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Alvin Brooks

Political and civic leader Alvin L. Brooks was born on May 3, 1932 in North Little Rock, Arkansas to Thomascine Gilder and Wilbur Herring. He was adopted by Estelle and Cluster Brooks, and they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Brooks attended Dunbar Elementary School, R.T. Coles Vocational High School, and Lincoln Junior College. Brooks went on to receive his B.A. degree in history and government in 1959 and his M.A. degree in sociology in 1973, both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

From 1954 to 1964, Brooks served as a police officer, and later as a detective, with the Kansas City Police Department. In 1964, he left the police department to serve as a home school coordinator in the Kansas City pupil services department for one year, before joining the department of urban education as a coordinator of parent, student and community interpretation. Brooks served as director of the Kansas City human relations department from 1968 to 1972, and as assistant city manager from 1972 to 1980. In 1977, he founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, before reassuming his position as director of the Kansas City human relations department in 1980. Brooks left city government in 1991 to serve as president and chief executive officer of Ad Hoc Group Against Crime until he was elected to the Kansas City council as the representative for the 6th District At-Large and appointed as mayor pro-tem at the same time in 1999. Brooks was re-elected as council member and mayor pro-tem in 2003; and, in 2010, he was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners. In 2017, Brooks retired from the Board of Police Commissioners to serve as a director on the Hickman Mills School Board.

In 1976, Brooks was appointed to serve as chairperson of the Missouri Human Rights Commission. From 1980 to 1984, he served on the Kansas City Supreme Court Advisory Committee. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Brooks to serve on the President’s National Drug Advisory Council. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Brooks was named an Outstanding Kansas Citian by the Native Sons and Daughters in 1992. He received the Carl R. Johnson Humanitarian award from the NAACP in 2001, the Annual Peace Award from the Crescent Peace Society in 2007, and the Harry S. Truman Service Award from the City of Independence in 2016. He also received honorary degrees from Park University, the University of Missouri, the University of Central Missouri, and William Jewell College. In 2016, Kansas City council declared May 3rd as Alvin L. Brooks Day.

Brooks and his late wife, Carol Rich Brooks, have six children, eighteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and twelve great-great-grandchildren.

Alvin Brooks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2019

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School

R.T. Coles Vocational Junior High School

University of Missouri, Kansas City

First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

North Little Rock

HM ID

BRO71

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas

Favorite Quote

I've Only Just A Minute, Only Sixty Seconds In It. Forced Upon Me, Can't Refuse It, Didn't Seek It, Didn't Choose It, But It's Up To Me To Use It. I Must Suffer If I Lose It, Give An Account If I Abuse It, Just A Tiny Little Minute, But Eternity Is In It - Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Birth Date

5/3/1932

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Political and civic leader Alvin L. Brooks (1932- ) served as a Kansas City, Missouri police officer for ten years, worked for Kansas City government for twenty-seven years, and founded the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime in 1977.

Employment

Ad Hoc Group Against Crime

City of Kansas City

Kansas City School District

Kansas City Missouri Police Department

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable Jon R. Gray

Judge Jon R. Gray was born on November 16, 1951 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Mai H. Gray and Reverend C. Jarrett Gray, Sr. After graduating from Paseo High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 1969, Gray received his B.A. degree in American Studies from Grinnell College in 1973. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1976.

After graduating from law school, Gray was appointed assistant Jackson County Counselor and established a solo law practice, before joining the firm of Gray Payne & Roque as a principal and partner. He served as a Democratic Attorney for the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners from 1981 to 1986 and as a chair of the Liquor Control Board of Review of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1986, Governor John Ashcroft appointed him circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri. He served a term as the Administrative Judge of the Family Court of Jackson County and as a special judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. He also taught at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Emory University School of Law, and the Missouri Judicial College. In 2007, Gray retired from the circuit court and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP as a partner in its Kansas City office, where he served as chair of the firm’s Professional Development Committee.

Gray served on the board of trustees of Southern Methodist University from 1988 until 2000. In 2007, he served a one year term as chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association; and, in 2008, he joined the American Arbitration Association as a member of its panel of commercial arbitrators. Governor Jay Nixon appointed Gray to serve as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority in 2009, and as a member of the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials in 2014. An active member of The United Methodist Church, Gray was elected to serve an eight year term as a member of its Judicial Council, and as a delegate to its General Conferences in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. Judge Gray holds membership in The Missouri Bar, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Association of Missouri Mediators, and the FINRA panel of arbitrators. He is admitted to practice before the Missouri Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Gray received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City in 2002, the Lewis W. Clymer Award from the Jackson County Bar in 2007, and the Spurgeon Smithson Award from the Missouri Bar Association in 2014. In 2018, he was honored with the Missouri Legal Icon Award from Missouri Lawyers Publications and the Raymond Pace Alexander Award from the National Bar Judicial Council.

The Honorable Jon R. Gray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Wendell Phillips Elem. Magnet

Park Elementary School

Northeast Junior High School

Paseo High School

Grinnell College

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

First Name

Jon

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

GRA19

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do All The Good You Can, In All The Ways That You Can, For All The People That You Can, In All The Places That You Can, As Long As Ever You Can - John Wesley

Birth Date

11/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Desserts, Barbecue, and Vegetables

Short Description

Judge Jon R. Gray (1951- ) served as circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri from 1986 to 2007.

Employment

Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri

Gray Payne & Roque

Favorite Color

Blue

Marilyn Holifield

Lawyer Marilyn Holifield was born in Tallahassee, Florida on June 17, 1948 to Millicent and Bishop Holifield, Sr. She attended the University of Florida A&M’s Lab School, before transferring to Leon High School in 1963 where she was among the first three African Americans to ever graduate from the school in 1965. Holifield then attended Swarthmore University, where she received her B.A. degree in economics with a concentration in black studies, and was a founding member of the Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society (SASS). In 1972, she graduated from Harvard Law School with her J.D. degree.

From 1972 to 1977, Holifield worked as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City, responsible for litigating class action employment lawsuits in Florida, Alabama, and Missouri, and a major prison reform suit in Georgia. She subsequently served as general counsel for the New York State Division for Youth under Peter Edelman until 1978. Holifield was then hired as a law clerk for the late Appellate Judge Paul Roney in St. Petersburg, Florida, a role she held until 1979. In 1981, she joined the Holland & Knight law firm in Tampa, Florida as its first African American associate. Holifield was transferred to the Miami office in 1984, and made partner in 1986, becoming the first black female partner of a major Florida law firm. Here, her areas of focus included class action litigation and arbitration; labor, employment and benefits; civil rights, discrimination and retaliation; and labor and employment class actions. In 2018, in her capacity as a director for the Miami-Dade North Arts and Humanities Foundation, Holifield helped to establish The Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (Miami MOCAAD).

Holifield has served on a multitude of boards, including Swarthmore College’s board of managers, the University of Miami’s board of trustees, the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network (co-founding member), Harvard Alumni Association, and the Harvard Board of Overseers.

She has won numerous awards for her legal work, including Holland & Knight’s highest honor, the Chesterfield Smith Award, in 2000. Holifield was also the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Jurisprudence Award in 2011, the 2012 National Bar Association's Gertrude E. Rush Award, HistoryMiami’s Legal Legend Award in 2014, and the 2019 David W. Dyer Professionalism Award presented by the Dade County Bar Association.

Marilyn Holifield was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.076

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/18/2019

Last Name

Holifield

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

Swarthmore College

Harvard Law School

Florida A&M University Developmental Research School

Leon High School

Nathan B. Young Elementary School

First Name

Marilyn

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

HOL25

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and New York

Favorite Quote

Reach higher, think bigger.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

6/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Favorite Food

Vegetables (Spinach and Greens) and Fish

Short Description

Lawyer Marilyn Holifield (1948- ) was hired as the law firm Holland & Knight’s first African American attorney in 1981, and when she made partner in 1986, she became the first black female partner of a major Florida law firm.

Employment

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

New York State Division for Youth

United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Holland & Knight

Favorite Color

Red, Purple, and Blue

Henry T. Brown

Chemical engineer Henry T. Brown was born on June 16, 1932 to Elias Brown and Martha Gentry Marks in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1950, and attended the University of Cincinnati, where he was the first African American to earn a B.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1955. Brown then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a National Science Foundation Scholar, and received his M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1956.

Brown became a research scientist at Esso Research and Engineering Company in New Jersey in 1956; and, from 1957 to 1965, he was active with the NAACP as an executive board member, membership chairman, advisor to the youth group, publicity chairman, and member of the labor committee. The labor committee originated the bias fight at the Union County Court House annex in 1963, which was the largest non-violent demonstrations in the state of New Jersey. In 1967, Brown moved to Metuchen, New Jersey to work as a development engineer for the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. He joined the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 1968, where he helped develop a career guidance and minority affairs program. While a resident of Metuchen, Brown became the first African American in town government in 1970, serving as vice president of the education board in 1971 and 1972. In 1972, Brown left the board and Squibb when he accepted a managerial role at Polaroid. Residing in Weston, Massachusetts, Brown became the first African American town official in 1982 joining the town’s board of health and was Chairman for seven years. In 1983, Brown became the first African American director of AIChE, and the minority affairs coordinator; and, in 1984, he became the second African American fellow. He retired from Polaroid in 1996, having last served as plant manager of the Integral Coatings Division, and stepped down as the AIChE minority affairs coordinator in 2003.

Brown has received an array of awards for his work, which include: the Martin K. Simberloff Memorial Award in 1960, presented by the Urban League of Union County, New Jersey; the Big Brother Award for Outstanding Service to Youth in 1965, the Distinguished Alumni Award , presented by the University of Cincinnati in 1983; the F.J. and Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award for Service to the Institute, presented by the AIChE in 1996; an honorary doctorate of science degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2001; and the 2004 Grimes and 2015 Pioneer of Diversity Awards, both presented by the AIChE’s Minority Affairs Committee. In 2018, the AIChE renamed their Minority Affairs Committee Endowment Fund the Henry T. and Melinda C. Brown Minority Affairs Endowment Fund.

Brown was a Sunday school teacher at Myrtle Baptist Church in Newton, Massachusetts for thirty years, and a NAACP Diamond Life Member. He resides in Weston, Massachusetts, and has two adult children, Gregory and Mary Allyson, and two grandchildren, Ian and Camille.

Henry T. Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.098

Sex

Male

Interview Date
9/11/2019
Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Thomas

Occupation
Schools
Walnut Hills High School
University of Cincinnati
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

BRO70

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

No Problem Is So Big Or So Complicated That You Can't Run Away From It and If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

6/16/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

Home Made Ice Cream

Short Description

Chemical engineer Henry T. Brown (1932- ) was the first African American to graduate with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati and the first African American fellow and director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Employment
Esso Research & Engineering Co.
E.R. Squibb for Medical Research
Polaroid Corporation
Favorite Color

Blue

Joe Madison

Radio host Joe Madison was born on June 16, 1949 in Dayton, Ohio to Nancy Stone and Felix Madison. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1967 in Dayton. Madison enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in 1967, but received his B.A. degree in sociology in 1971 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

He worked in public relations at General Motors Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan from 1969 to 1970 and also worked as a statistician for the Saint Louis Cardinals football club, in St Louis, Missouri in 1970. He served as a communications associate for Mead Corporation, in Dayton, during the 1970s, and worked as associate director in urban affairs at Seymour & Lundy Associates, a public relations firm in Detroit from 1971 to 1974. Madison was selected to serve as executive director of Detroit's NAACP branch at the age of twenty four, the youngest person to be appointed to the position, serving from 1974 to 1978. Appointed by NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks, Madison then served as NAACP national political director from 1978 to 1986. He began his broadcasting career at Detroit's WXYZ-AM radio station in 1980, and later worked at FM talk station WWDB in Philadelphia. Madison joined WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1989 where he developed “a crossover appeal” handling issues that included race, but were aimed at the station's multicultural audience. From 1989 to 2007, he worked as a broadcaster at Radio One. In 1998, Madison left WWRC-AM to start an online chat show. He joined urban talk radio station WOL-AM, in Washington, D.C., serving as broadcaster and program director from 1999 to 2013. He joined SiriusXM in 2007. A radio talk show host and civil rights activist, widely known as “The Black Eagle,” Madison can be heard on his SiriusXM Urban View titular weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show

Joe Madison was elected to the board of directors for the NAACP, and served from 1986 to 1999 and he also was appointed chairman of the NAACP Image Awards.

Madison and his wife Sharon have four children including Michelle, Shawna, Jason and Monesha, and five grandchildren.

Joe Madison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2018

8/17/2018 |and| 8/14/2019

Last Name

Madison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Roosevelt High School

Washington University in St Louis

Jackson Elementary School

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

First Name

Joe

Birth City, State, Country

Dayton

HM ID

MAD06

Favorite Season

Early Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

What Are You Going To Do About It?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/16/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United State of America

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Radio host Joe Madison (1949- ) joined SiriusXM in 2007, hosting SiriusXM Urban View’s weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show, as “The Black Eagle.”

Employment

Seymour & Lundy

Mead Corp.

Detroit NAACP

NAACP

WXYT-AM Detroit

WWRC-AM DC

Radio One

Sirius XM

Favorite Color

Black

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was born on August 13, 1935 in Marshall, Harrison County, Texas to Joseph A. Sr., and Juanita George Pierce. He attended Oglethorpe Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia. Pierce graduated from Jack Yates High School, in Houston, Texas in 1952. He joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honor Society in 1955 at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1957, and his father Joseph Pierce, Sr. served as dean of the graduate school in 1952; and later, president in 1967. He earned his M.D. degree in medicine in 1961 from Meharry Medical College of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. Pierce completed his internship at GW Hubbard Hospital of Meharry College of Medicine.

Pierce entered the United States Army in 1962. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at Brooke General Hospital/Fort Sam Huston in San Antonio in 1967, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and he completed a tour of duty in West Germany from 1967 to 1970. Then, in 1970, Pierce received his Texas State medical license and entered into private practice with Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, and joined the American Medical Association.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, co-founded the San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983 to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African American ancestry. They also started Premier Artworks, Inc., specializing in the marketing and sale of artwork and books by African Americans. Pierce amassed a collection of roughly 8000 books by African American authors, including mostly first editions. Pierce was also a part owner of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs basketball team from 1974 to 1988.

Pierce was a life member of the NAACP. His other memberships include the Texas Society of Anesthesiology, the San Antonio Society of Anesthesiology, Bexar County Medical Society and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Pierce was inducted into the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

Pierce and his wife, Aaronetta, have two sons, Joseph and Michael.

Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 8, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/8/2018

Last Name

Pierce

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Jack Yates High School

University of Michigan

Texas Southern University

Meharry Medical College

First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

PIE04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/13/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph A. Pierce, Jr. (1935- ) served in private practice for Anesthesia Consultants in San Antonio, Texas and was the co-founder of San Antonio Ethnic Arts Society in 1983, and Premier Artworks, Inc. in 1990 with his wife Aaronetta.

Employment

Anesthesia Consultants

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

N/A

Cal Williams

Community activist Cal Williams was born on November 30, 1941 in Monroe, Louisiana. A college graduate, Williams served in Vietnam in the United States Air Force during the early 1960s and participated in the historic March on Washington and was affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965, he moved from Louisiana to Alaska, seeking job opportunities, racial integration and a better life. In Alaska, Williams continued his political and civic activism working with the AdHoc Democrats organization in Alaska. He was named President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also served as a member of the Alaska Delegation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. In 2012, Williams ran for the Alaska House of Representatives District 17-serving the communities of Mountain View, Airport Heights, and Russian Jack in the Anchorage area, and was defeated by opponent Geran Tarr in the August 28th Democratic primary. Williams served as the Filipino choir director at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, and also as the Chappie James American Legion Post 34 chaplain in Anchorage. He worked as a photographer and also helped to exhibit the collection of the late Alaskan historian George Harper, who documented the history of African Americans in Alaska, including the black U.S. Army troops who worked on the Alaska Highway. Williams was elected to the board of directors for Anchorage Senior Activity Center in 2016.

Williams was named in the Anchorage Municipal Assembly for his contributions to the growth and strength to the State of Alaska. In 2017, Williams was the recipient of the St. Francis of Assisi Award. Williams has served as Grand Knight of the Council of Knights of Columbus at St. Patrick's Church in Anchorage, as well as in 2018, he served as the District 22 chair for the Alaska Democratic Party.

Cal Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.097

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Grambling State University

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles City College

First Name

Cal

Birth City, State, Country

Monroe

HM ID

WIL84

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans

Favorite Quote

That's What I'm Trying To Tell You

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

11/30/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Cat fish

Short Description

Community activist Cal Williams (1941- ) named chair of the Alaska Democratic Party District 22 in 2018, had served as President of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Employment

Municipality of Anchorage

Alaska Housing

State Farm Insurance

Favorite Color

Yellow

Bob Lydia

Civic leader Bob Lydia was born on December 17, 1943 in Arp, Texas. Lydia graduated from Emmett J. Scott High School in Tyler, Texas in 1962, and received his A.A. degree from El Centro Junior College in Dallas, Texas and enrolled at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 1989, Lydia received certification as a Dallas County Reserve Deputy Constable and became a licensed private investigator. He then received a mediator certification from Texas A&M University in 2008.

In 1964, Lydia joined the U.S. Air Force and completed his basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He was stationed in Witchita Falls, Kansas as a weapons specialist and was released from service in 1966. After his military service, Lydia joined the NAACP Youth Council in Dallas, where he served as a poll watcher and deputy registrar. He was promoted to vice president of the Young Adult Council of the Dallas NAACP and was mentored by Juanita Craft. In 1974, Lydia co-founded B&L Electromechanical Service and B&L Central Electric. He then entered into a partnership of owning laundromats and car washes in 1985, and eventually founded his own company B&L Central Electric. The same year, Lydia joined the security at the National NAACP, and served in that capacity for eighteen years. In 2000, he became president of the Dallas NAACP. Lydia was elected as the first vice president of the Texas NAACP in 2008, and in 2015, Lydia helped to re-instate the Tri-Cities Branch of the NAACP in Texas. In 2017, he was elected as a regional representative member to the National NAACP Board of Directors.

In addition to his involvement with the NAACP, Lydia has been active in other community organizations, including in the city of Duncanville, Texas, where he served on the Sign Control Board, the Board of Adjustment, the Library Board, and the Planning and Zoning Board.

In 2013, Lydia received the NAACP Hero Award in Dallas, Texas. He was also named a “Peacemaker” for the Community Relations Service by the U.S. Department of Justice and received the Thalheimer Award from the NAACP

Bob Lydia was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/15/2017

Last Name

Lydia

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Emmett J. Scott High School

El Centro College

First Name

Bob

Birth City, State, Country

Arp

HM ID

LYD01

Favorite Season

N/A

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lake Tahoe

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/17/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Favorite Food

Oxtail

Short Description

Civic leader Bob Lydia (1943 - ) was first vice president of the Dallas NAACP and Texas NAACP. He also served as security for the National NAACP for eighteen years and co-founded B&L Electromechanical Serice and B&L Central Electric.

Employment

Central Electric Company

A Plus Services

Favorite Color

Light Blue

Charles Evers

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers was born on September 11, 1922 in Decatur, Mississippi to Jess Wright and James Evers. Evers received his B.S. degree from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi in 1950.

Evers enlisted in the United States Army and served overseas during World War II. After his return to the U.S., he began working as the first African American disc jockey at WHOC Radio station in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1951. There, he worked for a family-run funeral home, operated a taxi service, a bootleg liquor business and operated the Evers Hotel and Lounge, which featured blues bands. Evers was active in the Mississippi branch of the NAACP and became the chapter’s state voter registration chairman in 1954. He also became involved with the Regional Council of Negro Leadership in 1952, and often spoke at its national conferences. In 1956, Evers moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he operated Club Mississippi, the Subway Lounge and the Palm Gardens nightclubs. After the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers, he returned to Mississippi in 1963 and became the field director for the Mississippi branch of the NAACP. In 1969, Evers was elected as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, the first African American to be elected to this position in the state of Mississippi during the post-Reconstruction era. Evers ran unsuccessfully for governor of Mississippi in 1971 and for United States Senate in 1978, each time as an independent candidate. He remained as mayor of Fayette until 1989. After losing the mayoral election in 1989, Evers became the store manager of WMPR 90.1FM in Jackson, Mississippi.

Evers has often been honored for his work in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1969, the NAACP named him Man of the Year. He was also selected as a Mississippi delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Evers, has also published two autobiographies, Evers, in 1971, and Have No Fear, in 1997. He has served as an informal advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, George C. Wallace, President Ronald Reagan, and Robert Kennedy.

Evers has seven children; Patricia Murchinson, Charlene Evers-Kreel, Carolyn Crockell, Shelia Evers Blackmond, Yvonne Evers, Wanda Evers and Rachel Evers.

Charles Evers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.105

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/24/2017

Last Name

Evers

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Decatur Consolidated School

Newton High School

Alcorn State University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

EVE02

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

9/11/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Anything

Short Description

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers (1922 - ) the brother of slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, was the first African American mayor elected in Mississippi post-Reconstruction era.

Employment

WHOC Radio

WMPR Radio

Fayette City Government

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Evers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Evers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Evers describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Evers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Evers lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his community in Decatur, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Evers talks about his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles Evers describes his father's lumber stacking business

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles Evers remembers B.B. King

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Charles Evers recalls his start in the funeral business

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Charles Evers talks about his experiences during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Evers remembers picking pecans with Medgar Evers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his family traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Evers recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers the lynching of James Tingle

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his friendship with Jackie Robinson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers returning to Mississippi after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Evers remembers his reason for moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about his employment as a bootlegger in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his brothel on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Evers recalls his confrontation with the mafia in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about his daughters

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers investigating the death of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Evers describes the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers his role in the NAACP after Medgar Evers' death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to run for mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles Evers remembers the Selma to Montgomery March and the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Evers recalls his election as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his gubernatorial campaign in Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about the acquittal of Medgar Evers' murderer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Evers talks about William Waller and Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Evers talks about leaving the Democratic Party

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his campaign for U.S. Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with President Ronald Reagan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers President Richard Nixon

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles Evers reflects upon his contributions to the City of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about joining the Republican Party

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles Evers talks about his work in the radio industry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his management of WHOC Radio in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Evers talks about his support for President Donald John Trump

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Evers reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Evers reflects upon his family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Evers narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$8

DATitle
Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP
Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Transcript
So, when do you get involved with civil rights or the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]?$$Medgar [Medgar Evers] and I started NAACP, before I went, before I went to Chicago [Illinois]. Here's what happened. Roy Wilkins, Gloster Current [Gloster B. Current], the so called big shot darkies who's head of the NAACP, had heard and, and President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] had heard about Medgar and I trying to get Negroes to do certain things. Let me tell you how got that, here I go again. One day Medgar and I was in Decatur [Mississippi] standing on the courthouse square. I like to tell this story. And an old white man, half bent over, walk by me and look at me and said, "Let me tell you niggers something." I flinched and Medgar said, "No, no Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "You all niggers won't never be nothing. Until you all learn how to vote." I looked at him, "You hear me? Until you learn how to vote." I say, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "Who's the mayor?" I said, "I don't know." "Who the sheriff?" I said, "I don't know." "You see what I'm telling you? You see what I'm telling you niggers?" So, Medgar kept telling me, "No Charles, no Charles," 'cause he, he's always the peace maker. So, he said, "Until you all learn how to vote, you ain't gonna never be nothing." And that stuck with me. And I told her [sic.], I say, "You know what?" I went home and I asked my women, then they didn't know. And they didn't know, I mean I think they knew but they didn't know, they just knew of them. And from that day on, we went back, went back to Alcorn [Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi] and started getting our school mates to go back home in their neighborhood up in Delta [Mississippi Delta] and get our folks and go register and they had hell broke out. That's when we started. And John Kennedy was president and just become president. And he heard about the Evers boys. Course, I mean, 'cause at that time, for, for, for niggers trying to register in Mississippi was, that was headlines and he got up and he, and he called Medgar, President Kennedy called Medgar. And Medgar went and met with him and they became friends. And then when he was killed and Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy] and I were friends before when that sort of put the family together. Between Medgar and John and me and Bobby. And then when John was killed--they both came to Medgar's grave, and when John was killed I went up and Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and we had, by that time we had gotten to be good friends, the Kennedys and, and me. And that's how it happened one of those kinds of crazy ways.$$All right.$$And then we, then after that I became--Medgar became head of the NAACP.$$Okay, well (unclear) let me see we're in 1948 now. So let's, let's before we go forward. You all start the NAACP, now was first chartered in, in Vicksburg [Mississippi] right? And then they had to recharter it again? But, do you know about the Misssis- Mississippi State Conference, which led a lot of the, the demonstrations and voter registrations (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Medgar was the head of that, yeah.$$--in Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$And Medgar was the one that lead that. 'Cause became Medgar took over it was quiet, it was very quiet. But, Medgar became the field secretary of the NAACP.$$Do you know these names like Aaron Henry?$$Oh yes indeed. Aaron was president of the branch up in Clarksdale [Mississippi]. He was the first black elected official in state--Mississippi State Legislature.$$Okay.$$My dear friend.$$And, and what about Winson Hudson?$$Oh yeah. The Hudson sist- big women they call them like they call them the big women, two sisters. And they all from--they were over Leake County, Carthage [Mississippi].$$Okay. And the C.C. Bryant?$$Oh yeah, C.C. them was down there in Hattiesburg [Mississippi].$$Okay, so they all these were all people who worked (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) All of them, part of--$$Now, C.C. worked with the--establishing the first Freedom School or what?$$Yeah.$$Tell me of what, what was a Freedom School?$$Freedom was just a school trying to teach us how to become citizens what to do, and what a citizen should do. And C.C. headed up in Hattiesburg. And he's gone too now. All of them gone, I'm the only one left. Isn't that something, and, and I look around all the time say, "Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers] are you next. Stop kidding yourself," I'm not kidding myself. Because all them old friends of mine, all my dear friends gone. 'Cause we were in there together. And I when I was in Philadelphia I started a movement in Philadelphia, Mississippi. With my funeral home [Charles Evers Funeral Home]. And I, and I, I'm black disc jockey ever worked in a white radio station [WHOC Radio, Philadelphia, Mississippi].$$Right, that comes next. I was just gonna ask you about one other person and that was Gilbert Mason [HistoryMaker Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.]?$$Oh yeah Gilbert yeah from--he died a few years ago.$$Okay.$$Dr. Mason.$$And, and what did he do down in Biloxi [Mississippi].$$He was the pres- he was a doctoring, he was a doctor, he was president of the NAACP in the Biloxi branch.$$Okay, so they wanted to inte- integrate the beaches down there?$$Yeah, yeah we all inte- yeah he integrated, he lead the, I was there with him. He led the, the march on the beaches. We couldn't go on the beaches down there. But, Dr. Mason along with the rest of us. He led us and we followed him on the beaches. And they (unclear) but see, I ain't never turned the other cheek. And we weren't supposed to, but I'd fight them, I'd fight them rascals like nothing. And we all got fighting down there and totally, finally we totally integrated the beaches. Now we can go, you can go around there now. And slip on your, your bathing suit and sit down there as long as anybody else, there, whites all around you don't think nothing about it.$$Okay.$$Under Gilbert Mason, sure did.$After that, then Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] is killed, and--$$Oh god.$$--you talk about that you were friends, you know, with the, Medgar [Medgar Evers] was friends with John and you were very good friends with Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy]. So, tell me what, what that was like? And about your re- tell us about your relationship with the Kennedy family?$$Well, we just became like Evers family, Kennedy family, that's all, that's all I can say. I'm close to Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and all them now. In fact, I was with Bobby when he was shot, I was there when he was killed.$$Were you?$$I was right there, I was right there, yeah. When he was killed. We were in Los Angeles [California], campaign, we'd won the election. And when, and the when he went down stairs to the big ball, down to receive it and greet the people. And he said, "Come on Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "I'll watch you on TV." "Oh come on damn it." I said, "Okay I'll be on down." He and Ethel and the rest of family went on down before me. I said, "Well hell, I'll go on down." I know I like that cracker, used to call him old peckerwood cracker all the time. I knew that cracker (unclear). So, I went on down by myself and I always stand right in front of him because he spoke too long. I always, I always do this (gesture) to him, when time was up. And so, I, I was came in as I always do, stood right by in front of him. He was on the stage speaking. And when he got--kept going, I (gesture) he was always watch me 'cause, I knew he's, he's, "Well I see it's time for me to go, I guess I spoke too long," or something like that. And thanked the people for it over and over again. And he turned, I thought he was coming down and let's go out the front [of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California]. When he turned he went back through the ki- I never understood that to this day, why'd he go out through the kitchen. I guess that's the way he was supposed to go. Went back through the, that's where they shot him back in the door. And now I heard the shot. I thought it was balloon, had balloons everywhere. And so I heard, "They shot the senator." I broke on the stage he was laying I picked him up just held him. (Unclear), "Bobby please don't leave me, please don't leave me, please don't leave me us Bobby," and Ethel is screaming, I told Rosey Grier, "Hold Ethel." And, "Somebody call, call an ambulance, call a hearse quick, an ambulance." So, we got an ambulance I went with him to the hospital I stayed with him. He died I was right there. I, and we carried him back to New York [New York]. And that's another violated, then the men I saw going in to sit, I said no, they put in a casket, they, in there with the casket from New York, from California to New York. Right beside Bobby all the time. And then we left there on the train coming back from there. We had nothing but a stop, they brought him back to, to Washington [D.C.] to bury him. You know I couldn't go to that funeral. I just couldn't, I tried and I just couldn't. And that was the last time I saw him.$$Oh okay.$$I don't want to talk about it.$$Okay, all right.$$I'm sorry. We were so close and he believed in me and I believed in him. He, he would have made the greatest president. I'm sorry.$$No, that's, that's fine.$$And here gone, my brother and him. I have nobody left. So, but the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. That's what I have live by that. I'm sorry. But that, that's why I'm very remorseful about Bobby and Medgar so. And Ethel and I are supposed to go up there next month. She's down in Florida right now.$$Who is that?$$Ethel, Bobby's wife, Ethel Kennedy.

David Richards

Military officer David Richards was born on March 19, 1929 in Sedalia, Missouri to Christina Diggs Richards and David Richards. He attended Lincoln School and C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia. Richards then studied at the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1951. Years later, Richards received his B.A. degree in business administration from Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1975. Three years later, he earned his M.A. degree in human resources from Pepperdine University.

Upon graduating from high school, Richards joined the United States Army in 1946. He was stationed at Camp Stoneman in California, and deployed overseas to the Pacific Theater. Richards became a member of the U.S. Army band, and rose to head of the reed section. After completing U.S. Army service in 1948, Richards worked briefly as an apprentice mortician, and returned to the Army in 1954. He completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and attended rigger school at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served ten years in the 612th Quartermaster Aerial Supply Company, and then transferred to the Artic Test Center in Fort Greenly, Alaska, where he tested airdrop equipment. Then, Richards was sent to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, where he helped develop expendable parachutes for the Vietnam War. In 1968, Richards became the Army’s first African American warrant officer, and remained the sole African American in that rank until his retirement in 1983. After his Army career, Richards worked at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in staffing, and later as a crime prevention analyst. He continued teaching as an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University until 2000.

As the first African American warrant officer, Richards was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1983. Richards was also inducted into the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin within the Quartermaster Corps in the United States Army. He was a three time recipient of the Omega Man of the Year Award and the Superior Service Award. Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Inc. also honored Richards with the Salute to Veterans Award.

Richards was a member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also served as an advisor to the director of the West Board Street YMCA, as president for the Mental Health Association of the Coastal Empire, as vice chair of human services for Chatham County and as chairperson of the superintendent advisory council for the Chatham County Board of Education. Richards was a board member for the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club, JHS of Savannah, the Meditation Center Board, the Martin Luther King Day Observance Committee and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

Richards and his wife, Swannie Moore Richards have three children: David Richards III, Yvette Richards, and Bonnye Richards Anthony.

Richards passed away on February 5, 2019.

David Richards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/10/2017

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Schools

Pepperdine University

Park University

C.C. Hubbard High School

Lincoln School

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Sedalia

HM ID

RIC20

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/19/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

2/5/2019

Short Description

Military officer David Richards, Jr. (1929 - 2019) conducted over 11,000 parachute operations on behalf of the U.S. Army, and was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame.

Employment

US Army

Saint Leo University

Savannah Tribune

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Richards' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Richards lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Richards describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Richards talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers his community in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Richards describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Richards remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Richards recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Richards remembers the faculty of the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his activities at C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Richards recalls the Taylor Chapel Methodist Church in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his prom

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his family vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers the businesses in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Richards recalls the aftermath of World War II in the western Pacific

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Richards talks about his military promotions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Richards recalls his training as a mortician

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Richards remembers his decision to return to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his paratrooper training

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Richards recalls attending parachute rigger school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers conducting parachute field tests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his work at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers being denied a promotion

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his promotion to warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Richards describes his duties as a warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Richards talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers his retirement from the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls his career at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Richards describes his college education

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers his career as a professor

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Richards shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Richards reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Richards describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Richards recalls serving as parade marshal for the Veteran's Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Richards remembers his students

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Richards narrates his photographs