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Walter Theodore Hayden

Entrepreneur Walter Theodore Hayden was born June 24, 1926, in Tuskegee, Alabama, where his father, Rev. Charles Hayden of Greenwood, Mississippi, was chaplain of Tuskegee University. Hayden attended Hudson Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from Birmingham’s Parker High School in 1944; he was a pre-med student at Indiana University from 1944 to 1947.

In the mid-1950s, Hayden was a driver and broker for PR & R Trucking Company in Birmingham. From 1961 to 1964, Hayden was the owner and operator of Birmingham’s Star Bowl bowling lanes. Star Bowl became a meeting place and a secret sheltering place for civil rights workers during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. In 1964, Hayden moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he started Diamond Printing; soon thereafter, he began printing and distributing his own line of African American oriented greeting cards. In 1995, Hayden founded Fort Wayne Black Pages Business Directory.

A lifetime member of the NAACP, Hayden was also a member of the Urban League for twenty years, and for over sixty years was a member of the A.M.E. church. Hayden and his wife, Ernestine, remained in Fort Wayne where they raised nine children.

Accession Number

A2005.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2005

Last Name

Hayden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Theodore

Schools

A.H. Parker High School

Hudson Elementary School

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Tuskegee

HM ID

HAY08

Favorite Season

Winter

Sponsor

Lincoln Financial Group Foundation

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

6/24/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Wayne

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Leisure entrepreneur and printing entrepreneur Walter Theodore Hayden (1926 - ) was once owner of the Star Bowl, which served as a meeting place in Birmingham, Alabama, for civil rights workers during the Civil Rights Movement. After moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, Hayden founded Diamond Printing; created his own line of African American greeting cards; and began publishing the Fort Wayne Black Pages Business Directory.

Employment

Fort Wayne Black Pages

U.S. Army

Diamond Printing

Star Bowling Lanes

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Theodore Hayden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his father's career and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his childhood family life

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his early childhood in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls moving frequently during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his father's work as an A.M.E. minister

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his childhood activities in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his school experiences in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes influential teachers from grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls his interest in chemistry at A.H. Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes playing football at A.H. Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls his ambitions to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden explains why he chose not to become a minister

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes serving in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls his decision to leave the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls his travels during his U.S. Army service

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his early work experiences after college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his involvement in civil rights in Birmingham

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes the dangers faced by civil rights activists

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes the tradition of civil rights protest marches

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden talks about why he left Birmingham, Alabama in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls entering the printing industry in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his company, Unique Greeting Cards

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls working with black-owned businesses in Fort Wayne

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden recalls publishing the Black Pages in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes why he doesn't support black chambers of commerce

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden explains why black businesses have difficulty obtaining loans

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden offers advice for African American businesses

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden reflects upon the legacy of Willie Lynch

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Theodore Hayden reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Theodore Hayden reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter Theodore Hayden talks about volunteering at area schools

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Walter Theodore Hayden reflects upon his relationship with his parents

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes his children

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Walter Theodore Hayden describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Walter Theodore Hayden narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Walter Theodore Hayden explains why he chose not to become a minister
Walter Theodore Hayden recalls publishing the Black Pages in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Transcript
When I came home from the prom that night, that night, about one o'clock in the morning, he [Hayden's father, Charles Hayden] was sitting on the porch rocking, you know. And I came home, he says, "I wanna talk to you," I said okay. We sat on the porch, there was two rockers there on the porch him and hers, you know. And he says, "You don't have to go to the [U.S.] Army." He said, "I can get you deferred." And he said, "I could get you enrolled in school, and you don't have to go to the Army," he said, "you can be a minister." Of all the boys my dad had, he didn't have a minister.$$Was it, that had to be troubling for him because his great-grand, his grandfather [Charles Hayden] had been a minister, his father [Charles Hayden] had been a minister, he was a minister, right?$$Yes, it might have been troubling for him.$$And not a single one?$$Not a single boy, and there were eight of us, eight. Now there was one that preached, wasn't a minister, so he picked me. I had good grades and I pleaded with him, I told him, "Dad, I know how you feel but I don't wanna go through what you've gone through. I don't think I can handle it and come out like you."$$Now what did you mean by that, what did you mean by that?$$In all of the years I had watched him operate, that's what I called it, he did things, took care of things, all the time. One thing that always bothered me is on Monday morning he'd come in there early and wake us up, "You, Walter [HistoryMaker Walter Theodore Hayden]," I said oh, no, I knew what was going on, somebody had got into trouble and he bailed 'em out so they could go to work Monday. That means I didn't have carfare to ride the bus to school. I had to hike it over that mountain the rest of the week, you know. But that, we did it. And we knew what was happening, what was going on. And like you said he was a fixer, and there was always some little problem going on at the church or he was gonna move to another church and da, di, da. And I just didn't think I could handle people that well, (laughter) you know. I, he could have been in any other profession, he could have been quite a force, could have made a lot of money because he was well educated. And I thought, oh, you kind of mistreated us I thought over the years, but later he gave me something that you can't equate with money. And I can do whatever I decided to do. And I can. And I've had that now, tried to instill my kids with it. And, of course, you don't always succeed. Now, my grandfather, my father, would have been very proud of some of his grandchildren and I have two ministers (laughter). So it didn't go for naught, I have two.$$So did you, was it just the economic factor or did you feel like you really (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I thought it was later on, but that soon dispelled because I found out that after I got out on my own, I had no problem making my own way because I had been taught how to do that. That goes back to the time when this guy told me his kid was home from school, from school and he was gonna work, drive a truck all summer, and he would call me in the winter, I said um-hm, forget it. So I haven't worked for anybody else since.$$But you didn't feel, you didn't feel like any calling to be a minister at all, you didn't really feel that was a--$$Although I'm heavily involved in church.$$Okay. I thought it probably would have been since all this tradition, you know, you probably would have (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, but none, pfft.$I did that, I printed the book for her, she said, "Why don't you start one?" And I thought about it, I started thinking about that here and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) There's a young lady here in town [Fort Wayne, Indiana] who was--already had a Black Pages [Fort Wayne Black Pages]?$$No, no, no, we didn't have one. But I was dealing with, Rae Pearson. Rae Pearson is, has a personnel company [Alpha Rae Personnel, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana]. And we always talked with each other and so we, we were trying to get a meeting where everybody knew everybody. And so people started bringing me copies of Black Books from, Black Pages from all around the country, so I said, okay, I can put one of these together, I got a print shop [Diamond Point Printing; Express Print and Copy, Fort Wayne, Indiana], so I did. It took me two years to get the first one through but after that, I put out five good ones after that. The first one well, it's typical of a first book and then the rest of them look like it was done right.$$Okay. Now is this a, is the Black Pages like a franchise or something--$$No.$$--or anybody can start their own version of it then?$$Yes.$$It's not a copyrighted idea where--$$No.$$--you can get in trouble if I wanted to start one, I just go start one?$$No. It's just a matter of, I've got this here and it can only support one, you can start one in another city but like Chicago [Illinois], Chicago could support two Black Pages, pages, okay. French [Arnette D. French] up there, nobody wants to get in French's way 'cause can't, printing fifty thousand books a year. And the advertising from that is tremendous in Chicago. What he gets a page up there, I can't even think about it here, most I can get for a full color page would be about eight hundred dollars. He can get two, three thousand for a full page because of the coverage and people who keep these books. And I have created mine to the point where it was really something. And the young man that bought it from me is doing the same. In fact, the new edition will be out some times this week, I think. I was up to see him last week in his, this year's book is coming out this, this week.$$Okay.$$So the Black Pages is a way for you to find any service that's in the black community that you wanna spend your money with. That's what it's all about.$$Now it probably has more significance, tell me if I'm right or wrong, I would guess it would have more significance today than it, even in the past because the black--$$That's right.$$--community is scattered around, people don't even know what the other black businesses are.$$That's right. That's right. This is what it's, that's basically what it's supposed to be. It's your avenue to everything that's going on in the black community. Unfortunately, there's a downside to that, okay (laughter). Everything has a downside. Some people want the very first issue right away as soon as they can get it. And they are using it as a hit list.$$A hit list?$$By that, yes, a hit list. Same as telemarketing, they know where the black community, the black businesses are so they can reach them real quick like they know where all of them are, they're in that book. They don't have to go out, government agencies get them, the city gets them, all government agencies have to have them because they're looking for suppliers, you see. They're looking for suppliers and they're used for more than one purpose what I'm showing you. It became quite a book because of that; they're using it for more than one purpose. Some use it as a hit list, some use it for information, and some use it for use, basically. And they are all over the country doing well. And like you said about it, what's the difference then, I can just start, yes, you can. But there's this thing about what you can do and what you shouldn't do. For instance, this city cannot support two Black Pages. It can support two black newspapers because the advertising in newspapers are here today and gone tomorrow, whereas on this book you see it once a year. And the people who are in that book are very stable, the advertising you see in the newspaper is hit and miss because the guy that puts it in there today he puts in two issues that's it. You won't see it again for some time until he gets another budget maybe. But whereas the Black Pages are full of people who are stable, they're not going in that directory for a seasonal thing, they're going in it because on the long run it's there.