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The Honorable Harriet Elam-Thomas

Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas was born on September 15, 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts to Robert and Blanche Elam. She attended William P. Boardman Elementary School and graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School for Girls in Boston, Massachusetts. Elam-Thomas went on to receive her B.S. degree in international business in 1963 from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and her M.A. degree in public diplomacy in 1981 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

From 1963 to 1965, Elam-Thomas worked as a secretary at the U.S. Department of Army in Washington, D.C.; and later in 1965, she worked at the American embassy in Paris, France, where she served for three years. Elam-Thomas returned to the U.S. in 1968 and secured a position in the White House as special assistant for appointments under President Richard Nixon. In 1971, she resigned from her position in the Nixon administration and was hired at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as a Foreign Service officer in Washington, D.C. In 1975, she was sent to Dakar, Senegal. From 1977 to 1979, Elam-Thomas served as a Foreign Service officer in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In 1981, she was selected to serve in Athens, Greece as a cultural affairs officer. Within one year, she was sent to Athens where she worked from 1983 to 1987. Elam-Thomas transitioned to the position of desk officer in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. In 1990, she was assigned to Turkey as the U.S. branch public affairs officer, then Elam-Thomas returned to the U.S. in 1994 and was accepted into the U.S. State Department’s Senior Seminar, a year-long intensive program on foreign policy and diplomacy. In 1995, she was named public affairs officer in Brussels, Belgium where she served for two years. She then became a counselor at the United States Information Agency (USIA) and oversaw the merger with the U.S. Department of State. In 1999, Elam-Thomas was selected by President Bill Clinton to become U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, and served from 2000 to 2003. She later became the first ambassador-in-residence at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. In 2005, Elam-Thomas retired from U.S. Foreign Service at the rank of career minister.

Elam-Thomas has received multiple awards and honors for her work. She received the Superior and Meritorious Honor Award for Informational and Cultural Diplomacy and the Greek and Turkish Governments’ Award for improved U.S. cultural relations. She also holds honorary doctorate degrees in public service from Simmons College and the University of Central Florida, an honorary doctorate of law from Richmond College and The American University in London, and an honorary doctorate in public administration from Suffolk University.

Elam-Thomas is married to Wilfred Thomas.

Harriet Elam-Thomas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.177

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/8/2018

Last Name

Elam-Thomas

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Harriet

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

ELA04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Touch Someone So Lightly That You Do Not Leave A Trace.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

9/15/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas (1941 - ) was U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and was the first ambassador-in-residence at the University of Central Florida.

Favorite Color

Yellow

The Honorable Edward Perkins

Ambassador Edward Perkins was born on June 8, 1928 in Sterlington, Louisiana to Edward Joseph Perkins Sr. and Tiny Estella Noble Holmes. Raised by his maternal grandparents, Nathan Noble and Sarah Stovall, in Louisiana, Perkins moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, at the age of fourteen to attend high school. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 1947, where he graduated from Jefferson High School. In 1947, Perkins joined the U.S. army and was stationed in Korea and Japan. Perkins served four years with Marine Corps before accepting a position as Chief of Personnel at the Army and Air Force Exchange in Taipei, Taiwan. In 1967, Perkins earned his B.A. degree from the University of Maryland in Taipei, Taiwan, accepted an internship at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and commenced a tour of duty with the U.S. Operations Mission (USOM) in Thailand. Perkins earned his Ph.D. degree in public administration from the University of Southern California in 1978.

In 1972, Perkins accepted his first position with the U.S. Foreign Service, serving as a personnel officer in the office of the Director General, where he and other black officers worked to create more opportunities for minorities and women in the Foreign Service. In 1975, Perkins worked as a management analysis officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Management Operations, and was part of Henry Kissinger’s Priorities Policy Group (PPG). In 1978, Perkins accepted a position as counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana. Three years later, Perkins became deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. Perkins returned to Washington D.C. to work as director of the Office of West Africa and, in 1985, Perkins was appointed as ambassador to Liberia. In 1986, Perkins became the first black ambassador assigned to the Republic of South Africa, where he was a vocal opponent of apartheid. In 1989, Perkins became the director general of the Foreign Service. He was appointed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nation in 1992 and, in 1993, Perkins accepted a position as ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia. After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1996, Perkins accepted a position at the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the executive director of the International Programs Center.

In 1983, Perkins received the Superior Honor Award from the United States Department of State. He earned the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 1987 and the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1989. He earned the Distinguished Honor Award from the United States Department of State in 1992. He is also a recipient of Kappa Alpha Psi’s Laurel Wreath Award.

Perkins and his wife, Lucy Cheng-mei Liu, have two daughters, Katherine and Sarah.

Edward Perkins was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on November 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/1/2017

3/21/2018

Last Name

Perkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Organizations
Schools

Merrill High School

University of Maryland

University of Southern California

First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Sterlington

HM ID

PER07

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Canada

Favorite Quote

Asian Philosophy Has An Answer.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/8/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Catfish

Short Description

Ambassador Edward Perkins (1928 - ) served as the ambassador of Liberia, South Africa, Australia, and the United Nations.

Employment

University of Oklahoma

U.S. Ambassador to Australia

U.S. Foreign Service

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa

Favorite Color

Red

The Honorable Susan E. Rice

Ambassador and national security advisor Susan E. Rice was born on November 17, 1964 in Washington, D.C. to Lois Dickson Rice and Emmett J. Rice. Rice graduated from the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. in 1982, and received her B.A. degree in history from Stanford University in Stanford, California in 1986. She went on to earn her M.Phil. degree in 1988 and Ph.D. degree in 1990 in international relations, from the New College of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

From 1991 to 1993, Rice worked as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. In 1993, she was appointed director of International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council in President Bill Clinton’s White House, and later continued to serve on the National Security Council as special assistant to the President and senior director for African Affairs. In 1997, Rice moved to the State Department, serving as assistant secretary of State for African Affairs. From 2002 to 2008, Rice was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and became a senior foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Once elected, President Obama nominated Rice to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In 2013, she was appointed national security advisor for President Obama’s second term. After leaving government in 2017, Rice became a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University’s School of International Service and a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She also became a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

Rice served on numerous boards, including as an independent director of the Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA), Common Sense Media, the Beauvoir School in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She also served on the board of Netflix and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in addition to being a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, American Academy of Diplomacy, and Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2000, Rice was the co-recipient of the White House’s Sam Nelson Drew Memorial Award. In 2017, French President Francois Hollande presented Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

Rice and her husband, Ian Cameron, have two children.

Susan E. Rice was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 30, 2017 and December 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.191

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/30/2017

12/4/2017

Last Name

Rice

Maker Category
Schools
National Cathedral School
Stanford University
University of Oxford
First Name

Susan

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

RIC23

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anguila

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/17/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Ambassador and national security advisor Susan Rice (1964 - ) served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President Bill Clinton and was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President Barack Obama.

Employment
White House
United Nations
Brookings Institution
U.S. Department of State
McKinsey & Company, Inc.
Favorite Color

Purple

The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr.

Bank executive and United States ambassador Dwight L. Bush, Sr. was born on February 4, 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri to Charlie and Jessie Bush. He was raised in East St. Louis, Illinois, and attended Clark Junior High School and East St. Louis High School. He graduated from Cornell University in 1979 with his B.A. degree in government and economics.

Upon graduation, Bush joined Chase Manhattan Bank as a trainee in the management development program, and went on to become the bank’s first African American managing director. His tenure at Chase included international corporate banking assignments in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, and corporate finance and project finance in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1994, he was named vice president of corporate development and chief credit officer of Sallie Mae, where he served until 1997. From 1998 to 2006, Bush worked as a principal at Stuart Mill Capital, LLC; vice president and chief financial officer at SatoTravel Holdings, Inc.; and vice chairman at Enhanced Capital Partners, LLC.

In 2002, Bush founded D.L. Bush & Associates, a financial advisory and private investment firm located in Washington, D.C., where he serves as managing partner and president. Bush then helped establish Urban Trust Bank in 2004, and went on to serve as president and CEO of Urban Trust Bank, Urban Trust Holdings and president of UTB Education Finance, LLC from 2006 until 2008. On August 1, 2013, Bush was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco; and, in March of 2014, the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment.

Bush was appointed a director of EntreMed Inc. in 2004, and was named vice chairman in 2010. He has also served on the boards of the GAVI Alliance, Cornell University, The Vaccine Fund, ICBC Broadcast Holdings Inc., The Georgetown Day School, and The National Symphony Orchestra. He served on the boards of directors of Urban Trust Bank Holdings, UTB Education Finance, LLC, U.S. Education Finance, LLC, and Urban Cableworks. In addition, Bush was a director of JER Investors Trust Inc., and a member of The White House Fellows Selection Committee.

Bush is married to Antoinette Cook Bush, executive vice president and global head of government affairs at News Corp. They have two children: Dwight Bush, Jr. and Jacqueline Bush.

Dwight Bush was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 22, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.116

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/22/2014

Last Name

Bush

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lamar

Schools

Cornell University

East St. Louis High School

Clark Junior High School

Park Elementary School

First Name

Dwight

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

BUS04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

Pride Breeds Determination And Determination Breeds Pride.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/4/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Bank executive and united states ambassador The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. (1957 - ) was the first African American managing director at Chase Manhattan Bank. He served as vice president of corporate development at Sallie Mae, president and CEO of the Urban Trust Bank, and president of D.L. Bush & Associates. He was named U.S. Ambassador to Morocco in 2014.

Employment

Department of State

D. L. Bush & Associates

Urban Trust Bank

Stuart Mill Capital

Sato Travel

SLM Corp

Chase Manhattan Bank

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657396">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657397">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657398">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his mother's family background and personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657399">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his father's career and personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657400">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657401">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657402">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657403">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his early home life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657404">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes the prominent figures from East St. Louis, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657405">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his neighborhood in East St. Louis, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657406">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657407">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his parents' views on parenting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657408">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his parents' religious faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657409">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his parents' work ethic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657410">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his early personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657411">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his early schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657412">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his early mentors and career aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657413">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls his decision to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657414">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657415">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his mentors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657416">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about the impact of the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657417">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his early work experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657418">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes the diverse student body at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657419">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his initial challenges at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657420">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls his early career aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657421">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his work experiences during college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657422">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his notable classmates at Cornell University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657423">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls entering the training program at Chase Manhattan Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657424">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes the training program at Chase Manhattan Bank, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657425">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers his college graduation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657426">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes the training program at Chase Manhattan Bank, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657427">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his first full time position at Chase Manhattan Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657428">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls working in Puerto Rico for Chase Manhattan Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657429">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls his colleagues in the banking industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657430">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. reflects upon his initial success at Chase Manhattan Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657431">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers meeting his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657432">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. shares a story from his honeymoon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657433">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls commuting between New York City and Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657434">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls resigning from Chase Manhattan Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657435">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about joining the SLM Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657436">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls founding Stuart Mill Capital, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657437">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about the acquisition of Sato Travel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657438">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his work in corporate restructuring</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657439">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls his efforts to acquire a bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657440">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. remembers acquiring Urban Trust Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657441">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about the urban banking market</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657442">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. reflects upon the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657443">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls joining the board of Cornell University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657444">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about the higher education system in the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657445">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his relationship with his stepfather-in-law, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657446">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls joining the board of Xavier University of Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657447">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes Norman Francis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657448">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his appointment as ambassador to Morocco, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657449">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his appointment as ambassador to Morocco, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657450">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657451">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his extended family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657452">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657453">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. reflects upon his generation's legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657454">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. reflects upon his marriage to Antoinette Cook Bush</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/657455">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. reflects upon his legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. recalls his efforts to acquire a bank
The Honorable Dwight Bush, Sr. talks about his appointment as ambassador to Morocco, pt. 2
Transcript
So you have these two--I was just trying to remember okay--these two things back to back that have tremendous up- upside, well realized upside potential, I mean tremendous, tenfold (laughter) or more. And so, after that what do you, what do you do after that because that's, that's--$$So, after Sato [Sato Travel; CWTSato Travel], I always have been interested in owning my own bank, because I felt that urban consumers still weren't fully participating in the banking system and therefore they weren't creating the sort of wealth that other families were creating, and so at that point, I have the capacity to start to think about acquiring a bank and so I left Stuart Mill Capital [Stuart Mill Capital, Inc., Falls Church, Virginia] in two thousand- the latter in 2003, yeah, and I spent my time on my advisory work [D.L. Bush & Associates, LLC, Washington, D.C.] and also trying to identify a bank to purchase and Independence Federal in Washington, D.C. was in financial trouble and I was interested in buying Independence Federal, and as I was looking at it myself, it's announced that Bob Johnson [Robert L. Johnson] is interested in buying Independence Federal Savings and Loan [Independence Federal Savings and Association; Independence Federal Savings Bank, Washington, D.C.], and I had known Bob for probably about eight years at that point, both through my wife, Toni's [Antoinette Cook Bush] engagement as his lawyer on certain transactions, and socially around Washington, D.C., and so I called Bob and I said, "Bob, we should talk because I'm interested in buying Independence." And he said, "That's great. We should talk, because I don't know what we would do with it, but I do think that this bank has historically served the needs of African Americans in this community and if we can get a hold of it, we can use that as a platform to support this community more broadly," and so we got together and we talked about buying Independence, and for a variety of reasons, we could not find a way to acquire it, but in the process of considering Independence, we concluded that there was a space for a nationwide African American controlled financial institution that would be looking to meet the core financial service needs of urban based consumers, whether in Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] or Detroit [Michigan] or L.A. [Los Angeles, California], because people need access to credit, people need the process of having access to credit which is having things like bank accounts, et cetera. We know that homeowners, if you own a home, your net worth in America is about three hundred thousand dollars. If you don't, your net worth is about thirty-five thousand dollars in America and a disproportionate part of our population was not making that wealth creation effort.$So the appointment is until the president [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] serves, right? At the end of the term. How long is the appointment?$$So, your, your appointment is--two things happen. You serve at the pleasure of the president and typically what you would do is you will serve until the end of the term. If the party in power continues in power, you remain in your position until either you choose to leave or the new administration chooses to replace you. If there's a change in the party of the president, you submit your resignation on Inauguration Day, and they determine whether they want to keep you around or not, and, again there are situations in which you are asked to continue until they find a replacement, or you could, you stay longer. But, what I am prepared to do is to be in this position for the next three and a half years and do all I can to make sure that our relationship with the Moroccans is to our mutual benefit and that the mission and the vision and the values of our president are manifested in my behaviors every day.$$It's a country with a lot of, you know, very rich history, topography--$$Yeah.$$--there is a lot going on in neighboring countries.$$Yes, yeah. So, many people ask me the question, "Well did you choose Morocco?" And, the answer is unequivocally yes. It was my first choice and it was my first choice for several reasons. Number one, I wanted to be in a place where I could have an impact and where there are important things, significant things going on. So, Morocco has been, Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States in 1777. Morocco is the furthest point west that the Roman Empire went. When you think of history and the trade routes, there were two trade routes from Africa to Europe, either through Carthage, Tunisia, or through Morocco. Morocco has a progressive Islamic government. When the Jews left Spain to come to Morocco, it was a large, one of the largest groups of Jewish people any place. In fact, Morocco represents the third largest point of movement of Jewish people to Israel after Poland and Russia. Morocco was the third. It has a history of inclusiveness unlike, and progressiveness, that you don't see in many neighboring countries. It is a beautiful country with a beautiful history with beautiful people and I'm looking forward to serving them.$$That's wonderful. Oh, congratulations on that (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.

The Honorable Theodore Britton, Jr.

Ambassador Theodore R. Britton Jr. was born on October 17, 1925 in North Augusta, South Carolina to Bessie B. and Theodore R. Britton, Sr. His family relocated to New York City in 1936. Britton left high school in January of 1944 to join the U. S. Marine Corps where he served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After being discharged, he enrolled at New York University until the beginning of the Korean War. Britton was then called to active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps where he served until May of 1951. He then resumed his studies at New York University and graduated with his B.A. degree in banking and finance in February of 1952.

Britton worked as a mortgage officer and head of the mortgage department at Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association from 1955 to 1964. From there, he became president of the American Baptist Convention and a leader in the non-profit housing field. Britton was then invited to join the federal government by Harry Finger, who was head of Research and Technology in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Britton closed his offices in New York and Pennsylvania and decided to join HUD in 1971 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology. As the HUD official managing international research, his volunteer program for the U. S. Information Agency attracted favorable attention. Britton was nominated by President Gerald R. Ford to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and Grenada and as the U. S. Special Representative to Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent on November 17, 1974. Britton was elected as vice-chair of the Group on Urban Affairs at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1971, and later as president. His resignation as Ambassador was accepted by President Jimmy Carter in May of 1977.

Upon retirement, Britton was honored by the City Councils of Newark, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. He presented with the Congressional Gold Medal on June 30, 2012 in recognition of his services with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Montford Point Marines. Britton is a Life Member of the Second Marine Division, Montford Point Marine Association, and the Association for Intelligence Officers. On March 2, 2013, he joined the Marine Corps Commandant and other officials as a U. S. Navy ship was christened to honor the Montford Point Marines. Britton has served as Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Albania since 2006. He is also the Honorary Chairman of Kristal University in Tirana, Albania where her was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree in 2009.

Britton was married in 1950 to the late Ruth B. A. Baker of Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently married to Vernell Elizabeth Stewart of Jacksonville, Florida.

Ambassador Theodore R. Britton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/9/2013

Last Name

Britton

Middle Name

R.

Schools

High School of Commerce

New York University

American Savings & Loan Institute

Kristal University

Harlem Evening High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Theodore

Birth City, State, Country

Augusta

HM ID

BRI06

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Equal opportunity means equal responsibility.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/17/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chili

Short Description

Sergeant and foreign ambassador The Honorable Theodore Britton, Jr. (1925 - ) served as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and Grenada and as the U. S. Special Representative to Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. On June 30, 2012, Britton was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his services with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Montford Point Marines.

Employment

National Housing Ministries

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Delete

United States Department of State

Amer Baptist Conv

United Mutual Life Insurance

Carver Federal Savings & Loan

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33909">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Theodore R. Britton, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33910">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33911">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33912">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33913">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. gives historical background on the education system in the South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33914">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33915">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. explains how his parents met and which parent's personality he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33916">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33917">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33918">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33919">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his experience in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33920">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33921">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his high school teacher, Mr. L. Walter Stevens</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33922">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his jobs in high school and the civil rights activist, Dr. Channing Tobias</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33923">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his high school courses and wanting to visit France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33924">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his grades in high school and the 1940s labor movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33925">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his plans following his high school graduation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33926">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about joining the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33927">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his experience after arrival at Montford Point in North Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33928">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his boot camp training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33929">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the treatment of blacks in the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33930">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about drill instructors in the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33931">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about graduating from boot camp and whites' reaction to black soldiers fighting overseas in World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33932">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his experience on the U.S. Navy Ship, "Sea Perch" and the Solomon Islands</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33933">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his tour of duty in Guadalcanal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33934">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his experiences while at Camp Paukukalo in Hawaii</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33935">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about returning to the United States in 1946</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33936">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his involvement with the Society for the Study of Negro History in New York, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33937">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his involvement with the Society for the Study of Negro History in New York, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33938">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his involvement in the Greater Harlem Christian Youth Council</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33939">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. explains why he pursued a career in banking and finance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33940">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his attendance at New York University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33941">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about African American singer, Paul Robeson, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33942">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. speaks about his friend John L. Loeb, Jr., pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33943">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. speaks about his friend John L. Loeb, Jr., pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33944">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about African American singer, Paul Robeson, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33945">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33946">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the political climate of the early 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33947">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his involvement in Republican politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33948">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his career at Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33949">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. shares highlights from his career at Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33950">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. shares highlights from his career at Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33951">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his work at the American Baptist Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33952">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his recognition by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33953">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about being invited to speak for before the U.S. Information Agency and his nomination for ambassador</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33954">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. remembers learning about the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33955">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. reminisces about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33956">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about important African American leaders of the late 1960s and minority business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33957">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses African American civil rights leader, James Forman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33958">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about former President Richard Nixon's black capitalism initiative</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33959">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. speaks about African American diplomats, Horace Dawson and Edward R. Dudley, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33960">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. speaks about African American diplomats, Horace Dawson and Edward R. Dudley, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33961">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. explains how former Senator Strom Thurmond helped him become an ambassador</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33962">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his ambassadorship to Barbados and Grenada, and meeting Queen Elizabeth II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33963">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about a special moment he had with former President Richard Nixon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33964">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about columnist, Jack Anderson and entertainer, Danny Kaye</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33965">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. gives highlights from his career a as chief admission ambassador to Barbados and Grenada, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33966">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. gives highlights from his career a as chief admission Ambassador to Barbados and Grenada, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33967">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his experience as president of the United Mutual Life Insurance Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33968">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his position as head of international research for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33969">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. explains how photos he took of a police incident in London were used in a trial, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33970">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. explains how photos he took of a police incident in London were used in a trial, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33971">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. recalls his testimony before the Development Policy in the Caribbean Committee in 1988</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33972">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. recounts his international work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33973">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. recounts his international work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33974">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about the Association of Black American Ambassadors, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33975">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about the Association of Black American Ambassadors, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33976">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his professional activities during Bill Clinton's presidency and being Counsel General to Albania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33977">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. reflects upon his professional legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33978">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about having a temperament for diplomacy and taking advantage of educational opportunities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33979">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community and shares his regrets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33980">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33981">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses his diplomatic work with Albania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33982">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. discusses People to People International and the perks of being an ambassador</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33983">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/33984">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York City
Theodore R. Britton, Jr. describes the treatment of blacks in the U.S. Marine Corps
Transcript
All right, well, let's see. Well, what about New York City? What are your memories of New York City? You were ten [years old] when you moved there.$$Oh, boy, New York City was something, was a real trip. First of all, by the time I reached New York City, although I was 10 years old, I was already in the seventh grade. Whether I was smart or whether they liked me or whatever you--I had been promoted on, you know, quite regularly. Anyway, I, my mother enrolled me at a school in Harlem, P.S. 157. And they determined that children from the South weren't as smart as children from the North. So they put me back to fourth grade, three years, three years. Well, in those days, you didn't challenge authority, especially, if you came from the South. And that'll be something I tough on, later on about Marine Corp life. My parents accepted it, and what, as it was, almost three months later, my father lost his job because the recession came in 1936. Work was stopped on the subway, and people were fired. So he lost his job, and it became necessary to find a new place to live. We had a cousin who owned a little store down in 62nd Street in Manhattan on the lower, on the West side of Manhattan, about mid-Manhattan. She found a job there in the next building for a janitor. And my father took the janitor's job, and we moved down there. This was an entirely different thing. Now, for the first time in my life I was in an integrated type of setting. There were whites around in the block and near the block and so forth. Plus, the schools were integrated. And, again, for some reason, the teachers loved me. I did make some, make up some--a year or two in terms of school age. And throughout my school career, the teachers took a special interest in me. One of my cousins who is still alive tells me that when they were, when we were in class together, at the end of the Christmas or some of the holidays, everybody in the class knew that they were going to get something. The teacher would always bring them gifts. But they always knew that I was going to get something special. Now, I never thought of it. It must have gone straight over my head, but they were always assured that I was gonna get something special. The teachers loved me. Yeah, I went to school in 59th Street, which is right across from what's now John Jay College of Criminal Justice.$$What was the name of the school--$$P.S. 141.$$Okay.$$We had numbers. And from there, after the seventh grade, I went down to the P.S. 69, which is on 54th Street and 6th Avenue. It was about that time, by the way, that economics suddenly began to teach me something. My parents were on home relief. That's what they called it in those days. Welfare was still a new term in the future. And there wasn't much--by the way, Jim, James Dumpson became the first commissioner in the New York City government. He became the secretary of--no, the Commissioner of Welfare. And anyway, as I said, I--we were on home relief, but it didn't give me enough to take care of my needs. For example, when I was leaving P.S. 141, all of the boys were dressed up in different things. But I didn't have any special things. So I began to shine shoes for a living. And now, if you ever know anything about Manhattan, on the West side of Manhattan is where all of the major ships from Europe would dock. There were the Piers. The Kinnard Line which was British, the German line, the French line, the Italian line and others, Sweden line. So I began shining shoes, and within a week or so, I was giving money to the family to help them along. And to that date--it must have been about 1938, I've never had to ever ask my family for anything, nor anybody else. I've always taken care of myself.$In fact, it got many, some of them in trouble because they acted as if they wouldn't take any stuff off anyone. One of our sort of icons in the military, Edgar Huff, was a sergeant. He went home in Alabama and he was arrested for impersonating a Marine. And the colonel in charge of the camp who was in charge--who had, was from South Carolina--from Virginia, he had attended the Citadel in South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, personally drove down to Alabama and got him out of jail. And I have stories of my friend, Ed Fiser (ph.) who is up in the home in Massachusetts now recuperating from the amputation, who was sitting waiting for a bus to take him to Charlotte [North Carolina] so that he could get a train going to New Orleans [Louisiana]. And in the course of it--to Raleigh [North Carolina], I'm sorry. In the course of it, this big Marine came in who had been fighting in Guadalcanal and said, "When did they put you guys in the Marine Corps?" And he said, "Well, there's a lot of 'em over there." He said, we have a huge camp over there. And he said, I didn't know they had black Marines, and they got on talking. And he said, well, by the way, why aren't you getting on the bus? And he said, well, they take only whites first, and afterwards, they take us. And each time the bus gets filled up, they pull out, and so that's why I've been missing two buses so far. He said, "You're ready to go?". And he said, "Yeah". So this white Marine called the station manager over and said, listen, you see that man. He said, when the next bus goes out of here, I wanna see his ass on one of them seats or your brains on this floor, you hear? He's a Marine. And when the next bus pulled out, there was Fiser sitting on his seat, headed out. And this began something that I've begun to kind of retrace my steps and see how white Marines began to befriend the black Marines. For example, the buses, bus drivers at some times would become very arbitrary and would refuse to take the guys back to the camp. Now, this could have been serious trouble for them, except that when white Marines found out about it, they would throw the white drivers off the bus, take over the bus and drive the black guys back to camp. Yeah, and this happened so consistently. One night, one of the fellows had been mistreated in Jacksonville [North Carolina], the little town there. It was very racist, and so the guys had decided that they were gonna go into the town and tear the town apart. We had tanks at that time, plus cannons and machine guns and everything else. And the colonel came down in his nightshirt, and he said, boys, he said, please don't do it. It won't help. And the word got around that if they did, they would get the colonel in trouble. And the last thing the guys wanted to do was to lose this colonel. They loved him so much. So on that basis, they broke it up and went back. I've heard a lot of stories about some of the guys being mistreated and rough. I always said the Marine Corps was very democratic. It treated everybody like dogs.$$Or maggots really (laughter).$$Yeah, yeah (laughter). So I never, for some reason, I never--the extremes on either one never made me feel bad or demoralized, and the extremes on the other side never made me feel too exhilarated. And over the years, I've begun to conclude that people are people, and there's no such thing as the perfect one or that someone's extremely bad or extremely good because one of the people who did so much for me was a man named Senator Strom Thurmond, who asked me to help him to become adjusted to the Twenty-First Century. He had a young wife, of course, a young daughter.$$Now, that's a story that comes up later, right, but--$$Yes, yes, yes--$$About the--(simultaneous)--$$--and I've had so many other people as I said, who treated me so royalty. I'm not sure I ever deserved it, but nevertheless, that's the treatment I got.

The Honorable James Gadsden

United States Ambassador (retired) James I. Gadsden was born on March 12, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, James David Gadsden, was a janitor; his mother; Hazel Gaines Gadsden, a maid and housewife. After receiving his B.A. degree cum laude in economics from Harvard University in 1970, Gadsden enrolled in Stanford University and graduated from there in 1972 with his M.A. degree in East Asian Studies. Following graduation, he was awarded a mid-career fellowship from 1984 to 1985 at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to study economics.

Gadsden’s career with the U.S. Department of State began in 1972 as a political officer. He was then assigned to the U.S. Trade Center in Taipei in 1974 as a market research officer supporting U.S. export promotion programs. He continued promoting U.S. exports as a commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary until 1979. In 1980, he became a staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. From 1981 to 1997, Gadsden served as the European Communities desk officer at the State Department, economic and political officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Communities in Brussels, Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. Returning to the United States in 1997, Gadsden was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and then served as Special Negotiator for Agricultural Biotechnology in 2001.

After being nominated by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gadsden was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland on October 24, 2002. In that position, he directed the implementation of U.S. foreign policy and U.S. government operations in Iceland. Returning to the United States in 2005, Gadsden was appointed as Deputy Commandant and International Affairs Advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. until he retired in 2007. After retirement, he was recalled to serve as Senior Advisor for European Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. In 2008, he became Diplomat-In-Residence and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is currently Senior Counselor for International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.

Gadsden is married to Sally Freeman Gadsden. They have two adult sons.

James I. Gadsden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 11, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/11/2013

Last Name

Gadsden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

I.

Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

Stanford University

Harvard University

Elisabeth Irwin High School

Charles A. Brown High School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

GAD01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Around The United States

Favorite Quote

We Can Do That.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/12/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Foreign ambassador The Honorable James Gadsden (1948 - ) former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, served as Diplomat-In-Residence and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Senior Counselor for International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, N.J.

Employment

Princeton University

United States Department of State

Favorite Color

Fall Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:1076,12:1436,69:4244,124:4532,129:5468,138:5756,143:6332,152:7412,177:11804,274:16910,351:30441,551:40354,673:46488,752:46776,757:47856,773:73413,1113:88209,1338:100024,1486:100376,1491:100816,1497:101432,1506:109950,1564$0,0:9530,130:14940,161:17724,197:45313,506:58740,645:101519,1104:119370,1347:130177,1462:136008,1519:146080,1603:177374,1990:178529,2006:178837,2011:186491,2084:250200,2958
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117270">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Gadsden's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117271">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Gadsden lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117272">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117273">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes his maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117274">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Gadsden talks about his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117275">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Gadsden describes his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117276">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon the lack of information about his family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117277">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about his father's experience in World War II and how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117278">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Gadsden describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113882">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113883">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Gadsden talks about the role Denmark Vesey and the free black middle class played in the history of Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113884">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes growing up in 1950s Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113885">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes race relations in 1950s Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113886">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Gadsden talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113887">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Gadsden lists the public schools he attended in Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113888">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Gadsden recalls his favorite teachers at Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina, including HistoryMaker James Clyburn</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113889">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about his childhood reading habits in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115449">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115450">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Gadsden talks about the Corsairs, HistoryMaker James Clyburn's student organization at Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115451">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his decision to transfer away from Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115452">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Gadsden talks about his decision to transfer to Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115453">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes the intensive high school program he attended during the summer of 1963 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115454">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Gadsden talks about entering Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115455">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Gadsden describes the academic programs at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115456">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Gadsden describes the students at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116300">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about his classmates at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116301">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls his decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116302">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes the people he met at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, including HistoryMaker Archie C. Epps, III</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116303">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Gadsden talks about studying economics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116304">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes the most interesting professors and guest lecturers he had Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116305">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Gadsden talks about switching his program of study from economics to Chinese studies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116306">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Gadsden talks about enrolling in graduate school for Chinese Studies at Stanford University in Stanford, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113905">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about being recruited into the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of East Asian Affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113906">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls how he met his wife, Sally Freeman Gadsden, in 1970 in Youngstown, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113907">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about his and his wife's decision to get married in 1974</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113908">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes working at the U.S. Trade Center in Taipei, Taiwan from 1974 to 1978</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113909">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Gadsden recounts transferring from Taipei, Taiwan to Budapest, Hungary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113910">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Gadsden describes his wife's role at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113911">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Gadsden recalls working in Communist Hungary in the late 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113912">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes working for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Economics and Business Affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113913">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Gadsden reflects upon treatment while working at the U.S. Department of State</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113914">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his experience working as the European Communities Desk Officer for the U.S. Department of State</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113915">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Gadsden recalls becoming the State Department's European Communities Desk Officer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113916">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes his experience as the Economic and Political Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Brussels, Belgium from 1985 to 1989</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113917">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Gadsden recounts his work as Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France from 1989 to 1993</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113918">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon his diplomatic role during Operation Desert Storm and the international campaign against South African apartheid</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113919">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about returning to post-Communist Hungary in 1994 to aid their political transition</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113920">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about working in the U.S. embassy to Hungary during the transition to a market economy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113921">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Gadsden describes his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113922">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about serving as the State Department's Special Negotiator for Agricultural Biotechnology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113923">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Iceland from 2002 to 2005</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113924">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Gadsden recounts negotiating the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iceland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113925">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Gadsden reflects upon serving as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113926">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon the honor and status afforded to a former U. S. Ambassador</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113927">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes his experience as Deputy Commandant of the National War College in Washington, D.C. from 2005 to 2007</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113928">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls the people he met while teaching at the National War College in Washington, D.C., including HistoryMaker Colin Powell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113929">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about briefly working at the United Nations in New York City, in 2007</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113930">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James Gadsden explains the United States' decision not to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113931">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes working at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113932">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James Gadsden reflects upon his role as a mentor to younger Foreign Service Officers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113933">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James Gadsden talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117279">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about his children and about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117280">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James Gadsden narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$8

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
James Gadsden recalls becoming the State Department's European Communities Desk Officer
James Gadsden recalls the people he met while teaching at the National War College in Washington, D.C., including HistoryMaker Colin Powell
Transcript
So you were there [U.S. Department of State European Community desk] from 1981 to '84 [1984], was there anything we need to talk about in that position before we move on to the next?$$Oh, I don't think so. Just maybe one lesson learned.$$Okay.$$It was through lunch with a China buddy, complaining about wanting to get out of his job in that office, that the idea came up of whether or not I might wanna take his job. First he asked me, and I told him, "Well, I got a commitment right now." Then when I went back to my office after lunch, his boss called me and invited me down for a conversation. We talked for two hours, didn't talk about the job once but everything else. And he was an elderly gentleman, and he asked me, "So young man, do you want this job on the European Communities desk?" And the lesson I learned was how to answer a question, you know. Instead of saying, "Yes, sir," what I said was, "Well, you know, I'm not really not a Europe expert, I studied China. And I had one assignment in Europe in Budapest [Hungary] and," and on and on and on about what I didn't have. This gentleman took his glasses off, leaned across the desk and said, "Young man, I don't give a good"--expletive deleted-"what you know about Europe, whether you studied Europe, whether you've been to Europe, I don't even care whether you like Europe. My question to you was, do you want this job because I want you in it."$$Hmm.$$And, of course, my response was yes. My lesson, don't talk about what you can't do because, you can do it, you know. You can do it.$So, all right. So any stories from your position as Deputy Commandant [of the National War College, Washington, D.C.]?$$It was a fascinating position to hold. First because my boss at that time, General [Teresa] Marne Peterson, was one of the first ladies to graduate from the [U.S.] Air Force Academy's pilot training. And she commanded a tanker, I'm, sorry, a transport squadron in Saudi [Arabia] during the first Gulf War. And I think a transport, a transport squadron at, at other times in, in her career. Just a fascinating leader. Very decisive. I learned a lot from her and I worked very well with her. And until today we're both retired now, and we're still very, very good friends, you know. Secondly, because of the people who came through as guest lecturers, you know, colonel, well, General [HM Colin] Powell, Secretary of State Powell, [general and news commentator] Barry McCaffrey, and certainly [Congressman] Newt Gingrich [R-Georgia], (laughter) Tom freeden-[journalist Thomas] Friedman. Just a, a bunch of really stellar thinkers. Controversial authors, if you will, to give lectures that were not necessarily in line with whatever administration was in at the time. They gave their own thoughts. And the whole idea was to present these thoughts in the open forum to be debated, tested, contested, if you will, as a part of the learning experience. When General Powell was there, he made a comment that was very instructive to the students. He said, "You know, when I was a student here sitting in that top row up there, fast asleep most of the time, if anybody had ever told me at that time that I was going to be, you know, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor to the president, and the Secretary of State, I would have laughed in their face. The likelihood of that was so remote. I wouldn't even think about it. It was not on my horizon." And he said, "Because you were chosen to be here, you know, is, is a comment on the expectations in your career. You have no idea what you're going to be doing in ten or twenty years, so prepare yourselves now to lead." I thought that was one of the most fascinating commentaries I ever heard from someone who's held in such high esteem. And I could literally see him as a colonel, kind of bored and sleeping, (laughter) and not knowing how his future was going to unfold. And when he said that I kind of looked around the room and just kind of wondering to myself where these really talented people are going to be in five or ten or twenty years. I had a whole bunch of folks who came through whose names are household words, you know. [National Security Advisor to Barack Obama] General Jim [L.] Jones, you know, and a whole string of military leaders, not to mention State Department [U.S. Department of State] people who have been students at the National War College, yeah.$$Okay. So you were there two years?$$Two years.$$Two years.$$Yeah.

The Honorable Ertharin Cousin

Foreign ambassador, food service executive, and public affairs director Ertharin Cousin was born in 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1979, and went on to receive her J.D. degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1982. In 1993, Cousin moved to Washington D.C. and began working as the deputy chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee. In 1994, she began serving as the U.S. State Department’s liaison to the White House, in which capacity she received a Meritorious Service Award.

In 1996, Cousin stopped her work for the State Department in order to run the Illinois portion of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Albert Gore’s reelection campaign and in 1997, Cousin was appointed to the board for International Food and Agricultural Development and began serving as vice president for government and community Affairs for Jewel Food Stores. Two years later, when Albertsons Foods bought Jewel, Cousin began serving as group vice president of public affairs for Albertsons and was later promoted to senior vice president of public affairs. In 2002, Cousin joined the board of directors for food bank and food relief distribution nonprofit Feeding America and in 2004, she became its executive vice president and chief operating officer. In this capacity, she led food relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina which helped to deliver over 62 million pounds of food to the devastated Gulf Coast of the U.S.

In 2006, Cousin left Feeding America to found and serve as president of the Polk Street Group, a public affairs consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. After serving in that capacity for three years, Cousin left the company in the hands of her son, Maurice Cousin, in order to accept President Barack Obama’s appointment as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy. During her time with the U.N. agencies, she has worked to help set up several new country-led aid programs and has also worked to bring food relief to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, after the massive earthquake there in 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.099

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/30/2010

Last Name

Cousin

Maker Category
Schools

Lane Technical College Prep High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Georgia School of Law

Presentation School

St. Louise de Marillac School

First Name

Ertharin

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

COU04

Favorite Season

Summer, Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Quote

Keep Moving Forward.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/12/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sweets

Short Description

Food service executive and foreign ambassador The Honorable Ertharin Cousin (1957 - ) served as a chief executive of several corporations, worked extensively with food relief charities like Feeding America and continued to promote food equity in her role as the U.S. ambassador to the UN agencies for food and agriculture.

Employment

Jewel Food Stores

United States Government

Albertsons Foods

Feeding America

Polk Street Group

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639036">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Ertharin Cousin's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639037">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639038">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639039">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639040">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639041">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639042">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers her paternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639043">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639044">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639045">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her likeness to her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639046">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639047">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639048">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes the changes in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639049">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639050">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her early activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639051">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639052">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls her influences at the Presentation School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639053">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers her early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639054">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her family's conversion to Catholicism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639055">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639056">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her experiences at Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639057">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her relationship with her sister</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639058">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about attending college as a single mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639059">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her early exposure to civil rights activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639060">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls her decision to attend the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639061">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her activism during law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639062">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers working for E. Duke McNeil</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639063">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls her work at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639064">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639065">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers her campaign for the commissionership of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639066">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers the death of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639067">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers working on Neil Hartigan's gubernatorial campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639068">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her involvement in Illinois politics in the late 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639069">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls volunteering for William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton's first presidential campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639070">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls serving as the White House liaison to the U.S. Department of State Department, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639071">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls serving as the White House liaison to the U.S. Department of State, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639072">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers her involvement in President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton's reelection campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639073">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls directing President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton's reelection campaign in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639074">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her vice presidency of government and community affairs at Jewel Food Stores</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639075">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her start in the field of food security</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639076">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her tenure as the COO of America's Second Harvest</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639077">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers the hunger relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639078">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers the hunger relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639079">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers founding the Polk Street Group, LLC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639080">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers working on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639081">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers working on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639082">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ertharin Cousin remembers President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639083">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin recalls her appointment as a U.S. ambassador</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639084">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin talks about her U.S. ambassadorship to the United Nations agencies in Rome, Italy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639085">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes the World Food Programme's work in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639086">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639087">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639088">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes how she would like to be remembered and her advice to young people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639089">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ertharin Cousin reflects upon her legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
The Honorable Ertharin Cousin describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
The Honorable Ertharin Cousin remembers her campaign for the commissionership of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Transcript
Did you have other memories about growing up, what were the kind of smells and sounds of your--$$Growing up we grew up where (laughter) it, it's, it's it was a great, as I said a great block to grow up on, lots of kids. When I was in grammar school, we attended Presentation Catholic school [Presentation School, Chicago, Illinois] which was at the corner of my block. So we, we you lived in, in a three block area from the candy store, two blocks away to the, the grammar school. It was the kind of block where the watermelon man came down the street in the summertime. The ice cream man came down the street in the summertime. If my sister were sitting here she'd say, "Tell him about Nana." Nana as I told you Nana was my father's mother [Carolyn Brown Harris (ph.)] who my father [Julius Cousin] was able to buy this house because he bought it with, with the help of my grandmother who lived on the first floor, we lived upstairs. My grandmother was this person who was an entrepreneur she owned, as I say, she owned restaurants, she owned bars, and she made early entrepreneurs out of all of us. She, we'd go to the candy store she'd say, "You don't need to go to the candy store; you need to sell the candy." So she would take us to the warehouse and we would buy boxes of candy and sold candy on our porch. And so if you sold enough candy, then you could eat it (laughter). And so we had the porch that had all the kids, because it was the candy house, and anybody he grew up in, in inner city neighborhoods can tell you about the candy house. It was the place that you went and you had a nickel and you got you know ten pieces of candy, 'cause they were two for a penny. And so that's one of my earliest memories as a child is being you know nine, ten, eleven years old outside selling candy on our porch. And had, always having money for the ice cream man, because we sold the candy. So it was, it was very much though the place where children gathered, and, and I think about it now, they did that very purposefully. It was also having four girls away that they kept us right there that they could see us, because everybody came to us. And so they knew all of our friends because they were always on our porch, and they knew where we were because we were on the porch selling candy or we were standing in front of the porch jumping rope. And it was the kind of block where everybody on that block knew whose children, who belonged to whom. They knew where you were supposed to be. And they knew if your parents weren't at home that you weren't supposed to be someplace and you knew they knew. And you knew that before your parents' first--their foot would hit the first step they would tell if you (laughter) weren't where you were supposed to be. So it was very easy for us to stay on that porch because we knew we had lots of prying eyes if we didn't. The interesting thing for me though during this period was if this was during the Civil Rights Movement in the City of, of Chicago [Illinois], as well just as it was in the South. And if you remember this was the period that Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] came to the City of Chicago, and came to the West Side. I remember Martin Luther King giving a speech on top of the hot dog stand, two blocks from my house, and the entire neighborhood going out to see him speak. I remember the, the fire hydrants being on and shutting the fire hydrants 'cause out, we didn't have pools, neighborhood pools so you'd turn the fire hydrant on in the summertime. But turning the fire hydrant off and nobody complaining about it, because you went to see Martin Luther King speak on, on, on the corner.$Now we're at '87 [1987].$$Um-hm. Um-hm.$$And you're involved with the black women's bar association [Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago].$$Um-hm. Who are you working for at this time, you're still the Water Reclamation--$$I'm still at the Water Reclamation District [Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago], but then I decided I should run for commissioner of the Water Reclamation District because it wasn't being run well. And why wouldn't I run for commissioner and then we could change it? Same thing how do we continue to change things? But at that period of time, the Water Reclamation District was an at large election. Was a low ballot, no visibility at large election that you had to win countywide, and the top three won. Shows how naive I was though, because, but we actually ran the best yuppie buppie campaign that the city had ever seen. Because at this point, I'm what twenty-nine years old, about '87 [1987] yeah that's about right. Yeah I was born in '57 [1957] yeah, so we were, I ran. We had bus stop signs, "L" [elevated train] stop signs-- that was when I learned that bus stop signs and "L" stop signs do not vote. And so you can have lots of bus stop signs and "L" stop signs does not when your, mean you gonna win an election. Also because it was a low visibility office and I was not the Democratic nominee, the Democratic chosen candidate there. There were twelve people on the ballot; I was not the Democratic candidate, but their party candidate on the ballot. It means that I got beat terribly in all of the white wards around the county, but I won, I came in you, as I said it was they, the top three win. And I came in first, second or third in all the lakefront wards and all the African American wards in the city. So what it did was it made the Democratic Party take notice, and they were like oh my god, you know this is somebody who is actually smart and has put together something here. Because we did put together a coalition of, of young activists whites from the international, I- independent voters association of Illinois [Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization]. IVI IPO on the North Side, as well as from Buffy [ph.] on the South Side of the City of Chicago [Illinois], and the churches on the West Side on the City of Chicago. And so after I lost, I went and got another job at the, the ethics board of the city, but--$$Now year was it, was this election?$$The election was an off year election, so it's probably '87 [1987].$$Okay.$$Yeah, it's probably '87 [1987]. Okay, I feel like I should have my resume in front of me so I can make sure all of my years are absolutely correct. So don't hold me to the exact year here. It was, in, so and because it was an off year election, then I was at the, ethics board of the city [Board of Ethics]. I was working at the ethics board when Neil Hartigan decided that he was gonna run for governor. And so the party came and asked me to serve on his campaign as deputy campaign manager, but they first went, when I first went to work for the Illinois attorney general's office, and was volunteer on the campaign. And so I served as the West Side regional director for the Illinois attorney general's office. And opened the first office for them in Austin [Chicago, Illinois] on Pulaski [Road] and, and Washington [Boulevard], serving the West Side of the City of Chicago, and the near west suburbs.

The Honorable James Joseph

Former United States Ambassador to South Africa James Alfred Joseph was born on March 12, 1935 in Plaisance, Louisiana to Julia and Adam Joseph, farmers. Joseph attended the segregated St. Landry Parish Training School where he excelled in English and original oratory. He won the state oratory competition and placed second in the national competition. Joseph was an avid athlete who achieved success in track and basketball, and during high school, Joseph served as student government association president. In 1952, upon graduation from high school, Joseph entered Southern University where he served as class president, president of the Baptist Club and as the debate team champion. He graduated with his B.A. degree in political science and social studies. In 1959, Joseph received his master’s degree in Divinity from Yale University. At Yale, Joseph became active in civil rights protests and marches while serving in the ROTC in a non-combatant unit.

In 1963, Joseph began his academic career at Stillman College while working as a civil rights organizer. As an ordained minister, Joseph also taught at Yale Divinity School and the Claremont Colleges, where he served as University Chaplain. In 1971, Joseph left academia and was hired as Vice President of Cummins Engine Company. He also served as president of the Cummins Engine Foundation. After five years in corporate philanthropy, Joseph moved to government in 1977 when he was appointed Under Secretary for the Department of the Interior under President Jimmy Carter. In 1982, Joseph returned to philanthropy as the president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations, an international organization comprised of more than 2,000 foundations, where he served until 1995. During this time, President Ronald Reagan appointed Joseph to the Advisory Committee to the Agency for International Development, and in 1985, he was named a Distinguished Visitor at Nuffield College at Oxford University.

In 1996, Joseph joined the ambassadorial ranks when was named United States Ambassador to South Africa under President Bill Clinton where he would serve until 2000. As such, he was the first ambassador to present credentials to President Nelson Mandela. Joseph was awarded the Order of Good Hope by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Joseph continues to speak publicly about a variety of civic, religious and academic issues and is the author of The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. After Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and Joseph’s home-state of Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco named Joseph the Chairman of the newly formed Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Joseph is also the founder of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke University and the University of Cape Town.

Joseph was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.186

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2007

Last Name

Joseph

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

St. Landry Parish Training School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Yale Divinity School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Plaisance

HM ID

JOS01

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Louisiana

Favorite Quote

I'm Not An Optimist Because I Do Not Believe Everything Ends Well. I Am Not A Pessimist Because I Do Not Believe Everything Ends Badly.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/12/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Civil rights activist and foreign ambassador The Honorable James Joseph (1935 - ) was appointed Under Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President Jimmy Carter, and became President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Joseph as Ambassador to South Africa.

Employment

Stillman College

Claremont Colleges

Cummins Foundation

Department of the Interior

U.S. Department of State

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5782,119:6174,125:16464,266:29568,416:32175,451:37073,544:62460,842:63000,850:63900,861:90802,1212:97500,1329$0,0:3346,52:3774,57:4202,73:5486,91:21638,397:27172,495:27756,506:33888,670:37027,706:40385,785:40750,791:43597,863:43889,868:50533,894:50948,900:51944,915:62182,1065:67020,1122:69322,1136:69742,1142:76983,1251:77421,1263:79100,1292:84575,1417:97120,1621:97470,1628:99850,1673:102020,1728:104470,1780:106500,1826:106920,1833:109090,1882:110070,1903:111050,1922:112100,1941:112450,1947:130490,2209:131540,2231:138090,2374
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487403">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable James Joseph's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487404">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487405">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487406">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his father's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487407">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487408">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his aunts and uncles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487409">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487410">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his early interest in reading</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487411">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his activities in Plaisance, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487412">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in southern Louisiana, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487413">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in southern Louisiana, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487414">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his influences in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487415">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the St. Landry Parish Training School in Opelousas, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487416">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about the Creole culture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487417">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the Starlight Baptist Church in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487418">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the Ku Klux Klan in St. Landry Paris, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487419">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers working in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487420">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in Opelousas, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487421">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487422">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487423">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his extracurricular activities in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487424">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls joining the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487425">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his influences at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487426">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the Reserve Officers' Training Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487427">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his U.S. Army service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487428">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers briefly teaching the third grade</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487429">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his civil rights activities at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487430">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his Danforth Foundation fellowship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487431">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his studies at the Yale Divinity School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487432">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights work in Tuscaloosa, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487433">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph describes a demonstration in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487434">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph describes a demonstration in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487435">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights achievements in Tuscaloosa, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487436">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487437">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls protesting the Vietnam War in Claremont, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487438">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his oratorical style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487439">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the civil rights leaders in Tuscaloosa, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487440">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers organizing protests at Claremont College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487441">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about returning to the South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487442">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his civil rights work in Edwards, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487443">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his career at Claremont College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487444">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls serving as a foundation executive</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487445">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his accomplishments as a foundation executive</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487446">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the Martin Luther King Fellows program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487447">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers visiting South Africa, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487448">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers visiting South Africa, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487449">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his involvement with the TransAfrica Forum</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/487450">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his appointment to the U.S. Department of Interior</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights achievements in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The Honorable James Joseph recalls his appointment to the U.S. Department of Interior
Transcript
As you look back now, how would you define the accomplishments of those days (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, you know, what? In a year, the, the lunch counters were integrated, the restrooms were integrated, the hotels were integrated, they were hiring black people. The University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama] started bringing in blacks for their basketball team and football team. And once during the course of the, the movement during that year, I was invited by a campus minister at the University of Alabama to meet with some people. And while I was meeting, he went out for a minute and then he came back in and he said, "People are gathering in the front. I think we'd better sneak you out the back door," and they did. But a year later, you know, they were looking for athletes (laughter) and stuff. So I would say we were so successful that at the end of the year I said the local community is engaged. And I, I had a, a, a baby [Jeffrey Joseph] when I left New Haven [Connecticut], and he was only a couple of months old and I used to get these threatening calls every night about what they were gonna do to him. And it was very tough for my wife [Doris Joseph] and so my friend from Claremont [Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California] came over and offered me a job (crying).$$Yes, yeah, it's okay.$Jumping ahead just a little bit, tell me about your work with the [U.S.] Department of the Interior.$$Well, I was at Cummins [Cummins Engine Company; Cummins Inc.] minding my own business (laughter) and Andy Young [HistoryMaker Andrew Young] and I were at a conference in Lesotho and Jimmy Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] had just been elected and I said, Andy and I were having breakfast, and I said, "Andy, are you gonna go in the Carter administration?" 'Cause he had been such a big supporter and he said, "Oh, no. I, I've just gotten a few very important committees in the [U.S.] Congress and I'm gonna stay," he said, "but you ought to go." I said, "Oh, no, I've just gotten big promotions at Cummins and now I've got an opportunity to do more things." Two weeks later both Andy and I were in the Carter administration (laughter). It just happened that in my case, Cecil Andrus was the governor of Idaho and he was a friend of Jimmy Carter's and he was asked to be secretary of the interior. And I had a next door neighborhood who had been in a law firm in Idaho and he and Cecil Andrus were friends. And Cecil Andrus called him to see whether he'd consider being solicitor general. And so Cecil Andrus shared with him what he was looking for and a number two person to run the department and he says, "I've just got just the person for you; he's my neighbor." So he came back and he said, "I'd like for you to meet Cecil Andrus. He wants to meet you," and I say, "The Department of Interior? I mean, why would I wanna go to the Department of Interior?" And so he said, "Why don't you take a look at it?" So I did research the next few days. I found out everything I could, and I found out that it was one of those departments blacks ignored because they usually went into the ones that, social welfare kind of agency. But there were a lot of resources there that whites were taking advantage of, that black people were not getting. And so I said well I think I'll go talk to him. And then I went to Washington [D.C.] and talked to Cecil Andrus and I liked him very much, even though we had very different background. He had been a lawyer, a logger for gun (unclear) politics, got elected governor and now he was being appointed secretary of interior. My background was very different but I liked him and I decided to go and do it.

The Honorable Walter C. Carrington

Ambassador Walter Charles Carrington was born on July 24, 1930, in New York City to Marjorie Irene Hayes and Walter R. Carrington, an immigrant from Barbados. Raised in a predominately Italian-Irish community, Carrington attended Hancock School and Hale School in Everett, Massachusetts. Carrington was elected vice president of his class throughout his four years at the predominantly white Parlin Junior High and Everett High School. Graduating in 1948, Carrington became one of four black students at Harvard University; there, he founded the first Harvard chapter of the NAACP. Attending the NAACP National Convention in 1950, Carrington met Clarence Mitchell and Thurgood Marshall. In 1952, Carrington was elected the NAACP Youth Council delegate to Senegal, French West Africa. That same year, Carrington graduated from Harvard University, and as Alpha Phi Alpha Big Brother, met Martin Luther King, Jr., then at Boston University. He attended the 1954 World Assembly of Youth in Singapore and met Indian activist Vinoba Bhave. Carrington was also vice chair of Students for Stevenson. Entering the United States Army in 1955, Carrington served as a clerk typist in Germany; after the service, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, earning his J.D. degree in 1958.

At age 27, Carrington was appointed commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination; after a year, he entered into practice with the law firm of Naples, Carrington and Ruland. Carrington organized for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and from 1961 to 1971 served in the Peace Corps, eventually becoming the Peace Corps director of Africa. Carrington then served as executive vice president of the African American Institute from 1971 to 1979 and was also a member of Africare. In 1980, Carrington served President Jimmy Carter as Ambassador to Senegal. In 1981, Carrington was named director of the Department of International Affairs at Howard University. He also taught at Marquette University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington College and from 1990 to 1991 acted as a consultant at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

In 1993, President Clinton appointed Carrington Ambassador to Nigeria where he opposed the abuses of President Sani Abacha. From 1997 to 1998, and again in 1999, Carrington worked as a fellow of Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute. He was also a MacArthur Fellow in 1998. In 2004, Carrington was named the first African American Warburg Professor of International Relations at Simmons College in Boston.

Carrington passed away on August 11, 2020.

Accession Number

A2007.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/14/2007

Last Name

Carrington

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Organizations
Schools

Harvard University

Hancock School

Hales School

Albert N. Parlin School

Harvard Law School

Everett High School

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

CAR13

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

The Fault, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In Ourselves.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/24/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Jollof Rice

Death Date

8/11/2020

Short Description

Lawyer and foreign ambassador The Honorable Walter C. Carrington (1930 - 2020) was the former U.S. ambassador to Senegal and Nigeria.

Employment

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Africa-America Institute

Joint Center on Political and Economic Studies

Peace Corps

Maples, Carrington and Rhuland

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421291">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Walter C. Carrington's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421292">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421293">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421294">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes the demographics of Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421295">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his Nigerian relatives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421296">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his father's civil rights activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421297">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421298">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421299">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his neighborhood in Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421300">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the Hancock School in Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421301">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his early personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421302">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his social life as a youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421303">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Walter C. Carrington describes his early experiences of discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421304">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421305">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his oratorical talent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421306">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the news media of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421307">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his early interest in politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421308">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the music of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421309">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his social life at Everett High School in Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421310">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls applying to Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420973">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls religious discrimination in Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420974">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Walter C. Carrington recalls racial discrimination in Everett, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420975">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers founding Harvard University's NAACP chapter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420976">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his early NAACP involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420977">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his first trip to Senegal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420978">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his early interest in foreign affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420979">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420980">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his U.S. Army service, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421311">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his activism at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421312">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his acquaintance with African American leaders</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421313">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421314">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington reflects upon his NAACP involvement at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421315">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421316">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his U.S. Army service, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421317">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his Harvard Law School professors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421318">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his friends in the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421319">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers meeting Nina Simone for the first time</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421320">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his appointment to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420991">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his start with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420992">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the discrimination suit against the Boston Red Sox</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420993">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes the integration of the Boston Red Sox</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420994">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his law practice in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420995">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his political activities in Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420996">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers joining the Peace Corps leadership</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420997">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington talks about the African independence movements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420998">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his work for the Peace Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/420999">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the returned Peace Corps volunteers' Vietnam War protest, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421321">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the returned Peace Corps volunteers' Vietnam War protest, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421322">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls debating Malcolm X at the Harvard Law School Forum, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421323">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his debate with Malcolm X at the Harvard Law School Forum, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421324">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington talks about the United States' involvement in Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421325">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls joining The African-American Institute</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421326">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his U.S. ambassadorship to Senegal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421327">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the end of his U.S. ambassadorship to Senegal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421328">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his teaching career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421329">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his travels to South Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421330">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls Nelson Mandela's release from prison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421331">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his policy work for President Bill Clinton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421332">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington talks about President Bill Clinton's cabinet selection</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421333">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls his U.S. ambassadorship to Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421334">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers his farewell party in Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421335">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the apologists for Sani Abacha, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421336">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers Carol Moseley Braun's trip to Nigeria, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421337">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers Carol Moseley Braun's trip to Nigeria, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421338">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the apologists for Sani Abacha, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421339">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls the Congressional Black Caucus' position on Sani Abacha</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421340">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes the founding of Walter Carrington Crescent in Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421341">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers visiting Moshood Abiola in prison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421342">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington reflects upon his U.S. ambassadorship to Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421343">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his teaching fellowships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421344">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421345">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421346">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421347">Tape: 8 Story: 11 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls meeting his wife, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421027">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls Nina Simone's visit to Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421028">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington recalls meeting his wife, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421029">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Walter Carrington reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421030">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington talks about the Ransome-Kuti brothers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421031">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421032">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/421033">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Walter C. Carrington narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers meeting Nina Simone for the first time
The Honorable Walter C. Carrington remembers visiting Moshood Abiola in prison
Transcript
So you came back [from Germany] in 19--?$$Yeah, I, I came back in 1957. I was there in '55 [1955] to '57 [1957]. (Laughter) An interesting thing, I, I came back to Fort Dix [New Jersey], was a place for, you know, from which the, you know, you went through all the things for discharge, and I was getting ready to come back to Boston [Massachusetts] and a friend of mine in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] invited me, he said, "Hey man, you know, why don't you, why don't you come on down to, to Philly and, you know, and spend a few days?" And I, so I did that and he took me into this nightclub and I walk into this nightclub and this woman is singing, someone I had never heard of before, and she was singing this song called, Little, 'Little Girl Blue,' and it just, it just blew me away and, of course, it was Nina Simone, and I got a chance to talk with her and, and ask her, you know, where can I get your records, and it turned out that she hadn't, that she had--at that point, hadn't, hadn't yet recorded and I told her I had a friend who was at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] who later became very, a very big A&R [artists and repertoire] guy, Tom Wilson, and, and in fact who had, who had put out some, who had his own record, record label [Transition Records] and he, he recorded some of the great jazz guys of that period first. He, he was sort of the person who discovered a lot of these guys and when I, I told Tom, I said, "Man, you know, you've got to, you've got to record this." He said, "No, singers are too much of a problem, man." You know, he just went on and passed up on her, I thought, was a great, a great mistake. But anyway, I'll get back to her when we, when we get to Nigeria because she played a very important, important role in, in my life later.$So, you know, I say, when I came back, until Abacha's [Sani Abacha] death, I kept very active in trying to increase the pressure on him. In fact I had, when I was ambassador, in my last year there, tried to get the United States to enact stronger sanctions against the Abacha regime to put, to put the oil money in trust, to put economic sanctions on them, et cetera, but couldn't, couldn't, couldn't get them to move that far, but luckily Abacha's regime was ended when he had a--well, no one really knows what the cause, finally, of his death was. The tragedy was that Abiola [Moshood Abiola] was not immediately released and as a result he died in prison and that was a shame. While he was in prison, Jesse Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] came out and it was interesting because when Jesse came out, the human rights people were opposed to Jesse's visit and the government was in favor of it, and they were opposed because they said that Jesse was too close to Abacha and they made all kinds of stuff. Anyway, Jesse came out and actually turned things around. And, by the time he came back, when he was getting ready to leave, we had a reception for him at the, at the residence and we invited all the human rights people and they began to sang, sing his praises but while he was there, they allowed Jesse and I to go in to visit Aba- Abiola in prison and while we were there, Jesse said a prayer for him and all this kind of thing, we held hands and we talked and all those kind of thing, and a week later the foreign minister called me in and said, you know, criticized me for some of the discussions we had had with, with Abiola, and he said to me, "Did you think that your meeting with him would be inaudible to us?" You know (laughter) in other words they heard everything goddamn, everything that, that we had said, but, but Jesse's whole thing, and so the government became very angry at Jesse because of the meeting with Abiola, and also because Jesse, when Jesse and I had this meeting with Abacha and a couple of his people, and Jesse was making all kinds of, asked him all kinds of questions, which were critical of things they were doing and he said, "Well that's wrong, that's wrong, where'd you get that from?" And Jesse said, well, that's what the ambassador told me. So after that, I was really persona non grata with, with them, but, but Jesse did well when he, when he came out, not like so many of these others who, who were there.$$That's to his credit, I would guess (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, it is to his credit.

The Honorable Diane E. Watson

Former U.S. Congresswoman and foreign ambassador Diane E. Watson was born on November 12, 1933 in Los Angeles, California in a devout religious household. Upon graduating from Dorsey High School (Los Angele) in the late 1940s, Watson attended Los Angeles City College. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in education from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1956, and her M.A. degree in school psychology from California State University in 1958. In 1987, Watson earned her Ph.D. in education administration from Claremont Graduate School; and later, completed courses at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Watson began her professional career in 1969 as a psychologist with California State University. Then, from 1971 to 1975, she worked as a health occupation specialist with the Bureau of Industrial Education of the California Department of Education. In 1975, Watson became the first African American woman to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. There, she worked to expand school integration and make academic standards more rigorous. In 1978, Watson became the first African American woman to be elected to the California State Senate where she played a major role in formulating the state of California’s TANF program. Watson also sought funding to help teen mothers complete their education and gain employment through the Cal-Learn program. In 1993, Watson authored the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program Act and the Residential Care Facilities Act. She introduced legislation to improve food health safety requirements for restaurants in 1997, and also played a key role in the enactment of legislation to promote breast cancer research. She served as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee from 1981 to 1998, and also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At the end of her senate term in 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Watson to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. Watson continued in the role of U.S. Ambassador until 2001 when she was elected to fill the vacancy of the late U.S. Representative Julian Dixon under a special election. She was re-elected in 2002 and 2004 to serve two consecutive terms, and retired in 2011.

Former U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2005, July 25, 2008 and November 26, 2012.

Accession Number

A2005.233

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/5/2005

7/25/2008

11/26/2012

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Schools

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

University of California, Los Angeles

Harvard University

California State University, Los Angeles

Claremont Graduate University

Birdielee V. Bright Elementary School

James A. Foshay Learning Center

First Name

Diane

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

WAT06

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

It Is Going To Be All Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/12/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Foreign ambassador and U.S. congresswoman The Honorable Diane E. Watson (1933 - ) was the U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia and was a representative to the U.S. Congress from California's 33rd congressional district from 2001 to 2011.

Employment

California State University

California Department of Education

Los Angeles Unified School District

California State Senate

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360611">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360612">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360613">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360614">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson relates how her maternal ancestors settled in Chicago, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360615">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson relates how her maternal ancestors settled in Chicago, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360616">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360617">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the migrations of her maternal relatives, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360618">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the migrations of her maternal relatives, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360619">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her mother's siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360620">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her maternal family's history in California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360621">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360622">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360623">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her father's creole heritage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360624">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls visiting the convent as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360625">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360626">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360627">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her father's career in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360628">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls working with David Roberti in the California State Senate</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360629">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her father's career at the Los Angeles Police Department</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360630">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her friendship with Edward M. Davis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360631">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360632">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360633">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the changes that followed her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360634">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her elementary school experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360635">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her family's Catholicism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360636">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her elementary school teacher, Birdielee V. Bright</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360637">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls notable people from her elementary school years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360638">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences in junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360639">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes life during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360640">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her mother and father's parenting styles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360641">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers her ambition to attend college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360642">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360643">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her family's relationship with the University of California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360644">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences at the University of California, Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360645">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls athletes and student leaders on the UCLA campus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360646">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her early career as an educator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360647">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching in Okinawa, Japan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360648">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her experiences teaching in Okinawa, Japan and France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360649">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls returning to the U.S. after teaching abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360650">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360651">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching at Selma Avenue Elementary School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360652">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls teaching at Selma Avenue Elementary School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360653">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls a scandal involving the principal of Selma Avenue Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360654">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her students' parents at Selma Avenue Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360655">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls studying counseling at California State University in Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360656">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls instituting a trial system in her classroom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360657">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes working as a counselor in the Los Angeles Unified School District</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360658">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about Leonard Deadwyler and the Watts riots</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360659">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls race riots in Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360660">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to run for public office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360661">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her friend and campaign manager, Tom Stewart</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360662">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers Tom Stewart's murder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360663">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her career in the California State Senate</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360664">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education campaigns</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360665">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls being attacked by the Ku Klux Klan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360666">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson remembers Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360667">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls implementing busing in Los Angeles public schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360668">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls befriending Edward M. Davis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360669">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the early days of forced busing in Los Angeles public schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360670">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the changing demographics of the Los Angeles Unified School District</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360671">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Diane E. Watson's interview, session 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360672">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the Federated States of Micronesia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360673">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her life as ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360674">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her duties as ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360675">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about ancient cultures, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360676">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about ancient cultures, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360677">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to run for the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360678">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her African American predecessors in the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360679">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her election to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360680">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her decision to retire from the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360681">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes protests in the U.S. Congress against President George W. Bush</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360682">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls African American women who served with her in government</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360683">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the controversy over the 2000 U.S. presidential election</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360684">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls how Congress changed during the George W. Bush administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360685">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson explains her complaints with President George Walker Bush</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360686">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls President George W. Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360687">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists the congressional committees upon which she served</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360688">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360689">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls being in the U.S. Capitol on September 11, 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360690">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360691">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her duties on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360692">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes domestic healthcare debates of the 2000s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360693">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes global health issues from her congressional tenure</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360694">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her policy work to address the AIDS crisis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360695">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her work on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360696">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her U.S. Congressional subcommittee assignments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360697">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her work for the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360698">Tape: 12 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson lists her U.S. Congressional caucus memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360699">Tape: 13 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about African American Republican politicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360700">Tape: 13 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the 2008 presidential primaries</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360701">Tape: 13 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon Hillary Clinton's political career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360702">Tape: 13 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes Congressional opposition to President Barack Obama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360703">Tape: 13 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360704">Tape: 13 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls the legislative achievements of President Barack Obama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360705">Tape: 13 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes Congressional partisanship in the 2000s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360706">Tape: 14 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her legislative work for health and education issues</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360707">Tape: 14 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes her Gang Abatement Plan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360708">Tape: 14 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon the early days of California's Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360709">Tape: 14 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls African American political victories in California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360710">Tape: 14 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360711">Tape: 14 Story: 6 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls campaigning to change racial identifiers on the U.S. Census, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360712">Tape: 14 Story: 7 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls campaigning to change racial identifiers on the U.S. Census, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360713">Tape: 14 Story: 8 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her experiences teaching in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360714">Tape: 14 Story: 9 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson recalls her experiences teaching in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360715">Tape: 15 Story: 1 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360716">Tape: 15 Story: 2 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson reflects upon her role models as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360717">Tape: 15 Story: 3 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360718">Tape: 15 Story: 4 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/360719">Tape: 15 Story: 5 - The Honorable Diane E. Watson narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>