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Debra Langford

Television executive Debra Langford was born on March 27, 1963 in Los Angeles, California to Barbara Wilkins and Roland Langford. She earned her B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business in 1984.

In 1986, Langford was hired by Hanna-Barbera Studios, where she became director of development. In 1988, she joined Warner Bros Television and rose to vice president of current programs, where she was responsible for the show’s creative production, including hiring actors/actresses, writers, producers and directors for eleven successful network television series, including, Growing Pains, Night Court,​ Murphy Brown,​ Life Goes On,​ China Beach,​ Kung Fu: The Next Generation​ and The Flash. From 1993 to 1998, she served as head of television at Quincy Jones and David Salzman Entertainment, overseeing all aspects of development, production and delivery of television series for the production company financed by Time Warner and co-lead by Quincy Jones. Projects included the NBC series, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, NBC/UPN's In the House, and Fox Broadcasting Network's Mad-TV. In 1998, Langford was hired by Essence Entertainment as general manager and vice president in the new division of Essence magazine. Langford joined Urban Entertainment as senior vice president of production and development in 2000; and, in 2002, she joined Time Warner as corporate vice president of strategic sourcing. In 2009, Langford was named corporate vice president of inclusion and business diversity at NBC Universal. She launched The Langford Company in 2012, providing consulting strategies in multicultural marketing, recruitment and retention. In 2013, she joined USC Marshall School of Business as assistant dean of diversity and inclusion.

Langford served as president and vice president of the Southern California chapter of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) from 2008 to 2012. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the USO Board of Governors and served from 2011 to 2016. In 2017, she was appointed by Governor Gray Davis as a board member of the California Film Commission.

Langford was listed in Ebony Magazine’s Black Women at the Top in 1991 and 1993. In 1995, she was included in Black Enterprise’s The New 25 Future Leaders To Watch.

Debra Langford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.133

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/22/2019

Last Name

Langford

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Lynn

Schools

Hyde Park Elementary School

St. Mary's Academy

Transfiguration School

University of Southern California

First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

LAN11

Favorite Season

Winter

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Be Still And Know

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/27/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vanilla Cupcakes

Short Description

Television executive Debra Langford (1963- ) served as corporate vice president of strategic sourcing for Time Warner and corporate vice president of inclusion and business diversity for NBC Universal before founding The Langford Company in 2012.

Employment

Quincy Jones & David Salzman Entertainment

Hanna-Barbera Studios

Warner Brothers Television

Essence Magazine

Urban Entertainment

Time Warner

NBC Universal

The Langford Company

University of Southern California

Favorite Color

Fuschia

Vera F. Wells

Television executive Vera F. Wells was born on December 31, 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated second in her class from Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School in 1963. Wells went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. to study psychology, but left before graduating to move with her husband to New Haven, Connecticut, where she worked for Community Progress, Inc. In 1969, Wells graduated from Yale University with her B.A. degree in psychology in 1971, the first coeducational graduating class. While at Yale University, Wells helped to create a new seminar called The Black Women and the Chubb Conference on the Black Woman, which brought Professor Sylvia Ardyn Boone to the university. Boone would become the first tenured African American woman on the Yale faculty upon her promotion in 1988.

After graduating, Wells became the director for School Volunteers for New Haven, Inc. She spent the summer of 1972 assisting Elga R. Wasserman on the Carnegie Council on Children alongside Sylvia Ardyn Boone, whom she had befriended at Yale University. In the 1970s, Wells spent two years at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts to study organizational management. She then became the associate director of the international division at the National Council of Negro Women where she conducted field research in East and West Africa. After returning to the U.S., Wells accepted a position in promotional research at NBC’s headquarters in New York City. She was eventually promoted to director of audience services. In this role, Wells oversaw the creation and standardization of closed captioning at NBC, following the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. After the death of Sylvia Ardyn Boone in 1993, Wells became the founder and director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University’s Timothy Dwight College. The memorial project houses the collection of Boone’s literary and personal papers and awards both undergraduate and graduate scholarships to students working in the fields of African and African American art.

Wells served as a member of the University Council at Yale University for ten years. Within the council, she was a founding committee member of YaleWomen, Inc. and the Theater Review Committee. Wells also served on the boards of the National Advisory Council of the Yale Black Alumni Association, the Yale Development Board and the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. In 2007, Wells was honored with the Yale Medal for her volunteer service to the university.

Vera F. Wells was interview by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.135

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/28/2018

6/30/2018

Last Name

Wells

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Organizations
First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WEL07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa; Italy; Saint Croix

Favorite Quote

We all yearn for transcendence, ... (Sylvia Boone)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/31/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Television executive Vera F. Wells (1944- ) was a member of the first coeducational graduating class of at Yale University in 1971, a long-time executive at NBC, and the founding director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University.

Favorite Color

Brown

Frank Mercado-Valdes

Broadcast executive Frank Mercado-Valdes was born on May 18, 1962 in New York City to Frank Mercado and Linda Valdes. At the age of fifteen, Mercado-Valdes became the Florida Junior Olympic boxing champion, and won the state’s Golden Gloves Lightweight Championship in 1979. He graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1980, and received his A.A. degree in political science from Miami-Dade Community College in 1983. Mercado-Valdes went on to earn his B.S. degree in political science from the University of Miami in 1985.

In 1985, Mercado-Valdes founded the first Miss Collegiate Black American Pageant, held at the Miami Marine Stadium. He was then hired as the media coordinator for the 1988 Bush-Quayle presidential campaign. In 1990, he secured a deal with Universal Studios to televise the Miss Collegiate Black America Pageant. He also launched the African Heritage Network, a television syndication and production company, which bought the syndication rights to films like Cotton Comes to Harlem, Porgy and Bess, and Shaft. In 1993, The African Heritage Network introduced the “Movie of the Month” series, hosted by actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Mercado-Valdes went on to serve as an executive producer of Stomp!, a nationally televised stepping competition and performance program. In 1994, The African Heritage Network served as an executive producer for A Tribute to Alex Haley, a program highlighting the accomplishments of the Roots author. In 1996, Mercado-Valdes secured the weekend syndication rights of the popular police drama New York Undercover, making The African Heritage Network the first minority-owned company to purchase a major network series for syndication. In 1997, Mercado-Valdes also purchased the rights to Kensington Publishing Group’s Arabesque Books, the first and only African American romance book line. In 2002, Mercado-Valdes developed the televisions shows The Source: All Access, based on the popular hip-hop magazineThe Source, and N’Gear, a behind-the-scenes look at urban fashions, designers, and models. Later that year, The African Heritage Network was renamed to The Heritage Networks, and Mercado-Valdes developed the television program Livin’ Large, a hip-hop version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. In 2003, Mercado-Valdes secured syndication and production rights for Showtime at the Apollo. He resigned from The Heritage Network in 2004, and served as the chief strategic officer for Soul of the South Television from 2011 to 2014. Mercado-Valdes became the managing director of Fair Market Value Consultants and the executive director of San Juan Hill Partners in 2016.

Frank Mercado-Valdes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 30, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.075

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/30/2018

Last Name

Mercado-Valdes

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MER03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Catskill Mountains

Favorite Quote

It's Up To You To Make It Happen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/18/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Broadcast executive Frank Mercado-Valdes (1962- ) launched The African Heritage Network, a syndication and production company.

Favorite Color

Purple

Lyne Pitts

Television executive and journalist Lyne Johnson Pitts was born on December 12, 1954 in Washington, D.C. She attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in communications in 1976.

Upon graduation, Pitts was hired as an editor for the Ravenswood Post in East Palo Alto, California. From 1977 to 1978, she worked as a writer at KPIX-TV, the CBS owned station in San Francisco. Pitts went on to serve as a writer and producer at KTLA-TV from 1978 to 1980 and at CBS’s KNXT (now KCBS-TV) from 1980 until 1984. She was then hired by CBS News in 1984 as a broadcast producer for the CBS Morning News. She served as a producer for CBS News Sunday Morning and the CBS News weekend broadcasts in 1987, and then as senior producer and producer of 48 Hours from 1987 to 1996. In 1996, Pitts was named executive producer of "The Class of 2000", a four-year ongoing project of CBS News. During this period, she also served as executive producer of "Before Your Eyes," a series of critically acclaimed CBS News primetime specials. Pitts was then appointed as executive producer of the CBS Evening News weekend broadcasts in 1997, and was promoted to executive producer of CBS’s The Early Show in December 1999. In 2003, she moved from The Early Show to senior broadcast producer of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

Pitts left CBS News in 2004 and was hired as executive producer of NBC News’ Today, Weekend Edition in February of 2006. In 2007, Pitts was named vice president of strategic initiatives for NBC News, where she worked until 2009. Then, after briefly serving as head of U.S. operations for Nduka Obaigbena’s Arise News, she was named The Root’s interim managing editor in September of 2013. She took on the permanent role of The Root managing editor in February of 2014. Pitts also serves as chief executive officer of BLP Productions LLC and of Maltese Productions, Inc.

Her honors include several national Emmy Awards and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. She is married to ABC News chief national correspondent Byron Pitts. Together they have six children.

Lyne Pitts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.209

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/19/2014

Last Name

Pitts

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Emma Willard School

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lyne

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

PIT32

State

District of Columbia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/12/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Television executive and journalist Lyne Pitts (1954 - ) was managing editor of The Root, served as NBC News’ vice president of strategic initiatives from 2007 to 2009, and worked as a producer at CBS News for over twenty years. Her honors include several Emmy Awards.

Employment

Ravenswood Post

KPIX-TV

KTLA-TV

KCBS-TV

CBS News

NBC News

Arise News

The Root

BLP Productions LLC

Maltese Productions, Inc.

Allison J. Davis

Television and non-profit executive Allison Jeanne Davis was born on April 7, 1953 in New York, New York to Doris Nelson and Walter Davis. She graduated from Boston University with her B.S. degree in journalism in 1975.

Upon graduation, Davis was hired as a writer and producer for WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1978, she was hired at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she worked as an on-air reporter. From 1981 to 1998, Davis was employed at NBC, where she served as a writer-producer and as an executive producer for NBC News and MSNBC.com. At NBC, Davis built the original team of “cyberjournalists” overseeing the first original news content on the internet. She also helped launch MSNBC and, from 1994 through 1997, she served as the first executive producer of MSNBC on the Internet. Davis developed, wrote and produced The Scholastic-NBC News Video from 1993 until 1997. She also worked as a writer and producer for NBC News’ Today, as well as a producer for the NBC News broadcasts Monitor, First Camera, and NBC Nightly News.

From 1998 to 2004, Davis served as senior vice president/creative of CBS and Dunbar Productions. At CBS, she created and executive produced the public television series “The Reading Club”. Then, from 2004 until 2009, Davis worked as vice president, chief operating officer, and special assistant to the Jackie Robinson Foundation's chief executive. In 2008, she founded Coopty Productions, which provides organizations with video production services. Davis was then appointed director of communications and media at New York’s Riverside Church in 2009, and, in 2011, she returned to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, where she was hired as director of communications and worked on the promotion for the Jackie Robinson movie 42. Davis has also been an adjunct professor at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, Howard University’s School of Communications and the City College of New York.

Davis was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, where she served as its first parliamentarian, and later as its vice president. She was also on the founding board of the National Visionary Leadership Project, an oral history project established by Camille Cosby, and serves on the board of Poets & Writers.

Davis has received numerous awards and honors, including two Women in Communications Awards and several Emmy nominations. She also received Boston University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009, has received the University’s Alumni Award for Service to Profession twice, and has been a National News Emmys judge since 2009. Davis also contributed to the 2001 book Global News Perspectives on the Information Age, edited by Tony Silvia.

Davis and her husband, Robert G. Wright, live in Teaneck, N.J. They are the parents of two sons: Tyler and Cooper.

Allison Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.002

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/13/2014

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jeanne

Schools

Bryant School

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

White Oak Junior High School

Springbrook High School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Allison

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DAV30

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Success Is Your Best Revenge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/7/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Television executive and non-profit executive Allison J. Davis (1953 - ) was an executive producer for NBC News and MSNBC, and senior executive of CBS, Dunbar Productions and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

WBZ TV

KDKA TV

NBC

CBS

Jackie Robinson Foundation

Coopty Productions

Riverside Church

City University of New York

Howard University

City College of New York

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97971">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allison J. Davis' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97972">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97973">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes her mother, Doris Nelson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97974">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about tracing her maternal ancestors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97975">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes her paternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97976">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about how her parents met and her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97977">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes her earliest memories including having tuberculosis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97978">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes moving to Teaneck, New Jersey in 1958</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97979">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97980">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis talks about the busing program in Teaneck, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97981">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis shares her school memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97982">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her relationship with her brothers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97983">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis shares her holiday memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97984">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis describes her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97985">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis talks about her Caribbean ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97986">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis describes the food she ate while growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97987">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes her personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97988">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her father's political activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97989">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis talks about the telegram that President John F. Kennedy sent to her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97990">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about moving to an all-white neighborhood in Silver Spring, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97991">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her mother's social life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97992">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis remembers when her father discovered her brother's baseball talent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97993">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about the relationship between her father and President Richard Nixon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97994">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis remembers her family's political discussions and her involvement with the Black Panther Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97995">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about her father's concerns about the labor movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97996">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes attending Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97997">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her brother's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97998">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis talks about attending Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97999">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis describes how her studies at Boston University prepared her for the working world</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98000">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Allison J. Davis describes joining the Black Panther Party at Boston University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98475">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her brief involvement with the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98476">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis recalls her parent's reaction to her graduating from college early</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98477">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes working at WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98478">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about her mentor and the lack of African Americans at WBZ</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98479">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes her preference for being a news producer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98480">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis tells the story of how she became a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98481">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes the original members of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98482">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes Chuck Stone's leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98483">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes the vision of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98484">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis shares her memories of HistoryMaker Vernon Jarrett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99679">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her husband, Robert Wright, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99680">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her husband, Robert Wright, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99681">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing a story on lottery corruption at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99682">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing a story on overweight cops at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99683">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis talks about working at NBC Nightly News from 1981 to 1983</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99684">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing the television news program, "Monitor"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99685">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing "Summer Sunday"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99686">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes what she learned in her early career as a television news producer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/99687">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes her schedule while producing "Summer Sunday"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98030">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about becoming a producer for the "Today Show" in 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98031">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis describes her schedule as a working mother at the "Today Show"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98032">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis tells the story of the births of her children while working at the "Today Show"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98033">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis remembers producing stories in Africa and Cuba for the "Today Show"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98034">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes the audience's reaction to "Today in Africa"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98035">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about General Electric's takeover of NBC News</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98036">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis comments on racial representation in news reporting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98037">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis remembers Bryant Gumbel's interview with Ike Turner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98038">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes Bryant Gumbel's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98039">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about Bryant Gumbel's leaked memo in 1989</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98040">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about Today Show hosts Deborah Norville and Katie Couric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98041">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing Scholastic-NBC News Video</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98042">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about helping NBC News transition to the digital realm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98043">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes the beginning of cyberjournalism at NBC Supernet</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98044">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about backlash from the development team after she was featured on The New York Times business page</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98045">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about MSNBC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98046">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her work with Bryant Gumbel's Dunbar Productions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98047">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis recalls witnessing the events of September 11, 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98048">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis describes her husband's health problems</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97199">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her sons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97200">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis describes her frustration with nonprofit work, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97201">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes her frustration with nonprofit work, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97202">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis describes her nonprofit work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97203">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes working on the movie 42 for the Jackie Robinson Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97204">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about her desire to continue telling stories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97205">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about her lack of career regrets</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97206">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis comments on the current state of television news</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97207">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis comments on the success of online journalism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97208">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis talks about her parents' deaths</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97209">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97210">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/97211">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about her pride in her family</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Allison J. Davis talks about the busing program in Teaneck, New Jersey
Allison J. Davis tells the story of how she became a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Transcript
I was also a part of the first sixth grade school because as the, we started to matriculate through elementary school, we discovered that the schools now were becoming a little bit more segregated than--so we segregated, there was a, segregated elementary schools. And we'd all meet up in junior high school. And we didn't know each other. So they decided to bus all the black kids (laughter) to the various white schools in town and then bring all of the sixth graders to one central sixth grade school. And that's been written about, you know, because it was an inter--it was a voluntary busing program that was so very successful back then. And so I was part of that sixth grade.$$So describe it? So the busing, how was the busing?$$The busing, so they took the black kids from my side of town from kindergarten through fifth grade, and they dispersed them to the various elementary schools in town of which, at that time there were seven. And then they took the sixth grade, they took the school which was my home school and made it into a central sixth grade school and bused all the whites to that sixth grade school (laughter). So we all went to the sixth grade together so it eased the, what could have been a tense environment when we all got to middle--seventh grade, junior high school because that's when things can get a little nasty with kids. And so, and everybody's feeling their oats. And so they decided to get us all familiar with each other in sixth grade.$Now, around this time, I also see that--let's see, you joined in 19--you joined WBZ in 19--$$Seventy-five [1975].$$--seventy five [1975]. Now, what about this, what about NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] and you serving the role as parliamentarian? Is that in 1975?$$It is. So I'm in, we have a small group of media workers in Boston [Massachusetts]. And I'm a part of that, but not, you know, not a big part of that. And it was just fledging. And in December of 1975, December 15th, I guess, I'm in Washington [D.C.] and at home, visiting with my parents. Number one, because I would have to work Christmas in Boston. And you kind of forget that news happens at Christmas, (laughter) on Christmas day and Thanksgiving. I was the low person on the totem pole. So I was gonna be, I was gonna be in Boston in Christmas. So I'm there a week before or ten days before, and a friend of mine, Bonnie Nance (ph.) from Chicago [Illinois], she is in Washington working as a, the PR person for U.S. News and World Report. And she's there with a woman named Jeanie Thornton, and she says that the black elected officials are meeting. And there's a party. Why don't you come into the city? And I said, yeah, what the hay? I'm not doing anything. So I asked to borrow a car, and I get there at about 4:00, you know, 'cause we're all gonna meet for drinks, and then we're gonna go to this black elected officials event, and I don't remember if it was the Shore Room, the Sheridan, it starts with a--so I get there. And both of the ladies are there, Jeanie and Bonnie. And they said, oh, by the way, there's this meeting that they've asked a lot of black journalists to come to. You have a couple, an hour or so? And I said, I don't want to go to a meeting, but, you know, fine. So I get to the conference room where this meeting is held, not knowing anybody but Bonnie and Jeanie. And Chuck Stone [HM] who was at the Philadelphia Bulletin [Philadelphia Daily News] at the time is chairing this meeting. And so I'm sitting there, and I'm somewhat looking like the sullen teenager because I'm all anxious to get to the party. And I'm sitting there and finally, they're voting on things, and they are messing up Robert's Rules of Order. And I said, "Mr. Chairman", and I said, "point of order". Now, Chuck is smart. He knew what "point of order" was, but nobody else knew. And he said, "your point?" And I gave whatever point it was, and he looks at me and he says, "and what's your name?" And I said--"and your affiliation?" I said, "my name is Allison Davis, and I'm at WBZ Television in Boston." And he said, "well, Ms. Davis"--no, I said, "and so and what is this we're doing here?" And he said, "we're starting an organization." And I said, "what's the name of this organization?" And he said, "everybody, what's the name? Are we gonna call ourselves the National Association of Black Journalists?" And everybody said, "yeah, yeah, yeah." And then I said, "okay." And he looks over, he looks over to me, and he goes, "and by the way, Ms. Davis, you are our parliamentarian." And I said, "of what again?" (Laughter) And he said, "the National Association of Black Journalists." And from there, I became the parliamentarian. I wrote the original constitution. And I am now rewriting the constitution for consideration this year.

Douglas Holloway

Television executive Douglas V. Holloway was born in 1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the inner-city Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. In 1964, Holloway was part of the early busing of black youth into white neighborhoods to integrate Pittsburgh schools. In 1972, he entered Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts as a journalism major. Then, in 1974, Holloway transferred to Emerson College, and graduated from there in 1975 with his B.S. degree in mass communications and television production. In 1978, he received his M.B.A. from Columbia University with an emphasis in marketing and finance.

Holloway was first hired in a marketing position with General Foods (later Kraft Foods). He soon moved into the television and communications world, and joined the financial strategic planning team at CBS in 1980. While there, Holloway became interested in the new field of cable television, and helped to develop the CBS Cable project. From 1982 to 1983, he served as the National Accounts Manager for Time, Inc.’s TV-Cable Week Magazine. He began working at USA Networks in 1983 and developed their affiliate relations program, becoming the president of the department in 1998. When NBC purchased USA Networks in 2004, Holloway was named president of cable investments and managed the joint venture companies of NBC, including AETN, Shop NBC, Peacock Productions, Weather Plus, and National Geographic International. From 2009 to 2011, he served as a corporate advisor to American Express and America One/One World Sports; and, in 2011, he became the president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc.

Holloway received the National Cable Television Association’s Vanguard Award for Marketing in 1997. He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, and was named one of Black Enterprise’s Top Ten Most Powerful Blacks in Hollywood in 2007. Holloway was named as one of Crain’s 40 Under 40, and has received both Columbia University’s Alumni Heritage Award and Emerson College’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, he has been a trustee of Emerson College since 2002, is a member of the New York chapter of the Boule, and is a member of the Westchester Clubmen Foundation.

Douglas V. Holloway was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.322

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/13/2013

Last Name

Holloway

Maker Category
Middle Name

V.

Organizations
Schools

Northeastern University

Emerson College

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Douglas

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

HOL17

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens, Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No, but preferred

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Know Something, Do Something, Be Something.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/3/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken Wings

Short Description

Television executive Douglas Holloway (1954 - ) is the president of Ion Media Networks, Inc. and was an early pioneer of cable television.

Employment

General Foods Corporation

CBS

TV-Cable Week Magazine

USA Networks

NBC

American Express and America One

ION Media Networks, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145713">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Douglas Holloway's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145714">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145715">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes his mother and maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145716">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes his paternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145717">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes his parents' unusual relationship and how they met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145718">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway remembers being featured on the children's television series, 'Romper Room,' at four years old</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145719">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloways describes the racial demographic in his childhood neighborhood on the north side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145720">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes living with his mother, grandmother, three uncles, and cousins together in his Pittsburgh home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145721">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood Pittsburgh neighborhood and holiday seasons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145722">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes building his family's summer home in Cockerton, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145723">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Douglas Holloway lists the elementary and high schools he attended</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145724">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks briefly about his extended maternal family ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145725">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes his experience being bullied and fighting at Belmar Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145726">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway explains why his mother elected to have him bused, and describes his experience at Sterrett Classical Academy in Point Breeze, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145727">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about the influence of the Civil Rights Movement in his home life, and describes delivering papers and developing work ethic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145728">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway remembers the real-life Pittsburgh influences for August Wilson's 1983 play, 'Fences'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145729">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about numbers runners</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145730">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway talks about the influence of the Presbyterian faith in his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145731">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes skiing in Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145732">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes the social consequences of busing, and remembers the race riots in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145733">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes the gradient of political opinions within his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147206">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks about his childhood interests in arts and entertainment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147207">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and talks about his experience at Taylor Allerdice High School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147208">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and talks about his experience at Taylor Allerdice High School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147209">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about being threatened at gunpoint</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147210">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about his undergraduate experience at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147211">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about racial demographics and discrimination in Boston's college communities, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147212">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway talks about his roommate, the descendant of a black gangster family in Philadelphia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147213">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about his transfer to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/147214">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway and remembers a racially-motivated altercation at Faneuil Hall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148221">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway describes the racial violence he experienced as a student at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148222">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes meeting HistoryMaker Peter Bynoe working in the Boston Black Repertory Theatre</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148223">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway talks about getting career advice from television executive Eugene Lothery and deciding to enter the television industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148224">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes being accepted into the MBA program at Columbia University in New York, New York, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148225">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes being accepted into the MBA program at Columbia University in New York, New York, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148226">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway describes instructing an FCC licensing course at the Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan's Opportunities Industrialization Center [OIC] in Pittsburgh</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148227">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway describes producing a multimedia bicentennial special on blacks in Pittsburgh in 1976</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148228">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about his independent study in the Riverside Church jazz radio station, and joining General Foods in consumer marketing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148229">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes his experience as a student in the MBA program at Columbia University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148230">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Douglas Holloway describes his tenure at General Foods in brand management</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/148231">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Douglas Holloway lists other African Americans in General Foods' corporate office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145754">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway explains why he missed his final sign off interview with the NBC network's Associates' Program due to a snowstorm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145755">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway explains how he got hired into the finance department at CBS and describes his tenure at the network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145756">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes the projects he worked on at CBS, and the climate of the broadcasting industry in the early 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145757">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes the development of the CBS cable network and his entrance into television programming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145758">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway describes working in affiliate cable sales for CBS in 1980</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145759">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway talks about joining TV Cable Week at Time, Inc., and the introduction of the broadcast and print weekly television guide</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145760">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how the conflict between Time Inc.'s publishing and video companies destroyed TV Cable Week</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145761">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about the launch of the USA network, and joining affiliate relations at USA</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145762">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway lists executives involved in the sale of the USA Network to Paramount and Universal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145763">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway explains how he became vice president of affiliate relations at the USA network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145764">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway talks about the launch of the USA network's competitor TNT, and being dropped from Jones Intercable cable operator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145765">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes the success of "target marketing" and original programming production for the USA network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145766">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about declining a job with Ted Turner at CNN</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145767">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway describes launching the Sci-Fi Channel in 1992</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145768">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how the Cable Act of 1994 threatened the growth of the SyFy channel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145769">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway describes how he entertains and charms his clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145770">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway talks about African American executives in cable and television from the early 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145771">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway talks about the development of original programming at the USA network, and the sale of USA to Vivendi Universal Entertainment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145772">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes the USA Network, Inc. under the leadership of Barry Diller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145773">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway describes being harassed by new executives after the acquisition of USA by Vivendi Universal Entertainment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145774">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about the sale of Universal to NBC in 2004 when NBC merged with Vivendi Universal Entertainment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145775">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway explains why he left NBCUniversal in 2009</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145776">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway explains how he was appointed president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145777">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway explains how he was appointed president of multichannel distribution at ION Media Networks, Inc., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145778">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway talks about competition between contemporary cable channels and systems</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145779">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes cable channels and systems of the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145780">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Douglas Holloway talks about his affiliation with the National Association of Minorities in Cable [NAMIC] and the lower earnings of minority executives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145781">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Douglas Holloway talks about screening programming at USA, and representation of African Americans in media and the telecommunications industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145782">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Douglas Holloway</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145783">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Douglas Holloway describes his concerns about bias and discrimination in contemporary America</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145784">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Douglas Holloway talks about being denied phantom stock and the discrepancies between the earnings of executives in public vs. private companies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145785">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Douglas Holloway describes USA Network founding president Kay Koplovitz's leadership</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145786">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Douglas Holloway describes what he would like his legacy to be and how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145787">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Douglas Holloway describes what he would like for his sons to know about him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/145788">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Douglas Holloway describes how he would hypothetical title his memoir</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Douglas Holloway describes the projects he worked on at CBS, and the climate of the broadcasting industry in the early 1980s
Douglas Holloway explains how the Cable Act of 1994 threatened the growth of the SyFy channel
Transcript
Can you talk about the overall broadcasting industry at that time, and what are the issues that they're dealing with, and what were some of the strategic--you know, issues that were presented in terms of strategic planning? Was it growing the market share? Was it, I mean, what was it?$$Well, one, at CBS and at all the broadcast networks, there were very few blacks. There were, maybe, one or two in sales, one or two in finance, nobody that I knew in programming, a couple in news, radio. But it was a very stark, very white business. And this is in 1980, right?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And so we all kind of knew each other. And we started an organization called Braining to try to promote blacks in the industry and support them. And then at--what was going on strategically was, you know, Ted Turner was getting ready to launch CNN [Cable News Network]. The Madison Square Gardens Sports Network had launched, which later became USA [Network]. ESPN [Entertainment and Sports Programming Network] was in development. MTV [Music Television] was in development. And so there was a lot of concern about, you know, what's going to happen--were these--will these new upstart networks, you know, perform, will they get distribution, cable is not going to go anywhere; there were only a couple million cabled homes at the time, because the big cities hadn't been wired other than New York City [New York]. And most cable was rural and some suburbs, but mainly rural and in places where you had reception problems because of, you know, antenna fade. So there was also the issue of the use of satellites to transmit the signals because at that time, all of the signals from the broadcasters to the local TV stations were done via landline. And they were just beginning to use satellites for backhaul, but they were expensive and they were not that reliable. And then there was the new technology, upgrading the studio facilities. I worked on that. All the plant, the ENG [electronic news gathering] cameras, you know, the wireless cameras and use of microwave was--all those things were in development. And those were all projects that I worked on for CBS.$So when you launched that [Sci-Fi Channel, later SyFy], how much of investment did you make into the--? Do you know the--$$I believe we've paid $15 million for the concept. And we spent, I want to say, probably fifty, sixty million dollars before it turned a profit. And one of the problems, and it almost was shut down, because in, I believe it was 1993, '94 [1994], the government was feuding with cable operators. And that's when the whole process of the 1994 Cable Act was being put into place. And so what the government did was, they put a freeze, because there was so much concern about cable operators raising prices and gouging consumers on pricing and offering poor service, that they put a freeze on launching new cable networks for almost a year or so. And there was a freeze on price increases. And that freeze was right in the infancy of the Sci-Fi Channel. And so we just were dead in the water. We couldn't sell it. They--we couldn't get launched. Very, very little. There were special circumstances where you could, but we couldn't meet our targets for growth. And without the growth, we couldn't generate new and more advertising revenues. And we couldn't put marketing in--dollars in programming and marketing. And the studios who were so cost conscious, were becoming very impatient. And so, they wanted to shut it down. And fortunately, just as they were thinking about shutting it down, the freeze got lifted, and we had substantial growth right after that, which saved the business, and saved probably my career at the time, because I had this (simultaneous)--$$Because you were--you were the one who brought the project.$$Yeah, and then I was the one who was responsible for selling it and then the other thing that was going on was the rebuilding of the cable systems. And so there was a lot of tiering going on. And the (simultaneous)--$$Explain the tiering, 'cause that--$$Well, they created higher packages, higher priced packages that were full smaller services, and there was--they were launching networks, but they were putting them on these smaller packages; and so some of USA's distribution in those days was going into these smaller packages. Well, the movie studios didn't like that. And so, given their aggressiveness, they wanted, you know, USA [Network]'s--more growth, they wanted it faster, and they wanted it more profitable. And so I was kind of at the forefront of that. And it was funny, 'cause I'm on the executive committee of USA at this point, and so I sit in on all the board meetings. And I became the target of all their animosity, anger, and aggression. And since they didn't want me in the job anyway going back, they made an example out of me in those meetings. It was so bad at one point, all my fellow executives from USA, we would go into the board meetings and they would take a seat, and then everybody would move away from me. So they would joke at it and say, "We don't want any more blood splashed on our nice"--'cause in those days, everybody wore Armani suits,"--so it's like, "You know, my cleaning bill on my Armani suits is getting too high, so I'm not going to sit next to you 'cause I keep getting splashed." Because I would go into these meetings, and they would just wear me out, in particular, Tom Wertheimer, who is from Universal [Television]. And he was very, very aggressive, and just a--you know, he came out of the--he worked for Sid Sheinberg, and so that's they were just, you know, aggressive, you know, mean guys. Which is funny 'cause now Tom sees me, he's very nice to me. He's now retired. But they would--it was really--it was an arena.

June Baldwin

Entertainment executive June M. Baldwin graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in psychology. She went on to receive her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.

Following graduation, Baldwin served as clerk for the jurist Luther Swygert on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois. She then moved to Los Angeles and was hired as an executive for NBC, where she was responsible for, among other things, the day-to-day business transactions for The Tonight Show and Carson Productions, the television and motion picture production company founded by the late talk show host, Johnny Carson. At NBC, Baldwin became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry. She then worked for Norman Lear, Quincy Jones and Aaron Spelling, where she held the position of head of business affairs at their independent production companies.

Baldwin went on to be hired as vice president of business affairs at United Paramount Network. She also worked in a similar capacity at Columbia TriStar Television from 2000 until 2001. In 2004, Baldwin was hired as director of business and legal affairs at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station. Then, in 2010, she was promoted to vice president and general counsel of KCET. Baldwin has negotiated a variety of production deals, and has worked on such critically acclaimed productions as Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, A Place of Our Own, Los Ninos En Su Casa, Wired Science, and SoCal Connected.  In addition, for seven years she managed business and legal affairs for the PBS late-night talk show Tavis Smiley, and the primetime series Tavis Smiley Reports.

Baldwin has served on numerous boards, including the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, the Hollywood Policy Center, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the California Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood, the Archer School for Girls, Women in Film, Women in Film Foundation, Artists For A New South Africa, The Coalition for At-Risk Youth, NBC Credit Union, the Minority Health Institute, and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association.

June M. Baldwin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.310

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/20/2013

Last Name

Baldwin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Michelle

Schools

St. Madeline Sophie

Ancilla Domini Academy

Shipley School For Girls

Stanford University

Harvard Law School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

June

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BAL04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Everything In Its Time

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/4/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Entertainment executive June Baldwin (1950 - ) became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry when she worked for NBC.

Employment

KCET

Columbia Tri Star TV

United Paramount Network

Spelling Television

Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment

NBC

Favorite Color

Blue, Greens

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670400">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of June Baldwin's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670401">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - June Baldwin lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670402">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670403">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her mother's education and profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670404">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670405">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about her father's young adult years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670406">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - June Baldwin describes her parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670407">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her parents' civic activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670408">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her early household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670409">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - June Baldwin describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670410">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes the sights and sounds of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670411">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - June Baldwin remembers the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670412">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670413">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670414">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her early interest in acting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670415">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers race relations at the Shipley School for Girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670416">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her religious experiences at the Shipley School for Girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670417">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about the prominent figures who inspired her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670418">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls developing her racial identity during the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670419">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - June Baldwin remembers her teachers and guidance counselor at the Shipley School for Girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670420">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670421">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - June Baldwin talks about creating a scholarship at the Shipley School for Girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670422">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls attending the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670423">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers studying psychology at Stanford University in Stanford, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670424">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - June Baldwin talks about Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670425">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670426">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about the Black Power movement at Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670427">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670428">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - June Baldwin remembers her classmates and experiences at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670429">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - June Baldwin remembers her challenges at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670430">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls clerking for Judge Luther M. Swygert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670431">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her early legal career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670432">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her experiences at Morrison and Foerster LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670433">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls working for Silverberg, Rosen, Leon and Behr</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670434">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about joining Women In Film</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670435">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her entry into the entertainment industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670436">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her initial experiences at NBC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670437">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - June Baldwin recalls working on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670438">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - June Baldwin remembers the black television executives in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670439">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about Michael Jackson's award at the NAACP Image Awards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670440">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her proudest moments as a television business affairs executive</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670441">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - June Baldwin remembers working at Norman Lear's company, Act III Productions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670442">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about working for Quincy Jones Productions, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670443">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - June Baldwin recalls working with Aaron Spelling Productions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670444">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - June Baldwin remembers her music publishing venture with George Butler</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670445">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls working at United Paramount Network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670446">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - June Baldwin describes her work at Columbia TriStar Television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670447">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her position at KCET in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670448">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about the merger of KCET and Link TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670449">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - June Baldwin describes the growth and changes at KCETLink</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670450">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670451">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670452">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - June Baldwin shares her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670453">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - June Baldwin reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670454">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - June Baldwin reflects upon her legacy in the entertainment industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670455">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her dating life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670456">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670457">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - June Baldwin talks about her international travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670458">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/670459">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - June Baldwin narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria
Transcript
Well, tell us the Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] story.$$So obviously Shipley was a seminal event in my life. And for all of the, the challenges, I developed some wonderful friendships with a few girls there who are lifelong friends, like sisters. And they saw me; they--it didn't matter to them that I came from a different background or that I was black. And so they were my rocks, and we're still very, very close today. Also in 2003, Shipley gave me the distinguished alumna award, which was a huge shock to me because I had not had much contact at all with the school since I left. And I had an opportunity to tell my story, which I had never done. But I wanted them to know that I loved and appreciated the education that I got and that I saw it as a very positive thing. It was very difficult for my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris] to decide to send to me to Shipley. That was not something that we did in the black culture. You don't send your daughter off during her adolescent years to be part of a social experiment. And I'd never really realized how much that had weighed on my mother because, of course, that shaped the rest of my life. So they gave me the award, which was very lovely, and they honored and acknowledged my mother. And the school official said, "I don't think I would have had the courage to send my child away like that." And so I was very happy because although it's been my journey it was also my mother's. So fast forward, I ran into a Shipley classmate at Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California] whom I hadn't even been friends with at Stanford. Again, when I left Shipley I sort of didn't wanna have anything to do with Shipley. Fast forward, I run into this classmate, and she's a, a writer for The New York Times and she said, "I ha- it's great to see you. I have an idea and I'm wondering if you'd be interested." And the idea was to create a school sca- a class scholarship for an underprivileged girl of color. And she wondered if I thought that was a good idea, and if I would work with her on it. And I said oh, I think that's a great idea. So last May we went to our forty-fifth reunion, and we proposed this to the class, and that is what we're going to do. And sh- they have said that it was because of knowing me, and it was a time when their lives changed that that inspired her to want to do this scholarship. And so it just was so overwhelming for me to come out of the blue after all these years. Because I think when you make personal sacrifices--I mean I did it willingly and gratefully. I appreciated the opportunity. But at some point when you look at where race relations are today, and you say was it worth it--you know, was it worth it? And so this validates that. It was worth it. I mean, I decided it was worth it, but this is a, a, a really gratifying validation.$Now who was in the Panther [Black Panther Party] entourage, I guess, in Algeria besides Eldridge Cleaver?$$The names of the other people I don't know. I don't remember. What--I was very excited to be there. Eldridge Cleaver was extremely nice to me, very respectful. As I said he wanted to--me to stay on because I spoke French and be a translator. And I think as a result of my Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] experience and my own sense of identity, I had the big Afro, very much wanting to claim my identity, and wanting to have a quote, unquote revolutionary experience. I was a big supporter of the Panthers. You know, they were doing wonderful work; they were feeding children; they were educating children; they were providing healthcare services. I mean, they were being portrayed as terrorists, but they were doing many wonderful things. And they were just really seeking social justice for a lot of oppression that was going on. And so I wrote my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris]. I also was still interested in being the actor, so I had tried out for 'Hair' ['Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical']. There was a--in Marseille [France]. And I was finished with school [Stanford University, Stanford, California], and so I was a quarter ahead of myself because I had gone a year straight through. And I didn't wanna graduate early, so I wanted to stay in Europe for another three months. And I thought I'll try out for this play. Maybe I'll get this role. And then I went to Algeria and was asked to be the translator and it--and at first really wanted to do that. And so I said to him, "Well, you'll have to write my mother." And so he did, and my mother still has the letter in pale blue stationary with the Black Panther insignia that jumps out at you. And he wrote her a very nice letter asking permission for me to stay on for a couple of months and be a translator. And by day three, there used to be--everyone would be upstairs in a room and listening, talking, and the--there were concentric circles and I was in the second circle. And someone got up and went down to do kitchen duty, and I--who was in the first circle--and so I moved up to be in the first circle. And then the person came back, and I wasn't aware the person was going to come back, and so I said, "Oh, I'm sorry I took your seat." And he said, "Oh no, sister, you didn't take my seat; it's the people's seat." And in that moment I realized, hm, everything is communal here, and there weren't--there weren't any women. I wasn't seeing any women. And all of a sudden I realized, hm, I might become communal property (laughter) if I didn't affiliate or associate with someone. And of course that wasn't what I was wanting. You know, I was wanting to have this political experience. And so I decided that I didn't wanna stay, and so I did not. Meanwhile, I would have come--had I gone back--I would have still gone back to France and then come back. In the meantime, my mother got the letter, and she and my brother [William James] were quite horrified. And they admired the Panthers. It's not that they, they didn't, but they didn't want their daughter there in Algeria with--$$Now this is--$$--Eldridge Cleaver.$$I mean 'Soul on Ice' [Eldridge Cleaver] had been published in 1960 [1968]--well, I know I read it in '67 [1967], so it was already out. And he was--he made some remarks about women that weren't really very--$$Misogynistic.$$--encouraging.$$Yes, yes, but that's what I'm saying. That's what was so fascinating, because he was not like that at all with me. He was just this amazing gentleman and intelligent and just lovely, lovely. Now I was only there three days, but that was my experience. And when my mother decided--my brother was, "You tell her to get on a plane and come home." And my mother was like, "No, no, I'm just going to use the truth and, and add something." And so she told me she was going to have to have surgery, and she really would like me to be there for the surgery and so would I mind coming home. I still hadn't heard about the play. And she said, "And if you get in the play, then I'll send you back;" so I went home. And she was having surgery, but it wasn't, you know, as serious as I had thought (laughter), and they just wanted to get me home so. And then I did not get into the play so I did not go back.$$Now did you--did you happen to talk to Timothy Leary?$$No, I did not.$$Or see him even?$$I got a glimpse, but no.$$And was he (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They, they had him in a room. You know, we were staying at a hotel, and we would come over and be there during the days and the evenings.

Marcellus Alexander, Jr.

Television executive Marcellus Winston Alexander, Jr. was born on October 3, 1951 in Austin, Texas to Juanita Smith and Marcellus Alexander. In 1973, he graduated with his B.S. degree in speech and journalism from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

In 1982, Alexander was hired as a general sales manager at the then-American Broadcasting Company owned and operated station WRIF-FM in Detroit, Michigan. In 1984, he was promoted to vice president and general manager of WRIF-FM. Then, in 1986, Alexander helped organize an investor group that purchased WRIF from Cap Cities/ABC, while also serving as chief operating officer of Silver Star Communications in Detroit. From 1987 to 1989, he worked as station manager and acting general manager of KYW-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1989 until 1999, Alexander served as vice president and general manager of Baltimore, Maryland’s WJZ-TV, where he expanded the local news, brought back the Baltimore Orioles broadcasts, and through a network affiliation change, sustained WJZ’s market dominance. In 1999, Alexander returned to KYW as vice president and general manager, where he served until 2002. While at KYW, he improved the station's news product, revitalized sales and strengthened its ties to the community.

In 2002, Alexander was named executive vice president of television for the National Association of Broadcasters. His responsibilities included growing TV's membership, as well as overseeing the Futures Summit, Small Market Exchange, account executive webcasts and key events and sessions at the NAB Show. In 2004, Alexander was named president of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF).

Alexander has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Baltimore Urban League, the Advertising Association of Baltimore, the Kennedy Institute, and the Advertising and Professional Club. He has been a member of the National Association of Black Journalists since 1987. Alexander has also received many awards and honors for his work. In 1991, he received both the Distinguished Black Marylander Award from Towson State University, and the Humanitarian Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Association. In 1994, his alma mater presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award; and, in 1995, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Western Maryland College.

Marcellus Alexander was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 2, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.338

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/2/2013

Last Name

Alexander

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Winston

Schools

Texas State University

Del Valle High School

Lamar Elementary School

Pilot Knob School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marcellus

Birth City, State, Country

Austin

HM ID

ALE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

Eat An Elephant One Bite At A Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/3/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Short Description

Television executive Marcellus Alexander, Jr. (1951 - ) has worked in television and radio for over thirty years. He serves as executive vice president of television for the National Association of Broadcasters and as president of the NAB Education Foundation.

Employment

National Association of Broadcasters

KYW TV/CBS

WJZ TV

WRIF Radio

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120730">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcellus Alexander's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120731">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120732">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120733">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander describes his maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120734">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120735">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his mother's family's migration to Austin, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120736">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his mother's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120737">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120738">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander describes his father's childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120739">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his parents' relationship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120740">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander describes his father's childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120741">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marcellus Alexander considers which parent's disposition he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120742">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Marcellus Alexander lists his siblings and their birth order</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120743">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Marcellus Alexander describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120744">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Alexander Marcellus describes his responsibilities on the family farm in Creedmoor, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120745">Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Marcellus Alexander describes his elementary school experience in Creedmoor, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120407">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander describes the origin of Pilot Knob School's name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120408">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Del Valle, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120409">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander describes his desire to be a U.S. Navy pilot as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120410">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his strengths in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120411">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his extracurricular activities as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120412">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander talks about deciding to go to college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120413">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander describes his childhood talents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120414">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander describes television and radio in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120415">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander talks about integrating Del Valle Junior High School in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120416">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander recalls two influential grade school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120417">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander remembers an incidence of racial violence in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120418">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his senior year at Del Valle High School in Del Valle, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120419">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Marcellus Alexander describes his high school graduation night</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120420">Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his religious upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120421">Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Marcellus Alexander describes his focus on academics at Del Valle High School in Del Valle, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120422">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the history of Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120423">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander describes forming Umoja, a student organization at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120424">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander talks about forming a black student choir at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120425">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander describes President Lyndon Johnson's legacy at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120426">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander describes establishing a chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120427">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander talks about student body diversity at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120428">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander describes his leadership roles at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120429">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander remembers his influential history professor Dr. Poole</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120430">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander describes his decision to major in communications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120431">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his academic focus in college, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120432">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander talks about writing for the school paper and yearbook</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120433">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his academic focus in college, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120434">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Marcellus Alexander considers what he would have done differently in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120435">Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Marcellus Alexander describes working with the American Heart Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120436">Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the beginning of his broadcast radio career, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120437">Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the beginning of his broadcast radio career, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120438">Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his work ethic at WRIF radio in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120746">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander explains his sales technique at WRIF radio in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120747">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander recalls a memorable lunch with radio sales manager Ernie Fears</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120748">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander describes working as the general sales manager at WRIF radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120749">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his promotion to vice president of WRIF radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120750">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander talks about firing employees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120751">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander describes changes in the radio business between 1980 and 1985</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120752">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander describes the culture of Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120753">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander describes becoming CEO and part owner of WRIF radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120754">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander describes his experience working for Group W Television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120755">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander talks about 'The Mike Douglas Show'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120756">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander explains the Group W Television market</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120757">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Marcellus Alexander explains differences between radio and television station managing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120758">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the introduction of cable in the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120759">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the rivalry between local television and cable</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120453">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander talks about major league baseball broadcasting on WJZ-TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120454">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander describes assembling WJZ-TV's news helicopter, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120455">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander describes assembling WJZ-TV's news helicopter, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120456">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander describes his management style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120457">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander talks about adopting Northern High School in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120458">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander describes adopting Northern High School in Baltimore, Maryland, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120459">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander describes WJZ-TV's network transition from ABC to CBS, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120460">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the impact of the FOX television network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120461">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander describes WJZ-TV's network transition from ABC to CBS, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120462">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his colleagues at the WJZ news station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120463">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander explains how television and radio ratings are measured</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120464">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander explains the significance of television ratings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120465">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the longevity of local radio programming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120466">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander talks about returning to KYW-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120467">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcellus describes joining the National Association of Broadcasters as Vice President of Television, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120468">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander joining the National Association of Broadcasters as Vice President of Television, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120469">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander talks about existing issues in broadcast radio and television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120470">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the National Association of Broadcasters' membership and employees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120471">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander describes his responsibilities as the vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120472">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation for underrepresented people in media</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120473">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander explains the transition from analog television to digital television in 2009, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120474">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marcellus Alexander explains the transition from analog television to digital television in 2009, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120475">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the potential in digital television programming for minorities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120476">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the retransmission consent process in television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120477">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his ongoing enthusiasm for the television industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120478">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marcellus Alexander talks about the internet's impact on television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120479">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Marcellus Alexander reflects upon his professional legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120480">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Marcellus Alexander considers what he would have done differently in his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120481">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Marcellus Alexander shares his hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120482">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Marcellus Alexander talks about his children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120483">Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Marcellus Alexander talks about building his parents' home with his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120484">Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Marcellus Alexander thanks his family for helping to map out his family ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120485">Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Marcellus Alexander describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120486">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Marcellus Alexander narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

15$6

DATitle
Marcellus Alexander talks about the beginning of his broadcast radio career, pt. 1
Marcellus Alexander talks about existing issues in broadcast radio and television
Transcript
Now, at this point in time, were you thinking about sales at all?$$I was thinking about sales, but I've always felt and one of my philosophies has been, do the best you can with the job that you have and other opportunities will open up. So with this job that I just described, I go now to Michigan to the annual meeting of the Michigan Heart Association. Its chapter is probably about 200 people in the audience, and I'm in front of the room explaining what our public relations plan is from the National Center. In the audience, unbeknownst to me at the time, was the HR [human resources] manager for the ABC group of stations in Detroit [Michigan]. There was a television station that was owned by ABC Radio, AM and FM radio stations that were owned by ABC.$$Okay, now, is this WXYZ?$$WXYZ Television, WXYZ AM and WRIF Radio. After my presentation, the HR manager came up to me, and she said, I really enjoyed your presentation. And I have a couple of job opportunities I'd like to talk with you about. And so just some context, I'm based in Dallas [Texas], home of the then American's team, close to home in terms of Austin [Texas], and Detroit was cold and snowy and cold and more cold. In fact, the joke there was there're three seasons in Detroit, June, July and Winter. And it wasn't far off from that as I found out. But I had, with all those thoughts going on, I had the primary tape that was playing in my head from my mother who would say to me on numerous occasions, "Before you pass on an opportunity, at least check it out." So, long story short, the jobs that she had, there was one that was of appeal. It was a sales position, a sales trainee position, and I was, I felt like if you train me, I can do pretty much anything. If you invest the time and energy to train me, I can do anything. And so decided to move to Detroit, and take the sales trainee job at a WRIF Radio, which is a rock station, and that was the beginning of my broadcast career.$What are the major issues today?$$There're several. The keys ones on the television side are maintaining the retransmission consent structure, which is a structure that allows television stations and networks to be compensated by cable and pay TV services for carrying the programs that they do. And that's an extremely important revenue stream when it comes to local stations and networks being able to provide what viewers want. Cable has two revenue streams already. They have advertising revenue and they have subscription revenue. So they're able to in some cases, outbid broadcasters for, let's say the BCS [Bowl Championship Series] Championship Bowl or some sports programming. So to be able to provide that, those types of high-profile programs, we have to protect that retransmission consent structure.$$The retransmission consent structure would make it harder for cable operators to take that kind of programming away from--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Well, no, they have to--the way that it works is, at these negotiations, both parties, cable and broadcast, come to the table with something to lose. If you're on the broadcast side, you wanna make sure that your station, your network continues to be carried by the pay-TV providers because that's what you need to make your business model work. You have to have viewers. And you want as many of them as you can get. If you're on the cable side of it, you certainly need the good programming that broadcasters are investing in producing. And whether that's the NFL, the Super Bowl, the Oscars or local news, the cable system wants those channels, wants that programming for its customers because they know if they don't have it, then their customers are gonna go to another pay service to get that. They, they just have--(simultaneous)--$$Yeah, also shows like American Idol, I guess or Homicide and stuff--(simultaneous)--$$Exactly.$$--like that--(simultaneous)--$$Exactly.$$--that's produced by the networks.$$Correct. So both parties come to the table with something to lose, and in 99 percent of the time, there is an agreement reached without any viewer disruption. Of late, there's been an effort for, from the cable side, the pay-TV side, to create problems that then they want to go to congress and help to get a fix. And we've--obviously, are gonna fight that. So, but that's one of the key issues on the television side. We also, on the television side have, are looking at a next generation broadcast platform, a new standard from which we would broadcast television and all that goes into that. There's a lot of conversation around that that has to be discussed and sorted through. On the radio side, the big issue is the Performance Rights Act. This is, formerly, it's also called the Performance Tax. This is, radio stations--or actually, it's record labels wanting to have radio stations pay them when they play records. And that's not a business model that makes sense for radio. It's one that the marketplace is working at in a number of different ways, but those would be the top three issues right now for radio and television in our--in our business.

Paula Madison

Television executive and journalist Paula Williams Madison was born in Harlem, New York in 1952 to Elrick Williams and Nell Lowe Williams. She attended Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. Initially, Madison wanted to become an educator and spent her summers teaching inner-city youth about African American history. After high school, she received a scholarship to Vassar College and graduated with her B.A. degree in 1974.

Madison then moved to Syracuse, New York, where she became a graduate student at Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications and was hired as a reporter at the Syracuse Herald Journal. Her early career was spent as a newspaper reporter in New York and Texas, and as a television news manager and executive in Dallas, Tulsa, and Houston. Madison then returned to New York City as assistant news director at NBC4, and became the station’s vice president and news director in March of 1996. Shortly after, she took on a second role as senior vice president of diversity for NBC. In 2000, Madison was promoted to president and general manager of KNBC, making her the first African American woman to become a general manager of a top news network. She then stepped down from the diversity leadership role. When NBC purchased Telemundo, a Spanish-language network, Madison assumed responsibility for the newly acquired Telemundo stations in Los Angeles, California. In 2007, Madison was appointed executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBC Universal. The parent company, GE, named her a company officer and vice president.

Madison has served in many organizations during her career. In addition to being named chairman and CEO of the Los Angeles Sparks, she also became a member of the WNBA Board of Governors. Madison is a board member of Greater Los Angeles United Way, a past chairman of the California Science Center Foundation, vice chair of National Medical Fellowships and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation. In 2013, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed her a commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Madison has received many awards, including the Ida B. Wells award from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in 1998, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations in 1999, and the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation in 2000. In 2005, Madison was named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine and was included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100.” In 2010, she received the NABJ Legacy Award, was named to Ebony magazine’s 2013 Power 100 List, and received the Pinnacle Award from the Houston Association of Black Journalists.

Madison and her husband, Roosevelt Madison, live in Los Angeles, California.

Paula Williams Madison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 19, 2013 and July 21, 2017.

Accession Number

A2013.327

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/19/2013

07/21/2017

Last Name

Madison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Vassar College

Cardinal Spellman High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Paula

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAD05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

China, Africa

Favorite Quote

Mules work hard, race horses work smartly

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/24/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Television executive and journalist Paula Madison (1952 - ) was named vice president and news director of WNBC in 1996 and named president and general manager of KNBC in 2000, making her the first African American woman to become a general manager of a network-owned station in a Top 5 market. Madison also serves as partner in Williams Group Holdings LLC, and as chairman and CEO of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Employment

Los Angeles Sparks

Williams Capital Group, LLC

NBC

KNBC

Favorite Color

White

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54498">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paula Madison's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54499">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paula Madison lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54500">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54501">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paula Madison discusses her mother's Chinese ancestry and her search for her Chinese relatives, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54502">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paula Madison talks about her search for her Chinese relatives, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54503">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paula Madison describes the culture of her Chinese ancestors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54504">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paula Madison describes her Chinese heritage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54505">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about visiting the museum in her ancestral Chinese village and her family's educational philosophy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54506">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paula Madison talks about well known individuals of Chinese descent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54507">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paula Madison describes class hierarchy and race mixing in twentieth century Jamaica</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54508">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paula Madison talks about how the marriage of Michael Manley, former Jamaican prime minister, influenced her pride in her race</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54509">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paula Madison describes the origins of Jamaica's Maroon culture, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54510">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes the origins of Jamaica's Maroon culture, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54511">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paula Madison compares Rastafarian religion and Maroon culture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54512">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paula Madison discusses her mother's upbringing and immigration to the United States in the 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54513">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paula Madison talks about her paternal grandfather's occupation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54514">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paula Madison discusses her father's background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54515">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paula Madison discusses her father's background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54516">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paula Madison talks about her father's occupation and his influence on her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54517">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about her father's relationship with his stepmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54518">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes how Jamaican culture influenced her to build wealth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54519">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paula Madison describes how her parents met in Jamaica</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54520">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paula Madison talks about her parents' marriage and separation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54521">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pala Madison describes growing up with parents who were separated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54522">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paula Madison talks about her parents' personalities and her childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54523">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54524">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paula Madison remembers the year she traveled to Jamaica with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54525">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about visiting Jamaica with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54526">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paula Madison recalls challenging her father's colonialist mentality, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54527">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paula Madison recalls challenging her father's colonialist mentality, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54528">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paula Madison describes early childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54529">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paula Madison describes how her daughter influenced her natural hairstyle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54530">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paula Madison shares a few details about her brother Elrick Mortimer Williams, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54531">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paula Madison talks about her brother Howard Courtney Williams</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54532">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paula Madison discusses her schooling and learning to read at an early age</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54533">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paula Madison talks about her mother's protective nature</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54534">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paula Madison describes what type of student she was in grammar school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54535">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paula Madison discusses how school shaped her leadership abilities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54536">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paula Madison remembers the assassination of Malcom X</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54537">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paula Madison talks about high school in detail</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54538">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paula Madison discusses how her background shaped her views toward school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54539">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paula Madison describes experiences with class and race issues pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54540">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paula Madison Paula Madison describes experiences with class and race issues, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/54541">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Paula Madison discusses how her mother's love of news media shaped her career path</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Paula Madison describes how her daughter influenced her natural hairstyle
Paula Madison describes experiences with class and race issues pt. 1
Transcript
But there was, I know, there was a movement in New York in the late '50s [1950s] they had the grand (unclear) models and other things in Harlem [New York City]. I mean, other groups of--some of the I think largely West Indians and Africans--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$They'd wear their hair natural but they didn't--what we today--I find it so, it's a political word, it's politically charged. I said to a young woman a few weeks ago--I talked about my fro, my afro and she said no it's a natural and I said no it's not. I said it is not. Maybe for you it's a natural; for me it's an afro and I'm not going to start flipping the word to something else that is, what? More palatable? My hair is in the fashion of an afro and that's how it will be until forever. But that's not how it always was. And my mother didn't know what to do with my hair and as I said hair for me was always like--it wasn't the--boy, I wished I had my mother's [Nell Williams] hair which draped down her back. I came at it from a different way. Like why won't you even learn how to do my hair? So eventually she did when it was long enough for her to be able to manipulate. But when my daughter [Imani] was born my daughter had short hair. And one day, she was about three or four years old, my daughter was--I had just washed my hair and I had twisted it and then I just let it drape down and my daughter was patting my hair and my mother was living with us at the time and my daughter was patting my hair. And she--mommy when is my hair going to be like yours? And I said your hair is like mine. No it's not, I want my hair like yours and I said your hair is like mine. No it's not; I said it is I promise you it is and then the next day I went out cut it all off and I had short hair.$$Cut yours?$$I cut my hair off and I had short hair that in absent being washed and conditioned and twisted which helped it stay straight. My hair texture was similar to my daughter's and when she saw my hair she was beaming, she was beaming which is an experience that I never had with my mother and my hair and her hair. When my mother was there, my mother looked at me and she said what have you done? Now this was not the first time I cut all my hair off, I did it when I was seventeen and got a fro; but my hair at that point had been kept so straight naturally that I had to put vinegar in it to--that's what they used to do back then. They'd put vinegar in it which actually kind of destroys and splits the ends and all but it got bushy. My mother was appalled, mortified, so mad at me when I did it when I was sixteen. When I did it again when my daughter was about four that would have made me like twenty six. She thought I had lost my mind, told me I looked like a pick-ninny, which is the Jamaican pronunciation for pickaninny, and that's when my mother and I had a really tough conversation. I don't know if it was a conversation. It was probably one sided with me saying to her that my daughter was not going to grow up with you making comments about her hair the way you made comments about mine. My daughter hair is beautiful and she's going to believe her hair is beautiful. My mother just kissed her teeth and walked away. And today my daughter completely shaves her head; she started shaving her head when she was in college. We--my husband and I encouraged her to do it; she continued through medical school. When I suggested to her that when you are working with cadavers and you have to--that smell might stay but I wanted my daughter to shave her head. She's got a beautiful head and a stunning long neck. So she's probably been shaving her head now for I don't know, fifteen years maybe.$But there was a period, I believe it was 1966 or '67 [1967] when the then mayor of New York [City], John Lindsay in order to balance the budget decided that he was going to cut library, public library hours. So instead of library being open seven days a week, I think it went to maybe five and a half days a week. And I used to live in the library. I mean I lived in the library. In order to keep myself interested and I--let's say I was a little more advanced than the kids who were in my grammar school [St. Rosa of Lima Roman Catholic School], I spent forever in the library. So I was crushed, you know that library hours are truncated. By this time we lived on 110th Street [New York City, New York], we'd moved from-in my freshman year in high school we moved from 164th Street, Amsterdam Avenue between 163rd and 164th. We moved to 110th Street between Manhattan and Columbus, and it was a whole different library and it just felt weird. So I didn't spend that much time in the library anymore. But we were having a current events class, history, Sister William Mary and on a particular day it was history class but same day every week it would be current events days. So you had to bring stuff out of the newspaper. Things we were going to discuss and one kid brought--one girl brought this business with the library hours and it started this entire discussion around how unfair it was that the library hours were cut and the mayor could have cut something else and he should have cut something else and it went on and on and on and of course, okay. And then the topic of people who are on welfare came up, you know and those people on welfare he should have cut those people from welfare. The people on welfare we all know the people have cars, you know they have--they're taking money from us and they have Cadillacs and they blah, blah, blah. And it just went on and on and on. And now I'm just kind of sitting there, listening. Usually I am a participant in class discussions but I really just wanted to listen to this. So in that class that had maybe twenty five students, all girls there might have been three or four of us who were Black, maybe one Latina. The difficulty in engaging in that conversation would be that you know it was welfare code word for Black people. So I just listened and when it was all over and the bordering on disgusting things that were being said about people on welfare, I let it all happen and then I raised my hand. Yes Paula, Sister I just have a question, does anybody in here know anyone on welfare? No, it's like recoiling, us no. Sister, yes, I'm on welfare. And I just let it hang in the air and I said so I want to tell you what it's like at least for me and I went on to explain how social worker would show up, case worker would show up. Pick a time; I want to see if my mother's got a man in her apartment, looking for men's clothes, men's toiletries, men's something, evidence of a man; no man. I told them how, yeah I go to midnight mass at Christmas that's right after we've gone to get the bedraggled, scrawny Christmas tree because we can't afford to buy one. That's how I grew up not buying a Christmas tree. Now the sobbing starts, now oh my God I--but we didn't know and it just--now it's like--and I said there is something about Christianity and charitable people that I think is missing here. And I'm looking at the nun because I'm thinking why didn't you say something? But it was a piling on. By the time current events was over, they're sobbing (unclear); it's like, you know what side eye. Sister William Mary asked me to stay after class for a moment and she asked me if I would be willing--would you please come back this afternoon for my class this afternoon, we'll discuss this in current events and I'd like for you to tell them your story. Sister God didn't put me on this planet to teach white people what it's like to be poor and Black, I said you didn't stop any portion of that conversation and you want me to come to your class this afternoon to help your students, right? She didn't say anything; I said who is going to take my biology class for me when I'm here teaching your kids, your white students about my life. I said no I'm not coming back, no and I'm not here as an experiment for you. Turned around and walked out. I won't even begin to tell you that all of high school was like that because it wasn't but oh boy there were instances, there absolutely were.

Winifred Neisser

Television executive Winifred White Neisser received her B.A. degree with honors from Harvard University’s Radcliffe College in 1974. She received her M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Lesley College. Neisser also completed further graduate work in Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Upon graduation, Neisser was hired at NBC where she headed several major divisions. While there, she served as Vice President of Family Programming, Director of Movies for Television and Vice President of Television Movies, NBC Productions. As vice president of family programming at NBC, Neisser oversaw special programming for children and families, including the award-winning miniseries titled, “Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.” Neisser then joined Sony Pictures Television where she served as Senior Vice President of Movies for Television and Miniseries.

Neisser has served on the board of directors for several academic and non-profit institutes. At Harvard University, Neisser was appointed to the Harvard Board of Overseers as well as the Radcliffe Institute’s Advisory Board. She served as Trustee on the board of the Otis College of Design and The Center for Early Education. Neisser was a member of the Television Academy’s Board of Governors for several years. She also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood and the National Guild of Community Arts Schools.

Neisser’s award-winning projects include “A Raisin in the Sun” for ABC, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards and won the Humanitas Award; “Broken Trail,” a western for AMC, which won four Emmy Awards including “Best Miniseries”; “The Company,” a miniseries about the CIA which won the DGA Award and the WGA Award; “Having Our Stay: The Delaney Sisters First 100 Years,” which won a Christopher Award and a Peabody Award; “The Crossing” for the Arts and Entertainment Channel (A & E), which won the Peabody award; “The Beach Boys: An American Family,” which was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Best Miniseries; and “Call me Claus,” a Christmas movie which starred Whoopi Goldberg and featured music by Garth Brooks.

Neisser is married to Ken Neisser. They live in Los Angeles and have two children, Nick and Alexis.

Winifred White Neisser was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.299

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/17/2013

Last Name

Neisser

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

White

Schools

Radcliffe College

Homestead High School

Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary

Lesley University

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Winifred

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

NEI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Use Common Sense

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/23/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Television executive Winifred Neisser (1953 - ) served as Vice President of Movies and Miniseries and Vice President of Family Programming for NBC Productions, and went on to become Senior Vice President of Movies for Television and Miniseries for Sony Pictures Television.

Employment

Sony Pictures Television (Columbia Tri-Star Television)

NBC

WMTV

Caribbean School

Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639913">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Winifred Neisser's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639914">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639915">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639916">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her maternal grandfather's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639917">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her maternal grandparents' move to Indianapolis, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639918">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser talks about her maternal family's emphasis on education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639919">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639920">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser talks about how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639921">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser recalls her parents' decision to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639922">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639923">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes her mother's community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639924">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639925">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639926">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser remembers Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin].</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639927">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639928">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639929">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her experiences at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639930">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her academic and extracurricular involvement in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639931">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes her early exposure to black media</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639932">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about her early experiences of religion, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639933">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser talks about her early experiences of religion, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639934">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser remembers her college applications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639935">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser recalls her start at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639936">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls her start at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639937">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her experiences at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639938">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her extracurricular activities at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639939">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser remembers hearing Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and Alice Walker speak at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639940">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about the black student movement at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639941">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser remembers the influential figures at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639942">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser recalls her graduation from Radcliffe College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639943">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser remembers teaching at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639944">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser remembers teaching at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639945">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Puerto Rico, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639946">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Puerto Rico, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639947">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser talks about her transition to the broadcast industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639948">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser recalls her work at WMTV-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639949">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser recalls her work at WMTV-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639950">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639951">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser recalls working with Phyllis Tucker Vinson Jackson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639952">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her work as NBC's vice president of family programming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639953">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser talks about her collaboration with Jim Henson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639954">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls her transition to the television movie division of NBC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639955">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her role in the Danielle Steel movie franchise</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639956">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes the changes in the television industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639957">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser talks about the regulations on broadcast networks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639958">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser remembers joining Columbia TriStar Pictures</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639959">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639960">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639961">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser remembers producing 'Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639962">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls producing 'Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639963">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser remembers producing 'Broken Trail'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639964">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser talks about the importance of stories that resist racial stereotypes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639965">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser describes her current projects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639966">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Winifred Neisser talks about Amy Biehl, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639967">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser talks about Amy Biehl, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639968">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes what she may do in the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639969">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about African Americans in broadcast media</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639970">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes a story that she likes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639971">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her advice to aspiring broadcasters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639972">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639973">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639974">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639975">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639976">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser talks about balancing life and work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639977">Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Winifred Neisser describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639978">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 2
Winifred Neisser remembers joining Columbia TriStar Pictures
Transcript
Yeah, so here we were, so we were moving into foreign territory. Now, you know, I was twelve years old and I didn't wanna move anyway 'cause all my friends were back in Milwaukee [Wisconsin]; I had gone to the same school from kindergarten through eighth grade; most of my friends in school were going off the Rufus King [Rufus King High School; Rufus King International High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin], so I was like, if they can do it why can't I? And my parents [Winifred Parker White and Walter White, Sr.] said well, you're not old enough. You're not old enough to understand why we--why we're making this move, and we promise that we will bring you back to visit your friends in Milwaukee. Now the drive from Milwaukee to Mequon [Wisconsin] is about fifteen minutes, but to me it was like moving to the moon because it was so different. And, and, and I didn't wanna do it, and I didn't even know what my parents were going through because they really kept it--kept it very quiet from, from us. The, the first real inkling that I got that we were moving into hostile territory was when we actually moved into the house, and my mother said to us, "Don't answer the phone," (laughter). And (unclear), "What are you talking about don't answer the phone?" She said, "I'm--until I tell you differently, do not answer the telephone." So--and it was because they were getting all kinds of threatening phone calls from people. So we moved in the middle of the school year--or not in the middle but towards the end of the school year. We mu--we must have moved in March or April, and my mother drove us into Milwaukee everyday so we could continue--so we could finish our school years at Philipps School [Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin]. And, and, and the only reason I bring this up is because, even though there were the neighbors who were hostile and, and nasty, one day towards the end of the school year my mother locked her car keys inside the house just as she was supposed to come and pick us up. And so she, she didn't know what to do in the days before cell phones and all of that. So she went--she went to our next door neighbor, who was actually a Jewish doctor, who was actually very nice, Dr. Finkelstein [ph.]. He wasn't home. So then she went to the next house, and she knocked on the door. And this is a woman she actually didn't know very well, and her name was Mrs. Kenop [ph.]. And she explained her situation to Mrs. Kenop, and Mrs. Kenop said--she--and my--and my mother said, if you could just call my husband and tell him that he needs to go pick up the children, or if you would let me come in and I would, you know, call him. I just need somebody to know that I can't get there. And Mrs. Kenop said, "Take my car," and gave my mother the keys to her car. So I re- I have--I just have this very vivid memory of standing there waiting for my mother and my mother driving up and going, "Where did you get this car?" It wasn't a particularly nice car, but it was--it was not her car. And that was--and that was one of the first signs to the family that things were gonna be okay, that there were--there were really decent people in the neighborhood who were, you know, willing to help us out. And, and, and things did sort of start to turn around a little bit after that.$Your career at NBC basically ends in '95 [1995], is that--?$$ Yeah, basically NBC Productions went through a major restructuring. The people that had hired me and put me in that position were replaced, and they didn't fire me. They actually said, "What would you like to," you know, "would you like to stay on or would you like to leave?" But I realized I was kind of out of sync with this new group that was there, and at this point I had two kids. I had--let's see; this was, like, the end of '94 [1994], so Nick [Nicholas Neisser] was two and Alexis [Alexis Neisser] was four. And I thought: I don't mind taking a little time off here and regrouping and trying to figure out what I wanna do next. So I said--so I came to the end of my time there, and I was really planning on taking time off. And went to a cocktail party for a friend of mine who was an agent, and--I, I can't remember if she was being promoted or something. And I ran into a woman who worked at what was then Columbia TriStar [Columbia TriStar Television] and who had been my--who had sold movies to me. The--basically, when you were at the network, there were certain producers--you were assigned certain producers and they would always bring their projects to you. And this woman and I had worked on a few projects together, and I ran into her at this cocktail party--Helen Verno. And she said, "What are you up to?" Because since I'd been at NBC Productions I hadn't been dealing with, with her anymore because we were now competitors. And I said, "Oh, I'm just leaving NBC Productions," and she said, "Oh, my god, my development person is just leaving. Would you think of--would you consider coming to work for me?" So I was--my leave of absence was I think three weeks before I was back (laughter) working again. And I went to work at what was then Columbia. This was before Sony [Sony Pictures Entertainment] bought the studio.$$Okay, okay, all right, so, so at Columbia, which, which becomes Sony later on--$$ Right.$$Yeah--$$ Now I will say that part of way that I did--part of the reason I took the job was because she said to me--you know, she said, "I don't think I can pay you what NBC was paying you." And I said, "Well, look, I was really planning on taking time off, so if you tell me I can go home every night at six o'clock and, and that you're not going to ask questions if I take off to go on a fieldtrip at my kids' school, and give me, you know, a certain amount of flexibility, then I don't mind working for less money." It wasn't that much less, but it was still less. And she said, "Fine," and so that was--that was my compromise of going back to work.$$Okay, that was a good move for--$$ It was. It, it actually was--it was a great move. And it turned--and you know, and it was just lucky that the studio was ten minutes from my house, so (laughter). Whereas NBC had been like a forty-five minute commute.