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Tyrone Mitchell

Chemist and federal government administrator Tyrone D. Mitchell was born on May 6, 1939 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mitchell was taught by an excellent chemistry teacher at L.B. Landry High School who reinforced his interest in science. He received his B.A. degree in chemistry from Dillard University in New Orleans and earned his M.S. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. Mitchell then joined General Electric Company (GE) as a process chemist. In 1971, he became an associate staff chemist at General Electric R & D Center. Mitchell received his Ph.D. degree in polymer chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

After completing his education, Mitchell joined General Electric Silicones as a senior chemist. In 1990, after twenty-five years, he left GE, with the company, having co-authored sixteen technical publications. During his time there, he received more than twenty-five United States patents in the areas of organosilicon chemistry, polymer chemistry and the synthesis of adhesion promoters for use in silicone sealants. The products he helped to develop produced over $100 million in annual sales in 1990. He joined Corning Incorporated where he worked in developing new coatings for optical fibers. Mitchell held a number of management positions in the Science & Technology Division at Corning, where he sought out new technology to improve Corning’s research and development projects. In 2000, he retired from Corning to serve as a program officer in the Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2003, he was promoted to program director of the Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program.

Mitchell has served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing at Clarkson University and the Technology Transfer Society. He was a member of the Chemistry Section Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member-at-large to the Industrial Science & Technology Section of AAAS. In 2006, he was inducted as an AAAS fellow. Mitchell is married to Sandra Parker Mitchell and they have three children: Tracey, Tyrone, Jr. and Todd.

Tyrone D. Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 27, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.152

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/27/2012 |and| 7/17/2012

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Marrried

Schools

L.b. Landry High School

Dillard University

University of Pittsburgh

Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Tyrone

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

MIT12

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans, Louisiana

Favorite Quote

There are a lot of things I don't do, but nothing I won't do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/6/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo (New Orleans)

Short Description

Chemist and federal government administrator Tyrone Mitchell (1939 - ) serves as the National Foundation program director of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry and holds twenty-five patents in the field of silicone and polymer chemistry.

Employment

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Corning Incorporated

General Electric Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyrone Mitchell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his father's work experience

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tyrone Mitchell describes the neighborhoods where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Tyrone Mitchell describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his involvement in church

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his interdiction to science

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his thoughts about college as a young person

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about living with his Aunt Edna

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about L. B. Landry High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his high school interests and activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about the space race and the focus on science in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about the guidance and advice he received from his high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his decision to attend Dillard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell describes the chemistry department at Dillard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his research of azides with Dr. Jan Hamer

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his organic chemistry courses

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his decision to attend graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tyrone Mitchell describes the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his preparation for graduate school and his mentor, Dr. Claiborne Griffin

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about being hired to work for General Electric

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his work at General Electric

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his doctoral studies (part 1)

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his doctoral studies (part 2)

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his doctoral research on reactions of esters with amines

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his patents and his work with aminosilanes at General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about silicon breast implants

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell summarizes his work at General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his decision to work at Corning Incorporated

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his efforts to improve diversity at Corning Incorported

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about Corning's efforts to increase the minority representation in graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about Corning's efforts to improve conditions for women

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyrone Mitchell's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his decision to work at Corning Incorporated

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his work at Corning Incorporated

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about Corning Incorporated's efforts to employ more women and minorities

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about the leadership at Corning Incorporated

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about Historically Black Colleges and Corning Incorporated

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Tyrone Mitchell compares General Electric and Corning International

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about leaving Corning Incorporated's employment

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about going to work for the National Science Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his wife and his family life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his work as program director for the National Science Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about the nation's focus on STEM and federal funding

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his move to the National Science Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell discusses the presence of African Americans at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about honors he has received

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about funding for the National Science Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about the importance of research for smaller institutions

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about resources available to small schools

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about Historically Black Colleges and the importance of a research focus

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Tyrone Mitchell reflects on his career

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Tyrone Mitchell shares his hopes and concerns for the African American Community

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his children (part 1)

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Tyrone Mitchell talks about his children (part 2)

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Tyrone Mitchell tells how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Tyrone Mitchell describes his photos

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$7

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Tyrone Mitchell talks about his organic chemistry courses
Tyrone Mitchell talks about going to work for the National Science Foundation
Transcript
But like I say, Dr. Hamer was outstanding. And he actually left Dillard and went to, became a professor at Tulane [University], once he got established. But we were fortunate enough to get him for organic chemistry, and like I say, he became, he became a mentor and made sure that we learned what we had to learn because at the time he taught organic chemistry, but desegregation of some of the schools was happening during our time in college. And there was a new school. It's called LSU New Orleans. LSU [Louisiana State University] had a campus in New Orleans. And one of his good friends, Dr. Jack Stocker, S-T-O-C-K-E-R, was teaching a summer course. And it was the same course he taught. He taught an organic chemistry course. Dr. Jack Stocker was gonna teach an organic chemistry, the summer course, which was the same course he taught, except he's teaching it out of a new book by, called, by authors 'Morrison and Boyd.' Now, Morris and Boyd became like the bible of organic chemistry during my time, and every, most schools were using that because it taught chemistry in a different way. It taught organic chemistry in a different way, (unclear) mechanistically. Before organic chemistry was memorization. But they taught using mechanisms and things of that sort. So Hamer insisted, not insisted, but he encouraged Sandra and I to go to LSU in New Orleans and take the summer course from Dr. Stocker. And it was like, the school had just integrated. So after, the summer after we took organic chemistry from him, we went to, I took that summer at LSU in New Orleans, which now is called the University of New Orleans, but then it was LSU-NO, in New Orleans. So I took the course, and I did quite well in the course. But the interesting thing about that is that the class was all white students, and Sandra and I were the only black students in that class. And these white students had never been to class with blacks before. So they accepted it, but one thing that they would do is when we--if they got to class before us, wherever we sat, they would move, get up all and move to the other side of the room or to the back of the room or to the corner of the room. So we used to play games with them. We'd wait till they get seated, then we go in, and we'd sit down. And they would (laughter), they would all get up and move. So, but we'd, that was the whole summer. But, but, you know, Dr. Stocker was fair, and he taught the course, and I did very well. I worked the problems and made, made a decent grade in that course. And that was--$$I'm just saying, this is the first time, this is the first time that LSU was integrated like that?$$Yeah, they'd just integrated LSU, yes.$$Okay.$$It'd just been integrated. And, and Dr. Hamer told us, encouraged us to go and take the course that summer 'cause he knew we would learn--and that course is really what got me, cemented my interests in organic chemistry and actually helped me to be more competitive when I went to graduate school. And it really prepared me very well for going to graduate school.$And one of the things I thought, I always wanted to do, well, all my whole career, I wanted to teach in a university. I wanted to, and I thought having been in industry for thirty-some years, I thought that--and having worked with the interns and with young people, I saw it as a value to take and go and teach at a university and try to bring these skills and bring these connections I had and try to help those students to plan their careers, whether they wanted to go into research or industry or whatever they wanted to do, and to be aware of the landscape. And I thought I could help them with that in becoming, into making that transition and understanding what is required when you go to work anywhere, you know, any kind of work that you go to do. You know, you have to, you have to understand the culture that you're going into, and the other thing I always tell students is that you, there's no substitute for working hard. You have to work hard. Okay, there's just no way to get around that. And I always point out that even though I've been in my career for all these years, I still end up working nights and weekends because you have goals to meet, and you have to meet those goals. And it becomes, you know, if you're self-motivated, then you'll do that. And a lot of young people that I mentor have done quite well and been successful by following that advice. So I thought I wanted to do something differently. And so I got, I worked to get my, put a CV together, and I started sending it out. And I sent it to, I, I was, I guess I was a little naive because I sent it to two schools that I thought I definitely would like to, to work at, that I thought had the infrastructure, and I thought that I could really bring a lot of value to that school as a research scientist and as a chemist and as a person that worked with young people and a person who had contacts and knew the industrial area and knew, and, and having the technology transfer stuff, I had a lot of contacts at universities and so I put together a CV, and I sent it to two schools. Maybe I should have blanketed it, sent it to more schools. But I sent it to two schools that I was interested in, two HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] that I was interested in transitioning to. And to my surprise, I never heard back from them. And after a few months, I called them, and they said, oh, we lost your, must have misplaced your CV. And they, they said, send us another copy. So meanwhile, when this is, when this was going on, I had served on a number of boards, okay. And I was on a board of, when I was at Corning, I served on the Center for Advanced Materials processing. It's a board, it was an entity at Clarkson University that was funded by the state. And the State of New York funds a number of different centers, about ten or twelve centers throughout the state. And they get something like a million dollars a year or something in that ballpark, and New York Centers of Excellence. And each of these centers are located at universities throughout the State of New York. And they all have an expertise that, that university will take and, area they'd work in, to try and develop technology in the state and make jobs in those regions that they're located. Well, Clarkson, being in upstate New York, had a Center for Advanced Materials Processing. When I was on the board of that center, one of the things Corning was a supporter, and in my technology assessment capacity, I managed a lot of those activities in terms of giving funding. So I managed the funding that went to these different university centers, like there was one at Cornell, one at SUNY Albany [State University of New York, Albany], and if part of the money that I'm, part of the Vice President of Research's budget, then I managed those activities and sat on the boards and things of that sort. Well, the director of the Center for Advanced Materials Processing had, had stepped down as the director of that. He had been there the whole time I was there, and I know him, knew him very well. And he had come to NSF [National Science Foundation] to do a rotation as a program director, as a program director in the chemistry division. And when I was waiting to hear from these universities, he contacted me. He said, Ty, you really should look at doing a rotation as a program director at NSF, as a rotator 'cause they brought in rotators. NSF brings in people from universities to come in and spend a couple of years helping with the, with the review process and funding process. But they didn't, they didn't recruit many people from industry. And my, my friend from Clarkson, what was his name? Ray, Ray--I've forgot his name at the moment, he, he actually encouraged me to send my CV to NSF. And when I did, they invited me in to give a talk. I came in, and I talked about some of the research I had done at Corning. I also talked about the management, some of the management activities I had done. And, and lo and behold, I got an offer from them to come and be a rotator at NSF. And meanwhile, I still hadn't heard from the universities that I was interested in transitioning to. So I decided to do that for a couple, for at least two years--it was a two-year appointment, while I sought out the other part of, of going, becoming part of a university faculty. And after working there, I enjoyed the work, and I saw an opportunity to really, to really make a difference in some of the funding activities.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr.

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was born on December 13, 1952 in Inkster, Michigan. A quick-learner, he excelled at math and science. Whitlow aspired to be a chemist until space missions in the 1960s captured his imagination, changing his career goal to astronaut. Whitlow received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, 1975 and 1979, respectively.

Whitlow's long career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began in 1979, when he was hired as a research scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. At Langley, he specialized in fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and aeroelasticity. He rose quickly to become a senior research scientist and headed various specialty branches in astrophysics and aeronautics. In 1994, Whitlow became the Director of the Critical Technologies Division in the Office of Aeronautics at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He then moved to the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998, where he served as the Director of Research and Technology, among other positions. Whitlow was made Deputy Director of the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in 2003 and oversaw launch-related services and activities until 2005 when he was appointed to Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named Whitlow the Associate Administrator for the Mission Support Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He retired in August of 2013 and later became Executive in Residence at the Cleveland State University Washkewicz College of Engineering.

Throughout his career, Whitlow has written over forty technical papers, most in the areas of unsteady transonic flow, aeroelasticity and propulsion. His awards include NASA’s Distinguished Service Honor Medal—the Agency’s highest honor; the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive—the highest award for federal executives; Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive; U.S. Black Engineer of the Year in Government; the NASA Exceptional Service Honor Medal; the NASA Equal Opportunity Honor Medal; the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers William Sweet Smith Prize; the Minorities in Research Science Scientist-of-the-Year Award; and the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics elected him as a Fellow in 2010. He also holds an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Cranfield University.

Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/3/2012

Last Name

Whitlow

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carver Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

Inkster High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any, with sufficient notice

First Name

Woodrow

Birth City, State, Country

Inkster

HM ID

WHI17

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

College students, adults, STEM faculty and students, technical companies and organizations

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $3,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

Highlight a player when you see him in the street.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/13/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Aerospace engineer and federal government administrator Woodrow Whitlow, Jr. (1952 - ) has worked for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for over thirty years serving as Associate Administrator for Mission Support at NASA Headquarters and director of the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory John F. Kennedy Space Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Woodrow Whitlow's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his mother, Willie Mae Whitlow

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the history of Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes how the space race inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his childhood interest in sports

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his interest in science and in space

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Inkster High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1967 Detroit riots

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his exposure to Detroit-area museums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his family's educational pursuits

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the 1969 moon landing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his and others' reactions to Dr. King's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Star Trek

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his first impression of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the role of church in his life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his doctoral research on unstable transonic flow

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his hiring at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the influence of Katherine G. Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Harriett Jenkins

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at NASA's Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the importance of space exploration in 1979

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about transonic flow and aircraft safety

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Guion Bluford's space flight

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about wanting to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work on computer models and his desire to become an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about NASA's Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the politics of space exploration

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his efforts to attract minority students to science

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about becoming the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about Charles Bolden and Mae Jemison

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about greater acceptance of minorities at NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work as the Director of the Critical Technologies Division

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his work at the John Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the future of aircraft engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about honors that he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Woodrow Whitlow describes a typical day at work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Woodrow Whitlow describes his contributions as a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about the end of NASA's shuttle program

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Woodrow Whitlow shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Woodrow Whitlow talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Woodrow Whitlow describes his experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Woodrow Whitlow talks about his work at the Glenn Research Center
Transcript
Tell us your study schedule. You just told it to me off camera but--$$Oh, I would--of course I'm not an early morning person so I would try not--and the institute would open at nine o'clock so I'd try not to get 9 o'clock classes. But you know I would take the classes during the day and if there were breaks I would study. But then when I get back to my dorm room at night I would typically study to you know two, three, four o'clock in the morning every night. So it was--worked hard. But then on Thursday nights I would just study all night, wouldn't go to bed and because I knew if just make it through the classes on Friday then I had you know the weekend without having to go to classes to, you know to recover. So make it through Friday, study some. Friday evening then you know just kind of take a break on Friday nights and you know maybe go to a movie, go somewhere. You know we had the movie series on campus, go to a movie just rest and relax and then sleep late Saturday. And we'd go to the soul food, normally we'd go to the soul food restaurant on Saturday in Boston, Bob the chef. So we'd go down there. That was the big thing, we'd go to Bob the chef on Saturday, get you a good soul food meal and then come back and maybe, and start picking up the routine. If not Saturday night then first thing Sunday morning because--depending on you know what you had to turn in on Monday, you know maybe pick it up Saturday night. If not, maybe rest a little bit Saturday and then get up Sunday and start running again.$$Okay. Now who are some of your instructors there and yeah who are some of the instructors that you remember and what were they teaching you?$$I can remember of course Wes Harris was--he you now he taught fluid dynamics in the aeronautics department. But when he came I was--he came in my junior year and so we started working together. And so he ended up being my Masters Thesis supervisor and my Doctoral Thesis chairman. And so he's someone who really--he's the one who really taught me about academic excellence and so I remember him. And then people like Eugene Covert who taught aerodynamics, Judd Baron taught gas dynamics, Jack Kerabrock (ph.) taught propulsion systems, Jim Marr (ph.) taught structures. So these are all the professors in the aero department. And then there was Professor Orzag in the math department taught the advanced calculus courses and then the other--there was one guy, I did a concentration, under--humanities concentration in psychology. And there was one, Professor Hans Torber (ph.) I can remember. And I did it, I picked, I had to pick some humanities concentration and the reason I picked psychology is I had heard about this Hans Torber, this psychology professor. And I said well maybe he can make humanities interesting. So I--and he did. So I took--and he taught brain science. Then I took learning theory and then another, some other psychology courses. But those are some of the ones, you know--and then all the guys in the aero department, Professor Widnall and--Sheila Widnall [Sheila Marie Evans Widnall]--she actually became secretary of the air force for a while before she went back to MIT. And I talked about Professor Marr and instructors and just a great group of guys in the aero department who were Course 16 as we affectionately refer to it as. We don't do names at MIT, we do numbers.$$Really? You--$$Yeah, a course--$$People have numbers?$$Yeah, I can tell you the courses I took like my math course, I took 8--physics course is 801, 802, 803. My--because physics is Course 8. My math courses I took 1801, 1802 and 1803. And then I took advanced calculus, 18075, 18076. And then I took in Double E, a course 6.14 and the office is in Building 37 and the other aero is Building 35 and some was in Building 9. And so I don't know the names of a lot of stuff at MIT but I can tell you the numbers associated with it.$$Okay. Now what was--now was it exciting being around so many people with the same kind of focus of you know--?$$It was motivating, exciting and you know and you know it--and it, it really was. I'm at MIT, you know, you heard--I didn't know what MIT was but you know when you hear people talk about bright people, say oh yeah, he's going to go to MIT. Or you watch, you see it on TV, even now you say oh yeah, well this person's from MIT. And so yeah to be there in that environment--and at first it was a little intimidating. And you know the one thing, my freshman year you know these, hear these students at the other table and they were talking about some math thing and then they pulled out, a napkin out and they start writing on this napkin and then they left. And we were all sitting around and I picked the napkin up and I looked at it and I said this not even writing. Even I know that this is not correct what's on this napkin. So I said well, yeah well I can make it through here. So I went from, I'm going to go to MIT for one year and transfer to ended up staying there for nine years.$Okay. What were some of the highlights of your term as director of the NASA Glenn Research Center?$$Well when I became center director we really, the agency made a big change in direction and to be a viable center, we had to make a big change in direction. So leading that change to make us, to increase our emphasis on more space systems research and development to--we won major roles in what was then the Project Constellation which was the program to--Program Constellation to put people permanently on the moon and to go to Mars and so our work in developing a service module which would be the power, propulsion and communications for the capsule that the astronauts would ride in. Our role, went in a role there, went in a role and developed and upper state simulator for a test vehicle and that vehicle actually flew. So to be at the Kennedy Space Center when that thing lifted off with that upper stage that had been built by Glenn employees on it, that was a very proud moment and securing roles in things like electric propulsion for deep space missions and while continuing to excel in our traditional areas in aeronautics. And those were really high points is to see the center make this big turn and do it successfully and to increase the business base you know from less than 400 million to near 800 million dollars a year, that's--those are highlights.$$Okay. Now you were there until, for about five years, right?$$Yeah, I was there nearly years again and that was as center director.

Col. Frederick Drew Gregory

Federal government administrator and aircraft commander Col. Frederick Drew Gregory, Sr. was born on January 7, 1941 in Washington, D.C. to Francis and Nora Gregory. The nephew of medical pioneer Dr. Charles Drew, Gregory grew up in a tight-knit family in Washington, D.C. He developed an interest in flying as a teenager and frequently attended air shows. After graduating from Anacostia High School in 1958, Gregory briefly attended Amherst College and American University before enrolling in the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He received his B.S. degree in 1964 and later obtained his M.S. degree in information systems from George Washington University in 1977.

Upon graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Gregory underwent pilot training for a year before serving in Vietnam as a rescue pilot. He earned numerous military decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1967. Gregory returned to the United States, where he was assigned as a missile support helicopter pilot flying the UH-1F at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. In 1970, Gregory was selected for test pilot school before being loaned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as an engineering test pilot in 1972. At the suggestion of General Benjamin Davis, the first African American general in the Air Force and a former Tuskegee Airman, Gregory applied to the astronaut training program in 1976 and was selected as one of thirty-five astronauts by NASA in 1978.

In April 1985, Gregory's first mission to space on the space shuttle Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center. He served as the lead capsule communicator during the 1986 Challenger accident in which all seven astronauts onboard were killed. In 1989, Gregory became the first African American space commander when he commanded the mission STS-33 on board the space shuttle Discovery. With the completion of his third space mission on the space shuttle Atlantis in 1991, Gregory was appointed Associate Administrator, Office of Safety and Mission Quality at the NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In 1993, Gregory retired as a colonel from the Air Force after logging more than 6,976 hours of flying time in over fifty types of aircraft and 550 combat missions in Vietnam. Gregory continued to work with NASA and in 2001 was promoted to NASA Deputy Administrator. After head Administrator Sean O’Keefe left NASA, Gregory served as Acting Administrator of NASA, the first African American to hold this position.

Gregory and his wife Barbara Archer have two adult children, Frederick and Heather.

Col. Frederick Gregory was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.215

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/27/2007

Last Name

Gregory

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Drew

Schools

Mott Elementary School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Sousa Middle School

Anacostia High School

United States Air Force Academy

George Washington University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

GRE11

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

You Are Significant And You Will Contribute.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/7/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Federal government administrator and aircraft commander Col. Frederick Drew Gregory (1941 - ) was an astronaut, the first African American space commander and the first African American Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Employment

United States Air Force

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Col. Frederick Drew Gregory's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers his maternal uncle, Dr. Charles R. Drew

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about his maternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers his community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes the Southeast neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers U Street in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls school desegregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his aspiration to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his nomination to the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his experiences of discrimination in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his start at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about race relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his education at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his aspiration to become a U.S. military pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers his pilot training

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers serving in the Vietnam War, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers serving in the Vietnam War, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls returning from the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory reflects upon his U.S. military service in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his transition to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers becoming an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory reflects upon his career as an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls meeting the Apollo 11 astronauts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about his media recognition as an astronaut

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers the Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls the aftermath of the Challenger disaster

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about his experiences of spaceflight

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers visiting Madagascar

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about researching his ancestry in Madagascar

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers commanding space shuttle missions

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes the physical sensation of spaceflight

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory remembers his retirement from NASA

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory recalls his acquaintances with U.S. presidents

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Col. Frederick Drew Gregory shares a message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Col. Frederick Drew Gregory describes his aspiration to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy
Col. Frederick Drew Gregory talks about his experiences of spaceflight
Transcript
(Simultaneous) What year did you graduate?$$Nineteen fifty-eight [1958].$$And what were your thoughts at that time? What did you wanna do next? And who influenced you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I wanted to, oh, my dad [Francis Gregory] was my major influence, or my mentor. We'll talk about that, but he was my guide. I, in high school [Anacostia High School, Washington, D.C.], I definitely wanted to go to the Air Force Academy [United States Air Force Academy, Colorado]. The school had not really opened at that point, but during one of the air shows, while I observed the demonstration, Air Force demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, I was fascinated by them. And I talked to one of the pilots when he landed, after they landed. And I said, "How can I become a Thunderbird?" And he said, "You should go to this school they're building in Colorado called the Air Force Academy." And so I think at that point, I decided that I wanted to go there. And that would have been, let's see, the first class graduated in '59 [1959]. This was probably somewhere between '55 [1955] and '56 [1956] or '57 [1957], sometime in that time frame when the school was being built. But the class, but the school had not been occupied yet or had not been used. So I think at that point, I decided that that's where I wanted to go. And, however, there was parental influence to follow in my ancestors' foot- schools, school systems. My grandfather [James Francis Gregory] on my father's side had gone to Amherst [Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts], graduated in 1908, I'm sorry, 1898, and my uncle, Charlie Drew [Charles R. Drew]--so this is on the Drew side, had graduated from Amherst in 1926. And so I think I was the stucky [ph.], I was the (laughter) chosen person. And so I was admitted to Amherst, but it was very clear to me that that is not, that was not the place I wanted to go. And so I told my dad that, and I think he knew that. And so he, the Air Force Academy required a congressional nomination. And so he went into the halls of [U.S.] Congress, as I understand it, and approached every black congressman and asked if he would, I don't think there were any shes, but all hes, would take a chance and nominate me for the Air Force Academy. The first year, I was identified in one of the congressmen's list. We took tests--at that time, they would designate a principal nominee and alt- and then alternates. So there would be one principal and ten alternates. And this particular congressman identified a guy named Chuck Bush [Charles V. Bush], Charlie Bush, to be the principal. There were ten alternates, and I was number ten. Chuck passed and was accepted. None of the other alternates passed except for me.$You had done some research, experiments while piloting or co-piloting the Challenger?$$We had, the pilot commander had some limited role in the experimentation that was going on. I mean our principal job was to maintain the orbiter and provide the environment that the, you know, the smart guys could work in. I was one of the youngest on that flight. I was in my forties at the time, and so myself and Norm Thagard [Norman E. Thagard], who was one of the mission specialists, were the two trained to do an EVA [extravehicular activity] if there was a contingency that required it. That did not exist so I suspect I was the only pilot ever trained as a walk in space, EVA. We had shifts and so Bob Overmyer [Robert F. Overmyer] was a commander, and he kind of oversaw one shift, twelve hour shift, and I was the overseer of the other shift, as that first shift would sleep. You know, we just essentially switched back and forth.$$What was it like? I mean describe the experience, weightlessness?$$Yeah.$$What was that like? What's space like?$$Space is fantastic. When you fly, you will know that you're either a earth person or a deep space, and I think I was more of a deep space. Deep space, space to me, it's, it looks two dimensional, but it's very deep. To me, it's like black velvet with diamonds on it and somebody shining a light on, fascinating. And then you realize that the stars you see are separated by significant differences. It just takes that amount of time for the light to get to you. So some things, some light that you see may have been emitted by this star 10 million years before and it just got to you. You watch the earth and you're traveling at about seven miles a second. It takes an hour and a half to circle the earth. So your sense of distances is, is greatly changed and challenged. Your sense of neighbors changes because, you know, what do you define as a neighborhood? Probably something that's easily accessible. Well, when you fly across the Atlantic Ocean in about fifteen minutes, folks in Europe are just kind of neighbors. And well, you can't discern boundaries on the ground. So you, you know, you fly across the country, the United States, and you can't tell Iowa from Texas. I mean there's nothing there that would allow you to say, ah, that's definitely Oklahoma. But you can't tell that. The same with Africa and Europe. As you moved into Eastern Europe, you can't tell the difference. And you wonder why these folks hate each other, but you can't tell any difference. So it's my belief that all of the politicos ought to go fly before they start making arbitrary decisions about this and that, ethnicity, religion and culture and things like that. It's just not apparent from space. It was, it had such an impact on me that when I came home, what I wanted to do was go meet my neighbors.

Grady Poulard

Nationally known motivational speaker and human relations consulting firm owner Grady Emory Poulard was born on August 15, 1936, to Leola Green Poulard and Grady Emory Poulard, Sr. in Crowley, Louisiana. Poulard grew up in Crowley and attended Ross High School, graduating in 1953. He attended Southern University, was elected student body president and served as the editor of the school’s newspaper. Poulard graduated from Southern University in 1957, and received a Rockefeller Fellowship, earning his M.A. degree from Yale University in philosophy and religion thereafter. Poulard also earned his M.A. degree in urban affairs at Columbia University, and is a graduate of the Pacific Institute Graduate Trainer Program.

After college, Poulard began working as an assistant to minister and civil rights activist Dr. Gardner Taylor and held the position of Director of Education at the Concord Church of Brooklyn, New York. He, then, served as an international field representative of the U.S. Student Christian Movement in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Between 1962 and 1964, Poulard served as dean of the Chapel at Christian Medical College in Vellore, South India. In 1965, Poulard became pastor of Peoples Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. He soon became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, as a field executive for the Council of Federated Civil Rights Organizations. This included the NAACP, SCLC, CORE, and SNCC.

In 1969, Poulard became a National Urban Fellow at Clairmont College and decided to go back to school and earn his M.A. degree in urban affairs from Columbia University. In 1970, while working at the American Institute of Architects, Poulard and Robert Nash developed the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). In 1972, Poulard served as special assistant to the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and became the executive director of the Independent Foundation. In 1974, Poulard became the Director for Human Relations for the U.S. General Accounting Office. Poulard is the president of his own management and human relations consulting firm called GPA, Grady Poulard Associates, which he formed in 1975. He is a member of the National Urban League, a board member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., is involved with the Black Executive Exchange Program, and is a part of the liaison staff of the White House Conference on Civil Rights.

Poulard has published one book and has contributed articles to several professional journals. He is single, and the father of two sons, Kenneth and Michael.

Accession Number

A2005.117

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/4/2005

Last Name

Poulard

Maker Category
Schools

Ross High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Yale Divinity School

Columbia University

Yale University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Grady

Birth City, State, Country

Crowley

HM ID

POU02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: 10% of engagements can be pro bono

Preferred Audience: Any

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It all comes to pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/15/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive, civil rights activist, and motivational speaker Grady Poulard (1936 - ) owns the consulting firm, Grady Poulard Associates. In 1972, Poulard served as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Washington, D.C., and became the executive director of the Independent Foundation. In 1974, Poulard became the Director for Human Relations for the U.S. General Accounting Office.

Employment

American Institute of Architects

United States. General Accounting office

Concord Church of Brooklyn

Washington, D.C. Mayor's Office

Christian Medical College (Vellore, India)

Peoples Congregational Church

Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)

Grady Poulard Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Grady Poulard interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard discusses his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard discusses his and his father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard details his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard shares childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard details his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard remembers his early music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard remembers his preparatory school experience, mid-1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard recalls his undergraduate years at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard recalls his experience at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, late 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard describes the religious climate of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard evaluates modern Christianity

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard details his assignments to international posts, 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard discusses his first marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard details his years in India

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Grady Poulard discusses his civil rights involvement as a Council of Federated Organizations official

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard recounts his training efforts as a Council of Federated Organizations official

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard reflects on his appointment as minister of the People's Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard discusses conservative Christian practices and theories

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard evaluates mega-churches

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard discusses his civil rights work in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard reviews his studies in urban affairs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard reviews his efforts as an institutional organizer

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Grady Poulard discusses his employment with the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard discusses his employment with the United States General Accounting Office

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard describes his venture, Grady Poulard Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Grady Poulard shares advice on marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Grady Poulard shares reflections on his life's course

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Grady Poulard reflects on issues of race and class in the U.S.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Grady Poulard shares his personal philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Grady Poulard considers his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Grady Poulard discusses his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Grady Poulard continues to discuss the institution of marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Grady Poulard describes how he'd like to be remembered

Julian Manly Earls

Physicist and federal government administrator Julian Manly Earls was born on November 22, 1942 in Portsmouth, Virginia to James and Ida Deberry Earls. He graduated from Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia in 1960 and went on to earn his B.S. degree in physics from Norfolk State University in 1964. Upon the advice of his mentor, Dr. Roy A. Woods, Earls attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to obtain his M.S. degree in radiation biology in 1965. Earls then moved to Cleveland to work at NASA for six years at the Lewis Research Center. NASA sponsored Earls to obtain his Ph.D. degree in radiation physics at the University of Michigan in 1973. Also, while working at NASA, he graduated from the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development in 1978.

Working at NASA for over forty years, Earls became NASA's first black section head, first black office chief, first black division chief, first black deputy director, and NASA's second black center director. Earls was hired as the director of the Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003. As center director, Earls has been responsible for research, technology and systems development programs in aeronautical propulsion, space propulsion, space power, space communications, and microgravity sciences. He manages an annual budget and oversees all employees and contractors. Earls has written several publications for technical and educational journals. He also wrote NASA’s first health physics guides. On two occasions, he has been awarded NASA medals for exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership and has received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive for career Senior Executive Service (SES) members.

Earls has been awarded honorary degrees by Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, New York, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Technical Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Society of Black Physicists, the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. An avid runner, he has run at least twenty-five marathons and was given the honor of being a torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Earls and his wife, Zenobia, reside in Beachwood, Ohio. They have two sons, Gregory and Julian, Jr., and one granddaughter, Madisyn Chandler.

Julian Earls was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 10, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/10/2005

Last Name

Earls

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Manly

Schools

Crestwood High School

Crestwood Middle School

I.C. Norcom High School

Norfolk State University

University of Rochester

University of Michigan

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Julian

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

EAR02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

God did not give anybody everything, but He gave everybody something.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/22/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Lemon Meringue)

Short Description

Federal government administrator and physicist Julian Manly Earls (1942 - ) worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for over forty years, and has served as the director of the NASA's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center

Cuyahoga Community College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julian Earls' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julian Earls shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about his parents and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood and talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his four brothers and two sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julian Earls describes his parent's jobs as well as family holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about growing up in the Union Holiness Pentecostal Church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julian Earls talks about his elementary, junior high, and high school years

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julian Earls remembers the segregated schools in Virginia and graduating from Crestwood High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about his decision to attend Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julian Earls describes his professors at Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about going to graduate school and his early years at NASA

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's contracts with minority and women-owned firms and making science fun for young people

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about increasing African American participation in engineering and physics

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Boule, and his mentors at NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about affirmative action

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's equal employment opportunity office and the values of NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about the NASA astronaut program

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his wife, Zenobia, and their two sons, Julian Earls, Jr. and Gregory Earls

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about Cleveland public schools

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julian Earls discusses civil rights, education, and the importance of stable family structures

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about Ohio and the 2004 Presidential Election

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about his long distance running

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about Dr. Willie Ray "Karimi" Mackey

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about mentoring and Northeast Ohio as home

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about the difference between the North and the South

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julian Earls explains how science and technology are good for the economy and a global society

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about ethics in science and technology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about the ethics of cloning

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julian Earls shares his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julian Earls describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes
Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.
Transcript
All right, so again, I'm looking at what's happening at the, I guess we say, the macro level. In '64 [1964], you said you didn't have a clue. But I would think by the late '60s [1960s] when you're here in Cleveland [Ohio] in the era of the, well, the tenure of Carl Stokes as mayor, you must have known that history was being made?$$Oh, absolutely, and it was at that point that I really became active in trying to encourage black youngsters to focus upon math and science and increase the numbers of black scientists and engineers by increasing the number of black students who took those courses. And I joined an organization called the National Technical Association, an organization of black scientists, engineers, architects that had been founded in Chicago in 1925. And once I found out about that organization, I decided that we needed to form a Cleveland chapter. And we formed the chapter here in Cleveland and started working with youngsters in the local school system. Our first program was established a Kirk Middle High School in East Cleveland. And we, second, next we moved out into the Warrenville school system. And we had black scientists, engineers, technologists working at any number of different companies here in Cleveland, Ohio. And we would go out on Saturday mornings into the schools and take projects for the students and also had a parental involvement section where the parents would be involved and would have to essentially agree that they would work with the students. And some sessions, they would actually come with the students on Saturday morning. But that was one of the efforts. And then I started right here within NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], people blame me for the being the catalyst for starting the movement that said, look, not only do we need more black people working within NASA, but we need to make sure that we have black people in true, powerful management positions here at NASA. And at that time, we didn't have blacks who were managers, section heads, branch chiefs, division chiefs and so forth. And I became the first black section head at NASA. I was the first black office chief. I was the first black division chief. I was the first black deputy director, but I was the second black center director. But back in those days, back in '64 [1964], '65 [1965], we have records and archives of things that we did to make the points that we needed to open up opportunities for blacks here within NASA, Lewis Research Center at the time. But then, we were the catalyst for any number of changes within the agency for black employees. And, of course, being in Cleveland, when Carl Stokes was elected mayor, you would have to live in a cave not to know the importance of the activities that were going on at that time.$$Okay. Okay, so that was '67 [1967]--$$That's right.$$--his first victory?$$That's right.$$Do you remember the election night--$$I certainly do.$$--when it was announced?$$I certainly do.$$I watched a video in the 'Eyes on the Prize' series and I saw people dancing in the street.$$(Laughter).$$Were you a part of that crowd?$$I was not dancing on the street, but I was dancing in my living room. That's for sure (laughter).$$Did you ever have an opportunity to work with Mayor Stokes?$$No, but I worked with his brother back in those days. And I really call him my hero. Congressman Louis Stokes and I forged a relationship when things needed to be changed within NASA. And I credit him for all the progress that has been made within NASA as an agency, with progress that has been made for people of color and females. I credit him especially with the progress that has been made with the small disadvantaged businesses because it was Congressman Stokes who attached to the NASA appropriations bill, a requirement that eight percent of all contract dollars in NASA had to be spent with small disadvantaged businesses in the set-aside program. He was the architect of that which is a requirement that still exists to this day at this agency.$$Okay, and so those things are coming into being in the '60s [1960s] to the 1970s, in that era?$$Yes, that's--$$So more than a generation ago?$$Yes.$I mean I'm just so proud of them. And so, I don't know if that's because NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] is pushing them out front and saying, here's a role model or if they just have that excellence, that's part of that formula you just told me about. Were they just that cream, you know, that just rose to the top?$$Well, I have to tell you my Guy Bluford [Guion "Guy" S. Bluford, Jr.] story.$$Okay.$$I applied to be an astronaut in 1977. That was the same year that Guy Bluford applied, Fred Gregory [Frederick D. Gregory] applied, Ron McNair [Ronald Ervin McNair] applied. Guy Bluford and I were born on the same day, November 22, 1942. And I kid Guy because I tell him he was born at 10:00 a.m. in the morning. I was born at 4:15 in the afternoon, and NASA, as a tie breaker, went with the old man. That's why he got in the Astronaut Corp and I didn't. But I've worked with those astronauts. When Guy was launched, his was the first night launch of the shuttle, and I was the speaker for the Education program at Kennedy Space Center [The John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida] when Guy Bluford went on the first flight as the first African American in space. And Guy subsequently retired from the Astronaut Corp and came to work here at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland [Ohio]. He was a program manager for a major contract here and is still living here in the Cleveland area.$$And how about Mae Jemison [Mae C. Jemison]? Have you had a chance to work with her?$$Absolutely. Mae and I talked, before Mae's launch, the last six months before Mae launched, Mae's launch, she and I must have talked at least once a week about some of the issues and some of the challenges confronting her as the first African American female going in space. As a matter of fact, one of the things that she and I talked about was she did a down link from her shuttle mission with the Chicago school system, which she's a product of the Chicago school system. And so we worked that, and I've been in touch with her since that time. She's absolutely--I maintain that NASA has a little back room where they build perfect people to make them into astronauts. And that's why I never got selected to (laughter) to be an astronaut.

Linda M. White

The 26th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc. (2002 – 2006) Linda White was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a dining car waiter and a homemaker. White worked for several years as a Social Security administrator while remaining active in the AKA Sorority. Under White’s leadership the Sorority established the Ivy Reading AKAdemy and initiated the Centennial Traveling exhibit.

Raised in Chicago, White graduated from Parker High School in 1959 before matriculating to Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Clark, White became active with the AKA Sorority and received her B.A. degree in 1963. She later went to the University of Chicago where she completed her M.A. degree in 1969. After earning a certificate in systems from Stanford University, White moved to Washington, D.C. in 1971 to work as a management analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services. She served in that capacity for two years before returning to Chicago, where she worked for the Social Security Administration. There, White rose to the rank of area director, managing the Chicago East District Office and overseeing twenty-nine Social Security offices in the region.

Upon her retirement in 2002, White began working full-time for the AKA Sorority. Then in July 2002, she became the Sorority’s International President. During her administration, White’s plan was to push the use of technology, particularly the Internet, to facilitate communication both within and beyond the organization. Additionally, she has earmarked education, the family, health, economics and the arts as program targets.

Active for more than forty years at the local and national levels of the AKA Sorority, White has contributed more than twenty years of service to the organization's educational foundation and serves as national president of the committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and a life member of the NAACP. For more than fifty years, White has been a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church, where she is a former president of the Administrative Board and past chairperson of the Council on Ministries and Pastor/Parish Relations.

White lives in Chicago, Illinois.

White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 30, 2008 as part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Centennial Boulé 2008 celebration. Segments of these interviews were used in a DVD entitled A.K.A. Sorority: A Legacy of Supreme Service.

Accession Number

A2003.250

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/8/2003 |and| 5/30/2008

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Betsy Ross Elementary School

Paul Robeson High School

Clark Atlanta University

University of Chicago

Stanford University

First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

WHI04

Favorite Season

None

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You Can't Relive The Past. The Only Thing You Can Do Is Learn From It And Move Forward.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/21/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese, Prime Rib Steak

Death Date

2/26/2010

Short Description

Association chief executive and federal government administrator Linda M. White (1942 - 2010 ) was a former national president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Employment

Department of Health & Human Services

Social Security Administration

Favorite Color

Aqua Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda M. White's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda M. White lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda M. White talks about her parents, including the origins of her father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda M. White talks about her mother Mary Fennell White's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda M. White talks about her mother Mary Fennell White's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Linda M. White talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda M. White describes her mother's work and personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Linda M. White describes her mother's work and personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Linda M. White talks about her father's work and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Linda M. White describes the boundaries of her neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda M. White describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda M. White describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda M. White describes her teachers at Betsy Ross Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda M. White describes her experience at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Linda M. White talks about activities she was involved in at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Linda M. White talks about deciding to attend Clark College in the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Linda M. White describes her experiences at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960s, including participating in sit-ins and marches

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda M. White describes the consequences of sit-ins for herself and participating students in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda M. White talks about her choice of major at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda M. White talks about pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha at Clark College in the 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda M. White talks about pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha at Clark College in the 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda M. White talks about the history and purpose of the Alpha Kappa Alpha organization, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda M. White talks about the history and purpose of the Alpha Kappa Alpha organization, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda M. White compares Alpha Kappa Alpha to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Linda M. White talks generally about black Greek letter organizations, including their importance for the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Linda M. White talks about her transition from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia to the University of Chicago for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda M. White describes her professors and academic experience at the University of Chicago in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda M. White speaks to work being done by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda M. White describes her life as a graduate student at the University of Chicago and working as a medical transcriber

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda M. White talks about her career at Social Security Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda M. White talks about the reach of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, both in the United States and abroad

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda M. White describes the most rewarding aspect of being president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda M. White describes her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Linda M. White reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Linda M. White considers what she would have done differently

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Linda M. White reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Linda M. White describes being a part of a political forum with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Linda M. White narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Linda M. White narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Linda M. White narrates her photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda M. White's interview, session two

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Linda M. White's talks about her first involvements in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and her relationship with Marjorie Holloman Parker

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Linda M. White talks about the various positions she held in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, including president

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Linda M. White describes her initial goals as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Linda M. White talks about the programs she put in place as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Linda M. White describes what she learned and the data from the implementation of the Ivy Ready AKAdemy program

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Linda M. White talks about the results of the membership survey she conducted as president for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Linda M. White explains the concept of sisterhood, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Linda M. White talks about executing her vision as president Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Linda M. White talks about the 2002 Alpha Kappa Alpha national conference where she was installed as president of the organization, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Linda M. White talks about the book 'Pearls of Service: the legacy of America's first black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Linda M. White talks about the lawsuit filed against Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Linda M. White talks about the risk management group she formed as a result of the lawsuit Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority faced in 2002

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Linda M. White talks about hazing in Greek letter organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Linda M. White talks about the 2002 Alpha Kappa Alpha national conference where she was installed as president of the organization, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Linda M. White considers what can be learned from the past and the importance adapting to the future

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Linda M. White explains the concept of sisterhood, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Linda M. White expresses her concerns for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Linda M. White reflects upon her legacy as national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Linda M. White describes the impact of technology on Alpha Kappa Alpha in the early 2000s

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Linda M. White recalls planning with the national board and program chairs of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority during the first months of her presidency

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Linda M. White describes the organizational structure of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Linda M. White talks about Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's funding and budget

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Linda M. White speaks about Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Young Authors Program

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Linda M. White explains how the responsibilities of her job prepared her to be president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Linda M. White talks about the programs she put in place as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, pt. 2

DASession

2$1

DATape

6$4

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Linda M. White describes what she learned and the data from the implementation of the Ivy Ready AKAdemy program
Linda M. White describes her life as a graduate student at the University of Chicago and working as a medical transcriber
Transcript
What did you learn in that process about the black community, or about education or children in the process of implementing this, you know, significant program?$$It's very--working -- in a economically deprived community, it's very difficult. I mean the, the children are delightful. They, they really are very interested in learning. But they need a lot of support systems, and sometimes those support systems weren't immediately available. And, you know, we tried to provide as much as we could. But I would say to anyone that- it's not an easy task and school systems are--have been trying all kinds of things to improve the -- reading skills of minority children and children like I said, who are economically deprived. But you have to work at it because if -- they aren't unable to read at grade level early in the game, they just fall so much further behind in school and are really not prepared to be competitive in life as a, an adult or high school student, or to be able to go to college because they've never gotten the fundamentals.$$Now you--that--cause I cut you off at the point. You were giving quantifiable, you know--$$Yes. And -- that was one thing that I especially wanted. We had a number of programs that have dealt with reading, health, many programs that serviced mankind, and were good programs and I would never disparage them. But I wanted something quantifiable. I wanted something that could be measured to say you either did something or you didn't do something. But it was acceptable not to achieve what you started out if you learned something from it so that you could make some changes or some other people could make some changes. And I got quantifiable data. And, like I said, we worked with University of North Florida [Jacksonville, Florida]. And they produced that data for us, and--$$So talk about your data. How many people did you reach, you know--$$Overall I think we reached about forty-five thousand students in a program, in a demonstration site there may be were no more than twenty-some children. But the chapters carried on the program to the extent that they could without funding, without being a part of the actual demonstration. But many of them got people to work with them who could do statistical data, count the number of hours spent in their program. So they supplemented what we were able to do on a demonstration basis. And that reached a much larger number of people.$$Okay.$$$Did you stay with family members in the--$$Yeah, see I didn't live that far from the university [University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], so I commuted every day. And, and I worked in the University of Chicago Hospitals [Chicago, Illinois]. And I was a medical transcriber. So I went from every summer I worked in a different department. And then when I went to graduate school, I worked most of the time in the radiology department. And I worked for a Dr. Vermeulen [ph.], and he was the head of the urology department. And he was a wonderful person to work with. Very, very gruff. You would--it was so interesting because all of the interns and residents, I could see them, I worked in his office and you could see, and they would check to see if he was in the office 'cause he was--he looked sometimes like a mad scientist, you know. And he had this map of the Middle East on the wall and he might point out things to them and they might have to respond. But in any case, he tried to talk me into going to medical school. And I said--and I'm thinking medical school, you know, this man must be out of his mind. I mean I did not see my bent in--I mean although I had done well in math and biology that did not seem like the area that I was strongest in. And he tried for the longest, you know you should, you should go to medical school; you should enter here at the university. And I said, "Well thank you Dr. Vermulen, but no thank you." But I know I'm getting a little off the subject, but one of the things I did do while I was at the university, I typed a book, part of the manuscripts that were used to present the Nobel Peace Prize to I believe it was [Charles Brenton] Huggins at the University of Chicago in the medical school [Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois]. And I had an opportunity, all of these people from famous doctors and scientists from all over the world sent things to contribute to the book, and part of my task was to, you know type up the manuscript. So that was, that was sort of an interesting experience.

William Taylor

Colonel William M. Taylor helped the U.S. military manage media scrutiny in times of crisis for twenty-seven years. Born on December 24, 1930, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Taylor's media savvy served him and his country well as the military officer responsible for public affairs support to the secretary of defense.

Taylor grew up in Muncie, Indiana, and earned a journalism degree from Indiana University in 1952. He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1953 and soon after began working in public information posts for the Air Force. During the Vietnam War, Taylor was a public information officer stationed in Saigon, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand. When he returned to the United States, Taylor worked at the Pentagon, and in July 1977 became the director of defense information. During his tenure, Taylor helped manage publicity for the military on a number of sensitive issues, from missing nuclear bombs to returned prisoners of war to the failed Iranian hostage rescue.

After retiring in 1980, Taylor became a public affairs adviser to the American Petroleum Institute. He served as a contact person for media on the oil industry and helped manage public awareness for petroleum issues. For eight years, Taylor organized and managed the oil industry's annual crisis management and communications seminar. This expertise became invaluable in 1989, when Taylor went to Alaska to provide on-site assistance to Exxon in the aftermath of the Valdez oil spill. Since 1996, Taylor has run Action Image, a public relations consultancy and sports photography enterprise. He has also served as a public affairs emergency response reservist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Taylor and his wife, Phyllis Moxley, have three children and three grandchildren. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Accession Number

A2003.241

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2003

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Schools

Muncie Central High School

Indiana University

Boston University

McKinley Elementary School

Lake Elementary School

Wilson Junior High School

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

St. Paul

HM ID

TAY05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Minnesota

Favorite Vacation Destination

Asia

Favorite Quote

Do ye next thing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/24/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Federal government administrator and public relations manager William Taylor (1930 - ) served as the Director of Defense Information for the U.S. Army, and has worked as an advisor to the oil industry.

Employment

Department of Defense

American Petroleum Institute

Action Image

Favorite Color

Air Force Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Taylor interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Taylor's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Taylor describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Taylor describes his maternal grandfather and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Taylor remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Taylor discusses changes of residence and race awareness during his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Taylor recalls his first awareness of racial differences

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Taylor shares memories of Minnesota, his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Taylor remembers the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Taylor recalls encounters with black celebrities in his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Taylor discusses his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Taylor recalls his school days

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Taylor describes life in Muncie, Indiana in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Taylor recounts his entry into a new tough school in Muncie, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Taylor discusses his early interest in the Third Reich

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Taylor discusses his interest in written communication

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Taylor discusses his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Taylor remembers influential school figures

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Taylor discusses his college choices

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Taylor discusses his experiences as a journalism student at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Taylor recounts an event in his college track career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Taylor recalls the start of his professional life

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Taylor discusses his search for a journalism job

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Taylor recounts his first overseas tours with the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Taylor describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force dealing with the press

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Taylor discusses public relations changes resulting from today's 'instant news'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Taylor discusses his ventures in the public relations field

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Taylor discusses African Americans in the U.S. Air Force's public relations department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Taylor shares his professional philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Taylor recalls his military travels in Southeast Asia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Taylor recalls his PR involvement during catastrophic events in recent history

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Taylor preserves the stories of African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Taylor repeats a story from his friend Ernie Fears

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Taylor reflects on the state of the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Taylor considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Photo - William Taylor, age ten, with two unidentified boys before a church outing, Omaha, Nebraska, 1940

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Photo - William Taylor and other military personnel at the 58th parallel separating North Korea and South Korea

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Photo - William Taylor in Omaha, Nebraska, early 1940s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Photo - William Taylor at a Pearl Harbor memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - William Taylor on the set of an Air Force training film, ca. 1966

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - William Taylor reading with his grandson, ca. 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - William Taylor, age five, at a birthday celebration, ca. 1935

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - William Taylor's mother, 1920s

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - William Taylor at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, ca. 1948

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - William Taylor with a group of Japanese industrialists, early 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - William Taylor with other Muncie Central Bearcats players, Indiana, 1948

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Co-captains of the Indiana University track team, 1952

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - William Taylor with U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird at a government ceremony in his honor, early 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - William Taylor in his official military photograph, ca. 1970

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - William Taylor with family members upon his retirement from the U.S. Air Force, 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - William Taylor with future wife at a Indiana University Christmas formal, Bloomington, Indiana, 1952

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - William Taylor makes a one-handed shot, 1947

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - William Taylor at a daily meeting with the Director of Defense Information, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., late 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Col. William Taylor with Defense Department personnel, Southeast Asia, 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - William Taylor informs U.S. Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland of military information, ca. 1965

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - William Taylor's ancestors

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - William Taylor golfing, n.d.

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - William Taylor's daughters and their husbands, n.d.

Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - William Taylor and Ray Connelly, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ca. 1989

Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - William Taylor's grandmother and two unidentified women, ca. 1920s

Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - William Taylor's grandfather, ca. 1930s

Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - William Taylor's grandfather while working on the Great Northern Railroad, n.d.

Tape: 6 Story: 28 - Photo - William Taylor with his cousin, aunt and unidentified woman, n.d.

Tape: 6 Story: 29 - Photo - William Taylor and Myrtle Carden, ca. early 1930s

Tape: 6 Story: 30 - Photo - William Taylor and his mother, St. Paul, Minnesota, ca. 1930s

Tape: 6 Story: 31 - Photo - William Taylor and Myrtle Carden, St. Paul, Minnesota, ca. early 1930s

Tape: 6 Story: 32 - Photo - William Taylor featured in a 'Muncie Star' newspaper article, May 31, 1980

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

8$6

DATitle
William Taylor recalls his military travels in Southeast Asia
William Taylor recounts his entry into a new tough school in Muncie, Indiana
Transcript
You served in the Defense Department [U.S. Department of Defense] in a similar capacity in the [President James 'Jimmy'] Carter Administration too, right? You served in the Pentagon?$$In--understand the operat--the news operations of the Pentagon. There is, there is the news department. And the news department has several, several branches, the Army, the Navy and the Marine Corps, the civilian representation, the audio visual, the same thing, Army, Navy, Air Force and there's still, still photography. And all of that comes under a manager, and that manager is called the, the chief, the director of defense information. Or to put it in laymen's terms, the chief, chief of the Pentagon press operation. My first tour in the, in the building, I was--I began, at that time they had the Southeast Asia, just having come from Southeast Asia, I was on the Southeast--I was the Air Force representative on the Southeast Asia desk. And then from that position, I moved up to the military assistant position. And when the [Secretary of Defense Melvin R.] Laird Administration [1969-1973] ended and that tour of duty was over, I went to Japan as the, as the senior public affairs representative of the Armed Forces, U.S. Forces Japan, in Japan. And then the second job, as you wore two hats, as they say, I was the chief of information for the fifth Air Force, which included all Air Force units in Japan, Okinawa [Japan] and Korea. Language-wise, I studied the Japanese language, spoke Japanese. When I was in Thailand, I spoke Thai. I always believed that you, that you, you know and understand more about the country you're in if you understand the language. And it does, it opens doors and opens, and gives you a recognition and a realization that--even though you don't speak well, you can still--and sometimes it's to your advantage not to speak too well because you throw, you throw your, your host off guard. But you have to speak well enough so that you can, you could understand what's being--and it's difficult to become proficient, but you should become proficient enough so that you can communicate in, in the local language. And we were fortunate enough to--Thai, I had trouble with because it's a tonal language, and I, you know, I can't sing anything on, on key. So, but as long as you keep things in context, you can, you can offset the, the inability to be accurate on your, on your tones.$Did you like Muncie [Indiana]?$$It's difficult to answer because very seldom do--my practice is to, you know, take things as they are. And situations that you are not in control of, that to, to view those situations negatively only makes that situation more difficult. So my practice has always been to try and deal with positives of the situation, regardless of, of, you know, the circumstances that brought about the negatives that exists, recognizing that there're always negatives, and recognizing that there're always positives. So if you dwell on those positives, in the long run, you'll just feel more comfortable and can make the best of whatever particular circumstances you're cast into.$$Okay, well, did you have to do that in Muncie (laughs)?$$Oh, yes (laughs). For example, I was told--they said that, that the really poor section of, outside the African American community was in, was right in the heart of the Wilson [now, Wilson Junior High School] area. It was called Shed Town. Shed Town was right--so they said, awe, that's a tough school, tough school, said, you'd better, you know, get ready. So I had a couple of weeks before I went to school, and not knowing, I mean this is gonna be a whole new adventure to me, so not knowing exactly what I was gonna be faced with, my mother [Alice Melker Taylor] had a sewing dummy. And I had read in 'Life' magazine about this new technique for defending yourself or fighting. It was called Jujitsu. And they had demonstrations of, of Jujitsu. And this was, this would have what? 1941 or '42 [1942], something like that, '42 maybe. So she had this sewing dummy. So I practiced with the sewing dummy. I'd grab it--I'd throw I around and toss it around, over my back and knew all the moves and everything. So I felt I was proficient in this new (laughs) unknown sport, Jujitsu. So on my first day in school, you know, I didn't know anyone, and so, you know, guys coming up, "Who are you?" And I told them who I was. " Where are you from?" I told them where I was from, "Moved here from Minnesota." I forgot and left out Nebraska. So they said, "Can you fight?" And I said, "Well, I don't, I don't box so good, but I'm a Jujitsu expert." And they said, "Oh, man (laughs), said, you don't want to mess with him, he's a--." So that then gave me a nickname. And no one ever tested my--I guess I was big enough so that, you know, as a, as a thirteen year old, you know, I'm 5 [feet] 10 [inches] or something. So people are just gonna take you at your word, you know. And so that then--in junior high school, that was nickname, 'JuJu'.$$'JuJu', after Jujitsu.$$Yeah, after Jujitsu. No one ever challenged it, but good thing, (laughs) cause I had never tried it except on that, on that sewing dummy.