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James Winston

Communications attorney James L. Winston was born on August 24, 1947 to Corrie Conwill Winston and Jeff Winston in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has one other sibling, Frances Winston Adderley. Winston graduated from Belmar Elementary School in 1959 and enrolled at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh. After attending Westinghouse, Winston was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He graduated with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1969. Three years later, he received his J.D. degree in law from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Upon graduation, Winston was hired as an attorney for the Roxbury Multi-Service Center in Boston. He then worked for the New York-based law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae as an attorney specializing in public utility law before serving as associate counsel for the Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C. In 1978, Winston worked as a legal assistant to Federal Communications Commissioner Robert F. Lee. After two years with the FCC, he was hired as an associate attorney by the Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen law firm, also in Washington, D.C. Winston then became a managing partner in the law firm of Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, LLP in 1981, specializing in telecommunications law. Additionally, he served as executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, Inc. starting in 1982.

For nine years in a row, Winston was named one of the “Leading African Americans in Radio” by Radio Ink magazine. He was also inducted into the American Urban Radio Network Hall of Fame and presented the “Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award.” Winston was also inducted into the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame and presented its “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

In addition to his achievements, Winston has served on the advisory boards for the Federal Communications Bar Association Executive Committee, the Elon University School of Communications in Elon, North Carolina and the Florida A&M University School of Journalism & Graphic Communication in Tallahassee, Florida. Winston is married and has four adult children. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

James L. Winston was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on May 3, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.083

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/3/2012

Last Name

Winston

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Belmar Elementary School

Westinghouse Academy

University of Pennsylvania

Harvard Law School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WIN07

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

Think for yourself. Don't let others do your thinking for you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/24/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken (Blackened)

Short Description

Broadcast executive and telecommunications lawyer James Winston (1947 - ) is one of the leading advocates for African American radio broadcasters in the country.

Employment

Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, L.L.P.

National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)

Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Western Union Telegraph Company

LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP

Roxbury Multi-Service Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Winston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Winston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Winston describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses his mother's childhood in Rienzi, Mississippi and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Winston describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his father's career at Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about how his parents met and married and he talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Winston describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about his mother's success as an insurance salesperson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about segregation and "white flight" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1960s

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Winston describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Winston describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Winston describes his childhood home and neighborhood in Homewood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about his childhood interest in drawing, television, and movies

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about the racial makeup of Belmar Elementary in Homewood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about sports in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was young, and the dearth of black professionals in his neighborhood of Homewood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about his parents' church attendance

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about his family's newspaper and magazine subscriptions

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his favorite subjects and his favorite teacher in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about his changing interests in middle school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about being a Boy Scout and an Explorer

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about his favorite teacher in middle school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about attending high school at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James Winston talks about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the streetcars and the winters in Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James Winston talks about working in an electrical engineering laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University/Carnegie Tech

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James Winston talks about his first transistor radio and his memories of listening to WAMO Radio in Pittsburgh

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - James Winston talks about being the swim team manager in high school, and his skill as a chess player

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - James Winston talks about his teachers and mentors in high school and his academic excellence

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - James Winston talks about the sound academic counseling that he received in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about choosing to attend the University of Pennsylvania, his experience as an engineering student there, and considering law school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about his involvement with the Society of African and Afro American Students (SAAS) at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Winston recalls his reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about his interaction with other black students in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about focusing on his academics in his senior year at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Winston describes his decision to attend Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Winston describes his positive experience at Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about working as a community activist and as a part-time anti-apartheid activist in Roxbury, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about leaving the social service sector and accepting an offer from a law firm on Wall Street, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Winston describes his positive experience at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm, and his decision to leave New York to start a family

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Winston recalls the encouragement that he received in the New York office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Winston describes his experience at the Washington office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae law firm, and his reasons for leaving

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about working at Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Winston talks about working at Western Union Telegraph Company in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about Commissioner Robert E. Lee of the FCC, and his positive experience as his legal assistant

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and his longtime involvement with this organization

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about the FCC commissioner, Robert E. Lee's support of UHF television

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Winston discusses the popularity of FM radio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about Robert E. Lee's leadership of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Winston explains the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Fairness Doctrine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Winston discusses the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) promotion of minority ownership of broadcast properties, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) promotion of minority ownership of broadcast properties, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Winston talks about the huge growth in African American ownership of radio and TV stations in the late 1970s and early 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about how the Reagan administration weakened FCC policies that promoted minority ownership of broadcast properties

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Winston talks about the challenges that he faced as the director of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Winston talks about the deregulation of broadcasting during the Reagan Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Winston talks about U.S. Congress legislation that hurt minority ownership of broadcast properties

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James Winston talks about the consolidation of radio and television ownership as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Winston reflects upon the importance of minority ownership of businesses and the changing face of television and radio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Winston reflects upon the lack of African American entrepreneurship in the technology industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about the lack of a strong African American voice on the internet

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Winston discusses the shortcomings of Arbitron's portable people meter, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Winston discusses the shortcomings of Arbitron's portable people meter, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Winston talks about his law firm, Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris, & Cooke

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Winston describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Winston reflects upon his legacy and the need for young African Americans to pursue entrepreneurship in technology

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Winston talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Winston talks about the future of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and the significance of radio for social change

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Winston talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

16$9

DATitle
James Winston talks about the sound academic counseling that he received in high school
James Winston talks about leaving the social service sector and accepting an offer from a law firm on Wall Street, New York
Transcript
So what kind of counseling did you get [at Westinghouse High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]? Did they, did you have a good counselor in terms of--$$Well, it's very interesting, because most of my classmates will tell you that we did not have a good counseling system. However, I'm the exception. She did a good job by me. It was an older white woman named Miss Simon, and so you were scheduled to come in and meet with her at the appropriate time. And so I came and met with her, and she said "Where do you want to go school, what do you want to major in? I said, "I really hadn't thought about where to go to school, and I really hadn't planned what to major in." And she said, "You're good in math and science. You ought to think about becoming an engineer." Then she told me that--this is now, this is the spring of 1965--and she said "Schools are looking for--." I'm sure she called me, I'm sure she said a colored student. "They're looking for good colored students, and I think you can get a scholarship to a very good school. I think I can get you in college, to an Ivy League school." I said "Okay." So she said--she mentioned Penn, University of Pennsylvania, to me. I assumed she was talking about Penn State [University]. She said, "No, no no, not Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania. It's an Ivy League school based in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]." So I went to library, looked up Penn, saw it was based--it's inside the city of Philadelphia. I said well, inside the city of Philadelphia, that's cool, because if I don't like the school, I can hang out in Philadelphia. And then I looked up engineering as a career, and I saw that electrical engineers were the highest paid college graduates that year. And so I said "Yes, I'd like to go Penn, I'd like to major in electrical engineering." Well, my father [Jeff Winston]--when I told my father, and this is 1965--I told my father that Penn cost $2500 a year. And he told me I'd lost my mind because he was making about $6000 a year. So the notion that I could go to--and this is $6000 before taxes. So, the notion that I could go to a school which cost $2500 a year was absurd to him. And so I said "Ms. Simon thinks I can get a scholarship." And he says, "Nobody's going to pay you that kind of money to go to school." And so--$$He didn't equate being on the Honor Roll with being able to get a scholarship?$$No, not at all. Because, you know, I mean, because he's a poor black boy from [Boonville] Mississippi and his son is just a poor black boy's son. (laughter) And so, and he was making very little money. And so I told Ms. Simon that I couldn't apply to Penn because my father wouldn't pay the $15 application fee. And so Miss Simon said, "Well ask your father to come in and see me." And so I went home and told him what Miss Simon said, and he actually came in to see her, which was surprising. And what was also surprising was he didn't give her any of the objections he gave me. So she said, "I think your son can get a scholarship to Penn, and I think you ought to pay the application fee." He says, "Oh, okay." I'm like, "Why did you give me all that grief?" (laughter)$But after a year of that [working at the Roxbury Multi-Service Center as a community activist and on the anti-apartheid movement], for a variety of reasons I decided it was time to leave Boston [Massachusetts] and move to New York. And I went to New York and worked for a large law firm there. And so I did a whole 180 in terms of my work life. So, going from a social service agency to working for a big Wall Street law firm--$$Now, what was it, was there any incident or some revelation that took place?$$It was, well, a couple things. At the time, I was married to my first wife. And her name is Carmen Tyler Winston--$$Did you meet her at Harvard [Law School]?$$No, we met at Westinghouse High School [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. We met in junior high school. We go back a long ways. And, so Carmen wanted to go back to school. She had been working while I was in law school. My last two years of law school, she was there. We got married at the end of my first year. So, she was working my last two years of law school and she wanted to go back to school and get another degree. She wanted to become a nurse. And she already had a bachelor's degree in biology, so in order to get a bachelor's degree in nursing without doing the whole four year program, there was a program at Cornell Nursing School in Manhattan [New York] where you could get a bachelor's degree in nursing in two years. And so she wanted to go there and do that. And, I had decided that the work I was doing at Roxbury Multi-Service Center, well, I didn't find it fulfilling. I didn't feel like we were making any change whatsoever. And--$$What kind of work were you actually doing there, in terms of--?$$Well, we were advising the social agency on how to develop sustainable change in the community. So, it was, for example, trying to figure out to help tenants, but not going to court and helping the people that were being evicted, but trying to think through programs for how to make the community change in a more meaningful manner.$$So it wasn't really necessarily legal work.$$Right, exactly. And, what happened was it was clear to me that if you're a social service agency, you live by getting grants. So, whatever the grant making community decided was a hot subject that year, that's what you would apply for a grant for. And so the agency got a grant for an ex-offender program, and they hire an ex-offender to run it. And they hire the ex-offender at $10,000 a year. I was making a $10,000 a year. He was an ex-offender and I had a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Harvard [Law School]. And I looked at this, and I said I'm probably over-qualified for where I'm working. And so I realized that I had too much education for the work I was doing, and decided that I wanted to do something different. So, when my former wife, when my wife at that time decided she wanted to go to Cornell in Manhattan, I said, okay I'll try to get a job in Manhattan. Well, I was not a member of the New York Bar, so I couldn't get a job with the Legal Aid Society, and I couldn't get a job with the public defenders, because I wasn't a member of the New York Bar. And they told me they'd have to pay me like a law student who had just graduated from law school. I was a member of the Massachusetts Bar, so I said well, this is unacceptable, because I was going to make less money in New York than I was already making in Boston. They were offering me $7,000 or $8,000 or something. And so, I decided, you know this doesn't make any sense. I need to get a job at a real law firm and make real money. And I got interviewed by a big Wall Street law firm [LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae], and they represented a lot of public utility companies. There were a lot of technical issues in their representation. So, they liked the idea that I was an electrical engineer, and so they hired me and I went to work down on Wall Street.

Tyrone Brown

Communications attorney and broadcasting executive Tyrone Brown was born in Norfolk, Virginia on November 5, 1942. He graduated from East Orange High School in New Jersey in 1960. Brown received his A.B. degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York in 1964. He went on to earn his L.L.B. degree from Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York in 1967. During that year, Brown also served as a law clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren.

From 1968 to 1970, Brown worked as an associate with the Washington D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. He was also a special investigator for the President's Commission on Campus Unrest in 1970. From 1970 to 1971, he served as assistant to Senator Edmund S. Muskie, then as staff director of the Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee of the Senate Government Operations Committee. Brown then served as director and vice president for legal affairs of Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Brown to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to succeed Benjamin Hooks, the second African American appointed to the United States government regulatory agency. Brown worked as a commissioner with the FCC for three years before stepping down in 1981. He returned to private practice law when he worked for the firms Steptoe & Johnson and Wiley Rein, LLP. After teaching journalism classes at Duke University, Brown headed the Media Access Project, a non-profit, public interest law firm and advocacy organization working in communications policy. In 2009, Brown became the founding member and vice chairman of the board for IRIDIUM Satellite LLC. Brown has also served as principal outside counsel for Black Entertainment Television (BET).

Brown is former chair of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and a director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. He has been featured in Ebony, Jet and Black Enterprise magazines.

Tyrone Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.062

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/6/2012

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Roseville Ave School

Sussex Ave

Crestwood High School

Forest St

East Orange Campus High School

Cornell University

First Name

Tyrone

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

BRO52

Favorite Season

Spring, Winter

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda, Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Wow! Gosh!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/5/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream, Chocolate, Orange juice

Short Description

Telecommunications lawyer Tyrone Brown (1942 - ) was appointed by former President Jimmy Carter to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.

Employment

Wiley Rein LLP

Duke University

Media Access Project

Post-Newsweek Stations

U.S. Supreme Court

Covington and Burlington

Caplin and Drysdale

Federal Communications Commission

Steptoe & Johnson

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
550,0:3020,76:3605,89:5710,96:6190,104:11547,148:12240,158:21058,284:23936,327:25542,417:30340,460:30820,467:32299,479:33046,491:33627,500:52634,626:53294,639:54086,652:54746,663:55142,670:55472,676:58310,752:64040,813:64514,820:67750,867:68062,872:69466,895:69856,901:70168,906:70480,911:70792,916:71260,924:99500,1261:99780,1266:100270,1276:102090,1333:130556,1631:158216,2032:169420,2194:176112,2250:176643,2260:180975,2325:190610,2494:191090,2517:191490,2523:193330,2559:193650,2566:193970,2571:194770,2582:200740,2652:202185,2680:202950,2692:205656,2704:205972,2709:206762,2721:209369,2759:209764,2765:212070,2796$0,0:1264,21:1659,27:3002,102:4661,131:5846,157:6794,172:8137,236:13606,276:14158,283:21426,414:21834,424:25132,459:26974,479:27568,489:29086,530:29350,535:29614,540:46314,576:47402,597:48422,614:52332,662:53760,670:54397,687:54642,693:55181,706:60092,764:63080,825:69136,869:69464,874:69792,879:72498,930:76270,1029:79290,1042:83258,1085:83968,1099:84465,1107:90450,1184:92382,1210:95984,1265:96316,1270:98557,1307:99304,1319:99968,1331:100549,1339:101462,1359:102043,1367:106778,1388:107625,1401:109781,1440:110166,1446:115491,1491:116284,1512:116528,1517:117992,1559:118602,1570:119273,1587:119639,1595:122717,1619:122953,1624:123248,1630:123602,1637:123897,1643:125726,1681:126139,1690:126375,1695:126906,1705:129552,1737:129897,1743:132221,1766:132676,1772:136466,1792:145011,1910:149858,2023:150546,2034:150890,2039:151406,2046:153040,2074:153642,2082:154330,2092:154674,2097:158160,2107:159720,2153:160422,2170:160890,2177:161592,2191:162918,2218:164166,2239:169235,2308:169985,2340:170660,2352:171185,2360:171560,2366:173960,2425:177533,2493:177857,2498:178343,2505:179072,2516:197291,2761:201458,2797:212160,2891:214160,2956:215520,3017:216480,3033:226770,3157:227288,3166:234160,3265:242795,3403:258634,3560:271448,3727:275543,3830:275998,3836:276726,3848:278455,3881:283540,3940
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown talks about his maternal family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about the origin of him and his siblings' names

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about his paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown talks about his paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brown remembers visiting Courtland, Virginia as an adult

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tyrone Brown talks about his paternal family's land being reverted by escheat

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Tyrone Brown describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers his father losing his patience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown remembers the sole time he saw his father intoxicated

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown remembers migrating north to Orange Valley, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes the jobs he and his brother had as children

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown describes skipping multiple grades in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown describes his childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown remembers getting into fights as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown talks about growing up near the family of HistoryMaker Dionne Warwick

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes changing schools in the seventh grade and attending high school briefly in Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes his favorite junior high school teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown describes his experience at East Orange High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown describes his close relationship with a high school math teacher and applying to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown describes the student body at East Orange High School and at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brown talks about being a first-generation college student

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown describes his experience as a student at East Orange High School, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown describes his experience as a student at East Orange High School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown describes his high school social life

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes his extracurricular activities at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown talks about fraternities at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about his brother's open heart surgery and suicide, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about his brother's open heart surgery and suicide, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown talks about Robert Parris Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers being asked to join the board of directors at Hamilton College in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown describes feeling isolated at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown describes the curriculum at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about his childhood experience at St. Matthew's A.M.E. Church in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes studying philosophy and religion at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown describes his experience at Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about having an absence of black role models in law

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown describes working as a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brown talks about the legacies of Chief Justice Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown describes arranging for his mother to meet Chief Justice Earl Warren

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown describes his role as the clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren from 1967 to 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown describes working on the 1967 Florida State Prison case, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes working on the 1967 Florida State Prison case, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes Washington, D.C. after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown describes meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown remembers Senator Robert F. Kennedy's funeral procession in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown talks about joining the Covington & Burling LLP as an associate

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers the antiwar protests at the National Mall

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown describes leaving Covington & Burling LLP for Senator Edmund Muskie's office

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown describes former Senator Edmund Muskie

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes his job as vice president of legal affairs for Post-Newsweek Stations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown talks about Post-Newsweek's revelation of the man that made an assassination attempt on George Wallace in 1972

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about Max Robinson

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about working as an investigating lawyer for the president's Commission on Campus Unrest

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers visiting Jackson State University after the Jackson State University Shootings in 1970

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown talks about his participation in a forum about Chief Justice Earl Warren's service

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown shares more stories from his time as a vice president of legal affairs at Post-Newsweek Stations

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes being at Post-Newsweek Stations during the Watergate hearings

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes practicing at the Caplin & Drysdale law firm

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown describes handling an American Civil Liberties Union case against the City of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about traveling to South Africa as part of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown talks about traveling to South Africa as part of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Law, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brown remembers meeting South African activist Steve Biko, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers meeting South African activist Steve Biko, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown talks about white South Africans' perspectives of apartheid

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown remembers staying in a white family's home in South Africa

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about the presidency of Gerald Ford

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes how he became a commissioner with the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about the development of the Federal Communications Commission's tax certificate program

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown explains why he was qualified to work as a commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown talks about Ted Turner and the emergence of cable television

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown remembers Ted Turner taking his son to a basketball game

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown describes meeting Robert L. Johnson and HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown describes how he, Robert L. Johnson and HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. won the cable contract for Washington, D.C.

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown describes fighting an antitrust lawsuit filed after winning the cable contract for Washington, D.C.

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about renting cable lines from telephone companies

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown talks about convincing the cable industry to invest in urban areas

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown remembers having lunch with Chief Judge David Bazelon

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown talks about Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown talks about his decision to leave the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about BET's initial public offering

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown talks about his disagreement with Robert L. Johnson

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about the sale of BET to Viacom

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown explains how Robert L. Johnson maintained majority ownership of BET after it had gone public

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown talks about investing in IRIDIUM

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown talks about the use of IRIDIUM phones, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown talks about the use of IRIDIUM phones, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown talks about the Media Access Project

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about teaching journalistic ethics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown remembers working to improve his children's elementary school

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about his two sons

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown describes meeting his wife

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown talks about his parents in their old age

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown talks about the community basketball game put on by black professionals in Shepherd Park, Washington D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brown talks about the community basketball game put on by black professionals in Shepherd Park, Washington D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brown talks about the record he set in the triple jump at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brown considers his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brown talks about the Black Heritage Network

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brown describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brown describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brown describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brown narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Tyrone Brown remembers the sole time he saw his father intoxicated
Tyrone Brown describes arranging for his mother to meet Chief Justice Earl Warren
Transcript
Another story I would tell about my father [Madison Brown] from that period when we were young, when we first lived in our own place in this little Roseville community in New Jersey where [HM] Dionne Warwick went to the same grade school that I did, and then we went to the same high school in East Orange [New Jersey] because people moved out of Newark [New Jersey] and into East Orange because East, if they could, because East Orange had a, a better public school system. We first lived right up against the railroad on Gray Street in this little section in a basement apartment. And now I'm five, six. And as I said my father was a construction worker but people would call him, he didn't go looking for jobs, they would call him and ask him to work on their jobs, I mean it was just a, just amazing. The entire time I was growing up it was that way. And on this particular, and my dad would come home from work on Friday night, he'd take out his paycheck, and he'd drop it on the table, and my mother [Julia Goodman Brown] would take care of the expenses through the week. She didn't give him an allowance (laughter) but, you know. Well, this one, I'll never forget, this one night, I don't think it was a Friday night, but this one night he didn't come home from work, it was a, always was home at 4:30 'cause he worked from 7:30 to 3:30, that kind of thing. And he didn't come home and it got dark and he didn't come home. And it turned out it was a, it was Christmas time and my mom really got worried so she sent my oldest brother out to try to find him, "Where is your father?" You know. And I can remember, I remember this part of it, my older brother came back and he said, "He's outside." And she said, "Well why won't he come in?" He said, "He's outside." So my brother, my, my dad was drunk sitting out on the stoop, you know. It, ashamed to come into the house. And my mother brought him in, I remember, brought him in, bathed him, put him to bed and just talking all the time, just, I mean, talking about (making sounds) I can remember this but they, very loving. And that's the only time, that's the only time I ever saw my father having, having had anything other than a beer maybe once a month. He had gone to a Christmas celebration after work and got drunk and didn't, didn't want his children to see him drunk so he didn't come in the house. It's neither here nor there but--$$Yeah.$$--one thing leads to another thing.$$Yeah.$$But that's that kind of people they were. And there were a lot of people like that, you know. That generation that preceded you and me, there were, there were a lot of people, you know, and, and their whole, their whole view of, of what America was about was providing opportunities for their children that they didn't have.$Okay. So, there's a story about Earl Warren and your mother [Julia Goodman Brown] you want to tell.$$Well, the, the year was very hard. It was hard for me because at, at Cornell [University Law School, Ithaca, New York] I had studied mostly business law. And there's a big divide between business law, commercial law, and constitutional law which is what the court practices. And so I wasn't, wasn't nearly as strong in constitutional law and I felt even weaker, so it was a difficult year for me but I got through it and did some good stuff. But at the end of the year, during the year, you worked round the clock. You worked, if you were awake, you were working because you were doing research for these very, very important positions that the judges were writing, the opinions which affect the whole country and you just worked and worked and worked. And the only time that we were awake and not working was on Saturday afternoon, the chief [Chief Justice Earl Warren] would come and get his law clerks, and there were three of us, plus we had another guy, who, who was, was assigned to a retired justice but helped the chief, and he would take us to the University Club in Washington [D.C.] on 16th Street for lunch. And we would sit and have lunch and over lunch he would tell us stories about when he was governor or stories about the court, or stories about how he came to positions on decisions, it was really very intimate close stuff. And, you know, we'd sit with him for maybe two, two and a half hours, he'd go off and take a swim in the University Club and we'd go back to work at the court. And this would happen every Saturday that he was in town. It was really a very important part of the job. And at one of those sessions, I told him I think about how he was my mother's [Julia Goodman Brown's] heroes, he and Thurgood Marshall. He said, "I'd like to meet your mom, bring her in some time." I said, "Okay I'll do that." He was a nice man, okay. We get to the end of the term, and this is, this was a very trying time in America and I'm now talking about the year that Gene McCarthy [Eugene McCarthy] did not win in New Hampshire but he became close, Lyndon Johnson abdicated, said he wasn't gonna run for President, [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] was killed, Bobby Kennedy [Robert F. Kennedy] was killed, and Richard Nixon became President, that's the year I'm talking about, now.$$Nineteen sixty--$$Eight [1968].$$--eight [1968].$$Okay.$$Okay.$$And Earl Warren retired as Chief Justice of the United States, all in 1968, my first year in Washington. And so we get to the end of the term and I get a call from his majordomo, Mrs. McCune [ph.]. Mrs. McCune scared the hell out of every law clerk. She would treat us like we were babies, okay. And she calls me and she said, "Mr. Brown," I said, "Yes Ms. McCune." "Mr. Brown, the Chief tells me that you promised to have your mother come in to see him and you haven't done it, when are you gonna do it?" I said I didn't know he was for real, of course, and yeah one of those things. I said, "I'll, I'll have her here tomorrow." She said, "Okay, what time?" Next day early morning my mom gets a train from East Orange, New Jersey, comes down. I take her in to meet with the Chief and we go in and I sit and I introduce them and then the two of them look at me. And I'm just sitting there, and, and the Chief says you don't need to stay here Ty. I walked out and they spent forty-five minutes talking.$$So they dismissed you?$$And, and so after and for years after I'd say, ask my mother what did you guys talk about? She says, "That was between me and him" she would say, (laughter) yeah, forty-five minutes.$$That gives us some insight into Earl Warren.$$Yeah.$$How did you do, did you interact with him much when you were--$$Years later, many years later she said they talked about their children.$$Mm-hmm.$$I should have guessed that.

The Honorable Michael Powell

The Honorable Michael Kevin Powell was born on March 23, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, the only son and eldest child of General Colin Powell and Alma Vivian Johnson Powell. Powell’s father was serving in Vietnam when Powell was born. He attended the College of William and Mary thanks to an ROTC scholarship, and graduated in 1985 with a degree in government. While attending William and Mary, Powell dated Jane Knott, who he would later marry. After college, he served in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Amberg, Germany as a cavalry patrol officer. In 1987, while traveling in a convoy on the Autobahn in Germany, Powell’s jeep crashed and severely injured his pelvis and spine. After being stabilized in Nuremburg’s U.S. Army hospital, Powell spent one year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

This injury curtailed his military career, and Powell returned to civilian work with two years as a policy advisor to the U.S. Defense Secretary, Richard Cheney. He then decided to go to law school, attending Georgetown University’s Law Center, where he graduated from in 1993 with a J.D. degree. He initially worked as a clerk in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards. He was then hired in 1994 as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office for the Los Angeles based law firm O’Melveny & Myers until 1996. While working at O’Melveny & Myers, Powell specialized in telecommunications and antitrust law. The following year, Powell became the chief of staff for the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, advising the Assistant Attorney General on criminal investigations, policy development, and mergers.

On July 31, 1997, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Powell to serve as a commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him Chairman of the FCC, the second African American to hold the position. As Chairman, Powell intended to modernize FCC regulations and emphasize the importance of the shift from analog to digital technologies. He also encouraged market-driven solutions to promote consumer interest, which involved a general deregulation of the marketplace; Powell’s philosophy highlighted the idea that regulation limits consumer choice. Powell’s well-known accomplishments were the establishment of a “Do-Not-Call” list to avoid telemarketers and forcing wireless carriers to allow consumers to maintain their phone numbers even when switching services. Powell was also responsible for overseeing the Commission’s National Security Emergency Preparedness utility. Powell left the FCC in 2005.

Powell is Senior Advisor with Providence Equity Partners and Chairman of the MK Powell Group. He is Rector of the College of William and Mary. Powell is also an Aspen trustee and serves on the Rand Corporation Board.

Powell lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia with his wife, Jane Knott Powell, and their sons, Jeffrey and Bryan.

Accession Number

A2006.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/2/2006

Last Name

Powell

Maker Category
Middle Name

K.

Schools

Bel Air Elementary School

George M. Hampton Middle School

Lake Braddock Secondary

The College of William & Mary

Georgetown University

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

POW07

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/23/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Telecommunications lawyer and federal government appointee The Honorable Michael Powell (1963 - ) is the former commissioner and chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Employment

The M.K. Powell Group

Federal Communications Commission

Department of Justice

O'Melveny & Myers

U.S. Army

Arnold & Porter

Williams & Connolly

U.S. Court of Appeals

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Michael Powell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his childhood in Dale City, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls Bel Air Elementary School in Dale City, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his upbringing in a military family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his upbringing in a military family, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls moving frequently as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers when his father became a general

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his decision to leave his Boy Scout troop

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his gymnastic career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his experience at Lake Braddock Secondary School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his high school activities and mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers political events of the 1970s and 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls deciding to attend College of William & Mary

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell explains how the College of William & Mary influenced him

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his college graduation and U.S. Army training

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his accident on the German Autobahn

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his year spent in recovery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his orthopedic rehabilitation and wedding

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his work in The Pentagon

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers attending Georgetown University Law Center

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes how he became a law clerk to Harry T. Edwards

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers the case of Boodoo v. Cary, 1994

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role as a law clerk

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his mentor, Harry T. Edwards

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers meeting Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the career of Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell explains his interest in communications and antitrust law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role in the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role in the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust cases

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his appointment to the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his early work at the Federal Communications Commission, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his early work at the Federal Communications Commission, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his appointment as Federal Communications Commission chairman

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his leadership of the FCC

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about the thirty-five percent rule, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes public regard for federal regulation in the early 2000s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the 35 percent rule, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes how Congress modified the thirty-five percent rule

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his FCC University staff training program

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon changes in broadcast media

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon rapidly advancing communications technology

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the impact of new technologies

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell shares his concerns about the proliferation of choice in media

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his political career

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his father's political stance

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his political ideology

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the impact of race in his profession

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his work with young African American attorneys

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
The Honorable Michael Powell describes his mother's family background
The Honorable Michael Powell remembers the case of Boodoo v. Cary, 1994
Transcript
I want you to tell me about your mother [HistoryMaker Alma Powell] and what you know about her background and her growing up?$$Wow. My mother, to me, is an extraordinarily special person for reasons I think most people may not immediately grasp. You know, when you grow up the son of a military man [HistoryMaker General Colin L. Powell], who goes to war two and three times in your lifetime, there are these huge periods, year-long periods, where you never see your father. And those are formative moments of your childhood. And your mother is your everything. And my mother taught me how to throw a baseball. My mother was at certain events. And so she's always considered this, this anchor point in our lives, and when you sort of never know what might happen in the next military conflict or excursion, you know, she's, she's sort of that part you almost look to, to be permanent. So she's really, really special to me in the way that only a military child might appreciate. I also think she's the finishing school in our upbringing as children, meaning, I--you know, whenever somebody says, well, if you had one word for your mother, I would say grace. And I think it's a word rarely used today when people think about people. But I think she's a woman of grace who sort of has a, a quiet elegance about her and a, and a certain calm serenity, and a sort of stability in a storm that I really, really admire. And, you know, she's dedicated her life as, you know, being the other half of my father's world, but I don't think he'd have a world without her because I think she contributes in an incredibly significant way these attributes that keep things balanced and stable and egos in check and humility appropriately persevered. So that's really important to me. I also think in some ways we had really two really interesting family traditions. And my father saw it as the kind of immigrant story, you know. It's the, it's the Jamaicans that come from another country, who come to New York [New York] searching for a better life. And his world derives principally from that experience. My mother's in some way is my connection to the African American experience in the United States. Her, her lineage goes to Birmingham, Alabama. I mean I'm born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, you know, where--while my father's in Vietnam, where three months after I'm born, you know, the 16th Street Baptist Church [Birmingham, Alabama] blows up while we're in church three blocks away. And we used to go every summer to Birmingham. And my grandfather [Robert Johnson] was the principal of the only black high school [A.H. Parker High School] at the time in Birmingham, Alabama. Her mother [Mildred Bell Johnson] was a pioneer for black girls in Birmingham. So a lot of my experiences with civil rights and race and the American experience that is so popularly understood by people, really comes through her connection to me. So that's really special too because there's certain things I derive only from, from her upbringing, her experiences.$$Now, do you remember any of her stories about growing up? Did she tell, talk about that?$$You know, not as much as I wish she did, which I think is kind of a (laughter) attribute of that generation. I would encourage them to do so more. I think as she's gotten older, and we've gotten older, we hear a little bit more of them. I remember very clearly 'cause I'd gone with my cousin, my mother's niece. We got to go to see the day view of Spike Lee's '4 Little Girls' documentary about the Baptist church bombing. And suddenly connections started surfacing that somehow I had not made. One, the sudden realization, wait a minute, we were there. Two, that one of the little girls' fathers was a famous photographer in Birmingham, and all of our pictures have his name on 'em. And I suddenly remembered the name on the little corners of every family photo I've ever seen. I remember coming home, saying, you know, what do you know about this? Where were you? She goes, well, we were there. And all of a sudden, all these things I had no idea that--how close her connection was. She knew every one of the little girls. She knew their families. She was--we were downtown when this happened, her and I, me as an infant, trying to get out of town just after this has happened. I said, what--where did all this come from? But I think that her generation, or at least her view--and maybe this is part of the military experience too, was to protect you and to keep your life happy and joyful and unencumbered. And I think sometimes that gets taken to the point of not sharing experiences that have pain laced in them. And we were always moving. So, you know, there wasn't this sort--what might, people--some people might call a tradition. You know, we, we were a very, you know, pick up and go kind of family; you're here today, gone tomorrow. So there wasn't as much of that kind of lineage or permanence or a location you thought of a home. And I think that undermined the storytelling a little bit. And my father's side is very gregarious about storytelling, very, very Jamaican, very--big parties when you're in New York or every relative you've ever heard of. And, you know, they sort of were the dominant part of the storytelling. And her family's smaller and you had less inter- you know, fewer points of interaction. But I think most of that's been corrected. I mean she's, she's told me a lot now. I'm sure there's a lot more I could learn.$I remember one day we had a case--I won't be any more lengthy about this, but it was a really weird, boring case normally. It was like a bus accident case which almost never comes to a court of appeals. Because it was D.C. [Washington, D.C.], and D.C. is not a state, these things come to the federal system. And a woman had lost a relative when the metro bus hit her, hit the car, and the lower judge had--the jury found for her, but then the judge overturned it because he said the evidence didn't support the--so this should have--the appellate courts hate these kinds of cases, you know. They're routine. What do we need to be bothered with this for? I kept reading it, and it bothered me a lot. It bothered me a lot, and the more I read it, I thought, the judge has misunderstood something 'cause there was an expert who was Korean, didn't speak good English, and I kept reading. And I said, I don't think he's--the judge thought that they had conceded stuff that I didn't think he had. So I went to the judge [Harry T. Edwards], and I said, "You know, judge, I hate to tell you this, but I think we should overturn this thing. I think they're wrong." He goes, "Oh, come on." And I, I said, "No, I really do." And I showed what I'd done. And he said, he said, "Well, I don't care much about it so if that's what you want to--you know, if that's what you want to argue, fine. Write it up," and--this is before the oral argument, I wrote my, what we call bench memos, these big things. And I said we should find for the woman. So we go have the oral argument. The case gets argued. Judges always go vote immediately, so he comes back after the voting, goes, "Well, you lost, you know, they, they, they're not buying. So, you know, I, what do I care, I'm just gonna vote with them, so it'll be three to zero. And Judge Williams [ph.] or whoever is gonna write the opinion." I said, ah, I went back to my--and it bugged me. It just kept bugging me. And so I kept looking at the record, and they were measuring skid marks. So I started doing the math like, if the skid marks--the bus had to be going this fast. I just couldn't stop thinking this woman was right. So I kind of went back to him, and I said, "I have to take it--I got to argue with you about this." I said, "Look," and I with--and he said, "Well, all right. We'll dissent, all right. Write the opinion. I'll tell the court we're dissenting. And I'll vote the way you want me to vote." So I think all right, that's cool. So I go to write the opinion. It was hard, you know, I put math in it and everything, and I remember I went into this office. And I was in my office--we, you know, 'cause it was a quiet chamber and I had my door closed. And I heard his door open--I'll never forget this day. And he goes--'cause the case had a funny name. It was Stella V. Boodoo [Stella V. Boodoo et al. v. Jerome Cary Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 1994], Stella versus Boodoo (laughter), we used to always laugh. And I heard this door open, and he'd been pretty dour, 'cause this was in the first three months. He said, "Stella V. Boodoo. Well, damn if Mike Powell [HistoryMaker Michael Powell] might not be a lawyer after all." And he was just so excited about the opinion and thought how well it--he goes, "He knocked this out of the park. Well, well, well, look who we have here." And I opened my door, and he was just like, "Well, you nailed that one." And he just walked back in his office. And I just--it was the warm--it was like, oh, my God.$$Was it because of what you had written?$$Yeah, he read it, he said, "Oh, you got it, you got it nailed." So we circulated the opinion. And he said, he came into me, he--we had a rule. You were not allowed to talk to other chambers about opinions. He wanted everybody to do their--he goes, "You go try to convince the other clerks this is right." So I talked to them, and they--he recirculated the opinion. Long story, short, we persuaded them, and we flipped the whole thing. So it went from three to two against this woman to three to two for her and we overturned the court. You know, and this was a poor woman had gotten--her husband was killed in the--I was just--there was just a sense of justice that we'd gotten right finally, and that just transformed me forever. And then he became--at that, from that moment on, we were mentor and mentee for the rest of my life. He's my dearest friend in the world and my wife's [Jane Knott Powell] dearest friend. Whenever we need a good slapping around, you call him up, and--$$That's a pretty amazing story. Now talk about (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, a great teacher.

Riley K. Temple

Prominent, Washington, D.C. attorney and activist Riley Temple was born July 9, 1949 in Richmond, Virginia. He grew up in the same neighborhood as Douglas Wilder, former Governor of Virginia. He attended George Mason elementary school and earned his high school diploma from Armstrong High School in 1967. Other noteworthy Armstrong graduates include, Max and Randall Robinson, Oliver Hill and Paul Freeman. While in high school Temple participated in the drama club, marching and orchestra band and graduated number two in his class.

In 1971, Temple earned his AB degree from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania where he was president of the predominately Jewish fraternity, Pi Lambda Pi. He graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1974. Temple accepted the position of assistant general counsel at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and served in that post from 1974-1977. He then went on to work as a legislative aide to Senator Charles Mathias, a Republican from Maryland. From 1978-1980 he was senior counsel to RCA Global Communications in New York. From 1980-1983 he went back to work on Capitol Hill as communications counsel to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Temple entered private practice in 1985.

Temple has been recognized for his community activism in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. He is a supporter of the arts and has served as the president and vice president of Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage. He also serves as board president for True Colors, a national black theatre company based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also underwritten several of the True Colors productions, including Langston Hughes' Tambourines to Glory scheduled to open in September of 2004. Temple has also endowed Lafayette College's David and Helen Temple Scholarship, named in honor of his parents, for study abroad and visiting lecture series in Africana studies.

Temple is currently a partner at Halprin Temple, a telecommunications law firm in Washington, D.C.

Accession Number

A2004.056

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/24/2004

Last Name

Temple

Maker Category
Middle Name

K.

Organizations
Schools

Armstrong High School

George Mason Elementary School

Lafayette College

Georgetown University Law Center

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Riley

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

TEM01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - Negotiable

Favorite Season

The Changing of the Seasons

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Any

Additional address:
1317 F Street NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20008

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/9/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Telecommunications lawyer Riley K. Temple (1949 - ) has served as was senior counsel to RCA Global Communications in New York, and as communications counsel to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Employment

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

United States Senate

RCA Global Communications

United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

Halprin Temple

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Riley K. Temple's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Riley K. Temple lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Riley K. Temple describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Riley K. Temple describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Riley K. Temple talks about his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Riley K. Temple talks about his mother's job as a saleswoman in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Riley K. Temple describes his earliest memories of growing up in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Riley K. Temple talks about the family and friends he grew up with in Richmond, Virginia, including HistoryMaker L. Douglas Wilder

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Riley K. Temple describes his brother, David L. Temple, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Riley K. Temple recalls the sights, sounds, smells, and experiences of childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Riley K. Temple describes his childhood introversion and early reactions to his homosexuality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Riley K. Temple talks about his homosexuality and that of his brother, David L. Temple, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Riley K. Temple describes his grade school years at George Mason Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Riley K. Temple talks about his childhood aspirations and his father's focus on excellence

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Riley K. Temple talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Riley K. Temple talks about his mother's relationship with his father's first wife's family

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Riley K. Temple describes his junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Riley K. Temple talks about his experience at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Riley K. Temple describes his extracurricular activities at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Riley K. Temple describes his decision to attend Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Riley K. Temple describes his experience at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Riley K. Temple talks about becoming president of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Riley K. Temple describes attending Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Riley K. Temple talks about working at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Riley K. Temple talks about working as counsel to U.S. Senator Charles Mathias

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Riley K. Temple recounts his work at RCA Global Communications in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Riley K. Temple describes being a guest lecturer for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Riley K. Temple talks about his years in private practice

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Riley K. Temple describes his community service at the Whitman-Walker Clinic and the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Riley K. Temple recalls being recognized by Lafayette College for his work to combat HIV/AIDS

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Riley K. Temple talks about the endowments in honor of his parents at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Riley K. Temple describes the beginning of True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Riley K. Temple describes HistoryMaker Peggy Cooper Cafritz's Duke Ellington School for the Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Riley K. Temple reflects upon his graduations from high school and law school as well as the day he passed the Virginia bar examination

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Riley K. Temple remembers his parents' deaths

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Riley K. Temple describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Riley K. Temple reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Riley K. Temple talks about one of his regrets

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Riley K. Temple narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Riley K. Temple narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Riley K. Temple talks about working as counsel to U.S. Senator Charles Mathias
Riley K. Temple recalls being recognized by Lafayette College for his work to combat HIV/AIDS
Transcript
And how, and what did you do next after that and what year was it?$$It was 1970, the end of 1976, '77 [1977], I'm sorry, in which I went to work for [U.S.] Senator Charles Mathias, a Republican of Maryland, which began my career in earnest as a Republican. I don't regret it. I'm not a Republican anymore, for the record. And, I came to my senses, I say to the camera. And, but he was a liberal Republican, a wonderful man, and I did his Senate Judiciary Committee work and then he had me do this Governmental Affairs Committee because he was working on the reform of civil service, the high point of that for me was being called to the White House and being told by President Jimmy Carter to let his bill [the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978] go. That was a highlight. And then because I was so difficult in carrying out my bosses' instructions, he represented a lot of civil servants. Jimmy Carter ran on revamping the civil service and getting rid of all these people. You know, we, of course, did not want him to do that. Hence, when they finally got a deal, they did not invite me to the signing ceremony at the White House. A slight I haven't forgotten.$$And, Senator Mathias was also a huge environmentalist--$$Absolutely.$$--and did some very significant work on the Chesapeake Bay--$$Right.$$Were you involved in that at all?$$No, but, of course, we were all very close in those offices sitting on top of one another. Marian Mars was his environmental person and she did remarkable work, and Monica Healy also did work for him on his environmental stuff. It's fine. I did a lot of the Civil Liberties Judiciary Committee work, which was really quite wonderful.$$Just to go back a few steps. How did you make the transition from CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] to going to work on the [Capitol] Hill?$$Yeah. There was a lawyer working in my office, John [H.] Bayly, who is now a judge in the D.C. Superior Court. I came back from the holiday and he said, "By the way, you said you're interested in working on The Hill [Capitol Hill]. I have a friend who Senator Mathias' Chief of Staff, Bob Kelley and he is looking for someone to be Senator Mathias' Judiciary Committee counsel. Would you be interested in doing that?" I said, "Absolutely," and so that's how it happened. It kind of fell in my lap.$$And how did you like working on The Hill?$$Loved it. It's a lot of fun, met a lot of interesting people, a lot of famous people, and working in the United States Senate suited me greatly. It was a body of one hundred and those were the days that the Senate was rather courtly and nice. People were nice to each other.$It also--AIDS--let me also tell you that my college [Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania] invited me back to speak because they had read about my involvement with AIDS [HIV/AIDS] in the Richmond [Virginia] newspaper, and I didn't tell my parents that I was coming out, but it did come out and they were in shock. My father [David L. Temple, Sr.] called me. Richmond did a big article on me about me chairing the board of Whitman-Walker [Clinic]. My father [David Lorenzo Temple, Sr.] called me one evening and he said, "You're the man of the hour." I said, "What do you mean?" And he said, "The picture in the paper," and he said--because he was an old newspaper man--he said, "There's a teaser on the front and then the jump page has a half page picture of you with this article. Let me read it to you." And he read it to me from beginning to end. Now the words gay and lesbian had never--or homosexuality--had never crossed my father's lips to me ever. He read the entire story. At the end of it, he said, "I am so proud of you." I said, "Thank you." I told him how much it meant to me. I said, "Is mother [Helen Burnette Jones Temple] okay?" He said, "No, she's crying, but that's all right, she'll understand. She doesn't understand that, but she will, don't worry about it."$$Did she come to understand?$$Oh yeah. When, after daddy died, and she sold the house in Richmond, and she moved here. I made her a part of my life and we went everywhere in town and she knew then that it was okay, that it was good. Boy, that took that out of me, that story. In any event, I was invited back, they had gotten, Lafayette had gotten a copy of that article. They ran it in the Lafayette Alumni News. They invited me back for the AIDS quilt, to make a speech. I gave a speech in which I talked not about the people who were remembered there, but the people who were not remembered because of stigma. And that they were helping to stop the stigma and, even if I do say so myself, it was a very good speech and I felt the inspiration. When I got back to Lafayette, the first time I had been back since I graduated, they converted my old fraternity house into an inn, which was not lovely when we lived there, but now it's quite lovely. And she said, "When you go upstairs you make a right and you blah, blah, blah, blah at the top of the stairs." And I said, "Oh my God, I think I'm going to go to my old room," and I went to the top of the stairs and went right to my old room, and I had to sit down and catch my breath because who would have thought that I would have come back here when I spent some summers in Lafayette when I was a junior and senior, during my junior and senior year, and the summer after my senior year, I would sit and listen to the Beatles' 'Long and Winding Road' and I knew that I would be back and the long and winding road took me back because of AIDS and my work as a member of the gay community. It was profound to me and it laid the groundwork for my becoming a member of the Board of Trustees at the college. But, in any event, but Arena Stage was wonderful for me--$$(simultaneous) Let's go--