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Donnie McClurkin

Gospel singer and pastor Donnie McClurkin was born on November 9, 1959 in Copiague, New York to Donald McClurkin, Sr. and Frances McClurkin. McClurkin joined the choir at Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle. At the age of fifteen, he became a member of Benny Cummings and the King’s Temple Choir. McClurkin attended Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School.

McClurkin formed the McClurkin Singers with his older sisters and a neighbor; and in 1983, the group performed with the Tri-Boro Mass Choir, led by Albert Jamison, who introduced McClurkin to gospel singer James Cleveland, who became a mentor to McClurkin. McClurkin made annual visits to Los Angeles, California to sing with Cleveland at Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church. From 1987 to 1989, McClurkin sang in the chorus for the Broadway production of Don't Get God Started, which debuted at the Longacre Theatre in New York City. In 1989, McClurkin moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he and Pastor Marvin L. Winans co-founded Perfecting Church. With the choir, McClurkin recorded the songs “Speak to My Heart” and “We Worship You.” After signing with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., McClurkin released his first self-titled solo album in 1996, which gospel singer and mentor Andrae Crouch helped to produce. In the late 1990s, McClurkin wrote songs for the animated film The Prince of Egypt, and signed a publishing contract with The Walt Disney Company. He also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and performed at the Grammy and Stellar Awards. His second album, Live in London and More, was number one on the U.S. Gospel Chart for more than forty weeks after its release in 2000.

McClurkin was ordained as a pastor by Marvin L. Winans in 2001. That same year, he established Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, which started as a small bible study group. His weekly radio program, The Donnie McClurkin Show, debuted in 2006, and went on to broadcast in over seventy-five markets. From 2010 to 2015, McClurkin appeared as a judge on five seasons of BET’s Sunday Best. His discography includes Again (2003), Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (2004), We Are All One (Live in Detroit) (2008), Duets (2014), and The Journey (Live) (2016).

McClurkin released his autobiography Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor in 2001; and was the subject of the subsequent biographical documentary From Darkness to Light: The Donnie McClurkin Story in 2004. McClurkin had a cameo role in the film The Fighting Temptations, and starred alongside actors Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba in the movie The Gospel in 2005. His weekly television program Perfecting Your Faith began airing on The Word Network in 2009. McClurkin collaborated often with gospel singers Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams, including on the Hopeville tour, and received numerous awards for his music, including multiple Grammy, Stellar, Dove, and NAACP Image Awards.

Donnie McClurkin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 6, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/6/2016 |and| 10/08/2016

Last Name

McClurkin

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School

Deauville Gardens Elementary School

Copiague Middle School

First Name

Donnie

Birth City, State, Country

Copiague

HM ID

MCC19

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

No Is As Good An Answer As Yes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/9/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Jamaican

Short Description

Gospel singer and pastor Donnie McClurkin (1959 - ) released multiple successful gospel albums, including Donnie McClurkin and Live in London and More. He also founded and served as senior pastor of the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York.

Employment

Perfecting Church

Various

Perfecting Faith Church

The Gospel

"Donnie McClurkin Show"

BET

Favorite Color

Black, but according to my mood

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donnie McClurkin's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's upbringing in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's church community

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin talks about how his maternal grandmother coped with her rape

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his neighborhood in Amityville, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donnie McClurkin describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about buying his paternal grandfather's property

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls visiting his paternal relatives in Chester, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls being called a racial slur in kindergarten

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers celebrating Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing his first church solo

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his mother's parenting methods

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his father, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his father, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the death of his younger brother, Thomas McClurkin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his experience of childhood sexual abuse

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his family's move after his brother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his religious conversion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his early relationship with God

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls meeting Andrae Crouch

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes Andrae Crouch's career as a gospel singer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his friendship with Andrae Crouch

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his commitment to the church

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his introduction to songwriting

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his first musical performance

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls forming the McClurkin Singers

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his experiences of bullying

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing for James Cleveland, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing for James Cleveland, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls being offered a contract with Savoy Records

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls singing at the Democratic National Convention and the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his experiences in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin recalls struggling with his sexuality, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls struggling with his sexuality, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donnie McCLurkin recalls changing his lifestyle after his spiritual awakening

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin recalls how his sisters helped him with his sexuality

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin shares his views on homosexuality

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin describes his attitude toward homosexuality as a pastor, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin describes his attitude toward homosexuality as a pastor, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin shares a biblical story

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his religious philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his leukemia diagnosis

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his first performance at the Grammy Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls signing a recording contract with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes the success of his debut album

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers singing 'The Prayer' with Yolanda Adams

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin recalls writing songs for The Walt Disney Company

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls signing a recording contract with Verity Records

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the success of his album, 'Live in London and More'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about contemporary gospel artists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon his awards and accolades

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his son, Matthew McClurkin

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his adopted daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls founding the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his book, 'Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor'

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the importance of mental healthcare in the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Donnie McClurkin's interview, session 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes his early musical influences

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes his family's musical taste

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the television programs of his youth

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes his favorite musical groups of the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes his musical inspiration

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers the inspiration for his song, 'Stand'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with God, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with God, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin talks about struggling with desire

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Donnie McClurkin shares his views on social labels

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his role in 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his audition for 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the Broadway production of 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin remembers befriending Marvin Winans

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes the cast of 'Don't Get God Started'

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin describes the community of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes the history of gospel music in California

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes the musical success of the Winans family

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the famous gospel singers from Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes the Perfecting Church in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin describes the services at the Perfecting Church

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes the community programs of the Perfecting Church

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin describes the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls founding the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin remembers the support of Charles E. Blake, Sr.

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin remembers his challenges at the Perfecting Faith Church

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin describes the growth of the Perfecting Faith Church

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his social media presence

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin recalls the responses to his book, 'Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor'

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his personal relationships

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin describes his friendship with Yolanda Adams

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about 'The Donnie McClurkin Story: From Darkness to Light'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his appearance in 'The Fighting Temptations'

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls performing in the Hopeville gospel tour

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin describes his work as an actor

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about 'The Donnie McClurkin Show'

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the Donnie TV multimedia website

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin recalls his role as a judge on BET's 'Sunday Best'

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his support for emerging musical artists

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his role as a father

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes his relationship with his son

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin recalls introducing his son to his fiancee

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the importance of community activism

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the future of gospel music

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Donnie McClurkin describes the problems with recording contracts

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Donnie McClurkin talks about his skill as an actor

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Donnie McClurkin shares a message to young African American men, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Donnie McClurkin describes the racial history of the United States

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Donnie McClurkin reflects upon the recent police shootings

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Donnie McClurkin shares a message to young African American men, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Donnie McClurkin talks about the importance of interfaith cooperation

Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Donnie McClurkin talks about President Donald John Trump

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$9

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Donnie McClurkin recalls meeting Andrae Crouch
Donnie McClurkin recalls his audition for 'Don't Get God Started'
Transcript
You're a little boy. You taught yourself how to play piano?$$No, Frances [Frances McClurkin]--$$No?$$--Frances taught--$$Ah.$$--Donnie [HistoryMaker Donnie McClurkin] how to play the piano.$$Okay. Your, your mother?$$My mother.$$Right okay so that's not right.$$Yeah, my mom taught me basics on the piano. And I always had one finger on one hand, two fingers on the other, three fingers on this one, yeah, we progressed from one finger on this to three fingers on this one. And then a man by the name of Andrae Crouch came into our lives by way of music. And I was nine years old when I heard the first record from Andrae Crouch and it's, it was Andrae Crouch and The Disciples. And man, I, oh, I was in love with it, all of the songs, (singing) "Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him there is no other, Jesus is the way" ['Jesus is the Answer']. I was in love with this guy. And I would, I took the speakers those, those big, you know, three, and three foot speakers and turned them to face each other and laid my head in between them on the floor, and just be at the concert, be in the, be in the recording. And he came to our church, Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica, Queens [New York], and my mother had moved to that church. And I begged her, "Can we go to the concert?" And she said, "Yes." It was on a, like a week, like a, like a Tuesday night in October. And we went and, and, and his sister, Sandra [Sandra Crouch] had on makeup and pants (gasping) oh, my god. The strict Pentecostal, the denomination I was raised in, makeup and pants on a woman, that was, that was anathema, that was a curse. I couldn't stop staring at her. And then they sang and I'm, I knew every song. And he went into the back study with the pastor and everybody left the sanctuary, we turned the lights off, there was one light over the pulpit and I sat and my mother said, "Donnie, you gotta come on 'cause you got school tomorrow." I said, "Mommy, please let me stay," he went in that room. And she heard something again and she said, "Okay, but you gotta promise to get up for school," like I had a choice.$$(Laughter).$$And I sat there and finally he came out of the office and saw me sitting there and said, "Hey, little guy, what are you doing sitting here?" I said, "I was waiting for you." He said, "Well, what's your name?" I said, "Donnie." He said, "My name is Andrae." I said, "I know." And he said, "Well, are you born again?" Now, this man in his twenties is talking to an eleven year old, "Are you born again?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "I, I was born again at nine." I said, "I know, me too." I was, I was so enamored. He said, "Well, do you sing?" I said, "No." "Do you play the piano?" I said, "No." He said, "I didn't play either, my father [Benjamin Crouch, Sr.] laid hands on me when I was eleven years old and that's how I got the gift to play." I said, "I'm eleven but my father [Donald McClurkin, Sr.] can't pray for me 'cause he's not born again." And Andrae said, "Do you mind if I pray for you?" And he laid his hands on my head and said, "God give him what you gave to me," patted my face and walked away, and that's how I got all this. Amazing. That's how, and he became a mentor of mine and then he became a friend of mine and then I was able, I was able to minister with him and to him until he passed away a year and a half ago.$And we're walking out and while we're walking out and I'm dejected, I'm just heartbroken. A guy named Stanley Brown comes in, he says, "Oh, my god, we were just talking about you. We were just talking about you." I said, "Who?" He said, "Me and Marvin Winans." I just dropped him off at the Milford Plaza [Milford Plaza Hotel; Row NYC Hotel] in Manhattan [New York, New York], we were just talking about you." And well, Stanley wasn't really the most credible guy at the time, sorry, Stanley. And, and I was saying, "Yeah, okay, tell him I said hi." I'm trying to get out 'cause I'm so embarrassed. People had stopped and we're talking, he runs to the pay phone, this is in 1987, he runs to the pay phone, he comes back, taps me on the shoulder and says, "Marvin Winans is on the phone." I go to the pay phone, pay phone, and surely it's Marvin Winans. And, "Oh, oh, man, oh, man I forgot all about you. Listen what are you doing tomorrow?" I said, "What?" "What are you doing tomorrow?" You know, we did small talk. I said, "I gotta go to work." He said, "You and your sister," my sister, how did he know my sister was with me? "You and your sister go down to Lafayette Street in Greenwich Village [New York, New York] tomorrow." "For what?"$$(Laughter).$$"Look, just go down there, just take off from work." Now, we're not that close but he, I'm so timid he intimidated me.$$And what was your job at this point?$$I was working at import export at Kennedy Airport [John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, New York].$$(Laughter).$$And Andrea [Andrea McClurkin-Mellini] was working at some agency, I forget the name of the agency. And I said we, I came back and said, "Well, that was Marvin Winans, we gotta take off work tomorrow." "I'm not taking off work."$$(Laughter).$$"We have to take off work, he said we have to take off work." I don't know how (laughter) he had the power over us he did, you know. Darn you, Marvin Winans. And we took off the next day and we went down to Greenwich Village, went to Lafayette Street. We go to the address and we walk in there's three hundred people in there, and they're all, and we walk in and we saw someone that we knew, Monique Walker. She said, "What y'all doing here?" I said, "Well, Marvin Winans told us to come down here." She said, "Oh, you're in the right place." And I said, "Well, what is this?" "It's for a Broadway show." I said, "Oh, absolutely not. No, let's go Andrea 'cause we can't do Broadway. The Bible says we can't do Broadway," because the Bible said, "broad is the way that leads to destruction, that's a scripture, broad is the way that leads to destruction, to destruction and many there are that follow it." [Matthew 7:13] So, me being that ultra-religious guy, "We can't do Broadway because the Bible says, 'broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are that follow it.' Let's go, let's go." And we're walking to the door, get to the door, this little short lady with no neck named Samantha [ph.] who is a, who is a chronic smoker, small, small Jewish lady named Samantha. She comes and says, "Is there a soprano here?" So, everybody raises their hand, 'cause everybody wanted a part in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Sure.$$--the play ['Don't Get God Started'] 'cause this is Broadway, this ain't off-Broadway, this ain't off, off, Broadway, this is Broadway. And we're walking out and the lady points through three hundred people and says to Andrea, "You, at the door, are you a soprano?" And Monique says, "Yeah, she's a soprano." "Could you come with me?" I'm saying, "Andrea, when you're finished let's go, we gotta go." And they come back, they get me and ask me to come into the room 'cause I'm, they need me to play a song for her. I played the song and then the, the, the music director said, "Okay, now, you sing for us too." I sang, he said, "Well, you can wait outside." I said, "No, no, we're not waiting outside, Andrea, come on, we have to go." And the music director got mad, his name was Steven Ford, he said, "You can step outside, I'm not finished with her." I said, "She's finished, let's go." "What is your name?" I said, "My name is Donnie." He said, "Donnie what?" I said, "[HistoryMaker] Donnie McClurkin." "Oh, my god, you got the job. You've got the job. Marvin Winans told me you were coming, I'm so sorry, you got the job. You and your sister report back here next week." "For what?"$$(Laughter).$$So, the next week we had to go back down and there were thirty. And then the next week we had to go back again, and there were twelve, that was the twelve that made the cut. And this guy, Barry Hankerson, who was a major, major manager back then in the day, Gladys Knight, what's the girl that died in the plane accident? Aish-$$Aaliyah.$$Aaliyah, yeah, Aaliyah. He was everybody's manager. And that's how we got the part to the Broadway play--

Bobby Jones

Gospel vocalist and television host Bobby Jones was born on September 18, 1938 in Henry County, Tennessee. He excelled academically, graduating from high school at age fifteen and Tennessee State University at age nineteen, where he received his B.S. degree in elementary education. Jones went on to receive his M.Ed. degree from Tennessee State University and his Ed.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. He also graduated from Payne’s Theological Seminary with his Th.D. degree.

Jones taught elementary students in the St. Louis Public Schools from 1959 to 1965, and Nashville Metropolitan Schools from 1966 to 1968. He then became a textbook consultant for McGraw Hill Publishers and worked as an instructor at Tennessee State University from 1974 to 1986. As a teacher, Jones helped develop the idea for a Black Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. During that effort, he introduced the pilot for what became “Bobby Jones Gospel” to WSM-TV in Nashville. WSM-TV picked up the show and it ran in Nashville from 1976 to 1980. Jones also created, produced and hosted “Bobby Jones’ World,” a magazine-style show that ran from 1978 to 1984.

In 1980, Black Entertainment Television premie`red “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest continuously running original series on cable television, where Jones serves as host and executive producer. Jones then produced the show “Video Gospel,” which premiered on BET in 1986. He went on to produce and host a number of other shows, including The Word Television Network’s "Bobby Jones Gospel Classics" and "Bobby Jones Presents,” the BET Gospel Network’s "Let's Talk Church,” and The Gospel Channel’s “Gospel Vignettes” and “Bobby Jones Next Generation”. He has also hosted “The Bobby Jones Radio Show” and “The Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown,” which have aired on The Sheridan Gospel Radio Network. Jones has toured with the musical group, New Life; he oversees The Nashville Super Choir; and, for twenty-four years, was host of “The Dr. Bobby Jones International Gospel Industry Retreat.” He has opened his own production studio in Nashville, and is an instructor at Nova Southeastern University.

Jones’ discography includes "Sooner or Later" (1978), "There's Hope for This World" (1979), "Caught Up" (1980), "Soul Set Free" (1982), "Come Together" (1984), "Tin Gladje" (1985), "I'll Never Forget" (1989), "Another Time" (1990), "Bring It To Jesus" (1995), "Just Churchin" (1998), "Live In Perusia, Italy” (2004), “Faith Unscripted” (2007), and “The Ambassador” (2007). He has authored two books: 1998’s Touched By God, and the 2000 memoir, Make A Joyful Noise, My Twenty Five Years In Gospel Music.

In 1980, Jones received the Gabriel Award and an International Film Festival Award for writing and performing Make A Joyful Noise, a black gospel opera which aired on PBS. In 1984, he won a Grammy Award for the Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group with Barbara Mandrell for "I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today." Jones has also received a Dove Award, three Stellar Awards, three Trumpet Awards, and a presidential commendation from President George W. Bush.

Bobby Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2014

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Middle Name

Louis

Schools

Caton School

Central High School

Tennessee State University

Vanderbilt University

First Name

Bobby

Birth City, State, Country

Henry

HM ID

JON37

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Favorite Quote

Amen Goes Right There.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

9/18/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Gospel singer and television host Bobby Jones (1938 - ) was the Grammy Award-winning host and executive producer of BET’s “Bobby Jones Gospel,” the longest continuously running original series on cable television. He was also the author of two books: Touched By God and Make A Joyful Noise.

Employment

St. Louis Public Schools

Nashville Metropolitan Schools

McGraw Hill Education

Tennessee State University

WSMV-TV

WDCN-TV

Black Entertainment Television

The Word Television Network

BET Gospel Network

The Gospel Channel

Sheridan Gospel Radio Network

Nova Southeastern University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
300,0:6000,58:6500,64:8400,100:9200,145:14650,327:28850,480:29350,486:36750,602:38650,637:39150,643:57710,828:60640,886:67197,968:77788,1147:78460,1154:78908,1159:81036,1177:81820,1227:89731,1335:91873,1358:94048,1417:103370,1575:108545,1682:114908,1735:123737,1905:124790,1923:125276,1930:128650,1944:129154,1953:129442,1962:130378,1989:130954,1999:131314,2006:131818,2014:132250,2022:132610,2029:132898,2034:133330,2043:134050,2055:134338,2060:134626,2065:134914,2070:135346,2077:142424,2175:142708,2180:151386,2342:152906,2361:170047,2614:188238,2863:188917,2874:193670,2949:201866,3037:209889,3178:210483,3185:214713,3239:227376,3416:228042,3426:228634,3435:229300,3445:229596,3451:230114,3459:234895,3518:236170,3547:236595,3553:239825,3631:255770,3835:262390,3932:272540,4092$60,0:7540,100:25134,347:28554,414:45701,651:47214,686:48104,697:48549,707:50418,735:50774,740:51486,952:58416,1014:94504,1565:94768,1570:98398,1683:115562,1869:115890,1874:117448,1898:119990,1957:125644,2045:139260,2327:146270,2444:151330,2529
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones lists his favorites

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones talks about the prevalence of alcoholism in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobby Jones describes his home life

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones remembers the Caton School in Henry County, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones remembers listening to the radio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at the Caton School in Henry County, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes his early interest in gospel music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones recalls his parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Central High School in Paris, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Central High School in Paris, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bobby Jones recalls his decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones describes his experiences at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones remembers teaching at Farragut Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his return to Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones describes his position at McGraw-Hill Education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about the founding of the Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones remembers his experiences of being robbed

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his reasons for leaving the Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobby Jones talks about his early television programs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones recalls how he came to the attention of Robert L. Johnson at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones talks about the creation of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his gospel records

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones describes his productions at BET

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about the distribution of his television shows

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones remembers the guest performers on 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes the genres of gospel music on 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones remembers winning the Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones talks about the perception of gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones talks about his gospel music influences

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones describes the history of gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones talks about his favorite musical artists

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bobby Jones describes his books

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bobby Jones talks about the rise of megachurches

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bobby Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bobby Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bobby Jones talks about the production costs of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bobby Jones talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bobby Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Bobby Jones talks about the creation of 'Bobby Jones Gospel'
Bobby Jones remembers his experiences of being robbed
Transcript
Here we are, I think 'Make a Joyful Noise' reminded me of other movies and shorts that were made by white people who discover a genre, like they discovered the blues, and then there would come blues films. And they made a film, 'Louie Bluie,' by a blues musician [HistoryMaker Howard Armstrong] in Chicago [Illinois], and some other films, you know. But music is largely segregated in the country.$$Uh-huh.$$And white people are just not going to know the gospel, I mean, and the black singers of many genres, except for the ones that reach the Top 40.$$Right.$$You know--$$Right.$$So, gospel is being discovered here on some level, and these guys are the ones who introduced it to Bob Johnson [Robert L. Johnson].$$Yes, that's exactly how it happened. They took that show. Wyatt is his last name, W-Y-A-T-T. And they're in New York [New York] now, he and his wife. And she was good in producing this show, 'Make a Joyful Noise.' And so, they're the ones that met Bob Johnson, and that's how I got the Gabriel Award and all of that, with 'Make a Joyful Noise,' from the PPS show [Public Broadcasting Service]. Okay, and Joe [ph.], the guy who was really over that at this WDCN station [WDCN-TN; WNPT-TV, Nashville, Tennessee], hired me from Channel 4 [WSM-TV; WSMV-TV, Nashville, Tennessee] to also host the show over there at the PBS station. So, I had two things going. I had the show at PBS ['Bobby Jones World'], teaching at Tennessee State University [Nashville, Tennessee], and I had the Bobby Jones--'Nashville Gospel' at the time. And so, they wanted to go--I was, I just took over the producer's role at the 'Nashville Gospel Show.' And they thought I was too overbearing. They didn't, they didn't--you know, the input--their input was not the same level as mine was, because I had more experience than they did. And they didn't know how to produce, and I did, you know. So, while I was in Italy with this 'Make a Joyful Noise' thing, they met with the station managers. And they wanted to have a meeting with me when I came back, to discuss the fact that they should have the same role. And I said no, and my attorney said no. And so, then we end up splitting. So, they kept the name, 'Nashville Gospel.' By this time, then I called mine 'Bobby Jones Gospel' (laughter). And how they (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They took your role--$$Yeah, they really kind of pushed me out, you know. And so, my energy in the city was strong enough where they couldn't get rid of me, you know. All the community leaders came to my defense, and went to Channel 4 and told them, "Oh, you need to keep him, you know. This is our," whatever and whatever. So, we, you know, we had a little fight about that. And so, so, I said, "Okay, I'm going to do my own show." And then I--$$So--$$--and so, I thought about Johnny Carson and all these white guys that had TV shows with their names. I said, "Oh, I'm going to call it 'Bobby Jones.'" (Laughter) That's simply how it came about. And I asked my godmother, a little church lady, you know, who took care of me--and I said, "What do you think if I called it 'Bobby Jones,' like Johnny Carson and them do?" And she was like, "Okay." And that's where it came from. And so, I began to produce my own shows at Channel 4, and you could see clearly the distinction between the two. They kept their show; the same network had two shows, mine and theirs (laughter). And the regular community churches supported them, because they had a big newspaper article about I didn't want white people on, and I didn't want local people on--just stuff they made up, you know, to put on the show. And so, the community went with them, basically, but they knew the difference. So, then I began to really, really do it, you know, really do a good show. I brought in, you know, good talent and organized it, and was able to conduct it as a national show. And then that's what Bob Johnson saw, he saw one of those shows, after the breakup of me and the 'Nashville' people.$$Okay, okay. All right, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm. And then, then it started in 1980.$Because we had one affair in my home where we had, we had a couple of celebrities here, and we were robbed in my home during one of my parties (laughter). (Unclear) was there.$$Now, this is, now--oh, I didn't, I didn't ask you about the St. Louis [Missouri]--about the robbery. Now, you were robbed in St. Louis, you said?$$I was, yes.$$Yeah. Was this like a street robbery, or what?$$Yeah. I was driving down the street, and stopped at the red light. And this guy jumped in my car and put a knife to my neck, and told me to drive. And I drove (laughter). And he says, "I want your money." And I said, "I don't have any." And I really didn't. And I'm thinking, while he's telling me to drive, "Go down this street," you know, and, "go back down towards--," it was going downtown. And we stopped at another light, and I saw a cop's car parked across the street. And I said, he's got a knife, and I don't know what he'll do to me when we get where we're going. I opened my car door, and out I jumped. And across the street I went running, "Police, police, police." (Laughter) And this guy jumped out of the car, you know, on the other side, and he fled. And the police saw him, and they ran after him. So, the police never did get a--because once he was gone, my car was still sitting in the middle of the street, and cars were passing. So, I ran and jumped in my car, and back to my apartment (laughter) I went. I'm laughing now, but it wasn't funny then, because I was going to get hurt, I'm pretty sure, because they were vicious.$$So, somebody actually came into your house during a party and robbed--?$$No, this was in Nashville [Tennessee].$$Yeah, in Nashville, yeah.$$Oh, yeah. Three, four, I think it was four guys that robbed us. All of the Black Expo committee [Nashville Black Expo and Music Fest] was there, with our guests, you know. And it was a very, very high social event, it wasn't ragged at all. And the kind of people that were there were leaders in the community. And it was by mistake they came. They were, I think they were looking for an after hour joint. But they saw all these cars. And one girl was going out, and they was asking, "Well, what, who's, who lives there? What's going on there?" "Oh, we're having a party," blah, blah, blah. "Having a party?" (Laughter) And they came and they--with their guns and things, and that's--$$So, they seized an opportunity to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, yeah.$$--you know--$$To get some--$$--when they saw a lot of wealthy people--$$They thought, yeah.

Willie L. Wilson

Philanthropist, entrepreneur, and recording artist Willie Lee Wilson, grew up in impoverished conditions and rose to found multiple successful enterprises including Singsation!, the first nationally syndicated African-American owned and produced Gospel program on commercial television that broadcasts internationally on WGN-TV. Wilson is also one of the first black owners of a McDonald’s restaurant.

Wilson was born on June 16, 1948 in Gilbert, Louisiana. In 1970, Wilson began his career with McDonald’s doing custodial duties and mopping floors for $2 an hour. He got the opportunity to run the establishment when disgruntled employees walked out and was asked to stay on when the former managers returned. After working with McDonald’s for five years, he decided he wanted to open a McDonald’s himself and resolved to meet with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc about the issue. Kroc agreed to give Wilson a McDonald’s restaurant after a discussion at an annual shareholders’ meeting in 1979, and with capital provided by South Shore Bank, Wilson took a suffering Chicago franchise and turned it around within a year. Wilson, while working at McDonald’s, earned honors attaining the Outstanding Store Award and Top Sales Performer Award.

In 1987, Wilson decided to start a television production company, Willie Wilson Productions, and in 1988, he was moved to pursue his faith after hearing the song, “What Shall I Render Unto the Lord?” at his church. He sold his McDonald’s restaurants to dedicate his life to Gospel music and started doing church solos and singing with the Norfleet Brothers. Ultimately, creating four albums: I'm So Grateful, Lord Don't Let Me Fail, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Through It All and I'll Fly Away. The most recent album, I'll Fly Away is distributed by Universal and is available in stores throughout the United States. In 1989, Wilson’s Singsation! premiered, a half-hour weekly program of Gospel music. The shows’ history, artists, producers and writers are produced by his television production corporation. Singstation! is regularly hosted by Wilson and is available in over sixty million households every Sunday.

Still holding entrepreneurial ambitions, in 1997, Wilson founded Omar Medical Supplies, one of America’s fastest growing international medical supply companies and Gemini Electronics, a telecommunications company that provides competitive pricing to assist churches and non-profit community organizations in economic development and outreach.

Wilson is the recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute, Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Swisher Bible College and a Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College. In November 2003, the Illinois State House of Representatives adopted resolution HR0491 in the 93rd General Assembly to honor Wilson’s successes as a member of the National Black McDonald's Owner Operator Association and his contributions to his community.

Wilson resides in Chicago, with his wife of twelve years. He is the father of four grown children.

Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 16, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.089

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2008

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

Gilbert Elementary School

Oakley School

First Name

Willie

Birth City, State, Country

Gilbert

HM ID

WIL48

Favorite Season

July, August

Sponsor

Aetna

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cairo, Egypt

Favorite Quote

Amen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/16/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

University Park

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Breakfast Foods

Short Description

Entrepreneur and gospel singer Willie L. Wilson (1948 - ) was among the first African Americans to own a McDonald's franchise, and was the creator and producer of the first nationally syndicated, black-owned gospel music television show, Singsation.

Employment

McDonald's

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Omar, Inc

Wilson Productions

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:12354,225:13050,235:19488,348:23055,563:37470,749:59320,1107:64256,1153:66142,1196:77236,1481:81828,1579:103900,1823:109382,1918:115232,2062:116246,2075:126476,2228:143799,2601:146572,2619:159668,2805:164750,2896$0,0:3780,100:18970,400:19250,573:28430,860:126250,2089:126665,2204:138716,2418:174498,2891:190932,3097:192042,3161:200898,3301:224708,3652:231097,3731:244304,4052:249916,4215:300263,5162:301110,5170:309410,5258
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willie L. Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willie L. Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willie L. Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willie L. Wilson recalls the codes of conduct in the segregated South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willie L. Wilson remembers the killing of Jimmy Guice

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willie L. Wilson describes his mothers' personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Willie L. Wilson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Willie L. Wilson recalls the restrictions on sharecroppers in Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Willie L. Wilson remembers his paternal grandfather's ghost stories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his encounters with ghosts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willie L. Wilson describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his father's opinion of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willie L. Wilson talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willie L. Wilson describes the influence of his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willie L. Wilson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his experiences as a sharecropper

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Willie L. Wilson remembers the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Wisner, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Willie L. Wilson remembers celebrating Easter

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Willie L. Wilson describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Willie L. Wilson remembers his childhood teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his schooling in Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willie L. Wilson describes the traumatic impact of his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willie L. Wilson describes his experiences as a migrant farmworker

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willie L. Wilson remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willie L. Wilson recalls working at the piano factory in Melrose Park, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willie L. Wilson recalls the riots of 1968 in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his reluctance to return to school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Willie L. Wilson talks about working for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Willie L. Wilson describes his experiences during the riots of 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Willie L. Wilson remembers visiting his family in Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his start at the McDonald's Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his work ethic

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his start as a manager

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willie L. Wilson remembers meeting with Ray Kroc, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willie L. Wilson recalls an altercation with his first wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willie L. Wilson remembers meeting with Ray Kroc, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willie L. Wilson recalls the challenges of staffing a McDonald's franchise

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willie L. Wilson talks about the role of McDonald's restaurants in African American communities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his challenges as a McDonald's franchise owner

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willie L. Wilson talks about the National Black McDonald's Operators Association

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willie L. Wilson describes his career as a McDonald's franchisee

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willie L. Wilson recalls his decision to sell his McDonald's franchises

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Willie L. Wilson remembers his return to the church

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willie L. Wilson remembers singing with the Norfleet Brothers

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willie L. Wilson recalls the creation of 'Singsation'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willie L. Wilson describes the talent on 'Singsation'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willie L. Wilson remembers the popularity of 'Singsation'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willie L. Wilson describes the production of 'Singsation'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willie L. Wilson describes his plans for the future of 'Singsation'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willie L. Wilson remembers the death of his son

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his relationship with Louis Farrakhan

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Willie L. Wilson describes the operations of Omar Medical Supplies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Willie L. Wilson reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Willie L. Wilson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Willie L. Wilson talks about his second marriage

DASession

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DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Willie L. Wilson recalls the challenges of staffing a McDonald's franchise
Willie L. Wilson recalls the creation of 'Singsation'
Transcript
Was it hard to get five of 'em [McDonald's] going?$$Not really 'cause I'm used to hard work, so hard to work to me is like no work because of my background.$$Okay, now let me guess that I--let me guess that finding the right people to work for you was probably the biggest challenge, is that true?$$Well, no, no, no not really because in the inner city you, you had, had your people could work, it, it was a find that--finding good people.$$That's what I mean finding the--$$Oh, yeah I'm sorry, I'm sorry, right, right find.$$Finding the right people.$$The right people, yeah, yeah to work.$$That are gonna work hard.$$Oh, yeah, yeah, you--that's the biggest challenge and it still is the biggest challenge today.$$There's a lot of people that need jobs but not a lot of people are gonna--$$Right and it doesn't matter what you pay 'em. I can tell you that, you only got a few. I guess you get one out of 10 million was a good worker you, you good. If you put all the people in the United States out of two hundred fifty something million people, you know you get one out of 10 million that's good. You know 'cause people have a tendency these days that they work, they got personal problems they wanna take off. I said, "Hey so we all got personal problems, but in a global economy you have to give up something you know and try to catch it on the other end you know," and so you know I got, I got personal problems like anybody else, but I know one thing, if I ain't got no money coming in and pay the bills I'm gone have more problems and personal problems than that you know. So I can't go home in eight hours, I gotta work hard you know. I have a kid, my four kids I had to sacrifice. I had to miss something, if I hadn't sacrificed to get where I am today, my kid and the people I help now wouldn't, wouldn't exist. We make the decision.$$So, so how would you do it? Did you have a way of interviewing people or a way of reading people or, or did you just have to try 'em out and see how they worked out?$$Well, well you got--you're in a pool of people that, that in a depressed area where are you gone draw from, you know? So wasn't no use in interviewing a lot, (laughter) you look at 'em and talk to 'em and then you know you gotta train 'em like your own kid. That was the mindset, and you have to train 'em about the hygiene, comb hair, show up at work, how to fill out the application, the whole nine yards. How to say, "Yes, ma'am," and "No, sir" to the customer. You know the customer get mad with you, you want--you can't just jump all over 'em you know. So your--the same customer comes in that store is of the neighborhood, so you hire people of the neighborhood. You hire people outside it ain't gone go right 'cause they wouldn't know how to intermingle and talk with the people that's in the neigh- neighborhood.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) That's all.$(Simultaneous) Now where did you get the idea for 'Singsation'? Now did you do that while you were still at Mc- with McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation]?$$Yep, yep, yep Mc- 'Singsation' was 19 and '89 [1989].$$Okay, so you're still with McDonald's and, and now what was--what was it your interaction with the Norfleet Brothers that gave you the idea to do 'Singsation'?$$Well, they mentioned they'd like to have a TV show but they didn't have any money to do anything with. I, I just said that if nobody would let me sing in, in the group because what happened was that, that we, we wa- go out to Chicago Gospel Fest [Chicago Gospel Music Festival] and I got to show 'Singsation' trying to put it on. I hired the first producer and then the producer who got, I had $650,000. I lost it all and the producer spent it, got me in all these union situations and then the night of the first show we're trying to tape, she said that, "Well I got--I want these choir to go on." I said well, "No, I want these quartets, the Norfleet Brothers and some other people going on too," and she said, "If you don't, if I don't put my choir on I'm gone quit and walk out." I said, "Then you know what, you need to leave, go ahead," you know. So she left and I left to produce the whole show myself and I got done trying to wrap it up, I find myself I had to borrow $250,000. 'Cause I lost all of the $650,000. Whatever I had for (unclear), I lost it all you know.$$That's a lot of money to lose.$$Yeah, I lost everything I saved and, and so I had my McDonald's and I went to Jim Fletcher [James Fletcher] at South Shore Bank [ShoreBank, Chicago, Illinois], he's, he's dead and gone now but I said I need $200,000, and he said, "Wilson [HistoryMaker Willie L. Wilson], what do you know about TV?" I said, "I don't know a thing Jim about TV but I need $200,000." I said, "I'll pay it back." I said, you know, "Take it out my McDonald's." Jim said, "I must be crazy but that's okay, you go on just, just write a check," and I wrote a check and like I got out there in less than two years I got that money back, paid it off and everything else, but the thing that got me with, with 'Singsation' was that I had felt that I was wandering around in my life then 'cause I wasn't--I was committed in a way to, to church, Christ and other ways I was not committed, so my mind was saying that Lord have blessed me with all these things today. Okay, I said, "I'm gone give enough back," so one day I went to church and I was going down to church to donate some money, and as I went into church and I sat down at Lucy Hall's church [Friendship Baptist Church] on the South Side of Chicago [Illinois] and the choir said, "What shall I render," and sang the song, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefit towards me" [Psalm 116:12] and like it hit me like that and I said, "I got to get busy," and that 'Singsation' became born then but now more than that but, but I said that since people don't want to let me really sing out here I'm gone buy me, get me a TV show and I'm gone sing all I want, right. That's how 'Singsation' became alive.$$Now who came up with the name 'Singsation'?$$There was a guy--first there was a 'Singsation,' it was called 'Celebrate' and the lady, and the lady tried to trick me into that. I got out of that because she wanted me to pay for the name 'Celebrate' and I didn't know nothing about TV so people putting all kind of stuff on me and then finally with another guy that I knew said well let's just call it 'Singsation' and I said you know what, I said okay get rid of that name over there and let's just call--we'll call this 'Singsation.'$$Well who's the guy that you got with that you came up with that name?$$The guy's name Potter [James Potter], oh, what's his name, oh, last name Potter, P-O-T-T-E-R. I can't think of his first name now, but he came up with the name and, and so but he had, he was supposed to have been a sales person and he was supposed to have been selling the show and turned around he couldn't sell it and he only had twelve spots and my--the show was costing me twenty-five, thirty thousand dollars a week and I only, I, I only was bringing in then like a thousand dollars, $1,200 a week.$$Now that's, you started out with WBBM, Channel 2 [WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois]?$$Um-hm.$$Now that's prime TV time, right?$$Yeah, um-hm, yeah, yeah.$$So you were on--what time a day were you on?$$It was seven a.m. in the morning.$$On Sunday mornings?$$On Sunday morning right, and [HistoryMaker] Johnathan Rodgers, an African American guy helped me got there and got started with it and.$$Yeah that's when Johnathan Rodgers was there, right.$$Right.$$Okay.$$So we got started and Vickie Winans was my first host and after a while later on [HistoryMaker] Merri Dee told me, said, "Wilson [HistoryMaker Willie L. Wilson], why don't you host your own show?" You know I said, "Well I guess I should because you know sometimes these peoples sometimes they busy and they can't get over here and I should be doing my own thing," and then when I had started hosting myself you know and doing it so and now 'Singsation' is twenty, twenty year going there. We just got done taping last weekend matter of fact, you know.

Ann Yancy

Gospel music pioneer Ann Yancy was born on October 29, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy was the product of a deeply religious family, which includes uncles the Reverends Morris and Henry Edmonds; her brother Reverend Samuel Jordon; and her cousin Reverend Daniel Edmonds, all of Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy’s vocal talents were recognized at the age of eight while she was singing in the junior choir at Pearly Gates Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she later became a member of the Sunshine Band.

Yancy was the fourth of seven children born to Leah Edmonds Brown and Elijah Rhodes of Lucy, Tennessee. Yancy graduated from Manasses Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1942, where she resided until 1943, when she moved to Gary, Indiana, with her aunt Lassie Edmonds Blair. Yancy attended Friederich Froebel High School and returned to Chicago in 1945.

In 1948, Yancy married Rev. Robert Yancy, Associate Pastor of Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church; she was widowed in 1973. Yancy and her husband had eight children (three became ministers): Reverends Kevin, and Darryl, the late Reverend Marvin J. Yancy, Derrick, Stevie, Sherwin, and Judy Yancy. Reverend Kevin Yancy, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for producing the Gospel album Rev. Marvin J. Yancy and The Fountain of Life Joy Choir; Reverends Marvin and Kevin Yancy were the writers and producers of the Grammy Award nominated gospel recording, Heavy Load in 1985.

Yancy was an intricate part of the rich tapestry of Chicago Gospel music history; she was one of the lead soloists at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, and a member of the renowned, Sylvia Boddie Gospel Singers. Yancy traveled throughout the United States with R.L. Knowles, The Robert Anderson Singers, and Willie Webb and the Roberta Martin Singers. Yancy appeared on recordings with the Robert Anderson Singers, the Roberta Martin Singers, and The Yancy Family Album. Yancy founded The Marvin Yancy Scholarship Foundation, and frequently spoke at Gospel conferences and seminars on the history of Gospel music.

Yancy passed away on March 12, 2018 at age 87.

Accession Number

A2007.066

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/13/2007

Last Name

Yancy

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Friedrich Froebel High School

Manasses Elementary School

Harold Washington College

First Name

Ann

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

YAN03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

He That Dwell In The Secret Place Of The Most High Shall Abeit Under The Shadows Of The Almighty.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/29/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

3/12/2018

Short Description

Gospel singer Ann Yancy (1930 - 2018 ) had a long career as a gospel singer both in Chicago and nationally. In addition to performing around the country with famous Gospel ensembles, Yancy's children also became successful within the Gospel music community.

Employment

Holy Family Head Start

Wiebolt Stores, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Yancy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy talks about her brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy describes her family's living situation in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ann Yancy recalls her childhood at her maternal grandparents' home

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ann Yancy remembers her community in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls her maternal grandmother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy remembers her childhood friend from Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy remembers Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers living with her aunt in Gary, Indiana, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy remembers living with her aunt in Gary, Indiana, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy remembers returning to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ann Yancy remembers teaching Sunday school as a young girl

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ann Yancy reflects upon the church's understanding of younger generations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls her positions at Weiboldt's and Eastman Kodak Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her living situations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy describes her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes her early singing career in the church

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy recalls singing at the Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers marrying Robert Yancy, Sr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes the gospel performances at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy remembers her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes the choral programs at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy recalls her homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes the choral programs at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy recalls lessons from Reverend Louis Boddie

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy describes her husband's pastoral career

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy lists her children

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy remembers the Cabrini-Green Homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy describes her work at the Holy Family Head Start in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her sons' interest in music, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy recalls how her son, Marvin Yancy, became a minister

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy talks about her sons' songs, 'Sign Me Up' and 'Heavy Load'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy describes her sons' interest in music, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers her husband and son's deaths

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes the Marvin Yancy Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy reflects upon her experience of gospel music

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls the gospel singers with whom she performed

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy shares her favorite scripture and gospel song

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Ann Yancy recalls lessons from Reverend Louis Boddie
Ann Yancy shares her favorite scripture and gospel song
Transcript
And you know Greater Harvest [Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois] was--Reverend Boddie [Louis Boddie] would teach us, so on Friday nights and sometime if you sitting in the dining room eating and he pass by, and you speak to him and everything then he'd come back and say, "You know God said so in so, so in so, so in so," and it would be a class right there (laughter). He didn't care where we--you know. Sometimes he'd make us sit down on the steps you know from the pulpit, we'd sit down there and he--when choir rehearsal was over with and he'd teach us there. He, he was just a word man, he was a word preacher and we got--he taught us so much about how to live, how to be good wives, how to be good husbands.$$What are some of the things he taught you about being a good wife?$$About being a good wife? "Don't come to church, or don't go nowhere unless you have made sure your husband, if he's not going with you, make sure that he has had a nice dinner, you know, the house is clean, the children are all clean and they're quiet, and then you go out." He said, "Don't come here unless you have taken care of your home first." He said, "That's the more important thing," and he said, "keep yourself clean and looking nice and pretty. Don't be looking any kind of way when he come home from work. So he's tired and he wants to see something that will make him happy and all, and make sure all the children is in the house when he come home and the food is on the table, ready or either it's cooked and ready for him." He taught us so much, he taught women how to you know keep their--keep themselves up. He said, "Some of you all walk around in the house with your house robe on or your gown on all night and your hair standing all over your head." He said, "Fix yourself up so that--for yourself first," he said, "and then for your husband when he come in. Do you think he wanna come in to something like that? Dishes all in the sink and the children running all around the house and you sitting, standing there looking crazy (laughter)," that's how he talked to us and you know also he would allow people to come and if they didn't have places to stay, they didn't have food he would give 'em--you know they could stay in the church and we had to see about them. That's how come the people at Greater Harvest was so loving and kind, we had to come and see about em' and he said, "And make sure that you are," you know he'd say, "if you wanna take 'em to your house, if you want to, you can," you know what I mean and he said you know. He taught us how to love, that's, that's what I'm saying here and most of us do love but you know sometimes you have not been taught, you didn't have to deal with people, you just look, see them and love 'em, either just deal with the people in your surroundings, but we had to deal with the people that came to the church, the drunks, the people that was on alcohol and all that. He let them stay in the church and all and he would have classes, and another one thing that he always said, "Feed 'em first." He said when they--a person come in the church hungry he said it wouldn't be right for us to sit up and have church and, and teaching and preaching and they hungry, they're not hearing what you're saying, feed 'em first and then preach to them, and that's how he did, and they did not feed people any kind of, any old thing, they feed 'em good food 'cause we would sit, we didn't eat until after they ate, and we bought ours, fifty cents, that's how much the dinners would cost, and they had break- I mean they would have meat, vegetables and potatoes and whatever you know, full complete meal in the church. Clothes, people came to church and needed their rent paid and all kind of (unclear). Preachers didn't make enough, get enough money at church and they needed to pay they rent for the church or whatever, he did it for them, and that's what, why people loved him so. He was so kind. I saw one day I was standing out there and it was, like the weather like it is now, and a lady passed by the church and she didn't--she had on high heel open toe shoes and he said, "Miss," he said, and she turned around, "You talking to me?" He said, "Yes," he said, "don't you have no boots?" She said, "No I don't," you know she didn't know where he was coming from, and he told Reverend Bracket [ph.], he said take her over to South Center [Chicago, Illinois] and get her some boots.$$And South Center was?$$It's a department store on 47th Street and that's where a lot of--most of them you know people would go at that time to South Center.$You had mentioned earlier about your relationship with Reverend Boddie [Louis Boddie].$$Um-hm.$$And that he--you learned a lot from him.$$Oh, yes.$$And you mentioned that when you met him he went--you went to his church [Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois] and he told you to read the 51st Psalm.$$That's right.$$And is there something (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And all of us at Great--$$Would you just share with us in closing what part of the psalm meant the most to you?$$"Have mercy upon me oh God according to thy loving kindness, according to the multitude of our tender mercies," and then it, "wash me thoroughly from my iniquities and cleanse me from my sins." Then it says, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow," and it says, "make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou has broken may rejoice." It says, "Hide my, hide not thy face from my sin, hide thy face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities," and it says, "create in me a clean heart oh God and renew the right spirit within me, cast me not away from my--from thy presence and take not their holy spirit from me praise God" [Psalm 51: 1-11].$$We would like to thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you so much for being a HistoryMaker and being who you are.$$Praise God.$$And how important you are to gospel and to the community, and just before we go I would like for us, for you to you share with us a song that just may mean the most to your heart.$$(Singing) "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at his word; just to rest upon His promise, just to know, thus sayeth the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust you; how I proved you o'er and o'er; Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus. Oh, for grace to trust thee more" ['Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus'].

Reverend Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and president of Probation Challenge/PCC Internet Broadcast Network, Reverend Dr. Harold E. Bailey was born February 12, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois to Adolphus and Lillian Bailey. He attended Forrestville Elementary School and graduated from Englewood High School in 1957. Bailey continued his education at Wilson Junior College, Central State University, Chicago State University and Governors State University.

Bailey was known from the 1950’s through the 1970’s as the lead singer of the Harold Bailey Singers. The Bailey Singers recorded gospel music with the Rush, HOB and Savoy record labels and appeared on Chicago television’s Jubilee Showcase.

As a Cook County probation officer, Bailey noted that Bailey was concerned about the merry go round of recidivism and the spiraling wave of crime in the African American community. In 1979, he proposed a rehabilitation program for offenders, which was supported by Judge R. Eugene Pincham. The program was implemented as a serious attempt at rehabilitation. Pincham’s courtroom, jury room and office were converted to part time classroom space. Judge William Cousins and Judge Earl Strayhorn also supported Bailey’s efforts. In 1984, then state representative, Carol Mosely Braun and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus sponsored the Probation Challenge Act. The late Mayor Harold Washington helped Bailey move the program out of the criminal courts building and into Olive Harvey Community College. Unlearned, unskilled, socially deprived, adult and juvenile and electronically monitored clients are mandated to into the program. Probation Challenge is a radio and television broadcast that educates people as they return to society from within the judicial system. The organization was priased by late, federal Judge Prentice Marshall.

Bailey has appeared on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America and CBS - TV’s 60 Minutes. Bailey, the recipient of numerous awards nationally and internationally, continues this valuable work, the only court-mandated program of its kind in the United States continues to work and live in Chicago.

Accession Number

A2004.229

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/10/2004

Last Name

Bailey

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Forrestville Elementary School

Kennedy–King College

Central State University

First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BAI04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

All Things Work Together for the Good of Those That Love the Lord and Are Called According to His Purpose.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/12/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens, Bread, Turkey (Smoked)

Short Description

Gospel singer and criminal justice activist Reverend Dr. Harold E. Bailey (1938 - ) is the founder and president of Probation Challenge, a rehabilitation program for offenders, and is best known as the lead singer of the Harold Bailey Singers.

Favorite Color

Black, Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:242030,3304$0,0:231670,2412
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold E. Bailey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his parents' jobs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his parents' upbringings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his father's experience in the segregated U.S. Army during World War I

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey remembers experiencing segregation in the South, and his father's reaction

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey recalls growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his religious influences as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his aunt, Alma Young, and his childhood passion for the Bible

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey recalls his years at Forrestville Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his father, Adolphus Jerome Bailey, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes an experience of racial discrimination at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his high school years at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes his years at Woodrow Wilson Junior College in Illinois and Central State University in Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey recalls visitors to Central State University, including Coretta Scott King and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his experience at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains the origins of gospel music and its relationship with Negro spirituals

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his time in the U.S. Army, at Chicago State University, and at Governors State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes working for the City of Chicago during a conflict between Mayor Richard J. Daley and Congressman Ralph Metcalfe

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes working for the Cook County Adult Probation Department and his ordination as a minister

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes working as a probation officer in the late 1960s, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes working as a probation officer in the late 1960s, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains how he provided probation counseling with the help of HistoryMaker R. Eugene Pincham

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains the Probation Challenge program in Cook County, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains the Probation Challenge program in Cook County, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about the prison-industrial complex in Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about the prison-industrial complex in Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes racial disparities in the criminal justice system

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes effects of the War on Drugs on criminal recidivism and racial disparities in the criminal justice system

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about the successes of programs like Probation Challenge and political obstacles to their expansion

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains how he became chair of the Cook County Board of Corrections

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey describes the Cook County Board of Corrections, and its conflict with Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about positive responses to fighting corruption in the Cook County, Illinois criminal justice system

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey reflects upon his hopes and concerns for the African American community, and on his life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey talks about his mother's attitude toward his work, and about his former music career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Harold E. Bailey narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains the Probation Challenge program in Cook County, Illinois, pt. 1
Reverend Harold E. Bailey explains how he became chair of the Cook County Board of Corrections
Transcript
All right, sir, could you outline the program of Probation Challenge, what exactly do you do?$$Probation Challenge is the first court-mandated program of its kind in the country where we force young men and women to be of a genuine assistance to themselves through the vehicle of education. Simply, it's education or jail. Under the auspices of [HM] Judge [R. Eugene] Pincham, we never had a client to go to jail more than twice before getting the message that it's going to be an education. We selected education because education does bring about awareness, awareness brings on the ability for these young people to think and preferably make rational decisions. Here they get more than a mere GED, they get adult basic education. They can then after graduating from there go into skills for example, multimedia productions is being learned here at no cost to the client, carpentry, computer science on several levels. All these are high paying positions out in the industry and the world--the marketplace, if you will. So why not train them adequately to do what--compete in the job market.$$Now that goes counter to what the penal institution--well the criminal justice system usually does not see--though it seems actually (unclear) if you--if a person is in jail and their sentence is running out, society lets them out without any provision for any education or any retraining, the chances are that they'll do what--go right back.$$Recidivism becomes--let me say this, I'm getting excited, recidivism becomes astronomically high simply because when a young man is filtering through the bowels of the criminal justice system, there is no provisions made for guidelines, there are no provisions made to show him what to do and how to do it. When a John Doe is released out of the prison system with not--with twenty-five, thirty dollars in pocket, the conspiracy when they tell him that now don't you come back here anymore, that's a lie. They want him back because if he don't go back, they no longer have a job and to put a person on a bus absorbs all the money in pocket. When that person reaches here, they have already had their mentalities dealt with by persons who are sitting in judgment over them, correctional officers, if you will, who are placed in communities who are first partakers of those jobs who are not like the complexion of the person whose being housed there. And so what happens is that you've got the Ku Klux Klan [KKK] in Illinois in some places who are being hired to administer judgment, justice over the lives of these young men and women. What are they expected to be like when they come out? I dare say it's a conspiracy that has been well set into place. They cannot retaliate for all of this as they are in the institution but when they come out they do what, they give vent to those persons in the community. And who are those people, the people who live upstairs, next door to them or beneath them or in their own house. Mothers are being damaged, sisters and other brothers, family members are being damaged because all this frustration that they took in prison is now out on the community. It was a conspiracy that was well written for these young people and the young people are now playing out the script and they don't realize what's going on.$All right, tell us about how you became the chair of the Cook County Board of Corrections [Cook County, Illinois]?$$I was approached on the auspices of Mr. O'Grady--Sheriff [James] O'Grady.$$About what year was this?$$I think it was '97 [1997] or '98 [1998]. I was asked to consider becoming a member of the Cook County Board of Corrections. Was not interested because my hands were full with Probation Challenge and after praying about it at two, three a.m. in the morning the Lord spoke to my heart and said I'd like for you to become a part of that board. Thusly, I did, I was obedient and after getting in again here's a second adventure likening to the probation department. Too much given, much is required. Didn't want to do anything but sit there on the board and absorb information and I mean the information was a bit much as it related to African Americans, Hispanics being in that institution and nothing being done to be of a genuine assistance. After praying about that, I was instructed to put my name in for chairmanship. Well the word came down anybody but Bailey and of course it was someone other than Bailey. The second time it came up for a vote, I put my name in again. A lady by the name of Dorothy Drish, who had been on the board since I think '67 [1967] or '68 [1968] or something like that was an old white lady who loved that system and she said that--she said why would you all elect me when there is Reverend Bailey who is concerned about the department. She said I'll tell you what I'm going to do since I'm the chair I have the pleasure of selecting who is going to be the vice chair, I want Reverend Bailey to become the vice chair. I want you to hear this, here I am close, I'm the vice chair. Dorothy Drish did not live but three months after that, she died. Who's the chair?$$Reverend Bailey.$$I inherited the chair and I remember going into the board meeting and the secretary arrogantly said--now here's a new stationary and all the board members are going to be down here and your name is going to be at the top of the board member and such and so. I said no, no, no that's not the case. My name should be here, up here because I am now the acting chair. Oh yes that's true. When it came down for an election, I became the chair and I've been sitting every since. I think I've been chair now eleven, twelve years and I know where the skeletons are buried.