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The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.

Former United States Secretary of the Army and former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo Dennis West, Jr. was born on June 21, 1942 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Togo D. West, Sr. and Evelyn E. Carter West. His grandmother named him after Japanese Admiral Heihachiro Togo, hero of 1905’s Russo-Japanese War. West grew up in East Winston, North Carolina where his mother was a teacher and his father was the principal of Atkins High School. West attended Atkins High School, graduating in 1959 as a member of the National Honor Society, valedictorian and an Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm. In 1965, he earned his B.S. degree from Howard University and worked briefly as an electrical engineer. West entered Howard University Law School and in 1967 worked as a legal intern for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. West became managing editor of the Howard Law Journal and graduated first in his class with his J.D. degree in 1968.

After clerking for Harold R. Tyler, Jr., a federal district court judge, West was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. West served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps where he was recognized with the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. He subsequently practiced law with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. before being appointed associate deputy attorney general by President Gerald Ford in 1975. West served in several capacities in President Jimmy Carter’s administration including general counsel to the Navy from 1977 to 1979; special assistant to the secretary and to the deputy secretary of defense in 1979; and general counsel to the United States Department of Defense from 1980 to 1981. He returned to private practice as managing partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler and later served as senior vice president for government relations with Northrop Corporation. In 1993, West was appointed United States Secretary of the Army by President Bill Clinton. In 1998, President Clinton appointed West as United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. West succeeded Eddie Williams as president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in 2004. In 2006, he founded TLI Leadership Group and served as its Chairman.

West was the recipient of numerous honors including being named Distinguished Eagle Scout in 1995. He later received scouting’s coveted Silver Buffalo Award and the Silver Beaver Award for his work with youth. West was married to the former Gail Berry.

West passed away on March 8, 2018 at age 75.

West was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.054

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/8/2007 |and| 7/24/2008

Last Name

West

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Organizations
Schools

St. Benedict The Moor

Atkins Academic and Technology High School

Howard University School of Law

Howard University

First Name

Togo

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

WES03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

I Think Therefore I Am.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/21/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Chili

Death Date

3/8/2018

Short Description

Government lawyer and presidential appointee The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. (1942 - 2018 ) was the Secretary of the U.S. Army, and also held positions as associate deputy attorney general and general counsel to the Navy. West served as the deputy secretary of defense, general counsel to the United States Department of Defense and became President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in 2004.

Employment

Covington & Burling LLP

Judge Advocate Generals Corps

Favorite Color

North Carolina Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4488,86:6379,124:6623,129:6989,141:11610,302:12100,310:13220,325:22150,435:28200,510:28488,515:30072,549:31224,572:31800,579:32088,584:33312,607:33600,612:33888,617:35328,651:36192,667:49238,899:49708,905:50084,910:56370,978:60385,1007:60677,1012:61845,1038:62283,1045:62575,1050:63086,1058:63378,1063:69510,1211:70605,1248:70970,1254:72357,1426:84296,1562:87143,1655:87873,1694:96791,1804:97400,1815:99401,1873:104524,1930:114528,2105:115737,2129:120945,2232:132680,2403:149760,2875:150320,2884:157567,2977:161945,3015:162229,3020:163365,3052:169120,3146:169678,3153:171259,3232:176150,3272:179550,3323:187690,3447$0,0:10020,163:14622,263:21980,431:26108,612:29462,649:30666,665:46644,840:55100,959:60211,1037:83660,1343:90504,1413:90864,1419:91512,1434:91800,1439:92952,1459:103720,1665:105743,1677:107163,1702:109932,1761:110926,1779:120302,1923:120806,1931:130402,2012:147092,2288:153000,2347:154420,2356:155284,2370:160952,2460:161736,2469:190174,2773:190984,2785:210009,3068:220109,3184:226124,3252:226654,3258:228816,3280:230150,3308:230382,3313:235400,3378:236048,3387:243596,3510:249894,3704:255450,3754
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his Chinn ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his paternal relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his father's early teaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the East Winston neighborhood of Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his early interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about North Carolina's colleges

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers the popularity of tobacco use

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the business community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the Safe Bus Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the black business community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the entertainment of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his home life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers joining the Boy Scouts of America

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers a naval cruise with the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his travels with the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers becoming an Eagle Scout

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his experiences as an Eagle Scout, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his experiences as an Eagle Scout, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his academic success

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's legacy as an educator

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his interest in literature

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his high school teachers

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school activities, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school activities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers school segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers school segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his involvement in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his father's interest in the U.S. military

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his experiences at Atkins High School

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the student body at Atkins High School

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school graduation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West Jr. recalls his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his engineering coursework

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Stokely Carmichael

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his summer activities

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his love of reading

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his decision to attend law school

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls learning about the history of Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about segregation in the South

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his influences at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his law school professors, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Patricia Roberts Harris

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his law school professors, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Jeanus B. Parks

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Carl Edwin Anderson

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the mentorship of Jeanus B. Parks

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the start of his legal career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls Thurgood Marshall's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his peers at the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers JeRoyd W. Greene, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers JeRoyd W. Greene, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the legacy of the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Judge Harold R. Tyler, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes Harold R. Tyler, Jr.'s legal career

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls serving in the Judge Advocate General's Corps

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Nathaniel R. Jones

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$9

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his father's career
The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls serving in the Judge Advocate General's Corps
Transcript
This is what happened. The interesting thing about Dad [Togo D. West, Sr.] is he was recruited by the then principal at my high school, the school I ended up graduating from, Atkins High School [Atkins Academic and Technology High School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina], to teach math. He eventually coached basketball and football, eventually became head of the math department. Before I get to the end of it, the point is, he was employed by the same employer all his life. He went there to teach in the high school there, Atkins High School, just as it was getting going, high school for--it was the only high school for African Americans, for blacks, for the colored, in those days for Negroes, in Winston-Salem [North Carolina]. There was another one out in the county, Carver High School [Winston-Salem, North Carolina], named obviously, for George Washington Carver. Similarly, the one black high school, very competitive, the principal actively recruited from all over the East Coast. And so most people who taught at that school held degrees from outside of North Carolina by and large. And that's interesting because Winston-Salem had its own teachers college, Winston-Salem Teachers College, still there. It's now Winston-Salem State University [Winston-Salem, North Carolina]. A and T [Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University] was just up the road in Greensboro [North Carolina]. They were turning out lots of college graduates, but this principal wanted to recruit from outside of, of North Carolina. They had the same incentives that I assume other public schools had at that time, systems, and that is, you were paid ultimately based on tenure, how long you successfully stayed there, and on educational level. So that all of them, in Dad's and Mom's [Evelyn Carter West] circle, were trying to work on their master's degrees to increase their pay. And I think, the farther along they got, the more their pay increased. And that's why I came to Washington [D.C.] so often in summer. Mom and Dad would finish up, school would close. I'd be out of school, pack us in the car--we didn't travel by train, didn't travel by bus, and drive up to Washington, D.C. We'd spend some time at the home place. Grandmother [Mary Chinn West] was there, Carlton [Carlton S. West] was there. They would leave me, drive to New York [New York] where Dad dropped Mom off and she went to Columbia [Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York] to the teachers college there, stayed with some friends. He went on up, initially, to Penn State [Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania], where he was getting his degree. Well, eventually, he changed that and started going up to Clark University in Worcester, Mass [Worcester, Massachusetts]. And they did that for years until they got their master's. But in all that time, he taught at Atkins, progressing until he became, by the time I was in high school, the vice principal, the assistant principal and head of the math department. And then he became the principal of the school after I had gone off to college [Howard University, Washington, D.C.]. But he worked in that one school, in that high school, teaching there, for essentially thirty-two years.$$Okay, okay.$$Who does that anymore?$$Very few people.$$(Laughter).$$At the same place all the--yeah, not these days.$So then I was on active duty as a JAG [Judge Advocate General's Corps], something I'd--my wife [Gail Berry West] and daughter [Tiffany West Smink] who were in New York [New York] with me when I came on active duty, and they stayed for six months up there while I went to my couple weeks at Fort Lee [Virginia], to get used to wearing the uniform again and then eight weeks at the University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia] which is where the Army JAG school [The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia] has always been, separate building always right next to the law school. Whenever they moved the law school, the JAG school moves to a brand new building next to it, historically, I think. And then I thought I was gonna be assigned--they gave me orders assigning me to Fort Ord, California, which was the practice, brand new JAG. You go to a spot for a year and being assigned to Fort Ord, I knew that a year later, I'd go to Vietnam for a one-year tour, and then come back and have two years. So that, so that the--that was the expectation. My wife was ready. IBM [International Business Machines Corporation], for whom she worked as a lawyer, had said, they'd move her and us out there because we, by then, had acquired two cars, and assign her to a job near me. So we were all set. We were gonna pack up that car and get going, and we drive out. But the night before I got a call from the JAG career office saying, "We've got a spot opening in the Military Justice Division in the Pentagon [Washington, D.C.]." I was third in the class, in the JAG class, which made me a distinguished graduate. And they said, "That position is yours if you want it. We don't advise you to take it because it's poor preparation for a career in the JAG Corps." Well (laughter), I didn't intend a career in the JAG Corps. And so I called my wife and just like that, we ended up back in Washington [D.C.] with me assigned to the Pentagon as a captain. And six months after I got there, one of the deputy assistant secretaries in manpower in Veteran Affairs [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs], a lawyer himself, who had been at Harvard [Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts] and had been in the general counsel's honors program, was looking for an assistant and interviewed me. And so I was moved up from the army staff to the army secretary, to the office of the assistant secretary, the (unclear) in a position called assistant for civil rights, because in 1969 and '68 [1968], the [U.S.] Army, indeed, the [U.S.] military were going through some severe problems, both in Vietnam and in Europe. In Vietnam, they were in a combat theater; in Europe, they were a garrison state, but waiting for the big one. And so problems of drugs and race were cropping up everywhere. The secretary of the army then, Stan Resor [Stanley R. Resor], Democrat, wanted his assistant secretary and John Kessler [sic. Gary K. Kessler], the deputy assistant secretary, to have the ability to focus on those issues. I was not the first in that job. The other captain, not African American, who had left active duty. And so for three and a half years, I was involved--and I don't wanna overstate this, but it was right there. In the Army's development of its policies with respect to drugs and race, especially race, around the world. I traveled with the secretary. I wrote speeches for the secretary. I went to meetings in the office that years later would be mine, except that a little captain, going to a meeting in the office of the secretary of the army doesn't get to sit near the secretary. He sits way back against the wall and all the colonels sit in front of him. But that was an extraordinary time.

Allie B. Latimer

Attorney and social justice activist Allie Latimer was born in the 1930s in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Growing up in Alabama, her mother was a schoolteacher and her father was a builder. She attended the Alabama State Lab High School where she earned her high school diploma in the 1940s.

Latimer attended Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina, for a year and then transferred to Hampton Institute in Virginia where she earned her bachelor’s of science degree. While at Hampton, she was active with the drama club and dance team.Upon graduation Latimer joined the American Friends in Service, which is part of the Quaker International Volunteer Service program and worked at a women’s prison in New Jersey. She later traveled to France with the same group as part of a peace rebuilding mission.

In the 1950s, Latimer attended Howard University Law School where she earned her law degree. She has also received a LL.M degree from Catholic University and M. Div. and D.Min from Howard University School of Divinity. In 1969, she became an Ordained Elder at Northeastern Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, Latimer organized and founded Federally Employed Women, a national organization, which has more than 200 chapters today. After working in private practice for several years, she joined the General Services Administration (GSA) in the early 1970s as an assistant general counsel. In 1976, Latimer left GSA to serve as an assistant general counsel for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1977, she returned to the GSA and made history when she became the first woman and African American to serve as general counsel of a major federal agency. She held that post for ten years until she moved on to serve as Special Counsel for Ethics and Civil Rights at GSA from 1987-1995.

In 1998, Latimer was awarded the prestigious Ollie May Cooper Award for her legal and humanitarian achievements.

Accession Number

A2004.055

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/20/2004

Last Name

Latimer

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Organizations
Schools

Alabama State University Laboratory School

Booker T. Washington Junior High School

Barber-Scotia College

Hampton University

Howard University School of Law

Catholic University of America

Howard University School of Divinity

First Name

Allie

Birth City, State, Country

Choreopolis

HM ID

LAT02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Oman, Switzerland

Favorite Quote

You have to think about yourself because no one wakes up in the morning with you on their mind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/16/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Social activist and government lawyer Allie B. Latimer (1928 - ) is the founder of the Federally Employed Women organization and has served as counsel for various government agencies, including NASA. She became the first woman and African American to serve as general counsel of a major federal agency during her tenure with the General Services Administration.

Employment

Federal Reformatory For Women (Alderson, West Virginia)

General Services Administration

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allie Latimer

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allie Latimer's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allie Latimer shares details about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allie Latimer shares details about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allie Latimer discusses her ancestry and shares family stories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allie Latimer recalls childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allie Latimer talks about her siblings and grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allie Latimer talks about her childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allie Latimer reflects on her years in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allie Latimer discusses her junior high and high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allie Latimer talks about her college experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allie Latimer talks about her career aspirations after college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allie Latimer shares stories of her volunteer experiences before attending law school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allie Latimer talks about attending law school and suing to take the bar exam

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allie Latimer talks about seeking employment with the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allie Latimer discusses forming Federally Employed Women

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allie Latimer talks about becoming the first black general counsel for a major federal agency

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allie Latimer talks about confronting racism and sexism in the federal government

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allie Latimer discusses her involvement in various organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allie Latimer shares her personal philosophy on various topics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allie Latimer shares her concerns for the black community and reflects on her life

Charles T. Duncan

Charles Duncan was born in Washington, D.C., on October 31, 1924, the only child of his mother, a teacher, and his father, a physician. After starting his education in the D.C. public school system, Duncan attended Mount Hermon Preparatory School for Boys in the tenth grade. After graduation, Duncan went on to Dartmouth College, where he graduated cum laude in 1947. During his time at Dartmouth, Duncan had served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1945 to 1946. He went on to study law at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1950.

Duncan began his legal practice in New York, but by 1953 he had moved back to Washington, D.C., to practice with the law firm of Reeves, Robinson & Duncan. While there, he worked on the second brief presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. During that time, Duncan was a lecturer at Howard University Law School between 1954 and 1960. In 1961, Duncan became the principal assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and in 1965, he was appointed the first general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He then went to work for the District of Columbia as corporation counsel, where he oversaw all of the legal affairs of the district and was second in line to the mayor. Duncan returned to private practice in 1970 to work for the firm of Epstein, Friedman, Duncan & Medalie.

Returning to Howard University in 1974, Duncan became dean of Howard University's School of Law, a position he held until 1977. He continued to teach for another year before returning to private practice in 1978, and in 1984 he joined the firm of Reid & Priest as a partner, serving as senior counsel for the firm from 1990 to 1994. Appointed by the secretary of state to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in 1994, he lived in the Hague in the Netherlands until leaving the post in 2000. Currently, Duncan works as a senior trustee for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Duncan has served on the board of directors of several companies, including Proctor & Gamble and Eastman Kodak. He is a former trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society and has served on the boards of the Washington Urban League and the Columbia Hospital for Women, among others. Duncan's first wife, Dorothy, with whom he had one son, died in 1972. He and his wife, Pamela, reside in Maryland.

Duncan passed away on May 4, 2004.

Accession Number

A2003.091

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/25/2003

Last Name

Duncan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

T.

Organizations
Schools

Mott Elementary School

Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson

Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School

Northfield Mount Hermon School

Dartmouth College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

DUN02

Favorite Season

None

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Boating

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/31/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Potatoes

Death Date

5/4/2004

Short Description

Government lawyer, law professor, and lawyer Charles T. Duncan (1924 - 2004 ) is the former dean of the Howard University Law School and is a highly respected lawyer and former appointee to several government positions.

Employment

Reeves, Robinson & Duncan

Howard University School of Law

District of Columbia

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Epstein, Friedman, Duncan & Medalie

Reid & Priest

Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:903,128:4374,200:35067,489:38160,501:46274,567:113571,1268:155675,1673:199334,2078:207681,2198:214948,2423:220202,2598:223740,2639:240555,2884:241905,2918:248750,3117:271948,3313:280056,3461:291314,3644:302120,3729$0,0:2214,43:12880,161:13244,166:15974,225:38880,593:39600,606:42797,631:43694,756:66430,1069:90024,1261:96286,1308:96554,1313:110460,1545:145404,1976:145980,1983:150590,2033:157040,2136
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Duncan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Duncan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Duncan describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Duncan describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Duncan describes his childhood activities and neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Duncan talks about his grade school years in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Duncan talks about the high caliber of education he received as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Duncan talks about his experience at Mount Hermon Preparatory School for Boys in Gills, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Duncan describes Annette Eaton and Mary Delaney Evans, two of his teachers at Patterson Junior High School

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles Duncan talks about his high school experience and his decision to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Duncan reflects upon his experience at Mount Hermon Preparatory School for Boys in Gill, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Duncan describes his social life at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Duncan talks about his service in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Duncan talks about his captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Duncan talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Duncan talks about his studies at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Duncan talks about his studies at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Duncan talks about his limited prospects after graduating from law school in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Duncan talks about his first job at Rosenman Goldmark Colin & Kaye in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Duncan talks about the ten years he spent in private practice in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Duncan talks about his tenure in the Kennedy Administration as Principal Assistant United States Attorney

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Duncan talks about President John F. Kennedy's state funeral and why he left the U.S. Attorney's Office

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Duncan talks about his role as General Counsel at the EEOC

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Duncan talks about working at the D.C. Corporation Counsel's Office and the riots that followed the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Duncan talks about riots in Washington, D.C. after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Walter Washington administration

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Duncan talks about the Poor People's Campaign in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Duncan talks about his role as the Director of Public Safety in Washington D.C. under Mayor-Commissioner Walter Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Duncan talks about his tenure as the Dean of Howard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Duncan talks about his appointment to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Duncan talks about cases he heard on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Duncan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Duncan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Duncan describes a memorable experience in the U.S. Naval Reserve

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Duncan talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Duncan narrates his photographs

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Charles Duncan talks about his captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve
Charles Duncan talks about his role as the Director of Public Safety in Washington D.C. under Mayor-Commissioner Walter Washington
Transcript
Okay. Okay, well you know so everything was pretty smooth with the white commander, I mean--$$Well, yeah.$$--and officers that were--$$Well, now that's a different question. The enlisted men, yes. With the, the officers I guess also, very nice. It was with the Captain that I had my problems.$$Okay. Well, what kind of problems did he present?$$Well, he didn't, first of all, he didn't like non-Annapolis United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland] people. Secondly, he didn't like junior officers, like the lowly ensigns, and thirdly, I have a suspicion that he was not thrilled to have a black officer under his command. So, on the one hand, there were some minor disciplinary problems that he saw fit to get after me about. And, but on the other hand, I rendered some valuable service to the ship on one occasion and became a bit of a pet of his. So, you know, the good news and bad news.$$Can you tell us a story, what did you do?$$It was a little consternation when I arrived aboard. All the--everybody knew I was coming; as to what to do with him. So, they made me assistant navigator. And, the ship was then in dry dock when I pick it up, when I joined it. And, Loran School, you know, you've heard of a Loran-C that people use today. Well, this was Loran-A, this was, this was a predecessor. It was a big oscilloscope machine the size of, of a television set. And, so they sent me to Loran School and I became quite adept in operating Loran. And, nobody else on the ship knew how to do it. And, it looked very mysterious with all these waves jumping around in the oscilloscope. And, one night--it was a dark and stormy night. One night we were coming back from Japan going around the Southern tip of Honshu Island, and Loran worked in all kinds of weather, you know, it didn't need to see the sun or the moon or stars. And, I was keeping plots of our position and I noticed that although we were headed on a certain course, we were being offset by 15 degrees, because of the currents. And, we were being set upon a tiny little island, it was just a speck on the chart. And, I called the Captain's attention to it and he didn't pay much attention to it. Then a little bit later, he asked me to do another fix and I did. And, sure enough, it was straight--everyone was just straight line, no questions what was happening. So, I recommended that we change course. Well, he didn't like that at all, for the aforementioned reasons. But, I told him, I don't know where I got the courage, but I said, "Captain, this is a six million dollar ship and there are 115 officers and men onboard and if any harm comes to this ship because of navigation, I'm going to be obliged to tell what happened." I actually said that, I don't know where I got the nerve, but I did. And--so, he reluctantly agreed to change course to the one I recommended. And, the next morning when we were able to establish our position by piloting, we were close enough to land to be able to, you know, do some navigational fixes that way, we were actually where I said we were. So, from that day to this, from that day until I left the ship, he wouldn't, he wouldn't move unless Ensign Duncan was, was working the Loran. (Laughter)$$Okay. Alright. Anything else from the Navy?$$Aww there are, you know, there are war stories, but that's my favorite one.$$Okay. So, you weren't involved in any battles or anything?$$No, I--no, no, no. Let me make it clear, I was in boot camp on the V-E Day and I was in the shipment school on V-J Day so, the shooting war was over. And, by the time I got to Japan, you know, the war was over. The shooting war was over.$$Okay. So, how long did you stay in--$$Two years.$$Two years.$Now, you were, you were Director of Public Safety in Washington [D.C.]?$$Yeah. I think this grew out of the riots. And, [Mayor-Commissioner] Walter Washington felt that he didn't have any control over the police department because in those days, he didn't. If the police wanted something, they'd go down on the Hill, straighten it out with whichever committee was the appropriate committee. So, he wanted to try to get a handle on, on the police department. Plus, the police department in those days, appeared to be a bit of a problem. In the sense, that there was a lot of shooting and just general dissatisfaction with the relationships between the police department and the citizens of this city [Washington, D.C.]. And, it was for those reasons that he asked me to be Public Safety Director. I'm trying to figure out, I either preceded or succeeded Pat Murphy [Patrick V. Murphy], who was the [deputy] police chief in New York and came down here and did a similar function. I think, no, I must, I must have come after Murphy because there were legislation that abolished the position of Acting Director of Public Safety, so I think that must have been after Pat was here.$$Okay.$$But, I'm a little, little fuzzy about that.$$Okay.$$And, I just did that while I was Corporation Counsel. I spent more time on that than in the office, as a matter of fact.$$Were you able to do anything to ameliorate the relationship?$$Oh, hell yes. I think, I think if I were asked, if Walter were to ask, what was your greatest accomplishment? It would have to be that we "turned around the police department and got it headed in the right direction." And, I don't mean to suggest that I did that, or Walter did that. But, we did select Jerry Wilson to be the new Chief of Police. And, I remember talking to Jerry about what we wanted to see accomplished, and did he wanted the job under the circumstances and he said, yes. And, I think he was the one who really turned the police department, the attitude of the police department around. He gets a lot of credit for that. But, we set it up, so we get a little credit too.$$Alright.