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Wayne Budd

Attorney Wayne Anthony Budd was born on November 18, 1941 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Educated in Springfield public schools, Budd graduated from Cathedral High School in 1959. In 1963, he received an A.B. degree cum laude in economics from Boston College. Between 1963 and 1967, he worked in the Industrial Relations Department at Ford Motor Company while attending law school at night. He attended Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit and received a J.D. degree in 1967.

Following his law school graduation, Budd served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston from 1968 to 1969. During that same time period, he developed a private law practice.

Budd also served as president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. In 1979, he became the first African American to head the Massachusetts Bar as President and at that time he was the youngest (at age 38) president of any state bar association.

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, Budd served as Associate Attorney General of the United States. He oversaw the Civil Rights, Environmental, Tax, Civil and Anti-Trust Divisions at the Department of Justice, as well as the Bureau of Prisons. From 1989 to 1992, he worked as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, serving as the state’s chief federal prosecutor and representing the federal government in all matters involving civil litigation. During this time, he was recognized for his efforts in combating drugs, street crime and gang violence. Budd also served as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, appointed to that position in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

Budd is currently senior counsel in the law firm Goodwin Proctor in Boston, Massachusetts, where he specializes in business and commercial litigation. Budd had previously been a senior partner at Goodwin Proctor from 1993 to 1996.

Prior to rejoining Goodwin Proctor in 2004, Budd served as Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel at John Hancock Financial Services, where he was responsible for directing all of the company’s legal activities as well as overseeing the compliance, human resources, governmental affairs and community relations. Before joining Hancock, Budd was Group President-New England at Bell Atlantic Corporation (now Verizon Communications) where he was responsible for policy, regulatory and legislative functions for the New England states served by Bell Atlantic.

Budd has served numerous government, public service, educational and business entities including serving as Commissioner and Chairman of the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission (1972 – 1989); as a Trustee of Boston College (1980 - 1997); as Director (former ViceChair) of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; and as a member of the National Board of the American Automobile Association.

Budd is the father of three daughters--Kim, a lawyer, born in 1966; Kristi, a teacher, born in 1968; and Kern, a nurse, born in 1970.

Budd was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.064

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/5/2006

Last Name

Budd

Maker Category
Schools

William N. Deberry

Cathedral High School

Myrtle Street Junior High School

Boston College

Wayne State University School of Law

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Wayne

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

BUD01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

Always Be On The Look Out For Opportunity. Don't Turn A Deft Ear Or A Blind Eye To It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/18/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Clam Strips, Lobster, Pasta

Short Description

Commercial lawyer and presidential appointee Wayne Budd (1941 - ) was senior counsel at Goodwin Proctor, and the first African American to head the Massachusetts Bar Association as president, and at that time, the youngest president of any state bar association, at age thirty-eight. He was also appointed as Associate Attorney General of the United States.

Employment

State of Massachusetts

Goodwin Procter LLP

John Hancock Financial

Bell Atlantic Corporation

United States Department of Justice

Ford Motor Company

General Electric

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1596,14:2280,23:4256,63:4636,69:5548,83:8208,121:10260,146:10564,152:12768,180:15808,288:16492,299:16872,305:17328,312:18012,323:19304,347:20520,367:20976,374:21888,395:30030,432:35790,520:36270,527:36910,559:37470,567:38510,581:57166,990:57506,996:58050,1004:58866,1019:59682,1034:60226,1044:61178,1082:94604,1425:98405,1441:101179,1502:101471,1507:101836,1513:105048,1561:105997,1583:110961,1668:112421,1704:113516,1721:114027,1730:125880,1791:126184,1796:127400,1826:130940,1876$0,0:960,29:6240,141:7120,153:9440,208:10080,217:10800,234:16560,372:17280,382:18880,466:22160,531:36272,625:40908,728:47555,793:48235,803:55634,877:57147,906:59995,1006:60351,1011:61152,1023:95296,1441:95984,1451:96758,1463:97446,1478:98908,1503:100112,1523:101058,1535:102262,1548:102778,1555:103122,1560:103724,1570:107680,1662:120910,1799:121801,1814:122449,1826:131359,2002:132088,2015:136452,2036:137580,2053:139020,2064
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380299">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wayne Budd's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380300">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wayne Budd lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380301">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wayne Budd describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380302">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wayne Budd describes his maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380303">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wayne Budd describes his father's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380304">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wayne Budd describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380305">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wayne Budd describes his maternal family's involvement in the Underground Railroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380306">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wayne Budd recalls his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380307">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wayne Budd lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380308">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Wayne Budd describes his wife and children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380309">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Wayne Budd describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379983">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wayne Budd remembers his childhood neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379984">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wayne Budd describes his early education in African American history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379985">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wayne Budd describes his family life during childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379986">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wayne Budd recalls the smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379987">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wayne Budd remembers DeBerry Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379988">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wayne Budd recalls Springfield's Myrtle Street Junior High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379989">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wayne Budd recalls his early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379990">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wayne Budd remembers Springfield's Cathedral High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379991">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Wayne Budd recalls his summer employment in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379992">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Wayne Budd remembers his decision to attend Boston College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379993">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Wayne Budd recalls his experience at Boston College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379994">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Wayne Budd recalls being recruited to work at Ford Motor Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/379995">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Wayne Budd describes his experiences at Wayne State University Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380310">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wayne Budd recalls a professor at Wayne State University Law School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380311">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wayne Budd recalls a professor at Wayne State University Law School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380312">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wayne Budd remembers working at Ford Motor Company while studying law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380313">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wayne Budd describes his decision to return to Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380314">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wayne Budd remembers his early law career in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380315">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wayne Budd recalls joining the law firm of Hamilton and Lampson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380316">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wayne Budd remembers establishing a law firm with Tom Reilly</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380317">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wayne Budd recalls his organizational involvements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380318">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Wayne Budd recalls serving as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380319">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Wayne Budd recalls becoming an associate attorney general of the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380320">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Wayne Budd remembers directing the Rodney King investigation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380321">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wayne Budd recalls serving as the United States associate attorney general</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380322">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wayne Budd recalls serving on the United States Sentencing Commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380323">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wayne Budd recalls working for Goodwin, Procter and Hoar LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380324">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wayne Budd recalls working for NYNEX Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380325">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wayne Budd describes his community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380326">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wayne Budd describes his hobbies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380327">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wayne Budd talks about his oldest daughter's law career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380328">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wayne Budd recalls working as general counsel to John Hancock Financial Services Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380329">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Wayne Budd describes his accomplishments at John Hancock Financial Services Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380330">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Wayne Budd describes his responsibilities at Goodwin Procter LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380331">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Wayne Budd describes his hobbies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380332">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Wayne Budd lists his board memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380333">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Wayne Budd describes his hopes for Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380334">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wayne Budd reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380335">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wayne Budd describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380336">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wayne Budd talks about the importance of history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380337">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wayne Budd shares his advice for African Americans interested in law careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380338">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wayne Budd describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/380339">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wayne Budd narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Wayne Budd recalls his organizational involvements
Wayne Budd recalls serving as the United States associate attorney general
Transcript
While you had this law practice, Budd, Wiley and Richlin, what other community and citywide involvements did you have in business or legal work?$$Very, very active counsel for the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] at one time. I was a lawyer assigned to restart an Urban League chapter in Boston [Massachusetts], which I did and was active with for a number of years. We represented a number, and mainly pro bono, a number of entities in the community; Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center [Boston, Massachusetts], Harvard Street Health Center [Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Boston, Massachusetts], Whittier Street Health Center [Boston, Massachusetts]. So we did a fair number of health centers, as I think about it. But other community groups, we got involved a little bit in politics. I became the president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, kind of working my way up through the chairs. And when I was elected, I was the first African American to be elected to any state bar association.$$In the country.$$In the country, yeah. And I was elected in 1979, and it's a one-year term, so that was a great--$$What were your responsibilities as president of--$$Oh, oversee the state bar. You know, you had a full-time staff, but you were the bar leader. You were the designated lawyers of the lawyers statewide. It was a career changer. It was one of those things that, at least, for my own career, kind of took me a little bit apart from other lawyers of whatever color or stripe. You know, because if you're the state bar president, you're seen to be different. Not that you are, but you're seen that way. And that opened me up to opportunities to serve on boards, to, to, to get in line for other things. To work on task forces, for this governor, or that mayor, and, you know, and on, and on, and on.$Tell me about the process of becoming the associate attorney general of the United States. What was that process for you?$$Actually, it was interesting because, but for Bill Barr [William P. Barr], the then attorney general, I never would have gotten through the process. Apparently, when I went to the White House [Washington, D.C.] for my interviews--I never met with President Bush [President George Herbert Walker Bush], but the personnel people and the staff people who vet these things--I was deemed not to be conservative enough. So I was rejected. And they said, "Look for somebody else," to Barr. And Barr came back with, "Look, you gave me--you told me this was going to be my department, and I could pick my own people, and I want this guy." So, they yielded to him, and as a result of that, I became the associate attorney general.$$What was the highlight of that experience? You served there three years; is that correct?$$No, no actually, I was only there a year. I was there for the last year of the first Bush administration, '92 [1992], '93 [1993]. And so as--the moment the new administration, the new president raises his hand to take the oath, you're gone. You're fired. Your resignation--well, you don't even resign. You're terminated. So I got out--if the inauguration was on Tuesday, I was out on Friday, and finished up and came back home.$$What was the highlight of your tenure in this position?$$Well, actually, there was a couple, one of which was to oversee the prosecution and the prosecution team for the Rodney King case, the prosecution of four police officers in the federal court system. Although technically, the case wasn't completed by the time I left office. And the other was to revive the office of the associate. It had been, kind of, put on hold for a few years. And this attorney general decided it was important to have the position activated again. It's established by law, but to have it activated again. And so to organize that, to put together the team, and to make it work was a great experience.

Reuben A. Munday

Attorney Reuben Alexander Munday was born on March 2, 1947, in East Orange, New Jersey. Attending Logan Nursery School and Chambliss Children’s House, Munday graduated from Wyoming Seminary School, a boarding school in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Earning his B.A. in English in 1971, Munday worked for Cornell University’s Office of Public Information from 1972 to 1974; he received his M.P.S. degree in African American Studies in 1974, and enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School, graduating in 1976.

In 1977, Munday became an associate with the Detroit firm of Lewis, White, Clay and Graves (now Lewis and Munday). President of the firm from 1994 to 2003, Munday’s primary areas of practice included real estate acquisition and sale, commercial leases, mortgage financing, commercial and industrial real estate development, and problem real estate loan work outs. Munday’s firm represented various municipal corporations in the development of major projects in the city of Detroit, including the Trolley Plaza Apartments; Trappers Alley; the Robert L. Millender Center; the Madison Center Court House; the Cobo Hall Expansion Project; the Chrysler Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant; and the Chrysler Mack Avenue Engine Plant. Munday served as the first African American general counsel to downtown Detroit development during Mayor Coleman Young’s administration

A sought after teacher and speaker on continuing legal education, Munday was also a member of many legal associations, including the American Bar Association; Detroit Bar Association; the Wolverine Bar Association; and the National Bar Association. A board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, St. John Health System Finance Committee, Fund for Detroit’s Future, City of Detroit Board of Ethics, National Conference for Community and Justice, City Year Detroit, and St. John Riverview Hospital, Munday married Dr. Cheryl Munday, with whom he had a son.

Accession Number

A2005.096

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2005

Last Name

Munday

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Organizations
Schools

Chambliss Children's House at Tuskegee Institute

Wyoming Seminary Upper School

Cornell University

University of Michigan

First Name

Reuben

Birth City, State, Country

Orange

HM ID

MUN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/2/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Real estate lawyer and commercial lawyer Reuben A. Munday (1947 - ) and his firm represented various municipal corporations in the development of major projects in the city of Detroit, including the Trolley Plaza Apartments; Trappers Alley; the Robert L. Millender Center; the Madison Center Court House; the Cobo Hall Expansion Project; the Chrysler Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant; and the Chrysler Mack Avenue Engine Plant.

Employment

Lewis & Munday, A Professional Corporation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1240,37:10464,147:11283,158:11738,164:41640,382:42495,392:54067,495:67790,620:69550,635:82030,733:82934,742:84516,760:88019,774:95190,838:98710,895:99270,903:110339,1035:118518,1097:122566,1148:140478,1267:140962,1272:155908,1403:172315,1589:173250,1599$0,0:11646,145:12647,157:13557,164:14285,173:37850,386:38210,391:54870,563:55950,577:56310,582:60010,594:60682,603:61738,615:63850,636:64810,651:84443,897:85154,907:106956,1086:107436,1092:109356,1112:109932,1120:114636,1181:115308,1190:115692,1195:132815,1340:136056,1350:137024,1367:137464,1373:138080,1382:138432,1387:143272,1465:155524,1610:156148,1618:156616,1625:157474,1637:158020,1642:173372,1791:195638,2171:207920,2348:215230,2415
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120616">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reuben A. Munday's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120617">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120618">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes his mother's family background in Henderson, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120619">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his mother's college education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120620">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday describes his father's family background in Berea, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120621">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his father's education at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120622">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday recalls his father's teaching career at the University of Tennessee in Nashville and the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120623">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday remembers growing up at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120321">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120322">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes the campus of the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120323">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120324">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon the role of music during his upbringing in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120325">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his primary education at Chambliss Children's House in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120326">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday describes the roles of religion and education in his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120327">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday recounts his decision to attend a northern boarding school for high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120328">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes his experience at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania from 1961 to 1965</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120329">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon the differences between black and white students at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120330">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday describes his extracurricular and athletic interests while at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120331">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his decision to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1965</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120332">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday describes his high school Civil Rights Movement experiences in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120624">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes Sammy Younge, Jr.'s racially motivated murder in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1966</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120625">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes the impact of Sammy Younge, Jr.'s murder on his political formation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120626">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday talks about Johnny Ford, the first black mayor in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120627">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday talks about leaving the black community at Tuskegee Institute for Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120628">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday describes Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and its African American Society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120629">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday recalls student activism at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York during the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120630">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday talks about dropping out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1969 before completing his studies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120722">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday recalls influential faculty in the African American studies department of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120723">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon what he learned in African American studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120724">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday recounts his decision to enroll at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120725">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday describes finishing law school and joining the firm of Lewis, White, Clay and Graves in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120726">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120727">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday talks about the importance of business ownership in the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120728">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday describes the challenges of running his law firm, Lewis and Munday</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120729">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his law firm's contributions to the community in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120639">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes Detroit, Michigan's attempt to build Africa Town, a black business community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120640">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday compares the economic practices of African American and immigrant groups</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120641">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120642">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday considers what he would do differently</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120643">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120644">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his parents and his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120645">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday talks about the importance of preserving history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120646">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/120647">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reuben A. Munday narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Reuben A. Munday talks about Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit, Michigan
Reuben A. Munday describes Detroit, Michigan's attempt to build Africa Town, a black business community
Transcript
Basically I (unclear)--I thought I'd still be leaving, but Coleman Young was mayor, there was a lot of huge downtown development work going on. I became the first general counsel to the city of Detroit [Michigan] downtown development authority and just tremendous access to those who were involved in economic development. We were early on involved in tax increment financing and different kinds of tax abatement, industrial commercial housing, abatement, tax-exempt bonds. This firm was the first African American firm in the 'Redbook' authorized to give an opinion on tax-exempt bonds. So I was in my comfort zone because it was groundbreaking territory. I was getting to be myself; I was a fish in water. Coleman Young with Tuskegee Airmen originally from Alabama, tough as nails, I think respected as a man but really disagreed with it, very much disliked in some quarters but I think history will be kind to Coleman Young in the long run but he was a man of strong opinions and very much empowering. This firm would not be here but for Coleman Young and I gave you a film that kind of details the history of this firm from '72 [1972]. It's now one of the oldest continuing firms from '72 [1972] to 2005. Many of the firms have--that started around that same time have fallen off. So we're proud that we've been able to continue the institution. I am very much of the belief that we must build as African Americans build back our business class and our firm is very much involved in working with African American auto suppliers and other institutions as well as Fortune 500 companies.$Okay, Africa Town. Now what happened, what's going on with Africa Town, give us your analysis?$$Africa Town comes out of the recognition that we desperately need a business community. The old historic African American business community, Interstate--I-75 runs through it now. It was knocked down and eliminated, we don't think that's an accident but we do not have the business class that supports a city [Detroit, Michigan] that's 85 percent black. The problem with Africa Town is the way the plan was presented. The plan was not prepared by people who have experience in real estate. So what was driving the plan was the goal of increasing the number of African American-owned businesses. What was missing was the specifics of what property are you going to buy, how are you going to finance it, what's going to be the mix of businesses, what's the demand for the businesses, what are the financial projections to make sure it can carry whatever debt you need to incur to make the improvements you need to make to real estate? Obviously this can't be done in a racist way, you can't just go out and say this is unless you use your own money as some ethnic groups do, loan money to each other only. But you can't, as a public body, go out and say only these African Americans can participate in this district. So the objective, I think, is correct that you can't send all your money out of town and wonder why you live in a ghetto. You can't not own any businesses and wonder why you are unemployed. If you own businesses you can be employed and you can employ other people. So I think we've been told in pretty clear terms that people in this country don't want to hear us crying about what happened to us. Maybe that's wrong, maybe that's right but I think that's a fact and that being the fact, I don't think there is a lot of room for us to do anything other than to take the initiative to build and support businesses as much as we can. Now how you do that, it matters and you need people who have experience, expertise matters. People who have done it before who've made the mistakes, what you get to do depends a lot on where the money is going to come from. Who's going to put up money for this, how do you decide what businesses will be profitable and which ones won't, where's the support? Out of nowhere we're going to sell fish or whatever and what was the analysis that got you there?

Robert Bennett

Lawyer Robert Bennett was born April 14, 1947, in Columbus, near Fort Benning, Georgia. Raised primarily by his mother, Annie Mae Bennett, Bennett attended Claflin School in Columbus; the Harriet Beecher Stowe School in Cincinnati; and graduated from Chicago’s Parker High School in 1965. Beginning in high school, Bennett spent his summers working on the Santa Fe Super Chief passenger train from Chicago to Los Angeles. At Dartmouth University, Bennett was one of the founders of the Afro American Society and spent two years in discussions on how to build United States support for the African National Congress (ANC). Graduating with his B.A. degree in Political Science in 1969, Bennettt spent the summer in Europe and North Africa on $5.00 a day; he finished Yale Law School in 1972.

From 1975 to 1978 Bennett was an associate attorney with Winston and Strawn and later Rudnick and Wolfe. From 1978 on he operated his own law firm in which he handled corporate and commercial transactions and real estate development. Bennett regularly hosted ANC leaders in his Chicago home, including Alfred Nzo and Graca Machel, and volunteered his legal services in support of various pro ANC groups throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Bennett hosted Nelson Mandela’s fundraising visit to Chicago in 1993, and raised $87,000 to support his campaign for the presidency of the new South Africa. Bennett hosted a tour of selected U. S. cities for then President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, and became Honorary Consul of Ghana from 1996 to 2002.

Founder of Bennnett and Bailey International Consulting, Bennett was a consultant in the late 1990s on the King Shaka International Airport Project in Durban, South African, and on the West African Gas Pipeline. Bennett was a consultant for the movie, Ali, some of which was shot in Ghana. Bennett later became engaged in a long-term consultancy and exchange with the Ghanaian justice system.

Accession Number

A2004.260

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/14/2004

1/6/2005

Last Name

Bennett

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Parker High School

Claflin Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe Fine and Performing Arts Academy

Dartmouth College

Yale Law School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

BEN04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Some Men See Things And Say 'Why.' Some Men Dream Of Things And Say 'Why Not.'

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/14/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Turkey

Short Description

Lawyer Robert Bennett (1947 - ) is the founder of Bennett and Bailey International Consulting, which worked on the King Shaka International Airport Project and the West African Gas Pipeline in the late 1990s. Bennett later became engaged in a long-term consultancy and exchange with the Ghanaian justice system.

Employment

Republic of Ghana

Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253565">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Bennett's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253566">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253567">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett talks about his mother's side of the family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253568">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett talks about his familiarity with Fort Benning in Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253569">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett talks about his maternal family's migration north</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253570">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett shares a joke his maternal grandfather used to tell about the exploitation of African Americans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253571">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett talks about his maternal family's educational and religious experiences in Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253572">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett describes his childhood household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253573">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253574">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253575">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett describes his childhood activities and temperament</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253576">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert Bennett remembers the racial and social demographics of Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253577">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett talks about the media coverage of Africa in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253578">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett recalls the impact of Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah in his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253579">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett talks about the unofficial censorship concerning the Civil Rights Movement in Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253580">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett describes the orientation of his church, Antioch Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia, during the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253581">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett lists the schools he attended in Cincinnati, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253582">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett describes the impressions of white people held by his childhood community of Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253583">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett compares his neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio to his hometown of Columbus, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253584">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett describes his interest in history as a young student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253585">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett talks about the differences he saw between Columbus, Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253586">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett explains the reason for his move from Cincinnati, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253587">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett talks about the stability he gained from staying at the same school despite frequently changing homes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253588">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Robert Bennett describes his performance as a student and his jobs during summer breaks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253589">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Robert Bennett remembers working on the Super Chief train of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253590">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett describes his working conditions on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253591">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett explains the impact that working on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad had upon him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253592">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett recalls his aspiration to be a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253593">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett talks about mentors from Abigail Cutter Junior High School in Cincinnati, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253594">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett talks about his school activities and his mother's tenacity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253595">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett remembers being recruited by four-year universities as a student at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253596">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett remembers playing football at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253597">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett describes his experience at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in the mid-1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253598">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett talks about memorable instructors from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253599">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett remembers founding the Afro-American Society at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253600">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett talks about his interest in becoming a lawyer after his college graduation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253601">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett describes Malcolm X's impact upon him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253602">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett remembers the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253603">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett explains how winning an oratorical contest at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire funded his European travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253604">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett describes his hitchhiking itinerary through Europe in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253605">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett recalls meeting Eldridge Cleaver while traveling in Algiers, Algeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253606">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett reflects upon the Africans and African Americans he met traveling through Europe in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253607">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett talks about his desire to pursue law as a means for social justice while at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253608">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett talks about his experiences at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253609">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett describes forming the Malcolm X Legal Studies Association at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253610">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett remembers establishing a consulting firm as a student at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253611">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Bennett's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253612">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett recalls civil rights discussions while traveling in Europe in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253613">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett talks about black communities in London, England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253614">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett reflects upon his travels throughout Europe and North Africa in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253615">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett contrasts the experiences of African Americans with African immigrants and black communities in Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253616">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett remembers encountering Mozambican and Angolan students in Portugal in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253617">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett considers the influence of African American culture in Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253618">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett challenges perceptions of Europe being more liberal with regards to race than the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253619">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett talks about hitchhiking from New York, New York to New Haven, Connecticut after returning from his travels abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253620">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett describes how his objectives differed from those of white students at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253621">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett talks about the racial demographics at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253622">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Robert Bennett describes the competitive environment of Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253623">Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Robert Bennett recalls his initial career interests after graduation from Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253624">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett talks about his experiences hitchhiking through Sub-Saharan Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253625">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett remembers interacting with African American expatriates in East Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253626">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett describes his impressions of East Africa in the early 1970s, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253627">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett describes his impressions of East Africa in the early 1970s, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253628">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett talks about differences and similarities he observed between West and East Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253629">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett talks recalls the impact of his travels in Sub-Saharan Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253630">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett considers negative perceptions of Africa promulgated by African Americans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253631">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett talks about his love of travel and what he has learned from traveling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253632">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett talks about his construction businesses in Nigeria and Ghana in the 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253633">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett talks about the impact of infrastructure built in Lagos, Nigeria for FESTAC '77</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253634">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett describes his involvement with the West African Gas Pipeline project as Ghana's honorary consul general, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253635">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett describes his involvement with the West African Gas Pipeline project as Ghana's honorary consul general, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253636">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett talks about his involvement with the filming of 'Ali' and its representation of pan-Africanism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253637">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett talks about the impact of the West African Gas Pipeline for West African industries</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253638">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett shares his thoughts about Africa's economic development</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253639">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett talks about the neo-colonial exploitation of Africa and the promise of international trade within the continent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253640">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett shares his perspective on the benefits of international and domestic development projects in Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253641">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett remembers his initial involvement in freedom movements for southern Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253642">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett remembers his involvement with the African National Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253643">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett talks about his support of the African National Congress and anti-apartheid movement in South Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253644">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett remembers attending anti-apartheid negotiations with Molapatene Collins Ramusi in South Africa in 1991</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253645">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Bennett remembers attending negotiations between the African National Congress and National Party in South Africa in the early 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253646">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Bennett talks about his interactions with Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253647">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Bennett shares his impression of Afrikaners in apartheid South Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253648">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Bennett talks about the effects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253649">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Bennett talks about the effects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253650">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Bennett talks about Nelson Mandela's imprisonment on Robben Island and the demise of apartheid in South Africa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253651">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Bennett considers his ongoing political ambitions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253652">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Robert Bennett describes his hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253653">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Robert Bennett reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253654">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Robert Bennett talks about his children's educational opportunities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253655">Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Robert Bennett talks about his ongoing relationship with his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253656">Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Robert Bennett reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/253657">Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Robert Bennett describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$11

DATitle
Robert Bennett talks about his desire to pursue law as a means for social justice while at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut
Robert Bennett describes his involvement with the West African Gas Pipeline project as Ghana's honorary consul general, pt. 1
Transcript
What were your objectives at that point? I mean, what did you, what was on your mind?$$Well, most law students, black and white, I think it's fair to say, were interested in corporate law, working for a major corporation and making a lot of money of some sort and some were, of course, interested in personal, public service, but in a traditional way. I was not. I had begun for, this was a continuation of my trying to think outside the box, so to speak. In other words, Yale [Law School, New Haven, Connecticut] was the best so how, for me, how would I be able to go to the best and try to take advantage of what the best had to offer and to try to make it applicable in some way to the need for real social change in America. How to do that. I remember going to a contracts class, my first year of law school, and we were talking, the professor was talking about contract law and I read the course material in the textbook before class and the discussion was all about the traditional ways of looking at contracts and this type of thing and the relationship between the consumer and the producer and this type of thing, et cetera, and the contract relationship that comes out of that. So I asked the professor, I said something like, this would be for the entire class, "Most of what you're saying don't, does not apply to a lot of what you're saying or you're now, so it doesn't apply to people who are outside of this parameter which you're discussing. In other words, people who don't have the money to afford this kind of vehicle. These are people who haven't reached this level and are not likely to reach this level of success in American society, so the amounts that you're talking about, the relationship between a consumer who has money to purchase this product and is well-read, has a contract before them, or whatever, that doesn't apply to them. So, it's important to think of a framework, or begin to think of frameworks, that apply to mass of people who don't, who are not in this, these parameters that you're talking about. This is for middle class people, for upper middle class people, et cetera, and so, let's focus on something that deals more specifically with their problems, their issues." He dismissed it, out of hand, and the class was ready to jump on me. There were snickers in the classroom, why was I even raising such a subject. These people were not there to talk about the kind of issues I was talking about. They were there to be trained in contract law, securities law and other kinds of subjects that would allow them to advance their careers, in a traditional way. So what I was trying to bring up as a subject, it had no relevance to what was being discussed in class. So that was a real eye-opener for me right from the beginning, but still it was important for me to do that searching, to try to figure out how this experience could, could help me try to find a way to make a difference in the lives of black people and move black people forward and as a result of that, the country as a whole forward, and I just saw that being a traditional lawyer wasn't going to do that.$Well what else? I mean, now you've been involved in several business ventures in Africa, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, I've been involved in a number of, some major business projects in Africa. One is the, probably the most significant one is the West African Gas Pipeline project. This was a project that the major oil companies in Nigeria wanted to build to accomplish several objectives. One, of course, to make money by selling natural gas that comes from the oil fields and gas fields in Nigeria, to West African countries, that's one. A second objective is that the gas has been flared, or burned off, for many, many years. There's been a lot of complaints about that from environmental groups around the world that this causes a great pollution to our atmosphere, world atmosphere, and so the big oil companies wanted to find an alternative to flaring this gas which is, obviously, wasteful, this gas, natural gas, obviously is a product that's heavily used around the world for a lot of very productive purposes. And a third mission, of course, is that by using this gas, the West African countries could begin to use a tremendous resource to boost their economies, to, to speed the development of their economies because it's a much cheaper source for fuel and energy needs than is oil. Back in nineteen ninety--1995, the Ghanaian government asked me, approached me and asked me if I would consider being honorary consul general for Ghana. I didn't fully know what they wanted me to do. I made, of course, full inquiries as to what they wanted me to do and they asked me if I would promote the country for business here in the United States. So, they said to me that they would give me access to all of their top officials, including the president, for the promotion of business. So as a result of that, I was able to do a number of business deals in Africa including the, playing a central role early on in the building of this West African Gas Pipeline. Chevron [Overseas Petroleum Inc., San Ramon, California] approached me and asked me if, they learned of my presence here in Chicago [Illinois], even though I'm far away from Ghana, they knew that I represented the government of Ghana and they asked me if I would assist them in making contact with the government of Ghana. They needed that contact in order to be able to facilitate the building of this pipeline, putting all the different pieces together. They obviously had very good relations in Nigeria with the government of Nigeria because they had been pumping oil in Nigeria since, what, late '50s [1950s] or so or early '60s [1960s], but they didn't have ties with the Ghana government but I did, working directly with the president of Ghana [Jerry Rawlings] and other top officials in Ghana, minister of energy, for example. I was able, over a period of three and a half years, to help Chevron and Shell [Oil Company], the two principal oil companies involved, to establish the relationships with the governments of, yeah.