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Joetta Clark Diggs

Track and field athlete Joetta Clark Diggs was born on August 1, 1962 in East Orange, New Jersey to Joseph Clark and Jetta Clark. She graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey in 1980, and received her B.A. degree in public relations from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1984, where she won nine collegiate titles in track and field and was a fifteen time All-American.

In 1980, she participated in the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships and earned a gold medal in the 800 meters event. In 1988, she competed in her first Olympic Games, ranking within the top ten track athletes in the world. Diggs was a member of four U.S. Olympic teams and competed in 1992, 1996, and 2000 as well. She also participated in the World Indoor Championships in 1993 and won a bronze medal in the 800 meters event. In her final year on the Olympics team, Diggs was named captain of the women’s team. During her career, she ranked among the top ten American track and field athletes for twenty-one years, as well as among the top ten track athletes in the world since 1991. In 1998, Diggs was ranked number four in the world.  In 2000, Diggs was joined by her younger sister Hazel Clark, sister-in-law Jearl Miles-Clark and their coach, brother JJ to make Olympic history as the only family to comprise all three sports on the Olympic Team in the same event. In addition, she is the daughter of Jetta Clark and noted national educator and Principal Dr. Joe Clark, who was portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the popular motion picture, Lean On Me.

Following the end of her track and field career, she established the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation in 2002. The organization promoted physical activities for children of all ages and offered scholarships. She was also the president of Joetta Sports & Beyond, LLC, where she served as a motivational speaker.

In 1998, Diggs received the VISA Humanitarian Award. She was also chosen as Sports Illustrated “Hometown Hero.” Diggs was inducted into the University of Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2001, the Penn Relays Hall of Fame in 2004, the U.S.A. Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2009, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013. Diggs was selected by The Star Ledger as the “Woman Athlete of the Century.”

Diggs and her husband, Ronald Diggs have one child, Talitha.

Joetta Clark Diggs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 10, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

04/10/2017

Last Name

Diggs

Maker Category
Middle Name

Clark

Organizations
Schools

Maple Avenue Annex Elementary School

Columbia High School

University of Tennesee

First Name

Joetta

Birth City, State, Country

East Orange

HM ID

DIG03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nice

Favorite Quote

In order to be successful you have to have the ability to remain focused.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

8/1/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fettucini Afredo

Short Description

Track and field athlete Joetta Clark Diggs (1962 - ) was a four-time Olympian who specialized in middle-distance running in the 800-meter and 1500-meter races. She was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2009.

Employment

Nike

Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation

Joetta Sports and Beyond, LLC

Favorite Color

Orange

Rochelle Stevens

Track and field athlete and fitness center entrepreneur Rochelle Stevens was born on September 8, 1966, in Memphis, Tennessee to the Reverend Beatrice Holloway-Davis. She attended Melrose High School and took to running competitively at an early age. By the time Stevens graduated high school, she was a TSSAA high school State Champion, a National High School All-American, a city champion, and an AAU Junior Olympics National Champion. She attended Morgan State University on a full track scholarship and received her B.S. degree in telecommunications and sales from that institution. She went on to receive an M.S. degree in public relations from Columbus University and then began her professional track career in earnest, coached by her mother who had also been a college track star.

After her first attempt in 1988, Stevens qualified for the Olympics and went to the Olympic Games in 1992, in Barcelona, Spain. She won the silver medal for her performance in the women’s 4x400 meter relay race and came in sixth in the world in the solo 400 meter race. At the next Olympic Games, held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996, Stevens competed in the women’s 4x400 meter race again and this time took home the gold medal.

Upon returning home to Memphis, Stevens founded the Rochelle Stevens Health and Wellness Spa, where she developed exercise, diet, and therapeutic programs. She also started and continues to sponsor the Rochelle Stevens International Track Invitational Meet, which is designed to expose high school students to college recruiters and formal track competitions. The event is certified to qualify runners for the junior Olympics, senior Olympics, and the Olympic trials.

Stevens retired from professional track competitions in 2000, and began substitute teaching and then serving as a behavioral specialist at Cherokee Elementary School, which she once attended. She has worked as a spokeswoman and motivational speaker for many Fortune 500 companies, including Nike, Maybelline, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Bank of America. Stevens is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the Black Business Association, the National Speaker Bureau, and the Word of Life Ministry.

Accession Number

A2010.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/29/2010

Last Name

Stevens

Maker Category
Schools

Cherokee Elementary School

Melrose High School

Morgan State University

Columbus University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Rochelle

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

STE14

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Monte Carlo, France

Favorite Quote

Make It Happen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

9/8/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Track and field athlete Rochelle Stevens (1966 - ) won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games and the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in the 4x400 women's relay, and now runs her own health center.

Employment

Rochelle Stevens Health and Wellness Spa

Memphis City Schools

Favorite Color

Purple, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rochelle Stevens' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens describes her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens describes her mother, Beatrice Stevens Holloway, as a young woman

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens describes her father, John Ollie Holloway

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens describes her mother's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens describes her sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rochelle Stevens remembers attending church at Living Word Ministries

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rochelle Stevens describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rochelle Stevens recalls living in Memphis' Orange Mound neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rochelle Stevens lists athlete alumni of Memphis' Melrose High School

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rochelle Stevens describes her childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rochelle Stevens describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens remembers her elementary and junior high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens talks about her study habits in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens explains the effects of 'Roots' airing on television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens remembers playing in the Cherokee Elementary School band

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens remembers getting involved in running

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens talks about Olympic history and popular black athletes in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens speaks about playing basketball in junior high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rochelle Stevens remembers competing in the AAU Junior Olympics

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rochelle Stevens explains how she became a sprinter

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rochelle Stevens remembers beating Edward Temple's top recruits

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rochelle Stevens remembers her experience at Memphis' Melrose High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens explains why she attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens recalls her studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens talks about writing skills in her work as a behavioral specialist

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens explains why she chose to major telecommunications at Morgan State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens remembers competing in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens remembers competing in Yugoslavia and East Berlin

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens describes competing in the Penn Relays

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rochelle Stevens remembers setting track records at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens talks about the events she ran

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens describes her athletic diet

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens remembers Greek life at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens describes her social life at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens describes her senior year at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens remembers the 1988 Olympic trials in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens remembers running club track

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rochelle Stevens remembers her track career picking up

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rochelle Stevens describes trying out for the 1992 U.S. Olympic team and being trained by her mother

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rochelle Stevens describes her training regimen

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens lists the best European female runners in 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens talks about steroid use at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens recalls the 1992 U.S. Olympic trials

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens describes her experience at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens describes her experience at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens remembers her fame after the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens describes Florence Griffith Joyner's style

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rochelle Stevens describes her injuries in 1992 and 1996

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rochelle Stevens remembers competing injured in the 1996 Olympic Games

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rochelle Stevens remembers winning a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rochelle Stevens recalls suffering a career-ending knee injury in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rochelle Stevens describes the Rochelle Stevens Invitational Track Meet and sports camp

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rochelle Stevens talks about her activities outside of track

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rochelle Stevens reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rochelle Stevens reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rochelle Stevens talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Rochelle Stevens describes her hopes and concerns for the African-American community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Rochelle Stevens describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Rochelle Stevens describes her experience at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, pt. 2
Rochelle Stevens remembers winning a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics
Transcript
How many roommates did you have [at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona, Spain]?$$I had, I believe it was eight to our suite. And the rooms had to be about 8 x 6 [feet], smaller than a dorm room. It was just twin-sized beds and that's it. No pictures, no curtains, no nothing--just the mattress and a pillow, and they gave you your sheets. I was like, this looks like prison, you know. (Laughter) It didn't seem like I was going to be staying in a five-star hotel. They don't prep you on things like that. And you got eight suite mates all in this--$$It seems, it sounds as if the Olympic provisions were a lot less than what you were used to on the track circuit?$$Right, because on the circuit you're staying in five-star hotels. But when you're accommodating ten thousand athletes--those buildings were brand new, so it wasn't like they were, you know, too bad. But they built them according to their custom. They didn't really use air-conditioning in Spain, so we were hot. And this coach by the name of John Smith, who trained some other Olympic medalists, gold and world record holders, he said, "Ro [HistoryMaker Rochelle Stevens], they're going through the same conditions you're going through--the Russians, the Germans, everybody. Nobody has special perks or privileges." He said, "So, don't let this hot room get to you. Just know they're going through the same conditions you are." And with him just making that comment I stopped complaining, and it was like okay, they hot, too. But then we were like, "They're used to being hot. They don't have air-conditioning anyway." (Laughter) But I still put that behind me and looked at it as, you're not going to beat me. I'm not going to let this hot room or this hot weather bring me down because you're sleeping in the heat too. You're eating the same foods I'm eating. I just started putting it into that perspective, and I was able to halfway re-focus at the games in Barcelona [Spain]. But I ended up finishing sixth in the open 400 in lane one. And I think the worst I was supposed to finish was maybe third, but I never had lane one. I always had lane six, seven, or eight. And it was, I know I couldn't have been too focused because I actually saw the cameras as we was sprinting around the track. And you've got eighty-five thousand spectators and people taking pictures. I actually saw cameras flashing. I knew I was not focused if I was able to see people flashing those cameras. And it's like, I'm not going to ever catch up those girls. And so I was like, I'll just run for time, not knowing that it was four of us all running for the bronze. And when we all leaned, they had to come back, and those times were so close. All I know is I got sixth place. And my mom [Beatrice Stevens Holloway] was on the practice field waiting on me, and I cried because I was embarrassed. I got sixth place. I went in there with the fastest time in the world. You get sixth place, okay, you're sixth in the world. That sounds so good. But to actually get sixth place, oh, it was horrible (laughter) to tell somebody that.$$That's one race. You ran in how many races?$$We had to run rounds. We had to eliminate athletes every day. Again, we had four rounds, and I was the only American to make the finals. And so, that was a big deal to just make it to the finals.$$Okay. So you got sixth place in the--$$In the finals.$$In the 400 [meter] finals?$$Uh-huh, in the 400 finals.$$Now, you ran the 4 x 400 [relay], too, right?$$And I was the anchor leg for the 4 x 400, and Olha Bryzhina of Russia [Soviet Union] out-powered me the last thirty or forty meters of the race. But the plan was to give me a big enough lead so I could get away from her. But my lead was one step. That's not a lead when this is the same person that Flo Jo [Florence Griffith Joyner] couldn't catch four years earlier. And you know, Flo Jo, she ran like a forty-eight [second] 400 meter split and Olha forty-seven [seconds]. So, forty-seven will catch a forty-nine any day. Give me a big, big, big, lead. I got a one-step lead. (Laughter) I was determined that I was going to run her to the line. You know, I was thinking about Orange Mound [Memphis, Tennessee], I was thinking about where I was from. I'm like, "I'm from Orange Mound, you know." I'd give her that elbow and cut in front of her. Because technically, she was in front of me, but technically I just kind of ran a little dirty and gave her that cute little elbow and got in front of her. And interestingly, she was the person that I had studied for eight months because I was trying to figure out what was her running style, to run forty-seven [seconds]. And when you pull that tape and watch the race with us, we shift gears in the same place. We were the same stride. She was right behind me. It was like as if she was marking me. But in my mind, I had saw her in my mind for six months, and we moved in the same places, except she out-powered me at the end. That was the only thing.$So, what was it like to get the gold medal in the [at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia]--? And now, this, this is strange kind of, because you ran better before, but you didn't get the gold.$$Right.$$And here, you kind of limp into this one, and then get a gold medal. Does it cause you to be philosophical about life, or what?$$Well, the thing is, all I can think is all my life this is what I've been chasing after. This is what I've always wanted, was to win a gold medal for my country. And when my sister Catherine [Holloway] had died in 1989 of a brain tumor, you know, right before she died I had told her I was going to win a gold medal for her. And the press kind of brought that up, like, hey, you won this medal for your sister, and what does it feel like to win a gold medal for your sister and for your family? And it was just the most incredible moment. It was history that night, to be able to win and knowing that you're injured. And you know, it was just incredible. And to mention, I had this cosmetic make-up sponsorship at that time. I was a Posner girl, and they were promoting mascara to see, to make sure the mascara didn't run. And so, it was like I was this perfect model. I was sweating and it was a 100-and-something degrees outside, and my makeup is still flawless. My eye shadow and things were not running. I didn't have purple sweat and blue sweat and things. And I had told the president of the company--I had negotiated a bonus. I said, "If you all pay me this bonus, I can prove that your makeup is not going to run." You know, they was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and they fell for it. And when I was on that award stand, I just thought about all the hard work and the years that was put into it, and I started crying on the awards stand. You know, the tears was just rolling. And the Jumbotron was on, and I'm like rocking. You know, I was all emotional, and no mascara was running. So it was an extra good race for me, considering I got paid the bonus because their makeup didn't run on national television during the awards ceremony. They was like, "Wow, she tricked us," (laughter).$$So what happened? Did they have a bigger parade when you came back to Atlanta [Georgia] this time?$$We had more people from the mid-South to make the Olympic team the second time around. Penny Hardaway was on the Dream Team this time. Nikki McCray was from the suburbs of Memphis [Tennessee], Collierville [Tennessee]. She was on the women's basketball team, and they won a gold. And then we had Cindy Parlow [Cone], who's from the suburbs of Memphis, which was Germantown [Memphis, Tennessee], and she was on the soccer team. So, we came back with four gold medals. And the city just honored all of us at the same time downtown. And the county and city mayors gave us proclamations and keys to the city, you know. But everybody was more excited for them, because that was their first Olympics and they was more like, "You've before, so it's no big deal." I was like, "Shoot, but I got the gold medal." And it is not an easy thing to make the Olympic team. And when you do the history on it, only forty-four or forty-three Americans won gold medals. So, when you have ten thousand athletes and only one hundred and some medals are going to be given out that are gold and you're one of them, it's more than, "You didn't do anything." And so, I had to kind of just overlook, you know, people because they truly don't understand the commitment, the dedication, the hard work, the sacrifice, the pain, the agony, the disappointments, the lack of sponsorship. They just don't have a clue what you go through to achieve a dream.

John Carlos

John Carlos was born in 1945 in Harlem, New York. Carlos attended Machine Trade and Medical High School, where he was a talented track star. He received a full scholarship to East Texas State University (ETSU), and became that school’s first track and field Lone Star Conference Champion. After only one year at ETSU, Carlos was accepted at San Jose State University. Under the tutelage of Lloyd “Bud” Winter, a notable coach who would eventually be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, Carlos began to thrive as an athlete.

While attending San Jose State University, Carlos met sociologist Harry Edwards, and under Edward’s influence helped to co-found the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). Edwards wanted to boycott the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City as a protest of the United States’ inability to deal with its human rights injustices. Despite the support of Carlos, Carlos’ newfound friend and fellow athlete Tommie Smith and a variety of civil rights leaders, the boycott never occurred. However, Carlos remained impressed by Edward’s ideas. His athletic career, meanwhile, had taken off – in the 1967 Pan-American games, Carlos was a bronze medalist for the 200 meter event.

At the time of the trials for the 1968 Olympic Games, Carlos beat Smith’s world record time for the 200 meter dash by 0.3 seconds, although a technicality kept the score from being officially recorded. During the actual 200 meter event, Carlos finished third, behind Smith and Australian Peter Norman. While receiving their medals, Smith and Carlos raised their gloved fists as a silent protest of racism and economic depression among oppressed people in America. In response, International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage banned the two men from the Olympic Village and forced them from the United States Olympic team. After their return to the United States, both men received death threats. However, they had become a significant symbol of the Civil Rights struggle. Carlos also saw Martin Luther King, Jr. just ten days before King’s assassination.

Carlos continued to compete and excel in the field of track, and 1969 proved to be a year of great accomplishment. He tied the 100-yard dash record that year with a time of 9.1 seconds and led San Jose State to the NCAA championship for the first time, thanks to his winnings in the 100, 220 and 4x100-yard relay events. After his track career ended, Carlos joined the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, where an unfortunate knee injury cut his professional football career short after only one year. He continued to play football in Canada for the CFL, with one season as a player for the Montreal Alouettes and one year with the Toronto Argonauts. In 1985, Carlos became a counselor for Palm Springs High School in California. In 1998, both Smith and Carlos were honored in a ceremony to commemorate their protest at the 1968 Olympic Games, and the two reunited again at the funeral for Australian runner Peter Norman’s funeral ceremony in 2006.

John Carlos was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 29, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.055

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/29/2006

Last Name

Carlos

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Schools

Machine Trade and Medical High School

P.S. 139 Frederick Douglass School

Haaren High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

CAR09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Solitude

Favorite Quote

See Ya! Hate to Be Ya!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/5/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Palm Springs

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black Beans, Rice

Short Description

Track and field athlete John Carlos (1945 - ) is most well known for being the bronze medalist for the 200-meter race during the 1968 Olympic games and raising a black power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith.

Employment

Philadelphia Eagles (Football team)

Montreal Alouettes (Football club)

Toronto Argonauts (Football team)

Palm Springs High School

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Carlos' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Carlos lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Carlos describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Carlos describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Carlos describes the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York in the 1950a

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Carlos lists his children and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Carlos describes his earliest childhood memories of Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Carlos recalls reuniting with his half-brother in the 2000s

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Carlos explains the origin of his interest in increasing African American representation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Carlos describes his primary and elementary school experiences in Harlem, New York, including having a learning disability

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Carlos talks about being an elementary school student at P.S. 5 in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Carlos recalls the excessive force used by white police officers and firemen in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Carlos talks about the drug crisis in Harlem, New York during the 1950s and psychosocial effects of drug abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Carlos describes the discrimination experienced by his father from business suppliers and owners

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Carlos recounts the boycott of Haaren High School in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Carlos describes raiding food from freight trains in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Carlos describes a vision of the Olympics he experienced as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Carlos describes his search for existential meaning and religious faith as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Carlos describes his expulsion from Haaren High School in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Carlos recounts his experiences at a Catholic High School in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Carlos describes his time at Machine and Metal Trades High School in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Carlos describes his role with the New York Pioneers Track and Field Club, the United States' first interracial track team

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
John Carlos describes the discrimination experienced by his father from business suppliers and owners
John Carlos describes raiding food from freight trains in the 1950s
Transcript
Okay.$$Okay. So I'm looking at these things [drug addiction] real early, and I'm going through school with this. And I'm saying now like, you know, "If we don't have no promise by people in the wall that we can look at and say, 'Well, this man here did something or this woman did something,'" just like that poster I have there. You know, you sit back and you say, "Oh, I can say all right. These individuals accomplished something." Look at Jack Johnson. He was a boxer, but not only was he a boxer, he was an inventor too.$$Right.$$Or I put these collage up here on the wall because I want kids to say, "Hey, man, yeah, all ethnics groups played a role in this society in which we live."$$Absolutely.$$We can't pick and choose. And I grew up under that. My old man [father, Earl Vanderbilt Carlos] let me work things on my own to the point where if--if a guy at the candy store would come in and bring sodas. Now most times my old man be in there busy. Okay? Or my brother shining shoes. So when the guy would bring the sodas, we wouldn't count them right there.$$Right.$$But after he's gone, we count them. We might be four cases short. And it had been going like this for a long time. And I'm telling my father, I'm telling my father, and this particular day the guy came, and my father say, "Go count them sodas right now." And I'm thinking he wasn't paying attention. But he say, "Hey, man, I'm just too busy. I'm trying to get these people's shoes ready for when they come home from work." This particular Saturday he say, "Go count them sodas." I went and counted them, say, "Daddy, we're four cases short."$$Wow.$$And he went back there and he told the dude, say, "Hey, man, come on here." He say, "Count these cases with me." And the guy got kind of like, you know, disrespectful. And when he got disrespectful, my old man say, "Whoa, you ain't got no rush. I been buying this shit from you for a good while. Let's count these sodas." So when the guy count them and the sodas came up short, and I told my father, say, yeah, me and my brother, we say, "Daddy, they short all the time like this." And when my father questioned the guy about it, the guy got kind of huffy, like, look at my father like, "Boy, don't question me." And when he said that, I remember the hairs rolling on my neck. You know, my old man wasn't no young man. He calling him boy.$$Right.$$But my old man dealt with him right there on the scene, on the spot, and it was a big scene in the neighborhood [Harlem, New York, New York], and--$$What did your father do?$$Whipped his ass.$$Okay. That's--$$Whipped him from one end of the block to the other.$$(Laughter).$$And, and you know, even though he was whipping this man, I had pride. Not so much that he was whipping the man as much as I had pride for the fact that he wasn't going to let this man just take advantage of him, steal his shit, and then talk shit to him too.$$Right.$$From that right there, it kind of like woke me up, you know, in terms, not so much to say that you're going to whip everybody, but you can deal with any situation irregardless--$$Right.$$--Of what the color line is.$$$$Right.$$And I remember one Christmas we was going over to, right there on the 145th Street Bridge, okay?$$Okay.$$And we went over there, and if you remember, they used to sell all he Christmas trees down there for Christmas.$$Okay, I--$$And my old man was getting on in age, and he goes down there and asks for a tree, and we--ain't nobody there but us. Some white folks walked up and he tell my father, "Well, boy, you going to have to wait." And this guy's thirty-something maybe. And you look at my father. My father is in his sixties now. "Ah, you have to wait, boy. You boys going to have to wait." So, my old man didn't say nothing. He waited. And I asked him when the guy came around to us, I say, "Look, let me ask you a question. How old you have to be to be a man around here?" I say, "That's my father. He look like a boy to you?" So my old man telling me, "Naw, Johnny, be cool." Now I was--I mean I'm steaming.$$Right, how old are you approximately?$$Thirteen, fourteen years old.$$Okay.$$So I go back with my old man, I don't make no scene, but I left and I went and got my brother. Told my brother, said, "Come on." He say, "Where you going?" I say, "Man, just come on. We got to go do something." He say, "What?" I say, "Man, I got to go teach somebody something." So I burned up all his trees.$$(Laughter).$$I burned them all up. And I let him know. I say, "Hey, man, it's just based on the state of mind that you in. Everybody's not a boy and everybody's is going to not accept you calling them a boy." I say, "Remember this, next person you come to, maybe you'll have a little more kindness in your heart." And he didn't know whether to run after us or run to put his fire out. We got on out of there.$$(Laughter).$$And you know, things like this get me in trouble. You know, like my old man used to tell me, say, "Son, you got forty-eight hours to give me an explanation as to what you did and why you did it."$$Talking about the burning of the Christ--$$Talking about anything that I did.$$Oh, okay.$$I mean I was just--$$Forty-eight hours?$$--Forty-eight hours. "You got two days to get it together in your head as to why you did what you did, and make me understand it."$$Alright.$$So, I grew up with the same premise.$Okay.$$Now--$$You're just starting to be--cause trouble, just starting there.$$Oh, no. You know--here's another thing. In my neighborhood [Harlem, New York, New York], man, it wasn't no whole bunch of fathers in the house. Many of them been junkies for years. So they ain't--they absentee parents. The mom might be in the house, and she might be still junking. They didn't have no whole bunch of clothes or food coming into the houses. You know, just like you go to some people right now where they got crack cocaine, and you look in their box and they don't have nothing but the light bulb. Or back at that time, man, it wasn't crack cocaine and it wasn't no whole bunch of drugs, it was just pure "D" unemployment. Unconcerned. People didn't have no concern for them. I saw a kid--as a kid I saw on TV this guy in this green suit, Robin Hood. Robin Hood impressed me. That movie impressed me so much because here's a guy that thought like I did. He said, "Man, I'm not concerned about man's law. I'm concerned about God's law." And that's the same philosophy I have.$$Right.$$And I liked the fact that he didn't worry about the sheriff from Nottinghood [sic., Nottingham] and the King [John] and this and that. He did what he had to do to feed the people.$$Right.$$Okay?$$Alright.$$And I looked at that in terms of where the churches are back and then. Because the churches wasn't doing what they should have been doing. Adam Clayton Powell [Jr.] was doing his thing, but when you sit back, you see every other one was doing it.$$Right.$$Which they weren't. So then, I went back over to the freight yards right out in front of Yankee Stadium--$$Right.$$--And I started busting those seals on them freight trains. And I'm looking--at that time I think they had just started making succotash, frozen foods and stuff. They had clothes in there. So I would go back and monitor them trains, and I told my boys, I said, "Man, we going over there and we going to start hitting the freight trains." And telling me, "Oh, we going to make a lot of money." I said, "Naw, fellows. This ain't about the money." I said, "We ain't making a dime on this. We going back to try and help the people in the community." Okay? And they say, "What are you talking about?" I said, "We going to help the people in the community," and saying, "You need food in your house, you going to have it too." I said, "But this ain't about our pockets." So we went over there and we hit the freight trains.$$Right.$$Now, when we hit the freight trains, you know, the first thing in the front of my brain is Mr. Lester and Mr. Bryant [ph.]. And they know my mother [Vioris Lawrence] and father [Earl Vanderbilt Carlos]. So I go up to the guy on the bridge. You know, they used to have that little box there where the guy would open the bridge. And I knew just by living in Harlem, Harlem River Houses, because after we left Lenox Avenue, we moved up to Harlem River House on 153rd [Street]--$$Right.$$--And Seventh Avenue--$$Right.$$-On Edgecombe. So, I go straight to the guy in the booth--in the box and I said to him, I said, "Hey, buddy, how you doing?" He said, "What are you doing?" I said, "Man, I'm just trying to find out how you doing?" And he looked at me, he said, "Ah, I'm okay." I said to him, I said, "You sit in this box every day, all day?" He said, "For eight hours I sit in this box." I said, "What's your job?" He said, "My job is to make sure that if the tugboats was to come and they got a high mast on it, to open the bridge, a ferry come, whatever. My job is to open this bridge when it's necessary." So I said to him, I said, "Well, how much money they pay you?" He said, "They don't pay me enough for the work I do." And I said to him, I said, "Well, how would you like to have some extra food?" And he looked at me, he said, "What are you saying to me?" I said to him, I said, "When, you see us run across this bridge regularly." I said, "We going to hit these freight trains," I'm saying, "And the police going to come to you one day and tell you to open this bridge up." I said, "Man, all I ask you to do is give me ten minutes." He said, "I could never give you ten minutes." I said, "Give me seven minutes, and every time we come across the bridge, we'll drop you food for your family." And he was in agreement. So we started hitting the freight trains, and we bring it back and we give it to the people in the community. I mean, hey, here. This is for you guys because you ain't had nothing.$$How old are you at this time?$$At that time, I'm still around thirteen, fourteen.$$Okay.

Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.

Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr., sales executive and Olympic medalist, was born March 9, 1922 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father owned an automobile repair shop and was reported in Ebony magazine as the first blind African American to use a seeing eye dog. Douglas attended Gladstone Elementary School and Gladstone Junior High School. As a teenager, he idolized Jesse Owens’ performance in the 1936 Olympics. He was playing football and running track when he graduated from Allderdice High School. Attending the University of Pittsburgh, Douglas won three collegiate titles in the long jump. He earned his B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1948. That same year, Douglas won the Bronze Medal for a 24 foot 8.75 inch long jump in the London Summer Olympics. Returning to the University of Pittsburgh, Douglas completed his M.Ed. degree in 1950.

Douglas worked as night manager for his father’s auto business until the Pabst Brewing Company hired him in 1950. At Pabst, he rose from sales representative to southern district manager. Douglas served as Pabst’s national special markets manager from 1965 to 1968. From 1977 to 1980, he worked as vice president of urban market development for Schieffelin and Somerset Co., where he helped popularize Hennessy Congac X.O, V.S.O.P, V.S and other brands in the African American community. Douglas has worked as an urban marketing consultant since 1987.

In 1980, Douglas founded the International Amateur Athletic Association, Inc. (IAAA), of which he is president. He has also served on the board of directors of the Jesse Owens Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh. Douglas, a member of the NAACP and Urban League, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. Semi-retired, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia. He was selected by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Successful Black Men.

Accession Number

A2005.039

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/7/2005

Last Name

Douglas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Paul

Schools

Taylor Allderdice High School

Gladstone Elementary School

Gladstone Middle School

University of Pittsburgh

Xavier University of Louisiana

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DOU03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Well, The Deal Is. . .

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/9/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ham, Spinach, Macaroni, Eggs, Milk, Italian Bread

Short Description

Marketing consultant and track and field athlete Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. (1922 - ) was the former national special markets manager for Pabst Brewing Company and also worked as vice president of urban market development for Schieffelin and Somerset Co., where he helped popularize Hennessy cognac in the African American community.

Employment

Douglas Garage

Pabst Brewing Co.

Schieffelin and Somerset Co.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1764,62:4200,108:14280,324:25426,495:27701,524:29521,547:31523,580:32251,591:33980,611:35982,642:44580,684:44990,690:80466,1199:91180,1396:95950,1468:124268,1872:124700,1879:125132,1886:133085,1960:159552,2347:205150,2929:224810,3194:235391,3282:241610,3340$0,0:8230,251:9385,268:15747,329:16791,342:39674,641:44017,706:44825,721:54365,845:60254,894:68375,983:73860,1043:76335,1067:77160,1082:78960,1122:79560,1130:80160,1139:91486,1298:99088,1364:99880,1380:104905,1433:115775,1583:117238,1623:117546,1628:120241,1670:133584,1902:135520,1929:135960,1948:136928,1963:137720,1974:139744,2000:159842,2257:165582,2364:179460,2517:181647,2555:182619,2572:183348,2582:195521,2702:195947,2802:210968,2905:211348,2911:211880,2917:214540,2972:215908,2998:258140,3648
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about how his father lost his sight

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls his family home during childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls his childhood community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his grade school experiences in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls how Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe inspired him in his early track career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his athletic achievements during his college years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about returning home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the early 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls qualifying for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. shares his memories from the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about African Americans in athletics during the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about looking for work after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1949

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about some of the celebrities he met through working at Pabst Brewing Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his experiences working as a salesman for Pabst Brewing Company in the southeastern United States

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects on the difficulties that African Americans face in the film and television business

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his work for Schieffelin and Somerset Co.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the struggle of black athletes to obtain equal pay and renown throughout the 20th century

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the increasing commercialization of professional sports

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls how he marketed particular brands of alcohol to the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about community backlash against alcohol advertisements

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the bid of New York, New York for the 2012 Summer Olympics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about how his networking skills led to his success in the liquor industry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon the historical factors that influence purchasing preferences in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the history of the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his philanthropic work, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his philanthropic work, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his idols in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. shares his memories from the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England
Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his experiences working as a salesman for Pabst Brewing Company in the southeastern United States
Transcript
Tell me about going to London [England] for the [1948 Summer] Olympics, now this is, this is--was this your first trip out of the United States (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yep, yep that was--for me it was. It wasn't for many of the athletes, like Harrison Dillard and [Mal] Whitfield, who were very renowned, prominent athletes on their team, they'd been in the Second World War [World War II, WWII], I wasn't primarily because of my dad [Herbert Douglas, Sr.] being sightless and I had to work for his business. But, that was my desire, to make the boat and go to Europe. That was a part of the reward, just to make it to Europe. And that I did and I remember seeing Ireland, first country I saw as we got to--as we saw land going over, and the land was just as green, I'd never seen anything green like that before, but that's because it's an island sitting out there in the middle of the water. And it was very beautiful, that was an experience, it was a dual experience for me.$$Okay, were there many black Londoners around in those days?$$Yeah, McDonald Bailey was a hundred [meter dash] man, yeah, but he was--they were very limited, I think he was the only one on that team. I don't recall any others. The name was McDonald Bailey--yeah, now I'm thinking the guy from--but anyhow, they had one sprinter and he placed fifth [sic. sixth] in the hundred.$$Okay, now can you tell us what you were thinking, I mean did you--do you think in retrospect, you know, now you won a bronze medal which is pretty good in an Olympics (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) For the world.$$--'cause a lot of people don't win anything, you know--$$Oh, listen, that was the icing, as I was saying before, the most important thing was to make the Olympic team, because that was an experience within itself. The icing came when you won a medal, and if you ever won a medal, then you'll always have pictures standing up on the podium. You'll always be listed. So no, that was the epitome and--no I wasn't satisfied then, but as I look back on it now I'm satisfied--$$Had you jumped further in the past (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah--$$--than you did that day?$$--yeah, yeah, I jumped as far as he jumped at the time, but, you know, that's just like (laughter) you know, some are ready and some aren't. And--but I never thought that any three people could beat me in the world. You, you have to be that positive, you have to be focused and you have to vision. Anything you do you have to vision and focus, and if you can vision, well it usually comes through. I've found it true in the corporate community and the humanitarian community, to give back and what have you, vision. And I think I got that from my family, my mother [Ilessa France Douglas] and father they were positive then, because my dad went blind they didn't quit.$$Okay, so are there any outstanding interactions or any good stories from the Olympics in London in--from 1948?$$Well, well we all, as I said, rooted for one another and we all won medals. All but one, and he pulled a muscle, he placed fourth and that was Dave Bolden [sic. Lorenzo Wright]. But that's the gratifying thing, you know, we represented our country and we did our, our share.$$Okay.$$And proportionally, disproportionally we won more than we should have had won, you know how that goes--$You got your chance, you got a break too, and what (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's how it started.$$--how did they [Pabst Brewing Company]--what position did they hire you for?$$Well, they hired me to (clears throat) basically go out and make contact with the retailers in--that sold the beer. And then I worked all the southeastern states, and that's because I went to Xavier [University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana] and I knew I had contacts through that area. And the interesting thing, I remember going into Jackson, Mississippi and the distributor there said, "Herb [HistoryMaker Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.], I have a striker." Now a striker was a guy who carried the beer into the store, and the salesperson he didn't do anything but write up the order. And this gentleman said, "You know Herb," I remember his name was Franklin [ph.], he says, "Herb, Willie is a good young fella and I'm gonna hire him to be a salesperson--a driver salesman." And he did, this is in Jackson, Mississippi, back in the '50s [1950s]. This young guy went out there, and you know who helped me take him through the African American community was Edgar--Medgar Evers. He took him to every--see that's when--before desegregation and blacks owned their own stores, their own hotels, their own restaurants all through the South. And I put on African American salespeople all through the South before I could do it in Wasing- in Baltimore [Maryland] and places like that, even Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] where I worked, where I was born.$$So this is--when Medgar Evers helped was that in--$$He took me to the owners and they would say, you know, he'd say, "Look, put this Pabst in here." And it's a wonder we didn't run into repercussions because Falstaff [Brewing Corporation] other--you know, they had white salesman, they could have, you know, pressured them, but they fell in line, and put our product in, like West Palm Beach [Florida], I remember going there with four white sales reps and myself and as I got around to being introduced and he had met the white reps, this bottler and this distributor of ours, he wouldn't shake my hand. Now, during those days it didn't bother me, 'cause I knew I was as good as any white (laughter), you didn't have to tell me, so he didn't wanna shake my hand, I didn't wanna shake his. And I would report--and then every day that I'd go out and I'd work the black community, I'd come in with the most sales. And then I'd prove to him that he should put on an African American salesperson and he did. The only one that he requested back was me, of the five of us who went down there. Now that was 1950.$$Well, that seems to speak to the importance of making money and (laughter)--$$Bottom line, that's right, yep. You do something where you can make money you're there.$$That's the deal I guess.$$Yeah, that's it, and more so today.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$I've often heard people that worked in the Civil Rights Movement in the South say that in the big cities especially and along the Gulf Coast a lot of the merchants really didn't care--I mean, they--segregation was a custom but it interfered with their business, and they could see beyond what their business could be if they could only get segregation out of the way, so a lot of them really didn't want it but they seemed compelled to do it.$$Oh yeah, because of the law, there was a law you couldn't just go into those places. Now as I go to Atlanta [Georgia] I was there, I worked there from '50 [1950] to '60 [1960], as I go to Atlanta now, this is unbelievable that's one of the best places for young people like yourself to start a business.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Olympian and marketing executive Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, a native of Dale City, Virginia, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1984 with her degree in industrial engineering; she won a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in the Olympic Games the same year. Mosley was an athlete on the United States Olympic Teams of 1980 and 1984, and an alternate for the 1988 team; during her athletic career, she was the second American, and the only African American woman at that time to have won an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles. Mosley went on to become a fifteen-time All-American; an eight-time national champion; and a gold medalist in the 1983 Pan American Games.

In 1985, Mosley began an engineering career as a computer software and hardware systems developer for defense contractors. After six years in this field, Mosley switched her career to sports marketing and administration, becoming a regional director for Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C. From 1993 to 1995, Mosley served as program director for the marketing division of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. In 1995, Mosley began working for the United States Olympic Committee as the director of the ARCO Olympic Training Center in San Diego; from 1997 until 2000, she served as the USOC's director of Olympic training centers. In March 2001, Mosley was appointed president of Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and Cablefax ranked her fiftieth on its annual list of the 100 most influential executives in the industry.

Mosley was inducted into both the Virginia High School Hall of Fame, and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame; she was named Sportswoman of the Century by The Potomac News and ranked twelfth on a list of the Top 50 Sports Figures of the Century from Virginia by Sports Illustrated. Track and Field News named Mosley Hurdler of the Decade for the 1980s, and in 1996 the United States Sports Academy named her its Distinguished Service Award winner. Additionally, in 1996, Mosley was one of the eight U.S. Olympians chosen to carry the Olympic Flag into the stadium during the Atlanta Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Mosely married Ron Mosley, with whom she had a son, Isaiah.

Accession Number

A2003.012

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/22/2003

Last Name

Mosley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Fitzgerald

Organizations
Schools

University of Tennesee

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Benita

Birth City, State, Country

Dale City

HM ID

MOS02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

7/6/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Apple)

Short Description

Foundation chief executive, track and field athlete, and nonprofit executive Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (1961 - ) was an award-winning hurdler in the 1980s, winning two Olympic gold metals, in addition to a number of other prestigious awards. After the end of her career in hurdling, Mosley went on to have a successful career in sports marketing and administration.

Employment

Special Olympics International

Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games

United States Olympic Committee

Women in Cable and Telecommunications

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4200,74:9750,249:12750,368:15075,423:15900,439:38240,722:44750,886:48530,958:49440,985:59640,1097:60810,1117:66140,1230:66400,1235:70820,1333:74330,1416:80490,1488:80815,1494:99208,1803:104584,1910:105088,1916:119060,2095:119515,2103:121855,2156:123935,2205:128355,2335:129135,2348:137040,2447:139160,2456$0,0:3723,60:4088,66:4672,74:13213,239:13797,244:15330,273:33060,585:49655,885:58459,964:66656,1056:77090,1267:81678,1382:82196,1390:95194,1577:96346,1606:106704,1737:115310,1837:118600,1905:125320,2056:151134,2372:154330,2471:157620,2534:158556,2552:162588,2650:163740,2679:164316,2693:173748,2923:181487,2989:196974,3203:198492,3242:201760,3288:202008,3294:206348,3385:206782,3394:207030,3399:207278,3404:208518,3424:211618,3508:212052,3517:212920,3541:213788,3557:226792,3705:231975,3876:238830,3926:250722,4141:267774,4364:282816,4604:287110,4642:287490,4647:287870,4652:298230,4809:298750,4820:299335,4830:299920,4842:304730,4933:310152,4949:310472,4955:310728,4960:311048,4966:313080,4990
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Benita Mosley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Benita Mosley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Benita Mosley describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Benita Mosley describes her father, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Benita Mosley describes her father, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Benita Mosley describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Benita Mosley talks about her mother's career as a teacher in the 1960s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Benita Mosley describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Dale City, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Benita Mosley talks about her family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Benita Mosley remembers being teased by other children as a girl

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Benita Mosley recalls her family's discipline

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Benita Mosley describes her childhood personality and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Benita Mosley talks about becoming interested in track

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Benita Mosley remembers her activities at Mills E. Godwin Middle School in Manassas, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Benita Mosley describes attending Gar-Field High School in Dale City, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Benita Mosley recalls her high school track competitions

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Benita Mosley talks about not playing basketball in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Benita Mosley talks about Olympian Paula Girven

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Benita Mosley recalls winning the Track Junior National Championship in 1978

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Benita Mosley describes competing in Russia in 1978

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Benita Mosley talks about becoming an Olympic contender during her senior year of high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Benita Mosley explains how she chose to attend the University of Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Benita Mosley talks about women's athletics at the University of Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Benita Mosley describes academics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Benita Mosley talks about the importance of having a well-rounded life

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Benita Mosley talks about pressure and overtraining in women's athletics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Benita Mosley talks about making the Olympic team in 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Benita Mosley talks about her experience on the 1980 Olympic team

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Benita Mosley talks about the race of female Olympic track athletes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Benita Mosley comments on the impact of international politics on track teams

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Benita Mosley describes her athletic development from 1980 to 1983

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Benita Mosley describes the context of the 1984 Olympic games

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Benita Mosley describes winning the 1984 Olympic gold medal

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Benita Mosley talks about how athletics has built her self-confidence

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Benita Mosley talks about her career as an engineer

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Benita Mosley describes her injuries in the mid-1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Benita Mosley describes the 1988 Olympic Trials

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Benita Mosley talks about her post-Olympics career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Benita Mosley talks about becoming the President of Woman in Cable and Telecommunications

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Benita Mosley describes her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Benita Mosley talks about her future plans

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Benita Mosley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Benita Mosley gives advice to young female athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Benita Mosley talks about her parents' pride in her career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Benita Mosley describes how she would like to be remembered

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DATitle
Benita Mosley talks about making the Olympic team in 1980
Benita Mosley describes winning the 1984 Olympic gold medal
Transcript
Tell me about the Olympic, making the Olympic team in 1980, when you were still in University of Tennessee [Knoxville, Tennessee]--(simultaneous)$$Um-hum.$$You're selected for the Olympic team, how you feel about that and how did you find out about that?$$Well, I was at Tennessee and by then, like I said, I was kind of in that whole mode of, you know, looking at my rankings and I was counted top five in the country, at that time. And looking, you know, to try to make the Olympic team, I knew I was a top contender and throughout that spring and all the invitational meets and other competitions, I was doing really, really well, and we get to the Olympic trials, they were in Eugene, Oregon. And we walked into the trials, unfortunately knowing that, you know, President Carter had determined that the U.S. team wasn't going to be able to compete in Moscow [Russia], but, it was still an Olympic trials, nonetheless, the Olympic team berth was on the line and it was an Olympic team in all shape and formed, except we didn't actually compete in the Olympics. And so the pressure was on, I never felt pressure like that before to know it was kind of a do or die race. It's always another race when you're competing and to know that forever and ever, if I didn't do well there, I wouldn't make the Olympic team, if I did, all these other opportunities would present themselves. So, feeling that pressure was something new for me. It's always pressure in a race, but that kind of extra pressure was new and I ran the race, and I got second place. I think one of my other top competitors hit a hurdle really badly and ended up not making the Olympic team. But Stephanie Hightower was first and I was second and Candy Young was third and we were the, you know, hurdlers on the Olympic team that year. And it was very celebratory, we came to [Washington] DC and had this wonderful tour and meal at the White House and beautiful concert at the Kennedy Center and parade and Congressional Medals and all kinds of great honors. But nothing could take the place of being in Moscow at those opening ceremonies and competing at eighteen years old in my first Olympic games. It would've been great. I wasn't a contender for a medal, but it would've been a great experience, I think, for me to have gone and competed. And I really still regret that decision that the President [Jimmy Carter] made to use sport as leverage in what was then the Cold War.$And so in winning my Gold Medal and, you know, becoming the first African American to do that and following in Babe Didrikson's footsteps in the same stadium at the Olympics. She won in '32 [1932], the 80-yard hurdles, I think it was, at that time. Or 80 meters, I'm not sure. In '52 [1952] in Los Angeles at the Olympics and I won in '84 [1984], Los Angeles, and it was a lot of history, how I just walking into the stadium, and we had our Olympic trials there so I was used to the stadium. But nowhere close to that many people were there at the Olympic trials, maybe 25, 30,000 people and here you had 85, 90,000 people in the Coliseum. And for each race, I mean, from the quarter finals, early in the morning to the finals, two days--a day later, you know, in the evening. There they were, screaming, yelling USA, USA and it was the most gratifying feeling. You know, to be there on your home soil with your U.S. uniform on, you know, representing your country and yourself and all the kind of the dreams that you've had all those years kind of coming into fruition, all at one time. I remember walking through the tunnel--the quarter finals in the he--heats in the quarter finals were in one day and then the semi-finals and the finals were another there like an hour, two hours apart, each of those. And so, I had won all my heats and fastest time going into this and fastest time going into that. So I'm feeling like I'm building this momentum and go into--walk through the tunnel under the stadium out to the track and you get to this light and you get to the crowd and the noise and it's just an amazing feeling to be in that kind of arena and that kind of situation. So I win my semi-final race and everybody is just screaming and yelling and I thought, wow, this feels great, I wanna win the race, I wanna feel this again. And be able to take my victory lap and everything. So I go back through the tunnel, and get ready and get psyched up for my race. And really feeling confident and really feeling, you know, almost like I;d had that premonition, you know. Because I felt what it felt like to win already. And so going back to the stadium and getting in the blocs and just really focus on--it's a guy named Ralph Boston, he's a Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist it's in the long jump, back in the '60s [1960] and had always told me, he said when you get in the blocs, just make them disappear, you know. Cause I used to have horrible starts. So he just say think about making them disappear. So that's really all that I was thinking about, make them disappear. Came out of the blocs and just go, and I did that first hurdle, second hurdle, third hurdle, fourth hurdle, fifth hurdle. All the way through the race until about the sixth, seventh or eighth hurdle, I realize there's still another competitor that I hadn't made disappear yet (laughing) and named Shirley Strong, and from Great Britain. And she was, I think, probably touching down just before I was, and I found the gear somewhere, about the eighth hurdle and passed her and beat her by 400th of a second. So it's a slim margin, but enough to know I won, but it was really nice to have that kind of control over your body. To be running that fast to kind of see midstream, that, you know, something else happening being to find the gear and run and win the race. It's a powerful feeling, it's very empowering and then first to cross the finish line. I wasn't quite sure it's close enough but you just hope and pray, you don't--aren't celebrating too soon. And they say, you know you won, you won and I started my victory lap and someone thrust a flag into my hand. I go embrace my parents and my sister, my aunt and uncle and kept on running around the track. It was just really a blur, you know, at that point. You just hear all this, people screaming and yelling your name, and your name's on the marquee and you just, you know. It's a really great feeling.$$I can imagine from watching, I guess but to be there, you know, in Los Angeles (unclear)$$Right.$$Powerful experience.$$It was very powerful. And one that you realize what you as one individual can do. I still get fan mail from people, you know, just having watched that race, and wanting my autograph, and you know, keep it in their record books. And it's something that no one can ever take away from you and it gives you the feeling that, you know what, there was a day when I didn't know how to hurdle and, you know, ten years later, I'm winning an Olympic Gold Medal. I can do anything I that I set my mind to, when I get passionate enough about it, you know, work hard enough at and just apply, apply yourself to. And I feel that confidence in myself throughout. And I've been able to take risks in my career as a result, I think. Do different things, and take on different challenges, with a lot of encouragement from my family and friends. But that confidence comes from being successful on the track.