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Akwete Tyehimba

Bookstore owner Akwete Tyehimba was born on April 3, 1963 in Waco, Texas to Oblee Monroe and Isiah Monroe. She graduated from Richfield High School in Waco, Texas in 1981 and attended McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. She then transferred to the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas in 1984, and attended night classes at North Lake College in Irving, Texas where she met her husband, Bandele Tyehimba.

Tyehimba was active in the Dallas County Democratic Party, and worked on Eddie Bernice Johnson’s campaign for Texas State Senate in 1986, and served as Johnson’s office manager for a year after she was elected. In 1989, Tyehimba and her husband, Bandele Tyehimba, co-founded the Pan-African Connection Bookstore, Art Gallery, and Resource Center in Dallas, Texas. She joined Delta Airlines in 1996, and worked there for nineteen years while her husband operated the bookstore full-time. At Delta, Tyehimba travelled West Africa to purchase items directly from African vendors. In 2012, when her husband passed away unexpectedly, Tyehimba continued to manage and operate the bookstore, which also sells fabrics, art, and jewelry and serves as a venue for hosting local events and cultural programming. Tyehimba also hosted the annual Malcolm X Festival on May 19th at the Pan African Connection Bookstore. In 2018, during the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge, Tyehimba hosted African Art and Culture of West Africa to celebrate Marvel’s first African superhero, “Black Panther.”

In 2013, Tyehimba was named one of thirty of the most interesting people in Dallas by the Dallas Observer. In 2016, she was invited to speak at a fundraiser hosted by the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club of Midland. In 2018, she served as a panelist at the Dallas Public Library during Women’s History Month for a discussion, “Drinking Lemonade: Feminism, Womanism and Beyonce.” Tyehimba was also the receipent of the Legends of Literacy Award by Equanimity.

Tyehimba had three children with her late husband, Bandele Tyehimba; Adjwoa, Bambata and Sekou.

Akwete Tyehimba was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.164

Sex

Female

Interview Date

09/12/2017

Last Name

Tyehimba

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Akwete

Birth City, State, Country

Waco

HM ID

TYE01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Tell No Lies, Claim No Easy Victories.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

4/3/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Bookstore owner Akwete Tyehimba (1963 - ) co-founded the Pan-African Connection Bookstore.

Favorite Color

Green

The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson

U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson was born on December 3, 1935 to Lee Edward Johnson and Lillie Mae White Johnson in Waco, Texas. She and her three siblings grew up attending Toliver Chapel Baptist Church, where her mother was an active church member. After attending A.J. Moore High School, Johnson graduated at the age of sixteen and moved to Indiana to attend Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame, where she graduated in 1955 with her nursing certificate.

Johnson then began work as a psychiatric nurse at La Rue Carter Psychiatric Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana until she passed the boards. Then Congresswoman Johnson returned to Texas and started working at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital in 1956. While still employed at the hospital, Johnson earned her B.S. degree in nursing in 1967 from the Harris School for Nursing at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. That same year, she was promoted to chief psychiatric nurse. She left the hospital in 1972 to run for public office in the Texas House of Representatives. There, she made a name for herself fighting for minority and women’s’ issues. In 1976, Johnson earned her M.P.A. degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and in 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed her as the principal official of Region VI for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (H.E.W.). She remained with the H.E.W. until 1981, when she left public office to found her own business, a real estate company. In 1986, Johnson was elected to public office once again, but this time to the Texas Senate, where she worked tirelessly to improve health care and to end racial discrimination. In 1992, Johnson ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected.

As a U.S. Congresswoman, Johnson has led the battle on legislation to improve health care, the environment, civil rights, women’s issues, science research and education. She is a member of the Committee of Science and Technology and the Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure. In 2001, Johnson served as Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1993 and 1994, she was named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans and in 2001, the magazine named her one of the 10 Most Powerful African American Women.

Johnson has one son, Dawrence Kirk Johnson, and three grandsons.

Eddie Bernice Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 7, 2012

Accession Number

A2012.094

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/7/2012

6/18/2012

6/26/2012

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bernice

Occupation
Schools

Southern Methodist University

Texas Christian University

Saint Mary's College

East Waco Elementary School

A.J. Moore Academy

First Name

Eddie

Birth City, State, Country

Waco

HM ID

JOH39

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Hey! Gotcha!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/3/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

U.S. congresswoman The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson (1935 - ) serves in U.S. House of Representatives, where she has been a leading voice on issues of civil rights, health care and science education.

Employment

United States House of Representatives

Texas House of Representatives

Eddie Bernice Johnson and Associates

Texas Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Favorite Color

Pink

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640221">Tape: 1 Slating of The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640222">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640223">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640224">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her mother's ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640225">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640226">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640227">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640228">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her community in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640229">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640230">Tape: 1 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers East Waco Elementary School in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640231">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her interest in geometry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640232">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her paternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640233">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her paternal grandmother's racial identity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640234">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes the black business district in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640235">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls the tornado that destroyed the black business district in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640236">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640237">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her home life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640238">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the demographics of Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640239">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her aspiration to become a nurse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640240">Tape: 2 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her admission to Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640241">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her arrival at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640242">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her experiences at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640243">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about segregation in Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640244">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers moving to Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640245">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls becoming the first black nurse at the Dallas VA Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640246">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers meeting her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640247">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about politics in the State of Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640248">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her start as a civil rights organizer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640249">Tape: 3 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the segregated department stores in Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640250">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640251">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the aftermath of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640252">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the black female civil rights leaders in Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640253">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls the integration of Dallas, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640254">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers Barbara Jordan, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640255">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes the response to the Civil Rights Act in the South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640256">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her civic work at the Dallas VA Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640257">Tape: 4 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers Barbara Jordan, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640258">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about Barbara Jordan's reputation in Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640259">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers Mickey Leland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640260">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her complaint against Robert S. Calvert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640261">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her decision to run for public office, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640262">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her decision to run for public office, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640263">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers working at Neiman Marcus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640264">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her election to the Texas House of Representatives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640265">Tape: 5 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her work in the Texas House of Representatives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640266">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the School Breakfast Program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640267">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the renewal of the Voting Rights Act</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640268">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her experiences in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640269">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects upon President Jimmy Carter's administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640270">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her election to the Texas Senate</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640271">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her experiences of racial and gender discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640272">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the confirmation of Judge Craig T. Enoch</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640273">Tape: 6 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the AIDS crisis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640274">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the impact of AIDS in the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640275">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about minority representation on the Texas Board of Regents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640276">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls implementing single member districts in Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640277">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the political changes in Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640278">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her election to the U.S. House of Representatives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640279">Tape: 7 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her first term in the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640280">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the Republican Revolution in the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640281">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the attacks on the Congressional Black Caucus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640282">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the importance of minority congressional caucuses</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640283">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her legislative mentors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640284">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls working on President Bill Clinton's healthcare plan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640285">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the midterm elections of 1994</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640286">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her experiences as a Democrat in a Republican majority Congress, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640287">Tape: 8 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her experiences as a Democrat in a Republican majority Congress, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640288">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls the Women's Health Equity Act</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640289">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the opposition to President Barack Obama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640290">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls becoming a senior member of her congressional committees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640291">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the NAFTA superhighway</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640292">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson shares her perspective on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640293">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects upon the Clinton administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640294">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about healthcare legislation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640295">Tape: 9 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers working with President George Walker Bush</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640296">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about President George Walker Bush's policy initiatives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640297">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the Trinity River project</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640298">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about President George Walker Bush's trade policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640299">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the decision to invade Iraq</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640300">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about A World of Women for World Peace</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640301">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the Texas Eleven</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640302">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the Iraq War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640303">Tape: 10 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the criticism of the Bush administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640304">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her position on the Iraq War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640305">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her policy on climate change</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640306">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects upon No Child Left Behind</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640307">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers Hurricane Katrina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640308">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about running for reelection</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640309">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficiency Act</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640310">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about corporate influence on public policy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640311">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the U.S. military</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640312">Tape: 11 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the presidential candidates in 2008</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640313">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her support for John Edwards' presidential bid in 2008</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640314">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her support for President Barack Obama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640315">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers her role in the Barack Obama's presidential campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640316">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson remembers the night of President Barack Obama's election</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640317">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about President Barack Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640318">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects upon President Barack Obama's first term</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640319">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about the Obama family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640320">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects on her legacy as a U.S. Representative</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640321">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640322">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her home state of Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640323">Tape: 12 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640324">Tape: 13 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/640325">Tape: 13 The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson describes her philosophy and how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$10

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson recalls her start as a civil rights organizer
The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson talks about A World of Women for World Peace
Transcript
But you all had a--kind of a different Democratic leader in Texas, Lyndon Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson], right? Who was a little bit different. Is that the--$$Yeah, um--$$Is that true? Or--$$Well I, I got a chance to know Lyndon Johnson on a personal basis. His family was very, very supportive of me. And I'm still very close to his daughters [Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson]. I was close to Mrs. Johnson [Lady Bird Johnson] as well. As a matter of fact, I had just seen him the day he had that heart attack.$$Well, I want to go back to when you were, back in the '60s [1960s], you know, just before you--$$The '60s [1960s]?$$Yeah. Nineteen sixty [1960]. So you, did you, were you aware of them then? I mean as a politician?$$Yes. I became aware of Lyndon Johnson. I worked as a volunteer in his campaign, but I was also working for the government. So I wouldn't do too much partisan stuff. But I was still active with school board elections and (unclear) elections. I was always involved, civically, but during the days of desegregation. What they call open accommodations. I always volunteer-- I was always the youngest one of my peers, and my bridge club members used to tease me. But I always felt an obligation to do volunteer work. So during the time we were going through desegregation, I worked on a committee that was made up of the YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association], National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Christian Women [sic.], kind of the leaders of the heads of different organizations. And we would dialogue around the city on how to approach open accommodations. And I remember one night, we were in a meeting, and sometimes I started the meeting. The police would stop wanting to know why I'm in their neighborhood. But the three people that were killed in Mississippi were found one night that we, while we were in the meeting. It came over the news that they had been found murdered.$$This is 1964 you're talking about?$$I think.$$Goodman [Andrew Goodman], Schwerner [Michael Schwerner], and Chaney [James Chaney]?$$Yeah.$$Sixty-four [1964], yeah.$$And, and we stopped and held hands and did a little prayer and everything. But we, we began to try to open and study the venue. But we, as we would go and visit these restaurant owners and everything, you know, everybody was saying that they were open. But what we would discover, we discovered once that in one restaurant, they had one menu for whites, and one for blacks. And the menu for blacks had ten dollars added to every, every price. And it was that kind of thing that we would try to work out. Well, frankly, the first downtown store that opened was Neiman Marcus. And it was the most exclusive store downtown Dallas [Texas]. As a matter of fact, later it was Marcus' that provided me the opportunity to run for office. But during that time, most of our major stores, Dallas has always been a city with a lot of money. Most of those downtown stores were family owned. Vogue [ph.], Sangers [Sanger Brothers; Sanger-Harris], Titche [Titche-Goettinger], A. Harris [A. Harris and Company; Sanger-Harris], very exclusive stores. And we just didn't seem to be able to get a solid commitment. So I went, I along with several other women, well we were active in the YWCA and membership drives and all. We organized a fifty sensitive black women, and we decided that we would test these stores to see if they were open. When they were not open, we sent the word out that we were boycotting.$Now tell us about--now that same year that 9/11 [September 11, 2001] took place, you began an initiative called A World of Women for World Peace.$$Yes.$$Tell us about that.$$Well, it was somewhat related. That encouraged it. I had been to Bosnia, and that was the first time that I'd experienced what a war torn country would be like, and it really troubled me. And then we had 9/11, which was even more troubling. About two weeks after 9/11, I picked up a magazine that had on the cover these two African kids dressed in war garb with machine guns in their hands. And I just thought to myself, this has just gone too far. And it stayed with me. And, and I was trying to figure out what I could do to see if we could help with a culture of peace in the world. And it just came to me to start working with women and mothers. Because I remember Another Mother for Peace, way back in my early career, that there were a group of peace oriented women started, I was working with in Texas. And I thought of that, and I hadn't heard of them, and I started to ask questions about what groups were involved in trying to bring about peace. And so my idea, I thought it was just too big for me to try to tackle, but then I thought about the fact that to achieve anything, it takes little pieces and steps at a time. So I thought about trying to establish a group that would work toward developing a culture of peace in the world. And that was the beginning. The name came to me as I woke up one morning, A World of Women for World Peace. And researching, I found that Mother's Day came out of the, a little bit of Mothers for Peace [sic.] after the Civil War. They didn't want to see all their sons get killed again in war. And so I had to put an infrastructure together that would help to direct steps at a time. And that's when I decided to do some educating here and to start to do some educating around the world. Bosnia was a, one of the first countries, 'cause that was the first time I had seen real war torn when I went there in the '90s [1990s], and I still work with Bosnia. When I saw the strong feelings that mothers, primarily women had a town hall meeting with them there. How strongly they felt about everything being torn up around them, what have you. And so I wanted to keep touch with them. I started to have dialogues here on the Hill [Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.]. I was in touch with the peace center there in Dallas [Texas] who told me about the peace program at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. That a Dallasite was running, Swanee Hunt. So I went in and visited with Swanee. We continued to stay in touch with each other. She's been very supportive of me and I've been very supportive of her program. So I wanted to join hands with every peace group and in the world that I could make contact with. I contacted the UN [United Nations], started working with the UN. They had a curriculum that had been developed in The Hague [the Netherlands] that taught techniques. They would be integrated into schools that would teach young children growing up. Conciliation and, and attempting to dialogue and understand respecting differences rather than going to fight for every different thing that came up. So that's how we initially got started.$$Okay.$$And the way I have continued it is I visit other countries, I make the requests before we leave here to, through the embassies to meet with the leading women in the various countries to talk about what the crux of peace might be and what leadership from women would impact. And so I admit with people all over the world, I've used Voice of America, I've used Radio Free Europe [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] and dialogue back and forth interactively as well as visiting.$$Okay, and it's still, it's--this program's still going on over there today (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes.

Sheryl Riley Gripper

Sheryl Riley Gripper is the founder of the Black Women Film Preservation Project and is Vice President of Community Relations at WXIA-TV, Channel 11, an NBC affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally from Waco, Texas, Gripper was born on December 16, 1951, the first of two children born to Samuel L. and Dolores Posey Harris, Jr., Spelman and Morehouse College graduates. Gripper attended J.H. Hines Elementary School in Waco where her maternal grandmother was one of her teachers and later became her principal. Gripper graduated from A.J. Moore High School two years ahead of her class and entered her mother’s alma mater, Spelman College, where she obtained her B.A. degree in english. She took enough courses for a minor in journalism.

A successful internship at a major Houston, Texas newspaper, while still a student at Spelman College, played a major part in Gripper’s decision to choose journalism over a career in music. As a contralto singer, she aspired to grace the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. This internship set the stage for her to become the Manager of Promotions at WETV, Channel 30 and WABE-FM, a position that she held from 1975 to 1981. In 1977, she earned her M.A. degree in education from Georgia State University, and in 2000, she was awarded her M.A. degree in film. Gripper founded the Black Women Film Preservation Project in 1997. This organization hosts an annual awards/scholarship luncheon, which highlights the career of women who have made significant contributions to the industry and the annual “Black Women in Film Festival” in Atlanta.

Gripper is the recipient of four Emmy Awards, one for the 11 Alive Community Service Awards, an awards show that has honored volunteers for thirty-one years. She also created The Bronze Jubilee Awards, a program that honored Black culture while at WETV and WABE. As Vice President of Community Relations at WXIA-TV, she serves as the executive producer for the 11 Alive Community Service Awards. Gripper has been with Channel 11 since 1981.

Gripper is married to Jeffery Gripper, Atlanta’s first world karate champion, and is the mother of three sons, Edward Riley, Jr., Jeffery Gripper, Jr., and Ellis Gripper. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is the corporate campaign cabinet of the United Negro College Fund.

Accession Number

A2005.266

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/19/2005

Last Name

Gripper

Maker Category
Middle Name

Riley

Occupation
Schools

A.J. Moore Academy

J.H. Hines Elementary School

Spelman College

Georgia State University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Sheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Waco

HM ID

GRI05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults, Students interested in Media

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

Speaker Bureau Notes

Availability Specifics: Quarterly as lunch time
Preferred Audience: Adults, Students interested in Media

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

We Have To Pray.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Broadcast executive Sheryl Riley Gripper (1951 - ) founded the Black Women Film Preservation and is Vice President of Community Relations at WXIA-Channel 11 (CBS affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia).

Employment

WXIA-TV

WETV (PBS)

The Houston Post

Atlanta Daily World

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305454">Tape: 1 Slating of Sheryl Riley Gripper's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305455">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305456">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper talks about her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305457">Tape: 1 Shirley Riley Gripper describes her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305458">Tape: 1 Shirley Riley Gripper describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305459">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her father's side of the family, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305460">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her father's time at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305461">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes Morehouse College's Miss Maroon and White tradition</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305462">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305463">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her mother's side of the family, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305464">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her mother's side of the family, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305465">Tape: 1 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her father's side of the family, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303284">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her father's side of the family, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303285">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303286">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper remembers growing up in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303287">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes Waco's South Tenth Street Community Club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303288">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her neighborhood in Waco, Texas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303289">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303290">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her church and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303291">Tape: 2 Sheryl Riley Gripper remembers her early interest in writing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305466">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper remembers her choir director, Vivienne Malone-Mayes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305467">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper talks about her father's half-brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305468">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her early musical interests, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305469">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her early musical interests, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305470">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her activities at Waco's A.J. Moore High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305471">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her interests at Waco's A.J. Moore High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305472">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305473">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her early journalism experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305474">Tape: 3 Sheryl Riley Gripper recalls the first sororities at Spelman College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303301">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303302">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper recalls the Pentagon Papers and applying for jobs in Atlanta</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303303">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her work at WETV in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303304">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes the Bronze Jubilee Awards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303305">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her work at Atlanta's Channel 11, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303306">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her work at Atlanta's Channel 11, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303307">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes the Black Women Film Preservation Project</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303308">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper talks about African American women in film, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303309">Tape: 4 Sheryl Riley Gripper talks about African American women in film, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305475">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper recalls TV and film producer HistoryMaker Jennifer Lawson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305476">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her family and how she met her second husband, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305477">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her family and how she met her second husband, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305478">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her film about the Negro League and her wedding</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305479">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper talks about her spirituality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305480">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305481">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper shares her advice for aspiring journalists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305482">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper describes her hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/305483">Tape: 5 Sheryl Riley Gripper reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303319">Tape: 6 Sheryl Riley Gripper narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303320">Tape: 6 Sheryl Riley Gripper narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Sheryl Riley Gripper describes the Bronze Jubilee Awards
Sheryl Riley Gripper describes the Black Women Film Preservation Project
Transcript
With a group of people at the TV station I came up with an idea for a--an awards program called the Bronze Jubilee Awards, which was like a Oscars [Academy Awards] for black culture. And we honored persons in music, dance, drama, theater, communicative arts and long-term contribution to the arts and arts educators. And we did this show on public TV at the Morehouse Chapel [Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. And that program started in 1978. And as a result of doing that program, he [Richard Holcomb] made me promotion manager of the TV stations and the radio station there. So I was promotion manager for WETV [WPBA-TV, Atlanta, Georgia] and WABE Radio [Atlanta, Georgia]. The program was televised live on--on public broadcasting, WETV, and we were able to bring in hosts through the years like [HistoryMaker] Freda Payne, Peabo Bryson then performed on it. We went and got artists from other areas where public television was that I could get 'em. I got Richmond Barthe who was a sculptor in--living in--in--in California. We brought him in to get an award. We brought in people from New Orleans [Louisiana] who were artists and--and--to--to get awards. So we--we didn't just focus on the Atlanta [Georgia] area.$$So you had a budget--$$Yes.$$--that you worked with, too?$$I had to raise the money. Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.] was one of my first sponsors and the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company. And we had a budget with the TV station and with the sponsors that enabled us to--to do this.$$Okay, and do--do you have, I mean, the television station have clips of those that you actually did the--the shows of.$$Um-hm.$$Okay.$$And that was--that program ran from 1978 to 1990. And I left the TV station in 1981, 1981, yeah, 1981 to go to Channel 11 [WXIA-TV, Atlanta, Georgia], which is the NBC affiliate.$So what is a typical day like for you as VP of community relations [at Channel 11; WXIA-TV, Atlanta, Georgia]?$$The good thing is there is no typical day. That when I get to work today--when I go in this afternoon, I don't know what is gonna be awaiting me, which means that you kind of have to be, at this point, a jack of all trades. It could be that the news department needs something from me. It could be that my boss needs me to do something. But I plan to be working on Black History Month because I'm gonna get sponsors to do vignettes for that. That's my plan. But when I get there I may have to divert from that plan. As a result of being in TV for so many years I realize that what I really enjoy doing is being creative. So I went back to school after I got the--I got a--the degree at Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] in English in '72 [1972], and then I got a master's [degree] in education in '77 [1977] because my mother [Dolores Posey Harris] and [maternal] grandmother [Ollie Nickerson Posey] were in education, so you always have to have that to fall back on. Well in 2000, I got a master's in film and video at Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia]--$$Okay.$$--so that I would have the opportunity to be creative. While there, I realized there were no black women in any of my classes. And I started an organization, the Black Women Film Preservation Project [Black Women Film Preservation Project, Inc.; Black Women Film Network] to increase the numbers of women that are in film or related areas. And also to honor, because my background was award shows, to salute women who have blazed a trail in film. And my first honoree was the woman [HistoryMaker Jennifer Lawson], who is now the head of the communications department [sic. WHUT-TV] at Howard University [Washington D.C.], who is a filmmaker.$$And her name is?$$I'm gonna have to come up with that (laughter).$$Okay, all right, that's fine.$$And the second honoree was Sheryl Lee Ralph, the actress and filmmaker 'cause she has done a film called 'Secrets' and does a film festival [Jamerican Film Festival] in Jamaica. And last year we honored Xernona Clayton Brady [HistoryMaker Xernona Clayton] who does the Trumpet Awards because she has focused on so many African American women. And I do this just so women can get their props, but at the same time so that somebody else can see these women and feel like I can do the same thing. And then we give out these scholarships to the girls and we've given--last year we gave 'em to girls at North Carolina A&T [North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina], at Spelman, Clark [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia], and one of the girls is one of the--$$Joyce--Jocelyn--$$Yeah Jocelyn Delk.$$--Jocelyn Delk one of The HistoryMaker employees was a recipient and she was at Clark Atlanta.$$Right, so she was one of our recipients. And it's just exciting to me to see what the recipients are doing because Jocelyn would send me letters about working--doing movies with Jennifer Lopez and working with Judge Mathis [HistoryMaker Gregory Mathis] in Chicago [Illinois]. So it's just--and last year for the first time we did a film festival in conjunction with the awards and scholarships, and this year will be our fifth luncheon where we present scholarships, and we will be doing our second annual film festival at the Regal Cinema at Atlantic Station [Regal Atlantic Station, Atlanta, Georgia].