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Emma Rodgers

Entrepreneur Emma Rodgers was born on September 16, 1944 in Niagara Falls, New York. Rodgers completed her freshman year at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1966.

In 1977, Rodgers co-founded a mail order business for books, which eventually became the retail store, Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas. Rodgers’ support for African American authors, in association with Black Images Book Bazaar, brought commercial success and critical acclaim to numerous authors, including J. California Cooper, Edward P. Jones, E. Lynn Harris, and Edward Ball. In 1995, Rodgers founded Romance Slam Jam, an African American book genre conference event. The following year, Rodgers was selected as a member of the U.S. Information Agency Corridors of Culture team, which presented works at the “Muse to Marketplace” symposium in Accra, Ghana, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. In 2005, she organized and led a trip to Ghana for students from ROPP, Inc., an enrichment program for teenage girls. Black Images Book Bazaar closed its doors in 2006. However, Rodgers continued to hold book signings for established and upcoming authors. Since 2007, she served four terms on the Dallas City Planning and Zoning Commission.

Rodgers was an active participant in her community and has been involved with numerous organizations. She served as a board member for TeCoTheatrical Productions, and during the summers, Rodgers taught classes at the annual day camp. She was also the director for the Dallas Civil Rights Center, and served as a board member for Quuenhyte Publishers, and as a member of the advisory board for the Black Writer’s Alliance. She also facilitated a monthly book club and served as a publicist for the annual Irma P. Hall Theater Arts Festival.

She was the recipient of many awards and honors for her service to the community. In 2003, the Emma Award, which honored excellence in romance-action literature, was named in her honor. She was also the recipient of the Wordspace Award for Outstanding Support of Literature in 2004 and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Golden Soror of the Year in 2016. The Emma Rodgers Learning Laboratory was dedicated at Bishop Arts Theater in 2009.

Emma Rodgers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.067

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/13/2017

Last Name

Rodgers

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Center Avenue School

13th Street School

Piney Point Elementary School

Evan E. Worthing Senior High School

Spelman College

Texas Southern University

University of Texas at Arlington

First Name

Emma

Birth City, State, Country

Niagara Falls

HM ID

ROD06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Suriname, Ghana

Favorite Quote

A People Without Knowledge Of Their History Is Like A Tree Without Roots.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/16/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Collard greens, cream peas, jalapeno cornbread, tabouli

Short Description

Entrepreneur Emma Rodgers (1944 - ) co-founded Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas and served as commissioner for the City of Dallas, City Plan.

Employment

Black Images Book Bazaar

TeCo Theatrical Productions

City of Dallas, Texas

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emma Rodgers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about her mother's early years

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers describes her mother's move to Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers talks about her mother and stepfather's marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about moving between Texas and New York

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers remembers her experiences in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emma Rodgers remembers celebrating Juneteenth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Emma Rodgers talks about the history of the Underground Railroad in St. Catharines, Canada

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Emma Rodgers remembers her early schooling in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Emma Rodgers describes her experiences at Piney Point Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon her childhood in Niagara Falls, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers remembers attending Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers recalls her experiences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about her participation in the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers remembers attending Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers recalls working on Lyndon Baines Johnson's campaign

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers talks about her influences at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers recalls her experiences as an early education teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about meeting her business partner, Ashira Tosihwe

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers recalls opening Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers talks about working with various publishers in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers remembers authors carried by Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers remembers authors carried by Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about the interest in black books during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers reflects on gender in black literature

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about children and young adult literature

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers describes the environment of Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers remembers hosting author Connie Briscoe

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers recalls working with W. Paul Coates

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers talks about the process of bringing authors to her store

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Emma Rodgers describes the Rites of Passage Program for Girls, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers describes the Rites of Passage Program for Girls, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers talks about The Third Eye and Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers describes TeCo Theatrical Productions, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about book clubs in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon readership within black communities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about her favorite authors

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers remembers actress Irma P. Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes the Romance Slam Jam festival

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon the closing of Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers talks about the role of Black Images Book Bazaar in the community of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon the loss of independent black bookstores

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emma Rodgers remembers her experiences on the City Plan Commission of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emma Rodgers talks about the Emma Rodgers Learning Laboratory in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Emma Rodgers remembers author Francis Ray

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Emma Rodgers talks about the Dallas Civil Rights Museum in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Emma Rodgers reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Emma Rodgers describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Emma Rodgers talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Emma Rodgers describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Emma Rodgers narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Emma Rodgers narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Emma Rodgers recalls opening Black Images Book Bazaar in Dallas, Texas
Emma Rodgers describes the Romance Slam Jam festival
Transcript
I mean well how did you get started? I mean you--so you're gonna start a bookstore. Walk us through how, how you did it--$$Okay. Well by going to the National Association of Black Social Work [sic. National Association of Black Social Workers] convention, we would see books there and books that we liked. And so we started collecting titles, we made a list. We had a mailing list because when we first started, we started off as a mail order book firm. So we had an 8.5 by 11 [inches] that you would fold three times, on the outside was a place to put your address and what have you. We got a post office box, mailing address. And then we did the research, going to the libraries, using the books in print looking for publishers. And then contacting the publishers. Even met with publishers in public places. I can remember meeting with the Random House publisher [Random House Inc.; Penguin Random House] at, at, at that time Lancaster-Kiest library [Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library, Dallas, Texas]. So getting--writing the publishers, calling the publishers. And then they would have their sales reps to contact us.$$Okay.$$And then when we would travel going to Third World Press [Chicago, Illinois] and how I really got immersed into it--[HistoryMaker] Lerone Bennett was here speaking at a Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] fundraiser. I said, "Well I'm gonna be in Chicago [Illinois]." He said, "Well come by my office," and I did. I went by there, met Mr. Johnson [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson], met him. And I told him about my interest in books. He said, "Well you need to see Basil Phillips." And Basil Phillips was the photo editor and represented the books there, the book division for Johnson [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois]. And then Basil talked me, in two minutes or less, to attending my first American Booksellers [American Booksellers Association] conference which was in Los Angeles [California]. And I registered for it. [HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou and James Baldwin were the breakfast speakers for the breakfast I attended. I met Tom Feelings' literary agent.$$Yeah, Tom Feelings is a great artist.$$Great artist. 'Moja Means One' ['Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book,' Muriel Feelings], 'Jambo Means Hello' ['Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book,' Muriel Feelings].$$'Middle Passage' ['The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo'], his last one.$$Right. And so met them and I was sold. And then by going to the convention, I met other publishers. So that was '78 [1978]; we started in '77 [1977], so that was in '78 [1978]. And that's how we got connected with the publishers.$$So when you had the mail order business, you just--$$Had a limited number of titles that we carried. Third World Press and some other presses.$$And did you like, keep them in a certain room and just in a boxes or something?$$In my living room, in my living room at home and then in the--sold books out of the trunk of my car. And by being in Dallas [Texas], Dallas is a great convention city. So there were a number of national black conventions that came here. For example, one year there was a National Medical Association, National Dental [National Dental Association], National Hygienist [National Dental Hygienists' Association], National Nurse Association [National Black Nurses Association], and I forget the other medical. But there were a number of medical conventions here. So we elected to exhibit at the National Medical, then they--I remember one year Alpha Phi Alpha [Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.] met here. Oh, and then the Sleeping Car Porters [Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters] met here. That was just really great. And a number of sororities met here and fraternities met here. So we would exhibit there. So that's how we were able to grow our business. We both were still (unclear). By this time I was director of human resources for the Visiting Nurse Association [Visiting Nurse Associations of America], and then became a vice president. So this is how we nurtured our business.$$Okay. So this is you--$$And grew our business. And then moved it--we opened a flea market in '84 [1984]. And then became full time in 1986.$$Okay, so you and Ashira Tosihwe.$$Right.$$Okay. So you became full time in '86 [1986]?$$Right, in '86 [1986] we started our hours open Tuesday through Sunday. Needed one day off.$$Now when did you, when did you acquire the space? I mean the bookstore space [for Black Images Book Bazaar, Dallas, Texas].$$Well let me back up. We started in the flea market in Wynnewood Village shopping center [Dallas, Texas].$$Okay.$$Opened on Saturday and Sunday. And then in September of 1996 we opened up into about, little less than twelve hundred square feet in Wynnewood Village shopping center. And then in '92 [1992] we moved to about three thousand square feet.$$Okay so the first permanent store was in '86 [1986].$$Right.$$In Wynnewood and then in '92 [1992] you moved to a bigger space.$$Right.$I haven't asked you about the Romance Slam Jam.$$Oh yes, okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And Francis Ray, so.$$Yes, Francis Ray and my business partner Ashira Tosihwe and I founded it in 1995. There was some kind of major romance conference in Fort Worth [Texas]. And so Francis came and she said, "Ms. Rodgers [HistoryMaker Emma Rodgers], can we do something?" Because when we go to those conferences, all the white people just walk by and we're just sitting there. But let me back up. Francis Ray was the pediatric nurse at the early childhood center that my child attended. So how I connected with her at first, she sent this note with Candace [Candace Rodgers] being the second child, she sent this note pinned on Candace saying that she needed an immunization. So of course I took her to the pediatrician. But that was when Francis Ray was being published by Ms. Latisha Peeples [ph.]. It was only like three or four books out. So that's how we started it. The black authors go to the convention, and this is a convention for romance readers. But the--nobody would stop by and talk to them. So we had something at Black Images [Black Images Book Bazaar, Dallas, Texas]. We did it in '95 [1995] and '96 [1996], and then we toured in '97 [1997]. And then '98 [1998] we did a, we did a cruise. We cruised in '97 [1997], cruised in '98 [1998]. Didn't do anything in '99 [1999] and then 2000 we had it back here. And that was when we found the model of a book club, bookstore and an author hosting it. Anna Laurence was the host for that. And Beverly Jenkins was our keynote speaker. She was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now this is--as I remember, a friend of mine had a bookstore in the early '70s [1970s]. Used to carry Harlequin romances.$$Right.$$He had a black bookstore, but he had, he had other things in there.$$And the problem with Harlequin during that era was that they would have--the characters didn't look right to fit the copy inside the book. That changed later. So we had those conferences and then in 2001 Romance Slam Jam left home. My baby grew up, left home. Brenda Woodbury was here and she said, "Emma, I think I can take this to Orlando [Florida]." And that was our first one in Orlando. Shaq's mother [Lucille O'Neal] was one of the underwriters, they had several underwriters. Brenda Jackson who's a now a New York Times [The New York Times] bestseller was the author, and a book club hosted it. We had a live band and Montsho [Montsho Books, Orlando, Florida] was the bookstore that was part of the planning team. And so they was sitting around and they said, "Well you know we need to have an award." And they all said, "Emma," immediately. And, because of my lead in helping to market and promote what they did and I can remember Jackie [Jackie Perkins] presenting the award to me because of my dedication and commitment to the romance writers. And it was purely be--out of marketing. They were just not marketing and promoting and making all this money for the publishers.$$Yeah, let me just backtrack again. What I was trying to say back there was that there was--people were buying these Harlequin romances, but none of them were about black people or very few.$$Right.$$And so there was a group of--I know there were a couple of women in Chicago [Illinois] that were poets, started writing black romance novels, and self-publishing them and other people started doing it around the country. So what you're saying is that you kind of gathered this little--this movement of women who were writing these romance novels and focused it.$$Exactly. Because Harlequin was publishing them and they published them under different imprints, Pinnacle [Pinnacle Books, Inc.], changed names and what have you. But it was to get the word out because romance period in all publishing, sells more books than any other genre, romance. And so all these authors were coming out with all this great work and they were not being marketed and promoted. So then at our booksellers convention [American Booksellers Association], some of these house--Kensington [Kensington Publishing Corporation] started hosting receptions for them because their business had grown so due to these romance authors. So anything that they would do, they could do to help grow the audience, grow their bottom line, they did. And so last--it was in Detroit [Michigan] in 2016. And it was--we keep growing; quite successful.$$Yeah, this is the Romance Slam Jam.$$Right.$$And, and organiza- I mean the slam jam presents the Emma Award for the best writer (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, and that's a, that's the closing ceremony.

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich

Policy scholar Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich is one of the most important intellectual leaders of the modern civil rights movement. Born in Niagara Falls, New York, on June 24, 1933, Scruggs-Leftwich is the executive director and chief operating officer of the Black Leadership Forum.

Scruggs-Leftwich grew up in Buffalo and earned her B.A. with honors from North Carolina Central University. She holds an advanced degree in public administration from the University of Minnesota and received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in city and regional planning and urban policy. Her research and opinions on issues of race, public policy and social justice have caught the attention of many. In addition to professorships at Howard University, the State University of New York, the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, Scruggs-Leftwich has served in several policymaking capacities at various levels of government. Previously she worked as deputy mayor of Philadelphia, housing commissioner for the state of New York, and deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Scruggs-Leftwich also co-owned three banking corporations in New York and has consulted on matters of municipal finance. She is in demand as a speaker on a number of issues.

In 1998, Scruggs-Leftwich became the leader of the Black Leadership Forum, a coalition of national civil rights and service organizations. Scruggs-Leftwich helps facilitate dialogue among top African Americans and across racial lines, becoming one of the preeminent thinkers and speakers on black leadership and urban politics. Among her many publications are Consensus and Compromise: The Making of National Urban Policy, Sound Bites of Protest and Standing with My Fist. Scruggs-Leftwich works as a commentator on News Hour with Jim Lehrer, writes a syndicated column for the National Newspaper Association, and frequently appears as a guest on public affairs and news programs. Scruggs-Leftwich was also the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship for graduate study in Germany.

Accession Number

A2003.175

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/1/2003

11/20/2003

Last Name

Scruggs-Leftwich

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

North Carolina Central University

Fosdick-Masten Park High School

University of Pennsylvania

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Yvonne

Birth City, State, Country

Niagara Falls

HM ID

SCR01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults/Seniors also organizations/conferences

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $1500-5000 for speech only, $7500 and up for workshops, speech-plus-seminar or full lecture, plus travel and lodging expenses

Availability: Anytime by specific appointment/commitment. See attached brochure used for public appearances (missing)

Preferred Audience: Adults/Seniors also organizations/conferences

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Cool

Favorite Quote

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/24/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tampa

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Corn (White)

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich (1933 - ) is the executive director and COO of the Black Leadership Forum and a leading scholar on issues of race and urban politics.

Employment

Howard University

State University of New York

University of Pennsylvania

George Washington University

Philadelphia City Government

New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Black Leadership Forum

Favorite Color

Black, Orange, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich shares stories passed down through her maternal family lineage

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her father's background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her father's background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her paternal grandfather Dr. Lawson Andrew Scruggs' book, 'Women of Distinction'

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her paternal grandfather, Dr. Lawson Andrew Scruggs, and his legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks briefly about the history of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her grandfather's ministry and her family's religious affiliations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her father's background, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her childhood interests and extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich remembers her childhood dog

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience at P.S. 75 Elementary School in Buffalo, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience at P.S. 75 Elementary School in Buffalo, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about the discussions surrounding racism in her home

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her parents' intolerance of racism and their family's racially diverse community in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her father's experience with employment discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes experiencing race and gender discrimination at Fosdick-Masten Park High School in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her extracurricular activities at Fosdick-Masten Park High School in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her college interests and application process

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich explains why she chose to attend North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience as an undergraduate student at North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich remembers playing piano as an undergraduate student at North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience as an undergraduate student at North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience as an undergraduate student at North Carolina College in Durham, North Carolina, pt. 3

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience as a Fulbright scholar in Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her close friends during her time studying abroad in Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes the anti-Semitism she observed as a student in Germany, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes the anti-Semitism she observed as a student in Germany, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her return from Germany as a Fulbright fellow

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Second slating of Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her experience in Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes taking an assistantship in the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about working in urban renewal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her aptitude for urban planning and her parents' civil rights advocacy, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her aptitude for urban planning and her parents' civil rights advocacy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich lists academic faculty and mentors, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich lists academic faculty and mentors, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about the impact of the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations on urban development

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about studying urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich explains the Model Cities Program, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich explains the Model Cities Program, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about completing her Ph.D. coursework at the University of Pennsylvania and joining the faculty of Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about joining the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Carter administration

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about the U.S. government's exclusion of African Americans from urban policy decision-making

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes managing a

100 million discretionary fund within the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about leaving the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich remembers Patricia Roberts Harris, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Jimmy Carter

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich critiques former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her return to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about the death of her mother and migrating back to Buffalo, New York in 1981

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her tenure in the State Housing Agency and her appointment to commissioner of Housing and Community Renewal

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her tenure as state commissioner of Housing and Community Renewal under Governor Mario Cuomo

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes the criticism she received as State Commissioner of Housing and Community Renewal because of her race and gender

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes leaving her position as state commissioner and being sworn in as deputy mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her tenure as Deputy Mayor of Philadelphia and becoming co-owner of three New York banking corporations

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about the closing of the banking corporations she co-owned with her husband

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about joining the Urban Policy Institute and Executive Leadership Council in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about joining the Urban Policy Institute and Executive Leadership Council in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich considers what she may have done differently

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich considers her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about her parents' intolerance of racism and their family's racially diverse community in Buffalo, New York
Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich talks about joining the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Carter administration
Transcript
Just another word on that--race, as a race woman or a race man, it was in addition to being very adamant about what you're entitled to and trying in every way you could not to let people take advantage of you or abuse you, it was that it was expected that you would find opportunities to speak out, and that you would interpret behavior toward you that was sort of subtly offensive, as behavior that ought to be challenged because as my mother [Geneva Ellen Byrd] used to say, "If they will treat me like that, just think what they will do," and then she would name somebody who couldn't read well or who was very self-effacing and who was used to being subjugated, "Think how they would treat Ms. So and so. They would understand that that was not acceptable." My mother--as my husband says, "My mother left no wounded in the jungle and took no prisoners." And she was not straitened. She was extremely refined. She rarely raised her voice. She did not swear and curse. She did not drink. Neither of my parents drank; so that their strategy for dealing with indignity was always to do it out of a context of pure, unadulterated compromising dignity. And they demanded other people with whom they were in contact have that same respect visited upon them. I cannot tell you how many times people would come to our door in the middle of the night because somebody had been arrested or somebody was missing, and would want my mother or my father [Leonard Andrew Scruggs, Sr.], depending on who it was that came, to go with them to negotiate with these hostile institutions. You know, people--I lived up on the Canadian border. It's hard to get further north than that, and yet there was prejudice and discrimination. When I was growing up, there was a slightly different kind because we lived in a neighborhood when we moved to Buffalo [New York]. We lived in a mixed neighborhood. Across the street were Irish people. Upstairs--my parents owned the house and the tenant upstairs was a Jewish woman and her daughter. There was a German family that lived diagonally across the street from us; and one of my mother's very best friends was a German woman who lived up the street, so it was a real mixed environment. There were a lot of black people who lived in there and they lived next door, but that did not mean that there was not institutional racism.$This was in, as I said, in 1974 and I worked at Howard University [Washington, D.C.]. I was on the faculty there until 1981. I took two years off in between in 1977, no, in '78 [1978] and '79 [1979]. I was appointed by President [James Earl] Carter to be the head--well actually I was hired by Patricia Roberts Harris, who was another person, who was very significant in my life to be the deputy assistant secretary of HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development] for what was the planning element--the community planning and development, and that same day I began work in that job, I was assigned by the secretary, with the approval of the president, to be the executive director of the Urban and Regional Policy Task Force, which President Carter had created as a fulfillment of one of his campaign promises to the urban inner city people who had voted for him, his promise was to do something to help cities and to create an urban policy and that was the job of the Urban Regional Policy Task Force. And I set a deadline for March of the next year, and I really mean that. I sat down and I said, "How am I going to do this job?" And I sat at my dining room table in Bethesda [Maryland] and worked out a planning work program that began from August and tried to anticipate when would be the best possible optimal time for the urban policy to be announced. And it came out by looking at Congressional calendars and other things that it should be announced in March of 1979. And that's what we did, and I ran that process, hired a lot of consultants but brought minorities into a process in a way that they had never been involved in a national policy-making process. I had task forces of academics, of civil rights leaders, of union leaders, of city leaders, you know, elected officials, governors, who met in the White House with the president. When the task forces met, they met in the White House, and if there were elected leaders around, you knew that President Carter was going to show up. He was really sensitive to being and welcoming people who were elected leaders to the White House and he would come to the meetings and he may or may not stay. He would always say something. He would always talk about the policy and his interest and his gratitude for them for being there and working on it, but that was an intense year. At the end of that twelve-month period, I had worked every day of the year except for two weekends right straight through. I worked ten and twelve hours or more a day. And I was at the White House on HUD on Saturdays and Sundays except for two weekends. I don't even remember what the weekends were, but worked right straight through. And we finished the Urban Policy. The president signed off on it, had a big thing to announce it. The primary task force was the secretary's. Secretary Harris headed that task force. My task force was the deputies, who were--for each of the twelve agencies that were involved in the making of urban policy, the deputy from that agency was designated by that the secretary from that agency, and this was the person who was the most concerned with urban issues. And then there were all these other task forces and work groups, that were made up of citizens, who--people from the universities from all over the country, who came and worked with me and my staff on giving their best ideas. My office, which was about the size of this room, had no, no vacant surface. People sent in drafts of all kinds about urban issues from all over the country.