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John W. Barfield, Sr.

Maintenance company chief executive, entrepreneur and businessman John W. Barfield was born Johnny Williams Barfield on February 8, 1927 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Lena James Barfield and Edgar Barfield, both of whom worked as field hands. His father also worked in the coal mines and moved north in search of work. In 1932, when Barfield’s father had earned enough money to send for his family, they joined him in Washington, Pennsylvania. While living in Washington, Barfield began his first job, selling dry soap on commission for a white shop owner.

At the age of fifteen, Barfield relocated with his family to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where his father began working in a bomber plant in Willow Run. In 1945, Barfield dropped out of Ypsilanti Public High School and enlisted in the United States Army, serving two years in France and Germany. Upon his return, Barfield began working as a custodian for the University of Michigan, and, in 1949, he married Betty Williams Barfield. With his wife, Barfield cleaned newly constructed houses for additional income.

Barfield quit his job with the University of Michigan in 1955 because his cleaning job after hours had become more lucrative than his full-time one. He began his first company, a contract cleaning group called the Barfield Cleaning Company of Ypsilanti, Michigan, which employed 200 people. Barfield cleaned businesses at night and promoted his business during the day, always sure to wear a shirt and tie. The same year, Barfield also wrote the Barfield Method of Building Maintenance, which would set a standard for the commercial building maintenance industry. In 1969, Barfield Cleaning Company was acquired by the International Telephone and Telegraph Company in one of the highest multiples ever paid for a commercial cleaning company. Barfield and his wife continued working for the company for three additional years. Then, Barfield reentered the maintenance business when he incorporated the Barfield Building Maintenance Company and began promoting his business to different building managers. Also in 1974, when General Motors Corporation was unable to find minority and female suppliers, Barfield incorporated John Barfield and Associates, an organization that provided staffing services to General Motors, broadening its reach to include such companies as the Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

In 1978, General Motors requested that he manufacture transmission pins for them, and soon thereafter, Barfield founded the Barfield Manufacturing Company. In 1981, Barfield turned John Barfield and Associates over to his son, Jon. Three years later, the company was renamed The Bartech Group. The following year, Bartech would be named 1985 “Company of the Year” by Black Enterprise Magazine. In 1986, the Barfield Building Maintenance Company was acquired by Unified Building Maintenance Services, Inc., and in 1991, Barfield Manufacturing was purchased by Mascotech Industries, an automotive supplier. The following year, Barfield began his Share Products initiative, established to bring attention to the issue of homelessness in the United States. Barfield was a recipient of the The George Romney Award in 1996, recognizing lifelong achievement in volunteerism.

Barfield and his wife had six children and resided in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

John W. Barfield, Sr. passed away on January 2, 2018.

John W. Barfield was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.191

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/28/2007

Last Name

Barfield

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Ypsilanti Public High School

First Name

Jon

Birth City, State, Country

Tuscaloosa

HM ID

BAR10

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Bartech Group

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Punta De Mita, Mexico

Favorite Quote

I'm Glad To Meet A Fellow That Is Glad He Is Black. Who Is Conscious Of His Color And Appreciates The Fact That I'm Glad To Meet A Fellow That Is Glad He Is White.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

2/8/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pinto Beans, Onions, Cornbread

Death Date

1/2/2018

Short Description

Maintenance company chief executive John W. Barfield, Sr. (1927 - 2018 ) founded The Bartech Group, named the 1985 "Company of the Year" by Black Enterprise. Barfield received The George Romney Award recognizing lifelong achievement in volunteerism.

Employment

Bartech Group

Barfield Cleaning Company

University of Michigan

Barfield Manufacturing Company

Automotive Factories

Barfield Building Maintenance Company

General Motors Corporation

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Yellow

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John W. Barfield, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his father's work as a coal miner

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. talks about his paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers his paternal aunts and uncles

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers his family's homemade syrup and sorghum

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls his mother's illness and death

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. talks about the Barfield family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls the mentorship of businessman Bert Lutton

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his childhood in Margaret, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his neighborhood in Washington, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the coal mines of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls his family's church in Washington, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls his childhood in Washington, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the traditions of the Pentecostal church

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the black community in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his early personality

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his U.S. Army service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. reflects upon his mother's death

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls founding J and B Cleaning Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers buying his first house in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the J and B Cleaning Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his transition from residential to contract cleaning

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the difference between commercial and contract cleaning

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his methods at J and B Cleaning Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers segregation in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his perspective on wealth

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the National Association of Building Service Contractors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. reflects upon his success

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the 'Barfield Method of Building Maintenance'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers the sale of Barfield Cleaning Company, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers the sale of Barfield Cleaning Company, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls working at Barfield Cleaning Company after its sale

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his leadership style

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the sales of his other businesses

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the differences between his companies

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls founding John Barfield and Associates

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. remembers his mentors in the manufacturing industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his manufacturing processes

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his children's involvement in his businesses

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the development of John Barfield and Associates

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. recalls the challenges of business ownership

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the divisions of John Barfield and Associates

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his son's leadership of The Bartech Group, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the National Minority Supplier Development Council

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his advice to his employees

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his interest in hunting, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his interest in hunting, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John W. Barfield, Sr. reflects upon the black business community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John W. Barfield, Sr. reflects upon the black business community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his civic involvement

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - John W. Barfield, Sr. talks about his art collection

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - John W. Barfield, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - John W. Barfield, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - John W. Barfield, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
John W. Barfield, Sr. describes the National Association of Building Service Contractors
John W. Barfield, Sr. describes his civic involvement
Transcript
How did the, you get acquired? I mean that, you know, it's, it seemed like, okay, all of you are doing this, and then you're acquired by like a major company. How does that, how is that--$$Well, I put myself in a position to be seen, first by, by building a, a company that was as good as, as most in the country. I did things differently. I wrote a book called the 'Barfield Method of Building Maintenance' [John W. Barfield, Sr.]. I developed my own time standards. And when I went to the first meeting of the National Association of Building Service Contractors [Building Service Contractors Association International], a group of contractors that were trying to start an association, I recognized that there were people there that had been in business generations, sometimes two and three generations. And so I went there with the un- idea that there's a lot you can teach me, not that I can teach you something. And I think that, that, that meth- that message gained many friends for Betty [Barfield's wife, Betty Williams Barfield] and I. And, and so, before the convention was over, they asked me if I'd consider serving on the--as a member of the board of directors, the first board of directors, which I served on for five years. And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) This is of the nat--$$The National Association of Building Service Contractors. It was an association that was formed in 1965 for cleaning company, the cleaning company. And I said, "I, I'm honored that you've asked me to serve, but then I don't know very much about this, and you'll have to teach me." And they were willing to do that because I was humble. But it was not long before I realized that I knew about, more about cleaning than most of them, because most of them had, had gained their companies because, some of them because their folks had started their companies, and they had learned it from an administrative and from an executive standpoint, where I had learned mine from the floor up. So I knew as much and most of, of them, if not more. And so I, that's how I started. And, and it, it was not long before, before the meeting was over, they asked me to serve, which I served for five years, and I learned a lot during that time. And I noticed that in, in 1968, 1967, this industry was so profitable that a lot of companies wanted, bigger companies wanted to buy it. So in 1968, I was approached by International Telephone [International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation; ITT Corporation], Consolidated Foods [Consolidated Foods Corporation; Sara Lee Corporation], the Mackie corporation [ph.], the Senators corporation [ph.], and others. And, and we sold our business [Barfield Cleaning Company] to International Telephone and Telegraph for thirteen times earnings. And I was--we were well-off enough so that if we were not foolish with our newfound fortune, we were set for life, and that was when I was thirty-nine years old.$Now there are two, two other things I want to cover before we end. And one is the Share products initiative because, you know, you've done a lot of things. In fact, you were showing me in there this photo invention, which I think is still pretty great. But I want you to talk about Share products, and then there's, there are two other things.$$In the mid-'60s [1960s], something happened in this country that we all should be embarrassed about. And the government, state and federal governments decided that people that were in institutions, mental and health institutions, that were state and federal wards, would be better served if they were served by the private community. And, and they, they turned these people out in droves to be, to be managed by private, private industry. And the influx was so great that the private industry could not absorb them. And that was the beginning of our homeless problem in this country. And I'd, I'd saw that as a, as a terrible mis-justice for these people because it was pathetic in those days, the people that we saw, and even today. So I, I, I started Share products as a reprisal. I, I--to, to bring awareness to the plight of these people. And I sold about seventeen privately labeled products that were things like baby oil, and oatmeal, and garbage bags, and popcorn under, under the private label of Share products. And the idea was to give 50 percent of the profits to charitable organizations to buy food and shelter for homeless people. And, and that's, that was Share products, and we ran this for a number of years. There was no way it could have been successful because we didn't have enough money to, to run it properly, and we had no knowledge of it. But it was, it was our way of, of trying to help. And, and, and our way of creating a greater awareness of the plight of these unfortunate people. That was Share products.$$When you've, making decisions about what to get involved with philanthropically, like this was an area that--you know, the homeless that you identified, what are the key factors for you in many ways, Mr. Barfield [HistoryMaker John W. Barfield, Sr.]? Is it--and you mentioned the United, United Way [United Way Worldwide].$$Negro College Fund.$$United Negro College Fund [UNCF] is what I (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Is it, the question, what is my motivation?$$No, not your motivation, but how do you decide what you're going to get involved with? I mean what--because philanthropic things really are change agents in many ways. So, I was just wondering, you know, because Share was a big, big initiative. It was a big push to make a change. UNCF, you know, is, is also, you know, that's the whole education piece. I was just wondering, I was just wondering your thoughts.$$How do, how am I drawn to these?$$Um-hm.$$Well, with the United Negro College Fund, I was--Share products I was drawn because of the homeless situation. I was very, I was very much saddened by the, the conditions that I saw. The United Negro College Fund, there was a gentleman named Eugene Power, who was a developer of University Microfilm [University Microfilms International; ProQuest LLC]. He was a white man that for twenty-some years had been the voice of the United Negro College Fund in this community. He, he really, he loaned his name mostly to it. And every year we collected probably fifteen to twenty-five thousand dollars from the county to support black colleges in, in private schools. He came to me one year and said, "John, my wife is ill, and I'm well ill, and I can't carry this any longer. Would you take, would you take it over?" And I said that I would. And the first thing I realized--this was a white gentleman, and, and the first thing I realized, that it was--if, if I was gonna be successful with this, I had to incorporate both communities. So I went to a very prominent businessman, and I said, "Would you help me do this?" And he was white. And so now there's white and black, so it's not a black organization now; it's white and black. And he and I for twelve years, for the most, better part of twelve years, we raised funds for the United Negro College Fund. And the largest gift I got was a half a million dollars one year. And we would raise between three hundred and four hundred thousand dollars a year from our county for, for United Negro College Fund. But it was also unifying because it brought the black and the white community together for a single cause. And that was my motivation for that.

Ronald Jewell

Ronald Bruce Jewell was born on December 30, 1946, in Newark, New Jersey; due to financial hardship, his family moved from New Jersey to his mother’s native southern Virginia. Jewell's mother was a domestic, his father a mail carrier and restaurateur. In 1966, Jewell earned his high school diploma from Central High School in Goochland County, Virginia, where he played for the basketball team. During his senior year in high school, while working as a school bus driver, Jewell became a husband and a father.

From 1966 until 1969, Jewell attended Virginia Union on a golf scholarship where he majored in history. In 1967, he helped founded the Esquire Club, a national social organization that can be found on Historically Black College campuses throughout the country. From 1969 until 1972, Jewell worked for the National Urban League as the marketing manager of a training program for professional house cleaners. In 1972, Jewell and his second wife, Adrienne, started Jewell Industries, a residential and construction site cleaning service.

In 1973, Jewell expanded the business to include commercial cleaning and, on the request of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), he created the specifications for cleaning commercial properties. In 1976, Jewell began traveling to Ghana, West Africa, familiarizing himself with the people and needs of the country. In 1993, the company was certified under the Small Business Administration’s Section 8(a) Business Development program. In 1994, Jewell Industries started its floor services division after it received a government contract for a carpet installation project. In 1990, Jewell established the African American Trading Company (AATCI), employing 1,000 African farmers to grow and harvest 10,000 acres of chili peppers.

Jewell has received numerous awards for his business and civic accomplishments. His company, Jewell Industries, is recognized as one of the top janitorial firms in the nation.

Accession Number

A2004.259

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/14/2004

Last Name

Jewell

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Central High School

Goochland Middle School

Virginia Union University

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

JEW01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

God Is Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/30/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Maintenance company chief executive and entrepreneur Ronald Jewell (1946 - ) founded Jewell Industries, a residential and construction site cleaning service that is recognized as one of the top janitorial firms in the nation. In 1994, Jewell established the African American Trading Company, employing 1,000 Ghanaian farmers to grow and harvest 10,000 acres of chili peppers.

Employment

Jewell Industries

African American Trading Company

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Jewell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Jewell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Jewell talks about his mother and maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Jewell describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Jewell describes his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Jewell talks about his father's alcoholism and his jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Jewell talks about his grandparents and their influence on him

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Jewell explains why his family left Newark, New Jersey for Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Jewell lists his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ronald Jewell lists his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ronald Jewell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Jewell remembers his early childhood in Newark, New Jersey, including witnessing a possible murder

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Jewell reflects upon the changes he experienced when he moved to Virginia at age six

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Jewell remembers holidays during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Jewell recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Jewell recalls attending Manakin Elementary School in Manakin, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Jewell recalls himself as an elementary school student

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald Jewell describes his personality as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald Jewell recalls his time spent working for a country club in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald Jewell recalls his childhood dreams and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ronald Jewell recalls his childhood experience with church

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ronald Jewell recalls his junior high school years and influences

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ronald Jewell recalls his interest in becoming a lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Ronald Jewell recalls his academic performance during his junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Ronald Jewell describes his teenage interest in Satanism

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Ronald Jewell describes his high school, Central High School in Goochland County, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Jewell remembers attending Central High School in Goochland County, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Jewell explains why he quit his teenage job of driving a school bus

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Jewell remembers integrating and graduating from Goochland High School in Goochland County, Virginia in 1966

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Jewell talks about his college aspirations, early marriage and first child

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Jewell remembers enrolling at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Jewell recalls his and his roommate's involvement in civil rights activities at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald Jewell talks about his time at Virginia Union University and his wife's education and work during those years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald Jewell remembers working as a marketing manager for the Urban League in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ronald Jewell remembers starting his first janitorial company in 1972

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ronald Jewell describe being fired from the Urban League and starting Jewell Industries in 1972

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Ronald Jewell describes changes in domestic work and residential cleaning in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Jewell recalls the financial losses incurred by Jewell Industries in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Jewell recalls opening an electronics store in 1974 to recoup money he lost with his cleaning business

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Jewell talks about the status of his cleaning service in the late 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Jewell talks about the growth of his cleaning service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Jewell talks about his commercial cleaning clients at Jewell Industries

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Jewell talks about the origins of the African American Trading Company Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald Jewell talks about his business plan for Jewell Spice Company and his hopes for its future

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ronald Jewell talks about the lack of transparency in the spice business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ronald Jewell recalls his son's decision to join the family business

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ronald Jewell reflects upon his career and future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Ronald Jewell talks about his children

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Ronald Jewell reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Ronald Jewell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Ronald Jewell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Ronald Jewell talks about the possible future of Jewell Industries

Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Ronald Jewell reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Jewell narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Jewell narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Ronald Jewell remembers his early childhood in Newark, New Jersey, including witnessing a possible murder
Ronald Jewell recalls his and his roommate's involvement in civil rights activities at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia
Transcript
So, [HistoryMaker] Mr. [Ronald] Jewell, let's just talk a little bit about--you talked briefly about the early years in Newark [New Jersey]. What else do you remember about Newark?$$Well, I remember Newark to be a very crazy time. We were young and we were many. And we lived in cramped spaces in the wrong side of the track, if you will. I mean the track was right there on the next block (laughter). So I'm not sure if it was the wrong side of town, but we were close to the track anyway. I remember horses being pulled to carry vending wagons. And some of them were housed right behind my aunt's house on Livingston Street, behind the barn bakery in Newark. I remember bananas and cabbage and them vending on the street hollering, you know, "Produce," and that sort of thing. It was really rather romantic I guess. I remember my aunts living there, very loving and very caring and very wild women. No, that's my Aunt Mae [ph.] (laughter). She wasn't married, but she was a partying animal. I remember that. And my Aunt Mazie [ph.], who was my surrogate mother, owned a hair weaving--she made wigs. And so she was--should have been--I thought, maybe on many standards she was successful. She always had a Cadillac, and I thought that was the standard (laughter). But when I look back on it, we were really struggling. But the real thing was the danger, the lack of. I saw a man kill a woman on the street and got blood on me from cutting her. The conversation went like, "Oh, yeah." "Yeah." "Well, kill me then." And he did. Now that really stuck with me. If somebody says they gonna do something to me, I believe them.$$How old were you?$$Five. And I had a little sailor suit. I don't know if you know those little ones with the flap on the back. I really liked my flap, you know. I had cute legs and, you know, the little shoes. My mother [Thelma Jewell Freeman] always kept us clean. And we didn't have much, but what was such that we had, we honored it, you know. And so, yeah, I remember that. I think that probably more than anything else prompted my mother to get us out of Newark. And that was downstairs under our window. We were getting ready to go to church. And because I finished faster than everybody else, 'cause I'm always competing (laughter), I went outside, and I probably shouldn't have been out there. But, yeah, I was out there alone when that argument came to me. And, I think the lady died. I don't know. The ambulance came and took her away, and I had to throw my suit away. So. Yeah. I remember that. So I don't like Newark. The worst part of Newark--even I went back again when I was sixteen, and the one thing that I recognized about Newark is that people settle for less. The corners didn't have to be square anymore, you know. They just--they were around the corners, and there were--on every other block a church and a liquor store or a bar. In those days, no liquor stores but bars. And I saw Satan's battle, even then. Remember, I was born old. Okay. So the questions that I would ask about God came when I was five, six, seven and eight.$$$And what was the climate like on the campus? This is, like, the height of the Civil Rights Movement. So what was the climate like at Virginia Union [University] in Richmond [Virginia]? 'Cause there were a lot of civil rights activities taking place, especially on the legal front in Richmond.$$Well, yes. Yes. By all means, don't get me wrong. [HistoryMaker] Henry [L.] Marsh [III] had just become mayor of Richmond, who was my hero. We had, you know, black power on the campus. We had bush--afros this big, and the bigger the afro, the more black you must have been, you know. You know, I mean, it was that kind of thing. And we were--you have to understand that when you ask me that in '66 [1966], you would have had to go to '67 [1967] before I really got involved in it, because I lived in--I didn't go on campus the first year. I lived in a house full of preachers. And, of course, my more concentration then was on Jesus Christ and not the politics of integration and segregation. And so I did move on campus with my roommate, who we still call Sack today, Al Bowers [ph.]. Al Bowers should go down in history, and certainly should have his name counted among the important in this life. Al became student government and president. And he was the one who took over the administration building and kept it for three days. Yeah. I mean, we planned it, he did it. Okay. That's of kind of what we do even today. All right. He's that kind of guy. And so I will share with you later on about that. But in those days, we were demanding rights. We were demanding, you know, an affront to South Africa. We were demanding rights to access to public venues; you know, that we would be able to ride on the bus. Even in Richmond, even after [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.], we still had to ride on the back of the bus here in Richmond--or there in Richmond. And so the changes hadn't fully come. And Martin Luther King hadn't died yet in 1968. We're in 1967.$$Um-hm.$$So whatever Martin was saying for us to do, we were trying to do it. And whatever Malcolm [X] said, we were trying to do it. And we were learning in between those things. And it was a tumultuous time. It was a growing time. It was a good time, but it was a terrible time, which prompted me to preach togetherness among ourselves, because we weren't enough to divide, and that sort of thing.