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Margaret Bush Wilson

NAACP leader, activist attorney Margaret Bush Wilson was born Margaret Bush on January 30, 1919, in St. Louis, Missouri. Wilson’s father, a railway postal clerk, James Thomas Bush was a 1900 Prairie View A&M graduate and her mother, Margaret Bernice Casey Bush taught kindergarten. Both of Wilson’s parents were active in the local NAACP, with her mother serving as an executive board member. Wilson attended grade school on the grounds of Sumner High School where lifelong friend Julia Davis mentored her. After graduating from Sumner High School in 1935, Wilson enrolled at Talladega College where she was awarded a Juliette Derricotte Fellowship to study at Visva-Bharati University in India, and where she met Nobel Prize winning poet, Rabindranath Tragore. Wilson graduated in 1939 with her B.S. degree in economics. A beneficiary of the Gains v. Canada law suit, Wilson enrolled in Missouri’s newly created Lincoln University Law School, graduating and passing the bar in 1943. Wilson was in the second class which had one other woman enrolled; she was the second woman of color admitted to practice in Missouri, joining Dorothy Freeman, Edith Sampson, Frankie Freeman, Sadie Alexander and other female law pioneers.

Starting as a clerk/secretary for attorney David Grant, Wilson was soon hired by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Electrification Administration. Marrying Robert E. Wilson in 1944, Wilson joined her husband in Chicago as he finished Kent College of Law. In 1946, Wilson returned to St. Louis and started the law firm Wilson and Wilson with her husband. Wilson’s specialty was real estate law, which complimented her father’s profession as a realtor. Wilson served as counsel for the black Real Estate Brokers Association, initiated by her father, and was instrumental in Shelley v. Kramer, a 1948 Supreme Court ruling that held housing covenants unenforceable. Active in the St. Louis NAACP, Wilson became St. Louis NAACP branch president in 1958 and worked cooperatively with Marion Oldham of CORE. During Wilson’s presidency, the NAACP won several civil rights cases including the Rankin Trade School Case and the Jefferson Bank case. In 1962, Wilson became president of the Missouri NAACP. During President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, Wilson served as deputy director of the Model Cities Program. As head of Lawyers for Housing in 1966, Wilson proposed the creation of one thousand new units of housing. In 1975, Wilson became chairman of the national NAACP board, serving nine terms.

During the 1980s, Wilson served as chairman of the board of the Mutual Insurance Company of New York, Real Estate Investment Trust. Wilson was also past board chairman of two historically black colleges, St. Augustine's College and Talladega, in addition to serving on numerous boards for national companies and nonprofit organizations. A trustee-emeritae of Washington University and Webster University, Wilson served as chair of Law Day 2000 for the American Bar Association.

Wilson, whose hero was Celie, the victim in a nineteenth century Missouri slavery trial, raised one son and was continuing to practice law in St. Louis at the time of her HistoryMakers interview.

Wilson passed away on August 11, 2009 at the age of 90.

Accession Number

A2006.177

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2006

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bush

Schools

Charles H. Sumner High School

Lincoln University School of Law

Talladega College

First Name

Margaret

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

WIL33

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/30/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Louis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

8/11/2009

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and real estate lawyer Margaret Bush Wilson (1919 - 2009 ) was formerly St. Louis NAACP chapter president and a Missouri NAACP president, and served nine terms as chairman of the national NAACP board. An accomplished attorney, she was instrumental in Shelley v. Kraemer, a 1948 Supreme Court ruling that held housing covenants unenforceable.

Employment

Department of Community Affairs

Model Cities

Lawyers for Housing

Favorite Color

Lemon Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Margaret Bush Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her mother's childhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes segregation in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the vendors in her neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes herself as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers St. Louis baseball teams

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Annie Malone, founder of Poro College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her mother's NAACP involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her teacher, Julia Davis

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls attending St. James A.M.E. Church in St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her academic and extracurricular interests

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls attending Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the teachers at Charles H. Sumner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her pastimes as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson compares St. Louis, Missouri to Talladega, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson explains how she paid tuition at Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her experiences at Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers being awarded a scholarship to travel to India

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls studying at Visva-Bharati University in India

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting Rabindranath Tagore

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her reception as an African American in India

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the caste system in India

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers meeting Mahatma Gandhi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls meeting Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her return to the United States from India

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her mentor, Hilda Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her activities at Talladega College

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 1938

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her education at Lincoln University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls her experiences at Lincoln University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers passing the bar exam in Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers trying her first case

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls working for the Rural Electrification Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers living briefly in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the Real Estate Brokers Association of St. Louis

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the legal proceedings of Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson speculates how the case of Shelley v. Kraemer was won

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the historic designation of the Shelley house

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers her campaign for U.S. Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls becoming president of St. Louis' NAACP chapter

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls integrating St. Louis' Ranken Trade School, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls integrating St. Louis' Ranken Trade School, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working with the St. Louis chapter of CORE

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers attending the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson shares her criticism of the March on Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Roy Wilkins

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers Benjamin Hooks' leadership of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the case of NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 1982

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon her conflict with Benjamin Hooks

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working for the St. Louis Model Cities program

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls being terminated from the Model Cities program

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers working for Lawyers for Housing

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls forming the Land Reutilization Authority

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls organizing the NAACP's first trip to Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the NAACP's delegation to Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon the NAACP's relationship with Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson remembers the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company case

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about her law firm, Wilson and Associates

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her greatest reward for her life's work

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Margaret Bush Wilson reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes the case of State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave, 1855

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about the impact of Celia's story

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Margaret Bush Wilson talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Margaret Bush Wilson describes her hopes for the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls hosting Clarence Thomas in her home, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Margaret Bush Wilson recalls hosting Clarence Thomas in her home, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Margaret Bush Wilson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Margaret Bush Wilson recalls the impact of the Great Depression on her family, pt. 1
Margaret Bush Wilson recalls becoming president of St. Louis' NAACP chapter
Transcript
Well, let, let me go back to one thing before I take you to Talladega [Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama], just one, one more thing, and that, that's kind of a sweeping kind of thing. But how did the Great Depression affect your family--$$Ooh.$$--and life?$$It, it kind of, kind of did us in. By the time of the Great Depression, my f- my father [James T. Bush, Sr.] was doing very well in business prior to that. And so we moved from Cote Brilliante [Avenue] to Enright [Avenue] into a bigger house, twelve rooms over there, fourteen over here or something (laughter). I don't remember what it was, but it was a huge house, 4149 Enright. I never did like it though 'cause it was dark inside and not enough sunlight. But at any rate, you know, that's where we lived. And business was very good. My father was selling real estate and making loans. And he had a, he had a connection with a group in Denver, Colorado, of African Americans called the American Woodmen [Supreme Camp of the American Woodmen]. And this was per- a fraternal organization that accumulated a lot of resources from the members, I assume, and investments and whatnot. And they had, they had the ability to give lines of credit to, to people, and my father was one to whom they gave a line of credit. And there was a practice here in St. Louis [Missouri] back in those days of selling property to black people for a very small down payment and very small monthly payments for several years and then a balloon at the end. You had to pay it off at the end. And when the balloon came due, instead of these real estate brokers refinancing it so they could continue to pay it, they called in the balloon note, which these people could not pay, of course, and they'd take the property back. And it was, it got to be a racket in the black community. People were you- losing their property right and left. We'd get the small down payment, regular payment, balloon note, couldn't pay, take it back, start a--this, you know. And they were--$$So, so this is a form of predatory lending--$$It was, well--$$--similar to what's going on now, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, but it was, it was, it was designed and calculated to make money for them at the expense of the black community. And my father, watching this, decided that he would ask the American Woodmen in Denver to give him a line of credit. I think it was a hundred thousand dollars. I don't remember exactly, but it was a substantial sum. And then he watched the foreclosures in the newspaper, the Daily Record [St. Louis Daily Record]. And when he saw a foreclosure in the black community and a balloon note, he'd call the people and say you wanna refinance? Oh, oh, of course. He would refinance it, and then he'd go down and pay it off, and he broke it up. And the brokers on Chestnut Street, which was a street where all the real estate, couldn't figure out what was going on at first, because their little gig had now suddenly been stopped by whatever, somebody. These people were getting money from somebody. They didn't know where it was coming from. And they finally learned that it was my father and James T. Bush and Company [St. Louis, Missouri], which was his name. And so one of these people called up my father, said, "Mr. Bush, we'd like to talk to you. Why don't you come on down to our office." And Mr. Bush said, "You want to talk to me, you come out here to my office," (laughter). They ain't (unclear) they blew their mind. You come to me; you want to talk, you come to me. And apparently they came, and he told them that, you know, what they were doing was inappropriate, and what he was doing was quite appropriate, in light of what they were doing. And that broke it up.$Now, what were the steps now? In the next four years you become the president of the St. Louis [Missouri] chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], by 1958. So that's--$$Nine [1959], '9 [1959] (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) four years later.$$Yeah.$$What happened in those four years to propel you to the presidency?$$Well, let me--it, it, it wasn't anything that happened in the four years that precipitated that. The NAACP was headed by a very dynamic trade unionist named Ernest Calloway. And he was doing a pretty good job, but there were people who felt very strongly that the trade unionists were trying to capture the NAACP branch and control it. And he was facing this rumble. And I had been active with the NAACP for several years and had started something called the Job Opportunities Council [sic. Job Opportunity Council] with a group that I belonged to. And I was on the exec- executive committee and practicing law. I had no intention of running for nothing (laughter) at this point. And out of the clear blue sky came a small committee. I'm trying to--I can't even remember who the people were now, but they came to my office one day and said, "We'd like you to run for president of the NAACP." Well, now Ernest Calloway and I were very good friends. I said, "What," (laughter)? And I said, "Oh no, I, I'm not gonna run against Calloway; that's absurd." And I left it there. But the next time I saw Calloway I said to him, "I had this delegation come and ask me to run against you for president." He said, "If you will run, I will step down." And I did one of these. I said, "What?" He said, "If you, you will run, I will step down." I said, "Why?" He said, "Because I think it's better for you to be president than for me to be president." This is a very wise guy now I realize. He understood what this meant in terms of the, not people, but in terms of the integrity of the branch. So, well, I was just flabbergasted. I mean I, you know, I did not seek this position, but I said, "Well." But he said, "I think you should tell them that you'll consider it," and that's what I went back and did. And then he announced that he was not gonna run. And then they got another person to run against me, a minister of one of the churches. But I beat him (laughter), and that's how I got to be president.

The Honorable Valerie Jarrett

Lawyer, businessperson, and civic leader Valerie Bowman Jarrett was born Valerie Bowman, November 14, 1956, in Shiraz, Iran to education expert Barbara Bowman and Dr. James Bowman, a pathologist and pioneering geneticist. Her maternal grandfather was Chicago housing legend, Robert Taylor. Moving from Iran to London, Jarrett attended Tetherdown Elementary School. Returning to the United States, she attended Shaesmith University of Chicago Lab School and graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts in 1974. Jarrett received her B.A. degree in psychology from Stanford University in 1978 and obtained her J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Beginning her career as a corporate banking associate at Chicago’s Pope, Ballard, Shepherd, and Fowle, Jarrett then joined the real estate department of Sonnenschein, Carlin Nath and Rosenthal. In 1987, she was tapped to serve as deputy corporation counsel for finance and development for the City of Chicago under Mayor Harold Washington and continued service under Mayor Eugene Sawyer and Mayor Richard M. Daley. From 1988 to 1989, Jarrett also served as director of Leadership Greater Chicago. In 1991, she served as Mayor Daley’s deputy chief of staff. Jarrett was appointed Chicago’s commissioner of planning and development where she consolidated three departments and was awarded the Women’s Business Development Center’s Government Support Award. In 1995, Mayor Daley appointed her as chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority where she served for eight years and was responsible for a budget of over $800 million. That same year, Jarrett was appointed Vice President of the Habitat Company. In 2003, Jarrett was elected to a three-year term as chairman of the Chicago Stock Exchange. In 2007, Jarrett was named president of the Habitat Company.

A longtime advisor of President Barack Obama, Jarrett served as co-chairperson of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. She is Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison.

Accession Number

A2006.165

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2006

Last Name

Jarrett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Stanford University

University of Michigan

Northfield Mount Hermon School

Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School

First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

Shiraz

HM ID

JAR04

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

And That Is That.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/14/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Iran

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Real estate lawyer, city government appointee, and presidential advisor The Honorable Valerie Jarrett (1956 - ) served as president of the Habitat Company, and was a former chairman of both the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Stock Exchange. She was also the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison.

Employment

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP

City of Chicago

Chicago Transit Authority

The Habitat Company

Chicago Stock Exchange

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Valerie Jarrett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes how her upbringing shaped her worldview

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls how she was perceived in Iran and England

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett reflects upon her childhood experiences abroad

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls appearing on 'Bozo's Circus'

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her decision to attend Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her childhood exposure to politics

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers her changing academic interests

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her psychology professors at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her social life at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers her decision to attend law school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls joining Harold Washington's administration in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her early roles in Chicago's city government

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers Chicago's Harold Washington administration

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls Harold Washington's sudden death

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls the transition to Eugene Sawyer's administration

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls becoming Richard M. Daley's chief of staff

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls forming Chicago's Department of Planning and Development

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her work for The Habitat Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about the redevelopment of Chicago public housing

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls the opening of Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett reflects upon the role of civil service

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes the impact of Section 8 housing vouchers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her appointment to the Chicago Transit Authority board

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls reforming the Chicago Transit Authority

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls the Illinois Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools and Transit

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about Mayor Richard M. Daley

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes The Habitat Company's recent projects

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about her career plans

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her corporate board leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett narrates her photographs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sponsors of 'An Evening with Valerie Jarrett'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Introduction to 'An Evening with Valerie Jarrett'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Norris introduces The Honorable Valerie Jarrett

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Norris greets The Honorable Valerie Jarrett

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Film reel of The Honorable Valerie Jarrett's family background

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about how her parents met

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes her education

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Film reel of The Honorable Valerie Jarrett's civil service career in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her transition to the City of Chicago government

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls the impact of Harold Washington's death

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers her redevelopment efforts in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers meeting Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about the importance of balancing work and family life

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls her early support for Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Film reel of The Honorable Valerie Jarrett's foray into national politics

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about President Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers Barack Obama's presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett recalls a moment from President Barack Obama's campaign trail

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about the political climate in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - The Honorable Valerie Jarrett remembers the death of Trayvon Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Conclusion of 'An Evening with Valerie Jarrett'

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
The Honorable Valerie Jarrett describes how her upbringing shaped her worldview
The Honorable Valerie Jarrett talks about the redevelopment of Chicago public housing
Transcript
How did you deal with questions of identity as a small child--and well, you were so young in Iran, I don't know if that was a question or not, but (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, part of the reason my parents [HistoryMaker Barbara Bowman and HistoryMaker Dr. James Bowman] moved back here--it didn't really affect me whatsoever, but they felt it was hard to raise this little black child in a Muslim country where people had servants and it was kind of con- they thought I was getting a confused upbringing. I don't, I don't know, I--maybe kids are, they adjust pretty well. I think having grown up in the Middle East and then England and then Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois], gave me a perspective on the world and a perspective on people that is pretty unique. And my father traveled extensively with us throughout Africa and Mexico and the Far East, and I guess I--and I wish I had the opportunity to do that with my daughter [Laura Jarrett] to the degree my parents did because I think it gives you a sense of self that, you know, the people in the United States would rather think of themselves and the United States as rather self-important. And I think it helps you understand, you know, where you fall in the total scheme of things. But I also think it gives you a sense of people and that they really are pretty similar the world over, and I think I am comfortable sitting down talking to, you know, the residents that I work with who live in public housing and connecting with them. And I'm perfectly happy to have a conversation with the leader of the free world, president of the United States. And I think, you know, I've been to villages in the poorest parts of Africa and played with the kids while my father was doing his work. And, you know, I've played with people who were, you know, related to royalty so--and everyone in between. And I think that world-rounded experience certainly shapes you. And it's probably better for other people to say how it shapes you, but it certainly gives you a level of comfort with all kinds of people which I think is important.$I guess, back to the redevelopment, I remember in the mid-'90s [1990s], Chicago housing coalition, a lot of groups, there was a lot of demonstrations outside of Cabrini [Cabrini-Green Homes, Chicago, Illinois] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yep, yes.$$--people, the community was in a flux as to what should be done--$$Yes.$$--with those high rise units.$$Huge fights. We had demonstrations, we had lawsuits, we had everything you can think of. And last week, we were at Cabrini for a groundbreaking for the new redevelopment of the onsite at Cabrini that's being done by a developer here in town. And I was asked to give a speech, and I said, you know, I started working on Cabrini in 1991, and so the moral of the story is if you live long enough and you are tenacious and you have a dream, you know, magic can actually happen. And I think, you know, we had lots of problems along the way, but the one thing we continued to do was to talk to one another and the residents who, you know, I remember meeting with in there in the mid-'90s [1990s] in the dead of winter in their office haggling over all kinds of issues were the same ones who were there, you know, all standing together last week. And, you know, I feel like we've grown up together, and if you think about over a fifteen-year period, eventually, if you're patient, you get to a really good place. And I think the residents forced us to really think hard about what was important to them, and we forced them to say, you know, you're not in isolation anymore. You're part of a community, and it can't just be what's in your--what you think is in your best interest. We've got to look at it as a community as a whole. And so, in the end, it was a love fest, and it was a--it's a better development having had that friction. Do I wish it hadn't taken as long? Of course, I do. But I think sometimes things take a long time. If I look at, you know, the neighborhood around North Kenwood-Oakland [Chicago, Illinois]. When I started the planning commissioner, as a planning commissioner, this is, you know, the neighborhood like 47th [Street] to 39th [Street], the lake [Lake Michigan] to Cottage [Cottage Grove Avenue], 70 percent of the land was vacant in that community. And 50 percent of what was vacant was owned by the city. And everyone said, well, it's a terrible neighborhood. Well, I'd grown up at 49th [Street] and Greenwood [Avenue], and I can remember driving down 47th Street and only looking south and never looking north. And I can remember thinking, well, why is there this invisible line on 47th Street, you know. And how could it be so close to South Kenwood [Chicago, Illinois] and be perceived so poorly. And so I looked at that vacant land as potential. I said, well, if the city controls all that land, you know, we can help rebuild the community. And if you drive through the neighborhood today, it doesn't look a thing like it did fifteen years ago. And, but it required, you know, community hearings and community input and a lot of back and forth, and in the end I think, again, you make a far healthier community having heard all the voices as opposed to just one. And that's what I really enjoy. That's the community process that I enjoy, and I think what ties it back to my [maternal] grandfather [Robert Rochon Taylor] is that he really believed that public housing should be woven back into the urban fabric and that there should be--it should be temporary. It should be a place for you to go when times are tough and you need to get back on your feet. But while you're there, he was a strong believer in requiring a sense of responsibility.

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

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

3/2/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

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
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reuben A. Munday's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes his mother's family background in Henderson, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his mother's college education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday describes his father's family background in Berea, Kentucky

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday remembers growing up at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes the campus of the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon the role of music during his upbringing in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his primary education at Chambliss Children's House in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday describes the roles of religion and education in his family

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday recounts his decision to attend a northern boarding school for high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes his experience at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania from 1961 to 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon the differences between black and white students at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday describes his extracurricular and athletic interests while at the Wyoming Seminary School in Kingston, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his decision to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday describes his high school Civil Rights Movement experiences in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes Sammy Younge, Jr.'s racially motivated murder in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1966

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday describes the impact of Sammy Younge, Jr.'s murder on his political formation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday talks about Johnny Ford, the first black mayor in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday talks about leaving the black community at Tuskegee Institute for Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday describes Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and its African American Society

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday recalls student activism at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York during the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday talks about dropping out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1969 before completing his studies

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday recalls influential faculty in the African American studies department of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon what he learned in African American studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday recounts his decision to enroll at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday describes finishing law school and joining the firm of Lewis, White, Clay and Graves in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday talks about Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday talks about the importance of business ownership in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday describes the challenges of running his law firm, Lewis and Munday

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his law firm's contributions to the community in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reuben A. Munday describes Detroit, Michigan's attempt to build Africa Town, a black business community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reuben A. Munday compares the economic practices of African American and immigrant groups

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reuben A. Munday describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reuben A. Munday considers what he would do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reuben A. Munday reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reuben A. Munday talks about his parents and his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reuben A. Munday talks about the importance of preserving history

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reuben A. Munday describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reuben A. Munday narrates his photographs

DASession

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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?