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The Honorable James R. Spencer

Judge James R. Spencer was born on March 25, 1949 in Florence, South Carolina. He was among the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1967. He graduated magna cum laude in 1971, and went on to study at Harvard Law School, where he obtained his J.D. degree in 1974. The following year, Spencer graduated in the top five percent of his class at the Judge Advocate General’s School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Spencer later studied at the Howard University School of Divinity, graduating in 1985.

Spencer’s interest in law began in 1967, while working under civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman at her public interest law firm, the Washington Research Project. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, he worked as a staff attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. He went on to serve as a prosecutor, and then as chief of justice, with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1975 to 1978. From there, Spencer became an assistant attorney general, serving the U.S. Attorney’s Office of District of Columbia. He was the first African American attorney assigned to the office’s Major Crimes Division. In 1983, he moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia, where he remained until 1986 when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first African American district court judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. From 1987 to 1996, Spencer also served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Virginia. In 2004, Spencer was appointed as chief justice of the district, serving until 2011. In 2014, Spencer assumed the rank of senior judge. He presided over a number of high-profile cases over the course of his career, including the 2006 patent infringement suit between Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry devices, and the patent holding company NTP, Inc.; and the 2014 corruption trial of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Spencer was a member of numerous professional, civic and fraternal organizations, including the State Bar of Georgia, the District of Columbia Bar, the Virginia State Bar, the National Bar Association, the Old Dominion Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association, Big Brothers of America, the NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Mu, Sigma Pi Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa. Spencer also earned a black belt and was a member of the U.S. Karate Association. He served as associate pastor of the 3rd Union Baptist Church in King William, Virginia.

Judge James R. Spencer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 8, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.132

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/8/2016

Last Name

Spencer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Schools

Clark Atlanta University

Harvard Law School

Howard University School of Divinity

Carver Elementary Magnet School

Wilson High School

Wilson Junior High School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Florence

HM ID

SPE64

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau

Favorite Quote

I Was Young But Now I'm Old But I Have Never Seen The Righteous Forsaken.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/25/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Rib Eye With Grits

Short Description

Judge James R. Spencer (1949 - ) worked for civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman at the Washington Research Project, and was the first African American federal district court judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Employment

Washington Research Project

Atlanta Legal Aid Society

U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps

District of Columbia

Eastern District of Virginia

University of Virginia

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable James R. Spencer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his father's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his early neighborhood in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers segregation in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers an early case in his judicial career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls working as a caddy at Florence Country Club in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers a racist encounter at a movie theater

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his education at Carver Elementary School in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers a discouraging teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls reading Jet Magazine as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers an early glimpse into the legal profession

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers attending Center Baptist Church in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls the school system in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his activities at Wilson High School in Florence, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers playing music with his brother and cousin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers the social gatherings of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls his decision to attend Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about classism in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls the congregation's support of his educational endeavors

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls his summer jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his early influences at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls learning about African American history at Wilson High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his summer internship with the Washington Research Project in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his professors at Clark College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his mentors at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his first year at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his classmates and professors at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls his work experiences at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about passing the bar exam

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his experiences in Judge Advocate General's Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls being hired as an assistant United States attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his experiences as assistant district attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls attending Howard University School of Divinity

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers his appointment as a federal judge

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes the work of a federal judge

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls meeting Oliver W. Hill

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer reflects upon his role as a federal judge

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers the patent case, NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers the patent case, NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls his efforts to improve diversity in government positions in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable James R. Spencer recalls becoming chief judge

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer remembers the Kemba Smith case

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about discriminatory drug laws

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his involvement with police brutality cases

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his role as senior judge

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable James R. Spencer shares his judicial philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable James R. Spencer reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable James R. Spencer talks about his children's accomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable James R. Spencer describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable James R. Spencer narrates his photographs

Walter Douglas

Businessman and Detroit civic pioneer Walter Edmond Douglas, Sr. was born in North Carolina, and raised in the town of Hamlet, a major railroad community. His parents were educators. Douglas holds two degree from North Carolina Central University. He earned his B.A. degree in accounting in 1954. A year later, Douglas earned his M.B.A. from North Carolina Central University. Upon graduation, he briefly taught at Edward Waters Junior College in Jacksonville Florida, before being drafted into the U.S. Army. In 1965, Douglas was hired by the Internal Revenue Service. An assignment transfer brought him to Detroit in 1966.

Douglas was deeply moved by the July 1967 riots in Detroit, which was the worst in American history at the time. He began volunteering around the city, and his efforts were noticed by city leaders. In 1972, he became the vice-president of New Detroit Inc, a nonprofit founded in 1967 to deal with the city’s racial and employment tensions. Douglas became a key advisor of Coleman Young, the city’s first African American mayor, following Young’s election in 1974. Young appointed Douglas to several positions, notably, the city’s new civilian police commission. In 1978, Douglas was named president of New Detroit. He remained in that position, until he decided to test the private sector.

The year was 1985 when entered into a car dealer ownership a minority training program hosted by the Ford Motor company. The purpose of the program was to give more African American a chance to own dealerships. In 1986, Douglas purchased a share in Avis Ford in suburban Detroit, a historic dealership owned by the founder of the Avis Rent-a-Car System. Douglas became majority owner in 1992. Since then, he has earned a host of awards for the success of his dealership, and his continued work within the Detroit community as a philanthropist. In 2006, he turned over the business operation to his son, Mark. He lives in suburban Detroit with his wife of more than forty years, Retha.

Accession Number

A2010.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2010

06/09/2010

Last Name

Douglas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Hamlet Avenue School

Pine Street School

Capital Highway High School

North Carolina Central University

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Hamlet

HM ID

DOU04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bonita Springs, Florida

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/22/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Auto sales entrepreneur and nonprofit chief executive Walter Douglas (1933 - ) was owner of Avis Ford in suburban Detroit. He previously served as president of the nonprofit New Detroit, Inc.

Employment

Avis Ford

New Detroit, Inc

Edward Waters College

Tuskegee University

Internal Revenue Service

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Douglas' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas remembers his paternal grandfather's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas talks about his paternal aunts and uncles

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas describes his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Douglas remembers his mother's teaching career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Douglas describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Walter Douglas describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Walter Douglas remembers his neighborhood in Hamlet, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Walter Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas recalls the famous visitors to Hamlet, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas remembers the Negro League baseball games

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas recalls his early travels

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas remembers the Hamlet Street School and Pine Street Elementary School in Hamlet, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas recalls the Capital Highway High School in Hamlet, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas recalls his high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Walter Douglas remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas describes his decision to attend the North Carolina College at Durham

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas talks about his relationship with his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas describes the North Carolina College at Durham

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas remembers his social activities at the North Carolina College at Durham

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas describes his early career as a business professor

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas talks about his experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas describes his introduction to the business world

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas recalls applying for a position at the Internal Revenue Service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas describes the start of his career in data processing

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas remembers UNIVAC computers

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas recalls the founding of the Internal Revenue Service data center in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas remembers moving to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas remembers his involvement with the First Presbyterian Church in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas remembers the Detroit riots of 1967, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas remembers the Detroit riots of 1967, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas recalls the police shootout at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Walter Douglas recalls the police shootout at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas describes the founding of New Detroit

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas talks about his role at New Detroit

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas recalls the start of the campaign to elect Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas remembers the election of Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas remembers the election of Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas describes Mayor Coleman Young's political appointments, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas describes Mayor Coleman Young's political appointments, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas talks about police reform under Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Walter Douglas recalls the effects of busing in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Walter Douglas remembers the housing crises in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas talks about the problem of land use in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas remembers the critics of Detroit Mayoe Coleman Young

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas recalls Detroit Mayor Coleman Young's economic development projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas remembers the influence of New Detroit

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas recalls joining the Ford Minority Dealers Association, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas recalls joining the Ford Minority Dealers Association

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas recalls buying his first Ford Motor Company dealership

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Douglas describes his working relationship with Warren Avis

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas recalls becoming the sole owner of Avis Ford Inc. in Southfield, Michigan

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas talks about his early challenges as a car dealer

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas remembers his automotive sales strategies

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas recalls the hiring of CEO Alan Mulally at the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas describes the culture of the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Walter Douglas talks about the demographics of his car dealership's clientele

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Walter Douglas reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Walter Douglas reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Walter Douglas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Walter Douglas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Walter Douglas talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Walter Douglas describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$6

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
Walter Douglas talks about his relationship with his brother
Walter Douglas recalls buying his first Ford Motor Company dealership
Transcript
Now I didn't ask you about this earlier, but, but your brother [Frederick Douglas, Jr.] is just slightly older than you.$$He's three years older.$$Three--yeah, three years older. And were, were you all very close coming up and--$$We were. We shared work chores. He was a lot more aggressive than I, but we had a cow. We had hogs to feed and all that kind of stuff. But I never learned to milk the cow. He did and that became his responsibility. I just--it was something I just wasn't going to do. I was, I was kind of stubborn. There were things that I wouldn't do and my parents [Inez Highland Douglas and Frederick Douglas, Sr.] couldn't get me to do them, and I never learned how to milk the cow, so--but he did that. But, yeah, as he, as we got older, we did lots of things together, in fact did a little bit of dating. He was older than I, but I'd tag along with him, you know, when he, when he would go out places, yeah.$$Okay. All right. 'Cause you were describing earlier some of the pressure on you--$$Yeah.$$--being the son of a--$$He was--$$--principal.$$He was--he had a lot of innate skills, but he had some inhibitions. He graduated valedictorian with his class in high school [Capital Highway High School, Hamlet, North Carolina]. He was going to go away to become a doctor, majored in chemistry in undergraduate school never missed a day of school in his life in high school. He had a perfect attendance record every year and all of us had a lot of them because my father insisted upon it. But he never missed a day in school in twelve years of school, which I think is a phenomenal record for any kid. But he went away to college, majored in chemistry, did well, never had any problem with his grades, but he just had a, he had an innate inability to finish things. You know, there are some people who are like that and he was just one of those, so--$$So he didn't really--$$He went to--he--in college, we were both at Central [North Carolina College at Durham; North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina] for the same, at the same time, I a freshman, he was a senior. He graduated and then during my sophomore year, he came back to graduate school because that was another stipulation my father had. He says, "I want you to finish graduate--get your master's degree before you ever leave." Well, that was during the Korean War and my brother was drafted during his first year of graduate school. And then he went to Korea for two years. By the time he came back, I had graduated and I, too, was in graduate school. So the both of us were in graduate school at the same time even though he had started earlier before going to Korea and coming back. I completed my graduate work, he didn't. Okay, so he--but after that, after studying for a year, he just never wrote his thesis. I think he did everything else. We both left and he began to teach college. He taught at Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina, which is an A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] school, and I at the same time taught at Edward Waters junior college [Edward Waters College] in Jacksonville, Florida, which is an A.M.E. school. But we shared a lot of time at North Carolina Central together. He didn't manage his money nearly as well as I. I used to work in the dining hall and had some money. My father gave me a typewriter for graduating from high school and my brother pawned my typewriter and would always continue to lie about where it was and whatever. I never got it back. But that was just a little bit of his character. You know, he was just kind of--when he got out of the [U.S.] Army, he bought a car. My father cosigned for him. And he was getting his VA money [Veterans Administration; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] and everything else, but he never paid the bills. So the guy was always calling my father threatening to come pick the car up, but my father would pay for it, you know, and he continued to have the car. But that was just, that was just a part of his personality. I never knew growing up because I looked up to him as my older brother, smarter, a male version of my mother which was a light skin handsome guy and the girls all loved him, and here I was, this little runty guy who lived in his shadow. But as I got older, I began to observe characteristics about his personality that eventually led to--he became an alcoholic after years. He retired from the, from the federal government at a, as a pretty high grade. He was smart, but, but died as an alcoholic at fifty-nine years of age.$Now, I'm an accounting major and I had a master's in business administration. I had my own school bus company at the time, so I understood a lot about this stuff. Now I understand one thing, you gotta watch the money and, and make sure there's enough in the bank to pay your payroll and stuff like that. I got lucky, quite frankly. The gentleman who owned this dealership [Avis Ford Inc., Southfield, Michigan], Richard Turner, who owned 49 percent of it, the majority was owned by Warren Avis, Warren Avis whose name is linked with Avis Rent A Car [Avis Rent A Car System]. He started Avis Rent A Car out of this dealership, not at this location but, but back in the '40s [1940s] when it was located in the City of Detroit [Michigan]. Warren Avis owned 51 percent. Turner was killed in a plane crash. He was, he was flying his own plane up north to Boyne Highlands [Harbor Springs, Michigan] and attempted to land in a whiteout, and crashed and killed himself. That made this dealership available. I heard it on the radio. I got in the program in January. This was late March. I immediately called the regional manager. I guess at the time it was, it was the district manager, a guy by the name of Miller [ph.], who had, who had placed me at Bill Brown Ford [Livonia, Michigan] and said, "I'm interested in that dealership. Is there any opportunity?" By this time, Ed Brown and I had gotten to know each other reasonably well, liked each other well enough to say that, you know, if I had a business opportunity, I would agree that he could be my partner. But they didn't give me any, any real consideration. So I said, "Well, I'm not gonna take the answer of the district manager as gospel," so I wrote a letter to Don Petersen [Donald Petersen] who at the time was the CEO of Ford Motor Company [Dearborn, Michigan], and I had gotten to know Henry Ford [Henry Ford II]--Henry Ford because of my involvement at Henry Ford Hospital [Detroit, Michigan] where he was the chairman of the board. I sent a carbon copy of the letter to Henry Ford. I had also met Henry Ford earlier when he stepped down from the Ford Motor Company. Coleman Young, Larry Doss [Lawrence Doss] and I along with Judge Damon Keith [HistoryMaker Damon J. Keith] and Arthur Johnson (unclear), gave him a party, and I had gotten to know him. I used to go over and brief him when I was president of New Detroit [Detroit, Michigan], so I sent him a carbon copy of the letter. He called and told them to make it happen. So with his top down influence, Ford then came back to me to say, "Well, okay. We'll give you an opportunity but you gotta have a partner because you don't have enough ex- expertise to run Avis Ford [Avis Ford Inc., Southfield, Michigan]," and they were right. Ed Brown and I formed the partnership and as I say, the rest is history. It took us about six months to work out all the details and we came in here in November of 1986 and began to operate this dealership. The day I showed up, several of my employees quit including the general manager and the controller and they all went to work for Mel Farr [HistoryMaker Mel Farr, Sr.]. Mel kind of raided the place, knowing that it was going to be transitioned and probably with their concern, they didn't know me, they didn't know whether I would run the place in the ground or make it successful or not, so I can understand how they might have wanted to leave.$$So they didn't quit because you were black coming in. They quit--$$Well, they went to work for Mel. He's black, too, so--$$Yeah, right, yeah.$$--so that couldn't have been the issue. The issue had to be some other things, probably with some encouragement on his part. So we walked in here and took over. Jim Whitman [ph.], my general manager, at the current was controller over at Bill Brown Ford. He came over to be the controller here, but he split his time between the two organizations for that first year before then joining us. But that's how we got started. That's how we made the transition. I never made it all the way through the minority dealer program [Ford Minority Dealer Training Program]. I got sidetracked by buying a dealership (laughter).$$So, it worked out better.$$Worked out better. We--I had to come up with a lot of money. The dealership was to be sold for somewhere around three and a half million dollars and I didn't have anything, like that kind of money. I had saved some money and I could come up with a pretty substantial amount, and I was able to--my fair share, my equal share with Ed Brown because we were gonna come in as equal partners, to buy the 49 percent that Warren Avis availed to us was eight hundred thousand dollars. I had to come up with eight hundred thousand dollars. So I mortgaged my house and my savings and my 401k account and all of that. And then I was able to go to Ford Credit [Fort Motor Credit Company, LLC] to borrow the balance. So the day we closed, I had put up all my money, but yet I had a substantial debt to pay back to Ford Credit, which means that the thing had to work. If it didn't work, I was gonna be broke. Well, we made it work. We had difficulties with cash flow problems and my partner, Ed Brown, was gracious enough because he had deep pockets, when we ran short, he would put the cash in. Otherwise we would've been broke. For--but we paid him back with interest much the same as we would've done with a bank. And we got healthier and healthier.

Charles D. Moody, Sr.

Educator and college administrator Charles Moody, Sr. was born August 30, 1932 in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His mother, Rosetta, came from Woodeville, Mississippi and his father, James N. Moody, came from Belize. Moody attended Scott Street and Perkins Elementary Schools; finished the 8th grade at McKinley High School and graduated from Southern University Lab High School in 1950. Earning his B.S. degree in chemistry from Central State University in 1954, Moody received a commission in the United States Army. After basic training, he married Christella Parks, also an educator and Central State graduate. In 1961, Moody received his master’s of science education degree from Chicago Teachers College. He received his Ph.D. in educational administration from Northwestern University in 1971.

After starting his career as teacher, in 1968 Moody became superintendent of the Harvey, Illinois Public Schools. Joining the education faculty of the University of Michigan in 1970, Moody worked as chairman of the School of Education Specialists, School of Education, director of the Program for Educational Opportunity in 1970, director of the Project for Fair Administration of School Discipline in 1975, director of the Center for Sex Equity in Schools in 1981, vice provost for Minority Affairs in 1987, executive director of the South African Initiative Office and in 1997, he became vice provost emeritus and professor emeritus. Moody worked as superintendent of searches for Hazard Young and Attea from 1987 to 2002.

Moody’s 1970 dissertation on black superintendents resulted in the formation of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, (NABSE.) Today, NABSE has 6,000 members and 125 affiliates across the United States. Honored as NABSE founder, and as a distinguished graduate of Central State University and Northwestern University, Moody lives in retirement with his wife in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Charles D. Moody and Christella D. Moody South African Initiative Fund was established in their honor to actively involve the University of Michigan community with the development of South Africa. The University of Michigan established the Charles D. Moody, Sr. Collegiate Professorship in Psychology and Education in September 2011.

Accession Number

A2004.190

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/1/2004

Last Name

Moody

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

Perkins Road Elementary School

Scott Street Elementary School

McKinley Senior High School

Northwestern University

Central State University

Chicago State University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

MOO06

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Ray Shepard

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

Hard Times Will Make A Monkey Eat Pepper And Swear It's Sweet.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/30/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Jambalaya

Death Date

3/2/2019

Short Description

Academic administrator Charles D. Moody, Sr. (1932 - 2019) founded the National Alliance of Black School Educators, is the vice provost emeritus and professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, and worked as Superintendent of Searches for Hazard Young and Attea.

Employment

Harvey, Illinois Public Schools

University of Michigan

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates

Evanston School District

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1756,37:15446,230:25062,325:25522,331:29110,380:29478,385:46048,551:49700,556:50456,567:54980,595:55308,600:55882,609:56292,615:60664,639:63408,662:67328,736:68014,744:102860,1055:104430,1060:111796,1133:131083,1247:178915,1582:180271,1596:180836,1602:182418,1748:208450,1856$0,0:13480,277:33337,568:60081,889:64352,950:64704,955:65056,960:70512,1041:70864,1046:76320,1161:92661,1315:127332,1736:130256,1791:145731,1959:146205,1967:146521,1972:151850,2047:152154,2052:154030,2067:154318,2072:154678,2078:155038,2084:161408,2097:163708,2146:168860,2202:181488,2343:182178,2356:183230,2366
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating for Charles D. Moody, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his mother and her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. recalls meeting his father's possible relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. recalls his father's work as a Jeanes Supervisor

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his neighborhood growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. lists the schools he attended as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes himself as a boy

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. explains his mother's lesson on equity

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. recalls his favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers being an outspoken child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. recalls segregated high school and college sports

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his activities at Baton Rouge's Southern University Laboratory School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers traveling to the College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers professors at Wilberforce's Central State College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers professors at Wilberforce's Central State College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his academics at Wilberforce's Central State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. speaks about his wife, Christella Moody

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes living in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers working in Chicago area schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers attending Evanston's Northwestern University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. recalls starting the National Alliance of Black School Educators

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes trends in hiring school superintendents

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. talks about NABSE mentoring young professionals

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes NABSE's successes

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. reflects upon high expectations and student success

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers famous educators he worked with

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers working at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers becoming the University of Michigan's vice provost for minority affairs

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. explains his approach as vice provost for minority affairs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes the South African Initiative Office at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. shares his thoughts on affirmative action

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes his parents and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles D. Moody, Sr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Charles D. Moody, Sr. describes NABSE's successes
Charles D. Moody, Sr. remembers becoming the University of Michigan's vice provost for minority affairs
Transcript
What in your estimation would be the highlights of NABSE [National Alliance of Black School Educators], you know, what NABSE has been able to do?$$One thing I think has been--we've developed some programs. And there's a document that was published by NABSE called 'Saving the African-American Child.' And it's just talking about academic and cultural excellence, and having the high expectations and teaching kids algebra in the fifth grade or third grade, or whatever, so that's there some expectation--that there's some cultural excellence--that, that people get together and talk about and deal with and share information. Programs, effective programs--we have an academy, Ron Edmonds Academy [Ron Edmonds Summer Academy], that's dealing with the principles of Ron Edmonds [Ronald Edmonds], who said every child can learn. But the problem is, is that education of interest to us? And do we really want kids to learn? You know, education for a long time has been, what? Sorting and sifting, and saying, "Hey, you're going to be something. But we need some folks to do the menial tasks. We need somebody to do some--but you folks, y'all going to be it." And so, we sort and we sift, and we weed out. We nurture some people to go and do some things. You know, flowers are not going to grow if I don't put no fertilizer on them, if I don't nurture those flowers, if I don't tend to the flowers. But if I tend to the flowers, they're gonna grow. And they can't grow by themselves. And I think, you know--just friendship. What--I tell you, people will tell you NABSE has workshops and great sessions at the annual conference. We have regional affairs. We have some people who've been fighting in the vineyard for a long time, and it's time that we try to--and we are beginning to get the young people coming along and taking a leadership role.$You were talking about this meeting in 1987--$$Yeah.$$--with your wife [Christella Moody] and [HistoryMaker] Ruth Love, and other people were there.$$Yeah. And we were just sitting down, just the three of us. And she said, "Well, I'm going back and start packing, because we have to be back in Ann Arbor [Michigan]." I said, "We're going by Baton Rouge [Louisiana], I thought." She said, "Oh, we're going to have to go back." I said, "Well, okay, if you want to go back, okay." And so, she went to the room. And while she was in the room packing, she got a call from the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan]. And the students were protesting, and about to close the place down. And Jesse Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] was coming there to meet with them. And they said, well, Jesse and them said, "We're not going to do anything until you come. Can you come back?" So my wife said, "Well, you know, it's going to take some time and trouble trying to get--." So, she made the arrangements and we came, I came back. And I picked up Wade [H.] McCree. I don't know--Wade McCree used to be the solicitor general of the United States. He was a law professor, he's passed now, Wade McCree. And we rode to this meeting together. And these students were saying that they wanted an office of vice provost, or vice president for minority affairs. And they wanted me to be the vice provost. And after the big rally and stuff, we went to the Hill Auditorium. And Jesse got up and made a comment about you're looking for a vice, you're looking for a vice provost, and he's got the best person right here. And he called my name out there in front of an auditorium full of--but, anyway, I talked with the president, Harold [T.] Shapiro, who was president then about it, and I accepted the position. And I always felt it was the students who made them create this position. These folks didn't do this out the goodness of their hearts, that they wanted to be good fellows. I say if those students hadn't been there with that pressure, they never would have created that position. And so, I was appointed. And we came up with some things. That's why that thing on the wall back there is good for you to see. I'll see if she has one, and maybe we can take a picture of it and use--but anyway, we talked about trying to do something.

William Maurice Bennett

Distinguished athlete and coach William Maurice Bennett was born on October 15, 1915 in Richmond, Virginia. His mother worked in a tobacco factory and his father was a barber. His parents separated when he was a small child and his mother moved to Hampton and remarried. Bennett received his early education in Richmond at the Moore Street school until he moved to Hampton to live with his mother. He earned his high school diploma from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia, where he was a stellar a track and football athlete. While in high school he set a state record for the 440 that stood for twenty years.

Following his high school graduation, Bennett attended Virginia State University on a football scholarship. While at VSU, Bennett won two CIAA track championships, honors in the Penn Relays, three varsity letters in football and was selected to play in the College All-Star game against the Chicago Bears in 1941. Bennett received his bachelor’s of science degree in physical education in 1941. That same year he was also drafted into the army and stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia. He served in the military until 1945, and while a soldier he developed an interest in boxing and was named the lightweight boxing champion. Following his honorable discharge from the army, Bennett earned his masters degree in education from Columbia University in 1946.

Shortly after marrying in 1946, Bennett received a job as a biology teacher and football coach at Phenix High School in Hampton, Virginia. He left Phenix in 1953 when he was offered the head football and track coach position at his alma matter Virginia State.

Bennett coached football and track at Virginia State for over thirty years, a duration in which he coached nearly 50 All-Americans including Wilber “Pony” Wilson. In 1954, under Bennett’s leadership, Wilson broke the long jump record and qualified for the Olympic Trials. Bennett also led the VSU Trojans to victory in ten conference championships and two CIAA championships. Bennett was named Coach of the Year in 1962, 1972, 1977, 1979 and 1983. In 1982, Bennett was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame.

Bennett passed away on June 6, 2007 at age 91.

Accession Number

A2004.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/22/2004

10/13/2004

Last Name

Bennett

Maker Category
Middle Name

M.

Schools

I.C. Norcom High School

Virginia State University

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

BEN02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hampton, Virginia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/15/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak

Death Date

6/7/2007

Short Description

College track coach and college football coach William Maurice Bennett (1915 - 2007 ) was recognized by the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association hall of fame for his work as head football and track and field coach at Virginia State University. In his thirty-year career, Bennett coached nearly fifty All-Americans, won ten conference championships and two CIAA championships.

Employment

United States Army

Phenix High School

Virginia State University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Maurice Bennett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett describes his stepfather, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett describes his stepfather, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett describes his extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes his earliest memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Maurice Bennett describes special memories and holidays from his early childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Maurice Bennett describes his childhood neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Maurice Bennett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experiences at Moore Street School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experience attending Moore Street Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett describes his childhood interest in sports and living in Portsmouth, Virginia as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett talks about playing sports at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett describes his experiences at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about playing sports at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett talks about his football and track coaches and balancing sports with academics

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett recalls graduating Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia in 1941 with plans to be a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes being drafted into the U.S. Army and boxing while in the Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett talks about meeting his wife, Katherine Bennett

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett talks about being a coach and teacher at George P. Phenix School in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett talks about being hired as a coach by Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about coaching Wilbur "Pony" Wilson

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett describes changes at Virginia State University during his decades of coaching

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett talks about preparing for big games against Virginia State University's rival Hampton University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett describes influences on his coaching style

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Maurice Bennett describes his typical routine as a coach

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon his successes as a coach

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Maurice Bennett describes what he looks for in a potential athlete

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon the quality of athletes at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon the quality of the athletic programs at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Maurice Bennett talks about the benefits and shortfalls of attending a historically black college or university

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Maurice Bennett reflects upon how to measure a coach's success

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Maurice Bennett describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Maurice Bennett offers advice for those who want to pursue coaching

Bishop John Burgess

Bishop John Burgess was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on March 11, 1909. He attended the University of Michigan, earning a B.A. in 1930, and an M.A. in 1931. Burgess went on to the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating in 1934, and he became an ordained minister in 1935.

He began his career by serving the African American working classes of Michigan and Ohio after World War II. He started at his home parish of St. Phillip's Church and was later given charge of St. Simon of Cyrene, a mission church that served a Cincinnati neighborhood in abject poverty. In 1946, Burgess became the Episcopalian chaplain of Howard University, where he served for ten years. In 1951, Burgess was named a canon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. During his five years there, he often spoke of civil rights issues, using the national pulpit to his advantage. After leaving Howard and the National Cathedral, Burgess went to Boston, where he took a post as archdeacon of the city's missions and parishes and worked to improve the urban ministry of the church there. In 1962, Burgess was made a bishop suffragan, and in 1970, he became the first African American bishop of the Episcopal Church. Under his leadership, he instituted a number of programs that sought to make the church more inclusive of minorities and give the congregations more of a voice, and he established the Joint Urban Fund, which gives money to local groups fighting poverty. He retired in 1975.

After his retirement, Burgess was honored with more than a dozen honorary degrees, and he went to Yale's Berkeley Divinity School to teach and serve as interim dean. He also served as chairman of St. Augustine's College in North Carolina.

Burgess passed away on August 24, 2003 at age of 94.

Accession Number

A2003.180

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/12/2003

Last Name

Burgess

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Grand Rapids

HM ID

BUR05

State

Michigan

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/11/1909

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Death Date

8/24/2003

Short Description

Bishop Bishop John Burgess (1909 - 2003 ) was the first African American Episcopalian Bishop, was the chaplain of Howard University, and was named a canon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Burgess also worked extensively with urban ministry in Boston.

Employment

St. Phillip's Church

St. Simon of Cyrene

Howard University

National Cathedral

Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

Yale Divinity School

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Bishop John Burgess' photographs are narrated by his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop John Burgess' interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop John Burgess talks about his immediate family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop John Burgess describes his childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop John Burgess talks about his experience attending college at the University of Michigan and his favorite professor

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop John Burgess talks about the early days of his ministry in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop John Burgess talks about being the Episcopal chaplain at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and being installed as a bishop in 1970

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop John Burgess talks about the University of Michigan Club in Washington, D.C. and being a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop John Burgess talks about Howard University president Mordecai Johnson and the length of his tenure at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop John Burgess talks about his family and reflects upon his legacy

Howard Brown, Jr.

Financier and civil servant Howard Brown, Jr., was born in Eutaw, Alabama, on September 4, 1945, but at an early age he moved with his family to Atlanta. His mother, Bertha, was a teacher, and his father, Howard Brown, Sr., was a bulldozing contractor. After earning his early and high school education in Atlanta, he remained in town, attending Morehouse College and earning his B.A. in 1970. From there he went on to attend the University of Connecticut School of Law, graduating in 1973.

After finishing law school, Brown went to work for the Hartford Insurance Group, rising to associate counsel before he left in 1978. From 1978 to 1981, Brown served as the chief operations officer of O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, where he presided over the expansion of the business. Brown moved into the public sector in 1982, taking a position with the Connecticut Department of Banking, where he headed the legal staff, and by 1985 he was the banking commissioner. While in this role, he became chairman of the National Federal Legislation Committee of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and was called upon to testify before various committees of the federal government. Brown returned to the private sector in 1992, as the vice president of public finance for Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York. In 1995, Brown co-founded Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates and is currently the company's chairman and CEO. Greystone structures affordable housing mortgages that are backed by investment securities.

Brown is a founding member of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Securities Professionals and has served on the board of directors of the University of Connecticut School of Law Foundation, the Metropolitan YMCA, the Mark Twain House and the Connecticut Advisory Board to BankBoston Development Company. He is listed in Who's Who in Government Service and has received the Achievement Award as Outstanding Role Model in the Hartford Community. Brown and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Connecticut.

Accession Number

A2003.184

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/13/2003

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Schools

University of Connecticut - Hartford

Morehouse College

Henry McNeal Turner High School

First Name

Howard

Birth City, State, Country

Eutaw

HM ID

BRO14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

What You See Is What You Get

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/4/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Investment chief executive Howard Brown, Jr. (1945 - ) is the cofounder, chairman and CEO of Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates and is the former deputy banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking.

Employment

Hartford Insurance Group

O'Sullivan Fuel Oil

Connecticut Department of Banking

Kidder, Peabody & Co.

Greystone Community Reinvestment Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2711,4:6191,54:21054,236:46852,472:54740,520:60670,584:62540,638:79000,776:79765,792:80105,798:89200,945:89625,951:90050,957:104834,1037:109078,1085:109702,1121:135868,1428:146455,1484:146795,1489:154390,1555:174500,1780$0,0:27587,265:28973,278:44820,476:51392,558:53618,583:56420,590:58520,618:58940,671:61880,703:76748,869:77213,875:78701,902:83351,977:93000,1044:93693,1054:104396,1240:104704,1245:105243,1253:106090,1266:130018,1455:130362,1460:130706,1469:131394,1478:144490,1621:152814,1701:153158,1709:155566,1750:199750,2137:201358,2150:213068,2214:217110,2265:227068,2354:229920,2389:231024,2406:231576,2413:248814,2617:249348,2624:250861,2643:257720,2696
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Brown Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. describes Eutaw, Alabama, the town where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Eutaw, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the street he grew up on and celebrating holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his childhood personality and nickname

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about attending Eutaw Elementary School and the teachers who influenced him

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being sent to live with relatives in Atlanta, Georgia for high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects on how living in Atlanta, Georgia differed from Eutaw, Alabama and the effect on him

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his experience in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his experience attending Henry McNeal Turner High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers being in the band at Henry McNeal Turner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers recruiting parties for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his role models growing up and the activities he was involved in at Henry McNeal Turner High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers Morehouse College's Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and Dr. Brailsford Reese Brazil

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his experience attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. recalls how he became a lawyer and his experience in the United States Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. describes meeting his wife, Elizabeth Brown, and his decision to attend the University Of Connecticut School Of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about moving to Hartford, Connecticut to attend the University of Connecticut School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Howard Brown Jr. remembers the professors who influenced him at the University of Connecticut School of Law and his first job at The Hartford Insurance Group

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about working at The Hartford Insurance Group

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being amongst the first wave of African Americans in corporate law

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his decision to leave The Hartford Insurance Group

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his position as chief operations officer and counsel for O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his position as chief operations officer and counsel for O'Sullivan Fuel Oil, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. discusses the political powers in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. describes the relationship between Hartford, Connecticut and its surrounding suburbs as well as the racial make-up of the city

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. describes how he became deputy banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his job as deputy banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. describes changes in the banking industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about working as deputy banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. recounts how he became banking commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about being the banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. describes issues surrounding interstate banking that arose when he was banking commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the founding of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. describes his decision to leave the Connecticut Department of Banking and his time working for Kidder, Peabody & Co.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the founding of the Greystone Group

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about the opportunities he sees within the minority mortgage market

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon what the banking industry can do for inner-city communities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about opportunities for banking within minority communities

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon opportunities for young African Americans within the banking industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howard Brown Jr. talks about his future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howard Brown Jr. reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

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Howard Brown Jr. reflects on how living in Atlanta, Georgia differed from Eutaw, Alabama and the effect on him
Howard Brown Jr. describes changes in the banking industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s
Transcript
Now what --what was that--was the Atlanta [Georgia] a change for you in many ways living there and how did it differ from Eutaw [Alabama]?$$Atlanta was a real eye opener for my sister [Dannette Lureatas Brown Daniels] and me in several respects. One was I was free to catch the bus and to go downtown by myself which was never allowed in Eutaw to go anywhere by yourself. We were exposed to the black colleges, black football games at [Alonzo] Herndon Stadium which is, which is right--which was right by Morris Brown College [Atlanta, Georgia]. The rivalry between the black high schools: [David T.] Howard [High School], [Booker T.] Washington High [School], [Henry McNeal] Turner [High School] and it was just, just an amazing thing to see the, the pride and--the-just, just the social life, just the hustle and bustle that black folks were doing and the properties that were being expanded at that point. There was Collier Heights where black folks were building their own homes, and not so much that they were moving into areas that whites were abandoning, they were building their own communities and I thought that was such a marvelous thing to see. It sort of reminded me of what my father had done with Brown Avenue [in Eutaw, Alabama].$$And, so a new world really opened up for you is what you are saying?$$Yes.$$And how did that affect you and--you know sort of the relationship to your environment around you?$$Well, it gave me the sense that I too could extend into this world and begin to carve out a way for myself. It wasn't so much that it was family and you were representing a Brown or whomever, but you were representing yourself and you had to rely on your own initiative in a very competitive--very competitive environment, and that's what Atlanta was.$[And isolated from banking.] Insurance had continued to be regulated by the states and not by the federal government --that has historic origins. So then here comes say 1980 or thereabouts. There's the Community Reinvestment Act passed in 1978 [sic, 1977]. The states after passage didn't have to, but after passage various states began enacting their own CRA [Community Reinvestment Act] legislation. Connecticut enacted its version. So, so you have this great impetus from the Federal government and now from the state governments to provide banking resources and sources of credit into areas where banks have their offices and of course we know where the banks' offices were located, they were located in downtown, but who lived downtown? Well, there are -- there were a few folks who lived in the high rises but mostly it was blue collar workers, it was the black folks; it was other ethnic groups who had very limited banking. So that's where the CRA came in, and getting back to the deregulation thing that was very big. You had financial services companies or financial holding companies wanting to get involved in insurance. Several of them wanted to do securities work. There were various legal schemes devised to allow bank holding companies to create security subsidiaries called "Subsection 20 Subsidiaries" which was expressly allowed by the Bank Holding Company Act. So there were a lot of unique mechanizations being proposed to tear down the barriers that separated banking, securities and insurance. So heading up legal you had to really be you know on top of your game to make sure you knew what you were approving and what you were getting involved in.$$Now were you -- this -- first of all, this is a time of a lot of change happening, you know and sort of creative approaches and where also -- isn't this the time of junk bonds or Mike Milken [Michael Robert Milken] and junk bonds or this is a little --?$$They are coming up and around about that time. The mid-1980s saw a lot of what I now refer to as "innovative and creative" investment opportunities. Course junk bonds now are the mainstay of the corporations that don't have investment grade debt. So inherently there was nothing really -- I shouldn't use absolutes, but I will say inherently junk bonds proved to be a very effective way of funding corporations that did not have investment grade ratings from the rating agencies. The problem with the Milken dilemma and those that followed it or were involved in it, is that there were also sprinkled amongst the junk bonds, there was some insider trading claims and other issues that questioned -- that brought into question securities law violations.