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Edward Lewis

Magazine publisher and entrepreneur Edward Lewis was born on May 15, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. His father was a night shift janitor at City College; his mother a factory worker and beautician. Lewis attended De Witt Clinton High School, where he excelled academically and was a star fullback on the football team. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, he earned a football scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Lewis received his B.A. degree in political science in 1964 and his M.A. degree in political science and international relations in 1966, both from the University of New Mexico. He later graduated from Harvard University’s Small Business Management Program.

Lewis worked first as an administrative analyst for the City Manager’s Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1964 to 1965, and then as a financial analyst at First National City Bank in New York City from 1965 to 1969. In 1969, he co-founded Essence, a magazine specifically targeted to black women, and went on to serve as CEO and publisher of Essence Communications, Inc. for three decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, Lewis expanded Essence Communications to include a weekly television show, fashion line and mail order catalogue, as well as an annual awards show and Essence music festival. In 1992, Lewis acquired Income Opportunities from Davis Publishing; and, in 1995, he co-founded Latina magazine, a bilingual publication geared toward Hispanic women.

In 1997, Lewis became the first African American chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. In October 2000, Lewis engineered a partnership with Time, Inc. and Essence Communications was sold to Time in 2005. He later joined the private equity firm Solera Capital as a senior adviser and published a memoir, The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women, in 2014.

Lewis has sat on the boards of TransAfrica, the Rheeland Foundation, New York City Partnership, the Central Park Conservancy, A&P, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Teachers College of Columbia University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University and the Harlem Village Academy; and served as chairman of Latina Media Ventures. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisors for the Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Essence magazine ranked seventh on Advertising Age’s 2003 “A-List,” which was the first time that an African American targeted publication received the honor. Lewis’s personal awards include the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Publishing from Ernst & Young; the President’s Award from One Hundred Black Men of America, Inc.; the Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League; the United Negro College Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Advertising Federation Diversity Achievement Award; the Henry Johnson Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Henry Luce Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2014.

Edward Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/7/2014

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

DeWitt Clinton High School

University of New Mexico

Georgetown University Law Center

P.S. 35 Stephen Decatur School

P.S. 2 Morrisania School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

LEW20

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bali, Indonesia

Favorite Quote

No Doubt About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/15/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potato

Short Description

Magazine publishing chief executive and entrepreneur Edward Lewis (1940 - ) cofounded Essence Communications, Inc., where he served as the CEO and publisher of Essence magazine.

Employment

Solera Capital

Essence Communications, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about his experiences as an only child

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family members

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about his maternal family's decision to move north

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis remembers his maternal aunt, Matilene Spencer Berryman

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the racial dynamics of the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his education in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his mother's second marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers caring for his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers visiting his maternal family in Farmville, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis remembers DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls his recruitment to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis talks about adjusting to the University of New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers losing his college athletic scholarship

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis recalls his coursework in Russian history

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his student activism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his admission to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about the careers of his football teammates at the University of New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about President Richard Nixon

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis recalls losing his scholarship to Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis remembers his experiences at First National City Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis remembers the formation of The Hollingsworth Group, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis describes the initial structure of The Hollingsworth Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers the first issue of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis talks about the founding of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes the early advertising in Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis recalls the overhead costs at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers his mentors in the publishing industry

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about the early editors in chief of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis remembers his former business partners' lawsuit

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis describes Essence's relationship with Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis remembers Marcia Ann Gillespie

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis recalls promoting Susan Taylor as the editor in chief of Essence magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis talks about the magazine industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis describes the growth of Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis remembers creating the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the success of the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about Black Enterprise magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes the advertising challenges at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis remembers his business relationship with John H. Johnson

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis talks about Camille Cosby's board membership at Essence Communications, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edward Lewis describes the negotiations between Essence Communications, Inc. and Time Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward Lewis talks about the future of Essence magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward Lewis describes his departure from Essence Communications, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward Lewis talks about the title of his book, 'The Man from Essence'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward Lewis talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Edward Lewis describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Edward Lewis reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Edward Lewis talks about his second marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Edward Lewis describes his aspiration to become a blues singer

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Edward Lewis recalls his coursework in Russian history
Edward Lewis remembers creating the Essence Music Festival
Transcript
Well, you also took up Russian studies and?$$I was very--my curiosity in terms of reading, I read some of the great Russian novelists: Tolstoy [Leo Tolstoy], Dostoyevsky [Fyodor Dostoyevsky]; and I decided to take Russian history. And--I had already taken Russian civilization--that's required when you, in your first years at the university [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico]. But my interest in Russian history, the professor there was a man named Henry Tobias [Henry J. Tobias]. Henry was a graduate, from Paterson, New Jersey, went to Ohio; got his Ph.D. in Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California]. But he taught Russian history, and I took this course. And just--I just ate it up. And I did not know that Professor Tobias was interested in me; and I was on my way--I had gone to the student administration building. I was on my way to the student union to get some coffee, he was coming out, the professor, and he said, "Ed [HistoryMaker Edward Lewis], are you going to have some coffee?" And I said yes. He said, "Do you mind if I sit with you?" I said, "By all means, please." And we sat and he proceeded to--he and I proceeded, to talk for the next three and a half hours. I had never had anyone do that with me. And so as a result of that, this man just opened my head up intellectually; and then I took Russian history. He also taught Chinese history, so I took Chinese history. And so my background in terms of--I was a political science major, but I had an interest in international affairs--particularly, Russian and Chinese history. And so in my travels, I've gone to the Far East, I'm going to China, I've not been to Russia yet but I hope to go to Moscow [Russia] and St. Petersburg [Russia] at some point. But I have a, just a familiarity of Russia, in particularly how serfs, serfdom was portrayed, and how these Russians had to overcome that; and I compare that to how we as blacks had to live in a society in terms of how we had to overcome, too. So I just sort found some familiarity in things of--and when I looked at what happened to the people who were really slaves too and looked at what is happening to us.$So talk about how that came, came about 'cause--?$$That came about because--1994, I was having drinks with a legend in the jazz world, impresario, a man by the name of George Wein. He--George started Newport Jazz Festival, he has a New Orleans jazz festival [New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival]. And he and I were having drinks, and I was telling him about my upcoming, upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of Essence [Essence Communications, Inc.]. And I'd like--and I, I said, "I'm gonna do the same thing, big party in New York [New York], thank all the advertisers and thank everyone," I said, "I'd like to do something a little bit different." He said to me, "Have you ever thought about doing a music festival in New Orleans [Louisiana] at the Superdome [Louisiana Superdome; Mercedes-Benz Superdome] over the 4th of July weekend?" I looked at him, "No, I had not thought about that." But there was a germ of a, of a, a synergistic opportunity. New Orleans, music, magazine--maybe there's something there. So I suggested he come to my office, make a presentation. He did to Clarence [Clarence Smith], Susan [HistoryMaker Susan Taylor] and my chief financial officer [Harry Dedyo]. Everyone was lukewarm. I listened and thought about it and decided to come to do it and he and I were partners. We were equal partners, 50/50 partners, and that's how we came together in 1995. Lo and behold we had about--roughly, about 100--between 100 and 145,000 people who came. And I can remember giving my speech to fifty thousand people at the Superdome, thanking everyone from the bottom of my heart. I was humble that people would come out and, and be supportive of Essence over its twenty-five years of being in business; and that's how it happened. And the very next year, however, I was about to pull the plug because the, the governor, the new governor of the State of Louisiana, Robert Foster [sic. Mike Foster], made the decision to eliminate all affirmative action programs for the State of Louisiana. I'm a big proponent of affirmative action; and, and, and the way we promoted the festival [Essence Music Festival] was through the magazine, and so word of mouth had gotten out that we may not be doing this, and as you can well imagine, that precipitated a reaction. Marc Morial [HistoryMaker Marc H. Morial], who is now leader of the Urban League [National Urban League] was mayor of, of, of New Orleans. I was--as I said, I was not going back, but then the lieutenant governor of Louisiana, Blanco [Kathleen Blanco], who ultimately became the governor called me and asked if I would be willing to meet with the governor of Louisiana and tell you a story. And I was open to that. And I was--and I also knew that the Urban League was going to hold its convention in New Orleans several weeks later. So I called Hugh, [HistoryMaker] Hugh Price, and told him what I was thinking: "Why don't you hold off doing the, doing the Urban League and you and I go together to Louisiana, Baton Rouge." We went and I explained to the governor why affirmative action is so important to me. I said there's one of our great entertainers, it was a man by the name of James Brown, he had some lyrics, one of his songs ['I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing'], open the door. And all I asked, in terms of how I define affirmative action, is to open the door. Once the door's open, you don't need to give me anything. I can compete with anybody, but what happens is that we don't even get a chance to open the door. And so if you don't open the door, I'm gonna fight you tooth and nail. And he listened, got him to modify his affirmative action edict enough for me to make the decision to go back in 1996. By the time I had decided to go back, word had gotten out that we were not coming back, we're not able to get the sponsors; I lost over a million dollars. And George Wein, who had been my partner decided that this was too onerous and so that's when I made another decision that Essence would do this on its own; and, and so the rest is really history.

Jessie Carney Smith

Librarian, author and educator Jessie Carney Smith was born on September 24, 1930 in Greensboro, North Carolina to James Ampler and Vesona Bigelow Carney. Smith attended Mount Zion Elementary School and James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro. She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with her B.S. degree in home economics in 1950. Smith pursued graduate studies at Cornell University and then received her M.A. degree in child development from Michigan State University in 1956, and her M.A.L.S. degree from the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1957.

In 1957, Smith was hired as an instructor and head library cataloger at Tennessee State University. In 1960, she enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois, and worked as a teaching assistant from 1961 to 1963. Smith then returned to Tennessee State University, where she was hired as an assistant professor and coordinator of library services. In 1964, she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in library science from the University of Illinois; and, in 1965, she was hired as a professor of library science and the university librarian of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was named the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities at Fisk University in 1992, and appointed dean of the library in 2010. Smith has also lectured part-time at Alabama A&M University, the University of Tennessee and the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

Smith served as consultant to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Office of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and the American Library Association. She directed three institutional self-studies at Fisk University, resulting in the institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation by SACS. In addition, Smith has directed multiple projects funded by NEH and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and served on several Fisk University campus committees.

Smith has published numerous research guides and reference books. In 1991, she released the award winning, Notable Black American Women, and went on to publish Notable African American Men in 1999. Her other books include Black Heroes of the Twentieth Century, Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Experience, and Black Firsts: 4000 Groundbreaking and Pioneering Historical Events, among others.

Smith received the Martin Luther King Black Authors Award in 1982 and the National Women's Book Association Award in 1992. She received the Candace Award for excellence in education, Sage magazine's Ann J. Cooper Award, and distinguished alumni awards from both the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and the University of Illinois. She was named the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year from the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1985; and, in 1997, received the key to the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 2011, Smith was awarded the Global Heritage Award from the Global Education Center and the Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education Award from the Greater Nashville Alliance of Black School Educators.

Jessie Carney Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.011

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/22/2014

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Carney

Schools

Mt. Zion Elementary

James B. Dudley High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Cornell University

Michigan State University

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Jessie

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

CAR28

State

North Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

9/24/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Short Description

Librarian, author, and educator Jessie Carney Smith (1930 - ) is the dean of Fisk University’s library and the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities. She has worked at Fisk University since 1965, and has published numerous research guides and reference books, including the award-winning Notable Black American Women. In addition, Smith was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in library science from the University of Illinois.

Employment

Fisk University

Tennessee State University

Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

University of Tennessee

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sylvia Bozeman

Mathematician Sylvia Bozeman was born in Camp Hill, Alabama in 1947. She was the third of five children to Horace T., Sr. and Robbie Jones. Although her father worked with numbers daily in his profession as an insurance agent, it was her mother, a housewife, who first cultivated Bozeman’s love for mathematics. In 1964, Bozeman graduated valedictorian of Edward Bell High School in Camp Hill, and in the fall enrolled at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Bozeman graduated from Alabama A&M University 1968 with her B.S. degree in mathematics. She went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics, from Vanderbilt University in 1971 and Emory University (Atlanta) in 1980, respectively. The areas of her research and publications have included operator theory in functional analysis, projects in image processing, and efforts to enhance the success of groups currently underrepresented in mathematics.

Upon graduation, Bozeman worked for one year as an instructor of mathematics at Tennessee State University, and then joined the faculty in the Mathematics Department at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She began as an instructor in 1972, became assistant professor in 1980, an associate in 1984, and full professor in 1991. Moreover, Bozeman served as chair of the Mathematics Department from 1982 to 1993, as adjunct faculty in the Math Department at Atlanta University from 1983 to 1985. In 1993, Bozeman established the Center for the Scientific Applications of Mathematics at Spelman College, and served as director. In a special partnership between the mathematics departments of Spelman College and Bryn-Mawr College, Bozeman co-directs Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE), a national program that assists women in mathematics in making the transition from college to graduate school. In 2007 the EDGE Program was given special recognition by the American Mathematics Society for its effectiveness.

Her noted scholarly activities include several publications, funded research (by NASA, the US Office of Army Research and the Kellogg Foundation); and her recognitions, contributions, and services as a gifted teacher and presenter. Bozeman is a member of the Mathematical Association of American, and, in 1997, she became the first African-American elected as an MAA Section Governor in the association’s eighty-two year history.

Bozeman and her husband, Dr. Robert Bozeman, live in Alabama with their two children, Robert, Jr. and Kizzie.

Sylvia Trimble Bozeman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.209

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/18/2012

Last Name

Bozeman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Trimble

Occupation
Schools

Emory University

Vanderbilt University

Alabama A&M University

Edward Bell High School

Agreeable Hill Elementary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sylvia

HM ID

BOZ02

Favorite Season

Christmas, Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/1/1947

Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Favorite Food

Vegetables, Desserts

Short Description

Mathematician Sylvia Bozeman (1947 - ) was the founder and director of The Center for the Scientific Applications of Mathematics at Spelman College.

Employment

Spelman College

Favorite Color

Cranberry

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvia Bozeman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her father's education and career aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her family's involvement in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about how black schools were named

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her decision to attend Alabama A&M University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about Alabama A&M University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her introduction to mathematical research

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the political climate at Alabama A&M University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sylvia Bozeman remembers her career aspirations during her college years

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her female math instructors

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her decision to attend Vanderbilt University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about integration at Vanderbilt University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her experience at Vanderbilt University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about teaching at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her decision to attend Emory University for her Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her dissertation on operator theory

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her involvement with the black math community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about black women mathematicians

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her post-doctoral employment prospects

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her career at Spelman College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the STEM initiatives at Spelman College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her professional memberships and awards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her work at Spelman College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the evolution of Spelman's STEM programs under the leadership of Dr. Etta Faulkner

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her professional affiliations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the renovation of Tapley Hall

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the EDGE Program

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her presentation at the Congressional Diversity and Innovation Caucus

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the government's inadequate support of STEM initiatives for HBCUs

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about black mathematicians

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about the future of the EDGE Program

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about Bob Moses' Algebra Project

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sylvia Bozeman reflects upon her life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sylvia Bozeman reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her husband, a fellow mathematician

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Sylvia Bozeman talks about her children

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Sylvia Bozeman reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sylvia Bozeman describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$9

DATitle
Sylvia Bozeman talks about her introduction to mathematical research
Sylvia Bozeman talks about her career at Spelman College
Transcript
Now Huntsville is now the sight of a, is a NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] center in Huntsville.$$Right. So Redstone Arsenal turned into Marshall Space Flight Center. And so that's one of the NASA sites. It was originally named Redstone Arsenal. But it is still the same NASA facility, evolved.$$Okay, so now it's the Marshall Space Center. So--$$Um-hmm. Robert worked out there when he, as a, you know sophomore, junior in college math major. He actually worked out there in the evenings as a, in an engineering position. That's what they called them, engineer.$$Okay. So this is, you really--did you follow the space program closely when you were growing up?$$I don't know that I followed it more close than anybody else but you know I was aware and I went out to, onto Redstone Arsenal. Actually my department chair, Dr. Howard Foster was a physicist and he had some connections out there and he hired me as a student research assistant to help him with some calculations and he took me out there and had them to give me access to a computer, a small computer, small meaning probably the size of that file cabinet over there but at that point it probably could do about as much as a little hand (unclear). But you know, but it was my first introduction to the idea of computing.$$Okay. So you learned how to--was the computer basically a big calculator or something that--?$$Yes, really. And I don't, I can't even remember how much I learned from being out there you know working on that because I didn't really have a lot of help. But I, you know I did help him with his calculations there and back in, back on campus using desk calculators to the point that he did acknowledge me in his paper when he published his results. And so you know that probably gave me my first introduction to research and then the next summer I can't--I would, and it must have been due to his influence but I ended up spending a summer at Harvard [University] in a summer program for students that came from minority institutions, mostly across the south. There was a summer program in Harvard in math. Well I guess it wasn't just in math. I was in math and some of the other students but some of the students were in other areas. So I spent a summer there and after that you know I was primed for graduate school. So I have to think that Dr. Foster influenced me to do these things. I can't imagine how else I would have ended up at Harvard in a summer program.$$Now what's his first name?$$Howard Foster.$$Okay, oh Dr. Howard Foster.$$Uh-huh.$$And he was, he taught physics and math at--?$$He was chair of the math and physics department. It was one department but he was a physicist and he taught physics.$$Now did he teach you calculus?$$No, just physics. He only taught physics but he was the chair of the--it was a combined department.$$So, but you had calculus I guess for the first time in--?$$I had calculus at Alabama A & M with Dr., I'll think of that in a minute. His name just slipped right out of my head. I had a Cuban calculus professor, Castillo, Dr. Castillo. He was one of my favorite teachers too, C-A-S-T-I-L-L-O.$$Okay.$$Dr. Castillo, so he taught all of us calculus, my husband, taught my husband calculus too.$Okay. Now I have this on the outline in 1977, is this when you founded the Center for Scientific Application of Mathematics?$$No, that happened in 1993 so I'm not sure.$$Okay, all right. I think I got it in the wrong place.$$'77 [1977], I'm trying to see what--$$Well lets not worry about that now and--$$Okay. I don't know what happened in '77 [1977]. I was trying to remember what that would have been.$$But I know that after, it sys here--$$I probably went back to graduate school in '77 [1977], I guess.$$Yeah, you had been working on your Ph.D.?$$Uh-huh, I went back in '76 [1976].$$Okay, but in '82 [1982], this is two years after your Ph.D., you became the chair of the math department here.$$Right, like I said more responsibilities, right? So it's unusual to, I thought it was unusual for somebody to be, have two, be two years out of graduate school and then become chair of the math department but that's what happened.$$Well in a time when you know technology and the science and technology are leaping forward, what--did you have--I mean what were your priorities as chairman of the math department at Spelman [College] in '82 [1982]?$$In--so I guess it was 1980 when I was finishing up. I think that--I guess I have my dates right. I had a student named Daphne Smith and she went, left Spelman and went to MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, private research university] in math and she got a Ph.D. in math and probability. And it was a realization, it was--she was the first student out of this department, math department to get a Ph.D. in math. And I think it made us start to think more about our--the need for more of our students to go on to get Ph.D.s in math and it was a realization all across the sciences here, that not just math but in all of the sciences, we needed to put more emphasis on having students to go on to graduate school and to get Ph.D.s. And so we started an all out effort to do that and that was one of my priorities during the time I was chair to get more of our students into graduate school and more of them to earn Ph.D.s.$$Okay. All right, now was the department in pretty good shape when you inherited the chair, chairmanship?$$In terms of good shape you mean in terms of the number of faculty and number of students or--?$$I guess in terms of the--you had just come out of a Ph.D. program. Were they up to, you know was it up to speed the way you would like it to be when you came out?$$In terms of the curriculum?$$Right.$$I think, we had a pretty strong curriculum because see when I was taking over as chair I was taking over from Dr. Etta Faulkner who had been chair and she was top notch.$$Right, now I've heard of her before.$$Oh yes.$$Yeah.$$So she--$$Tell us something about her. Now what's her background and--$$She, I can't remember what year she came to Spelman, maybe it's '69 [1969] but she finished her Ph.D. at Emory [University] and she was, came here and became chair of the math department and Dr. Shirley McBay was also here, another black woman mathematician and Shirley became associate dean or something like that. She was you know, one step up. No, and chair of the science division. That's what Shirley was and the dean. And so the two of them had already, when I came they had already started looking at the fact that only 10 percent of our students were in math and science at Spelman and they thought that there needed to be more, that we needed to really put more effort into getting women into science. So--and some of what I'm about to say I'm thinking, I'm taking from an article that Dr. Faulkner wrote about the history of the sciences at Spelman and she talks there about how the science building was dark and dreary and there was no talk about women being in science and math on campus, nothing appeared in our literature about it. And they talked the president into starting a new era to try to change that. And they started a summer science program to try to bring, get these women who were coming into the school into the sciences at the very beginning and they did all kinds of things to try to improve the sciences and they did. And so they got the whole faculty on board so whatever we did it was not in the math department it was all across the sciences. We worked together to try to increase the number of students that were going on to, that were coming into the sciences in the first place and graduating with a BS and then by the time I came along as chair in the 80s [1980s], it was now okay, how many of these students can we get to go on to graduate school and to get Ph.D.s in math and science?

Terry Jones

Founder of Syncom, Inc., Terry L. Jones graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. At Trinity, Jones founded the school’s first black student organization. Upon completing college, Jones worked as an electrical engineer for Westinghouse Aerospace and Litton Industries. He later returned to school where he earned his M.S. degree in computer science and biomedical engineering from George Washington University. In 1972, Jones obtained his M.B.A from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and became the co-founder and vice president of Kiambere Savings and Loan in Nairobi, Kenya. During his time in Nairobi Kenya he served as lecturer at the University of Nairobi. In 1977, he returned to the United States to join Syncom Inc. as Vice President.

Over the years Syncom has been responsible for investments made in companies such as Black Entertainment Television (BET), Radio One, TV One, Buenavision Inc. and the District Cable Incorporated. In 1990, Jones became the President of Syndicated Communications, Inc. and Syncom Capital Corporation. He has served as Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of Citi Group Global Investment Management and Citi Group Asset Management. In 1993, he was the Vice President of Finance and Planning Chief Financial Officer of TIAA-CREF. Since then he has worked as Vice Chairman and Executive Officer at Citi Group Global Investment Management and Citi Group Asset Management. He has also worked as the director of Cyber Digital Inc., Iridium Communications and Fox Entertainment Group.

Jones has served as a member of the board of Directors for a number of Syncom Portfolio companies and other corporations such as Weather Decisions Inc., V-me Media, Delta Capital Corporation and the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund. He has also served on the board of directors for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Phillip Morris Companies, Inc. and the Howard University Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation Institute. He has joined the board of trustees for Cornell University and Spelman College. He is the recipient of the New America Alliance Award of Excellence.

Accession Number

A2012.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/13/2012

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Trinity College

George Washington University

Harvard University

Central Academy of Excellence

First Name

Terry

HM ID

JON28

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

The Struggle Continues.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/23/1947

Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Popcorn

Short Description

Business chief executive Terry Jones (1947 - ) Founder, Terry Jones has invested in the development of industry-leading companies, such as BET, Radio One, and Iridium Satellite.

Employment

Westinghouse Corporation

Kiambere Savings and Loan in Nairobi

University of Nairobi

Syncom

Litton Industries

Goddard Space Flight Center

The Booker T. Washington Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Terry Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Terry Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes his mother's childhood in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Terry Jones describes race relations in Kansas versus race relations in Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Terry Jones describes his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Terry Jones describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Terry Jones describes his parent's personalities and considers which parent he takes after the most

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Terry Jones lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Terry Jones describes his earliest childhood memories in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Terry Jones explains his family's migration to Omaha, Nebraska and back into Hiawatha, Kansas, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Hiawatha, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes his childhood community in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes his experience in Hiawatha Elementary School in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about the impact of the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education on Kansas City schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Terry Jones explains his family's migration to Omaha, Nebraska and back into Hiawatha, Kansas, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Terry Jones talks about developing an early interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Terry Jones talks about playing the clarinet

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Terry Jones explains why he chose to be an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Terry Jones describes his extracurricular activities at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Terry Jones describes his childhood mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about influential teachers at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, including Dr. Jeremiah Cameron

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Terry Jones describes his summer jobs growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about the African American business community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Terry Jones explains what inspired him to become an engineer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about applying to college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about East Coast elite academic culture

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Terry Jones describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Terry Jones describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the Trinity College black student organization, the Trinity Coalition of Blacks (T.C.B.)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about his involvement in campus protests at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about his involvement in protests at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about national political unrest in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about his post-graduation jobs in engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about the curriculum and faculty at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the African American Student Union alumni weekends at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in Kenya after graduating from Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes his experience in Kenya

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes meeting his wife, Marcella Jones

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes planning a family and long-term goals with his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about his return from Kenya to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about his work with the Booker T. Washington foundation and the Federal Communications Commission tax certificate program for minorities

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Terry Jones explains venture capitalism

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about venture capital available to African American entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Terry Jones explains HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.'s departure from the Urban National Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the Federal Communications Commission's Minority Tax Certificate Program

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes connecting with HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. and accepting a job at Syncom Venture Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Terry Jones explains why he was interested in media entrepreneurship and Syncom Venture Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about Radio One and HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about how he contributed to the success of HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes' station, Radio One

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about investing in BET, Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about investing in Latino and African American telecommunications companies

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about encouraging cities to diversify cable television ownership

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the success of cable in inner city neighborhoods

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about Syncom Venture Partners' financing of WorldSpace, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about Syncom Venture Partners' financing of WorldSpace, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about the sale of WorldSpace, Inc.'s rights to XM satellite radio, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about the sale of WorldSpace, Inc.'s rights to XM satellite radio, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the economic component of the movement for racial justice

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about the success of black businessmen Robert L. Johnson and Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about the Glass-Steagall Act

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the Iridium Satellite Company's technology and flaws in its original business plan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the purchase of Iridium Satellite LLC from Motorola

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Terry Jones describes making Iridium Satellite into a successful company

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about the success of TV One

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Terry Jones talks about investing in NuvoTV

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about how the internet has affected media and communications

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Terry Jones describes the impact of the economic crash of 2008 on venture capitalism

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about people of color becoming the majority in the United States population

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Terry Jones considers the profitability in media platforms for communities of color

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the low number of minority entrepreneurs financed by Silicon Valley venture capitals

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the Federal Communications Commission's auctioning off of portions of the broadband spectrum

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about the budget priorities of the federal government

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Terry Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Terry Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about his three daughters

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about his volunteer activities

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Terry Jones considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about his recreational activities

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Terry Jones talks about developing an early interest in engineering
Terry Jones describes connecting with HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. and accepting a job at Syncom Venture Partners
Transcript
Now you got keenly involved in science, now, you know, so this is, you know--how, who got you involved in science early? I mean how, or how did you, what, what drew you into science.$$Well, again, I, I always felt I was relatively balanced. I liked science. I liked art. But I think as I did things as a kid, like building things, and got, I remember getting an Erector set for Christmas one year because I'd shown this interest in it, in that kind of stuff. And I don't know if you remember Erector sets back in the day, but they used to be these beams, little beams, little aluminum beams, and screws, and bolts, and little motor you can--(unclear)--and, but you had to put things together and make a drawbridge or a this, or make a that. And so I used to do that, and I used get a lot of--what is it? People would congratulate or--I'm trying to think of the word--but you know, when people sort of pat you on the head and say that's really good; that's really good; that's really great; look at this; look at, look at what he did there. And all those kind, that was, that kind of feedback affects young people. It certainly affected me. I said hmm, this is something I'm--people think I'm good at. And you know (laughter), and I'd get, you know, praise for it because I, I growing up physically, I didn't get accolades for physical things because I was thin, and at that time short, and I just didn't have the, the genes to jump high and run fast like a lot of the other guys did. I mean I liked sports, and I did 'em, but I wasn't, I wasn't a winner. I wasn't the fastest. I wasn't the strongest.$$But you were a year behind the other--$$And I was, and I was--$$--students there.$$--and I was a year sort of, at least several months, behind most of the people in any class I was in. So, where I got my support and, and you know, sort of, you know, co, co--what do you call it--kudos, was, you know, people say oh, gee, look at he did this; he made that; he's, you know, is good at that, you know. And so you sort of, you sort of gravitate towards the things that you get rewarded and congratulated for. So that tended to be, you know, in engine, engineering kind of stuff, you know, little science stuff, little projects, math. And 'cause that didn't, didn't matter how many muscles you had or how high you can jump, you can do that. And so I wanted, being a seeker of adulation, decided to (laughter) to do that stuff and, and you know, was encouraged to do it as more, and the more encouragement it got and the same was with music. The more, more I played and studied music, the better I got, the more people say oh, isn't that great, the more it made me want to do it more and distinguish myself more. So, you know, it was just seeking approval. And seeking, you know, that really kind of help direct the course of, of, of things.$So Syncom [Venture Partners] was created in '78 [1978] as well, right?$$It did what?$$Syncom was also created in '78 [1978], right?$$Seventy-seven [1977].$$Seventy-seven [1977], okay. It's just on the eve of this F.C.C. [Federal Communications Commission]--$$Yeah.$$--rule, okay, all right. Okay, and, and Syncom hired you basically from Booker T. Wash, Washington [Booker T. Washington Foundation], right?$$Right.$$Right. How, how did that come about? I mean how, when did you first meet Herb Wilkins [HM Herbert P. Wilkins Sr.], and how did this happen?$$Herb had a--Herb was in Harvard Business School [Boston, Massachusetts] as well. And one, some of his best friends, one of his best friends, a guy named Len Fuller [Leonard Fuller]--and Len be another guy to interview (laughter)--Len offered me a job. He worked for a consulting firm here. And when I was in business school he offered a summer job to work with them. I didn't take it. I took the real estate thing, mortgage banking job, for the summer. And then when I came out of school and I went to Africa, Len was in Africa, in Nairobi [Kenya], just vacationing. And he and I hooked up together, and we just became friends. And he was impressed with what he thought I could do, and I was impressed with him. And he and Herb happened to be classmates and real good friends. When I took the job with Booker T. Washington Foundation, we were, as I said, doing cable television. We were getting franchises for cable television opportunities around the country. And when the job opening here came up in '78 [1978] at Syncom, I said, "I'm interested in getting, transitioning into venture capital, and Herb Wilkins is the guy." And so Len told me, he said, "Well, I know Herbert. He's one of my best friends. Let me tell him about you. Let me write him about you," blah, blah, blah. And so he kind of said, "Herb, you really need to talk to this guy," blah, blah. So I applied and talked with Herb, and we, he finally felt comfortable enough to hire me, so I became the vice president. But that's how that happened. That's how I came to Syncom. It was sort of I was in the cable area. Syncom was created to do cable and other broadcasting things. They needed a vice president. Herb with the Harvard Business School. I went to Harvard Business School. Len Fuller went to Harvard Business School. We knew each other. You should talk with each other, talked with each other, and ultimately came over.

J. Veronica Biggins

Corporate executive and presidential appointee J. Veronica Biggins was born on October 19, 1946 in Belmont, North Carolina to Jacqueline McDonald and university professor Andrew Williams. Her father, also a tennis professional, and a family friend funded several of the early tennis ventures of tennis legend, Arthur Ashe. Biggins and her two brothers attended Catholic schools during their formative years. They also spent two years of elementary school in Indonesia. Biggins went on to receive her B.S. degree from Spelman College and her M.A. degree from Georgia State University.

Biggins entered the business world as a management trainee at NationsBank, formerly The Citizens Southern Bank and now Bank of America. She received several promotions and was one of the highest-ranking females in banking in the country when she left the industry as Executive Vice President for Corporate Community Relations. In 1994, Biggins became Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of Presidential Personnel under William Jefferson Clinton. Her responsibilities included the placement of agency heads, ambassadors and members of the presidential boards and commissions. During the fourth world conference on women of the United Nations in 1995, Biggins served as Vice Chairman of the United States Delegation in Beijing, China. She later served as a Senior Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive consulting firm, and then as Managing Partner of Diversified Search in Atlanta, Georgia.

Biggins has served on the boards of AirTran Airways, Southwest Airlines, Avnet, NDC Health, the Georgia Research Alliance, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, Downtown Atlanta Rotary and the International Aids Fund. She was also a fellow of Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, and has served as Chairman of the Czech Slovak American Enterprise Fund and the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Global Board of Visitors. Biggins received a Points of Light award from President George Walker Bush and has been named to the Georgia State University Business Hall of Fame.

J. Veronica Biggins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 14, 2006 and June 19, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.016

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/14/2006 |and| 6/19/2006

Last Name

Biggins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Veronica

Schools

Our Lady Of The Miraculous Medal School

Notre Dame High School

Dudley High School

Spelman College

First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Belmont

HM ID

BIG01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Be Clear.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/19/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Popcorn, Peanuts

Short Description

Corporate executive and presidential appointee J. Veronica Biggins (1946 - ) worked for Bank of America and was one of the highest-ranking women in banking when she left the industry. She also served as Director of Presidential Personnel for President Bill Clinton.

Employment

The Citizens and Southern National Bank

The Citizens and Southern Corporation

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc.

President Bill Clinton's Administration

Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J. Veronica Biggins' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her father's passion for tennis

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her mother's family background, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her maternal family background, pt. 4

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers the house her father built for his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her earliest childhood memories, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins describes community gatherings in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers her early educational experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins describes the segregated community of Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her growing consciousness of civil rights

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about her older brother's law career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls what she learned from living in Indonesia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her time in Jakarta, Indonesia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about her transition to a public high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls moving to Benbow Park in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers Greensboro's James B. Dudley High School, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers Greensboro's James B. Dudley High School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls her cotillion debut

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls placing second in the Jabba Walk

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers her piano lessons

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers her decision to attend Spelman College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers Spelman College, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins remembers Spelman College, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about Dr. Michael Lomax

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J. Veronic Biggins recalls her graduate studies at Atlanta's Georgia State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her time in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls living in Washington, D.C. during the Watergate scandal

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls moving from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her foray into banking in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of J. Veronica Biggins' interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls beginning her career with The Citizens and Southern National Bank

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls working as a branch manager at The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her experience of discrimination at The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins explains how studying psychology prepared her for banking

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her career at The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls working in human resources for The Citizens and Southern Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about the banking industry in the late 20th century

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia's commitment to fairness

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins recounts The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia's real estate debacle

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about change management

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls instituting a non-smoking policy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins describes The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia's maternity policy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls programs that she implemented at The Citizens and Southern Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls her organizational involvement in the banking industry

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her career as head of human resources

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her role as executive vice president of human resources

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls the impact of the NationsBank Corporation merger

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins describes NationsBank Corporation's community involvement

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls meeting the Clintons on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls her appointment to President Bill Clinton's administration

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her work as director of presidential personnel, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her time in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her work as director of presidential personnel, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her time in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls meeting Nelson Mandela and her White House protocol training

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls being recruited to Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins recalls being recruited to Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her early career at Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins describes the executive search process, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins describes the executive search process, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her corporate board memberships

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins describes the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - J. Veronica Biggins talks about the recruitment of minorities to corporate boards

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her marriage and her daughters

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her life, pt. 3

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - J. Veronica Biggins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - J. Veronica Biggins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - J. Veronica Biggins narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - J. Veronica Biggins narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$8

DAStory

2$10

DATitle
J. Veronica Biggins describes her growing consciousness of civil rights
J. Veronica Biggins recalls meeting Nelson Mandela and her White House protocol training
Transcript
The schools were integrated when my younger brother [Warren Williams] was in high school. My younger brother was one of the first to go to an integrated high school in North Carolina. And, let me remember, my younger brother was born in '54 [1954].$$Okay.$$So, I mean, you think about (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Brown versus the Board of Education [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954], right?$$--you know, Brown versus the Board of Education, you know, I remember the discussion that my parents [Jacqueline McDonald Williams and Andrew Williams] had about that. I remember, you know, driving to Gas--you know, voting, my parents voting in Greensboro, North Carolina, and then us driving to Gastonia, North Carolina to take my grandmother to the polls to vote. You know, that, you know, you had to get there early and then you had to get to Gastonia. It was a--it was quite a thing, I mean, you know, the back and forth conversations. And, for some reason I remember being, just you know, feeling, like, is something bad gonna happen because it was so much, you know, discussion about all of this. And, you know, having, you know, spent this two years out of the country in Indonesia. You know, where there all brown people and you know, everybody, you know, all, you know, brown folks were in charge. And, then, you know, to really--I think maybe before I left, I hadn't thought about in the way I thought about it when I came back. You know 'cause it was just a real, you know, I'm grown up, you know, I'm grown now, you know, not grown, but, you know, older and very conscious (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well, refresh us. How old were you when you went to Indonesia again?$$I would have been--it would have been the fifth and sixth grade for me.$$Okay. So, that would've been early '50s [1950s]--$$Yeah.$$Fifty what, is it '51 [1951], '52 [1952] or somewhere around--?$$In that time frame.$$Frame, okay.$$Yeah. That's exactly right. So, I mean, yeah, I mean, you knew, but remember, you know, here you have this community that's up to, you know, all into protecting the children and providing this, this something, you didn't go downtown that often, you know. Didn't have any money, that's part of why you didn't go downtown, you didn't have any money. But, you didn't go to the movies downtown, you went to the college, you know, you went over to the college and, you know, saw movies on campus. And, then, I remember one night my brother was out, my father had come home from--they'd had a big rally on A&T's [Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina] campus, and my, you know, father was very much involved in that. My father came home and asked my mother, you know, where my brother--had he gotten there or something. So, she hadn't heard. And, then they got a call that he'd been arrested, you know, for the sit--you know, for, for marching. And, my brother and the Julian Street [Greensboro, North Carolina] crowd basically, you know, all went, they went to jail.$How did Heidrick & Struggles [Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.], did it come out of, out of, you know, coming back?$$Yeah. But, you know, Pat Pittard [Patrick S. Pittard], and I'll go back to that. But, you know I wanna mention one thing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Pat Pittard?$$--that happened at the White House [Washington, D.C.]. I was the White House representative when--at the airport [Washington National Airport; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C.] when Nelson Mandela landed for the first time in Washington [D.C.]. That to me--now, talk about life experiences, I probably, I mean, I just, it was, I had the, it was just great. I mean, just to--I went to the, and I, even though I went to several state dinners, what do I remember the most? I remember the state dinner that they did for Nelson Mandela. Everybody's in black tie. He had on a suit because he didn't own black tie, and I thought, isn't this fabulous. He was--it was just a defining moment I think for everyone. People, people were in awe. I mean, and people have seen--had seen a lot of people; Nelson Mandela was the--he was a showstopper by far. Just his demeanor. His, you know, taking the moment to speak to the janitors, he come in the door, I mean, you know, it was just, I mean, now, this man, it was just, it was a--really truly defining moment to have him, without a doubt. So, I wanted to not, not miss that (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, you were in charge of per- you said--$$No, no. I was the--the White House would have different people for certain things and they would ask, you know, you know, they'd be a little contingency that would, you know, be there. And, I was, and I was the White House person when Nelson Mandela landed in Washington, D.C. to meet that plane and there with the folks from the state department [U.S. Department of State] and others, too, so, really phenomenal.$$So, did you learn a lot about protocol? You know, they--$$Oh, my good--yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I learned--I had a whole group--$$Do they have protocol training?$$Yeah. Yeah. But, I also had a group as part of the personnel group that--I had a group that reported to me that answered--I cannot tell you how many letters we got related to hired--being hired at the White House. And, we wrote the most, it was very good. The thoughtfulness of the letters that went back out to people about appreciation. And, you know, that showed great respect for the individual and, and you know, making sure just the correct, you know, how do you address individuals, all those kinds of things, really well done. Really well done.