The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Ayoka Chenzira

Ayoka Chenzira was born on November 8, 1953, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Paul and Bernice Wilson. Chenzira was reared by her mother who owned a beauty parlor in the building where they lived in north Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. Chenzira played the cello, field hockey and studied ballet for a number of years. She attended private boarding school during high school. After graduation, she attended The College of New Rochelle in Westchester, New York, where she studied film and photography. Chenzira received her M.A degree in education from Columbia University and her B.F.A. degree in film production from New York University, where her thesis piece was Syvilla: They Dance to her Drum, a short film that documented the African American concert dancer, Syvilla Fort, who was her dance teacher.

As the chair of the department of media and communication arts at the City College of New York, Chenzira managed programs in advertising, public relations, journalism, film and video. She also co-created the City College of New York’s first M.F.A in media arts production graduate program.

Chenzira is a prolific film artist whose works include features, performance art, documentaries, experimental productions and animation. In fact, she is considered the first African American female animator. In 2002, Chenzira was invited to serve as the first William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is creator and director of the Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) and teaches a year long research and production course. She also created and served as co-director of Oral Narratives and Digital Technology, a joint venture between Spelman College and the Durham Institute of Technology (DIT), where she designed and taught workshops primarily for Zulu students at DIT.

Chenzira lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has one adult daughter.

Accession Number

A2006.156

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/10/2006

Last Name

Chenzira

Maker Category
Schools

Gesu School

Stephen Girard School

Philadelphia High School for Girls

Lourdesmont School

New York University

Teachers College, Columbia University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ayoka

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

CHE04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Amalfi Coast

Favorite Quote

That's What I'm Talking About.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/8/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sushi, Tuna Fish Sandwiches

Short Description

Animator, communications professor, film professor, and film director Ayoka Chenzira (1953 - ) created the first Master of Fine Arts degree program at the City College of New York, and is the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts at Spelman College.

Employment

‘Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum’

Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People

On Becoming a Woman: Mothers and Daughters Talking to Each Other

Secret Sounds Screaming: The Sexual Abuse of Children

The Lure and The Lore

Zajota and the Boogie Spirit

Red Carnelian Films

The City College of New York

Alma's Rainbow

In The Rivers of Mercy Angst

Sentry at the Gate: The Comedy of Jane Galvin Lewis

Snowfire

Flying Over Purgatory

Spelman College

Favorite Color

Burnt Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:1290,20:2838,44:11954,225:29092,316:33416,360:34244,371:34704,378:35256,385:39212,423:40132,435:41696,456:42064,461:57790,581:59638,646:60086,655:60534,664:69222,713:69666,720:70036,727:73958,793:74994,817:77584,861:79730,897:80174,904:80914,915:92320,1053:93150,1059:94229,1074:94976,1084:95723,1095:96055,1100:97134,1114:98462,1126:113280,1246:114450,1265:115620,1283:115932,1289:117804,1315:118194,1321:119364,1337:120690,1366:121158,1378:127120,1418:127890,1430:133531,1480:137918,1513:138881,1523:153884,1609:158068,1657:168728,1830:169384,1841:170122,1856:176141,1879:177311,1894:184096,1940:188200,2011:209148,2335:209452,2340:209756,2345:210592,2357:212416,2406:213328,2424:214696,2446:227450,2575:231626,2667:232706,2683:233210,2692:233642,2705:235658,2746:246174,2872:248320,2909:258654,2950:260506,2955:261170,2964:263079,2988:264180,2995$0,0:6230,67:7275,82:7845,89:8510,97:10030,121:20687,232:26296,366:26770,373:27086,381:34661,423:35298,431:36390,445:36936,452:38790,465:40550,496:41190,506:42710,536:43510,544:44150,553:46390,591:47030,600:48310,629:49030,639:49510,646:64496,732:65350,741:72175,808:73022,822:75717,870:76179,877:77334,897:77950,906:79644,934:80183,942:81261,961:83417,1000:84033,1009:85265,1035:90380,1068:90835,1073:92928,1102:93383,1108:94657,1127:101900,1143:102692,1153:105571,1178:106615,1194:107050,1200:107659,1208:108616,1221:109225,1230:122161,1338:122623,1346:123008,1355:123624,1364:124240,1377:124933,1387:130620,1458:131725,1478:132235,1491:133000,1500:135465,1539:135975,1546:136315,1551:140516,1600:140928,1605:141546,1615:142164,1623:146593,1690:155814,1758:158340,1786
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ayoka Chenzira's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls growing up in a diverse apartment in North Philadelphia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's apartment in North Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes Thanksgiving celebrations with her family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her childhood games and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the demographics of Philadelphia's Gesu School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers buying stockings for her First Communion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the nuns at Philadelphia's Gesu School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers an accident on the playground

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her interest in Catholic rituals

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her childhood personality and her mother's parenting

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her mother's emphasis on healthy meals

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her outdoor and cultural activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls a lesson about racism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her ballet lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers Philadelphia's Jewish community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls transferring to Steven Girard Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her experiences at Steven Girard Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her community's reaction to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls how her artistic interest emerged at Philadelphia High School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls developing her artistic identity at Lourdesmont School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her experiences at Lourdesmont School

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ayoka Chenzira remembers her decision to study filmmaking

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her perception of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira shares her opinion of Malcom X as a young woman

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls attending The College of New Rochelle in New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes film education at New York University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her artistic influences

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls her film professors, Peter Glushanok and Haig Manoogian

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls learning animation to create her film, 'Hair Piece'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her decision to attend Columbia University's Teachers College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her documentary, 'Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls working as a video editor to fund her films

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her daughter and late husband

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira recalls learning animation and working with Byllye Avery

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Hair Piece,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Hair Piece,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon African American women's hair trends

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the negative response to her film, 'Hair Piece'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira explains why she does not consider herself the first African American woman animator

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her film, 'Secret Sounds Screaming: The Sexual Abuse of Children'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'The Lure and The Lore'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Zajota and the Boogie Spirit'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her film company, Red Carnelian Films

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her international film projects and her teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'Alma's Rainbow'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her film, 'In The Rivers of Mercy Angst'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about two of her short films

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her interactive film project, 'Her,' with her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her stage play, 'Flying Over Purgatory,' pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her stage play, 'Flying Over Purgatory,' pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ayoka Chenzira describes the courses she teaches at Spelman College

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her professional and personal goals

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ayoka Chenzira describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ayoka Chenzira shares her advice to aspiring filmmakers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ayoka Chenzira shares a message for future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ayoka Chenzira talks about her admiration for African American filmmakers

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ayoka Chenzira reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
Ayoka Chenzira recalls developing her artistic identity at Lourdesmont School
Ayoka Chenzira talks about her interactive film project, 'Her,' with her daughter
Transcript
The teachers at the school, once again, was there any teachers who, that you looked up to, or wanted to emulate?$$Well, let's see, I went to Girls High [Philadelphia High School for Girls, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] for two years, and then I didn't want to go there anymore. I was in some ways bored, struggling to grow up and find my grounding in that I was growing up with a single parent who was very opinionated, very structured, could be dogmatic in some ways, and there was a lot of tension in the house. And I just said I don't want to do this, so I went away to boarding school [Lourdesmont School, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania] for the last two years in upstate Pennsylvania. And it was in many ways a saving grace, because I had a kind of freedom and space that I had not imagined before. And I began to study things that I would not ordinarily be exposed to. So, for example, I was taking courses in anthropology, which were--at one point, I thought that I wanted to be an anthropologist. I wanted to be an anthropologist. I was taking early psychology and sociology courses in high school, I was starting to explore speaking French and Italian, and it was like the world was opening up to me in a very different way. And I was getting a lot more comfortable in my skin, because I was also around other young women who felt as though they were the fish out of water, as well. So it was a--it was an interesting community. Yeah.$$So in this, in this particular school, you start to explore the different things that you are coming to yourself. Okay. Becoming--and you had already decided that the arts was gonna be a part of your life, what role did the arts--I understand what you're saying about the classes that you took, sociology, but where were--$$Where did the arts fit in? I discovered that I really like to do things with my hands. And that doing things with my hands seemed to trigger information for me in terms of being able to put pieces of puzzles together, in, in terms of life, in terms of other people's lives, in terms of just figuring out some things. So I learned--there was a young woman who taught me how to knit and crochet, and it was, it was like doing hours and hours of meditation, it was wonderful. I got to the point where I could do it and not even think about it, and, you know, make very interesting things. But I think, more importantly, than the things that I was making, my mind got a chance to work things out. Both this movement with my hands and physicalizing something, there was a sense of comfort and peace that came to me in a way that I had not known before. And so if I was angry or upset about something, if I began to work with my hands, with knitting and crocheting, the feeling would go away, it would dissipate. The same thing if I was working on painting, or working on sculpture, or I played guitar for a while. These things, I began to become more aware of the impact that creating something had on my own psyche.$And 'Her'?$$'Her.'$$Tell me about it.$$'Her' is in post-production right now, I'm really excited about 'Her.' 'Her' was produced by my daughter Haj [Haj Chenzira-Pinnock], and her business partner Niaja [ph.]. They have started a company and they said, "Would you write and produce--write and direct something for us." I said, "Sure." We talked about all of the things that it could be and what it ended up being was a science fiction meets social commentary. Basically, you have this black woman who lives in another universe and she's a computer generated image, and her world is all computer generated. We worked with a wonderful artist here, William Hudson. And this character, her body is made up of images of women all over her body. That's--and she's out riding her star and she begins to see cracks in the universe, and she hears this cacophony of sound coming from Earth, and she realizes that these awful sounds are causing these fissures and cracks in her world. And she gets the approval from the old women in her community, and she jumps through this black hole and morphs into a human being and lands on Earth. And she basically discovers what, what the problem is, why she's hearing these voices yell and scream, and it has to do with these three iconic figures who represent a particular kind of male patriarchy that is from the personal level to the political level eroding away women's rights, and she deals with them to heal the universe.$$Wow.$$So that will be finished this month, and they did a, they did a really good producing job.$$That's great. And your daughter also played in some of your films, right?$$Yeah, she was in 'Alma's Rainbow,' and she was also in, 'In The Rivers of Mercy Angst.' So she's grown up to be a filmmaker.$$Like her mother.

Orlando L. Taylor

Author and educator Orlando Taylor was born on August 9, 1936, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His mother was a teacher and his father was a factory worker. Taylor attended Orchard Knob Elementary School through ninth grade. As a youth, he enjoyed listening to the radio, and in 1952, hosted his own show called “Teen Time” on the local radio station. In 1953, Taylor earned his high school diploma from Howard High School.

While attending Hampton University, Taylor participated in a student exchange program at Dennison University in Ohio, where he became a member of an all white fraternity, Delta Epsilon. In 1957, he earned his bachelor’s of science degree in education. While studying for his master’s degree at Indiana University, he joined the NAACP and participated in sit-ins and helped to integrate Bloomington barbershops. He earned his masters degree in 1960. He went on to further his education by earning his Ph.D. in education at the University of Michigan in 1966.

Taylor worked as a speech-language clinician, identifying speech disorders in patients, between 1958 and 1960. From 1960 to 1962, he was the director of the speech and hearing clinic at Fort Wayne State School in Indiana. From 1970 to 1973, Taylor was a professor of communication sciences at the University of the District of Columbia from. In 1972, Taylor and several other colleagues coined the term Ebonics to describe black speech patterns. The term is a combination of the words ebony and phonics. In 1975, Taylor taught students at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley as a visiting professor.

In 1973, Taylor joined the faculty at Howard University where he served in a number of posts including executive assistant to the president, interim vice president for academic affairs, dean of the School of Communications and chair of the Department of Communications and chair of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. Currently Taylor is dean of Howard University’s Graduate School, vice provost for research and a professor in the School of Communications. As vice provost for research, he is responsible for increasing the number of Ph.D. recipients in science, math, and engineering.

Taylor is the author of numerous books, chapters and articles in the field of communication disorders and linguistics. He is also the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Accession Number

A2004.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/14/2004

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

Howard High School

Orchard Knob Elementary School

Howard School of Academics and Technology

First Name

Orlando

Birth City, State, Country

Chattanooga

HM ID

TAY06

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Albuquerque, New Mexico, San Antonio, Texas

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/9/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Short Description

Academic administrator and communications professor Orlando L. Taylor (1936 - ) is dean of the Graduate School at Howard University. As a speech and communication scholar, Taylor and several other colleagues helped coin the term, "Ebonics." Taylor is the author of numerous books, chapters and articles in the field of communication disorders and linguistics.

Employment

Fort Wayne State School

University of the District of Columbia

Stanford University

University of California, Berkeley

Howard University

Howard University Graduate School

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5320,61:8920,151:9220,156:10270,176:10645,181:11245,204:11920,214:14945,235:15513,246:16010,252:16791,284:17359,302:18921,342:23626,398:24184,413:24866,424:25548,432:26044,440:26540,449:27284,464:27718,473:28090,480:29020,505:29454,514:29702,519:30198,530:31066,547:38763,642:47381,783:50037,837:50452,843:56730,936:61210,1052:61840,1064:62470,1074:63730,1102:65340,1133:65690,1139:67790,1185:71090,1217:72331,1251:73280,1282:73645,1288:77684,1331:78341,1341:80385,1389:80677,1394:81626,1426:86675,1472:87350,1485:87650,1490:89380,1506:89924,1604:90400,1609:110841,1879:111085,1884:111390,1890:113664,1918:114204,1931:116166,1948:118790,2016:125742,2120:126352,2131:127145,2150:128060,2174:128914,2208:129524,2219:129768,2224:132028,2250:132766,2263:135530,2289:135929,2298:136613,2312:136898,2318:137183,2324:138608,2355:142096,2395:144417,2413:146787,2454:147261,2462:147972,2501:149631,2511:150184,2520:154134,2613:167965,2770:168320,2776:169172,2811:169740,2821:176282,2893:176975,2914:179684,2971:180188,2980:180818,2993:181070,2998:182519,3029:182771,3034:183023,3039:183716,3051:187070,3061:187350,3067:187574,3072:187910,3079:188246,3086:188638,3094:191695,3123:192745,3142:193345,3153:197660,3205:197956,3210:199892,3238:200659,3254:201367,3269:202016,3290:202547,3310:204022,3343:204553,3353:205202,3365:205851,3377:206146,3383:210460,3427:210964,3436:212035,3463:212602,3473:213358,3489:213799,3497:214618,3511:217011,3541:218502,3575:218786,3580:220490,3621:220987,3629:221981,3644:223046,3663:223827,3675:227730,3709:228198,3720:233636,3825:233996,3831:237085,3887:238135,3911:239710,3937:240010,3942:240310,3947:241210,3969:242185,3983:242710,3991:245785,4051:246460,4061:249044,4077$0,0:16650,160:17130,171:17550,180:30408,345:31496,364:34335,374:39180,455:41315,471:41742,479:42108,486:43389,514:44060,533:45280,558:46683,586:46927,591:47232,597:47598,604:51776,631:55714,693:59122,726:60972,770:61416,781:68222,878:69677,894:70744,908:72740,913:73500,927:80675,1051:81350,1062:83450,1103:83750,1108:87552,1159:87922,1165:89920,1205:90660,1215:91696,1233:95078,1258:98375,1343:98765,1350:99090,1356:100065,1376:104258,1431:104786,1446:104978,1451:105170,1456:105650,1468:109030,1519:109600,1527:110835,1544:112552,1556:114254,1599:114550,1604:116875,1622:120015,1663:122115,1705:126863,1760:129677,1813:129945,1818:130481,1833:130749,1838:131017,1843:131285,1848:131620,1854:132759,1874:133697,1895:133965,1900:136645,1968:136980,1974:150296,2128:150870,2143:152428,2169:156578,2194:158580,2226:162610,2307:163330,2326:164170,2346:164770,2357:165670,2375:170056,2431:172826,2450:173744,2462:174764,2473:177210,2482:178580,2495:180352,2510:183888,2598:190142,2654:190538,2662:191000,2670:192188,2698:192980,2719:196048,2754:196419,2763:196737,2769:197161,2783:197532,2792:197850,2798:198433,2811:202888,2886:203410,2893:204019,2901:205237,2920:205672,2926:212842,3014:213146,3019:214666,3045:215198,3052:221126,3190:228745,3271:233160,3354:235998,3408:240585,3460:241185,3470:242160,3486:242910,3497:244956,3506:248124,3559:248556,3566:249132,3575:252444,3634:261610,3760:262850,3839:263346,3848:263780,3857:267748,3962:270672,3972:271204,3980:271888,3991:272800,4004:273332,4012:273940,4021:274396,4029:277284,4076:277968,4088:278424,4095:280780,4137:287198,4192:288222,4220:289054,4233:290014,4246:292190,4307:292638,4315:292894,4322:293470,4339:294366,4352:295070,4364:299046,4386:299514,4393:299904,4399:302418,4454:304018,4502:304402,4514:304914,4523:312810,4576:315830,4621:318950,4700:325015,4885
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Orlando Taylor interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Orlando Taylor lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Orlando Taylor remembers his mother and father

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Orlando Taylor explains why his family migrated north

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Orlando Taylor recalls growing up in Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Orlando Taylor remembers his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Orlando Taylor recalls his elementary school years

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Orlando Taylor shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Orlando Taylor discusses his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Orlando Taylor recounts his high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Orlando Taylor details his college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Orlando Taylor remembers his years at Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Orlando Taylor recounts combating discrimination at Indiana University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Orlando Taylor reflects on life as an African American in the field of speech therapy

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Orlando Taylor explains his decision to get his PhD at University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Orlando Taylor recounts how he coined the term "Ebonics"

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Orlando Taylor details the various controversies surrounding Ebonics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Orlando Taylor discusses his current projects at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Orlando Taylor shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Orlando Taylor describes how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Orlando Taylor discusses the importance of preserving history

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Orlando Taylor considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Orlando Taylor reflects on life as an African American in the field of speech therapy
Orlando Taylor recounts how he coined the term "Ebonics"
Transcript
And after you left Indiana, did you go on to [University of] Michigan then?$$No, what happened was I went there to get a masters, and I got it. And I went back to this job in Fort Wayne [Indiana] that I mentioned earlier. And by the time I got back, that guy who really wasn't very good, had stepped aside, and I got the job. I became the director of this particular clinic. I did that for two years.$$Was it unusual to have an African American working in the field of speech therapy?$$Very unusual.$$What was that like as an African American working in that field?$$Well, first of all I'd never heard, heard of the field until I went to college. And I had always liked communications, and they had a major in communications which I gravitated toward. And, again, liking to be different, one professor said one day, have you heard about this field called speech therapy or speech correction it was called then. I said, no; said, what is it? And he said, well, it's, you know, it's when you kind of provide therapy to people whose speech wasn't normal, and sometimes because they have emotional problems, sometimes because of brain damage and sometimes because of developmental disorders. I said, wow, that's different, so I'll, I'll major in that. I won't, I won't do the other part of communications. Again, this being different theme again. So I picked it up just mainly for that reason. When I went to Indiana University to work on the degree, yes, it was unusual. At that time, there was reported to have been one person with PhD in the field, but I didn't never know the--I never knew that person. There were no faculty, of course, there. And there was, there had been a report of one previous African American student in the department. But when I was there--when I first got there, there were none. But after I got there, one came along, and I think two came along after me, after--when I was still in the department. But what was important about it, again, a very, sort of a life-changing experience, we had a number of international students in Indiana at the time, and they were doing their studies in English, but their first language had been something else; maybe it had been Portuguese from Brazil or maybe they knew Spanish. So they had a speech pattern that was reflective of their first language, so you had Brazilian students speaking Portuguese influenced English. And, of course, their pronunciations weren't the same as ours. And at the time, the, the tests that were given to students in terms of whether they were normal or not normal, presumed an English-based first language. So the result was all of these foreign students were labeled as having a speech impediment. And they were all referred to me to fix. So for the first time that I'm meeting up close and close and personal Brazilians, or people El Salvador, and I'd talk with them. Of course, their, their grammar and their pronunciation patterns did differ from American English, but they were not disordered patterns. They were predictable patterns, based upon having spoken another language first. Why is that important for me? Much of my research that really catapulted me to prominence in this field, when I started doing research on the influence of a first language and a second language and began to lead a group of folk to challenge traditional definitions about what was abnormal speech and move--it was a movement that led eventually toward bilingual education and a greater understanding about dialect variation even, even among African Americans, who were also labeled as having a speech disorder because they reflected Southern speech or Africanized English in their speech, and that really has revolutionized the field. And that's really why Orlando Taylor got to be known because I was one of the first people to do work in this area. But that experience at Indiana, where I had an opportunity to first-hand deal with people who were being discriminated against because of their speech, legitimate speech, led me to raise questions about the field.$So, Dr. Taylor, let's talk a little bit about Ebonics and--.$$Okay.$$--we talked--let's talk a little bit about how the phrase was coined--.$$All right.$$--and about what year was that and how was it coined?$$Well, to be in--to begin with, particularly with regard to my own career, after having gotten a PhD at [University of] Michigan with a focus on brain and language, most of us who were African Americans were caught up into the whole civil rights moment. And we started asking ourselves, how can I use my little part of the world, my discipline, my profession to contribute to this major social movement. And so I was in language. And I'd had this experience with the Brazilians at Indiana ten years earlier, and I knew, having grown up in the South how much people had been ridicules--how much black speech had been ridiculed. I was aware of minstrel shows and how whites in black face in early film would present negative caricatures of black folk. I was aware of images of film in the '30s [1930s] and '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s] of black folk always appearing to not be able to speak very well. I was aware when I grew up in the South how black Southerners, as they moved North, would work real hard to not sound Southern or to not sound country. I was aware of going to Hampton [Inistitute, now University], how Northern blacks would tease the Southern, more Southern blacks with us at Hampton who pronounced words in a way that they thought was different. So there was this whole negative thing laid on black folk in my view around speech. And we had, we had spent a lot of time trying to, to not sound certain ways. And also at Indiana University I'd become aware of how whites would perceive blacks as being smarter, if they didn't have a black accent and how proud black parents felt when somebody would tell them that their children sounded so nice, why, you can't even tell they're black. And you say, oh, thank you, cause that--so the whole marker of being linguistically advanced was to have Northern speech, have white speech. And yet I had learned by this point that all people's speech was based upon the historical roots of their language. And so in the nineteen, in the early 1970s, a number of people--Geneva Smitherman (ph.) is one that comes to mind and, and Bob Williams who was a psychologist out at Washington University in St. Louis, were called together to--for a conference in St. Louis at Wash U to look at the scientific evidence around black speech. As it turned out, there had been some earlier work done by a very well-known scholar, Lorenzo Turner, in the 1930s, long before my time, who had done work on African survivals in black Southern speech. He had done work on the Gullah dialect off the coast of South Carolina, the coast of South Carolina and Georgia; speech that was the vernacular referred to as Geechie speech and people talking like a Geechie was often referred to, derisively I might add, it was really a put down, but, in fact, it was the most Africanized speech in the United States. And we perceived it as being ignorant and bad, but it really was out of, African origin. We were at this point into looking for African origins. Well, heck, the most African, one of the most African remnants that we have in America was the, was in speech. And so many of us had begun to do research on how these Africanisms not only came--were brought to the United States, but had survived as a result of segregation and plantation life and separatism in America, got reinforced over time into modern American English. And we thought that some of these forms that had been previously defined as being just bad speech or lazy speech or speech produced by folk whose lips were too big or tongues were too thick, really had an African origin to it. So building up on Lorenzo Turner's work and later the work of Melville [J.] Herskovits who wrote a very important book called "The Myth of the Negro Past", we started looking at contemporary African American speech, looking for African origin and suggesting that part of the things that we had seen were not because we were lazy, but were quite explainable by historical facts. Somebody in the room at the time, before that, before that event occurred, we had been referring to this speech in various ways. Sometimes it was called Negro nonstandard English; often it was called black English. And there were a lot of problems with all of these terms. Somebody said, why don't we get a term that's somewhat neutral? And why not--you know, if you say Ebony is black and phonics refers to sound, how about getting, coining a word that would combine blackness with phonics or blackness with sound. So Ebonics, from ebony, the Ebo part, and the '-onics' part from phonics. And so the word was coined in about 1972 in a book that was published by, edited by Bob Williams.

Jamye Coleman Williams

Born on December 15, 1918, in Louisville, Kentucky, to an A.M.E. minister and a religious writer, Williams grew up in Kentucky and earned her B.A. with honors in English from Wilberforce University in 1938. The following year, she received an M.A. in English from Fisk University. Over the next twenty years, Williams taught at four A.M.E. colleges-Edward Waters College, Shorter College, Morris Brown College and Wilberforce University. In 1959, she completed her Ph.D. in speech communication at the Ohio State University and that fall joined the faculty of Tennessee State University. She became a full professor of communications and in 1973 took over as head of the department, serving in that capacity until her retirement in 1987.

At the same time that her academic career took off, Williams began to ascend the leadership ranks of the A.M.E. Church. She served as a delegate to the A.M.E. General Conference in 1964 and became a board member of the National Council of Churches in 1968. From 1976 to 1984, she was an alternate member of the A.M.E. Church's Judicial Council, serving as president of the 13th District Lay Organization from 1977 until 1985. At the 1984 General Conference, Williams was named editor of The AME Church Review, the oldest African American literary journal. She held that post for eight years. Williams also has paved the way for others in the A.M.E., helping Vashti McKenzie win election as the first female A.M.E. bishop.

During her forty-five years in Nashville, Williams was active in her community, serving on several interdenominational organizations, community groups and civic committees. She worked as a member of the NAACP's Executive Committee and in 1999 received the organization's Presidential Award. Williams married her husband, McDonald Williams, in 1943. They have one daughter, one grandson, and two great-granddaughters. Williams resides with her husband in Atlanta.

Accession Number

A2003.187

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/13/2003

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Coleman

Organizations
Schools

Dunbar High School

Wilberforce University

Fisk University

The Ohio State University

First Name

Jamye

Birth City, State, Country

Louisville

HM ID

WIL10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kentucky

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart And Lean Not On Your Own Understanding; In All Your Ways Submit To Him, And He Will Make Your Paths Straight.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/15/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Communications professor and church leader Jamye Coleman Williams (1918 - ) was the first woman to serve as a general officer in the A.M.E. church and later helped Vashti McKenzie win election as the A.M.E. church's first female bishop. She is also a former professor at Tennessee State University, and served as department head.

Employment

Tennessee State University

A.M.E. Church Review

Edward Waters College

Shorter College

Wilberforce University

Morris Brown College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7490,111:38794,580:39262,588:41914,628:48304,662:53348,719:54320,735:55130,746:59280,828:59900,849:60334,854:67898,1014:68704,1034:69262,1047:73590,1066:74010,1074:74970,1096:75330,1106:75570,1111:76230,1126:78864,1147:79252,1152:93822,1346:108649,1521:119160,1639:120224,1654:125308,1684:125944,1697:126898,1720:129024,1739:130428,1772:132222,1828:134016,1873:134328,1878:134796,1886:135888,1907:136434,1916:146870,2052:147210,2063:173818,2404:174322,2413:174610,2418:175042,2426:175546,2436:186301,2648:193390,2729:193666,2734:194149,2743:196219,2787:196495,2792:204768,2910:205300,2919:210088,2998:211000,3006:211532,3014:212064,3023:215433,3050:225930,3235:226234,3240:228970,3284:229274,3289:229730,3297:230110,3306:235442,3379:236680,3390$0,0:3130,37:17470,313:17840,319:19172,352:19468,357:19912,366:20356,373:22724,420:24648,516:41329,747:41840,760:62030,1192:94152,1646:94823,1660:95067,1665:105130,1864:105410,1869:107160,1915:107510,1920:111220,2062:144205,2596:158897,2919:159481,2930:170349,3072:174003,3143:180657,3231:182113,3261:182750,3269:183296,3276:190688,3398:195630,3457:196246,3465:199942,3520:200734,3531:205048,3605:207192,3665:207661,3673:208532,3690:217820,3805:227456,4083:248128,4365:258250,4604:260380,4633:290456,5168:290764,5191:300446,5345:300929,5354:301205,5359:302171,5383:309202,5468:310990,5481
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jamye Coleman Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jamye Coleman Williams lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jamye Coleman Williams recounts stories about her father's family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her love of reading as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jamye Coleman Williams remembers grade school in Midway, and Covington, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes being in her mother, Jamye Harris Coleman's, dramatics club as a child and a play her mother wrote

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about her influential teachers, Blanche Irene Glenn and Maime Summers

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her experience at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about her desire to attend college at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about her relationship with Bishop Reverdy Cassius Ransom

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about Bishop Reverdy Cassius Ransom's influence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about the history of Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio and the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her experience at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jamye Coleman Williams explains how her mother cultivated her public speaking skills

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her experience at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about the teaching positions she held between 1939 and 1942

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about Dr. Charles Wesley, former president of Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes being hired as an English teacher at Wilberforce University and the environment there in the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jamye Coleman Williams shares the story of how former president of Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Charles Wesley, was fired

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes the creation of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about the faculty who stayed at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, after the split

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about Leontyne Price

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes her dedication to Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio and having to leave

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about an incident with Donald Hollowell and Judge Durwood T. Pye in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jamye Coleman Williams remembers people from Fisk University who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes the influence of the NAACP Youth Council on the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about Charles S. Johnson and Pat Gilpin, who wrote Johnson's biography

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jamye Coleman Williams lists outstanding students she's taught at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jamye Coleman Williams shares a story about Oprah Winfrey's commencement address at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about the life span of her and her husband's family members

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jamye Coleman Williams talks about being elected the first woman major general officer of the A.M.E. Church in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jamye Coleman Williams recalls introducing a resolution which was the catalyst for electing the first A.M.E. woman bishop, HistoryMaker Vashti McKenzie, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jamye Coleman Williams recalls introducing a resolution which was the catalyst for electing the first A.M.E. woman bishop, HistoryMaker Vashti McKenzie, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jamye Coleman Williams remembers that HistoryMaker Floyd Flake volunteered to read her resolution at the A.M.E. General Conference in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jamye Coleman Williams recalls introducing a resolution which was the catalyst for electing the first A.M.E. woman bishop, HistoryMaker Vashti McKenzie, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jamye Coleman Williams considers her future plans

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jamye Coleman Williams shares her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jamye Coleman Williams reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jamye Coleman Williams describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jamye Coleman Williams narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Jamye Coleman Williams describes the creation of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio
Jamye Coleman Williams shares a story about Oprah Winfrey's commencement address at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee
Transcript
So on commencement day, Lester Granger, who was then head of the [National] Urban League, was the commencement speaker. It was, it was an awful commencement. Half the students wouldn't put their caps and gowns on. And finally we got everybody--they, they burned Bishop [Reverdy Cassius] Ransom, an effigy, the night before on his lawn too. So when we got to commencement it was just a very unhappy event. The choir sang 'My God and I,' and Dr. [Charles] Wesley got up and asked them to sing it again. And then he recounted what had happened, and he said however--and all of this is documented in the history of the A.M.E. church by Howard Gregg, the whole commencement essay, his, his speech to the group, to the people that day indicating that the A.M.E. church has made a mistake, and he hoped that they would see--soon understand that, and that they would--that he would be back in Shorter Hall on that stage. In the meanwhile, he was moving to Bundy Hall where the state would support him in starting a school, that summer school would start, and all the faculty members who wanted to come with them that they were welcome to come. He took with him all of the files of the faculty out of the president's office except one, and that was mine. I'm dyed in the wool of A.M.E., and anybody who knows me knows that I'm not going anywhere that, where the A.M.E. is involved. They took Mack's [McDonald Williams] file over there, everybody's file left, except mine. It was amusing though. When the new president came in, that was the only, it was the only faculty file he had, was mine. So then Wesley went across the campus and started summer school. Mind you, all of the applications that had come into the school during that spring had come into Wilberforce University [Wilberforce, Ohio]. They took all of those records. They intercepted the students when they came to school in the fall. They did everything. Now I, you know, I can understand Dr. Wesley's bitterness, but I do not understand his desire to kill Wilberforce. I mean that went, went too far, and then to intercept students who were going to Wilberforce. They, they met them at the bus station and took them over to what was then--see, they didn't have a name. He tried to call it Wilberforce State. They had just built a natatorium, a--$$A pool.$$--pool, and had put up on there, 'Wilberforce State Natatorium.' If they had been able to keep that name, Wilberforce University would have gone out of existence. We could not have fought the state, if they had had the name. So we had to go to court. And I think Mack told you that one of our friends did the research and dis--because Wesley's contention was that the, Wilberforce took its name from the community; and therefore, his school had as much right to use Wilberforce State as we had to use Wilberforce University. And when the, when the proof came in, it was that the community, the village, had taken its name from Wilberforce University. So we went to federal court in Columbus [Ohio]. I have a picture of Dr. Charles Leander Hill, who was the president, Dr. James Robinson, the dean, Mack and me, standing on the steps of the capitol right after the decision was rendered saying that they could not use our name. So eventually they came up with the name Central State [University, Wilberforce, Ohio]. So that's a, that's that story.$Now, Oprah [Winfrey] left--was in my department at Tennessee State [University, Nashville, Tennessee] and left without getting her degree. She debated about whether or not she should--this was when she took her job in Baltimore [Maryland], and she debated about whether to take the job. And finally we said you know, this is an opportunity. You can come back and finish college. Her father really wasn't in favor of that, but she went on to Baltimore and then subsequently went to Chicago [Illinois]. Well, all this time, she never got--came back to finish. And every time I would run into her father, his remark to me was, "When are you gonna make our girl come back and get her degree?" So finally, one day I said, "Mr. Winfrey, you know people go to college to get jobs so they can make a living." I said, "Oprah's doing fine." "She's never gonna amount to anything till she gets that degree," he kept saying that. So periodically I would give her a phone call and you know, say, "Oprah, you really ought to do this." So the last time I called her, I told her, I said, "You ought to do this. If you don't wanna do it for yourself, you do it for your father; and you also do it because magazines are printing that you are a graduate of Tennessee State, and you are not, and you don't want that." I said, "And all you have is a three-hour course, and you need to finish it." So I said, "You need to send me a check to register you for this course, and you need to send me a video of a documentary you have done for your senior project." And that's when she did it, and she was invited back to be the commencement speaker in 1987, which was the year that I--'cause I kept saying, you know, "I'm getting ready to retire. You'd better come on and do this." She considered to be the commencement speaker, but in the meanwhile, she was interviewed by some magazine. I think it was 'Redbook.' And she made comment that she hated college. Well, the TSU [Tennessee State University] students were up in arms 'cause that meant she hated TSU, so they didn't want her to deliver the commencement address. And we had to--I--the president of the student council, and the president of Mack [McDonald Williams]'s honor's program, and a member of my department--what was Greg's last name?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): Carr.$$Greg Carr.$$Greg Kimathi Carr; I know him.$$You know Greg Carr?$$Yeah, he's at, he teaches at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.] now, yeah.$$He's, he's at Howard now.$$Dr. Greg Carr.$$I called Greg and I said, "Greg,"--he was one of the main ones, carrying on about we need to uninvited her. I said, "You don't have the authority to uninvited her 'cause you didn't invite her, Commencement Committee invited her." So I said, "Greg, let me tell you, you, you better keep the students in line because I'm gonna tell you, none of you people in the speech department, communication department, will get a recommendation from anybody in this department if anything happens on commencement day." Now you know good and well I could not have carried that out, but I told him that, you know. And so when commencement day came, Oprah shows up on the campus. Mind, mind you, I'm in a tizzy because she has not shown up the day before. Her advance people came, and one of the young women whose name was Beverly Coleman, and she said, "Don't worry, she'll be here." She was in California shooting some movie, and so she had chartered a private plane to fly to Nashville and got there at 7:00 in the morning of commencement day. Everybody said, "Don't worry, she'll be here." So she came on the stage. She knew that the students had had this feeling about what she'd said about not liking college. So she got up and she said you know, "I know a lot of you all came here today, you know, and some of you probably said you didn't wanna come, and some of you decided to come and you said I'm just"--and she mimicked, "I'm going out there and find out there and find out what she really looks like and what she's got to say." But before she got through with her introduction, you know, she had the audience just really mellowed out and really delivered a speech which was more like a sermon, very inspirational. And when the president gave her her degree, she held up her diploma and said, "See, daddy, I amount to something." Because he had been saying, "You're not gonna amount to anything till you get that degree." So that's my Oprah story.$$Was Greg Carr impressed?$$Yeah, yeah.$$All right.$$Everybody was impressed. She was really good. She was really good. And I, and I really don't think what--she called at--shortly after the article came out in the paper. Her favorite teacher at TSU was a man in the drama department, Mr. Dury Cox, and he was almost like a surrogate father to her. And Mr. Cox, you know, would just talk to the kids, and they all hung out with him in, over in the, in the auditorium. So she called one day, and I picked up the phone in my office. "May I speak to Mr. Cox?" I didn't recognize her voice, and I simply said, "Well, he's in class. If you'll leave your number, I'll have him call you." And she said, "Dr. Williams is that you? This is Oprah." And she said, "I know you all upset with me." And she said, "Mr. Cox is gonna kill me," you know. And so she went on to say that she knew people were upset about that article. So I said I'll have Mr. Cox call you. But she, she, she mellowed her audience out.

Jannette L. Dates

Jannette Dates is an educator and critical commentator on the images of African Americans in the media. Born on March 17, 1937 in Baltimore, Maryland, she was educated at the city's Coleridge Taylor Elementary School and Booker T. Washington Junior High School before attending Frederick Douglass High School. She remained in Baltimore for her collegiate education, graduating with a B.S. from Coppin State University.

After college, she became a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System in 1958. In 1964, she became a television demonstration teacher for the school system, working in conjunction with three local television stations, WBAL, WJZ and WMAR.

Continuing her educational career in her hometown, she became an assistant professor at Morgan State University in 1971. During her time at Morgan State, Dates became the producer, writer and anchor for North Star, a weekly hour-long show featuring local and national African American entertainment and sports personalities. It aired on WBAL from 1972 to 1973, and she also worked with the station as a co-producer on the twenty-two-part series, The Negro in U.S. History, which aired during the 1973-1974 season.

In 1978, she published her first article, "Thoughts on Black Stereotypes in Television," which appeared in Ethnic Images in American Film and Television. In 1981, she became an assistant professor at nearby Howard University in Washington, D.C., working in the school's Department of Radio, Film, and Television.

In the years since she joined Howard, Dates has been a frequent speaker on radio talk shows in various cities the country, and she has also been featured as a panelist on National Public Radio, CNN, and C-SPAN, addressing issues of the media treatment of African Americans and other racial and ethnic groups. She has contributed chapters for thirteen books, and has written three scholarly articles and been published several other times. In 1996, she became dean of the School of Communication at Howard.

Dates also has a Ph. D. from the University of Maryland at College Park, an M.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University, a certificate in the Management Development Program from Harvard University, and has served as a fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University.

Accession Number

A2003.044

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/14/2003

Last Name

Dates

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

Frederick Douglass High School

Coleridge Taylor Elementary School

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends

First Name

Jannette

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

DAT01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

We can do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/17/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Academic administrator and communications professor Jannette L. Dates (1937 - ) taught at Howard University, where her research and teaching focused on African Americans in the media.

Employment

Baltimore City Public School System

Morgan State University

WBAL TV

Howard University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1539,32:2106,40:3807,121:11905,248:17305,359:17680,365:26001,475:27156,498:27618,505:28850,528:29851,543:34968,607:35436,614:36060,625:36840,640:38088,665:42222,768:43860,796:51042,851:52026,864:53174,889:53666,896:57028,974:58258,998:58586,1003:58996,1009:63102,1031:63534,1039:63822,1044:64182,1051:67100,1071:68020,1085:69032,1099:73120,1138:73770,1151:74420,1171:75930,1178:76602,1192:77834,1223:79178,1259:79626,1269:80466,1288:81138,1305:81642,1316:82986,1347:85702,1371:86230,1385:86956,1402:87748,1420:88936,1442:89332,1449:89728,1458:90916,1482:91510,1494:92038,1505:92632,1518:93622,1535:93886,1540:94150,1545:94414,1550:96130,1591:99720,1596:100278,1607:101022,1620:103006,1691:103440,1700:104928,1739:105796,1758:106230,1767:108710,1837:109454,1850:109764,1856:110508,1876:115987,1933:116523,1946:117260,1962:118466,1990:119203,2003:120275,2030:120945,2042:121213,2047:121548,2053:123625,2104:124228,2139:124496,2144:125702,2169:126104,2178:126372,2183:129186,2244:135769,2288:136337,2298:137899,2333:138396,2342:138964,2351:139532,2361:139816,2366:140171,2372:140526,2379:141236,2391:141733,2400:144460,2442:146506,2474:147826,2513:148090,2518:148948,2541:150004,2572:152048,2580$0,0:1800,37:2376,88:9406,259:9698,264:9990,269:11085,286:12399,309:14078,352:14589,366:24340,533:25780,563:26080,572:26560,583:26860,589:28540,629:32860,785:33160,791:33700,802:34000,809:34300,815:34720,820:35440,834:36100,858:41900,916:42225,922:44045,953:44305,958:45930,1011:46320,1018:46580,1025:46905,1031:47165,1036:47620,1045:50220,1112:50545,1118:55979,1166:56483,1176:58940,1244:60452,1279:61271,1301:61649,1314:62216,1324:62468,1329:63098,1342:63413,1348:64988,1385:66311,1413:66689,1420:67760,1475:68264,1487:72647,1500:75585,1535:76489,1544:79714,1587:80176,1597:81100,1618:81562,1627:81958,1634:82552,1644:83410,1664:88408,1720:88640,1725:88930,1731:89162,1736:89452,1742:90264,1764:93396,1841:93918,1853:94498,1866:95136,1885:95484,1893:95832,1901:96702,1925:98152,1966:98558,1975:100356,2019:105390,2049:105650,2057:106040,2065:106560,2075:107535,2101:107990,2109:108705,2128:108965,2133:109290,2139:110330,2161:110915,2173:111175,2178:113970,2257:114230,2262:114945,2275:115205,2280:121320,2352:122357,2393:123028,2407:123760,2421:124309,2440:124919,2451:126383,2477:126627,2486:127237,2498:127603,2506:129189,2549:129921,2557:131019,2579:131995,2609:134435,2685:134740,2691:134984,2696:136631,2751:136875,2756:138461,2813:143250,2820:143542,2825:144710,2855:153489,3014:153797,3019:154259,3027:154721,3034:155183,3041:155645,3049:158417,3119:162006,3139:162414,3146:162822,3154:163434,3166:163774,3172:164794,3198:165474,3211:165746,3216:167650,3259:167990,3265:169690,3310:178464,3465:179960,3509:181592,3561:185128,3625:188930,3709:189315,3715:189700,3721:192240,3750:197570,3902:197830,3907:198610,3921:199260,3933:200170,3962:208452,4022:208700,4027:209754,4048:210188,4056:210994,4071:211986,4095:212296,4102:212730,4110:213350,4123:213784,4132:214714,4150:215272,4160:217592,4169:218385,4185:220581,4246:224424,4325:228450,4430:230768,4495:231012,4500:237355,4590:237875,4600:238915,4622:239370,4630:242295,4707:249929,4887:251351,4918:254195,4977:257829,5037:262262,5078:262832,5089:263117,5118:265169,5198:266024,5221:269330,5324:269558,5330:270413,5355:275556,5416:277140,5457:277428,5462:279372,5507:285780,5711:286140,5717:294702,5829:301774,5962:302114,6045:302522,6052:302794,6057:303270,6065:303746,6074:304698,6092:305106,6099:310451,6150:311054,6167:311389,6173:313533,6222:314069,6232:316012,6281:316883,6295:317218,6301:319429,6349:327300,6469:327540,6474:327840,6480:328380,6492:329040,6507:329640,6521:330780,6553:331920,6578:332220,6584:336300,6675:336660,6683:337200,6693:340084,6714
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jannette Dates interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates discusses her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates talks about her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates discusses her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates recalls memories from her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jannette Dates remembers elementary school and junior high

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jannette Dates talks about high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jannette Dates remembers an influential high school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates talks about the presence of 'The Afro-American' newspaper

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates briefly discusses her involvement with church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates recalls schoolmates with whom she has stayed in touch

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates discusses experiences at Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates recounts her years working for Baltimore City Public School System

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates discusses learning how to teach and different teaching strategies

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jannette Dates recalls meeting her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jannette Dates remembers her experience as a television demonstration teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jannette Dates discusses early experiences hosting 'North Star'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates remembers interviewing Louis Farrakhan on her television show, 'North Star'

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates discusses the popularity of 'North Star' in the Baltimore area

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates explains her career change to Morgan State University's Communications Department

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates talks about Thomas Cripps and how he influenced her pursuit of a Ph.D.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates explains her dissertation for the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates tells of how she became involved with Howard University's School of Communications

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jannette Dates describes her career at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janette Dates explains reasons for returning to Coppin State University to teach

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jannette Dates talks about bringing the cable television industry into the classroom

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jannette Dates details her role at the School of Communications at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates describes the reasoning behind writing 'Split Image'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates talks about the focus of 'Split Image'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates talks about life spans of African American sitcoms

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates explains how 'Split Image' was titled

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates recalls issues involved in the publishing of 'Split Image'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates discusses her writing approach with 'Split Image'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jannette Dates discusses the success and growth of Howard University's School of Communications

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jannette Dates talks about the future of blacks in the communications field

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates discusses the portrayal of blacks in various feature films

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates explains differences between 'Good Times' and 'Sanford and Son' television sitcoms

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates comments on blacks presented in a positive light on television programs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates expresses her views on various television networks

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates discusses her hopes for a more diverse popular culture

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates talks about ways of combatting the underclassing of African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jannette Dates talks about how black culture is portrayed through entertainment outlets

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jannette Dates analyzes the motion picture 'Barbershop'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jannette Dates describes her work ethic

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jannette Dates discusses future plans and her children

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jannette Dates's hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jannette Dates considers her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jannette Dates talks about plans for a new communications building at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - How Jannette Dates would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Jannette Dates, ten months old, 1938

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Jannette Dates with her two sisters, Mabel Lake Murray and Iantha Lake Tucker, ca. 1940s

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Jannette Dates with her parents, grandmother, and sisters, ca. 1940s

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Jannette Dates with friends from high school, Baltimore, Maryland, 1953

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Jannette Dates with friends from high school, Baltimore, Maryland, 2002

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Jannette Dates teaching a class on television at WBAL-TV, Channel 11, Baltimore, Maryland, 1973

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Newspaper article featuring Jannette Dates from the 'Afro American', Baltimore, Maryland, 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Newspaper article featuring Jannette Dates from the 'Evening Sun', Baltimore, Maryland, 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Jannette Dates and Thomas Cripps, 1973

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Jannette Dates with her husband and children, 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Jannette Dates's parents and in-laws, 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Jannette Dates with her mother, nephew and sister, 1982

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Cover of Jannette Dates's book 'Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media', 1990

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Photo - Jannette Dates's family at her son, Craig Dates's graduation, 1999

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Photo - Jannette Dates at a Panel of American Women reunion, 2000

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Photo - Jannette Dates's mother, Iantha Alexander Lake's family at the Alexander family reunion, 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - Jannette Dates's mother, Iantha Alexander Lake, and her family members, 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - Jannette Dates with her childhood friends and second grade teacher, 1985

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - Jannette Dates and her husband, Victor H. Dates, 2000

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo - Jannette Dates's parents, Iantha Alexander Lake and Moses Oliver Lake, 1995

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - Jannette Dates and others celebrating the anniversary of the School of Communications, Howard University, Washington, D.C.. 1996

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - Jannette Dates with Tom Brokaw at Peabody Awards banquet, 2000

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Jannette Dates with Bill Duke, Hollywood, California, 2000

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - 'Jet' magazine photo from the covention of the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ), 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - Jannette Dates as part of 'Ebony' magazine's Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications, New York City, New York, 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - Jannette Dates with Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, Debbie Allen Nixon, H. Patrick Swygert, 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - 'Jet' magazine article featuring Jannette Dates, John H. Johnson, H. Patrick Swygert, Earl Graves, Jeff Burns, Jr., Virgil Ecton and Lerone Bennett, Jr., 2003

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - 'Jet' magazine article featuring Jannette Dates, John H. Johnson, H. Patrick Swygert, Earl Graves, Jeff Burns, Jr., Virgil Ecton and Lerone Bennett, Jr., and Howard University alumni, 2003

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - Jannette Dates and her sisters dressed in graduation attire

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Jannette Lake Dates, 2002

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
Jannette Dates remembers interviewing Louis Farrakhan on her television show, 'North Star'
Jannette Dates describes the reasoning behind writing 'Split Image'
Transcript
Do you have one or two favorite stories that you remember [from hosting 'North Star' television series]?$$I remember the time that I interviewed Minister [Louis] Farrakhan. And I got a letter from the TV--from the general manager. He said he had never seen a better interview in his entire twenty-five years. I have a copy of that letter. 'Cause I was so taken with it. And the thing is that I remember staying up all night long reading the book that he had written and articles and trying to really understand the man and understand the situation, you know? And so then we got on the set. And I was asking what I now know are tough questions. And later on learned that those are the things journalists are supposed to do. And I'd say things like, "You know, people in the community are afraid of the Black Muslims." And his answers were so unbelievably smart. I mean the man is really brilliant. And, you know, I don't say that easily. But there're some things that I--you know, am--I take issue with him on. But the fact is that he's a brilliant man. And when he would answer in his sonorous way, it was just unbelievably dynamic, you know? And so I was really following the story with him and ans--asking questions all the way. And I had a series of questions I had in mind. But I was asking the questions based on what he was saying. And then I was also being he advocate for the people who didn't understand why he was saying that and trying to get him to go deeper, and help us to really get a understanding of what they were trying to do. One of the things too was that they had a neighborhood school [in Baltimore, Maryland]--Black Muslims. And the students were doing so well on the standardized tests in that school. And right down the street you had students who were not doing well. And, of course, his conversation about that was one of the things that's so true about that group. And that is the family is so important. The children are supposed to be learning and disciplined. And they are supposed to have their parents to guide them. The sort of things that my mother [Iantha Alexander Lake] had said that we had to do in our family. Here this was a part of their philosophy. So for me it got to be that I understood better a group that I was afraid of basically too. And that I was not sure was thinking along the same lines that I thought was good for society. Now there are some other things that they do that I don't agree with. But that part of it, I thought, made sense. So that really struck me. It was a wonderful session.$And it was in the courses that I was teaching [at Howard University, Washington, D.C.], History of Broadcasting and Film and Intro [introduction] to Mass Comm [communications], where students either implied or they said to me, "You know, black people haven't made many contributions to these industries we're studying." And I said, "That is not true." There were no pictures. There was no narrative that talked about African American participation in any of those industries in '81 [1981] and so what I started doing was weaving in whenever I could--and I would with the history, I would have the decades and I would start with like the '20s [1920s] and then the '30s [1930s], and then the '40s [1940s] and then the '50s [1950s]. I know they get tired of my charts but anyway I have these charts and then I would have categories of things that we would be focused on, you know. And so you know, that way we could build across that grid every week to make sure that we were staying on target. And one of the things that I built into that was what were African Americans doing as a part of that in each one of those decades. So we would--if we were talking about radio for example, that would be one of the items on the grid. We would--the radio industry--well we would talk about it and weave in what African Americans were doing in the radio industry. And it was intriguing how much you found out. I mean Bessie Smith how she saved RCA [Radio Corporation of America] records. I mean how Nat King Cole, you know, built--was it Columbia Records I think [sic, Capitol Records]? I mean, you know, you've got all sorts of things happening where if it had not been for the African American participation, there were some times when those industries would have folded. Those particular enterprises would have gone under. But those were some of the stories, you know, I mean there were so many of them. And so I started weaving those sorts of things in so that they not only had the basics, but they also had this extra edge. And I thought, I hope it will be useful to them in their later lives because they were gonna go into these industries and be the only one in many instances. And they would then wind up being the authority and if they didn't have something to know about it, I think they were gonna be at a loss. So we did that sort of thing, you know, we would talk about the first African Americans who were on, you know, commercial television and, you know, what had happened to some of them. I mean, you know, it was, you know, just an opportunity for me to learn along with the students really. And they would bring articles in for me too, you know. And then I found that some of my colleagues in the department were doing the same sort of things 'cause they were getting the same sort of issues from students. So we sat around a table one day--colleagues in the [Howard University] Department of Radio, TV and Film, and David Honig, who now is a lawyer, who's done--doing a lot of really good work in public policy issues, here in the city but he was the one who called us all together and he said, "You know, we really need to focus in on doing something where we're all going to get this issue of African American participation in these industries together." And I said, "Stroke of genius. We should do that," you know. And so we started talking about how to do it and everybody was sharing ideas, ten faculty members. And I wound up being the one that they said, "You know you should be the editor." That means that I be the one that everybody would turn in their stuff to and everybody had a chapter [in the book 'Split Image']. And we'd all be finished in a year, you know, eight years later (laughs). David Honig left, you know. He came up with the idea and then he was gone doing something else. And so I was here trying to work with these folks getting them to meet deadlines and actually do this 'cause I thought it was important that we get this done. We wound up with actually five people and I had the dubious distinction of kicking off--out of our group, because they did not meet the deadlines for the umpteenth time the chairman of the department that I was in and the dean of the school (laughs) because I would say to them, "Okay. We got this deadline now we gotta have it done by this date." And they'd--I mean they were overwhelmed. They had too much to do. I was a faculty member. I could work it out, you know. And so I wound up doing five chapters, the introduction and the conclusion. Then we got [William] Bill Barlow who was doing two chapters and then one chapter from [Thomas] Tom Cripps; and one chapter from Lee Thornton; and one chapter from a guy named 'Reebee' Robert Garofalo from the University of Massachusetts [University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts]. And all of them--you know, all of us really, you know, got this ten chapters done in 'Split Image' and got it up. Most of the time we was--I was spending my time trying to get it--get a publisher. And I remember University of California Press [Berkeley, California] said, "You know--you know, they really liked it and they talked about all these things they thought we should do." And we did what they asked us to do. And then in the final analysis they said, "Well, you know, we've got one that we're doing now so we can't have two." And I was like, "What does that mean you can't have--? Do you have more than two of others?" You know, it's just an insanity that was said at the time. And, in fact, I wrote back to them after it was published and I wrote 'cause we had this wonderful write-up in the 'Washington [D.C.] Post' [newspaper] and in various other publications. And I put it all together and sent it to the guy and I said, "See." (laughs) You could have had this." And, you know, he wrote back and he said, "I'm glad you found a home blah, blah." But you know it was very disappointing to have that happen. But Howard University Press wound up publishing it. And we got really good reviews about it because they were saying that it was filling a void that hadn't been filled before. And the other publication that was at University of California Press was going at it a totally different way. Ours was a comprehensive study that was all ten of the industries that we were focusing on and the pattern and the thread that ran through it that related to the African American experience. And we were using some of the same source of articles. At first we had planned to use the articles themselves from other publications but that didn't work out so we had to write ourselves. And, you know, it was again a wonderful experience, you know.