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R. Gregory Christie

Illustrator and freelance artist Richard Gregory Christie was born on July 26, 1971 in Plainfield, New Jersey to Ludra V. St. Amant Christie and Gerard Adoltus Christie. Raised by his mother, a Louisiana Creole, and his father, a Jamaican pharmacist, Christie was raised in the Scotch Plains community of Plainfield near the Jerseyland Resort. He attended St. Bartholomew the Apostle Elementary School where he demonstrated a talent for art early on. In 1985, Christie worked for Commercial Art and Supply while he attended Fanwood High School. Graduating in 1989, he enrolled in New York City’s School for Visual Arts (SVA). His first illustration was published by the Star Ledger in the summer of 1990. In 1993, Christie graduated from SVA with his B.F.A. degree.

In 1994, Christie illustrated the album cover of Justice System’s Summer in the City. Soon, his work graced the covers of jazz labels from all over the world, including Joe Sample’s Old Places Old Faces Warner Brothers, 1996; George Benson’s A Song for my Brother Giant Step Records, 1997; and Coltrane The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings GRP Impulse, 1997. Christie’s’ illustrations also appeared in numerous publications in Europe, Asia and America. In 1996, he illustrated Lucille Clifton’s The Palm of My Heart; Poetry by African American Children. The book won a Coretta Scott King Award honor from the American Library Association and a Reading Magic Award from Parenting magazine.

Christie has illustrated the biographies of many other significant historical and cultural figures, including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Sojourner Truth. In 2006, he won a Coretta Scott King Award honor for Brothers in Hope ; The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and for illustrating Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth.
Currently, Christie is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine.

Accession Number

A2007.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/16/2007

Last Name

Christie

Maker Category
Middle Name

Gregory

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Fanwood High School

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Elementary School

School of Visual Arts

Search Occupation Category
First Name

R.

Birth City, State, Country

Plainfield

HM ID

CHR03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sweden

Favorite Quote

Walk Lightly With A Big Stick.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/26/1971

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lentil Soup

Short Description

Illustrator R. Gregory Christie (1971 - ) has created illustrations and graphic artwork for record labels, books, and magazines. He received the Coretta Scott King Award honor for his work for 'Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan' and for illustrating 'Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth.'

Employment

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Favorite Color

Black

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of R. Gregory Christie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - R. Gregory Christie lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - R. Gregory Christie describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - R. Gregory Christie describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - R. Gregory Christie talks about the religious composition of Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his father's decision to pursue a career in pharmacy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his family's interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - R. Gregory Christie describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - R. Gregory Christie talks about growing up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie talks about confronting racism while growing up in Scotch Plains New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie talks about confronting racism while growing up in Scotch Plains New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his and his father's musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - R. Gregory Christie recalls being raised Catholic and interactions with extended family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - R. Gregory Christie describes his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his elementary education at St. Bartholomew Academy in Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - R. Gregory Christie describes the area in which he grew up in New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - R. Gregory Christie describes his interests and activities while growing up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - R. Gregory Christie recalls his experiences at Scotch Plains Fanwood High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - R. Gregory Christie considers the impact of his high school friendships on his outlook

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his membership in the Scotch Plains Fanwood Arts Association

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie talks about being a finalist for the Governor's Award in Arts Education in New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie explains his decision to attend School of Visual Arts in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his friendships forged during his early years in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his work with the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - R. Gregory Christie describes his employment trajectory at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - R. Gregory Christie describes his experiences at the School of Visual Arts in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his decision to enter the commercial art world after graduating from School of Visual Arts in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - R. Gregory Christie expounds on the entertainment value of art and assessing artistic merit

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - R. Gregory Christie recalls his art shows at Nell's nightclub in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - 04:07:05:20R. Gregory Christie describes the recent homogenization of the art world in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon developing ethics and values as a young adult

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon forming friendships with people from a variety of different backgrounds

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie describes creating an album cover for Zapp

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - R. Gregory Christie recalls developing his own style and learning how to illustrate children's books

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - R. Gregory Christie shares his perspective on celebrity artists

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - R. Gregory Christie talks about the impetus for his work as a freelance artist

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - R. Gregory Christie talks about the impact of his mother's death

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - R. Gregory Christie describes his artistic process and learning certain techniques

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - R. Gregory Christie talks about the transition from commercial to fine art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - R. Gregory Christie talks about what he's gained from illustrating children's books

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - R. Gregory Christie describes the process of creating the children's book 'The Palm of my Heart: Poetry by African American Children'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie talks about collaborations between authors and illustrators

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie talks about being represented by an agent

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie explains how he came to represent himself as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon the importance of learning about history while also focusing on living in the present

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - R. Gregory Christie describes live painting

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon the value of art, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon the value of art, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - R. Gregory Christie talks about working with acrylic and gouache in his artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - R. Gregory Christie talks about his mural for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, Idaho

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - R. Gregory Christie describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - R. Gregory Christie reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - R. Gregory Christie talks about the effects of being removed from his family

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - R. Gregory Christie narrates his paintings, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - R. Gregory Christie narrates his paintings, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - R. Gregory Christie narrates his paintings, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
R. Gregory Christie talks about his early interest in art
R. Gregory Christie recalls his art shows at Nell's nightclub in New York, New York
Transcript
What was your subject matter when you drew, you know? Were you inspired by stuff you saw on TV, or--$$No, I was mainly inspired, I'd say in the beginning by comic books: 'Conan the Barbarian,' 'Heavy Metal,' these kind of things. So, I used to draw people with swords, make flipbooks where you actually would draw on the edge of a book and just kind of flip it on each page so that it starts to move. You start from the end of the story, and then you build up to the beginning. And then at the end, you can flip it, like how they used to do all the cartoons. So, I mean I used to work that way, mainly working with gory stuff, things you would expect a boy to draw, like sharks eating people, and war zones and guns and shooting and--$$I don't know, I'm not surprised that stuff was popular amongst--the youth today are doing the same thing.$$(Laughter) So, I mean that's where it started. And then after a while, like, getting into eighth grade [at St. Bartholomew Academy, Scotch Plains, New Jersey] I had--teachers really start to single me out and, wow, you know, you're really good. You've got to keep--you know, become an artist, and this and that. And I remember one guy that was, his name was--I just remember his name because of the--his name was Ponce de Leon [ph.]. He was from Spain, and this guy was apparently like a college level teacher, but he was doing something that his daughter--her name was Jamina [ph.]--she went to school with me. She came a bit later. She was pretty cool, I mean like really nice and everything. And her family came from Spain and all that, I think. But he was like really exuberant, and he was really like going on about a painting I was doing because he had, he started like an afterschool type program. Like, he actually wanted the kids to come in, you know, a little bit after, and do some painting courses. And we did a still life, and I still have the still life. But he really was saying how I really have a command of the materials, you know, and he really encouraged me. Like, almost every art teacher really told me to pursue art. So, I mean, that's where I spent a lot of my time. A lot of my time I spent painting.$$So, so did you--when did you actually start painting? What age were you when you actually started using paint?$$Twelve.$$Okay.$$Using professional stuff.$$Okay.$$But when I was a kid, I always worked with color and markers, colored pencil. See, I used to--I don't--people a lot of times tell me I'm lucky, you know. And I tell them always the same thing that I'm lucky in the sense of knowing exactly what I want to do on this planet. From being--from birth, I knew what I wanted to do, like, at an early age. And the point is, when I went to the art store, I went there so much that they gave me a job eventually. They just--I mean when I came of age, "When do you want to start?" So I started--you know, they saw my face so much getting different supplies. And I tell every artist this: that no school teaches you to paint, you teach yourself to paint. You have to sit at a table or sit in a room and just work with the materials and find out how it's going to react. And if you can do that, then you can start to learn about theories and other people's solutions. But find your own voice first.$I think we're at the point where we can talk about your first children's book ['The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children'].$$Um-hm.$$Yeah. So, tell us about that. How did that come about? Now, you were working as a commercial artist--$$You could--no.$$--doing freelancing--$$This is a really, really, important aspect of what I've done career-wise.$$Okay.$$When I came to New York [New York], I saw the system set up. I saw the way things are, and I realized that I have to go with my own approach. Because the way--this, the way I'm saying, it's like, it's kind of like, what happened when I first got to New York, I didn't know anybody. I got here from New Jersey, a small town called Scotch Plains, New Jersey. I got to New York and, you know, it was like a culture shock in a way, because as a kid I didn't really, like, go out that much; I drew a lot. The weekends were spent at home, I was with my mom [Ludria St. Amant Christie]. My brothers [Gerard Thaddeus Christie and Corneilus Marshall Christie] used to go out a lot, and I'd be home drawing and watching TV. So, being social is something I had to learn; I had to learn, you know. I would say fifteen years ago, I wouldn't even be able to talk to you and really get everything out the way I'm trying. And I'm doing the best I can now, but I'm just saying, it's something I had to learn. The same way that people have to learn to draw if they want to pursue it, I have to learn to communicate with words. So, you know, it would be like we were doing this interview with just sketch pads, and you draw something and I answer it back from the sketch. You can do that, then you understand how it is for me, you know. So, the first thing that happened when I got to New York was I took the slides that I used to get into art school [School of Visual Arts, New York, New York], and I went to a nightclub called Nell's [New York, New York]. And I showed the manager, and he said, "Oh man, we could do slideshows, you know." And I asked him about it, so I started showing my art each week while people were there, like Thursday nights when the place was packed. I would show my work, and it became a hit. People were so shocked to see art, in a nightclub, you know, but it was an upscale place with like Louis XVI furniture. You'd have stockbrokers, and you'd have kids from the Bronx [New York, New York], you know, and it was really good. It was two levels, one with live music and one down at the bottom. And eventually, like, other people started to, you know, like it, and then they made me in charge of curating slideshows, you know. And then I got be a part of a party called Funky Buddha, you know. And you know, I actually had a guest list, you know, and I started to like incorporate the world I'm in with this nightlife world, that I'm, you know, learning about. And I'd invite people like Thomas Krens, like, the director of the [Solomon R. Guggenheim] Museum [New York, New York]. I invited him to the parties, and I invited people I knew. Like, you know, working in a museum, I'd got in contact with a lot of European people. I worked in the checkrooms, so I met people, and I'd invite them. If you don't have anywhere to go tonight, I'll put you on the guest list. So, what happened is when people would come to the party, they'd be getting out of limousines, and you know. And Thomas Krens would call. One time he called and said, "Oh," you know, "what time is the party tonight?" And "I'm the director of, you know, the Guggenheim." So the people, you know, these are kids throwing a party, and they're impressed. They're like "How do you know Thomas Krens?"$$Now the Funky Buddha is a club?$$Funky Buddha was a party at Nell's.$$Okay.$$And it went on for several years. And everyone that was throwing the party--$$So, a certain night or something they would have Funky Buddha?$$Wednesday nights. I think it was Tuesday, and it was probably Wednesday, if I remember. I've got all the flyers and all that stuff; I've kept like a record of it. But it's an important part of like how I do things.

Florence LaRue

Singer Florence LaRue was born on February 4, 1942 in Plainfield, New Jersey to Sara Dell LaRue and James Harris LaRue. Her family soon moved to Glenside, Pennsylvania, where she began studying dance and violin. The family moved once more to Los Angeles, California where eventually LaRue earned her A.A. degree from Los Angeles City College, and then received her B.A. degree in education from California State College in Los Angeles.

During the mid-1960s, LaRue met photographer Lamont McLemore after she won Miss Grand Talent after participating in the Miss Bronze California Contest. Lamont offered LaRue a place in a musical group that he was forming called the Versatiles. LaRue joined the group along with McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis and Ron Townson. The Versatiles obtained a record deal with the assistance of Motown record producer Marc Gordon, who introduced them to producer Johnny Rivers, and helped develop their image and changed their name to The Fifth Dimension. In 1966, The Fifth Dimension released their first single, “I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever.” In 1967, the group recorded a follow-up single, written by John Phillips and entitled “Go Where You Wanna Go,” which charted at #16 on the Billboard charts. They then recorded their first top ten hit, entitled “Up-Up and Away,” written by songwriter Jimmy Webb. Their album of the same title went gold, and the group was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The song, “Up-Up and Away,” went on to win a number of Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for 1967. The following year, The Fifth Dimension released a cover of Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic,” which reached #3 on the pop charts and #2 on the R&B charts, the highest-charting single released by them at the time. It ultimately sold over two million copies. In 1969, the group released “California Soul,” which reached #25 on the Billboard charts. Their biggest break came with the release of “Age of Aquarius.” This song spent six weeks on top of the charts and sold more than three million copies. In 1970, The Fifth Dimension were signed to Bell Records and released a controversial single entitled “The Declaration,” which was followed by the album Portrait, which became the group’s third album on the Billboard Top 50. In 1971, the group released Love’s Lines, Angles & Rhymes, which went gold. In 1973, the group released Living Together, Growing Together and in 1974, released Soul & Inspiration, the last record the group would record for Bell Records. In 1975, the group released their final album with all of the original members, entitled Earthbound. McCoo and Davis left the group to pursue their own recording careers, although the group continued to record as The Fifth Dimension without the duo.

In the late 1970s, The Fifth Dimension released “Love Hangover” with LaRue singing lead. In 1981, LaRue joined other members from the group in Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin. In 1995, The Fifth Dimension released an album entitled In The House which featured “Say (U Love Me),” a track penned by LaRue. LaRue remains active today as an inspirational speaker and lecturer.

Florence LaRue was interviewed by The HistoryMakers April 16, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.141

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/16/2007

Last Name

LaRue

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

North Hills Elementary School

Abington Senior High School

Los Angeles City College

California State University, Los Angeles

Glenside Middle School

First Name

Florence

Birth City, State, Country

Plainfield

HM ID

LAR01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Fontainebleau

Favorite Quote

God Is Good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/4/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

French Food, Soul Food

Short Description

Singer Florence LaRue (1942 - ) was an original member of multi Grammy Award-winning group, The Fifth Dimension whose hits include "Up-Up and Away" and "I'll Be Lovin' You Forever."

Employment

Hughes and Grumman Aircraft

Grant Elementary School

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Florence LaRue's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue describes when and where her parents were born

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her parents' divorce and her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue talks about reconnecting with her father as an adult

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes her mother and maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue describes living with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson in Ambler, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue talks about her childhood in Glenside, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue describes her interests at Abington High School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue describes her experience at North Hills Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about playing sports and violin at Glenside-Weldon Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue describes her experience at Abington High School in Abington, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes applying for jobs in Los Angeles, California while attending college in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue recalls falling asleep while driving and receiving her B.A. degree in education from California State College in Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about winning Miss Bronze California and other beauty pageants while working as a student teacher at Grant Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue remembers joining The Versitiles and her relationship with their manager, Marc Gordon

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue describes the formation and naming of The Fifth Dimension

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue talks about the release of "Up, Up and Away" and her first national tour with the Fifth Dimension

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue recalls her marriage to The Fifth Dimension manager Marc Gordon around 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate Ron Townson

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate, HistoryMaker Billy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue describes her Fifth Dimension bandmate, HistoryMaker Marilyn McCoo

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue describes the Fifth Dimension conductor and arranger, Rene DeKnight

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about The Fifth Dimensions' popular songs

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue talks about the lineup of The Fifth Dimension in 2007

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Florence LaRue talks about her experience in The Fifth Dimension after the departure of HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue remembers HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. leaving The Fifth Dimension, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue remembers HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. leaving The Fifth Dimension, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue reflects on the success of The Fifth Dimension and its lineup after the departure of HistoryMakers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her role as leader of The Fifth Dimension after the original lineup and their reunion tour

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue talks about her mother

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Florence LaRue talks about her family and her divorce from Marc Gordon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Florence LaRue talks about changes in management in The Fifth Dimension and performing in the play Ain't Misbehavin'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Florence LaRue talks about singing at the White House and in Eastern Europe

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Florence LaRue talks about her church's mission trip to Gambia

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Florence LaRue shares her spiritual hopes for The Fifth Dimension

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Florence LaRue describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Florence LaRue shares what she would do differently in her life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Florence LaRue talks about her sisters

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Florence LaRue talks about her ex-husbands

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Florence LaRue narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Florence LaRue remembers joining The Versitiles and her relationship with their manager, Marc Gordon
Florence LaRue talks about the release of "Up, Up and Away" and her first national tour with the Fifth Dimension
Transcript
Well, after I won the Miss Bronze California contest, this young photographer came up to me and says, "Oh, I have this group and we need one more girl." I said, "I'm sorry. I don't want to be in a group. The only reason--I'm not even a singer. The only reason I sang was because I wanted to be--you know you have to do something, and I was hoping to be discovered for the movies, I'm also doing my student teaching. I don't have time."$$Okay.$$Well, that was [HM] Lamonte McLemore.$$Okay. (laughter)$$And he--he persisted, he persisted.$$Now, let's tell people who Lamonte McLemore--(unclear)$$Lamonte McLemore--(unclear)(simultaneous)$$--because at that time he was working--was he working for Jet at that time?$$Lamonte was working as a photographer.$$Okay.$$I think--I think he did do some things for Jet.$$Okay.$$I said, "I don't want to be in this group." Well, Lamonte has a way of talking you into things. So he talked me into it and I said, "Okay." We had this manager, Marc Gordon, and I would miss a lot of rehearsals because I was doing my student teaching and doing other--I was very busy. And he was going to put me out of the group [The Versatiles]. Finally, he didn't put me out though. I ended up marring Marc years later. He was The Fifth Dimension's first manager. He is also the brilliant mind behind The Fifth Dimension. You know, I get very, very upset when I hear Johnny Rivers being given more credit than he is due. It was Marc Gordon, a black man, who had the idea of putting The Fifth Dimension with [James] Jimmy Webb. Jimmy Webb was a young, poor, white singer with holes in his shoes, and he was trying to peddle his music and no one understood it. It--it wasn't R&B, it was Pop. It was very different from that time. And Marc said, "Well, I have a group, and I think this group would be good--a good marriage with your music." And that was Marc Gordon.$$All right. Now, tell us about your relationship with Marc because you are coming into womanhood, you really are a woman now--$$Right--$$--one another.$$(laughter) Right.$$You are a student teacher.$$Yes.$$And you're just beginning--Marc has come to you about singing with this group --$$Lamonte, came to me about singing.$$Oh, I'm sorry--right.$$(unclear)(simultaneous).$$--and let's--but you--you had an independent relationship--we have two trails to follow.$$(laughter). Right.$$One as the group The Fifth Dimensions [sic, The Fifth Dimension]. You know, they started to evolve. Marc is the leading proponent and manager.$$And actually called ourselves The Versatiles at that time.$$The Versatiles, right.$$Originally called ourselves The Versatiles because we had five people with five very different voices, which allowed us to sing all kinds of music.$$Okay. And you started getting engagements?$$Yes, we did.$$Okay.$$We sang locally in Los Angeles [California].$$You remember who the first--$$I think Maverick's Flat was our first place that we sang.$$Okay. How about the relationship between you and Marc? Did that grow at the same time or did that come a little bit later?$$Well, when I met Marc, the relationship kind of grew and he was very--what's the name--"worldly?" You, know, I was very--I was--I was from Glenside, Pennsylvania, still. I was very naive.$$A country girl as you called yourself (simultaneous)$$I was a country girl. I was very naive and Marc was a city man, you know. And we developed a relationship--I was--"Oh, this city man is interested in me," and--but he was a very nice guy.$$Okay.$$He was very nice, he was kind. And we lived together for about a year which I regret because I'm a Christian, and, at that time, I was a Christian then. I've been a Christian since childhood.$$Right.$$But I wasn't a practicing Christian, evidently, because we lived together for about a year and then we got married.$$Okay.$And Marc [Gordon] and Johnny [Rivers] co-produced the song called "Up, Up and Away." And that was the beginning of The Fifth Dimension's sound--but, no. Before that we recorded, let me see, is it "Up, Up and Away" before "Go Where You Want To Go?" There was a song that The Mamas and [The] Papas recorded called "Go Where You Want To Go." And they had the same configuration, three gentlemen and two ladies [sic, The Mamas and The Papas had two men and two women], and we recorded that song.$$Okay.$$But people thought we were The Mamas and Papas because it was very similar, because their harmonies were similar. But then when we recorded "Up, Up and Away," that established The Fifth Dimension and having our own sound. And we got quite a bit of--there was quite a bit of confusion in the music industry because we were a black group, it was the sound that they--people thought "sounded white."$$Right.$$Not realizing that black people sing everything, from opera to hip-hop. As a matter of fact, I saw The Three Tenors Saturday night. Fabulous. But anyway (laughter), so we recorded "Up, Up and Away," and it was getting a lot of--people still don't know we're black because they haven't seen any pictures of us.$$Oh. Okay. So even when "Up, Up and Away" was all breaking records across the country--$$Right.$$--people still did not know you were a black group?$$Right, because they heard it on the radio. Some of them hadn't seen us yet.$$Okay.$$I mean we took pictures and sent out pictures, but many people hadn't heard us so they didn't know that we were a black group--$$Right. Right.$$--with this sound.$$Okay. When did you start traveling around the country to where people could see you an individual?$$When "Up, Up and Away" was released, the record company came to us and said, "Well, you've got to go on tour."$$Right.$$So we had to make our decision then; that is, quit our day jobs. I think Ron [Ronald Townson] was working for the post office, I was working at Hughes [Aircraft]--we all had day jobs.$$Okay.$$So we said, "Okay. Let's do it." So we quit our jobs--$$Okay.$$--went on the road (laughter).$$You were also still teaching?$$No, I'd finished my student teaching.$$You had finished your student teaching at that time?$$Yes. And fortunately, Rene DeKnight had put together some songs and harmonies, so we had a show when we went out.$$Okay.$$We were able to do a whole show, and Rene conducted for us.$$And how many cities did you cover on that?$$I don't remember, but I know we toured the U.S., we went back East.$$Okay. Okay.$$This is where I need Ron. Ron Townson had a memory--he could remember what day, what city, who was in the band. I don't know how he did it.$$Okay.$$He was--he was--he was my sweetheart. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but Ron was always my favorite Dimension.$$Well I think that was true for a lot of people.