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The Honorable Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr.

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. was born on August 22, 1948 to Fernando, Sr. and Betty Gaitan in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Northeast Junior High School, and graduated from Sumner High School in 1966. He attended Kansas City Kansas Community College and Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. He obtained his B.S. degree in biology and psychology from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas in 1970. Gaitan earned his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1974.

Following law school, Gaitan went to work as in-house counsel for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company from 1974 to 1980. Appointed trial judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, he served from 1980 to 1986. In 1986, Gaitan became the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. Appointed by Governor John Ashcroft, he served from 1986 to 1991. Gaitan was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and was confirmed by the Senate in 1991. From 1997 to 2003, he served as member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference. In 2007, Gaitan became Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and served a seven-year term thorough 2014. He took senior status to Senior Judge in 2014.

Gaitan has served as member of the Eighth Circuit Judicial Council, the Judicial Conference Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee and Committee on the Administration of Bankruptcy System. He also served on the boards of the Kansas City Science Museum, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the De La Salle Alternative School, as chair. Gaitan served as an advisory board member and vice-chair for the Kansas City Crime Commission’s “Second Chance” Foundation, as well as an adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Gaitan received the Alumnus of the Year Award from UMKC, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Pittsburg State University, The William Jewell College Yates Medallion, the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Centurion Leadership Award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Reason to Believe Award from the Kansas City, Kansas School District. He was also inducted into the Missouri Walk of Fame.

Fernando Gaitin, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/9/2019

Last Name

Gaitan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Joe

Schools

Kelling Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Northeast Junior High School

Charles L. Sumner High School

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Donnelly College

Pittsburg State University

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

First Name

Fernando

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GAI04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami Beach

Favorite Quote

None

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

8/22/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. (1948- ) was the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District in 1986. He joined the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 1991, and became Chief Judge in 2007 and Senior Judge in 2014.

Employment

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Favorite Color

Blue

Leonard Graham

Engineering executive Leonard J. Graham was born on December 12, 1949 in Kansas City, Kansas to Leonard A. and Alma James Graham. He attended Kansas City, Kansas public schools and graduated from Southeast High School in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1974, Graham earned his B.A. degree in liberal arts and sciences from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his B.S. degree in civil engineering in 1975, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He went on to obtain his M.A. degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1978.

While in college, Graham worked as an application engineer at Fairbanks Morse Pumps, in Kansas City. Following his undergraduate studies, he went to work as an engineer for the regional office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1976, Graham joined the Kansas City-based consulting engineering firm Schlup Becker & Brennan as an engineer. Named partner in 1984, he worked there for sixteen years. In 1992, Graham joined and purchased the land surveying and civil and structural engineering services firm Taliaferro and Browne, Inc. as co-owner. He has served as president for twenty-seven years, where his role and area of expertise has been general civil engineering and project management including site development, storm water and wastewater engineering, roadway and transportation planning and design.
The firm has been recognized for “engineering excellence” to being “one of the top 25 largest engineering firms in Kansas City”.

From 2001 to 2002, Graham served as Honorary Chairman, Port Authority (now PortKC). In 2004, he received the Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Engineering. Graham served as a member of the Mid-America Regional Council from 2012 to 2013, and board member for The Main Street Corridor Development Corporation from 2012 to 2018. He was the recipient of the Lucille H. Bluford Special Achievement Award from the Kansas City NAACP.

Graham has held memberships in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi, Midwesterners and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was recognized as a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Members at the University of Missouri.

Leonard J. Graham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.124

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/8/2019

Last Name

Graham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

James

Schools

Keiling Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Northeast Junior High School

Southeast High School

University of Missouri, Kansas City

University of Missouri

First Name

Leonard

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GRA20

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe and Africa

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

12/12/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Tacos

Short Description

Engineering executive Leonard J. Graham (1949- ) served as co-owner and president of land surveying and civil and structural engineering services firm Taliaferro and Browne, Inc.

Employment

Fairbanks Morse Pumps

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Schlup Becker and Brennan

Taliaferro and Browne

Favorite Color

Green

Joanne Collins

Political leader and city council member Joanne Collins was born on August 29, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri to William and Mary Frances Mitchell. She attended Attucks Elementary School, Northeast Junior High School, and Sumner High School. Collins attended the University of Kansas from 1953 to 1955, and went on to receive her B.A. degree in political science from Stephens College and her M.A. degree in business administration from Baker University.

After attending the University of Kansas, Collins worked as a postal clerk in Kansas City, Missouri, as a real estate agent for Robert Hughes and Company, and in community outreach at a local bank. During this time, she was an active member in the League of Women Voters and the Missouri and Jackson County Republican committees, and was appointed vice-chair of the Missouri advisory committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In 1974, she was the first African American woman elected to serve on the Kansas City Council. Collins was re-elected to the position in the 1975, 1979, 1983, and 1987 general elections before retiring in 1991. During her tenure as councilwoman, she served as chair of the youth development committee, the community action committee, and the finance and audit committee, and as mayor pro-tem and acting mayor. Collins also worked part-time at United Missouri Bank while on city council.

Collins has volunteered with over fifty organizations. She served on the MOKAN Advisory Board and the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center Advisory Board/KU. She was a member of Salvation Army, Church Women United/KCMO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and a lifelong member of the St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church/KCKS. She was also a member of the Black Women’s Political Congress, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Midwest Christian Counseling Center, and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

Collins received the Harriet Tubman Award from A.M.E. Zion in 1976, the Living Legend Award from the Heartland Women’s Leadership Council in 2010, and the James C. Denneny Spirit Award from the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City in 2013.

Collins has two children, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, two step-children, and six step-grandchildren.

Joanne Collins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.123

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/7/2019

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Marcella

Organizations
Schools

Crispus Attucks Elementary School

Northeast Junior High School

University of Kansas

Baker University

Charles L. Sumner High School

Stephens College

First Name

Joanne

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

COL39

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

8/29/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Political leader and city council member Joanne Collins (1935- ) was the first African American woman elected to the Kansas City council, serving from 1974 to 1991.

Employment

Hull House

Kansas City Post Office

Robert Hughes and Company

Kansas City City Council

United Missouri Bank

Clendenning Medical Library

Kansas City, Missouri City Council

Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company Junior Association

Hall's Crown Center - Retail Sales Division

Wheatley Provident Hospital

The Greater Kansas City Baptist and Community Hospital Association, Inc.

United States Department of Commerce

United States Post Office

Favorite Color

Red

George Murray

Entrepreneur George Murray was born on November 24, 1942 in Kansas City, Kansas to Luretta Fielder and Harold Murray. After graduating from Bonner Springs High School in 1960, Murray joined the Air Force, completing his basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He was discharged in 1964 after completing three years’ service in France. Murray received his B.A. degree in business and accounting from Central Missouri State University in 1970, and his M.B.A. degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) in 1972.

Prior to attending Central Missouri State University, Murray worked at the Kansas City Missouri post office from 1964 to 1967. During his two years at UMKC, he worked part time for the Black Economic Union helping minority businesses develop their accounting systems, marketing strategies, internal controls and management skills. In 1972, Murray joined the accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota as an accountant on the audit team. Three years later, he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Booker T. Washington Foundation where he helped minority local elected officials bring the benefits of cable television franchising to their communities. In 1980, Murray went to work for Curtis McClinton, head of Economic Development Administration's Office of Special Projects in the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he provided loans and loan guarantees to minority businesses including automobile dealerships, restaurant franchises and small manufacturing businesses. Murray was appointed acting assistant secretary for finance for the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1981, controlling over $3 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Murray also founded and operated Majestic Enterprises, a parking management company located in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Murray left the government, sold his parking company and formed G.E. Murray & Associates which became a Midas muffler franchisee in Capitol Heights, Maryland. During the next five years, Murray built two additional franchises, one in Clinton, Maryland and the other in Camp Springs, Maryland. In 1986, Murray founded GE Cellular and began to apply for cellular licenses in selected areas of the country, and was successful in owning two licenses and participating in the ownership of several others. Murray sold the licenses in 1989 and 1990. In the early 1990s, Murray began to purchase buildings alone the H. Street Corridor N.E. in Washington, D.C. He went on to form the real estate development company East Chop, LLC. In 2007, Murray sold his Midas franchises and leased the land and buildings to Midas International.

In 1989, Murray and his wife, Stephanie Phillipps formed the Phillipps-Murray Foundation. The Foundation provides scholarships to minority students in the D.C. metropolitan area. In the 2000s Murray served on the board of City First Bank, which provided credit and financial services to Washington, D.C.'s low and moderate income neighborhoods. Murray was also a member of the National Association of Guardsmen.

George Murray and his wife reside in Washington, D.C. and have two adult children: Sydney Murray and Michael Murray.

George Murray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.089

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/25/2019

Last Name

Murray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Central Missouri

University of Missouri, Kansas City

Bonner Springs High School

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GEO04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Barts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/24/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pasta and Clams

Short Description

Entrepreneur George Murray (1942- ) was an independent investor in cellular service licenses and developed properties on H Street in Washington, D.C.

Employment

G.E. Murray & Associates, Inc.

Gemco

Kansas City Missouri Post Office

Black Economic Union

Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.

Booker T. Washington Foundation

Economic Development Administration's Office of Special Projects

U.S. Department of Commerce

Majestic Enterprises

GE Cellular

Eat Chop, LLC

Favorite Color

Blue

Al McFarlane

Media executive Al McFarlane was born on September 15, 1947 in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia from 1965 to 1966, and the University of Minnesota School of Journalism from 1969 to 1971and graduated from there with his B.A. degree in mass communications.

McFarlane worked as a reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press before moving to General Mills where he worked as the community relations coordinator from 1971 to 1972. He then was hired by the Midwest Public Relations division of Graphic Services as vice president, a position he held from 1973 to 1976. In 1974, McFarlane became editor-in-chief at Insight News, a community newspaper serving African and African American residents of Minnesota. He also established McFarlane Media Interests, Inc., a multimedia marketing and information services firm with newspaper, internet and broadcast properties. McFarlane purchased the rights to Insight News in 1975.

In 1992, McFarlane served as chairman at Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium, a marketing and advertising sales advisory for Minnesota African & African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American newspapers. He also was named president of the Black Publishers Coalition, which managed regional and national advertising contracts for Black newspapers and the member group of print media investor-owners in Chicago, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minnesota. In 1996, he organized ethnic newspaper owners in the formation of the Minnesota Minority Media Coalition.

In 1997, Insight News initiated a series of public policy forums, “Conversations with Al McFarlane.” McFarlane served as host of the series that aired in partnership with the community radio stations KFAI and KMOJ, in Minneapolis. In 2002, McFarlane worked as president and CEO at Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. In 2010, McFarlane won a Federal American Recovery and Restoration Act grant that provided the University of Minnesota a $3.7 million grant to create public computing centers in targeted ethnic and urban communities to increase broadband access and awareness. McFarlane also launched Garth McFarlane & Mudd, LLC, a national media buying and promotion firm in 2011. McFarlane was also elected chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors from 2015 to 2017.

Al and his wife Bobbie P. Ford McFarlane have five adult children.

Al McFarlane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 20, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.124

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/20/2018

Last Name

McFarlane

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Al

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

MCF01

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Cuba, Ghana, Uganda

Favorite Quote

Inform, Instruct, Inspire.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Minnesota

Birth Date

9/15/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Arugula and Tomato

Short Description

Media executive Al McFarlane (1947- ) served as chairman of the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium in 1992 as well as the president of the Black Publishers Coalition. McFarlane was president and CEO, Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. in 2002.

Favorite Color

Yellow, Blue, and Purple

ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Author and journalist ReShonda Tate Billingsley was born on September 7, 1969, in Kansas City, Missouri. Billingsley graduated from Madison High School in Houston, Texas in 1987, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her B.A. degree in broadcast journalism in 1991.

Billingsley began her career in 1993 as an associate producer for KTRK-TV, an ABC-affiliate in Houston, Texas. After a year at KTRK, Billingsley moved to the NBC-affiliate KJAC-TV in Port Arthur, Texas, as an anchor, reporter and talk show host. In 1996, she accepted a position in Houston, Texas as a reporter for KPRC-TV, the NBC-affiliate. From 1997-2003, Billingsley was a reporter and anchor for the NBC-affiliated KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 2003, she returned to Houston as a reporter for KRIV-TV, the Fox-affiliate, where she remained until 2007. Billingsley published her first book in 2001 My Brother’s Keeper, which was picked up by publishing company Simon & Schuster the following year. She became a National Bestselling Author of over forty fiction, non-fiction, and teen fiction books. Billingsley has also served as a reporter and editor for the Houston Defender since 1993. She served as a host and producer for KPFT’s From Cover to Cover literary talk show from 2009 to 2013, and KTSU’s The Sista Xchange from 2011 to 2014. She, and fellow Simon & Schuster author Victoria Christopher Murray, co-founded Brown Girl Books in 2014. Her books The Devil is a Lie and Let the Church Say Amen were adapted into television movies for TV One and BET.

Billingsley has also served as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack & Jill of America, and the Durham Library board. Billingsley received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature in 2012 for her book, Say Amen, Again, and was nominated in 2013 for The Secret She Kept, which was adapted into a television movie for TV One. She was nominated for the award once again in 2015 for Mama’s Boy.

Billingsley and her husband, Dr. Miron Billingsley have three children; Mya, Morgan and Myles.

ReShonda Tate Billingsley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

02/1/2017

Last Name

Billingsley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Tate

Occupation
Schools

James Madison High School

Petersen Elementary School

Retta Brown Elementary School

Audrey H. Lawson Middle School

University of Texas at Austin

First Name

ReShonda

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

BIL05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

Stop Talking About Doing It And Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/7/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Author and journalist ReShonda Tate Billingsley (1969 - ) served as a reporter and news anchor in Texas and Oklahoma, and was a national bestselling author of over forty fiction, nonfiction and teen fiction books.

Employment

Simon and Schuster

Houston Defender

KRIV-TV

KFOR-TV

KPRC-TV

KJAC-TV

National Enquirer

Favorite Color

Pink, Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of ReShonda Tate Billingsley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her mother's early years and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her father's storytelling

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her love of reading

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her father's supper club

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her father's carpentry skills

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her neighborhood in Smackover, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her parents' divorce and moving to Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her favorite middle school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her first published story

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her active imagination

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her church involvements

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her early reputation as a writer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her favorite teacher at James Madison High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls enrolling at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her activities at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her favorite professor at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her early broadcasting experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers graduating from the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls working for the National Enquirer

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers working as a producer at KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls her transition to anchoring for KJAC-TV in Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls worked as a reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas and KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her first book, 'My Brother's Keeper'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley recalls self-publishing 'My Brother's Keeper'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'Let the Church Say Amen'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the controversy around 'Let the Church Say Amen'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes the themes of her books

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her writing career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her books 'Help! I've Turned into My Mother' and 'I Know I've Been Changed'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her books that were published in 2007

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her teen fiction books

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her books, 'The Devil is a Lie' and 'Holy Rollers'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her acting career

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her book, 'The Secret She Kept'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her parenting style

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'A Family Affair'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her current projects

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the film adaptations of her books

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her screenwriting aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her awards and accolades

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley reflects upon her writing career

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her writing process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her favorite writers and books

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about the growth of her writing career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her publishing company, Brown Girls Books

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - ReShonda Tate Billingsley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

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DATitle
ReShonda Tate Billingsley remembers her active imagination
ReShonda Tate Billingsley talks about her book, 'Let the Church Say Amen'
Transcript
Now didn't your mother [Nancy Kilgore Blacknell] tell you at one time that making up a story is a lie unless you write it down and then it's a fiction (laughter)?$$Yes, then it's a story. If it comes out of our mouth (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Then it's a story, right, right.$$--it's a lie, if you write it down.$$If you write it down then it's a story?$$Yes, and so you know and that was one of the things because I would--I remember when my mother, my parents were still together. I would just out of the blue start acting out a story. I had written a story about a little girl that had passed out and we were in Smackover [Arkansas], we were going from Norphlet [Arkansas] to Smackover, and my sister [Tanisha Tate] told my parents, "ReShonda [HistoryMaker ReShonda Tate Billingsley] won't, won't wake up, she won't sit up." And so, my father [Bruce Tate] pulled over to the side of the road, the truck actually broke down, and I would not lift my head. I just--my whole body was limp because that's what I had written in my story and so my parents were freaking out. They ended up flagging down somebody passing by, they took us to the hospital in Smackover to--there was a small like clinic and the doctor, who my grandmother [Tate Billingsley's maternal grandmother, Pearley Hicks Kilgore] cleaned for he examined me. My mother was crying and I'm just, I'm still not lifting up. My eyes are rolled back in the back of my head and Dr. Warren [George W. Warren] was his name and he came in, he examined me and then he said--my mother was like, "What's wrong with her?" And he told me he said, "Sit up gal," and I just kind of sat there, he said, "I said sit up, gal," and I just kind of sat up, and so my parents freaked out. They said, "Why would you do all of that?" And I said, "That's what the little girl did in my story, so I was just trying to carry it out," and my mother ended up having to leave the room before she killed me. My dad was always the, the buffer, but he, and he explained to me, "You know you can't do stuff like that." But I said, "That's how when I wrote it and she did--she never woke up." And so, little stuff that made no sense in my mind and I think I was ten at that time, no, I might have been eight at that time and it made no sense in their minds, but it made perfect sense because that's, that was the story that I wrote.$$So, you had a very active imagination.$$I did.$$And internal life that was--yeah.$$I don't know where it came from, I mean I just out of the blue I would come, and the reason my--the whole--my mother said that it was a lie 'cause I had come in, I said my sister broke her arm outside playing at--we used to gather up the leaves to burn the leaves and so I came in and my mother said, "Well, where's your sister?" I said, "Oh, she's out there. She just broke her arm jumping in the leaves." So, of course my mother ran out there and my sister is just playing in the leaves, and so my mother said, "That's, you know, that's a lie coming out of your mouth." And I said, "Naw I was trying to work through a story in my head," and so it would get me in trouble a lot (laughter) and so, I, I have no idea why I used to--I would, I just don't know why I did stuff like that, but it was just that imagination always at work.$And your next book in 2004 was 'Let the Church Say Amen' [ReShonda Tate Billingsley] which is the foundation of a trilogy, basically?$$Yes.$$Let--it's about two families, right?$$It's about a, about a family and a pastor who gives his all to the church, so much so that he doesn't see how he's neglecting his family and what I wanted to do was show--even though this is a pastor, this could be any man in any job who works so hard for their job that they don't realize how their family needs them just as much, and so that's what I wanted to write about. What ended up happening was because the book had a church title, people started classifying it as Christian fiction, and I caught a lot of flak behind that because it, is not Christian fiction. I did, I had a couple of curse words in it. I have--and you know I don't write gratuitous, I don't write gratuitous sex, I don't write gratuitous cursing. Everything I write has a purpose, but when you pick up a book and you think you're about to read Christian fiction, so I caught a lot of flak, to the point that sometimes I would read the reviews and they would have me in tears, but for every bad review, I would get ten great reviews, but you know how we do, we focus on the bad. But that book is what ended up putting me on the map.$$What were the responses good and bad to your work, I mean what did people like about it?$$A lot of people liked the truth, I mean because what happens is many of us will go to the club Saturday night and then we get up and to the club--go to church on Sunday morning, and so those are the type of characters that I would write about, so people could relate. So, one of the, the biggest things that I got from people and one of the most positive things were, "Your characters are so relatable. This story is relatable." There were people that would say, "I'm struggling, my family is struggling just like the people in this book," so in terms of the positive side, I got that a lot. The negative was the people that said, "I picked this up because I thought it was a Christian fiction book, and you had this character say a bad word, so I'm mortified." There was--I got a couple of, "You're gonna rot in hell" emails, and those are the ones that sent me to, to tears because they would said, "Well, your character is homosexual and he didn't pray hard enough," you know. And you'd wanna reply, "Write your own book," (laughter), but you know you take, try to take the high road, but I would get a lot--I caught the biggest amount of flak because my character didn't pray the gay away, and I think at that time when that was released you saw that was big, a big, the whole DL thing was a big, down low thing was a big thing going around.$$Right, I remember that.$$And people kept saying, "He could just pray this away," and I don't have--I didn't have that in my book. I had this family really struggling with one of their son's dealing with that, and I, let the family deal with it and not say okay, now he's cured at the end of the book. So, I caught that. One lady said she, the book was garbage and she was gonna use it to hold up, her coffee table that had a bad leg. So, I would get that kind of thing all the time. There was one station in Virginia that was going--had me come in for a book signing and they ended up canceling it because they said they read the book after inviting me, and they called the book soft porn, and I was mortified because I don't have any, I don't have anything like that in there, but they said they ended up canceling it and the bookstore was a Christian bookstore started selling the book behind the counter like it was a Hustler magazine, and so the way I found out was a woman contacted me and said, "I don't know who you are, but bought your book because they didn't wanna sell it to the woman in front of me." And so, that kind of, the controversy ended up making more people go and read the book, and then when they read it, they were like okay, this isn't bad, but that's what me on the map.$$Was the controversy had, did it have more to do with having gay characters or, infidelity, or what was the major issue (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) The, the primary one was the gay character, the gay son and then the only, what they considered soft porn there was a line that said, "She lowered her head in his lap," and I moved on, I didn't say anything else, but they considered that soft porn, which was just crazy to me, but that, you know that was their prerogative, but the, the biggest thing was not, not having him pray that gay away, and people kept saying in the black church, "He's a father, but he's a minister, so how is he gonna just accept that his son is gay," and so you know I, I caught that a lot. It just, it was really shocking to me, but that's what created a lot of the controversy.

Al Zollar

Corporate executive Alfred “Al” Zollar was born in 1954 in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended Paseo High School in Kansas City and then graduated from Mills High School in Millbrae, California. He went on to receive his M.A. degree in applied mathematics from the University of California at San Diego in 1976.

Zollar joined IBM Corporation in 1977 as a systems engineer trainee in the company’s San Francisco office. After working in systems engineering for ten years, he was transferred to IBM’s White Plains, New York headquarters in 1986 as a member of the corporate staff. Zollar was promoted to product manager for IBM's relational database software DB2 in 1989; and was made laboratory director at the IBM Software Group laboratory in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1993. In 1996, IBM bought software maker Tivoli and appointed Zollar senior vice president of development. He was promoted again to general manager of IBM's Network Computing Software Division in 1998; and, in 2000, was named president and chief executive officer of IBM’s Lotus Development Corporation. Three years later, Zollar left Lotus to become the general manager of iSeries, IBM's range of servers aimed at small and medium-sized companies. He then served as general manager of IBM Tivoli Software, a global, multi-billion dollar business within IBM's software division, from 2004 until 2011. Zollar retired from IBM in January of 2011 and became an executive partner of the Siris Capital Group in 2014.

Zollar has served on the boards of the Chubb Corporation and PSEG Incorporated. He is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and a lifetime member of the National Society of Black Engineers. He was ranked #15 on Fortune magazine’s 2002 list of Most Powerful Black Executives; named one of the 50 most important African Americans in technology by US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine in 2004; one of the 100 most powerful executives in corporate America by Black Enterprise magazine in 2009; and one of fifty distinguished alumni of the University of California at San Diego in 2011. In addition, Zollar was a Harvard University Fellow in the 2011 cohort of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, and was issued a U.S. patent for “Trust and Identity in Secure Calendar Sharing Collaboration,” in 2012.

Alfred “Al” Zollar was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 9, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.114

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/9/2014 |and| 5/10/2014

5/9/2014

5/10/2014

Last Name

Zollar

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Paseo High School

Mills High School

University of California, San Diego

First Name

Al

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

ZOL03

State

Missouri

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/18/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Corporate executive Al Zollar (1954 - ) was, executive partner with the Siris Capital Group. He worked at IBM for over thirty years in several leadership positions, including as president and CEO of IBM’s Lotus Development Corporation and general manager of IBM Tivoli Software.

Employment

IBM

Siris Capital Group

Sheila Brooks

Broadcast journalist and entrepreneur Sheila Dean Brooks, Ph.D. was born on June 24, 1956 in Kansas City, Missouri to Gussie Mae Dean Smith and Stanley Benjamin Smith. She received her B.A. degree in communications from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1978. Brooks paid for her final two years of college while serving in the Advanced Placement Program of the United States Navy Reserves from 1976 to 1978. She went on to receive both her M.A. degree in political science in 2003, and her Ph.D. degree in communication, culture and media studies in 2015, from Howard University.

In 1978, Brooks joined KCTS-TV in Seattle, Washington as a reporter and producer, where she worked until 1981. From 1981 to 1983, she worked for KREM-TV in Spokane, Washington, as a reporter and anchor. Brooks was then hired as a news director and anchor for KAMU-TV/FM in College Station, Texas, working until 1985, when she accepted a management trainee position at the Dallas Morning News in Dallas, Texas. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1988, and worked as a senior producer at Vanita Productions in Baltimore, Maryland. From 1989 to 1990, Brooks served as executive producer for special projects and the documentary unit at WTTG-TV Channel 5 in Washington, D.C. She founded SRB Communications in 1990, a full-service advertising and marketing agency specializing in multicultural markets, serving as founder, president and CEO.

Brooks has served as a board trustee on the Federal City Council in Washington, D.C., on the boards of ColorComm and Morgan State University’s Global School of Journalism and Communication. She also served as chair of The Presidents’ RoundTable, a board member of the Greater Baltimore Committee and on the boards the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council and the Center for Women’s Business Research.

Brooks has won more than 150 entrepreneurial, marketing and journalism awards. She was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Science Silver Circle, an Emmy Award Hall of Fame by the National Capital/Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She was the first National Association of Black Journalists’ member to receive the President’s Award three times.

Her other honors include the 2016 Top MBE Award, 2015 Advocate of the Year Award, and 2012 and 1995 Supplier of the Year Awards from the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council; the 2014 Women in Business Champion from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; the 2011 Pat Tobin Entrepreneurial Award from the National Association of Black Journalists; the 2011 Shining Star Award from the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women; the 2011 Entrepreneurial Trailblazer Award from Howard University’s School of Communications; the 2009 Black Rose Entrepreneur Award from New York State Black Women Enterprises; the 2005 Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprising Women Magazine; and the 2002 and 1998 Women in Business Advocate of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, among others.

Dr. Sheila Brooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 30, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.043

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/30/2014 |and| 11/2/2017

1/30/2014

11/2/2017

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dean

Schools

University of Washington

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sheila

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

BRO58

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Stop selling what you have, sell what your client wants.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/24/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Broadcast journalist and entrepreneur Sheila Brooks (1956 - ) was the founder, president and CEO of SRB Communications. She received 47 national Telly Awards; a national Gracie Award; three Emmy Awards; and the inaugural Pat Tobin Entrepreneurial Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

SRB Communications

KCTS-TV

KREM-TV

KAMU-TV/FM

Dallas Morning News

Vanita Productions

WTTG-TV

Favorite Color

Purple

Teri Agins

Journalist Teri Agins was born on November 14, 1953 in Kansas City, Kansas. Agins graduated with her B.A. degree in English and political science from Wellesley College in 1975. She received her M.A. degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

In the 1970s, Agins was hired as an intern at the Kansas City Star and the Boston Globe. She also worked as a writer for Fairchild Publications, now Fairchild Fashion Media, in New York City in the 1970s. Agins then moved to Brazil for five years with her former husband, and worked as a freelance writer for the New York Times and Time Magazine. In 1984, she was hired as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where she wrote a small business column. Then, in 1989, Agins was assigned to develop the fashion beat for the Wall Street Journal, becoming one of the reporters at the paper to cover fashion from a business perspective. She was made senior special writer in 1995. Agins retired from her post at the Wall Street Journal in 2009, but continued to write freelance for the newspaper, including authoring the popular fashion column “Ask Teri.” She has also written for other publications, including Vogue, Town & Country, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Essence.

In 1999, Agins published her first book, The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Industry Forever. Her second book, published in 2014, examines the rise of fast fashion, the power of online shopping, the influence of social media and the rise of celebrity designers in the fashion and retail clothing industry.

Agins has received several awards, including the Atrium Award from the University of Georgia College of Journalism and the Atlanta Apparel Mart in 1990 and 1996; the Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York in 1991 and 2002; and the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism award in 1996 and 2000. In 2004, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded her with the Eugenia Sheppard Award for Excellence in Fashion Journalism.

Teri Agins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 16, 2013.

Accession Number

A2014.009

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2014

Last Name

Agins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Lynne

Occupation
Schools

Wellesley College

University of Missouri

Quindaro Elementary School

Northwest Middle School

Wyandotte High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Teri

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

AGI01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cascais, Portugal; Italy

Favorite Quote

The Hardest Person To Be Is The Person You Say You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/14/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Journalist Teri Agins (1953 - ) was the author of The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Industry Forever and worked as a fashion reporter for The Wall Street Journal for over twenty years.

Employment

Kansas City Star

Boston Globe

Fairchild Publications, Chicago Bureau of NY Publication

Wall Street Journal

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Teri Agins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Teri Agins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Teri Agins describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Teri Agins talks about her parents' aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Teri Agins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Teri Agins describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Teri Agins talks about her sister

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Teri Agins describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Teri Agins remembers her neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Teri Agins describes her mother's attitudes about race

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Teri Agins talks about the Faith Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Teri Agins remembers her neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Teri Agins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Teri Agins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Teri Agins remembers summer vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Teri Agins talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Teri Agins talks about her relationship with her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Teri Agins recalls her early interest in fashion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Teri Agins talks about her exposure to the media

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Teri Agins recalls how she became interested in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Teri Agins remembers learning to sew

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Teri Agins describes her parents' rules about dating

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Teri Agins recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Teri Agins talks about her involvement in Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Teri Agins remembers her parents' social clubs

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Teri Agins remembers her debutante ball

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Teri Agins recalls her decision to attend Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Teri Agins remembers her arrival on campus at Wellesley College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Teri Agins talks about her transition to Wellesley College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Teri Agins remembers her social life at Wellesley College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Teri Agins talks about her experiences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Teri Agins describes her experiences while studying in Peru

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Teri Agins remembers working for the Daily News Record in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Teri Agins talks about her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Teri Agins reflects upon her ex-husband's experiences at Citibank, N.A.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Teri Agins remembers living in Brazil

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Teri Agins recalls joining the staff of The Wall Street Journal

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Teri Agins remembers learning to write for The Wall Street Journal

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Teri Agins talks about the black journalists at The Wall Street Journal

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Teri Agins recalls how she came to develop a fashion beat for The Wall Street Journal

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Teri Agins remembers her covering retail for The Wall Street Journal

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Teri Agins remembers gaining recognition as a fashion industry reporter

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Teri Agins remembers an interview with Yves St. Laurent

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Teri Agins remembers the rise of casual dress codes in the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Teri Agins describes the changes in fashion during the late 20th century, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Teri Agins describes the changes in fashion during the late 20th century, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Teri Agins remembers Zoran Ladicorbic's fashion marketing innovations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Teri Agins talks about her early access to the fashion community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Teri Agins describes the accounting scandal at Leslie Faye Company, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Teri Agins talks about her coverage of the Leslie Faye Company, Inc. accounting scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Teri Agins remembers building a reputation as a fashion retail journalist

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Teri Agins talks about approaching fashion as a business journalist

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Teri Agins recalls her decision to write 'The End of Fashion'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Teri Agins remembers signing the contract for 'The End of Fashion'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Teri Agins talks about the process of writing 'The End of Fashion'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Teri Agins remembers the critical acclaim for 'The End of Fashion'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Teri Agins describes the content of 'The End of Fashion,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Teri Agins describes the content of 'The End of Fashion,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Teri Agins reflects upon the changes in the fashion industry during the 2000s

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Teri Agins talks about her book, 'Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Teri Agins talks about her journalistic integrity

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Teri Agins remembers Alan Millstein

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Teri Agins talks about the designers she covered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Teri Agins talks about Armani and Daymond John

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Teri Agins reflects upon the role of fashion influencers

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Teri Agins talks about her award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Teri Agins talks about the community of fashion journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Teri Agins reflects upon her position within fashion journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Teri Agins reflects upon her contributions to fashion journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Teri Agins reflects upon her relationship to race

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Teri Agins reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Teri Agins reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Teri Agins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Teri Agins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American Community, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Teri Agins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Teri Agins describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Teri Agins remembers learning to write for The Wall Street Journal
Teri Agins describes the accounting scandal at Leslie Faye Company, Inc.
Transcript
What--who are--what are the backgrounds of the people there? Are they journalism, are there business or economics (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Journalism. No, no we had some people who were actually like you know Ph.D.'s in economics and people like economists, but most of the people were just people who were reporters. Because The Wall Street Journal is basically you're just covering everything--the news through the prism of business. So now at that time it was more public companies and we had the Washington [D.C.] bureau to cover policy but for the most part you are in New York [New York] so you cover--we'd write about companies, write about public companies and marketing and unions and all that stuff that goes with that, manufacturing. And, you know, all of it is really quite interesting and the paper--but let me tell you there were a lot of people who were green like this and they--not just black people, everybody. So they also wanted women because they did, they did, they were trying to get more women to come to the paper. But I really liked the paper and I liked the fact it was the biggest newspaper in the country. It was really prestigious and it was you know you called and said you were from The Wall Street Journal people are like, "Oh," but then they'd say like, "You said you were from The Journal and you are asking these stupid questions?" I remember like I would go and interview somebody and I would write down what they'd say and then I'd come back and I couldn't write the story and I'm like now what the hell did they say because I didn't understand it. I remember Jim Hyatt [James Hyatt], this editor said, "Teri [HistoryMaker Teri Agins] call them back. You've got to call them back. Don't get them off the phone until you understand what's going on." But it was very intimidating.$$So were you doing small business at the beginning or you were doing general--$$But they tell you, it was highly supervised.$$Right so when then they--when you weren't doing well what were--was this in your review I mean they're telling you--$$No it wasn't that, it was just that I couldn't--you know The Journal was all about doing stories--okay. If a company made some announcement that day, you would cover that; that would be a news story, you knew what to do. That was pretty kind of like--there was no enterprise, there was no creativity. The creative stories on the front page was what we called leaders. Those were stories that everybody wanted to do but you have to come up with those ideas. You had write to story proposals, you had to figure out what the story was and then kind of figure out the angle. And that--it's almost like a magazine thing, that's hard to do. I wasn't getting on page one, I couldn't come up with ideas, I couldn't--it was just like I you know. So they kept me like just doing little menial stuff. So I didn't get bylines, I mean it was hard and it's frustrating because you're with all these fast people and you want to kind of be up with the crowd, you know.$$Right.$$But I--but then of course, then you are bound and determined, I'm going to learn, I'm going to figure it out.$And plus its business, all the, the--I mean that's, that's where the people with money and people, you know, who could make things happen. But what I'm asking is, when does this start to happen? That's what you to need to tell us.$$It started to happen I'd say like late--mid, late '90s [1990s]. When I did--I took book leave in 1990--oops I'm sorry. I took book leave in 1997 but it had already started to happen before then. I'd say like '94 [1994]. Okay the Leslie Fay [Leslie Fay Company, Inc.] accounting scandal that was another big story that I broke.$$Can you talk about that?$$Okay the Leslie Fay accounting scandal is a very interesting story. Okay Leslie Fay is one of the largest companies on 7th Avenue. It started--this was like second generation started in 1940s and the guy who runs it [John Pomerantz], his father John Pomerantz [sic. Fred Pomerantz] had started the company. And Leslie Fay at the end of the year during their audit, one of the controllers [Donald Kenia] turns and says is that, "The books are cooked here." He just basically turns himself in and says, "We've cooked the books here," and they are like what? So one guy--their back office was in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Anyway they had to restate their last quarterly earnings. Okay, so once they made this disclosure and you wonder when somebody makes disclosure like that then you are wondering what's going on. So that was the whole thing trying to find out the myth of this, of why they made this mistake. And what had happened was that a lot of companies when they have--when they do their reconciling with their books okay they ship this much manufacturing. They will ship like a shipment of, I'm just making this up, a hundred pieces and they get paid for like eighty some or so. Anyway they pad in the invoices from the future--from the next quarter, they pad those in to help them make their numbers for Wall Street. In other words, let me just break this down again. Erase that, let's start over. Companies on Wall Street, you give analysts an approximation of how much you think you're going earn. You know, we're going to earn ten dollars a share this quarter. And so they based that on, based on a lot of different things, on what they've sold in the past, how things are selling and everything else. And they--you give Wall Street guidance that's so--Wall Street is supposed--because Wall Street when you have these big stock fluctuations--price fluctuations that happens because something happened that people did not anticipate. And that often is a red flag that there is trouble. In the case of this, this company did not--they were not going to make their earnings targets. And so they were trying to figure out how to do it. So they had receivables for the next quarter. So what they did is they took some of those receivables to pad the numbers. So in other words they weren't really--all they were doing was taking from one box and moving it to another but they needed at that point to be able to make their targets. And they will say, "That's okay when we get through we'll just put it back." In other words, "We'll do it just for the reporting period and then we'll put it back." Well what happened is they'd been doing that. It's like nibble nibble, gouge. They started doing it every little quarter because they weren't making their numbers. So they would borrow from this other quarter and move into the next. Well then this thing--they found out when they re-did their earnings that's when they found out $81 million of net income the company had reported did not exist. Because they had just kept padding these numbers and it went back--we traced it back to almost like about four or five year, they had been doing this every quarter. And they had been doing it in Wilkes-Barre in that back office and they were doing it you know away from the prying eyes in Manhattan [New York] what was going on. And I--when the company--this controller announced that, "We cooked the books," it was clear that he didn't do it by himself. It came from someone high and I solved the accounting scandal. But it ended up being the chief financial officer [Paul F. Polishan] and he was the one who I talked about with the money and the woman's tampon machine that he was counting to make sure--I mean he was a real penny pincher and he was a real micromanager, because he was the one who was entering all these things that were bad in the books. They had all these controllers in Wilkes-Barre who didn't work on computers, they worked with pencil and paper and that was done on purpose because that way they could erase things. They didn't leave a paper trail. So this was something that they had orchestrated.

Jacqulyn Shropshire

Civic leader and non-profit executive Jacqulyn Shropshire was born on September 15, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri. She was the first member of her family to attend college, and graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1957 with her B.S. degree in business and economics.

Upon graduation, Shropshire was hired by Trans World Airlines, where she became the company’s first African American employee in an administrative position. Shropshire then worked as a teacher in the Kansas City public school system until 1961, when she married Thomas B. Shropshire and moved to New York. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in education from Hunter College, and was hired as a teacher in the New York City public school system. Then, in 1968, Shropshire moved with her husband to Lagos, Nigeria, where she helped organize the first American Women’s Club, and also founded Fancy That, a newsletter for women.

In 1972, Shropshire’s family moved from Nigeria to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she began thirty years of service with the Milwaukee Urban League, first as a volunteer, and then as executive director. Shropshire also founded and served as president of Momentum Unlimited of Milwaukee, a firm specializing in management development, public relations and special event planning. In 2003, she organized and became board chairman of the Las Vegas Urban League, and, in 2012, she helped establish The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Shropshire has served on the boards of the Milwaukee Urban League, University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee); Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (YWCA); The Next Door Foundation; American Red Cross; National Endowment for the Arts Advisory Committee; Milwaukee Historical Society; Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau; African World Festival; Inner City Arts Council; The Curative Workshop of Milwaukee; the Joint Center of Political Studies in Washington, D.C.; and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. She also organized the first African American debutante cotillion with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and was the first African American female corporate chairman of Wisconsin for the United Negro College Fund.

Shropshire has received numerous awards for her civic work, including the Caucus of African Americans Trailblazer Award; the Alpha Kappa Alpha Outstanding Contributions to the Black Family Award; the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boulé) Judge William “Turk” Thompson Legacy Award; the Las Vegas–Clark County Black History Visionary Award; and the E-Vibe Phenomenal Woman Award. She was also named “A Woman of Excellence” by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation. In 2001, the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee passed a resolution naming a Jacqulyn C. Shropshire Family Literacy Center in Memphis, Tennessee at the Goodwill International School for Boys and Girls.

Jacqulyn Shropshire was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.349

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/25/2013

Last Name

Shropshire

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Lincoln University

Hunter College

Lincoln High School

Garrison School

First Name

Jacqulyn

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

SHR01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Lets Get It On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/15/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Civic leader and non-profit executive Jacqulyn Shropshire (1935 - ) served as executive director of the Milwaukee Urban League. In Las Vegas, Nevada she founded the Las Vegas Urban League; and was a founding board member of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Employment

Trans World Airlines

Kansas City Public School System

New York City Public School System

Milwaukee Urban League

Fancy That

Momentum Unlimited of Milwaukee

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jacqulyn Shropshire's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her maternal family's relation to Strom Thurmond, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers her neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire lists her aunts and brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers visiting Cedartown, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers her church in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her family's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls her early exposure to the Urban League of Kansas City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls being hired at Trans World Airlines in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shrosphire remembers her courtship with her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Lagos, Nigeria, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire reflects upon her experiences in Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers the death of Whitney Young

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her husband's career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Lagos, Nigeria, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls joining the Milwaukee Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her work with the Milwaukee Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Debutante Cotillion

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her husband's relationship with Virgis Colbert

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers the founding of the African World Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her children's education

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls the founding of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her donation to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her children

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her philanthropy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her hopes and concerns for the black community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire reflects upon her and her husband's legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her maternal family's relation to Strom Thurmond, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about Cedartown, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers meeting her husband
Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls the founding of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada
Transcript
You taught for maybe several years. Now how did you meet Tom [Thomas B. Shropshire]?$$Well Tom was traveling with Ebony Fashion Fair at the time with Miller Brewing Company and they always had a dress in the fair. I don't know you know, they always sponsored someone who had one of these beautiful dresses on. I had--I was teaching school [at Booker T. Washington School, Kansas City, Missouri], but Tom was ten years ahead of me and his classmate was also a friend of mine; we all taught together at the same school. So when they came in to do the f- Ebony Fashion Fair, I can't think of my girlfriend's name now, but she passed, she said, "Listen we have a friend coming in for the Fashion Fair. Would you like to go out with us?" So I said, "Oh, no, I gotta go home, work to do," and stuff like that. They said, "Oh, Jacquie [HistoryMaker Jacqulyn Shropshire] you need to get out. Come on, go to the Fashion Fair." So I went to the Fashion Fair, I saw Tom and just right away, you know our personalities just clicked. And we, Tom was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Just right away?$$Well you know Tom had the kind of personality that you loved him or you hated him; there was nothing in between. But Tom had su- so much fun and then afterward we all went out to dinner and what have you. Now the other two girls are married. I'm not, so they said, "Well you know you and Tom should go to dinner or you and Tom should get to know each other," because they knew each other very well. So I say, "Oh yeah, okay." So I didn't think any more about it. Then the next thing I knew that Tom was calling and said that they would be in town and would I, would I have dinner with him. So I said okay, all right, I'll do that; and then I didn't hear from Tom for a long time. And at the time he was in Brooklyn [New York], you know, they were what they call paper hangers at that time, putting signs up. And you know, we just kind of communicated back and forth and back and forth; and then finally he was, he was going to I think Africa, or going someplace, Africa, so he sent my engagement ring through the mail. He asked me if I would marry him, and I said yes. And he sent my ring through the mail (laughter). I mean that, that's Tom.$Can you talk about your work with the Smith Center [Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, Nevada] 'cause I was very impre- you know, 'cause this is what you're starting to talk about that, you know, having Las Vegas [Nevada] establish a life outside of the Strip [Las Vegas Strip]?$$Um-hm.$$So tell me what, what the Smith Center is? Because--?$$Well when I first moved to Las Vegas, you know, I started the Urban League [Las Vegas Urban League] and we did all of that. And then once everything got started everything was fine, so finally Tommy [Thomas B. Shropshire, Jr.] or Teri [Terilyn Shropshire]--somebody said, "Give my mom something to do." Be sure she has something to do, so I knew that my mother [Bernice Thurman Goodwin] was a light opera singer and she never had the time or the place to sing, so--because Tommy's client was MGM, one of the guys who was involved with thinking about the Smith Center said okay we'll find something for her to do. So they came and they sat over here, and they said, "We want you to be on the board at the Smith Center and we're just starting it out, and we have--we don't have anything--we don't even have a plan yet. We're starting from scratch, but we want you to be involved." So I said okay, you know, I didn't have anything else to do. So we met constantly just talking about the Smith Center. Just thinking about what it's gonna look like and how it's gonna be built. I was with them from the architectural committee all the way through putting the last brick, and as a matter of fact, I have a picture of the last nail that went in over there. It gave me something to do. It gave me an outlet that I felt that we could do a lot of things that we didn't have to do on the Strip, that we could have entertainment, you know, that does not have to be inside of a casino; and there were a lot of things that we could do. So I was the only black and there were only two females on the architectural committee. So we, we have followed all the way through, from beginning to the end. And I'm very proud of that. That is one of the things that--a legacy that I'm very proud of.$$So, the chairman was Don Snyder [Donald Snyder]--$$Yeah.$$--right? And then there was Keith Boman, and Kim Sinatra, and Edward [ph.], and Jacobs [Gary Jacobs] and--so a whole host of people.$$They were on, they were on the architectural committee.$$They were on the architectural committee.$$Um-hm.$$I see, they weren't on the board?$$Not at that time.$$Okay.$$They're on the board now.$$Okay. I see. And then this name comes from--it's named in honor of Fred [Fred Smith] and Mary Smith, right?$$Um-hm.$$So you had to figure out as a group how to raise money, you know, where the money was gonna come from. In fact, I understand that you donated yourself a large sum of money, right?$$Yeah, we all agreed--and we knew going in how much money it was gonna cost. The people on the board--a lot of the people came in after it was built. But we had an architectural committee and we found it and we went out and we solicited people we knew who had money and was willing to put up enough for us build a cultural center and they did--I mean they came from every place. At first, we had--I think I was number sixteen if you see the wall, I'm number sixteen--that grew it into what it is. And now, you know, it speaks for itself.