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Dr. Glenn W. Cherry

Media company executive and veterinarian Glenn W. Cherry was born in Daytona Beach, Florida to Julia T. Cherry and Charles W. Cherry, Sr. His father founded the Florida Courier and Daytona Times, for which Cherry began selling advertising for in 1978. Cherry earned his B.S. degree in biology from Morehouse College in 1980 and his D.V.M. degree from Tuskegee University in 1984. He then served as a United States Air Force Captain from 1984 to 1988, as Chief of Public Health Service in the Netherlands and Turkey. Cherry was honorably discharged from reserve duty in 1991.

After his military service, Cherry worked in veterinary medicine as confidential assistant to the administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission, supervisory veterinarian at the National Institutes of Health, and as biologist at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. From 1994 to 1998, Cherry worked in the Clinton Administration in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel as an executive search manager. Cherry has also served as chairman and chief executive officer of Global Health Professionals, Inc., a Florida-based non-profit organization.

In 1989, Cherry, along with his father and brother, purchased the WPUL-AM 1590 radio station in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cherry went on to purchase WCSZ-AM in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1996, and then WTMP-AM 1150 in Tampa, Florida in 1997, where he served as general manager until 2007.

In 2000, Cherry and his brother founded Tama Broadcasting, Inc., Florida’s largest privately held African American media group, and he served as its president and chief executive officer as well as a board director. Under Cherry’s leadership, Tama Broadcasting acquired Dade City, Florida’s WMGG-FM 96.1 in 2002 and changed its call letters to WTMP-FM. The company also expanded into the Jacksonville, Florida market with WHJX-FM, WSJF-FM, WJSJ-FM, and WOKF-FM. In 2004, acquisitions were made in the Savannah, Georgia market with WSSJ-FM, WMZD-FM, and WSGA-FM.

Cherry is married to Dr. Valerie Rawls Cherry. They have one son, Jamal.

Glenn Cherry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.233

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2014

Last Name

Cherry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Organizations
Schools

Morehouse College

Tuskegee University

Campbell Street Elementary School

Basilica School of St. Paul

Campbell Middle School

Seabreeze High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Glenn

Birth City, State, Country

Daytona Beach

HM ID

CHE09

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Hold Them In The Road.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

6/2/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tampa

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecued Chicken

Short Description

Media company chief executive and veterinarian Dr. Glenn W. Cherry (1958 - ) was the president and chief executive officer of Tama Broadcasting, Inc. He worked as a veterinarian for several years, and was a political appointee in the Clinton Administration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Employment

Daytona Times

United States Air Force

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Maryland Racing Commission

National Institutes of Health

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

White House Office of Presidential Personnel

Global Health Professionals, Inc.

WTMP-AM

Tama Broadcasting, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Glenn W. Cherry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the structural segregation of rural Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers visiting his maternal grandmother, Emma Troutman

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his parents' college educations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his father's experiences at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his father's time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the beginning of his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his father's involvement with the Citizens Coordinating Committee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes the importance of self-defense during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers witnessing the violent response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers witnessing the violent response to the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his family's social status in his early neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his early schooling

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls protecting his mother and sister during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his family's dogs

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about aspiring to become a veterinarian, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about aspiring to become a veterinarian, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls attending Campbell Street Junior High School in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls attending Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about balancing academics and extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers Benjamin Mays and Hugh Gloster

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his experiences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about his influences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his instructor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his enrollment at Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his enrollment at Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers working to establish the Daytona Times with his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his experiences as a zookeeper at the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his influences at the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes the racial barriers in equine surgery

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his decision to join the U.S. Air Force as a public health officer

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his role at Soesterberg Air Base, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his role at Soesterberg Air Base, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his experiences in Izmir, Turkey

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers being offered a position with the Maryland Racing Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers working for the Maryland Racing Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his responsibilities at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers working at the National Institutes of Health

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his political appointment in the 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his appointment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the expansion of his family's media ownership

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls becoming the general manager of WTMP Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his duties as general manager of WTMP Radio

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes WTMP Radio's relationship to the Tampa, Florida community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his colleagues at WTMP Radio in Tampa, Florida

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls his transition to working full time in radio

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes the obstacles for minorities entering into the broadcasting market, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes the obstacles for minorities entering into the broadcasting market, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry recalls the impact of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons his family's radio stations

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the demise of black broadcasting companies, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the demise of black broadcasting companies, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry reflects upon the future of Tama Broadcasting

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry reflects upon his family's legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry reflects upon his family's legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dr. Glenn W. Cherry describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
Dr. Glenn W. Cherry remembers his duties as general manager of WTMP Radio
Dr. Glenn W. Cherry talks about the demise of black broadcasting companies, pt. 1
Transcript
Okay. So, this is '97 [1997], right, 1997?$$Um-hm, um-hm.$$And, now, the, I know the next big thing that you--well, let's--well, you said, now, you were getting advice on how to be a, a general manager and--$$Yes, you know, I think that all this time talking with my father [Charles W. Cherry, Sr.] and that I had been a manager as a military officer, I managed people through every program that I worked as--in the government, you know. So, I had managed people before, you know, and processes and trying to get to a point to where, you know, we, we were successful. So, I wasn't new to--I'd, I had management experience from the time that I got out of the [U.S.] military--from going into the military, you know 'til that point, when I was at the racetrack, you know, I had at least fifteen people that worked for us there, you know. So, I didn't have a management problem.$$Well, what was--maybe I should put it like this. What was--was there a--what was the toughest part of managing a radio station versus some other kind of industry?$$Well, I think the biggest thing was, when you take over a station that was losing money--when I came in the station [WTMP Radio, Egypt Lake, Florida] was losing about $200,000 a year. And I had to figure out, how was I going to turn this around that we could, you know, get out of this hole immediately. And so, you know, I think that was really probably the dynamic. You know, I had to make some cuts and then I had to increase he revenue. And so, I got on the street and started selling and start trying see if I could make the kind of contacts that would get us back to a place where the station had been before. The station had basically been--had its ups and its downs. And the people that owned it before I got there were some football players and their wives, and the wives were running the station but they weren't really broadcasters. They just, just, you know, needed something to do. And I think that's how they kind of ran it. And so, the--actually the guys decided this is not going to work, we need to get out of this business and then they sold the station. So, the station was not being run in a manner that would make it profitable so inside of a year I'd turned the station around. The station was making a profit and that then is history as they say. Because once I started making a profit, then I started becoming seen as a real operator. And people started saying, hey, that, that guy knows what he's doing, you know. The station's turned around, it's getting ratings and revenue is up; and, you know, they started seeing me as a--somebody who could potentially be a player in the industry.$And, at that time, we had done our last final deal we had done with a hedge fund [D.B. Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, LP]. And we didn't know much about them, because in 2004, there wasn't a lot of information about hedge funds in 2004. And this was a new hedge fund that had come to black broadcasters and said, you know, "We want to make sure that you guys have access to cash and, you know, we think this is a space that, that could be very successful for our business. And we want to be with you for the long term." That was their line. And that we can get a deal done fast. So, the speed at which they did the deals didn't allow for you to really find out who they were until after the deal was signed, 'cause they'd do a deal in thirty days. And they kept you busy on the paperwork telling you we can get this deal done. And so, by the time you got the deal done and figured out you were in bed with the devil, you were already in there, you know. So, that's kind of partly that speed of which we were all moving with, and that we really hadn't hit the, hit the wall with the economy yet. You know, after 9/11 [September 11, 2001] things were kind of getting softer, you know, through '04 [2004], '05 [2005] and then the hurricanes in Florida it may not have affected, you know, other folks but--so, '04 [2004], '05 [2005] it was, it was softening. And then it fell off '07 [2007], '08 [2008], you know, it just--it was all the way in the tank by that time. So, during that period of time, the hedge fund decided that--what we found out was that they decided that the best thing they could do is harvest all their investments as early as possible so that they could reap their money, you know, and that they weren't going to wait. So, when we fell into a technical default on our loans, not that we owed them any money, now. We didn't--we weren't behind on paying them. But they had these little technical defaults in the contract that said, if you didn't hit your revenue numbers, you know, for the quarter then you're in default. So, during the hurricane months where we did not hit our revenue numbers--no one did--you know, they would allow those bigger guys to readjust their numbers but we weren't allowed to readjust our numbers based on the hurricanes. So, they put us in a technical default, and doubled your interest rate, they basically called your note early. It's like they do your house, you know, they just, you know. And so, you know, "We need our $20 million now," when you just gave it to us not, not too, not that long ago, you know. So, we had a $20 million loan that called and that was about worth what half the properties was worth. So, then they basically wanted to take the whole shooting match. Then they'd take that and they'd sell it for a discount price and they'd still make a huge profit because they're making it off our equity. So, that's what started, you know, a whole big battle over black radio. It wasn't just us. This was done to a number of different people, you know, because they came in to that group of us and talked to everybody. So, you had--and I can tell you today, Inner City Broadcasting [Inner City Broadcasting Corporation], New York [New York], Percy Sutton, that station's gone. Sid Smalls [Sidney L. Small], who had National Urban Network [sic. National Black Network] and AURN [American Urban Radio Networks], he had stations, TV stations and radio stations up and down the East Coast, New Jersey, New York. Sid Smalls, he had a heart attack and died fighting these guys, right. Percy Squire in Columbus, Ohio lost his five stations. Us, we lost our nine stations, you know. It was one of these same hedge fund deals that were going on in that period of time. So, like, you know, you're talking about four of the, the largest minority owned broadcasters, groups, wiped out. So, you know, that was a period of time that--and, meanwhile, black consumers, black folks, they didn't know because things were going bad overall. So, it was hidden in the fact that the whole economy was going down what was happening to black media.

Debra Lee

Media company chief executive Debra L. Lee was born on August 8, 1955 in Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Richard and Delma Lee. In 1972, Lee graduated from Greensboro-Dudley High School and later moved to the East Coast where she attended Brown University. During her junior year, Lee spent a year studying abroad in Southeast Asia in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In 1976, after receiving her B.A. degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics, Lee attended Harvard University. She simultaneously earned her M.A. degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1980.

Shortly after, Lee moved to Washington to complete a clerkship with the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In 1981, she worked at the law firm, Steptoe & Johnson, as a regulatory lawyer. Five years later, Lee joined Black Entertainment Television (BET Networks) and created its legal department. During her tenure, Lee has played pivotal roles in the company's history, including executive vice president and general counsel of the legal affairs department; corporate secretary; and president and publisher of the publishing division. In 1996, Lee became president and chief operating officer; and, in 2005, she was named chairman and chief executive officer. During her tenure, BET enjoyed some of its most explosive growth in ratings, revenue and popularity. She led the network's evolution beyond its successful music programming into original movies, documentaries, concert specials, news, late-night talk shows and public policy coverage. Lee has also substantially expanded investment in marketing, advertising, digital, research and development.

Lee has been regarded as one of the country's top female executives and served on the corporate board of directors of global businesses including Marriott International, Revlon and Eastman Kodak Company. She has also been affiliated with several professional and civic organizations including the National Board of Directors for National Symphony Orchestra, the National Women's Law Center and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Lee was also named Trustee Emeritus at Brown University, her alma mater.

Lee’s honors include the 2001 Woman of the Year Award from Women in Cable and Telecommunications and the 2003 Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership from the NCTA, a first for an African American female executive. Outside of the cable industry, Lee has also received special recognition, including the 2005 Madame C. J. Walker Award from Ebony magazine for best exemplifying the entrepreneurial spirit of the pioneering Black businesswoman.

Debra L. Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.076

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/5/2012 |and| 6/14/2012

Last Name

Lee

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

Brown University

Harvard Law School

Harvard Kennedy School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Fort Jackson

HM ID

LEE04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

The people are no better than the folks.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/8/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb (Leg)

Short Description

Media company chief executive Debra Lee (1955 - ) is distinguished as being an African American woman chief executive officer and chairman of BET Networks, a division of Viacom.

Employment

BET

Steptoe & Johnson

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debra Lee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debra Lee lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debra Lee talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debra Lee recalls her early childhood in Germany

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debra Lee discusses her parents' ancestries

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debra Lee talks about her father, Richard McLeish Lee

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debra Lee talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debra Lee describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debra Lee talks about her grandparents, and living in Germany during the time her father was stationed there in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debra Lee describes her childhood experience in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debra Lee describes her childhood experience in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Debra Lee recalls the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, California and attending an integrated school

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Debra Lee talks about her relatives who also lived in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Debra Lee talks about her family's decision to move to Greensboro, North Carolina, and her father's retirement from the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Debra Lee describes her experience in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Debra Lee describes her experience in elementary school in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debra Lee describes her experience at school in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about being influenced by the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debra Lee describes her social life in school in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debra Lee describes her childhood interest in music and television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debra Lee describes her desire to become a lawyer and her interest in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debra Lee describes her experience at James D. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debra Lee talks about the part-time jobs she had in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debra Lee talks about the environment at James D. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debra Lee talks about riots at James D. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Debra Lee talks about participating in "Save the Black School Days" at James D. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debra Lee talks about her father's support for integration of the schools in Greensboro, North Carolina, and her opposition to integration in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about the integration of her James D. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, and applying to colleges

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debra Lee describes her decision to attend Brown University, and her early experience there

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debra Lee talks about her parents' separation and the de facto social segregation at Brown University in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debra Lee talks about her positive academic experience at Brown University, but being discriminated against in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debra Lee talks about her academic studies at Brown University and her parents' support of her studies

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debra Lee describes her experience on a study-abroad program in Southeast Asia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Debra Lee describes her cultural experience in Southeast Asia, and the perception of Americans there

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Debra Lee talks about returning to the U.S. from Southeast Asia, applying to law schools, and her decision to attend Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debra Lee talks about her decision to pursue a law degree at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about her trip to Boston to attend Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debra Lee describes her experience in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1970s, and as an African American female student at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debra Lee describes her experience in her first year at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debra Lee talks about pursuing a dual degree at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debra Lee talks about finding her niche as a dual degree student at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debra Lee discusses her decision to accept a clerkship with Judge Barrington Parker

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about Judge Barrington Parker, her clerkship with him, and her experience as a clerk in the Washington, D.C. court system

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debra Lee describes her experience at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C., and her desire to pursue communications law

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debra Lee describes her decision to accept a position as general counsel at Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debra Lee talks about her decision to leave Steptoe & Johnson LLP to join Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debra Lee talks about her marriages and her early years as general counsel at Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debra Lee talks about the staff, revenue and programing at Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the early years

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debra Lee talks about her involvement in the construction of BET's studio in Washington, D.C. and the birth of her first son, Quinn

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Debra Lee talks about her growing responsibilities at BET as general counsel, corporate secretary and publications in-charge, as well as BET going public

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debra Lee talks about her involvement in taking Black Entertainment Television (BET) public in 1991, and in launching 'YSB' magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about the preparation and challenges involved as Black Entertainment Television (BET) went public in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debra Lee talks about becoming the chief operation officer (COO) at Black Entertainment Television (BET)

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debra Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television (BET) going back from a public company to a private one in 1998

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debra Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television's (BET) talks with Viacom in the early 2000s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debra Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television's (BET) goals and revenue in the early 2000s, and Viacom's acquisition of BET in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Debra Lee talks about the major complaints against Black Entertainment Television's (BET) programming

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Debra Lee talks about the African American community's reception to the sale of Black Entertainment Television (BET) to Viacom in 2000

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Debra Lee describes her experience as chief operating officer (COO) as Black Entertainment Television (BET) transitioned into a division of Viacom

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Debra Lee talks about her daughter's birth, her father's death, and her bosses at Viacom

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Debra Lee talks about becoming the chief executive officer (CEO) of Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 2005 and her vision for BET

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Debra Lee discusses her vision for programming changes at Black Entertainment Television (BET) and some of the challenges that she faced from audiences

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Debra Lee talks about rebranding Black Entertainment Television's (BET) programming, and the success of their first sitcom, 'The Game'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Debra Lee talks about her decision to censor some of BET's programming in response to the audience's complaints, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Debra Lee talks about her decision to censor some of BET's programming in response to the audience's complaints, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Debra Lee talks about Black Entertainment Television (BET)'s competition

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Debra Lee shares her views on Black Entertainment Network's (BET) growth, success, and legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Debra Lee talks about her involvement in the community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Debra Lee reflects upon the progress made in the African American community, and her own life's opportunities

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Debra Lee reflects upon her experience in Grant Park when Barack Obama was elected as president in 2008, and the progress of the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Debra Lee reflects upon the significance of the Brown vs. Board of Education verdict in 1954 and the integration of schools in America

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Debra Lee reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Debra Lee narrates her photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

7$5

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Debra Lee talks about rebranding Black Entertainment Television's (BET) programming, and the success of their first sitcom, 'The Game'
Debra Lee describes her decision to accept a position as general counsel at Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Transcript
But during that time, you know, I talked to a lot of people in the community. We took a lot of advice, we talked to artists--and that's when we went through this branding strategy of, "Who is BET [Black Entertainment Television]? What do we want it to be?" You know, being black--being a black network is not enough, because there are a lot of other people. We now have competition, there are other black networks. You know, media companies are doing black programs or Black Nights. So, we really had to dig deep and figure out who we were. And that took about a year and a half, locking up executives, saying what are our values? What does our audience want from us? Doing more focus groups, doing more research. And we came out with this strategy that said, you know, our programming is going to respect, reflect and elevate our audience. Those are the three things we're going to do. And if the programming we're looking at doesn't do that, we shouldn't be doing it, because our audience doesn't want it from us. You know, I used to think that BET carried this burden, that we couldn't just be a television network. The people, the black community, expected us to solve their problems, to inspire them, to do more than what they expected from other networks. And then going through this branding process I realized, you know what? That's not a burden, that's a passion. You know, our audience cares so much about what we do. And if we give it to them, they're going to be there. They're going to be loyal. You know, our ratings are going to do better. And during that time, I hired a new head of programming (laughter) and someone who was more attuned to what I was trying to do. And, you know, it all worked out. We started sit-coms. So, we had to get away from the reality programming, because reality was train wreck reality sometimes. And you know, our audience would criticize us. They don't criticize other networks when they do it, but they would criticize us. So, we've kind of found our sweet spot of what our audience wanted, being able to do high quality programming. And the first major sit-com I green-lit was 'The Game', which was a show that was on the CW. CW cancelled it. The audience reached out to BET and said, please bring it back. It took us about two years to do the deal with CBS, but we were eventually able to bring it back. And now, it's a huge success for us. The night of premiere, we got 7.7 million viewers. It's the highest rated sit-com in cable TV history. And so, we were able to prove that if we give our audience high quality content, they will show up. They will support BET, they will love BET, and they will watch BET.$And what did you see your future as--if you saw your future?$$Well, at that time I thought I wanted to go in-house with a communications company. I knew I liked communications, and I wanted to do more in that industry. So, I actually started interviewing a lot in New York. I interviewed with HBO, interviewed with CBS Records, with CBS. So, I had quite a few interviews in New York. And every time I'd come back to [Washington] D.C., I realized how much I liked D.C., and I wasn't quite ready to move to New York. And around that time, BET [Black Entertainment Television] was a client, and I was doing more and more work for BET. And I went out to lunch with Bob [Robert L.] Johnson. I actually went to a cable hearing with Bob Johnson and Ty [Tyrone] Brown. Bob Johnson had won the cable franchise for the District of Columbia, and he and Ty Brown were negotiating the cable contract with the city. And so, I was helping out on that as an associate. And lunchtime came, and there was a break in the hearing. And Ty Brown went to, had to go back to the firm. And Bob Johnson looked at me and said, "Well, do you want to grab lunch?" And I said, "Sure." And so, we went to lunch. And during that lunch, he asked me if I was interested in coming over to be general counsel at BET. He said BET had gotten to the point--at that point BET was five years old, about five years old. And he said the company was at the point where he thought he needed in-house, an in-house lawyer. They didn't have one at the time, and that they couldn't afford to keep paying Steptoe [& Johnson LLP]. And he asked was I interested, and I said, "Yeah, I'd be interested in talking to you." And so, that was the first overture from Bob to me to come over to BET.$$And that was before you went to interview in New York at CBS, and HBO and the other places?$$No, it was actually afterwards.$$Afterwards?$$Yes.$$So when did you--$$Or during that same time.$$When did you decide that you would actually take him up on coming to BET?$$BET? Well, it took a couple of months. And he told me to go talk to Ty Brown (laughter), which I did. And I told Ty I was interested. And then there was no follow-up for a few months. And then I realized one day, I said, I'm going to have to make this deal directly with Bob. It's not going to come through Ty. Because Ty was outside counsel, so it was in his interest to keep the business. And so, I called Bob and said, you know--well, I called his secretary--and said, you know, I want to come in and talk to him. And I told him I was ready to leave Steptoe, and was he still looking for a general counsel. And he said yeah, it would be perfect timing. And so, it worked out. But I think when he offered me the job, I knew it was the right position. One, it was a black-owned company which I was very interested in. Two, it was in the entertainment industry, and three, it was in D.C., I didn't have to leave. So, I could stay in this town I loved, and I could go to a black-owned company doing the kind of television programming that I was very interested in. The funniest thing is at the time there was no cable yet in D.C., so I really hadn't even seen BET. It wasn't airing in D.C. at the time. So, it was really a leap of faith.

Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Award-winning journalist, author, and minister, Barbara Ann Reynolds, was born on August 17, 1942, in Columbus, Ohio. Raised by her step grandmother, Mae Stewart, Reynolds attended St. Cyprian Catholic School, Franklin Junior High School, and graduated from Columbus East High School in 1960. Starting at Central State University, Reynolds graduated from Ohio State University (OSU) with her B.A. degree in journalism in 1967. At OSU, Reynolds wrote for The Lantern and the Columbus Call and Post.

Employed as a social worker in Cleveland, Reynolds was hired by the Cleveland Press in 1968, where she covered the race riots. Hired by Ebony magazine in 1969, Reynolds became assistant editor and wrote the monthly food column, A Date with a Dish. A poet, Reynolds was published in Black World and was associated with Kuumba Theatre and the OBAC Writers Workshop. In 1969, Reynolds joined Chicago Today where she covered the murder of Fred Hampton; that same year, she moved to the Chicago Tribune, where she helped found Dollars and Sense magazine. In 1975, Reynolds wrote the controversial biography, Jesse Jackson, the man, the myth and the movement, which was revised ten years later as Jesse Jackson, America’s David. Reynolds was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1976. Reynolds served as Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune until 1980 and wrote a regular column for USA Today until 1996. Reynolds hosted a radio talk show called Barbara’s Beat and was host of WHUT’s Evening Exchange. Reynolds penned No, I Won’t Shut Up: 30 Years of Telling It Like It Is with a foreword by Coretta Scott King in 1998, and the autobiographical, Out of Hell and Living Well in 2005. In addition to these activities, Reynolds was founder and president of Reynolds News Service.

Attracted to spirituality, Reynolds attended Howard University Divinity School in 1988, graduating in 1992. Reynolds was ordained as a minister in 1993 after a spiritual experience at the Door of No Return in Senegal, then earned her D. Min. from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, in 1997. Reynolds served as a minister at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and was founder of Harriet’s Children, an organization that assisted women who abused alcohol and drugs.

Accession Number

A2005.156

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/30/2005

Last Name

Reynolds

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Howard University School of Divinity

St. Cyprian Catholic School

Franklin Junior High School

East High School

Central State University

The Ohio State University

United Theological Seminary

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

REY01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Adults, Seniors, Those facing life style struggles, those needing spiritual makeovers, also Political events over the last 35 years.

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Adults, Seniors, Those facing life style struggles, those needing spiritual makeovers, also Political events over the last 35 years.

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart And Lean Not On Your Own Understanding; In All Your Ways Submit To Him, And He Will Make Your Paths Straight.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/17/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Popcorn

Short Description

Author, media company chief executive, and newspaper columnist Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds (1942 - ) wrote for the Chicago Tribune and USA Today. She also authored a biography of Reverend Jesse Jackson: Jesse Jackson, America's David.

Employment

Call & Post

The State of Ohio

The Cleveland Press

Ebony Magazine

Chicago Today

Dollars & Sense Magazine

USA Today

Chicago Tribune

Greater Mount Calvary Church

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her step-grandmother's personality and how she resembles her

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her step-grandmother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about her parents' lives after her birth

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds reflects upon her mother's abandonment

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds explains why she wanted to be a writer

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds recalls writing about her childhood trauma

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about her time in a mental institution

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds remembers attending St. Cyprian School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her mentor, Waldo Tyler

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her experience at Franklin Junior High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her transition to public school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her extracurricular activities at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her high school graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her time at Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes living in California with her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her mother's family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her decision to go to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes barriers to entering journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes covering riots in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about being hired by HistoryMaker John. H Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds recalls volunteering to register voters in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes encountering racism in the South and at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes working at Johnson Publications in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes working at Ebony magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about writing poetry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her experience at Chicago Today

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes co-founding Dollars & Sense magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes writing front-page stories for Chicago Today

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds remembers covering Fred Hampton's assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes the aftermath of Fred Hampton's assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes the aftermath Fred Hampton's assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes covering role models in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about meeting and covering HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes writing 'Jesse Jackson: the Man, the Movement, the Myth'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds recalls her decision to publish 'Jesse Jackson: the Man, the Movement, the Myth'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about the aftermath of publishing 'Jesse Jackson: the Man, the Movement, the Myth'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds details her reporting on HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds shares her thoughts on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s suspected affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about being a Washington D.C. correspondent for the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds recounts covering the Iran Hostage Crisis

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her years at 'USA Today'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes John Seigenthaler

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds explains why she left USA Today

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her spiritual awakening

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about attending church and being saved

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes how her faith impacted her writing

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes conflicts with her USA Today editor

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her experience at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds recounts how she quit drinking on a trip to Senegal

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her doctoral studies at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about Harriet's Children

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds talks about adopting her son, John Eric Reynolds

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds remembers covering Fred Hampton's assassination
Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds describes her doctoral studies at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio
Transcript
So one morning, it must have been about three o'clock, I got a call to go over on the West Side [Chicago, Illinois]. It wasn't anything different, because I was the only one who would go on the West Side. And they said, "I want you to go to Fred Hampton's apartment." I said, "That's strange. Why would I want to go to Fred Hampton's apartment? It's three o'clock in the morning." So I got over there, and it was a scene I had never seen. I mean, there were just blue and white paddy wagons just all over the neighborhood, with all of these flashing lights. And I showed them the press card, and they let me in his apartment. And there was blood all over the carpet. And there was a green blood-stained bedspread that someone told me they had covered Fred's body in, and had dragged him out of there into a paddy wagon before I got there. And I was just dumbfounded, because there were about a hundred holes in the apartment. And I called this guy I was dating who was a policeman. And he said, he showed me how to find out whether it was coming from out or in. And I said, "They're all coming from the same direction. They're all splintering from the outside." He said, "That's not a shootout, that's a shoot-in." And he came flying over there, and he coached me. And I remember that for a couple editions, the paper [Chicago Today] did say that this was a shoot-in. But as the news gathered, by the next day the headlines were saying, shoot-out between the Panthers [Black Panther Party] and the police, when there was never a shoot-out, it was a shoot-in. Now I had known Fred Hampton, and this really touched me, because he was a guy that I would see and joke with. I mean, he was about as harmless as you are sitting here. You know he, the Panthers were feeding people in the black community. There were a group of blacks that were harmful. That was Jeff Fort, and his P Stone Rangers [sic. Blackstone Rangers; Black P. Stone Nation]. But the white press just glorified them, and talked about what great guys they were. And you know, they'd have parties for them, some of the white liberals, you know. And these are just undeserving people that needed a chance. But here's these Panthers who are actually doing something for us. And they were talking bad, you know, off the pigs, but so were the white guys with the long hair. Everybody was talking, but we were just talking, just like I was talking with my poetry, and meant none of it. You know, so here's a guy who I talked to. He used to wear his little black felt hat. And he was gonna be a lawyer. He was, that's what he said. He even worked at the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. And so, you know, they shot him. They also killed Mark Clark. And Fred's girlfriend was pregnant at the time, and she survived all this. But after I was there, I said surely the people who did this terrible thing--this is an assassination, they will pay. But I was so wrong.$And I really thought that that was the end of it. You know, I stopped drinking, and I'm a minister now. But then something else happened. I've got a notice that they were starting this, these classes at the United Theological center [sic.] in Dayton [Ohio]--seminary [United Theological Seminary] in Dayton. So I went up there to investigate about getting my doctorate. And [Reverend Dr.] Claudette [A.] Copeland was the professor. And she wanted twelve black women to study under her, to learn how to build models of care for women in America. And so twelve of us came to study under her. And my assignment was to build a model of care for women struggling with alcohol and drugs. Another woman's assignment was to deal with depression. Another one was to, how to help people struggle through sexual abuse or domestic abuse. But mine came out of my spiritual autobiography that they had us write. And I named my project Harriet's Children in honor of Harriet Tubman who delivered over three hundred blacks from slavery and bondage. So, I named the program after her. Then I began to understand that I had to do more than just come out of bondage of, to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol myself. And when I say drugs, I used prescription drugs, but they were still drugs. I had to go back, and I had to get women who were still in bondage to drugs and alcohol. Because I looked around in my community, and I saw the fact that so many African American men had abandoned the children. You know, the breakup of the black family is devastating. Black men either are in prison, out there on drugs. The children are not protected, no guidance. And now the woman who you could always count on to be there when they weren't--the woman, black woman is going to jail at record rates. They are the fastest growing statistic in jails, and also a victim of HIV/AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome]. So now what's going to happen to the children if the daddy's gone and the momma's gone? There's something I used to call zero parents population.$$Population growth, right, right.$$No, what I'm saying is zero parent.$$Oh.$$Meaning that parents are being reduced to zero; there's no parents there. The children are being passed to foster homes or grandparents, or somebody. But there's nobody there for them. And so, I said I have to work with women, I have to do something. So I started a ministry.

Carole Henderson Tyson

Carole Henderson Tyson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 29, 1942 of parents who were pioneers in the field of African travel and tourism. Their company, Henderson Travel, was founded in 1955. After finishing high school, Tyson attended Tufts University, where she earned a B.A. in languages in 1964. From there, she attended Howard University, earning her M.A. in French and African literature in 1968, and a Ph.D. in anthropology and education from Harvard University in 1970.

Following her graduation from Tufts University, Tyson worked as a French teacher in Danbury, Connecticut. In the year between her M.A. and Ph.D., she worked as a lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley. Tyson married her husband John Tyson in 1971, and the following year, they traveled to Tanzania to study child development. Returning to the United States, she began work for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where she oversaw economic development plans for Senegal in 1983 and Lesotho from 1986 to 1988. Tyson was then appointed vice president for international affairs at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She currently works for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at Howard University, and as president and CEO of Henderson’s Global Voices, a speaker’s bureau that supplies speakers with expertise on Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East to corporations, academia and other organizations.

Active in numerous organizations, Tyson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and sits on the board of trustees of the International Foundation for Education and Self Help (IFESH). She is also a former trustee of Clark Atlanta University and the former president of Black Professionals in International Affairs.

Accession Number

A2003.269

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/14/2003

Last Name

Tyson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Henderson

Organizations
Schools

Mwec/Spelman College Nursery & Kindergarten School

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Henry McNeal Turner High School

White Mountain School

Spelman College

Tufts University

Harvard University

First Name

Carole

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

TYS01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

I Am Motivated By Anything That Speaks To The Spirit In Reaching One's Destiny.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Champagne

Short Description

International affairs expert and nonprofit chief executive Carole Henderson Tyson (1942 - ) founded Henderson's Global Voices, a speakers bureau of Middle Eastern and African experts.

Employment

University of California, Berkeley

United States Agency for International Development

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program

Henderson's Global Voices

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carole Henderson Tyson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes the origin of her middle name and her nickname

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson states her mother's name and place of birth

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her mother's ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson shares a story about her maternal relatives, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson shares a story about her maternal relatives, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the book, 'The Star Creek Papers'

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her father and his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her mother's fashion career and the opening of Henderson Travel Service in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the opening of Henderson Travel Service in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her mother going to Chez Haynes in Paris, France and African American expatriates

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her parents assisting in the development of tourism in Africa during the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the trip her mother arranged for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Oslo, Norway

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the African and African American leaders and organizations who were clients of Henderson Travel Service

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the foreign leaders her mother met through Henderson travel Service

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about Reverend Leon Sullivan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson reflects upon the legacy of Henderson Travel Service

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her childhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes the schools she attended from nursery school through high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her experience at Saint Mary's-in-the-Mountains School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson remembers her teachers at Saint Mary's-in-the-Mountains School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes Atlanta University Laboratory Elementary School- Oglethorpe in Atlanta, Georgia and her first trip to Europe

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson remembers her experiences at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her experience in France and subsequently teaching French and Ballet

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about going to Howard University to get her M.A. in French and being introduced to Negritude writers by Will Mercer Cook

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson remembers teaching Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about the 1960s in Berkeley, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois and then going to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about why she studied anthropology

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about meeting her husband and his relationship with Al Gore

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about living in Nairobi, Kenya in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson shares a story about feeding her infant, camel milk in an African desert

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about teaching at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and joining U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about living in Senegal

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about her work in Senegal with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes living in Lesotho and her relations with South Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson remembers going to a gold mine in Lesotho and the miner's living conditions

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her work in Lesotho and the lack of African Americans in the U.S. State Department

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about working with USAID in Haiti in the early 1990s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her work in Jamaica with USAID and Jamaica's politics

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about Jamaican culture and her work in Jamaica with USAID

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carole Henderson Tyson talks about Henderson's Global Voice and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Carole Henderson Tyson considers what she would have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carole Henderson Tyson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carole Henderson Tyson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carole Henderson Tyson narrated her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Carole Henderson Tyson shares a story about feeding her infant, camel milk in an African desert
Carole Henderson Tyson describes living in Lesotho and her relations with South Africa
Transcript
And, I remember that when my first son was nine months old, we were invited to go out to--with a herder, with a herder, to just be in the, you know, in the desert with him for a while. This is up by the desert area going toward, going toward Somalia, Somalia, and so we got there and we lived--we were in this tent, this was the most luxurious tent I have seen. This was just a marvelous tent with just embroidered linens, and just, it was just, it was just great. It was just great. At one point, my son ran out of milk, and this is why I will not forget this, and I just didn't know what to do. There was obviously no stores around and so the fella who was a herder said--we can call him a herder, but this is a man who owned real estate property in (laughter), who owned real estate in Nairobi [Kenya], but preferred to be out in the, in the desert with his animals. He said, "Well don't worry about that, you know, we'll get the child some milk." So, he sent somebody out to milk one of the camels over there (laughter) and he brought this raw camel milk back (laughter). I said, "You know there's no way I can give my child this, this raw camel milk." He said, "I know these camels. These camels are healthy. This is the best milk, in fact, that you could give them. This is better than cow's milk." So, I trusted him, and I had--you know, going through the '60s [1960s] there were a lot movements that were taking place. And, natural health was one of the things that was going on. And moving, people moving toward organic foods and Neig--and vegetarian foods, so I was a part of that as well. And, so I knew that, I knew a little bit about, about raw, raw milk and so forth. So, he drank it. And, he was none the worst for it. It was probably the better for him (laughter). We were out in the wild. And, there were lions out there. There were camels out there. There were all sorts of things. We went--we took a little trip around to see what was happening in the, in the area. And, there were little Somali girls and boys who looked as if they were six, seven, eight, nine years old out in the, out in the wild by themselves taking care of herds of camel. We asked them, I asked them, "Well aren't you afraid of the lions?" They said, "No. We are not afraid of the animals. And, you know, of lions and if lions come up that's just that." And, these young people knew how to fend those lions up. It's like going to, to Maasi land and, in fact, the lions are more afraid of, the lions are afraid of the Maasi, and the Maasi are not afraid of the lions (laughter). There's a relationship that they have developed, shall we say. So anyway, that was, that was a very nice, that was generally a very nice experience for a number of reasons. For the political context, the sociological, the cultural, the linguistic, there was--when my son, my son at some point was about two years old, one and a half, one to two, and he was, he was learning English. And, he was speaking, he was starting to speak pretty well. We had an African couple who had a daughter who was the same age. And, their daughter was not speaking. And, they were concerned that their child, who was the same age, was not speaking. So, pretty soon, after a while though, their child started speaking. And, when the child started speaking, which would be what, what we would concerned to be late, the child started speaking three languages at one time; English, Kikuyu, and Kikambu [sic, Kikamba], at the same time. So, I mean, just hearing, meeting people and living with people who spoke three, four, five languages, as a matter of course was really quite nice. We then came back--oh, I had another child while I was over there, I had a child while I was in, while I was in Nairobi.$Now, you're going to Lesotho, yeah, right?$$Now, Lesotho is a unique country, Lesotho is a unique country. It's a country of snowcapped mountains and if people say that snow does not exist in Africa, you must tell them to go to Senegal.$$Lesotho.$$Excuse me, to Lesotho.$$Right, 'cause you're not going to find it in Senegal (laughter).$$'Cause there, there they can actually ski. They can move around in ski mobiles, and they can just enjoy the snow. Lesotho has a distinction of the, the country with the highest-lowest point of any country in the world. It's the highest-lowest point. It is a country that sits at the top of the mountains--$$It's near the Kalahari Desert too, right? I mean, part of it is.$$This is, this is on the Indian Ocean side, actually, of South, of South Africa. It is, it sits at the very top of the Drakensburg Mountains, and it is a mountain kingdom. And, it's a mountain kingdom. And, one is struck by the topography. You are struck by what you see in that country. Just because the vistas are so, are so dramatic. In fact, I've got another picture, another painting here in my house that is a painting of a mountain with houses all off the side of the mountains. And, the paints shows the houses as if the huts, as if they are going to fall off the side of that mountain. And, in fact, huts sometimes look as if they are about to fall off the sides of the mountains. It is, it's the kingdom of Lesotho. There's a monarchy, and our goal in USAID [U.S. Agency of International Development] was to assist that country to become independent, or more independent of South Africa. South Africa had a strong hold on that country, and there were incursions by the police looking for ANC [African National Congress] and other radicals often, often. In fact, just before I got to Lesotho, the aid mission director found herself hiding in her house, up under the bed because of the bullets that were coming toward her house from the South African police. And, at one point for some reason, the South Africans determined that I was not a welcomed visitor in their country either. And, they made it very, very difficult for me to travel across the border into their country. When I say they made it difficult, they searched--they would stop the car, they would search every part of the car; the front, the bottom, underneath, my bags, everything, which would take an hour plus. And, even we tested this by having me drive in the ambassador's car, and they did the exact same thing. Didn't give him or his car the courtesy of going across, across the border. Because at that time, U.S. had relatively friendly arrangements with, relations with South Africa. Anyway, this got to be so bothersome that we, that state department complained to the South Africans about it. And, I was told that it was taken up in a conversation between the Secretary of State and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in South Africa at one point. Anyway, that's just a side on my problems with South Africa. We never determined why they thought I was a particular, particular threat or why I was a problem with regard to my visiting their country. As I said, our goal was to try to make this country as independent as we could, but there were difficulties. Because at any given point in time 70 percent of all the males in the country were outside the country and, in fact, working in the mines in South Africa. Many of the mine workers came from, not South Africa, but from the countries surrounding South Africa. And, in Lesotho, Lesotho was one of the principle places from which that labor pool was drawn. And, I will never forget one day coming to the border between Lesotho and South Africa and just seeing almost as far as I could see, lines of men waiting to get across that border and go onto the buses. And, in fact, they were being held in line and in place in a distinct line by policemen who were just going up and down the line, up and down the rows of men with whips just keeping, just keeping the men in place. That is an image that is etched in my mind.