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Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was born on August 13, 1935 in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas to Joseph A. Sr., and Juanita George Pierce. He attended Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Pierce graduated from Jack Yates High School, in Houston, Texas in 1952. He joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honor Society in 1955 at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1957, and his father Joseph Pierce, Sr. served as dean of the graduate school in 1952; and later, president in 1967. He earned his M.D. degree in medicine in 1961 from Meharry Medical College of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. Pierce completed his internship at GW Hubbard Hospital of Meharry College of Medicine.

Pierce entered the United States Army in 1962. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at Brooke General Hospital/Fort Sam Huston in San Antonio in 1967, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and he completed a tour of duty in West Germany from 1967 to 1970. Then, in 1970, Pierce received his Texas State medical license and entered into private practice with Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, and joined the American Medical Association.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, co-founded the San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983 to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African American ancestry. They also started Premier Artworks, Inc., specializing in the marketing and sale of artwork and books by African Americans. Pierce amassed a collection of roughly 8000 books by African American authors, including mostly first editions. Pierce was also a part owner of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs basketball team from 1974 to 1988.

Pierce was a life member of the NAACP. His other memberships include the Texas Society of Anesthesiology, the San Antonio Society of Anesthesiology, Bexar County Medical Society and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Pierce was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, have two sons, Joseph and Michael.

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 8, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/8/2018

Last Name

Pierce

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

University of Michigan

Texas Southern University

Meharry Medical College

First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

PIE04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/13/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. (1935- ) served in private practice for Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, Texas and was the co-founder of San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983, and Premier Artworks, Inc. in 1990 with his wife Aaronetta.

Employment

Anesthesia Consultants

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

N/A

Claude Walton

All-American discus thrower Claude Alex Walton was born on August 1, 1913, in Marshall, Texas, to Claude Walton and Jenny V. Walton. Walton graduated from Denver, Colorado’s West High School in 1931.

After finishing high school, Walton attended the University of Colorado as a music major (piano). At 6 feet, 3 inches tall, Walton was approached by the track coach to encourage him to try out for the track team. Walton became the first African American varsity athlete at the University of Colorado, where he excelled as a discus thrower and played basketball.

While attending the University of Colorado, Walton was only one of six minority students on campus and his treatment was not always pleasant. Walton supported himself in school by working various jobs including as a hasher in the dining room at the Chi Psi fraternity house. He also found work sewing and stuffing mats for the track team, spreading sawdust in jumping pits and watering the football fields. At night, Walton played the piano in house bands at Denver and Boulder clubs. He played in the orchestra at the Airport Ballroom and for the dances of the sororities and fraternities. Unfortunately, Walton broke his ankle right before the qualifying meets for the 1936 Olympics so he could not compete in the Olympics in Germany with Jesse Owens. Nevertheless, he was named All-American after coming in second place in a 1937 national track meet, making him the first All-American athlete at The University of Colorado. Walton set the school record in the discus throw with a mark of 141-feet, 2 ½ inches. This effort earned him the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. During his athletic career, Walton would best this mark several times. A discus throw of 157 feet at Colorado School of Mines in 1935 earned him national attention because it was the second best throw in the country at the time. Walton dominated the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and was a two-time champion. The track star left school for a steady job with the Chicago Park District (where he reached the position of associate superintendent) with just one English literature class remaining, making him ineligible for his B.A. degree and a place in the school’s Hall of Fame. Seventy-five years after Walton attended The University of Colorado, alumni and faculty members mounted a successful campaign to get him an honorary degree and entry into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2008. At ninety-four years old, he is the oldest Hall of Fame inductee.

Walton worked for the Chicago Park District for forty-eight years, eventually becoming a trustee for the department. He resides in Lombard, Illinois.

Walton passed away on March 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2008.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/4/2008 |and| 11/22/2008

Last Name

Walton

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

West High School

University of Colorado Boulder

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Claude

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

WAL11

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Denver, Colorado

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/1/1913

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

3/24/2014

Short Description

Discus thrower Claude Walton (1913 - 2014 ) was the first All-American athlete at the University of Colorado, twice winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title. Seventy-five years after Walton attended the University of Colorado, alumni and faculty members mounted a successful campaign to get him an honorary degree and entry into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2008.

Employment

Chi Psi Fraternity House

Chicago Park District

Favorite Color

None

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Claude Walton's interview pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Claude Walton describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Claude Wilson's interview pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Claude Walton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Claude Walton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Claude Walton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Claude Walton talks about his parents' extended families

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Claude Walton describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Claude Walton recalls his mother's work

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Claude Walton talks about his mother's coin collection

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Claude Walton recalls his family's social interactions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Claude Walton describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Claude Walton remembers his early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Claude Walton describes his early neighborhood in east Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Claude Walton remembers the music of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Claude Walton talks about his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Claude Walton recalls joining the high school basketball and track teams

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Claude Walton remembers the Great Depression, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Claude Walton remembers the Great Depression, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Claude Walton recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Claude Walton talks about the lack of mentors in his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Claude Walton remembers his early recreational activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Claude Walton talks about boxers Joe Louis and Jack Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Claude Walton remembers playing basketball at West High School in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Claude Walton recalls facing discrimination while playing sports

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Claude Walton recalls his move to Casper, Wyoming

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Claude Walton talks about his decision to attend the University of Colorado Boulder

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Claude Walton recalls playing music at a brothel

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Claude Walton remembers his decision to study music at the University of Colorado Boulder

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Claude Walton describes his track and field experiences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Claude Walton recalls being the only African American athlete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Claude Walton talks about academic performance in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Claude Walton recalls attending the University of Colorado Boulder

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Claude Walton remembers Duke Ellington

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Claude Walton describes the 1936 Summer Olympic tryouts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Claude Walton talks about his move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Claude Walton describes his athletic accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Claude Walton remembers U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Claude Walton talks about Gil Cruter

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Claude Walton recalls his sports accolades

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Claude Walton describes the African American students at the University of Colorado Boulder

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Claude Walton describes his first assignments at the Chicago Park District

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Claude Walton recalls integrating the Chicago Park District

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Claude Walton talks about segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Claude Walton describes the early days of Washington Park in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Claude Walton talks about celebrity intructors at Washington Park

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Claude Walton describes the Chicago Park District's training system

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Claude Walton talks about the square dance lessons at the Chicago Park District

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Claude Walton describes the facilities at Washington Park in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Claude Walton talks about the negative impact of gang activity in parks

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Claude Walton talks about the politics of the Chicago Park District

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Claude Walton recalls the lack of park services for Chicago's African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Claude Walton describes the development of Chicago's recreational facilities

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Claude Walton recalls taking the Chicago Park District civil service tests

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Claude Walton remembers the 1959 Pan American Games

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Claude Walton recalls his promotions at the Chicago Park District, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Claude Walton describes his promotions at the Chicago Park District, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Claude Walton reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Claude Walton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Claude Walton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Claude Walton describes his family

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Claude Walton talks about his philosophy in life

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Claude Walton describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Claude Walton narrates his photographs

Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith is a nationally recognized public health leader with applied and academic experience ranging from neighborhood clinics and inner city hospitals, to serving as a state commissioner of public health, to being a dean and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in Boston, Massachusetts. Prothrow-Stith is a pioneer in defining, researching, and treating violence, especially among youth, as a public health crisis/problem rather than as a law and order issue. Violence prevention via public health strategies is the hallmark of her work. Prothrow-Stith also serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the HSPH.

Prothrow-Stith was born in Marshall, Texas on February 6, 1954. In 1959, she moved with her family to Atlanta and in 1969 back to Texas where she finished Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas in 1971. Prothrow-Stith graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta in 1975 and went on to study medicine, graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1979.

Throughout her professional life, Prothrow-Stith has been involved with developing and implementing violence prevention programs ranging from local neighborhoods to statewide and national levels. Her interest in violence prevention was stimulated by her work as a resident at Boston City Hospital, where she discovered that street violence was as deadly to her patients as any disease or accident and led her to examine violence as a social “disease” that could be prevented by public health strategies. Prothrow-Stith developed and wrote the first violence prevention curriculum for schools entitled, Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents.

Appointed in 1987 as the first woman and youngest-ever Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Prothrow-Stith expanded treatment programs for AIDS and drug rehabilitation, and oversaw a department of more than 4,500 employees. During her tenure as commissioner, she established the first-ever Office of Violence Prevention in a state department of public health. Prothrow-Stith was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention in 1995.

In the 1990s, Prothrow-Stith was tapped to be part of a broad-based coalition in Boston that included leaders in government, education, health, law enforcement, religion, and civic life and business. Their collective work became known as the “Boston Model”. By the mid to late 1990s, Boston had gone almost three years without a single juvenile homicide. In Murder Is No Accident, co-authored with Dr. Howard Spivak, Prothrow-Stith describes the “Boston Model” as well as factors that affect youth violence, such as poverty and domestic violence, and the means for its prevention, such as conflict resolution programs.

Prothrow-Stith is married to Reverend Charles Stith, a former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania (East Africa). They have a son, Percy, born in 1978 and a daughter, Mary Mildred, born in 1980. Prothrow-Stith and her husband also raised her two nephews, sons of her sister – Trey Edmondson, born in 1972, and Tony Franklin, born in 1975.

Accession Number

A2005.103

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/20/2005 |and| 12/7/2005

Last Name

Prothrow-Stith

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Collier Heights Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

Spelman College

Harvard Medical School

Harvard

First Name

Deborah

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

PRO01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Don't let perfect get in the way of good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/6/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo, Pie (Lemon Meringue), Chocolate

Short Description

Academic administrator, state government appointee, and public health professor Deborah Prothrow-Stith (1954 - ) was appointed as the first woman and youngest Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 1995, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention.

Employment

Harvard School of Public Health

State of Massachusetts

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Prothrow-Stith's interview, session 2

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith lists her favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her mother's upbringing, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her mother's teaching career, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's experiences of segregation

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her family life in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Collier Heights in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Atlanta's Warren United Methodist Church and her older sister

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith remembers Anderson Park Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her teachers at Anderson Park Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Collier Heights Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls integrating Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls integrating Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls the impact of school integration in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls political assassinations from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her aspiration to be a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her stint at Madison High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls Atlanta's Spelman College and her decision to attend medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical school application process

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her courtship with HistoryMaker Reverend Charles Richard Stith

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her impression of Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls HistoryMaker Alvin Poussaint's support

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her residency options

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes beginning her family with HistoryMaker Reverend Charles Richard Stith

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith shares an anecdote from her surgery rotation at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical focus

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes formative clinical and research aspects of her career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes becoming commissioner of public health for Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her contributions as commissioner of public health for Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith reflects upon her service as commissioner of public health for Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes joining a for-profit hospital management company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls joining the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her first book, 'Deadly Consequences'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her public health interest in violence prevention

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia Initiative

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes media coverage of violence prevention efforts in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes antecedents to violent behavior

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the PeaceZone curriculum

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes 'Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice: How We Can Stop Girls' Violence'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes similarities between girls' and boys' violent behaviors

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes alternating between Tanzania and Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical contributions in Tanzania

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes new strategies for faculty development at Harvard School of Public Health

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes public health issues she hopes to explore

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith considers the relationship between medicine and public health

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith shares advice for young people aspiring to a medical career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her non-career goals

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith narrates her photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

1$3

DAStory

10$8

DATitle
Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Collier Heights in Atlanta, Georgia
Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical focus
Transcript
Interestingly, my father [Percy Prothrow, Jr.], when we moved to Atlanta [Georgia], we lived in an apartment complex until I was seven or eight, and then we moved on Hermer Circle [Atlanta, Georgia], which was an area developed by Mr. Russell [HistoryMaker Herman Russell], a black--$$Herman Russell?$$Yes, Herman Russell, a black development and contractor, and I mean, they owned the land and built the houses and everything. So we lived on a cul de sac of basically middle class black families and, you know, my father was the community treasurer, so he went from door to door collecting the dues for the neighborhood association. And what made me think about it was when you asked about Halloween. Halloween was a big production on Hermer Circle. We not only trick or treated, but we trick or treated at certain times. So, it was divided by age groups, and then each age group had a house that represented the end of trick or treating and the parties. So for instance if you were you know three to five, then you probably trick or treated from three to five, and then at five you went to certain house and had your party and if you were five to eight you trick or treated the next you know and it was just the level of organization the--the neighborhood also had themes to Christmas. So everybody had an angel on their yard or everybody--that was cut out in wood and that you had to paint--or you got somebody to paint or a toy soldier, whatever the theme was. So every house would have that and a spotlight in front of the house.$$Where was this neighborhood located in Atlanta in terms of the sections of the city?$$It's in northwest Atlanta and it's actually right at the border of northwest and southwest Atlanta. It is, it was called Collier Heights [Atlanta, Georgia], so it was the Collier Heights area and that was the elementary school [Collier Heights Elementary School, Atlanta, Georgia] that I attended. It's the divider from northwest and--oh and the new street is Holmes, Hamilton--no the--with [HistoryMaker] Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Henry Hamilton Holmes, who desegregated the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia]--$$Georgia.$$--they renamed what was Linkwood Road [Hamilton E. Holmes Dr.] after, after him. He became a cardiologist and died recently. And so the streets were re- the street was renamed, but it's in that area.$$Um-hm, okay.$$And the major divider north-south used to be Gordon Road and is now MLK [Martin Luther King Jr. Drive], so that's sort of the area.$I went to medical school [Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts] to serve urban adolescents. That was my passion. And I learned that homicide was the leading cause of death for young black men, but not in medical school. I think I learned it from Ebony magazine. And the leading cause of death--second leading cause of death for all teenagers, so the--a leading cause of death for the population I wanted to serve had not even been raised in medical school. Not only that, you know, we were stitching people up and sending them out--without any prevention effort. So my inadequacy and feelings of inadequacy fueled a real passion that made me want to change this. It didn't make any sense to me. I think the system was built around an assumption that violence was just inevitable. That there were some people who were just going to fight and kill each other and that that was the way it was. And I just happened to know too many black men who were not violent at all. And so I knew that wasn't the way it was. So it--in a very personal and professional way, because my son [Percy Stith III] was born--that was in January of '78 [1978] my son was born that September, you know, I just did a very, you know, personal and professional way this became an important issue for me to address, and that was, that's twenty-five years later, now twenty-seven of '78 [1978], how long ago is that, twenty-seven years (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Seventy-seven [1977], yeah.$$You know, I am still working to prevent violence, still looking at it as a public health problem. And obviously during my residency at Boston City Hospital [Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts] having the, the vast experience with trauma and the emergency room, it just, you know, further, you know, further made me committed to figuring this one out.

Janet Adderley

Broadway actress and acting coach Janet Williams Adderley was born Janet Williams in Marshall, Texas, on September 17, 1956. Adderley’s mother, Velma Bernice MacAfee Williams, a mathematics professor, and her father Dr. John L. Williams, an optometrist, raised Adderley in Houston, Texas; Walter MacAfee, the pioneering radio astronomer, was her uncle. Attending Turner Elementary, Edgar Allen Poe Elementary and Holy Spirit Catholic School, Adderley graduated from Houston’s Performing Arts High School in 1974. At Yale University, Adderley was a member of the Yale Dramat (the Yale Dramatic Association) before graduating in 1978 with her B.A. degree in American studies.

Moving to New York City, Adderley married Nat Adderley, Jr., whom she met at Yale University, in 1979, and started a family. Involved in various entertainment classes and projects, Adderley landed the role of Belle in the Broadway production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express. In 1990, Adderley was featured in the play A...My Name is Alice and appeared in television commercials in America and Britain. In 1991, Adderley relocated to Hollywood where she appeared in regional theatrical productions. In 1994 and 1995, Adderley appeared in the television series Sweet Justice with Cicely Tyson; she also appeared in the 1999 movie Annie, and I Am Sam in 2001.

In 1994, Adderley started a performing arts class for her daughter and fourteen other children; as the word spread, The Adderley School for the Performing Arts in Pacific Palisades was formed. At The Adderley School, students were instructed in all of the elements of musical theatre by performing youth versions of Broadway shows.

Accession Number

A2005.094

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/1/2005

Last Name

Adderley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Yale University

Turner Elementary School

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Edgar Allen Poe Elementary School

Holy Spirit Episcopal School

First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

ADD01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Love You Madly. Just Breathe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/17/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Acting coach and stage actress Janet Adderley (1956 - ) founded The Janet Adderely School for the Performing Arts.

Employment

Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Adderley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley describe her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley talks about her family's academic and occupational history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley tells the story of her parents' meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley describes her immediate family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janet Adderley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janet Adderley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about how Alvin Ailey's 'Revelations' sparked her interest in African American traditions and history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley recalls an influential teacher at G.B.M. Turner Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley describes her childhood personality and her time at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about attending The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes her childhood neighborhood, the Third Ward, Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes her acting style and her influences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley reflects on her understanding of race being impacted by music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley talks about her black role models

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about her three most influential teachers at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley reveals the reasons she chose to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley talks about attending Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about African American studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley talks about her husband, Nat Adderley Jr., and his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley talks about performing with the Yale Dramat at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley recalls her early involvement in professional theater and 1989 Broadway debut in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley talks about working as a black actress in regional theater

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley reflects on the growing opportunities for black actresses

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley recalls the end of her marriage and her hiring as the standby for Belle the Sleeping Car in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley recalls how her persistence earned her the role of Belle the Sleeping Car in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley talks about transitioning from Broadway to film acting

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about her role on the television show 'Sweet Justice' and teaching her first theater class

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes how her performing arts classes grew into The Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes the work she does with her performing arts students

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley describes her teaching philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley describes her technique for preventing divas and emphasizing teamwork in an arts classroom

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley talks about scholarships for students who cannot afford to attend The Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about the future of The Adderley School for the Performing Arts and her theater career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley reflects on her role as a black woman in a predominately white community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Janet Adderley reflects on her understanding of race being impacted by music
Janet Adderley talks about her role on the television show 'Sweet Justice' and teaching her first theater class
Transcript
You have this big personality, big stage presence and--$$(Nodding head).$$Okay. Now when you were growing up probably, I would think funk music was the number one music and all that sort of thing, did you feel kind of odd being in a Broadway--$$Yes--$$--you know?$$--very much so. Very, very, very much so. It's interesting. And I may end up reviving it but I did a show back in New York [New York] called 'A Brief History of White Music in America' and it was three African American performers and the whole prem- it was fabulous. And the whole premise was, you know, it's a well-known fact that all of, of, of or most of, or much of, all of, of contemporary pop white music gets its roots from the blues, you know, The [Rolling] Stones, and, you know, all of that. And so for, you know, we've all sort of paid homage to the fact that, that, that, you know, white popular music is, is rooted in, in, in black musical traditions. So this show that I did was a, a flip on that was, was having black musicians pay homage to all of the amazing music that's been created, you know, by white people or whatever. And so there was a line in there, I sang, 'To Sir, with Love,' which is, one of the most memorable movies for me growing up, that and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' were two of my two favorite movies growing up as a child. And, and so, I sang the, the theme 'To Sir, with Love' in this, in this particular show. And I, I started, I introduced the song by saying most little black girls grew up wanting to be Diana Ross, well I never did, I grew up wanting to be Lulu. And then I, I sang this song, and it wasn't that I wanted to be white, it was that this song, this movie, Sidney Poitier, this whole British thing really spoke to me and this, and I loved, you know, this song. And so then I, and then I would sing the song. And so I did feel like an odd bird because, of course, my parents [Velma McAfee Williams and John Williams] would, the only music that we were allowed to listen to, you know, pop music or R&B was Diana Ross and The Supremes and the Jackson 5. My mom, we would have to sneak out of the house or be with friends to listen to, you know, Archie Bell and the Drells or Marvin Gaye, forget about it, you know what I mean, she just, we couldn't. And so we, we grew up listening to opera. My mom could tell you the libretto of, you know, nine, ten operas. I mean she's a huge opera, we, we were members of the, of the, of the Houston Grand Opera, we'd go and see, you know, season subscribers, we thought, we went to the ballet, we went, you know, all of that and theater and all of that. And so I did feel a, amongst my black friends, I did feel odd and I felt, and I led sort of a dua- you know, a, a double life. I had my life with, with my white friends and then I had my life with my, my black friends because nobody black, nobody black was listening, nobody knew, no one black knew who Judy Garland was when I was growing up, and so I did. And I remember, I remember watching 'Imitation of Life' and, and just losing it at, you know, crying, you know, hysterically, why is mom, why is the world like this, why do we have to, you know, why, why does it make any difference, why aren't we all the same. I mean it was, it was a huge problem for me that that I just wouldn't take, I wouldn't take on. I wouldn't accept that I was different. And I remember even as recently as being ten, eleven years old, so like in the '60s [1960s], in the late '60s [1960s], in Marshall, Texas, you still, when I'd go to the movies with my cousins, they were, it wasn't like it was legalized, but it was inbred that the black people sat upstairs and watched the movie, and, and the white people went into the, you know, down stairs. And I remember going in to the down stairs area and my cousins pulling me back and saying you can't do that, you can't go, you know, we, you know, we have to go, and being furious that that they were, you know, 'cause it was all, it, it had been abolished, segregation had been abolished by now but it was just all of these--$$It was custom.$$--customs, customs. And so I, you know, I did, I early, early on felt incredibly odd because I had interests that that other black kids my age just didn't have.$What year is that?$$That was nine, I wanna say '91 [1991], '90 [1990], '91 [1991]. And, and I continued to do theater from here. And then I got a wonderful opportunity, I was hired for a television series called 'Sweet Justice,' that starred Cicely Tyson and Melissa Gilbert, 'Little House on the Prairie.' And I played this character Ruby [ph.] who owned a supper club, very similar to in 'Ally McBeal.' Are you familiar with that television series? All the lawyers would go to this supper club and hang out and there was this woman, Vonda [Shepard] somebody that sang. So that was basic, that was sort of the premise of, of, of the, we were the precursor to that, that, that the lawyers in Cicely's firm would come to my supper club, Ru-- Ruby's [ph.] and hang out. And so it was a recurring role. And if they, if it had been picked up for a second season, I was going to then become a season regular and actually even get to sing. It, it would be sort of it like, there's a, there's a restaurant in New York [New York] called Chez Josephine's, which is owned by one of her adopted sons, Jean-Paul [sic. Jean-Claude Baker].$$(Simultaneous) And that's Josephine Baker, yeah.$$Yeah. And, and that's a, it was gonna be sort of like that, it was gonna be where they'd come in and I'd, I'd sing and entertain. I was very excited about it. And then they canceled the show. And so it became, again, it, it just, I had these two daughters and either I was working, so I was providing for them but I was away from them or I wasn't working and I was with them and money was tight. And so I had started a, a little class for my younger daughter because she was very, very shy, she was incredibly shy. And I thought that, just like it had helped my brother get over his shyness, a theater class for my daughter would be great. And so the combinat- the impetus for me doing it was to be a good mom and to help my daughter with some of her issues and it then became my livelihood and my second career. So from one class of fifteen kids, you know, (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now, now what year is this when you started the class?$$I started it, Alana [Adderley] was, I wanna say she was nine or eight, so this was probably '94 [1994] or ninety--yeah, '94 [1994], ninety, ninety, ninety, somewhere around there.

Reverend Theophilus Caviness

Renowned pastor and civic leader the Reverend Emmitt Theophilus Caviness was born on May 23, 1928 in Marshall Texas. His parents were Lula Page and Will Stone Caviness. Reverend Caviness earned a bachelor's of arts degree from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. He also holds a bachelor's of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Grove, Missouri; an honorary doctorate of divinity from Virginia Seminary and College, and an honorary doctorate in law from Central State University in Ohio.

Caviness has served as the spiritual leader of several congregations, including St. Mark's Baptist Church in Picton, Texas; Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Madison, Illinois; and St. Paul Baptist Church in East St. Louis, Illinois. Since 1961, he has served as senior pastor of the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio's Glenville Community. He has also been a both a member and officer in the Baptist Minister's Conference of Cleveland and Vicinity, the Baptist Pastor's Council, the Planning Board of the Inter-Church Council, the Ohio Baptist General Convention, and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

Caviness has a long history of involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He currently serves as the president of the Cleveland Branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

In addition to his work in the religious community, he served on the Executive Board of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Cleveland, the Planning Board of the Glenville Area Council, and the Sewer Board of Cleveland. He also worked as the executive assistant to George V. Voinovich, former mayor of Cleveland.

Reverend Caviness was married for forty-one years to concert recording artist and minister of music, James ("Jamie") Pitts Caviness. He currently resides in Bratenahl, Ohio.

Accession Number

A2004.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/16/2004

Last Name

Caviness

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Bishop College

Eden Theological Seminary

First Name

Theophilus

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

CAV01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California; Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do You Understand Me? Do You Read Me Real Well?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

5/23/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Squash, Greens, Vegetables

Short Description

Pastor Reverend Theophilus Caviness (1928 - ) is the President of the Cleveland Branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the NAACP, CORE, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. He has also served as senior pastor of the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

Employment

St. Mark's Baptist Church

Mount Nebo Baptist Church

St. Paul Baptist Church

Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

City of Cleveland

Favorite Color

Blue, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Theophilus Caviness's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness names his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness describes his hometown of Marshall, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his father's various jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls the schools in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his educational experience in Marshall, Texas and his mentors Melvin J. Banks and Dorothy Beatrice Godspeed

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the educational motivation he received from teachers in his early life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls preaching his first sermon in 1946 at the Galilee Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists the various colleges he attended and the dates of graduation

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his initial experience in Illinois and lists the various places he lived in while there

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains how he met his wife

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his children and godchild

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains how his interest in history as a student led to his later political activism

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls the early influences that led to his vocation in the ministry

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains his drive to focus on studying given the lack of other opportunities during the 1950s in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains the distinct independent nature of the Baptist Church compared to other denominations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness describes the evolution of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Inc. and its various offshoots

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists the various presidents of Baptist organizations that graduated from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls various leaders of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists the various positions he has held as a member of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains how he came to pastor at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls helping his friend Dr. Albert T. Rowan become pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the decline in East St. Louis, Illinois from the 1950s until the present

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls what he enjoyed about Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his early impressions of Cleveland, Ohio in 1961

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness remembers hosting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in 1967

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his roles in local government in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about finding the balance between civil and religious authority

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his role model Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his role model Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains nonpartisan political philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls the riots in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls the aftermath of the 1968 riots in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls HistoryMaker the Honorable George Forbes

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his peacemaking role while the executive assistant to Mayor George Voinovich of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls paying HistoryMaker The Honorable George Forbes's water bill

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness describes the partnership that HistoryMaker The Honorable George Forbes and George Voinovich

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness reflects upon his commitment to service

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his positions during Michael White's mayoral tenure in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his accomplishments with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission during the 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about receiving publicity for his flamboyant style during his time on the Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about endorsing Marvin McMickle's, Stephanie Tubbs Jones', and Jeff Johnson's congressional campaigns

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his support for U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his initial involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his involvement with the Cleveland Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the contribution of women leaders in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains the Baptist churches' philosophy towards Biblical interpretation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness shares his perspective on gay marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness explains why human rights is the great challenge of the 21st century

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness shares his philosophy of doing the best you can to help others

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness lists the various scholarships started at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the students helped by scholarships sponsored by the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Children's Choir

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness talks about the funding for the various scholarships sponsored by the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Theophilus Caviness narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

14$2

DATitle
Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls preaching his first sermon in 1946 at the Galilee Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas
Reverend Theophilus Caviness recalls his initial involvement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in East St. Louis, Illinois
Transcript
Are there other special moments of transition that you associate with your childhood in that region, besides the baptism?$$The baptism--$$Other special rituals?$$The beginning, the--preaching my first sermon in 1946. We were there at Galilee Baptist Church [Marshall, Texas] on a Wednesday night, preaching from the theme of "Be ye also ready, for you know not the hour, the son of man cometh" [Matthew 24:44]. And I recall so vividly that I mentioned to that large audience that I was frightened to death but not so much frightened to be intimidated by seeing them and all like that but with the awesome task that I was embracing, that that's the thing that really frightened me and I was fearful. I wanted to do the very best job for the Lord that I could do and I was going to do--put all of what into it in order to get that done because I never knew how long life would last and you never knew when the Lord would call you home. So that was my real initiation and thrust for the ministry, doing the things that the ministry would call.$$Okay. And you said that was in 1946?$$Nineteen forty-six [1946].$$First sermon.$$I think it was about November something, 1946.$Now we're in the twenty-first century now but I do want to talk for at least a few minutes about an organization that you've been affiliated with for a number of years beginning in the twentieth century and that's SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. When did you become associated with them?$$Back in Illinois when I pastored in East St. Louis, Illinois, I led the Baptist Conference [Baptist General State Convention of Illinois? National Baptist Convention, later National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.? There's the Baptist Ministers Conference of Cleveland and Vicinity that he headed, but that wasn't in ESTL, IL?] and we were trying to integrate the downtown of East St. Louis. At the time Collinsville Avenue was the main street in East St. Louis, Illinois and they did not hire one African American in any other position other than cleaning. There was no African American on the city council. So I led the movement to integrate Collinsville Avenue and I remember on Easter Sunday I selected, our group selected Easter Sunday morning to boycott the Walgreens drugstore downtown with all the Easter bunnies and what have you and we went down there and we broke that Collinsville Avenue situation where black people were able to do--be--do clerks. They were--couldn't work the fountain behind Walgreens so we broke that. We integrated that facility and that whole town. We got our first African American council person who ultimately became all black. But that was how I got my first initiation in the Southern Christian Leadership activity because [Reverend Dr.] Martin [Luther King, Jr.] was doing it in Alabama and Georgia and those kinds of things. So I was inspired by it and I invited Martin to come and he said, "I'm not able to get there. I (unclear) can you send [Ralph] Abernathy?" Well Abernathy, we couldn't get. So the best I could do then was go in his household and get his better half [Coretta Scott King] and she graciously came to East Saint Louis, thrilled our hearts with her beautiful singing ability because my wife [James Pitts Caviness] was a singer so they got along real well. So that was my initiation into loving Martin Luther King, loving the movement [Civil Rights Movement] and trying to do the best I could to help it.