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Vincent Lane

Real estate executive and real estate developer Vincent Lane was born on March 29, 1942 in West Point, Mississippi to Doyle Lane and Bertha Lee. He grew up on the southside of Chicago and graduated from Tilden Technical High School in 1960. Lane earned his B.S. degree in business administration from Roosevelt University in 1968. After earning his undergraduate degree, he worked in the accounting departments of several companies including Mt. Sinai Hospital, International Harvester and U.S. Steel. Lane received his M.B.A degree from the University of Chicago in 1973.

After completing his education, Lane became senior vice president of the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC). In 1976, Lane served as the president and general manager of Urban Services and Development, Inc. and LSM Venture Associates housing management companies. In 1988, Lane was appointed by managing director and chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). As chairman, he re-organized the CHA creating new programs such as the Chicago Housing Authority Police Department and Operation Clean Sweep. In 1991, Lane became president of American Community Housing Associates, Inc. Lane resigned from the CHA in 1995 after serving seven years as chairman. From 1997 to 2002, Lane served as president of Affordable Community Housing Advocate, LLC. In 2004, Lane became CFO of Woodlawn Community Development Corporation and since 2006, he has been a consultant responsible for the management of WCDC's real estate development program.

Lane has served on the boards of several organizations including the Corporation for Supportive Housing, National Historic Trust, Women's Treatment Center, Urban Land Institute and Roosevelt University. He received much recognition for his work in affordable housing development including the Regional Award for Minority Developer of the Year from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League and the Visionary Award from the Boys and Girls Club. Lane is married to Rita Denise Vargas and has three adult children Vincent, Steven and Craig.

Vincent Lane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.015

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/18/2012

Last Name

Lane

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Roosevelt University

University of Chicago

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

Robert S. Abbott Elementary School

First Name

Vincent

Birth City, State, Country

West Point

HM ID

LAN07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Turnip)

Short Description

Real estate executive and real estate developer Vincent Lane (1942 - ) served as chairman of the Chicago Housing from 1988 and 1995. He has been president of the American Community Housing Associates, Inc. and CFO of the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation.

Employment

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

Urban Services and Development, INC

LSM Venture Associates

Chicago Housing Authority

Woodlawn Community Development Corporation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vincent Lane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane recalls his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane reflects on the land his family owned in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother and Mary Holmes School in West Point, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother's feelings on race and his memories of visiting Mississippi in the summers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vincent Lane talks about the Bryan family in West Point, Mississippi and his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vincent Lane talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about his family church in West Point, Mississippi and his family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his family's businesses

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes about his earliest childhood memory, playing hooky from school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane lists about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about growing up near Bridgeport in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls baseball at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the Back of the Yards and Bronzeville neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about urban renewal and Chicago, Illinois' State Street Corridor

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about his recollections of black political power in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his high school interest in engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane recalls working at Immigration and Naturalization Service while attending the University of Illinois at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane comments on changes in public housing policy and residents in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane recalls life on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls life on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane recalls his decision to major in accounting at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his work during college and starting a small business

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about black businessmen in Chicago including HistoryMaker Lester McKeever

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about his jobs after graduating from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about his work at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about being unable to advance while working at International Harvester

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane recalls the 1968 riots in Chicago, Illinois following the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane recalls Mount Sinai Hospital's role in responding to the 1968 riots on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about working at Tuesday magazine, and later The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about working for The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about intentional fires in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois and The Woodlawn Organization

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about black neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his mother's bar on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about The Woodlawn Organization's relationship to the University of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about gentrification in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane comments on the demolition of public housing high rises and the administration of housing vouchers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane recalls earning his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and starting Urban Services and Development, Inc. and LSM Venture Associates

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about multi-family housing units he developed

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about project-based section 8 housing

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about how Seventh Day Adventists were involved in his development projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about how he was able to finance his development projects

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about HistoryMaker Renault Robinson and getting involved with the Metropolitan Planning Council

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane comments on flaws he saw with public housing policy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the effects of the Brooke Amendment and the Chicago Housing Authority's neglect of public housing residents

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about changes he made as chair of the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the lack of policing in public housing in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes how he set up a police force for the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about the origins of Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane gives an outline of how he conducted Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about the objectives of Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about how residents reacted to the presence of those conducting Operation Clean Sweep after the first raid

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about changes in Chicago public housing after Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Vincent Lane offers justifications for Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about the flow of federal money to the Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about HistoryMaker Renault Robinson and former Chicago Housing Authority Police Commander Leroy O'Shield

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane describes the composition of Chicago public housing and taking his tactics to other cities

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about reductions in the murder rate in Chicago public housing after Operation Clean Sweep

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane talks about Hope VI and his efforts to reconfigure public housing

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane comments on problems he sees with development requirements set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane talks about the American Community Housing Association

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane recalls leaving the Chicago Housing Authority in 1995

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane talks about events of 1994 and his decision to resign from Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane talks about the circumstances that led to his indictment in 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about the toll of being indicted and convicted

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane reflects upon his career in public housing

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane talks about reducing the staff of Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Vincent Lane describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Vincent Lane talks about his future plans

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Vincent Lane explains how he became chairman of Chicago Housing Authority

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Vincent Lane talks about the people who represented the interests of Chicago Housing Authority residents during his tenure as chairman of the CHA

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Vincent Lane considers what he would have done differently in his career

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Vincent Lane talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Vincent Lane describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Vincent Lane narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$7

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Vincent Lane talks about urban renewal and Chicago, Illinois' State Street Corridor
Vincent Lane talks about the origins of Operation Clean Sweep
Transcript
Okay, okay, now, did you have a--did you like to play sports when you were growing up?$$Yeah, I played little league baseball. We played at the field across, right around Federal Street. The old Armour Institute [of Technology, Chicago, Illinois]. It's still there. It's an old, dark red building. And it was--it's still, I think, part of IIT [Illinois Institute of Technology, Chciago, Illinois], but they had a huge field there. And we would play our little league games at that location. And, of course, it's not there anymore because Mayor [Richard J.] Daley and President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower hooked up the Dan Ryan to the Interstate [Highway] System. And that's when this big urban renewal program took effect.$$Now, this is something that's really important, and it would be important to everybody, but especially to you with your future, you know, career being, you know, so closely aligned with the Chicago Housing [Authority] and all that. What did you think when you--what are your reflections of urban renewal and the redevelopment of that whole State Street corridor from being what they used to call the Black Belt with the tenements to housing projects?$$Well, it--$$You actually were here to see all of it, right?$$I actually was here to see all of it. Of course, my mother [Bertha Spraggins Lane] and father [Doyle Lane] were not political at all. I mean they just were working and trying to, living over the drugstore at 37th. And my mother worked occasionally. Of course, my father worked every day. But I remember during a period right after the war, I mean World War II [WWII], that we were, the country was involved in some tough times. And I had to--and my brothers, had to go to 35th and State Street, just north of 35th Street to get this potatoes, you know, like out of the box or bag at that time, butter, eggs. And so I remember the lines up there, people going to get these staples. Of course, you know, my parents had money and worked, but, you know, it was--I think the government just gave it to you. And that stretch, State Street and Wabash and Wentworth and Princeton, these old buildings--now, they had already torn down a lot of the tenements to build Wentworth Gardens. But in that block where I lived on the corner, and going South to White Sox Park, a lot of old, old buildings, apartment buildings, cold-water flats. I thought that--I was envious of the people who lived in Wentworth Gardens at the time because they had, you know, the steam heat from the piping that's run under Wentworth Gardens. They had bedrooms upstairs and they got yards. And, you know, my second-story flat, we would get together and, no grass, anywhere. And the pool hall on the other side of the building, the drugstore, and then we had the pool hall (laughter). And it was right over our apartment, so I was--always, something going on at the pool hall. And we would go into the back, and we would hang up a bushel basket, and we would play basketball and, or we would go a block away and play at the playground over at [Robert S.] Abbott [Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois], football and baseball over at Armour Square. So it was, it was that, almost end of the tenement, the real gutsy 1920s tenement era. But we still had a lot of buildings that were run down. That building that I lived in never had central heat, never until--and it never did have it because once they did start acquiring the tract for the Dan Ryan, all of that went down.$There's a step before the police department that I wanted to mention too, and that was the Operation Clean Sweep?$$Yeah.$$Now, what was--how did that come about and what was it?$$Well, in, I think within a month of my becoming chairman of the [Chicago] Housing Authority [CHA]--$$This was '88 [1988], yeah.$$In '88 [1988], I got a call one day from Nancy Jefferson who was a community activist on the West Side.$$She's probably one of the revered community activists in the city. She's almost sainted by people, Nancy Jefferson.$$I developed a close relationship with Nancy, and she said--and I didn't know at that time well. I knew of her, but she says, "Vince, you've just gotta do something. The gangbangers just burned, severely burned a little girl in Rockwell Gardens." And, of course, you know, I was full of energy and vigor to take on this. And so I got over to Rockwell Gardens, and sure enough, the gangbangers were trying to torch somebody's apartment that they had a grudge against. And he, they picked the wrong apartment. And they firebombed the apartment where this little girl was severely burned. And that really just set me off. I just, I said, how can we think about fixing the elevators and fixing sinks if, you know, employees are being terrorized, residents are being terrorized. Something has to happen. And so I don't know what. I just said, we probably--I was thinking about a war, one of these war movies, taking a hill in Korea, you know. And I said, what they do, the soldiers do is, when they wanna take a hill, they have to come with overwhelming force. And they have to surround whoever is on that hill, and once they take the hill, they have to control the hill. They just can't walk away from it. And so we, I worked out with Leroy Martin that we would have surprise, what we called "sweeps" of selected high rises, and that first one was at Rockwell [Gardens]. And we would plan a major offensive with not only police and our, what we--all we had at that time was rent-a-cops, you know, security guards. And we would, unannounced, and I wouldn't tell Leroy Martin where we were going because I knew that if I told him, that some of the Chicago police hierarchy would pass on the information and we wouldn't have the effect that we needed.

Frederick C. Ford

Prominent business and civic leader Frederick C. Ford was born on August 27, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. The youngest of six children of Florence and Lafayette, a housewife and a postal clerk, Ford attended Sumner High School in St. Louis. As an accounting student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he served as treasurer of the national accounting honorary society and president of the student senate. Ford received a B.A. and an M.S. in accountancy from the University of Illinois.

After graduation Ford worked as an accountant at Mary T. Washington and Company in Chicago. In 1951, he began working as a staff accountant at Draper and Kramer, a Chicago firm founded in 1893 to finance real estate and provide management services. Ford rose through the ranks at Draper and Kramer, eventually serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer. A dedicated civic leader, he was the first African American president of Chicago's largest club, the Union League Club, where he has volunteered for thirty-four years. Ford also served as vice president of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, and he was a member of the Gary Board of School Trustees for eight years, two of which he served as president. In Gary, he founded the Gary Educational Development Foundation, dedicated to improving elementary and secondary schools, and served as vice chairman. He continues to chair the Foundation's Investment Committee.

Ford is vice chairman of the board of directors at Draper and Kramer and a trustee of Elmhurst College. A member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Financial District Rotary Club of Chicago, he has two children with his wife, Dorothy, whom he married in 1953. Their son, Lafayette, works as a banker, and their daughter, Rebecca, is an attorney at Draper and Kramer.

Accession Number

A2003.028

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/31/2003

Last Name

Ford

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Organizations
Schools

Charles H. Sumner High School

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

FOR05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/27/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peach Cobbler

Short Description

Real estate executive Frederick C. Ford (1926 - ) was the vice president of Draper and Kramer real state developers.

Employment

Mary T. Washington and Company

Draper and Kramer

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frederick C. Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frederick C. Ford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frederick C. Ford describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frederick C. Ford describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frederick C. Ford describes his mother, Florence Lucille Ellis

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frederick C. Ford describes his father, Lafayette Ford

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his siblings' businesses

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his brothers selling candy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his family's involvement in the juke box business

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frederick C. Ford describes his neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frederick C. Ford describes his sights, sounds, and smells of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frederick C. Ford describes his involvement in the YMCA as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frederick C. Ford remembers attending John Marshall Grade School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frederick C. Ford recalls attending summer camp as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frederick C. Ford describes his activities at Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frederick C. Ford describes attending the YMCA National Conference in Miami, Ohio and the Y Circus

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frederick C. Ford talks about the National Honor Society

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frederick C. Ford describes his decision to attend the University of Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frederick C. Ford recalls participating in sit-ins in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frederick C. Ford recalls participating in sit-ins in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his involvement with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frederick C. Ford talks about present-day fraternities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his siblings' education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frederick C. Ford describes his activities at the University of Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frederick C. Ford describes working as an accountant at Mary T. Washington and Company in Chicago.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frederick C. Ford describes taking a job at Draper and Kramer in 1951

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frederick C. Ford describes Draper and Kramer, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frederick C. Ford describes the history of the Lake Meadow Development

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frederick C. Ford describes the Prairie Shores development

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frederick C. Ford talks about being the first black employee at Draper and Kramer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frederick C. Ford describes his management philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frederick C. Ford reflects upon mistakes he has made with personnel decisions

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frederick C. Ford describes his duties at Draper and Kramer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frederick C. Ford describes his involvement with the Gary, Indiana School Board

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frederick C. Ford talks about an experiment that allowed a private company to run Gary, Indiana schools

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frederick C. Ford describes having an inside view to a family-run business

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frederick C. Ford describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frederick C. Ford gives advice to people interested in business

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frederick C. Ford talks about formal business training versus business instinct

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frederick C. Ford talks about his mother's pride in his success

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frederick C. Ford reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frederick C. Ford describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frederick C. Ford narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frederick C. Ford narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Frederick C. Ford describes his duties at Draper and Kramer
Frederick C. Ford describes taking a job at Draper and Kramer in 1951
Transcript
So, have, have most--what have most of your duties at Draper and Kramer consisted of basically, management or has it been (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, no, well it's been mostly accounting and then into management. When I first started the company was in the town of Park Forest, Illinois, out south here, was being developed and our company and another company called Dovenmuehle, which no longer exists, were making all of the loans on the homes being built out there and they were building, this was right after the war, and they were building homes and selling homes as fast as they could build them. And one of my first jobs was setting up loan closing statements, so I did that. And then the company had just completed the building at 1350-60 Lake Shore Drive, you may know that building, twin brick towers. It had 740 apartments in it. At the time, it was the largest apartment building in the city and it's built on the old Potter Palmer estate. And, it, the mortgage there was insured by the Federal Housing Administration and our people had heard that the people who had trouble with the Federal Housing Administration were those who didn't keep good records, and that was one of the reasons for hiring me in the first place, was to make sure that they had somebody there who was dedicated to this job. And so, I first started keeping, excuse me, those records and the records of some other properties that the company had. And then the Lake Meadows and the Prairie Shores Buildings, going, came along. And then eventually, I became the head of the Accounting Department and had to hire an assistant, you know, and more and more, I became treasurer of the company and then eventually became a director of the company. And then I became tr- financial vice president and so by that time, I had under my supervision, all the manual accounting and all of the IBM equipment and accounting and Burroughs Bookkeeping Machines and you know, about fifty people and so forth. And, then, eventually, I was in charge of all the recordkeeping for the entire company and for new properties coming on and so forth. So, I really, I was in charge of it all, so to speak (laughter) and I enjoyed it. And then I began to back out of it as I had other general management duties. I sort of became the executive vice president and assistant to the president. The President was Ferd [Ferdinand] Kramer's--by this time, Ferd Kramer had moved up to chairman of the board and the president was Douglas Kramer, his son. And Douglas Kramer stayed as president for about thirty years, sometime in the 70's [1970s] up until '95 [1995]. And '95 [1995], the grandson, whose name is Forrest Bailey, Ferd, one of Ferd Kramer's daughter's child, he became president and so, frankly I've been kind of hanging around helping him. Which is what keeps me there fifty-one years. But, I'm thinking, I'm thinking about hanging it up (laughter).$$Now, I heard about the Kramers, but is there a Draper in Draper and Kramer?$$Well, there was, but the Drapers were bought out many years ago, although there is one young man still associated, who is in the Draper line. But, it's frankly--it's mostly, it's all, it's all for the most part, it's all Kramers now, um-hm.$And then this job came along, during that, during that time I came to Chicago [Illinois] from Champaign-Urbana [Illinois] in December of '49 [1949] and then I went to Draper and Kramer in May of '51 [1951]. During that period of time, I was around talking with people about job opportunities and so forth. And one of the people that I talked to was Robert Taylor, after whom Robert Taylor Homes are named. And he introduced me to his nephew, John Freeman, and Freeman was interested in business and I was interested in it and he thought we'd find something to do together. Well, we didn't find anything to do together but the, the interesting part of this story is that I was rooming at 63rd and Champlain and I would eat breakfast in the Walgreens at 63rd and--$$South Park (unclear)?$$No, no, next street, Cottage. 63rd and Cottage, right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Oh, okay.$$And, so, I was in there one morning and John Freeman says, "My uncle wants to see you." I said, "Yeah, what about?" He said, "Something about a job." Well, he had forgotten where to find me, Bob Taylor had. But he and Ferd Kramer were on some sort of housing council here in the city together, and Ferd [Ferdinand] Kramer had decided to hire a Negro in his downtown office, of which there were none in any real estate office downtown at that time. And he had asked Bob Taylor if he knew anybody and Bob thought about me. And so I went over to see Bob and he gave me the reference and I went down and talked to him and sure enough, they hired me. Now, it wasn't quite that simple because I wasn't that sure that I wanted to leave the opportunities at Mary T. Washington and Company. But, anyhow, I decided to go and so I've been there for fifty-one years now (laughter). But it was just interesting, you know, that sitting there having breakfast, I mean it's like, it's about as casual as you can get (laughter) toward finding a job.

Peter Bynoe

Peter Bynoe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 20, 1951, to a West Indian father and an American mother, whom he credits with instilling in him the exemplary work ethic that has made him a leading entrepreneur. He received his bachelors, masters, and law degrees from Harvard University before entering the business world in 1976 as a Citibank executive intern. The following year, Bynoe became vice president of James Lowry and Associates, a position he held until 1982, when he founded Telemat Ltd., a business consulting firm.

In 1989, Peter Bynoe broke ground as the first minority owner of an NBA franchise, a goal he accomplished through a partnership with fellow Chicago entrepreneur Bertram Lee, tennis legend Arthur Ashe and Democratic National Committeee Chairman Ron Brown. This collective, headed by Bynoe, purchased the Denver Nuggets for $65 million. As the first African American owner, he set a precedent that has opened the doors of sports management for all minorities. In 1992, after designing and supervising the complete reorganization of the team, he sold his interest in the franchise.

After his involvement with the NBA, Bynoe joined the prestigious law firm of Rudnick & Wolfe, where he has served on the firm's Management Committee since 1995. For Bynoe, sports have served as a staging ground for race relations and African-American advancement. He uses his position as a lawyer to facilitate the construction of professional sports stadiums, including arenas for the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Washington Redskins. Bynoe also manages some of Rudnick & Wolfe's most important clients, including Bank of America and the City of Chicago.

At the time of the interview, Peter Bynoe was heavily involved in the Chicago civic community as director of the Chicago Economic Club, Chair of the Chicago Planning Commission, and director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. Bynoe also served as a director of the UniRoyal Technology Corporation.

Accession Number

A2000.013

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/28/2000

Last Name

Bynoe

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

Harvard Business School

Boston Latin School

Speakers Bureau

No

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

BYN01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Telluride, Colorado

Favorite Quote

What's Up?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/20/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Business consulting entrepreneur Peter Bynoe (1951 - ) became the first African American owner of a professional sports team in 1989, when he gained part ownership of the Denver Nuggets. He he has facilitated in the construction of professional sports stadiums for the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Washington Redskins.

Employment

Citibank

James Lowry & Associates

Telemat Ltd

Denver Nuggets

Rudnick & Wolfe

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Photo- Peter Bynoe with John H. Johnson and Henry Louis Gates

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Photo- Peter Bynoe with Colin and Alma Powell

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Photo- Peter Bynoe with his wife, Linda and friend

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Photo- Peter Bynoe in a publicity photo for Swissair Airlines

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Photo- Portrait of Peter Bynoe and his wife Linda

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photo- Peter Bynoe with Mayor Michael Curley

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with Sugar Ray Robinson

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with Brooklyn Dodger, Jackie Robinson

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with John F. Kennedy

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with Ethiopian Emporer, Haile Selaisse

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with government officials

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. with others

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. meets with others

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Photo- Victor Bynoe Sr. meets with Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Peter Bynoe's Favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Peter Bynoe's fond reminiscence of childhood in Boston in the1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Peter Bynoe speaks of his father's trailblazing life in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Peter Bynoe continues on his father's philosophy of success and dealing with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Peter Bynoe speaks of his maternal and paternal influences

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Peter Bynoe discusses whether or not having West Indian ancestry impacted his life

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Peter Bynoe recalls mischeviousness in childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Peter Bynoe remembers his Boston neighborhood and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Peter Bynoe recalls the bucket of oil incident

Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Peter Bynoe talks about his father not "sparing the rod"

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peter Bynoe speaks of segregation and racism in Boston during his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peter Bynoe discusses father's law practice and political involvment in Boston

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peter Bynoe speaks of his friendships and growing up during the Vietnam War era

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peter Bynoe recalls friends lost to Vietnam and illness

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peter Bynoe describes going away to Harvard and impact on his maturity

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peter Bynoe describes his skill of seizing opportunites

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peter Bynoe speaks of his undergraduate years at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Peter Bynoe discusses the social upheaval at Harvard in the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Peter Bynoe shares stories of helping start the Afro-American Studies Department at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peter Bynoe describes his decision to attend Harvard Law and Business Schools and how that led him into entrepreneurship

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peter Bynoe details his transition from corporate America to branching out and Mayor Harold Washington's influence on his career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peter Bynoe continues his discussion on the influence of Harold Washington on his life and career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peter Bynoe discusses mentorship by Chicago's white business elite and his life as an entrepreneur

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peter Bynoe relates his successful formula for entrepreneuship

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peter Bynoe recalls role in building the new Comiskey Park

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peter Bynoe talks about his ground-breaking venture of buying the Denver Nuggets NBA franchise

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Peter Bynoe becomes the first African American managing general partner of NBA franchise and he describes the media and area response

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Peter Bynoe examines the lack of black ownership of professional sports teams

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peter Bynoe reflects on his successes and future in business

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peter Bynoe reflects upon his father's influence on his life

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter Bynoe's thoughts on African Americans and the "Digital Divide"

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peter Bynoe's hopes and reflections on 20th century black entrepreneurs sucesses

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peter Bynoe's assessment of rapid technological change and the future of black America

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peter Bynoe continues on the future of black America

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peter Bynoe reveals the businesspeople he most admires

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Peter Bynoe on his legacy and what his father would think of his success