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Brent Staples

Journalist and author Brent Staples was born on September 13, 1951, in Chester, Pennsylvania. His father, Melvin Staples, was a truck driver; his mother, Geneva, a homemaker. The oldest son of nine children, Staples grew up in Chester, but, due to his family’s financial problems, moved seven times before finishing junior high school. After being approached by the only African American professor at Widener University, then the Pennsylvania Military College, Staples was accepted into Widener through a program called Project Prepare. He graduated from there in 1973 with his B.A. degree in behavioral science. Staples was awarded two doctoral fellowships; one from the Danforth Foundation and another from the Ford Foundation. He went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in psychology from the University of Chicago in 1982.

From 1977 until 1981, Staples taught psychology at various colleges in Pennsylvania and Chicago. Then, in 1983, he was hired at the Chicago Sun-Times as a science writer. In 1985, Staples moved to The New York Times, where he was hired as an editor of The New York Times Book Review. Staples also frequently contributed to the Times Magazine and the Book Review. In 1986, he published the essay, “Just Walk on By” in Ms. magazine, a piece that would eventually be required reading for college courses throughout the country. Staples became an assistant editor for metropolitan news at The New York Times in 1987, and was appointed a member of The New York Times Editorial Board in 1990.

In 1994, Staples’ autobiography Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White, was published. Parallel Time was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1995, and was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2000, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount St. Mary College. In 2006, Staples was awarded a Fletcher Foundation Fellowship for his book-in-progress, Neither White Nor Black: The Secret History of Mixed-Race America. He has also served as a visiting fellow for multiple organizations including the Hoover Institution, the University of Chicago and Yale University.

Brent Staples was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.274

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/19/2013

Last Name

Staples

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Widener University

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brent

Birth City, State, Country

Chester

HM ID

STA09

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/13/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Author and editorial writer Brent Staples (1951 - ) , author of Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White, has served on the New York Times editorial board for over twenty years.

Employment

Chicago Sun-Times

New York Times

Favorite Color

Purple

Frederick Terrell

Investment banker Frederick O. Terrell was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952. He was raised in La Puente, California. Terrell graduated with his B.A. degree from La Verne University in 1976; after graduation, he was selected by the Coro Foundation for its public affairs fellowship program for 1977. Terrell attended Occidental College, where he earned his M.A. degree in urban studies before enrolling in the Yale School of Management, where he received his M.B.A. in 1982.

Prior to rejoining Credit Suisse in June 2010, Terrell was managing partner and chief executive officer of Provender Capital Group, LLC, a private equity investment and advisory firm based in New York and focused on investments in financial services, consumer and retail products, business services and media. Prior to founding Provender in 1998, Terrell was a managing director with Credit Suisse First Boston, where he began his career as an associate in 1983. In addition to serving as head of the Mortgage Finance department, he gained broad interdisciplinary experience at senior levels within investment banking and fixed income.

Terrell is a former member of the board of directors for the New York Life Insurance Company, where he served as chairman of the Investment Committee and as a member of both the Compensation and Operations committees. He is also a former member of the board of directors of Wellchoice prior to its sale to Wellpoint in 2005, and Carver Bancorp, Inc. where he served as chairman of the board. He is currently a member of the University Council of Yale University, and is a member of the board of advisors of the Yale School of Management, at which he gave the commencement address in 2002. Terrell is a past chairman of the board of the Coro New York Leadership Center, a national leadership training institute. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for the City of New York, New York City Investment Fund and Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York. In 2011, Terrell was re-named as one of Black Enterprise magazine’s “75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street,” and in 2012 named as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” by Savoy magazine.

Frederick O. Terrell was interviewed for The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.189

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2013

Last Name

Terrell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

O.

Schools

Occidental College

California Elementary School

La Puente High School

Yale School of Organization and Management

University of California, Los Angeles

First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Hamtramck

HM ID

TER07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

I Get It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/29/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cream Corn

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Frederick Terrell (1954 - ) was instrumental in the development of collateralized mortgage obligations at the First Boston Corporation. He went on to serve as the CEO of the Provender Capital Group LLC.

Employment

Credit Suisse Group AG

Provender Capital Group, LLC

First Boston Corporation

United States Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

President James Earl Carter Jr., Administration

Los Angeles City Council

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frederick Terrell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell remembers his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell recalls lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frederick Terrell talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frederick Terrell recalls his family's frequent moves

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frederick Terrell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell remembers the effects of white flight in La Puente, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell recalls his experiences of police brutality in La Puente, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell remembers his family's political discussions

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell recalls his family's road trips to the South

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell remembers lessons from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell talks about his high school band

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell talks about his schooling in La Puente, California, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell talks about his schooling in La Puente, California, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell remembers La Puente High School in La Puente, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell talks about the influence of the Black Power movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell remembers being diagnosed with scoliosis

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell talks about his brother, Emmett Terrell, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frederick Terrell talks about his brother Emmett Terrell, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frederick Terrell remembers his father's death, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Frederick Terrell remembers his father's death, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell remembers La Verne College in La Verne, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell recalls his internship in the City of West Covina, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell describes his experiences of discrimination in the City of West Covina, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell recalls his fellowship from Coro Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell remembers working for Los Angeles City Council President John Ferraro

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell remembers working for President Jimmy Carter's administration

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell recalls lessons from his time in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frederick Terrell recalls his admission to the Yale School of Organization and Management in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell remembers his summer internship at the First Boston Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell recalls meeting the CEO of the First Boston Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell describes how he came to work at the First Boston Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell remembers the invention of interest rate swaps

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell talks about the first African Americans on Wall Street

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell remembers the savings and loan crisis

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell describes his work in the First Boston Corporation's Federal Finance Group

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frederick Terrell describes his role in the invention of collateralized mortgage obligations, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Frederick Terrell describes his role in the invention of collateralized mortgage obligations, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Frederick Terrell talks about the merger of Credit Suisse and the First Boston Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell talks about his team's revenue at Credit Suisse Group AG

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell remembers marrying Jonelle Procope

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell remembers his wedding

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell talks about African American social organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell remembers integrating the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell remembers being overlooked for partner at Credit Suisse First Boston, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Frederick Terrell remembers being overlooked for partner at Credit Suisse First Boston, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Frederick Terrell remembers inventing the shifting interest mechanism

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell recalls his decision to leave Credit Suisse First Boston

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell talks about starting his own investment banking firm, Provender Capital Group, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell talks about his early investments at Provender Capital Group, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell recalls returning to Credit Suisse

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell talks about his board memberships

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell remembers becoming vice chairman of Credit Suisse

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Frederick Terrell talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Frederick Terrell shares his advice to future generations, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Frederick Terrell shares his advice to future generations, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Frederick Terrell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Frederick Terrell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Frederick Terrell reflects upon the legacy of his generation

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Frederick Terrell reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

8$9

DATitle
Frederick Terrell describes his role in the invention of collateralized mortgage obligations, pt. 1
Frederick Terrell remembers inventing the shifting interest mechanism
Transcript
I want to provide a little conte- or help you, help--I want you (simultaneous)-$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, please.$$--to help me provide some context so, really, while you had decided not to go into public finance and in many ways the work that you are doing with the federal government relied on your, there are some interesting things because, you know, investment banking if I'm, you know the silk stocking, whatever, were really a lot of business and private transactions, but that sort of unlocked the public sector in terms of Wall Street, seeing that there is real money to be (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I think that's right. I think that and the emergence of the mortgage market. See, you're also seeing the emergence of a big, powerful mortgage market which we now know is incredibly powerful and--$$But why did it happen then and not before?$$I think it happened, well, Fannie Mae [Federal National Mortgage Association] and Freddie Mac [Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation] used bankers. They were a big force because they were the major conduits for securitization. They were buying loans and selling on loans and securities and First Boston [First Boston Corporation, New York, New York] was one of the major innovators; ourselves and Salomon [Salomon Brothers]. We were the two big firms, Lew Ranieri [Lewis Ranieri] and Larry Fink [Laurence D. Fink]. So we had that reputation as being the smart guys around the mortgage industry and Fannie and Freddie are sort of quasi-public, although they are publicly traded they really are sort of, you know, they're sort of neither fish or fowl, right? They're sort of government entity but they trade like they have stock, right? So, to be involved in that was sort of an intersection of public and private. When you work on Fannie or Freddie Mac, you are in the public and private domain in many ways. What, you know, I worked in interest rate swaps and remember I said about some things turn something new, don't have and want into something new, you now have, through the synthetic thing--I've been lucky in my career. I've worked in two things like that. Interest rate swaps do that, securitization does the same thing. It turns a loan that does this into a loan that does different things and investors want, it's, so it's really a very sophisticated, very analytically driven business and with the RTC [Resolution Trust Corporation] you were taking all that technology and applying it to a public sector problem around private sector companies that have gotten in trouble, but now they're backed by the federal government, so the federal government's problem.$$But, how are you making money, because you said there was money to be made--$$We were making money because the federal government had taken over all these bad banks, bad S and Ls [savings and loan]. They now own the loans, so when a big S and L goes out of business in L.A. [Los Angeles, California] or in Chicago [Illinois], the government seizes and they close it down. They own the loans. They're on the government's balance sheet, but they don't want the loans. They want the money so they have to sell the loans.$$So they sell the--$$Loans to.$$--back loans, but they sell them to whom?$$They sell it to private sector, private investors.$$And so, are you structuring a deal?$$I'm structuring those deals.$$Deals for the private sector. So, what percentage do you make off those deals?$$Well, it depends on the deal and how complicated it is, but we make a spread between, you know, what we buy it for. We first have to buy the loans and then we have to sell them. We buy them for one dollar and we sell them for, you know, or I should say if the loans are worth a dollar we buy them for eighty cents. We end up selling them for a dollar; you know, we make the spread between the two, and we're getting paid a fee.$So now, the fact that in ninety--so the next year is '94 [1994], right?$$(Nods head).$$And does the, the alliance, the strategic alliance with reinsur- that has nothing to do with you, okay. But it says that you pioneered an esoteric finance focus. Has that happened? See some of my chronology is--$$No, it's okay. I did a couple of deals. I did a tax lien deal for New Jersey. I did some stuff in securitization, which was kind of interesting. I did something pretty special for the RTC [Resolution Trust Corporation]. We did a lot of very esoteric, really brave new world stuff in securitization. We really were innovators, doing stuff that had never been done before that became commonplace.$$Okay.$$But it's, you know what, it's so in the weeds of, it's so technical that--$$But, can you explain just once during this interview, one technical thing that you--$$You really wanna hear--$$I do, because--$$Okay.$$Let's say this is business school student, you know, an M.B.A. student, someone out of Yale [Yale School of Management, New Haven, Connecticut], or whatever, who was interested in the history of that, wouldn't that be of interest to them?$$Uh, well, I'll tell you one because it came up the other day when I was talking to the woman I did it for, because she was in a different position then and she was reminding me of it. And I said, when the RTC was selling, you know when loans were originated around the country, if you borrow money, you can borrow with different indices; I mean, it can be a fixed rate loan, but it can also be a loan that floats around treasury bills, it can float around, revolve around LIBOR, London Interbank Offered Rate, it can be something called a cost of funds loan, which is around a district of the Federal Home Loan Bank [Federal Home Loan Bank System], but there are different ways of paying floating interest that adjusts. Well, now the government owns all these loans and there are all these different indices. This is really in the weeds, but you asked for it. All these different indices and these loans that pay different ways, now I wanna take all those loans together and create a common security that they support. But I can't, because they're all paying at different times. So, we designed a mechanism that allowed the RTC to combine very disperse, very diverse pools of loans that have very different payment mechanisms into one package and sell them as one security to the market place around one index, and we did it by setting up a separate floating pool that would make up for the differences between the rate on the security and the rate on the collateral; you know, I mean it's that kind of stuff. Now Saundra [Saundra Williams Cornwell], I was talking to today about it, she was telling me, remarking god, that that idea allowed the federal government to sell billions. It was a breakthrough idea because once they did that, because the problem they had is that they were requiring bad S and Ls [savings and loan] from all over the country, who had loans for that region that they liked to do, some this index, some that index, now the government owns them all. Now I want to sell them. I can't sell them unless I have a common thing to sell them around. I've got to turn them into something that's more homogenous. We figured out a way to create more homogeneity around something that's completely heterogeneous, and that was pretty remarkable. That was pretty good stuff. Now, that's commonplace. I was looking in the paper the other day about a deal that's come to market and they describe something called shifting interests, you know, which was a thing that we helped design around here around deals I worked on. There was a lot of innovation then, and I wasn't the only guy, but I was leading a team that was coming up with it and explaining it at the highest levels in government, how these deals were working, so it was pretty hot stuff. You know, at that time, you know, you know not unlike Ray [HistoryMaker Raymond J. McGuire] and the M and A [mergers and acquisitions] business or Bill [HistoryMaker William M. Lewis, Jr.] and the M and A, in the mortgage business, you know, I really had my act together and we were doing really big, the biggest transactions were and the most sophisticated ones.

Marcus McCraven

Electrical engineer Marcus R. McCraven was born on December 27, 1923 in Des Moines, Iowa to parents Marcus and Buena McCraven. After graduating from high school, McCraven enrolled at Howard University but was drafted into the U.S. Army during his first year of college. He was listed as an expert rifleman but went on to serve as a supply clerk with an engineering regiment in Papua, New Guinea and in the Philippines. Returning to the United States, McCraven continued his studies at Howard University and graduated with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering.

Upon graduation, McCraven was hired at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. After six months, he was promoted to electrical engineer and became the project leader of the Nuclear Systems Branch. McCraven soon moved to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where he worked on the hydrogen bomb. His area of expertise on the project was diagnostics and he was instrumental the early development of nuclear weapons, including nuclear tests on Bikini Island and in Nevada. McCraven then joined the research staff at the California Lawrence Radiation Laboratory; and, in the 1960s, he left California and moved to Connecticut where he began to work for Phelps Dodge. In 1970, he joined United Illuminating Co. as the director of environmental engineering and was later promoted to vice president.
McCraven has also served as trustee at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. In 2011, McCraven received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.

McCraven lives in Hamden, Connecticut with his wife, Marguerite McCraven, a former social worker in the Hamden Public Schools. They have three children: Paul McCraven, the vice president of community development at New Alliance Bank; Stephen McCraven, a musician living in Paris, Carol McCraven.

Marcus McCraven was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2013

Last Name

McCraven

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

University of Maryland

University of California, Berkeley

Bowman High School

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marcus

Birth City, State, Country

Des Moines

HM ID

MCC14

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Iowa

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/27/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Haven

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Southern Food

Short Description

Electrical engineer Marcus McCraven (1923 - ) is an electrical engineer who worked to develop the hydrogen bomb at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Employment

United Illuminating Co.

Phelps Dodge Electronics

University of California, Livermore

Naval Research Laboratory

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcus McCraven's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks Port Gibson, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about his family during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcus McCraven describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes how his parent's met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes the beginning of his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about his activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcus McCraven talks about his junior high and high schools

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about living with his aunt while in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven talks about his interests in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven talks about his time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his time in the Army during World War II pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes his time in the Army during World War II pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes the racial prejudice he faced in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven describes his time at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes meeting his wife Marguerite

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his work at the University of California at Berkeley Lawrence Radiation Laboratory pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes his work at the University of California at Berkeley Lawrence Radiation Laboratory pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about the hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcus McCraven talks about the hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes nuclear testing pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes nuclear testing pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven describes Operation Plowshare

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about the Phelps Dodge Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven describes being hired by the Phelps Dodge Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about the politics of nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven talks about being a charter member of the advisory committee for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes the licensing of a low-sulfur coal burning plant for United Illuminating Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven talks about his involvement in several organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven talks about the work of painter Rudolph Zallinger

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks about William Strickland and Carlton Highsmith

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marcus McCraven describes his travels pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marcus McCraven describes his travels pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marcus McCraven reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marcus McCraven describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marcus McCraven talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marcus McCraven describes his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Marcus McCraven describes the beginning of his interest in engineering
Marcus McCraven describes his patent on a high current photodiode pt. 2
Transcript
Other thing I had influence for going into engineering because in the extended family, my father's sister--my father's sister's husband's sister married Archie Alexander. And Archie Alexander was a noted civil engineer. He had the company Alexander and Repass, and they built, while I was a student at Howard, his company built the big cloverleaf intersection, you know, where you go off the highway in all different directions.$$In D.C.?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$So I--$$So this is a black construction company?$$--Yeah. It's a black construction. The senior partner, they had two partners, Alexander and Repass, Repass was white, Alexander was black, he finished Iowa State [sic, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa]. So that was, you know, being at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], having that job when I was at Howard, I was certainly in a position where I took classmates down to the construction site. I knew them. So I had a little in--I knew the extended family type person there who was the president of the company. It kind of makes you feel kind of good-$$Yes, yes sir.$$--as a student, but that was one of the reasons I said I was going into engineering, but I decided not to go into civil.$So what you patented was not only just a photodiode but a process?$$Most of these units give only various little current. It exists. A flash of light that's lasting for so many nanoseconds, how much light is that, you know, you can see it. The photodiode can see it, but it's such a small amount of light that the signal that's generated is very small and if you were going to record that, you have to have very sensitive recording material, even if you got an oscilloscope on the end. But when you got ready to test these devices you were miles away. So that little signal that's going back through coaxial cable all the way back can be wiped out. So you needed, you needed something that was going to give you big currents. So this was, so this photodiode that I patent was called high current photodiode. That means it was one that would deliver-- you could look at very bright lights and get a signal and see the coaxial cable, the fifty ohm type cable just one foot had so much attenuation, two feet, and here you are miles back, because your equipment got to be away from the blast. So we had device sitting here monitoring equipment right there with miles of coaxial cable going back to a recording station and this is not an easy thing to do, to get those signals and it's those signals that gave you the reaction history of the device. This is what the physicists who were designing them, they come up with certain design and configuration and said they think this will work. What we did in the testing and system division was to take the first design, take it into the field, fire it and look at actually what happens. Look at what the reaction that takes place during that explosion, and we can then feed that information back to the physicists and they said, "Oh, now we know we should do this and make corrections." That's one advantage that the United States had on in this whole development program, we did--we got a lot of information from testing and though you had to have detectors and recording equipment, and that's how I got involved with the Naval Research Lab, I worked with developing the detector. And the ones I designed we used for one of the detonations. I was--$$Now, did you have to go to California to do that?$$I had-- I built them at Naval Research in Washington, D.C. and now they want them, got them and say we're going to ship them to California. Well, they were hand-carried. I mean when I say hand carried, these were too big to carry all these detectors but I was the person. This was my project, these were the ones that were accepted to be used and kept in a test. So I was to deliver those from Washington, D.C. to California and they hired the Flying Tigers Airline, me and these detectors. And this was so secret at the time that the Flying Tiger pilots couldn't know what they had and where they were going. I changed pilots three times between Washington, D.C. and California. That was my first big job there. After that I went to work directly for the University of California [at Berkley, Berkley, California].