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Peter London

Dancer, choreographer and artistic director Peter London was born on May 10, 1960 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to Dennis Bedeau Stanclaus and Belle Stanclaus. While in Trinidad and Tobago, London studied West African dance. He received a certificate in male elementary ballet from the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1982 and attended the Caribbean School of Dancing before coming to the United States and enrolling at The Julliard School in New York and earned his diploma in dance in 1987.

Before moving to the United States, London was part of the Barataria Folk Dance Group from 1976 to 1983 and joined the Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theater of Trinidad and Tobago, where he danced as Astor Johnson’s protégé. London also was a dance teacher in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1987, London joined the Limón Dance Company, which he toured with as a principal dancer. London moved to the U.S.; and, in 1988, he was recruited to join the Martha Graham Dance Company as a principal dancer, where he performed with dancers such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Denise Vales. After Martha Graham’s death in 1991, London took a yearlong break from dancing and began teaching at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. He was invited to tour with the Martha Graham Dance Company again by Ronald Protas in 1992, which he toured with until 1997.

London returned to the New World School of the Arts that year and served as a professor of dance at Miami Dade College. From 2007 to 2010, London taught at The Alvin Ailey School in New York. In 2011, London received a grant of $120,000 from the Knight Foundation in order to form the Peter London Global Dance Company. London showcased pieces that featured Afro-Caribbean dance, as well as Haitian and Afro-Cuban music. London also served as a mentor to; Jamar Roberts of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lloyd Knight of the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Robert Battle, artistic director at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Peter London was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 7, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.038

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/07/2017

Last Name

London

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Piccadilly Government Primary School

Barataria Junior Seconday School

South East Port of Spain Government Seconday School

The Juilliard School

Miami Dade College

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

LON04

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Barbados

Favorite Quote

Can't is not in the dictionary.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/10/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Salt Fish, Cassava, Black Eyed Peas and Rice

Short Description

Dancer, choreographer and artistic director Peter London (1960 - ) was a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and became founder and artistic director of the Peter London Global Dance Company.

Employment

Miami Dade College

Martha Graham Dance Company

Jose Limon Dance

Shell Chemicals

Favorite Color

Blue

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick

Physician and college president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was born on June 17, 1971, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. After graduating from high school at the age of fourteen, he took pre-college courses at St. Mary’s College in Port of Spain. Frederick enrolled in Howard University in 1988, at the age of sixteen. In 1994, he earned his dual B.S. degree and M.D. degree from Howard University and went on to complete his residency in general surgery at Howard University Hospital.

In 2000, Frederick was appointed as a clinical instructor in surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, Texas. He fulfilled his post-doctoral research and surgical oncological fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in 2003. That same year, Frederick was named an assistant professor in the department of surgery of the University of Connecticut Health Center, where he became director of surgical oncology and associate director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2005. In 2006, he returned to Howard University as the associate professor in the department of surgery at Howard University Hospital. In 2012, he was named provost of Howard University and became president of Howard University in 2014.

Frederick has authored numerous research publications and editorials, as well as served as a member of a number of professional and scientific societies. These organizations include the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Medical Association. He has also been a member of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and served as president of the board of the Texas Gulf Sickle Cell Association from 2002 to 2003.

Frederick’s work has won multiple awards and honors, including recognition from the U.S. Congress for his contributions in addressing health disparities among African Americans and historically underrepresented groups in 2014. He was named by the Washington Post as a “Super Doctor” in 2011, was in Ebony Magazine’s 2010 ‘Power 100’ list, and was on Black Enterprise Magazine’s list of America’s Best Physicians.

Wayne A.I. Frederick was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 30, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.012

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/30/2017

Last Name

Frederick

Middle Name

A. I.

Organizations
Schools

Diego Martin Government Primary School

St. Mary's College

Howard University College of Medicine

Howard University School of Business

Howard University

First Name

Wayne

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

FRE09

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Man's Greatest Imperfection Is His Passive Acceptance Of His Imperfection.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/17/1971

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Doubles

Short Description

Physician and college president Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick (1971 - ) served as the provost of Howard University from 2012 to 2014, and then became Howard University’s seventeenth president.

Employment

Howard University Hospital

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

University of Connecticut Health Center

Howard University Cancer Center

Howard University College of Medicine

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:19240,325:20010,343:23790,421:34962,561:39330,680:43308,758:44790,786:60418,991:70150,1128$0,0:1309,25:1848,37:4158,76:4620,84:10241,204:10549,209:11319,226:14168,307:20880,342:21370,351:29280,518:29910,529:35860,774:36840,792:38380,816:39080,827:39780,873:45063,890:46557,916:46889,921:47553,942:50707,1017:51620,1033:54110,1098:62400,1180:66458,1218:67472,1237:68486,1252:68798,1257:69188,1264:70592,1352:74868,1406:76056,1446:78460,1464:79540,1485:82708,1552:83068,1559:86308,1698:87028,1780:101303,1955:118805,2308:121560,2342:122820,2363:123360,2370:123990,2379:125700,2417:131184,2472:131688,2477:133720,2482:134440,2495:143142,2654:144000,2728:144312,2737:145014,2752:147822,2804:148134,2809:151020,2863:151332,2868:152112,2882:152424,2887:175450,3233:176844,3252:177500,3263:177828,3268:185526,3366:186056,3373:187646,3406:188070,3411:193705,3448:194130,3454:196340,3487:196680,3492:197530,3531:198465,3543:198805,3567:200250,3581:200590,3586:203990,3639:208485,3664:210310,3698:212062,3724:212865,3737:213303,3744:219999,3858:226380,3928
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his mother's community in Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about sickle cell anemia

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes the research on sickle cell anemia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his diagnosis with sickle cell anemia

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his treatment for sickle cell anemia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about the culture of Trinidad

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick remembers his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his interest in soccer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about Eric Williams

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about the history of St. Mary's College in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his education at St. Mary's College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick remembers applying to Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick remembers moving to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his influences at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls entering the Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his assimilation to the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his assimilation to the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick remembers Clive Callender

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick recalls Dr. LaSalle DLeffall, Jr.'s position in the American College of Surgeons

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick recalls his focus during medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick recalls his fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes the impact of his sickle cell anemia on his career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick talks about working as a surgeon and university president

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes the challenges of surgery

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his experiences at University of Connecticut Health Center

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his decision to return to Howard University Hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his role as deputy director of the Howard University Cancer Center

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about the future of cancer treatment

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about the influence of positive thinking on recovery

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his administrative duties at Howard University Hospital

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls obtaining an M.B.A. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about the culture of Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes the administrative challenges at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick talks about his challenges as president of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls his administrative positions at the Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recalls the resignation of Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes his initiatives at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick talks about the Graduation and Retention Access to Continued Excellence program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes his mention in the Congressional Record

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick shares his plans for the future of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes alumni engagement at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes the federal support for Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick talks about the importance of historically black universities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick talks about STEM education

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick reflects upon the legacy of Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick reflects upon his family

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

10$5

DATitle
Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick describes his earliest childhood memory
Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick remembers Clive Callender
Transcript
Now, do you have an earliest childhood memory?$$Me, yeah, I do. You know, at the age of three I remember lis-overhearing my [maternal] grandmother [Christine Roach (ph.)] talking to some neighbors about my having sickle cell [sickle cell anemia]. And I, I didn't quite understand what it was, et cetera. I was riding on a tricycle. At the time I remember stopping her to ask her to explain to me what it was, and she attempted to do so. I rode off and came back and said to her I was gonna become a doctor to find a cure for sickle cell. She, she repeats that story a lot, and that's, but, and that's probably my earliest childhood memory.$$That seems like an indication of focus (laughter), purpose.$$Yeah, from a pretty early age. She, you know, my grandmother and I were very close. She was a huge motivating factor in terms of she never made me feel that I would not be able to accomplish the things that I set, set out to do. And so, you know, and that, anytime I would repeat that, you know, she would just encourage me and act as if of course that's gonna happen. And so it was a, a strong motivator growing up.$The other person who has been a huge influence on not just my career but my life as well, is [HistoryMaker] Clive Callender. And I think, I, I think I have been attracted to both of these men because of what happened with my father [Alix Frederick] so early in life. I think I've always been attracted to strong men who lead with a certain level of integrity and have embraced not just the surgeon in me or the career aspects of what I do, but they've been concerned about my personal life. And Dr. Callender is an example of that. He, he became the chair of surgery [at Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.] after Dr. Leffall [HistoryMaker Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.] became the president of the American College of Surgeons. When I was graduating from the surgical program, he gave me the Chairman's Award [Chairman's Award of Excellence] as the chief of--as the best chief that graduated that year. It was a very humbling honor at that time, 'cause I remember sitting in those seats as a junior resident watching, you know, who the chief resident of the year was every year and thinking to myself, wow, you know, I, I--it's not something I could even think I could aspire to be. What was critical about his involvement is that when I went to MD Anderson [University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas], he tried to get me to come back here. I had just met my wife [Simone Frederick], and I couldn't take any chance. They took forever to make me an offer. And I was so apprehensive about the whole thing that I took a job at the University of Connecticut [University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut] because they were taking so long. And I remember him calling me in April to then make me an offer. I had to move in July. I had already accepted MD Anderson's offer--I mean UConn's offer. And I remember telling him that I wasn't gonna come, that I would go to UConn, and he was so devastated he stopped talking to me (laughter). It was--$$Who, Dr. Callender, right, the--$$Yeah--$$--Dr. Callender?$$--that, this is Dr. Callender. And you know, obviously I went to University of Connecticut, and two years later I found myself back at Howard [Howard University Hospital, Washington, D.C.]. He got to recruit me again and sealed the deal. And I remember when I came back here, one day I walked into his office and I said you know, "A lot of things are going well, and I'm pretty happy. But I do have this aspect of my life around my spirituality that concerns me." And I, and I remember telling him it's not a church thing. I, I was an altar boy growing up in, when I was in high school [St. Mary's College, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago]. So from the ages of ten to sixteen I was an altar boy. I went to all Catholic high school. I was an Anglican. And so it wasn't so much that aspect, but I felt like it was a deeper personal journey that I needed. And so you know--$$You were a practicing, practicing Anglican?$$Yeah, I was practicing. I, I, I wouldn't say--$$So did you, you go to--$$I wouldn't say--$$--church as a--$$--very active. I did, but not, not very often. I wouldn't say very often at all. And he came to me one day, and his solution was every morning, I will send you a text with a piece of scripture in it, and you know, it'll just be random. And you can take a look at it. And, and so we have done that for as long as I can remember. Every single morning he does it, up to this morning. And I send back a note that, that simply says, "Thank you." And that has been very helpful because that has spurred other conversations with us, you know, about questions that I might have about decisions I need to make, personal and career wise in particular. And so I'm very appreciative for that. And I, I've kept all of the, the texts interestingly enough. But that's the type of mentor that he has been to me as well.

Robert Dottin

Biologist and research director Robert Dottin was born in Trinidad in 1943. He graduated from St. Mary’s College in 1970 with his B.S. degree in in biology. Dottin went on to earn his M.S. degree in medical biophysics in 1972 and his Ph.D. in medical genetics in 1974 from the University of Toronto. Upon graduation, Dottin was awarded the Centennial Fellowship to pursue post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dottin served as a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen, Pasteur Institute in Paris, Karlova University in Prague and Oxford University. Dottin then became a full professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. His teaching experience includes courses in bioinformatics, genetics and developmental biology, all of which utilize internet and digital technology to promote interactive learning. In addition, Dottin has developed many strategies that promote the inclusion of under-represented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathemathics) research as well as addressing health disparities. Dottin is the founder of the “JustGarciaHill” website – a internet-based community of more than four-thousand minorities in science. Dottin scholarship is published in journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Ethnicity and Disease.

From 1988 to 1986, Dottin served as the program coordinator for the Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function (Gene Center) at Hunter College. In 1998, he was appointed as the director of the Gene Center. As director, Dottin increased the productivity, the level of funding, and the diversity of the faculty and staff within the organization. He steered the research at the Gene Center towards a “translational research” agenda and managed equal partnership of the Gene Center in the Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) with the Weill Cornell Medical Center, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Hospital for Special Surgery. He is the principal investigator for the CTSC sub-award to Hunter College, and he is co-principal investigator on T3 Translational Research Network pilot projects to use an interactive videoconferencing platform to prevent chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and environmental toxicity.

Robert Dottin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.102

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/11/2013

Last Name

Dottin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Philip

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of Toronto

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

DOT03

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Valldemossa, Majorca

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/5/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Grilled Seafood

Short Description

Biologist Robert Dottin (1943 - ) is a professor at Hunter College of City University of New York where he also was appointed as the program coordinator for the Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function (Gene Center).

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

John Hopkins University

City University of New York

Hunter College

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:5946,420:7962,445:8382,451:10062,470:16866,561:17958,575:18294,580:18966,590:20562,603:21150,611:22410,627:29093,655:30797,684:32288,717:32643,723:33282,733:34347,747:34986,758:36051,776:44429,917:45139,929:49840,955:51160,980:51754,990:52348,1000:54394,1043:57430,1120:58750,1143:60928,1196:61522,1206:61918,1213:62314,1220:62578,1225:76790,1338:93334,1583:94074,1592:97478,1658:104952,1777:105544,1787:105840,1792:111553,1805:112689,1821:114394,1828:114814,1834:116242,1860:123046,1954:124978,1984:129020,1999:144374,2272:144966,2281:150502,2307:152338,2335:152610,2340:154786,2398:155194,2405:158866,2502:159342,2515:159954,2525:160634,2539:175432,2693:176292,2713:176722,2719:183821,2788:186395,2818:186890,2824:187583,2832:188375,2842:201608,3060:201896,3065:218222,3292:220200,3328:230482,3458:231490,3471:237610,3616:241066,3678:242434,3705:244018,3748:244306,3753:248958,3763:251466,3799:252074,3809:253898,3840:254202,3848:257292,3860:257556,3865:260592,3934:269870,4090:270190,4095:277548,4191:280056,4243:284978,4281:288746,4348:289208,4356:290330,4379:291254,4401:296070,4473:297702,4506:298246,4521:298926,4533:299402,4542:299674,4547:300150,4562:300422,4567:301646,4583:308532,4639:311570,4654:312038,4661:313832,4687:315158,4709:315548,4715:316328,4733:318122,4765:319292,4781:319838,4789:322334,4842:322802,4849:323348,4857:331782,4974:338898,5074:339410,5084:339858,5098:343250,5170:343506,5176:347090,5238:351160,5262$0,0:5367,68:14851,173:15496,179:21172,297:33969,504:68064,866:75868,931:77588,958:104556,1171:108620,1203:111400,1223:128407,1351:129650,1366:130102,1371:139414,1463:140017,1473:156849,1610:164938,1717:174655,1909:174971,1914:188870,2000:191622,2048:192826,2066:193256,2072:200310,2136:217544,2627:218041,2636:218609,2645:224056,2701:226816,2777:244730,2972:245030,2977:247881,2994:248499,3002:252657,3012:255817,3049:256212,3055:256528,3060:257476,3073:257871,3079:261663,3148:272290,3286:279840,3396:280152,3401:280698,3417:285456,3486:288344,3492:290544,3520:291600,3539:294944,3614:310814,3772:313930,3953:315754,3988:316742,4005:317426,4015:340092,4279:342851,4342:343563,4352:345610,4386:362562,4607:381530,4938
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Dottin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin talks about his mother, Lena Decoteau

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Dottin talks about his parents' personality and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Dottin describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Dottin describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Dottin describes the neighborhoods where he grew up in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Dottin describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Port of Spain, Trinidad - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Port of Spain, Trinidad - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin discusses the Trinidadian economy and political activism, and his memories of the country gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1961

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin describes the demographics of Trinidad and Tobago, and talks about famous writers who lived in Trinidad

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin discusses the genetic diversity in Africa and his work with the H3Africa project

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin talks about the schools that he attended in Trinidad, and describes the British system of education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Dottin describes his math education in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Dottin talks about studying calculus

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Dottin talks about his interest in science and mathematics, and his experience in high school at Fatima College in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin describes how Trinidad gained independence from Great Britain in 1961

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin talks about Trinidad's independence celebrations of 1961, and discusses the different ethnic backgrounds of immigrants and African Americans

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin describes his experience in high school at St. Mary's College in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin describes his decision to attend the University of Toronto

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin describes his experience as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin describes his decision to pursue his master's and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Toronto, studying bacteriophage integration mechanisms

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin describes his master's and Ph.D. dissertation on bacteriophage lambda regulation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin describes the scientific reaction to his Ph.D. dissertation on bacteriophage lambda regulation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin describes his postdoctoral research at MIT, where he discovered novel features of the messenger RNA of the amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin talks about his experience as a visiting professor in Copenhagen, Sweden in 1976

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin describes his research on signal transduction in Dictyostelium discoideum

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin talks about working with Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. on minority education in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Dottin describes his decision to accept a faculty position at Hunter College in New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin describes his initial experience at the Center for the Study of Gene Structure at Hunter College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin describes his experience at the Center for the Study of Gene Structure at Hunter College, and its achievements over the years - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin describes his experience at the Center for the Study of Gene Structure at Hunter College, and its achievements over the years - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin talks about Just Garcia Hill

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin talks about a study of the underlying biases that affect minorities in science and ongoing efforts to change this trend

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin discusses his current focus on science education and administration, and his research contributions over the course of his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Dottin discusses his work promoting collaborations in science and education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin describes his involvement in the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative and his work with cyber classrooms - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin describes his involvement in the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative and his work with cyber classrooms - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Dottin shares his views on the politics of science and the debate on evolution

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Dottin shares his views on climate change and evolution

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Dottin talks about his role in establishing a collaborative network within the City University of New York and with other local universities

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Dottin describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, and discusses the need for minorities in STEM

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Dottin reflects upon his career and his contributions towards science

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Dottin reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Dottin talks about his children

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Dottin talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Dottin describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Robert Dottin describes his involvement in the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative and his work with cyber classrooms - part one
Robert Dottin describes his research on signal transduction in Dictyostelium discoideum
Transcript
Well you just mentioned before we ended the last session about the H3Africa [The Human Heredity and Health in Africa initiative] project, Francis Collins [American physician-geneticist noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP); currently serves as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)].$$Um-hmm.$$So you want to elaborate some more about that?$$Well I mean that project arose because I had been teaching a bioinformatics course, introductory bioinformatics which I teach and I had been collaborating with people in Mississippi, several universities in Mississippi and Michigan on working on trying to build a cyber classroom where they could study something called visual analytics, which is a way of representing a lot of data in a visual way so that you can see changes. A pie chart is a visual analytic tool because even if it's based on millions of people, you know, you can have different colors to represent different groups or whatever, people who are tall or short or weigh within a particular weight and that kind of thing and you can show changes over time with these kinds of things. So, visual analytics is something that's really very important for large datasets and for representing them in a way that's easily understood. And there were grants given by the National Science Foundation [NSF] to a guy, colleague whose name is Rafael Zupe [ph.] and he has--he got a group of us together to work on this. And so, he's Nigerian and there were, and this collaboration involved people who were Chinese, whites, and all kinds from all these different universities. And this project was a pilot project and we started with him and we again provided some of the videoconferencing tools for people to work together and also we built a module which shows how you can look at evolution and teach evolution in a way online without being there and have these visual color schemes and heat maps to show differences in species across, as the evolution goes on for a particular protein. And so we built this environment and we got to know each other you know and so on and he knew what we had been doing here with Weill Cornell [Medical College, New York] and this clinical and translational research project now. So when the people in Nigeria wanted to have someone who might be able to help them with collaboration that's what they did. They called up, they asked us to come over. So Carlos, whom you met, and I went over, we did workshops there, we got people to understand the value in the technology and how it might work and it's you know, it's ongoing there. There's a meeting coming up with people in Nairobi [Kenya] and other parts of Africa, different countries now are collaborating and doing scientific collaborations and we're helping them with connecting and some of the bioinformatic things that they will be needing. Now we are not experts in bioinformatics, in genomics and high-throughput sequencing and all these techniques that they might be needing, and they will get those from other places. So our contributions--I mean we understand the projects and so on and so we are helping them in that way. Plus, some of the, two of the students now were identified and are now a part of our course so when we run the course on Saturdays, they come in. We either have the course in here and we have the students here or the students may be at home and they connect with cameras and so on and head pieces, they'll talk into the computers.$$So it's like Skype or something but with (unclear)?$$Sort of, but much more sophisticated because you can share the data and see the data that you're presenting and then talk to each other and they're seeing each other and they you know transmit information, jokes and everything and, but they don't have to come to the same place. So it's an experiment in a way on how that might work in the future. Seems to be working very well and we have of course an electronic classroom where you can put up information, slides and everything and people can work together. And that, so that's what some of them, two of the students from there are taking the course. We also do the videoconferencing for other projects in New York, reaching out to communities from here. This room is a studio and we reach--we get medical doctors and experts to come in and they give talks to people in many different places at the same time, churches and communities and so on. And they come up on the screens and they see each other and they talk about diabetes, hypertension and how to avoid it or they talk about, to people who are senior citizens in homes, how to avoid falls because a large fraction of those people who fall die as a result eventually very quickly because of the broken hips and all these things. So that's another topic. Sometimes we have a yoga person in here who might be getting people in different places to get up from their chairs and do yoga and those kinds of things. So it's prevention is the emphasis there rather than having to take more and more pills and so on. The emphasis there is on prevention. But in any case, with the Africa project it's more bioinformatics and genomics that they're focused on.$What was the most significant finding from your signal transduction research on [Dictyostelium discoideum]?$$Well the signal transduction work I did was done while I was at Johns Hopkins [University, Baltimore, Maryland] and when I came here [Hunter College, New York].$$Okay, so it's coming up?$$It's later, yeah.$$Okay, all right so Johns Hopkins [University, Baltimore, Maryland], when did you go to Johns Hopkins?$$Let's see. I think it was about the end of 1976. I can't remember exactly when but around then.$$And were you doing a post-doc at (unclear)?$$No, I was an assistant professor.$$Okay, you--$$I got a full time job.$$Okay, all right, associate professor of biology?$$Assistant.$$Assistant, okay. I'm sorry some of these are out of chronologic order.$$That's okay.$$I've got to jump around a little bit. Okay, so you were at Johns Hopkins for ten years.$$Yes.$$Yeah, from '76 [1976] to '86 [1986].$$Yes.$$And so what was the focus of your research at Johns Hopkins? I worked on the Dictyostelium [discoideum], that amoeba and that work was again concerned with regulation, gene, genetic control of development and things like that. And I, while I was there I did, I started studying signal transduction which was an important area of the research. Poorly understood at the time but now it's no big deal. The--this organism was a good one to do that experiment and it's--signal transduction has to do with how hormones work because these are molecules that are produced outside of cells and they activate cells to do certain things. And there, there are some hormones that enter the cell because they are hydrophobic. They can go through the membrane, like estrogen or something, and then they activate things inside of the cell, pathways. Tremendous biochemical reactions as you know you can stimulate, produce something in the brain and then all of a sudden it's having an affect in your liver or kidney or something. So those kinds of hormones, like the steroid hormones, that had---a lot of work was coming out on that from Yamamoto and other people on how they may work. But there are other hormones that never enter a cell and they have an effect. And in this organism we're working on, cyclic AMP [Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP, cyclic AMP or 3'-5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) is a second messenger important in many biological processes. cAMP is derived from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and used for intracellular signal transduction in many different organisms, conveying the cAMP-dependent pathway] which is a small molecule, but it's charged, so it doesn't enter the cell, was having a profound effect on development of the cell. It changed a lot of things in the cell and allowed them to aggregate and so on. And there were people who were working on the mechanism of getting these cells sticky and aggregate--and what happens very early and one of them was at Hopkins too, Peter Devreotes, and we were looking more at gene expression. And what we found was that we could use the same molecules which were known not to enter cells but to bind on the surface and we found that those things were directly turning on genes, activating them inside the cell and that's what signal trans--well signal transduction means that something is acting on the outside and it's having an effect. Well we showed that it was actually turning on genes and at that time there were very few models where people could--there was a cancer kind of thing where some cell surface molecules were, seemed to be acting on specializing the cells or making them cancerous. But other than that, there was very little known and we took this and we showed that these molecules could bind to molecules on the outside of the cell called receptors and trigger a whole cascade of events. It's like one of these Rube Goldberg [Reuben Garrett Lucius "Rube" Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor] things where you see the ball hits this and it hits something else and it activates something. And in the end you have the mouse jumps around or whatever. So this whole pathway was very interesting or it still is very interesting. But what we showed is that it activates the genes inside the cell and I would say that's an important, that was an important--and this was one of the few, first few papers on that area. Now there's thousands of papers on that, on how signal transduction works, literally thousands.$$Okay. But that time it was cutting edge?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$But not all the work you do as I pointed out is cutting edge. Sometimes you do stuff it's really mundane. The stuff I did at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], it was published in a great journal [Cell] but in terms of the long term of, I think it you know it was okay but I think the signal transduction is more important and the lamda repressor things are more important.

Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong

Actor and record executive Aki Aleong was born on December 19, 1934 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Henry Leong (Aleong), a cook from Hong Kong, and Agnes Vera Gonsalves from St. Vincent, British West Indies; he was originally called Assing Aleong by his father and Leonard Gonzales by his mother. Aleong attended Progressive Education Institute in Trinidad as a youth. After moving to Brooklyn, New York, with his mother in 1949, Aleong graduated from Boys High School; in 1951, he started taking classes at Brooklyn College while working in a hardware store.

Responding to a casting call for an Asian character, Aleong was cast as the Goat Boy in the 1954 Broadway production of Teahouse of the August Moon on Broadway. In 1956, Aleong made his first live television appearance in The Letter, an episode of NBC’s Producers’ Showcase. In 1957, Aleong was cast in the movie Motorcycle Gang. Throughout his career, Aleong performed in over than 200 different television programs, including: Ben Casey (1961); The Outer Limits (1963); The Virginian (1967); L.A. Law(1986); Babylon 5 (1994); Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1996); and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2001). Aleong’s movie credits include: Never So Few (1959); The Hanoi Hilton (1987); Farewell to the King (1989); Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993); Tidal Wave: No Escape (1997); A Breed Apart (1998); Missing Brendan (2003); House of Sand and Fog (2003); and Sci-Fighter (2004).

Also a musician, Aleong wrote the hit songs Trade Winds and Shombalor; in 1963 he formed Aki Aleong and the Nobles. Leaving the movie business in 1967, Aleong worked as the west coast R&B sales and promotion manager for Capitol Records; an assistant vice president of promotion for Polydor Records; an assistant vice president of sales for Liberty/United Artist Records; the president of Pan World Records and Pan World Publishing (BMI); and a record producer for VeeJay Records. Aleong worked with The 5th Dimension, The Ojays, and Bobby Womack, and produced the Roy Ayers album Red Black and Green. Aleong also managed Norman Connors in 1976, and produced Connors’s gold record You are My Starship.

Onetime chairman of the Fraternity of Recording Executives, Aleong returned to acting in 1983. Aleong served on the boards of the Screen Actors Guild and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and was the executive director for Asians in Media.

Accession Number

A2005.108

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2005

Last Name

Aleong

Middle Name

Leonard Gonzales

Schools

Boys High School

Brooklyn College

First Name

Aki

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

ALE01

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/19/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

Peas and Rice

Short Description

Television actor and music executive Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong (1934 - ) appeared in numerous television and film roles in a career that spanned almost fifty years. In addition to his accomplishments in the realm of visual media, Aleong also served in a variety of executive roles within the recording industry, and released hit records as an artist.

Employment

Capitol Records, Inc.

Polydor Records

Liberty/UA Records

Pan World Records

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers immigrating to Brooklyn, New York City from Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his childhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes how his father processed opium

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his exposure to opium

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his father's family background and the history of Chinese immigration to the Americas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers moving to Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the culture shock he experienced upon immigrating to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers attending Boys High School in Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers joining a street gang

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers gang activity and policing in Brooklyn, New York City in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers being involved in a street fight in Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his friend, Bolero Martinez, from Brooklyn, New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls dancing at Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls his focus on dancing at Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his dance studies at Henry Street Settlement House in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his audition for 'Teahouse of the August Moon'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the jobs he held while attending Brooklyn College in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers watching a Broadway play for the first time

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his role in 'Teahouse of the August Moon'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his friendship with Marlon Brando

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his time in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes acting in the television production of 'The Letter'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong shares an insight he gained from acting in 'The Enemy'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls housing discrimination in California during the 1950s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working with Frank Sinatra

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls disputes in Hollywood that impacted his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the legacy of Bill Cosby and HistoryMaker Berry Gordy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about the relationship between Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the limited roles for actors of color

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the Asian community in Hollywood

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recounts his efforts to increase diversity in advertising

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about record companies' exploitation of the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recalls record companies' exploitation of black employees and musicians

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the systemic discrimination against black disc jockeys and black record labels

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes big record companies buying out black labels

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about why he quit acting

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his promotional work with Liberty UA Records and PolyGram Records

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his friendship with HistoryMaker Reverend Al Sharpton

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about leaving the record business and working as an ambulance driver

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes managing jazz musician Norman Connors

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about promoting jazz musicians Norman Connors and Pharaoh Sanders

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his presence in the doo wop scene

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his sales and promotional work for Capitol Records

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working with Ray Charles

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes working as an ambulance driver

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers his return to acting

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his TV roles and joining the National Board of Screen Actors Guild

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about promoting diversity in Hollywood

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes promoting diversity with the SAG Ethnic Minorities Committee

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong explains the need for writers and producers of color

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his work as an activist

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon the challenges of representing Asian Americans in the media

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes undermining stereotypes of Asians in his roles

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about being perceived as Asian rather than black

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes his film, 'Chinaman's Chance: America's Other Slaves'

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes the need for more diverse stories

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong talks about his relationship with his children

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong remembers gang activity and policing in Brooklyn, New York City in the 1950s
Aki Leonard Gonzales Aleong recounts his efforts to increase diversity in advertising
Transcript
So, where I used to live, there's Prospect Park [New York, New York], you've heard of Prospect Park, right? And you have heard of the famous Empire roller rink [Empire Roller Skating Center, New York, New York], we integrated the Empire roller rink, that was my first confrontation with the law and with whitey. Now the roller rink was on the other side of the park which was heavily Jewish, so Bolero [Martinez (ph.)] and I and three of the guys used to go skating there. And Bolero was my idol, man; he was like 5'10" about a hundred and sixty pounds, thin, wiry, good looking man, looked like Romeo, man. And this guy man could skate, he did this you know wow, man. After a while all the girls used to come over to him, right, and then I was skating so then you know now and then I wouldn't ask anybody to dance but they would come over and grab me you know so I was, hey man, I was starting to integrate, right? Lo and behold, one day I'm skating, all of a sudden the girls coming over and they're passing me, we used to call it the knives were called shivs or putting--they were passing me these shivs, I put it in my pocket, what's going on? They had called the cops so there's only three black guys, man you know myself, right so what they did was they stopped Bolero and everybody and they frisked them, right? They frisked them you know to see what they had, right? I walked right by the cops, they never bothered with me (laughter) I walked right by, man. I (laughter) you know, so I used to carry this shivs whenever there was any problem, I would separate myself because I would be carrying either a marijuana cigarette or I'd be carrying the knives in my pocket you know what I'm saying? And smiling at the cops (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They didn't think you were black?$$No, no, they never thought I was black, which is another story why I peep whitey and we'll talk about that later (laughter). But--so that-so---but Bolero man we used to--as a matter of fact I remember when Cher went to the Empire roller rink it was a big volt thing about how she went there skating blah, blah, blah. It was tough, man, so when I used to go to Brooklyn College [New York, New York] about six--about twelve blocks up, was the natural boundary. The natural boundary and it's always the train, Atlantic Avenue was there the train would come in from Long Island [New York] and I never went passed that boundary, I lived in my little ghetto, I never went. However, to go to Brooklyn College, I had to take the bus and everytime the bus would pass Atlantic Avenue I would get paranoid (laughter) because I was going into foreign territory. Now isn't that a shame, isn't that a damn shame to think about that? The college was in the other side, but because of this, we couldn't go past, I mean it was like an unwritten code. I used to feel scared but I had to go to school, right, so we used to take the Nostrand Avenue bus and go past that way to go to school. Anyways, so at Brooklyn College and at that point, with the gang activity you know what I'm saying, I was starting to fine my--a little bit of acceptance. I remember one night Bolero and I went down to Greenpoint [Brooklyn, New York, New York] to go to this party, I'm going to a party man, man I'm feeling good man, I'm going to this party. It's an all black party, man and you know and I can't dance, man (laughter) so I'm sitting down you know some guys come and say, "Hey what's the matter, don't you want to dance Bro?" "No, no, no, man I can't dance you know." So finally Bolero comes to me and said, "Hey man you in a lot of trouble." I said, "What are you talking about a lot of trouble?" "Man, these guys they don't like you man, they think you stuck up." I said, "Man but I want to dance man, I wanna get with the ladies but I can't dance, I'm embarrassed." So well we got a problem, I had to climb out from the second floor out of the bathroom window (laughter) and hang out and get out because they were going to kick my ass (laughter) because they thought I was stuck up, man. Imagine that man, had to climb out the back window.$And the percentages which will tell you because sitting on the board--in 1982, blacks represented four percent, four percent, man, four percent, okay? As the national chair of Screen Actors Guild [SAG; Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)], co-chair of the [SAG Ethnic] Minorities Committee, Minorities Committee [Ethnic Equal Opportunities Committee], right? I found that there were like--while I was in New York [New York], I organized the program and I got over four hundred kids of color, blacks, mostly blacks, Asians some Native Americans, some Latinos. And I went to Madison Avenue and I said you know what, they're not in commercials, we were in even fewer commercials back then. I said we need a program, so being on the board of SAG, they said oh fine, well he can't do nothing. So I arranged the--a program wherein they would come in and audition these four hundred kids over a period of five months. And what it would be after they negotiate that they would--the kids would come in and they would already have a commercial they can read. But at the night of the audition, Madison Avenue, which controls everything, would then bring in a commercial in and then they can read and we'll tape it. So what I did was that I got some of the members of the board then I--then we videotaped. And I interviewed each kid, you know and most people--most actors you know they have--they don't even know what they look like their pictures don't represent them, it what they think it would be you know. Their hair is out of place, the whole nine yards, so I school them for like two months, then I put them on camera, and then I had them do commercials and they got in sync with what themselves would be, and then eventually Madison Avenue came in. Now during that period of time, we were negotiating contract for commercials. They said, the Madison Avenue said, you know what, we're not gonna pay you on a hundred percent of a commercial because you already lost 25 or 30 percent of the market. Because VCRs were coming in, people were taping; they were knocking out the commercial, so why would we pay you a 100 percent of the commercials? So being the chair of the Minorities Committee and I understood that, what was interesting was the fact that if you took 75 percent of the target audience now right, and most of that 25 percent that slipped away were mostly white--$$That had that kind of VCR.$$That's right that had that money, right? So now we're at 75 percent looking at it, right? Now if you have at that point 30 percent, okay, you had Latinos you had blacks, you had Asians, right, which could represent 25 percent, right? Now that 25 percent out of 75 percent, pretty healthy chunk, how much is that, 30 percent, right? So now you have 30 percent so your target audience is now 30 percent. All of a sudden SAG didn't do anything, so Madison Avenue--so my program was just coming in place. When they came and saw these kids, kids were doing Tetley Tea commercials, right, the brothers would pick up the cup, yo brother man, hey man, this good Tetley Tea, and they, they didn't one like traditional Tetley Tea, you know I mean they brought so much pizzazz and a different way of doing things. They brought their own soul to these different things that people were blown away, right? So what happened is that we started to get more jobs in commercials because, not because SAG was doing anything, but because they were targeting at 40 percent of the market. Interesting, it was nothing to do with anything else, except pure dollars, okay? So now today African Americans are 18 percent from '82 [1982] to today 18 percent of the jobs at Screen Actors Guild, 18 percent and rising rapidly. Latinos, a year ago, were 5.7 percent and they represent almost the same as African Americans. They've now risen 6.7, Asian Americans were 2.2, 2.4 percent for the last four years. And Native Americans had one slight gain last year from like 0.1 percent because they had a TV series that ran three days, a miniseries, there were more actors, so that's why it raised. They're microscopically out of the picture. Now, there are reasons why we can talk about why this increase and whatever, whatever. But it wasn't because of Screen Actors Guild; it was because of the fact that the demographics and the money and what you're looking at is the fact that they were targeting certain markets.

Geoffrey Holder

Artist, dancer, and choreographer, Geoffrey Holder, was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on August 20, 1930. While in Port-of-Spain, Holder attended Queens Royal College, but received much of his education in dancing and painting from the Holder Dance Company, his older brother Boscoe's dance troupe.

Holder premiered in his brother's dance company at the age of seven, and by 1947, he was in charge of the troupe. After being seen by dancer Agnes de Mille in 1952, Holder was invited to New York to audition; to finance the trip for himself and his troupe, he sold twenty of his paintings. After failing to receive a sponsorship to tour and perform, Holder began teaching at the Katherine Dunham School of Cultural Arts. In 1954, Holder made his first Broadway performance as Samedi in House of Flowers. For the next two years, Holder appeared as a principal dancer on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and continued to work with his own troupe through 1960. Holder also continued to paint, and in 1957 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship; that same year brought his first film role, All Night Long, a modern retelling of Othello. Roles continued to come in, with Holder playing Baron Samedi in the James Bond film Live and Let Die and Punjab in Annie. In more recent years, Holder appeared in the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang.

Not limited to his acting and painting, Holder also directed; his production of The Wiz, an all-black retelling of The Wizard of Oz, earned him Tony Awards for best director and best costume design. Holder also wrote Black Gods, Green Islands, an illustrated collection of Caribbean folklore, and Geoffrey Holder's Caribbean Cookbook. Holder and his wife, dancer Carmen DeLavallade, met and married while Holder was performing in House of Flowers in 1955; the couple lived and worked in New York City.

Holder passed away on October 5, 2014.

Accession Number

A2003.081

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/16/2003

Last Name

Holder

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Geoffrey

Birth City, State, Country

Port of Spain

HM ID

HOL02

Favorite Season

None

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Haiti, Mexico

Favorite Quote

We're all born mad; some of us remain so.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/20/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Trinidad & Tobago

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

10/5/2014

Short Description

Dancer, film actor, stage director, and painter Geoffrey Holder (1930 - 2014 ) danced on Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and his own dancing troupe. In addition to his dancing activities, Holder had a prolific career in film, acting, producing, costume designing, and directing.

Employment

Holder Dance Company

Katherine Dunham School of Dance and Theatre

Metropolitan Opera Ballet

Favorite Color

Blue, Orange, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Geoffrey Holder interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder relates how his father and mother met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder describes his parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder illustrates the importance of arts to a child's learning process

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Geoffrey Holder recounts his high school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Geoffrey Holder remembers how he started painting

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his first dance experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder details the differences in colonial legacy in the Caribbean

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder explains the crucial influence of folklore on art

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder recounts taking over his brother's dance company

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder relates how he broke into the New York theater scene

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder illustrates the value of acquiring knowledge

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder remembers his production of 'The Wiz'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder recalls his Broadway production of 'The Wiz'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder explains the role of the costume designer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder recounts how he lost his stammer

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder reflects on his singing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder shares his philosophy on combatting fear

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Geoffrey Holder expounds on the significance of art and cultural expression

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Geoffrey Holder discusses the value of learning black history before slavery

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Geoffrey Holder remembers inspirational performers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Geoffrey Holder shares insights on parenting

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Geoffrey Holder discusses his recent projects

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Geoffrey Holder discusses his TV and film career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Geoffrey Holder considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Geoffrey Holder recalls his Broadway production of 'The Wiz'
Geoffrey Holder reflects on his singing
Transcript
'The Wiz' was a marvelous experience for me, 'The Wiz,' because it gave me a marvelous opportunity for me to create and direct and use all the knowledge that I know in theater and da, da, da, da, da, because I'm really a painter who directs, who choreographs, and all of the arts are very important. They're all married because when you do a Broadway show, you have to get a choreographer, you have to get a director, you have a costume designer, you have to get a da da da. If you get all of it, then you get one great thought based on one idea. You know what I mean? So 'The Wiz' was that. I always liked that. Then I did 'Timbuktu!,' with Eartha Kitt. Of course I did the costumes, choreography, and directed. So I didn't have to argue with myself because many times the director argues with the choreographer and the choreographer argues with his costume designer and you can't afford to argue with too many, too much money up, and you're arguing on the union time and there will be actors waiting, you know? So 'The Wiz' was great for that, and 'Timbuktu!' and--$And what about singing? Now you have such a deep--$$"My romance doesn't have to have a moon in the skies/My romance doesn't need a blue lagoon standing by/No month of May/No twinkling stars. No hideaway/No soft guitars/My romance doesn't need a castle rising in Spain, nor a dance to the constantly surprising refrain/Wide awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come true/My romance doesn't need a thing but you." It's automatic.$$So when did you start to sing? I mean (inaudible) talent.$$No, it's not a talent. If you could speak you could sing because it take the lyrics. If you have a timbre, which I had, that's one thing that's moving a chord. But growing up hearing music--again, the piano in the house, the music and that--and I write music, you know. I do all that. I compose to the ballads that I do, and then you take the lyrics and find the essence of what that man is trying to say and sing with your heart. I only sing songs that I know I could have a good time with, with the words I sing, so. I don't have to sing like this to prove that I have a note and I could sing opera. But I'd much rather sing and seduce. It's all seduction. So when I get a compliment on my voice, I do that [pats self on head] to myself.