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

Wesley Harris

Aerospace engineer Wesley L. Harris was born in Richmond, Virginia on October 29, 1 941. His parents, William Harris and Rosa Harris, worked in Richmond’s tobacco factories. As a child, Harris was intrigued by airplanes and learned to build different models. In the fourth grade, he won an essay contest about career goals with a paper on how he wanted to become a test pilot. After receiving his B.S. degree with honors in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1964, Harris enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences 1968.

After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton, Harris taught at the University of Virginia and at Southern University before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 where he served as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics. He established MIT’s first Office of Minority Education in 1975 in order to help retain minority students and improve their performance. In 1985, Harris was appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut; and from 1990 to 1995, he served as vice president and chief administrative officer at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and then as associate administrator for aeronautics NASA. In 2003, Harris was named head of the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2003.

Harris’ many honors and achievements include serving as chair and member of various boards and committees of the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Science Board, and several state governments. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. The National Academy of Engineering elected Harris as a Fellow for contributions to understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering, and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Wesley L. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

University of Virginia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wesley

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

HAR38

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

The Greatest Gift Is To Give.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/29/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak (Rib Eye)

Short Description

Aerospace engineer Wesley Harris (1941 - ) was head of the department of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. He was also elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to the understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

UTSI

University of Connecticut

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Virginia

Southern University

Harris Analytics and Planning, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6715,78:43854,613:51368,679:58582,733:72260,887:76024,915:79340,936:80460,954:101810,1306:116132,1453:117824,1478:137502,1686:138158,1696:145722,1810:149658,1852:156190,1938:156550,1944:157000,1950:161657,1994:169182,2081:170427,2105:173830,2162:181498,2263:182304,2278:183048,2293:183358,2299:187295,2338:188145,2349:190360,2359:206374,2498:207194,2510:207604,2516:208178,2524:210400,2540:210700,2546:211000,2552:214670,2602:216542,2642:224375,2797:251370,3117:252616,3140:253150,3148:256060,3175:257230,3191:257860,3200:263615,3251:265070,3278:265749,3376:273646,3431:279835,3484:284185,3677:284635,3684:285010,3690:286060,3707:299560,3861:318570,3997:330756,4112:331834,4126:336600,4141:337000,4147:337800,4159:346036,4255:346624,4265:347016,4270:353910,4338:354798,4352:355686,4365:356352,4378:356796,4386:363980,4440$0,0:40348,527:77043,966:77579,975:78115,984:80520,1006:80845,1012:93196,1215:104375,1322:106271,1359:109352,1411:109668,1416:110300,1427:118911,1596:154114,1842:170748,2023:171084,2028:189450,2249:190002,2263:199658,2374:205894,2551:261770,3168:278591,3379:293302,3664:296870,3670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about the occupations of his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his father's restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes walking through the white district to get to school as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his aspiration as a fourth grader to be a test pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Virginia-pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Virginia-pt 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the group of African American students at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes the impact of the U.S. space program on his education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his decision to attend Princeton University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentor at Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about anti-Semitism in Ivy League schools

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his doctoral research

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes how he was recruited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes the findings of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his time as a professor at the University of Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his children and his first wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes being a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his research on helicopter rotor acoustics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his work on coastal ocean radar with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about receiving the Irwin Sizer Award

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Connecticut

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes why he left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the Lean Aerospace Initiative and Lean Sustainment Initiative

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about becoming a member of the National Academy of Engineering

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his time at Arizona State University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the aeronautics and astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about Leon Trilling

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes the James Shirley incident at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the flight tests of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris provides his predictions on the direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his life

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris reflects on his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Wesley Harris talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project
Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Transcript
You were talking about this cloud chamber in the break, but how did you build that? I mean you say kids ask you today, how did you do it without the internet, right?$$Right. So the idea was that you wanted to observe, in my case, the trajectory of alpha particles and so how do you do that? Alpha particles are fairly large and high energy so if you have a, an environment where they can collide and you visibly can see the collision or the results of the collision then you could in fact track them. So if you had in those days these old radioactive Rayon watches, you could clip off a piece of the dial and that would serve as your alpha particle. To get the condensement atmosphere you build a box that was insulated, put in that box dry ice, okay, and on top you would put a damp wet cloth which when it interacts with the dry ice would form a cloud. And then you look at the, look through the top, alpha particles projecting through the cloud coming down, you see the collisions and you could track it. So the idea was to generate the correct environment. And the cloud chamber is what we called it in those days, still call it a cloud chamber. But you had to build a box, put ice in there, dry ice, not water ice but it had to be very cold and get the condensation, get the alpha particles, there it was. So, but Eloise Bose Washington, who is this woman, who is she, why do I remember her name so distinctly, why do I remember her even more so than Edmonds and Street and Mrs. Hartley and even Judon? Eloise Bose Washington one of the rare black women that went north in the 40s [1940s] to the University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] to earn a masters degree in physics, you may ask well why in the hell would a black woman go north in the 40s [1940s] for a masters degree in physics and come back to the south? What could possibly be on her mind? What was she going to do? What job was open to her? None, other than the classroom, but she had a degree in physics. So the blessing was that I was one of her students. Not only was she a good teacher but she had the foundation. She knew physics okay, and therein lies the success. Therein lies the opportunity. Therein lies the greatest gift, all right, that Eloise Bose Washington was there or I was there when she was, let's put it that way, a tremendous spirit, a short woman, rather wide, rather big, again the tough love. "Wesley, you will go to the University of Virginia, okay?" And she said that because she never forgave herself for the third place finish at the University of Virginia. We had won first in the black community, the black competition and then she said "Wesley, we'll go to University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia] with the cloud chamber and we finished third and she always thought she was the reason for it.$$Hmm.$$Yeah, she did. She--so I said "Yes, Ms. Washington, I will go. But tell me why do you want me to go?" She said, "Two reasons." She says, "Wesley, you are black and there's no way those white folks up there would ever misinterpret who you are whenever they see you." Second, she says, "You will be successful and that's very important to us that you succeed at the University of Virginia." Okay.$$So this is, I just want to go back to that for a second cause she's saying something really significant here because it's often said when someone, some African American succeeds that it's because he's part white or something, you know, he's a lighter guy and that sort of thing.$$Right.$$So she's actually saying, she's focusing on your color?$$Yeah.$$She's saying--$$Yeah.$$--you're the perfect person to--$$Yes, yes.$$--you'll really shake things up to let people know what our capacity is cause you're unmistakably--$$Right, yeah that was a part of her calculation, make no doubt about it, yes, right.$$Okay.$$Because in her generation and also in mine--$$[BRIEF INTERRUPTION]$$Okay, all right. So--$$Yeah, so Eloise Washington did want to make that point that it was about demonstrating scholarship by, for and about black folks in a way that's unmistakable, that it is of this, it is of black folks. And that was something that she wanted me to understand that that's the--remember now just a rising senior in high school and she made that point very, very clear, "You are black and they will not misinterpret that and you will be successful."$$Okay.$$So that's Eloise Bose Washington.$While at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], you were elected a fellow of the American Helicopter Society?$$Yes, oh yes. Yes, that's--okay, so the rotorcraft community obviously since the work I did here at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] in main rotor acoustics has always been a part of my aero portfolio. In a lot of ways, rotorcraft was a stepchild. Most of NASA's effort was focused on fixed wing aircraft. The U.S. Military, especially the U.S. Army has always needed better, more efficient helicopters. So working with a man named George Stingley, we developed a joint program involving NASA and DOD [Department of Defense], three-headed program after-anyway, involving the rotorcraft industry to share, to develop and share common technology. And that, no one had done that before to bring those four, those three players, NASA, the rotorcraft industry and the U.S. Army together to solve common research problems related to rotorcraft where NASA put in money, DOD, U.S. Army put in money and the rotorcraft industry put in money. So that was bringing together those three stakeholders in a way to find a common solution to common problems and that's, was, I guess enough for the Helicopter Society to say, "Make this guy a fellow."$$Okay, okay. And also you were, you received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. I guess be-- is that just before you left?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$I think those things just, you just breathe long enough you get them. I, I attach no significance to those things at all.$$Okay. So when you look back at your stint at NASA, what are you the most proud of?$$High-speed civil transport, that technology, fascinating stuff, fascinating stuff.$$Okay, okay. Now--$$There's something else too.$$Okay.$$Most Americans know of the Russia-U.S. Space Treaty. At the same time that was developed there was a treaty or an agreement on aeronautics okay? So a group of us went to Moscow [Russia] several times to develop the document that Chernomyrdin [Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin] on the Russian side and Vice President [Al] Gore on the U.S. side signed, so-called agreement in aeronautics, a similar one in space, okay?$$Okay, so this is signed by Al Gore the vice president?$$Right and the vice premier Chernomyrdin of, for Russia.$$Okay.$$Okay, so I led that delegation. A member of that delegation was Woodrow Whitlow and many others as well, but that was an interesting, exciting time, couldn't leave the hotels at night. We were certain our bags were always searched when we left, riots on the Moscow subway. In the early 90s [1990]s, they just had collapsed the Soviet Union so you saw abject poverty in Russia, I mean unbelievable poverty, buildings with holes in them, government buildings, no toilets, no heat in the winter.$$Yeah, that's really critical in Russia.$$Oh goodness, yes. We were in meetings all day with overcoats on and gloves.$$In a government facility?$$Yeah, this is (Saugi?) [ph.], that's--this was their corresponding, this was their facility corresponding to our Tullahoma [Tennessee]. We have AEDC, the Arnold Engineering Development Center, the world's largest aerospace test facility, they had something called (Saugi?), comparable with no heat, holes in the walls, grass never cut.$$Yeah.$$That was Russia in the early 90s [1990s]. Not like that now but they had a really down period man. We were told to do this by the way, to develop this agreement not by NASA but by the State Department because they didn't want the Russian scientists to find their way to Iran or North Korea or some other place that would cause trouble later.

Christine Darden

Aerospace engineer and mathematician Christine M. Darden was born on September 10, 1942 in Monroe, North Carolina. Darden was the youngest of five children born to Noah Horace Sr., an insurance agent, and Desma Chaney Mann, an elementary school teacher. Darden attended Winchester Avenue High School and then transferred to Allen High School, a Methodist boarding school (formerly the Allen School for Negro Girls), in Asheville, North Carolina. She graduated from Allen High School in 1958 as the class valedictorian and received a scholarship to attend Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. In 1962, Darden received her B.S. degree in mathematics education and her teaching certification from Hampton Institute. She went on to earn her M.S. degree in applied mathematics from Virginia State College in 1967, and her D.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from George Washington University in 1983.

From 1962 to 1963, Darden was a mathematics instructor at Russell High School in Lawrenceville, Virginia. She continued teaching at Norcom High School in Portsmouth from 1964 to 1965. After completing her M.S. degree program, Darden became a data analyst for NASA at its Langley Research Center. In 1973, Darden was promoted to the position of aerospace engineer; and, in 1989, she was appointed as the technical leader of NASA’s Sonic Boom Group of the Vehicle Integration Branch of the High Speed Research Program where she was responsible for developing the sonic boom research program internally at NASA. She also maintained partnerships with and led an advisory team composed of representatives from industrial manufacturers and academic institutions. In October of 1994, Darden became the deputy program manager of The TU-144 Experiments Program, an element of NASA’s High Speed Research Program; and, in 1999, she was appointed as the director in the Program Management Office of the Aerospace Performing Center at Langley Research Center where she was responsible for Langley research in air traffic management and other aeronautics programs managed at other NASA Centers. In addition, Darden served as technical consultant on numerous government and private projects, and she is the author of more than fifty publications in the field of high lift wing design in supersonic flow, flap design, sonic boom prediction, and sonic boom minimization.

Darden received the Dr. A. T. Weathers Technical Achievement Award from the National Technical Association in 1985. She was awarded the Senior Executive Career Development Fellowship from Simmons College in 1994. NASA recognized Darden with the Certificate of Outstanding Performance ten times between 1973 and 2003. Not only has Darden received the NASA medals for equal opportunity and for achievement in leading the sonic boom program, she is also the recipient of the 1987 Candace Award for Science and Technology from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the 1988 Black Engineer of the Year Award from the publishers of U.S. Black Engineer & Technology magazine.

Aerospace engineer and mathematician Christine M. Darden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 26, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.045

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/26/2013

Last Name

Darden

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Hampton University

Virginia State University

George Washington University

Simmons College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Christine

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

DAR06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mountains

Favorite Quote

All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

9/10/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Jambalaya, Vegetables, Greens, Salads

Short Description

Aerospace engineer Christine Darden (1942 - ) former Director of the Aerospace Performing Center Program Office at NASA’s Langley Research Center, conducted research in sonic boom minimization and led the development of the national sonic boom program for much of her career.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:12275,151:14095,252:19230,348:19880,362:20790,380:21505,394:21895,401:28500,444:28920,453:31440,497:31720,502:35500,518:35950,527:36700,540:37225,550:37600,556:37900,561:39700,593:40525,607:42625,637:43450,651:48925,763:49300,769:56375,796:57350,809:58910,842:59235,849:59690,857:60145,866:60925,880:61315,888:62485,902:63070,912:63460,920:64175,931:64565,939:65995,947:66840,964:71396,984:72404,1002:72692,1007:75026,1017:76820,1035:77096,1040:78545,1064:79166,1069:81029,1097:83030,1132:83513,1141:83927,1155:84824,1171:85238,1179:85790,1189:86411,1200:86825,1207:88274,1239:88619,1246:88895,1251:90344,1282:91448,1298:91862,1305:92897,1327:93173,1332:93656,1341:99628,1361:99904,1366:101215,1389:103285,1425:104044,1438:104527,1492:105976,1511:107011,1530:107287,1535:107770,1542:108943,1569:110461,1599:110737,1604:111220,1612:121968,1787:122430,1795:123750,1820:124014,1825:124344,1831:124740,1839:125334,1850:130102,1878:132154,1916:132762,1925:133750,1940:135422,1954:135878,1961:136334,1975:137474,1993:137778,1998:139602,2026:139906,2031:144325,2058:148412,2100:150154,2145:150958,2161:156672,2197:162640,2233:163200,2243:163620,2250:164110,2259:168562,2290:168946,2299:169522,2311:170226,2326:170546,2332:171762,2361:172850,2382:173298,2391:178655,2439:178931,2444:180173,2468:195474,2705:196178,2717:196946,2733:197586,2747:197842,2752:198482,2765:199058,2775:199314,2780:201234,2834:205074,2923:205330,2928:211645,2955:213087,2961:214117,2974:221536,3024:223010,3055:223546,3064:224082,3073:226628,3136:227767,3159:228102,3165:229174,3185:230045,3201:234392,3228:237819,3260:241851,3360:242355,3369:245379,3429:248232,3438:249128,3461:250088,3481:251048,3498:253050,3506:253843,3521:256454,3530:257158,3545:257414,3550:258566,3574:259590,3594:259846,3599:261510,3636:261766,3641:265665,3663:268374,3689:268689,3695:269508,3713:270642,3739:271776,3761:272028,3766:272595,3776:273162,3788:274485,3805:276060,3843:281568,3862:282107,3870:284802,3905:285110,3910:285572,3917:289653,3971:289961,3976:290808,3987:291193,3993:292040,4008:292579,4019:292964,4025:299047,4059:300232,4077:307845,4175:308649,4193:311128,4239:311865,4253:312736,4267:313071,4274:313339,4279:314009,4291:314746,4301:315416,4313:320820,4359:321732,4371:322131,4379:322416,4385:331582,4514:331862,4520:332254,4529:332702,4538:333542,4559:334214,4573:336092,4586:337500,4609:338396,4625:338652,4630:338972,4637:339548,4653:340060,4692:341724,4706:341980,4711:342364,4718:352588,4881:353884,4903:354172,4908:354820,4921:355396,4930:355828,4937:356116,4942:361740,5001$0,0:8300,209:20841,378:23746,463:26485,517:36295,657:42146,755:51414,843:53262,875:68374,1017:74134,1133:75358,1151:76222,1166:77158,1181:77446,1186:77878,1193:89180,1353:98097,1439:119964,1605:120276,1610:124878,1694:128544,1763:130728,1813:131274,1824:154780,2091:156148,2119:160828,2197:161332,2205:161692,2211:175340,2401:177330,2431
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Christine Darden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Christine Darden lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Christine Darden talks about her mother's growing up and her education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Christine Darden describes her father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Christine Darden describes her father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Christine Darden talks about her parents attending Knoxville Academy and Knoxville College

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Christine Darden talks about her parents' employment as teachers in Georgia in the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks her parents dating in Knoxville College

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Christine Darden talks about her family's life near Charlotte, North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Christine Darden describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Christine Darden talks about her siblings and their families, and her mother finding her runaway brother in 1947

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Christine Darden talks about her family reunions

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Christine Darden talks about her childhood household and the house where she grew up in Monroe, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Christine Darden talks about her parents building a new home in Monroe, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Christine Darden talks about growing up during segregation in Monroe, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Christine Darden talks about starting the second grade at the age of five

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Christine Darden talks about her family's emphasis on the importance of education and her interests as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Christine Darden describes her experience in school in Monroe, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks about attending Allen High School in Asheville, North Carolina, her interest in mathematics, and her math teacher, Ruth Walther

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Christine Darden describes her experience in boarding school at Allen High School in Asheville, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Christine Darden describes her decision to attend Hampton University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Christine Darden describes her experience at Hampton University, and her interest in the physical sciences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Christine Darden talks about her education at Hampton University - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Christine Darden talks about her education at Hampton University - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks about graduating from Hampton University, and her first job

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Christine Darden talks about meeting her husband, Walter Darden, and taking math classes at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Christine Darden talks about starting studies for her master's degree in aerosol physics and taking math courses at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Christine Darden describes her master's thesis on calculating light scattering, and her early experience using computers

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Christine Darden describes her experience at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Christine Darden talks about being recruited to work at NASA's Langley Research Center in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Christine Darden describes her relationship with HistoryMaker Katherine Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Christine Darden talks about NASA's "West Computers," and segregation at NASA in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Christine Darden describes her early experience at NASA's Langley Research Center in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks about how she got her first promotion at NASA's Langley Research Center, and her early work on the sonic boom problem

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Christine Darden describes the sonic boom problem - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Christine Darden describes the sonic boom problem - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Christine Darden talks about the Tu-144 supersonic airliners

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Christine Darden talks about the Concorde supersonic airliners

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Christine Darden describes her work on the sonic boom problem - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Christine Darden describes her work on the sonic boom problem - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Christine Darden talks about the collaborative nature of the work on the sonic boom problem

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Christine Darden describes her Ph.D. dissertation at George Washington University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Christine Darden talks about well known mathematicians who worked on the sonic boom problem

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Christine Darden talks about her colleagues at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Christine Darden describes her service and leadership roles at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Christine Darden describes her leadership in the Presbyterian Church, and how it applied to her career at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Christine Darden talks about becoming the director of strategic communications and education at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Christine Darden shares her perspectives on NASA and the problems with funding

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Christine Darden reflects upon her life and career as well as the politics of science

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Christine Darden describes her concerns for the African American community and for the current American educational system

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Christine Darden talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Christine Darden talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Christine Darden describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Christine Darden describes her experience in boarding school at Allen High School in Asheville, North Carolina
Christine Darden talks about being recruited to work at NASA's Langley Research Center in 1967
Transcript
Now Asheville [North Carolina] is certainly a beautiful part the country.$$It's a beautiful part of the country and I think that's why I am partial to mountains instead of the seashore. I do like mountains. Our dormitory [Allen High School, Asheville] used to look out at some of the mountains right there by Asheville right outside our window. We used to go on picnics up in the mountains; we always took the ride on Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall. We would go to Chimney Rock, we would actually have cookouts in the water on rocks in the water. We would have cookouts and so we did a lot of things in the mountains; lot of picnics and things in the mountains which just leaves me with very fond memories. We of course went to Cherokee [North Carolina] which is right near there. I had a lot of great times. They would convert the dormitory into a haunted house at Halloween and then we would go on a scavenger hunt in that whole area of town. I guess one of the benefits for me was everybody had the same rules. So everybody had the same rules and the only time they made an exception for me my senior year--you had to be fifteen when you came there in September to be able to have male company on Sunday afternoon and I was not fifteen when I went back because my birthday is in September. So I wasn't quite fifteen yet. So they made the exception for me to take company my senior year when I went there. But it eased the burden on my parents [Desma Cheney Mann and Noah Horace Mann, Sr.] because now all my classmates had the same rules; they would have dances but they would screen, they would have certain people from the high school there Stephens-Lee [High School]--.$$They would chaperone them.$$They chaperone them, they would know who was on the guest list. They would invite certain young men to the dances; they would walk us across the street to the dances and on Friday nights they would take us to a football game or to the drugstore and things like that. So everybody did the same thing, and so I didn't have that same, you know, "Everybody else is doing it. Why can't I do it?" And that took the load off my parents. But I was homesick, I was extremely homesick. I think I cried every day for a semester. One day I decided I wasn't going to school. I said we all had duty work, we also had to clean our room every morning we had to go through inspection for dress going to school. I did everything I had to do and then I went back to my room and sat down. And by the time they checked roll in school and found out I wasn't there and they checked the infirmary and found out I wasn't sick, one of the dorm counselors came and said, "Well the principal wants to see you." So I went to the principal's office, and she told me I was just messing up a perfectly good record and you know she started crying and she had me crying and you know, "Is your father coming for you?" I said, "Well no my father doesn't know anything about this." So I guess that was the crisis and I got through that semester and Mother told me much later after I had probably finished college that she had decided that she was going to let me come home at the end of the first semester. The first semester was in January then, but she said when the first semester ended I called her and I said, "Send me some money, I want to buy a new dress because we are having a dance Saturday night." And she said I never mentioned coming home, and she said she never mentioned it and that was the end of that and so from then on everything was great. I guess it was a hard lesson on me but it was probably one of the best lessons for me, you know, to stay at that school and go through that hardship and realize being able to go to the County Fair at the end of September was not the most important thing in my life which I was missing, you know, I wanted to go the County Fair. I was missing that but I think I had exposure in some things perhaps that--I certainly gained some independence at that school and study habits. We had study hall every night; we had sports and whatever activities in the afternoon and then went back for another hour and a half after dinner for study hall. We had duty work that seniors always had; we had family style eating in the cafeteria. We always had to take a turn serving the teachers, serving the table we sat at. So there was some discipline involved in getting those things done and doing those things; in cleaning the bathrooms, in cleaning a teacher's room; we all had to do those things. So I think that was probably good for me. But the discipline of studying and getting my work done I think served me well when I went to college because I would get my work done and I would have it done before dinner every day.$$Okay. Now what level of math did they teach?$$Did I teach?$$No did you get when you were in--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$Okay at Allen there was nothing but geometry. They didn't teach anything higher than that. So I didn't have anything higher than plain geometry.$And so it was when I finished my master's at Virginia State [College, now Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia]--$$So this was 1967?$$I finished in '67 [1967] and I went to the placement office. By that time, my husband [Walter Darden] had gone back to [I.C.] Norcom [High School, Portsmouth, Virginia] to teach. So I applied at--I went to the placement office I was thinking of applying at Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia] and at Hampton University [Hampton, Virginia] because I actually did some teaching while I was at Virginia State too. But I went to the placement office and they said we wish you'd been here yesterday because NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] was here interviewing and so she gave me the standard SF 171 government application and told me to fill it out and bring it back the next day, which I did. She sent that down to whoever had been here during the interviewing and I got an offer from NASA to come. When I went to NASA and you know, of course, that was at Hampton [Virginia], I guess I knew NASA [Langley Research Center] was at Hampton and I remember parades with the original astronauts and everything but they didn't have much of any interface with Hampton [University] or anything, you know, like so many of the universities now actually work and send interns and things like that over there and there was not very much interface with NASA.$$(Unclear)--which is different today.$$Very different so--I got to NASA and I was assigned to what they called a computer pool and that was--as I said, they still didn't--programming was just getting in. When I went to this computer pool, I was given a Friden mechanical, not even an electronic machine, a mechanical Friden which had a carriage about so long and you sat there and that carriage would move back and forth and everything. And, so, I learned how to do the Friden and I guess--this office was a support office for the engineers on the floor. And so there were no computers to do their plots so when they did papers and they had to do plots you had to do these plots and so you had all of these French curves and you learned how to do the plots. And there was a lady sitting there with a Leroy machine, I didn't even know what she was doing for days. She would just sit there all day doing something; but she was actually doing the lettering for the plots and everything that would go in their papers.

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and major general (ret.) Charles F. Bolden, Jr. was born on August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1964. Both of his parents, Charles and Ethel Bolden, were teachers and stressed the importance of education. Bolden received his B.S. degree in electrical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, and earned his M.S. degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. He then accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy and underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas.

Between June 1972 and June 1973, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions into North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while stationed in Nam Phong, Thailand. After returning to the United States, Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps. He was then assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, where he completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980. Bolden’s NASA astronautical career included technical assignments. He served as pilot on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986. In the wake of the Challenger disaster, he was assigned as the chief of the Safety Division. In 1990, he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery during its mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Bolden served as the Mission Commander for Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1992 and the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994. He logged more than 680 hours during these four flights. Bolden left NASA and returned to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997, and was assigned as the Deputy Commandment of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy. During Operation Desert Thunder-Kuwait in 1998, he was assigned as the Commanding General of the Marine Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Major General in 1998. In 2003, Bolden retired from the Marine Corps and served as president of the American PureTex Water Corporation. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden as the top NASA administrator, making him the second astronaut and the first African American to serve in this position.

Bolden’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. NASA awarded him the Exceptional Service Award in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In May of 2006, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Bolden and his wife, Alexis Walker, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two children: U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Anthony Bolden, and Michelle Bolden, M.D.
Charles Bolden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2012 and February 3, 2017/

Accession Number

A2012.229

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2012 |and| 2/3/2017

Last Name

Bolden

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Schools

United States Naval Academy

University of Southern California

C. A. Johnson High School

Naval Air Test Center

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

BOL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Japan

Favorite Quote

Do The Best You Can.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and major general Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. (1946 - ) served in the United States Marine Corps and was a pioneering astronaut with NASA, where he also served as administrator.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

American PureTex Water Corporation

TechTrans International Corporation

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:1885,27:2989,50:3265,120:4438,204:8164,252:9682,262:10648,281:10924,286:11476,296:16470,328:17340,350:17572,355:17804,360:18616,382:18848,387:19602,405:20356,417:21110,435:21400,441:21806,449:24524,460:25901,480:26306,486:27197,498:27845,507:28979,524:29384,530:31927,542:32842,564:33086,569:33330,574:33940,587:34245,593:35282,615:35587,621:37844,668:38088,673:38332,678:39918,714:40711,731:40955,736:43700,826:44005,832:45408,867:45652,872:45957,878:46384,887:48397,938:49678,971:52728,1022:53033,1028:54314,1059:60192,1076:60448,1081:60960,1091:61600,1110:61856,1115:62688,1145:63008,1151:63264,1156:63840,1169:64160,1176:64608,1188:68000,1272:68256,1277:71862,1309:73662,1336:75462,1381:76398,1398:77190,1411:77982,1424:78774,1445:79062,1450:79350,1455:81294,1484:84340,1542:84865,1551:87040,1595:87565,1608:88165,1614:88465,1619:93866,1680:94642,1689:95709,1701:96097,1707:96485,1713:98270,1732$0,0:1670,33:8060,147:8870,158:12720,172:13860,197:14640,215:15000,227:17560,247:20376,286:22928,337:23632,346:25304,367:25832,374:26448,382:27240,393:28120,405:28472,410:30408,441:30936,448:37133,539:37772,549:38127,555:38411,566:38837,571:39405,581:40257,605:40541,610:41180,626:41535,632:43452,677:44233,691:45227,723:46434,749:48067,783:48777,795:49416,805:50197,818:55412,841:56000,849:56392,854:57916,877:58184,882:58452,887:59591,906:60261,918:60998,931:65564,989:66428,1004:67364,1021:67940,1029:68804,1045:69092,1050:69956,1069:70244,1074:75608,1143:76928,1173:78182,1197:79304,1222:79832,1231:80162,1237:80888,1252:81152,1257:82142,1281:83132,1297:86300,1374:96284,1491:97469,1511:100770,1519:101148,1529:101526,1536:103542,1582:104739,1617:105306,1627:105873,1638:107763,1681:108771,1708:110472,1749:113806,1766:114542,1777:115370,1795:115738,1800:117348,1849:117560,1854:118726,1894:119044,1901:121005,1962:122277,1993:122648,2001:123867,2034:124450,2058:124821,2066:125722,2092:126411,2109:126782,2117:127153,2125:127418,2131:128531,2157:128902,2166:129220,2173:129750,2185:146698,2510:149002,2572:150346,2588:154753,2630:155077,2635:160079,2726:160436,2768:160844,2786:161252,2796:161660,2806:162527,2831:162782,2837:163037,2843:163241,2848:164057,2875:164720,2892:165740,2922:166301,2936:166658,2949:167168,2961:167423,2967:167627,2999:167984,3011:168443,3024:178290,3223:178780,3231:179060,3236:179550,3245:179830,3250:180320,3258:180880,3267:181510,3278:181860,3284:183050,3299:183470,3306:186550,3373:187950,3419:188230,3424:188580,3430:189350,3442:195792,3466:196872,3485:197520,3496:198456,3510:200760,3546:202344,3574:202848,3584:203136,3589:204576,3618:210150,3679:210800,3695:211250,3707:211450,3712:214250,3760:214684,3768:215366,3781:215676,3789:216110,3797:218296,3815:219704,3848:220984,3887:221240,3892:221496,3897:226052,3957:226424,3965:228904,4007:229524,4020:232438,4071:238220,4144:239084,4160:239588,4168:239948,4174:240524,4189:240884,4196:241532,4208:241892,4214:242612,4225:245636,4280:246932,4305:247220,4310:249592,4333:250096,4338:251500,4357
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden. Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his mother's Episcopal upbringing, and her career path

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects on his similarities to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Charles Drew

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his brother and their childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the house where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. continues to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest encounters with math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of watching sports on television

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his favorite science program on television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his earliest memories of the civil rights movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his experiences with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his memories as a high school football player

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes experiencing segregation as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his interest in the U.S. Naval Academy and the Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his high school achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of his mentor at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the academic rigors at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the tension following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the influences that shaped his decision to join the Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes serving in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft and A-6 missions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses the new rules of war

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his thoughts on being an astronaut

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls 1969, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the time during and after the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. obtains his master's degree at the University of Southern California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he became a test pilot with the Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes Dr. Ronald McNair's role in wanting to be an astronaut

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the first African American astronauts in space

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his acceptance into NASA's Space Program in 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his early days at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. discusses America's waning interest in space

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his first project at NASA

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes preparing for his first mission into space

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers seeing Earth for the first time from space

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he came to join the NASA space flight program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. lists the crew aboard the STS-61-C mission

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the various roles aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the reasons for Space Shuttle Columbia's extended flight

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the landing procedures of the Space Shuttle Columbia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the debriefing process following a space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger's failure

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the crew lost aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his position as chief of the Safety Division at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his second space mission to launch the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the Hubble Space Telescope

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the different views of space

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes NASA's Shuttle Transportation System

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his flight aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls the experiments aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his position as the assistant deputy administrator of NASA Headquarters

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers the members of the Congressional Black Caucus

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers his Russian crew mates aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Russian space program

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the scientific experiments aboard STS-60

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls an incident aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the influence of the Russian space program upon NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. remembers travelling to Belgium and Russia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his return to the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his promotions and various positions within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about Operation Desert Thunder

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the U.S. military actions leading to the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the Iraq War

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the regime of Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the highest ranking African Americans within the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his positions immediately following his retirement

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the creation of Jack and Panther LLC

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. recalls his presidential appointment to NASA administrator

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes the support of NASA within the U.S. government

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the debates concerning global warming

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his goals and objectives as NASA administrator

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the need for diversity within NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his hopes for the future of NASA

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon the state of STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about the effects of space travel

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares his advice for younger generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. shares the advice he received from Robert L. Gibson

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Charles Bolden recalls his experiences with segregation
Charles Bolden describes being aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia
Transcript
Okay. Now do you remember segregation vividly--$$Very well, yeah.$$--in growing up?$$Yeah, that was all I knew.$$Yeah, well, what was it like going into downtown Columbia--$$I've--it was okay 'cause you knew where you, you knew where you could go and where you couldn't. And you knew where you better not go. And, and so you just kind of governed your life that way. It was, in many ways it was a lot easier than when I got to the Naval Academy where, you know, Baltimore and other places were recently integrated to be quite honest, but they weren't. And so even then there was de facto segregation. And you could really get yourself in, in, in a bad way going into some places in and around Annapolis, for example, and not know that you weren't supposed to be in there. You went in there because that's where all the other midshipmen went. But they made it very clear when you came in that, you know, you were not welcome. And that, that lasted all the way--I graduated in 1968. And I remember one of the, the worst experiences I had at the Naval Academy was, was just before my graduation when we were told we couldn't--there were, there were three of us, three, three of my friends got in--Buddy Clark, who turned out to be my best man in my wedding and was from Chicago; Frank Simmons, who was from Birmingham, Bessemer, Alabama; and, and me. And we went into a, a place in, on the outskirts of Annapolis in Maryland and, and we were told that they wouldn't serve us, that, you know, we had to go around the back. And we, we were not inclined to do that so we (chuckle), we, we finally left after some time. But it was not, it was not nice, yeah. So I, I've, I remember segregation very, very, very vividly, yeah.$Alright. Now, okay, as you were ready to fly then this is, this is January you said of '86 [1986]?$$When I flew?$$Yeah.$$It was January--well, we started in December. We were scheduled to fly in December. And we went to the launch pad--I can't remember the date. But we got down to fourteen seconds, no, no, no, yeah, we got down to fourteen seconds and, and the system aborted because it detected a, some problem in the right-hand side rocket booster. And they, they didn't know whether it was real or not. And so it, it was in the hydraulic power unit that, that moves the nozzles around. And so they decided that we would scrub for the day. And as they got into it, they realized they had to get in and actually change out a box. And so that caused us to slip completely through the Christmas holidays and into the new year. So then we came back, I want to say we came back down on the 3rd of January and attempted to launch and didn't. We got down to thirty-one seconds and didn't get off because we had a problem with one of the main engines. Then the next time we went out we got down to thirty-one seconds and this time not only did we, did--well we had problems with a, with a main engine valve and it wouldn't close properly. And when they, when they did the troubleshooting after we got out of the vehicle and it turned out as they were detanking the time before a, a thermal probe had broken off. And it jammed one of the, one of the valves. So, turned out to be a good day not to fly because couple of things could have happened, the, the worse being the back end of the shuttle would have blown off because it would have gotten an uncontrolled shutdown because the valve couldn't close carrying the liquid oxygen, liquid oxygen. And the motor, the engine would have over spun and (indicates explosion)! So, so it was a good thing we didn't fly that day. Then the fourth time we went out, we, we laid out there on our backs for two hours in a thunder storm, in a driving thunderstorm with lightening and stuff going on. And we finally talked our way out of the vehicle. We, we started talking among ourselves and--because we knew the flight surgeon was listening in on the, on the intercom. And so we started talking about being worried about getting hit by lightening, laying out there on the metal, on, on top of four million pounds of propellant. So they finally said, okay, we're gonna scrub for the day, and they came and got us. And, and then the next day we went out, which was the 12th of January--flawless. Everything, I mean, everything went like clockwork. And we launched and then came back. Originally we were only gonna fly four days and then the weather at, at the Kennedy Space Center [on Merritt Island, Florida] just kept getting worse and worse and worse. So, so we got an extra three days tacked on. So we ended up with a seven-day mission, but we landed in the middle of the night out at Edwards Air Force Base [in East Kern, California] because the weather just never improved at, at Kennedy [Space Center]. And so that was the 18th of January and in--$$Now what was the flight like? I mean, what--$$It was awesome. I mean it was, you know, my first time in space. Just getting, just getting yourself adapted to being weightless and moving around and, and, and that kind of stuff. And then we had a lot of work to do. We had a lot of, we had a lot of very small experiments plus we had, we had one satellite, one RCA satellite, communication satellite called SATCOM KU-3, KU-2, that serves today. It's a, it's a KU band satellite that's used to get television imagery down. I think it had--HBO was one of the channels it was gonna be on this particular satellite. And then we did a lot of medical experiments, which I enjoyed quite a bit. And then we had the infrared imaging camera on that, that I got a chance to play with quite a bit with Bob Cenker.$$Okay.$$And then, you know, we landed, like I said, on the 18th of January. And we're in the closing phases of our debrief on--what was to have been the last day of our debrief we were sitting in, in, in a debriefing room at, at the Johnson Space Center when we took a break to go watch Challenger launch. And, and seventy-three in sec-, seventy-three seconds in the flight it just disintegrated. And so life changed after that.

Darryll Pines

Aerospace engineer and mechanical engineer Darryll Pines was born on August 28, 1964 in Oakland, California. received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to receive advanced degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his M.S. degree in 1988 and his Ph.D. degree in 1992.

Pines worked for the Chevron Corporation and Space Tethers, Inc. before joining Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)’s Advance Technology Program. At LLNL, he helped design the sensor technology of Clementine-1 spacecraft. In 1995, Pines joined the faculty of the University of Maryland (UMD) as an assistant professor. He became the director of UMD’s Sloan Scholars Program in 1996 and the director of the GEM Program in 1999. Pines has also served as chair of the Engineering Council, director of the NASA CUIP Program and director of the SAMPEX flight experiment. He took a leave of absence from 2003 to 2006 to serve as the program manager for the Tactical Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). In 2006, Pines became chair of UMD’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, where under his leadership, the department was ranked eighth overall among United States universities. Three years later, he was named dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Engineering. Pines’ research focuses on structural dynamics, smart sensors, biologically inspired structures as well as the guidance and control of aerospace vehicles.

Pines was named a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received the NACME Alumni Circle Award and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Darryl Pines was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.155

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2012

Last Name

Pines

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Darryll

Birth City, State, Country

Oakland

HM ID

PIN05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Historic

Favorite Quote

Scientists study the world that is. Engineers design the world that will be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/28/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and mechanical engineer Darryll Pines (1964 - ) is the dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

University of Maryland, College Park

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5610,126:13738,233:14074,238:14494,244:14914,250:17182,291:17518,296:18106,304:19114,317:19534,323:20206,333:21886,356:25080,372:25324,377:25995,389:31058,536:31485,544:32766,580:33254,589:37330,625:37634,630:38090,637:38394,642:39078,656:39762,669:44626,762:45386,813:46602,837:52003,948:53849,999:56796,1068:58713,1104:59068,1115:59352,1120:61198,1167:61908,1182:62831,1200:63257,1207:72218,1351:72623,1357:74810,1424:75134,1429:75944,1445:77888,1476:81042,1521:86082,1611:88026,1664:89826,1708:93433,1718:94978,1735:97553,1766:98377,1775:100937,1788:101221,1793:102783,1818:104061,1841:110042,1906:128724,2083:129543,2094:130271,2105:135119,2177:136304,2199:138358,2227:141610,2240:142330,2271:142930,2282:144906,2314:145518,2325:146130,2338:146674,2349:147218,2358:148034,2374:148306,2379:148986,2391:149326,2397:150006,2408:153915,2426:154511,2431:156612,2440:156942,2446:157932,2470:158592,2482:159120,2491:159450,2497:159714,2502:160880,2508:163982,2552:169602,2622:170562,2637:170946,2642:172098,2651:173442,2669:174594,2679:175074,2685:176322,2700:182323,2755:182608,2761:182893,2767:183748,2785:184432,2803:184660,2808:184888,2813:185116,2818:185401,2824:189178,2877:189646,2888:193196,2932:193977,2946:196959,2994:200377,3013:200653,3019:202309,3061:202861,3071:203482,3083:203827,3089:204724,3104:205690,3122:206380,3133:207898,3171:208726,3195:209140,3202:209761,3216:210037,3224:219213,3365:220381,3385:221038,3395:224177,3455:227389,3561:227681,3566:228119,3573:228703,3586:232887,3602:233232,3608:234957,3638:235233,3643:236268,3666:236544,3671:237441,3687:237855,3694:238683,3710:242860,3745$0,0:2683,24:3267,33:3997,43:7866,153:9545,188:10567,213:11443,227:11881,234:13122,256:13779,268:15385,294:16553,313:20933,404:21444,412:23561,452:24364,467:24729,473:25021,478:26189,500:26846,514:27138,519:27868,530:28233,536:34200,544:34608,549:36342,577:40410,586:40750,592:41430,611:41974,620:42518,632:43062,655:45374,706:46054,719:46394,725:47210,740:47686,747:50066,795:50678,805:51154,820:51562,827:52378,842:56060,852:56510,860:58085,886:58685,896:59435,907:63860,986:64235,992:64535,997:64910,1003:65210,1008:68386,1016:70222,1082:70630,1089:70902,1094:77362,1220:77974,1239:78450,1247:80422,1280:80898,1288:81578,1300:83346,1352:84162,1367:88574,1378:89254,1389:89934,1406:90478,1417:94092,1474:96140,1528:96972,1544:97356,1551:99212,1598:99852,1612:100748,1637:101708,1657:102348,1669:105560,1677:106296,1687:107124,1698:108044,1709:110038,1721:110749,1733:111776,1747:112487,1758:113356,1770:113988,1779:115930,1790:116382,1795:116947,1801:117399,1806:119695,1821:119955,1826:120215,1831:120670,1841:121060,1850:121515,1859:121840,1865:122880,1878:124180,1906:124505,1912:124765,1917:126838,1928:128822,1961:129270,1969:130166,1987:130742,2001:133616,2033:135184,2052:136458,2068:137046,2073:137438,2078:138810,2097:139692,2109:144170,2139:145370,2164:149540,2216:150580,2232:151140,2240:151460,2245:154340,2296:156500,2338:157700,2358:158580,2373:158980,2379:167628,2533:168164,2548:176305,2654:179611,2727:179896,2733:180580,2747:182770,2756:183920,2769:184610,2775:186060,2793:186390,2799:186984,2810:187380,2818:189360,2863:189822,2871:190350,2881:191934,2914:192330,2920:192726,2931:196290,2995:196686,3002:197280,3018:197940,3031:198534,3041:198996,3053:199524,3063:200316,3078:200712,3084:201240,3100:201570,3106:202164,3119:207784,3146:208119,3152:209325,3180:209593,3186:213680,3273:214015,3279:217066,3350:218848,3400:219172,3408:219388,3413:220971,3427:221379,3440:222093,3455:222399,3463:222909,3474:223113,3479:223725,3498:223980,3504:226562,3534:226872,3541:227492,3555:227802,3561:228298,3575:228608,3581:229228,3595:229600,3603:229848,3608:230468,3622:231212,3639:231646,3647:233816,3689:234312,3698:239080,3721:239590,3727:254842,3810:257278,3856:257866,3865:258454,3874:258874,3880:263520,3929
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darryll Pines' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's childhood in Liverpool, England

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his father's decision to join the U.S. Air Force and his parents meeting in Liverpool, England

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about American servicemen who married British women while stationed in England

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Darryll Pines talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Darryll Pines describes his parents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Darryll Pines describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Darryll Pines talks about the Black Panther Party, the loss of jobs, and the gradual deterioration of the East Oakland neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines talks about the prominent entertainers and athletes who came from Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about political activism in the San Francisco Bay Area

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes his exposure to technology

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes the neighborhood where he grew up in East Oakland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his mother's role in getting into Berkeley High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his experience in grade school at Markham Elementary School and St. Benedict's Catholic School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines describes watching the moon landing and meeting Neil Armstrong

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines talks about the major events of 1994

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his relationship with his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Darryll Pines talks about playing basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to attend the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Darryll Pines talks about his mentor and advisor, Daniel Mote

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Darryll Pines talks about his interest in science fiction

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Darryll Pines talks about political activism in Berkeley in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines talks about his decision to study mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about the relationships he formed at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines talks about decision to attend MIT and his dissertation on the control of structures in space

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes human powered aircraft

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes his Ph.D. dissertation research

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines talks about his doctoral advisor, Andy von Flowtow

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his space research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes his decision to work at the University of Maryland, College Park

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines describes his students' research in deep space navigation and uninhabited air vehicle systems

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines describes his professional relationship with Freeman Hrabowski

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines describes programs designed to increase minority student enrollment in STEM

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes the NASA CUIP program for the next generation of space vehicles

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines describes the SAMPEX program at NASA Goddard

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines describes his research with DARPA

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines talks about DARPA's technological contributions to modern-day society

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines describes his experience as chair of the aerospace engineering department at the University of Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines talks about the current generation of students in engineering and science

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Darryll Pines describes his students' efforts to use their engineering skills to have a positive impact on society

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Darryll Pines talks about the balance between his research and administrative roles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Darryll Pines talks about recruiting minority students to the University of Maryland's College of Engineering

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Darryll Pines describes cutting edge research in science and engineering

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Darryll Pines talks about his hopes and concerns for the African-American community today

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Darryll Pines talks about what he would have done differently to prepare for his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Darryll Pines reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Darryll Pines talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Darryll Pines describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Darryll Pines talks about decision to attend MIT and his dissertation on the control of structures in space
Darryll Pines describes his space research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Transcript
Okay, alright. Alright, now, okay, so MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] now, how did you choose MIT? Was it easy--well, if you can get in, you should choose it (laughter).$$Well, okay, you know, four years later after coming out of high school, I was a much smarter person, much wiser about the world. And I realized that, and I'm a very competitive person, so once I realized--I went to U. C. Berkeley [University of California, Berkeley] and I was able to do well. I realized that I wanted the biggest challenge. I wanted to take on the toughest challenge and I wanted to be at the best school this nation had to offer, and I felt that was MIT. And I wanted to also experience the East Coast, and so I applied to MIT, Stanford [University, Palo Alto, California], U.C. Berkeley, University of Washington [Seattle, Washington] and Cal Tech [California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California]. The only school I didn't get into, and I won't hold it against them, was Cal Tech, and it really made me mad at the time, I mean, to be honest with you. And I still hold that letter today, right. And it's used, I've used that letter as ammunition for my entire life, to be honest with you. Even though this is on this tape, I'm just telling it like it is (laughter). You know, because I said I got into every school and I didn't get into Cal Tech, you gotta be kidding me, at that time, you know, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-one years old. So, I went to MIT, and being the competitive person that I am, I wanted to go to the best college, and I felt MIT was that school. And it actually turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. And because I went to MIT, got admitted, obviously started my graduate program, met some fantastic people--I mean people who just are my colleagues and best friends today--I met a fantastic advisor who took me underneath his wing. His name was Andy von Flotow. He was--$$Can you spell that?$$Yeah. Andy, A-N-D-Y, von Flotow, V-O-W [space] F-L-O-T-O-W. And he was, Andy was a person who grew up in Canada and got his Ph.D. from Stanford [University] and ended up on the faculty at MIT in the aeronautics and astronomics department. Even though I was a student in mechanical engineering, Dr. von Flotow was willing to take me as a student, a graduate student, and do some research on space structures control. And at that time, in space research there was this interest in building these very large telescopes. I mean, telescopes, if you can imagine, ten kilometers in length, I mean ten kilometers in length in space, to look deep into the vacuum and see if there are other solar systems, civilizations, so forth. And one of the problems that these large structures had is that they were so long that they would vibrate, and therefore when they vibrated they would affect the focus of the instrument. So, the problem I worked on was could I develop a method that can control these structures to, you know, fractions of an arc, what we call the arc second of angle, very small fraction of an angle, to get the resolution that these instruments needed? And I ended up developing the sensor that could be used to control these vehicles of large spatial extent, and that's what I worked on for my Ph.D. But I worked on it for Andy von Flotow. And in so doing I met so many fantastic people at MIT, and really understood why I was in MIT, just like I had thought. I didn't know what it would be, what the experience would be, but the experience was even better than I could imagine. So, I truly enjoyed it, and to this day I feel like it was one of the best decisions of my entire life, was to go there and be educated at MIT, so--.$Okay, okay. Now, 1992, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [in Livermore, California]. So, what was going on there?$$So, I chose Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory because at the time, even though it's a Department of Energy facility and tends to work on big physics projects--because Livermore's lab is dominated, again, by scientists as we had an earlier discussion about (laughter). So, big physics happens at Lawrence Livermore Lab. But what they were doing just before I got there is that they had this incredible space project that involved-- you may remember this, as under President [Ronald] Reagan's time, 'Star Wars', do you remember that? And during this time period he put a lot of money into a space shield for the United States that literally, for any intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM] coming from Russia or anywhere, that we could put up and deploy a family of spacecraft that would not only look out for the intercontinental ballistic--ICBMs, but it would also shoot them down in their ascent trajectory. So, I joined that program. Honestly, I joined that program because it was spacecraft and I was excited about being a part of that, to be honest with you. And they had a lot of money. They had a billion dollars of money. Livermore had several hundreds of millions of dollars for this program, and they were looking at the time for a spacecraft engineer to help solve that problem. So, I was in heaven. I was like wow, I get to work on all this stuff, this is great. So, I went to Livermore and I became part of the main team that was working on this problem. And while we were working on that problem we got another big project which was called the Clementine Spacecraft, which was a demonstration program to demonstrate advanced technology that would help legitimize the Star Wars problem. That is, that you could detect ICBMs coming at you and you could shoot them down. So, Clementine was the demonstration project that demonstrated this could be done. So, my job was to do the navigation for the spacecraft, but also help design and analyze some of the instruments, the sensors, the optics that were used to track the ICBMs. So, this turned out to be a great project for me, because what happened was there was a major science part of the project. So, we were going to deploy the spacecraft. It was going to do an orbit around the moon and then after it did an orbit around the moon it was going to fly by an asteroid, the spacecraft. So, I, with a couple of colleagues at National Naval Research Lab was developing the navigation algorithms and the control algorithms for the vehicle. And it turned out that this particular spacecraft with the sensor sweep was the first spacecraft to discover water at the South Pole of the moon, which allows for life to exist on the moon. But no one had confirmed whether there was water on the moon and not at the South Pole. So, this did it at the South Pole. Using the hyper-spectra imagery system that we had, we were able to ascertain that indeed water was present at the South Pole. It was a major discovery in science, and it was such a major discovery in science at the time, that to this day a replica of the Clementine Spacecraft sits in the [National] Air and Space Museum [Smithsonian Institute, Washington, District of Columbia]. So, that was a proud moment for me personally to be a part of that program and a part of that accomplishment with my colleagues from Livermore and from Naval Research Lab. So, I was just lucky, again, in the right place and the right time there to work on that program. And then I worked on several other programs related to uninhabited air vehicles also, for Livermore up until about 1994.$$Okay, okay. That's big stuff. So '94 [1994], is that your last year with Lawrence Livermore?$$That's right. So I ended up having a great time. I worked there from 1992 actually to 1995.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was born on December 13, 1952 in Inkster, Michigan. A quick-learner, he excelled at math and science. Whitlow aspired to be a chemist until space missions in the 1960s captured his imagination, changing his career goal to astronaut. Whitlow received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, 1975 and 1979, respectively.

Whitlow's long career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began in 1979, when he was hired as a research scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. At Langley, he specialized in fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and aeroelasticity. He rose quickly to become a senior research scientist and headed various specialty branches in astrophysics and aeronautics. In 1994, Whitlow became the Director of the Critical Technologies Division in the Office of Aeronautics at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He then moved to the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998, where he served as the Director of Research and Technology, among other positions. Whitlow was made Deputy Director of the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in 2003 and oversaw launch-related services and activities until 2005 when he was appointed to Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named Whitlow the Associate Administrator for the Mission Support Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He retired in August of 2013 and later became Executive in Residence at the Cleveland State University Washkewicz College of Engineering.

Throughout his career, Whitlow has written over forty technical papers, most in the areas of unsteady transonic flow, aeroelasticity and propulsion. His awards include NASA’s Distinguished Service Honor Medal—the Agency’s highest honor; the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive—the highest award for federal executives; Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive; U.S. Black Engineer of the Year in Government; the NASA Exceptional Service Honor Medal; the NASA Equal Opportunity Honor Medal; the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers William Sweet Smith Prize; the Minorities in Research Science Scientist-of-the-Year Award; and the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics elected him as a Fellow in 2010. He also holds an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Cranfield University.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/3/2012

Last Name

Whitlow

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carver Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

Inkster High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any, with sufficient notice

First Name

Woodrow

Birth City, State, Country

Inkster

HM ID

WHI17

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

College students, adults, STEM faculty and students, technical companies and organizations

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $3,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

Highlight a player when you see him in the street.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/13/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. (1952 - ) has worked for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for over thirty years serving as Associate Administrator for Mission Support at NASA Headquarters and director of the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory John F. Kennedy Space Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:11440,223:12960,248:13360,254:13920,263:24904,395:26416,418:28936,453:29356,459:33220,528:38092,616:48610,690:51256,757:56254,813:57332,822:57920,829:66638,911:67310,921:69662,957:75762,1048:91468,1231:91880,1236:100108,1388:108398,1507:114036,1619:125322,1701:144300,1852:144895,1860:156237,2016:176614,2214:179370,2245:209080,2490:225996,2660:228445,2708:229788,2731:239854,2863:244508,2930:245218,2941:283976,3389:298035,3534:333124,3914:341010,3967:343850,3997:344312,4004:344851,4013:345467,4026:349968,4067:357066,4224:357430,4229:361522,4242:368816,4352:385824,4560:386209,4570:386517,4575:386825,4580:387364,4588:387749,4594:388211,4653:398070,4732:401558,4832:405236,4867:410780,4946:419380,5042$0,0:3960,56:8190,106:11520,139:14130,169:14850,179:26390,275:28090,297:30555,327:30980,333:31575,341:32510,354:40118,377:40558,383:41262,392:43814,432:83452,962:84124,973:84460,978:84880,984:86056,995:86980,1004:89920,1049:90256,1054:90676,1060:100188,1118:100892,1127:103004,1151:109956,1258:110660,1267:115017,1281:128470,1418:128870,1423:134329,1491:135590,1507
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Woodrow Whitlow's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his mother, Willie Mae Whitlow

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the history of Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how the space race inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his childhood interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his interest in science and in space

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Inkster High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1967 Detroit riots

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his exposure to Detroit-area museums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his family's educational pursuits

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1969 moon landing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his and others' reactions to Dr. King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Star Trek

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his first impression of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the role of church in his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his doctoral research on unstable transonic flow

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his hiring at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the influence of Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Harriett Jenkins

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the importance of space exploration in 1979

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about transonic flow and aircraft safety

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Guion Bluford's space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about wanting to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work on computer models and his desire to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about NASA's Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the politics of space exploration

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his efforts to attract minority students to science

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about becoming the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Charles Bolden and Mae Jemison

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about greater acceptance of minorities at NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work as the Director of the Critical Technologies Division

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at the John Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the future of aircraft engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about honors that he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes a typical day at work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his contributions as a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the end of NASA's shuttle program

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center
Transcript
Tell us your study schedule. You just told it to me off camera but--$$Oh, I would--of course I'm not an early morning person so I would try not--and the institute would open at nine o'clock so I'd try not to get 9 o'clock classes. But you know I would take the classes during the day and if there were breaks I would study. But then when I get back to my dorm room at night I would typically study to you know two, three, four o'clock in the morning every night. So it was--worked hard. But then on Thursday nights I would just study all night, wouldn't go to bed and because I knew if just make it through the classes on Friday then I had you know the weekend without having to go to classes to, you know to recover. So make it through Friday, study some. Friday evening then you know just kind of take a break on Friday nights and you know maybe go to a movie, go somewhere. You know we had the movie series on campus, go to a movie just rest and relax and then sleep late Saturday. And we'd go to the soul food, normally we'd go to the soul food restaurant on Saturday in Boston, Bob the chef. So we'd go down there. That was the big thing, we'd go to Bob the chef on Saturday, get you a good soul food meal and then come back and maybe, and start picking up the routine. If not Saturday night then first thing Sunday morning because--depending on you know what you had to turn in on Monday, you know maybe pick it up Saturday night. If not, maybe rest a little bit Saturday and then get up Sunday and start running again.$$Okay. Now who are some of your instructors there and yeah who are some of the instructors that you remember and what were they teaching you?$$I can remember of course Wes Harris was--he you now he taught fluid dynamics in the aeronautics department. But when he came I was--he came in my junior year and so we started working together. And so he ended up being my Masters Thesis supervisor and my Doctoral Thesis chairman. And so he's someone who really--he's the one who really taught me about academic excellence and so I remember him. And then people like Eugene Covert who taught aerodynamics, Judd Baron taught gas dynamics, Jack Kerabrock (ph.) taught propulsion systems, Jim Marr (ph.) taught structures. So these are all the professors in the aero department. And then there was Professor Orzag in the math department taught the advanced calculus courses and then the other--there was one guy, I did a concentration, under--humanities concentration in psychology. And there was one, Professor Hans Torber (ph.) I can remember. And I did it, I picked, I had to pick some humanities concentration and the reason I picked psychology is I had heard about this Hans Torber, this psychology professor. And I said well maybe he can make humanities interesting. So I--and he did. So I took--and he taught brain science. Then I took learning theory and then another, some other psychology courses. But those are some of the ones, you know--and then all the guys in the aero department, Professor Widnall and--Sheila Widnall [Sheila Marie Evans Widnall]--she actually became secretary of the air force for a while before she went back to MIT. And I talked about Professor Marr and instructors and just a great group of guys in the aero department who were Course 16 as we affectionately refer to it as. We don't do names at MIT, we do numbers.$$Really? You--$$Yeah, a course--$$People have numbers?$$Yeah, I can tell you the courses I took like my math course, I took 8--physics course is 801, 802, 803. My--because physics is Course 8. My math courses I took 1801, 1802 and 1803. And then I took advanced calculus, 18075, 18076. And then I took in Double E, a course 6.14 and the office is in Building 37 and the other aero is Building 35 and some was in Building 9. And so I don't know the names of a lot of stuff at MIT but I can tell you the numbers associated with it.$$Okay. Now what was--now was it exciting being around so many people with the same kind of focus of you know--?$$It was motivating, exciting and you know and you know it--and it, it really was. I'm at MIT, you know, you heard--I didn't know what MIT was but you know when you hear people talk about bright people, say oh yeah, he's going to go to MIT. Or you watch, you see it on TV, even now you say oh yeah, well this person's from MIT. And so yeah to be there in that environment--and at first it was a little intimidating. And you know the one thing, my freshman year you know these, hear these students at the other table and they were talking about some math thing and then they pulled out, a napkin out and they start writing on this napkin and then they left. And we were all sitting around and I picked the napkin up and I looked at it and I said this not even writing. Even I know that this is not correct what's on this napkin. So I said well, yeah well I can make it through here. So I went from, I'm going to go to MIT for one year and transfer to ended up staying there for nine years.$Okay. What were some of the highlights of your term as director of the NASA Glenn Research Center?$$Well when I became center director we really, the agency made a big change in direction and to be a viable center, we had to make a big change in direction. So leading that change to make us, to increase our emphasis on more space systems research and development to--we won major roles in what was then the Project Constellation which was the program to--Program Constellation to put people permanently on the moon and to go to Mars and so our work in developing a service module which would be the power, propulsion and communications for the capsule that the astronauts would ride in. Our role, went in a role there, went in a role and developed and upper state simulator for a test vehicle and that vehicle actually flew. So to be at the Kennedy Space Center when that thing lifted off with that upper stage that had been built by Glenn employees on it, that was a very proud moment and securing roles in things like electric propulsion for deep space missions and while continuing to excel in our traditional areas in aeronautics. And those were really high points is to see the center make this big turn and do it successfully and to increase the business base you know from less than 400 million to near 800 million dollars a year, that's--those are highlights.$$Okay. Now you were there until, for about five years, right?$$Yeah, I was there nearly years again and that was as center director.

Renaldo M. Jensen

Aerospace engineer and military officer Renaldo Mario Jensen was born on June 29, 1940, in New York, New York. His parents, Octave and Doris Davis Jensen, had roots in St. Croix and Antigua, respectively. Jensen attended St. Charles Borromeo School and graduated from Harlem’s Bishop Dubois High School in 1952. He served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at North Carolina A&T State University, then transferred to Howard University where he graduated in 1958 with his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. After enlisting in the United States Air Force, Jensen and Horace Russell became the first two African Americans to earn their M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from the United States Air Force School of Technology at Dayton’s Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1966. In 1970, Jensen received his Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering, specializing in supersonic combustion, from Purdue University.

While serving for twenty years as an officer in the United States Air Force, Jensen was stationed in Florida, Colorado, and Germany; he also worked on the Minuteman missile crew at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Jensen, a combat crew commander, participated in the first successful launch of a dual mode intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base. He joined the faculty of the Air Force School of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1967 and taught at the school until 1974. In 1978, Jensen resigned from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel having received the Missile Combat Crew Award and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Jensen taught at Howard University and worked at the Pentagon before joining Ford Motor Company as an aerodynamics engineer. He became the director of minority supplier development in 1987, and in 2004, he awarded $3.7 billion of the $90 billion in Ford supply contracts to 309 minority suppliers.

Jensen is a member of the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Minority Business Development Council, the Combustion Institute, the Military Operations Research Society, and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Also a member of the Minority Suppliers Hall of Fame, Jensen lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan with his wife Alicia, with whom he raised two children.

Accession Number

A2005.101

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/8/2005

Last Name

Jensen

Maker Category
Middle Name

M.

Schools

Bishop Dubois High School

St. Charles Catholic School

St. Charles Borromeo School

First Name

Renaldo

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JEN05

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't spend maximum time with minimum people.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

6/29/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork, Potatoes, Grapes

Short Description

Military officer and aerospace engineer Renaldo M. Jensen (1940 - ) was one of the first two African Americans to earn their M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering from the United States Air Force School of Technology at Dayton’s Wright Patterson Air Force Base. During the course of his career, Jensen worked with the United States Air Force, Howard University, the Pentagon, and Ford Motor Company.

Employment

United States Air Force

Ford Motor Company

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:6185,112:22130,364:24748,403:26116,432:35365,568:52500,851:60440,956:66468,1053:70492,1091:80264,1322:83150,1439:83462,1444:84554,1468:90692,1538:115494,1859:115986,1918:138587,2046:149479,2170:152955,2242:162435,2337:162810,2343:163185,2349:165060,2386:166335,2418:172920,2525$0,0:1510,11:2374,23:2806,30:3526,48:6262,114:6622,123:8638,153:12780,204:13056,209:13815,214:14229,221:16782,267:17265,275:18369,299:19266,316:19611,322:19887,327:20232,333:20508,338:20853,344:21129,349:22923,401:23820,417:24096,422:24579,430:25407,444:25959,453:29440,462:30050,475:30538,548:41992,743:42672,754:46412,835:46956,846:55412,999:56072,1023:61088,1098:62210,1113:62870,1140:63596,1159:64718,1186:72173,1249:74010,1262:74250,1267:86063,1550:87523,1583:88910,1615:89494,1624:89786,1629:90297,1637:92195,1688:100663,1896:101028,1908:101393,1914:107256,1934:107576,1940:108408,1960:108792,1967:109688,1985:110072,1993:110584,2002:114145,2020:117216,2077:117797,2085:119872,2127:120287,2133:125692,2172:129710,2219:130220,2232:130985,2237:137300,2329:142980,2489:143300,2494:144420,2514:144740,2519:145140,2525:146420,2545:147620,2563:148020,2620:158214,2735:158678,2744:163420,2795:163736,2800:165632,2855:168091,2869:169035,2894:169330,2901:170333,2926:170805,2935:174830,3029:175140,3034:175512,3040:187928,3202:201106,3414:202066,3460:203026,3481:203474,3486:207122,3577:207762,3595:211920,3643:212480,3657:213320,3673:213880,3682:214650,3700:215210,3709:216470,3732:222520,3804
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Renaldo Jensen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother and childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Renaldo Jensen describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his mother and growing up without his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his relationship with his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his Catholic school experience and childhood interests

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his experience at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen discusses his experience in the United States Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of being in the United States Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about working at the Pentagon

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the Defense Readiness Condition system and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about U.S. Military testing and experimentation, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen talks about U.S. Military testing and experimentation, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen discusses going to work at Ford Motor Company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his work with the Ford Motor Company Design Center

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about becoming Ford Motor Company's Director of Supplier Diversity

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen talks about Ford Motor Company's Supplier Diversity Program

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his opportunities and accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen discusses the successes of Ford Motor Company's Supplier Diversity Program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of working with suppliers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his work with Ford Motor Company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his concerns for the African American Community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Renaldo Jensen talks about his love of motorcycles

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Renaldo Jensen reflects on what he has learned and how he wants to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Renaldo Jensen talks about his decision to attend college
Renaldo Jensen talks about the challenges and responsibilities of working with suppliers
Transcript
So, from what it sounds like, you pretty much knew you were going to college, I guess?$$Oh, yes, there wasn't a question. When I, came time to go to college, my mother [Doris Davis] had saved money. And it wasn't a question of are you going to college? She said, which one are you going to?$$Was it the same for your sister?$$Yes, yes. I tell you. She was an amazing woman who really believed that education was the key to the future. And that's the West Indian upbringing. You know, you work hard, but you will be educated. You "will" be educated. There was never a question of us not going to college.$$Okay, so how did you decide on which college you were going to when you were a senior?$$A couple of ways. I wanted to go to Cornell [Cornell University], Ithaca, New York, at the time. But they wouldn't, they were kind of reluctant to accept African Americans at the time, okay. So my sister college before me. She went to North Carolina College in Durham [North Carolina]. And--$$Was that a black college?$$Yes, a historically black university. And I wanted to, I guess being her sibling, I wanted to be closer so I went to, I wanted to go into the Air Force. I wanted to go into ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps]. And Howard [Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia]--and A and T College in Greensville, North Carolina [North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University] had an Air Force ROTC program, one of the few black colleges that was available to us at the time, had an Air Force ROTC, Reserve Officers' Training Corp, a program. And I went to A and T. And interesting enough, at A and T, I got into the Air Force ROTC, and I majored in science. I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be in the Air Force, I guess. So I just picked something that I could use if I had to fall back on it in the Air Force. And I picked science, and at that time, general, really, first year especially, take the basic math, English, whatever. And interesting enough, the classes were so easy, and I took this as a function of my Catholic school upbringing and teaching and learning. But I never bought books (laughter), never. The money I'd use to buy books, I used it for something else and excelled in all the classes. I never really had to study because they were three years behind in what I had already learned from coming out of the Catholic school. So I excelled and I said, this is not for me. This is not--so I transferred to Howard University.$You've had calls where people call to ask like, what can I make to--$$Yeah, exactly right. And you know, you can laugh at them [suppliers] and say, oh, this is ridiculous, but I believe they're sincere, that they really want to have a business. They really want to provide something and here's an opportunity they think that maybe they could take advantage of, and here Ford [Ford Motor Company] is reaching out to this diverse community for whatever reason. They may not know, but they say, here's an opportunity, and why don't I just ask. So they call me and say, you run the program for? Yes, I do. He says, well, I'm an entrepreneur. I wanna start a business. I wanna supply Ford because you guys are doing such a fantastic job in developing suppliers, and you won the award. So what can I do and what is it that you need that I can help you by providing? Okay, and, of course, we say, you've got to be in business to do business with us. We are not in the business of putting you in business. We're in the business of doing business with you. So you have to have a business. You have to have a skill. You have to have a product that is of value to us now and in the long run. So once I explain it to them, they understand. And then you get some really irate guys who says, well, you're a prime contractor to the federal government. Yes, we are. Oh, you're, being a prime contractor to the federal government, you have a contract with the federal government. I said, yes, we do. Well, the SBA [Small Business Administration] says that you must be doing, you must, as a prime contractor, do business with diverse groups. I say, yes, they do. Well, I'm a diverse group. I said, okay, what do you provide? He says, I provide furniture, and I know you're sitting in a chair in your office, and you have a desk there that you're writing on. I said, yes, we do. He said, well, I'm a small business. You're a prime contractor. I sell office furniture, so you must do business with me. I said, really? He says, yes, because you serve as prime to the federal government, and you must do business with small businesses by law. I said, okay. How many types of furniture do you have? How many models? How many models and brands do you stock? He said, well, I stock four. I said, okay, who are they? Steelcase and a couple of others, three others. I said, okay. How many are out there? He said, what do you mean? I said, how many are out there besides the four that you stock, how many other models or brands of furniture are out there that you elected not to stock, except for the four that you do stock? He said, well, there're about seven others. I said, so you're making a decision on who you do business with, right? He said, yeah. I said, well, bingo, same thing we do too. You're a small business. We must do business with small businesses, but we make a distinction of who we do business with, and your approach is, I don't believe, is in the best interest of Ford Motor Company or Ford Motor Company doing business with you. Bam. Then that's it, conversation over. But that's the type of calls you can, you get. And, you know, and it can get kind of sarcastic, but because they're trying bogard (ph.) your way in to say, hey, if you don't do business with me, you're a racist. Or if you don't do business with me, you're not obeying the law so therefore, I'm a small, and you've been discriminating against small businesses all your professional life, and I'm a small business. You're gonna discriminate, be discriminating against me, I'm a take you to task. (Unclear) deal with it. But again, in the long run, we do business with those who we feel add value to our long-term process of satisfying our customers, the people like you and the public.