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Philip Merrill

Historian, writer, appraiser and collector Philip J. Merrill was born in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore. His mother headed a nonprofit job training institute for the disadvantaged; his father, George B. Merrill, was a pastor. Merrill’s great-grandmother helped to raise him. He was one of only two African American students in his graduating class of 1981 at the Friends School of Baltimore. Merrill would go on to graduate from Loyola University in Maryland in 1985.

In 1994, Merrill founded the organization Nanny Jack & Company, an archives and consulting agency specializing in creating projects that illuminate the African American experience through memorabilia, oral history and research. The company would eventually house over 30,000 artifacts, including photographs, rare books, folk art, documents, music, dolls, furniture, and quilts. Nanny Jack & Company would go on to collaborate with various educational organizations and television channels, including The Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, the Discovery Channel, the Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Public Television, and the History Channel. In 1996, Merrill became an appraiser with the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) television show Antiques Roadshow. He created the category for black memorabilia on Antiques Roadshow, and would stay on the program until 2001. Then, in 2006, Merrill became a fellow of Open Society Institute, where he developed the “Know History, Know Self” program, which used artifacts to teach African American students about their family, community and school history.

In 1998, Merrill published the book The Art of Collecting Black Memorabilia, and, in 1999, he published The Black America Series: Baltimore, which chronicled the history of the Baltimore’s African American community. Merrill was also the editor of a 2002 book of historical photographs entitled The World War II Black Regiment that Built the Alaska Military Highway: A Photographic History. Then, in 2013, he authored the children’s book, How Princess Wee Wee Got Her Name. Merrill was named Baltimore City Paper’s Best Historian in 2001, and, in 2002, Merrill received the Towson University’s Distinguished Black Marylander Award. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Eastern Theological Seminary in 2007.

Philip J. Merrill was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.211

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/7/2013

Last Name

Merrill

Middle Name

J

Organizations
Schools

Friends School Of Baltimore

Loyola University Maryland

School No. 66, Mount Royal Elementary and Middle School

St. Mary's College of Maryland

First Name

Philip

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

MER01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

It Is Open To Interpretation.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

3/14/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Macaroni And Cheese

Short Description

Historical researcher Philip Merrill (1962 - ) founded Nanny Jack & Company, where he collected and researched African American memorabilia for over twenty years. He was also the author of The Art of Collecting Black Memorabilia and The Black America Series: Baltimore.

Employment

Nanny Jack & Company

Delete

Human Development Institute, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Philip Merrill's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill talks about his maternal great-grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill recalls his family's connection to West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill remembers the street vendors in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Philip Merrill describes his maternal great grandmother's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Philip Merrill talks about his mother's early schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill recalls meeting Richard I. McKinney

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill describes his biological father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill describes his biological father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill describes his stepfather's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill talks about his likeness to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Philip Merrill describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Philip Merrill describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Philip Merrill talks about his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill describes his experiences at School No. 66, Mount Royal Elementary and Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill talks about his early childhood influences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill recalls his experiences at Friends School of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill remembers his teachers at Friends School of Baltimore

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill describes his early study of African American history

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill recalls the airing the 'Roots' television miniseries

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Philip Merrill remembers his social activities at Friends School of Baltimore

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Philip Merrill describes his academic standing at Friends School of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Philip Merrill talks about his experiences at Loyola College in Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Philip Merrill recalls the African Student Association at Loyola College in Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill describes his social activities at Loyola College in Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill talks about the Human Development Institute, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill recalls beginning his collection of black memorabilia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill talks about specializing in the history of black materials

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill recalls the black memorabilia he has sold

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill describes other black memorabilia collectors

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill talks about working as an African American history consultant

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Philip Merrill recalls the strategies in purchasing black memorabilia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill describes the differences between appraising the black and white Americana, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill describes the differences between appraising the black and white Americana, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill talks about his approach to collecting black memorabilia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill recalls his initial interest in black photography

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill remembers financial issues at Nanny Jack and Company in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill describes Nanny Jack and Company's interactions with the educational community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill talks about Nanny Jack and Company's competitors

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill recalls buying Ku Klux Klan memorabilia for the Nanny Jack and Company archives

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill talks about the variety of content in the Nanny Jack and Company archives

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill recalls his experiences as an appraiser for 'Antiques Roadshow'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill remembers his challenges on 'Antiques Roadshow'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill recalls appraising pottery by David Drake on 'Antiques Roadshow'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill remembers researching antebellum black craftsmen

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill describes the need for expert appraisal of black memorabilia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Philip Merrill talks about the increased education of amateur antique collectors

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Philip Merrill reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Philip Merrill describes the lack of African American collector associations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Philip Merrill describes the internship opportunities at Nanny Jack and Company in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Philip Merrill describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Philip Merrill talks about his future writing projects

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Philip Merrill talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Philip Merrill describes the 'Know History, Know Yourself' program

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Philip Merrill narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Philip Merrill narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Philip Merrill describes his early study of African American history
Philip Merrill recalls buying Ku Klux Klan memorabilia for the Nanny Jack and Company archives
Transcript
When did you manifest an interest in history?$$Not at Friends School [Baltimore, Maryland] (laughter).$$Okay.$$Not at Loyola College [Loyola College in Maryland; Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland], which is now a university. As a matter of fact, I detested history because I never saw a--I didn't see the relativeness, I didn't see any relation to me. I really wasn't that excited about learning about [President] George Washington or, you know, any of the standard people that were in the history books back then. And needless to say there wasn't any topic such as Afro or African American history or culture that was being taught back then.$$So (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You know, we were lucky if you learned anything about Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman (laughter), maybe Sojourner Truth and maybe the assassination of Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] or something but overall--and didn't even do well in history at Friends. As a matter of fact, what is so ironic about all this is one of the history teachers that I won't name, years later when I was appointed by the city council [Baltimore City Council], mayor and city council to a commission couldn't wait to contact me to let him know, to let me know how proud he was of me and what I've done with my career and blah, blah, blah. And I wanted to say, "Well, no thanks to you," (laughter), but I didn't. I just smiled and humbly said, "Thank you." But my love came from home. My love of history came from the fact that my parents [Betty Jackson Merrill and George Merrill] were history, being an interracial couple, that was history. Nanny Jack's [Merrill's maternal great-grandmother, Gertrude Berry Jackson] stories about domestic work, coming from West Virginia and just, you know, I was surrounded by history. And at Loyola, a Jesuit institution--so someone says, "Oh, my goodness. You've got Quaker then Jesuit," and my honorary doctorate is from a theo- a Baptist theological seminary [Eastern Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia] (laughter). Someone could say, "Wow, look at this whole religious experience." Yeah, it's exciting but my love of learning and history came from the house--$$Speaking of--$$--came from home.$$Okay. Stories you were telling before that--$$Yeah (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) that linked directly to historical information.$Tell us something about the quantity and nature of your inventory?$$Well, first of all, it, it runs the gambit. Rare books, photographs, letters, sheet music, 78 records [78 rpm record], dolls, toys, an extensive black hair care department, hot combs, pomade, diplomas from black beauty schools and so forth, a strong education, Jim Crow education department, diplomas, report cards, textbooks from the segregated schools with the stamp of the name of the school inside, homework assignments. I'm just trying to think--Masonic--we have a strong mutual benefit society, benevolent society collection from the Elks [Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World], Knights of Pythias, Knights of Templar [Knights Templar], Green Knight Order of Hope [ph.]. Earlier I talked about the Sons and Daughters, Brothers of Moses [Grand United Order of Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters of Moses], ones that you can't even think of, the Odd Fellows [Independent Order of Odd Fellows], just all kinds of badges, photographs, bylaws, a strong KKK [Ku Klux Klan] department with hoods, robes, photographs. Their bible is called the Kloran.$$The Kloran?$$Yeah, K-L-O- yeah, you've got to laugh. It's a joke for real. So we have an extensive KKK department that I've worked very diligently over the years to get original stuff. They have female members of the Klan that people don't know about. So the husband can be a member, the wife could join and there is a junior Klan for the children. So it really could be a family--$$Are there any stories about collecting this material?$$Yeah, of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I can't imagine you going into someplace--$$Of course I got one great story.$$Yeah.$$A dear friend of mine who was a Civil War reenactor for 'Glory,' he was a white gentleman, he since died. He called me one day, he said, "Philip [HistoryMaker Philip Merrill], Philip, I found a KKK robe for you at an antique show." I said, "Well, okay, I've already got one but give me the number and I'll call them." I called the man very nervously and sheepishly on the phone, and in my naivete I say, "Excuse me, are you racist," (laughter)? That's one of the first things out of my mouth, I said to him, "Are you racist?" He says, he says, "No, listen to me, I'm a born again Christian, I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I work with youth. I am, I cannot be further from being a racist." I said, "Okay (makes sound), good. I feel better now. How much are you selling your robe for and tell me about it?" He said, "Well, I have a hood, robe, gloves and a case that it came in. I'm selling for one price." I said, "Okay," I said, "now I can't afford that right now but I can give you the money on a certain date." He said, "No problem. I'll hold it for you." The certain date comes along I call him, I say, "I'm ready." He said, "No problem," he says, "Meet me at this parking lot." So I tell mom [Betty Jackson Merrill] and dad [George Merrill], I said, "Mom and dad, listen, if I don't call you within a half hour, send the police, send the police," because I'm concerned even though he said on the phone he was not a racist. My spirit was good with him, we vibed, I felt okay but you never know. I get to the parking lot, he had a little boy with him, could not have been kinder, make the exchange, buy it. You know, he told me, "God bless you and blah, blah, blah," and that was that. I get home and I look at it closely and I realize that it's in a case like a pillow case but with a snap on the top of it, and it all fit in there very nicely. As a matter of fact, for many years when I go into some of the schools, I put it back in the case and let the children touch it and try to guess what it is, none of them ever guess. But anyway there were some initials on the inside of the casing. So I called the man back and he says, "You know, let me call the people that I acquired this from because this was hidden in a secret compartment in a bureau, a dresser drawer, a piece of furniture." So he called the lady, and the lady had to sit down because the lady had no idea that her brother was an active KKK member. Isn't that a fabulous story? So you just never know over the years if brother, sister, father, cousin whoever is a member of the KKK. My other quick KKK story was, I was going to an antique store in the historic district and a white gentleman who ran the store said, "What are you looking for today?" I said, "Unusual black Americana. Anything that's not the run of the mill." He said, "Well, I have what is known as a KKK bible but it's not here, would you want it?" I said, "What? A bible?" He said, "Yeah, it spells out all the laws, regulations, rules and so forth." I said yes. So time went by, and I thought nothing of it. Lo and behold the man called me and said, "I found it. You still want it?" I said yeah. Went back down to the store, he had it there, and I purchased it. Now the reason why I wanted the bible--and it's K-L-O-R-A-N.$$The Kloran?$$Yeah, the reason why I wanted it was that I had a 1920 something letter that several KKK members were being expelled from the KKK, and I wanted to know why. Well, when you open up this--their bible it gives you all their rules and regulations and covenants, and I could look up what this code was to find out why these men in Pennsylvania were being removed from the Klan. Isn't that fascinating?$$It is.$$So you just never know, never know. So those are just two interesting KKK stories.

Barbara Dodson Walker

An expert in the study and recordation of African American life and history, Barbara Dodson Walker was born January 18, 1930 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in the Georgetown area, which, at that time, had a large African American community. Schools were segregated, but Walker felt that she had the best education possible. She earned a B.S. in elementary education at Miner Teachers College in 1951, and an M.Ed. in 1972 from Federal City College. Walker pursued additional graduate work at Purdue University and the University of the District of Columbia.

During her thirty-two year career in education (1951-1983) Walker served in the D.C. Public Schools in several assignments, including coordinator of the Title I program with an emphasis in the multicultural population; resource teacher in the vital development of the critical reading and math programs for young children; and testing chairperson charged with developing standards for basic skills.

It was through her marriage to James Dent Walker that she nourished her interest in the recording of history and historical documents. Her husband would eventually serve as the director of local history & genealogical programs at the National Archives. After his retirement in 1979, he went to work at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and became involved in a project to identify the African Americans who were involved in the American Revolution. Walker assisted her husband in the preparation of the Rhode Island Patriots, a segment of this project. His work there was a result of an African American wanting to join a chapter of the DAR and not be an at-large member of the DAR.

After her retirement from D.C. Schools, Walker participated in many diverse research projects. She indexed the first ten years of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and researched the history of the D.C. Schools and the Epiphany Catholic Church of Georgetown for Black Georgetown Remembered. She researched and wrote essays of the Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School and Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, both located in Washington, DC. This work appeared in the Journal of Negro Education. Walker is developing a curriculum for students in the elementary grades to assist them in writing their family histories.

Walker is a charter and life member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. and has worked on behalf of the Society in many capacities. This is the only national organization involved in documenting African American's family history and genealogy. She serves as the national president and in so doing has made many contributions to its sustenance. There are now twenty-three chapters of this Society across the nation. Walker has served also on the boards of Georgetown Heritage Trust, where she coordinated the documentation of the homes in the historic district of Georgetown; the Federation of Genealogical Societies; and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Walker has four adult children and resides in Washington, DC.

Accession Number

A2004.015

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/4/2004

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Middle Name

Dodson

Schools

Phillips-Wormley School

Wendell Phillips School

St. Augustine Catholic School

Miner Teachers College

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WAL05

Favorite Season

None

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/18/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Education administrator and historical researcher Barbara Dodson Walker (1930 - ) served the D.C. Public Schools as an elementary resource teacher, coordinator of the Title I program, and curriculum developer in reading and language arts. After retiring from the school system in 1983, she became involved in numerous projects designed to develop and maintain the records of African American history.

Employment

District of Columbia Public Schools

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Dodson Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Dodson Walker lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her mother's teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about the benefits of racially segregated schools and separate vocational schools in Washington D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her mother and her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes how her parents met and her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about segregation in Washington, D.C. during the 1930s and '40s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Dodson Walker explains the history of slavery

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her paternal great-grandmother's manumission paper

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes her mother's family history, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes her mother's family history, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about many African American families having Native American family members

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about genealogical research

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Dodson Walker shares stories of her maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes how the schools African American students attended in Washington, D.C. were named

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about the schools she attended in Washington, D.C. and her aspirations as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes her family's history in the Catholic church

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes St. Augustine's Catholic School and her high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes going to Miner Teachers College in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes her early teaching career and the aftermath of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes the limited impact of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision on Washington, D.C.'s public schools

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her profession as a teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her husband's career at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about founding the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS)

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes the relationship between history and genealogy and reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Dodson Walker reflects upon what she would like to do in the future

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about the importance of knowing African American history and what values she considers most important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Dodson Walker gives advice to future generations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Barbara Dodson Walker reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Barbara Dodson Walker describes the importance of collecting your own family history while you can

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about the importance of education for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Barbara Dodson Walker talks about her children

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Dodson Walker narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Dodson Walker narrates her photographs, pt. 2

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DATitle
Barbara Dodson Walker describes her early teaching career and the aftermath of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision
Barbara Dodson Walker talks about founding the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS)
Transcript
And when you finished college [Miner Teachers College; University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.] then how did your life go?$$Well I taught for a couple of years and then I got married [to James Dent Walker]. Then I had babies and every school--I came home to have one baby and had two. Before I could finish that one baby, I was pregnant again and so I went from--I started teaching at Garrison [Elementary School, Washington, D.C.] and then I taught at [Charles] Sumner [School, Washington, D.C.] and then I went to Scott Montgomery [Elementary School, Washington, D.C.] and then I went to, where did I go after that, I went to Scott Montgomery--$$And this is about the time now it seems that we're talking about Brown v. Board of Education [of Topeka, 1954].$$Oh I answered the phone that day.$$Tell us about it.$$I was teaching first grade, I was teaching Garrison and it was lunchtime and my room--Garrison was like two different buildings, we had a hallway in the middle. And so the phone rang and rang and rang well I was the youngest thing there so I went down to answer the phone and I came back, "Hey they passed it!" Brown versus the Board of Education. It was very interesting because when they did that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What led up to that day?$$You know we were--I guess people were wondering what was going to happen and that we were going to have some kind of riot or something but it just happened. You know, now that this is the year--the celebration fifty years after Brown, people ask, "What do y'all do?" we go to work. There has never been, that I know of, any kind of a celebration that Brown--that that was passed, I don't know of any. It might have been small celebrations somewhere but as a big citywide thing, I don't remember us ever having anything like that. What did happen with that was to have integration, they integrated the school--teachers and a black teacher was interviewed by the people. I don't know who it was; I don't know what the content of the panel was that interviewed the black teacher to teach their children. But that's what you had to do and one person that survived it all and that was Betty Brooks. She survived it, she was elected to serve the schools, and she served there until she retired west of the park as we knew it--as we call it here west of the park.$$She was interviewed to be a teacher (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well she became a principal--$$--in what had been traditionally a white school--$$She was the principal. We never had it, black teachers taught black children and white teachers taught white children. But as I said, we don't know whether that was good or not because black teachers came out with Bachelor of Science degrees and we know that some of those white teachers came out with certificates.$$So did any of the white teachers come over to teach at Garrison for instance?$$No! Now they might, I don't know what's happened now. We didn't--I didn't--many, many years later after Brown versus Board was passed, we began to get people, white teachers in with black teachers. We had 'em at Harrison [Elementary School, Washington, D.C.] and I went there in '61 [1961]. I'm trying to think did we have 'em? We had white teachers at Harrison, 'cause the kindergarten teacher was white and we had a sixth grade teacher and we had a fifth grade teacher--$Now because of my husband [James Dent Walker], sometimes I'm Mrs. James Dent Walker. Then sometimes, I'm just [HistoryMaker] Barbara [Dodson] Walker. And I've used that to the advantage to build an organization: the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society [AAHGS]. It was founded in 1977 here in Washington, D.C. That has always been a mostly ethnic group, its founders were multi ethnic--predominately black but there were whites there too--to help because we knew--I think the founders knew that they needed people who were the professionals in the field of genealogy and history to help them get started. So now we have just celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of that organization and we have over 1200 paid members, and I do mean they are paid members. And it's a national organization now. So we are well represented by colleges, the universities and people.$$What kind--what sort of people join, are members?$$What we're doing, we are doing the history of our families, we are using our oral histories and connecting the history of our family and I call that the meat. The stories are the meat and we're getting the bones we got the names and we get in the dates of birth, the places of birth and things of that sort. But always names, dates and places are what you start with. So we have those things to start with and we are helping people to learn how to do that. We have an annual conference each year and this year, the year 2004 is the first time--it's not the first time, it's the first time in ten years. We have been out of the City of Washington, D.C. up until that time. We had our last ten right here in Washington, D.C. Our annual conference which runs about three or four days and I've been working with our presenters, our people who had been doing research. You know once you get on a thing, you've just got to learn a little bit more and a little bit more and we had many blacks who are very knowledgeable about areas. We got a group that's written a book on Mississippi. There are people who've written--blacks in Mississippi maybe just a small part but enough to give you information. There are people who have written and published their family histories at their own expense. We encourage that kind of thing.