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Charles Collins

Community leader, association branch chief executive and Harvard trained lawyer Charles Collins was born on November 22, 1947 to Daniel Collins and DeReath Curtis James in the Fillmore community of San Francisco, California. After graduating from Tamalpais High School in 1965, Collins pursued higher education at Williams College, where he earned his B.A. degree with honors in 1969. Four years later, Collins earned his M.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and subsequently his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1976.

Upon completing his education, Collins began his professional career working with the law firm of Steinhart and Falconer, and then the law firm of Berkeley and Rhodes. An active member of the San Francisco and California communities, Collins led a comprehensive study for the City and County of San Francisco in 1979 and subsequently became the deputy secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the State of California in 1980. Collins has also served in leadership capacities as president and chairman of WDG Ventures, Inc., a real estate development firm in San Francisco; president and chief executive officer of the Family Service Agency of San Francisco; and president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of San Francisco. In his work with the YMCA, Collins has supported its mission to strengthen the foundations of communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Collins has received much recognition for his work in community development, including the 2003 Bicentennial Award from Williams College. In 2005, Collins was named the senior vice chairman of the National Urban League. For his dedication to the organization, the National Urban League established the Charles Collins Award in his honor. Collins was the author of The African Americans, a collection of photographs recognizing the accomplishments of African Americans in various capacities. He was also the senior editor of A Day in the Life of Africa.

Collins is married to Paula Robinson Collins. They have two daughters, Sara DeReath Collins and Julia Elizabeth Collins.

Collins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.010

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/10/2011 |and| 11/9/2012

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Old Mill Elementary School

Edna Maguire Elementary School

Tamalpais High School

Williams College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Flexible

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco

HM ID

COL20

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, but all ages

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mediterranean

Favorite Quote

Must Be A Responsible Adult Guiding Youth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/22/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and community leader Charles Collins (1947 - ) was a Harvard trained lawyer known for his dedication to the San Francisco community, primarily in his position as president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of San Francisco.

Employment

YMCA of San Francisco

Family Service Agency of San Francisco

WDG Ventures Inc.

San Francisco Art Institute

National Urban League (NUL)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Berkley and Rhodes

State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Collins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Collins discusses his maternal lineage and the history of their family business

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses his maternal family history, his grandparents, and his maternal great grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses his family's relationship with Howard Thurman and his mother's, Dereath James Collins, upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his paternal family and his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Collins talks about his father's education, how his parents met, and his early childhood in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his developmentally challenged brother, Craig Collins, and their upbringing in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Collins discusses the sociopolitical aspects of San Francisco, California during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, and his family's leisure activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses his early education and his family's move to Mill Valley, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his experience living in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes his experiences living in Washington, D.C., segregation, and his parents' civil rights involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about the shift in his perspective after returning from Washington, D.C. and his summer experience in Finland.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses his parents' political party affiliation, and his junior high school experience and his father's work

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes his high school experience in Mill Valley, California and his classmates

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Collins discusses his teen years and the musical influences in his home

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes his college application process and experience attending Williams College in Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his father's trade business in West Africa, and the challenges of importing and exporting and West African Politics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes his first impressions and experiences at Williams College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Collins talks about his art history education, African American Art and his relationship with Romare Bearden

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes Williams College's political and social environment

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his experience in the later years of the Civil Rights Movement and his extracurricular activities at Williams College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his post graduation plans, receiving the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and meeting his wife Paula Robinson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Collins discusses researching migration and city planning in South America and Rio de Janeiro, and the death of Whitney Young

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Collins discusses cinematic depictions of Brazil and the impact of rapid urbanization in Rio de Janeiro

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Collins talks about his educational influences, time spent in Athens, Greece and transitioning to Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles Collins discusses his time attending Harvard Law School, his classmates and professors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about working with Steinhart and Falconer, and Berkeley and Rhodes

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles Collins gives his thoughts on the People's Temple suicide, urban renewal and displacement, and draws connections between these phenomena

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Collins' interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles Collins remembers Jim Jones and the massacre in Georgetown, Guyana

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles Collins describes his position at the law firm of Berkley and Rhodes

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles Collins talks about the study he conducted for the San Francisco Planning Department

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes his role at the State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles Collins recalls his accomplishments at the State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles Collins describes his reasons for starting Western Development Group

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charles Collins talks about Western Development Group's construction projects, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about Western Development Group's construction projects, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Charles Collins describes San Francisco's Fillmore District, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes San Francisco's Fillmore District, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charles Collins remembers the 1989 earthquake

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about his book, 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Charles Collins remembers John Hope Franklin

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Charles Collins describes the process of selecting photographs for 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Charles Collins describes Venus Williams' photograph in 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Charles Collins talks about individual photographs in 'The African Americans'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Charles Collins remembers acquiring a photograph of Arthur Ashe

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about the initial idea for the book 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Charles Collins describes the shooting process for 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about one of the photographs in 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Charles Collins recalls the reception of 'A Day in the Life of Africa'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes how he came to work for the Family Service Agency of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Charles Collins remembers his accomplishments at the Family Service Agency of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Charles Collins describes how he became the president and CEO of the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Charles Collins recalls the state of the YMCA of San Francisco upon his arrival

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Charles Collins talks about the YMCA of San Francisco's programs

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Charles Collins talks about his work with the YMCA Sri Lanka

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Charles Collins talks about the importance of youth programming at the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Charles Collins describes the growth of the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about publicity for the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes the National Urban League's Charles Collins Award

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Charles Collins lists his organizational involvement

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Charles Collins talks about his interest in art

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Charles Collins talks about his future plans for the YMCA of San Francisco

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Charles Collins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Charles Collins reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Charles Collins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Charles Collins talks about his family, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Charles Collins talks about his family, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Charles Collins describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

9$8

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Charles Collins describes the shooting process for 'A Day in the Life of Africa'
Charles Collins talks about his book, 'The African Americans'
Transcript
Yes, we were talking about the--'A Day in the Life of Africa' [David Elliot Cohen and Lee Liberman], how, you know, one of my questions is another quan- a quantity question. Ho- how many photographers were employed on this?$$We had close to 100 photographers.$$And I guess you had to sit down and decide like where are they gonna go in Africa, right?$$You have to have an outline for such a big project and the outline was both geographic and thematic. The thing about this book ultimately that made it important and the impetus for this book was the then looming AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] crisis in Africa. Time magazine had put on its front cover, you know, the scourge of AIDS, and the decimation of the continent of Africa because AIDS had not been really focused on as a huge public health hazard. And this is an epidemic, a pandemic, and you--you, you have to--sometimes you just have to get up and do something about things. And our response and the impetus for this was that, you know, David [David Cohen] and Lee [Lee Liberman], you know, really felt that, you know, that something had to happen. We had to shine light on this continent and really let people know how important it is, you know, that Africa is not expendable. And it's certainly not expendable from the point of view of its people. And so all of the proceeds from the 'A Day in the Life of Africa' went to support AIDS education on the continent. So that was the cause, that was the reason, you know, for doing this. That we needed to shine a bright light on Africa that people would care more, that they would see the face of Africa through many, many lenses and understand how, how much we all share in its outcome. And so, you know, how you tell that story is, you know, to slice it and dice it. North, south, east, west, central, different cultures, religious, you know, themes, and, and how do you--how do you then pull that together. You bring in the best photographers in the world and you essentially ask them to go to their sweet spot. These are photojournalists, they know how to get into tough spots, they know how to get out of it. So they can go into places that would be remote or could be perilous or hazardous. But, but their, their skills, you know, their social and professional skills, and their artistic vision would be able to render something really important. They could find the moment and really define it. And so we all met in Paris [France]--there was a huge amount of planning, but we all met in Paris for a couple of days and we briefed all the photographers, gave them their equipment. Their equipment was all digital, and that was new then, you know, digital technology and photog- and photography were just beginning to fuse. And so that was just a tremendous opportunity for a lot of these photographers that had been basically, you know, taking their pictures on film to learn digital photography. And it was then gonna be a project that we could do electronically. We worked with Apple Computer [Apple Computer, Inc.; Apple Inc.] also. And so we could fuse all this technology now in the new way of storytelling. The storytelling, itself, is, is still you know rooted, you know, in humans, but we would use new technology, you know, to get the output. So we all met in Paris, we briefed them and then we sent them, you know, on planes, you know, to go to all of these different places in Africa. We had to have lots of connections. We had to have a whole command center. We had to make sure that any situations that got tight, you know, we could work through. We informed all of the embassies, all of the--all of the nations from which all of these photographers came to make sure that all of their visas and all of their, their basic needs could be met on the spot. So there was an entire logistical and support unit, you know, in case somebody got into trouble. So the photographers fanned out and they had about two days to get into their situation, two days to figure out, you know, what they were gonna do and then on the 28th of February in 2012 [sic. 2002], you know, they took those pictures.$$So, so they arrived four days ahead of time?$$They were--they were there probably, you know, yeah in some cases, you know, two to three days ahead of time just to get themselves on the ground and to get their logistics straight and how they were gonna go and what they were gonna photograph. And then they went in and they took these pictures on that day.$$Okay. This--that must've been really expensive. (Unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$It was an expensive project. It was a very expensive project because then we had to get them all back from, from where they were back to Paris. They had to deposit all their film and then we had to get them back to where they came from. So that, you know, that was just wonderful, you know, to think about, you know, getting a chance to see, you know, these, these just incredible people who wanted to co- make this contribution.$I don't know if it's time to ask you about the development of the book or not. But the book came out in nine--1993, 'The African Americans' [Charles Collins and David Cohen].$$Yeah.$$Did--when did you start working on 'The African Americans'? (Unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$That's--you know, that's--this is one of the happiest chapters of my life, you know, me doing these books. My neighbor, David Cohen, who lived literally next door to me, and his wife were very good friends of ours. And David had just completed, you know, a great set of books and he and his wife and their kids were setting off to go to Bali [Indonesia]. And we were talking over the fence and they said, "Well why don't you come over to Bali and visit us." I'd never been to Indonesia and Paula [Collin's wife, Paula Robinson Collins] hadn't either, and so we thought well what a great invitation, we--we're gonna go to Bali. And so there we were, you know, we got on the plane, went to Hong Kong and then we ended up in Indonesia and--on this beautiful island of Bali where we stayed for a couple of weeks. And in that type of space it's again amazing how creative your mind can be, when it's calm and what I always say sort of flat and horizontal and you get a chance to see new patterns. And so David and I were out playing golf in an impossibly horrible rain storm, we were the only people on the golf course. We just started thinking about, you know, books and you know, what would the shape of a book that we would do together be. And so I said, you know, "Let's do a book that really celebrates the significant achievements and contributions that black people--that African Americans have made not only to the American landscape, but to the world." And so we just committed right then and there, we said when we get back we're gonna do this book, and we did.$$Okay, okay. Now there have been other such books way back, I mean not exactly like yours but, but similar in some ways. There--(simultaneous)--$$'Songs of My People' ['Songs of My People: African Americans: A Self-Portrait,' Eric Easter and Dudley M. Brooks].$$Yeah, 'Songs of My People.' Way back Langston Hughes and Milton Meltzer actually produced 'A Pictorial History of the Negro in America'--$$That's right.$$--which a, you know, dealt with more, I think, historical pictures but then had a--had contemporary pictures done in black and white. A couple others, I think Ebony had a set, 'Black America' ['Ebony Pictorial History of Black America'], you know, with black and white pictures. Now were you--had you seen those and--$$Sure, I grew up with that type of literature. I grew up in a household where everything, you know, that was published about black people was sitting there in the bookshelves or on the table or beside the chair. So the idea of this type of ongoing celebration, a real storytelling was important to me. But one of the reasons why this book became important to me was that it was also at the beginning of the hip hop generation. And you know, young people were redefining themselves and, and brushing up against culture in really different ways and voicing who they are and what they saw and what they were concerned about, very powerfully. And my daughters [Sara Collins and Julia Collins] are of that generation. And I wanted, at the same time as they were developing their own voice and their own culture which is absolutely important for every generation to do, is to again self define and look at their own creativity and their own way that they're going to express themselves. I wanted them also to know where they came from and who they are, and to make sure that they are grounded in pride and not working from a deficit. So no matter how hard that you work, you know, as a parent to make sure that your kids feel good about themselves and they know about themselves, that they know that they're not unique, that they know that they're not really all that special, but they come from a long line of people that have been forging the story of America. You know, this was a time to create a new book that would tell the story, you know, in new terms, and that was what 'The African Americans' was all about.$$Okay, okay. So it's an idea that we've been working with for a long time, but this is a refreshment of that idea for another generation?$$I think that it's very much like HistoryMakers. You know, if you don't tell your story, somebody else is gonna tell it or they're gonna interpret it or misinterpret it, or at least you have the opportunity to have an interpretation. And in this case, I wanted 'The African Americans' not only to have the historical roots and references, you know, that we have been a part of the foundation of this country, that this country would not be the America that it is if it hadn't been for the blood, sweat, tears, labor, effort, intelligence, genius and vision of all of its people, including African Americans. And so as, as you in this great project, you know, called The HistoryMakers are allowing people to tell their story, I wanted to put it in--in a book form. I--I would've loved to have done it and there were many offers in fact for us to begin to tell the stories in other ways, but in a sense, you know, I'm really ultimately not a storyteller, I'm ultimately not a book maker, I happen to have done a couple of these things, but it takes that persistence to be able to really map it out and, and to see the future, you know, through story telling. But this was my stab at it and I wanted it not only to be grounded in the historical matter, but I also wanted to tell contemporary stories so that people could see the new heroes and sheroes are being made every single day in all these different walks of life throughout our country, throughout the landscape in all these different dimensions. That, you know, it's not over, that the best can lie ahead of us, but we need to be able to ground ourselves in the past and then also to see our way into the future.

Jeff Greenup

Jeff L. Greenup was born on March 24, 1919, on a farm in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His family included some staunch civil rights activists, and Greenup was only thirteen when he and his father were arrested for objecting to a powerful Baton Rouge businessman when he refused to pay the agreed upon price for the delivery of produce from the Greenup farm. Greenup grew up in New Orleans where he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After spending four years, one month, twenty days, and nine hours in the army, including twenty-eight months in World War II combat in the China, Burma, and India Theater, Greenup moved to New York City where he attended Long Island University on the GI Bill of Rights and received his B.S. degree in 1948. In 1951, Greenup received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and was admitted to the New York State Bar.

After graduation, Greenup formed the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup. In 1963, Greenup’s eighty-two-year-old Aunt Charlotte was arrested in Clinton, Louisiana, for protesting the treatment of African Americans, and Greenup served as one of her lawyers. Around the same time, he organized what would be known as the "United Nations Law Firm" of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister, a firm that included four partners and fourteen associates of diverse ethnic makeup. Greenup worked primarily in the area of litigation, and many of his cases were pro bono. Greenup spent six weeks during the summer of 1964 in St. Augustine, Florida, defending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers. Over the years, he also represented the NAACP, CORE, and SNCC.

Greenup served as legal counsel to the Harlem Urban Development Corporation during its entire existence and was elected as president of the New York Branch of the NAACP, where he served six consecutive terms. He litigated several famous cases, including his representation of the family of Clifford Glover, a ten-year-old black youth killed by a New York City police officer, successfully winning a significant monetary reward from the City of New York. In 1984, Greenup would serve as one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, an organization determined to advance equality, excellence and support minorities in the legal profession. Throughout the 1980s, Greenup traveled extensively. He was selected to travel to Russia to study the Russian legal system and was sent to South Africa to ensure the legitimacy of the nation’s first democratically-held election. The NAACP awarded Greenup a Valor Award in 1991. He also received the Wiley A. Branton Award from the National Bar Association and the Ming Advocacy Award from the New York City NAACP.

Greenup passed away on March 1, 2013 at the age of 93. He was the father of two daughters, Carolann and Melanie Theresa Greenup.

Jeff Greenup was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2007 |and| 4/26/2007 |and| 4/28/2007

Last Name

Greenup

Maker Category
Schools

Cornucopia School

Albert Wicker Junior High School

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Long Island University

Brooklyn Law School

First Name

Jeff

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

GRE09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda, Northern California

Favorite Quote

Treat Everybody Else The Way You Want To Be Treated And Don't Worry About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/24/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

3/1/2013

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and civil rights lawyer Jeff Greenup (1919 - 2013 ) was a former president of the New York NAACP, one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and co-founded the law firm, Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister.

Employment

NAACP New York Branch

Mack, McFadden, and Greenup

Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls being arrested as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers Eddie Robinson

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls first grade at Cornucopia School in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jeff Greenup recalls childhood holiday celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about his surname

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting a distant paternal relative

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his NAACP membership

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his U.S. Army service

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup talks about racial discrimination in the segregated U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his siblings' higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's arrest for voter registration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers representing his aunt at trial

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his cousin's role in a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup remembers riding in an all-white train car

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his move to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his early years in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about joining the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers a civil rights case in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting A.P. Tureaud, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision to attend Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers President Harry S. Truman's election

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls living at the Harlem YMCA in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup describes the riot at Camp Stewart in Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his overseas deployment during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers an attack on the white civil rights lawyers in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his paternal aunt, Charlotte B. Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup reads a letter from the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup reads the district attorney's response to the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's trial in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes a police brutality case in Nassau County, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers establishing the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls his civil rights work in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls conflicts with law enforcement during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers watching an interview with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup remembers working for Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his work at the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers Thomas Shea's trial for the murder of Clifford Glover

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about moving to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls a trial in White Plains, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers the law firm of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the search for witnesses in a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers the dismissal of a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his political affiliations

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision not to serve as a judge

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his legal work for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers Gloria Toot and Evelyn Cunningham

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his work for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the gentrification of New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the development of Lenox Terrace in New York City

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls the attempted evictions at Lenox Terrace

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his career trajectory in the NAACP

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers his election as president of the NAACP New York Branch

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Metropolitan Black Bar Association

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes the community of black lawyers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers travelling to the Soviet Union

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers his visit to the Soviet Union

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his first trip to South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his experiences in South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers receiving the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about receiving the NAACP Men of Valor award

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup describes the Wiley A. Branton Award

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his hopes for the next generation of lawyers

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 5

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$7

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail
Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2
Transcript
In those days there was a black newspaper called the Pittsburgh Courier [New Pittsburgh Courier]. And I--it used to come out once a week. I used to save my pennies, and I liked to read the Pittsburgh Courier. I read it religiously so I read a lot about the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the Pittsburgh Courier.$$And how old were you, thirteen?$$Yeah, I was thirteen then. And so on our way to jail, my dad--we were talking about what we're gonna do. So I told my dad, I said, "There's an organization I been reading about called the NAACP. Maybe you could contact them." So as we were going in jail, there was a young black man coming out of jail. And so my dad stopped him and said, "Well son, do you know Reverend G.T. Carter?" So the young man said, "Well, I've heard of him." So my dad said, "Well that's my pastor. It's very important I get a message to him. Will you get a message to him?" So by that time the police said, "Come on, move along." So my dad said, "It's very important that you contact Reverend G.T. Carter." Said, "Mister--well actually what, what I'm gonna tell him?" "Tell him Deacon Greenup [Wallace Greenup] and his son are in jail; I need to see him." Lucky for me and my dad, that young man found Reverend G.T. Carter who was our pastor. Told him we were--gave him my daddy's message and he came to see us. So we were talking to the (unclear). Pastor Carter, he and my daddy were, daddy were discussing and agonizing over what they could do to get us out, you know. Left the wagon on the street and all that stuff. So my dad says, "Well my son was telling me about an organization called the NAA something, and I--he been reading about it and he think they may be able to help us." So Reverend Carter said, "Yes, NAACP." So my dad said, "You know anything about it?" He said, "Yeah, sure. I know Walter White when they, they meet at my church sometimes." So my dad said, "Well, where are they?" He said, "Well, they have a headquarters up in New York [New York]." So my dad sort of crestfallen, he said, "Boy, New York. I don't know anybody in New York gonna help us way down here." So Reverend Carter says, "Well I, I know Walter," Walter White was the national executive secretary, "and I'll call him." So as a result of that incident, the meeting the young man coming out of jail as we were going in, and he took my dad's message to Reverend Carter. Reverend Carter did call New York and he got Walter White and told him about our situation. And Walter White I'm told, called a lawyer named Thurgood [Thurgood Marshall], and Thurgood had lawyers around the country who would cover certain areas for him and the lawyer in Louisiana name was A.P. Tureaud. So as a result of that, they arranged for A.P. Tureaud to come get my dad and me out of jail, and he got us out of jail and he represented us. Incidentally, he was down in New Orleans [Louisiana], which is about eighty-five miles south of Baton Rouge [Louisiana]. And so we spent the night in jail. And I don't recall who took care of my dad's wagon and horses, but I do remember he told Reverend Carter he had left the horse, wagon and not long later Reverend Carter saw to it that somebody went and got the, the team. But as a result of that incident, A.P. Tureaud came and got us out of jail. That's the first and only lawyer I'd ever met, and it was as a result of that meeting and my experience with A.P. Tureaud that caused me to want to be a lawyer, and so I, I made up my mind that's what I was gonna be.$You said you and Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] crawled into the tent.$$No, we walked to the tent and, and, and in the broad daylight just before sundown so anybody who was watching would see that he was going in the tent 'cause the plan was to let whoever it was think he was in the tent when midnight came. So we walked to the tent, and he waved to folk who were out front and inclu- including Hosea Williams and other lawyers, said good night and he and I tucked in. But we only tucked, tucked in for a second, for a second. Went in and, and we didn't walk out, we crawled out of the tent all the way back to the office, and then they took him out the back of the office and took him to another location. And I stayed in the office along with a doctor, Dr. Hayling [Robert Hayling] was the dentist's name and the other members of my staff, the other four lawyers. And I think--let's see, Hosea Williams, he didn't stay; he went with Dr. King. He's one that took Dr. King wherever he took him. I don't even know where he stayed that night. And so at one, 'bout one minute after twelve [o'clock], somebody threw a stick of dynamite in the tent and blew it up. And we knew--we really became concerned then as to how that young kid knew that, and he had to hear it from somebody. And whoever he heard it from, had to be an adult and had to be--we concluded on the plan of what happened. And unfortunately the reporter said dynamite, dynamite in other tents--police, nothing happened. And I also wondered who that young kid was, where he was and I made that statement once before. I didn't know I was being covered and The New York Times picked it up and wrote it in a column. They asked me who my unsung heroes were. And I said that kid was one of them. And but I never found out who he was.$$Well you have a picture of him, though.$$That kid?$$Yes. No$$No, that picture is Dr. Hayling who's the dentist.$$The dentist's office, okay.$$Whose office we were--he allowed us to use that as our headquarters. And he had some awful type experiences also.$$So that kid saved your life as well that night.$$Oh yeah, my life and Dr. King's. We, we wondered how he knew we was gonna be sleeping in the tent. Which meant somebody had been talking out of school. I don't know how it happened, but I know the policy was that he would not sleep in the same place two nights in a row while he was there.

Margaret Bush Wilson

NAACP leader, activist attorney Margaret Bush Wilson was born Margaret Bush on January 30, 1919, in St. Louis, Missouri. Wilson’s father, a railway postal clerk, James Thomas Bush was a 1900 Prairie View A&M graduate and her mother, Margaret Bernice Casey Bush taught kindergarten. Both of Wilson’s parents were active in the local NAACP, with her mother serving as an executive board member. Wilson attended grade school on the grounds of Sumner High School where lifelong friend Julia Davis mentored her. After graduating from Sumner High School in 1935, Wilson enrolled at Talladega College where she was awarded a Juliette Derricotte Fellowship to study at Visva-Bharati University in India, and where she met Nobel Prize winning poet, Rabindranath Tragore. Wilson graduated in 1939 with her B.S. degree in economics. A beneficiary of the Gains v. Canada law suit, Wilson enrolled in Missouri’s newly created Lincoln University Law School, graduating and passing the bar in 1943. Wilson was in the second class which had one other woman enrolled; she was the second woman of color admitted to practice in Missouri, joining Dorothy Freeman, Edith Sampson, Frankie Freeman, Sadie Alexander and other female law pioneers.

Starting as a clerk/secretary for attorney David Grant, Wilson was soon hired by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Electrification Administration. Marrying Robert E. Wilson in 1944, Wilson joined her husband in Chicago as he finished Kent College of Law. In 1946, Wilson returned to St. Louis and started the law firm Wilson and Wilson with her husband. Wilson’s specialty was real estate law, which complimented her father’s profession as a realtor. Wilson served as counsel for the black Real Estate Brokers Association, initiated by her father, and was instrumental in Shelley v. Kramer, a 1948 Supreme Court ruling that held housing covenants unenforceable. Active in the St. Louis NAACP, Wilson became St. Louis NAACP branch president in 1958 and worked cooperatively with Marion Oldham of CORE. During Wilson’s presidency, the NAACP won several civil rights cases including the Rankin Trade School Case and the Jefferson Bank case. In 1962, Wilson became president of the Missouri NAACP. During President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, Wilson served as deputy director of the Model Cities Program. As head of Lawyers for Housing in 1966, Wilson proposed the creation of one thousand new units of housing. In 1975, Wilson became chairman of the national NAACP board, serving nine terms.

During the 1980s, Wilson served as chairman of the board of the Mutual Insurance Company of New York, Real Estate Investment Trust. Wilson was also past board chairman of two historically black colleges, St. Augustine's College and Talladega, in addition to serving on numerous boards for national companies and nonprofit organizations. A trustee-emeritae of Washington University and Webster University, Wilson served as chair of Law Day 2000 for the American Bar Association.

Wilson, whose hero was Celie, the victim in a nineteenth century Missouri slavery trial, raised one son and was continuing to practice law in St. Louis at the time of her HistoryMakers interview.

Wilson passed away on August 11, 2009 at the age of 90.

Accession Number

A2006.177

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2006

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bush

Schools

Charles H. Sumner High School

Lincoln University School of Law

Talladega College

First Name

Margaret

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

WIL33

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/30/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Louis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

8/11/2009

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and real estate lawyer Margaret Bush Wilson (1919 - 2009 ) was formerly St. Louis NAACP chapter president and a Missouri NAACP president, and served nine terms as chairman of the national NAACP board. An accomplished attorney, she was instrumental in Shelley v. Kraemer, a 1948 Supreme Court ruling that held housing covenants unenforceable.

Employment

Department of Community Affairs

Model Cities

Lawyers for Housing

Favorite Color

Lemon Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Margaret Bush Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother's childhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes segregation in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the vendors in her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes herself as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers St. Louis baseball teams

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Annie Malone, founder of Poro College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her mother's NAACP involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her teacher, Julia Davis

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls attending St. James A.M.E. Church in St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her academic and extracurricular interests

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls attending Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the teachers at Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her pastimes as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson compares St. Louis, Missouri to Talladega, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson explains how she paid tuition at Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her experiences at Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers being awarded a scholarship to travel to India

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls studying at Visva-Bharati University in India

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting Rabindranath Tagore

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her reception as an African American in India

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the caste system in India

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting Mahatma Gandhi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls meeting Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her return to the United States from India

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her mentor, Hilda Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her activities at Talladega College

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 1938

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her education at Lincoln University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her experiences at Lincoln University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers passing the bar exam in Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers trying her first case

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls working for the Rural Electrification Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers living briefly in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the Real Estate Brokers Association of St. Louis

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the legal proceedings of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson speculates how the case of Shelley v. Kraemer was won

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the historic designation of the Shelley house

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her campaign for U.S. Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls becoming president of St. Louis' NAACP chapter

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls integrating St. Louis' Ranken Trade School, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls integrating St. Louis' Ranken Trade School, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working with the St. Louis chapter of CORE

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers attending the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson shares her criticism of the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Roy Wilkins

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Benjamin Hooks' leadership of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 1982

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon her conflict with Benjamin Hooks

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working for the St. Louis Model Cities program

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls being terminated from the Model Cities program

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working for Lawyers for Housing

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls forming the Land Reutilization Authority

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls organizing the NAACP's first trip to Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the NAACP's delegation to Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon the NAACP's relationship with Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company case

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about her law firm, Wilson and Associates

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her greatest reward for her life's work

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave, 1855

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about the impact of Celia's story

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her hopes for the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls hosting Clarence Thomas in her home, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls hosting Clarence Thomas in her home, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 1
Margaret Bush Wilson recalls becoming president of St. Louis' NAACP chapter
Transcript
Well, let, let me go back to one thing before I take you to Talladega [Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama], just one, one more thing, and that, that's kind of a sweeping kind of thing. But how did the Great Depression affect your family--$$Ooh.$$--and life?$$It, it kind of, kind of did us in. By the time of the Great Depression, my f- my father [James T. Bush, Sr.] was doing very well in business prior to that. And so we moved from Cote Brilliante [Avenue] to Enright [Avenue] into a bigger house, twelve rooms over there, fourteen over here or something (laughter). I don't remember what it was, but it was a huge house, 4149 Enright. I never did like it though 'cause it was dark inside and not enough sunlight. But at any rate, you know, that's where we lived. And business was very good. My father was selling real estate and making loans. And he had a, he had a connection with a group in Denver, Colorado, of African Americans called the American Woodmen [Supreme Camp of the American Woodmen]. And this was per- a fraternal organization that accumulated a lot of resources from the members, I assume, and investments and whatnot. And they had, they had the ability to give lines of credit to, to people, and my father was one to whom they gave a line of credit. And there was a practice here in St. Louis [Missouri] back in those days of selling property to black people for a very small down payment and very small monthly payments for several years and then a balloon at the end. You had to pay it off at the end. And when the balloon came due, instead of these real estate brokers refinancing it so they could continue to pay it, they called in the balloon note, which these people could not pay, of course, and they'd take the property back. And it was, it got to be a racket in the black community. People were you- losing their property right and left. We'd get the small down payment, regular payment, balloon note, couldn't pay, take it back, start a--this, you know. And they were--$$So, so this is a form of predatory lending--$$It was, well--$$--similar to what's going on now, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, but it was, it was, it was designed and calculated to make money for them at the expense of the black community. And my father, watching this, decided that he would ask the American Woodmen in Denver to give him a line of credit. I think it was a hundred thousand dollars. I don't remember exactly, but it was a substantial sum. And then he watched the foreclosures in the newspaper, the Daily Record [St. Louis Daily Record]. And when he saw a foreclosure in the black community and a balloon note, he'd call the people and say you wanna refinance? Oh, oh, of course. He would refinance it, and then he'd go down and pay it off, and he broke it up. And the brokers on Chestnut Street, which was a street where all the real estate, couldn't figure out what was going on at first, because their little gig had now suddenly been stopped by whatever, somebody. These people were getting money from somebody. They didn't know where it was coming from. And they finally learned that it was my father and James T. Bush and Company [St. Louis, Missouri], which was his name. And so one of these people called up my father, said, "Mr. Bush, we'd like to talk to you. Why don't you come on down to our office." And Mr. Bush said, "You want to talk to me, you come out here to my office," (laughter). They ain't (unclear) they blew their mind. You come to me; you want to talk, you come to me. And apparently they came, and he told them that, you know, what they were doing was inappropriate, and what he was doing was quite appropriate, in light of what they were doing. And that broke it up.$Now, what were the steps now? In the next four years you become the president of the St. Louis [Missouri] chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], by 1958. So that's--$$Nine [1959], '9 [1959] (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) four years later.$$Yeah.$$What happened in those four years to propel you to the presidency?$$Well, let me--it, it, it wasn't anything that happened in the four years that precipitated that. The NAACP was headed by a very dynamic trade unionist named Ernest Calloway. And he was doing a pretty good job, but there were people who felt very strongly that the trade unionists were trying to capture the NAACP branch and control it. And he was facing this rumble. And I had been active with the NAACP for several years and had started something called the Job Opportunities Council [sic. Job Opportunity Council] with a group that I belonged to. And I was on the exec- executive committee and practicing law. I had no intention of running for nothing (laughter) at this point. And out of the clear blue sky came a small committee. I'm trying to--I can't even remember who the people were now, but they came to my office one day and said, "We'd like you to run for president of the NAACP." Well, now Ernest Calloway and I were very good friends. I said, "What," (laughter)? And I said, "Oh no, I, I'm not gonna run against Calloway; that's absurd." And I left it there. But the next time I saw Calloway I said to him, "I had this delegation come and ask me to run against you for president." He said, "If you will run, I will step down." And I did one of these. I said, "What?" He said, "If you, you will run, I will step down." I said, "Why?" He said, "Because I think it's better for you to be president than for me to be president." This is a very wise guy now I realize. He understood what this meant in terms of the, not people, but in terms of the integrity of the branch. So, well, I was just flabbergasted. I mean I, you know, I did not seek this position, but I said, "Well." But he said, "I think you should tell them that you'll consider it," and that's what I went back and did. And then he announced that he was not gonna run. And then they got another person to run against me, a minister of one of the churches. But I beat him (laughter), and that's how I got to be president.

W. Gregory Wims

William Gregory Wims was born on September 2, 1949 in Bethesda, Maryland. His mother worked as a domestic and his father was a laborer. He earned his high school diploma from Gaithersburg, High School in 1968, where he played on the track and football teams and was active in civil rights sit-ins.

From 1968 until 1970, Wims attended Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. In 1969, he was named the Vice President of the Maryland Youth Commission. In 1970 he transferred to Howard University but left before earning his degree.

In 1972, Wims was hired as the coordinator for the Extension Service for the 4-H Club of Montgomery County. In 1974, he became the first male Head Start Teacher in Montgomery County and worked on Republican Newton Stears’ campaign for Congress. From 1976 until 1978, he worked as Stears’ legislative assistant and became the first African American professional from Montgomery County to work on Capitol Hill. In 1978, Wims became a legislative assistant for Congressman Melvin Evans. From 1981 until 1989, he worked in the legislative affairs office for the Secretary of Agriculture and a Special Assistant to the Director for Minority Affairs and Economic Development. In 1989 he started his consulting firm, Hammer and Nails, which assists local businesses in working with the federal government.

In the early 1990s, Wims served as the membership chairperson for the NAACP, recruiting more than a thousand new members. In 1994, he was elected president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP. During his tenure, he was successful in highlighting discrimination claims of African American employees at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH case received local and national media coverage and led to Wims becoming president of the Maryland NAACP chapter. In 1996, Wims founded the Victims Rights Foundation (VRF), an organization providing financial and emotional support to crime victims. Through the VRF Wims was able to provide thousands of dollars to the families of the Washington, D.C. sniper victims in 2003.

Accession Number

A2004.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2004

Last Name

Wims

Maker Category
Middle Name

Gregory

Schools

Gaithersburg High School

Gaithersburg Senior High School

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Bethesda

HM ID

WIM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/2/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive W. Gregory Wims (1949 - ) was the former president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, the Maryland NAACP, and served as the vice president of the Maryland Youth Commission.

Employment

4-H Club of Montgomery County

United States House of Representatives

United States Department of Agriculture

Director of Minority Affairs and Economic Development

Hammer and Nails

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Montgomery County NAACP

Victims Rights Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of W. Gregory Wims' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his maternal and paternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims recalls walking to school and childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims describes his childhood community of Stewart Town in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - W. Gregory Wims describes his personality in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Junior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Senior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his views on the Civil Rights Movement during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his first jobs in public service after leaving college in 1972

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about working as a legislative aide in the United States Congress

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience working in the administration of President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his role working on the 8(a) program for the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his involvement with civil rights issues and the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims considers the effects of his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at GEICO and Hughes Network Systems

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his tenure as president of the Maryland NAACP chapter

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about organizing a task force to study discrimination in the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes for the future of the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes the work of the Victims' Rights Foundation during the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes and plans for the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his life and considers whether he would have done anything differently

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about why he thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims shares his values

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims relates his hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland
W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation
Transcript
Let's talk a little bit about your involvement with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the early '90s [1990s], so around '92 [1992] or so. You were very active fighting against discrimination at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]--$$Yes.$$--in Bethesda [Maryland]; tell us a little bit about--$$Okay.$$--how that all came about.$$Okay. Well, first I have to go back to my father [Earl Wims] being a fighter, although, he only went to the third grade and that's always been in me. And then with the great experience that I like to say, from Capitol Hill [Washington, D.C.], four years, and then with the [President Ronald Wilson] Reagan administration working at the White House [Washington, D.C.] and that; as a matter of fact, I even traveled abroad, went to Africa, to several countries as an ambassador for the president. There was a lot of things that I learned and did in those eight years working for President Reagan. When the NAACP first approached me to work with them, I used all that knowledge that I had, one in recruiting members. And when I first--well, actually, I was--I said I was the vice president, I was actually the director of membership for the NAACP, locally, Montgomery County [Maryland] from '90 [1990]--probably '90 [1990] to '91 [1991], for about two years. And then that's when I ran for president because I had brought in 1,000 members; it's like unheard of, anywhere in the nation. If you think about it, ask that--an individual bring in 1,000 members--$$How were you so successful with your recruiting?$$Because I learned the marketing skills again, working on Capitol Hill and understanding media and relationships and working with the president and with the companies around the nation. I just had a feel for how to present material. I would sell information. And so I would present the NAACP as the only avenue for civil rights and that I made a commitment to them that we would work and not just be a paper tiger, and people believed then that message and so we--and we did some things. But when I became president, I had watched from my mother [Rachel Stewart Wims] cleaning houses of doctors and scientists at NIH, how they had an opinion that they were like God; that they were more important than anybody. And so I've never forgotten that part, that they were human beings like all of us. If you--in an auto accident, you bleed like everybody else if you--and when I was at NI--the president of NAACP, the first group of people that came to me, they were literally thirty women and about--there were thirty-five guys saying, "We're being discriminated against. We cannot get, in the janitorial thing, permanent status, we're, we're indentured servants," as I called it. Now, see, they were--what they were, they were contract employees, five, ten years some of them, no health insurance, no benefits at all. They worked for a salary, you know, and it was ridiculous, in the federal government. The women who came, I cannot move as a secretary to the next level, get a grade raise say from a GS-5 [General Schedule] to a GS-7 because a white woman would come in, I would train her and then she would move ahead to maybe a GS-7 and that would happen almost every time with the women 'cause there's always white women against the women. And then some of the other guys who happened to be, sort of, maybe professional, a few, not that many, first came to me, they were a GS-9, which is still low, but they couldn't get the promotions just because of racism. So with that information, I held a meeting and asked people to come, and to my surprise, one hundred employees came to the meeting and they all had stories; I mean, I couldn't believe it. I said one hundred people, would you certify--would you sign a letter saying that you have been discriminated--and from there on I was so outraged as the leader. We had to talk--we were working with the NAACP, we had to get permission from the executive board said, "This is the issue. I would like to have a press conference and I would like to denounce all of this." And the folks who had been there for years said, "Well, we have heard of these things, but until you came and really put it all together, we didn't realize it was this widespread." So they gave me permission and we went down and what was so big about this where it go to be a national story and an international story, the employees came out with me to the press conference, and that had never been heard of, where people who worked for the government would come out and fight against the government. And we ended up going back because nothing would happen, each week for three weeks and it grew to 200 employees, stood with me and the NAACP in that third week, and then the lady, the director said, "Yes, we have a problem."$$And was it Bernadine Healy at that time?$$Bernadine Healy. She was one of the few people in all my NAACP history would admit that they were doing something wrong and said, "Yes, we have a problem. We're going to work it out." And it turned out that we helped a lot of those people and it was a great experience. But there was actually a public hearing on Capitol Hill. Congressman Albert Wynn, an African American congressman who rep--$$From Maryland?$$--from Maryland, who now is part of the Congressional Black Caucus, held hearings to talk and called the scientists and doctors in and my statement was, "These guys are not God. They should treat us taxpayers, although, we're working there, as human beings." I remember that statement. And we had some things changed.$So, around the mid to late '90s [1990s], you started becoming involved--you started getting involved in victims' rights issues.$$Yes.$$Tell me a little bit about what spurred your involvement in victims' rights issues.$$When I left the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], I wanted to--I like to call myself a renaissance person. You know, the issues are there, but people see, but they don't know what to do with it. So when it comes to victims, I'm saying, "Well, every day there's a victim in our community and people are saddened by it. They don't know what to do." So I said, "From my experience again, through the church, the NAACP," I said, "What can we do to help them?" So what I thought of, and I got several colleagues to start the Victims' Rights Foundation, a 501(c)(3), a non-profit foundation, is to one, volunteer. Everything we do will be volunteer, that no one will get paid, no matter how busy we are, how widespread that we're known throughout the nation, because people need to know that we care about them, that's why we volunteer. Two, to go to court with the families that are victims when they have to look at for the first time, the person who committed the crime, whether it was someone who murdered their loved one, or someone who abused their child or whatever. And, usually, court dates only go from two to a week. You know, you see on TV these long trials, but for most victims, it's mostly, low income on low income; I wouldn't say black on black 'cause there's all kinds of victims, but those trials don't last that long. So for two days to a week, we would sit with the family and support them during the trial, and that means a lot because usually the family members are only one to three people, but yet, the lawyer has his people and the family, 'cause they're trying to stop the person from going to jail. There might be ten or fifteen on the criminal side, as I call it, but on the victim's side it's just us. And then the third thing, so it's very--there's only three goals in, in the organization, is that we would raise money to help some family members that were desperate for medical or burial on some cases, there might even be a reward that we put out for something that's really bad with crime solving. So in starting that organization, we have been able to help now in eight years we have been volunteering, you know, several dozen families, but we've raised something like a million dollars for help, and we have been to court maybe twenty-five times or so with families over the last eight years with Victims' Rights Foundation.$$But was there any particular case or issue that really initiated this?$$That's a good question, because it was inspired again, I call it divine intervention by God, because I've never been a victim or any one of my immediate family and people ask me that, they're really surprised. I'm blessed, and I'm hoping I won't be a victim or no one in my family, but I can see from just church work what was happening.$$Is it victims of violent crimes?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Because we don't, can't help--because we're volunteering.$$Sure.$$We--strictly, the worst of the crimes. And I have to say, sometimes I pray to God as a God, why do you let me see these things? Because when I go to see a--like a case we're working on now, a mother went to the store and she came back, her nine-year-old daughter was shot in the back and her husband shot several times in a robbery, and I'm dealing with the mother now who's crying almost every time we see her on my shoulder. I say, "Man." and that gets me. Why do you see--but if it wasn't for us helping her, she probably wouldn't be able to make it.$$Right.$$So it's victims of violent crime, and we support them in a volunteer effort.$$But was there any particular case, in particular?$$Oh, now this started--there was one case that you know how everyone says, "I'm going to do something about that?" Three African American women, ages nineteen through twenty-three, went out to a club after work on a Friday night just to have a good time. Some man approached them and evidently, he wanted to try to rob them or try to rape them, but whatever the situation, it didn't work and he killed all three young ladies, nineteen to twenty-three. And the bad part about it, 'cause we had not seen that kind of thing before, he drove them off from where he murdered them, as we now know now because the trial has already happened, and dumped their bodies on the side of a road in Prince George's County, Maryland, and it just so happened it was adjacent to the [U.S.] Department of Agriculture's research building there. And that's when I said, "Boom, somebody has to do something. This is the most horrifying thing we've ever seen." Called our friends, and on that one, we actually raised money to put up a reward. We put up a reward. It was on TV. We counseled the families, and then we went to court with 'em and that started a long campaign now of eight years going.$$And did the reward lead to the arrest of the--$$As it turned out--$$--perpetrator?$$--we could put the money back in the bank. The good detective work helped, but what the reward did was gave it more media attention. It wasn't just another statistic, 'cause after a couple weeks people forget and they move on, but we kept it in the media for--actually, it was about four months. They didn't catch the person 'til about eight months out, actually. And that's what we do also with the media, we keep it alive.

Matthew Little

Civil rights advocate Matthew Little has been one of Minnesota's most prominent black leaders. He was born on August 21, 1921 in Washington, North Carolina. As a youth he promised his parents he would become a doctor. Shortly after graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1943, Little was drafted. After World War II, Little, an excellent student, could not get into medical school. Severely depressed, and ashamed he wanted to get to the northernmost, coldest place he could find. He flipped a coin at the bus station and headed for Minneapolis, instead of Denver and for a year his family searched desperately for him. A year later, he picked up the phone and his mother said, "Brother, is that you?"

Leaving the formal version of segregation in the South behind him, Little settled in Minneapolis where he worked as a waiter in a hotel and at the local post office. When he sought a position as a firefighter, racial discrimination prevented his hiring and he learned a lesson about the north. Eventually, Little started his own successful landscaping business.

Little has been active in civil right efforts for over fifty years. As president of the Minnesota chapter of the NAACP, Little organized busloads of Minnesota activist for the historic 1963 March On Washington. He has rallied for continued support of affirmative action and desegregation of the Minnesota Public Schools. He supported the NAACP lawsuit against the government of Minnesota, which charged the public school system with failing to provide an equal education to all children. Little supported busing as the best solution to the problem of school inequality, which has placed him at odds with some local black politicians as well as the white ones. He cultivated a strong relationship and influence with the African American community and the business community and was instrumental in persuading the Minnesota Vikings management to hire Dennis Green as their first black head coach. He served as the chairman of the board of the Minnesota NAACP.

In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to his community, Little has received numerous awards. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in May of 2002. Little and his wife Lucille lived in St. Paul. He passed away on January 26, 2014.

Matthew Little
CivicMaker
Civic Leader
141 words
Unidentified/BEG

Civil rights advocate Matthew Little has been one of Minnesota's most prominent black leaders. He was born on August 21, 1921, in Washington, North Carolina. Shortly after graduating from North Carolina A&T State University in 1943, Little moved to Minneapolis, where he continues to reside. Little was active in civil right efforts for more than fifty years. Formerly a president of the Minnesota chapter of the NAACP, Little then acted as its chairman. He rallied for continued support of affirmative action and desegregation. He supported the NAACP lawsuit against the government of Minnesota, which charged the public school system with failing to provide an equal education to all children. In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to his community, Little was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in May 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.145

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2002

Last Name

Little

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Washington High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

LIT02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cancun, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Minnesota

Birth Date

8/21/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

1/26/2014

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and civil rights activist Matthew Little (1921 - 2014 ) was the head of the Minnesota NAACP.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:5924,124:11748,158:49216,488:83125,808:107880,880:135188,1042:135500,1047:136046,1055:146498,1217:152510,1249:158642,1267:185208,1545:200830,1655$0,0:14304,123:20803,234:95516,964:97716,1015:113292,1220:115742,1247:123770,1308:139740,1527:140108,1532:152908,1610:171992,1733:192712,1848:256650,2465:271900,2581:288050,2715
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Matthew Little's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Matthew Little lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Matthew Little talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Matthew Little talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Matthew Little talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Matthew Little talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Matthew Little describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Matthew Little describes segregation in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Matthew Little describes the violence experienced by the black community in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Matthew Little talks about the black community in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Matthew Little talks about the disenfranchisement of his black community in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Matthew Little describes his education in Washington, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Matthew Little describes a math teacher who motivated him

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Matthew Little talks about his experience at Washington Colored High School, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Matthew Little talks about his experience at Washington Colored High School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Matthew Little describes his participation in NAACP meetings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Matthew Little describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Matthew Little describes his mother's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Matthew Little talks about graduating from Washington Colored High School and attending North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Matthew Little recalls the teacher who influenced him at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Matthew Little describes his experience in the United States Army at Fort Bragg and Camp Croft

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Matthew Little describes the African American divisions of the United States Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Matthew Little talks about his experience training with the 364th Infantry Regiment

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Matthew Little talks about his experience with the 364th Infantry Regiment in the Aleutian Islands

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Matthew Little talks about ending his service with the United States Army 364th Infantry Division

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Matthew Little describes his experience trying to enroll in medical school after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Matthew Little describes moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Matthew Little describes his experience living in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Matthew Little describes being prevented from joining the Minneapolis, Minnesota Fire Department, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Matthew Little describes his hiring discrimination suit against the Minneapolis Fire Department

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Matthew Little talks about his early involvement with the Minnesota NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Matthew Little describes his mentor, Cecil E. Newman

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Matthew Little talks about the political environment of Minnesota in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Matthew Little describes the Civil Rights progress of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Matthew Little describes organizing a group from Minneapolis to attend the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Matthew Little talks about organizing the Minnesota March on Washington Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Matthew Little describes Hubert Humphrey's betrayal of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Matthew Little talks about his experience as executive vice president of the Minnesota NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Matthew Little describes the struggle to desegregate the Minneapolis School District, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Matthew Little describes the struggle to desegregate the Minneapolis School District, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Matthew Little describes integrating the Minnesota Vikings franchise, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Matthew Little describes integrating the Minnesota Vikings franchise, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Matthew Little talks about persuading Grand Metropolitan of Britain to keep Pillsbury's diversity department in 1988

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Matthew Little describes his friendship with Roy Wilkins

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Matthew Little talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Matthew Little talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Matthew Little talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Matthew Little narrates his photographs

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DATitle
Matthew Little describes his experience in the United States Army at Fort Bragg and Camp Croft
Matthew Little describes his hiring discrimination suit against the Minneapolis Fire Department
Transcript
So, at Fort Bragg [United States Army instillation in North Carolina], what did you, what did you encounter at Fort Bragg?$$Well, as s- as the whole Army was segregated at that time, of course, we, we went through the, all of the enlisted men and all of the--were black and all the officers were white, of course; and we went through--it was just--that was just a staging area. We went through the examinations and all kinds of examination to see that we were fit physically to join the Army, to be in the Army, and as far as I know we all (laughter) all passed; and then we were assigned to different units for basic training. I was--mine was camp, Camp Croft in South Carolina--Spartanburg, South Carolina. And that's where I did my basic training. And again as was the other case, all of our officers were white, our enlisted men; our non-coms [non-commissioned officers], most of our non-coms were African American. And we went through the rigours of basic training, which was just that (laughter): complete rigours and, and let you know exactly what you had to do, where you had to do it, and how you have to it; no deviations whatsoever. All those things, that's a part of transferring a civilian into an army and an army mentality, and learning to shoot different rifles, the different ammunition of that time; and, and the whole bit and stand out those bivouacs at night; and, and learn to find your way on the compass; and learning to assemble your, your favorite weapon, which was an M1, how to dissemble it and reassemble it at night; and all of those very basic things that you had to learn in, transform a civilian into, into a soldier.$But, I was so upset that I felt that I wanted to consult, to contact a one-on-one basis those three retired captains. And from the Civil Service they said that that was, that they couldn't do that. But, finally I was so persistent, finally I got one of the clerks to give me the name and address of one of the, those captains, and I'll never forget it one Sunday morning I went over to his house. He was living in Saint Paul [Minnesota], and this was Minneapolis [Minnesota]. But, I went over to his house and when he saw me and wandered what I wanted. I said, "I'd like to talk with you," said may I come in. He said--finally let, he let me in. And I said I want an explanation how in the world could you possibly have given me that kind of score on the strength of the questions that were asked. And he actually confessed. He said, "Well I tell you Mr. Little, you know, I've been in the fire department for thirty-five years and, and this is a special kind of job. That you work closely, you live with your companion that's assigned to you, you sleep with him, you're a buddy with him, your life depend on it, and I think mixing of the races just simply won't mix; it won't work out," which was to me was a total admission and I took down the exact words, I did for documentation purposes. And later, of course, after becoming in the sys, being part of the system and becoming head of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and involved in some other Civil Rights organization, we were able to get a suit against the fire department, which, which reached a decree that they had to hire--they stopped hiring the process altogether until at least fifteen African American fire were, were, were hired, was certified and hired. And the main, and, and the main, and, and the main-- of that suit, that that main telling testimony was the documentation of my course, of my case and now, of course--$$When was that ruling?$$Good question. I think that was ruling was about seventy--, about some place in the mid '70s' [1970s]. I could, I could get that--$$That's almost thirty years after the event, right?$$Um-hum. By this time, of course, we had a lot more young people to come into Minnesota. It was yep. It was quite a distance after that we didn't have any, and, and they filled those and got--(unclear)--and now we have, and ours and they have an African American Firefighter's Association, which is a part of the national, and they enshrined me into their Hall of Fame with a certificate and everything. But, that's what led me more and more to this being involved in civil rights of this area, primarily with the NAACP and several organizations.$$Oh, I'm sorry.