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Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson

Religious leader Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson was born on November 5, 1937 in Wilson, Louisiana to Alonzo Patterson Sr. and Susie Milligan Patterson. Patterson enlisted in the military in 1955, and was sent to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1962, where he was stationed until his retirement from the military in 1966. In 1974, Patterson earned his B.A. degree in psychology at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He later earned his D.Div. degree from the American Bible Institute in Kansas.

After retiring from the military, Patterson founded and served as pastor of Corinthians Baptist Church in Fairbanks. In 1970, he relocated to Anchorage, becoming the pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, the largest African American congregation in the city. Under his leadership, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church became a member of the National Baptist and American Baptist Conventions, and expanded their facilities to include an educational wing, a youth and family support center, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Life Center. In 1996, Patterson became the coordinator of the American Baptist Missionary Society’s Alaskan Ministries; and in 2001, he founded Shiloh Community Development Incorporated, a non-profit organization that provided mentoring, education, and other services to disadvantaged youth in Anchorage. Patterson was also the founder of Bridge Builders, and a youth mentoring program called Young Lions of America. Under his pastorate, Patterson licensed and ordained more than fifty-five individuals, and mentored hundreds of deacons and deaconesses. Patterson retired as head pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in 2017 after forty-seven years of service, remaining as pastor emeritus.

Patterson became the chairperson of the Alaskan State Board of Parole in 1984. He also served as chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of Alaska, the Alaska Black Leadership Conference, and the Greatland State Baptist Convention. In addition to his role as president of the board of directors for Shiloh Community Development, Incorporated, Patterson also served as the director of Alaska Ministries for The American Baptist Churches, USA, and as the executive minister for The Alaska Baptist Churches. In 2015, the Alonzo B. Patterson Job Placement and Workforce Development Center was named in his honor. Patterson was named Alaskan of the Week by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan in October 2017.

Patterson and his wife, Shirley, have five children.

Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 18, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.095

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/18/2018

Last Name

Patterson

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Alonzo

HM ID

PAT11

Favorite Season

June

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

Jesus Saves.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/5/1937

Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Red Beans and Rice

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Alonzo B. Patterson (1937 - ) served as the pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska for forty-seven years, and was the founder of Shiloh Community Development, Incorporated.

Favorite Color

Black

Reverend Cecil Williams

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams was born on September 22, 1929 in San Angelo, Texas. Williams earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1952, and graduated from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1956, where he was among the first five African Americans to graduate from Perkins School of Theology.

He served as a pastor in Hobbs, New Mexico, and in Kansas City, Missouri until 1963, and accepted a position as pastor at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California. In 1964, Williams, Phyllis Lyon, and Del Martin founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. In addition to providing the LGBTQ community a safe place at Glide, Williams protested the de facto segregation of San Francisco public schools, hosted events for the Black Panther Party, supported Angela Davis by hosting “Free Angela Davis” rallies, and demanded investigations of police brutality against African Americans in the Bay Area. He created Citizens Alert, a community group investigating allegations of police intimidation and brutality against people of color and the gay community. Williams grew the congregation to 10,000 members and in 2000, he retired as pastor at Glide Memorial, but remained central to church operations as the Minister of Liberation and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

At the request of Coretta Scott King, Williams became the chairman of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance Committee in 1986. In 2008, Williams was the recipient of the National Caring Award presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C. In August 2013, the intersection where Glide Memorial Church was renamed “Rev. Cecil Williams Way” in his honor. Williams and wife, Janice Mirikitani, appeared as extras in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness and he was also featured in the PBS documentary series This Far by Faith. Williams authored two books; I’m Alive: An Autobiography published in 1980, and collaborated with his wife to publish Beyond the Possible in 2013.

Williams has two children from his first marriage, Albert and Kim.

Revered Cecil Williams was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on December 1, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.211

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/1/2017

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Huston-Tillotson University

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Cecil

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

WIL81

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

I'm Old Enough To Be Young And Young Enough To Be Old.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/22/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Cecil Williams (1929-) was a pastor at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California for more than forty years. He was also the founder and CEO of the Glide Foundation.

Employment

Glide UMC

St. James UMC

Hobbs New Mexico

Houston-Tillotson

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Nicholas Hood III

Religious Leader Reverend Nicholas Hood III was born on October 25, 1951 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Reverend Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr. and Dr. Elizabeth F. Hood. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan in 1969 and earned his B.A. degree in economics from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1973. In 1976, Hood earned his M.Div. degree from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut and was ordained as a minister.

Hood began working under the direction of his father as an assistant associate minister at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit. Hood became senior minister of Plymouth UCC. Hood, a former member of the NAACP board of directors, was elected to serve on the Detroit City Council in 1993. He was re-elected in 1997, but stepped down in 2001 in order to run his mayoral campaign. During his tenure at Plymouth UCC, Hood led mission trips to Liberia and Ethiopia. He also worked to combat homelessness in Detroit, with a homeless shelter program at Plymouth UCC. Hood also worked to provide new computers to inner city youth, and started a scholarship program for aspiring college students. Hood also appeared on local radio programs as a political commentator. In 2015, he published his book The Test, The Strength, The Endurance, and the Way Out.

Over the last three decades, Hood served as president of the Booker T. Washington Business Association, president of the Plymouth Non-Profit Housing Corporation, and President and Chairman of the Plymouth Day School. He is a trustee of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, on the board of directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and a trustee of McCormick Theological Seminary. He also served as co-chair of the Young Adult Committee of the Detroit Chapter NAACP, secretary for the Yale Divinity School Board of Alumnal Affairs, and chairman of the Amistad Slave Ship Visit to Detroit in 2002. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate degree in ministry from Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan.

Hood and his wife, The Honorable Denise Page Hood, have two children, Nathan and Noah.

Reverend Nicholas Hood III was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on October 19, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.195

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/19/2017

Last Name

Hood

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Nicholas

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

HOO07

Favorite Season

N/A

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Warm Places

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

10/25/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Nicholas Hood III (1951-) was senior minister of the Plymouth Church of Christ in Detroit, Michigan, following in the footsteps of his father Reverend Dr. Nicholas Hood, Sr.

Favorite Color

N/A

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was born on February 1, 1935 in San Angelo, Texas. He graduated from L.C. Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, and received his B.A. degree from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas in 1956, and both his B.Div. degree in 1959, and his S.T.M. degree in 1968, from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

In 1958, Holmes was pastor of the Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. He served for ten years; and, in 1968, he became United Methodist district superintendent of the North Texas Conference. The same year, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for Dallas County’s Fifth District. In 1971, Judge William Taylor of the United States Court for the Northern District of Texas appointed Holmes to serve as chairperson of the Tri-Ethnic Committee, which oversaw the implementation of public school desegregation in the Dallas Independent School District. In 1979, he became senior pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas and served until 2002. In 1991, he published Reaching for Revival and the following year Encountering Jesus. His other publications include; When Trouble Comes, and chapters in Our Time under God is Now and Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare their Sermons.

In 1991, Governor Ann Richards appointed him to be the first African American to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, a position he held from 1991 to 1997. Holmes was active in numerous community organizations including the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of Homiletics and Black Methodists for Church Renewal. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and an active lifetime member of the NAACP, and founding president of the Dallas African American Pastors Coalition, and past president of The Greater Dallas Community of Churches. He served on the board of directors for the State Fair of Texas and Northpark National Bank.

In 2001, he was recognized as one of the Civil Rights Movement’s “Invisible Giants” in the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama. In 2012, the Dallas Independent School District named the Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School in his honor. In November, 2014, Southern Methodist University honored him as a Centennial History Maker during its Distinguished Alumni Award dinner. Holmes also holds honorary degrees from Huston-Tillotson University, Dillard University, and Rust College.

Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.175

Sex

Male

Interview Date

09/14/2017

Last Name

Holmes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wesley

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

L.C. Anderson High School

Perkins School of Theology

First Name

Zan

Birth City, State, Country

San Angelo

HM ID

HOL21

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles

Favorite Quote

God does not bless us for nothing, god blesses us so we can be a blessing to others.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

2/1/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Zan Wesley Holmes (1935 - ) was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1968 and served as senior pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas for twenty-nine years.

Favorite Color

Blue

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was born on November 10, 1960 in Dallas, Texas to Reverend Frederick D. Haynes, Jr. and Lynetta Haynes-Oliver. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Haynes earned his B.A. degree in religion and English from Bishop College in Dallas, Texas in 1982, his M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D.Min. degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2005. He also studied at Christ Church Oxford University in Oxford, England.

In 1983, Haynes accepted a position as senior pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the Friendship-West Baptist Church adopted churches in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. With a great amount of assistance from Friendship-West, the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe built a worship facility, school, and health clinic. In 2010, with the earthquake in Haiti, Haynes and Friendship-West adopted a village in Haiti and helped construct wells to provide the village with water. Haynes is also involved in the radio industry. He hosted Freddy Haynes Unscripted on Radio One’s 94.5 KSOUL, in addition to delivering the closing “Inspirational Vitamin on K104’s Skip Murphy Morning Show for seven years. He currently delivers the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Haynes helped organize the Faith Summit on Poverty, which consisted of Dallas community leaders and city officials who were dedicated to reducing domestic violence and poverty. Haynes has also used donations from Friendship-West to fund historically black colleges and universities with over $1 million, as well as scholarships to HBCU students to over $2 million. He serves as chairman of the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, board member of the Conference of National Black Churches and the National Action Network, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for Paul Quinn College.

Haynes authored two books, Healing Our Broken Village and Soul Fitness. He was named to Ebony magazines “Power 100 list of influential African Americans," and was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, both in 2012.

Haynes and his wife, Debra Peek-Haynes, have a daughter, Abeni Jewel Haynes.

Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/13/2017

Last Name

Haynes

Maker Category
Middle Name

Douglass

Occupation
Schools

Ventura Elementary School

Aptos Middle School

Abraham Lincoln High School

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

HAY15

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town SA

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/10/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Frederick Douglass Haynes, III (1960 - ) served as pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church and delivered the “Praise Break” message for the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Employment

Friendship West Baptist Church

Sumitomo Bank

Favorite Color

Black and gold

Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.

Religious leader Reverend Mathew Southall Brown, Sr. was born on July 16, 1922 in Savannah, Georgia to Christopher Frederick Brown and Helen Robinson Brown. In 1943, Brown graduated from Cuyler-Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in World War II as a non-commissioned officer and was assigned to a support unit. Following his military service, he attended Georgia State College and earned his B.D. degree from the American Baptist Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee in 1961. Brown also studied at the University of Miami, the Division of Addiction Sciences with a grant from the City of Savannah

Brown was ordained as a minister in 1961 in the Historic First African Baptist Church. The following year, he accepted a position as a pastor at First Smyrna Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. In 1963, Brown became a pastor at Royal Missionary Baptist Church and then St. John Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia in 1969, where he led his congregation through the renovation of the church. In 1986, Brown dedicated St. John Villa, formerly the East Broad Street School, as a housing complex for the elderly and the handicapped. In 1988, the Matthew Southall Brown Resources and Learning Center was named in his honor. Brown then hosted a morning radio show called “Thought for the Day,” which aired on Clear Channel Radio Savannah, Georgia WSOK 1230 AM. In 1991, Brown then published, The Best of Pastor Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.’s 6:30 a.m. Meditative Thoughts. Brown retired as pastor of St. John Baptist Church in 2004 and became pastor emeritus. He founded the Boys’ Summit in 2010.

In 1971, Brown was appointed by Judge Alexander Lawrence as chairman of a biracial school advisory board. Brown also served as chair on the Emancipation Association beginning in 2013. He was also recognized and honored for his service to his community. In 2013, Brown was recognized by the National Baptist Convention for more than fifty years of service.

Brown has four children: Maxine Jones, Leonard Brown, Christa Stephens, and Matthew Southall Brown, Jr.

Matthew Southall Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 7, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.022

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/07/2017

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

Southall

Occupation
Schools

Florence Street Elementary School

Beach-Cuyler School

Alfred E. Beach High School

Savannah State University

American Baptist Theological Seminary

University of Miami

First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

BRO63

Favorite Season

July

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

Failure is not found.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/16/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr. (1922 - ) a pastor of First Smyrna Baptist Church in Savannah in 1962, he also served as pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church in Savannah in 1969 for thirty-five years.

Employment

St. John Baptist Church

Nicholsonboro Baptist

Royal Missionary Baptist Church

Smyrna Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Brown

Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr.

Religious leader Reverend Dr. Jim Holley was born on December 5, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Effie Mae King Holley and Charles James Holley, Sr. Holley graduated with his B.S. degree in 1965 and his M.S. degree in international relations in 1968, both from Tennessee State University. He went on to receive his B.A. and M.Div. degrees in the Old Testament from Chicago Theological Seminary, and then his Ph.D. degree in higher education from Wayne State University in 1978. He later received his D.Min. degree in economic development from Drew University.

On June 9, 1972, Holley became pastor of Detroit, Michigan’s Little Rock Baptist Church. In addition to his role as pastor, he was named president and chief executive officer of Cognos Advertising Agency in 1988, and has served as dean of the Ashland Theological Seminary, police commissioner, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors, and president and chief executive officer of Country Preacher Foods, Inc., the largest minority food distributor in the world. He also went on to establish and chair the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997.

As a community leader in Detroit, Holley has acquired the St. Regis Hotel, the Little Rock Pharmacy, the Family Life Center, the Little Rock Health Care Home, a local strip mall, and an education complex for high school dropouts. He is also the author of numerous spiritually-focused books, including the Handbook for Brotherhood Organizations (1990); Manual for Brotherhood Organizations (1990); The Mission, The Minister, The Ministry (1990); A Guide to Successful Preaching & Pastoring (1992); The Drama of Human Suffering (1992); The Buck Stops Here (1994); Jesus, This is Jimmy (1994); The Spirit Speaks: Daily Spiritual Motivation for Successful African Americans (1997); Creating a Can Do Attitude in a Can't Do Atmosphere (2000); and When the Vision is Larger Than the Budget (2006).

Holley has been rated by the Detroit Free Press as one of the top five ministers in Michigan, and was named Michiganian of the Year by the Detroit News in 1990. He has been recognized by Crain's Business Magazine as one of the foremost voices in Detroit, and was honored at the 2010 Trumpet Awards.

The Reverend Dr. Jim Holley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.227

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2014

Last Name

Holley

Maker Category
Middle Name

James

Occupation
Schools

Tennessee State University

Chicago Theological Seminary

Wayne State University

Drew University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

HOL18

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

The Measure Of A Man Is How He Handles His Vicissitudes. (Paraph. fr MLK)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

12/5/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. (1943 - ) has been the pastor of Detroit, Michigan’s Little Rock Baptist Church since 1972. He also founded the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences and served as president and CEO of Cognos Advertising Agency, dean of the Ashland Theological Seminary, and president and CEO of Country Preacher Foods, Inc.

Employment

Cognos Advertising Agency

Country Preacher Foods, Inc.

Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences

Detroit (Mich.). Police Dept.

Little Rock Baptist Church

Ashland Theological Seminary

Favorite Color

Black or Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes being raised by his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. lists his brothers and sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. considers which parents' disposition he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories in West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about segregation and poverty in rural West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about racism in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes race relations in his community in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about attending Laurel Creek Baptist Church in Wolfe, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. remembers watching Oral Roberts' televangelist program, 'The Abundant Life'

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes sights, sounds and smells of his community in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Roseville Elementary School in West Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Roseville Elementary School in West Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his sixth grade experience at Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes moving to Mount Pleasant, Tennessee with his aunt and uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes attending Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Clarke High School in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes how he got to Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. remembers participating in Nashville, Tennessee civil rights demonstrations

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about segregation and poverty in rural West Virginia
Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes sights, sounds and smells of his community in West Virginia
Transcript
I've heard people describe growing up in West Virginia in a rural situation like yours and it always--they, they described a pretty tough--$$Right.$$--existence. I mean--(simultaneous)--$$Right.$$--I have friends that grew up in Glen Rogers, West Virginia--$$Yeah.$$--and another one in--I can't think of the other town, but--$$Yeah.$$--but they're, you know--$$Because it was very--again, segregation was, was not something that was on the, the, the radar screen for anybody. We--you had to do what you--because people did--they did what they wanted to do to you and it doesn't--and nobody really cared outside of the, of the, the community. And so as a child, you basically--you stayed in your area. It's interesting that when I was a child, I would always look to get to the black community, and now that I'm grown, I'm always lookin' to get to, to the other community now. It seems like you're--that your community, you know, is having trouble, so to speak. But, it was, it was very poor. The whole state was poor for the most part. And, and, when I went to school as a kid, I had to walk. There was no bus system, you know, so I would walk about pretty much I think it came out to about eleven miles going one way to Bramwell [West Virginia]] and another, another eleven miles coming back. So I would wash up at--in cold water 'cause there's no heat, and then you wash up and you basically go to school. And you have to go early because you gotta walk, and then you gotta walk back. And so it was, it was, it was difficult. But, again, in those days, it was the way of life and you get used to the way of life, and there's no exposure to make you feel like it was anything different.$$Okay.$Well, we always ask this question or you've, you've already explained some, some of it, but what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growin' up?$$I'm not quite sure of how to answer that. I hear what--I know what you're sayin'. I'm not quite sure, again, like I said--$$Were there any particular smells, for instance, from a, from the mines or the--(simultaneous)--$$No, not really--(simultaneous)--$$--(unclear) activity?$$I, I, I think, you know, what the--I don't wanna be so philosophical with you, but I think the, the, the smell of poverty. I just--I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. Even though I didn't understand it, I still hate--I--not knowin' how you're gonna make it the next day and my grandmother [Marybelle Holley], and, and, and just knowin' how I can free her from all of this pressure that she was always under. But, I do understand what you're sayin'. Obviously, there's what we call a, a hog killing time where--in the whole area, everybody killed the hogs at the same time. And so the children did what they had to do and the grownups did what they had to do. And so that smell (laughter), you know, of all the--those hogs and stuff like the, you know, the straughter [ph.]--I'm sorry, you know, when you kill the hogs, hogs. So that's--that was a, was a interesting event (laughter) that took place where we all pitched in and obviously they would give, give us some, some, some sausage and things like that for, for helping. So that was always a interesting smell, if you don't mind. I, I would--the only thing, you know, I would, I would go nighttime because I wouldn't have any, any, any coal to--for the fuel, fuel for the fire and so I, I would hop freight trains and throw the, the, the coal off the freight trains and to go back the next day, next morning, and try to pick it up and bring it home because, again, we--many several of us had to do that because we were--didn't have the money, didn't have the money for fuel.$$I've--(simultaneous)--$$So--$$--heard that story before--$$Yeah.$$You know--$$Until the, until the state police used to protect the trains from going through the, through community now and then, so we had to be careful that we not gonna get killed by hoppin' the freight train and then bein' shot by the, the state trooper tryin' to get the coal off. It was, you know--but it's amazing what you would do even as a kid to survive.

Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson

Reverend, W. Franklyn Richardson was born on June 14, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Westside. His father William Franklyn Richardson Sr. worked in the meat packing district, and his mother Amanda Richardson owned a beauty parlor. Richardson is the eldest of four and grew up anchored in the church. He attended West Philadelphia High School and obtained his B.A. degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. In 1975, he earned his master of sacred theology from Yale University, and his doctorate as a Wyatt Tee Walker Fellow from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

At the age of eighteen Richardson delivered his first sermon at Community Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he was issued a license to preach. By the age of nineteen, Richardson was subsequently, full-time pastor of Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia and St. James Baptist Church in Varina, Virginia. In 1975, Richardson delivered his trial sermon at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Veron, New York, a year later he was selected to serve at Grace as senior pastor. In 1976, Grace Baptist Church hosted the New Year’s Eve Watch Night service aired on national radio opposite the New Year’s Eve service hosted by the pope. The following year, Grace’s Christmas service aired on CBS (coordinated by actor Ossie Davis). In 1982, Richardson became the host of WVOX, 1460 radio broadcasted nationally every Sunday morning. He is the founder of, “Windows of Grace”, Grace in Port St. Lucie Florida, and the Freedom School. Richardson has been selected by Al Sharpton to serve as chairman of the National Action Network. As chairman, his responsibilities included leading the organization on raising the consciousness of African-Americans.

Richardson has been inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr., Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He has also been elected as General Secretary for the National Baptist Convention United States of America, Inc. Richardson has served on the World Council of Churches Central Committee, the Ujamaa community development corporation and the Harvard University Divinity School Summer Leadership Institute. He has been presented with the Red Cross Award and in 2010, delivered a sermon at Saint Matthew Anglican Church in Soweto, South Africa. Richardson currently resides in Scarsdale, New York. He is married to Inez Nunnally Richardson; they are the parents of two adult children and the grandparents of four.

Accession Number

A2012.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/18/2012

Last Name

Richardson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Franklyn

Occupation
Schools

West Philadelphia High School

Virginia Union University

Yale Divinity School

United Theological Seminary

Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School

Belmont Charter School

Hardy Williams Academy

Community College of Philadelphia

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

RIC16

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Monte Carlo, France

Favorite Quote

My, My, My, My, My.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson (1949 - ) was the senior pastor of the Grace Baptist Church and the chairman of the National Action Network.

Employment

Grace Baptist Church

National Action Network

West Park Hospital

Hankins Funeral Home, Inc.

Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church

Conference of National Black Churches

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his mother's upbringing and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his father's education and professions

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his sister's acting career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the African American community in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his conditional admission to Virginia Union University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Community Baptist Church of West Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Civil Rights Movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his early involvement with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his experiences at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his calling to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his experiences at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls how he came to pastor the Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the formation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his professors at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his organizational activities at Virginia Union University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers Reverend Gardner Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how he came to pastor the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the history of the Grace Baptist Church

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his admission to the Yale Divinity School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his graduate degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his seminary professors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his affiliation with the Morehouse College Board of Ministers and Laity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson recalls his appointment to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the Grace Baptist Church in Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the National Action Network

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the role of the Conference of National Black Churches

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the theology of storefront churches

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson shares his stance on gay marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his board memberships

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Our Faith Empowers program

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the notable members of the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about Grace Baptist Church's webcasts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about the Virginia Union University Board of Trustees

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$3

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson describes the Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools
Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson remembers his calling to the ministry
Transcript
Tell me about the Children's Defense Fund Freedom School [Grace Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Mount Vernon, New York].$$Oh man, wonderful. As you know [HistoryMaker] Marian Wright Edelman who worked with Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] in the Civil Rights Movement, one of the byproducts of the movement was she created--well she had a concern that the children of the future would be in better conditions as a result of civil rights and that there continued to be racism that affected children. So she created the Children's Defense Fund [Washington, D.C.] with the purpose of trying to protect children, advocating on behalf of children; legislation, programs and so forth. One of the byproducts of her program is she ended up creating what we call Freedom Schools. Freedom Schools are the result of her passion for the children. I learned about Freedom School, I was invited--she bought the Haley Farm [Alex Haley Farm; Children's Defense Fund Haley Farm, Clinton, Tennessee] and they have retreats there once--annually and other times, but there's a Proctor, Sam Proctor retreat [Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry] that she invited me, they invited me to come speak. While I was there, I was exposed to Freedom Schools. And when I heard about Freedom Schools I was so impacted and influenced that I decided that I would ask our staff to look into how we could do that--we had to have Freedom Schools. So ten years ago we started our first Freedom School. Freedom School is a summer program, six weeks, that's designed to complement public education and to put self esteem into the students. It's based on African motifs; it's written--it's designed for--with a curriculum that's designed for motivation, self esteem. All of the authors are black authors. They get twelve books they read in the course of six weeks. They're exposed to successful African American leaders from mayors to doctors to lawyers to pastors. They come in the mornings and read to them. They go on field trips that are designed to motivation. The whole curriculum, we bring, we take college students, send them to Haley Farm and train them on how to be Freedom School facilitators, and then when the summer comes, we hire the college students to teach the Freedom School scholars. We started out with fifty, then we went to 100, then we went to 150, last year we had six hundred and this year we're going to have six hundred. It cost us about one thousand dollars a student; we don't charge the parents anything. The parents have to pay by--they have to be every Tuesday night at parenting meetings where we give them skills on how to be better parents, more effective parents and so forth. There are so many transformational stories of kids whose lives turned around as a result of Freedom School. Kids who weren't interested in education, weren't interested in school, they go to Freedom School, they go back and the teachers tell us they can't believe the transformation. Some kids had given up on getting an education but Freedom School provides--because Freedom School affirms your identity. It celebrates your blackness, it tells you the story of the struggles of our people. So it's a wonderful place. I'm a total advocate of it. I mean, I wish that every black community in America had the resources to have Freedom Schools. So we, we have sustained this for ten years; we're going to have a ten year anniversary this year of Freedom Schools here in Mount Vernon [New York] that--sponsored by Grace [Grace Baptist Church] and our community development corporation [Ujamaa Community Development Corporation, Mount Vernon, New York].$Now did your mother [Amanda Ellison Richardson] and your uncles kind of--?$$No they, they never, I think that my mother--I think all of my family always thought I was going to be a minister no matter what I said. They felt that I had the markings on me of being a minister and that it was obvious that I was going to be that. In their view there was no question, even though they never pushed it or advocated it, they just put me in the environment. And (laughter), when I decided when I was in high school [West Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] I wasn't going to be a minister, I was going to be a doctor. So I went to high sch- went to work for West Park Hospital [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] after school my last year or the last two years, the eleventh grade. And that's when I was an orderly and so forth. I met the doctors there and they liked me and they said if I were to graduate they would help me go to medical school and so forth. But at the same time, I still struggled with this idea about ministry trying to suppress it and ultimately I had a surgery in 1966, appendectomy, emergency surgery.$$You were like sixteen?$$Right. The surgery was in '65 [1965], and my last year of high school. So at that--long story short, I promised the Lord that if I got through the surgery 'cause at the end of the surgery--the surgery wasn't so bad, but the ap- the spinal they gave me we- malfunctioned and I ended up being paralyzed longer than I was supposed to be and that was really traumatic. And in the process of that, I told the Lord I would go ahead and accept the ministry and preach. When I got out, I still wasn't going to do it (laughter); I still was going to be a doctor. I'll never forget the mixed emotions my dad [William F. Richardson, Sr.] had. When I came home after having presided a funeral one night, I told him I decided I was going to go into the ministry and be a preacher. My dad kind of like you know it was all right that I was going to do that, but he had his mind set on his son being a doctor (laughter). So I accepted--I called my pastor [James Hamlin] the next day and told him that I had finally decided that I'm going into the ministry, I want to go to school. So he said come over and meet with me, and I met with him and from there I ended up preaching my trial sermon, my initial sermon before I left for college, then I went on to Virginia Union [Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia]. So that's the journ- the walk for me.$$Now what did you preach about? What was your first sermon about?$$May 27, nineteen sixty--1967. I preached I have no need to want, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want [Psalms 23:1]. I talked about the, that, that there's no need to want, that God provides all that I, all that I need and that that was worth celebrating, I have no need. Kind of living life with a guarantee, under a--with a foundation, under, underpinning, a s- a net to catch you 'cause God will provide my needs. So I remember that (unclear) it's been fifty- almost fifty years ago.

Reverend Henry Mitchell

Religious leader and religion professor Reverend Henry Mitchell was born in 1919, in Columbus, Ohio to Orlando and Bertha Mitchell. He received his B.A. degree from Lincoln University and went on to attend Union Theological Seminary, from which he received his B.D. and M.Div. degrees. After graduation, Mitchell was hired as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Fresno, California and later moved to the Cavalry Baptist Church in Santa Monica, California. He also earned his Th.D. degree from Claremont School of Theology and his M.A. in linguistics from California State University.

In 1969, Mitchell became the first Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Black Church Studies at the consortium of Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Bex Ley Hall, and Crozer Theological Seminary. He also served as professor of religion and Pan African Studies at California State University and academic dean and professor of history and homiletics at Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. In 1988, Mitchell and his wife, the Reverend Doctor Ella Pearson Mitchell, began team-teaching as visiting professors of homiletics at the Interdenominational Theological Center. They became well known for their team-teaching and preaching style, where they would speak to their audience in dialogue with each other.

Mitchell served as the founding director of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies and has written a book on the history of the African American church called Black Church Beginnings: The Long-Hidden Realities of the First Years . In addition, Mitchell has also written Black Preaching: The Recovery of a Powerful Art , a history of African American preaching styles, Fire in The Well , a collections of sermons Mitchell and his wife have given, and Together For Good: Lessons From Fifty-Five Years of Marriage , Mitchell and his wife’s joint autobiography. He has also co-authored the book Preaching for Black Self-Esteem .

Mitchell has been awarded an honorary D.D. degree by the American Baptist Seminary of the West and an honorary L.H.D. degree by Lincoln University. He and his wife are also the recipients of the 2008 Union Theological Seminary Trailblazer Award.

Henry Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 16, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.084

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2010

Last Name

Mitchell

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lincoln University

East High School

Eastwood School

East Pilgrim Elementary School

The Ohio State University

California State University, Fresno

Claremont School of Theology

Union Theological Seminary

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

MIT11

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Any

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/10/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Religion professor and religious leader Reverend Henry Mitchell (1919 - ) held positions as a professor both of religion and African American history, including the first Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Black Church Studies at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School. He also pastored the Second Baptist Church in Fresno, California and the Cavalry Baptist Church in Santa Monica.

Employment

North Carolina Central University

Northern California Baptist Convention

Second Baptist Church

Calvary Baptist Church

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies

Interdenominational Theological Center

Proctor School of Theology

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Henry Mitchell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his father's occupation and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his childhood home in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his experiences of school segregation in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls the Eastwood School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers singing in the choir at the Second Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about the clothing styles of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers Pilgrim Junior High in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his preparation for college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his graduation from East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his calling to the ministry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls working at the Truck Tractor Equipment Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his exemption from the draft

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls leaving The Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers enrolling at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his summer work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his activities at Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his time at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his preparation for seminary

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about the history of the Baptist denomination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his transition to the Union Theological Seminary in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his first year at the Union Theological Seminary

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his decision to propose to his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his wife's ordination as a minister

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his start as an expert on the black church

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about African American religious symbolism

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell reflects upon his philosophy of religion

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls becoming the dean of the chapel at the North Carolina College for Negroes in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes the impact of World War II on his brothers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his time as dean of the chapel at the North Carolina College for Negroes

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers the birth of his first child

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls working as a field secretary of the Northern California Baptist Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his graduate education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls the tragic deaths of his family members

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers the adoption of his son

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls pastoring the Second Baptist Church in Fresno, California

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers pastoring the Calvary Baptist Church in Santa Monica, California

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls his Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Professorship of Black Church Studies

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his career in academia

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell recalls founding the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies in La Verne, California

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his publications

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Henry Mitchell reflects upon the success of his marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his collaborations with his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about the history of the black church, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Henry Mitchell the history of the black church, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Henry Mitchell talks about his trips to Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Henry Mitchell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Reverend Henry Mitchell reflects upon the role of women in the black church

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Henry Mitchell narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Henry Mitchell remembers his calling to the ministry
Reverend Henry Mitchell describes his role in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
Now, you talked a little bit about religion. But I want you to tell me more about your church [Second Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio] and your affiliation, besides the choir. When did you, when did you get the call?$$I got the call after I finished high school [East High School, Columbus, Ohio]. I was working on a job that was made for me, 'cause they didn't need me in that place [Truck Tractor Equipment Company]. But the fellow that was the head Negro in charge was a good friend of my dad [Orlando Mitchell]. My dad had been very helpful to this fellow when he almost died in an auto accident. They were in the Mat- Ma- Masonic lodge together, and he was the foreman. So my dad went to him one day and said, "My boy is finishing high school. Is there any possible chance you'd give him a job?" Said, "I don't have a job, but I'll make him a job." The result was that at points on the job where I was making twenty-five cents an hour, twelve dollars a week, he would have to put me somewhere to make it look like I was really needed, 'cause otherwise, the boss would have made him fire me. "You don't need that little boy." So, I handled freight that I shouldn't have handled. And I still got problems from that. And he would put me up in a warehouse assembling farm implements have been shipped in in pieces before he needed them. Usually, he would assemble whatever the harvester was or something like that. He would assemble it after he needed it. But he put me up there to put some stuff in stock already assembled. Well, I'm up here looking busy, pushing a ratchet wrench, putting spade lugs on a real big tractor wheel, and didn't take any brains at all, and my mind was floating all the time, they call free association. And one day it dawned on me, every time my mind floats I wind up in a church somewhere, in a pulpit somewhere, either in Africa or in the United States or wherever. And finally, it dawned on me that I was being called. And well, I did, I admired both of my grandpas [Henry Estis and Henry Mitchell] who were Baptist preachers, but I didn't admire them enough to want to join them. But it got on me so bad I couldn't sleep, so finally I yielded to the call. I to- I tried to keep it a secret 'cause people have been calling, telling me I was preacher all along. My--I don't know how this happened, but I, I could recite chapters from the Bible, and I don't even know when I memorized them. When I couldn't read, I could relate that: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so--," [John 14:1-2] when I did my first funeral, after I became a professional pastor, I'm walking down the aisle reciting this stuff in front of the coffin as it rolls down the aisle. And you would have thought I had been pastoring, 'cause I wasn't reading any--(laughter); I was just reciting. But it was because I've known when I couldn't read I could recite that stuff.$$And, and that was just from going to church and hear- hearing it over and over again, you think?$$I haven't any idea how I got it. It must have been something like that, because I don't remember my parents sitting down telling me, "Now memorize this or memorize that."$$But you did go to Sunday school.$$Oh yeah. I memorized the books of the Bible and all that sort of stuff.$In the 1950s--we're going into the 19--the end of the 1950s, 1956. This is when civil rights is starting to--$$Yeah.$$--come to the forefront. Were you involved in civil rights? In, in what way?$$I was involved in all kinds of ways. We had one demonstration with har- Martin King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] right there in Fresno [California].$$Tell me about that.$$I have pictures of it in the stuff that I've got some pictures of. In Fresno I was able to clear up police brutality and stuff, got them to deal with blacks, black justly and e- even made them hire blacks, where they didn't plan to and so forth. I almost got to be ordered to the--elected to the school board, but I had found the school board was wrong on some things. So all the teachers organized the whole--that's a big bunch of people against me because I had caught the school board. And the school board really didn't want me to be on the board 'cause I had caught them wrong too many times.$$Okay. Now, were you involved in the National Baptist Convention [National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.]?$$Yeah.$$Can you tell me what the involvement of the National Baptist Convention was to the, in this--I guess there was some kind of little--a rift between civil rights or their views on civil rights in the National Baptist Convention. Do you know about that, or do you have an opinion about that?$$Well, we had some strange things happen. For one thing, Martin Luther King should have been president of the Congress of Christian Education. And the president had a power base in Mississippi and places like that. And they thought of Martin too radical, and they moved him--he was elected president of the congress, and the president stopped him, did not rec- it was, it was a, a, a technical thing where the presidency or the, the, the, the, the mother convention had to approve the officers elected by the congress. And the congress elected Martin King as president, and the president re- had the convention to deny the usual form of approval. And they picked a new president for the congress because they thought was, that Martin King was too, too radical, stupid stuff like that. So the president was unfortunately the sort of person who, who was almost satisfied with things like they were. And he said just let us, let us fix it with the vote. We don't have to have all of these demonstrations and stuff.$$All right.$$I was quite active in the city. I was too far out to be terribly importantly involved in nationally. But I did have a demonstration in San--in Fresno, in which Martin King did came and--did come, and take part.

Sister Francesca Thompson

Sister Francesca Thompson was born on April 29, 1932, in Los Angeles, California. Thompson’s parents were Evelyn Preer and Edward Thompson, who were founding members of the Lafayette Players in 1915. Her mother died at age thirty-five, when Thompson was just seven months old. Her father and grandmother raised her in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her lower middle class upbringing was atypical. Thompson’s grandmother, Susan Knox, was a Democratic ward captain, so Thompson was exposed to the city’s politicians, clergymen and judges who visited their home. Her father’s friends, who included such entertainment luminaries as Paul Robeson, Ruby Dee, and Eubie Blake, also influenced her.

Though raised in the African Episcopal Church, Thompson became attracted to Catholicism while attending St. Mary’s Academy, which in the 1940s was the only private secondary school in Indianapolis that would accept African Americans. Won over by the ritual and the drama of the Catholic faith, Thompson joined the Sisters of St. Francis of Odenburg, Indiana, in 1952. She received her B.A. degree in 1960 from Marian College and her M.A. degree in education from Xavier University. Thompson earned her PhD degree in speech and drama from the University of Michigan, writing her thesis on the Lafayette Players. She coached several budding actors while at the University of Michigan, including Gilda Radner and Christine Lahti.

Her doctoral dissertation helped Thompson become chairperson of the Drama/Speech Department at Marian College, where she taught from 1966 to 1982. In 1982, she began a twenty-four year association at Fordham University, where she was associate professor of African and African American Studies and assistant dean/director for Multicultural Programs. Thompson has celebrated her fiftieth anniversary as a Sister of St. Francis. She has twice served as a member of the prestigious nominating committee for Broadway’s Tony Awards, and has been inducted to The College of Fellows of the American Theatre. In 2002, Thompson received an honorary doctorate of fine arts at Fordham University’s 157th commencement.

Thompson resides in New York City.

Accession Number

A2006.107

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/3/2006

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

St. Mary's Academy

Marian University

Xavier University

University of Michigan

First Name

Francesca

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

THO11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Assisi, Italy

Favorite Quote

My God And My All.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/29/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chitlins, Lobster

Short Description

Religious leader Sister Francesca Thompson (1932 - ) was an associate professor of African and African American studies and Director of Multicultural Programs at Fordham University, and was formerly chairperson of the Drama/Speech Department at Marian College. A Sister of St. Francis for over fifty years, she has been inducted to The College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and twice served on the nominating committee for Broadway’s Tony Awards.

Employment

Marian University

Fordham University

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sister Francesca Thompson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sister Francesca Thompson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls researching her parents' acting careers, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls researching her parents' acting careers, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes the founding of the Anita Bush Players, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes the founding of the Anita Bush Players, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sister Francesca Thompson talks about her mother's work with Clarence Muse

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sister Francesca Thompson remembers interviewing Clarence Muse

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes the Lafayette Players' productions

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes how her mother became an actress

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls how her father joined the Lafayette Players, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls how her father joined the Lafayette Players, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sister Francesca Thompson talks about her mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes her father's career after her mother died

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes her paternal family's role in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls growing up in Indianapolis

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls attending St. Mary's Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sister Francesca Thompson remembers her conversion to Catholicism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls her decision to join the convent

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls her admission into the convent

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls her family's response to her initiation as a nun

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls the Leadership Conference of Religious Women

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes her experience of race in the Catholic church

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sister Francesca recalls attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls how she came to teach at Fordham University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sister Francesca Thompson talks about her faith

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sister Francesca Thompson talks about her retirement from Fordham University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes the highlights of her teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes the Office of African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans at Fordham University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sister Francesca Thompson remembers her drama course, Shades of Value, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sister Francesca Thompson remembers her drama course, Shades of Value, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls her most rewarding moment as an educator

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls serving on the Tony Awards Administration Committee

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls being featured in The New York Times, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sister Francesca Thompson recalls being featured in The New York Times, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sister Francesca Thompson talks about African Americans in theater

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sister Francesca Thompson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sister Francesca Thompson narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Sister Francesca Thompson describes how her mother became an actress
Sister Francesca Thompson recalls her decision to join the convent
Transcript
How had your mother [Evelyn Preer] become a professional actress?$$All right. When she--according to my father [Edward Thompson], she was always interested in performing, even when she was in high school. And there was some little musical group that she had joined and they even traveled. And there was a black man who, Frank Preer, owned a big nightclub in Chicago [Illinois] and he hired her to sing for him. And I guess he was enthralled with her and asked her to marry him. So--'cause her mother was, my grandmother [Blanche Jarvis] was an Apostolic. She helped by street preaching to build Chicago's first black Apostolic church. And my mother, who could cry on cue, was her biggest asset. They'd stand on street corners, my father said, and my mother would--her grandmo- her mother would say, "Sinners come home, come home to Jesus," at which point my mother would start to cry. So Frank Preer saw her, enamored of her and hired her to work in this night club. And Oscar Micheaux was a friend of his. He brought Oscar Micheaux to see her and of course, he, "I--I want you in the movies," and she had to ask her mother for permission. And her mother, you know, was devastated 'cause that--Apa- Apostolics didn't go to the theater. No makeup, no nothing. And she said two things I ask you, don't ever go on stage smoking Evelyn and don't, for God's sake, please don't take off your clothes. So she got permission. But I don't know how long she was married to Frank Preer, but evident--my father said it was just a--I think to keep her mother happy 'cause she was going off with this man. They never had children or whatever. And so it wasn't very long after she did this movie 'Within Our Ga--.' No there was a movie before 'Within Our Gates.' 'Within Our Gates' was 1920. So she did her first movie in 1919. Then 'Within Our Gates' which is the only extant movie of hers with Oscar Micheaux. She starred in eleven of his nineteen movies [sic.], and the only one we have left is 'Within Our Gates' and that was found by a white movie historian researcher. He was in Spain a few years ago and he saw it in what was comparable I guess to their Library of Congress. And he made a switch with them. They'd give him something if he'd get something for them. So that's how--and then of course people got in touch with me. He gave it to the Library of Congress [Washington, D.C.] and I have my own copy now. But they did a showing of it at Lincoln Center [Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, New York] a few years ago, maybe ten years ago now. The time goes so fast and that was a big thrill for me to see it on a big screen. It's a silent movie, it's not a talkie. But just to see her move around. I'd heard her sing, she sang and I have several of her tapes that were on records. But I'd never seen her move around so that was a big thrill.$Then I started thinking about going to the convent. I was smart enough to know that I better not talk about that. So I waited until the beginning of my senior year. Several of my friends had entered and were going. I had gone down to Oldenburg [Indiana], the mother house, to visit them. Picked out my grave site. We have a beautiful cemetery and I picked out my grave underneath a spreading tree. I want you to know that that grave was filled in 19--Sister Murielle [ph.] is there in 1960. So we have many, many more nuns that have died since then. But I loved Oldenburg. The first time I went, there was a sister that had died who had been at St. Mary's [St. Mary's Academy, Indianapolis, Indiana] and the sisters, needed--they could not drive. We had a habit that was extended and they couldn't get driver's licenses. So they were asking for drivers and my daddy [Edward Thompson], course I volunteered my daddy. The funeral was just--I just thought it was heavenly and beautiful and sat in that chapel and said, "God let me die here." And I made up my mind that day, but when I brought it up, I thought my father was gonna die. I thought he was gonna die. Just--just threw, literally threw a fit. You know, how God took my mother [Evelyn Preer], now He was gonna take me and oh just. So I said, "Forget it, forget it, you know, I don't really want to do this." And in my mind said, "I'm just like all the other martyrs, I'm gonna have to suffer for my faith. I won't say anything, I won't go to the convent, I won't do anything 'til everybody's dead, then I'll go." So at the end of my senior year, I was supposed to go to Vassar [Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York], had already had my appointment with somebody, et cetera. And was just so sick of heart because I knew I couldn't enter. I said well, "If I can't go to the convent, will you let me go to college here at home, the sisters college [Marian College; Marian University, Indianapolis, Indiana]. Now he was not happy about that, but Momma's [Thompson's paternal grandmother, Susan Knox] delighted because I'm not leaving town. So I lived at home and went to the college and did miserably. Never in my life had I gotten the grades that I got my freshman year in college. And so he said to me at the end of the year, he said, "Baby it would take--." I dated, I got pinned. I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do. Dated a young man who was the grandson of one of Momma's dearest friends, so this was wonderful. His father was--I don't know--dean at the col- at Attucks High School [Crispus Attucks High School, Indianapolis, Indiana]. Very, very well-respected family. So they were very happy about that. I couldn't have cared less. I went out with him so I could say that I went out. At the end of the year when my grades were so awful, daddy said, "It would take an idiot to see that you're unhappy." He said, "So I'll let you go," but he said, "honey you haven't seen the world, I don't feel like I've done right by you. I want you to travel. So if you spend this summer in Europe, then maybe we'll think about you going."