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

Sharon Hall

Business executive Sharon Hall was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois to Barbara and Wallace Hall. She attended Catholic grade school and graduated from Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1974. In 1978, Hall graduated magna cum laude from Morris Brown College with her B.S. degree in business management. She went on to be a Consortium fellow at the University of Southern California, where she earned her M.B.A degree in venture management in 1982.

In 1978, Hall was hired as assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble. In 1982, she began working as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. She was hired as manager of strategic planning for Pacific markets at Avon in 1984, and by 1992, she worked her way up to being general manager of the Avon’s new business development group. In 1997, Hall was hired at the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, where she became partner in 2001. She is a member of the firm’s human resources and consumer practice specialties. She founded the firm’s Diversity Practice in 1999, and began serving as a global diversity practice leader. Hall became the only African American to ever serve on the board of Spencer Stuart in 2005, and managed the firm’s Atlanta office for five years.

Hall has been widely recognized for her success in business. In 1987, Hall was named an Outstanding International Business Woman by Dollars & Sense Magazine. She was recognized by Avon with its Chairman’s Award in 1990 and 1992. She participated in the 1992 marketing strategy development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; and became a board director at the Kansas City Urban League in 1994. Spencer Stuart awarded Hall the Q-Firm Award in 2000. In 2006, she was awarded by Women Worth Watching; and in 2008, she was included on The Essence Power List. Hall was a featured speaker at the 2010 Women on Wall Street Conference, and is a speaker at the 2014 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.

Hall has been interviewed or featured in the publications Fortune Magazine, Dollars & Sense Magazine, Business to Business, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Black Enterprise.

Hall lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has two children, Christopher and Casey.

Sharon Hall was interviewed by The History Makers on February 18, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/18/2014

Last Name

Hall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Stephanie

Schools

St. Dorothy School

St. Philip Neri Catholic School

St. Gerard Majella School

Hillcrest High School

Bloom High School

Morris Brown College

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

First Name

Sharon

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAL15

Favorite Season

Every Time the Seasons Change

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cancun, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Know Why You Are Where You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/11/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Business chief executive Sharon Hall (1956 - ) was a partner at Spencer Stuart, where she founded the diversity practice and served as director of the board. She was also a general manager at Avon Products Inc. and a strategist at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Employment

Spencer Stuart

Le Petite Academy

Avon

Booz Allen

Procter & Gamble

Favorite Color

Yellow Orange

The Honorable Eric Washington

Chief Judge Eric Tyson Washington was born on December 2, 1953, in Jersey City, New Jersey to Gloria Simkins Washington, a social worker, and Eleby Rudolph Washington, a surgeon. He was raised in Newark, New Jersey and attended high school in Maplewood, New Jersey. Washington graduated from Tufts University in 1976 and received his J.D. degree from Columbia University’s School of Law in 1979. Washington began his law career in 1979 at the offices of Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas. The company is one of the largest law firms in the United States with nearly 1,000 attorneys in over fifty different practice areas. Washington soon relocated to Washington, D.C. to serve as Legislative Director and Counsel to U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews of Texas, before assuming a position in the Washington, D.C. branch of Fulbright & Jaworski.

In 1987, Washington served as Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel, and later as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. After stepping down from this position in 1989, Washington became a partner at Hogan & Hartson, the oldest major law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., and remained there until 1995, when he was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. As an associate judge in the Superior Court, he presided over various criminal trials as well as cases from the Drug Court, Domestic Violence Unit, tax and probate matters on certification from other judges, and cases involving children who were victims of abuse and neglect. Washington was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and six years later, the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission designated Washington to serve a four-year term as Chief Judge of the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals, preceding Judge Annice Wagner.

Washington has previously served as Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Leadership Council for the District of Columbia Courts and is also a member of the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the Courts. Washington serves on many civic organizations as well, including the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Boys and Girls Club Foundation.

Chief Judge Eric Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.274

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/26/2007 |and| 5/23/2014

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Madison Elementary School

Newark Academy

Columbia High School

Tufts University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Eric

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

WAS04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/2/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cajun Food

Short Description

Chief appellate judge The Honorable Eric Washington (1953 - ) was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Clinton in 1999. He became chief judge in 2005.

Employment

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Superior Court for the District of Columbia

Hogan & Hartson

Fulbright & Jaworski

Delete

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1626,34:2386,45:2690,50:2994,55:4514,71:4970,79:10822,180:14394,228:17054,279:21770,288:24605,370:28259,461:29960,493:33173,552:33425,557:33677,562:34244,575:38402,666:48891,780:49427,789:52643,836:53782,856:54117,862:60482,969:67035,1036:69313,1088:70586,1110:74003,1193:75142,1214:77688,1284:78358,1295:94126,1553:95380,1593:97294,1641:97756,1649:98416,1661:100462,1699:101584,1710:101914,1716:106176,1732:107476,1762:109712,1823:112312,1896:112520,1901:112728,1906:112936,1911:113300,1919:114600,1932:114860,1938:117044,1992:119124,2048:119384,2054:125464,2124:127726,2183:129292,2233:130162,2251:130858,2261:132656,2309:134280,2352:138224,2484:149963,2641:172994,3006:178223,3161:178790,3169:179231,3179:181877,3259:194516,3488:201720,3569$0,0:3452,47:3817,52:4328,60:5788,87:6664,102:7540,114:9949,146:21968,358:24410,401:24806,408:25994,430:26720,442:30842,479:35934,590:36336,597:36939,607:57666,997:60114,1037:60386,1046:76057,1299:76412,1306:78968,1364:83370,1472:88050,1504:95304,1658:95738,1666:109855,1881:111545,1927:111805,1932:117590,2089:128782,2280:129223,2289:130420,2321:130672,2326:131113,2334:131869,2359:132247,2372:138736,2532:139051,2538:140374,2567:154722,2793:167204,2999:168880,3022
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eric Washington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.3

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his father, Eleby Washington, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about how his parents may have met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his parents' personalities and how he takes after them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his father's medical practice

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his father's decision to practice medicine in New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his childhood neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his elementary school years in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes his youthful passion for tennis

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eric Washington describes his childhood sports heroes, Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Eric Washington recalls his parents' attempts at musical training

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Eric Washington recalls the influence of television on his values and aspirations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Eric Washington remembers professional role models as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his time in the Boy Scouts and the development of black consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eric Washington recalls his family's involvement with the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his memories of the 1967 Newark Riots and moving to Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes playing sports and the development of his social conscience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eric Washington remembers role models from his youth like Gus Heningburg

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his experience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eric Washington recalls his decision to attend Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eric Washington remembers living in the Africana House at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes volunteer efforts to connect citizens of Boston, Massachusetts' Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods to local universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about playing basketball at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes how his experience at Tufts University propelled him toward a legal career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eric Washington recalls how racial animus in Boston, Massachusetts led him to attend Columbia Law School in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes his studies at Columbia Law School and the impact of Professor Kellis E. Parker

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about why he joined Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas after graduating from Columbia Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes Houston, Texas in the late 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his work at Fulbright & Jaworski

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to work for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes why he decided to return to Fulbright & Jaworkski after working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Texan politicians Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker Lee P. Brown's tenure as Houston, Texas' chief of police

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign against Ronald Reagan in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about the impact of the Reagan Administration on judicial office in Texas and President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his tenure as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about joining Hogan & Hartson and his increasing involvement with the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes corruption charges brought against HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eric Washington contrasts the administrations of Mayors Marion Barry and Walter Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the role of the Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Herbert O. Reid, Sr., legal counsel to HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about working at Hogan & Hartson

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his work as Chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee during President Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's political appointments

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes President Bill Clinton's reputation as the first black president

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eric Washington recalls African American judges from his childhood who inspired him to become a judge

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his nomination process to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the declining trends in presidential judicial appointments

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his duties as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the history of African Americans in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his service on the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the District of Columbia Courts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his focus on domestic violence as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about drug sentencing in the District of Columbia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eric Washington recalls his appointment to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1999

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.3

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Annice Wagner, Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the Access to Justice Commission headed by Peter Edelman

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his appointment as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his vision as the Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about using open court cases to promote transparency with the public and educate law students

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eric Washington discusses the pros and cons of live streaming oral arguments

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about appellate judges on the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Eric Washington compares the D.C. Court of Appeals to two-tiered trial courts in other states

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about the use of DNA evidence in trial courts

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his hopes for his third term as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Eric Washington reflects upon whether he would do anything differently as a judge

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.2

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.3

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Eric Washington reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his family

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers
Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke
Transcript
So, when you were on the verge of graduation from high school, did you have an idea of what you wanted to pursue, career-wise?$$No, I was still torn, I was, you know, torn between that, that real, you know, I--desire to be a, a social engineer, sort of, you know, be involved in helping, which was again, consistent with what my dad [Eleby Washington, Jr.] had done but much more. I was, I was much more of wanting to be out front of that issue, as opposed to being sort of behind the scene, working at, you know. I was, I was much more willing--not much more willing, but much more, you know, much more interested in sort of being on the front line, I think, and working with groups and, and (unclear) primarily antipoverty organizations. I would work the New York City youth services agency, and, and tried to work with, you know, different groups of young people and, and so, sort of be a part of the antipoverty movement and the anti-, and, and try to uplift as much as many people as I could. And so, I sort of had leanings in that way, but I was still the son of a doctor. And still, my brother was going to go to medical school, you know, and he turned out--he, he's an orthopedic surgeon now, like my father was. And, frankly, he freed me up because once my dad got one orthopedic surgeon, I think he was okay with, with me doing something else, although a lawyer is not what an orthopedic surgeon would want his son to be necessarily. You never, never thought, you know, other than those, he, he thought highly of lawyers. But he loved judges and he had good friends who were judges and he, he would draw these distinctions between lawyers and judges in his own mind because he saw lawyers as those individuals who would manufacture malpractice cases against good doctors who had done all they could do to help somebody, and because they hadn't put them together like God--they, that they were somehow negligent in their actions. And so, he thought lawyers somehow were the reason why people brought these lawsuits, as opposed to these people believing they were wrong. And, as I told him, as there being doctors who would testify that they hadn't done everything perfectly 'cause I said, without, without another doctor testifying that you, that you didn't do everything right, they could never find you guilt, you know, they could find you negligent of doing anything right. And then, my father was not talking from personal experience. I don't remember my dad ever being sued, but and maybe once or twice in, in his career, that it might have happened. But I don't remember any of them, but, but he was talking more generally about the medical profession and, and his colleagues and friends who had to, had to endure these unreasonable depositions, and take them away from their patients and go to court, and defend themselves when somebody decides to crash a motorcycle into a wall going 80 miles an hour, break every bone in their body, spend 75 hours in a row putting them back together. And when they're finished, their little pinkie can't straighten up all the way, and they sue you for malpractice. That was, that was--used the classic sort of a story about why lawyers are bad. But my dad, I think, ultimately is very proud that, you know, and, and understood, really did understand and appreciated the important role lawyers played as social engineers, and so I think was very supportive.$$Okay.$$I did promise him I'd never practice malpractice. I'd never be a plaintiff's lawyer doing malpractice work but other than that--$$Okay.$All right, all right. Now, in '87 [1987], you were Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia?$$Right.$$Now, how did that happen?$$One of my good friends, Fred Cooke [Frederick Cooke], who was a partner in another law firm here in town [Washington, D.C.] and, and someone whom, with whom I developed a relationship, was a native Washingtonian, had been put in charge of a search committee for the new Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia which is akin to an Attorney General in most states. And he had--was, you know, was part of this--leading the search committee when, of course, they, they turned around and asked him, would he be interested in taking the job? So, he calls me up and we have lunch, and he starts saying, ahh, they're asking me to take the job. And I spent probably an hour and a half convincing him that it was the great, it was a great opportunity. It was 300 lawyers. He was going to be in charge of basically his own law firm. They represented municipal corporations that had litigation, legislation, that they, they advise the legislative, you know, advising role. They had all these different roles, and he was going to be the top lawyer in charge of that office. I said, you gotta take that. You know, what a great chance, what a great opportunity for you. And then, at the end of this, like impassioned-hour speech to him, about why he should take it, he looked at me and said okay, well, if I take it, you gotta come. And I couldn't argue against it 'cause I just spent an hour arguing for him to do it. So, I, I agreed to come. And, and the interesting story about why I was Special Counsel, because that was not what I anticipated going in as. I was supposed to be--Fred had wanted me to be his deputy immediately, but I didn't know the mayor. I had not had any real contact with Mayor [Marion] Barry [HM], and I didn't know a lot about the city government. And they didn't know, more importantly, from his perspective, a lot about me. And to be in the second, the second ranking legal officer in the district, I think the mayor wanted to feel comfortable that he at least knew who I was. And so, while Fred had wanted to bring me in as the Deputy Corporation Counsel, it's my understanding that the Mayor was little reticent to do that without having an opportunity to work with me first for a few years to know, to know me, and for his staff that could let, you know, deputy mayors and other staff, getting comfortable with me. So, for the first year and a half or so, I was Special Counsel, and then worked closely with all of the Deputy Mayors and others, and helped run the office. And there was no deputy corporation, Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel. Then I ultimately, apparently, got the word. Fred got the word--oh, it's okay, you can move him up now, and I became the Principal Deputy. So, I always acted as the Principal Deputy, but for the first year and a half, I was given the title of Special Counsel.$$Okay.

Ronald McNeil

Retired insurance executive Ronald Dean McNeil was born on November 4, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan to Dorothy and Elijah McNeil, who both emphasized the importance of strong faith, personal accountability and education. While attending Wayne State University where he studied finance and business economics, McNeil answered newly elected Mayor Coleman Young’s call for more African Americans to join the Detroit Police Department.

After earning his degree in finance from Wayne State, McNeil joined the Allstate Insurance Corporation. He is well known and highly respected throughout the insurance industry and is considered by many to be an industry trailblazer. McNeil was the first and only black officer in Finance at Allstate. He was elected to four senior management team positions, served as chairman of two Allstate subsidiaries and was also president of three local Allstate companies. McNeil’s vision and innovation is reflected in his major accomplishments which include: 1) The Neighborhood Partnership Program--an initiative which redefined and improved Allstate’s relationship with urban communities; 2) The Product Operations organization which changed the way the company priced, underwrote and delivered products to the market place and is the foundation of Allstate’s multi-access business model; and 3) Creation of Allstate’s first integrated distribution organization where he completely reorganized all aspects of the agency value proposition by channel.

In March, 2007, McNeil retired from Allstate after thirty-one distinguished years of service. At retirement, he was Senior Vice President of Protection Distribution and a member of Allstate’s Senior Management Team with fiscal and leadership responsibilities totaling $30 billion and 70,000 employees, making him the industry’s first African American to attain such status. McNeil was personally responsible for the recruitment and/or development of more than a quarter of the most senior leadership group.

In retirement, McNeil and his wife, Regina, focus their time and efforts on The Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc., a private, not-for profit foundation with a focus on providing educational scholarships.

Ronald McNeil was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.160

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

McNeil

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dean

Occupation
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Wayne State University

Barbour Magnet Middle School

Marcy Elementary School

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

MCN01

Favorite Season

College Football Season

Sponsor

AON

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

In God We Trust And Everybody Else Bring Facts.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/4/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

North Barrington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Insurance executive Ronald McNeil (1952 - ) was senior vice president of Allstate Insurance Company and the co-founder of the Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc.

Employment

Campbell-Ewald Company

Detroit Police Department

Allstate Insurance Company

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown, Earth Tones, Pink

Timing Pairs
0,0:6386,107:23396,269:24773,316:27851,363:28985,384:29309,389:32792,455:40406,588:40811,594:49256,641:51272,656:53120,692:53792,701:54380,709:54800,716:55304,723:58160,775:59840,804:76008,1033:76418,1039:77648,1069:82226,1111:82886,1123:83150,1128:84206,1147:87110,1213:88694,1249:90080,1283:90344,1288:92258,1328:92522,1333:92918,1340:94964,1381:95822,1398:96152,1404:99386,1465:99650,1470:110750,1568:111075,1574:112635,1603:114910,1654:115170,1659:115885,1689:122385,1846:122645,1851:123165,1860:124855,1901:125115,1906:125375,1911:125765,1918:128495,1967:135400,2039:139460,2134:139950,2142:143520,2239:150870,2409:153670,2471:160345,2484:164170,2576:164920,2598:165820,2611:168820,2708:171390,2718$0,0:495,12:7615,178:9484,204:9929,210:20781,287:26878,375:42221,607:43197,624:43563,631:43807,636:44112,643:44783,658:49688,675:54776,746:55640,759:57176,781:67502,877:68322,888:69306,899:69798,906:72176,945:72668,952:73242,960:73570,966:73898,971:74390,978:74964,986:75456,993:82451,1050:83375,1061:84222,1077:84761,1085:85069,1090:85377,1095:85762,1101:86917,1115:87302,1121:95812,1230:96340,1237:96956,1245:102412,1360:117282,1532:117697,1538:118776,1559:120187,1590:120934,1600:125710,1606:126145,1612:126580,1618:127189,1627:127537,1632:133018,1735:147427,1900:166414,2171:167662,2201:173394,2239:173678,2244:174956,2276:178080,2343:178648,2352:178932,2357:180210,2385:180636,2394:185322,2482:186245,2496:187097,2511:189582,2569:200930,2711
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald McNeil's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil describes his maternal family's migration to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his father's move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil describes his parents and his likeness to his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes his parents' commitment to education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil describes his earliest childhood memories

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil describes his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil remembers his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes an encounter with law enforcement in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil remembers Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil recalls his start at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ronald McNeil remembers joining the Detroit Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil remembers joining the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil talks about the dearth of African Americans in the insurance industry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes the insurance industry at the start of his career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes the creation of the Neighborhood Partnership Program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about redlining in the insurance industry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil talks about Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s ownership of the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil recalls his early mentors at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ronald McNeil remembers the networking opportunities at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil talks about the importance of leadership

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil describes the parameters for a successful finance career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his conversations with his father

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil remembers his first role at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil describes his career at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil remembers his role as regional vice president

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes the Neighborhood Partnership Program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil recalls joining the senior management team at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about his strategy for risk based insurance market segmentation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil remembers reorganizing the distribution operations at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil explains the concept of market segmentation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil talks about the presidency of the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his mentoring style

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about his guiding principles

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes the Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald McNeil describes the relationship between the insurance industry and communities of color

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald McNeil talks about Hurricane Katrina's impact on insurance companies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald McNeil describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald McNeil reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ronald McNeil describes his activities during retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ronald McNeil talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ronald McNeil describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ronald McNeil narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$2

DAStory

4$11

DATitle
Ronald McNeil remembers his first role at the Allstate Corporation
Ronald McNeil recalls his experiences as a police officer in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1
Transcript
Can you kind of walk us through your career at Allstate [Allstate Corporation], and, and kind of you know, well just you know I guess and, and tell us what, what you learned at each stage?$$Well, you know started in the finance function and was lucky to start with the first black officer there [Joseph P. Harris]. Starting in finance was, was, it was a godsend because I learned so much about the whole business, it's not like you can learn a lot about sales. You can learn about claims or underwriting or actuary; you learn a lot about the, the whole business. So I quickly got to a place where I was--both recognized that and was told that, that you know you're gonna get a look at the business from a, from a unique perspective and take advantage of that, and I did. Because I'd have to tell you that I, I mentioned at an early age in the learnings that I had had and the time I spent with my dad [Elijah L. McNeil, Jr.]. And, and, and my, my mom [Dorothy Harrison Vary] as well, there was this platform of choices, and the first choice, and I said there were four, the first choice is choose to learn because the best title you can ever have as a student because when you think about it, you're paid to learn. And that's your title. And when you think about it, the, the most underutilized muscle you're gonna have, when you're born you got far more brain capacity and when you die you still have untapped, unused brain capacity. So, choosing to learn both spiritually and cognitively if you make that affirmative choice that's the deal, that's huge. So going into Allstate in the finance department, I was poised that I was gonna learn as much about it. And again I can go back to lessons that my father would teach me, y- my father put in his own driveway changed the furnace, rebuilt half the house. He did all those things by just watching people and asking questions. Now at the time that wasn't something that was so this huge revelation to me until he kind of put into perspective to me. He said you know, "Son, I only had a six grade education, but I think if I can sit down and watch you, and I can ask you certain questions, I can do just about anything," and, and he did. Rebuild engines, put--he, he did all that and other kind of stuff, didn't have the money to do some of the other alternatives, but he, he did again with this six grade education. Could learn all this stuff that, hell, I can't do today. So as I got to Allstate it was clear that I figure I could, I could just about learn anything that was out there. I mean because those were the, the kind of expectations that he had put on me, so being a student of the business. So I learned a lot in that that that first job.$What was it like being a police officer in Detroit [Michigan]? Now you're one of the few black officers maybe you say 20 percent of the officers were black pretty much?$$True.$$This is with a 80 percent black population?$$Right, right.$$So how did you, how did you take to it?$$I, well first off I didn't know what I was doing but I, I got hooked up with a couple of older, Bill Downing and Sam Jones who were--Sam William- Bill Downing [ph.] and Sam Williams [ph.]. Two older police officers had been around for a long time who kind of took me under their wing, and they took me under their wing for the sole purposes of making sure that I would not be a cowboy. And, so that was the, the grounding that I got that was beneficial. The thing that was eye opening that a lot of people have little insight into, is how fractured the police department was. I could, I've got story upon stories of things that happened when I was--when I was a police officer from, from fights between police officers in the, in the briefing room, to un-handcuffing prisoners, black prisoners because they were being mistreated by white officers. I don't characterize that as the all of what the, but, but the eye opener for me was the level of racial tension inside the police department that I, that I had no clue walking into. I, you know you think about this, this blue brotherhood of and, and that really (laughter), really wasn't the case. But the other thing that it helped me get sensitive to was the, the plight of the f- person on the other side of that badge. Because I've been into so many instances where black folks would do just about anything the police officer would ask you to do. Whether or not you should or shouldn't, it was just kind of what you decided to do. But then the, the flipside of that was to, to get insight into the level of compassion that black officers would have in those situations was, was, was kind of a, a real good educational exposure for me, as, as a young man. So, and then but then the other side of it was the, the danger aspect of it was something my family didn't want--excuse me--didn't want me to be a police officer. But I, I used to tell them I said, you know, the, the crooks have always had more firepower than the police. But back then when I was a police officer we did have the element of a slightly more sophisticated communication system. That was pre-beepers, pre-cell phone, pre- all of this other kind of stuff, pre--so our communication network was at least a little better than that of the criminal. So I, I would use that to kind of defuse the notion of, why do you wanna be out there chasing crooks and putting your life in harm's way all the time?

W. Gregory Wims

William Gregory Wims was born on September 2, 1949 in Bethesda, Maryland. His mother worked as a domestic and his father was a laborer. He earned his high school diploma from Gaithersburg, High School in 1968, where he played on the track and football teams and was active in civil rights sit-ins.

From 1968 until 1970, Wims attended Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. In 1969, he was named the Vice President of the Maryland Youth Commission. In 1970 he transferred to Howard University but left before earning his degree.

In 1972, Wims was hired as the coordinator for the Extension Service for the 4-H Club of Montgomery County. In 1974, he became the first male Head Start Teacher in Montgomery County and worked on Republican Newton Stears’ campaign for Congress. From 1976 until 1978, he worked as Stears’ legislative assistant and became the first African American professional from Montgomery County to work on Capitol Hill. In 1978, Wims became a legislative assistant for Congressman Melvin Evans. From 1981 until 1989, he worked in the legislative affairs office for the Secretary of Agriculture and a Special Assistant to the Director for Minority Affairs and Economic Development. In 1989 he started his consulting firm, Hammer and Nails, which assists local businesses in working with the federal government.

In the early 1990s, Wims served as the membership chairperson for the NAACP, recruiting more than a thousand new members. In 1994, he was elected president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP. During his tenure, he was successful in highlighting discrimination claims of African American employees at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH case received local and national media coverage and led to Wims becoming president of the Maryland NAACP chapter. In 1996, Wims founded the Victims Rights Foundation (VRF), an organization providing financial and emotional support to crime victims. Through the VRF Wims was able to provide thousands of dollars to the families of the Washington, D.C. sniper victims in 2003.

Accession Number

A2004.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2004

Last Name

Wims

Maker Category
Middle Name

Gregory

Schools

Gaithersburg High School

Gaithersburg Senior High School

Howard University

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Bethesda

HM ID

WIM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/2/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive W. Gregory Wims (1949 - ) was the former president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, the Maryland NAACP, and served as the vice president of the Maryland Youth Commission.

Employment

4-H Club of Montgomery County

United States House of Representatives

United States Department of Agriculture

Director of Minority Affairs and Economic Development

Hammer and Nails

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Montgomery County NAACP

Victims Rights Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7776,183:8100,188:8424,193:15633,310:16686,353:19764,407:20412,418:30910,582:31750,620:32030,625:34690,713:35040,719:40570,892:41060,906:45400,989:50020,1084:59170,1152:65407,1263:71644,1409:74965,1501:77233,1527:81364,1634:91228,1735:100471,1922:103315,1982:117436,2168:118174,2178:122930,2258:127932,2357:128342,2363:134328,2480:135968,2504:138264,2553:139576,2570:153744,2801:165400,2939:166246,2956:179569,3137:183876,3232:185555,3305:185920,3329:187745,3364:192855,3500:193877,3522:194753,3538:200300,3549:205424,3659:207356,3693:215756,3901:232890,4141:240820,4349:243485,4396:244005,4432:253812,4546:254514,4741:257400,4878:292364,5379:298052,5506:299000,5533:306580,5626$0,0:2935,76:3390,84:3845,92:4495,104:5015,113:5405,120:8980,195:9500,204:9890,211:16760,327:17100,332:17695,341:23475,471:34780,667:43889,747:44470,755:46545,833:65462,1106:65842,1112:68882,1181:69262,1187:69794,1197:71010,1285:79370,1415:79674,1420:92134,1607:93984,1656:94502,1664:97536,1728:97980,1735:98498,1747:99534,1801:109894,2045:111892,2085:112336,2093:112706,2099:119660,2119:120004,2124:120520,2131:121380,2139:128260,2262:131356,2314:142317,2451:143118,2461:143563,2468:144186,2476:145966,2501:146322,2506:156538,2642:157358,2653:158424,2667:159572,2672:161868,2705:162196,2710:162852,2720:166132,2789:180044,2998:181260,3015:181792,3024:192812,3325:199120,3475:220280,3881:226902,3974:227590,3983:228364,3995:244114,4252:244504,4258:250120,4417:266510,4647:271130,4747:272208,4815:278368,4960:298883,5251:299297,5258:311880,5503:314940,5541
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of W. Gregory Wims' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his maternal and paternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims recalls walking to school and childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims describes his childhood community of Stewart Town in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - W. Gregory Wims describes his personality in elementary school in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Junior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Gaithersburg Senior High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his views on the Civil Rights Movement during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experiences at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his first jobs in public service after leaving college in 1972

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about working as a legislative aide in the United States Congress

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims describes his experience working in the administration of President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his role working on the 8(a) program for the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims describes his involvement with civil rights issues and the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims considers the effects of his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at GEICO and Hughes Network Systems

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims describes his tenure as president of the Maryland NAACP chapter

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about organizing a task force to study discrimination in the federal government

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes for the future of the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - W. Gregory Wims describes the work of the Victims' Rights Foundation during the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - W. Gregory Wims talks about his hopes and plans for the Victims' Rights Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - W. Gregory Wims describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his life and considers whether he would have done anything differently

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - W. Gregory Wims talks about why he thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - W. Gregory Wims shares his values

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - W. Gregory Wims talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - W. Gregory Wims reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - W. Gregory Wims relates his hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - W. Gregory Wims narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
W. Gregory Wims describes his work fighting discrimination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland
W. Gregory Wims talks about starting the Victims' Rights Foundation
Transcript
Let's talk a little bit about your involvement with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the early '90s [1990s], so around '92 [1992] or so. You were very active fighting against discrimination at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]--$$Yes.$$--in Bethesda [Maryland]; tell us a little bit about--$$Okay.$$--how that all came about.$$Okay. Well, first I have to go back to my father [Earl Wims] being a fighter, although, he only went to the third grade and that's always been in me. And then with the great experience that I like to say, from Capitol Hill [Washington, D.C.], four years, and then with the [President Ronald Wilson] Reagan administration working at the White House [Washington, D.C.] and that; as a matter of fact, I even traveled abroad, went to Africa, to several countries as an ambassador for the president. There was a lot of things that I learned and did in those eight years working for President Reagan. When the NAACP first approached me to work with them, I used all that knowledge that I had, one in recruiting members. And when I first--well, actually, I was--I said I was the vice president, I was actually the director of membership for the NAACP, locally, Montgomery County [Maryland] from '90 [1990]--probably '90 [1990] to '91 [1991], for about two years. And then that's when I ran for president because I had brought in 1,000 members; it's like unheard of, anywhere in the nation. If you think about it, ask that--an individual bring in 1,000 members--$$How were you so successful with your recruiting?$$Because I learned the marketing skills again, working on Capitol Hill and understanding media and relationships and working with the president and with the companies around the nation. I just had a feel for how to present material. I would sell information. And so I would present the NAACP as the only avenue for civil rights and that I made a commitment to them that we would work and not just be a paper tiger, and people believed then that message and so we--and we did some things. But when I became president, I had watched from my mother [Rachel Stewart Wims] cleaning houses of doctors and scientists at NIH, how they had an opinion that they were like God; that they were more important than anybody. And so I've never forgotten that part, that they were human beings like all of us. If you--in an auto accident, you bleed like everybody else if you--and when I was at NI--the president of NAACP, the first group of people that came to me, they were literally thirty women and about--there were thirty-five guys saying, "We're being discriminated against. We cannot get, in the janitorial thing, permanent status, we're, we're indentured servants," as I called it. Now, see, they were--what they were, they were contract employees, five, ten years some of them, no health insurance, no benefits at all. They worked for a salary, you know, and it was ridiculous, in the federal government. The women who came, I cannot move as a secretary to the next level, get a grade raise say from a GS-5 [General Schedule] to a GS-7 because a white woman would come in, I would train her and then she would move ahead to maybe a GS-7 and that would happen almost every time with the women 'cause there's always white women against the women. And then some of the other guys who happened to be, sort of, maybe professional, a few, not that many, first came to me, they were a GS-9, which is still low, but they couldn't get the promotions just because of racism. So with that information, I held a meeting and asked people to come, and to my surprise, one hundred employees came to the meeting and they all had stories; I mean, I couldn't believe it. I said one hundred people, would you certify--would you sign a letter saying that you have been discriminated--and from there on I was so outraged as the leader. We had to talk--we were working with the NAACP, we had to get permission from the executive board said, "This is the issue. I would like to have a press conference and I would like to denounce all of this." And the folks who had been there for years said, "Well, we have heard of these things, but until you came and really put it all together, we didn't realize it was this widespread." So they gave me permission and we went down and what was so big about this where it go to be a national story and an international story, the employees came out with me to the press conference, and that had never been heard of, where people who worked for the government would come out and fight against the government. And we ended up going back because nothing would happen, each week for three weeks and it grew to 200 employees, stood with me and the NAACP in that third week, and then the lady, the director said, "Yes, we have a problem."$$And was it Bernadine Healy at that time?$$Bernadine Healy. She was one of the few people in all my NAACP history would admit that they were doing something wrong and said, "Yes, we have a problem. We're going to work it out." And it turned out that we helped a lot of those people and it was a great experience. But there was actually a public hearing on Capitol Hill. Congressman Albert Wynn, an African American congressman who rep--$$From Maryland?$$--from Maryland, who now is part of the Congressional Black Caucus, held hearings to talk and called the scientists and doctors in and my statement was, "These guys are not God. They should treat us taxpayers, although, we're working there, as human beings." I remember that statement. And we had some things changed.$So, around the mid to late '90s [1990s], you started becoming involved--you started getting involved in victims' rights issues.$$Yes.$$Tell me a little bit about what spurred your involvement in victims' rights issues.$$When I left the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], I wanted to--I like to call myself a renaissance person. You know, the issues are there, but people see, but they don't know what to do with it. So when it comes to victims, I'm saying, "Well, every day there's a victim in our community and people are saddened by it. They don't know what to do." So I said, "From my experience again, through the church, the NAACP," I said, "What can we do to help them?" So what I thought of, and I got several colleagues to start the Victims' Rights Foundation, a 501(c)(3), a non-profit foundation, is to one, volunteer. Everything we do will be volunteer, that no one will get paid, no matter how busy we are, how widespread that we're known throughout the nation, because people need to know that we care about them, that's why we volunteer. Two, to go to court with the families that are victims when they have to look at for the first time, the person who committed the crime, whether it was someone who murdered their loved one, or someone who abused their child or whatever. And, usually, court dates only go from two to a week. You know, you see on TV these long trials, but for most victims, it's mostly, low income on low income; I wouldn't say black on black 'cause there's all kinds of victims, but those trials don't last that long. So for two days to a week, we would sit with the family and support them during the trial, and that means a lot because usually the family members are only one to three people, but yet, the lawyer has his people and the family, 'cause they're trying to stop the person from going to jail. There might be ten or fifteen on the criminal side, as I call it, but on the victim's side it's just us. And then the third thing, so it's very--there's only three goals in, in the organization, is that we would raise money to help some family members that were desperate for medical or burial on some cases, there might even be a reward that we put out for something that's really bad with crime solving. So in starting that organization, we have been able to help now in eight years we have been volunteering, you know, several dozen families, but we've raised something like a million dollars for help, and we have been to court maybe twenty-five times or so with families over the last eight years with Victims' Rights Foundation.$$But was there any particular case or issue that really initiated this?$$That's a good question, because it was inspired again, I call it divine intervention by God, because I've never been a victim or any one of my immediate family and people ask me that, they're really surprised. I'm blessed, and I'm hoping I won't be a victim or no one in my family, but I can see from just church work what was happening.$$Is it victims of violent crimes?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Because we don't, can't help--because we're volunteering.$$Sure.$$We--strictly, the worst of the crimes. And I have to say, sometimes I pray to God as a God, why do you let me see these things? Because when I go to see a--like a case we're working on now, a mother went to the store and she came back, her nine-year-old daughter was shot in the back and her husband shot several times in a robbery, and I'm dealing with the mother now who's crying almost every time we see her on my shoulder. I say, "Man." and that gets me. Why do you see--but if it wasn't for us helping her, she probably wouldn't be able to make it.$$Right.$$So it's victims of violent crime, and we support them in a volunteer effort.$$But was there any particular case, in particular?$$Oh, now this started--there was one case that you know how everyone says, "I'm going to do something about that?" Three African American women, ages nineteen through twenty-three, went out to a club after work on a Friday night just to have a good time. Some man approached them and evidently, he wanted to try to rob them or try to rape them, but whatever the situation, it didn't work and he killed all three young ladies, nineteen to twenty-three. And the bad part about it, 'cause we had not seen that kind of thing before, he drove them off from where he murdered them, as we now know now because the trial has already happened, and dumped their bodies on the side of a road in Prince George's County, Maryland, and it just so happened it was adjacent to the [U.S.] Department of Agriculture's research building there. And that's when I said, "Boom, somebody has to do something. This is the most horrifying thing we've ever seen." Called our friends, and on that one, we actually raised money to put up a reward. We put up a reward. It was on TV. We counseled the families, and then we went to court with 'em and that started a long campaign now of eight years going.$$And did the reward lead to the arrest of the--$$As it turned out--$$--perpetrator?$$--we could put the money back in the bank. The good detective work helped, but what the reward did was gave it more media attention. It wasn't just another statistic, 'cause after a couple weeks people forget and they move on, but we kept it in the media for--actually, it was about four months. They didn't catch the person 'til about eight months out, actually. And that's what we do also with the media, we keep it alive.

Ann Cooper

Ann Louise Nixon Cooper was born on January 9, 1902 in Shelbyville, Tennessee and attended school in that rural community. After the death of their mother, she and her six siblings were separated, and an aunt raised Ann. In 1922, Ann Nixon married Albert Berry Cooper, a young dentist in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon after, the Coopers moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Dr. Cooper established a highly successful dental practice, and the young couple started their family of four children. Cooper served as a homemaker for most of her life, working briefly in 1923 as a policy writer for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, which had been established in 1905 by African American barber Alonzo Herndon.

Cooper was a vibrant member of Atlanta’s African American elite for more than eighty years. During the first half of the 20th century, she and her husband counted as friends or acquaintances such luminaries as educators W.E.B. Du Bois, Lugenia Burns Hope and John Hope Franklin, Benjamin E. Mays and E. Franklin Frazier. She was an adult eyewitness to life in Georgia during two world wars, the Great Depression, and the efforts of whites to maintain segregation.

Cooper has worked to improve conditions in the African American community for much of her adult life. For more than fifty years, she has served on the board of directors of the Gate City Nursery Association. She was a founder of a Girls Club for African American youth in Atlanta, and in the 1970s, she taught people to read in a tutoring program at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

In 1980, Cooper received a community service award for her activism from Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. In 2002, she was awarded the Annie L. McPheeters Medallion for community service from the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.

The centenarian was the oldest living member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Links, Inc. and had been a member of the Utopian Literary Club since 1948.

On the evening of November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the first African American president of the United States. That night, in his acceptance speech, President-elect Obama mentioned Ann Cooper and stated that her life exemplified the struggle and hope of the African American experience of the 20th and 21st centuries. She saw the changing times from the Depression and the Jim Crow South to new technologies and the election of the first African American United States president.

Cooper passed away on December 21, 2009 at the age of 107.

Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 24, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.035

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/24/2004 |and| 12/8/2005

Last Name

Cooper

Maker Category
Middle Name

Louise

Occupation
First Name

Ann

Birth City, State, Country

Shelbyville

HM ID

COO06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/9/1902

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

12/21/2009

Short Description

Civic activist Ann Cooper (1902 - 2009 ) served on the board of directors of the Gate City Nursery Association for more than fifty years, was a founder of a Girls Club in Atlanta and was the oldest member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Links, Inc.

Employment

Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:11818,150:12682,342:14950,370:18838,481:32488,671:60882,1071:168990,2279:187138,2414:187996,2423:200460,2591:205066,2708:206242,2722:214349,2806:239937,2989:241938,3175:259900,3452$60,0:7404,139:18784,303:19120,308:21808,348:22144,353:40420,579:58084,734:69566,875:80958,1027:83994,1118:84454,1124:89332,1149:92998,1197:93656,1205:106882,1414:109082,1443:109962,1454:124058,1600:126208,1640:130336,1697:131540,1717:132486,1723:132916,1729:134378,1755:140320,1847:154309,2027:166189,2138:168014,2171:185015,2433:185299,2438:185583,2443:185867,2448:186151,2453:189246,2501:190218,2515:190623,2521:191190,2530:198174,2638:203900,2716:205496,2743:207512,2781:207848,2786:211712,2847:218271,2951:253484,3372:260605,3438:262220,3465:264685,3500:265790,3519:269576,3535:271552,3565:272160,3575:306038,4048:308110,4068
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Cooper's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes her husband's roots in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes the fragmentation of her extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper describes her father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences at fairs in Tennessee and movie theaters in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her memories of Gallatin, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her family's experiences at Langley Hall in Gallatin, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about childhood mischief with her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her brother, James Henry Nixon, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes the original namesake of her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper talks about the lives of her sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ann Cooper describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper recalls her father's talent as a shoemaker

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the relationship between whites and blacks in Gallatin, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about leaving home after the death of her mother in 1913

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with organized schooling

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her first meeting with her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her courtship with her future husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her courtship with her future husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia with her husband in the early 1920s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about the homes where she has lived in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes visits from famous African American singers to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about Charlotte Hawkins Brown of the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about her friendship with sociologist E. Franklin Frazier

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper talks about her interactions with W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1940s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about her friendship with Jessie Herndon

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the dance halls in Atlanta, Georgia during the mid-20th century

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her relationship with the Rucker family of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her membership in the Utopian Literary Club

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about John and Lugenia Burns Hope

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper talks about Benjamin E. Mays and Sadie Mays

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with racial discrimination on public transit in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with racial discrimination on public transit in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her volunteer activities at the Gate City Day Nursery

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes her volunteer activities with the Girls' Club of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her tenure as a den mother with the Cub Scouts

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about why history is important

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes nearly drowning as a small child

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper narrates her photographs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Cooper's interview, session two

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper reflects on her process for running meetings

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her mother's origins, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her mother's origins, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her family life during childhood in Bedford County, Tennessee

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's death in 1913

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about her father's death in 1915, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper shares memories of her childhood in Tennessee

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about her father's death in 1915, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper lists her siblings

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her father's extended family

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper talks about her aunt, Joyce Nixon

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her grade school experiences

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the family background of her aunt, Joyce Nixon

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her social surroundings in Nashville, Tennessee during World War I

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes the romantic drama from her early relationship with her husband

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia with her husband

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her father-in-law, a preacher in the A.M.E. church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes her marriage to her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., in 1922

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her involvement with the A.M.E. church in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes looking for her first job in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about working at the Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with the Herndon family

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Ann Cooper describes her experiences with racial discrimination on public transit in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
Ann Cooper describes her volunteer activities with the Girls' Club of Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
If you don't mind moving forward a little bit in time to--back perhaps to the 1950s and the incident on the bus.$$Oh yeah (laughter), yeah, let's see that might have even been after the '50s [1950s]. I was living here [Atlanta, Georgia], and you see there's a trestle right up the street there, and as far as the buses would go would be at that trestle and we were at that time having trolleys, you know the thing controlled by the trolley up there you had to get out and change that trolley to go back in the other direction, so by the time it got out here I would be the last one on there and usually I'd been sitting, when I got on it was crowded and I'm sitting on that side seat, and but when the old trolley man got off to change his trolley and jumped out the front door and I jumped right out behind him. And I was always going to town on--a friend and I caught ourselves having a day off, so I think Tuesday was our day off and I'd just go, and we just go 'cause our day off--and we bought, we'd buy things you know. And my husband [Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.] would always try to kind of keep up with what I'm buying, and by the time we got down here if he beat me home he's down there to see whether I got off, walked up with (laughter), and so I was gonna beat him home that day and I jumped off the trolley right behind the wrong man, though my old man wasn't on there that day, there was a young man on there and so he looked up and said, "Nigger get back on that bus and go out that back door!" (Laughter) See you got on the front, but all black folks had to get out the back door no matter how crowded, you gotta find your way to get out that back door. I thought, what, I'm down on the ground, feet headed this way. I thought, you and who else gonna make me get back on (laughter) you get on that--oh no, I got my feet headed this way, I'm, and I'm trying to beat my husband home (laughter). Anyway, you know any other lady, any lady would have just walked on, but I'm walking on home, now he telling me, "You get!" I thought, I said, "Look, my husband be driving along here in a few minutes." I said, "He catch you meddling with me he'll beat your head to a pulp." (Laughter) He jumped on that (unclear) (laughter). So you felt better doing something like that than you did walking on home after he done told you twice, "Get back on that bus, go out that back door" (laughter), and the next incident that got me, we had about--they tell me now we weren't paying but a nickel I think. You get on there and you could ride all the way down to Rich's [Atlanta, Georgia?] from Davison's [Atlanta, Georgia]. I don't remember how much it was, but when I got on, it was all full. There was that one seat there and the man sitting this way, you know, right behind the driver and there was that seat there. He's sitting there with his feet up on that seat, that side seat. So, I'm looking all around everywhere and didn't see any place, so I thought when I sat down he'd just move his feet, but I sat down and he said, "Nigger don't sit down in front of me." I said, "Oh you great white man," (laughter) and I got up and I said, "you sit there," you know, then he'd be sitting in front of me. "Oh, baby come on back here you can have my seat," all the colored folks you know sitting all the way back, "you can have my seat." I said, "No, let him move. He don't want me sitting in front of--" (laughter), so no he ain't gonna move.$That [Gate City Day Nursery Association, Atlanta, Georgia] went on and on and did well, and then they asked me to come on the committee to make plans for a black Girls Club. And the man who was head of the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association] called us together for that. So one friend who was on this board of Gate City with me, we answered that call and they--all these projects were getting up, apartments were just getting started, so there was a Grady Homes [Atlanta, Georgia] place over there. We took on a--the girls, you know, being left at home alone and getting attacked and all that sort of thing, we took on, I took on this auxiliary and we organized and finally got things going. We were into the United Way, not, that what used to be the, what did we call it first, not United Way, but it was--what was the organization that you could get all these help from? Community Chest, maybe (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Community Chest.$$Well anyway we got in touch with different people and a Mr. [Walter H.] Kessler who ran the Kessler department store [Kessler's, Atlanta, Georgia], was one of our board members. He gave us the first one thousand, I believe he gave us eleven hundred dollars to qualify to get into the United Way, and then he and his son served, we all would be on that board and we did everything. I'd bring the little girls out here and have graduation parties for 'em and they went from--first out of elementary school. We didn't have all of these middle schools and everything then. And my chapter of The Links [Incorporated] would give me gifts for--and make gifts for them as they graduated. That went well for the longest, then they decided they'd make us integrate. White women built a club out there on Donnelly Avenue. So, when they made us integrate and we went out there, well they took all their white girls away, you know, so (laughter), and they had--the women always said when they got all these things going if it got going and we took in men or white women and all that, they'd take it away from them, they'd lose all the credit, so sure enough they got in there and somebody would have the--a president of a bank or something, president of the Grady Homes [Community] Girls Club [Atlanta, Georgia]. Well, when they made us integrate they fussed, now who gonna be the executive director, should it be white or colored. We fought and fought and we finally got a lady to come down here from Chicago [Illinois] to be president. She didn't know anything about what all that was about, so of course they had to let her go on back about her business, so then we had no fight any longer, the white woman would take it and we learned after it was all settled that it was--the woman who took it was the wife of the man who'd been running the Boys Club all the time. So, you know that was a national thing, Girls and Boys Clubs [sic. Boys & Girls Clubs of America]. It wasn't the Girls Club, a black girls' club. So, when we knew anything, they had joined. It's not Boys Club and Girls Club, it's Boys and Girls Club, so of course then they, nobody was using this building out here on Donnelly, they had us going over to a little place over there on Edgewood Avenue, so tight over there, no parking and I thought well--and then we had a white man president of all of it, so I gave that up, but we had put on some wonderful programs for those girls. But, I gave that up, and the other woman who had worked with me, I had brought her in, she worked for the gas company, Gladys Powell was her name. I think she's out there, and she came in, you know we taught those girls a lot 'cause we were in one to one with them, and I'd say I'd bring 'em out here, bring 'em out here to Mozley Park [Atlanta, Georgia] and we'd put on carnivals and I, well we did everything to raise a little money. That's when my husband [Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.] would fuss about I wouldn't be at home at night. I'd go have a party and I got to chaperone that and so (laughter), but those are the things that I'd spent my time doing.

David R. Duerson

Former NFL player-turned-business owner David Duerson was born in Muncie, Indiana, on November 28, 1960. After graduating from Northside High School in Muncie, Duerson began his promising football career at the University of Notre Dame. Duerson spent the summers from 1979 to 1981 working as a law clerk in Miami, Florida, and during the summer of 1982, he served as legislative aide to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar. Duerson graduated from Notre Dame with a B.S. degree in economics in 1983.

Following graduation, Duerson joined the Chicago Bears, where he played from 1983 to 1989, earning his first Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XX. In 1990, he joined the New York Giants, and that year the Giants won Super Bowl XXV. He then went on to play for the Phoenix Cardinals from 1991 to 1993. After leaving the NFL, Duerson decided to go into business through franchise ownership. He attended McDonald's Corporation's Hamburger University and in 1994 bought three McDonald's restaurants in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky. Selling his franchises in 1995, Duerson became president and CEO of Fair Oaks Farms, one of the primary suppliers of sausage to McDonald's and a number of other companies with an international distribution arm to Japan, Singapore, Turkey and Kuwait. Under his leadership, sales grew from $38 million in 1998 to $63.4 million in 2001. That same year, he earned an executive M.B.A. from Harvard University's Owners and Presidents Management Program.

In 2002, Duerson started Duerson Foods, providing pork and turkey sausage products to corporations such as Burger King, White Castle and SYSCO.

Duerson has earned a number of honors over the years, including being named two-time All-American at Notre Dame and the 1987 NFL Man of the Year. He serves on the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees and as chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Chicago Chapter. He is also active with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, serving as a national trustee. Duerson and his wife, Alicia, have four children.

Duerson passed away on February 17, 2011.

Duerson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 28, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.210

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/28/2003

Last Name

Duerson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Russell

Schools

Longfellow Elementary School

Oliver W. Storer Junior High School

Northside High School

University of Notre Dame

Harvard University

Northside Middle School

Storer Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Muncie

HM ID

DUE01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Florida, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Never Be Satisfied.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/28/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish, Raw Oysters

Death Date

2/17/2011

Short Description

Football player and corporate chief executive David R. Duerson (1960 - 2011 ) is a former NFL player who is now CEO and owner of Duerson foods, sausage maker to Burger King and others.

Employment

Chicago Bears

New York Giants

Phoenix Cardinals

McDonald's Corporation

Fair Oaks Farms, LLC

Duerson Foods, LLC

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:0,101:10434,359:10878,364:11174,369:15836,378:16478,385:21850,432:22150,437:22600,443:25995,532:26335,537:27100,550:28885,577:29820,602:30160,607:32580,619:33560,635:34120,641:34540,649:34890,655:36990,702:37340,708:39580,716:43780,782:46880,818:47480,832:50086,844:50350,849:51010,861:51274,866:56200,942:56480,947:57110,956:57740,966:58020,972:58440,979:58860,986:59350,996:61100,1029:62220,1049:74937,1251:78107,1278:81422,1313:83222,1361:83942,1374:88886,1426:89700,1454:90144,1461:90588,1466:91254,1489:92290,1506:94066,1580:95620,1616:105436,1703:105744,1708:108978,1779:109363,1785:110903,1818:111211,1823:114230,1831:114926,1856:115274,1861:117623,1942:118058,1948:121048,1960$0,0:230,44:990,57:5474,125:6082,135:6994,150:8058,160:17322,282:18224,295:19536,311:20110,321:22078,350:24538,392:25358,404:26096,416:27244,433:27736,440:30830,452:31934,478:35706,527:36258,534:37638,557:39110,577:43950,639:44405,650:47980,735:48500,744:50060,773:50515,786:50775,791:51425,806:52205,822:55770,832:57722,880:58027,885:58393,892:62300,944:62860,956:63140,961:65030,1008:69664,1054:70246,1062:71022,1076:71507,1081:72574,1093:72962,1098:81726,1216:81998,1221:88090,1393:91333,1460:91954,1473:93817,1510:94438,1520:95749,1544:96025,1549:96508,1557:100764,1571:106455,1629:106755,1634:107505,1641:108030,1649:108630,1660:109305,1671:109755,1677:112980,1763:116055,1856:116355,1861:123786,1903:125861,1937:126691,1952:127189,1968:128019,1977:129679,2007:132252,2047:132750,2054:136402,2124:141392,2153:141861,2161:142196,2167:149364,2307:151732,2366:152028,2371:155876,2481:157208,2503:158762,2531:165198,2605:166150,2628:168122,2669:168598,2678:169414,2693:169754,2699:170298,2710:170842,2721:171182,2727:171590,2734:178902,2821:179218,2826:181430,2882:187048,2940
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Duerson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Duerson's favorites

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Duerson discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Duerson relates his family's history after the U.S. Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Duerson describes his father's career successes

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Duerson remembers his hometown of Muncie, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Duerson discusses his mother's life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Duerson recalls the Duerson family's interstate travels

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Duerson discusses recreation in Muncie, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Duerson describes his childhood shenanigans

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Duerson recalls his early sports achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Duerson details his early educational experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Duerson remembers influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Duerson remembers his high school years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Duerson describes his national and international travel during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Duerson details his high school athletic accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Duerson remembers his college years at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Duerson discusses his continued involvement with the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Duerson recalls Notre Dame teammates and their athletic exploits

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Duerson explains why he chose football over baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Duerson discusses some unexpected setbacks in his professional football career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Duerson remembers 'Papa Bear' George Halas and Bears teammates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Duerson recalls his clashes with Bears defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Duerson details how he learned to handle Buddy Ryan's racism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Duerson reveals the inner workings of the Chicago Bears coaching staff

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Duerson describes his teammate, Bears quarterback Jim McMahon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Duerson describes Buddy Ryan's coaching skills

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Duerson remembers the end of his career with the Chicago Bears

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Duerson discusses his career after the Chicago Bears

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
David Duerson remembers 'Papa Bear' George Halas and Bears teammates
David Duerson describes Buddy Ryan's coaching skills
Transcript
Let's talk about the [Chicago] Bears [National Football League team] and when you got to the Bears. This is, what, what did you know about [coach] Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears. I think George Halas [owner of Chicago Bears] was still alive, wasn't he? 'Papa Bear' was still alive.$$(Simultaneously) George, 'Papa Bear', in fact, he was alive. He passed away that year, my rookie season. Chicago [Illinois] was a short sprint from South Bend. So the four years I was at [University of] Notre Dame [South Bend, Indiana], we'd come over on some Sundays and, and watch the Bears plays. And it was very easy to get tickets to Bear games back in those days because they were, were sorry. They were quite sorry. What I knew of Mike Ditka is that, is that he was a tough guy and that he had just drafted this, this small, middle linebacker, Mike Singletary, that nobody expected a whole lot from and that, you know, but it was a, it was a city that, on defensive side, always talked about its linebackers, but as far as I was concerned, it was a city of, of Gary Fencik and Doug Plank [Chicago Bears players]. And so--.$$Those are two hard-hittin' safeties.$$(Simultaneous) Two very, very hard-hitting' safeties, and, you know, with an incredible reputation. Growing up in Indiana, we got both the, the Bear games and the Cincinnati [Ohio] Bengals. Those were the two teams we saw. So my wife and I, as we were driving across the [Chicago] Skyway coming into Chicago, you know, I'm reporting to the city, and we're looking at the skyline, and I said, "Baby, you see that? Some day we're gonna own this like, like Gary Fencik and Doug Plank." And so I show up at training--at mini-camp. And my very first day, you know, Ditka embraced me and, you know, I was one of his draft picks. Well, I came to find out very quickly that I was [Bears coach] Mike Ditka and Jim Finks's pick. But I was not [Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator] Buddy Ryan's pick.$[Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Buddy] Ryan is, was quite a character as you've already said--,$$Um-hum.$$--but do you, would you consider him a defensive genius at some point?$$Yeah, I would. I, I absolutely considered Buddy a defensive genius. That's without question. He designed and created the '46 Defense', which it was the 46 in that, that was the number that Doug Plank wore, because the defense was designed for the strong safety and, which, of course, was the position I played in the 46. So done right, the strong safety is gonna be the centerpiece of that defense. And certainly, you know, it was genius for Buddy to design the defense, but in order for it to be effective, because he had designed it when he was actually coaching under Weeb Eubanks, with the New York Jets. But the defense was not effective because you had to have two things. You had to have bright players who could understand the X's and O's and be able to, to make multiple shifts before the snap of a ball, and they had to be talented athletically. And it just so happened that that combination came together in '83 [1983], '84 [1984], '85 [1985] with the Chicago Bears. As I said before, I played with ten other, or nine other All-Pros. So it was easy for Dave Duerson to go to the Pro Bowl [National Football League all-star game]. I just simply had to do my job, and if everybody else did their job, there were enough accolades to go around. But then, of course, when Buddy left, Vince Tobin took over as defensive coordinator. And I had even greater success in my career under Vince Tobin. So, so we can't give Buddy too much credit because again, the talent was there with our ball club. But when Buddy left, and after the end of the, of the '85 [1985] season and went to Philly [Philadelphia Eagles football team], we played the, the Eagles the next year in '86 [1986]. And from a defensive perspective, I beat Buddy Ryan by myself. I did things that day that, to this day I cannot explain. I freaked. I did, I had interceptions, I forced fumbles. I had two sacks. And I'll never forget, the game went into overtime. And I grabbed our special teams coach, Steve Kazor, and I told him, I'm, I'm going down on, on the kickoff team. I wasn't even on the kickoff team. And so Steve saw this crazy look in my eyes, he said, "Okay, great, go in at the five position." And so, you know, so I went in and I took some guy out. I don't remember who it was. And on the kickoff, Kevin Butler kicks off, I went down; the return man grabs the ball. I explode into him. He went one way, and the ball went another. We recover. Immediately, Kevin Butler goes onto the field, kicks a field goal, game over. And Buddy Ryan's crying, and that was my vindication. So never had to say a word, beating, simply with work ethic. And at the end of the day, I never had to say a word, and he was the one who broke down--not Dave Duerson.

Roscoe C. Brown

Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., was born March 9,1922, in Washington, D.C. Brown was the youngest of two children, his father working as a public health specialist and his mother as a teacher. After graduating from Springfield College in 1943, Brown joined the Air Force, where he served as one of the Tuskegee Airmen. During World War II, he served as a squadron commander and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Returning after the war in 1946, Brown attended New York University, where he earned an M.A. in 1949 and a Ph.D. in 1951.

Before Brown earned his master's degree, he worked as a social investigator with the New York City Department of Welfare and as an instructor in physical education at West Virginia State College until 1948. While working on his doctorate in 1950, he became the director of the Institute of Afro-American Affairs and a professor of education at New York University, where he remained for the next twenty-seven years. In 1977, Brown was named president of Bronx Community College, a part of the City University of New York (CUNY), and continued there until 1993. Brown served as director of the Center for Urban Education Policy at the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY.

Brown was active with a number of organizations, including more than thirty years of service to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He was also active with the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Libraries for the Future, among many others. Brown was also a founding member of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Active in the media, as well, Brown hosted the television program, African American Legends, and he won the 1973 Emmy Award for Distinguished Program with his weekly series Black Arts. He published numerous articles and contributed to several books, and was the recipient of numerous awards, including the New York City Treasure Centennial Honor from the Museum of the City of New York and the Humanitarian Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Brown also completed nine New York City marathons. He had four children.

Brown passed away on July 2, 2016 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2003.215

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/16/2003

Last Name

Brown

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Springfield College

New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Roscoe

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BRO15

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sag Harbor in Long Island, New York

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/9/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Death Date

7/2/2016

Short Description

Academic administrator and tuskegee airman Roscoe C. Brown (1922 - 2016 ) was the Director of Urban Education Policy at CUNY.

Employment

New York City Department of Social Welfare

West Virginia State College

New York University

Bronx Community College, CUNY

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:726,12:6996,199:8184,218:8778,229:9768,252:31645,512:32602,526:33037,532:33385,537:36256,584:39301,632:39736,638:40084,643:46636,762:49524,816:53248,882:65152,1047:65768,1058:66076,1063:66769,1076:67077,1081:70003,1125:82301,1329:87554,1376:95240,1456:96197,1469:98285,1517:101765,1581:120744,1769:123984,1819:124308,1824:128694,1863:129064,1869:131704,1901:132052,1906:132487,1912:135302,1944:136182,1953:138294,1992:144150,2042:144950,2055:145350,2062:149940,2147$0,0:560,13:840,18:1400,28:2100,41:2380,46:2660,51:3290,62:3570,67:15982,228:16598,237:20294,334:30888,509:31240,514:33968,590:44000,728:58145,890:60770,948:61895,966:66020,1038:66470,1045:67070,1055:72838,1151:73510,1159:76120,1186:76546,1194:77043,1202:78108,1221:78463,1227:78818,1233:79244,1240:81232,1290:83480,1307
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roscoe C. Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roscoe C. Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roscoe C. Brown describes the class distinctions within the African American community in Washington, D.C. during the 1920s and 1930s

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his father's work in the National Negro Health Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his father's work in the National Negro Health Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roscoe C. Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his mother's activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about the expectations for himself and his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about 'Amos 'n' Andy' and other shows based on stereotypes

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Roscoe C. Brown describes his childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about how his childhood was structured and remembers family activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roscoe C. Brown describes his family trips to the South

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roscoe C. Brown recalls his time at Blanche K. Bruce Elementary School in Washington, D.C. and a childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his childhood membership to the 12th Street YMCA in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roscoe C. Brown describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his father's prominence as a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Black Cabinet

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about attending Camp Atwater

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about summer camps attended by African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his activities at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and entering Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Roscoe C. Brown describes the competitive academic environment at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his father and other African Americans in the Black Cabinet under President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his experience at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about black student enrollment at Oberlin College and Springfield College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about why he began playing lacrosse

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his experience in Springfield, Massachusetts during college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about attending summer military camp

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roscoe C. Brown remembers his post-secondary studies and his interest in merging teaching and health

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Roscoe C. Brown recalls enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Forces

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Roscoe C. Brown explains the Tuskegee Airmen's most significant contribution to World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Roscoe C. Brown remembers several missions completed by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Roscoe C. Brown remembers several missions completed by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roscoe C. Brown considers the source of his professional ambitions

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roscoe C. Brown recalls being discriminated against as he applied for a job after returning home from service in World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his career trajectory after exiting the service and earning his Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about completing his Ph.D. degree at New York University and the birth of his twin sons in 1951

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roscoe C. Brown recalls prominent African Americans in New York and at New York University in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about leveraging the murder of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to boost black student enrollment at New York University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about the decrease in black professors at New York University since his time there

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about the number of black alumni from New York University as compared to those from HBCUs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about developing curriculum on African American history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roscoe C. Brown recalls how he became president of Bronx Community College in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roscoe C. Brown details the history of community colleges

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about trends in higher education

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roscoe C. Brown describes the work that needs to be done to improve higher education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about coalition politics

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his writing and describes the Negro Almanac

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roscoe C. Brown talks about his black culture quiz and the necessity of context beyond stand-alone facts

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Roscoe C. Brown describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Roscoe C. Brown reflects upon the factors that contributed to his success

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Roscoe C. Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Roscoe C. Brown reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roscoe C. Brown narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$2

DATitle
Roscoe C. Brown remembers several missions completed by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, pt.2
Roscoe C. Brown recalls being discriminated against as he applied for a job after returning home from service in World War II
Transcript
The mission that got you the notoriety, can you just describe what happen--$$The Berlin [Germany] mission that's--$$The Berlin mission, right.$$That's the longest mission of the Fifteenth [U.S.] Air Force, 1,600 miles roundtrip, from Southern Italy to Berlin and return. And it was toward the end of the war, and we were given the assignment along with several other fighter groups of escorting the B-17s over, over Berlin. And when we got close to Berlin, I was leading my squadron, and I saw some jet planes streaking up, which were about a hundred miles faster than ours. And I said to my pilots who were with me to drop your extra fuel tanks so we can get maneuverability and follow me. So I turned upside down and went down--the bombers were here--went down under the bombers with my pilots here. The jets were coming in over here, and they made a hard right turn. And I climbed up, and I got the jet just as he was about to shoot down the bomber plane. The jet blew up, and he bailed out. And my wingman faced a couple of other guys down, shot them down, and we shot down the first three jets over Berlin. And that allowed us to win the Presidential Unit Citation. That's, that's a highlight mission of the Tuskegee Airmen. Tuskegee Airmen also had some other fabulous missions. We're the only fighter group to blow up a Destroyer with fighter planes. They were coming back from a mission, and they were flying I think B-20--B-47s. And they shot at this Destroyer, and it so happened they hit the magazine, and the plane blew up, it blew it. We also had great missions to Athens. We liberated the Athens' air, airbase. We probably shot up every, every airbase in Europe, in Southern Europe. We had a tre--tremendous record. We had one ace, Lee Archer, who's my best friend today. He shot down five planes. And Clarence Lester shot down three planes. And Harry Stewart shot down three planes. And we altogether shot down 111 planes. We destroyed about 120 on the ground, and had this outstanding combat record of never having lost a bomber that we were escorting to enemy fighters. That's really what we're known for.$But what I'm also saying is that you did have your minutes of fame when you returned, right?$$They were very short because my, my favorite story is that when I got back I was going to try to fly in the airlines before I went to graduate school. And I went to Eastern Air Lines on 5th, 5th Avenue [New York, New York] and filled this application with all of my hours and so on. And as I was going out the door, I had forgotten a New York Times I had brought with me. I was looking at the want ads, and so I went back to get the Times, and the secretary, white secretary, was throwing the application in the waste basket. And her face got red, and she said, "I'm sorry, we don't hire Negroes here." So my--(unclear)--welcome back to the good old U.S.A. So you can't get too high when, you know, the rest of the world--see, you can be high inside, but you realize the mountain you still have yet to climb. And that's why I became active in the American Veterans Association [ph.], which was the, the liberal veterans organization. I became active in politics, the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], and the Henry Wallace campaign, and the, and the unions, because that's the way you bring about social change. You, you can't bring about social change just by yourself.