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Jean Boone

Newspaper executive Jean Boone was born on March 14, 1943 in Columbia, South Carolina to Helen Patterson and Daniel Patterson. Boone graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia in 1960, and went on to earn her B.A. degree in sociology and anthropology from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1962. She then received her M.S. degree in social work in 1966 from Boston University.

After graduating from Boston University, Boone moved to Richmond, Virginia, where her husband, Raymond Boone, Sr., was editor of the Richmond Afro-American. She became an adjunct professor of education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also worked as the associate director for housing and economic development for the Urban League of Richmond. In 1981, Boone joined the Children’s Defense Fund as the director of state and local affairs, serving until 1989. In 1988, Boone also served as the manager of community affairs and marketing for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. When Boone’s husband established Paradigm Communications, Inc. in 1991, Boone joined him as advertising director. The following year, Paradigm Communications, Inc. published the inaugural issue of the Richmond Free Press on January 16, 1992. Boone was named publisher of the Richmond Free Press in late June 2014 by the board of directors of Paradigm Communications, Inc. after her husband’s death.

Under the leadership of Boone and her late husband, the Richmond Free Press’ accomplishments were recognized by the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the NAACP and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. In 2001, the newspaper was the recipient of the Best in Commercial Renovation Award in recognition of its leadership during a downtown revitalization project. Boone was honored by the YWCA of Greater Richmond with the 2004 Outstanding Women in Communications Award and at Hattitude 2016: Hats Off to Women, which was hosted by the American Business Women’s Association. Boone served on the board of Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc.

Boone and her late husband, Raymond Boone, Sr., had two children, Regina and Raymond Jr., and a grandson named Raymond III.

Jean Boone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 9, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.145

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/9/2016

Last Name

Boone

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

P.

Schools

Dillard University

Boston University

Waverly Elementary School

C. A. Johnson High School

Bennett College for Women

First Name

Jean

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

BOO05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

It's Opportunity Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

3/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chilean Sea Bass

Short Description

Newspaper publishing executive Jean Boone (1943 - ) founded the Richmond Free Press in 1992 with her husband Raymond Boone, Sr., serving as the newspaper’s advertising director until 2014 when she was named publisher following her husband’s death.

Employment

Children's Defense Fund

Virginia Commonwealth University

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Richmond Free Press

Baltimore Blueprint

United South End Settlements

Greater Washington Urban League

Greater Richmond Urban League

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jean Boone's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jean Boone lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jean Boone describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jean Boone describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers the Waverly community in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jean Boone remembers black street vendors in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jean Boone remembers Waverly Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jean Boone recalls her influential teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jean Boone remembers C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jean Boone remembers C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jean Boone recalls her aspirations during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jean Boone remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jean Boone recalls her decision to attend Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jean Boone remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jean Boone recalls transferring to Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers Professor Lester Granger

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jean Boone remembers enrolling in the social work program at Boston University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jean Boone remembers the political events of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jean Boone recalls her influences at Boston University

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jean Boone remembers organizing for the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jean Boone remembers Melvin King

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jean Boone recalls her internship at the Greater Washington Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jean Boone remembers meeting her husband, Raymond H. Boone

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her accomplishments at the Urban League of Greater Richmond

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jean Boone remembers teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jean Boone remembers her husband's role at the Richmond Afro-American

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jean Boone describes her projects at the Baltimore Blueprint

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jean Boone recalls working with the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jean Boone describes her work with the Children's Defense Fund

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jean Boone remembers her role at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jean Boone reflects upon her efforts to diversify the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her husband's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about the internment of her husband's father during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jean Boone talks about the history of interracial marriage in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jean Boone talks about the prevalence of mixed black and Asian ancestry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes her husband's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jean Boone describes her husband's upbringing and education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jean Boone describes Raymond H. Boone's vision for the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jean Boone talks about the facilities of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jean Boone talks about the black community in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jean Boone describes her role as the advertising director of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jean Boone talks about the relationship between the Richmond Free Press and the Richmond Afro-American

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers the editorial stances of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jean Boone talks about the Richmond Free Press' political endorsement process

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jean Boone remembers the candidates endorsed by the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jean Boone talks about the future of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes the staff of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about the political climate in Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jean Boone reflects upon her husband's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jean Boone reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jean Boone describes how she would like to remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Jean Boone talks about the internment of her husband's father during World War II
Jean Boone remembers her role at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Transcript
I don't know quite how he [Boone's father in law, Tsujiro Miyazaki] got to, to Suffolk [Virginia] but he did, and what's even more remarkable is that he opened a business, which was called the Horseshoe Cafe [Suffolk, Virginia] (laughter). And he served a, I'm sure he served more than just one, one fare, but he served something called yak and yaka mein. And I later learned actually from my daughter [Regina Boone] who spent three years in Japan after she finished college, and yak in Japanese means--had something to do with noodles. And I don't wanna say it means noodles 'cause I'm, I'm not proficient, but in the language, but at any rate, he served that and it was a huge success. And, and the restaurant was a huge success as I understand it, and to this day there are people in Suffolk who still make yak 'cause they learned it from him, or imitated him. So, he was there, my husband's mother [Leathia Boone] I think worked with and for him, and sh- and that's who they met. And they had a, a child him, Raymond [Raymond H. Boone] and then they had another child, Gerald [ph.], so it was Raymond and Gerald. What happened in the '40s [1940s] when the internment camps, the white peop- (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah during World War II [WWII].$$World War II.$$The Japanese Americans were considered the enemy--$$The enemy.$$--or potential enemies by the U.S. government and were rounded up.$$Right--$$That's I just want to make sure people know that--$$Yes that, that's--and the relevance to today of course is that the President-elect Trump [President Donald John Trump] is saying he wishes to do something very similar to people of Muslim faith. And it was a very scary time then and it's even more scary for people who are Muslims in America now. So that's the relevance and that's the editorial slant if you will, or reason for the editorial in this week's edition of the Free Press [Richmond Free Press]. At any rate, what I know is and what my husband told me is that white people pointed him out; they were the ones who outed him in Suffolk. And he was taken to Arkansas, there were two internment camps there, he went to one and then another. And he wrote letters back, we have letters that he wrote asking about the boys, being concerned about people. Being concerned about his, his business in the, the inventory from the business, a relative of, and keep in mind my, my husband was a young child at, at the time. So he, what he knows is what you know what his elders told him in later years. He has the, the photographs that's in the Free Press this week is one that the owned. I think his mother gave it to him, his brother who he, he passed away in the, in the mid--mid to late--he passed away late '60s [1960s], early '70s [1970s], of a heart condition, he was young. And my husband never, you have to understand, I am telling his story because my husband was, I'm not sure what the right word is, embarrassed or uncomfortable with telling the story of who, who he was, of, yeah.$Yeah so this is eight, eight years. So the Baltimore Symphony [Baltimore Symphony Orchestra] now, you're the manager of community affairs and marketing for the Baltimore Symphony. Now what was--I mean I don't know if many symphonies worry about you know, you know--$$Inclusion?$$Yeah right, so how did this come about, and--yeah, um-hm (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well how did that come about? Well, it actually came about because the symphony received significant funding from the State of Maryland. And a gentleman who passed away, whose name is, was Pete Rawlings [HistoryMaker Howard "Pete" Rawlings] was on the Appropriations Committee [of the Maryland House of Delegates]. If you recognize the last name, his daughter [Stephanie Rawlings Blake] is the outgoing mayor of Baltimore [Maryland]. But Pete was very concerned that the money was coming from taxpayers. But the symphony was essentially lily white, and he felt that that was not right, and indeed it wasn't. And so they decided to hire someone to deal with that issue, and I was selected. I had minimal knowledge of symphonic music, but I had, I had a lot of interest in inclusion and knowledge of how to get basically middle class people and not so middle class people into the symphony hall [Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, Maryland] and to feel comfortable. And I always said to myself when I went there, that I never wanted to get so comfortable there that I forgot what it was to be uncomfortable in a new situation. Because that's the way the people would be feeling that I was trying to bring in. We had a committee; a cross section of Baltimoreans who you know, advised and came up with programs. And then I sought to implement them and we had, you know we had all Baltimore--we had one that I was particularly proud of. It's called the All-Baltimore Concert, and what that did was, we did was we found twelve non-profit organizations. We asked, we gave them tickets to sell to the symphony, they sold them, we gave them the tickets at five dollars, and they sold them for ten. They kept the five and they got their constituents into this, into the symphony. So when you looked at the audience, it was a very cross--very much a cross section of Baltimore. Organizations such as Girl Scouts [Girl Scouts of the United States of America] as well as you know a church organization. You know you name it, so the, the, the, the visual, the optics were all Baltimore and it was a wonderful concert that people enjoyed. We had African American composers on the program; we had African American performers on the program. And it, it, it worked and I mean that's an example we, once we had the Boys Choir of Harlem come and perform. And then we had kids from the community to come and have dinner with them after the concert, again making people feel comfortable in the symphony hall.

Denise Rolark-Barnes

Newspaper publisher Denise Rolark-Barnes was born in Washington, D.C. Her father, Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, Sr., was the founder and the editor of the The Washington Informer; her stepmother, Wilhelmina J. Rolark, a politician and activist, served on the Council of the District of Columbia from 1976 to 1984. Rolark-Barnes was interested in writing at a young age and first wrote for the The Washington Informer while she was in middle school. After graduating from Howard University in 1976 with her B.A. degree in communications, Rolark-Barnes enrolled in the Howard University School of Law where she became editor of The Barrister, the law schools’ student newspaper. Rolark-Barnes graduated from the Howard University School of Law with her J.D. degree in 1979.

In 1980, Rolark-Barnes joined the staff of The Washington Informer and was assigned as the newspaper’s managing editor. After working with her father, Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, she took over as publisher of The Washington Informer in 1994. Rolark-Barnes also served as the director of The Washington Informer Charities and is the executive producer of “The Washington Informer News,” a bi-weekly television news program. In addition, she is the host of “Let’s Talk,” a public affairs program, and “Reporter’s Roundtable.” Rolark-Barnes has appeared as a guest reporter on “The Tavis Smiley Show,” “Tony Brown’s Journal,” NBC-4’s “Reporter’s Notebook,” and several local radio and television programs.

Rolark-Barnes is the president of the District of Columbia chapter of AARP and is a member of the board of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the United Black Fund, Inc. She is actively involved with the District of Columbia Black Public Relations Society Foundation, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and several other community non-profit organizations. Through The Washington Informer Charities, Rolark-Barns sponsors the annual Washington Informer City-Wide Spelling Bee as well as internships and writing competitions for high school and college students interested in pursuing careers in journalism.

In March of 2008, Rolark-Barnes was honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association with the Chrysler Financial/National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation Entrepreneurial Award, which recognizes the nation’s black-owned newspapers for their entrepreneurial accomplishments and commitments to community service. In 2011, she received the Jack and Lovell Olender Foundation Generous Heart Award and the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE) Community Champion Award.

Rolark-Barnes lives in the Washington, D.C. with her husband, Lafayette Barnes. They have two sons.

Denise Rolark-Barnes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/1/2013

Last Name

Rolark-Barnes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Rudolph Elementary School

Barnard Elementary School

Benning Elementary School

Keene Elementary School

Rabaut Junior High School

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Hampton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Denise

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BAR14

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Keep Hope Alive. If It's To Be, It's Up To Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/26/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Newspaper publishing executive Denise Rolark-Barnes (1954 - ) is the publisher of The Washington Informer, the director of The Washington Informer Charities, and the executive producer of “The Washington Informer News.”

Employment

Barrister

Washington Informer

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:29555,441:42436,610:46132,685:48596,721:61662,885:70966,998:71638,1007:72394,1018:79366,1184:91950,1337:94960,1387:109307,1577:109923,1587:111925,1620:112387,1630:124861,1771:126170,1798:130174,1868:139074,1935:155112,2247:173558,2511:183970,2613:210820,2865:214398,2911:229554,3163:250710,3483:253110,3548:253590,3555:257910,3576$0,0:2752,27:3488,43:7839,93:10919,154:12690,203:13614,216:27260,418:28280,440:39723,584:55849,830:60251,908:60748,923:61103,929:75058,1130:90582,1316:91149,1329:91473,1334:100910,1465:101330,1472:145040,2176:146275,2195:148485,2240:153945,2396:159170,2417:164384,2502:177660,2616
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Denise Rolark-Barnes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about discovering her maternal ancestors from Cameroon via DNA tests

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her father's education and military service

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her father's job at the Pentagon

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the history of U Street in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her father's leadership in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her father's founding of the United Black Fund

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the United Black Fund's international projects

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the establishment of the Washington Informer in 1964

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes explains why she did not attend the March on Washington as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes remembers working at the Washington Informer as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes remembers attending Shiloh Baptist Church and living at Rhode Island Plaza as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes growing up in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes shares her elementary school memories

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes remembers participating in her school's spelling bee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her favorite teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes recalls a racist teacher and the racial composition of her elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes remembers meeting Civil Rights Movement leaders

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes attending Rabaut Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes recalls learning of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes cultural changes following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her favorite subjects and activities at Rabaut Junior High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about writing a column for the Washington Informer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her tasks at the Washington Informer as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the operations of the Washington Informer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes attending Calvin Coolidge High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her decision to attend Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes attending Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her political activity at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1974

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes HistoryMaker Marion Barry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the Washington, D.C. school district

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about African Liberation Day in 1974, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about African Liberation Day in 1974, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her professors at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about Howard University radio and television

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes writing for the Hilltop, Howard University's newspaper

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her desire to attend law school

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes attending Howard University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about becoming editor of the Barrister, Howard University School of Law's newspaper

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes covering U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's keynote speech at Howard University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes recalls her internship at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her decision to work for the Washington Informer instead of becoming a communications lawyer

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes recalls the stories she covered for the Washington Informer in the early 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about when the Hanafi Muslims took over buildings in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about social problems in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the twentieth anniversary of the March on Washington in 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes Washington Informer photographer, Sam Courtney

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes local politics in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the crack epidemic in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the rise of violence in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the rise of violence in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes comments on the emergence of go-go music in the early 1980s

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about why violence decreased in Washington, D.C. from the 1980s, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about why violence decreased in Washington, D.C. from the 1980s, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her concerns for the black community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her concerns for the black community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her work in television

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes the Washington Informer's staff

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the Washington Informer's financial challenges

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her pride in the Washington Informer's support of the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her pride in the Washington Informer

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes black papers in Washington, D.C

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about creating a digital edition of The Washington Informer

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Denise Rolark-Barnes reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her concerns for Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about her family's involvement in the Washington Informer

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Denise Rolark-Barnes talks about HistoryMaker Wilhelmina Rolark

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Denise Rolark-Barnes describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

5$7

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Denise Rolark-Barnes describes covering U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's keynote speech at Howard University School of Law
Denise Rolark-Barnes describes her journalistic philosophy
Transcript
But I think what really changed Dean [Charles] Duncan's [HM] mind was when we [Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.] built the moot courtroom. And Judge--Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was our keynote speaker. And this got international attention.$$So the--now who built the moot court that (unclear)?$$The university.$$The university, okay.$$Yeah, yeah, I was a brand--it's--you know it's--I mean, much of the law school has been rebuilt. And, you know, the la--the law school--after the sixties when the lawyers--the law students led the sit-ins on campus. I mean, I--I wasn't--I hear some of them say that's when [HM James] Cheek decided to move the law school across town to the Dumbarton campus over off of Connecticut Avenue. He said let me get those students over there 'cause they're raising too much ruckus over here. So they put us--put the law school over there, which is where I went, on the Dumbarton campus in D.C. So, you know, it was an old, I think, Catholic school for girls [Dumbarton College of the Holy Cross] or something. I'm not sure what it was before we got there. But the university bought the property. It was a beautiful facility, but it was an old, old building. So they had to erect this--wanted to erect the moot courtroom with the--within the building. So the--at the dedication ceremony, as I said, Thurgood--Justice Marshall was our--was the keynote speaker; and the quote, unquote student "student" leaders, you know, were asked to participate in the program. If nothing more, to sit on the stage. So I needed to find somebody who could actually write the story about--you know, for the--for the Barrister because we were gonna put a paper out that week on this event. So I--one of my classmates said: "Well, Denise, I'm a reporter; I can--I'll, I'll do the story," and I got somebody else to take photographs. So right after that event was over, I asked him when he would have the--have the--have the story for me. He said, "I'll have it to you in the morning." You know, I had already talked to the printer. We were gonna have this thing done--full-page photograph. It was gonna be really nice. And then he--he delivers me a transcript. And I'm saying "This is a transcript. You know, I was looking for a story." He said: "Well, this is--you know, I'm a reporter; this is what I do." I said, "What do you mean you're reporter?" "Reporters don't do this." He said, "I'm a court reporter." (Laughter). I said, "Okay." I said: "Well, then we're run Justice Marshall's speech--entire speech in the newspaper, and then we'll just add some other stuff to it." When that paper came out, Dean Duncan had received requests from around the world for copies of Justice Marshall's speech, which he hadn't prepared a written speech. So we were the only ones that had it. And that's when the light went on for me with regards to what my father [Dr. Calvin William Rolark] had been doing all this time with journalism. You know--he who controls the medium controls the message. And I'm, like--you know--divinely, you know, I got this idea to just run the speech. And Dean Duncan said: "Denise, whatever you need just let me know, you know, because I need papers; I need to get these out to people and, you know, you were just-" you know, I mean, he didn't give me any of those kinda accolades, but--you know. So as a result, I ended up with cases of Kodak Film and cameras and money from the Dean, which was a good thing. And so after that, you know, we sort of rolled along as a newspaper.$Okay, what are some of the issues over the years that the [Washington] Informer's, you know, taken the lead on, or was that proper for--Well, I guess the first thing I should ask you is that, what's the journalistic philosophy of yourself and the Informer?$$Well, the first thing I, I mentioned to you was--which is what my father [Dr. Calvin William Rolark] set up, was that we would be a positive newspaper. And so what does that mean? Because a lot of folks don't--you know, how can you only print positive news? And it's--it's a challenge for us in that--You know, my father's rationale when he started the paper was that, you know, the only way white--black folks got on the cover of the newspaper or in newspapers if--is if they raped, robbed or murdered somebody. And that--you know, that only represented those--those crimes and--and crime in general only represents the activities of maybe five percent of the black community where 95 percent of the black communities involved in what most citizens are supposed to do--I mean, regular, everyday positive things. And so let's focus on that 95 percent. My journalism training had me coming out thinking: we're a weekly newspaper; there's no way we can stay on top of crime because by the time we publish it, it's almost two weeks old. So, you know, it doesn't even make sense for us to do that. So what we do is, we take--of course, you know, the kinds of celebratory things that the Black Press has always focused on which, you know--maybe, you know, graduations, you know, community events where people are giving each other awards and all that--We, we celebrate or cover--traditionally cover that, but then we take some of these issues like we just talked about with regards to crime. Our focus is on those organizations that have set themselves up to address those issues; and to me that's positive. If out of a negative something positive happens then we've got to talk about--we've--we've got to talk about the negative situation, but what is the positive response to it? You know, what is the local electorate? The legislators, what are they doing to address it? What are they doing to address it? What is the clergy community doing to address it? What are the nonprofits doing to address it. What are the PTA's [Parent and Teacher Associations] and the school system doing to address it? What are the neighborhood associations doing? Because these create models for other communities, and they can--they can read these stories, get some ideas, maybe even network with each other, so that it's a growing response to--to the situation.

William Blair, Jr.

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr., was born on October 17, 1921. A former Negro League baseball player turned newspaper publisher, Blair has been a community voice in Dallas for over forty years. Blair attended Booker T. Washington High School and Prairie View A&M University. After six months at Prairie View A&M, Blair enlisted in the United States Army and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

Blair, a Negro League Baseball Museum inductee, pitched from 1946 to 1951 for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams. His baseball career included pitching a no-hitter in the Denver Post Tournament, playing with the late Winfield Welch, Jesse “Hoss” Walker, and Buster Haywood, and touring with Jesse Owens and the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair was instrumental in the development of the African American Museum’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame and serves on its advisory board. He was inducted in 1996 as a member of its inaugural class.

Blair founded the Highlight News (1947-1957). He also later founded the Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in publishing scores from Black college games throughout the United States. The paper was renamed The Elite News in 1960. One of the most influential black newspapers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Elite News created “The Elite News Awards Night,” which was the first African American awards ceremony in Dallas when it began in 1975.

Blair had been a civil rights activist for more than six decades. In 1986, Blair launched the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade, and this parade is now an institution in Dallas. Blair was a major force in local and state politics and was also an advocate for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. In 2004, he founded the Religious Hall of Fame to honor African American ministers.

Blair lived in Dallas, Texas with Mozelle, his wife of sixty-three years. All of his children were involved in the family business.

Blair passed away on April 20, 2014 at age 92.

Accession Number

A2006.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/2/2006

Last Name

Blair

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Prairie View A&M University

B.F. Darrell Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

BLA10

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Kleberg Foundation

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

If I Can Help Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/17/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

4/20/2014

Short Description

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr. (1921 - 2014 ) pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams during the late 1940s. He also founded Elite News, an important Dallas-Fort Worth area black newspaper, and launched in Dallas the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade.

Employment

U.S. Army

Negro League Baseball

Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:8236,118:9342,194:15741,350:16057,355:18111,408:23840,432:24336,437:25452,458:58261,990:60070,1041:90342,1656:96065,1854:126320,2066:126624,2071:128600,2122:130196,2336:162438,2838:165342,2891:168840,2957:169104,2992:173135,3022:197202,3904:219990,4182:233106,4324:236220,4344:248220,4617:274060,4840:279065,4945:282240,4981$0,0:17758,332:20107,432:36864,666:61408,1021:70635,1140:73470,1154:75144,1237:78430,1321:92684,1592:105460,1925:121725,2190:130500,2338:143214,2579:145550,2625:145842,2630:146353,2643:148032,2733:172564,3189:177570,3262
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Blair, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes his childhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. remembers celebrating holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes Benjamin Franklin Darrell Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. describes a lesson from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Blair, Sr. remembers his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Blair, Jr. remembers Munger Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Blair, Jr. describes his first job in the newspaper business

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his friends at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Moorland YMCA in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mentors at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - William Blair, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - William Blair, Jr. describes his aspirations in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - William Blair, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. recalls developing a fear of snakes in rural Powell, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes his U.S. Army service during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. remembers becoming a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his career with the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. recalls his baseball teammates in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon the changing role of sports teams

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the importance of the Negro Leagues' history

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. remembers founding Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes the finances of the Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. talks about his book, 'The Dallas I Know'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

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DATitle
William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues
William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
Tell me some more stories. I mean, what do you want to tell me about the Negro League?$$Well, the Negro League should have been a viable league now, like I was telling you at first. You see any time you turn your, turn something over to other folks, people do what they want to with it. The Negro Leagues should be have been, should have been a good farm system for ball players. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. They started Major League Baseball in 1976 [sic.], Negroes didn't get in it until 1947. Every major record that they had in there, it took them seventy-five years to achieve it. Negroes broke it in fifty. Every one of 'em. You name, they broke 'em. Like I was telling you, they never thought nobody never break Babe Ruth's record. It was four or five Negroes could hit that many home runs. If we had got a chance to plan. If Willie Mays had played in a park where, where, like some of these ball parks these 325 foot fences, he'd a hit a thousand home runs. Just that, and they wasn't looking for Willie Mays when they found him. They was looking for that big old boy name Alonzo Perry, a good friend of mine, boy name Alonzo Perry, but a man had sense enough to see, see what he looking at and tell 'em about it. That's how they got in. They wasn't looking for him. Whole lot of ball player. The greatest, the best ball player I played with though was an older man. He was forty-eight years old. Him and Satchel [Satchel Paige] 'em come along together. I know you heard 'em talk about Cool Papa Bell [James "Cool Papa" Bell]. He's, he's the best I ever seen. He could run, do everything, and a wonderful man. And the thing that sticks our more about me and more about Cool, I don't care where we were on Sunday, he was going to church before he come to the ball park. Did it religiously. Wonderful man. He died in 1991.$$What changes would you have made to the Negro League?$$Well, the first thing they did, the first thing you needed to do with the Negro League is to control your own destiny. You see when people can come and take your folk from you for just a little bit of money, they should have money enough to keep 'em to do what they needed to do. Here's a ball player like [HistoryMaker] Ernie Banks, you get twenty-five thousand dollars for him. Hall of Fame ball player, to give a little bit more money for, for Willie Mays. So a lot of ball players they got for nothing. And for what they got 'em for, they didn't, they didn't do nothing with 'em. They take people's word, I was reading in the paper this morning about Denzel Washington's son played football down at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. They gone give him an opportunity play in the NFL [National Football League] now. Now you know good and well, he ain't never played in that type of competition. I said he ain't that kind of football player 'cause I don't, I never seen him, didn't know he had a son, but this is the kind of stuff that they do, they'll run and grab some Negro for name, but it's some boys that got ability, that they'll never give a chance. I know good and well he wasn't the best back over there. I know he wasn't 'cause I never heard of him. It's a whole lot of that. But that's what happened to us in a lot of ways. And then we do ourselves wrong, like I was telling you. It's so many great ball players I seen. I seen so many ball players, just like you hear 'em talk about Satchel, Satchel was a great pitcher, no doubt about it. Never heard him say about (unclear), did you? It wasn't no difference than Hilton and Satchel. One was promoted and the other wasn't. They didn't promote Hilton Smith. Ball players will tell you, "Well if you can get Satchel out of there, they get Hilton," say, "you might get some runs in there." I said man, "You ain't got none off Satchel, you ain't get none off of Hilton." That's the pitchers they had. They had pitchers over there like Connie Johnson who died a couple of years ago. Connie Johnson, Booker McDaniels, Shape Alexander [ph.], Jim LaMarque, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith. These people pitched nine innings every day. (Unclear) these people got twenty-five ball players on their team. We didn't have but fifteen, and all of them could play different places, different places and if you got hurt, three or four could probably take your place and play that. That's the way they was. And they didn't have all this, like you hear 'em talking about people doing throwing (unclear), well that was known fact in the Negro League. You gone get throwed at just like you hit a home run in front of me, if I come up I knew I was gone have to lay down. They called it laying down. We could forget and the manager gone fine you. They want to fine the pitcher now hitting the ball, for throwing at 'em. They just, these people they take the game, they want to take it and make out of it what they want to. They never played it so what they want to do, they want to change it around. You can't do that.$So the newspaper [Highlight News; Elite News], once you got with the churches, you put in church news also. And it took off (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Claps) Been going ever since. Been going ever since.$$So every denomination?$$Anybody, everybody.$$And you just talk about their church? Tell me what a normal paper would--$$What I do, whatever they had, just like they have a, anything they have in their church, the things that worthy of news, they bring it to me. Just like they have their anniversary, they invite me, I go over to their anniversary, speak at their anniversary and this kind of stuff. I do all this then. I've done all this. I done it for years. I give to my kids now. I let them do it. That's the reason, most folks around here know me by what I did in the community, see I worked for politicians, I don't duck 'em. Politicians in this city here that elected in this city now, they elected on account of the work that I done for them, 'cause they couldn't get in places that I could take 'em. Just like, they don't let politicians go to no churches. William Jr. [HistoryMaker William Blair, Jr.] can take 'em. I started that. President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], before he ever was president, I was in a meeting right downtown at Jess Hay's office, the biggest, the biggest money-raising Democrat in the United States. I set up there and I told Reverend Raditz [ph.], there's five us in there, I told him, I say, he gone be the next president of the United States. You know how come I said that? 'Cause the man could talk. And you could understand exactly. He was right down to earth with what's he's doing and that's what he did. And all these local politicians, I don't have no trouble with none of 'em. I know all of 'em. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made in our life though, some of 'em, you put 'em in office, but you know, you have to live with it, so time will take care of that.$$So what other civic organizations do you work with?$$Oh, any of 'em. They come for all kinds of stuff here. Anything they want, they'll come here. They want me to help 'em with it. Especially when it comes to dealing with people. See I'm a people person. See all this stuff, talking about big shots, I don't believe in big shots. It's more average people than it is big shots, and that's what I deal with. I deal with average everyday people. I can go anywhere, I can take you right now, and I bet if it's fourteen people there, I bet ten of them there know me. And if I ever know your name, I don't never forget it. See I don't look down on nobody. It's one thing I guess I just learned that from people. I'm not no better than you, and you not no better than me. I don't care what your circumstances are. See, you may have all the money in the world, but we still a human being, and I don't look down on nobody that away. And that's the way I been all my life. Anybody that know me will tell you, say whatever he tell, say he ain't gone, ain't gone mince no words with 'em. I'll tell you exactly what it is. And I ain't trying to make no friends. Me and you can be friends, but I'm a tell you right. I said Denise [Denise Gines], that's wrong. Now you do whatever you want to about it, but I'm a sure tell you.

Reed Kimbrough

Reed D. Kimbrough is the Director of Diversity Programs and Community Relations for Cox Communications’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). Kimbrough manages employee development and training at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the eldest of three children of retired United States army officer William Reed and Ernestine Willis Kimbrough. Born in Selma, Alabama, on February 27, 1951, Kimbrough spent his formative years between West Germany and the southern United States.

Upon his return to the United States, Kimbrough graduated from high school in Fort Knox, Kentucky and entered Eastern Kentucky University where he graduated with a degree in business administration. In his second year at Eastern, he was instrumental in starting the first chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He served in the United States Army and rose to the rank of captain with his primary duties in the 101st Airborne Division as a helicopter pilot. He is a retired Major of the U.S. Army Reserves.

Kimbrough joined the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the news circulation department. He was promoted to the production department where he managed building services, shipping, receiving, packaging, distribution and management-level employee development. He currently holds the position as Director of Diversity Programs and Community Relations.

Kimbrough is active in various organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peopled (NAACP), the National Association of Minority Media Executives (NAMME), the Celebrate Life Foundation, Hands on Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity, and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the board of Men Stopping Violence and is a long term member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Kimbrough is married to Charlcye R. Kimbrough and is the father of Anthony M. Kimbrough.

Accession Number

A2005.248

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/23/2005

Last Name

Kimbrough

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Custer Elementary School

The Academy @ Shawnee

Nurnberg American High School

Fort Knox High School

Eastern Kentucky University

Vilseck Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Reed

Birth City, State, Country

Selma

HM ID

KIM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Porto Fino, Italy

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/27/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper publishing executive Reed Kimbrough (1951 - ) was Community Relations Director and Director of Diversity Programs at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Employment

United State Army

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

United States Department of Commerce

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1530,20:3485,51:5440,84:5780,89:6120,94:6545,100:10030,173:12325,220:14705,262:15215,269:24286,357:24754,364:30448,465:39028,640:52890,737:54066,854:94548,1287:97992,1367:98916,1380:100008,1397:110244,1590:112651,1625:123688,1747:127036,1791:149700,2099$0,0:3380,35:15741,129:20270,182:20910,191:22350,221:24830,330:25470,339:26670,363:27790,388:33165,410:33867,418:34335,424:34803,429:35271,436:39600,482:40770,493:55666,611:57094,631:61140,642:62028,652:63693,668:81486,946:89617,1017:90223,1024:90627,1029:92420,1034:93204,1041:101172,1118:102690,1147:102966,1152:110550,1263:112440,1274:115281,1288:116154,1304:116930,1320:117512,1327:124560,1373:128960,1391:132520,1396:135380,1411:137100,1421:145198,1510:145750,1518:150316,1549:152910,1558:153614,1566:156530,1589:158330,1619:158960,1627:172139,1698:173133,1716:173914,1737:176380,1761:177172,1770:178162,1784:179810,1790:180134,1795:180620,1802:202450,2197:206900,2247:208740,2257:211360,2274:212160,2289:214720,2338:216800,2388:217200,2394:221350,2433:224875,2494:229900,2532
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reed Kimbrough's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough describes his father's parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough describes his mother's ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reed Kimbrough recalls drawing a plantation scene during grade school

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reed Kimbrough describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reed Kimbrough describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reed Kimbrough lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Reed Kimbrough describes the circumstances of his birth in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough talks about where his father was stationed

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough describes his experiences in Wiesbaden, West Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough descries the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough recalls the diverse occupants of his U.S. military housing complex in West Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough recalls moving to Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough recalls summer vacations in Selma, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough describes his paternal grandfather's land ownership and passing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough describes his experiences in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reed Kimbrough describes his experiences on the Fort Sill U.S. military base

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough recalls his elementary school years in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough describes his childhood road trips to Selma, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough recalls living with his paternal grandmother in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough describes Bad Nauheim Elementary School in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough recalls his experience of racial discrimination in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough recalls moving to California as a young teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough recalls attending Shawnee Junior High School in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reed Kimbrough recalls attending Nuremberg High School in Furth, Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough remembers Nuremberg American High School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough remembers his extracurricular activities in Vilseck, Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough talks about the teachers at Nuremberg American High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough recalls singing songs by The Temptations on street corners

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough remembers his military mentors and the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough remembers the Vietnam War and moving back to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough remembers attending Fort Knox High School in Kentucky

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reed Kimbrough describes his social activities in Fort Knox, Kentucky

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough describes his influential teachers at Fort Knox High School

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough describes the unrest after Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough recalls deciding whether to go to college or enlist

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough recalls his rejection from the United States Air Force Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough describes his decision to attend Eastern Kentucky University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough remembers his motivation to persevere in college

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough describes his college experiences

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough describes Eastern Kentucky University's Black Alumni Association

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough remembers his most influential teachers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough talks about the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough recalls returning to Selma, Alabama

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough recalls his marriage to Charlcye Ritchie Kimbrough

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough recalls working for Atlanta's Federal Reserve Bank

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough describes his career at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough recalls attending a three-day leadership development program

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reed Kimbrough describes his volunteer work

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Reed Kimbrough explains why he agreed to share his story

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reed Kimbrough reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reed Kimbrough describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reed Kimbrough describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reed Kimbrough shares his message to young people

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reed Kimbrough talks about the importance of history

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reed Kimbrough reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reed Kimbrough narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reed Kimbrough narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reed Kimbrough remembers his military mentors and the Vietnam War
Reed Kimbrough recalls attending a three-day leadership development program
Transcript
And our role models were, were the men that we saw around us, [U.S.] military guys, that were doing positive things, at least moving in a positive direction. Did they have their own issues? Yeah, they probably did but those are the folks that we saw that were making decisions. They were primarily enlisted guys but they were sen- by this time they were senior enlisted guys.$$Now were these, these role models that you're speaking of, the older guys, were they black or were they white?$$They were primarily black--$$Okay.$$--about this time and now I'm talking about, you know, when I was, when I was a sophomore and then further on. Most of the officers were white, even then. I'm sure--I know there were black officers but they just weren't at, at our installation. Our installation was a training installation. So, and this is about the time that Vietnam [Vietnam War] was really getting hot. I remember it being, poking fun at a vet [veteran]. There was a group of us leaving the movie [in Vilseck, Germany], about four or five of us teenagers leaving the movie, and we saw this guy who was obviously intoxicated coming up the road and, and so we started picking fun of him. That's what, that is what military kids did. Military brats, they were teenagers and they, and they pulled pranks on folks and the only people they had to pull pranks on were soldiers who were about a few years older than them and we saw this guy coming up and he was staggering he and his buddy and we started poking fun of him and he looked at us, he said, "I'll kill you." He said, "I just got back from Vietnam," and he reached down to take his shoes off and we took off running. That was as close as Vietnam had gotten to me at that point. We had seen newsreels at the, at the movie theatre because at that time you go to the theatre, that you get, you get a newsreel and you get a cartoon and you get the feature.$$Okay.$$And I remember the bombing of the U.S. embassy, or the officers club, in Saigon [Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam] and because we kept getting fed that stuff. We were very patriotic.$And at that point somebody decided that maybe I should go away and get, get my perspective widened and I went to a, a leadership development program, a three-day course, through the National Association of Minority Media Executives [National Association of Multicultural Media Executives (NAMME)] where I met some folks with some national reputations. I learned more about the newspaper business and within a year of that, less than a year of that, I was tapped to become the, the operations manager of our packaging department, which is commonly named, known as our mailroom.$$Okay, now what, how do you feel that NAMME affected that, your change in position at the newspaper [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]?$$NAMME, NAMME helped me, and it was in Chicago [Illinois], it was in Chicago at, at Kellogg [Kellogg School of Management], Northwestern [Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois]. NAMME gave me an insight into what newspapers, how newspapers can impact people and I think I always knew that but didn't really know what role I could have in that but in that three day period and doing, listening to some presentations and talking to some people, I realized that there were a lot of things in my background that I brought to the table that I had not adequately applied.$$And just what are a couple of those things that you realized?$$That business is built on relationships and that companies seek actively, leaders, people who could lead other people. I'd always decided that I would take a, as much as possible, take the backseat in terms of being a driver of anything. I felt I was better suited as a support person because I could get people to do things for me but as I thought about what, what, some of the things I share with you today, I realized that over the years I've always been kind of at the forefront, if not the leader, at least the guy that was saying, well you know, we can do this. If we just do this, we could do this. If we just did this piece, we can do this too and, you know, who knows what it'll look like in ten years and I had not done that with the newspaper. I was more plotting, I was more methodical, I want to do this, I want to do this and then we'll see what that happens. Somehow I came away from that three day period with a clearer understanding of how I could apply some of those skills, some of that leadership skill, and how it would just require a little bit of risk. Me just taking a little bit of risk and stepping outside of the comfort of my confines and I did that.

Melvin Hart

Marketing executive and newspaper publishing executive Melvin Hart was born on January 7, 1952 to Cleola Kimpson Hart, a homemaker and Furman “Toot” Hart. Furman is a World War II veteran, former member of the Civilian Conservation Corps and one of the founders of the local branch of the NAACP in St. Matthews, South Carolina. Hart attended Guinyard, a segregated African American elementary school. When he reached the eighth grade, Hart became one of a small group of African American students to integrate Saint Matthews High School. In 1970, Hart was one of five African Americans, out of a class of approximately seventy-five students, to graduate from St. Matthews.

Hart was the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for South Carolina Black Media Group, publisher of Columbia, South Carolina's African American newspaper, "Black News." As manager and director of marketing at the organization, Hart worked to ensure that the information needs of the African American population in South Carolina were met. Black News, a weekly publication, serves South Carolina’s forty-six counties, including rural, suburban and metropolitan areas.

Active in his church and community, Hart was re-appointed to the Historic Columbia Foundation Board of Trustees for 2005 and 2006, his second term.

Melvin Hart was interviewed by the HistoryMakers on July 14, 2005

Accession Number

A2005.164

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2005

Last Name

Hart

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Saint Matthews High School

Guinyard Elementary School

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Melvin

Birth City, State, Country

Saint Matthews

HM ID

HAR16

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Carolina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Orleans, Chicago

Favorite Quote

Stay Here Until I Get Back.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

1/7/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Macaroni, Cheese, Collard Greens, Rice, Cornbread, Sweet Tea, Baked Turkey Wings

Short Description

Marketing executive and newspaper publishing executive Melvin Hart (1952 - ) was the manager and director of marketing for the Black Media Group as well as publisher of South Carolina's weekly African American newspaper, Black News.

Favorite Color

Navy Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melvin Hart's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melvin Hart lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melvin Hart describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melvin Hart describes his parents' hometown of St. Matthew, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melvin Hart describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melvin Hart describes his father's family farm and his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melvin Hart describes how his parents met and their childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melvin Hart describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melvin Hart describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melvin Hart describes his elementary and high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melvin Hart describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melvin Hart describes his childhood activities, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melvin Hart describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melvin Hart describes his childhood activities, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melvin Hart describes his elementary and high school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melvin Hart remembers his elementary and high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melvin Hart remembers South Carolina educator John Ford

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melvin Hart describes integrating Saint Matthews High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melvin Hart recalls the public outrage over school integration

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melvin Hart describes his father's involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melvin Hart remembers SNCC and reading newspapers in his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melvin Hart recalls playing sports at Saint Matthews High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melvin Hart describes the racial tension at his integrated high school

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Melvin Hart describes his earliest childhood memory
Melvin Hart recalls the public outrage over school integration
Transcript
Do you have an earliest childhood memory?$$I think part of my earliest memory is around four or five years old and that was going to kindergarten to school and I remember you had to be six, five or six, I think to go to kindergarten, but the neighborhood that I grew up in, you know, there were, my, friends my age and the kindergarten teacher lived maybe two blocks away, she would come by and the library, at the time, the colored library at the time was a few houses, a few doors from where I grew up. So, the kindergarten teacher, Ms. Parker [ph.], was also the librarian for the public library, so in the afternoons after she left school, kin--school, she would run the colored library, so we would go to the library and things as a little kid. Well, my best friend at the time, that lived across the street, Donald Benjamin [ph.], was going to kindergarten, Donald's a year older than I am, he was old enough to be in kindergarten so, she would come by to pick him up and take him to kindergarten. Well, that was my friend so now he's getting, he's able to get in the car and go wherever. I had no idea of where he was going, all I knew he was, everyday going somewhere, this car would come back and pick him up and he'd and then here I am having to be there by myself in essence, not by myself because my brothers and sisters were there but, I wanted to go with Donald but, I wasn't old enough. Well, the library was popular, you know, so well, and my mom [Cleola Kimpson Hart] would try to explain, well you're not old enough, you know, next year, you know, Ms. Parker says, "Well, just bring this boy on, I'll take him on to kindergarten, you know." So why, you know, so I ended up going to kindergarten about two or three years, you know, I--and my friends tease me to this day that I flunked kindergarten but, I actually went, and, and that was an early history, remembrance of my childhood. Then, you know, some other, you know, moving on up, I remember going, you know, to elementary school [Guinyard Elementary School, St. Matthews, South Carolina] and, and elementary school was two blocks away, two, three blocks away from me so we just walked past the library another few blocks and the elementary school was there. There were some of my early, early teachers and--.$And it was a struggle even for us getting there [Saint Matthews High School, St. Matthews, South Carolina], when my dad [Furman Hart, Sr.] for, before we integrated the school, he talked with the superintendent, now we, remember we talking about dual school districts. We had the county board of education and then we had the St. Matthews [South Carolina] school board and we had the colored school boards and, you know the superintendent said, well, you know, did everything to discourage my dad and I'm sure some of the others, "You don't wanna send your kids there, why you wanna send 'em there? You live right across the street [from John Ford High School, St. Matthews, South Carolina], we've got a new school and you've got water," and this and that and it got to the point where even our state senator, who happened to live in, in the town, you know, he'd even spoke to my dad, "Well, Furman, I don't think you want to do that, it's not, won't be a good idea." And the senator even, at the time, from the s--, from the floor of the senate [South Carolina State Senate], the state senate and it came well before, you know, black kids and white kids would go to school together, blood will run down the streets like water, you know, I mean, it's a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) This was a white man, right?$$Yeah, yeah, you know and, and you know my dad's well, you know, we, you know, we--we're not looking for trouble, you know, well, but you're making a big deal out of it, you know? My dad's well, no, I don't think we're making a big deal out of it, I, you all are making much, you know if the schools are the same, and it wouldn't matter here or there, you all are making a much bigger deal out of it than we are, so, obviously it's a bigger deal than you all are saying, you know. But the ironic thing was that, arguably probably the most influential legislator in state government at the time was the senator from our home town and he had made this statement, and when my dad said, "Well, you know, you do what you need to do but, after the Christmas holidays, my boys, two boys," myself and a younger brother of mine at the time, "I'll be taking them down to the white school, enrolling them." And, you know, the senator who knew my dad, you know, they, and knowing my dad was a no nonsense kind of person, he just said, well okay, I guess he's just hell bent on doing this and as some other family members in the community were, they got to the place, we did not have that public outrage that everybody was suspecting we would have because the senator had already said before, this happen, not just in St. Matthews, but the State of South Carolina, blood would run down the streets like water. And it never happened, but in other areas of the state, we had some rioting and turning over buses and all, later we found out the senator said, "Well you know, it's coming, I don't want any violence or trouble in my county," so he talked, I guess to his good white folk, if you will, yes.$$So what, wh- what senator was this?$$This was Senator Marion Gressette, Senator L. Marion Gressette [Lawrence Marion Gressette].$$And, wh--how, how do you spell his last name?$$G-R-E-S-S-E-T-T-E.