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

Reverend Dr. Dwight Andrews

Musical theorist, composer and minister, the Reverend Dwight Douglas Andrews was born on September 24, 1951, in Detroit, Michigan, to city administrator James Wildrex Andrews and Lovetta Foster Andrews. He attended Longfellow Elementary School and Durphy Junior High School, where music instructor Andy White introduced him to live jazz performed by Yusef Lateef, Ramsey Lewis, the Jazz Crusaders and other greats. At Cass Technical High School, Andrews studied the classics and learned music theory from Marilyn Jones. He also led his own band called the Seven Sounds, which often opened for the group Parliament-Funkadelic. Earning a partial scholarship to the University of Michigan in 1969, Andrews played in the marching band at two Rose Bowls and participated in the Black Action Movement (BAM). Receiving his B.A. degree in 1973 and his M.A. degree in music, Andrews went on to Yale University to earn his Masters of Divinity degree in 1977 and his Ph.D. in music theory in 1993.

Ordained as a minister in 1978, Andrews served as associate pastor of Christ’s Church as well as a faculty member of the Music Department and the Department of African American Studies. He served as the Yale University campus chaplain for ten years. At Yale University, Andrews met Lloyd Richards of the Yale Repertory Theatre and playwright, August Wilson. As the Yale Repertory’s resident music director, Andrews would go on to compose the original musical scores for most of the August Wilson Broadway productions including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars. Andrews also composed movie and television scores for The Old Settler, W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices, In Her Own Words, Homecoming, Ms. Evers Boys and I’ll Make Me A World. He worked with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Phylicia Rashad on a new Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Specializing in woodwinds, Andrews has served as a multi-instrumentalist on over twenty-five jazz and new music albums. He can be heard on Jay Hoggard’s The Right Track with Hilton Ruiz and Jack Dejhonette.

Since 1994, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Andrews has served as an associate professor of music theory, where he teaches “The History of Jazz” and “Sacred Music in the United States.” He also serves as pastor of First Congregational Church, where Rev. Andrew Young is associate pastor. He was the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African American Music at Harvard University in 1997. Andrews has received the Pew Trust/TCG Artist Residency Fellowship, a Mellon Fellowship and Emory University’s Distinguished Teacher Award.

Accession Number

A2006.093

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/16/2006

Last Name

Andrews

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Longfellow Elementary School

Durfee Elementary School

University of Michigan

Yale Divinity School

Yale University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends

First Name

Dwight

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

AND02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Availability Specifics: Thursday, Evenings Through Monday Evenings

Preferred Audience: Any

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/24/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Music director, chaplain, and pastor Reverend Dr. Dwight Andrews (1951 - ) composed the original musical scores for most of the August Wilson Broadway productions as the Yale Repertory’s resident music director, in addition to scoring many other Broadway, television and film productions. He is an associate professor of music theory at Emory University, and serves as pastor of First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1349,26:1704,32:2201,41:3692,60:4189,68:9585,235:10650,250:16827,393:43205,709:44838,770:45335,779:45761,788:51086,876:61892,1031:64445,1086:66653,1135:70724,1196:74588,1264:82518,1332:87214,1394:87529,1400:87781,1405:89986,1448:94207,1523:96979,1587:100192,1640:100444,1645:100696,1650:105760,1688:107090,1719:111640,1793:138212,2139:138656,2146:174228,2679:176630,2694:177610,2711:185940,2876:186570,2887:190518,2910:195402,2987:195920,2995:197992,3026:198436,3033:200582,3060:201322,3074:212050,3228:213064,3243:218280,3268:222720,3288:223238,3297:247804,3624:248119,3630:251332,3700:253170,3710$0,0:3170,22:20630,358:21800,376:28016,396:28301,402:29441,428:30182,449:34040,511:34430,518:36510,549:37680,571:38265,581:46190,651:46718,661:50084,739:55232,853:55826,864:56222,871:69600,1035:72260,1076:72820,1085:74500,1127:74780,1132:84590,1272:86540,1314:89465,1393:93581,1417:97638,1474:98958,1501:106074,1628:116552,1834:147230,2289:155667,2379:169142,2625:173790,2686:174135,2692:180000,2805:187510,2906
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dwight Andrews' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews shares his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews talks about his mother's childhood and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews describes his grandfather's career as an itinerant minister

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews talks about his father and paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dwight Andrews talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dwight Andrews talks about how his parents met and his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dwight Andrews shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dwight Andrews describes how he takes after his mother and father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dwight Andrews describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dwight Andrews describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dwight Andrews remembers the beginning of his interest in playing music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews describes the jazz musicians who inspired him in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews talks about his cultural and artistic education in childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews shares his experiences with marching bands

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews describes his experience and mentors at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews talks about his high school rock 'n' roll band and the musicians he met

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dwight Andrews describes enrolling at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dwight Andrews describes the Black Action Movement at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dwight Andrews talks about marching band and football at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dwight Andrews talks about some of the football players at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan while he was there

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews recalls learning about black culture and history at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews describes the competitive environment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews shares how he decided to go into ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews describes enrolling at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut in 1974

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews reflects on his teachers and development at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dwight Andrews describes getting his doctorate in music theory from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dwight Andrews reflects upon the similarities between jazz and classical music

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dwight Andrews describes the intellectual environment for African Americans at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dwight Andrews shares his experience of August Wilson's funeral

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dwight Andrews talks about HistoryMaker Lloyd Richards

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dwight Andrews shares his memory of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson"

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews talks about the song "Berta, Berta" from "The Piano Lesson" and reflects upon his collaborations with August Wilson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews talks about his decision to continue his careers in music and ministry simultaneously

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews describes his experience in the black avant-garde music scene, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews describes his experience in the black avant-garde music scene, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews shares his theological approach

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dwight Andrews talks about his theological influences

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dwight Andrews describes the influence of African religions on his theology and musical aesthetics

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dwight Andrews talks about some of the plays he has scored

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dwight Andrews talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews talks about HistoryMaker Andrew Young

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews recalls how he became senior minister at the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews describes his experience as the senior minister at the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews talks about his current artistic work

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews talks about the potential of television to host intellectual conversations about race

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dwight Andrews talks about spirituality in jazz music

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dwight Andrews shares his critique of Ken Burns' "Jazz" series

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dwight Andrews describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dwight Andrews describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dwight Andrews reflects on what he would change about his life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dwight Andrews reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dwight Andrews talks about his wife, Desiree Pedescleaux

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dwight Andrews shares his excitement for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dwight Andrews describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Dwight Andrews describes his experience in the black avant-garde music scene, pt. 1
Dwight Andrews recalls how he became senior minister at the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
Now you're a musician who plays with the likes of--you were talking about the avant-garde black musicians and you, I know haven't lived in Chicago [Illinois] a long time but AACM [Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians] musicians, the guys in New York like David Murray, and people like that Arthur Blythe that play some-$$Pretty out-there music.$$--(unclear) cutting edge, the musicians that make most of their money in Europe. Who can't-- Americans here sometimes can't handle what they are doing.$$That's right.$$You know.$$For me learning and discovering the new music scene in New York [New York City, New York] and the avant-garde in New York really just pushed me in a good way because coming from the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan] which is really a pretty conservative conservatory, I really didn't know what Roscoe Mitchell and the Art Ensemble [Art Ensemble of Chicago]--what they were doing and when I first got these opportunities to sit in and be involved with these musicians, I had no idea how to participate. I would literally-- I didn't understand the language, I didn't understand the techniques and they were so patient with me because I had an understanding of the instrument and all of the doubles but I had no idea about this musical language and its own traditions. So it was really opening me up because the musicians on the avant-garde scene were also hanging out with the writers. It was really David Murray and Ntozake Shange and Jessica Hagedorn, Thulani Davis that was part of the scene, Sam Rivers. I mean everyone was on that one scene so if you were on the new music scene that also meant you were on the new prose scene because the theater and all of that they all kind of reinforced one another. So I got a chance to spend time with Zake and Thulani because of David Murray and those musicians because they were all in one seamless environment. The writers were looking for inspiration from the musicians and vice versa. So it was once again yet another kind of great tableau for me to get a chance to just be involved in and certainly opened me up aesthetically and that's what I needed, that was the final piece because I don't think I knew where to put new art in my understanding of a black aesthetic and [Amiri] Baraka had tried to explain it to me in a way that I could understand but we were fussing too much for me to fully understand it. By playing with David and David got me on some of my first gigs in New York because he had just come from California and [HM] Stanley Crouch had just come from California. They really helped me to try and understand "Okay how does our tradition speak to the future and how does it speak to black freedom and black liberation." And so just being with those musicians and kind of stretching the envelope and saying "It's good because I say it's good as an artist not because it sounds like somebody else--it sounds like it's suppose to sound because I say it." That kind of understanding and independence really liberated me I think as an artist. And I really needed that piece to be able to make peace with the way in which the blues and the avant-garde are part of the same universe because they are both expressing our struggle for freedom and personal value. So that has been kind of the ground on which I kind of understand all of black art and aesthetics and it's been useful to try to say yes hip hop and James Brown and Anthony Braxton are part of the same universe. And if you have a, if you have a willingness to listen to what holds them together, you will hear it but only if you think of black culture in the small way do you see these discreet little expressions unrelated.$Okay. Now you're with First Congregational Church [Atlanta, Georgia]--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$I'm the pastor.$$Yeah pastor and how did that come about?$$With great difficulty (laugh). The long and the short of it is simply that I was teaching at Emory [University in Atlanta, Georgia], wanted very much to continue my ministry in some way in Atlanta and after a couple of years of not really being offered very much here at First Congregational Church where my wife [Desiree Pedescleaux] and I attended the senior minister finally invited me to work with youth as an assistant minister part-time. So I took that on. That was right around 1992. After two years of working with the youth, Rev. [George] Thomas left suddenly to take a church in Chicago [Illinois] and so I thought that since I had been such a good successful youth minister that of course the church would realize my depth and my wisdom and make me the senior minister. So I candidated for the senior minister's position and unfortunately I wasn't selected. The church really was kind of split and they selected another candidate, a very gifted preacher from Washington [D.C.], Susan Newman. Susan came as the senior minister then I needed to be like any old administration, I needed to get out of town in a way but I couldn't really leave town. So I think I worked on [August Wilson's] "Seven Guitars" the play as my excuse for not being at church while she got settled in her administration. But what happened was she only stayed for a couple of years and then left suddenly and then the church had no minister and so those that had really wanted me said "See we told you, you should have taken Reverend Dwight" and others they wanted Susan, they were disappointed that she was leaving and the church was really fractured. And then enter [HM Andrew] Andy Young who at a church picnic says, "You know the church is at such odds with itself, it's not ready to call a minister. Why don't we have a ministerial team and take some time and just let everyone catch their breath. We have many ordained ministers who are members of our church" and so that's what we did. So the church allowed me to be the head of the team-to coordinate the team and so for three years from 1996 to 1999, I was the coordinator of a team ministry to give us time to be renewed and to heal. Then finally in 1999 the church said, "well Dwight we like a team but we really want to have somebody to blame when stuff is not going right so we want to call you as the senior minister" and so that's how it happened. So in 1999, I was installed as the senior minister of the church. But as you can see it was the long way around and I think that was a good thing for everyone. I certainly was in a different place when they asked me to come again and I think they were in a different place when they saw that I might serve them well as a senior minister.

Chaplain Sylvia Tucker

Sylvia Voncill Tucker was born on June 20, 1945 in Melbourne, Florida. Her father was a presser and her mother worked as a domestic. Her parents separated at an early age and she and her siblings were raised by their father in Melbourne. She was very sickly as a child and suffered from severe asthmatic attacks. As a young girl she had dreams of becoming a nurse. She graduated from Stone High School in 1963, where she was active in the homemakers club and the social action club.

After graduation she married and was a homemaker from 1963 until 1978. Her husband was a member of the United States Air Force, and they traveled the world, living in Greece, Japan and several U.S. cities. In 1978, she entered the workforce, becoming a financial advisor at First Merchants Bank in Richmond, Virginia. She continued her financial counseling work at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia from 1983 until 1995. In 1979, she also became active with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Virginia and created the Miss SCLC Pageant for young female members of the organization. In 1982, after raising her four children, she went back to college and earned her degree in theology at the University of Lynchburg Seminary. In 1994, she was ordained and licensed as a Baptist minister.

In 1985, while still working in the finance department at John Randolph Medical Center she was given the opportunity to pursue her ministry full time, when she was appointed Chaplain of the hospital thus making history as she was the first female African American hospital chaplain in the state of Virginia.

Tucker continued to add to her list of firsts, in 2000 she was appointed the SCLC National Chaplain, and was the first woman to hold the post. As a hospital chaplain she has dedicated newborn babies, married ill couples, and comforted countless families and sick patients.

Tucker resides in Disputanta, Virginia with her husband, Raymond and they have four grown children and four grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2004.096

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/19/2004 |and| 10/11/2004

Last Name

Tucker

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Stone High School in 1963

First Name

Sylvia

Birth City, State, Country

Melbourne

HM ID

TUC03

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

If I Pass This Way, Let Me Have Helped Someone On My Journey.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

6/20/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Chaplain Chaplain Sylvia Tucker (1945 - ) was appointed Chaplain of John Randolph Medical Center, making her the first female African American hospital chaplain in the state of Virginia.

Employment

First Merchants Bank

John Randolph Medical Center

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:598,14:1714,29:7409,115:7897,124:13000,200:16684,212:18592,223:19334,231:21878,256:23680,275:25800,290:37008,375:38422,393:39028,401:39432,406:54546,502:69982,644:71093,653:81968,738:82626,747:83378,756:88266,811:92506,834:93850,857:94858,875:97966,924:98554,932:101662,981:102418,992:103090,1001:117604,1126:119080,1146:119408,1151:126082,1202:127000,1214:127714,1222:128428,1231:129346,1241:134118,1255:134774,1263:135758,1284:139804,1295:140132,1300:159050,1439:163500,1476$0,0:3796,41:4100,46:4404,51:4860,64:5924,84:27656,436:28502,446:29160,455:34894,529:35740,561:36116,566:37996,603:65327,912:66119,921:68792,957:71465,1000:73742,1036:78838,1049:81814,1084:82582,1093:83158,1100:84694,1115:88150,1171:92964,1214:93855,1227:94179,1232:95690,1244
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chaplain Sylvia Tucker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her maternal grandparents and their orange grove

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about growing up with severe asthma

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker recalls memories from her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about growing up with divorced parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes the community she grew up in in Melbourne, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker recalls attending segregated Stone High School from first to twelfth grade

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about attending Scott Chapel A.M.E. Church

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her best friend from junior high

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her high school experience at Stone High School in Melbourne, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about Stone High School in Melbourne, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker recalls her marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about traveling with her husband in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about working at Merchant's Bank in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about becoming more religious and beginning to work at John Randolph Medical Center

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about the Miss SCLC pageant, which she founded

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes earning a degree in theology and pursuing a career in ministry

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes becoming Director of Pastoral Care at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on the dearth of African American hospital chaplains

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her role as first female chaplain of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on resistance to African American women in ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on working as a hospital chaplain

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes dealing with child abuse as chaplain

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her work as hospital chaplain

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes ministering in good and bad situations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes the importance of compassion and commitment in hospital ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on Nelson Mandela

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on problems within the church

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on the importance of parents and African American teachers in educating youth

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects on upon voter apathy

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement and her hope for unity

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker sends a message to her children and grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chaplain Sylvia Tucker narrates her photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

2$3

DAStory

12$4

DATitle
Chaplain Sylvia Tucker talks about her role as first female chaplain of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Chaplain Sylvia Tucker describes her work as hospital chaplain
Transcript
Did you still continue to be active in SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference]?$$Yes, I did.$$And you were actually appointed the--Can you tell us a little bit about your activities at SCLC?$$Well, we're constantly dealing with issues dealing with discrimination and racism. And I became, I was put on the national board of SCLC, which at that time was a really new experience, to be able to work nationally. And it's a never-ending kind of era for us.$$What are your responsibilities as the chaplain of the national board?$$My responsibility is to open up, you know, with prayer and to constantly deal with the religious part of our national program.$$And what's the religious component of the program?$$Well, we, for instance with our national convention, when we recruit pastors all over to do--we have a Sunday, an SCLC national Sunday--where from all over the nation we have different pastors to go in and do worship services on that Sunday. When we have functions during our national convention invocations, the prayers and the blessings, I have to coordinate that with different ministers.$$And you were the first woman to hold this position with SCLC?$$Yes, yes. And it was, it was different. Because that was something that sometime African American men are not willing to deal with, with women.$$What do you mean?$$Sometime in leadership with women, and in any areas--area, sometime that's a resistant. But I think that most of them have overcome that.$And generally, how does it work? So you come into work, and if someone's very ill, what happens? You know, how does it work? How do you get notified? How does it work?$$Well, we go--our program [at John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell, Virginia], we go by referrals. And usually when a patient is admitted to the hospital, they have a form, "Would you like a chaplain's visit?" And usually the patient says yes. And I get my referrals from the computer that I check every day. But that's not an ordinary day for me. Because the ER [emergency room] will bring in--if somebody has been in an accident and they have been seriously hurt, they'll call for a chaplain to come down and be with the family. Or if somebody comes in that's dying, or if a patient's up in ICU [intensive care unit] or on the floor, we respond to all code blues. And code blues are when a patient is in cardiac or any kind of critical situation. So, it's non-stop. You never know how your day is going to be. A patient may come in for out-patient surgery, and that patient may have some kind of problems during surgery, and a chaplain is called in. So, I never know how the day is going to go. But of those are--as I said, children are very hard for me.

Reverend Dr. Latta Thomas

The Reverend Dr. Latta Roosevelt Thomas, liberation theologian, was born on October 12, 1927, in Union, South Carolina. Thomas graduated from Union's Sims High School in 1947. His desire for education and his work ethic helped him to earn an A.A. from Friendship College in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1949. Thomas was salutatorian of his class at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1951, where he received his
B.A. Because of his high grades, the Pepsi-Cola Company awarded him a graduate scholarship. Moving to Rochester, New York, Thomas earned a B.D. from Colgate Rochester Seminary in 1955. Meanwhile, Thomas became a full-time minister at Monumental Baptist Church in Elmira, New York, where he met his wife, Bessie "Bea" Lowery.

In 1966, Thomas earned a master's of sacred theology degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary. At the request of a former mentor and friend, he returned to his alma mater, Benedict College. During his thirty-year tenure at Benedict, Thomas served as school chaplain and head of the Religion and Philosophy Department. He also served as pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia for more than twenty years. Thomas earned a doctor of ministry degree from Andover Newton in 1973. As a progressive theologian, Thomas has published numerous articles and two books, Biblical Faith and the Black American and The Biblical God and Human Suffering.

Three important factors influence Thomas' philosophy of life: the Judeo-Christian tradition, the black American experience, and the people who took an interest in his academic and professional development. Thomas retired in 2000. He and his wife live in Columbia, South Carolina, where Thomas spends his time perfecting his Greek and reading for pleasure. He is a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the NAACP, and is past chairman of the South Carolina Academy of Religion.

Accession Number

A2002.219

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/3/2002

Last Name

Thomas

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

First Name

Latta

Birth City, State, Country

Union

HM ID

THO04

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Whatever Goes Around, Comes Around.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

10/12/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Philosophy and religion professor and chaplain Reverend Dr. Latta Thomas (1927 - ) taught at Benedict College for thrity years.

Employment

Monumental Baptist Church

Benedict College

Second Calvary Baptist Church

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3916,67:7654,136:12312,161:12876,168:13534,176:16524,188:17764,201:23004,233:23580,244:28420,297:29720,314:31520,338:32420,347:35820,385:46150,435:52090,520:53530,538:53890,543:61416,579:61772,584:71452,699:71840,704:76398,737:76766,742:83975,794:84925,806:85590,814:98402,914:98794,919:99480,927:107282,1004:107768,1011:108416,1022:110441,1052:111089,1062:111413,1067:115868,1156:121694,1173:122310,1181:122662,1186:124070,1208:129147,1243:131852,1261:133113,1277:134830,1286:140220,1376:143753,1410:151600,1491:152167,1504:158604,1560:159868,1583:163444,1599:165628,1631:170458,1681:173624,1710:174488,1723:174776,1728:176914,1743:178702,1769:179614,1787:180070,1794:180830,1803:196198,1960:200167,2026:203106,2043:203770,2053:207173,2131:208418,2162:212678,2212:213086,2217:213800,2230:214616,2240:215840,2262:217166,2276:226366,2349:226718,2354:227950,2370:228830,2383:265200,2734$0,0:6452,74:7300,83:11810,154:22729,299:23244,305:32147,447:35888,493:48255,641:66492,756:66990,763:87830,932:89054,1016:89326,1021:124950,1322:127066,1340:127526,1346:153040,1634:163225,1787:165620,1794:220459,2238:243435,2387:246480,2402
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Latta Thomas's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas describes his maternal family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas describes his paternal family's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas talks about his Great-Great-Grandpa Al's stories of slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas describes his Uncle Jack "Pet" Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas talks about the role of the church in his uncles' lives

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Latta Thomas describes the tradition of Southern voodoo

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Latta Thomas tells the story of Aunt Anna using voodoo on Uncle Pet

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas describes Uncle Jack "Pet" Jones' death, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas describes Uncle Jack "Pet" Jones' death, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas talks about his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas describes his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas describes how his parents were underestimated

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas talks about his father's search for work in the north

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas shares how his parents met

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas talks about stealing fruit from plantations

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas describes how his father raided Aunt Essie's party

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas talks about how each individual had to steal their own watermelon

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas describes his school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas remembers his favorite teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas talks about the Classics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Latta Thomas describes his relationship with Mr. Sims

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas talks about his scholarship at Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas describes attending Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas talks about his scholarship at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas describes attending Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas describes Rochester, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas describes racism in Rochester, New York in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas describes the social gospel tradition at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Latta Thomas talks about Joseph H. [J.H.] Jackson and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Latta Thomas talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas talks about his mentor, Dr. James Rodney Branton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas describes his book "Biblical Faith and the Black American"

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas describes his argument in "Biblical Faith and the Black American"

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas talks about Gayraud Wilmore

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas describes the National Black Churchmen

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas talks about Cain Hope Felder

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas talks about contemporary issues in theological scholarship

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Latta Thomas talks about the issue of slavery in Biblical scholarship

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas talks about embracing liberation theology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas recalls the poem "Abou Ben Adhem"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas shares his views on humanism

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas talks about dependency and human nature

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas describes Friedrich Schleiermacher's theological liberalism

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas talks about his belief in God

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas talks about his book "Biblical God of Human Suffering"

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas describes black theology

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas talks about critiquing Reverend Albert Cleage's scholarship

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Latta Thomas remembers football stars Jim Brown and Ernie Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Latta Thomas talks about Ernie Davis' death

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Latta Thomas talks about African religions

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Latta Thomas describes his career

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Latta Thomas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Latta Thomas talks about being the first in his family to graduate from college

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Latta Thomas describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Latta Thomas talks about education and the black church

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Latta Thomas narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Latta Thomas talks about his scholarship at Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Latta Thomas describes black theology
Transcript
When you were on the verge of graduating from high school, did you have an idea that you were gonna go to college?$$No, I had given up, really. Interesting you should mention that. I, I used to tell people that the cotton patch at night is a good place in which to pray so nobody will see you. That was the big ambition of mine, to go right on through, inspired by some of my great teachers, and of course the Simses. But I, I had absolutely no money. Now when, when I say no money, I mean that. I didn't--the day after I graduated from high school, I had convinced myself that maybe I had begged God enough, you know, he was gonna get tired of me, and I spent the greater part of the morning just walking back--just taking a last look around where I had spent roughly four years. And I happened to walk up into the yard of a minister by the name of Reverend M.A. Zimmerman. His, his son, parenthetically, just retired from the Army as a general, General Zimmerman. He was chief chaplain of the United States. I walked up in his yard, and of course we knew each other; I attended his church occasionally. I was a very close friend to one of his members. And we entered into chitchat, and then he asked me, "Boy, do you wanna go to school?" And the question was so painful, until I wasn't very polite to him. I said, "Now you know I don't have any money to go to school." And he looked at me and said, "That's not what I asked you, is it?" I said, "Well, yes, I want to go to school. Now what?" And I was--later I was happy that he didn't get angry at the way I was speaking to him because then in sort of subdued fashion he said, "Well, I know the president of a school who just may agree to giving you a work scholarship to college," and that he had reference to that junior college, which was then in Rock Hill, South Carolina. And he said, "Would you--are you willing to work?" I said, "I've done it all my life." He said, "Now, it may mean, if he says yes, it may mean that you have to, have to leave right now and go there and work for the rest of the summer, and be there when the classes open up in the fall." I said, "That'd be all right with me." I didn't know that Zimmerman was that serious. In about ten days, I received this communication from Dr. [James H.] Goudlock, the president of the school, offering me a work scholarship and asking me to come immediately. And I packed my wooden trunk, I don't see any wooden trunks anymore, a wooden trunk, and one of the, the straps on it was broken. And so I took a rope and tied it around and of course put it--they put it under--you know, the Greyhound put it in the compartment there. And I went immediately to Rock Hill and I worked, plowed mule.$I remember when I went down [Reverend] Zan Holmes ca--had me come down to Southern Methodist [University]. You know, there little seminary down there is called Perkins [School of Theology]. When I finished--and 'course back in those days, I usually rolled up my sleeves anyway--that was about two years after the biblical--"Biblical Faith and the Black American" came out. And 'course, you know, being young and sassy, so when you go down with your sleeves rolled up, and I expected people like Perkins faculty to jump all over me, and I'm, I'm ready to enjoy it. And when I finished my lecture, in which I brought out the major part of that, I saw a hand go up. I said yes? It was a black fellow. He said he whom he loveth, he chasteneth Well, now that's what we had been given all our lives. Don't raise any question about it, because God is laying it on you because he loves you.$$Yeah.$$Now, you know, with friends like that, who needs enemies, you know. But, [clearing throat], but I didn't get caught like Jesse [Jackson]. I pointed out to him that every serious Christian maintains that God loves all folk. Now the question that still hasn't been settled is, why do I get chastened more than the other group? And see, and really, that's the linchpin of liberation theology in America. See, you have to watch theologians about using symbolic language. You see, a lot of, lot of folk just shake in their boots--'course some of 'em do more than shake in their boots--when you mention the term black theology. God is colorblind, and you kind of--when did you paint him, you know, this kind of thing. But that's not what Jim [James Cone] is saying. We used to laugh about it a lot whenever we'd run into each other. That's not what he is saying. When he says God is black, Christ is black, what that symbolic language is saying is that inasmuch as the biblical God identifies with the person who is suffering the most, then in America he's black, any way you slice it. Now in South America, they got it right. They call their theology, their liberation theology, down there political theology. They got the, the--they're having to worry about those fellows who knock on your door at midnight, and take a member of your family and you never see him again. But in America, the person who is the man beaten by thieves is a black person, see, hence, black theology, black Christ.$$

Reverend Harry Tartt

A writer, actor, U. S. Army major and ordained minister, the Reverend Harry Charles Tartt was born on October 16, 1908, in Biloxi, Mississippi. The oldest of seven children, Tartt excelled in school where his classmates were Johnny Robinson, poet Margaret Walker and activist chemist Katie Booth. After graduation from Mobile County Training School in 1928, Tartt enrolled in New Orleans University (now Dillard University), graduating summa cum laude in 1933.

Tartt taught at 33rd Avenue High School in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1934 and left Gulfport to pursue a master's degree in English literature at the University of Chicago. Instead, Tartt became a staff writer for Bronzeville’s Chicago Bee newspaper. Drafted into World War II in 1942, Tartt entered the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army with a commission as a second lieutenant. He served as a replacement chaplain in northern Africa and in southern France, and then was stationed in Germany and Italy after the war. During his military career, Tartt earned five battle stars and the Army Commendation Medal, the nation’s highest peacetime award, attaining the rank of major.

Tartt also appeared as an actor in three German movies: The Life of Lola Montez, Alexander the Great and Maid Without Honor. His European stage credits include La Boheme, Pagliacci and Fanny. In Korea, Tartt served as editor-in-chief of seventeen different Army publications. While in the U.S. Army, Tartt attended San Jose State University and eventually earned his M.A. degree in English literature from Xavier University in New Orleans. His experience as a U.S. Army chaplain inspired Tartt to pursue the pastor’s course of study at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. The United Methodist Church subsequently ordained him. Tartt’s inspirational essays have appeared in many publications.

After his military service, Tartt returned to Gulfport to teach in the school system. He has received numerous awards for service, including the Living Legacy Certificate of Recognition by the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, the Charlie Green Award, the Harriet Tubman Award, the Ageless Heroes Award and the Citizen of the Year Award. Tartt remained active in the Gulfport area until his death on May 12, 2008. He was 99 years old.

Accession Number

A2002.200

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/12/2002

Last Name

Tartt

Middle Name

Charles

Organizations
Schools

Gulfport School (Colored)

Dillard University

University of Chicago

San Jose State University

Xavier University of Louisiana

First Name

Harry

Birth City, State, Country

Biloxi

HM ID

TAR01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Monterey, California

Favorite Quote

Keep A Green Branch In Your Heart And, For Sure, A Robin Will Come.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

10/16/1908

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oatmeal

Death Date

5/13/2008

Short Description

High school teacher, chaplain, and pastor Reverend Harry Tartt (1908 - 2008 ) was a high school teacher before joining that Army as a chaplain. Tartt served in Africa, Europe, and Asia. He returned to teaching in the Gulfport, Mississippi area after retiring from the military.

Employment

33rd Avenue High School

Chicago Bee

United Methodist Church

Gulfport Public Schools

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:20794,274:39002,477:67946,962:70705,1048:154100,1755:154380,1792:162686,1888:196678,2250:206040,2349:252694,2969:275930,3229$0,0:42131,679:47200,877:113442,1792:118314,1982:165720,2609:192983,2857:231815,3393:233540,3496:289069,4065:307499,4348:310194,4366:338620,4414
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Harry Tartt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Harry Tartt lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes the land his family lived on

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his teachers and community

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his childhood experience of church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his experience at Gulfport Colored High School

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his childhood experiences with racism, pt, 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his childhood experiences with racism, pt, 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his experience at New Orleans University in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about migrating to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about getting drafted into the United States Army in 1942

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his experience working for The Chicago Bee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his experience with the 28th Quartermaster regiment of the United States Army during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his career as an actor in Germany after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his experience in the United States Army after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his marriage and life as an actor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his career as a United Methodist, A.M.E., C.M.E., and Baptist minister

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his current career

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Harry Tartt describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Harry Tartt reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Harry Tartt talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Reverend Harry Tartt talks about his marriage and life as an actor
Reverend Harry Tartt describes his career as a United Methodist, A.M.E., C.M.E., and Baptist minister
Transcript
--You were stationed at Fort Ord for about ten years, you said?$$Exactly ten years.$$And we're rolling again, I just want to let you know. So that's in California, near Monterey?$$In Monterey, 100 miles south of San Francisco.$$Okay.$$All right.$$Now, let me ask you about your wife. Where did you and your wife meet, what's her name?$$My wife's name, O-R-L-E-A-N, O-R-L-E-A-N, Orlean. I met her in eighth grade, but I didn't pay any attention to her in eighth grade, and I didn't pay any attention to her in the twelfth grade either because I had another girlfriend, but I gave plenty attention to her when I finished college. Came back and then we married in St. Louis [Missouri]. We couldn't get married fast enough in Chicago. So we went to St. Louis maybe we'd get married right away.$$Now what caused all this interest after all these years of neglect?$$Because she had made such wonderful changes. She didn't look like the little eighth grade girl that I knew. Yeah, she was a wonderful girl. And she played also in the same movies that I played in, played also in 'Fanny.'$$Okay, so she was an actress too?$$Yeah, she was that.$$Now, tell me about that. Let's explore that a little bit, because that is so unusual. How were you chosen to play these roles? Did you go audition for these roles?$$What happened is that they called militaries said they want the military man in a play. Well I'm in public relations and the newspaper business, I said "Okay I'll get--how many you want?" said "eight." I said "Okay I'll get you six more." I count myself and my wife. That's how. But they thought I was an actor because they had the--they brought the army out said, they gon have this scene here. The army's gonna be playing. And then said "Look, cut, look, beat the drum like this, cut again. Okay, Tartt, you take it." I said, "I can't beat a drum," said "but you could act." And I got on that drum and said, "Oh, that's what you want." They had the background beat the drum, I'm in the front acting, cutting up. That's how it happened.$$Okay, so you were going through the motions but (simultaneous)--$$Oh, yeah, I'm going through the motions. I mean, I'm a little excited about this thing. The real drummer couldn't do that. He's just (making noises), but I'm going like this thing is on fire. So that's the kind of thing we want.$$What else did your wife do, I mean, tell us more about her?$$Well, with the top English player, Peter Ustinov, she played with him, in the top French female actress, she was in that and she played along with him. I was masseur in "The Life of Lola Montez" and the masseur would do the massages and all these dances before they go on the thing, but she was very--and my wife has worked with the German--American (unclear) they got together and had their monthly. She was an expert bridge player. And then the bridge would sometime--the club would meet at our house and they started in the evening, six o'clock and they served breakfast at seven o'clock.$$They played bridge--$$All night long, all night long. But then she became a very--very active in all community work. Anytime there's work to be done, help to be done in the community, she was always there.$OKay. Now, how did you yourself get involved in the ministry?$$Well, as I said, you know, I grew up in the church and I just knew the church in and out. I was secretary of the church when I was quite a youngster, and during my college years I still was involved in church work and then Bishop Jones, Robert E. Jones, inspired me to come into--he was a black bishop, I said he's black, but he really was white. You couldn't tell him from any white man. He could move anywhere as white whenever he wanted to. He was at my graduation. Told me he wanted to go--me to go to Gulfside [United Methodist Assembly] and work over there and so--being associated with these ministers, like Farmer [James Leonard Farmer, Sr.], not the Farmer now [James Leonard Farmer, Jr.], but Farmer's father was one of my teachers. And that's the kind of thing that association with these people here brought me into it.$$So you got involved in the ministry here in Gulfport [Mississippi]?$$Yeah, right, yeah.$$This was after you--$$Oh, yeah, yeah, right, yeah.$$--Retired from the military?$$Oh, no--$$Okay, okay.$$--Before. When I was in military, I was ready to preach.$$Okay.$$That's why they wanted me chaplain at different places, right.$$So are you ordained in the United Methodist Church?$$I'm ordained in the United Methodist Church, the A.M.E. Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, the C.M.E. [Christian Methodist Episcopal] Church, and the Baptist Church. I have all relations in all four of those.$$I didn't know that was possible that you would have all of those?$$Yeah. You can-so for example a Baptist minister come say I want to join this, but he already is a Baptist minister ordained, he comes in the Methodist Church so he is ordained there.$$Well, is there a conflict of interest in that?$$No. Because a difference, you don't have--their Protestants, they're all Protestants. The only difference were to have--you move to a Catholic then you--that's not possible. You'd have to be completely converted and changed over. But the Protestants, sometimes it's just a matter of management, district, administration. There's no difference between the C.M.E., A.M.E. and the United Methodist in their theology, nothing separate. And the Baptist, very little, but the average Baptist doesn't know why he's Baptist or Methodist doesn't know why he's Baptist, or the Methodist doesn't know why he Methodist.$$Now people often get confused about what the difference is between the different Methodist branches. What is the difference between the United Methodist, the African Methodist Episcopal and the Christian Methodist Episcopal, which is formerly the Colored Methodist Episcopal?$$Right. The only difference is that in administration, the United Methodist is a part of the total Methodist Church, the C.M.E., which was--really came out of right after slavery that the Methodist asked a group of people would they form their own church, invited them out.$$Invited them out of the church?$$Out of the church. Richard Allen protested and say "Well I wanted to get out because of discrimination." That's the A.M.E. Church and so--$$So--$$--But a C.M.E. invited to get out.$$--So the main body is--$$Is the United Methodist, right.$$--Methodist.$$And out of that--$$And the C.M.E. is the group that--$$That protested--$$--Wanted out?$$--Yeah, wanted out.$$And the C.M.E. is the group that got put out?$$Invited out.$$--Yeah, invited out. Okay. Well, I've never heard it put quite like that. That's probably a good description of it. So, did you pastor at church at all?$$Oh, yes, I pastored the--several churches in Gulfport area, in Bay St. Louis, and other areas. Each you had a Bishop appoint you at different places for you to go.$$Did you pastor mostly as a United Methodist pastor?$$Well, I pastored a Baptist Church for six years. (unclear) As as Methodist minister you had to--course I don't have a license for a Baptist. They called me to preach there then finally ended up at United Methodist and retired, a mandatory retirement, seventy years old in the Methodist Church. So I'm retired United Methodist Minister.$$So you've been retired as a minister for over twenty years, right?$$No, you had to be seventy to be mandatory retirement.$$Okay.$$Yeah, right.$$And you're 90--$$I'm 94.$$Ninety-four. So that was like 24 years ago?$$Yeah, that's right, that's right. Yeah, that's right.

Reverend Henry Soles

The Reverend Henry Soles, Senior Chaplain of the Chicago Bulls, dedicated his career to community improvement. He served as Associate Minister to DuPage County A.M.E. Church in Lisle, Illinois and was the corporate consultant for the Chicago-based Owens Group. Aside from being a respected community leader, Rev. Soles was an award-winning editor, a journalist for a New York City daily newspaper and a television personality as former host of an Emmy-nominated talk show.

As the chaplain for the Chicago Bulls, Soles lead pre-game Christian chapel services and helped the athletes reflect upon their lives away from the basketball court. Rev. Soles was the founding Board Chairman of DuPage County Housing Association, a nonprofit agency providing 260 housing units for low and moderate-income persons and founding trustee of the DuPage Prayer Breakfast Committee. He served on the boards of various organizations, including: Chicago-based Gospel Outreach, Serenity House, Chicago Mental Health Council, DuPage Prevention Partnership, Mid-America Leadership Foundation, Wheaton-Carol United Way, DuPage Housing Authority and Wheaton History Center.

Rev. Soles received numerous awards, honors and recognitions for his work, including: the Serenity House Man of the Year Award in 1997, the 2001 Adult Citizen of the Year Award from the City of Wheaton, and a Lifetime Achievement in Media Award from the DuPage A.M.E. Church. He was profiled in numerous local and national publications and was a much sought-after inspirational speaker.

Soles passed away on January 18, 2018 at age 82.

Accession Number

A2002.161

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/23/2002

Last Name

Soles

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Plainfield High

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Anniston

HM ID

SOL01

Favorite Season

None

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart And Lean Not On Your Own Understanding; In All Your Ways Submit To Him, And He Will Make Your Paths Straight.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/17/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Death Date

1/18/2018

Short Description

Chaplain Reverend Henry Soles (1935 - 2018 ) was the senior chaplain of the Chicago Bulls basketball team.

Employment

DuPage County A.M.E. Church

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bears

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5512,82:13955,164:19180,218:21810,223:23221,247:23968,257:24715,275:45808,506:57026,640:59326,719:68650,825:73370,873:79440,927$0,0:1060,25:3583,53:18325,223:18864,232:19788,246:20481,256:60938,743:71775,859:84002,998:98314,1143:135864,1518:136620,1551:161730,1884
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Henry Soles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Henry Soles lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Henry Soles talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Henry Soles talks about his mother's side of the family in Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Henry Soles describes childhood memories of relatives, segregation, and discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Henry Soles talks about his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Henry Soles talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Henry Soles describes his mother, Pearlie Mae Soles

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Henry Soles describes his father, Henry Soles, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Henry Soles recalls his family's move to New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Henry Soles talks about his elementary school years in Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Henry Soles talks about two influential grade school teachers, Mrs. Switzgable and Mrs. Link

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Henry Soles talks about his middle school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Henry Soles talks about his experience with socioeconomic and racial discrimination at Plainfield High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Henry Soles talks about his family's church involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Henry Soles describes his faith conversion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Henry Soles talks about his activities at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Henry Soles talks about his interest in politics as a student at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Henry Soles talks about the roles of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in The Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Henry Soles describes his decision to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Henry Soles talks about racial discrimination, the Manhattan Bible Institute, and the 1964 World's Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Henry Soles talks about the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Henry Soles describes how he became a reporter at the New Brunswick Daily Home News

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Henry Soles talks about his work at New Brunswick Daily Home News

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Henry Soles talks about an unpleasant incident with the FBI

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Henry Soles talks about exposing racial discrimination of a real estate developer

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Henry Soles talks about Henry Lewis at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Henry Soles describes his journalistic philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Henry Soles describes meeting his wife, Effie Soles

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Henry Soles talks about his wife, Effie Soles

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Henry Soles talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Henry Soles talks about Urban Ministries, Inc.'s early years

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Henry Soles talks about his church, DuPage A.M.E. Church in Lisle, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Henry Soles talks about the sports ministry of the Chicago Bears

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Henry Soles talks about working with professional athletes, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Henry Soles talks about working with professional athletes, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Henry Soles talks about working with celebrities like Michael Jordan, Jay Leno, Denzel Washington, Tiger Woods, Spike Lee, and Prince

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Henry Soles talks about his sports ministry outside of professional athletes

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Henry Soles compares professional athletes to businesspeople

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Henry Soles talks about his work with athletes and his travels to Nairobi, Kenya

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Henry Soles recalls a scary experience in Maasai Mara

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Henry Soles talks about retreats with athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Henry Soles describes the growth of his ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Henry Soles describes how a church in Naples, Florida was saved by a homeless man

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Henry Soles describes his first trip to Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Henry Soles compares today's professional athletes to those of yesteryear

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Henry Soles talks about athletes as role models

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Henry Soles talks about Tiger Woods

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Henry Soles describes giving back to the community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Henry Soles talks about Tiger Woods's lack of advocacy for women

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Henry Soles talks about his Emmy-nominated talk show and meeting Princess Margaret

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Henry Soles talks about the Promise Keepers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Henry Soles describes racial reconciliation at a Promise Keepers rally

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Henry Soles describes divisions amongst ethnic Jews and his travels to Israel

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Henry Soles talks about the Million Man March

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Henry Soles reflects upon his accomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Henry Soles talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Henry Soles talks about an experience with the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Henry Soles talks about reparations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Henry Soles talks about a challenge in his ministry

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Henry Soles describes the sights, sounds, and experiences of his childhood

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Henry Soles talks about his uncle's lynching

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Henry Soles talks about Emmett Till

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Henry Soles describes how his faith helped him deal with his uncle's lynching

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Henry Soles talks about preaching in Times Square with a diverse team

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Henry Soles reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Henry Soles reflects on highlights and impactful moments in his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Henry Soles talks about his childhood personality
Henry Soles talks about the sports ministry of the Chicago Bears
Transcript
What kind of child were you growing up?$$Well, it's hard to just capsulize in one sentence. But I was always very curious. I always wanted to know things and why things happened. Now this is the Alabama phase of my life because I saw around me different things, different people, and I was always asking questions so much so my father [Henry Soles, Sr.] say, "Boy, shut your mouth, mind your manners." And I didn't know what manners meant. But I was always asking questions. And then--I can--my mind goes back now, and I can remember scenes in the town that--where I was born [Anniston, Alabama]. And just--it--it--I remember we had these hills and it had this clay dirt and sometimes people would take the clay dirt and eat it, yes. I said hmmmm, that's interesting, so I tried some of it too. Alabama is known for that. But now that's the--I remember the phase because after we left Alabama, we moved to New Jersey.$So take me back and fold that in--$$Yes.$$--And fold your television stuff in.$$Okay. Okay. Right after we got married then me and my wife [Effie Soles] came of course to Wheaton [Illinois] where we lived. This gentleman from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes [FCA] was a [U.S.] Navy quarterback. He visited us and being a hillbilly from West Virginia, he loved the soul food that we had. So we could relate very well, it was great. And the discussion arose, and he says, would you be open, meaning would I be open to speaking to the Chicago Bears Chapel? I thought about it. I said, well, as an ex-athlete myself, I do know the mindset of athletes and I don't know that I would necessarily be open to that because, you know, I just have a real problem, but if God wants me to do it, I'll do it. So he said, well, would you speak, and he gave me a Sunday, I said, okay, I'll do that for you. So I go down and the Bears meet prior to the game. Now they meet in hotels, but they meet at different locations. The guys are seated and almost as if, their hands are folded as if to say, well I dare you to move me.$$About what year is this?$$This is 1973, '74 [1974].$$Okay.$$So, as if to say, well, you know, move me, in other words. I love challenges. So I begin to speak, as God gave me the ability to do so, and at the end of the meeting, they were very opened, accepted and affirming and asked me to come back again. And that's how I got started in sports ministry with the Chicago Bears. Through the years with the Bears, of course, there was the Walter Peytons and the Mike Singletarys and the guys (unclear) and Vince Evans who was one of the backbones of the chapel for me. Vince was a Bears quarterback at one point. And then Mike Ditka later came into the equation as a coach and there were other coaches that were very affirming of what we were trying to do.