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

city

The Honorable Jerome Kearney

Judge Jerome Kearney was born on May 30, 1956 in Gould, Arkansas to Thomas James Kearney and Ethel Curry Kearney. Kearney has eighteen siblings, including presidential appointee Janis F. Kearney. He graduated from Western Reserve Academy, a private college preparatory school in Hudson, Ohio, in 1974. He then received his B.A. degree in political science from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1978, where he was founding member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Kearney earned his J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1981.

While in law school, Kearney completed internships in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office and the Davidson County Public Defender Office. Upon graduating, he began his legal career working in private practice with his older siblings in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He then worked as a trial attorney in the Pulaski County public defender’s office from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, Kearney was hired as a trial lawyer in the Arkansas Attorney General office, where he worked in the criminal appeals and litigation sections. From 1987 to 1990, Kearney worked as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor/Solicitors office in Dallas, Texas, handling cases in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. He then joined the federal public defender’s office in Oklahoma City, where he served as an assistant federal defender. In 1995, Kearney began working as a senior litigator in the U.S. Federal Public Defenders’ office in Little Rock under Jennifer Horan, who promoted him to first assistant in 2002. Kearney was the first African American to assume the role. In 2010, Kearney was appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas and continued to serve in that role.

In 2006, Kearney received the National Outstanding Assistant Defender Award from the National Federal Defender Conference. Kearney served as a member and/or chairman of the Federal Practice Committee between 1997 and 2008, and was a member of the Henry Woods Inn of Courts legal practice society from 2003 to 2007.

Kearney is married to Nellie Faye Mays Kearney. He has four children: Bertrand, Sparkell, Jerome Jr., and Dylan.

Judge Jerome Kearney was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.043

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/13/2018

Last Name

Kearney

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Gould High School

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University Law School

First Name

Jerome

Birth City, State, Country

Gould

HM ID

KEA02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arkansas

Birth Date

5/30/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Little Rock

Favorite Food

Vanilla Ice Cream

Short Description

Judge Jerome Kearney (1956 - ) was the first African American to serve as an assistant federal public defender in the Arkansas Federal Public Defender Office. He went on to serve as a magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas from 2010 to 2018.

Employment

Federal Public Defender's Office, Arkansas

Federal Public Defender, Oklahoma

U.S. Department of Labor

Arkansas Attorney General's Office

Pulaski County Public Defender's Office

Favorite Color

Green

Ozell Sutton

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton was born on December 13, 1925, on a plantation in southeast Arkansas in the city of Gould. Sutton‘s mother was a widow who raised eight children: six boys who worked as cotton sharecroppers, and two girls who cooked and did laundry. Despite grueling hours and backbreaking work on the cotton plantation, Sutton managed to graduate from Dunbar High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1944, Sutton became one the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. After surviving bloody conflicts from the Solomon Islands to Saipan, Sutton enrolled in Philander Smith College where he received his B.S. degree in 1950. Sutton became the first black reporter for the white-owned publication Arkansas Democrat; he also served as one of the escorts for the Little Rock Nine in 1957. In 1961, Sutton became director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations where he was part of the group that began the Community Relations Service (CRS). Sutton was given responsibility for the civil rights and opportunity groups that became known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1964.

Sutton’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement included his role as a field representative for the Community Relations Service. Sutton was at the Lorraine Hotel in the room next door to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Sutton then became Special Assistant to the late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas. In 1972, Sutton directed the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service and was responsible for the department’s racial and ethnic conflict prevention and resolution efforts.

In 1990, Sutton served on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 1994, Sutton received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Department of Justice. Sutton was a former national president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and continued to be a civil rights activist.

Sutton Passed away on December 19, 2015.

Accession Number

A2007.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/19/2007 |and| 9/10/2007

Last Name

Sutton

Maker Category
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Gould Colored School

Philander Smith College

First Name

Ozell

Birth City, State, Country

Gould

HM ID

SUT01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

What Is Required Of Thee Old Man? But To Do Justly. But To Love Mercy And But To Walk On Land.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Seafood

Death Date

12/19/2015

Short Description

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton (1925 - 2015 ) served as an escort for the" Little Rock Nine," director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, as a field representative on the Community Relations Service, and a director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.

Employment

Arkansas Democrat

Winthrop Rockefeller

Arkansas Council on Human Relations

Community Relations Service

Arkansas State Governor's Office

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1019,7:2965,80:3433,85:20313,266:20621,271:27243,405:42978,511:55380,626:66510,766:66860,772:103370,1196:114906,1338:121308,1412:133680,1621:142800,1777:150752,1867:151782,1885:172560,2059:173429,2073:178380,2151:184106,2227:184598,2235:185500,2249:187140,2275:200065,2402:228228,2833:245572,3049:270110,3230:279150,3307:282570,3365:283020,3371:285555,3389:292390,3438:293852,3459:303970,3598:317910,3780$0,0:231,4:693,12:15866,236:16307,245:19383,278:19936,286:33700,543:42672,625:43008,630:44940,657:45948,673:49980,878:64510,998:135460,1813:159357,2088:160314,2129:160662,2134:161445,2145:176806,2359:178226,2385:188120,2514:202449,2723:202725,2735:203484,2768:208892,2833:212802,2882:236680,3253
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton talks about sharecropping

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton describes what he knows about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers his family's employer

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's dispute with the plantation owner

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Gould Colored School in Gould, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his education at Gould Colored School

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls his siblings' migration to St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton remembers reciting poetry at Gould Colored School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's values and her influence

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers sustaining an injury while slaughtering hogs

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls living with his mother in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his work experience during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls being drafted to the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton describes the segregated U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls attending Philander Smith College with Daisy Bates

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his activities at Philander Smith College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls writing for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton describes his marriage to Joanna Freeman Sutton

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers working as Winthrop Rockefeller's butler

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls working at the Little Rock Housing Authority

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers returning to work for Winthrop Rockefeller

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls directing the Arkansas Council on Human Relations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton remembers attending the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls the deaths of Medgar Evers and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton recalls how the Civil Rights Act changed in the U.S. Congress

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton recalls his involvement in the Community Relations Service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls the lack of funds for the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Winthrop Rockefeller's generosity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton remembers the second Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton recalls being hired by the Community Relations Service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating discrimination in New Orleans' French Quarter

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the New Orleans mayor about discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls investigating the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls accompanying Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Birmingham jail

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls his strategic use of his job title

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes the aftermath of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers assisting demonstration organizer Bayard Rustin

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting a judge against his employer's wishes

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers serving as Winthrop Rockefeller's special assistant

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls appointing African Americans to the Arkansas government

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls becoming a Community Relations Service regional director

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls orchestrating an escape from the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls violence between African Americans and the Ku Klux Klan in Decatur, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers requesting protection from Governor George Wallace

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting a mediation in Decatur, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton remembers protecting the civil rights of the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton recalls an encounter with black militants in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the Ku Klux Klan in Wrightsville, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton recalls mediating a conflict for the Atlanta Police Department

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton describes the resolution of the Atlanta police hiring conflict

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls Hosea Williams' march in Forsyth County, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton recalls securing protection for the march in Forsyth County

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton describes the history of the Community Relations Service

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton remembers mediating a conflict at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton talks about his public speaking engagements

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton describes his involvement in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton recalls organizing a conference on the issue of missing children

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ozell Sutton recalls founding the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ozell Sutton describes his fundraising with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ozell Sutton remembers organizing a 100 Black Men, Inc. national conference

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ozell Sutton talks about his books

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ozell Sutton describes his wife and children

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Ozell Sutton shares a message for future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Ozell Sutton remembers his mother's encouragement

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ozell Sutton narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine
Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots
Transcript
So the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in so many cases got involved in the civil rights struggle and of course I was with them when the kids entered Central High School [Central High School] in Little Rock [Arkansas].$$In Central High School.$$Yeah, in Little Rock.$$In Little Rock, okay.$$Yeah.$$Tell me about that.$$Well, when they went to Central High School--first place we had to recruit the kids and convince 'em to try to go to Central High School. Me and a young, a young white professor, named Dr. Georg Iggers [Georg G. Iggers], that's German. Georg was a German Jew and during World War II [WWII] a lot of the German Jews escaping Hitler [Adolf Hitler] came to this country and quite a few of 'em started to teach at black colleges [HBCUs]. Georg and his wife Wilma [Wilhelmina Iggers] started teaching at Philander Smith College [Little Rock, Arkansas]. Wilma taught German, I had German under Wilma (laughter). I learned never have a foreign language on a native (laughter), they're rough. That Wilma was rough, I tell you. You had to get that German right (laughter), but anyway.$$You were recruiting the kids to go to--$$We went house to house, family to family to try to talk the parents and the kids out of--most especially those youngsters who lived in the Central High School district. After all, Central High School was such close proximity to the black community. A whole lot of blacks walked right by Central High School to Dunbar High School [Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Dunbar Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas] to go to, to go to high school, so Central High School was not something out of sight, it was right, right adjacent to the black community and at first we had thirty-five or forty students primed to go, but as time went by (laughter) they dropped off, and when the time came we had nine, nine to enroll in Central High School.$$So tell me about that?$$And when they enrolled two of us was posted upon the steps of Central High School as decoys. The mob assumed that the kids were gonna come that way 'cause we standing up there on top of the steps, but instead the kids went in the side door and when the mob found out that they were in school and we were decoys they took off after us and I started running. At first I, I was running but they caught my buddy and they knocked him down and they had him down on the ground and I went back to help him get up and that's the way the beat the hell out of both of us, but we finally escaped. You ever seen anybody run a belt line? Do you know what a belt line is?$$No I don't.$$Do you know what a belt line is sir?$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): I've heard of it but I need to have you explain it.$$Well, when I was started at college, freshman had to go through it and the seniors would like up with them belts and you'd have to run through that line as they whale you, that was part of your induction into the school, but this was not a belt line this was a stick and brick (laughter)--we were running through that crowd and they were whaling on us but we finally got away and that's how I was involved, but not only that, Georg, the young white professor and I organized at Philander Smith classes to help the young people with their grades, 'cause there was certain teachers at Central High School who were not teaching the young people, they were just there right, and so we had classes, evening classes and Saturday classes over at Philander Smith to help them with their biology and to help them with their math and to help them with those subjects with which they were having difficulty, so I helped organize behind that at Central--at Philander Smith College and that's how we assisted the young people in getting through high school.$Now tell me about Rodney King, what did you do out there in California?$$Same thing.$$Oh, same thing.$$I was called in to--sent there by the director of the CRS [Community Relations Service] and I said, "Well why are you sending me out there we have a regional director for the Western Region and he's right in San Francisco [California]. Why are you sending me into his territory?" He said, "Ozell [HistoryMaker Ozell Sutton] nobody knows as much about--in CRS--knows as much about street conflict as you do." I said, "You're calling me a street one, right," (laughter) and we laughed about that. He said, "No but you've more experience in dealing with street conflict than any regional director we have,"--we have ten regions--"and we want you to go." I went out to California, one young man was--two young men--they're two of us and the second night and two of us and we were looking for somewhere we could eat 'cause they'd burned up most of the places down in the area and then we came to this place and that other guy who was with me went on in to the restaurant and I was trying to find a newspaper and I was out. So two young men came up to me and, and I turned around real quickly and they said, "Did we scare you old man?" Well, you know I'm no baby so that doesn't insult me--they called me an old man. I said, "You scared me, not hardly." You know you--one of the things about dealing with conflict you can't show fear. Showing fear is like dealing with a dog, you can't show fear so I said, "You scared me? No, not hardly." He said, "Well you turned around so fast." I said, "I turned around to the ready." He said, "Ready for what?" I said, "Whatever you got on your mind," (laughter) you know, "Scared to death, right? Don't even have a pencil." He said, "Well suppose we decide to take what you have?" I said, "Well if you think I'm gonna stand here and let you do that, well you do that," and so one of the kids said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "Let me tell you young people something." I go on the offense, that's my style. "Last night you was running around burning stuff and running into places and running with TVs on your shoulder and all that, and boy you embarrassed the police. You made them look so bad, but don't think you're gonna get away with that tonight. They are ready for you, they gonna blow you away. I want you to know that. If you've got any sense at all get off these streets." And he said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "You get off these streets 'cause they're ready for you tonight and they gonna blow you away," and one of 'em had a little old Saturday night special. "We can take care of ourselves." I said, "You fool," said, "they got tanks over in the next street over there. You see that helicopter up there." I said, "What scares me, not you but they got both of us in their sight, and in their effort to contain you they might hit me." I said, "And you're here talking to me. So what I'm afraid of is up there, not you." And I said, "Let me tell you one thing, yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil 'cause I'm the baddest SOB in the valley," (laughter), and they had to laugh (laughter), and that way I got rid of them.

Janis F. Kearney

Born in Gould, Arkansas, Janis Kearney was one of eighteen children of parents Ethel V. Kearney and James Kearney. After graduating from Gould High School in 1971, Kearney attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, earning a B.A. in journalism in 1976. She continued on with her education while working, earning thirty hours towards a M.P.A. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

After earning her B.A. degree, Kearney was hired by the State of Arkansas in 1978, where she spent three years as a program manager for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program, and another six years as the director of information for the national headquarters of the Migrant Student Records Transfer System. Leaving government work, Kearney purchased the Arkansas State Press newspaper from Daisey Bates in 1987. She published the weekly paper for five years before joining the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992, where she served as director of minority media outreach. The following year, Kearney joined President Bill Clinton’s transition team. She began with the White House Media Affairs Office before being appointed as the director of public affairs and communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration, where she worked until 1995. That year, Kearney became the first presidential diarist in U.S. history, chronicling President Clinton’s day-to-day life. She remained in this capacity until President Clinton left office. Kearney came under scrutiny during the Starr Committee proceedings when her diary and testimony were subpoenaed. No wrongdoing was found.

After President Clinton left office, Kearney was named a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute in 2001, where she began work on a book about President Clinton entitled Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton-From Hope to Harlem. Kearney and her husband, former White House director of presidential personnel Bob Nash, are no strangers to the issues of race that still plague America. They were racially profiled by police following a car-jacking of a vehicle similar to theirs while still employed at the White House. Kearney served as the Chancellor’s Lecturer at the City Colleges of Chicago and continued her DuBois Institute writing project, as well as her work on Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir until moving with her husband and son to Arkansas.

Kearney was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.262

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/7/2003 |and| 12/3/2003

Last Name

Kearney

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Schools

Iowa State University

Gould High School

University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Janis

Birth City, State, Country

Gould

HM ID

KEA01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Works from home, willing to be flexible with her schedule for speaking arrangements.

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arkansas

Birth Date

9/29/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Little Rock

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Short Description

Presidential diarist and presidential appointee Janis F. Kearney (1953 - ) was President Clinton's personal diarist.

Employment

Arkansas State Press

Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign

U.S. Small Business Administration

Favorite Color

Sapphire Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:17212,229:20892,278:21536,286:27340,325:29824,381:30238,388:30859,399:47065,628:47713,637:53221,722:62131,882:79230,1100:81185,1150:99236,1398:100528,1421:102428,1469:104024,1502:104328,1507:119565,1733:119890,1740:122425,1791:125480,1855:131460,1971:131850,1979:142240,2104:143202,2122:147346,2192:147642,2197:150972,2256:151490,2293:153192,2313:166736,2517:175715,2622:199367,2910:200608,2936:200900,2941:201776,2955:212710,3080:230320,3339$0,0:6722,42:10770,123:19694,234:36056,368:37472,382:48867,504:50085,516:51651,537:58922,617:62738,688:64898,715:74260,833:79884,910:87560,1024:93469,1050:93907,1057:96170,1092:96462,1097:106463,1258:117556,1383:117848,1388:119381,1421:145160,1727:149922,1782:150419,1790:152478,1834:153898,1854:155744,1882:156099,1890:158726,1951:163909,2075:173529,2165:175063,2196:175417,2203:176892,2245:178898,2277:179311,2286:180137,2309:181494,2336:189795,2464:194331,2533:196680,2561:197166,2568:203120,2618:215022,2784:215561,2792:230645,2951:231295,2963:235195,3057:237275,3101:240915,3177:242085,3199:243125,3231:254620,3342:254924,3347:255912,3369:256520,3384:256824,3389:273984,3575:276371,3605:277680,3628:280067,3669:281299,3689:286075,3720:292315,3847:292640,3853:295500,3920:296475,3939:296735,3944:297125,3951:301382,3963:301650,4027:311940,4151:318230,4201
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janis Kearney's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about working in the fields with her siblings as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney describes her father, James Kearney

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janis Kearney talks about her childhood aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janis Kearney describes her childhood community and church

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janis Kearney describes her grade school years

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Janis Kearney describes her grade school experiences in Gould, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about her experience at Gould High School before and after integration

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about race relations at Gould High School after integration

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her high school activities at Gould High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her experience at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her experience at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about her first marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about working in CETA while a graduate student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes the CETA program

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about her work at the Migrant Education Program

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney explains why she joined Daisy Bates at the Arkansas State Press

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her mentor, Daisy Bates

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her father's political initiative and his admiration for Daisy Bates

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about purchasing and running the Arkansas State Press

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about the challenge of running a local paper while raising her son

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes her efforts to improve the Arkansas State Press

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about meeting Bill Clinton and becoming the Director of Minority Media Outreach in the White House

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her role as the Director of Minority Media Outreach during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes working on her first presidential campaign for Bill Clinton

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes a memorable moment from Bill Clinton's presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about her experience at the Democratic National Convention in 1992

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about challenges during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about her interactions with HistoryMaker Avis LaVelle and Dee Dee Myers as a press officer in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney describes different roles in a presidential campaign and how she got hired

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes the transition period before President Bill Clinton entered the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney talks about working on Bill Clinton's inaugural committee

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney shares her personal experience of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney describes moving into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney describes her early days in the Media Affairs Office

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney talks about working with Jeff Eller during her first year at the Media Affairs Office

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes her transition to the U.S. Small Business Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about her husband, HistoryMaker Bob Nash, who also worked for the White House and in federal government

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney talks about background checks on presidential appointees

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her work at the U.S. Small Business Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney talks about her role as President Bill Clinton's personal diarist

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney remembers when President Bill Clinton bestowed Congressional Medals of Honor upon the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about African Americans appointed by President Bill Clinton

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney talks about the impact of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Janis Kearney talks about traveling with President Clinton on his 1998 trip to Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about moving to Chicago where she focused on writing

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney describes the significant events in her life that are chronicled in her memoir

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her family, her values, and her volunteer work

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her hopes and regrets

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney narrates her photographs, pt.1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney narrates her photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Janis Kearney describes her mentor, Daisy Bates
Janis Kearney talks about her role as President Bill Clinton's personal diarist
Transcript
For those of us who may not know Daisy Bates except as a name, an icon if you will, The Civil Rights Movement, would you talk to us about Daisy Bates and her influence and impact on you?$$Oh, God. She was, she was definitely my mentor. The first time I met Daily Bates, I was sixteen years old. And, the way I met her was that I was a junior in high school and I heard that she needed someone to work for her. And, she didn't have the newspaper at this time. She was running a self-help program in a little town called Mitchellville. And, my father drove me down to her office, and I was gonna interview for her help, her clerical help. And, I went in and I saw this woman who I thought was gorgeous and, you know, little petite woman that had such a presence, wonderful presence. And, she said, "Okay, can I help you?" And, I told her I was there to interview for her job that I heard she had. She said, "Okay." She had a little typewriter, manual typewriter and she asked me to type. She gave me a sheet a paper and asked me to type. And, gave me a book, I don't know, a dictionary or something, it wasn't (laughter)--it was something that she just wanted me to type for a few minutes. And, I did. And, then she came back and said, "Okay, it time." So, I gave her the sheet of paper and it was filled with mistakes. And, she said, "Well, you don't fit. You don't fit. But, you should come back. You take typing. You go, go back to school and you take typing, and come back to me next summer." And, I didn't come back to her next summer, but I never forgot that. And, my father had always told us, you know, about the role she had played in the, in the 1957 integration crisis [Little Rock Crisis], so I knew what a great woman she was. So, I never forgot that. At least, I had that opportunity to meet her. So, when I find out that she had open--reopened the newspaper, I had kinda kept up with her, what she was doing and all. But, she was, she's a great woman. She passed a couple of years ago. But, she--I think a lot of people considered her our Civil Rights activist; Little Rocks' and Arkansas' Civil Rights activist. She, she sacrificed a lot to try to make things different for Arkansas. And, you know, there is no telling what she could have done, or what she could have been if she had giving up on Arkansas, but she didn't. And, we have, you know, we're all very, very, grateful to her.$$What did your father [James Kearney] tell you specifically? What do you recall him telling you about Mrs. Bates, and the time in which she was so active?$$Basically, about her, he told us that she was one of the women who, she was a woman--and back in those days my father was definitely a southern Baptist. So, he thought it was great that this woman had taken such a strong stance, and had played such an important role in the whole integration crisis. My father was very outspoken when it came to race relations and integration. So, he, he did talk about the 1957 integration crisis for a long time. He thought it was great the, you know, that we were able to do that in Arkansas, because he always thought we were backwards when it came to the races. We just didn't move forward as fast as we should have. So, he was very proud to have someone like Daisy Bates in Arkansas who made a difference.$What is the difference between a personal diarist to a president and the White House diarist?$$The difference is the White House diarist is a diarist for whoever comes in and everyone that comes in. And, she's more a diarist for the President, not the President, but the White House rather than a President. My job was being diarist to President [Bill] Clinton. To chronicle his presidency. To document what transpired during his presidency. I was brought on for that specific role.$$And, had there ever been a presidential diarist before?$$No. No, this was the first time that a President had hired someone to come on as a personal diarist.$$And, what does a personal diarist do?$$Basically, my job entailed chronicling on a day-to-day basis. Whatever happened in the presidency? What were the issues? What kinds of things were going on? What kinds of meetings were he having? How, I mean, who was coming in to meet with him and what were the issues they were discussing. And, I was also given the leeway to do anecdotal documentation. Things that nobody else would know except that there were somebody sitting there when he--when Chelsea [Clinton] walked in and they danced around the Oval Office. Or, he was complaining about his, you know, something had happened and, you know, it has nothing to do with the presidency. But, this was Bill Clinton saying something that might be of interest to somebody later on.$$Bill Clinton, and then Bill Clinton as the President.$$Yes.$$Well, then does that mean that you--well, how does that work? Literally, how does it work for a personal presidential diarist? Do you get to sit in on all the meetings?$$No. I got to sit in on a great number of meetings. The only meetings that I didn't, that I did not sit in on, on a regular basis, was the Foreign Affairs meetings. I could go into those meetings and I was there up until a certain time and then I left. What they call the top of the meeting. I was there until the top of the meeting was over and then I left.$$And, what is the top of the meeting, describe that?$$That's the press. That's the whole piece that goes to the press. That's when the President is greeting his--the people that are coming in to talk about the, the International issues. And, the press is there and they ask him questions about, you know, what does he think about this issue, and then they ask the visitor, if it's the king of, you know, Egypt or whoever. So, I was there for that and then I'd leave. And, then they really talk about some really top, top secret things that I wouldn't be--$$Cleared for--$$--privy to.$$What about the special events? The social events at the White House?$$I was able to go to most of those. Yes.$$And, those are working sessions or were you there--$$Working sessions. I mean, I was there to observe. I was there in my role. But, I could enjoy them as well. But, I would, when I'd go back either that night or the next day, I would document what happened.$$And, how long were you in that position?$$Until he left. And, actually until after he left. I was in his Transition Office for the six months after, after he left Office.$$And, the Transition Office was Washington [D.C.] or New York?$$Washington.$$Okay, for six months?$$Um-hum.$$Being involved as a personal diarist of a President, what does it feel like? And, something that had never been before, something that this President created?$$It was, it was a very special feeling and, you know, everybody let me know that it was a very special job. I felt very proud that he had chosen me to be his diarist. Because it had to be a person that he felt comfortable with. A person that he felt very confident in. Yeah so, I felt really good about that, and I took my job very seriously.$$Do you know how he came to that decision? I mean, was there a short list of one, or a short list of three or five?$$I have no idea. I know I was not the only person that was on that list. But, I don't know how many people was on the list.$$What did your family say?$$They couldn't believe it. I mean, nobody had heard of the role first of all. After they asked, what is it? They were all very proud, very proud.