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Reverend Marcia Dyson

Civic activist and public relations expert Marcia L. Dyson was born on October 29, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School and Bowen High School in Chicago, Illinois. Dyson received her B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Illinois in 1983, and went on to complete the University of Chicago Executive Business program.

In 1973, Dyson was hired as a teacher at the Holy Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. She then worked as an external auditor for James Fields CPA. From 1980 to 1982, Dyson served as the first chief of staff for Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s Operation Push International Trade Bureau. She then briefly served as Black Family Magazine’s community relations director before establishing Marcia L. Dyson Public Relations in 1982. From 1983 to 1985, Dyson worked as an account executive for Aaron Cushman. She was then named senior manager for Margie Korshak Associates in 1985, and then worked as senior vice president of R. J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations from 1987 until 1990.

In 1990, Dyson was hired as the public information officer for the Mayor's Office of Special Events for the City of Chicago, where she hosted foreign dignitaries and served as the liaison to the Illinois Tourism Board, McCormick Authority Convention Center Board, Illinois Film Office and Chicago's religious community. In 1992, Dyson co-founded and served as president and CEO of M and M Dyson, LLC, an international consulting firm. She also founded Women’s Global Initiative, a for-profit organization that works to enhance the lives of women. In addition, Dyson became an ordained minister in 1999.

Dyson served as a presidential scholar at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina; was a social justice think tank executive board member for Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas; and served as an advisor to Howard University’s international programs. She has also contributed to Essence magazine, New Deal 2.0, The Grio, The Root and Huffington Post online media, and has been a reoccurring political strategist on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir Show.

Dyson was selected to serve on the Women’s Global Summit Leadership board, and co-hosted the Africa’s First Ladies Summit in the Washington, D.C. area. She also helped create a Modern Narrative for Muslim Women. Dyson was named the first Chaplain for the Coalition of Hope, and has been an executive advisor and consultant to the Conference of Black Mayors. She was also a consultant to the Clinton Foundation on behalf of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC). Dyson served as a board member of Nap Advanse (We Advance), and has also been a member of many women's organizations, including the Black Women's Round Table, Face to Face, and the Middle East Peace Civic Forum.

She has received numerous awards, including a Unita Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; the U.S. Coast Guard’s Citizens Award; an Appreciation Award from the Institute for Diversity-Health; and a Humanitarian Award from the Global Institute.

Dyson is married to Michael Eric Dyson. They reside in Washington, D.C.

Marcia L. Dyson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.092

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/21/2014

Last Name

Dyson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Louise

Schools

Francis Parkman Elementary School

Carrie Jacobs Bond Elementary School

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

DePaul University

Bowen Environmental Studies High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago State University

University of Chicago

First Name

Marcia

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DYS03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Haiti

Favorite Quote

I Am My Sister's Keeper.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/29/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni And Cheese

Short Description

Civic activist and public relations chief executive Reverend Marcia Dyson (1951 - ) worked on the political campaigns of Barack Obama, Harold Washington and Hillary Clinton, and founded the Women’s Global Initiative.

Employment

Holy Angels

James Fields CPA

Operation PUSH

Black Family Magazine

Marcia L Dyson Public Relations

Aaron Cushman

Margie Koshak Ass.

R.J. Dale Advertising

City of Chicago

M and M Dyson

Clinton Foundation for Reconstruction of Haiti

Ordained Minister

Favorite Color

Pale Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Marcia Dyson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her mother's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her mother's marriages

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers living in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Marcia Dyson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers living in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes the Chatham community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her involvement with black militant organizations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her experiences at Arthur Dixon Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls her experiences at James H. Bowen High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her motivation to join the Nation of Islam

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her interest in math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about the Black Peoples Topographical Research Centers

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls her decision to leave the Black Peoples Topographical Research Center

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about the legacy of the Black Peoples Topographical Research Centers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers teaching at the Holy Angels Catholic School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about the Communiversity

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls joining the Operation PUSH International Trade Bureau

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her decision to leave Operation PUSH

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her exploration of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls her start in the public relations field

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her experiences at Margie Korshak and Associates

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls working on Harold Washington's first mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon Harold Washington's mayoralty, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon Harold Washington's mayoralty, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers attending the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her time at R.J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers working with Mayor Richard M. Daley

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers meeting her husband, Michael Eric Dyson

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her marketing activities for Barack Obama and Michael Eric Dyson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls her activism in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her experiences in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her introduction to racial violence in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend Marcia Dyson recalls serving on the executive committee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her move to New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers writing about sexual exploitation in black religious communities

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon her interest in black spirituality

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her writing and speaking engagements in the early 2000s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes the Coalition of Hope Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her advocacy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers founding the Women's Global Initiative

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon her support for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon the importance of local politics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her work with the African First Ladies Initiative

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her role in the Middle East Peace Working Group

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes the focus on entrepreneurship at the Women's Global Initiative

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about the World Leaders Forum Dubai

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon her relationship with her father

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Reverend Marcia Dyson talks about her children

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Reverend Marcia Dyson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Reverend Marcia Dyson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Marcia Dyson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her involvement with black militant organizations
Reverend Marcia Dyson remembers her time at R.J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations
Transcript
As a teenager, now you had a teenage life that sounds a lot like a friend of mine we were discussing, Pat Simpson Turner [Patricia Simpson Turner].$$Yes.$$Who's a part of a--did you become a part of the topographical research center [Black Peoples Topographical Research Center, Chicago, Illinois] too?$$I--gave my mother [Rosa Fields Smith] a heart attack. The Nation of Islam, they wanted to adopt me. I think I was the only girl in the '60s [1960s] who would leave the house in a mini skirt, go into a phone booth, which we had phone booths back then, and change into a long skirt, long sleeves and a scarf, and go off to Mosque 51 [sic.]. And I was so great at what I was doing and learning the language and taking in the culture of, of this new religion, that when they found out, the minister found out that my mother was displeased with my joining the Nation, that he and sister Sarah [ph.] were going to adopt me. But I was inquisitive as always, and asked them some questions around the message to the black man and black superiority, of some kind of form or fashion. I was--put in my hand was 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' [Malcom X and Alex Haley]. And I was so excited. I was working at Herbert Muhammad's [Jabir Herbert Muhammad] Tastee Freez in fact and I was telling the brothers when they came back from a meeting, I wanted to take a hajj, I wanted to go to Mecca [Saudi Arabia]. And they said, "How do I know these things?" I said "'Cause I'm reading this book by Malcolm X, who is this man?" And they told me that I was committing treason and that he was a traitor. And because I had that closeness to the minister, I sat down and asked him those questions about Malcolm X. And I asked him about you know, him saying that God was a God of all men and that he saw white men with blue eyes and they were all--there was only one God and we were all God's children. And because I've always been this kind of Marcia Dyson [HistoryMaker Reverend Marcia Dyson], sort of in your face and inquisitive and adventurous, they put me out. So I left as Marcia X striving for my Marcia Shabazz, my chosen name if I'd completed it because they told me I had too much power and influence over the young women, and I asked too many questions and I was not a girl of faith. And so that really sort of busted my bubble because I was seeking something then. So my future brother-in-law, my current boyfriend at that time who became my first husband and my children's father, came back from Vietnam War and joined the topographical center. And he (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now Vietnam vets founded the topographical center.$$Yes, that's right. And Jimmy [ph.] was a Ivy League sort of guy, the (unclear), Brooks Brothers shirt and khaki pants and I'm going like wow, what, what changed your life to go into this deep black-centric sort of phenomena happening in Chicago [Illinois]? And so I followed him in there blindly. Did this study, took the tours, you know, this topographical tours in Wisconsin and you know all of a sudden becoming aware of the man and scaring my mother again to death because her adventurous daughter was now going into these more dangerous waters because it was a little bit more militant. I used to call it quasi-Black Panther [Black Panther Party] to explain it to my friends who didn't understand what the topogra- topographical center was, but one thing I learned about it was cooperative communities. We had our own school. We had--would go to the farms together. We had fish shops and record stores and we worked this together. I'm not embarrassed to say I used to sell 8 track tapes collectively with some of the women and men at the "L" station [elevated train]. I've done it all, so. But it was very entrepreneurial. We bought buildings in South Shore [Chicago, Illinois] when there was a migration of the Jewish community into the suburbs more, or further north.$$Right, 'cause you're right. South Shore was Jewish largely (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) It was Jewish. And at twenty-five I bought a building with my first husband for twenty-five thousand dollars on 68th [Street] and Paxton [Avenue].$$So your first husband was a member of the top- ?$$He was also a member of the topographical center, yes.$$All right. And I know they built a black martial art--$$Black martial arts, yeah, it was all of it. We owned a good piece of property, you know, collectively, in South Shore. We helped to develop with our collective money, the South Shore Bank [ShoreBank, Chicago, Illinois] where people like Carol Adams [HistoryMaker Carol L. Adams] who took the lead on that to stabilize it. And these were very intelligent, young, African Americans. They had Ph.D.'s, they were going to school, they were, you know, accountants. So we had a little bit of a great community within the South Shore area during the early and mid-'70s [1970s].$$Okay. Yeah the South Shore was making that transition. I didn't realize it when I lived there, you know, how recently it had been Jewish.$$Yeah it was, yes.$And in '87 [1987] also you changed employment again and started working for Robert J. Dale (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, I did. And I wanted to do that because of the things that I was doing for Margie Korshak [Margie Korshak and Associates; Margie Korshak, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. Again, I was the only black person in the agency of forty women, all young Jewish women. And it was a wonderful position to have. I learned a lot. But it was also stressful because it was--I would say a little bit racist too. You know, anything that happened in agency, the black woman did it, you know. And I was the oldest person as well. But because I had a sense of community and had so many various experiences, I could do the work quick because I knew how to connect people. And they couldn't believe that the black woman could do something successful unless she honestly slept with somebody, you know, and that to me was very demeaning. And when I met Bob Dale, who was also my profess- one of my professors in marketing at Chicago State University [Chicago, Illinois], he hired me and appreciated what I had done for Margie Korshak and wanted to bring those skills and consecutiveness to the agency [R.J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations, Chicago, Illinois]. And I was more than happy to go there.$$Okay. Yeah, [HistoryMaker] Robert Dale, one of the advertising, the black ad agencies, directors in Chicago [Illinois]. So what was it like working for Robert J. Dale? What, what ad campaigns did you work on?$$We worked on the Illinois State Lottery, which was great. The executive director happened to have been African American as well. We worked a little bit somewhat on McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation]. But what was great about the Illinois State Lottery is that it was at a time when corporations during Black History Month only wanted to talk about the black kings and queens of Africa. They wanted to talk about the black athlete or the black businessperson. But I collaborated with Bob and told him again from my teaching experiences and always connecting back to the community, that our children were undereducated and I saw so much promise in the kids because of my own children [Mwata Dyson and Maisha Dyson Daniels] and some of their classmates as well. So we created a campaign called the Illinois Young Black Achievers. We didn't want them to be stellar students. These were the students who got up and went to school with bullets pouring over their heads, whose parents were in prison or drug infested communities. And we made it statewide because Illinois lottery was statewide. And what was amazing about that is that we got applications from people who were not the best writers, who told us stories about kids who got up early in the morning, who didn't have clothes, who mother may have been on the streets, but yet they went to school, was a B student. To me that was an achiever. And Mr. Johnson [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson] was alive at the time. And Mr. Johnson let us host these kids to have a judging, and Oprah Winfrey was one of my honorary chairpersons for that honor, to honor these students. And so when they selected these students who were not the stellar students, who were not the children from middle class environments, but came throughout the state. We had some of those students; we didn't try to ostracize those students who were great, but I really wanted the opportunity for those unseen children who had potential to know that, so their commu- they could go back to their community and have a badge of honor that other kids in their neighborhood might want to aspire to. What was so great about that, was that we took those students down to the state capitol [Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois] because Illinois lottery was a state entity. And the legislators in their communities who did nothing for those kids, had to acknowledge them because they were actually placed in the records of Illinois as being Illinois Young Black Achievers. They were written in their state's history, and they had to take pictures with them. That to me was one of my proudest moments in marketing. Those kids being acknowledged, being seen, the parents who wrote those letters in broken English being heard, was one of the most important things to me in my career as a marketing person.$$Yeah that's--so what did--are there some follow up stories to some of the kids that were involved that?$$Only the fact that that program itself continued. The students, no because again I'm moving on to other things and trying to engage children like the Beatrice Foods Marathon [Chicago Marathon], Chicago's marathon, the same thing. It was a sleepy marathon. Ten thousand people would come from around the world to run in Chicago. I looked at the city map where they were running. Most of the tour was around projects, and no black people were out there. So I was able to take some of those world citizens to the schools in the ghetto so that they can know off the map what that person language was like, what that person's culture was like. They got a chance to meet people from Ethiopia, they got a chance to eat their food. We had community events. The bands came out and lined the, the track, the, the racecourse of the marathon. Harold Washington was alive, he came out and we took pictures with the banners. And it because a lot--it was written up in Wall Street Journal [The Wall Street Journal]. And from that, we trained some of the children in the projects for the marathon to actually run in the marathon. Never had happened before. Some of them almost finished, I mean never a winner, but a lot of them finished at a very early pace. And from that training, too came Midnight Basketball 'cause we used basketball as one of the sports to train the children to run. So that was another proud, proud moment.

Priscilla Clarke

Public relations chief executive Priscilla Clarke was born on August 3, 1960 in Swindon, England to Dorothy Sharples, a white Englishwoman, and Gilbert Clarke, an African American stationed in the United Kingdom. The family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts when she was an infant. Her parents divorced when she was six, and Clarke split her time between their homes in Springfield, Massachusetts and Windsor, Connecticut, graduating from Windsor High School in 1978. Clarke attended Western New England College, where she majored in political science, but left school to give birth to her first daughter.

Clarke moved to Maryland, where she owned and managed a health food store in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 1988 to 2001. After selling the store, she embarked on a career in television production, taking classes at Fairfax Public Access (FPA) in Fairfax, Virginia to become a certified television producer. In the course of job hunting, she met the producers of Def Comedy Jam and began handling the merchandising for the comedy shows. She discovered that she enjoyed doing publicity and enrolled at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland to study communications and business.

In 2003, she launched Clarke & Associates in Washington, D.C., where she is currently the president and CEO. Specializing in public relations, event planning, entertainment and media relations, Clarke’s clients have included Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the National Medical Association, the National Council of Negro Women, the Urban League, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Tuskegee Institute. Shaquille O’Neal, Beyonce Knowles, the late Johnny Cochran and Robert Townsend are among her celebrity clients. In 2003, Clarke was named one of the “Fifty Influential Minorities in Business” by the Minority Business & Professionals Network, Inc. In 2006, Clarke received the Black Press All-Star Award for Publicist of the Year.

Clarke is the mother of three children, Huda, Ilyas, and Qasin Mumin.

Clarke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.138

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/10/2006

Last Name

Clarke

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Windsor High School

Western New England Collge

Columbia Union College

First Name

Priscilla

Birth City, State, Country

Swinden

HM ID

CLA12

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Make A Difference In The World In A Positive Way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/3/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

England

Favorite Food

Fruit, Italian Food

Short Description

Public relations chief executive Priscilla Clarke (1960 - ) is the president and CEO of Clarke & Associates, LLC, a public relations, event planning, entertainment and media relations company, whose clients have included Beyonce Knowles, Shaquille O'Neal, the National Council of Negro Women and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Employment

Eat to Live Health Food Store

NEB Securities

NEB Entertainment

Clarke & Associates

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:13137,224:29662,410:29894,415:63060,952:69860,1080:70260,1088:70740,1098:102400,1463:103760,1505:135748,1937:136576,1947:145498,2041:163428,2313:170972,2414:181074,2519:184950,2592:187458,2635:200361,2810:207240,2947$0,0:29946,378:35708,484:51020,643:66616,767:68803,808:113854,1335:114126,1340:117458,1410:121130,1470:124918,1492:131024,1589:131450,1597:144480,1826:165180,2072:167610,2114:168240,2128:170543,2156:171596,2174:172406,2185:182182,2302:182774,2313:184106,2352:186670,2369
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Priscilla Clarke's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her mother's childhood and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes her father and his occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke describes her parents' move from England to Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke shares her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about when her parents got married and her schools in Buffalo, New York and Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke describes her neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts and the fire that destroyed the family home

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Priscilla Clarke describes what type of student she was in elementary and junior high school

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Priscilla Clarke recalls her training as a martial arts champion

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke reflects on the discipline learned through her studies and through martial arts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the racial makeup of her junior high schools and busing in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke remembers her childhood family activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke describes her experience at Windsor High School in Windsor, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke recalls her career aspirations at Windsor High School in Windsor, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about how she never travelled to England

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the jobs she had from age twelve through high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the racism she experienced in elementary and junior high school in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her experience with racism at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke describes her political activism while attending Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke talks about the birth of her first daughter and the beginning of her entrepreneurial career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke recalls moving to Maryland and opening her health food store in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about teaching her daughter about business and the success of her health food store

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke recalls the tragedies that led her to change careers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes becoming a certified cable access producer and applying to work at BET

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke describes her experience with Def Comedy Jam

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke recalls returning to school and the beginning of her public relations career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke recalls handling public relations for Johnnie Cochran's visit to Washington, D.C. after the O.J. Simpson trial

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Priscilla Clarke talks about maintaining a balance of clients at Clarke & Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Priscilla Clarke talks about her range of public relations services

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' political clients

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' corporate clients and working with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Priscilla Clarke describes her work with Beyonce and House of Dereon

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Priscilla Clarke talks about the golf tournaments organized by Clarke & Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' well-known clients

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Priscilla Clarke describes Clarke & Associates' current music and comedy clients

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Priscilla Clarke talks about Clarke & Associates' cause-driven work

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Priscilla Clarke reflects on her life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Priscilla Clarke shares her hope for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Priscilla Clarke shares her regrets

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Priscilla Clarke describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Priscilla Clarke describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

13$6

DATitle
Priscilla Clarke recalls her training as a martial arts champion
Priscilla Clarke describes her experience with Def Comedy Jam
Transcript
Okay, when you were in [Kennedy] Junior High School did you have any notion or any clue, about what you wanted to do career-wise, what you wanted to be as we say? Did you have at that early age any thoughts?$$Well you know, interesting enough, when I was in junior high school. I met a young lady that--, actually once we moved from there we--, I transferred to another junior high school, Forest Park Junior High School. And I think I was about, I was twelve then. I was about twelve, and I met a young girl and her dad--, she was like "You know you should come to my dad's karate school." And I was like oh-okay, so she took me one day to her dad's karate school. So I was sitting there looking at all the people. And I was like--, and at that age at twelve, I was very uncoordinated you know, I was little slow on the learning side. And I was like "Wow, that's amazing how they can do all that stuff." So she's like, "Well you should take a class" and I was like, "Uh uh." I just knew, no way I could do any of that stuff. So, I did I took a class--; she convinced me after a couple of weeks, you know, we'd go and hang out at the karate school. And then she commits me to take a class. Her name was Tina Graham, and I'm sorry not, I'm sorry not Tina Graham, I gave you the wrong name, her name is Tina. And so I took the class, and I loved it, you know, I was very awkward at it. I'd say the first year I was very awkward at it, but it started to build my confidence, and it was something that I became very passionate about, I started training really hard. So I trained actually, you know, from--, I started when I was twelve, took me about two or three years to get coordinated you know. So, then I started competing, I started doing form, what they call form, which is we see the movements, and you do a series of movements. I started learning weapons, and I started learning how to fight. So you know, but it was something that--, it was interesting enough because when you learn martial arts, you learn not to fight because you learn discipline. And you learn how to deal with it in different ways as oppose to combat, but I started becoming very good at it. And I started competing in the United States. I started competing in Canada, and I started winning. So, you know, and by the time I was eighteen I was a Canadian Champion, I was an East Coast Champion, I was number two in the country. You know so, that was something I, I felt at that time I wanted to do for the rest of my life; that was one thing I wanted to do. And once I--, you know because that's something I became very good at although I started off--. And when someone would see me initially they'd like "Oh no way, she's never gonna be any good at this, (laughter) she needs to quit now." So it was something that was really against the odds, you know, I kind of blossomed. And that did a lot for me I think, you know, moving forward in my life.$So when BET [Black Entertainment Television] didn't hire me, I was like "Wow, okay there goes that dream." And oddly enough I was sitting in a comedy show, audition, comedy audition one day and I sat there and I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. And I was like wow, this is what I you know, it's like this is the kind of career I want, something that, 'cause it was so I think it--. I had been through so much pain; I hadn't laughed in so long til it was so healing for me at that, during that night. You know, and I met the producers of Def Comedy Jam that night. And we all, you know, really clicked, and we formed a friendship at that time. Well, I ended up getting a opportunity with Def Comedy Jam, HBO [HM] Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam to--, well actually let me back up a little bit. I started doing independent editing for projects, and so that's kind of like, I was doing some freelance work and that type of thing with the production piece. Started doing some photography, you know, became very good at photography and kind of all over the place. Now that my BET dream had been just destroyed. And I started doing, actually I started doing by default, it's really kind of an odd--, this is how my, my PR [public relations] career launched. I started doing merchandising for the Def Comedy Jam, did all the tour jackets, have everything designed and you know, which goes back to my seamstress days. Had everything designed you know, started actually managing the marketing on tour and that type of thing. I ended up producing something they did call the club series, which it--. An intimate like at the Improv were some of the smaller comedy clubs we would recreate Def Comedy Jam. And so one day the producer of Def Comedy Jam tells me he's like, "Well, why--" he says "Well, can you give me some publicity on the show? Get me, you know, some--", I said, "No I don't do that," and he's like, "Well just can you try?" "That's really not my forte." He's like, "Just see what you can do." And I got so much publicity (laughter), so I was like wow; you know it's like my first big story. I was like, I like--, you know it just gave me this incredible feeling, this incredible feeling of accomplishment. And seeing the client so happy to see their stuff in print, and that was a revelation for me I was like, I really like this. Okay.

Linda Torrence

Television producer and public relations director Linda Torrence was born on November 23, 1944, and grew up in College Station, Arkansas. She graduated from Wrightsville High School in Wrightsville, Arkansas in 1962. Her father, Samuel Hudson, was the city’s first black police officer. Torrence attended Arkansas Baptist College and majored in business administration. She was the first black teller at the First National Bank in Little Rock from 1962 to 1967 and later managed the College Station Community Credit Union in 1972. Torrence was politically active after high school and was the first African American female to represent Arkansas at the Democratic Convention in 1972 as an officer of the Young Democrats Club. She also hosted a television talk show on ABC-TV in Little Rock.

Torrence worked in adult education at the Urban League in Rochester, New York, and in fundraising at CBS, WHEC-TV as Director of Public Affairs. Torrence served as assistant to the director in the Donor Resources Department of the American Red Cross in Portland, Oregon, and co-founded two companies, the Walker (Business) Institute and Belcher-Torrence, a human resource company. Both companies offered business development and marketing strategies to businesses in the Portland community. Torrence was vice president of marketing and communications for the Private Industry Council (PIC) and director of human resources for Rogers Cable Television, a subsidiary of Canada’s largest cable company. At Rogers Cable, Torrence was the host of the talk show, Women in Focus, which aired for three years.

Torrence joined the staff of WAGA-TV in 1990. In her position as director of community relations and public service, Torrence is the station’s liaison to the Atlanta community. Torrence manages FOX5’s sponsorships of non-profit organizations and serves as the point of contact for community related activities and issues. She is producer of The Georgia Gang, a weekly talk show of panelists who discuss Georgia politics, and directs the production of FOX5 Editorials.

Torrence serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Grady Hospital Foundation and Georgia Commission on Women. She is the recipient of numerous awards and citations and has been honored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for her role in the development of the America’s Youth Passport. Torrence is a mother and grandmother. She resides in DeKalb County with her husband Joseph Phillips.

Accession Number

A2006.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/18/2006

Last Name

Torrence

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

College Station Elementary School

Wrightsville High School

Arkansas Baptist College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

TOR01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/23/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Human resources chief executive and public relations chief executive Linda Torrence (1944 - ) was the Director of Community Relations and Public Service for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the producer of, "The Georgia Gang," and directed the production of FOX5 Editorials.

Employment

First National Bank of Little Rock

College Station Community Credit Union

The Flint Spokeman

KGW-TV

WHEC-TV

American Red Cross Oregon Chapter

Belcher-Torrence

‘Women in Focus’

Rogers Cable

Portland Private Industry Council

WAGA-TV (Television station: Atlanta,Ga.)

'The Georgia Gang'

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda Torrence's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lina Torrence describes her brother and maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lina Torrence describes her siblings and maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence describes College Station, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lina Torrence remembers her early pastimes

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lina Torrence describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence remembers celebrating the holidays, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes the African American community of College Station, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers her family's homes in College Station, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence remembers celebrating the holidays, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her integrated neighborhood in College Station

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her neighbors' occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls visiting Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence remembers College Station Elementary School in College Station, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Linda Torrence describes her elementary school teachers and principal

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence recalls riding the bus to Wrightsville High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her activities at Wrightsville High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers becoming pregnant in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes the sports teams at Wrightsville High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence recalls attending college and working while a single mother

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence recalls filing a racial discrimination lawsuit, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls filing a racial discrimination lawsuit, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls managing College Station Community Credit Union

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence recalls managing The Flint Spokesman newspaper in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence recalls earning a degree from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her introduction to the television broadcast industry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence describes her involvement in the 1972 Democratic Convention

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls being motivated by the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence remembers managing work, school and mothering

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her public affairs work at WHEC-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her early experiences of television and radio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence remembers moving to Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence remembers obtaining her position at KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence recalls the climate of Flint, Michigan and Rochester, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence recalls her work at KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls serving on Portland Custodians' Civil Service Board

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her community involvement in Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes the community of Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls working for the American Red Cross in Portland, Oregon

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence reflects upon being a trailblazer

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence recalls founding the Belcher-Torrence consulting firm

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence describes her consulting firm, Belcher-Torrence

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence recalls becoming the human resources director of Rogers Cable Systems

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers her talk show, 'Women in Focus'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls joining the Portland Private Industry Council

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her duties at the Portland Private Industry Council

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her coworkers at the Portland Private Industry Council

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls founding the Walker Institute organization

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence talks about her work at Atlanta's WAGA-TV station

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her role as community relations director at WAGA-TV

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her children

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence talks about her husband, Joseph Phillips

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence talks about The HistoryMakers project

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence talks about her religious faith

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Linda Torrence describes her involvement in the 1972 Democratic Convention
Linda Torrence remembers her talk show, 'Women in Focus'
Transcript
When I was in Little Rock [Arkansas], I was somewhat involved in politics. I, at one time, was the first African American woman to represent the State of Arkansas, if--well, I shouldn't say at one time, I was the first African American woman to represent the State of Arkansas in the 1972 Democratic Convention [1972 Democratic National Convention, Miami, Florida].$$All right, so how did that come about?$$I was very actively involved in, in--first of all, I was very active in the young Democrats club. And at the time that I got involved, I was the only African American person that was an officer of the young Democrats club. I was the secretary for the young Democrats club.$$Now, was this attached to the school [Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Arkansas], or was this just in the city (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, no, this was, no, this was, this was a political organization of young people involved in the political process. And the other people were, were not people of color, so I was very active with them. I also was active in my, in my community, in terms of trying to work with the community to bring about change. For example, I told you that there was a lot of violence in College Station [Arkansas]. I remember a group of people in College Station got together and they called the sheriff down to talk about all of the violence and the killings. And as a result of that then, you know, my name was in the newspaper, like along with some other folk that were involved. And that was really the beginning of my political process. And as I grew older and left College Station and moved to Little Rock, I was still politically active. And, in fact, at one time, believe it or not, I was very seriously thinking about running for the state legislature. And my attorney told me at the time, the same guy that represented me in the lawsuit, that he said, "Linda [HistoryMaker Linda Torrence], you may not be as effective as a single woman," because at the time, I was single. And, but I did go on to the '72 [1972] Democratic Convention representing the State of Arkansas, and had a tremendous experience. It was in Miami, Florida that year. And that was also the first year that the Democratic Party decided that it would change its rules to include people under thirty, blacks, and people, and women, so I fit all three categories. I was under thirty, I was African American, and I happened to be a female. And so, that's exactly what they were looking for in terms of getting more into the democratic process, as far as the, the convention was concerned. So, I went to the convention representing the State of Arkansas.$$So--$$And I'm sure the man at the television station, having known me from working in the bank [First National Bank], having been aware, especially being in the media, that I was involved in politics. I'm sure, probably from his perspective, I would have been a good candidate that they could take a chance on at this television station. So, I, I would guess that, that was part of what fueled his desire, or his interest in me, in terms of working in that, in that television station.$$Okay.$$And, oh, I, I guess the other part of it, I've always had a very outgoing personality, always been a people person all of my life, love people, love working, interacting with people. So, I'm sure he saw that. And, of course, when you're, when you're hosting a television show, you want somebody that has, that had personality, and I think that's what I had. And so, I would imagine that he was looking at those things.$$And then, you were groomed immaculately also, right? You said your [maternal] grandmother [Mattie Rembert Williamson] always had your hair done.$$Oh, yeah.$$You always kept your hair in place and, you know, done--$$Oh, yeah.$$--really nice and then you, you actually looked the part. I want to ask, did the, did your involvement in the young Democratic club help to bring about the changes in the rules that the Democratic National Convention had, as regard to blacks, women, and people under thirty?$$You know, I really can't say that. I think that was just something that the Democratic Party overall was looking at. And I'm sure there were probably similar clubs like the one that we formed in Arkansas and other states. And that is not to say that they didn't have an impact, but I can't say that our particular group had an impact. We were probably a part, a small part of a, of a, an entire process.$While I was there, one of the program directors, one of the producers, rather, came up to me one day because I had interviewed her for a job. And she said, she said, "Linda [HistoryMaker Linda Torrence], you do an excellent job of interviewing." She said, "I thought you asked some great questions when you were interviewing me for this job." She said, "I think we ought to do a television show, and have you host it." And I said, "Oh, really," I said--she said--I said, "I, I would like to do that." And so, she developed a show, and it was a show that was geared toward women. And the name of the show was 'Women in Focus' with Linda Torrence, and I did that show for about--I don't know, three or four years. I didn't get extra pay for it, but I just did it because I thought it would be a fun thing to do.$$Good for the resume, too.$$Absolutely. And I should tell you, one of the persons that I hired in that company was Dan Rather's daughter. Her name was Robin Rather. I have no idea where Robin is right now. I have not seen or heard from her since I left that station but, yeah, I hired Dan Rather's daughter. She was a producer.$$Oh, my, okay. I wanted to ask a quick question here. Was it about around this time that human resources started that, that was a name for, you know, that department in corporations, so before that, it was called something else.$$Personnel.$$Yes.$$No, it was still personnel at the time because my title was director of personnel.$$Okay, all right, 'cause it was what, during the--well, sometime afterwards that it became human, the human resource department? Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, right, right, exactly.$$Duties didn't change, but the name changed?$$Right, right.$$And I think that change was just to make it--well, make it appear or to have it more people-oriented?$$Um-hm, um-hm.$$Okay. Now, how long did the show run, you say, human, 'Women in Focus'?$$I think I did that show probably for about three years.$$And it was on the cable station--$$Um-hm.$$--that you, that you had?$$Um-hm.$$And what type of, it was 'Women in Focus,' but some of the photos we saw, we saw a lot of men on the show (laughter).$$Well, some of the shows that we did were men who had women bosses. I mean, how do you, how do you--we would ask, you know, part of the show would be--well, as a man, how do you feel reporting to a woman? One of the shows we did were women who were, who had their first child at age forty.$$Okay.$$You know, things like that.$$All right. And how long did you stay with--what was the name of the company? We just said a cable company (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) At the time, it was called Rogers Cable Systems.$$Okay. So, how long did you stay with Rogers (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I think I was there for about six years.

Terrie Williams

Author and public relations entrepreneur Terrie Williams was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, on May 12, 1954. Williams attended Pennington Grade School, where one of her fellow classmates was actor Denzel Washington, and graduated in three years from Mt. Vernon High School in 1971. Williams attended Brandeis University following high school, earning her B.S. degree in psychology in 1975, and then attended Columbia University, where she earned her master’s degree in social work.

After working for a number of years as a social worker, Williams founded the Terrie Williams Agency in 1988, after meeting Miles Davis in the hospital. Williams began representing Davis, and her next big client, Eddie Murphy; since that time, she has gone on to represent superstars such as Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, Johnnie Cochran, Stephen King, and Sally Jesse Raphael, as well as organizations such as HBO and Essence Communications. The Terrie Williams Agency went on to become a division of PGP Communications, where Williams served as vice chair.

Williams authored three books: The Personal Touch: What You Really Need to Succeed in Today’s Fast-paced Business World, Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens and A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues. Stay Strong has been used nationwide in schools, and was the catalyst for launching the Stay Strong Foundation, a nationwide non-profit organization for youth.

Williams was a highly sought-after speaker, speaking at engagements with Fortune 500 companies, universities, and numerous other organizations. Williams is the recipient of several awards, including being the first African American to win the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award, and the Citizen’s Committee for the New York Marietta Tree Award for Public Service.

In 1998, Williams donated her papers to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, making them the first gift of papers donated in the public relations field.

Accession Number

A2004.165

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/17/2004

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Mount Vernon High School

Pennington Grade School

Brandeis University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Terrie

Birth City, State, Country

Mt. Vernon

HM ID

WIL18

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults, Corporations, Colleges

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Adults, Corporations, Colleges

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Stay Strong.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/12/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lemon Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream

Short Description

Author and public relations chief executive Terrie Williams (1954 - ) was the founder of the Terrie Williams Agency, a public relations firm that has represented notables such as Miles Davis, Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, and Johnnie Cochran. In addition to her public relations work, Williams is also involved in youth social work; she has authored motivational books that are used by schools nationally, and co-founded the Stay Strong Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at helping teens.

Employment

Terrie Williams Agency

PGP Communications

Essence Magazine

Favorite Color

Quartz Blue

Timing Pairs
258,0:602,5:1548,22:2322,33:3096,44:4214,54:14475,147:15280,183:26915,317:27495,322:33581,415:36071,448:36403,453:37067,462:44703,568:45533,583:47608,633:48106,641:56032,652:56676,660:58332,676:59620,689:59988,694:66110,727:66990,743:67790,754:73550,830:74110,838:75230,850:76190,863:76750,871:77150,877:77710,885:78510,896:79550,911:80110,919:88320,969:88750,974:89352,983:89868,990:90212,995:95630,1049:96146,1056:100016,1117:100790,1127:101134,1132:105050,1153:105820,1166:106170,1172:109235,1212:109615,1217:110470,1228:110850,1233:118610,1340:121052,1391:121514,1400:121778,1405:124022,1453:124286,1458:125012,1471:125606,1482:126200,1493:130209,1516:133449,1578:133935,1586:134826,1601:135717,1614:139670,1631:142556,1678:153672,1755:153968,1761:154782,1775:155448,1793:155892,1800:156188,1806:156484,1811:157298,1823:157742,1830:161294,1890:162256,1907:163736,1941:165512,1967:170640,1991:171162,1999:171945,2009:172554,2018:173076,2025:174207,2042:177160,2056:177564,2061:179281,2086:179786,2096:180392,2103:180897,2109:181806,2120:187700,2155:193318,2217:196882,2281:198340,2308:201904,2391:202309,2397:207690,2431:208146,2438:217120,2538:217920,2549:224560,2661$0,0:378,8:2079,37:2457,44:3591,71:10254,157:11073,167:11710,176:15518,203:16190,212:17198,230:17618,236:21456,253:22772,270:24276,302:25122,315:27848,363:35422,473:35890,480:39100,527:39684,536:40487,548:46838,678:47568,689:47933,696:48371,703:49612,733:49977,739:52021,778:55014,840:55598,849:61370,880:67300,952:68110,962:68650,969:72520,1044:73330,1054:76030,1138:85168,1250:85642,1257:85958,1262:91804,1377:92120,1382:92831,1399:96465,1472:100199,1506:101147,1520:102490,1552:103438,1571:114654,1744:120886,1891:124166,1967:126790,2036:127446,2045:130972,2143:131382,2154:137384,2177:137712,2182:138450,2200:139270,2212:148530,2368:150210,2410:150530,2415:156050,2518:162450,2701:163810,2736:173232,2842:175639,2892:176303,2905:177216,2921:179125,2971:185599,3114:197316,3260:198120,3275:198924,3294:201999,3307:206564,3405:206979,3411:220340,3602
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Terrie Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams lists her favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams describes her maternal grandmother's perseverance during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams talks about her father and how he met her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams describes her father's career and her early childhood education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about her ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams recalls her early childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Terrie Williams describes her childhood neighborhood in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Terrie Williams describes Robert Fulton Elementary School and Pennington Elementary School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Terrie Williams remembers her influential elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes family trips to North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams recalls her time at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams remembers being a high school exchange student in Colombia, South America

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams recalls her interests and activities at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about battling depression

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about decision to attend Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams reflects on lessons learned at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams describes her experience working at a state mental institution

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams remembers influential people from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams describes an impactful sociology course at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams describes her social work training at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about her entry into the public relations field

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams describes how Eddie Murphy became her first public relations client

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about representing Eddie Murphy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams talks about her many celebrity clients

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams talks about challenges she faced as a public relations representative

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams talks about representing Miles Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams reflects upon the challenges of being a celebrity

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams talks about her foundation work and her publications

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams talks about the qualities needed for success in the public relations business

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams talks about speaking to young people through The Stay Strong Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Terrie Williams talks about her work with Project Believe

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Terrie Williams talks about her third book, 'A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Terrie Williams talks about her third book, 'A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues,' pt. 2[EH1]

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Terrie Williams talks about the future of the Stay Strong Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Terrie Williams describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Terrie Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Terrie Williams lists well-known people from her hometown, Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Terrie Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Terrie Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
Terrie Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
Terrie Williams describes how Eddie Murphy became her first public relations client
Transcript
What were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Got exposed to a lot, museums. I remember meeting--going to the Negro Ensemble Company [(NEC), New York, New York] plays. We would go as I said to museums and I remember going to the [Solomon R.] Guggenheim [Museum, New York, New York] and meeting Mike Wallace, I didn't know who Mike Wallace was but my mom [Marie Kearney Williams] was like '60 Minutes,' that's Mike Wallace, I just remember that. I remember the Guggenheim and meeting Mike Wallace.$$Was it a formal meeting of him or was he just there?$$He was just there, he was just hanging out at the museum like we were and I started being intrigued early on for some reason when I met celebrities, I started kind of collecting autographs even when we would go to the NEC productions--the Negro Ensemble Company productions being rather excited about meeting performers afterwards and getting their autographs or in Mount Vernon [New York] if city hall was having some kind of production or a concert, I would want to meet people afterwards who performed and kind of get their autographs or something like that. I was kind of intrigued by those things early on and I guess I mentioned that because my life became as an adult representing some of the biggest names in the business but it was just funny to me that early on I just had a little bit of intrigue about that but very early on. It was interesting the way you posed that question the sights and sounds and smells of growing up. Just early on my parents wanted to expose my sister and me to just as many things as possible and there was a girl that I'd met, her name was Judy Singer--Judith Singer who had five brothers. She lived on the north side of Mt. Vernon and very, very cultured family, they were always very, very interesting people coming in and out of her house all of the time and hung out with her and her family a lot. Her brothers would sometimes take her to the city and so we would do lots of different kinds of things with her and her brothers. So just venturing out to see the world and always being exposed to culture, art, poetry, photography, that's what my life was like--our life was like.$$So a lot of what happened outside of Mount Vernon impressed you in terms of culture and learning.$$And also my dad [Charles Williams] was really in to horses so we used to go to a ranch every summer and hang out and we'd meet people there. I would ride the horses but I was really scared of them, really scared. I think horses are absolutely exquisite animals, I love looking at horses but I was scared to ride those things, but we used to do that, too--$Did you have any prior experience in public relations?$$Just those two classes that I had taken and it was an amazing--the two classes that I had taken, the volunteer work and then Essence was really my training ground and it was there that I built the foundation of my business at Essence. They knew that I had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I gave them 110 percent and then some. I honored my position there, I never shirked my responsibility but at the same time I always knew I was going to have my own. I had a very fiercely independent streak. There's that entrepreneurial thing in me. So they always knew that I was going to have my own thing and then during the time I was there, Cicely Tyson who was then married to Miles Davis had a birthday party for him and because Miles and I had stayed in touch, I was invited to the birthday party. Eddie Murphy was there with a friend and his cousin and so I established a rapport with them. Everybody always wants something from the celebrity. I would say to hey to Eddie but I was connected with those two guys and at the end of the night--it was on a boat and everybody was there. Those two guys invited me to come to a club where Eddie was going to be performing. So I went and took really good care of me and my guests and that was it. Sent them a thank you note and then I stayed in touch with them for the next year. Sent them articles that I thought they would find interesting 'cause I was reading five newspapers a day and several magazines and then I started to be invited to parties at Eddie's house. If he was shooting a movie, I'd be invited to the movie set and it just unfolded. I knew they weren't reading everything I was reading and then one day I went to a function that I didn't want to go to, dragged myself out of the bed to go and I get there and this woman who's kind of nosey 'cause I was like the only black person there and she wanted to know why I was there. We started talking and I realize that we had spoken on the phone before and she casually mentions oh I heard Eddie Murphy is looking for a PR [Public Relations] person. It was the third time I had heard it and I knew at that moment that I was supposed to represent Eddie. I got a little bit nervous 'cause I was like this is the third time I'm hearing it. I know that somebody else is on this too. So I went home, wrote a letter to Eddie. I had the home address and the home number because I had been closely in touch with those guys. I sent a note to the home and to the office. I said Eddie we've seen each other from time to time but you don't really know who I am and what I can do, this is what I've been doing at Essence, these are people who can vouch for me and my work and I just said I'd like to represent you. I sent it off, called the house one day a month later to talk to one of the guys, Eddie heard I was on the phone and he said I got your package and I would love to have you represent me just like that. Then I started crying, I was like oh what am I going to do now. You've got to be careful what you ask for, I didn't have any money, I didn't know how to run a business and certainly had never represented anybody of that magnitude, and I was still at Essence. He was the number one box office draw in the world. So I just have a strong belief in God, I should be able to launch a business with Eddie Murphy as your first client. That was a sign from the creator that that was what I supposed to do and even though I didn't know how I was going to do it, I just knew I was supposed to, and that's how it started.

Ofield Dukes

Public relations guru Ofield Dukes was born in Rutledge, Alabama, on August 8, 1932. After serving in the Army from 1952 to 1954, Dukes went on to Wayne State University in Detroit and graduated in 1958 with a degree in journalism.

After graduating, Dukes spent several years working at WCHB radio as the news director. In 1961, unable to get a job with any of the white-owned newspapers, Dukes went to work on The Michigan Chronicle. He found himself writing virtually all the articles, from editorials to politics, front-page news and music reviews. In 1964, Dukes won three awards for his writing from the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a Washington, D.C.-based organization of black-owned newspapers. Later that year, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him deputy director of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity & Plans for Progress. The following year, he became the deputy director of public affairs for the White House Conference to Fulfill These Rights, where he stayed until 1969. In addition to this, he was appointed to Vice President Hubert Humphrey's staff in 1966 as an assistant. Following Johnson's decision not to seek reelection in 1968 and Humphrey's loss in his bid for the White House, Dukes became disillusioned. In 1969, he established Ofield Dukes & Associates, a Washington-based public relations firm, with Motown Records as his first client. Today, they serve Sony Music Entertainment, RJR Nabisco and the Congressional Black Caucus, among others.

Between 1972 and 1983, Dukes served as an adjunct professor of public relations at Howard University, and since 1993 he has served in the School of Communications at the American University in the same capacity. He has been a communications consultant for every Democratic presidential campaign since 1972 and helped organize the first Congressional Black Caucus dinner. He is also the founder of the Black Public Relations Society of Washington.

Dukes has won numerous awards over the years, including a Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America in 1974 and a Gold Anvil in 2001. He has also been inducted into the Washington, D.C. Public Relations Society Hall of Fame.

Ofield Dukes passed away on December 7, 2011.

Accession Number

A2003.112

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/31/2003

Last Name

Dukes

Organizations
Schools

Sidney D. Miller Middle School

Wayne State University

First Name

Ofield

Birth City, State, Country

Rutledge

HM ID

DUK02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

The First Law of Life Is Knowing Thyself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/8/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Death Date

12/7/2011

Short Description

Public relations chief executive and political consultant Ofield Dukes (1932 - 2011 ) founded the Ofield Dukes & Associates public relations firm in Washington D.C., and served on the White House staff during the Johnson administration. Dukes was also a communications consultant for every Democratic presidential campaign since 1972.

Employment

WCHB Radio

Michigan Chronicle

Presidents' Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity

White House Conference on Civil Rights

Ofield Dukes & Associates

Howard University

American University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2560,25:4160,60:5840,86:7200,104:8480,124:9200,136:9680,142:14000,225:14640,236:15360,246:16720,269:25556,329:29120,374:30506,392:30902,397:32684,419:35357,441:41875,493:51862,633:53502,667:56372,711:59570,761:59898,766:61620,803:66130,815:66426,820:69534,871:70496,888:89178,1164:89543,1170:89908,1175:94872,1263:106950,1405:110435,1472:111115,1481:111795,1491:117982,1578:120946,1622:121478,1631:122694,1649:127330,1734:128090,1745:128394,1750:129002,1761:131738,1805:132270,1814:144142,1932:175120,2182:176020,2189:180858,2223:182178,2249:185346,2310:185786,2316:191363,2361:197059,2452:198127,2466:200619,2497:201153,2504:207460,2545:208380,2554:228992,2713:234125,2797:240744,2830:244800,2862:245216,2867:246984,2884:247504,2890:249168,2905:250312,2917:269566,3051:271613,3064:272219,3071:274037,3086:274542,3092:283590,3175$0,0:9903,192:32500,428:62027,915:66299,971:84156,1149:84588,1157:100344,1323:182614,2299:211355,2527:214330,2576:219940,2659:223255,2702:254572,2960:260682,3028:291800,3351:295638,3390:320420,3669
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ofield Dukes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes describes growing up in Rutledge, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes describes growing up with four sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes talks about his childhood personality and the teachings of his Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes describes his family's move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ofield Dukes describes his childhood community in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes his elementary school teacher, Mrs. Barrow, sister of Joe Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes talks about his paper route

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes the role of radio soap operas during his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes how his paper route allowed him to develop a sense of self-reliance

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes describes the coach of the Miller High School football and basketball teams

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes talks about the Miller High School basketball team

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes how he became a cub reporter for the Detroit edition of the "Pittsburgh Courier"

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes describes how he became "a lover" in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ofield Dukes describes his first heartbreak and failing the entrance exam for Wayne State University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ofield Dukes describes being drafted to serve in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes his experiences serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes describes his experiences attending Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes being hired as the news director of WCHB-AM radio in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes his experiences working as assistant editor for the "Michigan Chronicle"

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes comments on the significance of the "Michigan Chronicle" to Detroit's black community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes talks about serving as president of the young adult division of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes how he met the Gordy family

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes talks about black life and culture in Detroit, Michigan during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes talks about being an usher at Detroit's Paradise Theater, and Paradise Valley

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes talks about the Idlewild, Michigan resort town

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes his appointment as Deputy Director of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity & Plans for Progress

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes his responsibilities as Deputy Director of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity & Plans for Progress

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes describes how President Lyndon B. Johnson brought African American leaders together

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes describes being hired to work for Vice President Hubert Humphrey

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes how Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara started an affirmative action program for the U.S. Armed Forces

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes describes how President Lyndon B. Johnson gained support for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ofield Dukes talks about the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ofield Dukes describes President Lyndon B. Johnson's final meeting with black newspaper editors in 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes President Lyndon B. Johnson's final meeting with black newspaper editors in 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes talks about President Lyndon B. Johnson's commitment to civil rights

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes talks about Vice President Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes starting his own public relations firm, Ofield Dukes & Associates

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes talks about having Motown as his first client at Ofield Dukes & Associates

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes describes his health issues caused by stress and lack of exercise

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes his work for Detroit Mayor Coleman Young's inauguration, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes describes his work for Detroit Mayor Coleman Young's inauguration, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes subletting his office to Alex Haley, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes describes subletting his office to Alex Haley, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes how Alex Haley overcame depression

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes how he became a member of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes describes his work as a theatrical press agent for the Washington, D.C. production of "Bubbling Brown Sugar"

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes describes representing boxing promoter Don King

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes his work for the Washington Bullets after they won the 1978 NBA Finals, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes describes his work for the Washington Bullets after they won the 1978 NBA Finals, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes organizing the first Congressional Black Caucus dinner in 1972

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes describes representing Coretta Scott King during her visit to South Africa to speak out against apartheid, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes describes representing Coretta Scott King during her visit to South Africa to speak out against apartheid, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes describes his role in facilitating Dr. Leon Sullivan's relationship with Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes describes being hired to teach public relations at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ofield Dukes talks about winning the Public Relations Society of America's Golden Anvil Award, and being honored by HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ofield Dukes describes the evolution of the public relations field

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ofield Dukes responds to a question about good and bad public relations

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ofield Dukes talks about the significance of the public relations field

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ofield Dukes describes what contributed to his success

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ofield Dukes shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ofield Dukes reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ofield Dukes narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ofield Dukes narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Ofield Dukes describes how President Lyndon B. Johnson gained support for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Ofield Dukes talks about having Motown as his first client at Ofield Dukes & Associates
Transcript
And during the debate on Title VII, [President] Lyndon [B.] Johnson had the corporate executives, about seventy of them, to come to the White House for a meeting in the East Room because the debate was hot and heavy. And he needed the corporate support and especially since these executives were pushing voluntarily affirmative action in employment. And so, Willard Wirtz presided and he's very eloquent. And Lyndon Johnson was busy at a security, a national security meeting on the war in Vietnam, and was late in coming. And then Hobart [Taylor, Jr.] spoke. And so, you had all of the, the heavyweights, the CEO's, and Lyndon Johnson finally came. And he was looking sort of beaten down and the war was getting to him. And he started speaking and just said that people are surprised that, as a Southerner, that he's developed such an intense commitment. And he talked about his life as a Southerner, as a poor Southerner, and how he worked with the Hispanics and the Negroes and whatever. And he pointed to Hobart Taylor, Jr., and he says, look, you all know Hobart, and Hobart was smart. The, the corporate executive loved Hobart because he knew much about Wall Street and he played golf, and he was in much a part of their culture as anybody. They just loved him. And Lyndon Johnson said, see, Hobart, his father's [Hobart Taylor, Sr.] a millionaire, successful businessman, and Hobart is working for me at a sacrifice. He could be making several hundred thousand dollars a year out there. But he says, there are a lot of Hobart Taylors out there, and what we want from Title VII is for these Negroes to have the same chance to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. And he was so convincing that the--these corporate executives said they would become active supporters of Title VII. And that was decisive, but before the bill was passed, there was a senator from West Virginia, who introduced a, an amendment as a subterfuge to kill the bill. And it was amended to prohibit discrimination, not only based on race, but also based on sex. And he thought that this would certainly kill the bill. But Lyndon Johnson is so smart, so he called--had his staff to do a little research and to find out how many women held positions, sub positions in the government. And then, he decided to have a press conference at the National Press Building to make an important announcement. And he announced a series of appointments of women to key positions and said that this amendment would expand opportunities for women, and it became a positive story. And so, white women became supportive of the bill and it was passed. And I became very much involved with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that was set up to administer the bill with Sam Jackson and Arlene Hernandez and et cetera. And the first two class action lawsuits under Title VII were filed by AT&T by white women who were switchboard operators, and by flight attendants for TWA. And they won, and Title VII has been a--create a benefit to white women in a sense than blacks. And Lyndon Johnson was so smart that he, that he was clever enough to, to, to use that ploy to get the bill passed.$And a day or so later, there came a call from Detroit [Michigan] from a lady named Esther Gordy Edwards. And she said, Ofield, I understand you're in the PR [public relations] business. She said, guess what? Motown would like to be your first client, and that was marvelous. And I thought again of what my grandmother said--that the Lord may not come when you want Him, but He's always on time. And then, a couple of weeks later, I got a call from a guy in New York, and I had worked with him because he had been on loan to the Plans for Progress Program as an executive. He's a vice president of Lever Brothers, vice president of PR. He says, hey, Hobart Taylor [Jr.] called me, and said you're in the PR business, and Lever Brothers would like to be your first client. I said, I'm sorry, if you don't mind--if it's not offensive for you to be the second client. And so, that was the beginning and it was exciting having Motown as a client. 'Cause whenever the Supremes or the Four Tops or the Temptations or Stevie Wonder came to Washington or New York, I handled them and learned about the egos of entertainers because when the Supremes came to Washington, and I arranged for them to be interviewed at Channel 9. I learned that one lady desired to have her own car. She didn't want to ride with the others--a sense of privacy, so I made the adjustment there. And on another occasion, Stevie [Wonder] was going to do a big rally in the park. Oh, they had even the White House. Bob Brown and Stan Scott thought it would be a good PR thing to have Mrs. [Pat] Nixon there, and it was at the Washington Monument. So it was at 4:00 and during the summer, and Stevie was coming from Baltimore. And Mrs. Nixon was there at 4:00, about 10 or 15 minutes till 4, and the Secret Service people, and 15,000 predominantly African Americans, you know, and all excited. Stevie was coming and the backup band was there, and it was 4:00. No Stevie--it's 4:15. No Stevie--4:30. And by 4:45, people are getting restless and the Secret Service is--I was there and it was just where is he, where is he? So there was just suspense, the drama. And Mrs. Nixon was nervous, and these people were becoming impatient and threatening, you know, how people are. Brothers (unclear) we're gonna turn this mother out if he doesn't show. And suddenly, Stevie arrived about 10 minutes to 5, casually. And Mrs. Nixon was so excited as if this was saved, you know, what could have been a violent scene that she jumped out of her chair, walked over and greeted him with a big hug. And that was the photo carried around the world, and it was really misinterpreted that this was a warm, friendly greeting of Mrs. Richard Milhous Nixon--such a fondly greeting of Stevie Wonder. But I guess I learned the PR implications of all of that--that it's, in getting with entertainers, there's the unpredictability. And the other thing that I learned is about cash flow, business cash flow. I did all those wonderful things for Motown--all of the excitement, and I just remembered somebody saying, all that glitters is not gold, simply because this was not the age of fax machines, of emails. Of whatever the circumstances, Motown was six or seven months late in paying. And there were days at the Press Building when I looked forward to their check, prayed for their check, simply because I didn't have 50 cents on some days to catch the bus from southwest Washington to the Press Building. So I, I walked, and my part-time secretary was very understanding and, you know, it wasn't anything that she needed. But I learned about cash flow. But I also learned the art of perseverance.

A. Bruce Crawley

A. Bruce Crawley, one of six children, was born on March 24, 1946, in Philadelphia to Edith Marie Jenkins and Joseph McHerrin.

Mostly educated in Catholic schools, Crawley graduated from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in 1963 and St. Joseph’s University in 1967. He studied marketing and management and has succeeded admirably in those fields. His first job after earning his bachelor’s degree was at First Pennsylvania Bank. Crawley was promoted to posts as director of branch marketing, vice president and advertising director before becoming senior vice president and director of public and investor relations. Crawley won the Bank Marketing Association’s Penny Award for outstanding public relations programs and annual reports. He also testified before the U.S. Senate Small Business Subcommittee and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.

Crawley earned a master’s degree in journalism from Temple University in 1983. He left First Pennsylvania Bank in 1989 to found the public relations firm Crawley, Haskins & Rodgers, where he serves as president and CEO. Crawley also founded the African American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia.

Crawley has served as chairman of the Philadelphia Urban League and the Public Relations Society of America’s National Multicultural Affairs Committee, and as public relations chairman for the Pennsylvania State Caucus of Black Legislators. Other civic commitments include membership on the board of Independence Blue Cross, the National Urban League and Claridge Casino Hotel. Crawley has been politically active as well, serving as campaign manager and consultant for numerous elected officials.

Crawley has one adult child, Christopher Bruce Crawley, and has been married to Pamela Browner-Crawley since 2000.

Crawley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.182

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2002

Last Name

Crawley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

St Joseph's Preparatory School

Temple University

First Name

A. Bruce

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

CRA01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/24/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi, Fried Chicken

Short Description

Public relations chief executive and public relations manager A. Bruce Crawley (1946 - ) founded the public relations firm Crawley, Haskins & Rodgers, where he serves as president and CEO. Crawley also founded the African American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia.

Employment

First Pennsylvania Bank

Crawley, Hasings & Rodgers

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5835,192:10710,412:89812,1685:118402,1989:131883,2153:132987,2173:133539,2182:139542,2304:162130,2653:164300,2744:177141,2931:181029,3065:195182,3260:219965,3666:236920,3841$0,0:36790,493:40046,571:47002,684:47298,689:47816,696:48186,701:52108,773:52552,780:52848,785:55216,843:58842,917:68360,1019:68828,1026:99986,1485:104042,1555:119702,1770:120806,1784:121450,1796:134957,1947:137344,1997:137960,2006:156032,2286:156578,2295:178928,2623:180407,2661:191456,2993:210889,3214:217324,3388:272680,4075
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of A. Bruce Crawley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - A. Bruce Crawley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his absent father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his son

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - A. Bruce Crawley describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - A. Bruce Crawley describes attending school at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - A. Bruce Crawley remembers learning to read

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about attending St. Joseph's Preparatory School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his childhood friend Louis Tyler Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his school activities and jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - A. Bruce Crawley describes attending St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - A. Bruce Crawley recalls working at First Pennsylvania Bank

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about maintaining his independence in corporate banking

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about martial arts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his mentor Daud

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - A. Bruce Crawley recalls learning about African American heritage from Daud

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about the importance of teaching African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his first wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - A. Bruce Crawley describes the decision to start his own business

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about starting his business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about starting the African American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his work to help minorities get development contracts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his efforts to help create the United Bank of Philadelphia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his communications plan for the United Bank of Philadelphia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his firm's involvement in John Street's campaigns

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - A. Bruce Crawley shares his views on the importance of political involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about the national network of black advertising agencies

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his firm's shift to government contracts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - A. Bruce Crawley describes how large agencies take over African American advertising agencies

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about racism in the advertising business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - A. Bruce Crawley describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - A. Bruce Crawley reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about the starting the Leadership Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - A. Bruce Crawley talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - A. Bruce Crawley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - A. Bruce Crawley narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
A. Bruce Crawley recalls learning about African American heritage from Daud
A. Bruce Crawley describes the decision to start his own business
Transcript
So I remember one--I was, I was taking a course at St. Joseph's [University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and the course was rational psychology and we had this many-degree Jesuit teaching the course, and this guy was so arrogant that he thought that you didn't have to take a test to learn in his classroom; all you had to do was to be exposed to him. It was a five-credit course. Every single day we had that course, and all you had to do was be exposed to him, and through osmosis you would learn enough to have an A as long as you didn't miss any classes. If you missed two classes you got a B, if you missed four you got a C, and so on; no quizzes, no test--just be exposed to me. You also couldn't ask any questions, you also couldn't disagree with him because he knew everything, and so one day he was in there talking about the greatest period in the history of man as to the pursuit of education and knowledge, and he said that that was during the period--the Golden age of Greece--Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; and he said that there was no time in history where man was more fond of, of gaining knowledge and, and that was the center of all knowledge on the face of the earth. And I raised my hand and I said, "You know, I don't know; people will seem to be doing pretty well now; somebody just invented a polio vaccine that--and people are sending satellites up; I mean what are you talking about? I mean these guys were all right, but I mean they must have gotten their information from somebody, I mean"--he said, "Sit down; you don't know what you're talkin' about." So I, I was really upset and I went to get a haircut that day, and Daud was cutting my hair and he said, "Well, Bruce, what's wrong? You seem like there's something wrong." And I told him about this experience and he gave me a book. He went in the back, you know, and, and pulled out a book called The Stolen Legacy, and that book talked about why Socrates showed up mysteriously at the age of forty already with information and knowledge intact, and, and how the information that he had was so foreign to the people in Greece that they made him take hemlock, and detailed how he had actually been in Northern Africa and learning from the priest in Egypt and that's where he got most of his information. So I took this book back to school and--and I, and I, and I gave it to the professor after the class the next day and he said, "What is this?" And I said, "Well, you know, I read it maybe you should read it and we can discuss it." And he came in two days later and said, "We're not gonna have a normal class; we're gonna devote the whole class to this book that Mr. Crawley bought in; it's honestly nonsense. The publisher says that the Egyptians were a race of black and brown people, and we know how ridiculous that is." And everybody started laughing; I was the only black person in the class. He went through and he eviscerated this book, he, he destroyed the publisher, he talked about everything in it and said it was all lies, and at the end of the class, he said, "And that's it." And I said, "Well, you know, if that's true, if Greece was the center of all knowledge, why did they make Socrates take hemlock? Why did they send Aristotle into exile? Explain that to me--if they wanted knowledge and information so much and nobody else in Greece had this information, and yet they had that information in Northern Africa. And he said, "Class dismissed." And he gave me a C for the five-credit course, and I never saw him again; he went off to Europe to learn, again, some more misinformation. But, but Daud was very important to all of us. I mean we, we would go to the barber to get information about our heritage. And I just saw him at the Richard Allen Reunion Picnic a month ago; he's had a great impact on all of our lives.$How did you get the idea of starting your own business? A lot of people are satisfied with being an executive in a major corporation; they think they have it made and everything. How did you get that idea?$$Well, you know, I really got a little tired of working for new managers, none of whom knew anything about corporate communications, none of whom had degrees in journalism or marketing or advertising, but who had the responsibility of doing my annual performance review, and I thought that was kinda silly. And, and, and I also got a little put off by, by their insecurity. I remember when I was a vice president, and the person I worked for was an executive vice president with senior vice president between us, he gave me fair reviews; but then when I became a senior vice president and there was no level of management, I was the next step below him, he started to give me reviews that said, "Well, he's just a fair performer." And I said, "You know, I've never been a fair performer; you go back over my twenty years at this bank, look at all my reviews. Why did I start to become a fair performer now that I'm one step behind you? I don't want your job; I don't wanna do what you do." (Simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Machiavelli (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, yeah; you know--and it, it became obvious that it was time to go, and I was not a good soldier once I realized what his motivation was. So I got a guy who used to work with me, Mike Haskins and said to Mike and, and a woman who was in the Public Relations Society with me--I didn't know her very well but she did a lot of non-profit PR, and I called the two of them together and said, "Let's start a business; I'm ready to get outta here." And so Mike and I and her, we started meeting after work and on weekends for about four months; we put together a business plan, pooled our capital--didn't take very much capital--rented a space over in the, in the Bourse Building a couple blocks from here. And I remember when we signed a lease and the lease became effective on May 19th, and so it was time for us to resign and we had everything in place, and I called Mike and I said--Mike was now working upstairs for another manager. I said, "Mike, you know it's time for us to resign because the clock is ticking, and as of May 19th, we're paying rent at this new place." I said, "So we'll both resign today at 4:00 and then, you know, we'll talk about it later." And Mike said, "Okay, I'll resign to my guy and you resign to yours." And so he went off to do his thing and I called the guy I was working for. At this time, I was reporting to the vice chairman of the board, and I called him and he was out and his secretary said, "He won't be back today." And I said, "When is he getting back?" She said, "Well, he'll be in in the morning." I said, "Well, put me on the first thing in the morning with him." Said, "What's the subject?" "I can't tell you what the subject is; put me on with him first thing in the morning." She said, "Okay, Bruce, I'll put you on." So I hang up the phone and so then Mike calls me about 4:20, says, "I did it" "What did you do?" He said, "I resigned; how did you do?" I said, "I didn't get a chance to talk to him." And it was a dead silence on the other end of the phone. He thought I didn't have the nerve to quit and, and, you know, I could imagine that he was a little distraught and I explained it to him. The first thing the next day, I went in and I resigned too, but we just, we just had--had enough; it was time to move, it was time to, to see whether we could do what we told everybody was so easy to do. And, and most African Americans that you talk to in corporate America, in corporate life, will say, "In order to be competitive, we have to be twice as good as our white peers," and I said to Mike, "Well, we're twice as good, we shouldn't have a problem unless maybe we're not, and we'll find that out; we'll find out if we're twice as good." And so with that philosophy we, we decided to step away and never looked back.