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David Levering Lewis

Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Levering Lewis was born on May 25, 1936, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Lewis’s father, Yale educated theologian John Henry Lewis, Sr., was the principal of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and his mother was a high school math teacher. After attending parochial school in Little Rock, Lewis went to Wilberforce Preparatory School and Xenia High School, both in Ohio. Moving to Atlanta, Georgia, Lewis attended Booker T. Washington High School until he was admitted to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, on a four year Ford Foundation Early Entrants scholarship. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Fisk University in 1956, Lewis then attended the University of Michigan Law School, but eventually earned his M.A. degree in history from Columbia University in 1959. Lewis earned his Ph.D. degree in modern European and French history from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1962.

After serving in the United States Army, Lewis lectured on medieval history at the University of Ghana in 1963. Lewis taught at Howard University, Cornell University, the University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and the University of California, San Diego, before joining Rutgers University in 1985 as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Professor of History. In 2003, Lewis was appointed Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University.

Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of W.E.B. DuBois, Lewis also won the Bancroft Prize and the Francis Parkman Prize. Lewis received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation; the American Philosophical Society; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Lewis also served as a trustee of the National Humanities Center; the commissioner of the National Portrait Gallery; and a former senator of Phi Beta Kappa. A former president of the Society of American Historians (2002-2003), Lewis serves on the board of the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine.

Accession Number

A2005.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/10/2005 |and| 6/9/2005 |and| 4/17/2007

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Levering

Schools

Wilberforce Preparatory School, Xenia High School

Xeina High School

Fisk University

London School of Economics

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

LEW07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Del Sol, Spain

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/25/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb

Short Description

Historian and history professor David Levering Lewis (1936 - ) is Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of W.E.B. DuBois.

Employment

Howard University

University of Ghana

University of California San Diego

New York University

Rutgers University

University of the District of Columbia

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Levering Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis describes his mother's college experience

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Levering Lewis describes his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Levering Lewis describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis shares his family's experience of the 1906 Atlanta riot

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis describes his father's role in advocating for equal teachers' salaries in Little Rock

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis recalls his childhood neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis remembers learning to read late

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis remembers losing a friend due to segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis recalls his childhood in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis recalls living in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis recalls his education Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis remembers his acceptance to Nashville's Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis names his schools

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes choosing Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis remembers the faculty at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis remembers the speakers and culture at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis remembers being almost expelled from Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis remembers studying at the College of Wooster in Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis remembers his Phi Beta Kappa induction at Fisk University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis remembers applying to law school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis remembers attending the University of Michigan Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes his graduate school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis remembers a trip with his father and his father's death

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes attending the London School of Economics

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis remembers his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis explains why he traveled to Ghana

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of David Levering Lewis' interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis shares memories from his childhood

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes teaching at the University of Ghana

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis recalls the atmosphere at the University of Ghana

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes the political climate of Ghana in the early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes the United States' involvement in Ghana's 1965 coup

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis describes returning to the United States in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis describes his visits to West African countries

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David Levering Lewis recalls traveling between Ghana and the Ivory Coast

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David Levering Lewis describes teaching at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis describes meeting his wife and his mother's death

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis describes teaching at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes writing his biography of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes the reception of 'King: A Critical Biography'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes the FBI's surveillance of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes his admiration for Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis recalls leaving Morgan College for Federal City College

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis remembers historian Benjamin A. Quarles

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis remembers his plan to write 'Prisoners of Honor'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis recalls his son's medical diagnosis and working in France

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis recalls the reception of 'Prisoners of Honor'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes his argument in 'When Harlem Was in Vogue'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis remembers gaining access to Alain Locke's letters

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis reflects upon the organization of the Harlem Renaissance

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis describes the Dunbar News

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis describes his book on the history of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis remembers the reception to 'When Harlem Was in Vogue'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes difficult times in his personal life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes his time at the University of California, San Diego

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis recalls his research trip to Ethiopia and Sudan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes his book 'Race to Fashoda'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis remembers returning to Howard University

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis remembers the genesis of his biography on W.E.B. Du Bois, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis remembers the genesis of his biography on W.E.B. Du Bois, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis remembers researching W.E.B. Du Bois in the Soviet Union

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes his time in the Soviet Union

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes interviewing members of W.E.B. Du Bois' family

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' romantic relationships

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis shares biographical details about W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis remembers meeting W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' early development

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of David Levering Lewis' interview, session 3

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' time at Harvard University

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis talks about William Monroe Trotter

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' studies in Germany

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes academia's response to W.E.B. Du Bois' dissertation

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' temperament

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' 'The Philadelphia Negro'

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' legacy in social science

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' 'The Souls of Black Folk'

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' development throughout his life

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis describes changes in W.E.B. Du Bois' position on economics

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' split with the NAACP

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' 'Black Reconstruction in America'

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes W.E.B. Du Bois' eccentricities

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes the end of W.E.B. Du Bois' life

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis reflects upon W.E.B. Du Bois' place in educational curricula

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis describes his book, 'God's Crucible'

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis remembers being in Morocco during 9/11

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis talks about the history of Islam, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis talks about the history of Islam, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis talks about Charlemagne's invasion of Al-Andalus

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis describes the inspiration for his book 'God's Crucible'

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes his book 'God's Crucible'

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis describes religious polarization in 11th century Europe

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - David Levering Lewis talks about the Moors

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - David Levering Lewis describes his position at New York University

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - David Levering Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - David Levering Lewis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - David Levering Lewis reflects upon his life

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - David Levering Lewis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - David Levering Lewis talks about his family

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - David Levering Lewis describes his plans for the future

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - David Levering Lewis reflects upon the significance of his childhood pet

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$9

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
David Levering Lewis describes his visits to West African countries
David Levering Lewis shares biographical details about W.E.B. Du Bois
Transcript
Oh, I should mention by the way, that while I was in Ghana [at the University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana], I didn't spend the entire time in Ghana. And during one of the, those long breaks that the British academic calendar permits, I went off to Liberia and the Ivory Coast [Cote d'Ivoire] and a little bit of Mali in a Volkswagen with a Dutch colleague. And that was quite interesting, to see Liberia when it too was undergoing a great deal of superficial prosperity. I've forgotten the exact consolation and causes, but the Liberians finally had money to kind of dust off their, their old capital in Monrovia [Liberia]. And I remember that Van Dantzig [Albert Van Dantzig], and I, as we approached Monrovia, there was this skyscraper, sort of Trump-like, rising out of the, out of the savannah. What's this? We pull up, and a Frenchman comes out. And we break into French, and he says, "Would you like to see what we are doing?" Chandeliers, gold gilt, satin, everything--what, what was this? Well, this was to be the new presidential palace and also sort of parliament, everything would, would take place there, at no consideration for capital outlay well, so that was, that was kind of interesting, 'cause when you got into the town, the monies had not begun to seep down yet into the, the neighborhoods, the typical story, all too typical. And the bishop of, the A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] bishop of Liberia was a student of my father's [John H. Lewis], and so we were welcomed and got a lot of the, the local gossip. And then we went on to Ivory Coast where we, we couldn't stay in the grand hotel, Ivoire [Hotel Ivoire; Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire], with its, with its ice skating rink and its five-star restaurant, and it's elegant French-speaking francophone staff. We stayed in the, sort of the ghetto. What was it called? I don't remember now. But it was an extraordinary experience because they had recreated Paris [France] in, in, in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. And the back, the Africans were in the front offices, but in the back offices the French were (laughter), were still running things, and, and, and repatriating huge sums of money because the Ivory Coast was one of the richest little countries in the world because of its cocoa monopoly. And so you thought well, you know, this won't, someday this will come to an end because what is happening is that a service class of very Europeanized people in a kind of artificial Golconda is being created. But, you know, the whole business of upward mobility, as ambitions grow, as people see what they're not benefiting from, they would have been quite happy if they didn't know what the others were having and that that would be problematic, and then too, of course, there were tribal fishers in Abidjan that you didn't have in--I mean in, in the Ivory Coast you didn't have in Ghana. We drove to the presidential palace compound outside Abidjan, Houphouet-Boigny [Felix Houphouet-Boigny], and he had just begun to lay the foundations for what would be, of course, the world's largest basilica [Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire], the Catholic basilica there that dwarfs St. Peter's [St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City]. And that again, you wondered if, how, how Catholic do you have to be to think that this is the best way to, to manage your GNP or GDP? So, and then in Guinea, where we were at, Sekou Toure [Ahmed Sekou Toure] was running things, and there you had a very different attitude. But you didn't have any prosperity at all because, of course, the French had embargoed everything, and so, he was--and his regime dependent on, on the Soviet Union. So all that was a, a quick impressionistic canvas of Africa in the mid-'60s [1960s].$What I found else about Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois] was simply that to be a genius, you really do have to work hard. And his, the organization of his life is quite fabulous. He got up at a certain time, and he went to bed at 10:00 without exception, the rest of his life, 10:00. If he found himself on a dais here in New York [New York] at town hall, and somebody is blabbering on when he's supposed to speak at 9:15, at 10 to 10, he would look at his pocket watch, and ostentatiously stand up, and walk off the platform. So people knew that if you have Du Bois here, all the bills comes later; let him, let him speak. And he was always a marvelous speaker, not emotional at all, but quite crisp and, and cogent. So he gets up. And I can't remember the order of the things now, but some much, so many hours are devoted to correspondence, so many hours to reading fiction, and the rest to research and, and writing. And he--I found rolls of an outline in blocks of everything he would do that month, and he did. So that--and yet there was a time for women, (laughter) a time for other things. The, this, the schematization of the life was a tour de force. So, on the other hand, the economy, he never wrote long letters, almost never, unless the letter was a policy letter, and so, and so that presents an imbalance in the correspondence. If he's writing to a woman he deeply loves, it's "Madam, as you know, I think well of you and, and plan to see you at this restaurant at 10:00 on Tuesday, November 10th. I hope you will present yourself there" (laughter), something like that. I'm caricaturing somewhat, but not by a lot. And the letter from the woman would be far more human, to be sure, so that if you looked at only Du Bois writing to people with whom he was emotionally engaged, you might miss that unless you paid attention to those letters and response, which are not always in the same box of course.$$Yeah, yeah, that, that's, that's interesting that we are known by not just what we do but how others respond to us.$$Right, yep.$$Right.

Lonnie Bunch

Historian and educator Lonnie G. Bunch was born November 18, 1952, in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Belleville High School in 1970, Bunch enrolled in Howard University and later transferred to the American University in Washington, D.C. Bunch stayed at American, earning his B.A. degree in 1974; his M.A. degree in 1976; and his Ph.D. in 1979. Bunch's degrees were in the fields of American and African American history.

While working on his doctorate, Bunch went to work for the Smithsonian Institution as an educator and historian. After earning his Ph.D., Bunch took a position with the University of Massachusetts as a professor of history, where he remained until 1983. Crossing the country, Bunch became the founding curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles in 1983, and remained there until 1989. From there Bunch went on to become the associate director for curatorial affairs at the National Museum of American History, a position he retained until 2000. In 2001, Bunch became the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the oldest history museums in the nation.

Bunch published numerous books and magazine articles on topics ranging from African American history to cultural experiences in Japan. Bunch served as a trustee of the American Association of Museums and the Council of the American Association of State & Local History, and was a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Bunch was later appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House.

Accession Number

A2003.212

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

9/5/2003

Last Name

Bunch

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Belleville High School

American University

Howard University

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Lonnie

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

BUN01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Never believe your own clippings.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/18/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers

Short Description

Museum chief executive and curator Lonnie Bunch (1952 - ) was the founding curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Bunch later served as the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of American History, the president of the Chicago Historical Society, and on the Commission for the Preservation of the White House.

Employment

Smithsonian Institute

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

California Afro-American Museum

National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution

Chicago Historical Society

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lonnie Bunch interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his father's origins and career choices

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch talks about the origins of his family name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch talks about his mother and his parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his earliest memories of Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch recalls the sights, smells and sounds of Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch remembers his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch describes his upbringing and parents' influence

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the cultural composition of his hometown, Belleville, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the role of religion in his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch remembers episodes from his all-white elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his family's approach to racism

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch remembers conversations with his family members

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch reflects on the cultural exclusion of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch describes his childhood personality and interests

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch shares his early memories of baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch remembers his junior high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lonnie Bunch remembers historical events from the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his exposure to black culture as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Lonnie Bunch recalls an early interracial love interest, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch recalls an early interracial love interest, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the Italian influence in his hometown

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch remembers influential people from his early life

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his experience at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the leadership of Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch remembers the students of Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch discusses activism at Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch describes color prejudice at Howard University in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lonnie Bunch discusses Howard University's history department in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch describes his father's mentoring of neighborhood children on higher education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch considers the long tradition of black historians

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch considers the history and African American studies disciplines

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his literary pursuits during college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his early scholarly interests

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to transfer from Howard University to American University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his decision to attend graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the role of mentoring in his graduate studies

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch describes his early professional years at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the African American presence in museum exhibitions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch considers his role as a historian

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch discusses becoming a professor at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch becomes the curator of the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch remembers the originators of the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lonnie Bunch describes his approach to the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his first book project 'Black Angelenos: The Afro-American in Los Angeles, 1850-1950'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his initiatives as founding curator of the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch reflects on his research methodology

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch compares regional black communities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his appointment at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch describes diversity at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his early projects as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses his role in and the positive effects of a Smithsonian exhibition in Japan

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the impact of the Smithsonian Institution's slavery exhibition

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch discusses invaluable knowledge contained in the WPA slave narratives

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch comments on the issue of reparations for slavery

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch recalls his proudest moments at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch explains his move from the Smithsonian Institution to the Chicago Historical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lonnie Bunch describes his plans for the Chicago Historical Society

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lonnie Bunch discusses the evolution of studies in public history

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lonnie Bunch describes the role of urban history

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Lonnie Bunch considers the past, present and future of African American studies

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Lonnie Bunch contemplates integration's potential

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Lonnie Bunch offers his concerns for the black community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Lonnie Bunch considers his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his parents and grandparents in Woodland, North Carolina, 1954

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's mother and father in their Belleville, New Jersey home, early 1960s

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's paternal grandmother, Leanna Brodie-Bunch

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's oldest daughter, Katie Elizabeth Bunch

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter Sarah Maria Bunch, Herndon, Virginia, ca. 1997

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his brother and father, Belleville, New Jersey, ca. 1961

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch and his wife, Maria Marable Bunch, on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, France, 1995

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's paternal great-great-grandfather, Robert Lee Brodie, Neuse, North Carolina, 1959

Tape: 8 Story: 15 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's great-great-great-grandmother, Jane Dunn, Neuse, North Carolina, 1913

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with colleagues from the American Festival, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1993

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with others at the exhibition, 'The Black Olympians: 1904-1984', Los Angeles, California, June, 1984

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's parents and daughters at Christmastime, Oak Park, Illinois, December, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, vacationing in San Diego, California, August, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, in her soccer uniform, Oak Park, Illinois, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, playing soccer in Manchester, England, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife and daughter taking a break from vacationing in Tijuana, Mexico, August, 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, on a visit to Taos, New Mexico, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, Santa Barbara, California, ca. 1985-1986

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, and daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, San Francisco, California, 1986

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Katherine Elizabeth Bunch on her high school graduation day, Herndon, Virginia, June, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, on vacation in Kona, Hawaii, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, and daughter, Sarah Maria Bunch, Oak Park, Illinois, ca. 2003

Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's wife and daughters in New York, New York, December, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's daughters, Sarah Maria Bunch and Katherine Elizabeth Bunch, Oak Park, Illinois, December, 2002

Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his wife and children on a visit to Frederick Douglass's home in Washington, D.C., 1991

Tape: 9 Story: 17 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with members of his staff from the Smithsonian Institution on a visit to Tokyo, Japan, 1992

Tape: 9 Story: 18 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with his wife, Maria Marable-Bunch, Tyson's Corner, Virginia, 1999

Tape: 9 Story: 19 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch with other members of the Accreditation Council of the American Association of Museums, Washington, D.C., 1999

Tape: 9 Story: 20 - Photo - Lonnie Bunch's mother, Montrose Boone Bunch's extended family at a reunion in Norfolk, Virginia, 1998

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DATitle
Lonnie Bunch explains his decision to attend Howard University
Lonnie Bunch discusses the African American presence in museum exhibitions
Transcript
Why not Shaw [University, Raleigh, North Carolina] for you? How did that, and what--.$$They wanted me to go to Shaw--well, no, my mother did. My father thought that Shaw was this tiny, little place and, and in fact, he felt that I shouldn't have gone to a black college because he says, you know, it's 1970. You should be (unclear). And he never understood this. I was willing to not go to a black college initially. In fact, I was gonna go to Notre Dame [University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana]. And got into Notre Dame, and they--,$$With football?$$I was gonna play, but I wasn't gonna get a scholarship, but I was gonna try it. So I was gonna go to Notre Dame. And I'll never forget this. I got a letter. It was like maybe April of 1970 'cause I was graduating that June. And it said, you know, "welcome to Notre Dame. As a black student, you'll probably need extra help. If you sign up for this, you can,"--and I was livid. Extra help! I was as smart as any white kid, so I refused to go. So suddenly, it's now April, and I'm refusing to go to Notre Dame. So my Dad says, "Well, you got into Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]. Do you want to go to Howard?" And I had never visited Howard. But I knew it was this epitome of black education so I said, "Yeah, let's go." So that's how I ended up at Howard, by tell, by turning Notre Dame down and--and then by going to Howard. So they were disappointed because I think they felt that by 1970, we shouldn't have to go to a black college. And I would argue they were probably right that I was one of that last generation of people who really, you know, saw the black college as being, you know--Howard was equal to Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] in my mind. And so I think it's how I ended up getting--going there.$Were the holdings of the [National] Air and Space Museum [Washington, D.C.], was there a lot represented in terms of African Americans that you found there?$$There was a lot on blacks--the Tuskegee Airmen--a lot on that.$$(simultaneously) So at this point, they had already--they had--do you know when that--$$At this point, part of what I was hired for was to help work on the exhibition. They had a small piece. They had an airplane and a little exhibit which went up in '75 [1975]. I think it was a bicentennial-driven thing. And so then part of what I was doing was working on the broader history of aviation because in those days--I won't bore you with all the details, but that people who were interested in race and technology focused just on the Tuskegee Airmen. And while I was interested in that, I was really interested in barnstormers. I was interested in black men and women from Bessie Coleman to William Powell to, you know, [James] Herman Banning, I was interested in the people who went before. And where that idea came from was one of the joys of the Smithsonian [Institution, Washington, D.C.] is that many of those Tuskegee Airmen either were, came through or were involved. So I can remember having interviews with 'Chief' Albert Anderson--Alfred Anderson, who taught the Tuskegee Airmen how to fly. And I said, "Where'd you learn?" He said, "I learned from these early barnstormers." I said, "Nobody's ever talked about these people before." And I talked to some of the Tuskegee Airmen, and they would say they would say they learned from X and Y and so that got me interested in that. And so--and plus, because I was a nineteenth century historian, the closer I could get to the nineteenth century, the better off I felt. And so I did some writing on race and technology in the '20s [1920s] and '30s [1930s], but there really wasn't a collection that could talk about that. So I did some of the collecting on that. This was in the, this was the late '70s [1970s], so some of those folks were still alive. So William Powell, who was a pioneer in aviation, was from Chicago [Illinois]. His daughter lived here so I interviewed her. There were some of the early pilots who were here in Chicago especially. So it gave me a chance to sort of travel around the country doing research. It gave me a chance to recognize that a subject that might seem very narrow, would have this broad appeal.$$And you--during that time, isn't there, you know, in the '70s [1970s], there was a lot of sort of looking, from an oral history standpoint, at non--underlooked sort of--(unclear).$$Absolutely. And so--.$$(simultaneously) Okay, you know, there was funding for it.$$Absolutely. There was--but part of what happened at the Smithsonian, candidly, was, and I always say that I was there because of [U.S. Senator Edward] Ted Kennedy. Around the time of the bicentennial, some blacks from Massachusetts--the Air and Space Museum opened for the bicentennial, okay. So there was already an Air and Space Museum, but it was in other buildings. So its own building opened in, you know, in '76 [1976]. And so many--some, some Massachusetts African Americans said to Ted Kennedy, where is our story? And Ted Kennedy called a hearing asking about race and technology 'cause the first response was, well, there wasn't any. And he had a hearing and people testified and then they said in the Air and Space Museum and here's these stories. So I was hired in part to collect the oral histories, to begin to see were there stories and to begin to think about are there objects to help tell those stories. And the one thing that the Air and Space Museum had that no other museum had, was they had all the airplanes in the world. So you could always find an appropriate airplane. So--but that really all came out of this desire from scholars to find out how the other half lived. And to begin--this was a period of--I would argue rather than a period of synthesis, it was a period of discovery. It was a period of saying, there's so much African American, so much history that we've forgotten, that we don't know, that hasn't been publicized, that hasn't been written about. Let's get all that to surface, and then we'll figure out what to do with it. So this was part of getting all of that, that to the surface.