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Trudy DunCombe Archer

Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer was born on August 29, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan to Eleanor and James DunCombe, Jr. She attended George A. Custer Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School, Durfee Junior High School, and Central High School. In 1964, Archer received her B.S. degree in education from Eastern Michigan University. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in education from Wayne State University in 1971 and her J.D. degree from Detroit College of Law in 1981.

Archer served as an elementary school teacher at Ralph Bunche Elementary School from 1964 to 1969, and at Bellevue Elementary School from 1970 to 1973. In 1983, Archer was appointed assistant corporation counsel for the City of Detroit. Four years later, she joined Detroit College of Law as assistant dean. In 1989, Governor James Blanchard appointed Archer judge of Michigan’s 36th District Court. From 1993 to 2001, Archer served as First Lady while her husband, Dennis W. Archer, served as mayor of Detroit. As First Lady, Archer focused on Detroit’s youth, mentoring and encouraging children and their parents at school sponsored programs and forums. In 2006, she retired from her position as judge on the 36th District Court.

Archer has been a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar, the Wolverine Bar, and the Association of Black Judges of Michigan. She belongs to the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation. She has served on the boards of the Children’s Center, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan/Pediatric Clinical Services, the Junior League of Detroit, the Greening of Detroit, and the African American Parent Magazine. A life member of the NAACP, Archer was also a member of the Millionaires Club of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the Detroit chapters of Girl Friends, Links, and the International Women’s Forum, Michigan chapter. Archer served as director emeritus for the Detroit Institute of Arts, advisor to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan for the Dennis W. Archer Foundation, and on the advisory committee of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association’s Charitable Foundation Fund.

In 1995, Archer received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University Detroit Mercy. In 2011, she received the Women of Excellence Award from the Michigan Chronicle. Archer also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Wolverine Student Bar Association and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award. For her work on projects aimed toward children and bettering the community, she has received the Goodfellows Tribute Award, the Distinguished Citizen Award presented by the Detroit Area Council Boy Scouts of America, and the American Heart Association’s Cor Vitae Award for Community Service.

Archer and her husband have two children: Dennis W. Archer, Jr. and Vincent DunCombe Archer, and two grandsons: Dennis W. Archer, III and Chase Alexander Archer.

Trudy DunCombe Archer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2019

Last Name

Archer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

DunCombe

Occupation
Schools

Thurgood Marshall Elementary School

Durfee Elementary School

Central High School

Eastern Michigan University

Wayne State University

Michigan State College of Law

First Name

Trudy

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

ARC14

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring...really the four seasons

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Paris, and Italy

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

8/29/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lobster and Lamb chops

Short Description

Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer (1943 - ) served as a judge on Michigan’s 36th District Court from 1989 to 2006, and as First Lady to Detroit during the administration of her husband, Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer.

Employment

State of Michigan

Detroit College of Law

City of Detroit

Bellevue Elementary School

Ralph Bunche Elementary School

Favorite Color

Orange, red, and all warm colors

The Honorable Peter C. Harvey

Lawyer Peter C. Harvey was born in the Bronx, New York on February 2, 1958 to Lillian Holland Harvey and Reverend Raymond Harvey. In 1948, Harvey’s mother established at the Tuskegee Institute the first baccalaureate degree program in nursing in the State of Alabama.. His father also worked on campus, serving as chaplain of the Tuskegee Institute Chapel. Harvey went on to earn his B.A. degree in political science from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1979, and his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1982.

After graduation, Harvey was hired as an associate at the New York law firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays and Handler, where he worked on intellectual property litigation cases. In 1986, Harvey joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as an assistant United States attorney. From 1986 to 1989, he worked on organized crime and drug trafficking. In 1989, Harvey joined the State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. As special assistant to Attorney General Robert Del Tufo, Harvey helped draft a landmark assault weapons regulation bill, which was passed by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jim Florio in May, 1990. That same year, Harvey returned to private practice as an associate at the law firm of Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland and Perretti LLP. In 2002, he was appointed first assistant attorney general of New Jersey where he directed the Division of Criminal Justice. On July 10, 2003, Harvey was sworn in as the fifty-fourth New Jersey attorney general, becoming the first African American to hold this office. During his three year term, Harvey focused on police reform as well as anti-gang and anti-fraud initiatives. Harvey resigned in 2006 and returned to private practice as a partner at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP.

Harvey served as an active member of the Morgan State University Alumni Association. In 2012, the university named him alumnus of the year. Harvey has retained memberships in the National Bar Association, American Bar Association and National Association of Attorneys General.

Harvey and his wife, Tammy Ayers Harvey, have three children, Ayana Harvey, David Harvey and Aja Harvey.

Peter C. Harvey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 26, 2018 and March 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2018.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/26/2018

6/26/2018 |and| 3/25/2019

Last Name

Harvey

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

Chambliss Children's House at Tuskegee Institute

Tuskegee Institute High School

Boggs Academy

Morgan State University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Bronx

HM ID

HAR55

Favorite Season

September

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Foreign Cities with Museums, Restaurants, and Wineries

Favorite Quote

Imagination Is Sometimes Superior To Knowledge

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/2/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Italian, Chinese, and Barbecue

Short Description

Lawyer Peter C. Harvey (1958- ) was sworn in on July 10, 2003 as the fifty-fourth New Jersey attorney general, the first African American to hold the office. Prior to that, he worked in the New Jersey Office of Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Employment

Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler

U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey

New Jersey

Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP

Belknap Webb & Taylor LLP

Favorite Color

Purple

The Honorable H. Ron White

Judge and lawyer H. Ron White was born on February 10, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia to Ernest White and Mattie White. He graduated from Maggie L. Walter High School in 1958. White received his B.S. degree in biology and chemistry from Hampton University in 1962, and his J.D. degree from Howard University in 1971.

After graduation from Hampton University, White joined the U.S. Army in 1962. He was stationed in Kaiserslautern and Mannheim, Germany, and at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. From 1967 until 1968, White served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and was stationed in Quin Yan. By the end of his military service, he had reached the rank of captain. White began his professional career in 1971 at the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company as an environmental and labor attorney. He was promoted to the position of federal regulatory compliance counsel in 1974. Two years later, White joined Irvin & White, P.C., which became White, Mahomes, and Briscoe, P.C. the following year. In 1979, White established the Law Offices of H. Ron White & Associates. He then served as a district court judge in the State of Texas after being appointed to the position in 1983. White returned to his private law practice in 1985, and served as a partner at White & Wiggins.

In addition to his law practice, White has been active in a number of organizations. Specifically, he has been a board member of The General Counsel Forum for the Dallas and Fort Worth Chapter, and the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Texas. White has also been a member of the Texas Bar College and the National Bar Association, as well as a Life Fellow of Texas Bar Foundation.

White has been recognized and awarded for his contributions to the community. In 2004, White was named as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Dallas Bar. He also received the Dallas Bar Foundation Fellows Award for Outstanding Service to the Bar and Civic Community in 2006. White was named as one of the fifty “Lions of the Texas Bar” by The Texas Lawbook, as well as a Texas Super Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell in 2005 and from 2010 through 2015.

White and his wife, Rita C. White, have one son, Eric.

H. Ron White was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

03/14/2017

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ron

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

Benjamin Graves Junior High School

Maggie L. Walker High School

Hampton University

Howard University School of Law

Westwood School

First Name

H.

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

WHI24

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas, St. Martin

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/10/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Hamburger, Liver

Short Description

Judge and lawyer H. Ron White (1941 - ) was appointed State of Texas District Court Judge and was named “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Dallas Bar Association in 2004

Employment

White & Wiggins, LLP

Law Offices of H. Ron White & Associates, P.C.

State of Texas

U.S. Army

Atlantic Richfield Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. Ron White's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - H. Ron White lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Ron White talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Ron White describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Ron White describes his father's community involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Ron White describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - H. Ron White describes his father's military service

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - H. Ron White lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - H. Ron White talks about his son's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - H. Ron White remembers enrolling at Westwood School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about the desegregation of Virginia schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Ron White describes Westwood School in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Ron White remembers the Westwood community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Ron White recalls the business district of Richmond's Westwood community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about the African American businesses in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. Ron White recalls the schools he attended in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. Ron White describes his involvement in the school band

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - H. Ron White recalls his early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers influential high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to attend Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - H. Ron White remembers his early work shining shoes

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - H. Ron White describes his father's interest in golf

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about his paternal family's tailoring experience

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Ron White recalls his jobs in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Ron White remembers attending the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Ron White recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Ron White talks about his musical interests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Ron White remembers performing in the Hampton Institute Band and Orchestra

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. Ron White describes his academic interests at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. Ron White talks about the impact of the film 'Hidden Figures'

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. Ron White talks about his scientific interests at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers his extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - H. Ron White recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - H. Ron White remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Ron White talks about the civil rights activities at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Ron White remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Ron White describes his experiences in Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Ron White recalls being deployed to Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Ron White describes Qui Nhon, Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Ron White talks about starting a jazz band in Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Ron White remembers considering his career options after his release from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to pursue a career in law

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - H. Ron White remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - H. Ron White recalls entering Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - H. Ron White remembers his favorite law school instructors

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - H. Ron White describes the most difficult aspects of law school

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - H. Ron White remembers being recruited by Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. Ron White describes his experiences at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. Ron White remembers being interviewed by Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. Ron White recalls his decision to move to Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. Ron White describes the creation of J.L. Turner Legal Association

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. Ron White remembers his supportive coworkers at Atlantic Richfield Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. Ron White recalls joining the Dallas Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. Ron White remembers his organizational involvement while at Atlantic Richfield Company

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. Ron White recalls his involvement in the Dallas, Texas community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. Ron White talks about the migration of African Americans to southern cities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - H. Ron White remembers guest speakers for the Committee of 100

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. Ron White recalls the formation of the Committee of 100

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. Ron White talks about the spread of information in the Dallas African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. Ron White talks about the gendered division of social organizations, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. Ron White talks about the gendered division of social organizations, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. Ron White recalls the changes in African American business markets

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. Ron White remembers working to educate Dallas' African American business community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. Ron White recalls Dallas' challenges with desegregation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. Ron White describes the importance of city support for new residents

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. Ron White remembers African American elected officials in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - H. Ron White talks about organizations promoting African American politicians

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
H. Ron White describes his experiences at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
H. Ron White recalls his decision to move to Dallas, Texas
Transcript
(Simultaneous) You were just talking off camera about you being the oldest student and having--giving, giving you a little advantage on (unclear) in law school [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, 'cause I was, you know, I was at least five or six years older than the average student that would have been admitted at that time and then I had that real life experience being married [to Rita White] and having a child [Eric White] and having been in the [U.S.] military so you see things a little bit different than the student that's, who's just coming out of college who is going to law school with a few life experiences, okay. So that enabled me to, I think, develop a relationship with some of the faculty to the extent that I was selected, I guess, that last year to be the student faculty representative for the, for the law school and that was a time when Pat [ph.] and some of the others, Harrison [ph.], and some of the others were there and they were having issues trying to, you know, students began to not only boycott but raise issues at the school. Back during that time, they, they weren't that bashful about, about trying to improve the climate and ensure that we were getting the kind of resources that we felt we needed that we were investing in for our career. So, I did get a chance to participate in that capacity on behalf of the student body, the law school student body, my last year.$I came down, got a couple of people that were trying to be courteous and cordial and show me around a little bit. I realized when I got back, I didn't have a lot of information that I could share with my wife [Rita White] and they wanted to know, they said, "Well we're really interested, we'd like to make you an offer," you know, and I said, "Well, I'm--I'd be happy to consider that offer but I'm not sure I'm able to make any decisions regarding that offer without first having my wife to come down and take a look and so we can better determine what the alternatives are for my family," okay, 'cause at that time I had a wife and a son [Eric White]. And so they said, "Oh yeah, we'd be, we'd be happy to do that." So they, they did in fact arrange for me, I think a couple of weeks or so later. They said, "You let me know what time you can come and arranged for me to come back down to spend another weekend and, and to look around, to try to make that decision." We did, they got a slightly different crew. I told them, I don't want them to take me just to the white areas, I need to see where the black communities are, I need to talk with someone else who'll give me a better perspective of what, what's here really for African Americans. And so they arranged that also. Was there something you need to get?$$No, no, no. I keep hearing something but it's all right.$$Yeah, but anyways, so, so we did that and I, when I came down this time, I had to, I wanted to visit with the African American lawyers that were in town and I, my contact at that time was, was C.B. Bunkley [C.B. Bunkley, Jr.] who had been here for a while. L.A. Bedford [Louis A. Bedford, Jr.] was another prominent lawyer who had been involved, who was here. My classmate, Walter Irvin [ Walter L. Irvin] had been here a year before and Walter had graduated from Howard [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] also that year before and had been here and so those were the, the four, three or four persons that I spoke with on that second trip and I think but for the encouragement of, of C.B. Bunkley, whose son-in-law became the city attorney for Dallas [Texas] in subsequent years but he was well respected because he had been here practicing. He had primarily a civil practice, sole, sole practitioner, just like everyone in the city, primarily the sole practitioners except for a couple of them that had partnered together or working together, not so much partnered but that was the, that was the legal climate at that point. So, Bunkley said that, you know, he said, "Ron [HistoryMaker H. Ron White], I know you, you know, you'll be the first African American to be extended an offer or at least potentially accept an offer, we need you to accept this offer because that hopefully will begin to open some doors in terms of getting some more lawyers hired by some of these corporations and businesses and that, you know, that included the, the governmental entities too." So I said, said, "Well, I had told them I had to get with my wife, I need to see, see the various areas that, where we could probably live and see what we could, we could arrange." I said, "Well if I can't make it work, I'm going to get an agreement so they'll send me back to D.C. [Washington, D.C.] in two years." So, I got that agreement in place as a part of the condition of accepting the offer. There are several other things I think I discussed or was considered in making that decision. So my wife and I said, well, we'll give it a shot and see what we can do. So we established those conditions with the encouragement of the African American lawyers that were well respected at that time in the market, saying, "We'll help wherever we can, if you don't like it and you still want to practice, you've got an office here in my, in my building to work, to do some work," so that gave me another alternative that if it doesn't work I can still go out and practice with the, one or the other established lawyers and make a go of it. That was in part the dynamics of what, what evolved in terms of my decision to come down and give it a shot.

The Honorable Andre M. Davis

Judge Andre M. Davis was born on February 11, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his B.A. degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to receive his J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, where he graduated cum laude in 1978.

In 1978, Davis worked as a law clerk to Judge Frank A. Kaufman, who served in the U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland. In 1979, Davis clerked for Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., before working as an appellate attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in 1980. From 1981 to 1983, Davis served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland. He then entered private practice for one year, before joining the faculty of his alma mater, the University of Maryland School of Law. In 1987, Davis was appointed to his first judgeship, serving the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City. He was then appointed as an associate judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in 1990, before being elected to a full term on the state circuit court in 1992. In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Davis to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; and in October of 2000, President Clinton nominated Davis to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. However, the U.S. Senate refused to schedule his confirmation hearings, leaving the seat empty until Davis was nominated again, by President Barack Obama, in April 2009. He was confirmed by the Senate with a 72-16 vote in November of that year, receiving his commission the following day. Davis sat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals bench for several landmark cases in U.S. law. In 2011, he served on the panel that heard Liberty University et al v. Geithner, which challenged the Affordable Care Act of 2010. In 2014, Davis assumed senior status as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Davis was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award, the Myerowitz Moot Court Award and the Benjamin L. Cardin Public Service Award, among numerous other honors.

Judge Andre M. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 8, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.101

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/8/2016

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Maurice

Schools

University of Pennsylvania

University of Maryland School of Law

First Name

Andre

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

DAV39

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Cod

Favorite Quote

Don't Believe Everything You Think.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

2/11/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Judge Andre M. Davis (1949 - ) was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 1995 by President Bill Clinton. In 2009, he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by President Barack Obama.

Employment

United States, Court of Appeals 4th Circuit

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

United States Court of Appeals for The Fourth Circuit

United States District Court of Maryland

Maryland Circuit Court

State of Maryland District Court

Private Practice

United States Attorney's Office for The District of Maryland

United States District Court

Favorite Color

Blue

James E. Payne

Lawyer James E. Payne was born on March 3, 1968 in Port Arthur, Texas to James C. Payne and Jessie Payne. He attended Port Arthur Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, where he played on the basketball team, winning the 1986 UIL Championship game. He then earned his B.S. degree in political science with honors from the University of Houston in 1989. He earned his J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1993.

Payne interned for Florida Congressman William Lehman in 1989. In 1993, Payne was hired as an associate lawyer at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Wanting to gain more trial experience, he left the firm to join the Provost Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P. There, Payne practiced products liability, industrial work site accidents, automobile accident, and premises liability law. He was certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and as a civil trial advocate and a pretrial practice advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In one of his more high profile cases, Matthews Smith et al. v. Star Enterprise et al., Payne argued on behalf of 250 plaintiffs against Texaco’s discriminatory employee practices. The plaintiffs received a $9 million settlement. This case, along with a number of others, allowed Payne to become a certified member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal work, he served as a youth minister at Cathedral of Faith Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, where he organized the Sunday school program R.E.A.L. School for Young Adults.

Payne was featured on the “Texas Super Lawyers” list by Thomson Reuters in 2003, continuing to make appearances on the list for many years. He was also named one of their “Top 100: Houston Super Lawyers” in 2013. Payne was featured on the US News and World Report “Best Lawyer” list from 2006 to 2017. He also organized “The Buy 90 Campaign for BOBs (Black Operated Businesses)” in Southeast Texas. A life member of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Payne served as Grand Sire/national President of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

Payne and his wife, Tracie Yvonne Wilson, have three children: Taryn, Joshua and Caleb.

James E. Payne was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 3, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/3/2016

Last Name

Payne

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

Franklin Elementary School

Memorial High School

Woodrow Wilson Early College High School

University of Houston

University of Houston Law Center

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Port Arthur

HM ID

PAY08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere He Can Golf

Favorite Quote

I Play To Win.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

3/3/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Rice

Short Description

Lawyer James E. Payne (1968 - ) worked as a personal injury lawyer for Provost Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P. since 1995, and successfully argued a $9 million settlement in the case of Matthews Smith et al. v. Star Enterprise et al.

Employment

Dairy Queen

University of Houston

Congressman William Lehmont

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Provost Umphrey Law Firm LLP

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James E. Payne's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James E. Payne lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James E. Payne describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James E. Payne talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James E. Payne describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James E. Payne describes his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James E. Payne recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James E. Payne describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James E. Payne lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James E. Payne describes his early community in Port Arthur, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James E. Payne describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James E. Payne talks about the racial demographics of Port Arthur, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James E. Payne describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James E. Payne remembers being injured by a television explosion

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James E. Payne recalls his family's lawsuit against Magnavox

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James E. Payne describes the result of the lawsuit

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James E. Payne talks about lawyer Thomas A. Peterson's influence on his decision to practice law

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James E. Payne remembers playing basketball at Abraham Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James E. Payne describes his basketball team's training regime

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James E. Payne recalls the racial discrimination faced by the basketball team

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James E. Payne describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James E. Payne recalls his favorite teachers at Abraham Lincoln High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James E. Payne recalls his early interest in pursuing law

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James E. Payne remembers playing basketball at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James E. Payne recalls being chosen for a congressional internship

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James E. Payne remembers the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James E. Payne describes his internship with Congressman William Lehman

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James E. Payne recalls his decision to attended University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James E. Payne describes his organizational involvement in college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James E. Payne talks about his experience with police brutality

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James E. Payne recalls the results of the Rodney King trial

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James E. Payne describes the racial demographics of his law class

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - James E. Payne remembers racial discrimination from his law school professors

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James E. Payne describes his involvement in moot court competitions

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James E. Payne recalls his first impressions of Vinson and Elkins LLP

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James E. Payne remembers leaving Vinson and Elkins LLP for Provost Umphrey LLP in Beaumont, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James E. Payne recalls being underestimated in court because of his race situations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James E. Payne remembers the Matthews Smith, et al. v. Texaco, Inc., et al. discrimination case

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James E. Payne recalls results of the Matthews Smith, et al. v. Texaco, Inc., et al. trial

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James E. Payne talks about his board certifications

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James E. Payne describes the role of race in his representation of clients

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James E. Payne talks about discriminatory practices in jury removal challenges

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James E. Payne describes his bar association memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James E. Payne describes the Buy 90 Campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James E. Payne recalls the public response to the Buy 90 Program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James E. Payne talks about the impact of integration on black businesses, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James E. Payne talks about the impact of integration on black businesses, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James E. Payne recalls meeting and marrying his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James E. Payne remembers the formation of CUSH Magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James E. Payne shares his thoughts on prejudice and racial bias

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James E. Payne talks about his reasons for ending the distribution of CUSH Magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James E. Payne describes Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James E. Payne talks about influential members of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James E. Payne describes the differences between Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and other organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James E. Payne talks about Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity's philanthropic approach

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James E. Payne remembers being elected as grand sire of the Boule

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James E. Payne recalls his accomplishments as grand sire of the Boule, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James E. Payne recalls his accomplishments as grand sire of the Boule, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James E. Payne shares his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James E. Payne talks about his youth ministry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James E. Payne describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James E. Payne reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James E. Payne describes his family

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James E. Payne talks about his personal philosophy for success

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James E. Payne reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James E. Payne narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
James E. Payne describes his internship with Congressman William Lehman
James E. Payne talks about his board certifications
Transcript
Okay, so tell us about that. Now you, did you like, spend like a semester there or a quarter or what was it?$$I spent the semester there, I was there in the spring of nineteen eighty- spring of 1989, I worked for Congressman Bill Lehman [William Lehman] of Dade County, Florida [Miami-Dade County, Florida]. Mickey--Congressman Lehman was, was very good at making sure that we worked for a variety of people. And, and got the real experience of, of, of congressional interns, he didn't want us to come up there and be pages. Which is you know just going around taking petitions to get signatures; he wanted us to get into the congressional mindset. And, and basically work like a legislative assistant would of worked. And so and they, he did that, I mean Congressman Bill Lehman, when I got there, I immediately did work like the legislative assistants would do. I was meeting with the constituents, I was writing letters back to his, his people within his community. I became the liaison for the Haitian African American, at that time black versus Haitian disputes with the, the Coast Guards [U.S. Coast Guard]. Back in 1989 they were deporting Haitians who were coming close to the sou- to the United States. They would, they intercept them, the congressional--the Coast Guards would intercept them and send them back to Haiti. Well of course when they intercept them, sent them back to Haiti, they would die on their way back and so there was a fight between the United States and the Haitian group as to what you should do with those Haitians that were coming over. They didn't really have anyone in my congressman's area in Dade County, Florida who speak, who could speak on that issue. And I became the person to deal with that issue with the Coast Guard and Haitians. Now I'm twenty years old, twenty-one years old I'm having to go to Edison High School [Miami Edison Senior High School, Miami, Florida] which is the high school where the Haitians and the, and the blacks were having interactions. I'm dealing with a lot of the Haitians elected officials and both I, at that time it was Ba- Baby Doc [Jean-Claude Duvalier] in, in, in authority. My congressman worked for the, he was the federa- chairman of the Federal Aviation Committee [Federal Aviation Administration] which was during the Eastern [Eastern Air Lines] strike. So we were having the Eastern strike at that time, I'm having to fly back and forth to Miami [Florida], I'm twenty years old, I understand Haitian government. I understand you know cons, the, the Coast Guard's interactions and I'm the go to person in [U.S.] Congress for Dade County, Florida. You can't ask for a better (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Probably the whole Haitian situation, you're probably the go- yeah.$$It was a great experience for me, I mean I'm, I remember flying to Marco Polo Hotel [Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort, Miami, Florida] and I would fly back and forth you know almost every month. To meet with the Haitian officials, meet with the Coast Guards, come back and report to my congressman, here's where we are. And then when the congress of constituents would come up to meet with Congressman Lehman, I would be in the room. Because I'm the guy so although I'm twenty, I'm from Port Arthur, Texas, I, I never studied Haitian government, I'm now the go between. And it was an awesome, awesome experience for me, you know because when we, we had various bills that were put forth because I knew the bill, I would actually go to the various congress people. I remember talking with Tip O'Neill, Speaker Tip O'Neill, he called and you know I'm sitting on the phone talking to him like, "Oh my god I'm talking to Tip O'Neill" (laughter). But you know I knew the information, it was my bill, you know I wouldn't say it was my bill, but I drafted the thing. So (laughter) it was a great, great experience and, and I was coming from an area where Congressman Jack Brooks was very high in the judiciary on the, he was chairman of the judiciary committee [U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary]. And so my congressman, Congressman Bill Lehman and Congressman Jack Brooks had a good relationship. And, and because I was from Jefferson County [Texas], I could always go see Congressman Brooks. So he could always get me bypa- could bypass me to the people that I really need to talk to, so I start learning to play the Washington politics at twenty. Okay, I got this congressman, I got this chairman, this chairman can get me to this guy, then I can get somebody to review my bill or, or my congressman's bill. And then I figured out who the players are in Dade County, Florida that need to come up to help me sit through the congressional insight when they do the, the bill, bill review. So that I got the right players sitting at the table asking- answering the right questions, you just start playing politics. And that's the kind of experience I received at twenty years old.$$Yeah that's incredible (laughter) you think you know, it's scary too although, a twenty year old is given that kind of you know. But that's you know (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's Washington [D.C.].$$Yeah but, yeah we have--we often interview people that find themselves in a situation that they couldn't've imagined like just a year before. And here you are at a Dairy Queen--$$Yes.$$--flipping burgers and now you're like the Haitian go to person in Congress.$$Yes.$Tell us about--now, I have a note here that you received a NBTA certification, National Board of Trial Ad- Advocacy [National Board of Trial Advocacy], as a certified civil trial advocate. Now what does that mean and--?$$That's similar to the board certification by the Texas State board of certification [Texas Board of Legal Specialization] that means you have reached a level of excellence. You've tried a certain amount of cases and many times with Texas board of specialization you actually have to go to Austin [Texas] take another test. You'll see many times in whatever state you practice, they'll say you, you see a lawyers advertising saying, "Hey I can help you, I can help you." And then at the very bottom in real, real smart print it'll say, "Not board certified by the board of specialization." That's a requirement that says you have not reached that level of sus- specification. And I look at it like this, if you, you have a heart problem, you can go see an internal medicine or you can go see a cardiologist. You have a heart problem you go see a cardiologist 'cause they're specialized in cardiology. The same thing I see when it comes to personal injury, you can go see a lawyer, you have a personal injury. Or you can go see someone who specializes in personal injury. To me I'd go to someone who specializes. So I want to make sure I got certification and board certified because again I understand 90 percent of the lawyers are not board certified. But I need to be in that exclusive, exclusive group because if I'm gonna be competitive, I gotta se- I gotta be better. And so I made sure I was board certified not only personal injury, the national trial advocacy. I have board certification in civil trial, and then also have national board certification by civil trial of national board certification in pretrial litigation.$$Okay.$$So--$$Now all of this, in 2003 you're identified as a Texas Super Lawyer now what does this mean?$$That is a very, that was probably one of the biggest honors I've received since I've been practicing in that you are nominated by your peers. The lawyers in Texas decide who they recognize as the top 5 percent lawyers in the State of Texas. That is not something that you can buy into, they nominate and I have been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer since nine- 2003, which is when they started Texas Super Lawyer. And I've been recognized every since, and in 2003 I'm not sure but I think I was probably the only African American in the State of Texas that received that designation in 2003. And I've had that designation ever since.

The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr.

Judge John W. Peavy, Jr. was born on April 28, 1942 in Houston, Texas to Malinda Terrell Peavy and John W. Peavy, Sr. Peavy graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School in 1960, where he began his lifelong engagement in local politics as a member of the Young Democrats of Harris County. He then enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he earned his B.A. degree in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy in 1964. Peavy worked for Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson’s office as an undergraduate student, and later as a White House staffer during Johnson’s presidency. In 1967, Peavy received his J.D. degree from the Howard University School of Law.

Upon graduating from law school, Peavy returned to Houston, and opened a private law practice focused on criminal and civil cases. In 1967, he joined the Harris County Community Action Association as an associate senior coordinator; and, in 1969, he became an executive assistant to Harris County Judge William Elliot. He then worked as an expert for the American Bar Association’s Project Home, where he handled real estate cases for the NAACP. Funded by the Ford Foundation, the program provided legal and technical assistance to federal housing programs. Peavy also served on the Houston City Council. In 1973, Judge William Elliott appointed Peavy as justice of the peace for a newly formed, majority-black district in Harris County. He was later elected for a full term in 1974, serving until 1977 when he was appointed by Governor Dolph Briscoe as judge of the 246th District Court. There, he presided over family law cases, and helped reform the family court system through his endorsement of mediation programs within the court system in 1985. In 1990, Peavy was placed in charge of family law courts for all of Harris County. Peavy retired from his district court judgeship in 1994.

Peavy was a member of the Houston Area Urban League, the NAACP, and the U.S.-China Friendship Association. He also served as the director of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas. In 2018, Peavy was honored with a historic portrait at the Harris County District Civil Courthouse.

Peavy and his wife, Diane Massey, have four children.

Judge John W. Peavy, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 2, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.130

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/2/2016

Last Name

Peavy

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Schools

Blanche Kelso Bruce Elementary School

E.O. Smith Middle School

Phillis Wheatley High School

Howard University School of Law

Howard University

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

PEA02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Galveston, Texas

Favorite Quote

If You Can’t Make It In Houston You Can’t Make It Anywhere.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

4/28/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Fish

Short Description

Judge John W. Peavy, Jr. (1942 - ) served as justice of the peace from 1974 to 1977, and as district judge from 1977 to 1994 in Houston, Texas, in addition to directing Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum.

Employment

State of Texas

Harris County, Texas

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes the U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned all-white primary elections

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls the discrimination against black attorneys

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls the rivalry between the black high schools in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his interest in business

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers his early awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his influences at Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers his political activities during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers working as an aide at the White House

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers Louis E. Martin

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls his experiences in the White House

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers Stokely Carmichael and Henry "Hank" Thomas, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers Stokely Carmichael and Henry "Hank" Thomas, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls his influences at the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. reflects upon his time at the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers joining the Harris County Community Action Association

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his role in the Harris County Community Action Association

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers the issues addressed by the Harris County Community Action Association

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes the accomplishments of the Harris County Community Action Association

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers the local leaders involved with the Harris County Community Action Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his role as the executive assistant to Judge William Elliot

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls his appointment as a justice of the peace

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his role as a justice of the peace

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his challenges as a justice of the peace

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his first election as justice of the peace

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his experiences as a family law judge

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers his retirement from the judicial profession

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. remembers being acquitted of bribery charges

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. reflects upon his experiences as a family law judge

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about the death of Sandra Bland

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his recent business venture

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls incidents of racism from his judicial career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his judicial philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing
The Honorable John W. Peavy, Jr. recalls incidents of racism from his judicial career
Transcript
Okay so she went to Prairie View [Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College; Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas] too and?$$Right, she went to Prairie View also.$$Now did she always want to be a teacher or were there limited opportunities or what?$$I think that there were limited opportunities at that time but clearly having just gotten from--freed from slavery and experiencing all that they felt that the way for black people to progress is to have an education. And--and at that time, you know, teaching was one of the avenues that you could do something, you know, unless you went into a trade. But they went into teaching.$$So it was a good position to have in those days.$$Yeah.$$As it is now.$$Yeah$$But, okay. So did your mother [Malinda Terrell Peavy] grow up in Anderson--in Grimes County [Texas]?$$Yeah she grew up in Anderson but she eventually moved to Houston [Texas] with my father [John W. Peavy, Sr.] when they got married. He was from Grimes County also, Anderson. They moved to Houston and she got a job teaching Houston Independent School District and she taught the fourth grade up until her retirement.$$Okay. Now did she--do you have any stories your mother told about growing up in Anderson or the early days of Houston?$$Well one thing, my grandfather [Alexander Terrell] in addition to being in charge of the Negro school system in Grimes County, he also owned land, and what was unique in Anderson, Texas, their home--and they had a big two story home on the main street of Anderson and they were the only black family that stayed, you know, in town. And the town is sort of like on a hill like and you've got the courthouse--the Grimes County Courthouse [Anderson, Texas] to the right, you've got an inn to the left and right there is the Terrell--where the Terrells had their home. It was like four or five lots, as I was saying it was a two story house. He also founded the black church in Anderson, Texas and he was very business minded because of the fact that when people lost their property for taxes, he would buy property at the courthouse and get a tax sale and buy property. So she talked about Anderson and growing up. She didn't talk too much about the Depression [Great Depression] but one of my mother's sisters who was older than my mother, experienced the Depression and she talked about the Depression. I can remember as a little boy going to their house where in their pantry they had a lot of flour, you know, they had a lot of staple products because of the fact that they had experienced the Depression and they didn't want to experience it again. You know, so they made sure that staples--that they had plenty of it in their pantry at home.$You had another bench story you wanted to tell us before we talked about your (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well I was about to mention--tell you that, you know, experiences--and, and I've got two experiences I want to tell you. One when I first ran for district court judge you had to run countywide and so I went all over the county trying to get votes but there's a conservative portion of Harris County [Texas] called Pasadena, Texas. I don't know if you've heard of that or not but it's conservative. So I went there and it's somewhat--it's a blue collar area and it was at a labor hall, chemical workers and people like that and I went there and my wife [Diane Massey Peavy] was with me. She was standing on the side and I was standing on the front and my wife told me that she heard one of the people say that, "I can't believe that Negro came out here." So my wife was nervous and she was getting concerned and so anyway she said that I finally talked to the people and when I get through talking the people were clapping and the guy who had made that statement said, "You know, he sounds all right and I'm going to vote for him." So, but she always tell the kids about that. One other thing when I was, too, running, the Ku Klux Klan [KKK] had my signs out in Pasadena and the Chronicle [Houston Chronicle] called me and they asked me about it and I said, "Well I don't know anything about it but obviously they feel that I must be a fair judge." Anyway that was the end of that story. But, you know, and then I had another incident that happened where my court coordinator was on the elevator and I was on the top floor in the courthouse and she rode up the elevator with this white attorney with his white client and he was talking to his client trying to comfort his client trying to explain the procedure and keep him relaxed and everything. My court coordinator who was black--who is black, said that just as the elevator opened the attorney told his client, he said, "You know the judge is a nigger, don't you."$$This is an uncloseted speech, I mean--$$Yeah.$$--I mean closeted speech that you don't really hear, but here it is. So what are you--are you surprised by that kind of thing?$$Well I was, but I didn't let it impact my ruling.

Paulette Brown

Lawyer Paulette Brown was born on April 28, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland to Wilbur Brown, a truck driver, and Thelma Brown, a homemaker. She attended Baltimore’s P.S. 145 and Calverton Junior High School, graduating from Northwestern High School in 1969. Brown studied sociology at Howard University before changing her major to political science. In 1973, she received her B.S. degree in political science from Howard University, and went on to receive her J.D. degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1976.

Brown spent nine years working as in-house counsel at several Fortune 500 companies, including National Steel Corporation, Prudential Insurance Company of America, Inc., and Buck Consultants Inc. Brown was the founding partner of Brown & Childress, and worked as a solo practitioner for sixteen years. In 1983, she was elected president of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey. In 1993, Brown & Childress merged with another firm to become Brown, Lofton, Childress & Wolfe, New Jersey’s largest minority firm at the time. That same year, she was elected president of the National Bar Association, and later served as a municipal court judge in Plainfield, New Jersey. As president of the NBA, Brown led a delegation to monitor the first free and democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, and became a member of the American Bar Association in 1997. Brown joined Duane, Morris & Heckscher LLP as a partner in January 2000, and then she moved to the New Jersey office of Edwards & Angell LLP in 2005. In 2007, she was elected as a member of the American Bar Association’s board of governors. She co-chaired the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools in 2010, and in 2015, became the first woman of color to be elected as president of the American Bar Association.

Brown received numerous awards, including the National Bar Association’s highest award, the C. Francis Stradford Award. She also received the Gertrude Rush and Cora T. Walker Legacy Awards from the National Bar Association, the Medal of Honor Award from the New Jersey Bar Foundation, the Spirit of Excellence and Margaret Brent Awards from the American Bar Association, the Award of Excellence from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Robert L. Carter Legacy Award from the New Jersey chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. She also received the Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism. Brown was repeatedly selected by U.S. News as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in the area of commercial litigation. She was named to the Ebony Power 100 List in 2014, and was selected as one of the 50 “Most Influential Minority Lawyers in the U.S.” by the National Law Journal and one of the country’s “Most Influential Black Lawyers” by Savoy Magazine.

Brown has one son, Dijaun Brown.

Paulette Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 28, 2015.

Accession Number

A2015.001

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/29/2015

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Alexander Hamilton Elementary School

Calverton Elementary/Middle School

Northwestern High School

Howard University

Seton Hall University School of Law

First Name

Paulette

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BRO61

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

To whom much is given much is required

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/28/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Morristown

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood or roasted root vegetables

Short Description

Lawyer Paulette Brown (1951 - ) was a partner at Locke Lord LLP, and the first woman of color elected President of the American Bar Association.

Employment

Edward Wildman Palmer

Locke Lord LLP

Municipal Court of Plainfield

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paulette Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown talks about her mother's early years in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown lists her siblings and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown recalls her early childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown remembers attending her junior prom

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paulette Brown describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Paulette Brown describes the smells and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Paulette Brown talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown recalls the teachers who influenced her in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown reflects upon her experience at Calverton Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown remembers attending Wayland Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown describes Northwestern High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown talks about the civil rights activities during her teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown recalls her introduction to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown talks about her college friends

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown describes her summer employment

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown remembers applying to law school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown recalls her student government participation at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown talks about the changes to Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown remembers Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown remembers Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown talks about the Black American Law Students Association

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown recalls her internship in the Newark Mayor's Policy and Development Office

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown recalls becoming the employee benefits lawyer at the National Steel Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown describes her career at the National Steel Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown talks about her work at Buck Consultants

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown remembers her early networking opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown recalls the start of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown describes the challenges faced by African American women attorneys

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown describes her presidency of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown recalls becoming a National Bar Association deputy regional director

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown recalls her election as vice president of the National Bar Association

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown describes the history of the National Bar Association

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown talks about the National Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown talks about her presidency of the National Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown remembers the first democratic elections in South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown talks about her house in South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown talks about her work with African bar associations

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown describes the challenges faced by the National Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown talks about the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown describes her early work in the American Bar Association

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown talks about the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown talks about the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Paulette Brown describes trajectory of her private practice

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown recalls the clients she acquired in her private practice

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown talks about minority-led law firms, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown talks about minority-led law firms, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown recalls her decision to leave the firm of Duane Morris LLP

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown remembers joining the law firm of Edwards and Angell

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown talks about her experiences at the firm of Edwards and Angell

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown recalls her election as president of the American Bar Association

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown talks about the support of Dennis Archer

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown talks about her goals for the American Bar Association, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Paulette Brown talks about her goals for the American Bar Association, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paulette Brown shares her plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paulette Brown shares her advice for aspiring African American law professionals

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paulette Brown reflects upon the future of the law profession

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paulette Brown recalls adopting her son

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paulette Brown talks about her son's education

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paulette Brown recalls the support of her family during her son's adoption

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paulette Brown reflects upon her experiences of parenting

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paulette Brown talks about her son's career

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Paulette Brown describes the challenges faced by the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Paulette Brown reflects upon her legacy and the legacy of the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Paulette Brown reflects upon the challenges faced by African American women

The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr.

Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. was born on August 17, 1944 in Lebanon, Tennessee. In 1966, he graduated from Tennessee State University with his B.A. degree in political science. Wharton then received his J.D. degree in 1971 from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he graduated with honors and was one of the first African American students to serve on the Moot Court Board and the first to serve on the Judicial Council.

Wharton first worked in Washington, D.C., at the Office of General Council of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for two years, and then for a year at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he headed the Public Employment Project. In 1973, Wharton moved to Memphis, Tennessee and was hired as executive director of Memphis Area Legal Services, a nonprofit organization providing civil legal assistance to low-income citizens. Then, in 1974, he became the University of Mississippi’s first African American professor of law, a position that he would hold for twenty-five years.

In 1980, then-Shelby County, Tennessee mayor, Bill Morris, appointed Wharton as Shelby County’s Chief Public Defender. Wharton chaired the county’s Jail Overcrowding Committee; and, in 1982, wrote and saw passed one of the first state laws in the United States to combat domestic violence. In addition to his role as a public defender, Wharton and his wife established the law firm of Wharton and Wharton in 1980.

In 2002, Wharton was elected as the first African American Mayor of Shelby County, and was re-elected in 2006. As Shelby County Mayor, he established Operation Safe Community, the area's first comprehensive crime-fighting plan, developed the community’s first smart growth and sustainability plan, and tackled education and early childhood development issues with programs like “Books from Birth” and “Ready, Set, Grow.” Wharton also improved the management and accountability of the County's Head Start program. His reforms attracted the attention of the United States Congress, where he was called to testify before the House Committee on Education.

In October of 2009, Wharton was elected as the Mayor of the City of Memphis, and was re-elected in 2011. He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, and has addressed major policy institutions and conferences of the Brookings Institute, CEOs for Cities, and the National Association for Counties.

Wharton lives in Memphis with his wife, Ruby. They have raised six sons.

A C Wharton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2014

Last Name

Wharton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Market Street Elementary PS

Wilson County Training School

Harvard Law School

Tennessee State University

University of Mississippi

First Name

A C

Birth City, State, Country

Lebanon

HM ID

WHA02

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York City

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

8/17/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oatmeal

Short Description

Mayor The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. (1944 - ) was elected Mayor of the City of Memphis, Tennessee in 2009. He was also the first black mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee and the first African American law professor at the University of Mississippi.

Employment

City of Memphis

Shelby County Government

Wharton Law Firm

University of Mississippi

Memphis Area Legal Services

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office of General Counsel

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1010,15:5353,100:48870,446:80765,719:112680,1111:139610,1411:175655,2028:180911,2088:190060,2189$0,0:9047,177:32400,594:33040,607:49278,1004:55494,1076:55998,1083:64096,1176:65734,1193:80936,1423:119198,1670:172848,2282:173870,2301:206820,2654
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls a lesson from his father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls a lesson from his father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Slating of The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. remembers his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. talks about his mother's aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. talks about his mother's career as a barber

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls his father's first grocery business

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Sr. talks about his early understanding of reproduction

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls his parents' religious affiliations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls his father's work schedule

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his family's home in Lebanon, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. talks about the farming economy in Lebanon, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls the history of Tater Peeler Road

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. remembers his work ethic as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his family's reading habits

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls selling Baltimore Afro-American newspapers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. remembers the influence of his teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. remembers Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. remembers the murder of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes the telephone system in the 1950s

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. recalls a lesson from his father, pt. 2
The Honorable A C Wharton, Jr. describes his family's reading habits
Transcript
But I'll, I'll never forget. I can see my daddy [A.C. Wharton, Sr.] right now sitting right by the kitchen door, taking his shoes off. And I finally got the nerve up, 'cause I was--I had to make a decision: was I gonna go to school, or was I gonna do what Mr. Tatum [ph.] told me to do? So finally I just said, "Daddy, Mr. Tatum said I don't have to go to school tomorrow. We got to finish those rocks--finish that fence." And he said, "You just go with me tomorrow morning." I didn't know what that meant. So as opposed to walking to school with the other boys, I got in the car with daddy. And we drove over to my daddy's place of work. He also worked for this--for Mr. Tatum. My daddy was a very mild man, never raised his voice. But he went to Mr. Tatum. I'll never forget that. Mr. Tatum was sitting at his desk. And my daddy said, "I understand you told Brother [HistoryMaker A C Wharton, Jr.] he didn't have to go to school tomorrow." And he said, "Mr. Tatum," he said, "I work for you, and I'll do what you tell me to here on the job." He said, "But when it comes to my house, I tell my children what to do. He's going to school." "Ah," he said, "I didn't mean no harm. I didn't mean--I, I didn't mean any harm." My daddy was a short man, but my daddy stood about ten feet tall. It was just a load was lifted off of me because I was so afraid that that man was gonna fire my daddy, which would jeopardize my sisters, my little brother [Kenneth Wharton] all because of me running my big mouth. But my daddy stood like a giant once he said that, didn't raise his voice, didn't curse, didn't make any threats, but he just stood up. And it just seared indelibly in my mind the importance of education. I just don't see how young folks can squander all these opportunities. When my daddy just went way out there on a limb I mean, see, and if he had lost that job, see, he could have gotten blackballed because that man was well respected in the community. And if the word got out, "That Wharton guy there has got a lot of mouth, uppity," or whatever. I mean think of the pain and suffering that could have caused my family.$$Yeah. Yeah, that's quite a story.$Did your parents teach you to read at home? I mean, did, did your mother [Mary Seay Wharton] or, or, or father [A.C. Wharton, Sr.] or--$$Oh, my mom will tell--yeah, I wish she were here to tell. But once I got into it, I, I got frustrated. I would hear my mother read magazines and newspapers and things at night, and she would read them aloud quite often. And I didn't know how a newspaper worked, but I remember she had read me a story out of the paper one day about something. And I don't know why I thought the newspaper would be the same every day. But shortly after, once I got the swing of the first grade [Market Street Elementary School, Lebanon, Tennessee] I grabbed the newspaper and started looking for the same story she had read me. But I didn't know it didn't show up every day like a book that was there (laughter). Yes, she did read to us. Then we had Sunday school, where the Sunday school teacher [at Market Street Church of Christ, Lebanon, Tennessee] would teach us to read from a little card, Bible verses and things like that even before, even before school. They would just give you the word, and you'd repeat it, whatever. And there as a, there was a real respect for the printed page in my family. Let me tell you one thing, my [maternal] grandmother [Dessie Manning Seay] and others would go off to do housework, domestic work. And it's kind of funny. It's sick, but in a way it's kind of funny how they would maybe pay them a dollar but then give them a bunch of junk to make them feel good, old magazines, stuff that was so old, dog-eared, just anything to make, make--give them--feel I'm giving them something. But we had a rule in my house, no matter how old Life magazine was or Reader's Digest, if it came in the front door, it did not go out the back door until you read it. I remember trying to read the Reader's Digest, every once in a while an old National Geographic, a Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.] catalog. If you came in it, in that front door, you tried to read it. And my mom knew this, and this is why she bought our set of encyclopedia, Funk and Wagnalls [Funk and Wagnalls Standard Encyclopedia], which we still have, still on the bookshelf to this day, one book at a time. Can you imagine that? It took maybe two years, maybe three years, 'cause you'd get one volume. You'd mail in fifty cent, and you'd get another one. And it took forever for us to get that one set of Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia that, as I say, the books are still there. My mother really sacrificed to make sure that this was one family that had some books in the house, made all the difference in the world.

David Chaumette

Lawyer David A. Chaumette was born in London, England in 1968, and grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. He received his B.S.E. degree, cum laude, from Princeton University, his M.S. degree in aeronautics/astronautics from Stanford University, and his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

In 1994, Chaumette was hired as an associate at the law firm of Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton. From 1998 to 2002, he worked for the Houston, Texas law firm of Porter & Hedges LLP. From 2002 until 2011, Chaumette served as a partner at the law firms of Shook Hardy & Bacon, Baker & McKenzie, and De la Rosa & Chaumette. In December of 2011, he founded the Sugar Land based law firm, Chaumette PLLC, which specializes in business litigation. In 2013, Chaumette was named the first African American president of the Houston Bar Association (HBA).

Chaumette was president of the Houston Young Lawyers Association from 2003 to 2004, and has served on the boards of directors and executive committees for the Houston Bar Association and Neighborhood Centers, Inc. He has also been the president or chair of several other organizations, including Leadership Houston, the Houston Lawyers Foundation, and First Colony Little League. His professional memberships include the National Bar Association, the Houston Lawyer Association, the College of the State Bar of Texas and the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas. In addition, Chaumette is a fellow of the American Law Institute and the Litigation Counsel of America, and has written numerous articles that have been published in magazines and scholarly journals.

In 2004, Chaumette was named as one of the Five Outstanding Young Houstonians by the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was named to the Visitors Committee of the South Texas College of Law in Houston in 2005, and was named one of the 500 New Stars by Lawdragon.com in 2006. In 2009, Chaumette was recognized as an Extraordinary Minority in Texas Law by Texas Lawyer Magazine. In 2011, he received the Standing Ovation award from the Texas Bar for his service to TexasBarCLE. Chaumette has also been named “Texas Rising Star” and a "Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics Magazine for several consecutive years.

Chaumette lives in Sugar Land, and has two sons, Raphael and Alexandre.

David Chaumette was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 3, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.067

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/3/2014

Last Name

Chaumette

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Anthony

Occupation
Schools

Clements High School

Torrance High School

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Chicago

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

London

HM ID

CHA12

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

4/9/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

England

Short Description

Litigator David Chaumette (1968 - ) , founder and partner of the law firm Chaumette PLLC, was named the first African American president of the Houston Bar Association in 2013.

Employment

Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton

Porter & Hedges LLP

Shook Hardy & Bacon

Baker & McKenzie

De la Rosa & Chaumette

Chaumette PLLC

Michele Coleman Mayes

Michele Coleman Mayes was born on July 9, 1949 in Los Angeles, California to Geraldine and Wilbert Coleman. Mayes graduated from MacKinzie High School in Detroit, Michigan in 1967. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1971 and her J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1974.

Mayes taught as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois for two years and then as an Adjunct Professor of Civil Trial Advocacy at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan from 1981 to 1987. Mayes served in the United States Department of Justice from 1976 to 1982 as Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn. Mayes eventually assumed the role of Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit. In 1982, Mayes entered the corporate sector as managing attorney of the Burroughs Corporation. Her career continued to evolve as the Burroughs Corporation and the Sperry Corporation merged, creating Unisys Corporation, for which she was appointed staff vice president and associate general counsel for Worldwide Litigation. In 1992, Mayes joined the Colgate-Palmolive Company as vice president and associate general counsel. One year later, she was promoted to vice president of Human Resources and their Legal Division for North America. In May 2001, Mayes was promoted to vice president, legal and assistant secretary, and elected a corporate officer. Two years later, she accepted the position of senior vice president and general counsel at Pitney Bowes. In 2007, Mayes was named vice president and general counsel of The Allstate Corporation and senior vice president and general counsel for Allstate Insurance Company.

Mayes is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Margaret Brent Award and
The Trailblazer Award. She was also named one of America's top black lawyers by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2003.

Mayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/6/2008 |and| 12/19/2008

Last Name

Mayes

Maker Category
Marital Status

divorced

Middle Name

Coleman

Occupation
Schools

MacKinzie High School

Thirkell Elementary School

Macculloch Elementary School

Tappan Junior High School

University of Michigan

University of Michigan Law School

First Name

Michele

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

MAY04

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Be Yourself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/9/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Popcorn

Short Description

Corporate lawyer Michele Coleman Mayes (1949 - ) was appointed as vice president and general counsel of The Allstate Corporation, and senior vice president and general counsel for the Allstate Insurance Company.

Employment

Illinois State University

U.S. Attorney's office, Detroit

Unisys Corporation

Colgate Palmolive Company

Pitney Bowes, Inc.

Allstate Insurance

Favorite Color

Amber

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Coleman Mayes' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her mother's parenting style

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her father's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls visiting her relatives in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her likeness to her father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her first home in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her household

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her neighbors in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes the sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her sister's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her closest childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her family's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her mother's place of employment

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her family's medical history

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers two of her childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls moving Kendall Street in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers influential teachers from her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her social life

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her family's holiday traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls attending David Mackenzie High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her early career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers the Detroit riots in 1967

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her decision to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers an early experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her first semester at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes the African American community at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her academic experiences at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers giving a speech on the 1967 Detroit Riots

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her course load at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers working at the University of Michigan's dental school

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls working at the University of Michigan Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls attending the University of Michigan Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her brief hiatus from the University of Michigan Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her wedding ceremony

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls teaching at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her position as assistant U.S. Attorney

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her challenges in the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney's Office

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about moving to Dearborn, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls living in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls returning to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers the air traffic controllers strike

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her long distance marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about the small African American legal community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls a case she tried as chief of the civil division at the U.S. Attorney's Office

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her experiences as a woman attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her decision to leave the U.S. Attorney's Office

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her decision to practice corporate law

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her first impressions of Burroughs Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls the advice of her African American coworkers

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers Detroit's African American corporate lawyers

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about joining Burroughs Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls the merger of Sperry Corporation and Burroughs Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her challenges at Unisys Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her aspiration to become general counsel

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her decision to join the Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her working relationship with Reuben Mark

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls what she learned at the Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her promotion to vice president of the human resources department

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes shares her advice about leadership

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her mentor Andrew D. Hendry

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls becoming deputy general counsel at Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her international travels with Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about settling Colgate Palmolive Company's legal case in Ecuador

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls mediating a conflict with Colgate Palmolive Company's plant in Nigeria, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls mediating a conflict with Colgate Palmolive Company's plant in Nigeria, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers working with a Nigerian law firm

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about Colgate Palmolive Company's limited success in Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls traveling for the Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about working with patent law at Colgate Palmolive Company

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers Sara Moss's career advice

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls being hired by Pitney Bowes Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls interviewing at Pitney Bowes Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes Pitney Bowes Inc.'s legal department

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about the racial demographics of Fortune 500 company's general counsels

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers her challenges at Pitney Bowes Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her interactions with her staff at Pitney Bowes Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about how she divided legal work at Pitney Bowes Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes Allstate Corporation's legal department

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls chairing a special committee board at Assurant, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers interviewing with the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers Allstate Corporation's CEO, Thomas J. Wilson

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Coleman Mayes's interview, session 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her first impressions of Thomas J. Wilson

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers encountering a weather delay during her interview with the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes the Allstate Corporation offices

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls Michael McCabe's job advice

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her challenges at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes remembers the Allstate Corporation's executives

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls Thomas J. Wilson's description of a photograph

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes the aftermath of her interview with the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her decision to join the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her leadership style

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her hopes for her staff at Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about the role of general counsel

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her goals at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her legal staff at Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about diversity at the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about the insurance industry's regulations

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her first impressions of the Allstate Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her hopes for Allstate Corporation's growth

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Michele Coleman Mayes talks about her board memberships

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Michele Coleman Mayes recalls changing her outlook on life

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her plan for the future

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Michele Coleman Mayes shares advice for aspiring lawyers

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Michele Coleman Mayes describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Michele Coleman Mayes reflects upon race in America

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Michele Coleman Mayes reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

3$10

DATitle
Michele Coleman Mayes recalls her early career aspirations
Michele Coleman Mayes remembers Sara Moss's career advice
Transcript
In terms of who influenced me, I don't know. My mother [Geraldine Coleman], again, very, very big presence because I announced when I was eleven that I was going to be a lawyer. I announced it to the world. It's very good when you say things out loud because it's hard to go back, and that made me and if you say something stupid, you may do it. But I announced when I was eleven years old and in junior high school [Tappan Junior High School, Detroit, Michigan], I am going to law school. In this order, however. First, I will be a, I will be a stewardess. They were called stewardesses then because there were no flight attendants, so I can fly around and see the world. And as soon as I do that and get that out of my system, mom, I'm going to go to law school. That sounds good to me. So, my mother said I stuck with that plan (laughter) until a huge airline crash happened, and I never talked about it again (laughter). But I went to law school [University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan]. And I have to laugh. Several years ago, I was interviewing a candidate who'd been a flight attendant and gone to law school. I said, "You're my role model" (laughter). But in any event, that's what I'd set my sights on. People ask, did I have any lawyers in my family? Nope, nobody I knew, although my mother tells me, and I don't--he's in a book somewhere that very early on, one of my relatives in Memphis [Tennessee], a gentleman, was a lawyer. But it's not anybody I ever met, so how could he have influenced me. But who, I think, influenced me the most are two people. One was Perry Mason, don't know him either, but the other was a judge. Go back to my aunt [Katherine Coleman House (ph.)], she's sort--her circle of friends are very professional people. And one of the individuals that I always was around, particularly all the way through high school [David Mackenzie High School, Detroit, Michigan], he eventually acted as the person who married me, was a black Republican which was also a bit unusual back then. He was very much a black Republican. So, he didn't exactly mingle with everyone in the black community because he was dubbed a bit odd for being a Republican, but because he was, he got a lot of appointments, different things, because he was one in the few. He was competent and good, but still, he was one of the few. So, he got appointed to the bench and was a judge for--well, for--until he died, and he didn't die until not that long ago. So, I was around him. When I announced I wanted to go to law school, my aunt, the one, again, that had all these friends, helped me get jobs. She knew who ran the different legal aid offices and the law firms, and she knew all of these black folks in the profession. And she would say, "You know, my niece wants to go to law school. Why don't you let her work in your law firm?" I hadn't even gone to college [University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan]. I was just getting into college, and they, they let me do it. So, I was running errands, doing very pedestrian things since I was not hardly qualified to render anybody any advice--didn't have any training. But thanks to her, she was constantly opening doors for me like that, that I took for granted. It was like, "You know I'm down, you call them up and see if you can get me a job." And she would say, "Well, let me see what I can do."$Did Pitney Bowes [Pitney Bowes Inc.] come calling?$$Well, that's a very interesting story. I met, I had lunch with Sara Moss, who was my predecessor at Pitney Bowes, about what--when the marathon was here, for three or four weeks ago, she came to Chicago [Illinois]. And Sara Moss, I met through networking. I think networking is critical. I tell people to network when you don't need to.$$That's true.$$You know, people hate for you to network when they know all you want to do is ask them for something.$$That's true.$$And so, Sara and I met because I was networking with a group of lawyers, all women, most of whom were general counsel. I was deputy general counsel at Colgate [Colgate Palmolive Company]. I was not top dog. But the headhunters knew and thought I was ready to move. As I said to somebody, if I go through one more chair at Colgate, it will be a tomb. I, you know, how many more chairs can I go through? I've done enough. I've trained long enough now, I've over trained. So, the headhunters had me on their rolodex, their Blackberry now, whatever. And so one of the headhunters, she was very clever. All the lawyers she was either thinking about placing, or had placed, she would get together for a day and a half. She'd keep her hand on the pulse, "So how's it going, what are you doing?" And I met Sara, or really--I'd met her once before. I got to know Sara through that networking, and we just had good chemistry. We never worked together. We would just chitchat at these informal gatherings. I get a phone call--I'll never forget this--I get a phone call, a voicemail message in January of '02 [2002]--no. Right? January of '02 [2002]. It's Sara. "Michele [HistoryMaker Michele Coleman Mayes], it's Sara, give me a call." Okay, I give her a call, I get her voicemail. This went on until March. I finally say, "Sara, if you want me to be on a panel, just tell me. I'm tired of playing telephone tag." 'Cause I can never get her on her phone. Finally, in March, I answer my phone and she's on the other end. She said, "Well, I'll be darn, you do exist." I said, "All you had to do was leave a voicemail message telling me what you wanted, Sara." I said, "This has been going on for weeks!" She then says to me, "I have a great job. It is with one of the best jobs I have ever had." I said, "Sara, I'm not much interested." (Laughter) Here goes my big mouth. She said, "Well, I intend to leave it." And then my light goes off. I'm not as slow this time--or maybe I am. She says, "Would you like to be considered?" And that was the beginning of the discussion. And I don't think--Mike Critelli [Michael J. Critelli], the CEOs that I've worked with, have always been very open minded, and I've been really, really lucky. That's Reuben [Reuben Mark], Mike [W. Michael Blumenthal], and now Tom [Thomas J. Wilson] because I don't think I appeal to a certain person or I might--I'm not as radical as I sometimes look. People think I'm radical, and I don't think I am. I'm a little bit outside the box, but I don't consider that being radical, but some people would be somewhere put off by me. So, when Sara mentioned that she was putting the slate together with no outside search firm, she said, "I'm resigning this job." 9/11 [September 11, 2001] had happened. Sara has four kids, they were all at home, except for one. And she was commuting from New York [New York] to Stamford, Connecticut, and it was a real drain on her. And so, she was really reassessing what she needed to do personally. She wanted to find a job in the city, which she subsequently did. She's general counsel for Estee Lauder [The Estee lauder Companies Inc.]--$$Okay.$$--but she quit with no job. So, when she called me and told me that, she said, "I think you are ready, and I'm putting you at the top of the list. I told Mike, why doesn't he save the fees of an outside search firm? If he doesn't like the candidates that I've put in front of him, then hire the search firm, but why doesn't he see what candidates I can bring in on my own?" And then, she coached me through the entire process. We talk on the phone. We would meet. She'd tell me how he was as a CEO, what the company's issues were. She coached me.