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Edwin Rigaud

Businessman and civic leader Edwin Joseph Rigaud was born to Army Sergeant Edwin Rigaud and Mabel Perrilliat Rigaud on June 25, 1943 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Corpus Christi School, which was located in the largest African American Catholic parish in the Western Hemisphere. One of Rigaud’s high school teachers was the famous activist Phillip Berrigan (brother of activist Daniel Berrigan). Rigaud graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1961. Earning a B.S. degree in chemistry from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1965, he married Carole Tyler and then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he went to work for Procter & Gamble. There, Rigaud became the first African American hired at the management level in the Food Product Development Department of R&D at Procter & Gamble. He received his M.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1973.

In his thirty-six years at Procter & Gamble, Rigaud was one of the first African Americans in the corporate research area. Moving to marketing and general management, guided by Procter & Gamble executives Ken Ericson and Mike Milligan, he attended the Advanced Management Course at Harvard University, and in 1992, Rigaud became the first African American line vice president in the history of Procter & Gamble, eventually serving as Vice President of Food and Beverage Products and finally as
Vice President of Government Relations in North America in 1996.

Also, in 1996, Rigaud, on loan as an executive from Procter & Gamble, was appointed the first executive director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He was appointed to the National Museum and Library Services Board by President George W. Bush in 2002. In 2004, Rigaud moved from executive director to President and CEO of the museum. He also started his own firm, Enova Partners, LLC and Enova Tech, LLC, which are both plastic injection-molding businesses in the automotive and consumer products industries.

Rigaud has a long record of service including serving on the boards of The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Xavier University of New Orleans, Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati, the Ohio Board of Regents, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Queen City Club, the Metropolitan Club, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber Board.

Rigaud is married to Carole Tyler Rigaud and has three grown children. He enjoys painting, playing jazz guitar and golf.

Accession Number

A2006.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/23/2006

Last Name

Rigaud

Maker Category
Schools

Corpus Christi Catholic School

St. Augustine High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

University of Cincinnati

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Edwin

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

RIG02

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

H.O.F.F. Honesty, Openness, Fairness, Fun.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

6/25/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cincinnati

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Corporate executive and production company entrepreneur Edwin Rigaud (1943 - ) was the first African American line vice president in the history of Proctor & Gamble. Rigaud has also held appointments as the first executive director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and founded Enova Partners, LLC and Enova Tech, LLC, which are both plastic molding businesses.

Employment

Procter & Gamble

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Enova Premier, LLC

Favorite Color

Green

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edwin Rigaud's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud talks about tracing his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud describes his grandfather and his Creole identity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud recalls studying the encyclopedia as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edwin Rigaud talks about possible ancestors of the Rigaud family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edwin Rigaud describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Edwin Rigaud describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud describes Corpus Christi Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud recalls attending Mardi Gras as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes the poverty of New Orleans' African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his experiences at New Orleans' St. Augustine High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his theory of cognitive learning

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud remembers how his aspirations developed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud recalls being denied admission to Louisiana State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud recalls his academic experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud describes the fraternities at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud recalls meeting and dating his wife, Carole Tyler Rigaud

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud recalls meeting Fats Domino

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud recalls discrimination based on skin color within New Orleans' African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud talks about racial discrimination at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes his mentor, Kenneth Ericson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud recalls diversity training at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes his promotions at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud describes his car accident and subsequent surgery

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud describes the products created by Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes the creation of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his steering committee for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud describes racial discrimination in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon racism in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud explains his theory of the hierarchy of freedom

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud shares some of the history of the Underground Railroad

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud recounts stories of Ohio's slavery history, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud shares the origin of the term hush puppy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud recounts stories of Ohio's slavery history, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud talks about the perceptions of people in history

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud explains how he gained support for the Freedom Center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud describes the political support behind the Freedom Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes the exhibits at the Freedom Center

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his business, Enova Premier, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his business, Enova Premier, LLC, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud relates his experience as part owner of the Cincinnati Reds

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Edwin Rigaud describes his mentor, Kenneth Ericson
Edwin Rigaud describes the exhibits at the Freedom Center
Transcript
And there was another manager who was much more informed who insisted on me being transferred from where I was to his department, so he could promote me [at the Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio]. And he promoted me three times in one year. And he sat me down and he told me, he said, "You know, you've been held up. And frankly, you've been held up because you're black." And he said, "I'm gonna fix it." He said, "You're not making enough money, you ought to be getting stock options, you ought to be at the director level soon," you know, and he just, and he delivered. And it's because of him that I have what I have today, in the way of a retirement account.$$Well, what's his name?$$Ken Ericson [Kenneth R. Ericson] is this guy's name, and the thing he did for me was bring me into his fold, not only on a business level, but on a personal level, which was something that wasn't happening. You didn't feel like you were part of their world. And he would invite me to parties at his house, invite me to play golf, you know, to where it was just kind of a natural, you know, man to man relationship.$'Cause it's not that, it's not an in-depth treatment of the Underground Railroad. Which, you know, we kind of tossed and turned over that. Whether it was going to be all about the Underground Railroad in-depth, or whether it was going to be more about freedom movements or some combination. I think we wound up with a combination, and then to your earlier question, what's in there? Well, there are a couple of films, a general film, kind of a cartoon-based film on what freedom is, and a little bit about the Underground Railroad. Then there's a dramatic reenactment of a John Parker kind of--actually is John Parker story of helping an escaped slave in his little boat, and that one kind of gets the kids going. 'Cause it's very visceral. And that one includes Oprah Winfrey's introduction where she's filmed in Ripley, Ohio. I spent a whole day on that filming with Oprah Winfrey, and she had the town's people in the palm of her hands. I mean, every break she got, she was signing autographs, kissing babies, and I'm telling you. And we had African American producers and filmmakers and, you know, and of course we had African American architect, so, you know, we kind of brought people out of the woodwork to be a part of this. I mean, the construction of the project was 43 percent African American construction. You know, it--just unheard of participation by African Americans. By the same token, we had African Americans who said I'm not going there. I don't believe in it. Either because I don't want to face slavery again, we shouldn't even be bringing it up, or because it didn't go far enough. It wasn't like the holocaust museum and didn't rub your face in slavery to the point where, you know, you were sick. It's been an incredible ride to do this project. I mean, I've drawn on every skill that I learned at P and G [Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio] and in school [Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana] to do it. It's been the most growthful thing I've ever done in my life. It's a part of me, and it's made me who I am.