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Mayfield Evans

Entrepreneur Mayfield Evans was born on November 17, 1935 in Greensboro, Alabama to Murphey and Alice Evans. After graduating from Hale County Training School in 1955, Evans enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a chef.

From 1967 to 1968, Evans worked as an assistant meat market manager and accounting clerk at Grand Fork Air Force Base in North Dakota. Evans then served as an assistant meat market manager and warehouse supervisor at San Vito dei Normanni Air Station in Italy. From 1970 to 1974, Evans worked as a warehouse supervisor and meat department manager at the Royal Air Force Chicksands Commissary in Bedfordshire, England. He then worked as an assistant store manager at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas until 1976, when he became chief of human services at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. From 1977 to 1979, Evans also served as Alaska Air Command Superintendent. In 1978, he founded E&S Diversified Services, Inc., an organization that provided custodial services, warehouse management services, commissary management, and food service in Anchorage. Evans retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1983, with the rank of senior master sergeant. From 1998 to 2015, Evans served as the executive director of MQC Enterprises, Inc.

Evans was named outstanding volunteer in philanthropy by the Alaska Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in 1996. He also served on the Alaska Veteran’s Advisory Council, the Alaska Workforce Investment Board, the advisory commission for the Anchorage Police Department, and the Mountain View Task Force. He was vice president of the NAACP Anchorage chapter, and served as a member of Alaskan Governor Tony Knowles’ transition team as well as Alaskan Governor Frank Murkowski’s transition team. Evans was a member of the Committee on Employment and Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities from 2003 to 2008. For his service in the military, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, and the meritorious service medal.

Evans and his wife, Willie Mae, have three children: Melphine, Jacqueline, and Barry.

Mayfield Evans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 18, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.108

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/18/2018

Last Name

Evans

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Hale County Training High School

University of Alaska Anchorage

First Name

Mayfield

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

EVA09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

Are You Out Of Your Mind?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/17/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Chicken, Collard Greens, Black-eyed Peas

Short Description

Entrepreneur Mayfield Evans (1935 - ) served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1983, during which time he founded E&S Diversified Services, Inc. in 1978.

Employment

United States Air Force

E& Diversified Services, Inc.

Mayfield's Quality Cleaners

MQC Enterprises, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Jessie Carney Smith

Librarian, author and educator Jessie Carney Smith was born on September 24, 1930 in Greensboro, North Carolina to James Ampler and Vesona Bigelow Carney. Smith attended Mount Zion Elementary School and James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro. She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with her B.S. degree in home economics in 1950. Smith pursued graduate studies at Cornell University and then received her M.A. degree in child development from Michigan State University in 1956, and her M.A.L.S. degree from the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1957.

In 1957, Smith was hired as an instructor and head library cataloger at Tennessee State University. In 1960, she enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois, and worked as a teaching assistant from 1961 to 1963. Smith then returned to Tennessee State University, where she was hired as an assistant professor and coordinator of library services. In 1964, she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in library science from the University of Illinois; and, in 1965, she was hired as a professor of library science and the university librarian of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was named the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities at Fisk University in 1992, and appointed dean of the library in 2010. Smith has also lectured part-time at Alabama A&M University, the University of Tennessee and the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

Smith served as consultant to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Office of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and the American Library Association. She directed three institutional self-studies at Fisk University, resulting in the institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation by SACS. In addition, Smith has directed multiple projects funded by NEH and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and served on several Fisk University campus committees.

Smith has published numerous research guides and reference books. In 1991, she released the award winning, Notable Black American Women, and went on to publish Notable African American Men in 1999. Her other books include Black Heroes of the Twentieth Century, Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Experience, and Black Firsts: 4000 Groundbreaking and Pioneering Historical Events, among others.

Smith received the Martin Luther King Black Authors Award in 1982 and the National Women's Book Association Award in 1992. She received the Candace Award for excellence in education, Sage magazine's Ann J. Cooper Award, and distinguished alumni awards from both the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and the University of Illinois. She was named the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year from the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1985; and, in 1997, received the key to the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 2011, Smith was awarded the Global Heritage Award from the Global Education Center and the Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education Award from the Greater Nashville Alliance of Black School Educators.

Jessie Carney Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.011

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/22/2014

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Carney

Schools

Mt. Zion Elementary

James B. Dudley High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Cornell University

Michigan State University

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Jessie

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

CAR28

State

North Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

9/24/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Short Description

Librarian, author, and educator Jessie Carney Smith (1930 - ) is the dean of Fisk University’s library and the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities. She has worked at Fisk University since 1965, and has published numerous research guides and reference books, including the award-winning Notable Black American Women. In addition, Smith was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in library science from the University of Illinois.

Employment

Fisk University

Tennessee State University

Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

University of Tennessee

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Carolyn Glenn

Publisher and entrepreneur Carolyn Jernigan Glenn was born on June 28, 1947 in Greenesboro, Georgia to parents Flossie Hill and Albert Jernigan. In 1963, Glenn graduated from Carver High School at the age of sixteen. She went on to receive her B.S. degree in business education from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia in 1967. She then received two M.S. degrees from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, one in business and vocational education in 1972, and one in in educational administration in 1985. She is also licensed to practice real estate in Georgia and Florida.

Glenn spent twenty years working in public education, as a secretary, business teacher, vocational coordinator, and high school administrator. In 1991, Glenn and her husband, Dr. Earl Glenn, established ACE III Communications and founded The Champion Newspaper with Glenn as publisher. The Champion is Georgia’s largest African American-owned newspaper, and, since 1996, has been the most award-winning weekly among all newspapers in The Georgia Press Association. In 1999, they launched Atlanta Goodlife, a magazine focused on the lifestyles of African Americans in the Atlanta metropolitan area. In 2008, Glenn became the president of the Earl and Carolyn Glenn Foundation. Under the auspices of that foundation, she and her husband created Unconditional Love for Children, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged children to become empowered through educational enrichment programs, life skills training, athletics, and access to health services. She has been a log-time Foundation Board trustee and past chair at Georgia Perimeter College, and has endowed a perpetual scholarship for students at Albany State University.

Glenn has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 1994, she received the Benjamin Hooks Business Award from the DeKalb branch of the NAACP. In 1995, her newspaper won two Business of the Year Awards, one from the South DeKalb YMCA and another from 100 Black Men of DeKalb. That same year, Glenn was named Outstanding Entrepreneur by Success Guide. In 1996, she was named Businesswoman of the Year by the South DeKalb Business Association. The Atlanta Business League named her Businesswoman of the Year in 1997, and one of the 100 Top Black Woman of Influence from 1996 to 2014. She has also been named a Woman of Distinction by Living Word COGIC and listed among six influential Georgia women in Women Looking Ahead magazine. She won a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from Georgia Perimeter College in 2006, and a Trail Blazer Award from Congressman Hank Johnson in 2013.

Glenn lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with her husband. They have one grown son, Christian.

Carolyn Jernigan Glenn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.017

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/20/2014

Last Name

Glenn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jernigan

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver Middle School

Albany State University

Georgia State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

GLE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

This Little Light Of Mine, I’m Going To Let It Shine.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

6/28/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Publisher Carolyn Glenn (1947 - ) founded Georgia’s largest African American-owned newspaper, The Champion, which became the state's most award-winning weekly publication.

Employment

ACE III Communications, Inc.

The Champion Newspaper

Earl D, Glenn, DDS

DeKalb Schools, Gordon High

DeKalb Schools, Cedar Grove

Atlanta Schools, Murphy High

Dalton GA Schools, Dalton High

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carolyn Glenn's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her maternal grandfather's work to rebuild the family wealth

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn recalls her maternal grandfather's charity to black sharecroppers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her parents' early relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn describes the challenges of integration

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her neighborhood in Monroe, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn remembers her influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carolyn Glenn remembers her activities at George Washington Carver Elementary and High School in Monroe, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her parents' fears of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Carolyn Glenn recalls her decision to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn describes her experiences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her transfer from Spelman College to Albany State College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn recalls witnessing President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's motorcade

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn recalls protesting against segregation at Rich's Department Store

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn describes segregation in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn remembers joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn recalls her mentors at Albany State College in Albany, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn remembers teaching at Dalton High School in Dalton, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Carolyn Glenn describes the black community in Dalton, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her success at Dalton High School in Dalton, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Carolyn Glenn recalls teaching at J.C. Murphy High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn remembers mentoring a gay student at Murphy High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her promotion to vocational coordinator at Murphy High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her educational philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn remembers the growth of the black community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn describes her experiences as a graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her transition to vocational coordinator at Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn recalls the highlights of her time at Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carolyn Glenn describes her decision to leave the education profession

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Carolyn Glenn talks about founding The Champion

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn describes the founding of The Champion newspaper

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn remembers the first issue of The Champion

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn recalls founding ACE III Communications, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn remembers The Champion newspaper's financial challenges

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn recalls preparing The Champion to become the newspaper of record for DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn talks about The Champion's designation as the newspaper of record for DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn recalls the legal battle over The Champion's designation as the newspaper of record for DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn remembers creating The Champion Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn talks about Atlanta Goodlife magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn talks about the name of The Champion newspaper

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn describes the news coverage in The Champion

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her civic activities

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn remembers the O.J. Simpson trial

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn recalls the coverage of President Barack Obama's election in The Champion

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn talks about The Champion's digital platform

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn remembers founding the Earl and Carolyn Glenn Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Carolyn Glenn describes her philanthropy in Jamaica

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn talks about the funding of the Earl and Carolyn Glenn Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her plans for the future of The Champion newspaper

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carolyn Glenn describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Carolyn Glenn describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Carolyn Glenn reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Carolyn Glenn reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Carolyn Glenn talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Carolyn Glenn describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Carolyn Glenn narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Carolyn Glenn narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

10$2

DATitle
Carolyn Glenn talks about founding The Champion
Carolyn Glenn talks about her transfer from Spelman College to Albany State College
Transcript
So between '88 [1988] and '91 [1991] when you found The Champion newspaper, what was going on? What was informing this process by which you established the, the newspaper?$$Remember, now this is the migration, you know, of all these people coming to Atlanta [Georgia]. A lot of people said, you know, "Yeah, I live in Atlanta now." Well, you know, you--we talk about, we really said--in terms of metro. But at that time, most of the people moving here were moving to DeKalb County [Georgia]. Because you had the great location, and you had the best values in homes. So in my husband's dental office, we were working in there, you know, all day, every day together. And we're seeing all of these people, all of these important people, accomplished people, moving to DeKalb County and living in DeKalb County, and we don't even know each other. Because when I used to, when I grew up in Monroe, Georgia, the only way to get to Atlanta was to come through DeKalb County because there were no expressways or what have you. We knew that it was 95 percent white. So, now you've got a Tuskegee Airman as a patient. You've got a gentleman who designed an official stamp for the UN [United Nations]. You've got movie stars, you've got top entertainers. You've got news anchors, you've got, just all kinds of people. Who was the president at that time? The gentleman who handled the security for the president of the United States. You've got top educators, you know, retirees. You've got college presidents. Just wonderful, accomplished people. But we didn't know each other. So in my family, my husband [Earl D. Glenn] is the visionary. He sees things way, way, way ahead. I'm the worker bee. I know how to--he does the research and he puts it together and then he--I figure it out. So he said, "Carol [HistoryMaker Carolyn Glenn]," we said to each other, "we need a way to get to know one another." And eventually after lots of talks and whatever, we came up with the idea that we needed a forum, and the newspaper may be that forum. So we started The Champion newspaper.$When I went home for the summer, after the first year, I was--a letter came from Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia]. So, you know, now in my house you don't open other folk's mail. But in that it was from Spelman, I just figured it was okay. So I opened it, and I saw where my mother [Flossie Etchison Hill] had paid on the tuition, but she had not completed the first year's tuition. So, now it's, you know, time for me to get ready to go back for the second year. And I'm looking--I've got five sisters and brothers. And, you know, she's working really hard. So I decided my--this aunt, my favorite aunt [Azalie Etchison Richardson] that I was telling you about--she was a--are you familiar, familiar with Jeanes curriculum directors?$$Yes.$$She was one (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) She was a Jeanes supervisor--$$She was a Jeanes super- she was just real special.$$James Jeanes funds [sic. Anna T. Jeanes Foundation], right?$$Yes, Anna Jeanes [Anna T. Jeanes], she was really special. So she was a Jeanes supervisor down in South Georgia. And, you know, I went to stay with her during the summer or something, a week or two. And we were just very close.$$They worked on a special grant to improve the teaching in the South in small, rural schools, right?$$Absolutely.$$So they were sent down into--$$They were almost like the black superintendent. They were called supervisors, but they were like regarded on the level of a--the black superintendent, even over the principals, in most cases. So she, and she was one, she and my aunt were one of the first to get their master's degrees way back, you know, in my hometown [Monroe, Georgia]. So I guess that was a part of her acceleration, in that she had her master's degree. But she was a Jeanes curriculum director down in Cordele, Georgia then in Sylvester [Georgia], which is thirty miles from Albany [Georgia]. And I called her, and I told her what I saw. And, so she and I strategized. And I went--she took me over--I went to visit, went out secretly, clandestinely, went to Albany State [Albany State College; Albany State University, Albany, Georgia]. The dean of students, she and the dean of students had been in, had gone to co- had gone to college together, so she knew everybody. And she just walked me through, and I'm now enrolled, you know, in two hours. And, so the dean said, "Well, you know, if this is your niece, I know what stock she comes from. So she's--she has a job in my office." And that was the plum job of the campus. I worked for him the whole time I was there. And, so I told my mother and my stepfather [Julius Hill, Sr.], I'm going to Albany State. My father cursed the whole way to Albany State. "I don't know why you want to go to the country, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." And my mother cried. And it was only about, I think it was about five years ago that I told her why I did that. And she said, "I'm so glad you told me because I have never understood why you changed from Spelman to Albany State."$$That was certainly a sign of maturity, I guess and--$$Yeah.$$--to be that considerate.$$Well, again, it was--I always, I loved my mother.

Frank Jones

Academic administrator Frank Jones was born on November 9, 1928 in Greensboro, North Carolina to Dr. David D. and Susie W. Jones. His father had become the president of Bennett College two years before his birth. His mother was a homemaker who was very involved in her community. Her parents were graduates of Berea College in Kentucky during the late 1880s. In 1946, Jones graduated high school from Andover Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Jones graduated with his B.A. degree from Harvard College (Harvard University) in 1950. After serving two years in the military and a few years working at a bank, he attended Harvard Business School, receiving his M.B.A. degree in 1957.

After completing business school, Jones was employed at the Harvard Business School as the assistant dean until 1962. He then worked as a marketing manager executive for Scott Paper Company where he had a very promising career. However, Jones was approached by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Howard W. Johnson and offered a job as assistant to the president at the school. He turned down that offer but accepted another job as assistant director of the Urban Systems Laboratory at MIT. Shortly thereafter, Jones was named Ford Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning and became the first African American tenured professor at the MIT in 1971. In addition to teaching civil engineering in the department of urban studies and planning, Jones was also actively involved on campus and within the larger community. He became director of the Whitney Young Program in 1971. This program was established through his department and allowed select local leaders to spend the equivalent of an academic year at MIT working with faculty on projects of special importance to them, their organizations or communities. Jones served on a committee to urge MIT to found the Office for Minority Education in 1974. The committee, comprised of faculty and students, wanted MIT to create that office whose mission was to recruit and retain minority students, implement programs to motivate academic performance, and to help minority students adjust to the MIT environment. In 1992, Jones retired and became professor emeritus at MIT.

Jones was active in the business community, joining numerous boards including The Corporation at Draper Laboratory, CIGNA and Connecticut General Insurance Corporation where Jones became the first African American board member. He generously supported charities including the Frank S. Jones Student Activity Fund at MIT which supported students working on community-based projects and activities.

Frank S. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.023

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/19/2011

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Middle Name

S.

Schools

Charles H. Sumner High School

Phillips Academy

Harvard University

Harvard Business School

First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

JON25

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Waveland, Mississippi, Paris, France, Florence, Italy, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Oh My God!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/9/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food, Pig Feet, Greens

Short Description

Academic administrator Frank Jones (1928 - ) was the Ford Professor Emeritus of Urban Affairs and the first African American tenured professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Employment

Harvard University Business School

Scott Paper Company

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Morehouse College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Jones talks about his father, David Jones, and his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Jones discusses his paternal grandparents, his mother and his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Jones describes his maternal grandparents and his grandfather's education at Berea College

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Jones describes his relationship with his maternal grandfather and his high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Jones describes how his parents met, his siblings and their early life as a family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Jones talks about his father's work as president of Bennett College, and growing up on a college campus

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Jones describes his extracurricular activities as a child and his elementary school education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Jones talks about his experience attending Andover Phillips Academy, in Massachusetts, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Jones talks about joining the Phi Beta Chi secret society and serving as a student deacon at Andover Phillips Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Jones describes preparing for college and his family's legacy at Bennett College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Jones talks about his experience attending Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Jones describes himself as a student at Harvard, his course of study and classmates

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Jones describes his experience as a member of the Hasty Pudding club as well as the notable graduates of Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Jones talks about his post-graduate activities and joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Jones recalls his discharge from the U.S. Army, his job search and attending Harvard Business School, as well as his marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Jones discusses going to work at Scott Paper Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Jones discusses joining the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Jones talks about MIT's TRP - Technology, Race, and Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Jones describes conflicts in the administration of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Jones discusses his attempts to combat racial disparities in the treatment of students at MIT

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frank Jones describes leaving MIT to teach at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frank Jones talks about retiring, moving to Atlanta, Georgia and his resignation from the Board of Directors of CIGNA

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frank Jones talks about the results of his resignation from the CIGNA Board of Directors

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frank Jones discusses notable black professors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frank Jones talks about his work at Morehouse College, Warren Buffett and the Coca-Cola Lecture Series

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frank Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered and his legacy

DASession

1

DATape

3

DAStory

5

DATitle
Frank Jones describes his experience as a member of the Hasty Pudding club as well as the notable graduates of Harvard University
Transcript
Well, tell me about--this is also--$$By the way, in, in, at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], again, now, this was important to me. As far as I know, I became the first black admitted to the Hasty Pudding--there were finer clubs at Harvard, and the Hasty Pudding is not a finer club. But I was admitted to the Hasty Pudding in my senior year. And that was because a guy by the name of David Stone and the Stones had given money to Palmer Memorial Institute which is ten miles from Greensboro [North Carolina] and Dr. Brown, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, was a great friend of the family. And I told Dr. Brown this story that David had, had--and she said, Frank, as far as I know, you were the first one since Bill Lewis, which may or may not have been so. But at any rate, David Stone, whose family loved Palmer, called me up one day, and he said, I want you to join the Hasty Pudding, and if you don't have enough money, we will help you.$$What is the Hasty Pudding?$$It is a, they--it would be sort of like a secret society at Andover, except it's a lot of people. But they put on this Hasty Pudding show every year, which makes them famous, the men in those days would act the roles of women and it was, you know, hilarious, you know, boys being boys, if you will. And it was a very important thing.$$Because this is War time, some of the years leading up to your graduation, was there anything in particular that you remember about that time?$$Well, you know, the class of which I was a part was roughly half veterans and half those of us who came direct from high school. And that distinguished it because, you know, you had these veterans, and a lot of the football players, by the way, some of the better football players were veterans. But I'll tell you who was the captain of the team in my junior year, was Kenny O'Donnell, who became Chief of Staff to John F. Kennedy. And Bobby Kennedy was on the football team. I knew Bobby, not well, but I knew him. And one of my classmates, for instance, became a federal district--one of my football classmates, a guy by the name Lazoni (ph.) became a federal district judge and a very distinguished one there in Massachusetts because Teddy Kennedy [Senator Ted Kennedy] championed his cause. So--

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby

Art professor, fine artist, and high school art teacher Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Jr. was born on October 17, 1918, in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Sr. and Perry Lyon Dixon. Grigsby first discovered his love for art after his family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he was nine years old. In 1933, Grigsby attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Within a year, Grigsby transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he first met his long time mentor, Hale Woodruff. Grigsby graduated from Morehouse College in 1938, with B.A. degree and because of Woodruff, he was equipped with extensive artistic experience that he would retain throughout his life. Grigsby went on to obtain his M.A. degree in art (1940) from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. degree from New York University (1963).

In 1942, Grigsby volunteered to serve in World War II and became a master sergeant of the 573rd Ordinance Ammunition Company under U.S. Army General George Patton during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1943, Grigsby married Rosalyn Thomasena Marshall, a high school biology teacher and social activist. Three years later, at the invitation of the school’s principal, W.A. Robinson, Grigsby began working at Carver High School as an art teacher. After the closing of the school in 1954, Grigsby began working at Phoenix Union High School where he remained until 1966.

In 1958, Grigsby was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to represent the United States as an art teacher at the Children’s Creative Center at the Brussels World Fair in Belgium. This experience inspired Grigsby to initiate a number of art programs in community centers, housing projects and day care centers in the Phoenix area.

Grigsby began teaching at the university level in 1966, working at the School of Art at Arizona State University until 1988. During this time, Grigsby published "Art and Ethics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society," the first book ever written for art teachers by an African American artist and author.

In 2001, "The Art of Eugene Grigsby Jr.: A 65 Year Retrospective" was featured at the Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition featured insightful commentary of Grigsby’s life and influence on the art and education world by his many colleagues, friends and family.

Grigsby served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the National Art Education Association, the Committee on Minority Concerns and Artists of the Black Community/Arizona. Grigsby has also been awarded numerous times for his outstanding work, including the Arizona Governor’s “Tostenrud” Art Award and the NAACP’s Man of the Year Award.

Grigsby lives with his wife in their Phoenix home. They have two sons, Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, III and Marshall Grigsby, who both have been recognized as educators.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2007.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby passed away on June 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2007.204

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/11/2007 |and| 7/13/2007

Last Name

Grigsby

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Eugene

Schools

Second Ward High School

Morehouse College

The Ohio State University

New York University

American Artists School

École des Beaux-Arts

Search Occupation Category
First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

GRI06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Phoenix, Arizona

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Birth Date

10/17/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Salmon

Death Date

6/9/2013

Short Description

Fine artist, art professor, and high school art teacher Jefferson Eugene Grigsby (1918 - 2013 ) was selected in 1958 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to represent the United States as an art teacher at the Children's Creative Center at the Brussels World Fair. Grigsby published Art and Ethics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society, the first book ever written for art teachers by an African American artist and author.

Employment

Carver High School

Phoenix Union High School District

Arizona State University

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jefferson Eugene Grigsby's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his mother's personality and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his father's upbringing and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his grade school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the community of Prairie View, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to painting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers the Second Ward High School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art classes at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about the Works Progress Administration

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to New York City's arts community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Langston Hughes

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers New York City's Harlem community

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art residency at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his promotions in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers organizing a U.S. Army band

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his deployment to Europe during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls mounting theater productions while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his marriage and the start of his teaching career

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art students at George Washington Carver High School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the closure of George Washington Carver High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls teaching at Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers travelling internationally as an artist

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes L'Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in France

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers his transition to teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his colleagues at George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his adjustment to Phoenix Union High School

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his wife's career

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Expo 58 in Belgium

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the African American expatriates at Expo 58

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers traveling in Europe with his family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls returning home from Belgium

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his honorary doctorate in fine art

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the faculty of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his accomplishments as an art professor

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers interviewing African American artists

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his work with the National Art Education Association

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his research on African art traditions

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the black community's support of the Heard Museum

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his final years at Arizona State University

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon the role of art competitions

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his retirement from Arizona State University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his artistic style and influences

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about aspiring African American artists

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about commercialism in art

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon his role in the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby shares a message to future generations

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers artist Grace Hampton

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to painting
Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Expo 58 in Belgium
Transcript
When we came to Charlotte [North Carolina], I think I came in the eighth grade.$$In reading some of your history, I came across a name, Walker Foster. Does that--$$Yeah.$$Could you tell us about Walker Foster?$$Well, when we moved to Charlotte, I immediately got me a paper route and I was--it was during the Depression [Great Depression]. At that time, I was buying all my clothes and pretty much taking care of myself financially other than food and what we had at home. So, in the paper route, the people I could count on and the people who I had problems in collecting from, seemed like the teachers and the preachers were the ones I had the hardest time collecting from. Well, at that time, teachers weren't being paid and such, but prostitutes and pimps then were the ones I could--had no problems collecting from bootleggers. So, so--but Walker Foster was a, a class of his own. He was a stone mason, and he hadn't paid me in a month or more, but I knew he would pay if I could catch him. So, one morning about four o'clock as I was delivering his papers, I saw lights on at the house and I knocked on the door. When he opened the door, there was a lot of lights and paintings were all around the room. And I said, "Where did you get these paintings?" He said he painted them. I laughed. I laughed in his face because he didn't fit my preconception of what an artist should look like. Here, this guy was quite black and kind of dumpy. He, he had really dull hands from laying bricks and all. When I--my impression of a--of an artist was blonde and blue eyes and such. So he saw I didn't believe him. He said, "If you don't believe me, would you like to come and watch?" Of course. I went down and watched, and after watching him a few weeks, he asked me if I wanted to try, put a brush in my hand and that was it.$$What facilitated the move to Charlotte? Why did you all go there?$$My dad [Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Sr.] got a job as principal of the high school [Second Ward High School, Charlotte, North Carolina]. He--it was a challenge for him because he, he had worked in a high school in Lynchburg [Virginia], but not since then. So he packed up the family and moved in several different times. He bought a--bought an old car. We didn't have a car before that, name was Essex. And one--and driving, I went with him once from Winston-Salem [North Carolina] to Charlotte and he asked me if I wanted to drive, so I did. So I was twelve years old then. So I was driving and a policeman stopped. And when he, he came up and said--he asked me, "How old are you boy?" I said, "I'm fourteen." Well, you had to be sixteen. And after, he said--told dad, "You drive this car." And when he started driving, dad said, "Why didn't you tell him you were sixteen?" I said, "I didn't wanna tell that big a lie," (laughter).$$Now, you're, you're in Charlotte. Let's--and you found this--you found mister--Mr. Foster Walker.$$Yeah.$$Now, what was your feeling aside from the fact that you saw the paintings and didn't believe that he had done them? What was your feeling about art and paintings when you saw those paintings?$$I thought they were real nice. I didn't have any, anything beyond that I don't think at that time. I didn't have a desire to paint. It was only after Walker Foster had me trying or doing some paintings, some of which I still have that I got interested in art.$$What was the feeling when you first took that first brush and started to paint and touch it to that canvas?$$(Laughter) It's weird. It's unexpected, really, as to what might happen.$$And what was his reaction when he saw you doing this?$$I think he was pleased. I think he was pleased that he had--in fact, I know, after a while he used to take pride in introducing me.$$So, at this stage, you're--approximately how old are you now, would you say you are now?$$Between twelve and thirteen, yeah.$We're gonna go back through the '50s [1950s], the end of the '50s [1950s], and were there any, any particular events in the '50s [1950s], late '50s [1950s], that are important that, that we talk about today? For instance, we do know that you did some World's Fair [Expo 58, Brussels, Belgium] things.$$That was in '58 [1958] and I think we--didn't we talk about the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Let's go over it again just for a moment. You, you went to--where did you go?$$I went to Brussels [Belgium], and we went there and it was cold. The fair had just opened. And Victor D'Amico who was the educational director of the Museum of Modern Art and who had invited me came along in the beginning. There were three of us. I was the only one who was not on the regular staff of the Museum of Modern Art in New York [New York]. The--D'Amico had designed two rooms, one in which we brought children in and they had toys that stimulated creativity. In the next room, they had easels for painting and a big table with all kind of objects on it for construction. Well, when we got there, there were very few kids around. So I saw a teacher with about twelve kids walking through, with the boys about ten, twelve years old. So, I ran out and grabbed them and said, "Come on over here. Here's something you might be interested in." So, they came in and it was cold. They took off their coats and hung them up. And these were Flemish kids, and they ran around and they were very aggressive. I thought at once they might tear up some of the toys they had there. We had one toy that was like a piano but it--as you press the key, you got a color on a screen and you could mix colors with--and they were rambunctious with these. Finally, went into the second room and sit down to paint. And they sat down and when they sat down, they pulled the cigarettes out and started--and I said, "Well, no smoking." At that time, we were smoking and I felt like a hypocrite.$$How old were these children?$$Ten, eleven, twelve years old (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$They were Flemish kids. And when they left, one of them said to me and I--as he was putting his coat on, he said, (speaking French), "Embrassez-moi." And I said, what did you say? And he turned around and demonstrated kiss my ass (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$We had--there were three of us from the United States. There was a maid to help clean up afterwards, there was a person who went to the various schools to bring in the students, and there was a couple of other people. There was about five of us in there. And we had a number of languages covered. The--so when the kids would enter, we learned to speak to them in their language and we'd determine that by the way they dressed and the conversations they were having. So, it's, sprichst du Deutsch, it's, parlez-vous francais? Or somebody in Spanish would speak. One kid came in and sat down, I said, "You speak English?" He said, "No." "Parlez-vous francais?" "No." Sprichst du Deutsch?" "No." And I called somebody else over to ask him and I was frustrated. I said, "What in the hell do you speak?" He said, "I speak American."$$(Laughter).$$And we went to England after that and listened to some of these cockneys, and you couldn't understand what they were saying. They were speaking English. So, all those little things really helped me understand.

The Honorable Eugene Sawyer

Civil servant and former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer was born in Greensboro, Alabama, on September 3, 1934, to Bernice and Eugene Sawyer, Sr. The oldest of six children, Sawyer graduated from Alabama State University in Montgomery in 1956 with his B.S. degree in secondary education. While still in school, Sawyer traveled to Chicago every summer to live with his aunt on the South Side and work odd jobs.

After graduating from college, Sawyer taught high school math and chemistry for one year in Prentiss, Mississippi; in 1957, he moved to Chicago permanently to pursue a career in laboratory science. Sawyer spent two years working for Rockford Sprinklers before he was hired at a South Side water filtration plant in 1959 to work as a lab technician. At the same time, Sawyer joined the Democratic Ward Organization of the 6th Ward, where he worked his way up through both the organization and the city water department. Over time, Sawyer served as president of the 6th Ward Young Democrats; financial secretary for the entire ward organization; and president.

Sawyer served as alderman of the 6th Ward from 1971 until 1988; in 1987, following the unexpected death of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, he was elected by the City Council to serve as acting mayor of the City of Chicago. Sawyer was sworn in at 4:01 a.m. on December 2, 1987, after a contentious fight that divided Chicago’s African American community. During his tenure as mayor, Sawyer expanded Chicago’s governmental outreach to develop cooperative partnerships with business and industry.

Following his term as mayor, Sawyer and his friend, businessman Charles Harrison, III, partnered to form CEI International, a reseller of natural gas and other fuels; he served as vice president of the company until 1997.

Sawyer was an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity since 1953 and a trustee at Vernon Park Church and vice chairman of the board of the Wyatt Center.

Sawyer married his wife, Veronica, on September 7, 1996.

Eugene Sawyer passed away on January 19, 2008, at the age of seventy-three.

Accession Number

A2003.024

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2003

Last Name

Sawyer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Stephen Memorial Grammar School

Hale County Training High School

Alabama State University

First Name

Eugene

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

SAW01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/3/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

1/19/2008

Short Description

City alderman and mayor The Honorable Eugene Sawyer (1934 - 2008 ) was the mayor of Chicago in addition to being a successful entrepreneur.

Employment

Prentiss Institute

Rockwood Sprinkler Corporation (Chicago)

City of Chicago

CEI International

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugene Sawyer interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer discusses his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eugene Sawyer evaluates the role of children

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eugene Sawyer recounts his childhood in Greensboro, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eugene Sawyer recalls his father's business

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eugene Sawyer reflects on race relations in the Greensboro, Alabama of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eugene Sawyer recounts his school years

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Eugene Sawyer remembers influential figures from his high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer recounts his experience on the high school football team

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer recalls his college prospects

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer recounts his civil rights participation while in college

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer describes his first job, post-college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer describes his initial employment in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eugene Sawyer details his beginnings in Chicago politics

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer discusses his campaign for alderman of Chicago's 6th ward

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer describes Chicago's 6th ward

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer reviews changes in Chicago politics during the late 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer reflects on Mayor Richard J. Daley's interactions with Chicago's black community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer remembers Chicago politics after the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer recalls Jane Byrne's mayoral tenure

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer remembers Harold Washington's mayoral tenure

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer describes his role in the Harold Washington administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer recalls federal investigations of Chicago aldermen, 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer recalls dissent in the Harold Washington administration

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eugene Sawyer recalls Harold Washington's second term in office

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer remembers the death of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer discusses political activity following the death of Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer recalls his election as acting mayor of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer recalls reactions to his election as acting mayor of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer recalls his tenure as acting mayor of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer recounts the Steve Cokely conspiracy theory incident

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer discusses opponents to his 1989 mayoral campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer evaluates his personality

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eugene Sawyer recounts Chicago's 1989 mayoral election

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eugene Sawyer describes improvements made during his mayoral tenure

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eugene Sawyer responds to criticisms of his leadership persona

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eugene Sawyer describes the closure of his energy endeavor

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eugene Sawyer calls for unity in the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eugene Sawyer reflects on his mayoral tenure

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eugene Sawyer details hometown responses to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eugene Sawyer discusses his children and his nephew

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eugene Sawyer considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Eugene Sawyer recounts his civil rights participation while in college
Eugene Sawyer remembers the death of Mayor Harold Washington
Transcript
That was the beginning of the, in my second, third year in college, when we really got involved in the Civil Rights Movement. We really had to, the capital [Montgomery, Alabama] being right down the street, we had Dr. [Martin Luther] King's house being right down the street from the capital, so we had to do our best to try to protect his house.$$Now, I heard or read that the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church was right--$$Right down the street from the capital, right. And right up the, up the hill is the capital. Right down at the bottom of the hill is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.$$All right, and that's the scene for the organizing of the Montgomery Bus Boycott?$$Right. That church and Reverend [Ralph] Abernathy's church.$$Yeah, so tell us about that. I mean how did--when did you find out or get, become aware that all that was going on in Montgomery?$$I think that a radio station is what I'm told, you know, and I was there, but I wasn't listening to the radio. But they said that they decided to boycott the buses. And they wanted really to try to figure how to get the word out. And they had no way of getting the word out. They couldn't pass out any leaflets like that. But I think some maid heard the, heard, heard about the boycott. And she told her boss that the black folks were gonna boycott the buses the next day. And, of course, the lady called the radio station right away, and that's how we got the word out that the boycott was gonna happen the next day. And, you know, it was really amazing to see people walking. I mean I could--I got up the next morning. I saw people walking, tradesmen carrying their tools on the side and people walking with him, and people really committed. They really were committed to doing whatever their leaders told them they wanted done. That was one time that black folks really stuck together. And they were--and people walking everywhere.$$Now, what were you students talking about when this was going on, and what was the word on campus?$$Well, during the time on campus, we had a boycott going on, on the dining hall, the dining hall and the, you know, toilets in the washrooms and paper towels and things. All those kinds of things were happening. And we didn't really get the amount of attention that we would have gotten because the boycott was going on. So we were able to actively do our boycotting at, and at a certain point in time we were able to successfully achieve what we set out to do.$$Okay, so the students got better food and toilet paper and all the things that--$$(Nodding yes) Got all the things they wanted.$$Okay, and that was occurring just as the Montgomery bus boycott--$$Right, was going on, right.$$Okay, now, did the school administration give you all advice about the boycott? Did they try to keep you from participating or--$$Un-un.$$--did they encourage you to participate or--$$Un-un.$$What happened?$$We had the good sense that it was best that we stay away from the boycott. And we didn't want to get kicked out of school. That was the thing because this was a state-supported school. So we didn't involve too much in it, but quietly--$$Yeah, but did the school tell you that?$$No.$$Did the school administrators say you will be kicked out of school if you participate?$$No, no, they didn't tell us that.$$Okay, but you figured it might--$$Figured it.$$Just kind of figured that might be the case?$$Figured it might be the case, right.$$Okay, well, so what happened next? I mean did you all get involved in it at all?$$Quietly, yes.$$And what happened? What was that involvement about?$$Well, there were some friends of mine who were students and ministers, T. Y. Rogers and Harold Carter, they were ministers. And they were ministers and they got involved with the, Dr. King. In fact, T. Y. Rogers was killed in Atlanta [Georgia] driving to work. He worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC]. But that was after we graduated from college. But during the time we went to college, we were all members of the same fraternity, and we all stuck together. And they say, you hang, hang together or hang separately, whatever you choose. And we figured it's best to hang together. So we worked with T. Y. and Harold Carter. And we were sort of acted, somewhat as a--taking Dr. King to the post office and places like that, but not the sit-ins. But we didn't, well, unfortunately, we were not with him when they blew up his house.$$Okay, well, now, describe what happened when his house was bombed?$$Well, we were in our rooms in the dormitory, and we heard the--the news travels very quickly there, you know. And, of course, he didn't want anybody to act or do anything silly. He just said to the people, just go home. Things will be okay. And we followed his advice.$$So you all went over to his house after you heard it had been bombed?$$Um-hum.$$And he talked to you all directly?$$He talked to a crowd of people.$$Now, did anybody just leave? Did anybody like try to protect him or protect his house? Were there people with--armed people around trying to protect or, you know,--$$I'm not aware of any, but we followed his advice.$$Okay, so students went back--$$Went home.$$Okay, is that the, is that the most dangerous part of the experience in Montgomery, do you think?$$I think so. I do remember students turning over a car, coming through the campus.$$Now, what students, you mean the students at Alabama State [University, Montgomery, Alabama]--$$Um-hum.$$--turned over a car? Whose car was it, and why--$$I, I don't know, very frankly. I really don't know. But I remember seeing the car turned over.$$Okay, and you don't know who it was?$$I really don't know who it was.$$Did students do anything else to help with the boycott, the bus boycott, besides serving as bodyguards? I mean did students do other things?$$There were fundraising campaigns going on and (unclear) on the streets. We worked stopping cars, getting contributions. We did that.$$Did any of you all have cars that you used to help?$$No, we didn't have any cars?$$The days--before black students had cars on campus (laughter).$$(Laughter). No, we weren't that lucky.$$Now, they all have cars.$$Now, they all have cars, right.$$So, did you attend Dexter Avenue Baptist Church or did you ever go over there for a meeting?$$Yes, um-hum, used to love to hear Dr. King speak. He was such a, just an orator, I mean he was good.$$Now, Abernathy's church was First Baptist [Church], is that what it was?$$I think it was First Baptist.$$And I think when Dexter came out of that church in the old days, and that's how they got two Baptist churches.$$Right.$$Did you ever go to his church?$$Yes.$$Well, in 1956, now, you graduated in '56, right?$$Um-hum.$$Now, that was a, one exciting year, I guess.$$Right, it was.$$You graduated from college and--how did that make you feel, you know, all of that activity?$$Well, you know, I was particularly happy one year when Dr. King first came to the campus, you know, we used to have to go to vespers, that is evening service that the student usually prepare to go to sleep in the afternoon because you can't spend the time with your girlfriend on the campus sitting on the lawn. So we had to go to vespers that day. And they said, Dr. Martin Luther King was gonna be a speaker. And we all got together and our, with our friends. And Dr. King came up to the rostrum, and he looked down at the crowd, you know, and he stood and paused for a few minutes. And he said, when Jesus was on the mountain and tempted by the devil, he said, cast yourself down and, and I know you can do it because you're of the Lord. And he turned these stones to bread. It was a moment of difficult decision. And he started to expound from there on. He spoke elo--very eloquently. And it's interesting, he was fine orator. He kept our attention. We couldn't hardly--we were on the end of our seats at the end of his speech.$$So he transformed a sleepy experience into a--$$A wide awake experience, wide awake.$$Now, did you run for any offices in college? Were you the head of anything in college?$$No, I really wasn't.$$But you're a member of the Alphas and--$$Member of the Alpha Phi [Alpha] fraternity.$$Alpha Phi, okay. Now, can you remember what stage the boycott was in when you graduated? Had they finished their negotiations yet or where was it?$$Let's see, I came out in the summer of '56. I'm not sure if they were--they were practically, almost through with the boycott by then I think.$$Now, did you--how did you feel about all the media attention Montgomery was getting on T.V. cause I know when you weren't--I mean not being in Montgomery as a kid, I saw it on T.V. all the time, you know.$$Well, that's, that's the whole, you know, if it didn't get the attention, we wouldn't have been able to achieve what we achieved in Montgomery.$$Were there a lot of reporters in town at that time? Did you see a lot of T.V.--$$Not around the campus, but they were, I'm sure in town. And we didn't get down, down to the courthouse to the hearings, you know. But I'm sure they were there.$$Okay, is there anything else you want to tell us about that time?$$No, it was just an exciting time.$$Did you have a sense that things were changes in the country then, that--$$Hopefully, they were. But I found out later, they weren't. And it still haven't changed that much.$I was asking you about '87 [1987], you know, what you, how you felt in '87, going into the new year--that, after the election of Harold [Washington] with the majority and what you thought the prospects were for the city [Chicago, Illinois], I think, at that point, and the black community?$$Well, the, the prospects or the opportunity for the black community was very, very, very positive, I think. We could all move ahead. And there were a lot of things that Harold wanted to do in the community that meant some, some positive activities for the black community. And--$$I know, we were talking about the day that Harold died. That's what it was, and your personal reflections of that day? What happened?$$That was a very emotional time when they called me up and told me to get over to the Civic Center, over to the Daley Plaza. And I asked them, why? They said the mayor just died. And, of course, I just put up--it was a tough time for me because I was very tied to Harold. He was a very, very close friend of mine. And I went over to the Daley Center, and I think I was there, [Timothy C.] Tim Evans and Larry Bloom--let's see, who else was there? There were 4 or 5--Tim Wright was there. There were 4 or 5 people in there, you know. And we, we were trying to make contact with the hospital. And the information we had gotten was that they wanted--there wasn't anything definite yet. So I got a call from Ed Burke. And he told me the mayor had died. I said, well, how do you know? He said, well, the fireman told me. I said, well, that's not what I'm getting. He said, well, that's what I got. And we went on, went back in the room. And finally we got the call that he really had passed. It was a very emotional thing. So we all just got together and said a prayer and left, went back to the offices. And there was a lot of activities happening and the guys in the city hall was suggesting that we do this and that. I said, look, man, we ain't gonna do nothing. Well, we're just gonna go back down to the council floor and say a prayer for the mayor's family and for the mayor, and that's it. And that was my suggestion that we do that. And, of course, we did that. And there--not to my knowledge, some of the other members were calling for a special meeting, which I didn't really want. But they called it anyway. And then we went into a meeting, and we went to that, beginning of that long night. And it wasn't a pleasant time at all.$$Now, just to put it in perspective, time wise, the death of Mayor Washington occurred on, it was a weekday, right?$$Um-hum.$$Was it on a Tuesday or--cause it was just before Thanksgiving, right?$$Right.$$It was a--was it the Wednesday before Thanksgiving?$$I don't--$$Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday so I'm trying to remember.$$It must have been a Tuesday, I think.$$And, cause his body laid in state for all of Thanksgiving, I think.$$Um-hm.