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James Paschal

Legendary Atlanta restaurateur James Paschal was born on October 8, 1920, in McDuffie County, Georgia, to Henry and Lizzie Paschal. Paschal started his first business, a shoeshine stand, at the age of thirteen, and at fifteen, he opened his first store; Paschal’s mother ran the business while he attended school during the day. The grocery store was such a success that the owners from whom Paschal rented the property reclaimed it, at which time he relocated the business and expanded it to include a meat market and entertainment center with a juke box. The new store was called James’ Place; it remained successful and stayed open for four years until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941, the same year he graduated from McDuffie Training School.

In 1947, Paschal and his brother, Robert, opened a sandwich shop in Atlanta, Georgia, selling only sandwiches and sodas. The sandwich shop was so successful that they moved to a larger location on Martin Luther King Drive. In 1957, the Paschal Brothers opened Paschal’s Restaurant; the new facility included a full service restaurant, banquet rooms, a 120 room hotel, and a jazz club called La Carousel Lounge. Paschal’s Restaurant served as an important meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his associates would hold strategy meetings there and families would reunite with relatives who had been arrested in protest marches. The Paschal Brothers also posted the bond for many of the protestors.

In 1978, the Paschals joined Dobbs House, Inc. in a joint venture to create Dobbs-Paschal Midfield Corporation; this food service company won the bid for a fifteen year contract at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport in 1980. After the contracted expired, the Paschals continued to provide food service at the airport, partnering with Concessions International, which was owned by Herman J. Russell.

In 1996, they sold the restaurant and hotel to Clark Atlanta University. In 2002, Paschal and Herman J. Russell opened a new Paschal’s Restaurant in the Castleberry Hills area of Atlanta, near the Georgia Dome. Paschal was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Business; he was also inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality and Tourism Hall of Fame. Paschal’s story, as told to Mae A. Kendall, was presented in the autobiography Serving Up Hope and Freedom. Paschal passed away on November 28, 2008 at the age of 88.

Accession Number

A2007.117

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2007

Last Name

Paschal

Maker Category
Schools

McDuffie County Training School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

McDuffie County

HM ID

PAS02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/8/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

11/28/2008

Short Description

Food service entrepreneur and restaurateur James Paschal (1920 - 2008 ) owned Paschal's Restaurtant, an important Atlanta, Georgia, meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement.

Employment

U.S. Armed Forces

Keystone Corporation

The Augusta Chronicle

James' Place

Paschal's Restaurant

Paschal's Concessions Inc.

Dobbs-Paschal's Midfield Corporation

Concessions/Paschal's, J.V.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:3500,33:19904,212:22820,275:23468,283:31650,357:41270,462:51010,548:51410,553:52210,563:56010,587:56470,592:61954,638:64450,670:82473,828:84510,847:85140,856:85680,864:86310,873:86670,878:88940,938:91140,961:96065,985:97010,998:110450,1166:119145,1238:132820,1355:136300,1364:138276,1387:149940,1484:162894,1622:165248,1656:182550,1795:196824,1984:208762,2126:211906,2162:212218,2167:223836,2342:224748,2352:226800,2386:248089,2688:252470,2747$0,0:16475,152:24830,263:36202,404:36732,410:37368,422:38110,435:44896,530:49894,572:57697,705:74542,894:79420,932:87160,1037:115555,1327:115975,1332:116815,1352:117655,1361:118075,1366:152010,1784:152717,1793:163168,1912:163598,1918:163942,1923:185306,2126:186426,2151:211971,2400:230355,2577:241120,2692:241535,2699:247012,2766:247420,2772:247930,2787:248338,2792:253540,2873:256930,2890
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Paschal's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Paschal lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Paschal remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Paschal lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes his elementary school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Paschal remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Paschal recalls his family's move to Thomson, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Paschal remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Paschal describes his basic training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Paschal describes his position at the Pullman Company

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Paschal recalls opening Paschal's Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Paschal remembers the patrons of Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes the expansion of Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Paschal describes the role of Pascal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Paschal talks about his wife and son

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Paschal remembers Roswell O. Sutton

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Paschal describes the creation of Dobbs-Paschal Midfield Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Paschal describes his joint ventures at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Paschal talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Paschal describes his reasons for selling Paschal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes the new Paschal's Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Paschal describes the accommodations at the new Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Paschal reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Paschal describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Paschal talks about the integrated staff of Paschal's Restaurant

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 2
James Paschal describes the role of Pascal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
How long did you own the store?$$Well, we'll talk a little about while I was operating the store.$$Okay.$$I, I, I was--also my father [Henry Paschal] became ill and I had learned his work, so I would work at the hotel [Knox Hotel, Thomson, Georgia] in his place until he was able to come back to work and I used to work there and then come by the store and close up after my sister and, and my mother [Lizzie Demmons Paschal] had gone for the day. The store was quite successful and the owners, since I didn't have a lease, the owners decided that they wanted it back for themselves, so they asked me to vacate, but I had convinced a few people around, in, in the city, that I, I knew how to operate a store, so I convinced a businessman there, which was a funeral director to construct another building for me not too far from this one and I was still in school, still in high school [McDuffie County Training School, Thomson, Georgia]. This was a much larger building and I expanded that. We had fresh meat and sandwiches and groceries and we had the only music box, which we were referred to them at that time, was a jukebox. Since they were ran--since they were outlawed in the city, then we were right outside the city limits, so we were able to have a music machine that would take quarters and dimes and nickels and so I had a place to dance and I also had slot machines and some race horse machines. I hope I won't get picked up now, but at that time they wasn't legal in the city, but since I was right outside the city, I did operate them, that--the name of that was James' Place and it got to be the number one place around Thomson [Georgia] at that time. And in 1991 [sic.], I was inducted into the [U.S.] Army, the [U.S.] Armed Forces and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) In 1941?$$Nineteen forty-one [1941].$$Okay.$$Yes.$$So you graduated from high school what year?$$In 1941.$$So you graduated in 1941?$$Yes.$$And you went into the Army?$$In October of '41 [1941].$$So what happened to the business while you were in the Army?$$I sold out to the school principal and one of the other principals--and one of the other instructors who worked at the high school.$$Well let me ask you about the, the first grocery store, what was it called?$$James' Place [Thomson, Georgia].$$Okay, it was the same name?$$Right.$$And when the, the owners of that property wanted it back, did they pay you to take, to, to take over?$$For the stock?$$Um-hm.$$No. Well, we moved the stock into the new operation (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, you took it with you?$$Sure.$$So you were paying them rent to, to, to use--$$I was paying them rent.$$Okay.$$But in those days you didn't think too much about a lease, so we didn't--$$I see.$$--have a lease.$Well tell me, since we are talking about the '60s [1960s] and civil rights; tell me about your involvement in civil rights?$$We were very much involved with the Civil Rights Movement and can, can we go off for a minute?$$Sure.$$(TAPE INTERRUPTION)$$We would meet with the other people.$$Right, well let's, let's talk about that.$$Okay.$$Yeah, we want, we want to know about that, about--tell me, tell me about that?$$Yes, well, yes we were very much involved with the Civil Rights Movement and you would probably want to know how that got started. Well, in the early days before there were certain civil right laws passed, the black elected officials wasn't able to hold meetings in the downtown area, so they would all meet at Paschal's [Paschal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant, Atlanta, Georgia] and they would plan their strategy, what they would do the next day, or what they were going to do that day, so it got started then. And then after the Civil Rights Movement became, became active, the students use to meet at Paschal's before they would go to the downtown area to do the sit-ins for the purpose of being arrested. So hundreds of students at a time would be arrested and by the time they were fingerprinted and got released from jail it would be late into the night sometimes. The parents would come to Paschal's and wait until they had been released from jail. And of course my brother and I would always provide a hot meal for them after they had been released from jail. So, Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had one of his headquarters at Paschal's. They met and planed several of their marches, like the Poor People's March [Poor People's Campaign] to march, to march across the E. Pettus Bridge [Edmund Pettus Bridge] in Alabama [Selma, Alabama] and the March on Washington. He and his lieutenants would meet there quite often. After a lot of the marches, a lot of the, the leaders would come back to Paschal's, to Paschal's Hotel and Restaurant to stay until they were ready to plan their next march. So, a lot, a lot, a lot of that, a lot of the Civil Rights Movement--and we, we bond a lot of people out of jail that, that was arrested. So--$$You personally, you and your brother?$$Yes.$$Tell me a little bit about your brother, Robert [Robert Paschal]?$$My brother Robert was, if I have to say so, and not just because he was my brother, he was the most, one of the most interesting and kindest people that I've ever met. He was friendly towards everybody. He loved the kitchen. We couldn't--I couldn't get him out of the kitchen while he was doing anything. So, he left all of the executive type work to me. It was really pretty difficult to get him out to take a vacation once a year. If he would go out with a plan to stay for a week, after three or four days I'd look up and see him back again. So, so he just loved his work. He was a wonderful person.

Nathaniel R. Goldston, III

Founder of Gourmet Services, Inc., Nathaniel Russell Goldston, III was born on October 20, 1938, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Nathaniel and Mary Elizabeth Goldston. Goldston’s mother worked in food service in the public school system and his father at the local hotels and restaurants. Goldston received his B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Denver in 1962.

Goldston worked at a food service company for ten years after graduating from college; he held positions such as district manager, regional vice president, and senior vice president. After being denied a promotion to chief executive officer due to racial discrimination, Goldston left in 1974 to start his own business, Gourmet Services, Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gourmet Services, Inc. grew to include contracts at six black colleges and employ 300 individuals; in its first year, the company generated $2.3 million in revenues. In 1976, Goldston met former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, who encouraged him to move Gourmet Services, Inc. to Atlanta. The business continued to grow after relocating, and eventually Gourmet Services, Inc. became the nation’s largest African American-owned food service management companies, boasting 2,500 employees; it was ranked fourteenth among the nation’s top 50 food service companies.

In 1986, Goldston founded the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America along with twenty-one other local businessmen and civic leaders. In 1989, Goldston became the 100 Black Men of America’s second national president. Gourmet Services, Inc. has donated millions of dollars in scholarships to students attending historically black colleges and universities; Goldston also established the Mary E. Goldston Foundation to provide scholarships to deserving African American students.

Goldston passed away on July 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.112

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2007 |and| 2/25/2008

Last Name

Goldston

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

Kellom Elementary School

Omaha Central High School

University of Denver

Doane University

First Name

Nathaniel

Birth City, State, Country

Omaha

HM ID

GOL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Nebraska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/20/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Death Date

7/4/2017

Short Description

Food service executive and food service entrepreneur Nathaniel R. Goldston, III (1938 - 2017 ) was the founder of Gourmet Services, Inc. and the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America.

Employment

Union Pacific Railroad

Allied Chemical Corporation

Dillon Hotel Company

Catering Management, Incorporated

Gourmet Services, Inc

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:744,7:1209,13:1581,18:3906,45:4371,51:11253,167:17682,231:18114,236:21246,274:22974,326:23406,331:30485,418:30841,423:34045,472:35202,491:38584,559:44670,618:44998,629:45982,645:46966,659:47868,675:53140,731:53679,739:53987,744:55835,771:56297,778:56605,783:57298,797:57683,803:58376,813:59608,834:61148,859:61533,865:62072,878:63150,895:63689,903:64228,911:64536,916:67847,984:68617,996:74330,1023:74750,1030:84998,1188:86174,1211:89702,1272:90374,1283:92426,1292:93162,1302:95830,1335:98314,1375:102522,1469:102862,1475:104562,1505:106262,1560:114125,1663:114869,1672:117548,1697:117940,1702:118430,1708:118822,1713:119998,1728:122252,1763:122938,1771:129602,1884:130974,1916:152070,2192:152700,2200:153240,2208:159090,2308:160350,2331:170206,2524:171422,2600:172258,2612:173778,2636:174234,2643:174994,2655:175602,2664:176362,2675:177654,2695:178262,2704:179022,2715:184620,2752:184920,2757:185745,2773:186420,2785:186795,2791:187245,2798:193157,2870:194123,2902:194951,2925:195503,2934:197558,2950:200180,2988:201076,2997:204056,3024:207125,3057:207590,3063:208520,3082:209078,3090:220140,3241:220484,3246:221430,3258:222032,3267:223870,3274$0,0:819,17:1183,22:8190,179:22372,348:26850,392:27270,399:30000,456:30630,468:31120,476:45144,671:46362,692:47406,723:50886,826:60760,939:61680,954:62232,961:66556,1048:68304,1072:70420,1140:80448,1256:81456,1269:85325,1310:86960,1339:88206,1348:96562,1455:98082,1485:99070,1507:99526,1514:100438,1531:100970,1539:101350,1549:101730,1555:102034,1560:102490,1569:102946,1576:103782,1590:105226,1625:105758,1634:111466,1662:112229,1670:121308,1807:121604,1812:122196,1823:124120,1860:127678,1905:132364,1962:136802,2058:137112,2064:139767,2098:140222,2104:142679,2149:143225,2156:143680,2193:144499,2204:153476,2295:160046,2410:171712,2556:172180,2563:172648,2570:175490,2590:178346,2657:179186,2672:179606,2678:182294,2787:182966,2799:183302,2808:183806,2815:189120,2843:189528,2848:193608,2936:194526,2946:196872,2973:197280,2978:197892,2985:199014,3004:203736,3018:204392,3028:204966,3037:206114,3062:206852,3073:207590,3086:217975,3290:218885,3314:219210,3320:219535,3326:220055,3336:223390,3349:224245,3364:225765,3383:226715,3424:230040,3461:235170,3557:242418,3598:243408,3632:248208,3703:250676,3722:252104,3745:252376,3750:257858,3879:260308,3899:260564,3904:261332,3923:263796,3939:265743,3986:266156,3994:268760,4009:269100,4036:274030,4098:278654,4206:279130,4215:279946,4231:280218,4236:281034,4254:286530,4285:289550,4331:290876,4359:292280,4431:298093,4479:302319,4541:302691,4546:307317,4577:310610,4625:311210,4633:311710,4639:312510,4648:313210,4656:313710,4662:314410,4674:315210,4686:315710,4691:316410,4699:317110,4707:317610,4713:325980,4810:326260,4815:326540,4820:327240,4833:327800,4843:332844,4888:339830,4972
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel R. Goldston, III's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his mother's parenting

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his father's parenting

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers working for his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family's food service professions

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his neighbors in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers Kellom Grade School in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers the winters in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers moving to a residential neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family's catering business

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers playing golf

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Omaha Central High School in Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Doane College in Crete, Nebraska

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls working as a chair car porter

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls paying tuition at the University of Denver

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the University of Denver in Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the civil rights activity at the University of Denver

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes food service education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his early employment

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers the Vietnam War draft

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls studying at the University of Denver College of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his early contracts at Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his family

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his work with the Aramark Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathaniel R. Goldston, III's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his college education

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about the food service industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls joining Catering Management, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his position at Catering Management, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about food service in universities

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers leaving Catering Management, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls partnering with his previous clients

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls starting Gourmet Services, Inc. in Atlanta

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the employees of Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls changes in his business strategy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about his business innovations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the board of Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about Gourmet Services Inc.'s catering

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his hotel business

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his business challenges

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III lists the top food service industry companies

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his plans for the future of Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his collaboration with Aramark Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls working with Eastern Air Lines

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III talks about the young leadership of Gourmet Services, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls founding 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the members of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls fundraising for Project Success

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the contribution of Dillard Munford

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls the fundraising events for Project Success

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the changes in Project Success

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes creation of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls his presidency of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes his initiatives as president of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III describes the successes of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III shares his advice to aspiring businesspeople

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Nathaniel R. Goldston, III narrates his photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Nathaniel R. Goldston, III remembers leaving Catering Management, Incorporated
Nathaniel R. Goldston, III recalls founding 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.
Transcript
So you build this business up for six years, until about 1970. Is that right?$$Nineteen--nine- I, I built the Catering Management [Catering Management, Incorporated] business. I, I, I stuck with it 'til 1974, right.$$So tell me, what happens in 1974 that makes you decide that it's time to go (laughter)?$$(Laughter) It was very interesting. I was, I was still with Catering Management, but Catering Management had been sold, and it'd been sold to a major conglomerate company in, in New York. And if you remember the, the early '60s [1960s] and, and the early '70s [1970s], they didn't have a lot of faith in the fact that, that an African American can, could run that, that business. So when Catering Management sold, I was brought into Columbia, Missouri, as the senior vice president and chief operating officer. But it was always understood that I would never be the president of the company because they were in a search mode for, for president of the company. I ran the company for almost, I guess it was two years, from 1972 to 1974, with interim managers coming in--come--presidents coming. They'd come in, and they, they couldn't figure it out, and they couldn't do the business. And yet and still, I'd turn--once I turn the reins over to the them, I'd have to go back and start all over again, to the point that it became rather frustrating. And, and my wife [Darlene Goldston] said to me, "You know, you run these people's--this biz- business for these people. You don't need these people for you, for, to run the business. You can see that you run the business. You know how to run--you ought to run your own business." I said, "You're probably right." So they had one more sale, when they sold--the company that, that, that bought my company sold to Aramark [Aramark Corporation]. Then it was ARA Services. And I knew I didn't want to get into that big company and getting into all of that. It just wasn't my style. I wasn't gonna move to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], and I wasn't gonna--and you know, what was my job gonna be? And I basically just decided I'll just start on my--I mean I just woke up one morning and flew to Atlanta [Georgia], and had a, a meeting with an attorney in Atlanta, and told him I wanted to--what, what, what is my, my legal obligations to this company, and how can I start my own business? That lawyer was Prentiss Yancey [Prentiss Q. Yancey, Jr.], who had graduated from Villanova [Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania] and graduated from Emory law school [Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia]. And, and he was responsible ultimately for, for the merger between the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association. And Prentiss is, was a very bright guy. He knew how to bring things together. And he told me, he said, he said, "Well, let me look at your contract." And I looked at the contract. "You have a contract with, with food service management. You don't have a contract with ARA. So, if you were still an employee of, of, of the other company, you would have an obligation. But since you quit, you have no obligations to anybody." He said, "Now you gotta figure out how to go get your business." And it's a, a very interesting story in itself.$Let's talk about your involvement with the 100 Black Men [100 Black Men of America, Inc.]. So let's start from the beginning.$$Well, it was a (laughter), it's a very interesting story. Back in the, in the mid-'80s [1980s], we operated a food service for the Harlem State Office Building [Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building] in, in New York [New York]. And one of my, one of the people that, or one of the, the organizations that we regularly served on a monthly basis was the 100 Black Men of New York [100 Black Men, Inc. of New York]. And they met in our building, and we would, and we would serve them dinner in the evenings. And I just happened to be around and asked the president, who was Roscoe, Dr. Roscoe Brown [HistoryMaker Roscoe C. Brown], if I could just kind of listen into the meeting. "Y'all, this is a secret meeting or something?" "No, no, no, no, sit down." And they were--I listen to them. They were planning their annual fundraiser for scholarships that they gave to, to kids in Harlem [New York, New York], basically, going to any college that they wanted to. And, and it was a nice, it was great, great kind of a program. And on my way back to Atlanta [Georgia], I thought about it. I said you know, there's no organization like that in Atlanta that basically, you know. And it was during the time, in those '80s [1980s], black males had a, they had a, a horrible rap. I mean it was, I mean we were known as people that, that ran off and left our families and people that went to the grocery store and never came back for twenty years and all that kind of stuff. And we didn't have the greatest reputation. And I thought about it, and I said you know, there ought to be, we ought to be able to put one of those groups together in the City of Atlanta. And I came back to my secretary, who was Monica Douglas at that time, and I told her. She said, "Yeah, maybe, I don't know." She said, "I, I don't know." She said, "But you're right: there is nothing, you know, there is nothing here in Atlanta that even comes close to that." We didn't have a black chamber. We didn't have a--we had the Black United Front [National Black United Front], which came close to doing something like that. So at any rate, I decided I would, I would call a few guys and invite them to dinner at the Mansion Restaurant [Atlanta, Georgia]. It ended up there was twenty-five or thirty of us showed up. And I talked to them about, you know, the group in, that I'd encountered in New York. And they were actually founded to combat police brutality in Harlem back in the, in the '50s [1950s] and the '60s [1960s]. That's how they got their group together. You know, they called it 100 Black Men [100 Black Men, Inc.; 100 Black Men of America, Inc.], and they worked with the police department and the mayor to stop some of the police brutality that was going on. And, and I said we need that kind of a community organization here, and the guys agreed with it. So we sat down and as a result of that, we decided we had to try to figure out what we were going to do. What can we do to impact the, the community in the City of Atlanta? And of course, one of those guys was in the superintendent of schools. He said, "I'll tell you what you can do. You can help some, keep some of these young people in school." He said, "You can help us, you know, basically give them some kind of a hope, some mind of a reason for staying in school and going on with life instead of dropping out. Our dropout rate is somewhere around 45 percent, 50 percent." And we said well, that makes sense. So what, what, what could we do? He said, "Well, I'll tell you what: he says I got a school. The worst school I got is Archer High School [S.H. Archer High School, Atlanta, Georgia] up at Perry Homes [Atlanta, Georgia] in the projects up there. And if we can figure out a way to help those kids through school and make certain that they went on to college and had a college education," he said, "We could do it like that guy did up in New York, that Eugene Lang." He said, "We challenge them. If they come through our program, and they do everything we say, that at the end of there, when you graduate, we'll make certain that your college tuition is paid for." Everybody, the room went silent. And then of course the, the accountants came up there. "How much would that cost?" "We don't know how much it would cost." "Well, don't you think we need to find out first?" So we went back. And the next meeting they came back, and when the accountants came up and gave their report, said, "You would have to raise anywhere between three hundred and fifty and a half million dollars every year." You've got to be kidding me. That's what it's gonna cost. Now if you get out there and make that promise, you better be able to deliver. And so we thought long and hard about it. And I was kind of the leader of the group, since I was the convener.