in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers the values of his maternal family

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his father's military career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his father's law enforcement career

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the history of Houston's police organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his childhood personality

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers living in Angleton, Texas with his mother

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his childhood in Brazoria County, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of Brazoria County, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his family farm

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls institutions in his Houston community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers black professionals in Houston, Texas

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about the Sweatt v. Painter case

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers Charles Hamilton Houston

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his education in Houston, Texas

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his aspirations for a career in science

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about black professionals in Houston, Texas

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls African American politicians in the 1960s

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes Jesse H. Jones

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls the contributions of Jesse H. Jones

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. describes his high school activities

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls Greater Zion Baptist Church

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities in adolescence

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about being the chief administrative officer of Houston

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his accomplishments in Houston city government

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about his charitable work

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. talks about chairing the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
The Honorable Anthony W. Hall, Jr. recalls his role as chief administrative officer of Houston, Texas
Transcript
Tell us about becoming the chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority [Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County]. This is 1990, right?$$Yes. I was leaving city council [Houston City Council], and, and Kathy Whitmire [Kathryn J. Whitmire] asked me if I would--we were in the middle of--as we continue 'til this day to be debating--the middle of very intense debate about development of the rail system in Houston [Texas]. We have a very unique challenge, in that Houston is almost seven hundred square miles geographically, and has a lower population density than traditional East Coast cities and some West Coast cities, and has made public transportation a continuing challenge for us, but we recognize in 2007 that we, based on the growth projections for the next twenty years, which we will double, that we cannot build highways large enough to accommodate that kind of growth. There would be nothing but highways that we've got to find alternative means to move people around, to move goods around in this community. We have long had a monumental community battle about the institution of rail, and there is a whole debating story in history behind that. I am a big advocate for rail. We ought to have it, we've got to have it if we are to prosper, and if we are to, to help our citizens not spend two, three hours a day in their cars, on the freeways trying to get [to] work, home, and that kind of thing. And that debate sort of crescendoed in 1990. She asked me if I would share the authority because we had a big battle between local developers primarily, and their supporters in [U.S.] Congress. Unfortunately, Tom DeLay was on the transportation committee. He was a senior person, and he prohibited us from getting federal assistance for rail in Houston, as a member of the local delegation, while at the same time approving it for other communities. Seems sort of weird today, but that's what happened. Fortunately, we have had the voters, for now the third time, approved rail and we, I hope, are on our way to beginning to have the first expansion of the first seven mile system that Lee Brown [HistoryMaker Lee P. Brown] built, and I might say was built entirely with local money, and Lee Brown, while mayor, had the first seven miles, so the rail system that you see in the center of downtown that runs out to the Astrodome [NRG Astrodome, Houston, Texas]--a little bit better than seven miles, we have now approved a significant expansion of that now out and through the communities that is supposed to be accomplished over the next fifteen years or so, so--$$Okay.$$But those were the issues; those issues really continue to be debated until this day.$Let me ask you, what haven't I asked you about this job that you can tell me and how do you see this as a fit for you? I guess that's--$$Well, I think this job has been kind of natural. I served as city attorney for six years and I have had--I served in the legislature [Texas Legislature], served on city council [Houston City Council], so I think I come more uniquely qualified than anybody that's ever had it before. I happen to be the first black there that has this job but administration of a city government is something that almost everything I have done in the past has prepared me to do, so I find it exciting. We're doing a lot of new and different things. I have grown and learned in the job because I have been forced to deal with issues that I hadn't spent much time in before, particularly related to finance, and financial-related issues like pension and healthcare benefits and the intricacies of that, that I had never been particularly involved in before, I have had to become, quote, expert in. So, it's been exciting. It's been a good thing.$$Is there any particular project that, that you really would like to complete before your (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes. One of the principal initiatives of the White [Bill White] administration is the reclamation of inner--some inner city neighborhoods that have been for--now forty years, fifty years--more or less written off. They were written off because the average tax delinquency of the houses in the community is about nine, ten years tax delinquent, many of them unoccupied, many of them need to be torn down; no, no economic activity in the neighborhoods, obviously, nobody moving in. We have an initiative that we call Houston HOPE that it started out with six neighborhoods--inner city neighborhoods disbursed around the city that meet this criterion I just described. It is our plan and hope, by the end of this administration, to have built five thousand assisted affordable housing units in those neighborhoods, to have completely rebuilt the infrastructure in those neighborhoods. And by affordable, we don't mean poverty housing; we're talking about housing that in the main would be marketed for $130-140,000, but we are offering as much as $30,000 in down payment assistance, we're offering land assemblage concessions to the community development corporations to build those houses. I believe when we finish, and I think we will succeed, that that will be the impetus, because we can see it happening already, to private housing development in those neighborhoods, so that we will be the best example in America of how you reclaim inner cities in an inner city community with inner city communities like Houston [Texas]. That is called Houston HOPE, and I believe that we will show the nation how to do that.

Edward Smith, Sr.

Edward Neil Smith was born on September 19, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan. He spent much of his life in Indiana, where he earned an excellent reputation in the legal profession.

After graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1949, Smith worked as a core maker at American Foundry. He served as a caseworker for the county welfare agency in 1956 and worked his way through Indiana Central College. Majoring in government and business, he received his bachelor's degree in 1958. In 1961, Smith earned a Doctor of Law degree from Indiana University School of Law. That year, he began serving as a deputy attorney general for the State of Indiana. He was appointed deputy prosecutor for Allen County in 1962. The same year, he served as associate attorney for the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana and began practicing privately. He served for 12 years as attorney for the Wayne Township Trustee in Allen County, Indiana.

Smith studied through the University of Nevada in Reno, receiving certification from the National College of Advocacy in advanced civil and criminal trial advocacy in 1975. In 1978, the National Judicial College of the same university accredited him in administrative law procedure. Smith served as the state chairman of the Indiana Black Republican Council. He also served for four years as a board member of the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, a committee focused on civil rights, and as director for the Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service, an organization that aids the blind. He and his wife, Edna, have four adult children: Alice, Linda, Edward and Charles.

Accession Number

A2002.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/31/2002

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

University of Indianapolis

Indiana University

First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

SMI05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

9/19/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Wayne

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

City attorney Edward Smith, Sr. (1930 - ) is the associate attorney for the City of Fort Wayne and chair of the Indiana Black Republican Council.

Employment

American Foundry

Marion County Welfare Agency

State of Indiana

Allen County

City of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Favorite Color

Maroon

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Smith talks about being raised by his aunts

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Smith describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Smith talks about being raised by his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Smith talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Smith describes living at the YMCA as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Smith explains why he was enrolled in high school for six years

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Smith describes how he became a member of the Crispus Attucks High School track team

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Smith describes how he got his nickname, "69", pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Smith describes how he got his nickname, "69", pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Smith describes not playing in a major football game at Crispus Attucks High School, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Smith describes not playing in a major football game at Crispus Attucks High School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Smith describes meeting his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Smith describes his career aspirations as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Smith describes his experiences living at the Indianapolis YMCA

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Smith talks about serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Smith talks about being cut from the Indiana Central College football team

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Smith talks about attending the Indiana University School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Edward Smith describes why he moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Edward Smith describes being the only black lawyer in the Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Edward Smith talks about being a Republican in an era of declining black Republican involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Edward Smith describes an incident where he was used by members of the Republican Party

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Edward Smith describes his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Smith describes his experiences with school integration in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Smith describes the challenges he faced while operating his cement company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Smith talks about mending his relationship with his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Smith talks about starting his newspaper, "Frost", in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Smith talks about trying to franchise his newspaper, "Frost", in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Smith talks about the impact of his newspaper, "Frost"

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Smith describes the most memorable case of his law career, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Smith describes the most memorable case of his law career, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward Smith comments on the criminal justice system

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Edward Smith describes the impact of the media on the criminal justice system

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Edward Smith talks about the benefits of working in a law firm

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Edward Smith comments on his Republican beliefs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Smith comments on the value of law firms and practicing law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Smith describes the types of cases he tries

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Smith talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Smith talks about the importance of having mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Smith describes his father

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Smith describes how he received his only "D" at the Indiana University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Smith reflects upon the importance of having roots, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward Smith reflects upon the importance of having roots, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Edward Smith talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Edward Smith shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

10$13

DATitle
Edward Smith describes how he became a member of the Crispus Attucks High School track team
Edward Smith describes an incident where he was used by members of the Republican Party
Transcript
I immediately was in the area gang which was run by my uncle who's a year older than I am (laughter). See, it's funny calling him uncle 'cause we're all virtually the same age, but, and we were standing in, just before--this is when I first went to Attucks [Crispus Attucks High School, Indianapolis, Indiana]. We were standing out there on the fence and the track team was coming out for its first Spring practice, the first day in the Spring, coming out to practice. And they were wearing these, these what we call long johns, but they were gray, warm-up suits and carrying (unclear). And we were laughing at 'em and really, really disrupting the whole place. I mean it's, we weren't a gang, in the sense, drive-by shootings you talk about now. But we were a gang and we controlled that area and what not. We did pretty much what we wanted to do, to the extent we wanted to do it. And we were disrupting the practice. So the coach come over there, and he was smart, because all he had done was got cussed out if he'd been belligerent. That's, you know, just, just wouldn't have worked. He said, "Fellas", he said, I" mean we're trying to have a practice here, said, why don't you guys, look, you know, let us get through with practice and, you know, go somewhere else, have your fun." And one of the guys--I don't know what said it, said, heck, you haven't got any team, said Smitty can beat anybody you got there (laughter). He said, oh, yeah. He said, who's Smitty. He pointed at me, and everybody laughing and carrying on. He said--and then the coach got smart. He said, you mean--I tell you what, if Smitty beats so and so, you guys can stay all you want to. But if Smitty doesn't beat so and so, will, you guys leave? Said, yeah, yeah, yeah (laughter), a big joke. This coach was smart. So, and the coach had a gentleman by the name of Eulice Jackson, and anchored the relay team, and very quick. And I'm in our railroad stuff--we wore railroad. That was our uniform, our railroad cap and stuff, gym shoes. I had gym shoes on then. I have knob-tail shoes on then. And they marked off a hundred yard dash for me to run against Eulice. And it was really comical 'cause Eulice was down in his three-point and what not, ready to go. (Laughter) I was standing up. Well, of course, I beat Eulice (laughter). And the coach walked over to me, and said, "What you say your name was?" (Laughter) They had given (unclear)--wait, wait, what you gonna do (unclear)? The next thing I know I was on the track team. And that's the only time I ever beat Eulice (laughter). That's the only time I ever beat Eulice. Eulice was quick. Eulice was quick. Oh, wow. I laugh about that 'cause that's a fact. When Eulice was running 9-8, 9-9, I was doing 10-flat, 9-9. I never could catch up with him. He was, he was fast. He--at any rate, that's how I got started at Attucks as a celebrity, so to speak.$And I'm in a learning process when I come here. I come here just because I'm trying to help some black people, okay, 'cause they need--which I did. But I was unsophisticated enough to know when you're being used too. Now, the first year, I--well, 1964, [Barry] Goldwater running against--$$Johnson [President Lyndon B. Johnson] then.$$Huh?$$Johnson.$$Yeah, well, the County Chairman asked me, he says, "What do you know about Johnson? What do you know about Goldwater?" I said, I'm not in this election. I said, I'm out. I said, I say, Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act, and I don't wanna be getting into that. He said, we understand. He say, but, would you do a favor for me? We're having our treasurer meeting, our treasury board or whatever it is. It's only four people. Would you--let's just talk to them on lunch, have lunch with them and just talk to 'em." So they met at the Shrine, okay. I said, fine. I'm new in town. I'm trying to keep the politics connected up. I'm not gonna be involved, but, and then I'm gonna speak some--I can do some research on Johnson [President Lyndon B. Johnson] and how he had his deeds, and no black person could have his property. I went through the whole thing. Well, I came to the luncheon. It's four people there, and we're in a room, my God, a fourth the size of this. Let's (unclear) clean up, have a table and bring some food in. Nobody there but us. So I give me speech, and everybody liked my speech. All four people liked my speech. That's good, that's good. The evening paper, I got a half page thing on what I said about Johnson, and what I said about this, all in the paper 'cause the County, the chairman, he owned the newspaper, okay. Now, wasn't anybody there but five of us. And that was all in the paper on what I said about Johnson, which I tried to stay out of it. Well, they used me, but the thing about it. I didn't get mad at them. I wasn't--I didn't understand being used at that time. No soon it hit the paper, the black community just rose up in one big thing, man, "Run this guy out of town". And we had an ongoing, the papers sold like everything. For months we had an ongoing fight between me and them. I hadn't been there but a year (laughter). You know, and I didn't realize--what I should have been mad with was the party that did that. I didn't see it. That was one I missed. I still get mad about it, think about it 'cause that would have--did a lot of things. Everybody was mad with me. They started talking about I was responsible for the kids being blew up in Mississippi (laughter). It was bad. Yeah, it got bad. But--$$And that's an intense time. I mean the--$$Oh, that was an intense time. But I didn't understand in politics how they can use you without you knowing it. Well, I--$$It's funny. In 1964, the Democrats, I mean black Democrats, were, a lot of them were sorely disappointed at the Democratic Convention when the Mississippi Freedom Party wasn't seated.$$Right.$$Remember that?$$Right, oh, yeah.$$They were betrayed by the (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Oh, yeah, well--$$It's kind of a--(simultaneous)--$$I've been involved in politics long enough to know that there's not a hair's difference between a rabbit and a hare (laughter), okay. When it's all said and done and behind those doors, they do pretty much what they wanna do. And they scratch backs, okay. And you don't--you think there's two warring parties, but not really. It's like Venus and Serena playing tennis (laughter). You don't know who gonna win, but when they get through, they're still sisters, okay. But that's another story. What else you wanna know?