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Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr.

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. was born on February 24, 1922, in Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the eldest of four children and the only son of parents who worked as domestics. After graduating from Washington High School in Raleigh, Blount enrolled at North Carolina A & T University in 1939 where he served as the student body president and as chairman of the campus newspaper before graduating in 1943 with his B.A. degree in chemistry (magna cum laude). After graduating, Blount was accepted into a government funded program that enabled him to enroll in Howard University Medical School where he studied under Dr. Charles Drew and received his M.D. degree in 1947. Blount spent three years on active duty in the U.S. Army during medical school. He completed a general surgery residency at Kate Bittings Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem.

In 1952, Blount was mobilized with the 8225th Infantry Division from Fort Bragg as a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps’ 2nd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit that was sent to Korea. Blount, whose team performed ninety surgeries a week, went on to become a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th MASH Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia. He returned to the United States in 1954.

In 1957, Blount became the first African American in North Carolina be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons in 1957 and practiced at Kindred Hospital (formerly L. Richardson Hospital). He was a litigant of the suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital (1963), the landmark Supreme Court decision that desegregated hospitals throughout the South. Blount became the first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital in 1964. He served as Chief of Surgery for L. Richardson Hospital and as Medical Director for the Guilford Health Care Center.

Blount was affiliated with numerous organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Association of Guardsmen. He was a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity since 1970; and, in 1979, he established the Beta Epsilon Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in Greensboro. Blount, a 33rd degree Mason, was an honorary past Grand Master and Medical Director of the Prince Hall Masons of North Carolina. He received countless awards including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor that can be granted to a civilian in the state of North Carolina. In 1983, North Carolina A & T University awarded Blount an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities

Blount passed away on January 6, 2017 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.157

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/5/2013

Last Name

Blount

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

V.

Occupation
Schools

Washington High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Howard University College of Medicine

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

BLO02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If you think you are right, have the courage to do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

2/24/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

1/6/2017

Short Description

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. (1922 - 2017 ) , the first African American in North Carolina to be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons, was a litigant in the hospital desegregation suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital, which allowed him to become first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia.

Employment

Delete

Kindred Hospital

Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital

L. Richardson Hospital

Womack Army Hospital

8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

United States Army Medical Services

Katie B. Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Favorite Color

Light Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alvin Blount's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about his mother's education and aspirations and his parents working in New York during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about land ownership in North Carolina after the American Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his father's education and his job in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents getting married in 1920 and lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents' loving marriage, their emphasis on education, and their having to work in New York during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alvin Blount discusses his father's employment as a chauffeur for Eddie Rickenbacker, the Rickenbacker family, and General John "Black Jack" Pershing

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alvin Blount talks about the mentorship that he received from his father's employer, Reed Chambers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about Reed Cambers, his mother's death, and his father's remarriage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount describes his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about his childhood observations of his life as an African American

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his religious faith

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending elementary school in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the difference between his elementary schools in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the teachers who influenced him, his math classes and why he decided to major in chemistry in college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about his academics and leadership in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about being exposed to black doctors in the neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about attending North Carolina A and T State University in 1939 on a National Youth Administration (NYA) scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors in at North Carolina A and T State University and his involvement in campus politics

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his nickname in college, and running for student body elections

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount recalls the United States' entry into World War II in 1941 and why he decided to pursue medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the importance of a background in the humanities, and how he ensured that he received a well-rounded education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the joining the U.S. Army and his experience there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending Howard University's medical college, his residency in North Carolina, and the challenges of being a black physician

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the Flexner Report

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the challenges that were faced by black medical students and residents while receiving his medical training

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about the limited opportunity for black medical residents and the discrimination against them

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors and colleagues at Howard University's College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his career as a physician and surgeon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his residency at Kate B. Reynolds Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about rejoining the military in 1950, and his assignments to the MASH units in Fort Bragg and in Korea

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his experience in the Korean War, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the book and television series, MASH

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his experience the Korean War, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about returning from the Korean War and his acquaintance with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black doctor to practice at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon Jack Greenberg being the only white legal counselor for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience with demonstrations at North Carolina A and T State University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about Reverend Jesse Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about black doctors who were involved in civil rights and the history of African Americans in medicine in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about the Ku Klux Klansmen who built his home in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about facing discrimination as a physician in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about serving on the Greensboro jury commission

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the changes in the relationship between African American and white doctors in North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama as the first black president in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about medical malpractice

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1
Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina
Transcript
There's a story to that. I was chairman in Greensboro [North Carolina] of the liaison committee between the Greensboro Medical Society--black, and the white medical society, Gilford County. They had a group of doctors, members from each of them. And I served as chairman. I was secretary of the Greensboro Medical Society. And although they had other people qualified, I had an application in. And I was appointed the first black doctor to the Gilford County Medical Society and the Greensboro Academy of Medicine. Now, there's another--added to it. They offered us, before this, what is called a scientific membership--which you go to the meetings, but the social events, you were excluded.$$Scientific membership?$$Yeah. And we wrote them back and told them this is the most insulting thing you can do, and did not accept it.$$Yeah, isn't a goal of the American Medical Association to form a collegial bond between physicians?$$Well, that's what they said. But you see, they didn't have a--. Here's the question. When you read this book, you'll understand the black doctor was never intended by the American Medical Association to be as full fledged as the white physician. I don't care how much training, what and what--if you're black, then you lost your qualification then. That went for [Dr. Charles] Drew, that went for all of us at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia], and everybody, until they got them to--and so forth. So, there we had that right that we had in the South. And in--a lot of northern states were doing the same thing. It excludes, at that time it didn't exclude Connecticut nor Massachusetts at first. So, this is it, the thing that we were fighting about. It all eventually led, as you know, in a suit.$$Right, right.$$In 1962.$$A friend of yours who's a dentist, right, filed?$$There were ten of us.$$Well, can you remember all ten?$$Yeah. I got them around here somewhere. Okay, let me see if I can give you--There was Dr. [Walter] Hughes, Dr. Blount, Dr. Jones and Dr. Alexander, Dr. F. E. Davis and E.C. Noel. And the dentists were Dr. [George] Simkins, Dr. Milton Barnes and Dr. W. T. L. Miller. And there were two civilians, one of which was named Lyons.$$Okay.$$That's it.$$Okay, okay.$Okay. Now, in 1964--this is the same year as the Civil Rights Act was passed, you became the first black physician to perform an operation at Moses Cone [Memorial Hospital, Greensboro, North Carolina], right?$$Yes I did, a cholecystectomy (unclear).$$How did that take place? I mean, was there, you know--because you being the first, there had to be some--was there any ceremony involved in this, or any--$$It is said that the white surgeons took a holiday that day. That's so far back I can't think whether it was true or not. More than likely, it was. But it was said that for two or three days, the white physicians would boycott this. I don't know whether they did or not, but that is said, and it probably is true. But I had been operating with them over at the black hospital. So, that wasn't anything new. I'd been at the [U.S.] Army hospital and I operated, so--. And my assistant was in surgery and gynecology, but he was also certified. So, we went in and did our, you know, before we do our operations, the first thing we do is we ligate the cystic duct and cystic artery. And then before we cut, we take a picture of the common [bile] duct to see if there are any stones in there. If not, you cut them and (unclear) come on out. And I guess we were there about an hour and ten minutes doing that. And they were amazed, because some of their doctors took two hours and a half or something. But that goes under the particular art of dexterity. And some people are fairly good technicians and others aren't, and no matter how much theory they know, they just can't do the small things, because we don't--yeah--$$We were talking about Jack White earlier--$$Yeah, that's right.$$--about how dexterious he was.$$And me doing them now, I'd be doing laproscopic. I'd just make two little holes and look down there and clip, clip, clip, clip, and in thirty minutes, I'm out. But (unclear), and then of course, the next day I have to (unclear) with an abdominal hysterectomy and, you know, the vaginal. I did, and I think the next day I had a cholecystectomy the day before, and lesions were left in the colon and enter into what we call entero-proctostomy, the thing what I've been doing all the time. And then they started drifting back and shaking my hands and saying, "It certainly went right, I'm sorry y'all had to go through this stuff." You know, I just took that pressure off them. "Yeah, man. But you see what you were doing, you were messing with my welfare because the patient wanted to come here, and I couldn't come here. So they had to get somebody here to do the operation. You're taking my money. (laughter). And so, that's the only thing we're interested in. You don't have to love me, or like me, or not. But you don't have the right to keep me out of this facility, because you don't want it. The people know it."$$This is true.$$Yeah. So there again goes-they of us (unclear) how to approach things and how to get things over to people definitely without having to put your fist on them. Don't get mad about it, just lay the facts out. Smarter thinker. That's what I, all my life--if you live in the South, and they do anything for you, you had to spend some nights thinking how you're going to get this done.

Askia Toure'

Professor and poet Askia M. Touré was born on October 13, 1938, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Clifford Roland Snellings, Jr. and Nannie Lynette Bullock. Growing up, Touré attended Willard and Wogaman elementary schools. In 1952, Touré won a Motion Poetry Association Award while attending Roosevelt High School. Two years later, he participated in a successful sit-in at Roosevelt. Touré graduated from high school in 1956, and joined the United States Air Force. While serving alongside Robert Green of the Flamingos and Little Willie John, Touré wrote a letter to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell that resulted in a government investigation of racism at Wordsmith Air Force Base in Michigan.

After being discharged in 1959, Touré took art classes at the Dayton Art Institute. He then moved to New York City and joined the Art Student League and the Umbra Poets. He and his associates Tom Feelings, Tom Dent, David Henderson, and Calvin Herndon were mentored by Langston Hughes. Touré participated in the Fulton (Street) Art Fair in Brooklyn in 1961 and 1962, and the Black Arts Academy. Influenced by artists and writers such as Ernest Crichlow, Jacob Lawrence, Leo Carty, Elombe Brathe, Ronnie Braithwaite, Bob and Jean Gumbs, and Rose Nelmes of the Grandessa Models, Touré became a poet who championed a black aesthetic.

In 1961, Touré joined Max Roach, Abby Lincoln, Alex Prempe, May Mallory, and Maya Angelou at the United Nations to protest the assassination of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in 1961. In 1962, Touré became an illustrator for Umbra magazine, a staff member with The Liberator magazine, and a contributor to Freedomways. Touré was a part of the Atlanta staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and joined the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) in Mississippi in the Spring of 1964. In 1965, Touré founded Afro World and organized the Harlem Uptown Youth Conference. Touré also participated in the rise of the Black Panther Party and co-wrote SNCC’s 1966 “Black Power Position Paper.”

In 1967, Touré joined the staff of Nathan Hare at San Francisco State University and taught African history in the first Africana Studies Program. Touré organized the 1984 Nile Valley Conference in Atlanta and co-founded the Atlanta chapter of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) in 1986. Touré authored multiple books and received the 1989 American Book Award for Literature (From the Pyramids to the Projects) and the 2000 Stephen E. Henderson Poetry Award (Dawnsong); other works include films and plays. In 1996, Touré was honored with the Gwendolyn Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Institute in Chicago, Illinois.

Accession Number

A2007.131

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/10/2007

Last Name

Toure'

Organizations
Schools

Roosevelt High School

Wogaman Elementary School

Willard Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Askia

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

TOU02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Children, This Is Not A Sprint. It's A Marathon.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/13/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potato Pie

Short Description

Poet, civil rights activist, and african american studies professor Askia Toure' (1938 - ) founded Afro World and organized the Harlem Uptown Youth Conference. Touré taught African history in the first Africana Studies Program at San Francisco State University, and authored a variety of books, plays, and has worked in film.

Employment

U.S. Air Force

Favorite Color

Warm Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Askia Toure's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Askia Toure explains how he chose the name Askia Toure

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Askia Toure talks about how the Black Arts Movement helped him get in touch with African roots, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Askia Toure talks about how the Black Arts Movement helped him get in touch with African roots, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Slating of Askia Toure's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Askia Toure lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Askia Toure describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Askia Toure talks about his maternal grandparents and his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Askia Toure describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Askia Toure talks about his paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Askia Toure recounts his father's drafting and engineering career in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Askia Toure describes his siblings, his parents, and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Askia Toure recalls moving from North Carolina to Dayton, Ohio as a child during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Askia Toure recalls growing up in Dayton, Ohio's Desoto Bass Courts Housing Project

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Askia Toure talks about his grade school years in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Askia Toure recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Askia Toure talks about singing in choirs as a youth and participating in singing competitions

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Askia Toure recalls influential teachers at Willard Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Askia Toure describes the impact of nature on his art as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Askia Toure recalls his years at Wogaman Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Askia Toure describes his experience at Roosevelt High School in Dayton, Ohio and race relations there

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Askia Toure talks about race relations in Dayton, Ohio, and civil rights activist W.S. McIntosh, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Askia Toure talks about race relations in Dayton, Ohio, and civil rights activist W.S. McIntosh, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Askia Toure talks about civil rights activist W.S. McIntosh

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Askia Toure remembers the 1955 murder of Emmett Till and segregation in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Askia Toure talks about entering the U.S. Air Force and being exposed to black intellectuals and artists there

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Askia Toure describes talks about challenging racial discrimination in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Askia Toure describes moving to New York City to pursue an art career, and meeting black artists like Tom Feelings

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Askia Toure describes the black poetry scene in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Askia Toure recounts his early years in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Askia Toure talks about Jacob Lawrence and the Fulton Art Fair in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Askia Toure talks about the impact of the Grandassa Models on the perception of natural hair and the black beauty industry, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Askia Toure talks about the impact of the Grandassa Models on the perception of natural hair and the black beauty industry, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Askia Toure talks about Rose Nelmes, Joel Augustus Rogers, and other figures in the 1960s pan-Africanist movement

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Askia Toure describes historian Joel Augustus Rogers, bookseller Lewis H. Michaux, and other figures in the Harlem's pan-Africanist movement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Askia Toure recalls discussing his namesake, Guinean freedom fighter Samory Toure, with historian Joel Augustus Rogers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Askia Toure talks about protests after the 1961 assassination of Congolese premier Patrice Lumumba

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Askia Toure talks about self-defense in the African American community, and the philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Askia Toure talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1956 and writing for Liberator magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Askia Toure talks about Larry Neal and the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Askia Toure analyzes the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X and the Black Panther movement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Askia Toure talks about the relationship between the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), SNCC, and the Black Panther Party, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Askia Toure talks about the relationship between the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), SNCC, and the Black Panther Party, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Askia Toure talks about civil rights activist Mary King's account of white activists in SNCC

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Askia Toure recounts SNCC's philosophical turn from nonviolence to Black Power

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Askia Toure talks about civil rights activist and mathematician Robert Moses

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Askia Toure describes civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael's early approach to nonviolence

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Askia Toure talks about teaching Black Studies at San Francisco State University in California with HistoryMaker Sonia Sanchez

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Askia Toure recalls the aftermath of Malcolm X's 1965 assassination

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Askia Toure describes the relationship between the Nation of Islam and other Black Nationalist organizations during the 1960s

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Askia Toure talks about the Independent Black Schools Movement and the 1970 Congress of African People in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Askia Toure talks about the Council for Independent Black Institutions, the Black Arts Movement, and African American intellectuals

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Askia Toure explains the role of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements in developing the academic discipline of Black Studies

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Askia Toure describes transitioning from visual arts to poetry

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Askia Toure talks about his interest in African American theater

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Askia Toure talks about his poetry, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Askia Toure talks about his poetry, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Askia Toure reflects upon his life and what he would do differently

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Askia Toure explains how he would define victory for the Black Power Movement

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Askia Toure talks about HistoryMaker Harry Belafonte

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Askia Toure describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Askia Toure reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Askia Toure recites his poem 'A Few Words in Passing'

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Askia Toure talks about his family and his hopes for the planet

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$9

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Askia Toure explains how he chose the name Askia Toure
Askia Toure recites his poem 'A Few Words in Passing'
Transcript
And now did--now is there a story behind that name, Askia?$$Yeah, it's the whole, now what's gon' happen 'cause it's gon' take us into the '60s [1960], it's part of the cultural revolution. What we were attempting to do was to reclaim the names of our ancestors because what we had it might seem strange--people have become so assimilated now, we had said that part of our thing was oh so, you know, you usually don't find somebody that's Chinese named Harry Brown, so they have their Chinese names, and so, so we were saying we were going to research and find our African names, and if we couldn't find the actual ethnic groups that we came from then we would actually rename ourselves after African heroes and heroines you know so we would like and try to give splendor to that name and give credibility to that name you from Don L. Lee to [HM] Haki Madhubuti; from [HM] Sonia Sanchez to Laila Menan [ph.], from Marvin X to El Muhajir, Askia, from Roland Snellings to Askia Toure, and Ron Everett to [HM] Maulana Karenga, on and on and on, and so we were doing that not only to reclaim part of our lost heritage from the Maafa, the African holocaust, but to also set to model an example for the young people in terms of you know being a proper, what you know we were very (laughter)--now one, one gets a little amused by it but we were very concerned about walkin' the walk as well as talkin' the talk. I mean we were, called ourselves African Americans, new Africans and so forth you know after, Africa--African Americans after Brother Malcolm [X] and so forth, we were going away from "colored" and "negro" to "African Americans" or "New Africans" and so forth. And so we took ourselves rather seriously and but that's, I guess in a sense we, it's somewhat interesting now but we were dead serious then, and we tried to create new standards for our people. Now a very outstanding group of people I remember were the AJASS, the African Jazz-Arts Society [& Studios] outta New York [City, New York], Elombe Brath and Kwame Brathwaite, Jean Gumbs, Robert Gumbs, Black Rose Nelmes, Helene Brathwaite, they were part of a group called the Grandassa Models and they modeled the African hairstyles and the African dress and so forth and they linked up, they use to have the, the Naturally shows, Naturally '59, Naturally '60, Naturally '61, '62 and '63 and they had linked up with Max Roach and the beautiful diva Abbey Lincoln who is now known as Aminata Moseka.$$Yeah, now she, she was one of the first black women I saw on television that had a natural.$$Yes, yes.$$She and Miriam Makeba.$$Yeah, and also [HM] Cicely Tyson too as well.$$Yes sir, yes sir.$$And so we were a part of this thing of reclaiming the lost heritage and that's probably part of the spirit that Alex Haley tried to get into with 'Roots' his book 'Roots' which later came in the '70s [1970s]. So we were trying to restore, resurrect the lost heritage.$This is called 'A Few Words in Passing.' The ancients are right. Our common delusions imprison us all and our world becomes a modern gulag, but this is only a beginning. How are we to find what truly matters in life? We are indeed fortunate, we have elders, Twa [ph.] Gogaju [ph.], Kung [ph.] of our human race, Yogi, Sufis, Lamas, Babas, Zen Master, Shamans, Masters of the Inner realms. Only we must initiate contact, seek them out. Begin the soul's grand dialogue with self. Perhaps the rain forest can aid us on our paths, perhaps the mountains, deserts, lakes and the great oceans, perhaps the ants, dragon flies, butterflies, perhaps our fellow mammals. We might seek counsel with dolphins, whales the happy ones. Explain to brilliant ravens, sly crows, immaculate eagles, hawks, vultures, owls. Begin rigorous chats with wolves, bears, tigers, leopards, moose, rabbits and otters. Beings on our great maternal planet, elay [ph.] the Earth, speaking deep words, mirroring great truths, realigning beings, practicing divine harmony within the realm of being, my friend when was your last conversation with the rain?

Owen Nichols

Owen Douglas Nichols was born on April 8, 1929 in Raleigh, North Carolina. His mother was a homemaker and his father worked as a janitor at Meredith College. He earned his high school diploma from Washington High School in 1948 where he was active in the band and Glee Club and valedictorian of his class.

Nichols attended Shaw University from 1948 until 1950 on an academic scholarship. While at Shaw, he worked as a lab assistant and pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In 1950, he joined the United States Army, and attended Officers Candidate School in Fort Raleigh, Kansas. He was also accepted in the Army Corps of Engineering program and served his country in Korea. He retired from the army in 1953, returned to Shaw, and earned his bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry in 1955. Nichols then went on to earn his master’s degree in physical chemistry from Howard University in 1958.

From 1958 until 1959, Nichols worked as an associate professor of chemistry at South Carolina State College. Leaving South Carolina State, he was a Research Chemist at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., until 1962. Nichols spent the next four years working as a physical science analyst for the Defense Documentation Center in Alexandria, Virginia. From 1966 until 1968, he worked as a deputy director for the National Air Pollution Control Administration, where he was responsible for processing technical information on air pollution. In 1969, Nichols was recruited to Howard University by his former classmate at Shaw, James Cheek, who was then serving as Howard’s President. Nichols served in various positions at Howard for nearly twenty years. When he retired in 1988 he was the vice president for administration and secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Since 1989, Nichols has served as an advisor, coordinator and organizer for the African American Festival of Academic Achievement, an event highlighting the accomplishments of Montgomery County Maryland’s youth. In 1995, Nichols was appointed to the Montgomery College (Maryland’s largest community college) Board of Trustees.

Nichols has received numerous awards and honors for his civic, community and educational achievements. He is the author of several publications including a book in memory of his father, titled Things My Father Taught Me, which was published in 1998.

Nichols passed away on May 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2004.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/23/2004

Last Name

Nichols

Maker Category
Schools

Washington High School

Shaw University

St. Monica's School

First Name

Owen

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

NIC02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

We Can Do What I Can Never Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/8/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turkey Burgers

Death Date

5/19/2018

Short Description

Academic administrator Owen Nichols (1929 - 2018 ) was the former Vice President for Administration and Secretary of the Board of Trustees for Howard University. He was also a research chemist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, a physical science analyst for the Defense Documentation Center, and worked for the National Air Pollution Control Administration.

Employment

United States Army

South Carolina State College

United States Naval Research Laboratory

Defense Documentation Center

National Air Pollution Control Administration

Howard University

African American Festival of Academic Achievement

Montgomery College Board of Trustees

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:10650,240:11070,247:13520,294:13870,300:14430,309:15270,323:16320,346:18770,405:19470,456:19750,461:27884,489:28370,496:41985,710:58763,874:59347,883:66392,987:66968,1000:69056,1036:72656,1094:87196,1267:87724,1274:88164,1280:95545,1351:95920,1357:96520,1366:101845,1450:102745,1462:104320,1495:104920,1504:105295,1510:113604,1582:115628,1613:120364,1643:123631,1677:124423,1687:126997,1723:135711,1809:140733,1854:146171,1908:147620,1935:148034,1942:148655,1954:149069,1964:149897,1982:150173,1987:154382,2064:154796,2071:155348,2079:156038,2091:157970,2136:164906,2235:165482,2248:169514,2283:177760,2387:185416,2485:185856,2491:186648,2502:187088,2508:188320,2528:189992,2551:194554,2576:195082,2586:196072,2604:203160,2710$0,0:3870,85:4332,97:4596,102:5256,115:5784,123:6972,144:12988,264:13780,278:20796,433:23076,468:23380,475:31070,566:31750,575:32345,585:33025,594:35150,625:46015,734:46680,747:50480,795:61190,907:61580,913:65696,945:76108,1050:80564,1078:81712,1091:82040,1096:82532,1104:83024,1111:85484,1146:85894,1152:99662,1287:101576,1318:102011,1324:110898,1368:114958,1395:118196,1422:118604,1427:121358,1446:122582,1463:124214,1479:127725,1506:128454,1517:134500,1579:136128,1603:136646,1611:140568,1682:140938,1688:141456,1697:141752,1702:143010,1712:144416,1738:146192,1755:147524,1772:148338,1784:149966,1811:152408,1857:158375,1901:158975,1912:165875,1998:166400,2006:167375,2025:168875,2039:175957,2100:176627,2115:176962,2121:182590,2197:193986,2377:194399,2385:194812,2394:195697,2417:196582,2440:196877,2446:198057,2465:198470,2473:207570,2633
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Owen Nichols' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Owen Nichols lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Owen Nichols talks about his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Owen Nichols talks about his father's birthplace and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Owen Nichols shares two lessons his father taught him

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Owen Nichols talks about his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Owen Nichols talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Owen Nichols describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Owen Nichols remembers childhood holiday traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Owen Nichols lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Owen Nichols talks about helping to build a bathroom for his family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Owen Nichols talks about his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Owen Nichols describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Owen Nichols describes his experiences at St. Monica's School in Raleigh, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Owen Nichols describes his experiences at St. Monica's School in Raleigh, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Owen Nichols remembers changing his major from math to chemistry at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Owen Nichols describes his experiences at St. Monica's School in Raleigh, North Carolina, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Owen Nichols talks about his early adolescent experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Owen Nichols remembers his academic interests and aspirations at Washington High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Owen Nichols talks about earning an academic scholarship to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Owen Nichols talks about his interest in studying divinity

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Owen Nichols talks joining the U.S. Army in 1950 and serving in the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Owen Nichols talks about completing his B.A. degree at Shaw University and his graduate studies at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Owen Nichols recalls a final examination he did well on at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Owen Nichols talks about working at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Owen Nichols recalls working at the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Health and his return to academia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Owen Nichols remembers his relationship with HistoryMaker Dr. James Cheek and their professional legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Owen Nichols describes his work at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Owen Nichols recalls how Howard University in Washington, D.C. has changed over the years

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Owen Nichols remembers the heyday of WHUR-FM and the Quiet Storm radio format

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Owen Nichols describes how WHUR-FM has changed

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Owen Nichols talks about financial challenges at and managers of WHUR-FM

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Owen Nichols talks about Montgomery College in Montgomery County, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Owen Nichols talks about the African American Festival of Academic Excellence

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Owen Nichols describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Owen Nichols describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Owen Nichols reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Owen Nichols reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Owen Nichols narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Owen Nichols talks about working at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
Owen Nichols talks about the African American Festival of Academic Excellence
Transcript
Well, after you left South Carolina State [College, later South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina], you were there for a year. You went--$$No, I was there for--$$--from '58 [1958] to '59 [1959].$$Oh, that's it, okay. A little over a year, actually.$$You went to the [U.S.] Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.$$As a research chemist.$$Yes, sir. How did that come about, Dr. Nichols [sic. HistoryMaker Owen Nichols]? How did that opportunity come about?$$My former professor of chemistry, Dr. [Leon] Shereshevsky, who was the chairman of the chemistry department, by the way, at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] and also I was his lab assistant when I went to the chemistry department as a lab assistant. He had made contact with somebody about me, and I was approached by somebody while I was at South Carolina State for a job at naval research laboratory, and my wife [Delores Nichols], who didn't particularly like Orangeburg, South Carolina, was happy as she could be, and not only that but her mother was very ill at the time, and it would give her an opportunity to come back and be closer to her mother, who was in Annapolis, Maryland, and so I accepted the job at naval research laboratory, and by the way, I was only the second black person, I understand, to have worked in the chemistry division of that naval research laboratory.$$And what kinds of projects did you work on there?$$Surface chemistry. There was a problem that the [U.S.] Navy had where if ships were in the Artic area, ice would accumulate on the ships to the extent that sometimes the ships would actually sink, and so I was a part of a project whereby we were trying to determine how we could keep the ice from accumulating on the ships and determine how we could, how it could be gotten off easily or how we could determine a method by which it would not, the water would not freeze on the surface of the ships and I worked there for a couple of years and I had a good time doing it, I must say.$$What was the reception like there? You were the second African American to work in the chemistry department there. Was there any resistance to you coming on? I mean, was there any questioning of your qualifications?$$There was no question of my qualifications, but there was one man, one white man, who worked in the surface chemistry department, who would come to the laboratory every morning and look in there to see me to be sure that I really was working there. Every morning he would come and look to be sure that it was real, that I was there. Yeah, there was resistance on his part, but he couldn't do anything about it and you know, he was hallucinating. He just didn't believe it!$Now I have to tell you about something else that I do a lot for.$$Sure.$$And I don't know if you ever heard of the African American Festival of Academic Excellence [later African American Student Achievement and Excellence Awards] or not, I don't know if the name Roscoe Nix is familiar to you. Roscoe Nix had this idea back in 1989.$$And Roscoe Nix is a former NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]--$$Former president of the NAACP, and also a former member of the board of education in Montgomery County [Maryland]. He said that for thirteen years, or fourteen years, he had had this idea of developing a festival, an event, shall I say, it's held annually to honor African American students who have certain high levels of academic performance. When I retired from Howard University [Washington D.C.] in 1989, he came to me and said that he finally found somebody that he would want to ask to work with him in developing this festival. And, sure enough I accepted and we started to make plans in 1989, to hold our first festival in 1990. We started with high school, senior high school students only, and the first year in 1990, we honored 313, or 311 senior high school students and we had about 800 people present, parents and friends. Since that time, we have gone down to the third grade and in the year 2003, we honored 7000 students and we had 17,000 people present! We had so many people in 2003, we were not able to find a facility that we could pay for, for having the regular festival in 2004, so in 2004, all we did was send the certificates out to the various schools and they were presented to the students at the schools, but we still sent out more than 7000 certificates. We are now working on 2005, trying to get an appropriate place with the appropriate money to be able to do it, but it costs us so much to do it in 2003, that we just weren't able to do what we wanted to do. But that is an activity that has grown in leaps and bounds and somehow we're going to get back in 2005, with that festival. In my opinion, well and let me say this also. For the first five years of the festival, I served as chair of what we call the committee that is responsible for implementing it and putting it together and then after five years I felt it was time to let somebody else serve in a leadership role, but I still work very closely with the festival and it, in my opinion, is one of the great things that we, as African Americans, do for our students in Montgomery County, and I just had to share that with you.$$Thank you, thank you Dr. Nichols [sic. HistoryMaker Owen Nichols]--

Glennette Tilley Turner

Educator and historical researcher Glennette Tilley Turner was born November 23, 1933 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her mother, Phyllis, was a teacher, and her father, John, was the first executive director of the SCLC. As a child, Turner moved several times with her family, first to Florida, and then to Illinois. After graduating from high school, she attended Lake Forest College, earning her B.A. in 1955, and she later returned to school at Goddard College to earn her master’s degree in 1977.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Turner first went to work in advertising, but made the switch to education in 1962. That year, she was hired by the Chicago public school system, and she remained there for four years. In 1966, Turner went to work for the Maywood-Melrose Park public schools, and in 1968, she began teaching in the Wheaton-Warrenville public schools. She remained there for the next twenty years. Today, Turner supervises student teachers at National-Louis University.

In addition to her work as a teacher, Turner is a historian, and has focused much of her research efforts on the Underground Railroad. Her first book, The Underground Railroad in DuPage County, Illinois, was published in 1978, and since then she has continued to write and conduct research. Most recently, she has published The Underground Railroad in Illinois. Turner has also written collections of biographies of notable African Americans, and she serves as an advisor to the National Park Service, where she helps plan programs for the national historic Underground Railroad trail.

Turner lectures widely on the history of the Underground Railroad, and she has been honored numerous times both as an educator and historian. She is the recipient of the Studs Terkel Humanities Award, the Alice Browning Award from the International Black Writers Conference, and she is a member of numerous historical organizations.

Turner and her husband have two grown children. They reside in Illinois.

Glennette TIlly Turner was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 12, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.125

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/12/2004

Last Name

Turner

Maker Category
Middle Name

Tilley

Schools

West Aurora High School

Lake Forest College

Excelsior Elementary

Goddard College

Crosby-Garfield School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days, weekends

First Name

Glennette

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

TUR02

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Underground Railroad Locations

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/23/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb Chops

Short Description

Elementary school teacher and historian Glennette Tilley Turner (1933 - ) taught in Wheaton-Warrenville Public Schools for twenty years. Turner has also served as a supervisor for student teachers at National-Louis University, and is a published historian, who focused much of her research efforts on the Underground Railroad.

Employment

Chicago Public Schools

Maywood-Melrose Park Public Schools

Wheaton-Warrenville Public Schools

National-Louis University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1764,33:2100,38:9828,144:26355,327:27048,338:27510,346:64514,919:77568,1154:78576,1164:78936,1169:87432,1353:88368,1368:98490,1477:100218,1504:100506,1509:101730,1532:102018,1537:102882,1556:111274,1620:111578,1625:114466,1670:116062,1687:118874,1733:120774,1758:121154,1764:122750,1787:123282,1796:123586,1801:133576,1899:133844,1904:134246,1913:134715,1922:137931,2003:143224,2124:145301,2165:149524,2174:153980,2243$0,0:288,4:1536,71:2496,94:3648,164:13536,290:14496,305:41950,603:50950,784:51670,793:52030,798:52480,804:53380,817:55810,860:78330,1176:81850,1241:88002,1298:96865,1409:97197,1414:100932,1471:108740,1526:111115,1561:117480,1652:118145,1671:119490,1687:126497,1852:127806,1873:128345,1886:128730,1892:129269,1901:136640,1995:137080,2001:145968,2225:158424,2371:158732,2376:160426,2411:184900,2804
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Glennette Tilley Turner's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner talks about her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her maternal ancestors' experiences in Holt County, Nebraska

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner explains how her maternal great-grandfather abandoned his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner shares stories from her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her mother's experiences growing up in Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her mother's role model Colonel Otis B. Duncan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes one of her mother's experiences with racism growing up in Springfield, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her mother's decision to attend college and how her parents met in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Glennette Tilley Turner talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes a paternal great uncle's attempt to be seated in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her paternal uncle's run for reelection in the North Carolina state legislature

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father and grandfather's skill at accounting

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes Robert Glenn's enslavement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes Robert Glenn's reunion with his family and name change

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's familiarity with Frederic H. Hammurabi Robb

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner talks about Frederic H. Hammurabi Robb

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's activities at the University of Chicago in the late-1920s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her earliest childhood memories of Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner recalls visiting family in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner remembers her close friend and tattling on a classmate at Crosby-Garfield School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner recalls moving to St. Augustine, Florida and listening to her father's stories

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's relationships with African American academics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's involvement in the Voting Rights Campaign in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner explains how her father was invited by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her father's familiarity with notable African American ministers

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her maternal grandmother's pull toy invention

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Glennette Tilley Turner lists the schools she attended

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes moving to Aurora, Illinois for high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her experiences living with an elderly couple in Aurora, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Glennette Turner describes writing experiences at West Aurora High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her social life during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her graduation from West Aurora High School in 1951

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her teachers at West Aurora High School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner explains why she decided not to attend Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her experiences at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes entering and winning a nationwide poetry competition

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes developing her interest in teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Glennette Tilley Turner recalls writing advertising copy in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes attending school in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner lists the schools in which she taught in Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her initial interest in researching the Underground Railroad

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes pursuing her master's degree through Goddard College's external degree program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner explains how she published her first children's book 'Surprise for Mrs. Burns'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner recalls self-publishing her booklet 'The Underground Railroad in DuPage County, Illinois'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the history of the Underground Railroad in DuPage County and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes abolitionists and freedom seekers of the Underground Railroad in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the history of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the history of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes Richard and George DeBaptiste

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes 'Running for Our Lives'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes 'The Underground Railroad in Illinois'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner considers the tradition of self-publishing for African American authors

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes being chosen to serve on the Underground Railroad Advisory Committee

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Glennette Tilley Turner reflects upon important events in the history of the anti-slavery movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Glennette Tilley Turner reflects upon the lack of information about radical white abolitionists and politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes the importance of sharing stories about the Underground Railroad

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her current work

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes interviewing Harriet Tubman's great-niece

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes her parents' support for her work and her father's work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Glennette Tilley Turner reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Glennette Tilley Turner reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Glennette Tilley Turner describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Glennette Tilley Turner narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATitle
Glennette Tilley Turner describes a paternal great uncle's attempt to be seated in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.
Glennette Tilley Turner describes 'Running for Our Lives'
Transcript
One of the stories--well like so many black communities, they formed a church and one of the stories my father [John Lee Tilley] told was of an uncle who was a minster, Hugh [Granville] Tilley, who served in the North Carolina legislature [North Carolina General Assembly]. And some of the family stories say that he also was elected to come to Washington [D.C.], but it was really at that point that the--Reconstruction was ending. And as I tried to do research on him, I wasn't able to find a record of him having been seated in Washington, but in a Washington City directory, I found him listed as a laborer. So evidently he remained in Washington, I don't know if to save face you know if he just sort of stayed gone for the length of time he would've been serving (laughter) and then sort of went back home, or if he, you know, was hopeful that he would be eventually be seated. And just wanted to you know be there in town and be available, but later he went back and was quite (simultaneous)--$$So, so he thought he was gonna serve in the legislature?$$Yeah, he was, he came to Washington (simultaneous)--$$I mean in [U.S.] Congress.$$Yeah in congress, U.S. Congress and he brought his family (simultaneous)--$$When he got there and (simultaneous)--$$Evidently he was not seated. I haven't been able to find documents you know with any like explanation of that. But he left North Carolina thinking he was going to be seated, and yet, as I look in those records of black congressmen, he--his name doesn't appear, but it does appear in the city directory. So I've just tried to connect the dots, but--but he went back and evidently enjoyed quite a, you know successful later career as, as a minister. One of my father's sisters remembers how he would sometimes travel--well what was long distances then in, you know, a carriage and that where he would let go one day and then speak and come back you know the next day. Which she would sometimes get to go with him and she talked about the foot heater, you know, that they had in the carriage, how they keep their feet warm. And how, you know, they would stay with families and, you know, and just be treated, well not royally but, you know, people would bring out the best food.$Now when did (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Dedication.$$Speaking of Detroit [Michigan] and Chicago [Illinois], now when did--was it after the Fugitive Slave Law that what is now the trail, which is now I-94 [Interstate 94] become like this Underground Railroad highway, sort of, with--$$Well it really that road begins and right, it's called Milan [Ohio], I'm not--it's, it's spelled M-I-L-A-N, but I think, I'm not sure there's a pronunciation Milan or someway, it's an old Indian [Native American] trail going to Detroit. You know that was later paved over and became highway, so you know to give that historical perspective. But it was a, a route--in one of the books I did, 'Running for Our Lives' [Glennette Tilley Turner], the characters in the book escape from slavery in Missouri with their parents, the kids in the book. And they have all these experiences of you know getting across Missouri and hiding in a cave and crossing the river and all. And then there was a white lumberyard owner named Van Duren [ph.] in Quincy [Illinois], in Quincy. But I knew if it was gonna be a children's book, I had to get the parents out of the picture you know and let the focus shift to the kids. So the abolitionists in Quincy put the parents on a train, a boxcar with the thought they'll be reunited in Detroit. And then the kids make their way through Illinois, but by the time they, well they visit John Jones and he's--has a visit from Allan Pinkerton who was also a Chicago area abolitionist. But they, then John Jones after the kids have wintered over to Allan Pinkerton's house in Dundee [Illinois], they take a train, well the Michigan Central [Railroad] really. But by that time I have them have all these harrowing escapes as they came to Illinois so and by that time a little boy has learned to read. So he looks at a crack in the boxcar and reads the names of all these towns in Michigan you know as they pass through so the reader you know knows that they've passed these towns along that same route leading to Detroit. And then in Detroit they're met by, I think they're met by George DeBaptiste and then taken to Second Baptist [Church, Detroit, Michigan] where they meet William Lambert. And--it's been so long since I you know did the book (laughter) I had to stop and think on some of it.$$Well, that's a wonderful kind of story. There's so much history in the Midwest.$$Um-hm and it's been overlooked.$$Heroic history, too, of you know there's a Crosswhite Affair in Marshall, Michigan that accumulated and rose up against slave catchers (simultaneous)--$$That's right and they branded with an SS on it.$$Yeah, the man who--with the branded hand, I mean all these, all these stories. Cassopolis, Michigan, Bear Cave, I was talking about the other day, and--$$Um-hm, um-hm.

Maycie Herrington

Community volunteer and black history conservator Maycie Herrington was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on November 7, 1918, to Dicie and Thomas Copeland. She attended St. Augustine College for grade school and later Lucille Hunter School. Herrington graduated from Washington High School in 1936. She returned to St. Augustine's College, worked for her tuition and graduated with a B.S. in 1940. In 1943, during World War II, Herrington married former St. Augustine's College classmate, Aaron Herrington, who was soon sent by the army to Tuskegee, Alabama, for flight training.

Herrington quit her job as a bookkeeper with Mechanics and Farmers Bank and joined her husband in Tuskegee where she found employment with the Red Cross. In Tuskegee, Herrington became a familiar face to many of the Tuskegee Airmen. After the war, Herrington and her husband moved to Long Beach, California, where she found employment as a social worker with the Bureau of Public Assistance. There, she was assigned to work with the Long Beach Area Welfare Planning Council United Way, and to coordinate summer camps and Christmas activities. Herrington served in that capacity for more than thirty years. The emergency food assistance program in Compton that Herrington started is still in existence today.

Active in community affairs, Herrington was a member of the Long Beach Altrusa Club, the Long Beach County Grand Jurors' Association, and the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach. As a historical conservator, she was active in keeping the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen alive. One of Herrington's contributions was a set of Tuskegee Airmen trading cards. Each card includes a photo and biography of a Tuskegee Airman. These cards educate the public and help finance the Airmen's youth outreach programs. Herrington was the recipient of the Hannah G. Solomon Award, the Women Helping Women Award, the Rick Racker Woman of the Year Award, and the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award.

Herrington passed away on May 24, 2016.

Accession Number

A2002.211

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/19/2002

Last Name

Herrington

Maker Category
Schools

Hunter GT/AIG Magnet Elementary School

St. Augustine's University

Washington High School

First Name

Maycie

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

HER01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Let Me Live In A House By The Side Of The Road And Be A Friend To Man.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/7/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Yams

Death Date

5/24/2016

Short Description

Social worker and historian Maycie Herrington (1918 - 2016 ) was an award-winning community leader who works to preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Employment

Mechanics and Farmers Bank

American Red Cross

Long Beach Bureau of Public Assistance/Long Beach Department of Public Social Services

U.S. Army

Long Beach Department of Public Social Services

Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maycie Herrington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes her father's philosophy on discipline

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes the culture of the farming community in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington talks about the gypsy culture in Raleigh, North Carolina and Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington describes race relations in her childhood community of Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about attending St. Augustine's Normal School

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maycie Herrington describes being bullied by her classmates for being light skinned

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maycie Herrington talks about the teachers that influenced her as a student at Washington High School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Maycie Herrington describes the effects of being forced to write with her right hand

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Maycie Herrington describes farming life and attending school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington describes how she paid for college

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes her coursework at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Delany family, a prominent African American family from Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington recalls her childhood home, as well as the first house her family purchased

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences attending St. Augustine's College

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes her brother's experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describes how her husband, Aaron Herrington, became a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington describes being hired as the secretary of the Director of the Red Cross in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington talks about giving birth to her daughter Ann

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about working as a secretary to a U.S. Army physician

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maycie Herrington describes the discrimination Tuskegee Airmen stationed at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana faced

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington talks about moving to Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes her perception of California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes being hired to work as a social worker for then-Bureau of Public Assistance in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences working as a social worker for Department of Public Social Services in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her experiences working as a resource coordinator for the Department of Public Social Services in Long Beach, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington describes an incident with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington describe her role as a social worker in helping her client obtain a driver's license, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington describe her role as a social worker in helping her client obtain a driver's license, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes the Los Angeles County Grand Jury nomination and selection process

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about serving on the Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the Twilight Zone accident and subsequent criminal case

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington talks about the John Belushi case

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington describes the demographic makeup of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maycie Herrington describes a case involving a corrupt Los Angeles County judge

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maycie Herrington describes how she became involved with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maycie Herrington describes her role in developing Tuskegee Airmen trading cards

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maycie Herrington talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community and helping others

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maycie Herrington talks about her civic involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maycie Herrington talks about her parents and husband

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maycie Herrington describes honors her husband, Aaron Herrington, received

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maycie Herrington talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Maycie Herrington talks about the uniform and insignia of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maycie Herrington narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maycie Herrington narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

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DAStory

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DATitle
Maycie Herrington talks about the John Belushi case
Maycie Herrington describes her role in developing Tuskegee Airmen trading cards
Transcript
So, tell us about the John Belushi case.$$Now, you know, I don't know the life of movie stars, but I was sure shocked when I learned how they lived, to some degree. I guess I'm kind of naive. And they say he arrived in town in the evening. And he was supposed to be, according to the girl who was one of the managers, he was just supposed to rest and then they had a 4 o'clock meeting with somebody, I think she said. He was supposed to meet some friends, so, because they were getting off from work at that time. And now, I understand why. And then I guess he got bored and he wanted this friend of his, he wanted to know if she knew where he could get any drugs. And she said, no. And meanwhile, this gal, Cathy Smith, had come down to the building where he was staying. She just made herself at home there, according to what this young lady said. He had never met her before. And they were sitting there talking, and this gal said to John, "You know, you need to go to bed." He said he didn't want to go to bed. She said, "Well, you know you've got to get up and meet these people." And he said, "Oh, I want to find some action." I don't know how they worded it, but anyway this gal said well, she knew where she could get some drugs. So, he had a limousine at his disposal apparently. So, he had the limousine driver take her wherever it was she knew she could get some drugs. And she came back, and this friend was still there waiting. And she came back and eventually she went, took him into the bathroom and supposedly injected it in his arm. And I guess she just didn't know what she was doing. But then this friend, I think she said she left about 2 o'clock and John was supposed to be meeting this other person at 4. And I guess he--I don't know whether she said what time Cathy Smith left or not. But anyway, apparently he finally went to bed. And then when the friends met up at 4 o'clock, he never showed. So they just felt that he was tired and was sleeping, so they didn't bother until about 6 o'clock. Because I think they had an important engagement around 7 or something. So they went over at 6 to get him up and they couldn't wake him up, and that's when they had to call the police. And when the police came, would you believe Cathy Smith had taken his car, and she showed up bringing it back. And of course, then they had her. And they questioned her, but they kind of let her go because they didn't have enough details at the time. And then as it turns out, they made pictures of him which was... and so passing them around. And he had apparently used drugs before. I don't know whether he had been a drug user or not, but he had the marks on his arms. So, they knew that evidently--I don't know whether it was bad drugs or what that they got that caused his death, but they had to take the body to the County Coroner. And within less than a week the coroner ruled that it was death by drug overdose. So then of course, we had questioned her. Did we have her? No, we didn't have the opportunity to question her, that's what happened; she left the state and went to Canada. But we knew that this reporter had questioned her because it was a story in the [National] Enquirer. So they subpoenaed the reporter from Florida, and when he came he brought his tape, he was smart. And on the tape, he was interviewing her. And she went on to explain what she had done and so forth and so on, and that's how she got indicted. They sent her to jail.$And in 1998 I got nominated for the secretary, because nobody wants to be secretary. (Laughter). It seems to be a permanent job. And as secretary, I do the voicemail. When people call in for the Tuskegee Airmen, it comes on the voice-mail. So, I pick up the messages and try to see what happens there. But the Los Angeles chapter set up a scholarship fund, and it's quite successful. We give scholarships to forty-five students every year who are graduating from high school and going into college--fifteen hundred dollar scholarships. So, I thought the Tuskegee Airmen history has never been told. And my son-in-law is a fireman for the City of Long Beach [California]. And all of a sudden the Fire Department puts out these PR [public relations] baseball-sized cards. And I looked at it and I said, "You know, that would be terrific if we got the guys in their uniform in World War II, put their history on the back of the card, then we could more history of the Tuskegee Airmen out to the public." So, I sent in a request in 1998 to the national office to approve the baseball cards. You have to go through all the formality and get the national organization to approve it. They approved in 1998. But 1999 nothing happened; 2000 nothing happened. At the time we put it through, Alexander Jefferson [HM] in Detroit [Michigan] was the person who put them through. And I called Alexander and I said, "What's happening on my baseball cards? You guys aren't doing anything." "Oh, Maycie you--they aren't going to do anything. You're going to have to do it." So, for the 2000 convention I put through a request to let the Los Angeles chapter do it, knowing I'm going to do it. So, Roger Terry, who was the president at the time, said "Sure, we'll help you." And he did help me. In a way, he didn't do anything but let me use his name. (Laughter). Anyway we put it through, and we got the first batch of cards done... let me see... in 19... in 2000. No, we didn't get it approved until 2000... 2001. So then I had a... see, what happened, the national office has the national membership list. So, they gave me the list and I was able to contact many of the people. A lot of them didn't send it back and others were dead. But some of the widows sent me really good stuff. And I'm just real pleased with the cards we've done as of now, even though no one has really helped me market them. And I'm hoping that I'll get more help on that. So--$$I hope so, they're beautiful.$$Yeah, I'm getting calls now from various parts of the country. When people see them they're very impressed, because that's why I put the sixteen cards together, because you can see everybody. And I also have them in packages. But you only see the person on the front. You don't see the person, you know, inside. You got to open them up and try to wonder who's in there. But I'm very proud of it because I think it's just wonderful, you know. So...