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Hilary Shelton

NAACP lobbyist and policymaker Hilary Otis Shelton was born on August 12, 1958, in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelton received his B.A. degree in political science from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and went on to attain his M.A. degree in communications from the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Shelton first worked as the federal program policy director for the United Methodist Church’s social justice agency, The General Board of Church and Society. There, he worked on the church’s public policy agenda, particularly on issues pertaining to black colleges and universities. He was highly involved in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and also advocated for several other important acts including the Violence Against Women Act. A champion of causes affecting the African American community, Shelton then went on to serve in the position of federal liaison/assistant director to the government affairs department of The College Fund/UNCF, also known as The United Negro College Fund, in Washington, D.C. There, Shelton worked with federal government agencies and departments, as well as colleges and universities to secure the survival, growth, and educational programming excellence of the forty private historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States.

From there, Shelton moved on to the NAACP’s Washington bureau, where he handles federal and legislative affairs as well as public policy concerns for the organization’s Washington, D.C., office. Shelton serves on a number of national boards of directors including The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, The Center for Democratic Renewal, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute among many others. Shelton has been honored numerous times for his work. He was the recipient of the National NAACP Medgar W. Evers Award for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon a national professional staff member of the NAACP; the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Excellence in Advocacy Award; and the Religious Action Center’s Civil Rights Leadership Award in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shelton lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Paula Young Shelton, and their three sons, Caleb Wesley, Aaron Joshua, and Noah Otis Young Shelton.

Accession Number

A2008.098

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/28/2008 |and| 3/5/2012

7/28/2008

3/5/2012

Last Name

Shelton

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Harrison School

Beaumont High School

Humboldt Academy of High Learning

University of Missouri - St. Louis

Northeastern University

Howard University

First Name

Hilary

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

SHE04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

There's Nothing You Can't Get Done If You're Willing To Let Someone Else Get Credit For It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/12/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Crepes (Fruit)

Short Description

Civic leader Hilary Shelton (1958 - ) was the head of the NAACP Washington Bureau. He helped to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the Violence Against Women Act. He also served as the United Negro College Fund's federal liaison, and as the federal program policy director for the United Methodist Church’s social justice agency, The General Board of Church and Society.

Employment

NAACP Washington Bureau

Washington Office on Africa

National Impact

United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society

United Negro College Fund

Greater Boston Legal Services

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hilary Shelton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton remembers the attacks on his maternal family in Gore Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton describes the African American community in Gore Springs, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton talks about his maternal grandparents' land

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton describes his parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hilary Shelton describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton talks about his parents' marriage and move to St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton describes the personalities of his parents and grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton remembers his household in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton describes the North City neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton recalls the prevalence of crime in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hilary Shelton talks about the '20/20' investigation of segregation in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Hilary Shelton describes his experiences of racial discrimination in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton remembers the gang violence in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton remembers the faculty of the Harrison School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton talks about his parents' interest in politics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton recalls his introduction to the NAACP at the Antioch Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton recalls the civil rights leadership of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton describes his experiences at the Humboldt School in St. Louis, Missouri, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton describes his experiences at the Humboldt School in St. Louis, Missouri, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his experiences at Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton remembers the band at Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton recalls the music of his youth

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton remembers the Black Student Union at Beaumont High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton recalls the films and television shows of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton recalls the films and television shows of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton describes his involvement with the NAACP Youth Council

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton talks about Clarence Thomas

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his early aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Hilary Shelton's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton recalls his influences at Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Miss

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton talks about the demographics of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton describes his early involvement in civil rights activities

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton remembers meeting Frankie Freeman

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton describes the activities of the Black Student Union at Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton recalls his decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his involvement with the American Indian Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Hilary Shelton talks about his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton recalls the notable speakers at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton describes his work at Greater Boston Legal Aid, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton describes his work at Greater Boston Legal Aid, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton remembers the United States Student Association

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton describes his forensics professor at the University of Missouri - St. Louis

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton talks about the administration of President Ronald Reagan

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton talks about the administration of President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his master's thesis on the Iran Contra Affair

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton remembers lobbying the University of Missouri to divest from South Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton describes how he came to join the Washington Office on Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton describes his work with the Washington Office on Africa, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton describes his work with the Washington Office on Africa, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton talks about the Civil Rights Act of 1991

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton recalls the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton recalls his experiences at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton recalls his experiences at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton remembers the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton describes his position at the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton describes how he came to head the NAACP Washington Bureau

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton remembers the Million Man March

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton describes the history of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his work at the NAACP Washington Bureau

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton talks about racial profiling, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton talks about racial profiling, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton reflects upon President Barack Obama's administration, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton reflects upon President Barack Obama's administration, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton describes the NAACP's current lobbying activities, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Hilary Shelton describes the NAACP's current lobbying activities, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Hilary Shelton reflects upon the racism in the United States today

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Hilary Shelton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Hilary Shelton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Hilary Shelton reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Hilary Shelton talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Hilary Shelton talks about the influence of his grandfathers and uncles

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Hilary Shelton describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

8$7

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Hilary Shelton describes his position at the United Negro College Fund
Hilary Shelton remembers lobbying the University of Missouri to divest from South Africa
Transcript
How long did you work for the United Methodist?$$About ten years.$$Ten, okay.$$And I left the United Methodist Church to go to work for the, for the United Negro College Fund.$$Okay.$$Of course, the, the name is slightly different. It's still the same organization. They just changed their name to UNCF, the college fund. So I spent some time working with Bill Gray [HistoryMaker William H. Gray, III], who at the time was the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund or U--UNCF the college fund, working at the government affairs office here in Washington, D.C., to try to help find, really, resources, money and other resources for those--at that time, forty-one historically black colleges and universities.$$Okay, now this is the beginning of the Bush administration, right?$$Yes--$$Okay.$$--it, it was part of the Bush administration. But interestingly enough, when it comes to HBCUs, there's a tendency for even Republican administrations to be very helpful to HBCUs. Education seems to be one of those areas, most of the time--sometimes it gets used for political pra- in, in a politically problematic way as well, but most of the time education, particularly in support for those HBCUs, seems to rise above the partisan fray. It is something good to see. So the Bush administration, both Herbert Walker Bush, and more so than, than George W. Bush [President George Walker Bush], was very, very supportive of HBCUs and, and other programs, including the White House office on HBCUs [White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities], in addressing those concerns.$$Yeah, I think George W. Bush during this period made his famous statement that a Negro is a terrible thing to waste [sic.]--$$Oh--$$--or something, it was something (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) I, I, and I think that was Dan Quayle. Yeah, yeah--$$Oh, that, yeah, yeah--$$--his vice president at the time (laughter).$$--the convoluted--yeah, during the old Bush (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, they've got--$$I'm sorry.$$No, no, but you're right; that was, that was [President] George Herbert Walker Bush's vice president at the time. And I remember how, how he kind of sloshed that, that slogan, but (laughter)--$$A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and he added convoluted--$$Yeah, ex- exactly, exactly (laughter).$$Right. Okay, all right--$$I think he had a little problem swallowing potato too during that time.$$Okay, UNCF, so, so what were--well, the, the issue was always to raise money for--$$Absolutely, absolutely. It was a different approach for me. You know, I've, I'd always been more actively involved in not for profit organizations that focus on really bringing as many people on board to support moving the agenda forward. So in essence, we leveraged our policy positions by educating as many people and then coordinating how they approached their members of [U.S.] Congress, House [U.S. House of Representatives] and [U.S.] Senate, the White House, and even, and the government agencies and the like. So, but the UNCF, the focus was less that and more focusing on engaging those historically black colleges and universities, the support of the corporate community along those lines, but also the engagement and support of the federal government to address, you know, helping to secure those black colleges, to be able to provide a good high quality education at an affordable price. So it was a little bit different than the work we'd done around the more controversial issues. As a matter of fact, you kind of, in, in that arena, you stay away from a lot of the controversial issues. You're primarily go- primary goal all the time is to raise money. And I, I remember sitting down with Bill Gray the first time. And I had in my mind the same kind of construct we use here at the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] that we'd use at the United Methodist Church and other groups I'd worked for, which is the construct in which you engage members, have them join a network, set up coalition partners throughout the country, and then leverage them when we're trying to pass pieces of legislation throughout the House and the Senate or trying to, to engage the president of the White House in what we're trying to do. But there was always a concern that if we went that route, that it might become too partisan in its perception and that having people engaged along those lines, writing letters to those businesses and so forth, might actually create a problem for the continuation of the fundraising. Even though we knew that everything we'd be doing would be quite legal within the construct of a 501(c)(3), there were those concerns, so we kind of changed the approach. Quite frankly, that's also why I ended up missing the civil rights community, missing that engagement for those membership units across the country, whether it's in churches or, or whether a small civic organizations or groups in local communities. I missed that engagement of people in the process and the struggle for civil rights advancement. And the, and of course, that's why I decided to leave the United Negro College Fund and, and come to work for the NAACP.$Now what did you do after graduate school?$$That came to the--I came to Washington, D.C. As I was finishing my program at the University of Missouri - St. Louis [St. Louis, Missouri], one of the big issues for us was apartheid in South Africa. And the big movement among colleges and universities was to divest holdings in all corporations that do business in South Africa. This is a time in which, of course, Nelson Mandela was in Robben Island [South Africa]. It was a time in which apartheid was the law of the land in South Africa, and of course, the colonial power of the, the, of South Africa was one that was affecting the entire region. So it was an amazing time along those lines. We were working then as students in a progressive movement to not support those corporations or U.S. interests that would exploit people of African descent in South Africa. So, I had, I met with a guy named Damu Smith. Among other things I did as a student, I also sat on advisory board while with the U.S. Student Association [U.S. National Student Association], with the American Committee on Africa out of New York [New York], with TransAfrica [TransAfrica Forum; TransAfrica] here in Washington, D.C., and the Washington Office on Africa, which also here in Washington, D.C. These were the three premier Africa focus groups working on apartheid and South Africa issues and focusing on those nine southern states of South Af- of Southern Africa and how the Republic of South Africa was affecting even their stability. So, Damu Smith was someone I'd met in some of those meetings. I was finishing up and really wanted to come back to Washington and get involved in an advocacy type organization and position but wanted to focus on the federal government, on the [U.S.] Congress and the government agencies, of course. We were finishing up my program at the same time we were also finishing up a disinvestment of corporations doing business in South Africa that were in the university's portfolio, both their endowment portfolios as well as their pension funds. We were able to convince then Governor Ashcroft [John Ashcroft] from Missouri, that later became the attorney general of the United States and Senator Ashcroft prior to becoming attorney, as, as well as a Republican treasurer in Missouri, a guy named Wendell Bailey, that it was not in the best interest of the State of Missouri nor the University of Missouri to invest funds in corporations that do business in South Africa that many argued took over 750,000 jobs out of the United States to South Africa, where they force black people to work for less money than white folks, where the law of the land prohibited black folks from supervising over white folks, or moving to high--and corporate structure, so and where security and--well, where, where calm was created through force, the guns. And we were seeing all the videos of Soweto [South Africa], the, the videos of uprisings in other parts of South African, and, and the very harsh response from South African military forces and others, killing so many South African blacks along the way. So with all that going, we were able to convince the governor--at first the, first the treasurer of the state, who was also a Republican, that it made no sense for Missouri to invest money in corporations that are taking jobs out of Missouri anyway and actually working against the very issues of the students. Most students were going to college to prepare themselves for jobs. Doesn't make sense for us to take student money and put it into corporations that are taking those jobs our students want out of the country to have people doing it that were, they pay much less money. We shouldn't have to compete with that, especially with our money. And they got it, and indeed the governor signed a bill that was introduced and passed through the state legislature that the students were actually involved in pushing. We were able to get the board (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So this is--I'm sorry. This is nineteen eighty--'84 [1984]?$$Yeah.$$Eighty-four [1984], okay.$$Yeah, yeah. We were able to get the, we were able to get the university to divest all of this money from holdings in corporations doing business in South Africa through its Board of Curators. It's what they called their board of regents, and they call it in some other place the Board of Curators. And I remember those fights and whatnot during my years at the University of Missouri.$$You all were good then. You, you were really paying attention in class.$$We, we, we worked it out. As a matter of fact, I, I think I, I had to be, be too pushy about it, but I think in some ways we, we added something to those classroom conversations with what we did outside. Some of the professors really appreciated it. As a matter of fact, because this was as much a movement in the political science arena, most of the political science apret- professors were really fascinated by the work we were doing and very supportive along those lines. But also, when you talk about disinvestment, that's actually a business term, and the University of Missouri also had a business school [University of Missouri - St. Louis College of Business Administration, St. Louis, Missouri]. And we were able to engage the business student government as well into some of the things we were doing that draw a parallel for us to even Harvard's business school [Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts]. I mean, the arguments we were making were not just social justice arguments. They were business arguments. They were investment stabilities arguments. They were arguments about which divet- which investment portfolios would derive the best return for the university, for its professors as they retired, but also the running of the school, as we're talking about programs along those lines. See, it was a, it was a fascinating thing, getting those different sectors, and very eye opening for me, involved in a movement to actually impact what was going on in South Africa by involving ourselves into social corporate behavior here in the United States.$$Okay. Now, were you getting paid to do any of these, these activities at that time?$$Not really. As a matter of fact, while I was at the University of Missouri, because I held office, we got a stipend, you know, which went to pay my tuition and that kind of thing and whatnot. So it freed me up in some ways to be able to do this kind of work, but it was all voluntary.$$Yeah, so I figured you kind of on a lean budget there.$$Oh yeah, yeah, I was poor student.

Dr. James Williams

As a military officer and physician, Dr. James B. Williams has spent his entire career in public service. Co-founding the Williams Medical Clinic in Chicago with his two brothers, Dr. Jasper F. Williams and Dr. Charles L. Williams, he was also part of a handful of dedicated young men who enlisted and became America’s first black airmen, known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

In 1942, with a pre-medicine background, Williams was drafted into the military and given a position with the medical corps at Camp Pickett, Virginia, and was chosen to attend Medical Administrative Officers Candidate School. Wanting to become a pilot, however, he asked to transfer to the Army Air Corps. He was subsequently appointed an aviation cadet and sent to Boca Raton Club, Florida, for basic training. From there, he went to Yale University for technical training, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Corps. As a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Williams served as an Engineering Officer in the post war 99th Fighter Squadron. Also during his time in the service, Williams was among the 101 black officers who attempted to integrate a segregated officers’ club in what became known as the Freeman Field Mutiny.

Williams, a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was born on May 28, 1919 to Clara Belle Williams and Jasper B. Williams and was educated in a segregated grade and high school. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University after finishing his military service, and with dreams of becoming a physician, he earned his M.D. degree from Creighton University School of Medicine. There, he met his future wife, Willeen Brown. Williams continued his medical education and was accepted into Creighton’s surgical residency program, earning his M.S. degree in surgery in 1956. With his various medical experiences, he and his brothers established the Williams Clinic on Chicago’s South Side. At its peak, there were more than twenty-eight doctors practicing at the clinic. Williams also worked at Chicago’s St. Bernard’s Hospital in 1957 as its first African American physician, becoming the hospital’s chief of surgery from 1971 to 1972. Williams combined his dedication to progress and medical prowess by meeting with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, as a member of a National Medical Association delegation to advance an amendment to the Hill-Burton Act that would prevent discrimination in hospitals built with federal assistance. Williams also served as physician to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when the civil rights leader lived in Chicago.

Williams and his wife lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The couple had two children: a daughter, Brenda Payton Jones, a former columnist for the Oakland Tribune, and a son, Dr. James B. Williams II, colorectal surgeon in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Williams passed away on November 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2008.088

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2008

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Middle Name

B

Schools

Booker T. Washington

Wiley College

University of New Mexico

Tuskegee University

New Mexico State University

Creighton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

El Paso

HM ID

WIL47

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Brenda Payton

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/28/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Death Date

11/23/2016

Short Description

Surgeon and tuskegee airman Dr. James Williams (1919 - 2016 ) co-founded the Williams Clinic on Chicago's South Side. He also served as Dr. King's physician while Dr. King lived in Chicago. He was also a member of the Tuskegee Airmen as an Engineering Officer after World War II.

Employment

619th Bombardment Squadron

St. Bernard's Hospital

Williams Clinic

Main Sponsor
Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. James Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams describes his father's civil rights activities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams recalls Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams remembers moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams recalls his family's dog

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams remembers the doctor who treated his brother's clubfoot

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams recalls the Booker T. Washington School in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams describes his family life

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams describes school segregation in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams recalls meeting George Washington Carver as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his high school education at the Booker T. Washington School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams remembers Wiley College in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams describes training in aircraft maintenance

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams recalls his promotion to engineering officer in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams remembers serving in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams remembers segregation at Freeman Army Airfield

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams recalls his arrest during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams recalls his imprisonment during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his legal defense during the Freeman Field Mutiny

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls serving at the Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams describes his and his brothers' early medical careers

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams recalls applying to medical schools

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams recalls his older brother's injury on the family homestead

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams remembers Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams describes his early medical career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams recalls becoming Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s physician

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams recalls treating an infant who suffered a gunshot wound in utero

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams remembers serving as a physician for prominent civil rights leaders

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams remembers Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams remembers his patients in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. James Williams describes his family members' medical careers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. James Williams describes the healthcare system in Cuba

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. James Williams talks about health insurance in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. James Williams describes his membership in professional organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. James Williams describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon the history of the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. James Williams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. James Williams describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

6$9

DATitle
Dr. James Williams recalls treating an infant who suffered a gunshot wound in utero
Dr. James Williams describes how he would like to be remembered
Transcript
We had a baby that my brother [Jasper F. Williams] and I operated, it was the first baby in the world--the mother was pregnant with the baby and she was shot. And the bullet went in the, the child's flank, went through the liver, the colon, collapsed the right lung and ended up behind the bone in the right upper arm. That's the first baby in the world to survive a gunshot wound to the abdomen and chest in utero, was the one that we did.$$Um-hm.$$I don't think anybody's changed that since then. And my brother delivered the baby, and he handed him to me, and when I got 'em he wasn't breathing, he had no heartbeat, and I started resuscitating him, and his heart started beating and the kid, we invited him to the conference at the University of Illinois, you know, my wife [Willeen Brown Williams] picked up the mother and the child, the little guy was interested in everything that was going on that evening. And the mother said he's the smartest kid she had, she had five other kids, you know, but he survived. And now, he was, that's when we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary, and now we just finished our fifty-seventh, so he's, must be about twenty, he's probably twenty-seven years old now.$Our last question is similar to legacy but a little different. Sir, how would you like to be remembered?$$I hadn't thought of that (laughter). But, in my field of surgery I thought I was, could compete with anybody, of course I had good training, I had a master's degree in surgery, which very few surgeons have. And after that I went up to the Royal Vic [Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada], in McGill [McGill University, Montreal, Canada] and they had a Jewish surgeon up there who was taking the internal mammary artery and re-vascularizing the heart, that was the fir- I had an opportunity to be up there when he was doing that, which was very unusual. And now they can do bypasses, but what he was doing, he got collateral circulation and he got some mock-ups, you know to show that he was getting collateral circulation in the animals that he did 'em on. I hope we can get somebody in medical school down in Cuba 'cause I think that's a great opportunity that's being overlooked, and still don't know why that some of the black males who were in the program dropped out, I haven't had a chance to talk to the guy from Ohio State [The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio], you know, who takes the kids down there.$$But you wanna be remembered as a good surgeon?$$Oh yeah.$$And?$$And a good parent, yeah. I think that's important. I think that's important for all black parents. I mean, I agree with what Obama's [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] telling the folks that they have to be responsible for their kids. Of course it's interesting, our kids, we had a motor home and we'd go to skiing in the wintertime, and in the summertime we'd go to Canada, fishing, and both of them liked those things even though they did 'em as kids and they--my son [James Williams II] has a motor home, he still likes to go fishing and skiing. And plus, the fact, I told you he was an excellent surgeon and has made well. Just like I told you, he was considered the best colorectal surgeon in the State of New Mexico.$$Okay, so you'd like to be remembered as a good surgeon and a good parent.$$That's right.

Alexander Jefferson

Alexander Jefferson was born on November 15, 1921, in Detroit Michigan, the first child of Alexander Jefferson and Jane White Jefferson. His great-grandfather William Jefferson White was born to a slave woman and a white slave owner in the 1830s. Jefferson’s grandfather became a minister, and in 1867, opened an all black school for boys in Augusta, Georgia, which trained its students exclusively for the ministry and pedagogy. Jefferson’s grandfather moved the school to Atlanta, Georgia, where the name changed from Atlanta Baptist Seminary to Atlanta Baptist College. Today, it is known as Morehouse College.

Jefferson grew up in a Polish neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Craft Elementary School, Condon Intermediate School, and Chadsey High School. While in school, Jefferson spent most of his time in the biology and chemistry laboratories, at home reading from his mother’s extensive library, and building model airplanes. He graduated from Chadsey High School in 1938 as the only African-American to take college preparatory classes. Jefferson received his B.A. degree in 1942 from Clark College in Atlanta. On September 23, 1942, he was sworn into the United States Army Reserves. He volunteered for flight training but was not accepted immediately. In the mean time, Jefferson went to work as an analytical chemist for three months before entering graduate school at Howard University.

In April 1943, Jefferson received orders to report to Tuskegee Army Air Field to begin flight training. He graduated as a second lieutenant in January 1944 and was classified as a replacement pilot for the 332nd Fighter Group. Jefferson continued his training at Selfridge Army Air Field Base, where he was under the instruction of First Lieutenants Charles Dryden and Stan Watson, who had flown in combat in 1943 in North Africa with the all-Black 99th Fighter Squadron. In June 1944, Jefferson’s orders sent him to Ramitelli Air Base in Italy, where Colonel Benjamin O. Davis was the 332nd Fighter Group Commander. Jefferson flew eighteen missions before being shot down and captured on August 12, 1944. He spent eight months in the POW camp at Stalag Luft III., and was eventually freed on April 29, 1945.

Jefferson returned to civilian life in 1947, received his teaching certificate from Wayne State University, and began teaching elementary school science for the Detroit Public School System. Jefferson received his M.A. degree in education in 1954. He was appointed assistant principal in 1969 and served the Michigan School System for over 30 years. In 1995, Jefferson was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was awarded the Purple Heart, and in 2007, he received the Congressional Gold Medal. Jefferson is one of the founders of the Detroit and National chapters of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Accession Number

A2007.192

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/29/2007 |and| 6/11/2010

6/29/2007

6/11/2010

Last Name

Jefferson

Maker Category
Schools

Chadsey High School

Craft Elementary School

Condon Intermediate School

Clark Atlanta University

Wayne State University

Howard University

First Name

Alexander

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

JEF04

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Everybody In The World Is Crazy Except You And Me, And Sometimes I'm Not So Sure About You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/15/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork Chops (Fried)

Short Description

Education administrator Alexander Jefferson (1921 - ) trained for World War II at Tuskegee Army Air Field and flew eighteen missions during the war. He was shot down and captured on August 12, 1944 and spent eight months in the POW camp at Stalag Luft III. In 1947 Jefferson returned to civilian life and worked as an education and administrator in the Detroit Public Schools for over thirty years.

Employment

U.S. Army Air Corps

Duffield Elementary School

Pattengill Elementary School

Halley Elementary School

Ferry Elementary School

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexander Jefferson's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson lists his favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson lists his favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson describes his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his parents' influence on his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alexander Jefferson describes his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his African American neighbors in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his grade school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson talks about building model airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson remembers his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes the Scott Memorial United Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his decision to attend Clark University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson describes his experiences at Clark University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson describes his training as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls lessons from his flight training in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his initial assignments in the U.S. Army Air Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls leaving the air base to visit Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the racial confrontations at the Selfridge Army Air Base, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the racial confrontations at the Selfridge Army Air Base, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson describes his duties as an escort pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his transfer to the Walterboro Army Airfield in South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his overseas deployment during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes the flight maneuvers of the 332nd Fighter Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon the racial discrimination in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alexander Jefferson remembers his role in Operation Dragoon

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the downing of his plane over France

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being taken prisoner by German troops, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being taken prisoner by German troops, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon becoming a prisoner of war

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes his interrogation as a prisoner of war

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls being transported to Stalag Luft III in Germany

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his experiences at the Stalag Luft III war prison

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls escape attempts from Stalag Luft III

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson talks about daily life at the Stalag Luft III POW camp

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls how black officers were treated in German POW camps

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson recalls liberation day at Stalag VII-A

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson talks about how the Germans ran POW camps in World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his treatment by white prisoners of war

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the liberation of the German concentration camps

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his return to the United States after World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his marriage and move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers adjusting to civilian life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes his early teaching career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his decision to become a school administrator

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson describes his civil rights activities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson talks about serving as an assistant principal

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon his career as an educator

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls founding the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Detroit Mayor Coleman Young

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson remembers General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes the purpose of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson remembers receiving the Congressional Gold Medal

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson narrates his photographs

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of Alexander Jefferson's interview, session 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson talks about his decision to join the Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his trainee class at the Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson describes the training program at the Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his assignment to the Selfridge Army Air Base in Michigan

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson remembers segregation at the Selfridge Army Air Base

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the Walterboro Army Airfield in South Carolina

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his flight missions in Europe during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his fighter plane being shot down over France

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his encounters with German officers

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Alexander Jefferson remembers Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Alexander Jefferson talks about traveling in Europe after World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Alexander Jefferson describes the Tuskegee Airmen's reputation during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Alexander Jefferson recalls the discrimination against black pilots during World War II

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Alexander Jefferson recalls his pastimes at the Stalag Luft III war prison

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Alexander Jefferson recalls the downing of his plane over France
Alexander Jefferson recalls the liberation of the German concentration camps
Transcript
All right.$$Back to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You--$$--mission number nineteen.$$Okay.$$332nd [332nd Fighter Group; 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group] had the job of knocking out radar stations on the coast of southern France. And these radar stations would detect ships coming across the horizon for the invasion. The 301st [301st Fighter Squadron] had the target of Toulon [France], radar station sitting right on the cliff outside the City of Toulon. The 99th [99th Fighter Squadron] had a different station. The 99th had Montpellier [France]. The 302nd [302nd Fighter Squadron] had another one, all along the coast. And I'm number sixteen, four flights of four. We took off in the morning, flight from Ramitelli [Ramitelli Air Base, Italy], across Italy, across the gulf [Gulf of Taranto], the Mediterranean [Mediterranean Sea], past Corsica, out at Capri [Italy], and turn into the coast of southern France. We start in at about fifteen thousand feet, four flights of four, one right behind the other. And the first guys turn in, fifteen thousand feet, push everything to the wall, try to get some speed, had to go in and start firing with their fifty calibers, you went and pressed the trigger on the stick, and the fifty calibers would, they told us, oh, by the way we didn't understand what in the heck radar was, we didn't know what radar was. They simply said some buildings, some great big long towers, you go over and you shoot 'em up, that's it. This is before ballpoint pens, before nylons, before TV, before 45s by the way, 45 records [45 rpm record] hadn't even come out, don't talk about LPs. The first four guys go in and when they turn in, the whole side of the cliff becomes red with little black, red specks, anti-aircraft, twenty men over here, twenty, and twenty men over here, and 37mm. And the radio is alive. Second guy has followed, the fourth, first four guys get through, the second guys get through, the third get through and last of all, when we turn in, by that time, we had gone out so far to port, when we turn in we have to push everything to the wall to catch up. Run everything, we're doing about 420, fourth, we're maximum, and everything is red lined. Oil pressure, heat, and prop, instead of running at 1700 or 1800 rpm, I'm churning 2600 and 2700 rpm trying to catch up. The needle is bumping, I'm doing 420, 420, red line, what I'm not supposed to do. And by the time we get, I'm in, back in position, I saw number two, which is Danny [Robert T. Daniels], he got hit approximately a thousand yards off, maybe five hundred yards, little black speck, and out the corner of my eye I see him go off to the side. And I'm concentrating on aiming at a target, great big long towers, see these towers, and as I come in I start pressing trigger, and as I fire, going right across the top of the target, oh, hell, treetop height, something said boom, look up and there's a hole right there in the top of the canopy. I said, "What the hell?" And fire came up out of the floor. And naturally, as I tell young people, out of the nine months of training, you have not one minute on how to get out of an airplane. Instinctively today, I say, you pull back on the stick to get some altitude because I know I'm too low to bail out. Plus if I'm going too damn fast, you know, 420, 420, 420. Pull back on the stick to get some altitude, and as I pull up, reach up and on the instrument panel pull the little red knob and the canopy went off. Now, I don't know how high I got although I know I had gloves, your face's covered with oxygen mask, helmet, goggles and but it got hot, gloves were scorched, and I pulled up and you have straps here, straps here with a big buckle, when you hit it, they come loose, well, when I turned the stick loose, the nose popped, when you go up like this, you turn the stick loose, the nose wants to go back, so when the nose popped, I hit the buckle and I came out, and when the nose, I came out, centrifugal force. I remember the tail going by and I pulled the D ring, big D ring, because it connected with a cable. The parachute, we're sitting on the parachute, the parachute came out with me. And I remember looking at it, somebody stole the silk, god damn it. There was a rumor that somebody was taking the silk out of the parachutes, selling it to the Italians and stuffing the parachute with paper, by the way they finally caught him, it was happening. He did, I forgot who he was, some enlisted man. But I remember looking at it and (claps hands) boom, the parachute popped, when it popped, I'm in the trees. Number one and number three they get through, and I found out about a year ago, I forgot who my element leader was. Now, Ballard [Alton F. Ballard] was leading, Robert Daniels was number two, I forgot who number three was, that's my leader. Virgil Richardson wrote a book and he died about a year ago, in his book he says, he remembers Jefferson [HistoryMaker Alexander Jefferson], he looked back and Jefferson was gone, that's me, Virgil Richardson. When he got back to the squadron, he reported me as dead, he saw Robert Daniels go down in the water because Daniels was, he was scared to bail out.$So where did you leave to go after that point (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Sat around, we sat around Stalag VII-A [Moosburg, Germany]. That's, the next day when I took a trip down I saw Dachau. Somebody said, "Hey, Jeff [HistoryMaker Alexander Jefferson], there's a place down there with a lot of dead people." "What in the hell are you talking about?" "Man, they got people down there stacked up like up cordwood." So I'm curious. We got a jeep, we liberated the jeep, didn't steal it, we liberated it, we requisitioned it, (laughter) midnight requisition. And we went down to see this place where they had a lot of dead people. You could smell it a mile before you got to it. The ovens were still warm. The odor of burned human flesh, I'll never forget it. I remember pictures where they opened the oven, had a table covered with hair because before they burned the bodies, they had somebody cutting off the hair, great big long table, fifteen or twenty feet long, piled with hair, they used the hair for seat cushions. Long table covered with rings, before they burned the bodies they took the rings off, diamonds and gold. Table covered with dentures, somebody with a pair of pliers pulling the gold and amalgam out of these dead bodies. So many dead bodies they couldn't bury them all, so they took a bulldozer and dug a big trench, then you took and shoved all these dead bodies, arms and legs all over in the trench, covered it up with lime. Man's inhuman, I saw it, and somebody's gonna tell me that Dachau never happened, then I have to use some expletive deleted words to really express myself. Man's inhumanity to man. When I relate this to high school kids, "Oh, Mr. Jefferson, the Jews, the Germans killed so many Jews." I say, "Hey, wait a minute." Back up baby. What's going on today? You sit here fat, dumb, and happy, what happened in Bosnia? The kids look at me real funny. I don't know. Why is Milosevic [Slobodan Milosevic] prosecuted? What did the Bosnians do to the Serbs? What happened in Darfur [Sudan]? What happened in Burundi? Black kids have no idea what happened in Burundi, Tutsis and Hutus. Man's inhumanity to man.$$What were your thoughts? How did you feel when you, when you saw this (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Horrendous. I had no idea, you know, we were fat, dumb, and happy. Nineteen forty-four [1944], nobody knew about Dachau. People in the United States didn't know about Dachau. Now, some of the officials did, but plain, ordinary common Joe, we didn't know about Dachau, how the Germans were being, killing the Jews, the Hungarians, the Serbs. Today, well, when I was there, it was mind boggling, literally mind boggling, I couldn't believe it.$$Who were burying the bodies?$$The German, whoever the Germans were, burning the bodies.$$Okay. Now, you said there were bodies stacked up?$$Yeah.$$Now, this was after--$$They had been gassed and the bodies thrown out there, literally just like cordwood. And before they could take 'em and put 'em in the furnace and, and burn the bodies and get rid of 'em, the Germans had left, quite naturally they had left. They weren't there when we got there. But it's all part of, part of the story. And somebody was trying to tell me Dachau never happened, Belsen [Bergen-Belsen], Auschwitz, Buchenwald, da, horrendous, horrendous, horrendous. We stayed at Stalag VII for about four or five days, waiting for transportation to take us by air, we, four or five miles away to an air field, being flown to, up on the Baltic [Baltic Sea] to Le Havre [France] for transportation back by boat. And we went C-47s [Douglas C-47 Skytrain], I was in the group, C-47s. We landed at Verdun [France], and I got off, went to Paris [France], stayed in Paris for two weeks, I was AWOL [Absent Without Official Leave], until I went up to Le Havre and turned myself in. When I got to Le Havre, he said, have a seat. Nobody knew I was there.

Bishop Imagene Stewart

Social activist, pastor and founder of the Washington, D.C. based House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center Bishop Imagene Bigham Stewart was born on January 23, 1942 in Dublin, Georgia.

Stewart arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1963 to participate in the March on Washington for jobs and freedom. After the march, she became ill and never returned home to Georgia. In the mid-1960s, Stewart was homeless and survived by living in Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Park. She eventually found a job at the Government Printing Office where she worked full-time. Although she was gainfully employed, Stewart never forgot the hardships she faced as a homeless person and was inspired to open her own shelter. She managed to set aside time to organize volunteers and found boarder rooms to house thirty homeless people. Stewart then gained the interest of the late Mayor Walter E. Washington with her plans of opening a shelter, and with a meager budget, she was able to purchase property for the opening of the House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center in 1972. That same year, Stewart earned her A.A. degree from the University of the District of Columbia.

The House of Imagene is the first Washington, D.C. based shelter founded by an African American woman. It is comprised of two satellite centers: a shelter for battered women and children, and a shelter that provides temporary housing for homeless veterans and their families.

Stewart went on to become the pastor of the Greater Pearly Gates Baptist Church. She also worked as a radio personality for WOL radio in Washington, D.C. In 1992, Stewart was honored with the prestigious Living Dream Award for her service to battered women and the homeless. In 1993, Stewart served as the National Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary and as the director of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

Stewart was interviewed by the HistoryMakers on January 30, 2008.

Stewart passed away on May 30, 2012.

Accession Number

A2008.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/28/2008 |and| 1/30/2008

4/28/2008

1/30/2008

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bigham

Schools

Susie Dasher Elementary School

Oconee High School

University of the District of Columbia

First Name

Imagene

Birth City, State, Country

Dublin

HM ID

STE12

Favorite Season

September

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Georgia

Favorite Quote

If I can be of help, that's what I'm here for.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/23/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pig Feet

Death Date

5/30/2012

Short Description

Civil rights activist and pastor Bishop Imagene Stewart (1942 - 2012 ) founded the House of Imagene Shelter and Women’s Center in Washington, D.C. She became the pastor of the Greater Pearly Gates Baptist Church.

Employment

U.S. Printing Office

House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Office of Mayor Walter Washington

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop Imagene Stewart's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her early experiences of discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her father's role in her family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers her pregnancies

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the influence of her father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the H.T. Jones Village in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her father's preaching circuit

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers picking cotton

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her early understanding of pregnancy

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers Susie Dasher Elementary School in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her sons' father

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls her start as a civil rights activist

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her sisters' social circle

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers joining the SCLC

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her commitment to patriotism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her commitment to patriotism, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the Citizenship Education Program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her political affiliations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls picketing the Belk Matthews Company store in Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about segregation in Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers leaving Dublin, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls her decision to remain in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers joining Walter Washington's mayoral office in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls how she came to open the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart recalls working at the U.S. Government Printing Office

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart shares her perspective on black liberation theology, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart shares her perspective on black liberation theology, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her ministry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her sons

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her early work at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her approach to victims of domestic violence

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the problem of homelessness among veterans

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about fundraising for the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the counseling services at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart reflects upon the legacy of the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the Ebony Women's Society

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her husband

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bishop Imagene Stewart reflects upon her work at the House of Imagene Shelter and Women's Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about domestic violence in the civil rights community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about her awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes the Pearly Gate Baptist Mission in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bishop Imagene Stewart talks about the National Black Republican Association

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bishop Imagene Stewart remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Bishop Imagene Stewart describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bishop Imagene Stewart narrates her photographs

Sarann Knight Preddy

Sarann Knight Preddy was born on July 27, 1920, in the small town of Eufaula, Oklahoma, to Carl and Hattie Chiles. Knight Preddy married her first husband, Luther Walker, just out of high school. In 1942, she and her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, settling in the black community on the West Side. Preddy took her first job at the Cotton Club as a Keno writer and later became a dealer.

In 1950, Preddy moved to Hawthorne, Nevada, where she was offered the opportunity to purchase her own gambling establishment; her purchase made her the first African American woman to own a gaming license in Nevada. Preddy then purchased the Lincoln Bar, which she later renamed the Tonga Club; the club was successful in the small booming town, and she operated the establishment until her return to Las Vegas in 1957.

Preddy then worked as a dealer until a new ordinance prohibited women from being employed as dealers. During that time, Preddy operated several businesses including a dry cleaner, a dress shop, and a lounge. Once the ordinance was repealed, Preddy returned to work as a dealer at Jerry’s Nugget where she remained for seven years.

In 1990, Preddy turned her focus to restoring the previous glamour of Las Vegas’ first integrated casino; she and her third husband, Joe Preddy, purchased the Moulin Rouge. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to secure the financing needed and eventually sold the Moulin Rouge to a developer. Preddy made many contributions to the state of Nevada through her involvement with the NAACP; she also worked to preserve the history of Las Vegas through her efforts to place the Moulin Rouge on the National Register of Historic Places.

Preddy passed away on December 22, 2014 at the age of 94.

Sarann Knight Preddy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 4, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.121

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/4/2007

Last Name

Preddy

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Dunbar High School

First Name

Sarann

Birth City, State, Country

Eufaula

HM ID

PRE03

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

Always Treat People The Way You Want To Be Treated.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/27/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sweets

Death Date

12/22/2014

Short Description

Gaming entrepreneur Sarann Knight Preddy (1920 - 2014 ) was the first African American woman to own a gaming license in Nevada, and dedicated the latter part of her career to trying to preserve the historic Las Vegas establishment, the Moulin Rouge.

Employment

The Cotton Club

The Tonga Club

The Louisiana Club

Town Tavern

Jerry's Nugget Casino

Sarann's Fashions

Sarann's Cleaners

Ruben's Supper Club

Playhouse Lounge

Moulin Rouge Hotel

People's Choice Casino

Favorite Color

Bright Colors, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5880,138:6468,149:7252,161:11470,195:11870,201:12270,207:13150,240:13870,251:14190,256:14590,262:14990,268:19740,323:23190,468:34815,674:35490,684:36840,703:37290,710:48870,851:49338,858:50196,883:55266,995:56748,1031:62676,1174:69019,1229:69327,1234:75102,1349:77104,1388:77489,1394:78875,1417:80415,1448:81031,1462:81724,1478:83341,1501:85343,1567:93661,1619:95933,1664:103246,1834:109025,1891:112250,1960:121325,2139:136420,2307$0,0:468,8:2730,38:9828,143:10140,148:12636,262:13104,269:14040,283:28212,466:45932,805:48288,856:49048,871:53684,957:64215,1120:64641,1128:65138,1142:66487,1166:77279,1420:91473,1651:91887,1658:95130,1723:96234,1744:96510,1749:96855,1755:114410,2032:114785,2038:121228,2086:125332,2170:125692,2177:126196,2185:126916,2200:129148,2252:129508,2258:138305,2370:139410,2389:140345,2402:140770,2412:141110,2417:142640,2451:144765,2486:145105,2494:147655,2542:151874,2557:153183,2580:153722,2588:155339,2679:155647,2688:158034,2733:158881,2750:166540,2832:167210,2843:168215,2869:168885,2885:170024,2912:171096,2931:174982,3010:176054,3036:177796,3078:179002,3112:187568,3195:192638,3287:193184,3295:198370,3341
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sarann Knight Preddy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about changing her name

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her home life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her community in Eufaula, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy reflects upon her upbringing on a Native American reservation

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers Dunbar High School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her teachers at Dunbar High School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her first marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes segregation in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her start at the Cotton Club in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers Pearl Bailey

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes the entertainers of Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls purchasing the Tonga Club in Hawthorne, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about nonrestrictive gaming licenses

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her decision to sell the Tonga Club

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers the growth of Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes the history of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers Joe Louis

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes the Westside neighborhood of Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls the difficulty of moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls the difficulty of moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes career as a dealer in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls working at Jerry's Nugget Casino in North Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls campaigning for city council in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her transition from keno writer to dealer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls opening the People's Choice Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about her ownership of the Moulin Rouge Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers the deaths of her family members

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls being injured in a car accident

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes Sarann's Fashions and Sarann's Cleaners in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls the obstacles to acquiring a gaming license, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls the obstacles to acquiring a gaming license, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her experiences of discrimination as a business owner in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls her decision to close the Moulin Rouge Hotel

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes her organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about organized crime in the gaming industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes the transition from silver dollars to chips in casinos

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about corruption in the gaming industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sarann Knight Preddy reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sarann Knight Preddy remembers her fifth husband, Joe Preddy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sarann Knight Preddy shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls continuing her education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sarann Knight Preddy talks about religion and the gaming industry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sarann Knight Preddy recalls lessons from the gaming industry

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sarann Knight Preddy describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Sarann Knight Preddy reflects upon her spirituality

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Sarann Knight Preddy remembers Pearl Bailey
Sarann Knight Preddy describes her role in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
Before we go on to how people left from the Westside [Las Vegas, Nevada] to come to the Strip [Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada], I was asking you about other people that you knew. You talked about Sammy Davis [Sammy Davis, Jr.] and his family and what about Pearl Bailey?$$Pearl Bailey was playing on the strip but she used to come--well she had to come on the Westside all the time. She liked to party and gamble but she was a very down to earth person 'cause I remember this friend of mine was serving her some champagne and she wanted to put it in a glass and she wouldn't accept it out of there she said, "Just give me a water glass or something, I don't need this champagne glass." She had a friend just a casual friend and they used to gamble all the time and she was over at one table gambling and he was at the next table. So, you know, people back in the day and they even do that now they get so serious when they're gambling, "Don't bother me and if you talk to me that's why I lost because you talked to me." So this friend hollered over and told her, "Give me some money I'm broke." So she just--it was all silver during that time--she reached into her stacks and got a handful of silver and threw it to him like this and when she did and she didn't mean to do it but when she threw it, it hit him in the eye. They were really close friends and he sued her and well after that they weren't ever friends anymore. That was one incident that happened that I remember. During that time the Cotton Club [Las Vegas, Nevada] had a boat and it was on wheels and whenever on Sundays some days they would decide to go to the lake and everybody would have a picnic and we'd all go to the lake and everybody would ride in this boat on wheels but me. Not everybody but my little gang and I would always go in a car 'cause when you go to the lake and you get there the car didn't stop, it just went on in the lake 'cause it was a boat on wheels. I always afraid of water anyway, so I'd never get on this boat. But Pearl Bailey used to go with the gang whenever she was in town also. She was a regular and she was a very good entertainer, very congenial person. She was one of the ones that stand out in my mind and that she was a super person to be around and a number of others that I know--$Did you have any involvement in civil rights in 1950, '55 [1955] and '60 [1960] starts some civil rights action?$$Yes because when I--I worked very close with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and I was involved with all the things that they did here when they got the consent decree and when they were integrated for Las Vegas [Nevada] to be integrated, I worked along with that and I have a lot of history back on a lot of the things I did do and I worked with it when I was in Hawthorne [Nevada]. I was the president of the NAACP when I was in Hawthorne and I worked along--the chapter up there along with Las Vegas and you know I guess it's okay to skip and go back. When I was in Hawthorne and I had the club there [Tonga Club, Hawthorne, Nevada] I was kind of like the halfway point to Carson City [Nevada] and people used to come to my place and meet up and then we'd go to Carson City when we was fighting for integration and so forth. I remember when we went to Carson City they had a little room about a fourth big as this and they called it the Buzzard Roost [ph.] and this is where when we went to the legislation session it would hold about ten or twelve people and that's where we had to sit. You had to bend over to get in this little place to sit to watch the legislation session. 'Cause I was young and cocky and I used to say all the time, they can go down and pass a law to run all of us out of town and we can't do anything about it. We're sitting out here looking, we don't have no voice, we didn't have no people involved in politics or anything. But then that's why we were working to change things and finally we got someone was elected to the legislation session and it was a long story behind getting integrated in Las Vegas 'cause Dr. McMillan [James B. McMillan] was the person that really spearhead this and I worked closely with him at NAACP, I was his vice president for a long time. He was the head of everything but I organized a lot of clubs. I was the first person to organize a women's NAACP women's club throughout the country they hadn't even done that in other places. And then we were like a support group too, the NAACP and then when I organized I included a lot of white groups and we used to have teas and fundraisers together out at the convention center, because during that time blacks couldn't do anything out there but just work. And, and I remember I was a member of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority when it first started and that's been about thirty-nine years ago. We used to have our Ebony fashion show [Ebony Fashion Fair] on the Strip [Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada] and I think we were the first persons to go out there that could use something in the hotels 'cause we used to have for the NAACP convention we used to have to use the convention center and then we used a place up at the country club. We used the churches and I had another business and we used to use my business. I had a cleaners and this is where everybody met at my place so that's why I would come to be so well known, I guess because I was always in the mix. And I would always make trips to Carson City and load busses of people to go up there to do whatever we were doing trying to get that legislation passed on certain things so it could be integrated in Las Vegas.

Samuel C. Thompson, Jr.

Tax lawyer Samuel Coleman Thompson, Jr. was born on October 25, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thompson and his family can trace their lineage to the 1600s. After Thompson and his family moved to the industrial town of Steelton, Pennsylvania in 1948, he graduated from Steelton High School in 1961. Thompson then received his B.S. degree from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and his M.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School and Graduate School of Economics in 1969.

Between Thompson’s first and second years of law school at the University of Pennsylvania, he was drafted into the Vietnam War, where he served for three years. During Thompson’s tenure, he rose to the rank of Captain, serving as Commanding Officer of Headquarters Company and received the Navy Commendation Medal. After returning to the United States, Thompson received his J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and began working as a legal writing instructor.

Between 1971 and 1972, Thompson worked briefly for Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. Shortly thereafter, he earned his L.L.M. degree in taxation from New York University while working as an assistant and associate professor of law at Northwestern University. In 1976, Thompson published his first book, Pension Reform: How to Comply with ERISA, and served as an attorney advisor in the Office of Tax Legislative Counsel and International Tax Counsel for the U.S. Treasury Department.

In 1977, Thompson joined the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law until 1981. He then served as the partner-in-charge of the tax department at the law firm of Schiff Hardin & Waite in Chicago, Illinois until 1990, when he joined the UCLA Law School faculty. There, Thompson taught courses on mergers and acquisitions and corporate taxation.

In 1994, Thompson left UCLA’s Law School to become the Dean of the University of Miami School of Law. During his tenure, Thompson created the Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions and transferred it to the UCLA School of Law when he moved back to California in 2003. There, Thompson established the school’s first two endowed chairs, the Center for Ethics & Public Service and the Children and Youth Law Clinic.

Thompson published numerous books throughout his professional career including Federal Income Taxation of Domestic and Foreign Business Transactions, An Examination of the Effect of Recent Legislation on Commodity Tax Straddles and Investment Tax Credit: Alternative to the President’s Flawed Dividend Plan, Financed by ETI Repeal (Extraterritorial Income Exclusion).

Thompson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.145

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/17/2007

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Schools

Hygienic School

Steelton-Highspire High School

University of Pennsylvania

West Chester University

Millersville University

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Harrisburg

HM ID

THO14

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Let's Roll.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/25/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

State College

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Swordfish

Short Description

Academic administrator, tax lawyer, and law professor Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. (1943 - ) served as the partner-in-charge of the tax department at the law firm of Schiff Hardin & Waite in Chicago, Illinois. He taught law classes at the University of Virginia, UCLA and served as dean of the University of Miami School of Law.

Employment

Devereux Foundation

School District of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Davis, Polk & Wardwell, LLP

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Law

University of Virginia

University of California, Los Angeles

United Sates Department of The Treasury

University of Miami

South Africa. Ministry of Finance

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:14027,236:17513,310:20916,391:27773,479:31012,545:33777,583:34567,595:40097,684:40808,695:41519,711:52290,842:57866,926:72296,1103:73388,1127:77600,1261:78692,1288:84220,1334$0,0:1096,13:1670,22:2572,33:7328,90:7738,97:9542,123:23747,240:24328,249:25573,276:28063,345:31051,383:31715,394:45038,540:45500,547:46732,560:47117,566:47964,573:50197,609:50505,614:50813,620:51198,626:51660,631:61901,794:62286,800:78170,1125:83942,1275:96090,1476:104690,1612:116952,1814:127092,2036:141913,2172:146772,2259:152618,2343:160166,2505:176212,2658:187143,2857:202816,2936:203362,2944:206482,2987:209056,3025:209602,3033:211708,3087:217012,3201:226900,3280:231660,3328:233970,3372:234600,3384:235020,3395:239420,3454
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel C. Thompson, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. shares his parents' dates and places of birth

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his experiences at the Hygienic School in Steelton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his experiences at Steelton-Highspire High School in Steelton, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his undergraduate college experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls his decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. remembers his peers at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his service in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. talks about his senior thesis at the Wharton School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes how he came to teach at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. talks about his interest in mergers and acquisitions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. remembers teaching at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his roles in education and government

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. reflects upon his experiences of discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. talks about his fellow African American law school deans

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his role at Schiff Hardin and Waite

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his political involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. lists his publications

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes the Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his role at the South African National Treasury

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls his civil rights activities the South

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls organizing the NAACP chapter at West Chester State College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. reflects upon his accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. remembers Wayne McCoy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his tenure as dean of the University of Miami School of Law, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his tenure as dean of the University of Miami School of Law, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his career at the South African National Treasury

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls his departure from the University of Miami School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. reflects upon affirmative action, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. reflects upon affirmative action, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. remembers writing for the National Black Law Journal

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$1

DATitle
Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. describes his role at the South African National Treasury
Samuel C. Thompson, Jr. recalls his civil rights activities the South
Transcript
Let me ask you about the--you was a consultant to South African president Nelson Mandela at one time?$$Well, I was, I was a consultant to the South African treasury department [National Treasury].$$Okay.$$I, I didn't work directly with Nelson Mandela, but I, but I worked with the, I worked in the Ministry of Finance--$$Okay.$$--for a, for a little over a year, the Ministry of Finance and also the South African Revenue Service--$$Okay.$$--for, for a little over a year.$$And, basically, what you did in just a few words.$$Yeah, I was the tax policy advisor to the, to the, to the Ministry of Finance, and then to the, to the South African Revenue Service. And I helped them with a project to modernize their income tax. And we, we, for example, they, during that time, adopted what's known as a capital gains tax. They did not tax capital gains prior to that time, and they moved to what's known as a worldwide, a modified worldwide system of taxing foreign income, as opposed to the system that they, they previously had, which was a, which was a basically, basically something called a territorial system that did not tax income earned by South Africans out of South Africa, outside of South Africa (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$$And, and I, those were sort of the principal things I worked on when I was in South Africa.$You've had a long and successful career, and I'm sure you must be very, very proud of it. What I wanted to ask--if there's anything that I may have overlooked in this interview that we could cover at this point?$$Yeah, you know, one of the things I suppose I would mention is that (laughter), I was talking to my wife [Becky Sue Thompson] about this the other day. When I was in law school, my first year of law school, I went with two other people--a white guy and a black lady, down to Mississippi during Christmastime to work on a civil rights project in a place called Leland, Mississippi, a place called tent city, where some sharecroppers had left their sharecropping jobs to work in this, to work in this, to, to work in this--I mean, to, to build a new life for themselves. And we were going down from the University of Pennsylvania [University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] to help them put up this, this community center. So, we went down and to, to work with them. You know, it was the height of the Civil Rights Movement. My parents [Emmitt Nickens Thompson and Samuel C. Thompson, Sr.] didn't want me to go. They were, you know, frightened.$$Right. What year was this?$$This was in 1965.$$All right.$$This was in December of 1965. They didn't want me to go because of the, you know, fear for what, what might happen.$$Right.$$And I remember as we, as we, we drove, we were driving down to Mississippi. And we stopped--I think, it was in Nashville, Tennessee. And the, we stayed in a black area in a black hotel. And the, you know, the, the, the lady, the black lady didn't have anything romantically to do with either the white guy or myself. But when we stopped in this hotel in, in, in Nashville, they made me and the white lady--me and the black lady--stay in a room. And they put the white lady--put the white guy in another room by himself. And they said, "Now, you, you can be in there, but she can get up, and go into his room after," (laughter), "after we check you in," or something like that. I thought that was awfully funny (laughter). But, but it, you know, when, I remember distinctly when we were, how we felt when we crossed the border into Mississippi, you know, the fear we felt.$$Apprehension then--$$Here, we, you know, a white guy and two--and a black lady and a black man--going to Jackson, Mississippi, or Green- we're going to Greenville, Mississippi, going to stay in Greenville, working on this project, in Leland, Mississippi. We were, we were frightened, we were intimidated.$$Right.$$And I, I was just telling my wife, I was more intimidated driving into Mississippi than I was going to my first assignment in Vietnam as a Marine [U.S. Marine Corps]. And it's, it, it, it--those, those, you know, the people of Mississippi, who, who, who built that system of intimidation, you know, were, were, were doing something very evil.$$Right.$$And it was, and, and, and to do that to people in, in, in, in their own country is just sickening. And, and for, for the federal government to have permitted it to happen is even, is even worse.$$Right, right. I would certainly, certainly--$$So, you know, that's, you know, I, I, just drawing the comparison between, you know, driving, for, for an American citizen to be more frightened driving into Mississippi, than he is going into Vietnam in a combat situation in Vietnam, is just, it's just, you know, it shouldn't be.$$It should, should not be.

Ronald Brown

Atlanta Life Financial Group President and CEO Ronald DeWayne Brown was born on August 1, 1953 in Cleveland, Ohio to Bettye Williams and Clifford Brown. He was raised in New York City by his mother and stepfather, Gifford Williams. Brown was a graduate of Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in political science and economics. He was also a graduate of the Financial Management Program at Columbia University School of Business.

Brown began his career in 1977 working with Equifax in Atlanta, Georgia where he held various managerial positions. In 1988, he began his tenure with the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation and its successor companies, becoming the President and CEO of Sales Technology. There, he developed sales force automation software for the consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical industries and was instrumental in taking the company public. In 1998, Brown became the CEO of Strategic Technologies, a premier market research firm with operations in 90 countries. By 2000, Brown was the President of Synavant, a global leader in customer relationship management software and solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2001, Brown joined the board of directors of Atlanta Life and became the CEO and managing partner of Variant Group. Charles E. Cornelius, President of Atlanta Life Financial Group retired, and in 2004, Brown was appointed the sixth President and CEO in the 100 year history of Atlanta Life Financial. He was also the Chairman of Jackson Securities, a full service investment bank, now affiliated with Atlanta Life, founded by the late mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson.

Brown served as a business mentor at Morehouse College and the Georgia 100 Mentor program. He was the 2005 recipient of the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Business Advisor of the Year Award. He was also a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta Executive Committee and the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

Brown passed away on April 28, 2008 at age 54.

Accession Number

A2007.115

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/28/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

DeWayne

Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

P.S. 129 John H. Finley School

P.S. 139 Frederick Douglass School

J.H.S. 104 Simon Baruch

Seward Park High School

Morehouse College

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

BRO43

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

AON

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cabo San Lucas, New York City

Favorite Quote

The More You Sweat During Times Of Peace, The Less You Bleed During Times Of War.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/1/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Death Date

4/28/2008

Short Description

Investment chief executive Ronald Brown (1953 - 2008 ) was the President and CEO of Sales Technology for Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, served on the board of directors of Atlanta Life Financial Group, and was appointed President and CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Group.

Employment

Equifax, Inc.

First Atlanta Bank, N.A.

Sales Technologies, Inc.

Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1980,30:3240,46:4770,85:5760,91:6300,101:6660,106:7740,122:15485,245:18224,302:20548,328:24183,346:24750,354:26127,372:26694,381:27990,397:28557,406:29367,420:30096,431:30663,442:32121,465:32850,481:34065,500:37143,550:38601,575:39411,588:39735,593:40302,603:41355,619:41679,624:42003,629:48138,646:48746,656:49962,681:50266,686:50798,695:52878,712:53182,717:54474,741:55690,758:56982,781:57362,787:57894,795:58654,808:59262,818:59718,825:60630,840:61390,853:63670,886:64354,898:69099,912:70177,927:70562,933:70947,939:72995,957:74045,971:76445,1021:77795,1040:78320,1049:78920,1059:79370,1067:80045,1079:80720,1089:82070,1111:82745,1122:83795,1141:89260,1154:89580,1160:89836,1165:90156,1171:95596,1269:96620,1287:100040,1299:101120,1315:101480,1320:102110,1328:102470,1333:105530,1381:109310,1441:113130,1465:113670,1477:114300,1485:115290,1527:119470,1567:120110,1578:120430,1584:120814,1592:121198,1599:121582,1607:122222,1626:122798,1638:128778,1693:130924,1745:131220,1750:132034,1763:132848,1778:133366,1787:136104,1849:136844,1864:137658,1876:138250,1886:138768,1897:139064,1902:139656,1911:140174,1920:140988,1934:146390,1950:147750,1966:149030,1987:149750,2001:151270,2027:154950,2091:155270,2096:155750,2103:156070,2108:164750,2140$0,0:1309,18:1617,26:4543,162:4928,168:5236,173:6083,186:7238,203:8855,232:9394,240:9702,245:11088,268:12397,288:12705,293:13783,306:15169,326:15631,331:17402,361:22956,374:23658,380:25686,404:26622,414:27636,429:28260,438:28884,448:30834,503:31848,523:32160,528:32862,540:34968,578:42628,634:42960,639:43541,648:44703,664:45035,669:48043,683:48367,688:49987,708:51202,726:51526,731:52498,746:52984,759:53794,770:55090,793:55414,798:57196,830:58330,844:59140,855:62137,892:63676,949:64000,954:64324,959:64648,964:68617,1077:74290,1092:74710,1100:76270,1131:77650,1167:78130,1176:78670,1187:79210,1199:79450,1204:79990,1222:80530,1233:82600,1243
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown talks about his mother's college education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown describes his father's golf career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his relationship with his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ronald Brown describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ronald Brown remembers moving to his mother's home in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown talks about his parents' move to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers the community of Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers George Washington Carver Elementary School in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers living for the summer in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown recalls his relocation to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his early education in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown remembers his teacher, H.W. Brendle

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes the sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes the sights of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers his mother's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers Seward Park High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown remembers his experiences in the Baptist church

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his early understanding of racial identity

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown talks about the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown remembers his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his experiences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers his influences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown describes his part time work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown describes his social life at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his early career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown remembers his roles at Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown recalls the expansion of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown remembers his tenure as the CEO of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers the initial public offering of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers his introduction to international business, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers his introduction to international business, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown recalls his career at Synavant, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown recalls joining the board of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown describes the history of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown recalls his appointment as the CEO of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes the Atlanta Life Financial Group's role in the community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown talks about the future of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown talks about Jesse Hill's role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his commitment to minority financial education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his board memberships

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

8$6

DATitle
Ronald Brown describes his father's golf career
Ronald Brown talks about Jesse Hill's role in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
And what did he--what was his occupation?$$My father [Clifford Brown] was one of the first blacks to ever play on the PGA Tour [Professional Golfers' Association].$$Okay. Tell me about that.$$Well, it was during a time period where you weren't making Tiger Woods money, that's for sure. A lot of the purses were significantly smaller then. He started late. He got his love for golf as a caddy there in Alabama. And naturally, after he'd finished caddying he'd stay out on the course and hit the ball a little while. And it got to a point where people saw that he could really hit a golf ball, and actually got to play with some of the, the white men that were members of the club there in Alabama, and did very well. And the rest, as they say, is, is history. But it was a tough history because of a series of things that happened, based on how difficult it was to, to fit in. Golf at the time was your quintessential white man's game. And for my father, to be able to do it and do it well, there were a lot of hardships, not the least of which was when he would go to play in a tournament, he wasn't allowed to stay in any of the hotels. So, there were times when my father would go to a tournament and have to sleep in his car and have to shave at, in the restroom of a gas station and then go out and play against Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino.$$So those were some of the golfers that he played against?$$And beat, yes.$$Okay. What year are we talking about? What years?$$Early '60s [1960s].$$Early '60s [1960s], okay.$$There's a, a tremendous story that my father told me about a tournament that he was playing in, in Tennessee. And whether you're aware of this, but they, they feed all of the, the PGA. The card carrying PGA pros get to go into the clubhouse and eat, and you know, they always put on these big spreads, these extravagant meals for them. And they wouldn't allow my father in the clubhouse. And only one golfer stood up for him and said, "If you don't let him in, I won't come in either, and I'll protest this." And ironically, it was Gary Player from South Africa.$$Very interesting.$Is there anything that we have not talked about, about Atlanta Life [Atlanta Life Financial Group, Atlanta, Georgia] that you would like to, to tell us?$$Well, I think it's important to recognize that a major part of Atlanta Life's history took place during the civil rights era. And it took place during Jesse Hill's tenure when actually allowed Atlanta Life employees to leave work and go and work as deputized individuals to register people to vote in the City of Atlanta [Georgia]. And all of the progress that we've seen here in the City of Atlanta now, particularly the diversification process, a lot of that stemmed from the work that was done by Atlanta Life employees and that they were given the opportunity to do that because of the vision that, that Jesse Hill had for what this city could be and what the southeast could be. So everything from having the phones answered here from the SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] when they were trying to tap all of Dr. King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] phones, to in this very room where we are right now, the funeral arrangements for Coretta Scott King were made with all of the King children sitting in some of the same chairs that we're sitting in right now.

Herbert DeCosta, Jr.

Architect and building contractor Herbert Alexander DeCosta, Jr. was born on March 17, 1923 in Charleston, South Carolina to Herbert A. DeCosta, Sr. and Julia Craft DeCosta. DeCosta’s interest in architecture began when he was thirteen years old while working for the family construction business which was founded in 1899 by his grandfather Benjamin DeCosta. He graduated high school from the Avery Institute in Charleston in 1940 and went on to receive his B.A. degree from Iowa State College in architectural engineering in 1944.

Prior to joining the family business in 1947, DeCosta worked as an architectural engineer for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, now known as NASA). He returned to the DeCosta Company as Vice President and became President, serving there until his retirement in 1989. Under his leadership, the company undertook major renovation projects to preserve the historical landscape of Charleston and other areas. One of his most notable projects was the restoration of the Herndon Mansion in Atlanta, Georgia. This mansion was owned by one of the wealthiest African American men in America, Alonzo Herndon, founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

The H.A. DeCosta Company was named one of the top 100 black businesses in the nation by Black Enterprise magazine in 1979. Upon his retirement in 1989, DeCosta continued to be active in the field of preservation as a restoration consultant and project manager.

DeCosta’s work has been featured in various magazines and newspapers across the country. He has received various awards and recognitions for his contribution to Charleston, including South Carolina’s Governor’s Award and the Frances R. Edmunds Award for Historic Preservation. DeCosta passed away on December 28, 2008.

Accession Number

A2007.041

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/2/2007

Last Name

DeCosta

Maker Category
Middle Name

Alexander

Schools

Avery Normal Institute

Immaculate Conception School

Iowa State University

First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

DEC02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe, South Africa

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/17/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken, Fish

Death Date

12/28/2008

Short Description

Construction chief executive and architect Herbert DeCosta, Jr. (1923 - 2008 ) joined his family's business in 1947, a construction company that was in existence from 1899.

Employment

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

Langley Field

H.A. DeCosta Company

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
0,0:1752,26:2920,43:6980,57:26650,207:30554,288:31018,303:44668,410:98136,904:99394,926:106015,996:117491,1124:123280,1181:125906,1192:136719,1316:152510,1387:163680,1466:166630,1495:189670,1657:202356,1783:202728,1788:224222,2001:227100,2019:232765,2083:233500,2092:266310,2378$0,0:1080,8:1512,13:2700,25:14883,284:22278,378:22614,383:23118,391:23706,400:30390,485:47422,698:56070,776:56880,786:70695,1034:71500,1042:83258,1115:83554,1120:119257,1472:131716,1585:134708,1631:144244,1738:144492,1743:144740,1748:145422,1786:145794,1793:149258,1860:155682,1940:156218,1945:164574,1995:166788,2012:167895,2017:168510,2023:169740,2034:211045,2267:217702,2317:218908,2332:222094,2359:228246,2427:241243,2530:242990,2537:249220,2633:250120,2837:259270,3091:317795,3374:318159,3384:325872,3454:329100,3481:333600,3539
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert DeCosta, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal great-grandparents' escape from slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal great-grandparents' life as freemen

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his maternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal ancestors

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his father's contracting business

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his experiences at the Avery Normal Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls the music curriculum at the Avery Normal Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his decision to attend the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his college housing, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his college housing, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his upbringing in a wealthy family

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his influences at the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his early career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls joining his father's construction business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his renovation work throughout the South

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the Citizens Committee of Charleston County

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his civil rights activities

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his daughters

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about selling his construction company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his advice to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal great-grandparents' escape from slavery
Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 1
Transcript
Well, they were both born slaves in Macon, Georgia. And decided, they were still young, and I believe they were married in Macon, I'm not sure, but anyway, they had decided that they, no I don't think they were married, they wanted to get married and have children, but under the law at that time, the children would be slaves, you see. So they didn't want their children born as slaves so they decided that they would escape, and Ellen [Ellen Craft] was a seamstress and William [William Craft] was a carpenter and so, and she decided to disguise herself as a white gentleman. You see, she was very fair and she looked like a white person, so that's what she disguised herself as. And she had, they bought a top hat, then she had her arm in a sling and wore dark glasses, and then a bandage around her mouth because see she couldn't speak in, you know, good English, and she didn't want to be asked questions you see, so that was the reason for the bandage around the mouth so she would not have to talk. So they decided and, of course, William to be her slave, and they were supposed to be going, now they told their owners that they were going to visit their relatives and friends on Christmas Day on some nearby plantation. See, slaves, as I understand it, were permitted to visit relatives and friends on Christmas, so then, so that morning they left and boarded a train, and they ended up in Baltimore [Maryland]. Now Baltimore was the last stop before Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], which was, you know, in a free state, so the officials were very careful, you know, about slaves traveling into freed states. So then they asked for all kind of identification and they almost got caught. So it was Christmas Eve and they said, somebody told them, they said, "I traveled with them, or with him, this gentleman all the way from Macon, Georgia, and he's all right, it's Christmas Eve, just let them go on," and so that's how they got past the customs in Baltimore, and then they ended up in Philadelphia, and they lived in someone's farmhouse, and then they were taught to read and write, but things were sort of, hot you might say, so to speak, in Philadelphia, so they thought they better move on to Boston [Massachusetts]. So some friends helped them to get to Boston and while in Boston, William opened a carpenter shop or cabinet shop and Ellen continued to sew.$You had some information about buildings that you worked on early on (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah. It was my early days here [at H.A. DeCosta Company]. One, we built the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance [North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company] building, corner of Coming [Street] and Cannon Street. I designed that and built that. And that was designed to take care of adding a second story if they wanted to, but they, the Clemmons [ph.] family just sold it the other day, I see, and the father died, and the two boys inherited, of course they're not boys, they are grown men, and they decided to sell the building 'cause they got a good price for it so they sold that. And then rebuilt an educational building on Johns Island [South Carolina] for the Methodist church. See Johns Island back in those days was really kind of rural see. There wasn't any Kiawah [Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, South Carolina] down there, or one on the other end, and nothing like that. It was just a sort of rural country place, and they built this building to take care of the people so they'd have some place to go up for recreation, and you know, have meetings and programs and things of that type. So that's what we built. And then we also remodeled the Carolina Savings Bank, and that was one of the banks, one of the big banks in Charleston [South Carolina]. We remodeled that. Put in new counters, a new safety deposit vault, and did things, that type of thing. Then I remember I did the drawings for the vault and then also built a parish house for our church. One of the first things we did.$$And this was St. Mark's Church [St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina]?$$Yes.$$So you worked with your father [Herbert DeCosta, Sr.] and you become president in what year (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Nineteen--$$Nineteen sixty [1960]?$$Sixty [1960]. I think that's what it was.$$And tell me what happened after that.$$Well--$$Did you become more into undertaking more major renovation projects?$$Well, we did major renovations, you know, when he was, that was the main thing that he was interested in, you see. See then, I'm looking at this little sheet that had--(pause) we did a lot of work for a storage house and foundation. See that's the foremost preservation society in the city, and we knew a lot of people who were members of that. So when they organized about sixty years ago, we did a lot of their work. See we did 61 Laurens Street, 82 Anson Street. These were all houses that we did before the foundation and then we also did a house at 25 East Battery [Street], and that was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Drayton [Emily Beatty Drayton and Charles H. Drayton, Jr.]. He was a very wealthy northerner, who married a Charleston girl, and we, they had this big house that we renovated for them. Course it used to be a planter's townhouse and he had a house in the country and then they had beautiful townhouses. It was a beautiful townhouse that he lived in, and we, and it was someplace and we restored this, and then they also had in the back a place for servants or guests 'cause that was a two-story residence. And whether they used that, I mean, 'cause I didn't see any other places on the property that slaves could live 'cause this was, they built this place just before the Civil War see. So that must have been their house but that was a nice house, and then there was a little land, we restored a small kitchen building. It was behind that house you see.

Emory Campbell

Cultural heritage chief executive and author Emory Shaw Campbell was born on October 11, 1941 on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. He attended elementary school on Hilton Head Island. Campbell travelled to the nearby city of Bluffton, South Carolina to attend Michael C. Riley High School where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1960. He received his B.A. degree in biology in 1965 from Savannah State College, and in 1971, he earned his M.A. degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Campbell served as the Director of Community Service Education at the Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services in Ridgeland, South Carolina for ten years before becoming Director of the Penn Center on St. Helena Island in 1980. The historic Penn Center, which opened in the 1800s to educate freed slaves, serves as a center to preserve the history and heritage of the Island.

During his tenure at the Penn Center, Campbell spearheaded efforts to create a family connection between the Gullah people and the people of Sierra Leone in West Africa. In 1988, he hosted Sierra Leone President Joseph Momoh at the Penn Center for the Gullah reunion and became an Honorary Paramount Chief in 1989 when he led the historic Gullah Reunion to Sierra Leone. A documentary of these two events has been produced for South Carolina Educational Television.

Campbell’s work to preserve the Gullah culture has led him to write several publications one of which is "Gullah Cultural Legacies." He also worked on a project to translate the New Testament of the Bible into the Gullah language. In 2005, he received the Carter G. Woodson Memorial for outstanding work. He retired from the Penn Center in 2002 and is the President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Services.

Campbell lives on Hilton Head Island with his wife, Emma. They have two adult children, Ochieng and Ayoka.

Emory Shaw Campbell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 30, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.035

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/30/2007

Last Name

Campbell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Shaw

Schools

Michael C. Riley High School

Savannah State University

Tufts University

Spanish Wells School

Robinson Junior High School

First Name

Emory

Birth City, State, Country

Hilton Head Island

HM ID

CAM08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cities

Favorite Quote

That's Great.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Rice, Nuts

Short Description

Cultural heritage chief executive Emory Campbell (1941 - ) was the Director of the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. He led the Gullah Reunion to Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Employment

Harvard University School of Public Health

Process Research, Inc.

Bromley-Health Community Centers

Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Penn Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emory Campbell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers fishing with his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes his family's land

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell describes his maternal family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emory Campbell describes his paternal relatives' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emory Campbell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell talks about his youngest brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes the community on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell recalls the Spanish Wells School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell remembers Robinson Junior High School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell recalls listening to the radio as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell remembers Michael C. Riley High School in Bluffton, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Emory Campbell describes his chores

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell talks about the terms Geechee and Gullah

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes the Gullah food traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell talks about the Gullah religion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell describes the founding of Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell talks about the Gullah language

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell recalls attending Michael C. Riley High School in Bluffton, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls his early experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell recalls his early experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell remembers his community's self-sufficiency

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell describes the Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes his research at the Harvard School of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes his decision to attend Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell remembers researching pesticides in the Mississippi Delta

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell recalls his experiences in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell recalls working at the Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell recalls the Gullah translation of the Bible

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes the Penn Center on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell remembers visiting West Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell describes the publications on the Gullah culture

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell describes his hopes for the Gullah people, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes his hopes for the Gullah people, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell talks about the changes in the Gullah culture

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Emory Campbell describes the Gullah food traditions
Emory Campbell recalls the Gullah translation of the Bible
Transcript
What are some of the traditions that you, you're speaking about that are the same?$$Well, I told you about the cousins. You know your fortieth cousins because you, you live in the same land, and so you stay connected, and, and you keep those lineage. And then, then living on an island, it's almost like the old African tribes so you, you're very clannish. You really look out for each other and you, you suspect, you suspicion of outsiders. And that's island life because you know, you--the island is, is surrounded by water so, who's that coming over the river? Is that somebody that shouldn't be here? Is that somebody that's gone hurt us? The other thing is the food, rice. Rice is always--they call us rice-eating Geechees. And then I never knew why, I thought, I thought that's what made me talk funny (laughter). So I stopped eating rice, and I still talk funny.$$(Laughter).$$But, but rice is always you--we didn't grow rice when I grew up but people grew rice up in, you know, after slavery. And some people on some of these islands grew rice into the '60s [1960s], you know, the swamp rice where you had to depend on the rain water. But in the old days of plantation days, people grew rice by--from the fresh water part of the up- upland. They actually took the fresh, fresh water rivers and, and actually dammed the rivers so that you could get the water as you pleased to flood the fields. And they said that that traced that, can get traced back to the Senegambia part of West Africa, where they originally discovered rice growing. The Europeans found rice being grown in West Africa, and they went after those folks to import because South Carolina and Georgia had large rice growing fields. And so in the '50s [1950s], '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s] when I grew up, and no rice was being grown here, people would go to Savannah [Georgia] and that's the first thing on the list, a sack of rice, either a fifty pound or a hundred pound. And everybody'd come back on that boat with those big sacks of rice, very much a staple. But okra, sweet potatoes, all--fish, and the fish nets, all that food gathering method, you can trace it to West Africa. That's, that's Gullah culture.$Well, let's talk about this translation of the Bible. What was that like? I mean, how much work (laughter) did that take?$$Oh, gosh. Well you see after I got to Penn Center [St. Helena Island, South Carolina] as its director we--I found that just about every other person who came to Penn Center was interested in the Gullah culture. I went there with the idea that we really could do more about economic development at Penn Center, because the health center [Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., Ridgeland, South Carolina] had more emphasis on healthcare and I always thought both of 'em linked, but the government would fund--the, the government agency that funded the health didn't see the linkage. So I was, I was very happy to get to, to Penn Center so that I could do more concentration on economic development and, you know, what people can do with their land in the midst of all the development that's going on. But what I found was everybody who came through there (laughter) wanted to study the Gullah culture. And so we spent a lot of time helping scholars with, with understanding the Gullah culture. And then two of the people who came through were translators of languages, and they had spent a lot of time translating the Bible in South America in the different languages down there. Just about, oh, must have been about three or four years before I got there the previous director at Penn Center had started a program on English, English was--as a second language. And he was concentrating on high school graduates, teaching them how to speak English better so that they could get a job on Hilton Head [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina]. Well, he got, he got a grant from the department of labor to do it. And everybody who really, you know, people who really loved the Gullah language condemned him for doing it, but he was interested in the kids' economic well-being, because people weren't hiring people who spoke Gullah. And so these linguists who had been translating the Bible throughout South America read about that program and contacted him said, "We wanna come and translate the Bible into Gullah." Well, he didn't pay much attention to that, John Gadson [John W. Gadson, Sr.] didn't. And so they ended up coming here to Daufuskie Island [South Carolina] and beating about on Daufuskie awhile and then they decided to come over to St. Helena Island [South Carolina]. And so they struggled over there a bit before anybody would accept them. And then somebody came from the University of California [University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California], a professor [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake] who was a mutual friend of, of mine and one of my other friend, and he asked me about the Gullah language. And I said, "There are couple here trying to study that thing but I don't know anything about helping with Gullah language because everybody had always condemned Gullah." And so we went to their senior citizens center and he talked with them about different words and language that he could trace back to West Africa. He had been studying West African languages and culture and comparing it to Gullah. That afternoon after going to the center and talking with those folks he convinced me to meet with these linguists. He said, "You need to meet those people." And those linguists, we sat down for about two hours, and they had a big language book we used and we could trace the language, the Gullah language, back through West Africa. They showed me the difference in languages and they showed me the roots of many of the Gullah words, and so I became very convinced and I joined the team. At that time they had about four or five people on their team. We ended up with about fifteen people and we met every week. And they would send out, you know, they would write the scriptures and then would send it us to correct, and we were correcting Gullah based on what I heard spoken by my [maternal] grandmother [Rosa Brown Williams] way back when she babysat me. And that's how we got through that whole New Testament, just by remembering--$$Hm.$$--how the language was spoken.$$So, there's a--were there copies produced?$$Oh, yes. Gee, I wish I had brought a copy for you to see.$$Okay.$$But you can take a shot of a copy. We have--we, we finished it back in 2005. It's published. It's online. It's on Amazon.com. You can--$$Okay.$$It's, it's a wonderful work. Now we're getting ready to record it in audio. And that project's going to begin in March. When we--as we speak here now I'm thinking of who I can recruit. We need twenty voices, twenty male voices and five female voices to record the, the Gullah language.

Julia Bond

Librarian Julia Agnes Washington Bond was born on June 20, 1908, in Nashville, Tennessee, where her parents graduated from Fisk University. Bond's mother, Daisy Agnes Turner Washington, worked as a teacher, and her father, George Elihu Washington, served as the principal of Pearl High School. Both stressed the importance of education. Bond attended Meigs Middle Magnet School until the eighth grade, and then went on to Pearl High School, where she graduated in 1924 when she was sixteen years old. Like her parents, Bond attended Fisk University and graduated with her B.A. degree in English in 1929. In her senior year at Fisk University, she met a young instructor, one of the few African American teachers at Fisk University in those days, Horace Mann Bond. Soon they were courting. They both attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, Illinois where they got married. They later had a marriage ceremony in Nashville in order to satisfy their parents. Unfortunately, Bond did not return to school due to their finances. Horace earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Illinois.

Her husband, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, was appointed president of Georgia’s Fort Valley State College in 1942. In 1945, he became president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. In 1956, Dr. Bond was named president of Atlanta University. Julia Agnes Bond acted as First Lady for her husband in all of these positions. She also traveled with her husband to Europe and Africa on behalf of the University. She attended the inauguration of Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah as Ghana’s first president in 1957.

Returning to school at Atlanta University, Bond earned her Masters of Library Science degree and was a mainstay at the Atlanta University Library beginning in the 1960s. Bond and her husband supported their daughter and their sons Jane, Julian and James, in their civil rights activities including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s. The venerable Bond retired from the Atlanta University Library in 2000, at the age of ninety-two years. Her husband, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, passed away in 1973.

Bond passed away on November 2, 2007 at age 99.

Accession Number

A2006.119

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/14/2006

Last Name

Bond

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Agnes

Occupation
Schools

Meigs Middle Magnet School

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Fisk University

University of Illinois at Chicago

Clark Atlanta University

First Name

Julia

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

BON03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/20/1908

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Death Date

11/2/2007

Short Description

Librarian Julia Bond (1908 - 2007 ) worked as a librarian at Atlanta University. She was the wife of Horace Mann Bond, former president of Lincoln University, and the mother of civil rights leader Julian Bond.

Employment

Atlanta University; Clark Atlanta University

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julia Bond's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julia Bond lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julia Bond describes her parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julia Bond describes her parents' educations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julia Bond describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julia Bond describes her childhood community in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julia Bond describes her childhood activities in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julia Bond describes her experiences at Pearl High School in Nashville

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julia Bond describes her experiences at Fisk University in Nashville

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julia Bond recalls the community of Fisk University in Nashville

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julia Bond recalls meeting and marrying Horace Mann Bond

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julia Bond describes her experiences at the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julia Bond describes her married life with Horace Mann Bond

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julia Bond recalls her friendships with African American intellectual leaders

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julia Bond recalls her husband's years as a college president

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julia Bond recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Julia Bond talks about her work as a librarian

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Julia Bond reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Julia Bond describes her family and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julia Bond narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julia Bond narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Julia Bond recalls meeting and marrying Horace Mann Bond
Julia Bond recalls her friendships with African American intellectual leaders
Transcript
Now you met your husband [Horace Mann Bond] at Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee], right, when you were a senior?$$Yes.$$Okay. Now what--tell us what happened.$$Nothing. We heard that he was coming and my mother [Daisy Turner Washington] and grandmother were very impressed because they had known his mother [Jane Browne Bond] and thought very highly of her. So they were very receptive to him.$$Okay. Was he from Kentucky, too?$$Yes.$$Was he from Mount Sterling [Kentucky]?$$Huh?$$Was he from Mount Sterling, too?$$No. He was from Louisville [Kentucky], I think.$$Louisville, all right.$$Yeah.$$Okay. So I heard that some of the girls tried to get in his class so they could talk to him (laughter)?$$Yeah.$$So what--but you didn't do that, right?$$No, I didn't. He--they knew that he was coming and we would--and several had a young black teacher, and they were all trying to be in his class, but I decided I wouldn't rush into it.$$Okay. So, how did you become acquainted? Did he--what happened?$$I don't remember how we first met. I guess somehow on the campus.$$Okay. So did you like him?$$Huh?$$Did you like him when you met him?$$Yes. Uh-huh. And my parents liked him because they knew his mother.$$Okay. So, how long--so I guess you--did you date him when you were a senior?$$Huh?$$Did you go out with him when you were a senior? Did he--?$$Go out with him?$$Yeah. Did he court you or, you know?$$Yes.$$What was dating like in those days? I mean, how--did you?$$It was very supervised, very curtailed.$$Okay. Did one--did your mother have to be around when he was there or your father [George Elihu Washington] have to be present or something or--?$$What?$$Did someone have to be there when he was--?$$Yes, most of the time. Very close if not in the room.$$Oh, okay.$All right. So (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I remember once Dr. Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois] came and I was going somewhere and he was at the station, and I spoke to him and he was very haughty because he didn't know me (laughter) and he thought I was just pushing myself on him.$$Okay. Yet, do you have any other stories about Dr. Du Bois?$$Huh?$$Do you have any other stories about him?$$I don't know. We were sitting down before the fire and he was reading the newspaper and I was taking care of my children, and somebody said, "Some students are coming over to see Dr. Du Bois," and he got up and went upstairs right away (laughter).$$So, he wasn't the most friendly person, I guess?$$Huh?$$He was not very friendly, I guess?$$No, he was all right once you knew him, but it was--he was hard to know.$$Okay. Did you like him?$$Yes, I did.$$Okay. What did you like about him?$$Well, I liked to listen to him talk and people would of course ask him many, many questions.$$Okay. Was he as smart as people say now?$$Huh?$$We always hear about how bright he was, how intelligent he was.$$Yes, he was.$$Was that true?$$Uh-huh.$$Okay. Did his wife [Nina Gomer Du Bois] ever come with him when he traveled?$$No. She was busy at the Du Bois' chasing dirt. (Laughter) She was a good housekeeper.$$Okay. Who else do you remember that came by?$$Who taught?$$No, that stayed with you. Who stayed at your house in those years? Who else stayed at your house?$$Who else--$$Stayed at your house when--during those days?$$Oh, anybody who spoke at the school [Fort Valley State College; Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia] and they would have various speakers during the year. Let's see, Franklin Frazier [E. Franklin Frazier]. I can't think of anybody else. Maybe Langston Hughes.$$What about E. Franklin Frazier? What--tell us about him. Do you have any stories about him?$$He was a neighbor and he was a friend. He was full of fun and jokes.$$Okay. What about Langston Hughes? Do you have a story about him?$$I know he took Julian [HistoryMaker Julian Bond] and Jay [James Bond] to eat at Paschal's [Paschal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant, Atlanta, Georgia] for lunch and--$$(JAMES BOND): That's here in Atlanta [Georgia].$$I don't know. Jay was kind of critical of Julian and he defended Julian.$$Yeah. Okay. All right. But that's here in Atlanta [Georgia], right? That's--$$Huh?$$That's here in Atlanta (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Atlanta, yes.$$Right, right.