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Cleveland Christophe

Venture capitalist and accomplished businessman Cleveland A. Christophe was born on January 1, 1946 in Savannah, Georgia. The son of a college professor and public school teacher, Christophe grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Christophe was studious growing up and received a National Science Foundation summer grant to study at Howard University after his junior year in high school. He went on to attend and graduate from Howard University in 1966 with his B.S. degree in business administration. He subsequently obtained his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan Business School in 1967. He was the only Black among the School’s 800 M.B.A. students.

Christophe began his career with First National City Bank (now Citicorp) in the firm’s prestigious Investment Research Department. Less than two years later, at the age of 22, he became one of First National City Bank’s (FNCB) youngest officers ever. Christophe left FNCB in 1969 to join Kenton Corporation, a retail conglomerate. There, he worked for the company’s chairman and gained his initial experience in acquiring businesses. In 1970, Christophe became chairman and CEO of his own restaurant called Soul Stop located in New York’s Harlem. He and his partners had plans to open multiple restaurant units and expand by franchising. A year later, Christophe decided the restaurant business was not his forte. He and his attorney, Reginald F. Lewis, succeeded in selling Soul Stop to another restaurant chain.

Christophe returned to FNCB in January of 1971, this time as an officer in FNCB Capital Corporation, the Bank’s venture capital subsidiary. In 1974, Christophe was promoted to Vice President of FNCB, having rejoined the Investment Research Department. In 1975, he told the head of FNCB’s International Bank that he wanted to obtain experience in commercial banking including operations, treasury, and credit -- preferably abroad so as to concomitantly gain cross cultural experience. Later that year, he moved to FNCB’s office in Paris, France, where he worked for four years. He was the Bank’s Country Operations Head for France for the latter two years. In 1980, Christophe relocated to FNCB’s (now Citibank) San Francisco office, where he became a credit officer and head of corporate banking for the high technology industries, notably Silicon Valley. In 1983, Christophe again moved abroad, this time to Kingston, Jamaica, as Citibank’s Country Head in charge of all the Bank’s business in Jamaica. In 1985, having succeeded in restructuring Citibank’s Jamaican business during the height of the third world debt crisis, he was awarded a larger and more complex assignment as Country Head for Colombia located in Bogota.

In 1987, Christophe left banking to join his friend and former attorney, Reginald F. Lewis. Several days after joining Lewis’s TLC Group as Senior Vice President, the two partners bid one billion dollars to acquire the Beatrice International Food Company, a transaction successfully consummated later that year.

Christophe left TLC in 1988 to pursue a vision of building his own company. In 1990, he joined Equico Capital Corp. the venture capital subsidiary of Equitable Life Assurance Company. On May 14, 1992, a day Christophe calls Emancipation Day, Christophe and his partners Duane E. Hill, Lawrence C. Morse and Divakar R. Kamath acquired control of Equico and changed the name to TSG Ventures, Inc. A Specialized Small Business Investment Company licensed by the US Small Business Administration, TSG Ventures was among the largest and most successful firms investing in minority controlled businesses. In 1994, Christophe and Hill organized TSG Capital Group and raised a $225 million buyout fund. A subsequent $515 million fund was raised in 1998. TSG Capital Group’s investment strategy focused on underserved ethnic markets (African Americans and Hispanics) and the company's access to ethnic entrepreneurs and managers who represent a largely untapped base of talent. By February of 1999, TSG Capital could invest up to $100 million of equity in single deals with all decision making coming from inside the firm. TSG had become one of the largest minority-run firms in the United States.

Christophe resides in Stamford, Connecticut.

Christophe was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 20, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/20/2006

Last Name

Christophe

Maker Category
Marital Status

married

Schools

St Peter Catholic School

Merrill Junior High School

University of Michigan

Indiana Street School

Southeast Middle School

J.C. Corbin Laboratory School

Howard University

First Name

Cleveland

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

CHR02

Favorite Season

September, October

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I Can, I Will, I Must.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/1/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greenville

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Barbecue Ribs

Short Description

Bank executive and investment executive Cleveland Christophe (1946 - ) co-founded the TSG Capital Group, one of the largest minority-run firms in the United States.

Employment

First National City Corporation

Soul Stop, Inc.

Kenton Corporation

Citibank

Citibank, N.A.

TLC Group

TSG Ventures, Inc.

Favorite Color

Light Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cleveland Christophe's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes his mother's family farm

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe describes his parents' move to Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cleveland Christophe remembers his neighborhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes his paper route

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his mother's social life in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe describes his parents' political philosophies

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his father's friendship with Wiley Branton

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe remembers visiting his father in South Dakota

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe describes segregation in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe shares his perspective on integration

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe describes his father's teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe remembers the Indiana Street School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls transferring to Southeast Junior-Senior High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe recalls the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cleveland Christophe recalls developing an interest in economics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his experiences at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe remembers his summer work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls joining the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe remembers H. Naylor Fitzhugh

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes his business education at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his decision to apply to M.B.A. programs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe reflects upon his success as a student and businessman

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his decision to enroll at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his social life at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe remembers the advice of Wiley Branton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe explains his decision to pursue investment research

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls being offered a position at J.P. Morgan and Co.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe recalls joining the First National City Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes his work at the First National City Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe describes his values

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe remembers working for the Kenton Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe remembers being hired by Soul Stop, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes the business model of Soul Stop, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his first attempt at entrepreneurship

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe remembers his leadership of Soul Stop, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe describes lessons he learned at Soul Stop, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe remembers meeting Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe remembers selling Soul Stop, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe recalls being rehired at First National City Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe recalls working in venture capital at the First National City Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe remembers writing 'Competition and Financial Services,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Cleveland Christophe remembers writing 'Competition and Financial Services,' pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes the success of his research

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe remembers being promoted at the First National City Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe describes his mentorship of junior colleagues

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe reflects upon his career at the First National City Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe reflects upon his career at the First National City Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe talks about interracial dating

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe recalls working abroad for the First National City Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe remembers moving to San Francisco, California

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe recalls considering leaving the First National City Corporation, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Cleveland Christophe recalls considering leaving the First National City Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his leadership of Citibank, N.A. in Jamaica

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe describes his leadership of Citibank, N.A. in Colombia

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his decision to leave Citibank, N.A.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe remembers resigning from Citibank, N.A.

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes his relationship with Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe remembers concealing his intent to resign

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe recalls Reginald F. Lewis' business proposition

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his move to Stamford, Connecticut

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his business partnership with Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes Reginald F. Lewis' law career

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe recalls Reginald F. Lewis' start in venture capitalism

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls Reginald F. Lewis' acquisition of McCall Pattern Company, Inc.

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe describes his partnership with Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his acquisition of Beatrice Foods TLC, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his acquisition of Beatrice Foods TLC, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe recalls ending his partnership with Reginald F. Lewis, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe recalls ending his partnership with Reginald F. Lewis, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe remembers parting ways with Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe remembers limiting his contact with Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe recalls joining the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his decision to join the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe recalls his offer to buy the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe describes his relationships with supervisors

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe remembers acquiring the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe talks about his loan from the Boston Bank of Commerce

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christopher describes his strategy for acquiring the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Cleveland Christophe describes the history of the Equico Capital Corporation

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Cleveland Christophe talks about the early years of TSG Ventures, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Cleveland Christophe lists the initial acquisitions by TSG Ventures Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Cleveland Christophe describes the life of his investments with TSG Ventures, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Cleveland Christophe describes his work with Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Cleveland Christophe describes his involvement with the Waterside School in Stamford, Connecticut

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Cleveland Christophe talks about the Business Council of Fairfield County

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Cleveland Christophe describes his pastimes

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Cleveland Christophe remembers the death of his oldest son

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Cleveland Christophe describes his children

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Cleveland Christophe remembers H. Naylor Fitzhugh
Cleveland Christophe recalls his business partnership with Reginald F. Lewis
Transcript
So during that time, you had--during the time you were at Howard [Howard University, Washington D.C.], the influences. Who became your, your role models? Who were you looking up to at the time?$$The person that most singularly impacted me was Naylor Fitzhugh [H. Naylor Fitzhugh]. Naylor was a professor of marketing, and again unlike anyone that I had ever been exposed to. Fitz as we called him, and after I had graduated and he was no longer Professor Fitzhugh, Fitz impacted a lot of lives over the years. It's a name that you'll hear time and time again. Fitz was a Harvard Business School [Boston, Massachusetts] grad and he graduated from Harvard when, you know, blacks didn't go there. I wanna say it may have been in the '40s [1940s], but Fitz was just, he was a student of business, he was an outstanding professor. He cared deeply about his students. And he inspired a number of us to pursue careers in, in, in, in business. And Fitz just had a way of--he carried himself that he was the first African American that I had ever been exposed to who you had a sense that, that he was--could be a part of and was comfortable in interacting with the broader business community. And, and, and not simply the, the segregated African American business community. So Fitz more than anybody else, just had a very profound impact on me.$The following day I went back into the city to meet with Reg [Reginald F. Lewis], and we're now into the very early part of June of 1987, and on June 15, 1987 I joined Reg at 99 Wall Street [New York, New York]. Three days later, he walked into--I could, I could dignify what was my office by calling it an office, but really it was the mail room where I had a card table as a desk. And Reg walked in and tossed over a sheaf of papers that was a Xerox copy of the divestiture memorandum for Beatrice International [Beatrice Foods TLC; Beatrice International Foods]. And he said, "I'm not supposed to have this, but I do. You know, why don't you take a look at it," and he said, "it's probably not gonna make any sense. But I'd like your thoughts on it." Took it home, caught the train, subway first to Grand Central [Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York], then all the way up here and then drove to my home. And I stayed up all night. I looked at it and read it and then I pulled out my computer, I was one of the few guys that had computers then. And I modeled the whole thing out. And the following day I went in and I said, "This makes a lot of sense." And the price is $950 million. And three days later we bid $950 million for Beatrice International Foods.$$How does it work? Where do you get $950 million?$$(Laughter) We were asked that question. We were asked that question. Reg and I ran--we ran a process that I even marvel at to this day. And I can't do justice to it, not in a single seating. But if you look at Reg's biography--'Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?' ['Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?' How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire' Reginald F. Lewis and Blair S. Walker] It is very well chronicled in there, very well chronicled. There were some pivotal moments. Three days after we bid $950 million, Reg was on an airplane heading out to Beverly Hills [California] to meet with Mike Milken [Michael Milken] and I get the call from--what was Gordon's [Gordon W. Lawson] last name? Can't remember right now, a young guy over at Salomon Brothers. And he said, "Is this Cleve Christophe [HistoryMaker Cleveland Christophe]?" I said, "Yes." He introduced himself and he said, "I'm, I'm with Solomon Brothers and I'm working on the divestiture, the sale of Beatrice International." I said, "Okay." He said, "We have a, a letter proposing to compete in the auction for this property, a letter from you for $950 million." I said, "Yes." He said, "We have a slight problem." I said, "What's that?" He said, "Nobody knows who the hell you guys are." And I said, "Well I guess we have to do something about that." And we sat down and started talking about it. The following day called back and he said, "Apologize, I thought we had a good and constructive meeting yesterday, but there are two investment banks that are involved in this sale process. The other one is Morgan Stanley, and you're gonna have to sit and have a similar conversation with them." And that was kind of the beginning of it all. There was credibility at least at the surface level because of Reg's success in acquiring McCall [McCall Pattern Company, Inc.]. And fortunately The New York Times had just the prior week written a major article about Reg and what appeared to be the success of, of the McCall acquisition. And as far as we were concerned, that was just currency because we played it up big time. And, and you know and then, and then Reg had worked over the years to kind of cultivate this relationship with people out in Beverly Hills at, at Drexel [Drexel Burnham Lambert], and ultimately a relationship with Michael. And we traded on that.

Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry

Pastor and activist Reverend Herbert Daughtry was born January 13, 1931, in Savannah, Georgia to Emmie Cheatham Williams and Bishop Alonzo Austin Daughtry. When he was one year old, his family moved to Augusta, Georgia. His parents separated shortly after, and his mother returned to Savannah. Daughtry moved back and forth between Savannah and Augusta as a child. His father was heavily involved in the church and Daughtry was raised in a household dominated by this religious upbringing.

When Daughtry was around eleven years old, his family moved north to Brooklyn, New York, and shortly after to Jersey City, New Jersey. Daughtry had trouble adjusting to the interracial classes in Jersey City and returned to take classes in Brooklyn. As a black child from the South, Daughtry found himself a frequent target of derision from his peers, both black and white. In response, Daughtry became regularly disruptive in school, and eventually fell into a decade-long struggle with gambling, crime and drug use. In 1950, Daughtry, hoping to get clean, joined the army, but remained strung out on heroin and was discharged after only a year.

In 1953, Daughtry was imprisoned for armed robbery and assault charges. While in prison, he experienced a religious conversion that changed his life. When he was released, Daughtry returned to the church, becoming a fourth generation minister in his family. In 1958, he became pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, and was named national presiding minister a year later, a post he has held ever since. In 1962, Daughtry married Karen Smith, with whom he would have four children. In the late 1960s, Reverend Daughtry became known for his activism in the struggle for school integration, and worked with organizations such as Operation Breadbasket. He became a significant figure in the Coalition of Concerned Leaders and Citizens to Save Our Jobs in 1977, boycotting Brooklyn businesses in order to obtain jobs and services for Brooklyn African Americans.

In 1982, Daughtry founded the African People’s Christian Organization, which sought to create an African Christian nation by highlighting both African origins and biblical teachings. Two years later, Daughtry became a special assistant to Reverend Jesse Jackson during his presidential campaign and accompanied him on his trip to the Vatican to advocate for a firmer stand on human rights. In 1991, Daughtry participated in Mayor David N. Dinkins’ delegation to South Africa, and met with Nelson and Winnie Mandela.

Reverend Daughtry has published several books. His 1997 book, No Monopoly on Suffering: Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights and Elsewhere dealt with the 1991 crisis in ethnic tensions in that neighborhood. He also published A Seed Planted in Stone - The Life and Times of Tupac Shakur, a book that follows his relationship with the slain rapper, who joined Daughtry’s congregation when he was only eleven years old. In 2003, Daughtry led a delegation of multi-faith protesters to Iraq, in a last-ditch effort to preserve peace in that nation. Daughtry lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Karen.

Accession Number

A2006.101

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/19/2006

11/27/2006

Last Name

Daughtry

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

DAU01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

I'm Still Ahead Of The Posse.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/13/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Spinach, Beans

Short Description

Social activist and pastor Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry (1931 - ) was the founder of the African People's Christian Organization and is the National Presiding Minister of the House of the Lord Fellowship in Brooklyn, New York. A longtime political and civil rights activist, he wrote books on his involvement in the 1991 Crown Heights crisis between African American and Jewish residents, and on his relationship with Tupac Shakur.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry remembers his parents' separation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his father's career as a minister

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his paternal family's migration to Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the neighborhood where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the changes in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls the Florance Street School in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls stealing from the grocery store where he worked

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry shares his reason for stealing food from his employer

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the African American community in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his father's role in the community of Augusta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls the growth of his father's church

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his father's split from Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his aspiration to become a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry remembers moving to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry describes his schooling in New Jersey and New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry recalls his loneliness as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry recalls his experience in high school in Brooklyn

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry remembers influential black athletes and artists

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry talks about the negative portrayal of African Americans in popular culture

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry recalls his imprisonment as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry describes his father's introverted personality

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry describes his troubled teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Herbert Daughtry talks about his children

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his introduction to gambling

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about playing pool

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his early lessons in entrepreneurialism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls becoming addicted to heroin

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his involvement in the numbers game

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls being arrested for running numbers

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his arrest for grand larceny

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his decision to join the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry remembers returning from the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his involvement in an armed robbery

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls the term of his prison sentence

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the racial tensions in New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes race relations in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his educational endeavors in prison

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his interest in holistic ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry remembers his debates with followers of the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls raising funds for Emmett Till's family

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the police shooting of Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about the black leadership's response to police brutality

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry shares his advice to youth regarding police brutality

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his criticism of police departments

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his role in the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his philosophy of protest

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his ministerial leadership style

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his decision to join the struggle for civil rights

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his incarceration

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his decision to reform himself in prison

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his education in prison

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his initiation to the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his initiation to the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his friendship with John Lawrence

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his start as a preacher

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his involvement in politics and religion

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his civil rights activities

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his activism with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about the Nation of Islam

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the growth of his church

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls the shooting of Randolph Evans

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes the formation of the National Black United Front

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his political support for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's accusations of anti-Semitism, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's accusations of anti-Semitism, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry reflects upon his experiences with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaign

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his travels with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his travels with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his travels with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his confrontation with the Hasidim of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his decision to write 'No Monopoly on Suffering'

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about his book, 'No Monopoly on Suffering'

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about the New York Ebonics Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about the New York Ebonics Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his visits to the White House

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry talks about the reparations movement

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

7$9

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry recalls his decision to reform himself in prison
Reverend Dr. Herbert D. Daughtry describes his travels with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, pt. 2
Transcript
I was about twenty-two, and so there I was, hemmed in, locked in, Hudson County Jail [Hudson County Correctional Facility, Kearny, New Jersey], and it was a weekend. I was arrested like a, a Friday, and it was one of the president's birthdays, so that's a long weekend which mean that you have a long weekend in the police precinct and that's, that's, that's hard time. And, but it was good time for me in, in that I couldn't go anywhere. Everything was bad, the cells were stinking the, the, the bench was hard, just--'cause it's a transient thing. And in that state of desperation, I think a lot of--I came face to face with myself. And what had precipitated or helped it along was my mother [Emmie Cheatham Williams], but she would visit always faithful, and the last time she visited, she just looked so old and worn and beat and I realized that I had contributed to her aging process. I'd, I'd, I'd been hell on wheels, as they say. And with all of this coming in upon me, I, I threw myself down on that--on the--on the--on that floor, kneeling, and I put my, my hand, my head in my hand and I said, "Lord, listen. I made a mess of things. I've, I've created so much pain and so much agony and I just wanna give my life to you. I, I made a mess of it and I can't even say that I'm telling the truth now. I'm so messed up, I don't even know, God, I might be trying to manipulate now just to get out of jail. I don't know if I wouldn't go back into the same thing. But as well as I know myself, as well as I know myself, I just wanna make this commitment today, just take my life as it is and make me what you want me to be." That was February '53 [1953] if my memory serves me correctly and that's when the change start. I didn't hear any angels flapping wings. I didn't feel any great burning fire. I didn't--I just felt within myself, as well as I knew myself, I'd made a revolutionary commitment and a revolutionary promise. So, leaving the police precinct, then you'll go to the county jail where you're now going to be arraigned and then wait 'til the jury since I didn't have any bail, wasn't gonna put up the bail money, so I commenced the process of, of, of rehabilitation. I remember sitting down with a piece of paper and saying, you know, I, I--it wasn't long after that, I had felt that there was something special I was supposed to do, you know. I had not yet called it ministry or whatever, but I said now, if there is something I'm supposed to do, I might as well get ready for it because I was out of school at fifteen. So I sit down with a piece of paper, said these are the subjects I'm gonna need to learn. I gotta go back and get English, math, history, psychology, you know, like that. And then I set about trying to accumulate the books and, and the teachers. There's a saying, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. So I was ready. And so--and, and, and I pride myself on my boldness and eagerness of finding teachers. I mean, I'm--if, if whoever came through the place, if they look like they were reading, I would say, "Well, what're you reading, man?" And I would try to find out if they were teachers, who they were or what they knew. So I became--I became--I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "Every person I meet is my superior in some things and, therefore, I learn of them." Well, long before I'd read Waldo Emerson, I, I adopted that posture. Everybody I meet, I'm a student, teach me. And fast forward, when I got to--after I--I stayed there about nine months waiting for the trial and so now I've got a decision to make. If I have committed my life to God, I, I, I got to give up the lying business so now I can't go to court, go to trial saying I'm not guilty. So now I gotta cop a plea. And that's what I did. I, I pleaded guilty. There was three, three counts of armed robbery, assault and, and weapon. And my lawyer was Ray Brown; I was his first case, senior. I still got the amount he charged to handle my case (laughter). And so I went to court and I got seven to ten years. I don't know to what extent if I said this before, but I got seven to ten years on each count and they ran them concurrently, which meant then after there, I went to Lewis--Trenton Penitentiary [Trenton State Prison; New Jersey State Prison, Trenton, New Jersey], and I stayed there I guess maybe about three years, and I was eligible for parole at the expiration of my minimum sentence.$What was interesting about that, you know, which I always admired about him, we went from Harlem [New York, New York]--before we left, we went to Harlem and--up to Sylvia's Restaurant [New York, New York], and, and we'd held a rally early in the day. And Jesse [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] was his usual way of opening doors for people at this rally of about 25,000 people. Jesse said, "And when I leave here, I'm going up to Sylvia and have me some fish." You know, now you knew everybody was gonna show at Sylvia's, and that's what happened. Everybody descended on Sylvia and there we were in the middle of the street, pimps, prostitutes, buying--everybody, go, Jesse, run Jesse, run Jesse. So we went from the pimps in Harlem to the pope in Rome [Italy] to the archbishop in London [England] to the prime minister of Italy to the ambassador, American ambassador in Italy, all in a matter of less than a week, and that's the range of, of, of, of Jesse Jackson, and I always liked him for that. In fact, I told him, we were coming through Virginia, and had this long entourage, and he looked up--I might have told you this, he looked up and he saw what had formerly been the chain gang, now they got brown suits, but both of us growing up in the South remember the chain gang days. That was another--legal slavery. They'd snatch black folks off the street for nothing, make them work. And, and when he looked up and he saw that scene, he said, "Stop, stop," you know, "stop the car, stop the car." And so this long entourage 'cause, you know, you got the Secret Service, you got the, the wagon in the front, and all the Secret Service, and then--you got a car in the front, Secret Service, then you got the wagon and depending upon how many threats he has received, which he used to see--receive them all the time, you have so many Secret Service and the staff, so it's a long entourage, right? So when he say stop, everything has to stop. So along the highway, you got this entourage, long entourage. And he gets out of the car, and we get out--he gets out of the car and he goes over to the sheriff, you know, who's sitting under the shade of a tree, you know, with--the typical potbelly, big shotgun, and he says, you know, "I wanna talk to these men." He says, "All right." So the guy said, "Okay, yeah, sure, talk to us." He went out--went out into the field, right, and we start talking, and he start talking to them, "How's the family, how you doing, how you making it? Everything's all right, can I help you with anything?" And he said, "Okay, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna leave some money up there with the sheriff so you all can buy you some sodas or, or sandwiches or, or whatever, okay?" "All right, Jesse, man, thank you, thank you." So we got back in the car and I said to him, I said, "Man, you know, that's what I admire about you. You know, you'll always be my leader. You relate to the people in a biblical way, the least of these." He used to say this boat stuck at the bottom and as long as you can relate at that level, you got me, you know. And he said to me, he said, you know, "I guess that's why I like you. Other folks, you know, we had some names we called each other, said other folks want me because of, of what I do for them, but you the only one around, one of the few around, one of the few around who judge me based upon how I deliver for the people." And so we travel--I mean, from that London trip, first time I was ever on the Concorde [Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde], you know. He had to make a--get back because he was trying to free up these prisoners.

Isabel Powell

Isabel Washington Powell was born in Savannah, Georgia, May 23, 1908, one of five children born to Hattie Washington, a dancer, and Robert T. Washington, a postal worker. At a young age, Powell was sent to a Catholic boarding school run by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania. After finishing her formal education, Powell moved to New York City and followed in the footsteps of an older sister, Fredi Washington, to become a dancer and actress. Powell performed as a showgirl in the nightclubs of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance before dancing, singing, and acting in three Broadway shows in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

In 1934, Powell married Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and assisted him in his election to the New York Council and as senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. In 1944, Powell helped her husband become the first African American elected to the United States Congress from the east coast. In 1945, the Powells’ marriage ended in divorce. Powell went on to serve as a teacher’s aide in New York’s Harlem community public schools for over thirty years.

From 1945 on, Powell had a significant social and community presence on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; she was noted for bringing together people of various races, ages, classes, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Powell was also recognized for promoting the political legacy of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Powell was the mother of one son, Preston Powell. Powell passed away on May 1, 2007, just shy of her ninety-ninth birthday.

Accession Number

A2005.192

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/9/2005

Last Name

Powell

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Isabel

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

POW05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/23/1908

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

5/1/2007

Short Description

Dancer and teacher's aide Isabel Powell (1908 - 2007 ) was a dancer in Harlem night clubs during the Harlem Renaissance, in addition to acting, singing, and dancing in several Broadway productions. Later in her career, Powell was active in community life on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, serving as a social mover and shaker.

Employment

New York Public Schools

Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isabel Powell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isabel Powell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isabel Powell describes her career in performance

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isabel Powell remembers her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isabel Powell describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isabel Powell describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isabel Powell remembers growing up in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Isabel Powell describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Isabel Powell remembers Habersham Street in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Isabel Powell remembers attending Sisters of the Blessed Sacrement in Bensalem, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Isabel Powell recalls moving to New York City when she was seventeen

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Isabel Powell remembers meeting Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isabel Powell remembers meeting and marrying Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isabel Powell recalls spending summers in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isabel Powell remembers how she met Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isabel Powell describes her favorite activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isabel Powell describes her family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isabel Powell talks about her sister, Fredi Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isabel Powell describes significant items at her home in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Isabel Powell reflects upon her old age

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Isabel Powell reflects upon her life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Isabel Powell recalls meeting President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Isabel Powell remembers her visit from Joseph Carter

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Isabel Powell talks about her hobbies

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Isabel Powell talks about the importance of love

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Isabel Powell describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Isabel Powell shares her famous Bloody Mary recipe

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Isabel Powell narrates her photographs

Leonard Blackshear

Leonard Blackshear was born on June 29, 1943, in Savannah, Georgia. Blackshear's mother was a housewife and worked various part-time jobs in the healthcare industry; his father worked in electronics and later went on to become a teacher and counselor. At an early age the family moved from Savannah to New York where Blackshear attended elementary and junior high schools; he graduated from John Adams High School in 1959, where he was a member of the chess team and enjoyed poetry readings. Blackshear attended Hunter College in New York.

In the early 1960s, Blackshear joined Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a nonprofit organization that provided youth programs for Harlem youngsters. He then went on to work in several odd jobs until he enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1964. While in the Air Force, Blackshear was trained as a guided missile technician in Denver, Colorado. While serving in the military in 1967, he helped organize and host the largest chess tournament in Europe. He left the military in 1968 and enrolled at the University of Maryland where he earned his B.S. degree in physics in 1970.

From 1970 to 1973, Blackshear worked as a systems engineer and marketing representative for International Business Machines (IBM). From 1973 through 1978, he worked for Anne Arundel County Economic Opportunity Commission while earning his MBA in finance from American University in 1975. In 1978, Blackshear was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started his own information technology firm, TeleSonic, where he continued serve as president throughout his career.

In 1985, Blackshear founded and became president of Kunta Kinte Celebrations, best known for summer Kunta Kinte festivals that attract thousands of tourists to Annapolis, Maryland, believed to be the port of arrival for the slave Kunta Kinte. He served in this post until 1992, when he founded and became president of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, which celebrated the words and messages of author, Alex Haley. In 1992, Blackshear successfully secured support from the Annapolis City Council to build a memorial commemorating the actual arrival of an enslaved African to America; the memorial was completed in 2002, seen by an estimated one million people annually.

Blackshear also worked on an international project called the Lifeline Walk, a symbolic walk of forgiveness, where whites wear yokes and chains while blacks walk along side them. Annapolis was the first stop on the American tour of the walk, which began in September 2004.

Blackshear passed away on March 24, 2006, at the age of 62.

Accession Number

A2004.092

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2004

8/27/2004

Last Name

Blackshear

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Ps 50 Vito Marcantonio School

Hunter College

John Adams High School

University of Maryland

American University

Shimer Junior High School

First Name

Leonard

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

BLA06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Cast Down Your Buckets Where You Are. - Booker T. Washington

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/29/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Paella (Spanish)

Death Date

3/24/2006

Short Description

Cultural heritage chief executive Leonard Blackshear (1943 - 2006 ) was the founder and CEO of Blackwell Consulting. In addition to his corporate activities, Blackshear founded and became president of Kunta Kinte Celebrations, and the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.

Employment

Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited

United States Air Force

IBM

Anne Arundel County (Md.)

Telesonic

Kunta Kinte Celebrations

Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leonard Blackshear's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leonard Blackshear lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leonard Blackshear describes his mother's search for her birth family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leonard Blackshear describes his mother's childhood in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leonard Blackshear describes his father's childhood and his personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leonard Blackshear describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leonard Blackshear describes his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leonard Blackshear lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leonard Blackshear describes his earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leonard Blackshear describes memories of his childhood in New York, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Leonard Blackshear describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leonard Blackshear describes his experiences at P.S. 50 elementary school in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leonard Blackshear describes his personality during elementary school in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leonard Blackshear describes his religious upbringing in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leonard Blackshear describes his experiences at Edgar D. Shimer Junior High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leonard Blackshear describes his experiences at John Adams High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leonard Blackshear describes his work experience during his high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leonard Blackshear describes his experiences at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leonard Blackshear talks about his involvement with Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU)

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leonard Blackshear talks about his friendship with Malcolm X

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leonard Blackshear talks about living at the YMCA after leaving his parents' house and losing his job at HARYOU

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leonard Blackshear describes his job working in the cosmetics industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leonard Blackshear describes his job as a senior distributor for Lerner Shops in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leonard Blackshear talks about being screened by the Selective Service System

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leonard Blackshear describes his experiences while he was stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leonard Blackshear describes serving in the U.S. Air Force in Bitburg, Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leonard Blackshear talks about leaving the U.S. Air Force in 1968 and reflects upon his poor academic track record

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leonard Blackshear talks about earning his B.S. degree in physics from the University of Maryland in College Park in 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leonard Blackshear talks about working at the University of Maryland Data Center and being hired by IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leonard Blackshear talks about creating Selectable Territory Analysis Reports (STAR) for IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leonard Blackshear describes his job with the Anne Arundel Community Action Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leonard Blackshear talks about earning his M.B.A. degree from American University in Washington, D.C., and starting Associated Enterprise Development

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leonard Blackshear talks about establishing a plaque to honor Kunta Kinte in Annapolis, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leonard Blackshear describes his impressions of Alex Haley

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leonard Blackshear narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leonard Blackshear describes the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leonard Blackshear talks about planning a slavery reconciliation walk with The Lifeline Expedition

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leonard Blackshear talks about controversy over the slavery reconciliation walk movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leonard Blackshear talks about his experiences with genealogy research

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leonard Blackshear reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leonard Blackshear reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leonard Blackshear describes his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leonard Blackshear describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leonard Blackshear narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leonard Blackshear narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

2$2

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Leonard Blackshear talks about his friendship with Malcolm X
Leonard Blackshear describes his job working in the cosmetics industry
Transcript
Tell us a little bit about your relationship with Malcolm X, how it was that you came to meet him and develop this relationship.$$Well, I was curious about the Muslims, so I had gone down to the Temple [Mosque No. 7; Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, New York, New York], they have a restaurant, well they had a, in those days they had a restaurant at the temple. It wasn't what it is today which is much more of a show place. In those days it was much more demure. But I would go there to eat and they had nice bean pies that they were selling back then. And I got to meet Malcolm and I got meet his right-hand man, named Captain Joseph [Gravitt; Imam Yusuf Shah] who was in charge of the Fruit, which is the Fruit of Islam or the FOI. So and we got to be great chatting buddies, and I was well read on stuff so, and Malcolm was too, very well read. So we had very good conversations. So we became friends and he invited me to the temple and I'd come to some of the meetings at the temple to hear some of the presentations, when they had services and, and they would try to recruit me for the temple and they never recruited me but they always tried. So because we got to know each other, and I would go to some of his rallies and Malcolm's presentations were very timely because he would not be, how would you say, overt by people, well these people claiming they're experts and they're Ph.D.s--$$Um-hm.$$--and all this stuff. And they would come out with all their facts, Malcolm would come out with all his facts and cite all his references to make his points, which to me impressed me as an intelligent, aware, sensitive, unafraid black man who wasn't afraid to speak out. So that was Malcolm. And I enjoy, I was glad to have the opportunity to be friends with him at that time.$$Um-hm.$$And I was glad to have the opportunity to have conversations with him when he was giving me a ride home. And I was especially glad for the ride home (laughter).$$Why weren't they able to convert you?$$Because I thought that there were some aspects of their policies that I could not accept, like when you go to the service, all the women sat on one side and all the men sat on another side. And there were other strictures and policies that I thought, you know, like I did not, I did not particularly agree with the fact that all white people were devils, and that was a main thing. And their main method of conversion was tapping into black anger and using that, the hatred that comes out of that anger as the conversion process. And I wasn't as angry because I knew a lot about both sides of the issue and I knew that anger was counterproductive. So it was hard for them to tap into that root, which was their major source of conversion to get me into the group.$--But then you got a job, I think in the beauty business?$$Yes, I had found a job--$$And what year is this?$$Gee, I can't even remember now. This would have been in '63 [1963], '64 [1964], in that time frame. And I get this job and my job was really high tech, taking empty jars of cold cream and going to this machine and pushing the handle down just long enough to get enough cold cream in the jar and to create a nice little twirl on top and put the cover or put the little thing in to hold the cold cream down and then putting the cover on the jar and then putting the jar with the other jars. That was my high tech job. And what this outfit was, it was a beauty business that had offices up on Fifth Avenue [New York, New York], where this jar of cold cream that cost fifty cents to make, they were selling it for five or ten dollars uptown but that's the way they do it in the cosmetics business even today. I mean that's how they can afford to have all this showy stuff and glitter and freebies and perks, it's because they have a big margin on the sale of cosmetics. They said a woman will pay a dollar for soap because that will make her clean but she will pay ten dollars for cold cream because that will make her pretty.$$(Laughter).$$And soap and cold cream have largely the same substances with just a minor variation. So anyway, I drift. So that was my job at this place. But meanwhile I'm thinking, this is simple stuff, I can do this. All you need is to get these barrels of these things put 'em in a vat, mix it up with a couple of other things, put a little scent in it which they had bottles of scent, and then you squeeze this stuff into a jar and you sell it for fantastic prices. I can do this (laughter). So, but I said why start a new business, I'll just buy this one (laughter). And so I'm knowing these Muslims and these guys are all about starting businesses. I'm saying to me, I bet if I get these guys interested in selling their business, that these Muslims that I know will back me because it'll be another business. So I'm now telling the guy now, hey, I'm here less than a year, okay. And my thing is filling jars so, you know what I was making (laughter). So I'm telling these guys, look will you be interested in selling this business. And that mean, they were like astounded that they would get that kind of an offer from me, a black kid who's, and these, it's a white business, a black kid that's coming in to fill the cosmetics jars. So then they became afraid because they said there's a competitor of theirs in Chicago [Illinois] who wants to get their business and they figured that I'm there as a spy for them getting to know their business, and now I'm offering to buy it as part of the conspiracy to get their business. I don't know about all of this but because they suspect me of being a spy of this other company I never heard of, they laid me off. And then when I thought about it years later, I'm thinking, how in the world did I suspect that the Muslims would back me in this business because Muslims don't wear makeup and they would not back the purchase of a cosmetics firm. And I'm saying, duh, why would I even put myself in the position. But, you know, young and cocky, not thinking, you know. So, gee, I guess, I've lost a number of jobs that way (laughter).

Cornell McBride, Sr.

Cornell McBride, Sr., a pioneer in the black hair care industry, was born on August 14, 1943 in Savannah, Georgia. He is founder, president and CEO of McBride Research Laboratories, Inc. (MRL), which manufactures and distributes hair care products to international markets. McBride was raised in the poor community surrounding a sugar refinery in Savannah where his father worked. After graduating from high school in 1961, he migrated north and worked briefly for a pharmaceutical company. McBride married his high school sweetheart and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1962 and served until 1967. That same year McBride, his wife Harriet and their baby daughter moved back to Georgia. He attended Fort Valley University for three years then transferred to Mercer University in Macon where he earned a B.S. degree from the School of Pharmacy in 1973.

While at Mercer, he and his fellow classmate Therman McKenzie established M&M Products Company, developing a formula that eventually became Sta-Sof-Fro, the first product to actually soften natural black hair. By the mid-1980s, M&M Products had four national brands: Sta-Sof-Fro, Sof-N-Free, Moxie and Curly Perm. The company’s annual revenues exceeded $40 million making it one of the top Black hair care companies in the world. In 1989, after a series of business troubles, McBride and his partner sold M&M Products to Johnson Products.

McBride bounced back from financial decline in 1990 when he established McBride Research Laboratories, headquartered in Decatur, Georgia. McBride has used his talents as a registered pharmacist to develop lines of innovative products called Wave by Design and Design Essentials. His distribution network includes the utilization of product distributors as independent entrepreneurs to take the products directly to beauty salons in the United States, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom

McBride also masterminded the 24-hour beauty salon for athletes during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was a founder of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI) in 1982 and served as chairman of the organization from 1984 to 1986. He is a member of the Atlanta Business League, International Business Club, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. McBride recently authored A Cut Above: How Cornell McBride Made Millions in the Hair Care Biz. The book offers readers a road map for building wealth and stresses the importance of determination, family values, perseverance, goal setting and “giving back” as key components of one’s life.

McBride and his family live in Decatur, Georgia

Accession Number

A2004.034

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/24/2004

Last Name

McBride

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Woodville-Tompkins Technical & Career Institute

Fort Valley State University

Mercer University

First Name

Cornell

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

MCB02

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Sophisticate's Black Hair

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If there's a will, there's a way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Corporate chief executive and personal care chief executive Cornell McBride, Sr. (1943 - ) started his own hair care product company and co-established M&M Products Company, developing a formula that eventually became Sta-Sof-Fro, the first product to actually soften natural black hair. He later founded McBride Research Laboratories, Inc.

Employment

United States Air Force

M&M Products Company

McBride Research Laboratories

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cornell McBride, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about growing up in a mill town in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his parents' jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his seven siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about playing sports and creating games with his playmates

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about racial tensions between children in his neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his father's transformation from a family man into an alcoholic

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes how his father lost his job after a confrontation with the police

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the impact of his father's job loss on his family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes why he decided to focus on his studies after a rebellious phase

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his early determination to become an entrepreneur

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. remembers playing baseball and football in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his admiration for his entrepreneurial uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his exposure to the Christian church

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls leaving Savannah, Georgia for New York City, New York after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his first year in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes working in a pharmaceutical company, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes working in a pharmaceutical company, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about joining the U.S. Air Force and encouraging his siblings to take their education seriously

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about serving in the U.S. Air Force as a physical training instructor at Plattsburgh Air Force Base

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the challenges of his early years of marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls his experience with housing discrimination in New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his military service in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his decision to attend Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes supporting his family while he was enrolled at Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his decision to attend pharmacy school at Mercer University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls the development of Sta-Sof-Fro and the founding of M&M Products Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about early mentors and learning to market Sta-Sof-Fro

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the rapid growth of M&M Products Company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the growth and challenges of M&M Products Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about M&M Products Company's expansion into Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the boycott of M&M Products Company in South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about M&M Products Company at its peak

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. remembers the challenges of navigating M&M Products Company's financial woes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about selling M&M Products Company to Johnson Products Company in 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the launch of Design Essentials and Wave By Design in 1991

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about the launch of Design Essentials and its distribution system

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his business model, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his business model, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about working with family members

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes fulfilling his dream of building his mother a house

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about his desire to help others succeed

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cornell McBride, Sr. describes the importance of knowing history

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cornell McBride, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cornell McBride, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Cornell McBride, Sr. talks about racial tensions between children in his neighborhood
Cornell McBride, Sr. recalls the development of Sta-Sof-Fro and the founding of M&M Products Company
Transcript
Now, during the time that you were growing up in the late 40s [1940s], 50s [1950s], time of the Jim Crow South segregation, you mentioned that on the one side of the sugar refinery community were blacks, on the other side of the track were whites. Were there ever any altercations--$$Oh, yeah.$$-- any tensions?$$Oh, yeah.$$What kinds of things do you recall --$$(laughter).$$--about that period?$$You know, we, you know, as we, as we were growing up we knew of kids on other sides of the track that was about our age, you know. And, you know, occasionally there would be something that would happen. We also occasionally got together and actually played ball, you know. But in terms of the altercations, I could remember, and I'm not sure, what, what, what caused it, but I remember we used to go for these walks during the summer and there was a long drive coming down into the sugar refinery, I guess, it was maybe a quarter of a mile long. And out to the highway was, you know, Highway 17 and for whatever reason as kids, we used to together as a group and walk out to Highway 17. That was something we did, just a walk, you know. And you remember--by that time, I guess, the little white kids were driving, because we were all about thirteen, fourteen, fourteen; somewhere around there. And I could remember them driving their cars and then throwing nails out of the cars on us. And of course, you know, we would yell obscenities and stuff like that. They would yell some back, for no reason. But for me, it was, it was, it was an act that was unforgivable, you know. And I could remember getting with my brother, Garfield--and these same kids used to come into the neighborhoods to deliver the paper, and I knew that. So, you know, and there was this train track between us, and so--and it would come in the afternoon and that train would be switching back and forth, and there was a fence and then you had the track. And so one day, we caught them in--right there where that train track was where they couldn't go forward, and they couldn't come back to us and they were on their little motor bike and we had a bucket of rocks. And so we just tried--we pelted them with the rocks, you know, and of course we were trying to, you know, knock their heads off, so to speak. But I think of all of the kids in my neighborhood, I think my brother and I was the only one that took some action against them, and that didn't turn out to be good because as a result of that, you know, you live in company housing. So the word got back that my father [Edward McBride], they called him chick (ph.), chick children who had attacked these white boys. Now, they don't know why we attacked these white boys, but we attacked these white boys, and we were told that because we attacked these white boys, we did this terrible thing that we had to be moved. So they threw us out. They wanted to throw us out of the quarters, and someone, and I don't remember who, before it was time for us to move, which was a terrible thing, reversed it. Someone in the hierarchy of the sugar refinery; some official, somehow they got to the bottom of it and realized what happened. They threw the nails on us first, and we were getting them back. And so I went from what was a sad period to a very happy period, because we were given a reprieve. But, of course, my father warned me that we shouldn't do things like that. But I think that coming up as a kid, you know, even though it was segregated south, I didn't have fear of what was going to happen to me. My, my father kind of taught us that you didn't pick at anyone, but if anyone messed with you, you had a right to do something back to them. And that's the way he lived his life, you know, and so we were--we were just fulfilling that, you know. Because we didn't start the fight, but it wasn't something that we could run away from because it happened to be white kids, you see. So I didn't have that fear growing up, and I think a lot of it comes from my father, because he didn't have that fear, you know, he wasn't afraid of anyone. He wasn't even, he wasn't the person that was out there leading the charges as far as integration was concerned, but certainly he didn't back away from any fights, you know.$While you were still at Fort Valley [State College, now Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia], you met someone who would become important in your life and career; could you tell me about that?$$Yeah, I, I met--actually, I met Therman McKenzie, and another guy by the name of Johnnie Early (ph.). We were all in agriculture together, you know. Actually, Johnnie was in school to be a biologist, or something, and Thurman was gonna be an agronomist, and I was gonna be animal science, but we were taking classes together. And so when they came to--Mercer [University, Atlanta, Georgia] came to Fort Valley to, to talk about pharmacy, we all went to that lecture, and I concluded I was gonna go to pharmacy school and they did too. And so after our junior year, you know, I came on up to Atlanta to go to school, only to find out that they didn't come, you know. And so September, I, I entered pharmacy school in September of 1970, and they stayed down in Fort Valley. Well, I went back down to Fort Valley with one of the professors from Mercer and recruited them to come up to Mercer, and they came in January of 1971. And so then you had the three of us, Therman McKenzie, who I met when we were in agriculture; John Early, and myself. So we all finished Mercer School of Pharmacy in the top 10, by the way, at Mercer. And then we were going to start this company called M&M Products--MEM Products; McBride, Early, McKenzie, or whatever. And Johnnie decided along the way that he wanted to go to graduate school, so he decided to go and get his Ph.D. in pharmacology at Purdue [University, West Lafayette, Indiana], and so he got accepted. He went off to Purdue, and Thurman and myself started M&M Products Company.$$And what year is this?$$That was 1973. And, of course, the way that happened was Therman actually had the idea. He was making--using this product for his afro, where he had simply mixed glycerin and water together, and it was--had some negatives because it would beat up on your hair and stuff. And when he introduced it to me, and I used it, I saw this negative; I wanted to solve this negative. So I went to one of my instructors and started talking to him about what I needed to do, and he advised me to use a surfactant, and do some other things. And so I like tinkering, so I started messing around with the formulation and actually made it better. So we were able to make this thing better, that--and we started giving it away in the hospital; by then, we were all working at Grady Hospital. And as a result of giving it away, people encouraged us to put it on the market. And we had people coming back-and-forth who wanted, you know, more samples. And my rationale at the time or reasoning was if you give someone something that they don't like, they may take it, but they won't come back and ask you again; if you give someone something that they really like, they're gonna come back and ask you for some more, and that's what happened. And so that was like our market research, you know. And because people were coming back, and they weren't just asking, they were insistent upon getting some more, and we would make it up because we were using the ingredients from the hospital. You know, we weren't paying for any ingr--any of the ingredients, you know. So we saw that as, as an opportunity to put this product on the market. Well, Therman, at the time, had concluded or decided that he was gonna go to dental school. I had been married for eleven years by then, five years of military service, six years of college, and I was ready to go to work. And so I convinced Therman that he and I should go into business together, and that, you know, he shouldn't go to dental school. So he forego--he decided not to go to dental school, and, and went into business with me and we created M&M Products Company. Of course, like I said, Sta-Sof-Fro was the, was the first product. And we had to learn all about what do you do to put this product on the market? We, we knew nothing about putting the product on the market. And, you know, there was some initial trials and tribulations, you know, to, to go with that, but once we got focused on the fact that people liked this stuff, and we had something that was unique, you know, then we just wanted to get it out there and put it in people's hands.