The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

city

Angela Johnson Colbert

Lawyer Angela Johnson Colbert was born on April 14, 1956 in Asheville, North Carolina. She graduated from Asheville High School in Asheville, North Carolina in 1974, and received her B.A. degree in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1978, and her J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1982.

Colbert moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was hired as a corporate lawyer for Quarles & Brady, LLP in 1985 and became a member of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers. Colbert left the firm after a few years of practice to focus on raising her family and later returned to the workforce in 2004, when she and her husband, Virgis Colbert, acquired majority ownership of Production Stamping Corporation. Colbert assumed the role of president and CEO of the Milwaukee-based metal stamping company. She and her husband also became partial owners of the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team after working with other to help create Partners for Community Impact.

Colbert has done extensive work in Milwaukee’s nonprofit community. She was named a trustee of the Milwaukee Public Museum Endowment fund in 2009 and became president of Jim H. Green Kidz Harbor Inc. the following year. She was an active member of the Milwaukee branch of The Links Incorporated, and served on the Milwaukee Art Museum board of trustees starting in 2011, and a frequent donor. Colbert also served as director of the Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation, an after school enrichment program. She served as vice president of the Milwaukee Scholars Charter School Inc., and became director the following year. She and her husband donated the largest individual gift to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for its twentieth Anniversary Dinner Gala. Colbert and her husband also helped sponsor the Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair in 2015.

Colbert and her husband, Virgis Colbert, have two daughters, Jillian Colbert, Alyssa Colbert, and one son, William Colbert II.

Angela Johnson Colbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.154

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/18/2017

Last Name

Colbert

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Angela

Birth City, State, Country

Asheville

HM ID

COL34

Favorite Season

Summer/spring/fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

I'm good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

4/14/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Lawyer Angela Johnson Colbert (1956 - ) practiced corporate law at Quarles & Brady, LLP and also served as a trustee of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Public Museum Endowment Fund.

Favorite Color

Blue

Andrea Lawrence

Computer scientist and computer science professor Andrea Lawrence was born in Asheville, North Carolina on October 6, 1946 to Jeanne Hayes and Emory Williams. Her family supported education and both of her parents finished college after she was born. Lawrence graduated from Allen High School in Ashville in 1964 and enrolled at Spelman College. She finished her undergraduate education at Purdue University earning her B.S. degree in mathematics in 1970. From 1979 to 1983, Lawrence taught mathematics in Cincinnati Public Schools before beginning her long career at Spelman College. She earned her M.S. degree in computer science from Atlanta University in 1985.

Having begun her career at Spelman as a lecturer and computer literacy coordinator, Lawrence was promoted to director of the computer science program in 1986. She held that position for three years before going back to school to pursue her doctorate. In 1993, Lawrence became the first African American to obtain her Ph.D. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in computer science. She then returned to Spelman as an assistant professor in computer science, and in 1994, she became chair of the computer and information sciences department. Lawrence was promoted to associate professor of computer science in 1995. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in programs to increase the number of minorities and woman involved in scientific disciplines, serving as president of the Association of Departments of Computer Science/Engineering at Minority Institutions (ADMI) and associate director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Scholars at Spelman College. Lawrence teaches a range of computer science classes including programming languages, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interactions. She also supervises projects on remote sensing in Antarctica, which uses satellites or aircraft to gather information about Antarctic ice. In addition to her teaching, Lawrence has published numerous papers for her research on human-computer interaction, including using computer animations to teach algorithms.

Lawrence has received several awards to date including the National Technical Association’s Technical Achiever of the Year Award in 2004. She was also named a Technology All-Star in 2005 by the National Women of Color (NWOC). Lawrence lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has three grown children, Deirdre, a scientific consultant, Allegra, an attorney and Valerie, a student.

Andrea Lawrence was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.071

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2012

Last Name

Lawrence

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Williams

Schools

Allen High School

Spelman College

Purdue University

Clark Atlanta University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Andrea

Birth City, State, Country

Asheville

HM ID

LAW04

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Find a way or make one.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/6/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shellfish

Short Description

Computer science professor and computer scientist Andrea Lawrence (1946 - ) was chair of the computer and information sciences department at Spelman College from 1994-2009 and is currently as associate professor at Spelman. In 1993, she became the first African American to earn her Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Employment

Cincinnati Public Schools

Spelman College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:5822,50:15998,324:21276,375:27396,482:28110,490:40182,630:61016,955:72796,1045:74350,1076:74720,1082:81302,1130:84871,1262:98124,1465:98494,1471:120692,1684:127894,1715:153540,1993:162374,2176:172300,2272:177025,2650:188900,2701$0,0:11390,81:24755,247:42064,581:54960,659:57310,697:71131,948:100238,1337:112639,1447:161980,1957:166255,2275:174296,2335:180462,2548:184417,2596:184762,2602:185038,2607:185383,2649:186763,2729:223316,3102:228916,3299:231268,3358:246184,3515:253480,3586:254160,3597:281375,3843:282779,3887:297725,4035:298065,4040:310492,4209:310975,4217:311665,4232:333416,4565:338798,4611:340310,4740:343838,4833:366315,4979:374495,5114:379770,5181
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrea Lawrence's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence describes her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her mother's growing up in North Carolina and Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her father and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her early relationships with her parents and grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence shares her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her love of reading, starting at age four

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about the integration of Ashville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence remembers her introduction to computers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence discusses her relationship with her father after her parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about the influence of her elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence remembers her days at Allen High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about traveling along with her father, uncle, and cousins

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence describes her interest about technology

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her coursework at Allen High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence describes meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson as a Presidential Scholar

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her role with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her coursework at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence describes how she met her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about living in West Lafayette, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her computer science classes at Purdue University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about reactions to the assassination of Dr. King

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her graduate work in computer science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Dr. Etta Faulkner and her decision to pursue a Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about computers and her mentor, Albert Bodder

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence discusses her difficulties she fared as a woman attending Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence discusses the state of teaching of computer science at HBCUs

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence describes her work with NASA Wives Scholars program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about how her writing skills helped her computer science

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her book and the psychology of computers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about computer literacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about cultural and gender bias in the computer science field

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College's future and her current research

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence shares her concerns about the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Andrea Lawrence reflects on her legacy and career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her three daughters

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence reflects on her life and career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence describes her photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College
Andrea Lawrence discusses her difficulties she fared as a woman attending Georgia Institute of Technology
Transcript
Okay. All right, so, okay, so in 1964, you start school at Spelman.$$I did.$$And how did you like Spelman[Spelman College]--$$Oh, I loved it.$$You already knew a lot about it.$$Right, I knew, and, right, because I had come down in the summers, and my mother was working. And I had, in fact, spent one summer mostly on the campus, living in--when she had a dorm room on the campus. They had faculty, female faculty housing at that point and male faculty housing. A lot of single faculty would live on campus for a couple of years. So I felt right at home. I knew the names of all the buildings because I found out as a child that if I could name all the buildings, people--when, say I was nine or so, people would be impressed and give me a nickel. And I could buy an ice cream cone in the snack shop. So I had learned all the buildings. And I moved into Packard Hall, which is no longer a dormitory. It's now administration. And I really had a great time. I joined the glee club. I was on the newspaper staff. I took a overload in classes most years. After the first semester, I took an overload, and I loved being here where you could, where there were dances and remember, I was just coming from an all-girls school that did not have a all-male school across the street. So, I said, "This is really nice." I can, you know, I don't have 'em in my classes, but they're right over there.$$Now, you took an overload of courses?$$Most time, after the first semester because I was trying to do two minors. So the average load was fifteen hours. I generally took eighteen.$$Okay, you're, you described yourself as a speedy reader?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$I mean not like the ones that come out of their courses that claim they can read, but I read very rapidly. I also type rapidly, which has been very handy. It came in very handy when I started writing those computer programs.$$Okay, okay, now were you exposed to computer science at Spelman?$$I was not. A few years later, they had computer science. The only computers I knew about were, as I said, the ones my mom used in the office, in the registrar's office, the Wang's and the, she brought me a computer. But that was later. No, I was not exposed at all. My first real exposure to computers was when we left Atlanta and went to West Lafayette, Indiana. I dropped out of school when we got married. And my, when my ex-husband finished Morehouse, he went to graduate school at Purdue.$$Okay, now, let's, moving very fast, back up and go back (laughter). We've got a lot of ground to cover.$$Okay, I was trying to figure out where the computers, when I ran into computers and like that.$$Yes, okay, so now I know.$$Okay, I'll hold--$Okay, all right, so 1993, you became an assistant professor here--let me ask you this before we get into teaching. What were some of the struggles that you had as a woman, you know, in computer science? Was there any problem with that at, here, even at Spelman?$$Not at Spelman.$$Okay. But at--$$At Georgia Tech.$$At Georgia Tech (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$At Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology], the percentage of women in the PhD program was very small. I would say less than 10 percent. So we knew, of course, all the women, other women, and I will have to say that they got, used to get together some times as a group and give each other support. They might have a brunch or something, give each other support. But it was difficult because many times, you would be in a class, and there wouldn't be any other women. And some of the men might not want you to be in their group. And you had to make groups or partner up. So they just really didn't wanna be partners with me. Now, whether that was because I was as old as their mothers or because I was African American or because I was a woman, it was hard to say. But I did find that. My best bet for getting a partner was to either find someone who has been sent back to school by some company or the Army, Armed Forces or another woman. So it was really a situation where if a woman--I'll give you an example. One of the women PhD students had a baby. And she was married to a male PhD student. And I heard someone say, they didn't know I heard them, well, she can't be serious about her degree or she wouldn't have had this baby. And I later heard someone say about one of the male students whose wife had had a baby, "Well, you know, we need to hurry up and get him out so he can get a job." And I know one of my friends who was asked to teach a course over here in the AU Center part time, was told that she shouldn't be doing it because she was taking away something that some man might need. So it was, and she was a single mother with a teenager. She really needed it. But perception was, as a woman, she shouldn't be taking the mouth out of the--the bread out of the mouth of the breadwinner, so to speak, taking the money away from the breadwinner.$$So were you involved in any efforts on the part of women to organize themselves against this kind of thing?$$We didn't really. Tech actually formed, offered us a support group through student services where we could get together. And those weren't all computer scientists. They were from different areas. And we got together once a week, and we would talk about situations and advise how to handle situations we ran into. The computer science women, as I said, sometimes would have meals and get together and encourage each other, but no formal organization.$$Okay, so, so at Spelman, now, you were already teaching at Spelman, right, while you were--$$Right, I was teaching math until I got the CS degree.$$Okay.$$'Cause I had enough graduate hours in math to, from getting a teaching certificate to be a, to be able to teach. But once I graduated with the Masters, then I started computer science.$$Okay, so you just moved right over to another--$$Seamlessly, yeah.$$Yeah, so they had a department, computer science department right here or--$$They had a computer science department by '93' [1993], but they did not have one in the late '80's [1980s] when I was working in the department. The, it was part of mathematics, the mathematics department. So they said we had to have, I think five faculty members and had finished the graduating class before we could become separate. And I believe, that happened under the auspices of Dr. Martin. While I was in grad school, he was able to bring the department out of mathematics and into a separate department.$$Okay. All right, oh, now what was your--I'm sorry. I didn't ask you what your dissertation was titled?$$Oh, it was "Empirical Studies of Using Algorithm Animations to Teach Algorithms. So I did, basically, it would look like little movies where I animated things going through a different processes on the computer. It might be putting things in order, sorting, or it might be some other process that you could carry out. Most of the ones I did were based on sorting. There're probably 12 ways to sort numbers, and the best one to choose depends on the problem and the computer you're using and the data. So in computer science, Algorithm courses, you teach several methods. So what my work was about was trying to figure out ways to teach these methods more effectively, and I created these algorithms. I did experiments at Georgia State and Georgia Tech with students to see which ones worked best for them. So that was, it was pretty interesting, especially, my final conclusion was that the animations were good, but they were only good as long as the students interacted with them. If they just watched them, this TV generation, it didn't really have an effect. They had to do something with it like choose the data to be sorted or choose the next step. They had to do something with it for it to be effective.$$Okay, we have to pause here again.

Fred Hunter

Newspaper manager Frederick Fenton Hunter was born on June 15, 1936 in Asheville, North Carolina to Marjorie and Ray Hunter. Hunter’s parents divorced, and the family moved to Evanston, Illinois when he was eight. Hunter was an outstanding athlete at Evanston Township High School, where he graduated in 1954. He then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he spent three years, mostly stationed in Southern California. After his discharge, he enrolled in Illinois State University, a teaching college in Normal, Illinois. He earned his B.A. degree in social science with a minor in Spanish in 1962.

Hunter took a job teaching in the Chicago Public School System until he began work as a sales representative for the American Oil Company (Amoco) in 1965. In 1969, Hunter was able to secure his own Amoco filling station, which became very successful.

Looking for a new career path, Hunter earned his M.A. degree in public administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Because government jobs during the Reagan Administration of the 1980s were slim, he began working part-time as a newspaper deliveryman for The Chicago Tribune. Hunter’s ethic for hard work was noticed by his superiors, and he was offered a full-time position as a district manager for Evanston and Skokie, Illinois. Over the next few years, Hunter climbed up the managerial ladder, reaching the level of department head in 1990. Eventually, Hunter was promoted to Tribune Corporate Headquarters as the first Director of Diversity Management in 1996, a position he retired from four years later. Hunter mentored dozens of minority employees at The Chicago Tribune and now lives with his wife in South Carolina.

Frederick Hunter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.157

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

Hunter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Evanston Township High School

Nichols Middle School

Wilbur Wright College

Saint Mary's School

Hill Street School

Illinois State University

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Fred

Birth City, State, Country

Asheville

HM ID

HUN06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/15/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper manager Fred Hunter (1936 - ) was the former director of diversity management for the Tribune Company.

Employment

Tribune Company

Chicago Public Schools

Standard Oil of Indiana; Amoco Corporation

Chicago Tribune

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:20946,267:21684,280:22176,288:22668,295:27293,337:41785,554:43910,588:50007,670:73525,1034:74375,1055:87054,1307:116252,1641:122076,1703:122986,1714:126910,1768:133910,1823:150121,1982:150516,1988:151069,2004:158458,2090:164355,2179:167204,2224:171439,2376:182316,2457:182776,2470:208944,2766:225510,2903:225845,2909:228190,2952:237786,3090:240710,3095:244020,3144$0,0:8640,328:17240,539:23560,670:33700,791:41937,884:43731,914:45732,980:50258,1052:57804,1162:58092,1167:60000,1184:61240,1231:76904,1413:84576,1499:88854,1627:95082,1661:106598,1775:115448,1899:117464,1963:122400,2001:127860,2127:132839,2203:144695,2438:157716,2613:163410,2716:192168,3052:235620,3497
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fred Hunter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describe the wealth disparity in Asheville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter describes his father's personality and early occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter describes his father's U.S. military career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter remembers his father's later life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers shopping at department stores in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter recalls the influence of Jackie Robinson's baseball career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter remembers the black football players at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter describes the prominent African American families in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter recalls the Hill Street School in Asheville, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his mother's reasons for enrolling him at St. Mary's School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his experiences at St. Mary's School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers Nichols Junior High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter recalls the start of the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his football career at Evanston Township High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter remembers the music and entertainment of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter remembers his time in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to become a teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter describes his experiences at Illinois State Normal University in Normal, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter recalls his teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter describes his decision to work for Standard Oil of Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter remembers the riots of 1968 in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter recalls how he acquired a service station from Standard Oil of Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter reflects upon the benefits of business ownership

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fred Hunter recalls how he came to work for the Tribune Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fred Hunter describes his career at the Tribune Company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fred Hunter shares his advice to businesspeople of color

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fred Hunter remembers his mentorship of younger employees at the Tribune Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fred Hunter talks about his retirement from the Tribune Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fred Hunter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fred Hunter reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fred Hunter reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fred Hunter talks about his wife and sons

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fred Hunter describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Fred Hunter remembers shopping at department stores in Chicago, Illinois
Fred Hunter remembers the riots of 1968 in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
But what I remember is--have you ever been to Evanston [Illinois]? Okay, back then there was an old Wieboldt's store [Wieboldt Stores, Chicago, Illinois], Wieboldt's department store, and my mom [Marjorie Rosemond Hunter], my brother's a year older than me so I'm in third grade, he's in fourth grade okay? She took off 'cause she was a domestic, she had two or three jobs. One of the things she did was domestic, one of the things she did was she was an elevator operator part time in Evanshire Hotel. It's out in Evanston [Illinois]. She took off from work one day and showed us how to catch the bus from where we were living, got us registered in St. Mary's Catholic school [St. Mary's School, Evanston, Illinois], showed us how to take the bus and get back home, okay, and it was September of 1944 and she bought us some heavy coats and some clothes, 'cause she obviously couldn't--had to leave everything we had down there, she couldn't--okay, and she says, "I'm only taking off one day to show you guys what you need to do. You guys have got to pay attention and you've got to do it, but if you behave yourselves, come out of the Wieboldt's store and you don't clown too much, we'll go across here to the Woolworths store [F.W. Woolworth Company]," which is right across from Wieboldt's, five and ten store, "and we'll get a soda, an ice cream soda." Oh, yeah, hell yeah we'll behave for an ice cream soda but, and she took us and after we got through with Wieboldt's and she took us into the Woolworths to get the sodas. She told us to sit down at the counter, she had to restrain us. There's no way in our minds we could sit down at that counter because we came from you know? I mean she had to physically restrain us and make us sit there because in our mind there was no way we could sit down at that counter and have a soda, you know, it's 1944 in Evanston, and I think about that so often because when my wife [Leila Hunter] and I got married in '61 [1961], I think the first time I had gone back south, I went down in '86 [1986] to bury my mother-in-law. I didn't go back 'til like '96 [1996], because I was working two and three jobs and hustling and trying to pay bills 'cause I had two other boys soon after that. So I'm trying to be a father and provider you know, so my wife went and took the kids [Stuart Hunter, Aubrey Hunter and Kenyon Hunter] down every year but I never went back. The first time I went back and had any time to spend there it was like '96 [1996] and I was just absolutely blown away and it still does a thing with my head to have white folks say, "Yes sir," and "No sir" because I was eight years old and I remember that's not what you were called in 1944 (laughter), that's not what you--believe me. Yes, sir and no, sir and thank you and however genuine or not it is, it just--I contrast that in my mind to that September 1944 thing where my brother and I were being constrained by my mom so that we would sit there and partake of what we--you know and so if you ask for a signature moment as a kid, that's probably the signature moment for me was that incident in the--at the dime store.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$I was the representative [for Standard Oil of Indiana; BP Corporation North America Inc.]--that was my sales territory where the riots started. I was on the corner of Madison [Street] and Kedzie [Avenue], right down the street from Marshall High School [John Marshall Metropolitan High School, Chicago, Illinois] when the riots broke out, but that was my sales territory.$$Now that was in 1968?$$That's '68 [1968] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right after Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed April 4, '68 [1968].$$That was '68 [1968]. Right.$$What--$$I was standing right there on the corner of Madison and Kedzie.$$Now what did you see, I mean what?$$(Makes noise) And people looting and running and shooting and shouting and yelling and pulling folks out of cars, whites that were driving through they were pulling 'em out of car and beating 'em and, and I left there and I went down to twenty- to 22nd [Street] and St. Louis [Avenue] 'cause they had a station down there and I called into the office and they said, "Get the hell outta there, forget about that territory go home." And I left 22nd and St. Louis 'cause it was exploding down there and I went over I had a station at Warren [Boulevard] and Western [Avenue] which is one block north of Madison around on Western, just north of and all the way down all you could see was looting, TVs, clothes. Madison was--at that point in time I had two of the busiest stretches in the City of Chicago [Illinois] in terms of commercial business in my territory. There was on the corner of Madison and Western, there was the corner of Pulaski [Road] and Washington [Boulevard]. Retail--I also had Roosevelt Road, but I didn't get down that far and all you could see was looting, yelling and screaming, shooting and beatings, that's all you could see. So I made it to Western and Warren and from there I went straight north on Western and got the hell out of there, I didn't come back for a week. And when we came back there was just nothing but devastation.$$And they actually set the stations on fire, they--?$$No they didn't set any stations they were just looting, the worst thing you saw was looting, just yelling, screaming, running and looting.$$Now how, how did you first hear about Dr. King being killed. Do you remember when you first found out (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I heard it right there, that's where I heard it, right there on the--there's a restaurant at Madison and Kedzie and I was in there, that's when I heard about it.$$How did you feel about it?$$I, I was surprised he lasted as long as he did, because when I first learned about him, I remember my buddies and I were saying this guy is either a saint or a fool. This is like '62 [1962], '63 [1963] something like that and if he's a saint he's not gonna last very long. We were surprised he lasted 'til '68 [1968]. Said the things he's espousing especially when he really became anti-Vietnam [Vietnam War], said things he's espousing they're gonna get him. I mean that's in our, my immediate circle that was the feeling, they're gonna get him and when he lasted 'til '68 [1968] they said, "Damn, we might be wrong, he might--he may actually get outta this," and because it had started to (gesture), you know it started to (gesture), it started to--by '68 [1968], but in essence we just said hey that guy's talking about--the things he's talking about can't last, that's, that's not what (laughter), that's not the mindset of the powers that be.

Capt. Samuel Saxton

Captain Samuel Farlee Saxton was born on August 5, 1929 in Asheville, North Carolina to Mary Patterson and Thomas Odell. Although his father left the family, his mother, a former teacher, worked as a domestic to raise Saxton and his four younger siblings. He attended and dropped out of Stevens High School in Asheville during ninth grade in order to work full time. In 1944, he told the World War II draft board that he was eighteen when he was actually sixteen so that he could join the U.S. Navy. Saxton trained as a steward, one of the few Navy jobs open to African Americans, but served as a gunner during intense battles, including the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines in 1944 and at Iwo Jima, Japan in 1945.

At the end of World War II, Saxton left the Navy and earned his high school diploma. In 1946, he joined the U.S. Marines, training at Montford Point, a segregated facility for African Americans at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Rising through the ranks to become a commissioned officer, Saxton served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In addition to defending U.S. bases in Korea and Vietnam, he managed military prisons in Da Nang, Vietnam and at Camp Pendleton, California. After a serious car accident in 1975, Saxton retired from the Marine Corps and went on to earn his B.S. degree in criminal justice and his M.A. degree in rehabilitative counseling from the University of Maryland.

In 1975, Saxton joined the Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Maryland as a deputy director and was later appointed as the director of the department. Renowned as an innovative corrections administrator, Saxton was recruited to be the director of corrections for Prince George’s County, Maryland in 1983. During his tenure, he created several programs to improve inmates’ living conditions and to facilitate their reintegration into society. His comprehensive drug treatment program, The Awakening, gained national attention and earned a visit from President Bill Clinton in 1994. Retiring from Prince George’s County in 2000, Saxton taught courses in criminal justice at Prince George’s Community College until 2004. Throughout his career, Saxton received numerous honors for instituting prison reforms, including the American Correctional Association's E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award and the 1986 Austin MacCormick Award from the Correctional Education Association.

Saxton passed away on February 14, 2018.

Captain Samuel Saxton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.136

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/9/2006

Last Name

Saxton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Hill Street School

Livingstone Junior High School

Stevens Lee High School

University of Maryland

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Asheville

HM ID

SAX01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: ANY

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

Always Faithful. Always Ready.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/5/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

2/14/2018

Short Description

Captain Capt. Samuel Saxton (1929 - 2018) was the former director of corrections for Prince George's County, Maryland and a retired captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Employment

United States Navy

United States Marine Corps

Montgomery County (Md.). Dept. of Correction and Rehabilitation

Prince George's County Department of Corrections

Prince George's Community College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:370,9:650,14:930,19:1420,29:4220,104:4500,109:13491,318:13799,323:18539,370:18994,376:30271,535:36494,599:36980,607:44342,691:44772,698:45116,703:45890,714:47954,744:48384,760:56618,905:57542,920:65142,983:73618,1069:76108,1125:76772,1136:77436,1159:79262,1191:88640,1234:89674,1250:95438,1301:95966,1308:97110,1322:101618,1388:102328,1402:104529,1449:104884,1456:105168,1461:105878,1474:106446,1487:110209,1570:114616,1598:122580,1672$0,0:2225,22:8989,171:10324,188:20020,254:20530,261:21210,272:21890,281:22230,286:22995,296:23505,303:24355,316:25120,326:30293,359:30649,364:31183,372:38570,484:38926,489:43821,560:45156,580:45690,587:46936,616:47381,622:54030,640:54350,645:54670,650:55470,661:56030,670:56670,679:57630,691:58190,700:61950,763:64750,818:65630,831:65950,839:66270,844:67550,863:68110,872:68430,877:81528,987:81916,992:82304,997:83371,1009:85240,1019:87979,1067:88394,1073:89971,1105:92879,1129:93591,1138:100052,1188:100442,1194:103048,1220:103576,1231:110812,1320:111068,1325:111516,1336:111964,1344:118428,1541:130432,1728:131026,1739:153368,1989:154486,2009:158184,2072:168890,2217:172625,2277:175613,2369:188516,2513:188828,2518:196020,2581:200689,2680:201054,2686:201857,2700:202514,2708:202806,2713:203098,2718:203390,2723:204777,2745:205142,2751:207155,2765:207471,2770:209288,2793:209683,2799:210236,2804:211263,2818:211579,2823:221872,2929:223840,2973:224168,2978:224988,2990:225398,2996:225890,3003:227612,3034:228104,3042:229498,3071:233806,3093:234118,3098:235210,3135:236770,3166:237316,3172:239110,3203:240826,3226:241528,3244:243088,3274:244336,3298:262286,3520:264138,3529:268530,3542:269100,3549:270050,3562:272140,3607:272520,3612:273280,3623:278885,3700:279930,3713:280500,3720:280880,3725:288590,3777:291190,3805:291890,3813:292490,3820:293590,3834:296730,3849:297555,3868:298305,3873:301530,3927:302130,3937:304005,3975:306530,3981
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Capt. Samuel Saxton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Capt. Samuel Saxton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes the origin of his family name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his mother's childhood in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his neighborhood in Asheville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls briefly living in Philadelphia as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls childhood activities in Asheville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his grade school experiences in Asheville

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls lying about his age to join the U.S. Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls continuing his education after his enlistment

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Capt. Samuel Saxton remembers enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Capt. Samuel Saxton talks about the integration of the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Capt. Samuel Saxton remembers the integration of the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls serving as a U.S. Marine in the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes the military police during the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls his U.S. military service in the mid-1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Capt. Samuel Saxton remembers his marriage to Sylvia Truslow Saxton

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his assignments in the Vietnam War, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his assignments in the Vietnam War, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls serving at Camp Pendleton after the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls serving at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls commanding the Motor Transport Maintenance Company in Okinawa

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Capt. Samuel Saxton talks about how he became a civilian corrections officer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Capt. Samuel Saxton recalls becoming the director of Prince George's County Detention Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his initiatives at Prince George's County Detention Center

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his political opponents in Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his awards for his work in corrections

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Capt. Samuel Saxton talks about his techniques as a corrections officer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Capt. Samuel Saxton talks about his retirement from correctional work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes the Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Capt. Samuel Saxton reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Capt. Samuel Saxton describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Capt. Samuel Saxton remembers enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps
Capt. Samuel Saxton describes his initiatives at Prince George's County Detention Center
Transcript
When you came back from your first tour of duty, left Okinawa [Okinawa Island, Japan], came back to the high school [Stephens-Lee High School, Asheville, North Carolina], how was your mother [Mary Lou Patterson] doing at that point?$$Mother was very sickly at the time and I think that's one of the reasons why I went back into the [U.S.] military, is that the need was still there, and I didn't have time to go for me. I had to think of them, again, so that's what I did. I just went back in, made my allotments back out and all of that. By this time, I was in the [U.S.] Marine Corps and I was able to excel pretty quick in the corps.$$Now why did you select the Marine Corps?$$I think that I have always had that inclination to, I didn't like the [U.S.] Navy, you know, so I had been in what was called, the amphibious Navy. I was in the 3rd Amphibious Corps [III Marine Expeditionary Force] which spent a lot of time with Marines and I guess I got the idea since I've always been with them, you know, why don't I. So I ended up with the Marine Corps, within a short time I was already a squad leader.$$Where did you start that service and training? Where, what base, what camp?$$I started that in Okinawa. They, we were so short of troops that if you were already combat trained, you could switch over from the Navy to the Marine Corps, and I jumped at the opportunity because that meant no longer was I a steward, I could go over to the other, even though I was carrying the designation, I sure as hell wasn't fighting like a steward out there, you know, in Okinawa.$$The pay was a lot better?$$It wasn't the pay so much with me, it's that I got my pride back.$Didn't you eventually close this facility [Prince George's County Detention Center, Upper Marlboro, Maryland] and build a new one?$$Yes. While cleaning up one, we had to build toward the other, okay, and the way that occurred is that I had to go before public forums and convince them that they really needed to do something different. It was a hard sell. They knew my reputation, they knew where I was trying to go. Well, the big thing is, is that I learned the secret of how to deal with people who are public figures. Don't necessarily talk to them, I went to the ladies' garden clubs, and wherever they had large numbers of ladies that were associated with the decision makers, and tried to persuade them on what the needs were, and it worked because so many of the so-called politicians were finding it very difficult to stay at home without supporting where we were trying to go, and that was one of the strategies that I used. The bottom line was this, the county exec knew that this place was a political ambush for him, he wanted it changed. A lot of other folks knew that it needed to be changed and in order to convince them to accept the new generation jail, I took my worst critics, and I challenged them to go with me to California. I carried them out to California, it was six of them, and I made sure that I was sitting with the worst of the worst. Kept 'em up near the window and I talked that rascal all the way out to California. When we got out to California, we went to a new generation jail and let them walk through. When they came back, they said, "There will only be one built in Prince George's [Prince George's County, Maryland]," you know, in Montgomery County [Maryland], and they let me build that place. It was a new generation jail in every sense of the word.$$When was that completed?$$Oh, when was that?$$Eighty-seven [1987] roughly?$$Yeah, '87 [1987] roughly. It was not old wine, new bottle. It was a new process, you know. There has not been a riot in that place, there's been nobody raped, it's the way we designed the place. We designed it so it enhances management, okay. It's not only that but it's easy to clean, it's, it's as clean as a hospital, it's even today. We did a lot of things to enhance the thing for the staff themselves, and when the new guys, or new inmates come in, there are two orientations that go on in Prince George's, even today, the one that we give 'em and the one that the inmates give and the one that the inmates gives is far more sophisticated than ours because here's what it basically says, that whatever you did at Lorton [Lorton Reformatory, Lorton, Virginia], you can't do it here, that these people are in charge, they know what they're doing, it's a tight ship, and the best thing you can do is to spend time understanding your problems, and they'll help you with it. I did not try to enforce rehabilitation on anyone, I know better than that, but I do know this. I can limit your options for those things that you know are wrong, I can make it easier for you to follow the right path, and I can stay steady, and if you want to call that rehabilitation, a whole lot of folks know they're wrong and want to change, so you make it easier for 'em to change. If you don't want to change, then we'll deal with you another way. One of the things that people will tell you is don't take what I call the bad news bears and put 'em all in the, in the same bucket, but that's exactly what I did. If you put 'em all in one housing area and they are the people that prey on others, the people they've got to prey on is each other, and then this other group you can work with 'em. I did a lot of study on how to classify and handle that kind of a group and it has worked like a charm. We knocked our recidivism rate down by thirty points in two years. We not only did that, but that place has never lost a lawsuit of any consequence. I think the only one that I ever lost cost me two bucks.