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Kevin Merida

Journalist and author Kevin Merida was born in 1957 in Wichita, Kansas, and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. Merida received his B.S. degree in journalism in 1979 from Boston University, where he was also editor of the student newspaper Blackfolk. He went on to graduate from the Summer Program for Minority Journalists at the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1979, Merida was hired as a general assignments reporter and rotating city desk editor for The Milwaukee Journal. From 1983 to 1993, he worked for The Dallas Morning News, where he served as a special projects reporter, local political writer, national reporter, White House correspondent and assistant managing editor in charge of foreign and national news coverage. Merida was then hired by The Washington Post in 1993, where he first covered Congress. He joined the paper’s national political reporting team to cover the 1996 presidential campaign; and joined the Style section staff in 1997. Merida was promoted to associate editor in 2001, and was appointed national editor in 2008. From 2001 to 2004, he wrote the column, "Side Streets," which was syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group. In 2013, Merida was named the first African American managing editor of The Washington Post.

Merida co-authored the 2007 biography Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas, which was awarded the nonfiction prize at the inaugural Essence Literary Awards. He also co-authored 2008’s Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs, and was editor of Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril, a collection of Washington Post essays written in 2006. In addition, Merida has taught journalism at Marquette University and in Boston University’s Washington journalism program. He was a public policy scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and has served on the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards board.

Merida has won a number of awards, including a 2006 Vernon Jarrett Medal for feature writing; a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s College of Journalism; and a first place commentary prize in 2003 from the National Association of Black Journalists. He was named NABJ’s “Journalist of the Year” in 2000, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1990.

Merida lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, author and commentator Donna Britt. They have three sons.

Kevin Merida was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.098

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/20/2014 |and| 5/21/2014

Last Name

Merida

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Eugene

Occupation
Schools

Boston University

University of California, Berkeley

First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

MER02

State

Kansas

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/17/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Short Description

Journalist and author Kevin Merida (1957 - ) was the first African American managing editor of The Washington Post, and was co-author of Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas and Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.

Employment

The Milwaukee Journal

The Dallas Morning News

The Washington Post

The Washington Post Writers Group

Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin

Religious and community leader, Marvin Collins Griffin was born on February 20, 1923 in Wichita, Kansas to Beatrice Howell and William Marvin Collins. He was raised by his aunt and uncle and was educated at public schools in Dallas, Texas before graduating from Bishop College with his B.A. degree. Griffin went on to receive four other degrees including his M.Div degree from the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, his M.R.E. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Between 1951 and 1969, Griffin served as pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. In 1969, he became a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and served on its Board of Directors. While at Ebenezer, he also served as the first black president of the Austin Independent School District board in 1978 for a two-year term. Griffin founded the East Austin Economic Development Corporation and in 1990, along with other Board and church members, he helped earn a grant for the Ebenezer Child Development Center to construct a new facility. In 2002, on his thirty-third anniversary as pastor of Ebenezer, the building that housed the Development Center was named the Marvin C. Griffin Building.

In addition to being a pastor, Griffin served as the corresponding secretary of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Director of Christian Education Enrichment Program at the National Baptist Fellowship of Churches. Griffin also spent time teaching as a Director and Lecturer for the Teacher Training Department of the National Baptist Sunday School. He also acted as an instructor at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, teaching “Pastoral Ministry in the Black Church.” He has served in many other capacities at state and national religious gatherings.

Griffin and his late wife Mrs. Lois King Griffin, had three daughters - Marva Lois Carter, Gaynelle Jones, and Ria Griffin. Rev. Griffin passed away on December 25, 2013.

Marvin Griffin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.021

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2010

Last Name

Griffin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

Bishop College

Oberlin College

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Julia C. Frazier Elementary School

Lincoln High School

First Name

Marvin

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

GRI07

Favorite Season

August

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

A Winner Never Quits And A Quitter Never Wins.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/20/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Austin

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions

Death Date

12/25/2013

Short Description

Pastor Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin (1923 - 2013 ) served as religious leader for the New Hope Baptist Church and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. In honor of his accomplishments, a building associated with Ebenezer was named after him in 2002.

Employment

New Hope Baptist Church

Ebenezer Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers his birth mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls being raised by his maternal aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes a confrontation in East Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his early aspirations to be a preacher

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the East Dallas neighborhood of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his employment during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers attending Bishop College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about notable people at Bishop College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers Bishop College President Joseph H. Rhoads

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls attending the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in Oberlin, Ohio pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls attending the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in Oberlin, Ohio pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his struggle to find employment

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the Southern Baptist Convention

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls receiving religious exemption from World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his challenges at New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls the changes he made as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers reaching out to the Jewish community in Waco, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes theologians that inspired his religious philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls developing a parsonage at New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his civil rights activities in Waco, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his civil rights activities in Waco, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls desegregation in Waco, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes the black churches in Waco, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about urban renewal in Waco, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his political involvements

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his graduate degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about the history of Baptist conventions

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes Ebenezer Baptist Church's affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about founding the East Austin Economic Development Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Henry Mitchell describes the East Austin Economic Development Corporation's programs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin talks about his advocacy for childcare and education

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin remembers becoming the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Waco, Texas
Reverend Dr. Marvin Griffin recalls desegregation in Waco, Texas
Transcript
So we were talking about the Southern Baptist Convention, okay. So tell me more about your position there and then we're in 1948.$$I had an office downtown in the black area, the Hall [Street] and Thomas [Avenue] and it was a building, we stayed in it, we had classes for children, after school and we also had classes for youth on Wednesday night and I taught two nights a week to ministers who needed help and I stayed there about two and a half years, two, three years, then I, I came home one day, in the meantime my wife [Lois King Griffin] had a job teaching in Dallas [Texas] 'cause both of us were from Dallas and as far as our adult life was concerned, had been in Dallas, I came home one day and the teacher, well let me see, how did it happen? I, my wife (pause), I had the privilege of trying to collect this (pause), they put me on the program for the B.M.E. Convention [Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention of Texas; Baptist Missionary and Education Convention], I start there. That's the oldest convention, black Baptist convention in Texas and I grew up in the church that was a member of that convention and they put me on after I finished Oberlin [Graduate School of Theology, Oberlin, Ohio] and when, the young minds, you know, upcoming leaders, they put me on, for the theological lectures. They didn't ask me, they just put me on and I was in it then. I said, you know, I mean, they didn't give me the courtesy of, of responding, they just put me on. I'm not going, I'm not going to say anything and they put me on without saying anything, well that's the way I looked at it, I'm not going. So they put me on again. I said I'm going this time. They have the courage, the nerve to put me on, twice, and I'm saying maybe, and I'm going to select something to talk about that they may not like. I was young and rebellious. So I went, and I went and talked about the inspiration of the scriptures and I got down there and behold, my college president, President Rhoads [Joseph J. Rhoads], who was president of Bishop [Bishop College, Marshall, Texas] when I was a student there, was in the audience and he sat on the front row and led the question period. And so, and they enjoyed it so much they wanted me to repeat and have another session the next day and a week or so after that I went home from the convention I got, came home and my wife said, "You have a call from President Rhoads' wife [Lucile Bridge Rhoads]," and I called him and he said, "Well, Dr. Jenkins [Joseph Newton Jenkins] is ill. He's a trustee of Bishop and need a young man to carry on during his illness, could you do that?" I said, "Yeah." So I went down there for about a month and he died so I became the elected pastor of the church, the youngest pastor they ever had.$$Of what church is this?$$Ebenezer [Ebenezer Baptist Church, Austin, Texas], not Ebenezer, New Hope [New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas], the oldest, started church 1866. The president [Rufus Columbus Burleson] of Baylor [Baylor University, Waco, Texas] and the pastor [S.G. O'Bryan] of First Baptist Church [Waco, Texas], helped organize that church back in 1866. And so, Texas history has a prominent place in it because of the relationship and I got started. Sam Houston, one of the fathers of the state, was pastor. No, he got baptized by the president of Baylor who was the, so it's rich in history and I stayed there eighteen years. I was the youngest pastor, as I said earlier, at the church it is.$It's a long, it's a long story, you know, but we worked together and we trusted each other, we didn't misrepresent each other and we got through and so I consider, consider Waco [Texas] one of the better--well, they called me the other week about Zilker Park [Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin, Texas]. The Zilker Park in Waco is Cameron Park, beautiful park, but blacks couldn't go in there, in there. And so, I decided to have a picnic there, a church picnic there. Some of our people were afraid to go to the picnic and no, and after we told them it was open. I guess some of them were thinking, they couldn't carry themselves sit in there and play and rest, a picnic in that park but some people did and they were doing it when I left. What I, we often did, I discovered it when we had a meeting with the leaders and told them what our position was, they agreed with it so it was not like Selma, Alabama. Everybody's not, they were a different type of white person and whenever we laid down over what we thought should be, most of the time they agreed. To illustrate that, we had a housing program. Most of the housing you get in the community comes through the federal government but we had nobody on the board. I talked to the head person about it, "We ought to have a black person on the board." "No, you don't need no black person. We know what you all need, you don't need that." So I went to, to Washington [D.C.] and I went to Washington and I saw some of the records they had in the housing that, over there and the leaders of the city told, said the right things and they done the right thing so you, you can't have a fight unless you've got two people who want to fight. So we worked out every, every matter that I know, that we had. When we came together and sat down, we, Baylor [Baylor University, Waco, Texas] was integrated, the lady who was the first woman on the faculty [Vivienne Malone Mayes], she had a Ph.D. in math, was a member of my church [New Hope Baptist Church, Waco, Texas] and, you know, now when I came to Austin [Texas] I wanted to go over to Baylor and take, just audit the class in Greek and not be enrolled, just let me sit in the class and the professor said, no, and he did it in such a disposition that you, was nasty in the way he said, no. One student followed me out of the class and apologized for the professor but that's the, that's a minor incident compared to the problems we undertook to solve during the time we were there.

Gale Sayers

NFL Hall of Famer Gale Eugene Sayers was born on May 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas. Sayers grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from Omaha Central High School. As a running back at the University of Kansas, he was a two-time All-American player known as "The Kansas Comet." In 1963, he set an NCAA Division I record with a 99-yard run against Nebraska.

Sayers was drafted in 1965 by the Chicago Bears and remained with the team for his entire NFL career. He was the unanimous choice for NFL Rookie of the Year in 1965. He was named the MVP of the 1967, 1968 and 1970 Pro Bowl Games, and he was named to the 75th Anniversary All Time NFL Team. Sayers was inducted into the Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1975, the NFL Hall of Fame in 1977, and the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. In July 2000, he was named to the NFL All-Time Millennium Team.

After completing his professional football career in 1971, Sayers returned to the University of Kansas to receive his B.A. degree in physical education while also working as the assistant athletic director. Sayers accepted the assignment as assistant director of the Williams Education Fund for three years and received his M.A. degree in educational administration. Sayers served as athletic director at Southern Illinois University from 1976 to 1981.

Sayers moved back to Chicago and launched a sports marketing and public relations firm, Sayers and Sayers Enterprises. He then started a computer supplies business in 1984 and built that business into a provider of technology products and services. In 1999, Sayers was inducted into another Hall of Fame - the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Sayers spends a great deal of time supporting and fundraising for a variety of charitable organizations including the Better Boys Foundation, the Cradle Adoption Agency, the Gale Sayers Center, Grid Iron Greats, Junior Achievement, and Wesley House. The University of Kansas has established the Gale Sayers Microcomputer Center in recognition of Sayers’s commitment to both education and technology. Sayers has authored an instructional publication on the fundamentals of football's offensive strategies called Offensive Football. In addition, his 1971 autobiography, I Am Third, was produced into an award-winning television movie, Brian's Song, starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. In 2007, he released a new book, Gale Sayers, My Life and Times.

Sayers serves on the board of directors at American Century Mutual Funds, located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Accession Number

A2008.124

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2008 |and| 11/24/2008

Last Name

Sayers

Maker Category
Schools

Omaha Central High School

University of Kansas

Howard Kennedy Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gale

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

SAY01

Favorite Season

Christmas

Sponsor

Allstate

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

As You Prepare To Play, You Must Prepare To Quit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/30/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Entrepreneur and football player Gale Sayers (1943 - ) was drafted by the Chicago Bears and was named rookie of the year in 1965, then Pro Bowl MVP in 1967, 1968 and 1970. He was inducted into the NFL: Hall of Fame in 1977. He served as athletic director at Southern Illinois University, then founded Sayers and Sayers Enterprises in Chicago. His 1971 autobiography, 'I Am Third,' was produced into an award-winning television movie, 'Brian's Song.'

Employment

Chicago Bears

Southern Illinois University

Sayers 40, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:24360,462:24992,471:29258,545:42135,857:72450,1255:81459,1553:95543,1661:158865,2450:231147,3267:235861,3314:237836,3362:240285,3456:243050,3504:252810,3568:272472,3839:287726,3986:288903,4003:300570,4122:300866,4127:305380,4206:305750,4212:306342,4222:307822,4252:313336,4311:313741,4317:316090,4481:318115,4534:322975,4610:338766,4772:340666,4812:345680,4890$170,0:2374,54:2678,59:4882,107:7922,199:8226,204:13546,267:13926,273:15902,308:25236,438:36016,578:36324,700:38711,777:39019,782:39635,843:77640,1362:86728,1435:89176,1476:92168,1565:92780,1600:93188,1607:93460,1612:96248,1676:114560,1975:114998,1982:115582,1993:138312,2353:138616,2358:142416,2453:142720,2458:146080,2488
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gale Sayers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gale Sayers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gale Sayers describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gale Sayers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gale Sayers describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gale Sayers describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gale Sayers recalls his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gale Sayers remembers moving to Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gale Sayers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gale Sayers remembers his introduction to football

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gale Sayers recalls his early football teammates

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gale Sayers describes Omaha Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gale Sayers remembers his early aspirations and mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gale Sayers recalls playing football at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gale Sayers talks about college football players' training

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gale Sayers remembers his community at the University of Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gale Sayers recalls being drafted into professional football

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gale Sayers remembers playing for the Chicago Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gale Sayers remembers Coach George Halas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gale Sayers talks about his teammates on the Chicago Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gale Sayers describes his accomplishments with the Chicago Bears

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gale Sayers remembers playing in the Pro Bowl

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gale Sayers describes his community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gale Sayers describes the impact of his knee injuries on his football career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gale Sayers recalls his retirement from the National Football League

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gale Sayers talks about his decision not to become a football coach

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gale Sayers remembers Brian Piccolo

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gale Sayers recalls the racial discrimination on the Chicago Bears team

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gale Sayers talks about the football stadiums in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gale Sayers talks about his friendship with Brian Piccolo

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gale Sayers recalls winning the Comeback Player of the Year award

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gale Sayers describes his retirement from professional football

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gale Sayers recalls earning a master's degree at the University of Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gale Sayers talks about 'Brian's Song'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gale Sayers describes his relationship with the Chicago Bears' fans

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gale Sayers recalls his athletic directorship at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gale Sayers describes his computer hardware supply company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gale Sayers describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gale Sayers talks about today's professional athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gale Sayers reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gale Sayers talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gale Sayers describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$4

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Gale Sayers describes his computer hardware supply company
Gale Sayers recalls the racial discrimination on the Chicago Bears team
Transcript
And so I decided to leave Southern Illinois [Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois], and I moved back to Chicago [Illinois] in 1983 and started my business [Sayers Group LLC]. And I was looking for a field of the future. And I took a look at a couple opportunities in insurance and automobile dealerships. And my partner and I, we decided on computers. So, we chose computers.$$Okay. Now the computer industry was just, especially the personal computer industry (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$--was just jumping off.$$Just now starting up, that's right.$$The Macintosh, and the SEs [Macintosh SE], and then--$$Yeah.$$--the IBM [International Business Machines Corporation] desk machines with the little green screens and stuff.$$Yeah. IBM, Compaq [Compaq Computer Corporation], you know--$$Yeah.$$But you know, as you said, they were just coming up. And we started out in supplies--ribbons and diskettes and mag tape and computer paper, and things like that. And as we grew our business, our customers would ask us, you know, "If you can sell us ribbons, why can't you sell us printers? And if you can sell us diskettes, why can't you sell us computers?" So, that's when we got into the hardware side of the business. And when we would--we sold all the tier one manufacturers--IBM, Compaq, HP [Hewlett-Packard Company], Apple [Apple Inc.], Sun [Sun Microsystems, Inc.], and all those people. Whenever we got a manufacturer, an IBM, they would come in and train a lot of people. Compaq would come in and train a lot of people. So that's when we got--we got to know about the computer. And, you know, and so then after we got into the hardware side of it, somebody's got to fix them. We got into the service side of it, you know, and so that's what we do today. We do it all. We fix them. We--our niche is the Fortune 500 companies around the country. That's who we sell our products to--Allstate Insurance [Allstate Corporation], Blue Cross Blue Shield [Blue Cross Blue Shield Association], people like that. And we have offices in Chicago, Boston [Massachusetts], Florida, and a small office in Nashville, Tennessee. And so, you know, things are going well.$$Okay, okay. Well, you say you started providing servicers at one time and then the networks, too, you know?$$Yes. And all that has led, you know, to computers. And you know, if a company wants to put together a network and things like that, we have people to come in and help them decide what type of network they want to go with. We can do that.$$Okay. Do have a favorite computer between the Apple and the PC [personal computer]?$$Not, not really. You know, Apple, they make good stuff, you know. But I have a Hewlett-Packard laptop, you know, and I got a Hewlett-Packard machine at home at my desk, you know. So, but they all are great machines, whether it's IBM, whether it's Compaq, whether it's, you know, Lenovo [Lenovo Group Ltd.]--whatever the, you know, whoever it may be. You know, they're all about the same right today.$$Okay. So I can't get you in any trouble by (laughter)--$$No, no trouble.$$All right, okay.$$We sell them all (laughter).$$All right, okay.$$Yeah.$$So, now as you've been into sports retirement--$$Uh-huh.$$And as you're a success in the business world--I mean, are you still like pulled back into sports from time to time to make commentary and that sort of thing?$$Uh-huh.$$So that's been like another, almost like another business, right, in some--?$$Well, it's, it has been maybe. But, you know, computers is what I do most of the time, 95 percent of the time. Yes, I do some speaking some engagements and things like that, but that's my business, what I do. And on the sidelines, if somebody at the station wants me to talk about the Bears [Chicago Bears], or if they want me to go to a game and then commentate on the football, I will do things like that. But that's very, very small, to what I do with my computer company.$$Okay. Where do you see your company going in terms of growth in the next ten years?$$Oh, well, the next ten years, that's too far out to even talk about. When you got an economy like we got today, we don't even, I don't even think about ten years from now. I'm thinking about what's going to happen three months from now, or two years from now. Because President Obama [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama], he's going to have a tough, tough, road to travel, you know. I think he could really be, he's going to do a great job, but some of the things that he promised people, it's going to be two years from now or three years from now (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) It's gonna be hard to deliver to folks--$$To deliver them. Because, you know, this economy, we have to do something too with this economy. And if we don't get this right, you know, we're going to--we're in trouble, we're in real trouble.$Before then, what you're saying--just to be clear, is that before that the room assignments were basically racial. The black--$$For the--$$--players were together, and the white players--?$$For the most part, it was. Because back then, all, many, 99 percent of the black players lived on the South Side of Chicago [Illinois]. The white players, the North Side of Chicago. And we would ride in a car together to practice. And so when they said, "Who do you want to room with?" "Oh, I want to room with George Seals. I ride to practice with him every day." Or, "I want to room with Dick Gordon, or Jimmy Jones." And so many of the black players, most of them, at that time most of them roomed together. Because (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So, yeah. So what we're also saying is that the demographics of the city, the segregation that already existed in the city, determined association in your neighborhood in a lot of ways.$$No question about it, yes, it did. Because again, we, you know, we got the housing people and that's the way they shifted us, right to the South Side of Chicago. And we didn't think anything of it. Because, hey, you know, if you're a good football player or baseball player or basketball player, you know, the people in the neighborhood knew you, and they enjoyed, you know, what you did. So, we didn't have a problem with that. But when George Halas decided to room by position, you know, people thought that was, you know, a big deal. But it wasn't a big deal to him, because he was trying to get the best out of his players [on the Chicago Bears] and making sure that, you know, "Do you know your assignments?" and things like that. And it worked out well for us. And when people saw that Brian [Brian Piccolo] and I were rooming together, "Why are y'all rooming together? You know, this is the first time ever for this." Is it? I didn't know. Brian didn't know. You know, so it wasn't no big deal to us. But a lot of people made a big deal of it.$$Okay, okay. So when you traveled on the road, you know, you all shared the same room?$$Yes.$$On the road and stuff?$$Uh-huh.$$You didn't share the same room in town, though, did you?$$Oh, no, no, no. Because, you know, me and Brian--he lived southwest, and I lived south. And a lot of the other players lived north. And no, we would drive our cars down to Wrigley Field [Chicago, Illinois], and so it wasn't a problem. Then when we'd go on a road trip, hey, we'd room together.

Evelyn Gibson Lowery

Civil rights activist and leader Evelyn Gibson Lowery has been at the forefront of many human and civil rights struggles since an early age. She is the daughter of activists Rev. Dr. Harry and Evelyn Gibson, and they provided her with the inspiration that became the foundation for a lifetime of involvement in human rights at both the national and international levels. After high school, Lowery attended Clark College and Youngstown University.

Lowery is married to Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and has been involved in the movement since 1957. In 1979, Lowery became the founder and chairwoman of the fastest growing department of the SCLC. SCLC's Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.) was the manifestation of a vision of a woman whose commitment to improving the quality of life went beyond the boundaries of color. Immediately after the development of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., she moved to develop coalitions and alliances with a variety of women's groups throughout the nation and other parts of the world.

Lowery has been involved in many civil rights struggles. She has marched, boycotted, served jail time and traveled the world spreading the message of human and civil rights. Her dedication to civil rights and human rights has not gone unnoticed. In Atlanta, she was one of a five-member committee appointed by former Mayor Maynard Jackson to make arrangements for clothing and burial of missing and murdered children. She has served as a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Christian Council of Atlanta, and has worked with the YWCA, Church Women United, and many other organizations. Lowery has received numerous awards and recognition for her leadership and service including the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers Award, the APEX Museum's Tribute Award to Black Women for Achievement in Civil Rights (Collections of Life and Heritage); the Rosa Parks Award; WXIA-11 Alive Community Service Award; and the Atlanta Business League's Women of Vision - 100 Most Influential Women of Atlanta, to name a few.

At the time of the interview, Lowery was still very active in her community. She continued to work with the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N, and with her husband to spread the message to encourage African Americans to vote.

Accession Number

A2004.170

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/21/2004

Last Name

Lowery

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar School

Porter Elementary School

Booker T. Washington High School

Rayen High School

Youngstown State University

Clark Atlanta University

Dunbar Elementary School

First Name

Evelyn

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

LOW04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/16/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

9/26/2013

Short Description

Civil rights activist and nonprofit executive Evelyn Gibson Lowery (1925 - 2013 ) is the founder and chairwoman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women's Organizational Movement of Equality Now and wife of SCLC leader Rev. Joseph Lowery.

Employment

Miles College

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Favorite Color

None

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evelyn Lowery interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evelyn Lowery lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evelyn Lowery recalls her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evelyn Lowery shares early memories

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evelyn Lowery remembers her early awareness of racism and civil rights

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evelyn Lowery recalls sights, sounds, and smells from her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evelyn Lowery recounts her early school and church experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evelyn Lowery discusses her college years at Clark

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evelyn Lowery explains how she met her husband, Joseph Lowery

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evelyn Lowery outlines her father's many pastoral assignments and details his death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evelyn Lowery details the tension surrounding her husband's activities in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evelyn Lowery recalls her participation in the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evelyn Lowery describes her near-death experience during a civil rights demonstration in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evelyn Lowery recalls the founding of SCLC/WOMEN, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evelyn Lowery discusses the greatest achievements of SCLC/WOMEN

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evelyn Lowery discusses some of the current projects and activities of SCLC/WOMEN, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evelyn Lowery reflects on the course of her life and career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evelyn Lowery shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evelyn Lowery considers her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Evelyn Lowery remembers her early awareness of racism and civil rights
Evelyn Lowery recalls her participation in the Selma to Montgomery March
Transcript
Perhaps if you were reflecting one of those neighborhoods or one of those blocks, can you describe to me what the community was like there or maybe even what the community was like in the church, church communities that you were living in as you were moving?$$Those were the early years and the years in Oklahoma were--are, are still a bit vague. But I just recall that in Muskogee, Oklahoma you could--where the church was and the parsonage next door you could walk just about to the other side of town. Quite often my brother [Harry Brown Gibson, Jr.] and I on a Sunday afternoon would walk over to visit friends you know on the other side of the city. But Memphis, Tennessee we moved there and that is a part of, of my life that started taking on a, a flavor, for my father [Harry Brown Gibson, Sr.] became very actively involved in civil rights. And this was a time when it was very dangerous, very dangerous and those are impressive years in my life.$$What types of things were happening?$$Well as you know the segregated pattern, very segregated pattern at that time. And my father became the president of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in Memphis and naturally he was out with leadership and, and leading causes--discrimination and, and all kinds of things to bring down barriers. He went up I recall to Stanton, Tennessee which was not far from there, about thirty five or forty miles to investigate something that had taken place. An NAACP president had been thrown in the river and drowned. And they couldn't find the cause of it or anything about it but they knew it was something that was done, you know, mysteriously and violently. So he and my brother drove up there to do this to, to--they slipped into town. My brother let him out and he went in and, and talked with them and investigated it and got in the car, they came back. It became very intense. They saw them and they really pursued and tried to follow them and they found out where we were. My father pastored Centenary [United] Methodist Church [Memphis, Tennessee] at that same time. And there was a service station across the street from us that our members owned and those men, they knew that they were coming, looking trying to see a time when they could--I don't know what they wanted to do. But we had to have members of our church guarding our house night and day. It was a very, very tense time. My--our--his church, Centenary Church was a very popular church, and mass meetings were held there also which made it even more you know intense. And you could see the police driving around. They were disturbed--they didn't--trying to frighten you or trying to see what was going on. So that was a very dramatic time in my life. The [Edward Hull 'Boss'] Crump administration was what was in charge at that time. It was very despotic and so that's a period that, that I lived through that was very, very intense.$$And what was the approximate time of this period?$$This was '40 [1940], like '39 [1939] and '40 [1940].$And what is the one of the more memorable marches that you participated--.$$(Simultaneously) Well of course the Selma to Montgomery March in '65 [1965] and that, that of course is the, the most outstanding one. And we were living in Birmingham [Alabama] then. We had moved to--back to Birmingham. We left Mobile [Alabama] after nine years, then we go back and then moved to Nashville [Tennessee] for three years and then to, back to Birmingham. And that's when he [husband, Rev. Joseph E. Lowery] finished the church and the Selma to Montgomery march was there, the 16th Street [Baptist] Church had been bombed just before we moved there. But at that Selma to Montgomery march the purpose of the march was to take a petition to Governor [George C.] Wallace for the right to vote, signed names all everywhere. So when we marched into the city after all night at St. Jude [Catholic Church, Montgomery, Alabama] where the entertainers from all over the country came and, and entertained, Sammy Davis, Jr. , Peter Paul and Mary--all kinds of entertainers came, Lena Horne. And had a long--that long march and then along the campus of the [Alabama state] capitol, and by then had gotten very late in the evening, dusk-dark. So Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] appointed a committee to take this petition to Governor Wallace who was up there in the capitol listening to us. (laughs) And so everybody had gone, it was getting dark and, and he then appointed a nineteen member committee. He, he appointed my husband chair of that committee. And so they proceeded to march to the steps of the capitol--I was standing across the street taking pictures with my little camera in half dark and they attempted to go up the steps but they were stopped by the state troopers. They wouldn't let them go up the steps. And as soon as they did that the [Alabama] National Guard came up with their bayonets or whatever they have and the state troopers parted just like that. In other words they said, "You have to let them go up." And they went up the steps to see Governor Wallace but he wouldn't come down to see them. He sent a messenger or an assistant or somebody and they said, "We have not marched this long and this far and this hard to give this petition to an assistant." So they did not give it. But it was late by then. This, this took a good while for all these little things to happen, this sequence to happen. So it was very late when we left, black-dark. And when we got back to Birmingham the telephone rang and I answered the phone and it was Richard Valeriani. I don't know if you heard of him. He was a news correspondent, very famous at that time, calling. He said, "I know that you were about the last ones there. We heard of something we believe so dark happened on the highway but we don't know what it was, wondered if you had seen or heard or anything?" So we said, "No we didn't. We had the radio on but we didn't hear of anything." So the next morning the whole world knew that Viola Liuzzo had been killed, that was the incident they were talking about. She was taking workers back and forth from Selma to Montgomery and supplies and on that dark highway they couldn't tell what had happened on Highway 80, but these Ku Klux Klanners [Collie Wilkins, Gary Rowe, William Eaton and Eugene Thomas] in their car had come by and they shot and killed her. And a young man [Leroy Moton] was in the car with her. I gave him an award a couple of years ago. And he was thrown out of the car and they came back and looked. They were going to kill him. They thought he was dead. He played dead and they came back and looked and he just played dead but he, he didn't, he wasn't dead. He found his way back. And, but this is why when I founded SCLC/WOMEN [Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc.], that was one of the first things I wanted to do. I never forgot that experience and I wanted to go back and put a monument up on the highway in memory of Viola Liuzzo. She left her family, her children and came and gave her life for the right to vote. And so the monument reads, "To our sister in the struggle."

Ronald Walters

Professor Ronald Walters, internationally renowned expert on African American leadership and politics, was born in Wichita, Kansas, on July 20, 1938. After attending Fisk University as an undergraduate, Walters earned his graduate degrees from American University. Walters went on to teach at Georgetown and Syracuse Universities; chair the African and Afro-American Studies Department at Brandeis University and the Political Science Department at Howard University; and work as professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. Walters served as director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program, and was a distinguished leadership scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership.

Walters served as a campaign manager and consultant for the Reverend Jesse Jackson during his two presidential bids and was a policy adviser for Congressmen Charles Diggs and William Gray. During the 2000 election season, Walters worked as a senior correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association and as a political analyst for Black Entertainment Television's Lead Story. Walters was also a regular guest and commentator for several political talk shows on radio and television.

As a scholar, Walters penned six books and wrote over one hundred articles; his monographs won several awards for best book. Walters was also honored for his contributions to the study of African American politics and leadership. Walters was noted for his scholarship on African politics, and visited Africa on several occasions.

Walters and his wife, Patricia Ann, were longtime residents of Silver Spring, Maryland. Walters passed away on September 10, 2010.

Accession Number

A2003.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/5/2003 |and| 7/16/2003

Last Name

Walters

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Organizations
Schools

Wichita East High School

Wichita University

Fisk University

Roosevelt Junior High School

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

WAL04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/20/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

9/10/2010

Short Description

Political science professor Ronald Walters (1938 - 2010 ) is a leading scholar on issues of black leadership and politics, and is a frequent political commentator.

Employment

Department of State

Peace Corps

Georgetown University

Syracuse University

Brandeis University

Howard University

African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program

James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Walters interview: Part I

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters discusses his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters discusses his mother's and father's backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters describes the segregated neighborhoods of his youth and the 1958 sit-in movement in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Walters describes growing up in a military family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Walters describes 'Boys' Nation' and other high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Walters recalls his time at Wichita University, Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Walters recalls his experiences at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters discusses his early involvement with governmental programs

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters recalls his civil rights involvement in Kansas in the late 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters discusses the Movement's connection to the Black Church and relates his personal struggle with religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters describes his immersion in African American culture and scholarly tradition at Fisk

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters recalls memorable events following college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters explains why he left the U.S. State Department to pursue a PhD in African Studies

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters recalls African Studies scholars at Howard University in the mid 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters recalls his employment at Syracuse University and Brandeis University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters recalls building black institutional political power in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters discusses African Americans' increased interest Africa policy during the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Walters discusses ideological conflicts around the African Liberation Support Committee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters discusses Congressman Charles Diggs's misconduct

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters discusses meetings of the Pan-African Congress

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters recalls African struggles against American foreign policy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters discusses Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters discusses his involvement with the movement for reparations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Walters's interview: Part II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters recalls the Million Man March

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters discusses the significance of the Million Man March and media coverage of the event

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters discusses the collection of monies at the Million Man March

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters recalls addresses from leaders at the Million Man March

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Walters considers the Million Woman March and the Million Youth March

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald Walters remembers a network of Afrocentric scholars

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters discusses Black Nationalism's strong emergence in the 1960s and its roots in U.S. history

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters discusses the reparations movement in Africa and the diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters argues that slavery-like conditions for blacks persisted into the 20th century

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters recalls The World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters evaluates legal cases and proposed legislation for reparations in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters discusses racial inequality in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters discusses recent African civil wars and evaluates President George W. Bush's Africa policy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ronald Walters discusses the state of Pan Africanism

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ronald Walters discusses the need for social movements as well as political processes

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ronald Walters responds to critics of Pan Africanism

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ronald Walters considers his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ronald Walters describes how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Photo - Ronald Walters on the cover of 'Black Issues in Higher Education,' 1992

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Photo - Ronald Walters with Walter Fauntroy and the staff of the African American Leadership Institute. 1998

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Photo - Ronald Walters greets Chief Moshood Abiola, Abuja, Nigeria, 1993

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Ronald Walters with Franklin Jenifer and Jesse Jackson, Washington, D.C., ca. 1988

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Ronald Walters promotional poster, February 2003

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Ronald Walters with a group of welfare reform researchers

DASession

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DATape

4$6

DAStory

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DATitle
Ronald Walters recalls African struggles against American foreign policy
Ronald Walters discusses the reparations movement in Africa and the diaspora
Transcript
Prior to the new African states emerging, there were very few, you know, they're--prior to the late '50's [1950], early '60's [1960], there were very few African states and so everybody in the Pan African Congress was a, maybe some kind of a troublemaker or somebody trying to put together (unclear) (simultaneous)--you know, the--$$(Laughter) that's right. You're talking in the '50s [1950] and the early 1960s about the fact that a lot of those people were involved in the revolutionary movements. And some of the people who came over here, who we knew in the African Liberation Support Committee, people like Eduardo Mondlane. Now, I knew Eduardo Mondlane because he was very close to the guy who gave me the fellowship to go to American University [Washington, D.C.]. He, Eduardo was involved in the Methodist church. He married a white woman who was in, very close to the Methodist movement in the United States. For all practical purposes, Eduardo Mondlane was an American Methodist, but when [1962] he became head of the movement in Mozambique, I remember him coming to the United States and saying to us one day, "I'm gonna go and talk to the Secretary of State. And I want to see if I can't get some support for our movement." And he, he went. And he talked to the Secretary of State. They turned him down. And he came back to us, he said, "Look," he said, "I struck out." He said, "I'm gonna have to go to the East," he said "because I'm, I've just been elected head of our movement." And he said, "I've got to have some support if I'm going to deal with Portuguese." Well, sure. The same thing with Amilcar Cabral. Amilcar Cabral is fighting a revolution in Guinea-Bissau at Cape Verde [1963-1973]. He comes over here and we meet with him. I mean, I could go on from one leader to the other. These are revolutionaries involved in the struggle which the European countries are involved in, but the United States is a part of the European complex. And so the United States, in effect, takes their side in these situations. So it was, it was a very, it was a very complex, frustrating and in some cases, a dangerous period to be part of these organizations that were in effect fighting against American foreign policy in Africa. And that's one of the reasons why in 1976, we founded TransAfrica. Now, this had been a dream of Charlie Diggs. He was the one who said we need a lobby, an African American lobby on Africa because he understood how politics worked. Randall Robinson was his administrative aide. So when he got in all that trouble, Randy left his office. And he said, okay. Well, what happened was that Charlie [Diggs] called a National Black Leadership Summit in 1976. It was in response to what happened in South Africa when they--remember they had the '76 [1976] struggle and then locked up a good part of the leadership. Well, Charlie Diggs called a National African American Summit and denounced the South African government, demanded that the United States lean on the South Africans to let them out of jail. And, and then again, called for the formation of this, of this lobby. Well, Randy left his office and then went to put it together. So there were, there were four of us who put this lobby together, Randy Robinson, Herschelle [Sullivan] Challenor, who had worked for Diggs, Willard Johnson and myself. And these, these were the people who sort of did the leg--we did the leg work. Randall put it together. Anything that he wanted us to do, you know, we did it. I formed the first Board of Directors of TransAfrica. The person--he asked me who should head it. I told him that I thought that Richard [G.] Hatcher should head it . Richard did play the central role in the 1972 convention, was at that time, one of the key black politicians in the country. The strategy was to move the African agenda to the center of the black community, not to the sides, but to the center. And, and Richard agreed that he would be the, the chairman of the board, and a board was put together. And then we, we put together later on, TransAfrica forum. I wrote the first proposal. With the money coming in, we had Annual Africa Policy Conferences with that money and so forth. And so that's how TransAfrica Forum got started. I switched over and became part of that board. So TransAfrica in that period was a very important organization because it--then, in the early 1980s we started to lead the movement against the apartheid system. It had already been doing some things, you know, in Southern Africa because in, in the 1970s, it was more Southern African than South Africa. It was Zimbabwe. It was Mozambique. It was Angola. It was, it was Zambia--Zambia and so forth. So southern Africa in the 1970s, but South Africa in the 1980s. And TransAfrica played a very strong role in both of those eras.$Reparations. What are we owed? Are we owed something by the United States or by the--are we owed by the individuals or the government? Or who owes us?$$Well, let me say, say it like this. I was part of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations, the forum in 1986, the original Board of Directors. And I joined NCOBRA [National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America] at that point because, not only did I believe in the truth of what Queen Mother Moore was saying, but she wasn't the only person saying it. I mean that John Henry [formerly Henrik] Clark, other people understood that there was such a thing as the need for reparations.$$And NCOBRA is?$$As I said, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America [NCOBRA]. And so I, I've believed that for a long time. The--in the 19-, the mid-19--let's see, '90s [1990] there was a conference in Abuja, Nigeria that was put together by the Organization of African Unity [OAU]. And I became the chair of the American delegation to that meeting. And that, there were about five hundred delegates to that meeting from really all over the world. The, most of them came from the continent of Africa. And this was unique. The OAU [Organization of African Unity] put together a, what they called an Eminent Persons Committee to chair this conference. And the chair of that group was Chief Abiola--Arella [sic], who--Abiola was a very powerful businessman in Nigeria who was running for President. And I said "Arella [ph]"--that's somebody else. But this is Chief Abiola, Moshood [Kashimawo Olawale] Abiola. And he was thrown in jail by the regime after 1996 and subsequently he died in prison.$$It was the Sani Abacha--$$The Sani Abacha [regime] did this, and [General] Sani Abacha, of course, was fearful of the fact that here was somebody who actually had won an election. And he was going to have leave power. And so rather than do that, he declared the election null and void. And he put Abiola in jail. And so this was, this was, this meeting in Abuja happened before all of that. And, as a matter of fact, at the time, he was campaigning. And he asked if I would campaign with him in northern Nigeria--that's where Abuja is. And so after the meeting there, he wanted us to go and, and campaign throughout northern Nigeria. I couldn't do that, but I could see how powerful and popular he was in northern Nigeria. And I felt then that he was going to win the election. That meeting was important in the sense that it discussed the African side of the reparations question, talked about in broad terms, about the fact that Africans had been, not only enslaved, because we tend to focus on slavery outside of Africa, but the spoilage of the African continent in terms of its resources and its society and so forth, I mean that aspect of it, people don't focus in on. The whole process of world imperialism and colonialism as part of what happened to Africa, slavery was a part of that, was a part of that. So we discussed a lot of things having to do with the question of, you know, who was owed an apology and whether or not Africans ought to apologize to African Americans for their role in slavery. And we discussed a lot of these things. And what form would reparations take and, and who should be held accountable, France and, and Britain and so forth, even Germany for their roll in southwest Africa and so forth.$$Can you take some parts of that and examine them in a way?$$Sure.$$This is something, there's a lot of general talk in the community about these things. And there's not a lot of, there's still not a lot of information out here by which people can really make a clear decision about things sometimes. I mean it exists, but you don't find it, you know, in the minds of most people. But, for instance, the case that Africans owe us an apology, as if we were already African Americans and they sold--you know, when people were sold or something or that they had a, set up a market basically to sell certain people to Europe or something. I mean are these valid (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$I don't think they're valid arguments primarily because you, if you, all you have to do is look at the comparison between Eastern slavery, which existed for centuries, and Western slavery. Western slavery, chattel slavery made a human being into a thing, a piece of merchandise. That would have happened if you had not had the intervention of Europeans into the slave system. It would not have happened if they had not fueled it with money and weapons and rum and the sort of things that were used to actually get people fighting so that they could then deliver human beings to a system and carry them away. So when you think about an apology, you have to put it on a scale. And you have to ask yourself, well, well, who owes the greatest apology. I would accept, and, and some of the African leaders have apologized, Bennein, for example, Senegal, some of the heads of some of the others have apologized, Uganda in the 1970s. But these are, are feeble things from my standpoint. When you look at the massive, massive global involvement of Europeans in the system of slavery and what it wrought.$$But wouldn't there have been an international slave trade without European involvement?$$That's what I mean by massive. The Portuguese for example. I've been to Brazil many times. When you look at Brazil and the fact that there are three times as many Africans transported to Brazil than there was through the United States, you get a sense of the massiveness of this enterprise participated in by Europeans. And so to me, it's, it's ridiculous to think about Africans sort of owing a great debt when the continent itself was so destroyed by this process, by European imperialism. And, of course, Africans have not been able to raise themselves up even today to the point where, even if they did apologize, one couldn't expect reasonably anything from them because they have still, they are still under the yoke of a lot of the control and direction of their economies from Europe, even this minute.$$Okay, let see, now, then, like who then would owe reparations?$$Well, I think it's obviously the European countries. I mean when one looks at the nature of the poverty in Africa, as I said, you can't expect anything there. I think that it's the people who in the United States, who benefited from the slave trade and who were the merchants of the cotton and the iron ore and the turpentine and the steel and many of the things where the slave, slavery was used. It is also not just the material question as far as I'm concerned--I'm writing a book right now called 'The Politics of Black Memory' in which I'm, I'm looking at the myth of Mount Rushmore [South Dakota] and the fact that in the minds of many people, that's how America was built, that Africans are not up there, Native Americans, Hispanics are not up there on Mount Rushmore [South Dakota]. So there is not a sense that these people also contributed greatly to the making of America. So a lot of what reparations is about to me, is not just a question of the demand for resources, it's a question of the rehabilitation of the self, the rehabilitation of the nation, the reworking and remaking of history, of the history of the Nation so that people get a realistic view of how America was constructed. I think if that happens, you know, it would give people a sense of humility, rather than arrogance about race, about this country, about the inclusionary concept of Democracy and so forth and so on. So there's some stakes here, it seems to me, that are extremely important in terms of reparations which don't just redound to black people in that respect.$$Now, well, individual--individuals have argued and surprisingly, black and white, that how can you make, you know, White people pay for slavery, this happened so long ago, you know. And is that the goal, to make white people pay for slavery?$$Well, I belong to the Reparations Coordinating Committee [RCC], which is a group that was founded by Randall Robinson and whose head of TransAfrica around 1997. And it is the view of this group that, that the individual American citizen is not culpable in that sense. And the reason for that is that, slavery at every step of its evolution in this country, was authorized by word of law. Whether we're talking about colonial aspects of slavery before the making of America or we're talking about colonial law, that involved the British, or if you're talking about the constitution of the United or anything that happened after that. You're talking about the fact that the government was intimately involved in legitimizing this practice. So if, we feel that is primarily an issue of, of governmental responsibility. Some of the groups have taken out after corporations because they profited handsomely, from insuring slaves and so forth and so on. And so I think that that's a proper thing to do as well, but in terms of the, of the basic responsibility, I think the basic responsibility is one of the government.

The Honorable Jennifer Jones

Judge Jennifer Lynn Jones holds the distinction of being the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the State of Kansas. Born in Wichita Kansas on September 25, 1960 to Nannie Hatch and Leamon Jones, both Oklahoma natives, Jennifer was the fifth of seven children. She attended Wichita's Southeast High School where she graduated in 1978.

After high school, Jones enrolled at Emporia State University and then transferred to the University of Missouri at Columbia where, in 1982, she received her bachelor's degree in Social Work. Determined to continue her education, Jones was accepted to the University of Oklahoma Law School. While there, she was a member of many clubs and societies and served as President of the Black Law Students Association. Jones received her J.D. degree in May, 1985. Following law school, Jones began her career in the office of the District Attorney of Muskogee, Oklahoma. While working for the District Attorney, she developed a specialty in prosecuting sex offenses, child abuse and juvenile cases. In May 1988, she returned to Wichita for a position with the law firm of Bruce and Davis. She became a partner at the firm in 1992. That same year, Jones ran for and was elected Sedgwick County District Court Judge, making her the first African American woman to hold the position of judge in the State of Kansas.

In January of 2001, Judge Jones was appointed to the Municipal Court for the City of Wichita, Kansas. Although the duties of this position demand a lot of her time and energy, she strives to remain active in her community, church and the lives of her two children. Judge Jones also has the honor of being selected by the Kansas Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. The commission reviews ethical violations of judges throughout the State of Kansas.

Jennifer Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 29, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.172

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/29/2002

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Southeast High School

Emporia State University

Fairmont Elementary School

Munger School

Curtis Middle School

University of Missouri

University of Oklahoma

First Name

Jennifer

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

JON04

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

9/25/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Municipal court judge The Honorable Jennifer Jones (1960 - ) is the first African American woman to serve as judge in the state of Kansas, and is a former Assistant District Attorney of Muskogee, Oklahoma, where she developed a specialty in prosecuting sex offense and juvenile cases.

Employment

Office of the District Attorney of Muskogee, Oklahoma

Bruce & Davis

18th Judicial District Court of Kansas in Sedgwick County

Municipal Court of the City of Wichita

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jennifer Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jennifer Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jennifer Jones talks about her family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jennifer Jones describes her parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jennifer Jones describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jennifer Jones shares her memories of childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jennifer Jones describes her grade school years

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jennifer Jones describes her experience at Southeast High School in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jennifer Jones describes an influential teacher and her decision to attend Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jennifer Jones describes her experience at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jennifer Jones talks about her extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jennifer Jones describes how her experience as a social work intern inspired her to become a lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jennifer Jones talks about her experiences in juvenile court

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jennifer Jones describes her experience at the University of Oklahoma College of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jennifer Jones talks about an influential professor in law school, David Hall

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jennifer Jones talks about memorable cases at the District Attorney's Office in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jennifer Jones talks about getting a job at the law firm of Bruce and Davis in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jennifer Jones talks about her work at the law firm of Bruce and Davis

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jennifer Jones describes her return to juvenile court

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jennifer Jones talks about how she became a district court judge in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jennifer Jones talks about her tenure as a district court judge

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Jennifer Jones talks about getting a job at the law firm of Bruce and Davis in Wichita, Kansas
Jennifer Jones talks about how she became a district court judge in Wichita, Kansas
Transcript
So what did you do after the prosecutor's office in Muskogee [Oklahoma]?$$After leaving there, well I got married, and that kind of precipitated the move, back to Wichita [Kansas], I never really thought I'd come back here, you know, home, most often times people want to get away from home, and stay away, you know, when I was growing up it was like, I'm gonna leave and I'll never come back and live here. But, I got married, my husband, was working for Boeing, and for the first year of our marriage, he was in Greenville, Mississippi, working at a subsidiary of Boeing. And I was in Muskogee and we were six hours apart, and he then, subsequently received a transfer, to the plant here in Wichita, and that's how we ended up coming back here. After coming back, it was then trying to find a job, I went to the D.A.'s office here, in Wichita, and they told me, that I was making too much money in Oklahoma, and they couldn't come anywhere close to that, and thank you, goodbye. There was, I knew no attorneys here, didn't grow up knowing any attorneys. Chester Lewis, was a prominent African American attorney here in Wichita, he was still living at the time, and I went and talked to him, to get some advice as to what do I do, where do I go, where do I get a job in this town? And, he gave me some advice, and encouraged me to go, talk to some of the larger law firms, but I really, I still wanted to be in courtroom. I knew that, and, I thought about a young man that I had gone to law school with, who I knew was marrying a woman, who was from Wichita. And when we left law school, it was understood that he would be coming to Wichita, so I got the phone book out and looked him up, and surely, he was still here. In a small law firm, with his father-in-law, and several other people, called him up, and told him I was here, he remembered my from law school, and said that he would talk to the other people in their firm, because they were looking for someone at the time. And, he arranged a lunch meeting for me, with the partners, and went to lunch, on a Tuesday, about 11:00. And they called me and offered me a job the same day, about 2:30, the same day, so, I took that job and went into private practice as an associate with the firm of Bruce and Davis, when I came back to Wichita.$And I was also experiencing some difficulties, as an attorney in juvenile court here in Wichita [Kansas], because juvenile court is the bottom of the rung, or it was, at that time. And I'm sure not a whole lot had changed here in Wichita since then, but it was on a rotation basis, the judges would come to juvenile court, rotate out there, for a year, and then rotate out and go back downtown to the court house and do other civil or criminal work. So it was a very unpopular court, it was a very difficult court, you know you dealt with those emotional issues of families and child abuse, and neglect, and things of that nature, termination of parental rights. So, it wasn't an easy court to be in, and I really felt like you needed judges who wanted to be in that kind of environment, and I was tired of the flip flop with the judges, because, at that time the focus was work with family until you can put them back together. And it may take three or four years, to undo generations of dysfunction, or substance abuse, or whatever the issue was. So, we would have one judge on a case for a year, and that judge would make all the rulings and the case would move in this direction, and then at the end of that year, that judge would leave, we'd get a new judge, and we would start cases all over again. And families were not going anywhere, and the system was really, bogged down in my opinion. And we had five positions opening up in 1992, for judges, we elect judges here in Wichita, there were five who were forced into retirement, because they had reached the age of 70, while in office, and they could not run again. So, I was like well, why don't I, talking to some other lawyers, sitting in the law library, at juvenile court, why don't I run for judge. And, be assigned here or ask to stay here in juvenile court, and that would kind of stop this flip flop and everybody was like, "well yeah that's a good idea, why don't you do it?" And I was like, well I was really just kidding, but you know, they encouraged me and said well you can do this. So, a few of us got together and tried to figure out how do you run a campaign. I was a very grassroots type of, campaign, we ran very little money. The man that also filed on the Republican ticket, was another Caucasian male, who had stated he was looking for a way to retire. And I, I just kind of felt like we didn't need more of what we already had: a bunch of elderly Caucasian men looking to retire. We needed someone on the bench, particularly in juvenile court who was concerned about children, concerned about families, and trying to fix a system that was broken. So I ran, and I won, so that's how I became a judge the first time here in Wichita.

Abner Jean "Val" Jackson

For nearly sixty years, the Jackson Mortuary has been an institution in Wichita, Kansas. The family-owned and -operated mortuary and its owners, twin brothers Abner Val Jean Jackson, Sr. and Anderson Eugene Jackson, hold a place of honor in the community of Wichita.

Abner Val Jackson, Sr. was born in Wichita in 1933. He graduated from North High School. He served in the U.S. Army and had the distinction of being one of the first African American to serve with the Wichita Fire Department. He left the department in 1967 after twelve years to join the family business. While running the business, he and his wife, Erma, operated Jackson Realty and Skin Appeal Cosmetics, managed Calvary Towers Senior Citizen Housing Project and had other business holdings. In 1982, Jackson retired and turned the mortuary business over to his twin sons.

Along with his position as vice president of Jackson Mortuary, earning his funeral director’s license in 1961, Jackson served his community through his membership in organizations like the National Urban League and the NAACP. He was involved in policymaking for the City of Wichita and was honored by the city and the State of Kansas in acknowledgment of his commitment to the community. He served as chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Board of Directors for the City of Wichita and the Board of Trustees for Wichita’s Calvary Baptist Church. Jackson has four children: Val Jean Jackson, Jr.; Michael E. Jackson; Kimberly Jackson-Landrum; and Stephanie Jackson Cousin. He also has eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Jackson passed away on October 14, 2002.

Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 30, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.171

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

8/30/2002

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Jean

Organizations
Schools

Wichita North High School

Wichita State University

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Abner

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

JAC06

Favorite Season

November, December

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Whatever it takes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

4/22/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cabbage, Spinach, Ham Hocks

Death Date

10/14/2002

Short Description

Mortuary owner and civic activist Abner Jean "Val" Jackson (1933 - 2002 ) is co-owner of Jackson's Mortuary in Wichita, Kansas.

Employment

Jackson Mortuary

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:2071,66:12582,214:13574,256:14008,265:20325,335:21225,349:21525,354:26420,419:29000,467:35364,778:53256,966:55062,996:69484,1151:69848,1158:73670,1248:76400,1295:90910,1483:101238,1682:101630,1687:102904,1711:103688,1720:105743,1782:106480,1802:109562,1836:109897,1842:110768,1884:117905,1981:126221,2095:146653,2389:160595,2651:202695,3100:221256,3298:227480,3396:228440,3406:228760,3418:231560,3446:231880,3484:240822,3585:241066,3590:241371,3596:243018,3629:243567,3642:247650,3656:251375,3742:251870,3753:252090,3758:259834,3906:261620,3916:274492,4065:275082,4071:275672,4077:279916,4137:283220,4184:284299,4200:287147,4221:287686,4229:296062,4398:296467,4404:303433,4659:316958,4769:317446,4779:318300,4815:320252,4873:323406,4902:325292,4912:330120,4962:338670,5056:339015,5062:339360,5068:341972,5112:342916,5134:348064,5190$0,0:16804,136:33268,346:37760,493:38850,653:39395,659:47170,735:47714,747:52890,835:53142,840:53394,846:53772,854:88110,1361:89045,1374:89385,1379:99285,1485:103092,1541:104631,1568:105684,1584:106170,1597:117975,1735:118299,1744:120729,1801:134986,1969:143374,2088:143950,2098:144382,2105:149699,2157:149967,2162:150704,2180:151106,2187:161029,2314:161313,2319:161952,2337:162591,2347:163159,2357:171643,2469:178380,2557:178908,2568:183380,2612:184920,2647:185480,2658:186670,2678:187230,2687:190512,2707:191008,2713:191504,2719:205585,2921:206329,2931:212492,3026:221141,3142:246451,3511:248297,3560:249007,3574:257735,3674:262000,3731:262384,3738:262960,3749:263856,3764:264304,3777:264560,3782:267258,3806:268550,3828:276338,3915:279207,3954:282388,4009:284404,4048:289308,4108:307750,4418:310378,4522:310670,4527:312860,4571:322462,4685:322984,4712:329354,4748:337770,4852:338719,4867:340836,4910:341201,4916:342223,4934:345320,4959:350707,5030:362066,5185:367016,5232
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Abner Jackson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Abner Jackson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Abner Jackson describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Abner Jackson remembers his grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Abner Jackson discusses his parents' avocations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Abner Jackson recounts his childhood in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Abner Jackson reflects on life with his twin brother, Genie

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Abner Jackson recalls growing up with his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Abner Jackson details his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Abner Jackson recounts his early career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Abner Jackson describes running a family funeral business

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Abner Jackson discusses the rewards of living in a community where everyone knows each other

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Abner Jackson discusses different types of funeral wakes or repasts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Abner Jackson reflects on his life and career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Abner Jackson discusses his community activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Abner Jackson ponders his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Abner Jackson illustrates his parents' pride in his career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Abner Jackson reflects on how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Photo - Newspaper clipping about Abner Jackson, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1967-1968

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his brother in the Army, Bayonne, New Jersey, ca. 1954-1955

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his wife, Erma Jackson, Wichita, Kansas, ca. early 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his twin brother, Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his brother, Anderson Eugene Jackson, Charles McAfee, and Cendant representative, Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his family, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1989-1990

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his twin brother, Eugene, and neighbor, Leila Mae Baker, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1935

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his twin brother, Anderson Eugene Jackson, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1936

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Photo - Abner Jackson 'hanging' on telephone pole with his brother below, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1930s

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Photo - Abner Jackson with his twin brother and parents in front of their company hearse, Wichita, Kansas, ca. 1934-1935

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Photo - Shiloh Baptist Church, Wichita, Kansas, 1943

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Abner Jackson remembers his grandfather
Abner Jackson describes running a family funeral business
Transcript
My grandfather [Abner Jackson, Sr.] used to be mail--on the mail, mail run for the railroad. And I don't know which railroad it was either. They never did talk too much, and, of course, you might have run in the same situation. They didn't, they didn't talk too much about yesterday, yeah, didn't talk too much about yesterday. So everything we know right now, we done had to go through obituaries and, and funeral programs and all that stuff to kind of get some background. And my dad [Abner Jackson, Jr.] put, and my dad said, "I don't have to have no obituary." So they put on his, nothing but 'The Lord's Prayer' (laughs), in lieu of obitu--in lieu of the obituary. So--.$$(Simultaneously) He didn't have any obituary about himself at all? Just you say, 'The Lord's Prayer'.$$Yeah, he just had 'The Lord's Prayer'. He, he didn't want no obituary on there. He said, "I ain't"--he said, "I lived, and that's it." And so mama [Janett Jackson] put on his tombstone out there, "Rest in Peace" (laughs)--R.I.P., he'd like that.$$Okay, now how did you grandfather--did you know your grandfather who started this business?$$Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, gramps, 'Dapper Gramps' [Abner Jackson], that's what we used to call him.$$What was that again?$$Dapper Gramps. Yeah, he loved to play Coon Can, you know the game?$$No, I don't.$$Okay, he said, "Some coons can, some coons can't." That's all (laughs). But, yeah, yeah, Gramps--see, we moved over--we moved out of the house over here on Cleveland [Street, Wichita, Kansas] over into the basement of the mortuary over on Water Street, the one you see the picture out there on the wall. We moved over there when I was four years old, stayed there thirteen years. And Gramps stayed in one part of the basement, and we stayed in the other part, which it wasn't nothing but three rooms. So it had one room for us and one room for Gramps. And he was quite a character, quite a character, loved his cigars. He'd smoke them till the ash get that long. And then just nod his head (laughs), wherever the ash went, yeah. But he was a good businessman.$$What did he do for a living before he started the mortuary? How did he do it?$$He went to--he moved to Kansas City, Kansas, and it was a cat name--a guy, a funeral director named Nathan Thatcher, Thatcher['s] Funeral Home, still in Kansas City, Kansas, they started hanging around as old [Masonic] lodge buddies. And Gramps was a Thirty-Third Mason and so was Mr. Thatcher, is the way I understand it. And they just, Gramps just started hanging around the mortuary, and then he decided to go to school there in Kansas City, embalming school. And twenty-six, like I said, July the tenth, 1926, he decided to move to Wichita [Kansas]. And we had a storefront over on Main Street. And then he--in 1932, he built that mortuary, the building, single-purpose building. Of course, couldn't get no financing, but he had--I remember him stating he--twelve, all of $12,000 to build that building. I said, "You sure stayed with the twelves, didn't you?" He said, "Yeah, twelve, $1,200 of capital to, to keep me open for a few days and it cost me $12,000 to build the building." And saved all this money, saved all this money. My, my dad would turn over in his grave if he figured out that Genie [Anderson Eugene Jackson] and I had, had, had gone through the processes of financing, financing some of the improvements we made around here and the acquisitions. He didn't believe in borrowing no money. Said, "Well shoot, all you got to do is set it over there." But, it came right down to a very, very independent family, very independent. Seven [days a week], twenty-four [hours a day], 365 [days a year], they say. That's, that's how much time they put in the business, and afraid it wore off on us. It really wore off on my son [Michael Jackson] here lately cause he, he gets home, he gets home whenever. Genie and I, we--he takes a lot of that off of us now, so we don't have to really do seven, twenty-four. We got a answering service, now after seven o'clock in the evening. Shoot, when my dad was running this place, shoot, we had one line, and one phone. Nobody was the, nobody went anywhere without somebody manning the phone, manning the door. So we started out early putting in that seven, twenty-four.$$Now, when your grandfather started this business, was he the first black funeral home director here in Wichita or were there others?$$No, there was, there was a Butler Funeral Home here, and he ran them out of town. That's the way he likes to brag about it, said, "I run one of them out of town" and say, "Bring them on, bring on the rest of them (laughs)." But he was very confident in his--he always told us, said, "Don't worry about the money anyway" and he said "It's the service that counts." He said, "The service bring in the money," and, and he believed that. He believed that. In all he--there's been one, two, three other funeral homes here, and we're the only ones that's, that have stayed or sustained three other black funeral homes. One of them is in, in Topeka [Kansas], it's Johnson Funeral Home now, and Butler, he just closed up.$I guess in the funeral business, correct me if I'm wrong, there're two different aspects to the businesses it seems to be or maybe even three. One aspect is the embalmment of a person, and that's quite different from actually serving the grieving family and--,$$(Simultaneously) Oh, yeah.$$--and being a host for a funeral service.$$Right.$$And then the other aspect, I guess, is dealing with the place of internment, wherever that is, right?$$Oh, you can--.$$(Simultaneously) (Unclear) make that arrangement with the graveyard.$$Right.$$So tell, just tell me about how does one conduct this business and what are the components of it?$$The first, the first aspect of it is very important, the embalming and, and cosmetology and, and getting the person ready for, for the family's approval, of course. And that takes a lot of it. I mean that, that's, that's one of the things that Genie [Anderson Eugene Jackson], Genie and Michael [Jackson] both were very well schooled in. And they still do a good job. But that son of mine, he takes pride in that, which I'm glad. And he gets a lot of compliments, and he kind of shrugs them off, you know, a forty-two year old--forty, Michael's forty-six. And, but then the next phase runs into where you meet the family. You meet the family and, and set some arrangements together and make the arrangements for the cemetery and make arrangements for, for the actual carrying out the funeral program in itself. But the real test, the real test is when you're conducting--at least I think it is, when you're conducting the services and so forth at the church or chapel or whatever--cause you got folks come in there, "I'm her cousin. I want a seat up in the front." "You should have come with the original family, son." And it's a way you say that, you know. And, and usually goes down, but it's dealing with folk on, on a one-on-one basis that--we tell, we tell them, we got this young lady up in the front, Stephanie, that is very good. We were blessed to get her as far as I was concerned. She, her daddy and I was raised up together about two blocks from each other over on the West side, and we never lost contact. And she always wanted to work in the business so John asked, John asked if maybe we might have a opening one of these days. And we, we dealt with that. We're very concerned about who represents us in whatever capacity, and I think that's one of the, one of the things that wears some folk out. There was a story, there was a story that--I don't remember who told it to me, but it's been a few years ago, that a dad would send his son to college, got him a, got him a B.A. degree and almost a Masters in Business Administration, and blah, blah, blah; and waiting on, waiting on him to graduate, put a little sign on the door with his name on it and blah--and then called him in and had a conversation with him. And he said, "I want you to start, start out there in the, in the garage and the yard with so and so, and learn everything that he does and then we'll talk again, and I'll see if I'll move you inside and turn you over to one of the counselors. And you'll learn everything here." And the son kept saying, "No, I don't think so, dad." He said, "Well, what do you want?" He said, "I want to sell you my fifty percent." (laughs) His dad gave his fifty percent of the business when he got out of college. "I want to sell you my fifty percent." Was it dad [Abner Jackson, Jr.] or somebody or another--it had to be a funeral director that had to tell me that story. But he said, "That's what you call an ingrate." And I, I never want to put myself in that position, but there's not too many, as you, as you probably know, there ain't too many people across the country can go back four or five generations, cause it's always a break off at some time. There's nobody with a family name that, that's actually running, running a operation. A lot of, a lot of funeral directors nowadays, especially the older ones, they'll pick up somebody and make them general manager of the mortuary and, and just go home and send me a check. Yeah, and we haven't been that fortunate. We haven't had to do that part of it, but it's a seven [days a week], twenty-four [hours a day] and a lot of folk don't want to be in this business. When mama wants, got to go to the PTA [Parent-Teacher Association] meeting, and there's something, something that mama's planned for the children or either for herself personally, you know. You do the best--next best thing, whatever keeps you at home, (laughs) which a lot of times you turn down those invitations cause you got something else to do so far as the business is concerned. I think that's about probably, that's probably the most restriction that I've ever run into this business anyway. Of course, they, like you say, they got telephones and pagers and all that kind of stuff now, and first thing I do when I walk in a room, I put my telephone there on the side, and set, on the table or either the chair next to it. I turn the volume up on the boy 'cause ain't no telling when I get a call. And if I get call, "Bye y'all, I'm gone." (laughs) So it's, it's challenging. It really is. It is challenging.

Anderson Jackson

Businessman and community leader Anderson "Gene" Jackson has taken the family business, Jackson Mortuary, to new levels. Founded in 1926 by his grandfather, Jackson Mortuary was opened to serve Wichita's African American community and under Jackson's leadership, continues to do so today. Born on April 22, 1933, to Janett and Abner Jackson, Jr., Jackson's commitment to maintaining the family tradition has resulted in national recognition, growth, and commitment to service.

Jackson has spent the majority of his life in the family business. After returning from military service in 1955, he began work at Jackson Mortuary. In 1968, Jackson received his mortician's license from California Mortuary of Science. In 1982, after the death of his father, Abner Jackson, Jr., he became president of Jackson Mortuary and has grown the business significantly.

In addition to being a successful mortician, Jackson is extremely active in the Wichita community in both business and civic capacities. Jackson sits on the boards of many organizations committed to community economic development, including the Private Industry Council and the Kansas Department of Commerce. Additionally, Jackson was elected to the Kansas Gas and Electric Company's Board of Directors in March 1994 and he serves as president of the Wichita Chapter of the National Business League. He formerly served as president of the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts.

Jackson's business leadership and the commitment of the Jackson Mortuary to family service continues into a fifth generation. Jackson is married to Barbara Jackson and they are the parents of two daughters, Debra Dudley and Timna Jackson, and the grandparents of three.

Anderson Jackson passed away on September 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.165

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2002

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Organizations
Schools

Wichita North High School

California College of Mortuary Science

First Name

Anderson

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

JAC05

Favorite Season

October, November

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dallas, Texas

Favorite Quote

I'm still putting up with it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

4/22/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Beans (Green)

Death Date

9/9/2012

Short Description

Mortuary owner and civic activist Anderson Jackson (1933 - 2012 ) is the co-owner of Jackson's Mortuary in Wichita, Kansas. Founded in 1926, by his grandfather, Jackson Mortuary was opened to serve Wichita's African American community and under Jackson's leadership, continues to do so today. He formerly served as president of the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts.

Employment

Jackson Mortuary

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Anderson Jackson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anderson Jackson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anderson Jackson remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anderson Jackson discusses his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anderson Jackson remembers the Wichita, Kansas community of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Anderson Jackson describes his childhood avocations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anderson Jackson recalls his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anderson Jackson discusses the birth of he and twin, Abner Jackson

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anderson Jackson describes life with his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anderson Jackson discusses his family's values

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anderson Jackson recalls his educational and career pursuits in the 1950s, 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anderson Jackson describes his family relations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anderson Jackson describes the philosophy behind his family's funeral home

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anderson Jackson discusses trends in the mortuary services industry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anderson Jackson describes the diverse funerals he has arranged

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anderson Jackson discusses the role of empathy in the mortuary services industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anderson Jackson recalls his tenure on the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anderson Jackson discusses the vision of the National Business League of Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anderson Jackson considers successors to his family's business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anderson Jackson discusses his civic involvement in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anderson Jackson reflects on the economic prospects of young African Americans

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anderson Jackson shares his personal philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anderson Jackson describes how he'd like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Anderson Jackson discusses his family's values
Anderson Jackson recalls his tenure on the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts
Transcript
We'd [Anderson and his twin brother Abner Val Jean Jackson] get out of school at 2:30, sixth hour, and we'd have to come home and, and either work in the yard, clean up the cars, clean up this. Dad [Abner Bernard Jackson, Jr.] always had something for us to do in a sense because he, he and Mother [Janet Lorraine Jones Jackson] bought the business [Jackson Mortuary] in '50 [1950] from, from my grandfather [Abner B. Jackson, Sr.]. And so they needed our help. And so we didn't get a chance to participate in sports in our senior year at all, football, track, basketball, baseball, even though the coaches wanted Daddy, and, and spoke to Daddy and Mother about the fact that, well, let one of them play basketball or let one of them play , play baseball, and the other come. And says, nah, we, we've always treated 'em exactly--if one, if one works, both of 'em work. I find it very comforting now, Larry, that my dad would never finish a job, never intended to finish a job. If he started cutting the grass, he, he never intended to finish cutting it. You're supposed to have the instinct and the initiative to come out there (laughs) and finish it and send him back in the house or something--washing a car--and I find that today, you know, to the extent that, that I, I've never--well, my, my children especially, they, they always step to the forward cause I tell them the story about my dad. I said, if I start washing these dishes, you know you gonna finish them, or if I start cutting this grass, you know you gonna finish it. And I've taught them work ethics, and, and that's, that's what I gained from it too, the ability to work. But sports wise and other wise, we were good, but we just wasn't able to participate in, in high school or even college sport. We played during the summer because Dad was, allowed us to really--because he really wanted us to play, but work was a--at the business was, had its priority.$I served on the state board here in Kansas for ten years.$$This is the state board of--?$$[Kansas] State Board of Mortuary Arts now. And I served on the--I was a-appointed by three governors, different governors, some Republican and Democrat. And I was president of the state board three times. First anybody that had been ever elected to the state board for three years as president. I hear kids now that I've licensed, and my name's on their, on their licenses and I run into 'em around the state some time, and they say, "Hey, Mr. Jackson, your name's on my license." I say, you (laughter), you mean I've been around that long? He said, yeah, I remember. He said, you was a tough cookie, but I learned a lot from you. And especially, most of the communications that came to us as consumer complaints was about insensitivity and the, and the communications that professionals quote, quote related to families. And, and some couldn't, couldn't stand to be around this person because he said, like--acted like he was in a hurry or he, he had something else to do and we were inconveniencing him and, and those kinds of things. You, you know, you can give people like that, attitude wise feeling too, but they always--well, not always, I guess, but they tell me, they says, I'm glad you stayed there that long because I, I, I--when I did go off, Governor [Bill] Graves who's there now, he says, I would have appointed you again, Mr. Jackson, but he says, it was a funeral director over there in my old hometown of Salina [Kansas], that, that wanted to be on the board. And I said, that's fine. So I calls up--I, I knew him, and I called up [Stephen C.] Ryan, and I said, Ryan, I want to congratulate you on being appointed to the state board. Now, do a good job. And he says, is this you Gene? I said, yeah. He said, man, I thought maybe you might be upset about it. I've done my time. It's time for somebody else, but if it was necessary for me to be there another term, I would have been there. And I wouldn't have to apologize to nobody else for being there three more years.

Bonita Gooch

Bonita Gooch, publisher of The Community Voice of Wichita, Kansas was born on August 15, 1955, in Wichita. Her parents Dora, a schoolteacher, and U. L. "Rip" Gooch, an employee in the aviation business, migrated to Wichita from Tennessee seeking opportunities afforded by the aircraft industry. Gooch has exciting memories of flying with her father. As a teenager, she took a journalism class and volunteered for the North High School newspaper. Gooch also served as layout stripper for The Wichita Times, the local black paper.

She graduated from North High School in 1973 and earned a B.A. in Journalism from the Kansas State University and after a brief attempt at a career in journalism, Gooch went back to school for a Masters degree in Public Administration. After school, Gooch moved to Florida. In her absence her father, "Rip" Gooch ran for and won a seat in the Wichita City Council. He would become a Kansas State Senator in 1992.

Bonita Gooch returned to Wichita after the death of her brother and was persuaded by her father to purchase The Community Voice, Wichita's black weekly newspaper in 1995. In a few short years, Gooch has made The Community Voice an active participant in its community, which she believes is vital to its success. The paper includes local and national news that focuses on black political and social issues with commentary from Wichita's own Dr, Ronald Walters, Aaron McGruder's nationally syndicated, thought-provoking comic strip, The Boondocks, and insightful articles about black life.

The Community Voice received the U. S. Small Business Administration's Media Advocate Award in 1997. In 1998, it garnered two awards from the Kansas Press Association, one for overall excellence and the other to Bonita Gooch for in-depth writing. She also received the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing's Minority Advocate Award in 1999.

Gooch is also co-host of weekly Community Voice Radio Show on Wichita's KDGS Radio. Gooch has pioneered cause-related marketing programs that allow organizations to raise funds through subscription sales. Gooch, who serves on the boards of the American Red Cross and the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, among many others, lives in Wichita with her daughter.

Accession Number

A2002.169

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/31/2002

Last Name

Gooch

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

North High School

Wichita North High School

University of Kansas

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Bonita

Birth City, State, Country

Wichita

HM ID

GOO01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

Believing Is Seeing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Kansas

Birth Date

8/15/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wichita

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Bonita Gooch (1955 - ) publishes Wichita's Community Voice newspaper.

Employment

Wichita Community Voice

KDGS Radio

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:2923,73:14457,281:22120,403:29472,446:29748,451:34647,552:39339,647:43824,723:44583,737:64812,1053:71170,1109:71770,1119:72895,1135:92774,1485:96668,1546:100100,1641:121754,1964:122411,1976:127989,2095:130956,2131:139029,2297:145100,2351:150630,2477:150980,2483:159813,2615:162837,2692:164916,2748:165294,2755:167373,2810:178080,2913$0,0:906,36:6870,236:76962,1260:85282,1473:101916,1738:107650,1821:120883,2085:122424,2137:140715,2492:154840,2695:158640,2833:160920,2902:168891,3001:169458,3010:175533,3149:191377,3440:193431,3786:240693,4424:291620,5156
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bonita Gooch's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bonita Gooch lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bonita Gooch describes her parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bonita Gooch describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bonita Gooch describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bonita Gooch talks about her parents' young adulthood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bonita Gooch describes her neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bonita Gooch talks about growing up in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bonita Gooch describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bonita Gooch describes her mother's activities

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bonita Gooch describes her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bonita Gooch talks about learning to fly airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bonita Gooch describes her father's political activism

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bonita Gooch talks about her role models

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bonita Gooch describes her school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bonita Gooch recalls her lack of career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bonita Gooch talks about returning to Wichita, Kansas after her brother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bonita Gooch describes taking over the "Community Voice"

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bonita Gooch describes covering African American issues in the "Community Voice"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bonita Gooch talks about the sections in the "Community Voice"

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bonita Gooch talks about addressing multiple black perspectives

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bonita Gooch talks about writing an article about ministers in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bonita Gooch talks about organ donation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bonita Gooch describes her radio show

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bonita Gooch talks about sponsoring community events

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bonita Gooch shares her view on the effects of busing students in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bonita Gooch describes running a newspaper

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bonita Gooch describes her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bonita Gooch reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bonita Gooch talks about community mobilization

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bonita Gooch describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bonita Gooch talks about her future plans

DASession

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DATitle
Bonita Gooch describes her father's career
Bonita Gooch describes taking over the "Community Voice"
Transcript
Now your father, you know, got involved in politics and you said earlier that he didn't, didn't really fit into Boeing as a factory worker. I don't know if that's--did he--did, did he go there to work as a factory worker?$$Right.$$Okay.$$He didn't stay long, okay. My father was really a, a man before his time. I mean he truly was just a man before his time. You know he had enough flying hours to really have been an airline pilot. But at that time, you know there was no opportunity for black men to become pilots on airlines. So he could not become one of those. Even though he went on to get--I mean pretty much all of his instruments ratings and pilot's credits and became an, an instructor and began teaching people to fly here in Wichita. And many, many white, black, any race people will tell you that--who were flyers, who have been flyers here for a long time, that they have passed the way of Rip Gooch. You know he taught them or licensed them or flown them or something, around here. He started--again a man before his time. He with some white investors, began a business called Aero Services, which was a big space operation on a little, small airport here called Watton Field [ph.]. And so what it was--an FBO [Fixed Base Operator] as they call them is where you come in and you, you put up a hangar and you can tie your private plane. You can come in if you wanna land on a field your private plan and gas up and tie it down for the night. And they sold supplies for pilots and along with the gas. And they taught lessons. And he also sold airplanes. He got a franchise agreement just like a car dealership franchise, for a, a line of aircraft which was really a sports type aircraft of its time. It was a low wing aircraft versus a high wing aircraft called Mooney, they were out of Kerrville, Tennessee [sic, Texas]. And I mean this is back in the '60s [1960's], that this black man got this franchise rights for this area to sell Mooney aircraft. And, and we used to go down to Texas, that's Kerrville, Texas, I don't know if I said Tennessee, Kerrville, Texas. We'd go down to Texas every summer for their, for like their dealer's conference. And this is when, you know, we weren't supposed to be going somewhere integrated in Kerrville, Texas, but we'd always go and stay at--were able to stay at the hotel with lights and swimming, swimming pool and things of that sort. I always took that kind of strangely. And because of this, every summer we took vacations in private airplanes. Because Father always had access to all these aircraft. So we'd fly somewhere every summer for vacation and then you know we'd come flying in and he'd be on the radio just talking. And we'd land and, and these black people would get out of these planes and every--I mean it was always you know--what's this? Who and where did these people come from, coming out of these airplanes?$But shortly after I got here to run that in May, Billy McCray, I don't know if you've met him, who had started the black newspaper. Wichita [Kansas] has a long history of you know, of black newspapers in and out, in and out.$$He was a State Representative too.$$Right, Billy McCray was a State Representative. But he started the "Community Voice". Again he was--had been a--there was a void there where there wasn't a black paper. Again, although--historically there have been black papers here, you know since the early 1900's. Some of them had good lives, you know long term. Some as long as thirty, thirty-five years. But some of them, you know, six months, a year or two years. But we were--remember I had worked for the "Wichita Times" back in the early '70s [1970's] and, and there had been several others, "Enlightener" and, and different ones. But at the point a couple of years before I got here, there wasn't one. And Billy had started one. Billy had been a State Representative, State Senator. Then he had moved--run for the County Commission. Well Billy wanted to get off the County Commission, he was ready to retire. But he wanted to get his seat to go to his daughter Melanie. Melody, she's Melody, Melody Miller. And so I think part of his plot--and, and Billy was pretty active in the Democratic Party. But I think part of his plot with starting this newspaper is that he needed a vehicle to get the word out about Melody and help get her elected. So he started this newspaper and he pushed it and he flooded the community with it during Melody's campaign. And, and got her elected and basically was a very much mouthpiece for her. And, and she won. But shortly after that her mother became ill with cancer, Billy's wife became ill with cancer and died. And I think his thought was that I--his heart was no longer in it. He and the wife had really been doing it together and he felt like his heart wasn't in it. I mean you just have a change of life after your life partner--and so he wanted to get out of the newspaper, but he felt it was too important to just let it go. That it was something that he wanted to find somebody to take it over. So Billy went around to everybody in town, almost, and asked them would you buy the paper, would you buy the paper, will you buy the paper? And I mean it's so funny. Several years afterwards, the first couple of years after we bought the paper, people said I almost bought that paper. Everywhere I go, someone would say I almost bought that paper. And--but my father came to me and says Bonita, you know you have this journalism degree and, and Billy wants to sell this paper and I think it'd be a great thing for us to do. And we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket with this, with this Zero Graphics Solutions, it'd be another something. You know so if one of them doesn't go, we have something else to fall back on. So you know, why don't you look at this one? Go over and talk to Billy and just see what he has to say. My hands are full. I'm too busy with this other business, I don't have time, no way. I had a three or four year old daughter at the time and, and I said, you know, three years old. I said I, I just can't do anymore. I'm not--no way, forget it. And he would come back in a week or two and kind of suggest to me, you know, you know this really is a good idea and I've been thinking about it and you really should. I mean just, just set up an appointment and I'll go with you and we'll talk about it. And just--let's just hear what he has to say. So finally he made me make the appointment and come time for the appointment and he doesn't even go. So I just went and, and I listened to what Billy had to say. And basically Rip had his mind made up that this is something we're gonna do. You have to understand the father, you know, that this is something we're gonna do. And so it was something that was going to happen. And so he kind of convinced me that he would do it, that he would help me. He says I will help you. I will sell the advertisement. And see he doesn't want this to be archived for history, but this is the truth. Cause I always bring this up to him. Every--this is the standing, he knows what I'm going to say. Because I'm gonna tell you about how many ads Rip Gooch has sold over the years. Oh, I'm gonna sell the ads, you just do the writing. Well no he hasn't sold any advertising, very little advertising. So you know, but that's how he convinced me, that he was gonna sell the ads and I just had to write it. I said okay Rip, here we go. So we went into the newspaper business. And that was in--our first issue was November of '96 [1996]. And again, I always tell that story jokingly, but it was something I probably would have never done on my own without his pushing or coercing. But it is something that I am just pleased as punch that I've done. I mean it was--never in my wildest dream would I have thought of doing it. But it's, it's just been the perfect fit and just, just a wonderful expression, way of expressing and getting involved and making changes for me, so--