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Edwin Rigaud

Businessman and civic leader Edwin Joseph Rigaud was born to Army Sergeant Edwin Rigaud and Mabel Perrilliat Rigaud on June 25, 1943 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Corpus Christi School, which was located in the largest African American Catholic parish in the Western Hemisphere. One of Rigaud’s high school teachers was the famous activist Phillip Berrigan (brother of activist Daniel Berrigan). Rigaud graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1961. Earning a B.S. degree in chemistry from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1965, he married Carole Tyler and then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he went to work for Procter & Gamble. There, Rigaud became the first African American hired at the management level in the Food Product Development Department of R&D at Procter & Gamble. He received his M.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1973.

In his thirty-six years at Procter & Gamble, Rigaud was one of the first African Americans in the corporate research area. Moving to marketing and general management, guided by Procter & Gamble executives Ken Ericson and Mike Milligan, he attended the Advanced Management Course at Harvard University, and in 1992, Rigaud became the first African American line vice president in the history of Procter & Gamble, eventually serving as Vice President of Food and Beverage Products and finally as
Vice President of Government Relations in North America in 1996.

Also, in 1996, Rigaud, on loan as an executive from Procter & Gamble, was appointed the first executive director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. He was appointed to the National Museum and Library Services Board by President George W. Bush in 2002. In 2004, Rigaud moved from executive director to President and CEO of the museum. He also started his own firm, Enova Partners, LLC and Enova Tech, LLC, which are both plastic injection-molding businesses in the automotive and consumer products industries.

Rigaud has a long record of service including serving on the boards of The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Xavier University of New Orleans, Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati, the Ohio Board of Regents, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Queen City Club, the Metropolitan Club, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber Board.

Rigaud is married to Carole Tyler Rigaud and has three grown children. He enjoys painting, playing jazz guitar and golf.

Accession Number

A2006.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/23/2006

Last Name

Rigaud

Maker Category
Schools

Corpus Christi Catholic School

St. Augustine High School

Xavier University of Louisiana

University of Cincinnati

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Edwin

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

RIG02

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

H.O.F.F. Honesty, Openness, Fairness, Fun.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

6/25/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cincinnati

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Corporate executive and production company entrepreneur Edwin Rigaud (1943 - ) was the first African American line vice president in the history of Proctor & Gamble. Rigaud has also held appointments as the first executive director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and founded Enova Partners, LLC and Enova Tech, LLC, which are both plastic molding businesses.

Employment

Procter & Gamble

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Enova Premier, LLC

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1155,14:1890,22:3255,38:3675,43:7230,61:9228,94:9524,99:11596,142:13076,228:13446,234:26031,425:31295,488:31720,494:44880,614:45440,621:47904,661:65760,829:66560,838:69310,870:69737,880:70347,895:70713,902:73515,944:74670,958:84429,1079:86452,1109:89840,1122$0,0:744,16:1048,22:3936,83:11308,216:12752,243:14272,275:14576,280:20931,314:22317,346:22713,351:23406,359:39580,552:57855,752:58299,761:59187,770:59742,776:60852,786:62295,799:68400,872:83185,994:104971,1316:113701,1432:122296,1504:124132,1533:130067,1588:131102,1613:132344,1641:134828,1686:135932,1728:147929,1803:148414,1812:148899,1818:154378,1993:168700,2087
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edwin Rigaud's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud talks about tracing his ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud describes his grandfather and his Creole identity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud recalls studying the encyclopedia as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edwin Rigaud talks about possible ancestors of the Rigaud family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edwin Rigaud describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Edwin Rigaud describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud describes Corpus Christi Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud recalls attending Mardi Gras as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes the poverty of New Orleans' African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his experiences at New Orleans' St. Augustine High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his theory of cognitive learning

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud remembers how his aspirations developed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud recalls being denied admission to Louisiana State University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud recalls his academic experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud describes the fraternities at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud recalls meeting and dating his wife, Carole Tyler Rigaud

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud recalls meeting Fats Domino

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud recalls discrimination based on skin color within New Orleans' African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud talks about racial discrimination at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes his mentor, Kenneth Ericson

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud recalls diversity training at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes his promotions at Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud describes his car accident and subsequent surgery

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud describes the products created by Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud describes the creation of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his steering committee for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud describes racial discrimination in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon racism in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud explains his theory of the hierarchy of freedom

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud shares some of the history of the Underground Railroad

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud recounts stories of Ohio's slavery history, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud shares the origin of the term hush puppy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud recounts stories of Ohio's slavery history, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud talks about the perceptions of people in history

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud explains how he gained support for the Freedom Center

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud describes the political support behind the Freedom Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud describes the exhibits at the Freedom Center

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his business, Enova Premier, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his business, Enova Premier, LLC, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edwin Rigaud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edwin Rigaud describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edwin Rigaud reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edwin Rigaud relates his experience as part owner of the Cincinnati Reds

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edwin Rigaud talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Edwin Rigaud describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edwin Rigaud narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edwin Rigaud narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Edwin Rigaud describes his mentor, Kenneth Ericson
Edwin Rigaud describes the exhibits at the Freedom Center
Transcript
And there was another manager who was much more informed who insisted on me being transferred from where I was to his department, so he could promote me [at the Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio]. And he promoted me three times in one year. And he sat me down and he told me, he said, "You know, you've been held up. And frankly, you've been held up because you're black." And he said, "I'm gonna fix it." He said, "You're not making enough money, you ought to be getting stock options, you ought to be at the director level soon," you know, and he just, and he delivered. And it's because of him that I have what I have today, in the way of a retirement account.$$Well, what's his name?$$Ken Ericson [Kenneth R. Ericson] is this guy's name, and the thing he did for me was bring me into his fold, not only on a business level, but on a personal level, which was something that wasn't happening. You didn't feel like you were part of their world. And he would invite me to parties at his house, invite me to play golf, you know, to where it was just kind of a natural, you know, man to man relationship.$'Cause it's not that, it's not an in-depth treatment of the Underground Railroad. Which, you know, we kind of tossed and turned over that. Whether it was going to be all about the Underground Railroad in-depth, or whether it was going to be more about freedom movements or some combination. I think we wound up with a combination, and then to your earlier question, what's in there? Well, there are a couple of films, a general film, kind of a cartoon-based film on what freedom is, and a little bit about the Underground Railroad. Then there's a dramatic reenactment of a John Parker kind of--actually is John Parker story of helping an escaped slave in his little boat, and that one kind of gets the kids going. 'Cause it's very visceral. And that one includes Oprah Winfrey's introduction where she's filmed in Ripley, Ohio. I spent a whole day on that filming with Oprah Winfrey, and she had the town's people in the palm of her hands. I mean, every break she got, she was signing autographs, kissing babies, and I'm telling you. And we had African American producers and filmmakers and, you know, and of course we had African American architect, so, you know, we kind of brought people out of the woodwork to be a part of this. I mean, the construction of the project was 43 percent African American construction. You know, it--just unheard of participation by African Americans. By the same token, we had African Americans who said I'm not going there. I don't believe in it. Either because I don't want to face slavery again, we shouldn't even be bringing it up, or because it didn't go far enough. It wasn't like the holocaust museum and didn't rub your face in slavery to the point where, you know, you were sick. It's been an incredible ride to do this project. I mean, I've drawn on every skill that I learned at P and G [Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio] and in school [Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana] to do it. It's been the most growthful thing I've ever done in my life. It's a part of me, and it's made me who I am.

Mujahid Ramadan

Diversity and human relations consultant Imam Mujahid Ramadan was born November 17, 1951, on the outskirts of Lake Providence, Louisiana. Raised by his stepfather and his mother, Flenorte and Elizabeth Harris, Ramadan attended Carroll Elementary School in Louisiana. When his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, Ramadan attended Kit Carson Elementary, J.D. Smith Junior High School, and graduated from Valley View High School in 1970. Ramadan was involved as a youth, in his church, as a youth member of the NAACP, and later as a member of the Black Panther Party. Ramadan attended Northeastern Oklahoma A & M Junior College, but dropped out and returned to Las Vegas. Ramadan worked at the West Side Boy’s Club where a hydrocephalic youngster named John “Bookie” Dorsey inspired him to return to school. Ramadan earned his B.A. degree in sociology from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 1976. He later became director of the West Side Boys Club.

Ramadan embraced Islam in 1975, took a Muslim name in 1981, and eventually became resident Imam of the Masjid As-Sabur in Las Vegas, Nevada, and vice-chair of the American Muslim Council (AMC). Ramadan served in the probation department of Clarke County Juvenile Services and became a policy advisor to the Las Vegas Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, and a number of elected officials including Senator Harry Reid. In 1989, Ramadan was appointed Nevada State Drug Policy Director by Governor Bill Miller. Ramadan was later appointed CEO of Nevada Partners Organization, Inc.; he also served as a national executive board member of the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Ramadan later became a member of the local interfaith council and developed a reputation for being an expert in diversity awareness training. Ramadan served as an advisor to the President’s Faith Community Initiative; a board member of the Inter-Faith Council for Workers Justice; a participant in the National Leadership Summit on Race Relations and America's Public Education System; and a trainer for the Justice Department Violent Crimes Program.

In 1983, Ramadan founded the diversity training firm, M.R. Consulting, later renamed Ramadan Ballard and Associates. Ramadan went on to serve as CEO of Ballard Communications, which he founded in 2001.

Accession Number

A2004.184

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/29/2004

Last Name

Ramadan

Maker Category
Schools

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

Carroll Elementary School

J.D. Smith Junior High School

Valley High School

Kit Carson International Academy

First Name

Mujahid

Birth City, State, Country

Lake Providence

HM ID

RAM01

Favorite Season

Ramadan

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

With Every Difficulty, There Is Relief.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

11/17/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive and imam Mujahid Ramadan (1951 - ) served as the resident Imam of the Masjid As-Sabur in Las Vegas, Nevada, and vice-chair of the American Muslim Council. In addition to holding these positions, Ramadan has been involved with several interfaith commissions, and has acted as an advisor on interfaith and diversity matters on the national level.

Employment

West Side Boys Club

Masjid As-Sabur - Las Vegas, Nevada

American Muslim Council (AMC)

Clarke County Juvenile Services

Las Vegas Police Department

Las Vegas Sheriff’s Department

Office of Senator Harry Reid

State of Nevada

Nevada Partners Organization, Inc.

Ramadan, Ballard and Associates

Ballard Communications

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mujahid Ramadan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan lists his favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan talks about Emmett Till and the Deacons for Defense and Justice

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his family's involvement in the Deacons for Defense and Justice

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the philosophy of nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's personality and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father and brother's deaths

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls his childhood in Lake Providence, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers his teachers at Carroll Elementary School in Lake Providence, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his siblings and stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his stepfather's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls growing up in segregated Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the schools he attended in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the differences between Nevada and Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls his high school football coach, Overton Curtis

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his childhood influences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the African American community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his experiences at Northeastern Oklahoma Junior College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his literary interests and the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the Boys Club of Clark County in Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls being hired at the Boys Club of Clark County

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mujahid Ramadan remembers the young men at the Boys Club of Clark County

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mujahid Ramadan recalls meeting his wife, Sumayah Ramadan

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Mujahid Ramadan describes what attracted him to Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his conversion to Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his early uncertainties about Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes reconciling his African American identity and Islamic beliefs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan explains what his Islamic name means

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the history of the Arabic language

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon issues in Islam, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon issues in Islam, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes schisms within the Nation of Islam and Warith Deen Mohammed

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan explains the difference between American Muslims and Arab Muslims, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan explains how he became a cultural diversity specialist

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan talks about spirituality versus religion

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his role as drug policy director for the State of Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his role at Nevada Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his move from Nevada Partners to Ballard Communications

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the influx of African American professionals in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan describes the different cultural experiences for minorities in America

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

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes unique features of the African American experience, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mujahid Ramadan describes unique features of the African American experience, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon the need to make America an inclusive nation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mujahid Ramadan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mujahid Ramadan describes his mother's response to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mujahid Ramadan describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Mujahid Ramadan describes his family's involvement in the Deacons for Defense and Justice
Mujahid Ramadan describes reconciling his African American identity and Islamic beliefs
Transcript
Maybe you can, if you can, I know the deacons [Deacons for Defense and Justice] have been written about, I don't think exhaustively or anything but they've been written since that, those days and there's a, there's an impression that they were, that some have written there were a whole lot of 'em, some have written that there weren't that many of 'em, but being an organization that wasn't really out in, you know all out in public anyway.$$No.$$And identified as, I mean what's your impression of--who were the--just for the record like who, what's your impression? Who were the deacons and how many do you think there were and how much did they do?$$Probably not a large, large number. I think they were very select because I, I knew some. Now I know that I can look back and see who were and they were a very small--some--very small group. I knew my father [Johnny Young (ph.)], my [maternal] grandfather and my father were, but very small and select. Most of them probably were religious men who were members of churches and who, who saw, they saw a different purview of you know not so much turn the other cheek. I think they saw that more spiritually and symbolically, but not so much in the physical sense of turn the other cheek. I think it was their religious and spiritual convictions that led them to being who they were and that feeling as though they had a right based on you know the law of God you know to defend and, and protect themselves. So I think that was a basic foundation to it, and, and probably I, I use to hear every now and then while sitting on the porch and hearing discussion about, "Well you know the white man in Louisiana was a different kind of white man," so he wasn't one who you could possibly interact with while, while many of them publicly had relationships with the, the transitional non-violence of Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]. That wasn't something they could actually practice with everybody because they didn't think some people were accepting to that so they felt as though the best way to deal with them is the way they dealt, and, and because the, the Civil Rights Movement while it was visible but it never had a stronghold in Louisiana because Dr. King wouldn't come there because of the deacons, because of what they practiced or the way they approached things--I would say the way they would approach things that, that affected that, and it--I notice sitting around, it was only like sitting around on the front porch and hearing about it sometimes and then sometimes then be told to, "Get, get outta here boy ain't nobody talking to you," but being--I, I guess that maybe the fact that being that my name was Deacon I was privy to at least hearing so maybe at a certain stage in life I would remember you know what that was about.$$Yeah, there's a--well, I know there's, there've been rumors that the deacons had--were followed certain civil rights marches just to make sure that if anybody you know was fired upon that there'd be some kind of protection, you know available and that sort of thing, but I, I don't you know you hear a lot of stories but you never know what really.$$Well you never knew who they were, I mean you know I was just in a family that they were a part of but you never knew like knew publicly who they were and they, they were like shadows you know pretty much now that I look back on it and now that I look back and, and being in the audience with my grandfather sometimes I can look back and say, "Oh, okay, this person was and who wasn't," you know you could tell by the way they talked to one another. I remember language like, "How you doing pilgrim?" "Hey pilgrim, how you doing?" But he wouldn't call everybody pilgrim and there weren't you know and then the other--not everybody called him pilgrim back. The ones he called pilgrim they called him pilgrim. So I probably concluded that they were, they were in that group because it was just such a small portion of them that were like that and most of them were in church.$What did you think about the Nation of Islam or I know a lot of black people in the 19--early, late '60s [1960s] and '70s [1970s] especially young men admired Malcolm X.$$Yeah, um-hm.$$And--$$And we were, yeah we were swept up in that, but, but the Black Panther Party gave us perspective that, that was, that was in somewhat of an antithesis, they were antithesis of one another because in the Nation of Islam remember the black man was seen as a God, but the philosophy of the Black Panther Party is that oppression didn't have any color, you know it was more universal in its nature and I think that was legitimate there. Remember Malcolm spawned the Black Panther Party, so I had this thing with the Nation that okay, y'all say the white man is a devil but you know in the Black Panther Party I've read, I read more of a broader language than just the cultural language of the Nation of Islam. So I, I--that's why I didn't come into the Nation of Islam, I had some spiritual yearning, it was the just the problem of calling somebody a devil I had a problem with, and so then, so I didn't--but I remember though when I was a newspaper boy, I--one of the sergeants in the Fruit of Islam, I was--I threw papers to him and I remember sometimes we'd sit around he'd talk to me about the Nation of Islam and what it was about which I could appreciate, you know, the respect for family. He had two twin daughters, I won't forget that they were little girls and the respect he showed for his wife and then of course we knew about Malcolm, we knew about Muhammad Ali so that was very infectious at that point in time, but I just couldn't get--the hate part never did sit very well with and, and so that was it. Then I came--then I saw the sp--and I knew but I had all--I had heard of [HistoryMaker] McCoy Tyner and I had heard of a few people like a basketball player--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar obviously who was Ahmadiyya, but we just knew him as a Muslim. Walt Hazzard who had also converted to Islam I think right behind that Ahmad Rashad who I'm not sure if he's a practicing Muslim but he did choose a name and several others. So I knew there was something else that was out there and when I met this brother Abdul Rehman Bukhari I said okay, this is it. I, I remember the following spring I went down to Sea World and took my wife [Sumayah Ramadan] and daughter down there and I saw a basketball player from the Houston Rockets and he was dressed up like an Arab and I thought dang that seems to be an uncomfortable dress out here in Sea World but his wife was dressed with the veil and everything. And so even then as a Muslim, I didn't even, I didn't even introduce myself--no, I think we did. I gave him the greeting I said, "Assalam Alaikum," he said, "Wa Alaikum Assalam," but I was thinking--and one thing told me I'm not as good a Muslim as he is, but the other thing told me, I don't that's Islam, I think that's something else, and so my, my own deductive reasoning was telling me all the time. So I stayed aloof you know for five or seven years, didn't practice, but said I was a Muslim and then in about 19--I'm jumping ahead again, 1982 there was a--some people here who had been in the Nation of Islam who had somewhat successfully made a semi-transition to Islam proper, and they came to see me because I was the quote, unquote the only quote a Sunni Muslim that they had known maybe who lived here and I started interacting with them that's how I heard the teachings of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and that's when I became comfortable with Islam. I understood that I can dress like this. I understood that I have my own diet, I have my own culture. I began to understand things like the U.S. Constitution gave me rights that Muslims did not have and that America really was more maybe the most Islamic country in the world. Now I really began to understand the freedom that we have here. I didn't become an American until after I became a Muslim and heard the teaching of Imam Mohammed, that's when I became an American.$$Now, yeah he did link the two and can you tell us how they--well, just give us your analysis how they link?$$Well, I, I remember hearing him make the observation. He said America he said, he'd always--he talked about that there's excellence in everything. There's excellence in everything, you just have to be able to see it. He says and the excellence that you see in America that you can vividly see is the, the freedom for everybody to reach their human potential. America will not restrict you in reaching your potential. If you, even if you want to be a savage, America will allow you the freedom of being the biggest savage that you wanna be, but if you want to reach the pinnacle of excellence that God has ordained for you, America also gives you that. So he says, and we can see now that Islam is the fuel and America is the car that you put the fuel in to make it drive. And America has--that's the excellence that's in America that you won't find anywhere in the, in the Muslim world, you will not find it anywhere in America. So he, he was able to make the connection but also through making the connection I think he revealed to many of us if we come through the door of Islam and not Arab culture, we will come through the door of America, and so many of us that's what we've done. We, we couldn't come into America unless we came in for us. I mean I'm not saying others can't, but we could not enter into America unless we'd come through the door of Islam. And so he--that opened up the, probably was after that I really began to see you know Islam in the scope of a social active movement. I was saying to some friends of mine who are in a religious labor organization in Chicago [Illinois], I was speaking there and Kim Bobo asked me, she said, "Ramadan [HistoryMaker Mujahid Ramadan] what about being a Muslim?" I said, "Islam really is the natural progression of the Civil Rights Movement, Islam and America is the natural progression of the Civil Rights Movement, i.e. we go from civil rights to human rights." So we become advocates now for the, for the big picture, not just for the rights of African American people or the right of women, the rights of all the poor, the rights of all children, the rights of the disenfranchised, the rights of the prison inmate, and then also then you begin to see the connection between Islam, Christianity and Judaism so it, it that, that has been just monumental. It just so happens that I have the luxury of being in the city that I, the town that I grew up in so it adds, it adds another dimension to my life that say for instance this dimension kind of sets me aside from the people I grew up with and that becomes--because I've been Mujahid Ramadan now for--matter-of-fact if you go ahead my mention my name most people won't remember what my name was and if somebody remember it they'll say, all right so they've known me for over thirty years, but I'm the guy who grew up here then converted to Islam and changed his name.

Bill Campbell

As host and producer of WLS-7's 'Chicagoing' and Director of Community Services, Bill Campbell has been bridging the gap between media and community his entire adult career. Born on Chicago's historic South Side, on May 25, 1950, Campbell was surrounded by the arts and sciences. His father was a chemist who graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and his mother was a visual artist who attended the School of the Art Institute along with such notables as Gordon Parks. Campbell fondly recalls his childhood, growing up in a building owned and inhabited entirely by his extended family. Upon graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota with a B.A. in Urban Studies, he worked as a Program Specialist in the Office of the Mayor, and later as the Director of Communications for the Chicago Urban League.

In 1978, Campbell was hired as Director of Community Services and soon thereafter began hosting and producing the popular weekly news magazine show, "Chicagoing". For his work, Campbell has been awarded three Chicago Emmy Awards for Outstanding Editorial Achievement.

Aside from his activities at WLS-TV, Campbell sits on several advisory boards, including the Board of Directors for the National Conference For Community and Justice (NCCJ)-Northern Illinois, and the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board for the City of Chicago. Campbell has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to the community, receiving the Chicago Urban League's Beautiful People Award in 1985; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award from St. Sabina Church in 1984 and Communications Excellence Award from the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce in 1988.

Accession Number

A2001.008

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/3/2001

Last Name

Campbell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Frank I. Bennett Elementary School

John M. Harlan Community Academy High School

Carleton College

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Bill

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CAM02

Favorite Season

October

Speaker Bureau Notes

Has sought to bridge the divide between media and community, through his work at WLS-7.

Has been repeatedly recognized for his efforts in the community.

Notes

Professional: Host/Producer of WLS "Chicagoing", a show about Chicago's cultural past, present and future.

WLS's Director of Community Services since 1978

1975-1978 director of Communication for the Chicago Urban League.

1972 to 1975 Program specialist in the Office of the Mayor

Awards and honors:

1988 Named as a William Benton Fellow in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago, a one-year fellowship for distinguished members of the radio and television broadcast community

1985: Chicago Urban League: Beautiful People Award
1980: Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club/Society of
Professional Journalists
1984: Dr. Martin Luther King JR:. Freedom Award from St. Sabina Church
1988 Communications Excellence Award from the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce.

3 Chicago Emmy Wwards for Outstanding Editorial Achievement (1979, 1980, 1985)

Memberships:

Board of Directors for National Conference For Community and Justice (NCCJ)-Northern Illinois

Cultural Affairs Advisory Board for the City of Chicago

Some Stuff From the Transcript

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Positive on purpose.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/25/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Television personality Bill Campbell (1950 - ) was the award-winning host and producer of WLS-7's Chicagoing. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Campbell has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to the community, and received the Chicago Urban League's Beautiful People Award in 1985.

Employment

City of Chicago

Chicago Urban League

WLS TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Photo - Bill Campbell as 11 month old infant

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Photo - Bill Campbell as infant with "first michrophone"

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Photo - Bill Campbell sitting atop a drum

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Drawing by Bill Campbell as a 5 year old

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Photo - Bill Campbell as a five year old in kindergarten

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photo - Bill Campbell in preschool at Greater St. John Baptist Church

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Photo - Bill Campbell in the fifth grade

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Photo - Bill Campbell in a Bennett Elementary School Christmas play

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Photo - Bill Campbell in the third grade

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Photo - Bill Campbell poses with stuffed puppy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Photo - Bill Campbell plays the sax with college jazz ensemble

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Photo - Bill Campbell with college jazz ensemble

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Photo - Bill Campbell poses with parents and brother Kevin

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Photo - Bill Campbell with brother in 1956

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Photo - Bill Campbell's sisters in 1973

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Photo - Bill Campbell with his five nephews

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Photo - Bill Campbell with nieces and nephews

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Photo - Bill Campbell with nieces and nephews, 1998

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Photo - Bill Campbell with singer Nancy Wilson

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Photo - Bill Campbell's picture from a soup cookbook

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Bill Campbell's slating

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Bill Campbell's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Bill Campbell talks about his mother and grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 24 - Bill Campbell describes his grandfathers connection with Wilberforce University

Tape: 1 Story: 25 - Bill Campbell details his scientist father's life

Tape: 1 Story: 26 - Bill Campbell discusses his fathers upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 27 - Bill Campbell's paternal grandfather on education

Tape: 1 Story: 28 - Bill Campbell talks about his younger sisters and moving to Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 29 - Bill Campbell shares the story of how his parents first met

Tape: 1 Story: 30 - Bill Campbell shares more stories from his childhood in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bill Campbell talks about his childhood and siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bill Campbell shares some stories from childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bill Campbell continues and shares his philosophy of "positivity on purpose"

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bill Campbell remembers the segregation of Chicago's South Side in his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bill Campbell talks about his elementary school and more childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bill Campbell discusses the values he received at home

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bill Campbell recalls how meeting Daddy-O Daylie and Bill Cosby changed his life

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bill Campbell continues with his story of Daddy-O Daylie and Bill Cosby

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bill Campbell runs into Bill Cosby 20 years later and says Daddy-O Daylie is his hero

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bill Campbell on God's will and his lifes choices

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bill Campbell describes how he ended up attending Carleton College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bill Campbell recounts his college study abroad in the Ivory Coast

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bill Campbell recounts his near-death experience abroad

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bill Campbell talks about how his near death experience helped him deal with the loss of his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bill Campbell on the transition from Chicago to rural Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bill Campbell talks about playing the sax and his musical interests

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bill Campbell continues with stories from his music background

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bill Campbell tells how these collegiate experiences prepared him for his future success

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bill Campbell discusses his transition from college to working for Mayor Richard J. Daley

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bill Campbell talks about an incedent when interning at Illinois Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bill Campbell talks about his experience working for the Mayor's Office

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bill Campbell continues to talk about working for the Chicago Urban League

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bill Campbell talks about the fortuitous circumstances which led him to Channel 7

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bill Campbell reflects on his years on ABC- Channel 7

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bill Campbell discusses the origins of his talk show- "Chicagoing"

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bill Campbell talks about his ABC-Channel 7 jazz group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bill Campbell talks about the family environment at WLS-TV/ABC-Channel 7

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bill Campbell talks more about his talk show "Chicagoing"

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bill Campbell distinguishes his TV format from the typical community affairs program

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bill Campbell discusses avoiding the "public affairs ghetto" on television

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Bill Campbell offers his views on African Americans in broadcast journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Bill Campbell ponders his future in broadcast journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Bill Campbell decides to make the leap from ABC Channel 7

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Bill Campbell shares his views on spirituality

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Bill Campbell's hopes for the future and reflections on his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Bill Campbell continues to talk about working for the Chicago Urban League
Bill Campbell discusses the origins of his talk show- "Chicagoing"
Transcript
and I applied and I was hired to serve as a program specialist at the Chicago Urban League and they also made me urban communications coordinator and director of communications of P.R., but before I, and that experience was another, as I look back, the progression was just so profound for me because here I was working for an organization like the Chicago Urban League, with its accomplishment or its mission, but I still wanted to be in T.V. or radio. It didn't matter. And I hosted a program on WSBN, or WLUP for the Urban League called "Urban Update" and it was great. I got to interview luminaries in the area including some people that are more infamous and famous including David Duke, who at the time was, you know, the head of the KKK [ Ku Klux Klan]. And I just, I really had this desire to move into broadcasting and was doing everything I could and not focusing as much energy and attention as I should or could have on what was happening in the moment. Well, the most profound thing occurred. I had a dream and in the dream was a message, "Bill, if God wants you to be a broadcaster, you will be. But you are not serving your employer by not focusing on what you were hired to do. You need to do your job." And it was one of those dreams where I woke up 3:00 a.m. in the morning and I got the message and I made a decision that I will not pursue a career in broadcasting. That I will focus my time and attention and energy in doing the best job that I could. Now I wasn't' doing a bad job but my head was in the inimitable words of Horace Grant- formerly of the Chicago Bulls, "My head was else place." You know, I was not focused on what I was doing.$Now how did the talk show come about? Because you hosted and that wasn't there at the beginning was it?$$What happened was I was editorial director from '78 [ 1978] to August of 1988. I was honored and really blessed with the privilege of recieving a William Bennett Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism in the University of Chicago. So, the last editorial was in August of '88 [1988], and then I took nine months and went to the University of Chicago and I had several job offers to do something else, but I decided I wanted to go back to Channel 7, and they no longer were doing editorials. So I was given the opportunity to continue as Director of Community Services. But Joe Ahern, President and General Manager, asked if I would take the spirit and philosophy of the editorials which we always take on location, we weren't just in the studio pontificating them. We were focused on an issue, we went to where the issue occurred and we used the city as a living set to demonstrate what was going on out there. So "Chicagoing" was born. He gave me the opportunity to come up with the idea for the show at 3:00 in the morning, "Chicagoing" pops into my head. And we've been on the air, this June eleventh, it will be twelve years.$$So you came up with the name and everything?$$Yeah. And it's our jazz group that plays the theme song.