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Johnnetta B. Cole

College president and civic leader Johnnetta B. Cole was born on October 19, 1936 in Jacksonville, Florida to John and Mary Francis. She was admitted to Fisk University at the age of fifteen, and later transferred to Oberlin College where she received her B.A. degree in sociology in 1957. Cole subsequently earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Northwestern University in 1959 and 1967.

In 1970, Cole accepted a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she served as a professor of anthropology and Afro-American studies. Her first book, Free and Equal: the End of Racial Discrimination in Cuba, was published in 1978. In 1982, Cole became the director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program at Hunter College in New York City. She was then named the first black female president of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1987. During her tenure as president, she increased Spelman’s endowment to over $113 million, attracted higher student enrollment, and improved Spelman’s overall ranking. In 1992, Cole served on President Bill Clinton’s transition team as cluster coordinator for Education, Labor, and the Arts. After leaving Spelman in 1997, Cole was hired as a professor of anthropology, women’s studies, and African American Studies at Emory University; and, in 2002, she became the sixth president of Bennett College. There, she increased endowment, raised funds for an on-campus art museum, and initiated the women’s studies and global studies programs. She stepped down as president of Bennett College in 2007 and was named director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. in 2009.

Cole authored numerous books including All American Women: Lines That Divide,Ties That Bind (ed.) in 1986, Anthropology for the Ninties (ed.) in 1988, Conversations: Straight Talk with America’s Sister President in 1994, Dream the Boldest Dream and Other Lessons of Life in 2001, and Gender Talk – the Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American’s Communities in 2003.

Cole has served on the board of directors of the Coca-Cola Company, the Rockefeller Foundation, Merck & Co., United Way of America, and Home Depot. She also served as chair of the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College, and has worked with the Ford and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations to encourage greater diversity and inclusive practices in American art museums.

She has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1988 Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the 2013 Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award, an Alumnae Award from Northwestern, the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, and the BET Honors Award for Education in 2015. Cole has also been awarded sixty-eight honorary degrees and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Cole has three sons, one step-son, and three grandchildren.

Johnnetta B. Cole was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on February 11, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.016

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/11/2019

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Betsch

Schools

Fisk University

Oberlin College

Northwestern University

Boylan-Haven School

First Name

Johnnetta

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

COL37

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

American Beach near Amelia Island

Favorite Quote

When Women Lead, Streams Run Uphill

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/19/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Seafood, Peanut Butter

Short Description

College president and civic leader Johnnetta B. Cole (1936 - ) became the first African American female president of Spelman College in 1987 and was named director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2009.

Employment

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Hunter College

Spelman College

Emory University

Bennett College

National Museum of African Art

Washington State University

Bill Clinton Administration

Favorite Color

Red and Black

Robert Bogle

Newspaper chief executive Robert Bogle was born to John Bogle, a vice president and advertising director at The Philadelphia Tribune, and Roslyn Woods Bogle, an advocate and activist throughout the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. In 1973, he graduated from Cheyney State College with his B.A. degree in urban studies and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Finance to study marketing and economics.

Bogle was first hired at The Philadelphia Tribune in 1970, and was named advertising director in 1973. He served in that position until 1977, when he became director of marketing. From 1981 to 1989, Bogle worked as executive vice president and treasurer for the Tribune and was then promoted to president and chief executive officer. In 1991, Bogle was appointed president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), where he served two terms. Among his achievements as president of the NNPA were the dedication of the new national headquarters in Washington, D.C., the introduction of the NNPA’s national wire service, and the establishment of new and enhanced relationships with major national advertisers, including Toys R Us, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Air, K-Mart, and Walt Disney World Company.

Bogle has served on the boards of U.S. Airways Group, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, United Way of America, the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the Workforce Investment Board, and the African American Chamber of Commerce. In addition, in 2009, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter appointed Bogle to the Independence Blue Cross board of directors.

Bogle is chairman of the Hospitals and Higher Education Facilities Authority of Philadelphia and serves as a commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority. He has served as chairman of the council of trustees of Cheyney University and is an advisor to the United Negro College Fund, a member of the executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America, and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He is also a founding member and president of the African American News and Information Consortium, a group of premier Black newspapers in some of the largest markets in the United States of America.

In 1993, Bogle was named one of Ebony magazine’s 100 most influential black Americans. In 1995, 1997 and 1999, the NNPA honored Bogle with the Russwurm Award, the highest honor to the “Best Newspaper in America.” Bogle received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Drexel University in 2000.

Robert Bogle was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.151

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/13/2014

Last Name

Bogle

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Schools

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BOG02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Maarten

Favorite Quote

Never To Your Friends Your Secrets Tell, For One Day Your Friend May Be Your Foe And Out Into The World Your Secrets Will Go.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oxtail Stew, Pig's Feet. Chitlins, Roast and Turkey

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Robert Bogle ( - ) is the president and chief executive officer of The Philadelphia Tribune. He also served as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association from 1991 to 1995.

Employment

The Philadelphia Tribune

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Bogle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Bogle lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Bogle talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Bogle talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Bogle talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Bogle talks about his mother's academic abilities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Bogle talks about his father and his parents' views of race and character

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Bogle talks about how his parents met, his likeness to them and lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Bogle describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Bogle talks about his brother, HistoryMaker Donald Bogle, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Bogle talks about his brother, HistoryMaker Donald Bogle, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Bogle talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Bogle talks about his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Bogle talks about growing up in Darby, Pennsylvania where he attended integrated schools

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Bogle talks about the lessons he learned from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Bogle talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Bogle states his elementary school and recalls his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Bogle talks about meeting influential African Americans as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Bogle talks about growing up knowing that he would have to choose between education, work, and the military after high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Bogle talks about South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and black-owned theaters across the country

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Bogle claims Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the birthplace of the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Bogle talks about working as a newsboy, his educational experience, and moving to Yeadon, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Bogle talks about attending Yeadon High School in Yeadon, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Bogle talks about attending Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Bogle lists his instructors at Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Bogle talks about how he came to work at the Philadelphia Tribune

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Bogle talks about his studies at Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania and working at the Philadelphia Tribune

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Bogle talks about participating in the student union at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Garth Reeves

Newspaper publishing chief executive Garth C. Reeves, Sr. was born on February 12, 1919 in Nassau, Bahamas. His family moved to Miami, Florida four months after he was born. His father, Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves, was a partner in The Magic Printing Company and founder of the Miami Times; his mother, a homemaker. His daughter, Rachel J. Reeves, became publisher and chief executive officer of the Miami Times in 1994 following the untimely death of her brother, Garth C. Reeves, Jr. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami in 1936, Reeves enrolled in Florida A & M University where he earned his B.A. degree in printing in 1940.

Reeves served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1942 to 1946 in both the European and Pacific theaters. He then returned to Miami to work under his father Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves, who founded the Miami Times newspaper in 1923. In 1970, Reeves was named publisher and chief executive officer of the when his father passed. Reeves went on to become the first African American to serve on the governing boards of the Miami-Dade Community College, Barry University, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Dade County. He also served as organizing chairman of the board for National Industrial Bank, which was the first integrated bank in the State of Florida. During the 1950s, Reeves worked to integrate the local beaches, parks, and golf courses. Reeves served for ten years as president of the Amalgamated Publishers of New York City, which represents over one hundred African American-owned newspapers throughout the United States. He was also elected to serve two terms as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

Reeves is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a founding member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Miami, Florida. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University of Miami, Barry University and Florida Memorial University.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 5, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.183

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/5/2013

Last Name

Reeves

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Garth

Birth City, State, Country

Nassau

HM ID

REE08

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/12/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

North Miami

Country

Bahamas

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Garth Reeves (1919 - ) former president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, served as publisher and chief executive officer of the Miami Times for over twenty years.

Employment

Miami Times

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:32835,302:57574,476:80220,619:80958,630:84672,659:85260,668:86520,685:92455,732:93130,743:93730,752:95455,779:105838,851:107278,888:111963,917:116875,959:120572,1027:120868,1032:132750,1125:135710,1186:136030,1191:139870,1268:145240,1321:145897,1332:148452,1365:154800,1411:155535,1419:157950,1450:158475,1456:171832,1734:189435,1910:207874,2057:208498,2066:209044,2075:210994,2114:212554,2145:212944,2151:213412,2159:227630,2269:228062,2276:235106,2333:237610,2343$0,0:1206,40:34449,515:68926,902:163936,2018:189508,2333:218218,2641:218514,2646:299940,3565
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Garth Reeves' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves remembers working on his father's paper during childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves describes the history of Overtown, Miami, Florida, where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves talks about racial tensions in his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves discusses tourism in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves discusses D. A. Dorsey and the history of African Americans in Miami, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves discusses D. A. Dorsey and the history of African Americans in Miami, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves talks about what he liked to read as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves talks about his childhood in Overtown, Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves remembers the discrimination faced by his father in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Garth Reeves talks about the entertainers who came to Miami during the winter

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Garth Reeves describes the segregation in Miami theaters

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves talks about working for his father's newspaper as a boy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about 'The Miami Times' coverage of lynchings and Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves talks about his entrepreneurial activities in high school, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves talks about his entrepreneurial activities in high school, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about how his father motivated him to make good grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves remembers the 1936 Summer Olympics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves recalls meeting Joe Louis while reporting for 'The Miami Times'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves remembers when Jackie Robinson first took the field in baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Garth Reeves talks about his mentor, J.L. Langhorn at Florida A&M University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves recounts his entry into military service

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about his experience in boot camp

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves describes his time in the military

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves remembers being homesick during his military service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about what he liked and disliked about the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves talks about his mother's advice for him after serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves describes working with his father at the Miami Times

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about how the Miami Times hit its stride during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves talks about joining the Civil Rights movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves talks about his role in desegregating Miami's beaches, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about his role in desegregating Miami's beaches, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves discusses Thurgood Marshall's influence on non-violent direct action in Miami, Florida

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Garth Reeves talks about racial tensions in his childhood community
Garth Reeves describes working with his father at the Miami Times
Transcript
So, I've heard this story before from Birmingham, Alabama and other places in the South, where the Klan would take a couple of days, a day or during the year and just ride through, or parade through the black community?$$That's true.$$And would they be armed? Were they armed when they did that?$$Oh, they were armed. Oh, yes, they were armed.$$Okay.$$And we didn't, couldn't see them, but then (unclear) they came out. Everybody knew they were in charge. I've only heard about one group that challenged the Klan once. And I never did find out who it was, but I think the word around town was it was, I think they called him Texas Slim. But anyhow, the Klan was getting ready to parade on 11th Street. And they were starting across the railroad tracks which was the white section. And while they were gathering, Texas Slim had gotten his boys together, and they brought out their artillery. And they started firing as soon as the Klan started in our direction. And the Klan retreated that night. They did not parade that night because it was a little too much fire power there.$$Now, these were dangerous times in terms of lynchings all over the South and--$$Oh, yes.$$--and race riots when white people would burn the black community down and that sort of thing?$$Well, lynching was prevalent in those days. That's one thing my mother always warned me about because lynching was, was--oh, it was a popular thing among the whites to show their control in the South.$$And in the North actually. I mean there were plenty in the North too as far--$$Yes, there were, yes, there was.$$--as far North as Minnesota and, you know, Indiana and Ohio.$$It was not as prevalent in the North as it was in the South, yeah, just put it that way.$$Right, I just wanted--I didn't wanna leave that out so in case somebody watching this thought it was just in the South (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$But it's not. But, okay, but Overtown was--$$Yeah, Overtown was a thriving community. And there was--rich people from the North used to come down to Miami Beach and downtown Miami to spend money during the winter. And we called it, the "season." They would come in after Thanksgiving and stay until up in the year, after--until the weather got better up North. And we had a pretty solid community, pretty solid, a well-knit, closely-knit community.$And so what was the state of the "Miami Times" then? What was your circulation and what was your impact on the community in those days?$$Well, it was doing pretty good. Of course, I was a, although I went to work at the "Miami Times", I--we were not making the money. But my dad also had a job printing establishment on the side. He was running like two things, the newspaper and the job printing.$$Now, did he have like a gas station too or something 'cause you mentioned like going to get gas and did he have some other businesses too other than just the printing and the newspaper?$$No, just the newspaper and job printing?$$Okay.$$So we printed everything, but in the town, you know, envelopes, books, invitations, programs, funeral programs, you know, everything. My dad's motto was, "We print anything from a card to a newspaper." And we did. We used to do the school newspaper too, print that too. So we had a thing going, and so I went over to the job printing place department. And I found out that I had to do some restructuring on the prices 'cause my dad had, you know, how you--old people, they set one price and prices change, and they think they should just stay right there. But things would go by, you know, so they--(simultaneous)--$$Paper's going up and the ink's going up.$$Right. So there was a catalog I discovered in reading that told you how to price. And my dad had never seen this catalog before. He just did it on his own. He would figure out what the paper cost and what the ink cost and what the labor cost and add 'em up, and maybe add on 15 percent, you know. Well, I learned better after I read this catalog. And the catalog, they wouldn't sell it to you. They'll rent it to you because you had--they changed, every time they changed prices or something, they'd let you know. And I restructured the pricing for dad, and I was making a ton of money, man. It was, we had a good business. But dad was doing good in what he was doing, but he just did not understand the right pricing. He didn't keep up with what was happening in the, you know. And I got that going, and so we subsidized the newspaper. The newspaper was getting, was getting along, but it wasn't making any money. But the job printing office was making the money, and so we didn't worry about that. Whatever they were short over there, we'd pick it up. And things went quite well there. I got, the new machinery was working well. And we bought a new press, a bigger press and--$$And so you bought a linotype machine too, right, is that--$$Yeah, bought the linotype.$$Now, was that your idea to get that?$$Huh?$$Was it your idea to--$$No, no, my dad bought this on his own. Yeah, I was (unclear)--$$And that's the time that you were sent to New York to learn to operate it--$$Yeah.$$--when you saw Jackie Robinson play his first game?$$So we were doing quite well. And one hand was washing the other one, and one time I was telling my dad, I says, you know, I said, you're wasting your time with that newspaper (laughter). I said, you--there's a lot of money to be made over here in this job printing. People in this town need a lot of printing. So he said, nah, I'm a stick with it, said, you subsidize me a little bit now. He said, but one day this newspaper is gonna, it's gonna make more money than that job printing. I said, nah, you gotta be kidding (laughter). And sure enough, when the newspaper hit its stride, I closed the job printing department, shut it down, closed it down, yes, I did. And I said, the old man was right.

Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr.

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. was born on February 24, 1922, in Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the eldest of four children and the only son of parents who worked as domestics. After graduating from Washington High School in Raleigh, Blount enrolled at North Carolina A & T University in 1939 where he served as the student body president and as chairman of the campus newspaper before graduating in 1943 with his B.A. degree in chemistry (magna cum laude). After graduating, Blount was accepted into a government funded program that enabled him to enroll in Howard University Medical School where he studied under Dr. Charles Drew and received his M.D. degree in 1947. Blount spent three years on active duty in the U.S. Army during medical school. He completed a general surgery residency at Kate Bittings Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem.

In 1952, Blount was mobilized with the 8225th Infantry Division from Fort Bragg as a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps’ 2nd Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit that was sent to Korea. Blount, whose team performed ninety surgeries a week, went on to become a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th MASH Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia. He returned to the United States in 1954.

In 1957, Blount became the first African American in North Carolina be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons in 1957 and practiced at Kindred Hospital (formerly L. Richardson Hospital). He was a litigant of the suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital (1963), the landmark Supreme Court decision that desegregated hospitals throughout the South. Blount became the first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital in 1964. He served as Chief of Surgery for L. Richardson Hospital and as Medical Director for the Guilford Health Care Center.

Blount was affiliated with numerous organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Association of Guardsmen. He was a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity since 1970; and, in 1979, he established the Beta Epsilon Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in Greensboro. Blount, a 33rd degree Mason, was an honorary past Grand Master and Medical Director of the Prince Hall Masons of North Carolina. He received countless awards including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor that can be granted to a civilian in the state of North Carolina. In 1983, North Carolina A & T University awarded Blount an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities

Blount passed away on January 6, 2017 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.157

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/5/2013

Last Name

Blount

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

V.

Occupation
Schools

Washington High School

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Howard University College of Medicine

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

Raleigh

HM ID

BLO02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If you think you are right, have the courage to do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

2/24/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Greensboro

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

1/6/2017

Short Description

Physician Dr. Alvin Blount, Jr. (1922 - 2017 ) , the first African American in North Carolina to be certified by the American College of Abdominal Surgeons, was a litigant in the hospital desegregation suit Simkins v. Moses H. Cone Hospital, which allowed him to become first black surgeon admitted to the medical staff of Cone Hospital. He served as acting Chief of Surgery for the 8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) Unit in Korea from 1951 until 1952, and was appointed Chief of Surgery for the 47th U.S. Army Combat Surgical Hospital in Southeast Asia.

Employment

Delete

Kindred Hospital

Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital

L. Richardson Hospital

Womack Army Hospital

8225th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

United States Army Medical Services

Katie B. Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Favorite Color

Light Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:2835,19:17790,203:18385,212:53310,588:53772,596:54465,605:76772,852:77384,864:77928,873:78404,881:80376,918:80852,926:81736,939:88510,1027:88895,1036:89115,1041:93930,1113:108490,1262:113260,1293:114502,1298:125734,1467:126139,1480:131647,1544:136290,1566:136510,1571:141156,1639:146276,1668:147872,1690:149048,1712:156058,1775:158476,1795:159100,1805:176763,2024:183386,2059:204590,2260$380,0:5980,83:6880,94:7580,100:8080,106:9180,119:10980,143:18783,270:23230,329:26290,393:26920,420:41138,575:69056,941:79454,1013:109475,1361:114721,1420:116630,1525:179498,2141:180344,2189:194972,2313:208580,2440:216256,2581:216864,2590:230282,2737:238307,2849:277920,3266
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alvin Blount's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about his mother's education and aspirations and his parents working in New York during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about land ownership in North Carolina after the American Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his father's education and his job in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents getting married in 1920 and lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his parents' loving marriage, their emphasis on education, and their having to work in New York during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Alvin Blount discusses his father's employment as a chauffeur for Eddie Rickenbacker, the Rickenbacker family, and General John "Black Jack" Pershing

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Alvin Blount talks about the mentorship that he received from his father's employer, Reed Chambers

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about Reed Cambers, his mother's death, and his father's remarriage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount describes his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about his childhood observations of his life as an African American

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his religious faith

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending elementary school in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the difference between his elementary schools in New Rochelle, New York and Franklinton, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the teachers who influenced him, his math classes and why he decided to major in chemistry in college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about his academics and leadership in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about being exposed to black doctors in the neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about attending North Carolina A and T State University in 1939 on a National Youth Administration (NYA) scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors in at North Carolina A and T State University and his involvement in campus politics

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his nickname in college, and running for student body elections

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount recalls the United States' entry into World War II in 1941 and why he decided to pursue medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the importance of a background in the humanities, and how he ensured that he received a well-rounded education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the joining the U.S. Army and his experience there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount talks about attending Howard University's medical college, his residency in North Carolina, and the challenges of being a black physician

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount talks about the Flexner Report

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the challenges that were faced by black medical students and residents while receiving his medical training

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about the limited opportunity for black medical residents and the discrimination against them

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount talks about his professors and colleagues at Howard University's College of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his career as a physician and surgeon

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about his residency at Kate B. Reynolds Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about rejoining the military in 1950, and his assignments to the MASH units in Fort Bragg and in Korea

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount describes his experience in the Korean War, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about his marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience in Korea during the Korean War and the plight of the civilians, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about the book and television series, MASH

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount describes his experience the Korean War, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about returning from the Korean War and his acquaintance with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black doctor to practice at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon Jack Greenberg being the only white legal counselor for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his experience with demonstrations at North Carolina A and T State University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount talks about Reverend Jesse Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount talks about black doctors who were involved in civil rights and the history of African Americans in medicine in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount talks about the Ku Klux Klansmen who built his home in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about facing discrimination as a physician in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about serving on the Greensboro jury commission

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the changes in the relationship between African American and white doctors in North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alvin Blount describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alvin Blount reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alvin Blount reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama as the first black president in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alvin Blount talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alvin Blount discusses health concerns and healthcare for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alvin Blount talks about medical malpractice

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alvin Blount talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alvin Blount describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Alvin Blount talks about the anti-discrimination 'Simkins versus Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital' lawsuit of 1963, pt. 1
Alvin Blount talks about becoming the first black physician to perform surgery at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina
Transcript
There's a story to that. I was chairman in Greensboro [North Carolina] of the liaison committee between the Greensboro Medical Society--black, and the white medical society, Gilford County. They had a group of doctors, members from each of them. And I served as chairman. I was secretary of the Greensboro Medical Society. And although they had other people qualified, I had an application in. And I was appointed the first black doctor to the Gilford County Medical Society and the Greensboro Academy of Medicine. Now, there's another--added to it. They offered us, before this, what is called a scientific membership--which you go to the meetings, but the social events, you were excluded.$$Scientific membership?$$Yeah. And we wrote them back and told them this is the most insulting thing you can do, and did not accept it.$$Yeah, isn't a goal of the American Medical Association to form a collegial bond between physicians?$$Well, that's what they said. But you see, they didn't have a--. Here's the question. When you read this book, you'll understand the black doctor was never intended by the American Medical Association to be as full fledged as the white physician. I don't care how much training, what and what--if you're black, then you lost your qualification then. That went for [Dr. Charles] Drew, that went for all of us at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia], and everybody, until they got them to--and so forth. So, there we had that right that we had in the South. And in--a lot of northern states were doing the same thing. It excludes, at that time it didn't exclude Connecticut nor Massachusetts at first. So, this is it, the thing that we were fighting about. It all eventually led, as you know, in a suit.$$Right, right.$$In 1962.$$A friend of yours who's a dentist, right, filed?$$There were ten of us.$$Well, can you remember all ten?$$Yeah. I got them around here somewhere. Okay, let me see if I can give you--There was Dr. [Walter] Hughes, Dr. Blount, Dr. Jones and Dr. Alexander, Dr. F. E. Davis and E.C. Noel. And the dentists were Dr. [George] Simkins, Dr. Milton Barnes and Dr. W. T. L. Miller. And there were two civilians, one of which was named Lyons.$$Okay.$$That's it.$$Okay, okay.$Okay. Now, in 1964--this is the same year as the Civil Rights Act was passed, you became the first black physician to perform an operation at Moses Cone [Memorial Hospital, Greensboro, North Carolina], right?$$Yes I did, a cholecystectomy (unclear).$$How did that take place? I mean, was there, you know--because you being the first, there had to be some--was there any ceremony involved in this, or any--$$It is said that the white surgeons took a holiday that day. That's so far back I can't think whether it was true or not. More than likely, it was. But it was said that for two or three days, the white physicians would boycott this. I don't know whether they did or not, but that is said, and it probably is true. But I had been operating with them over at the black hospital. So, that wasn't anything new. I'd been at the [U.S.] Army hospital and I operated, so--. And my assistant was in surgery and gynecology, but he was also certified. So, we went in and did our, you know, before we do our operations, the first thing we do is we ligate the cystic duct and cystic artery. And then before we cut, we take a picture of the common [bile] duct to see if there are any stones in there. If not, you cut them and (unclear) come on out. And I guess we were there about an hour and ten minutes doing that. And they were amazed, because some of their doctors took two hours and a half or something. But that goes under the particular art of dexterity. And some people are fairly good technicians and others aren't, and no matter how much theory they know, they just can't do the small things, because we don't--yeah--$$We were talking about Jack White earlier--$$Yeah, that's right.$$--about how dexterious he was.$$And me doing them now, I'd be doing laproscopic. I'd just make two little holes and look down there and clip, clip, clip, clip, and in thirty minutes, I'm out. But (unclear), and then of course, the next day I have to (unclear) with an abdominal hysterectomy and, you know, the vaginal. I did, and I think the next day I had a cholecystectomy the day before, and lesions were left in the colon and enter into what we call entero-proctostomy, the thing what I've been doing all the time. And then they started drifting back and shaking my hands and saying, "It certainly went right, I'm sorry y'all had to go through this stuff." You know, I just took that pressure off them. "Yeah, man. But you see what you were doing, you were messing with my welfare because the patient wanted to come here, and I couldn't come here. So they had to get somebody here to do the operation. You're taking my money. (laughter). And so, that's the only thing we're interested in. You don't have to love me, or like me, or not. But you don't have the right to keep me out of this facility, because you don't want it. The people know it."$$This is true.$$Yeah. So there again goes-they of us (unclear) how to approach things and how to get things over to people definitely without having to put your fist on them. Don't get mad about it, just lay the facts out. Smarter thinker. That's what I, all my life--if you live in the South, and they do anything for you, you had to spend some nights thinking how you're going to get this done.

Huel D. Perkins

Retired educator Huel Davis Perkins was born on December 27, 1924 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Between 1943 and 1946, Perkins served in the U.S. Navy as a musician first class. He graduated from Southern University with highest honors in 1947.

From 1948 to 1950, Perkins worked as a music instructor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Perkins then served as an associate professor of music at Southern University from 1951 through 1960. During this time, Perkins also completed his M.A. degree in music from Northwestern University in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1958. From 1968 to 1978, Perkins served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Southern University. In addition, Perkins was appointed as the deputy director of education programming at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. in 1978. Perkins then commenced a long tenure at Louisiana State University where he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1979 through 1990 and as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Special Assistant to the Chancellor from 1990 through 1998. In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Perkins to the Board of Advisors of the J.W. Fulbright foreign scholarship program. He served in this capacity until 2002. Perkins then founded Huel D. Perkins & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm and speakers bureau. He serves as its president. Perkins has also served as Chairman on the Education Foundation of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has served as Grand Sire Archon of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. In 2005, Louisiana State University acknowledged Perkins’ years of service by awarding him the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and naming a doctoral fellowship program after him.

Perkins has also been honored by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (Humanist of the Year); the National Conference of Christians and Jews (Brotherhood Award); the LSU Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (Outstanding educator); the Baton Rouge Human Relations Council (Brotherhood Award); the Istrouma Area Council of Boy Scouts of America (Citizen of the Year); the Louisiana Chapter of NAACP (A. P. Turead Award); the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Award of Merit) and received the Centennial Award given by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He has served as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Perkins has critiqued and published numerous books and articles on the African American experience in America. He has served on several dozen boards dealing with social and educational issues including the Baton Rouge Symphony, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Corp., and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Perkins is the recipient of many public service awards for his achievements both in the civic and academic communities.

Perkins is married to Thelma O. Smith. 2008 marks the couple’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. They have one child, Huel Alfred Perkins.

Perkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 26, 2008.

Dr. Huel Perkins passed away on April 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2008.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/26/2008

Last Name

Perkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Schools

Southern University Laboratory School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Northwestern University

First Name

Huel

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

PER04

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Boule Foundation

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Man Comes To Earth Unarmed Except For His Mind; His Brain Is His Only Weapon.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

12/27/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Meatballs

Death Date

4/15/2013

Short Description

Academic administrator and music professor Huel D. Perkins (1924 - 2013 ) was an instructor at Lincoln University and Southern University, where he also served as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. At Louisiana State University, he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. In 2002, Perkins founded Huel D. Perkins & Associates, Inc.

Employment

Southern University and A&M

Louisiana State University

National Endowment for the Humanities

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Huel D. Perkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about the significance of his first name

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins describes his father's law career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Huel D. Perkins describes how he takes after his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins describes his childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins describes his childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins recalls Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about Reverend Gardner Taylor

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins recalls his early musicianship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins recalls the musicians who served at Naval Station Great Lakes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins recalls his decision to return to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his influential teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his fiftieth wedding anniversary

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins describes his interdisciplinary teaching style

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his graduate studies in the humanities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins recalls student demonstrations at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon Felton Grandison Clark's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins talks about Valerian Smith's family

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins remembers his students at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins describes his transition to academic administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins remembers joining the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his career at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins talks about the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins describes his research on the Harlem Renaissance

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins talks about his published works

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon the importance of the humanities

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Huel D. Perkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Huel D. Perkins talks about his favorite figures in the humanities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Huel D. Perkins remembers influencing his students' interest in opera

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Huel D. Perkins talks about 'Cyrano de Bergerac' by Edmond Rostand

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Huel D. Perkins talks about 'The Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Huel D. Perkins describes his civic activities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon his health

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Huel D. Perkins reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Huel D. Perkins describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Huel D. Perkins narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Huel D. Perkins remembers joining the National Endowment for the Humanities
Huel D. Perkins describes his career at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
Transcript
I spoke there [Dallas, Texas] on the importance of the humanities. The fellow was there, who was the chairman of the endowment for, for the humanities. And he came to me right after that and said, "Would you like to come to Washington [D.C.], would you like to come to the National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH]?" I said, "No sir, no sir, I would not like to." I said, "Besides, I've only, I've recently signed a contract to go to LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana]." He said, "Oh, what's his name, I'll talk with your chancellor down there. I, I think I can get you released from them." I said, "Well, I, I'm not certain I want to do that." He twisted my arm and said, "You come up and you look at our operation. I think you will want to be a part of it." I went to Washington on a kind of a look-see. I decided that's what I wanted to do. They offered me a contract to, to join them in September. I'm supposed to report to LSU. What do I do? Now, I have, I've signed a contract. I have that commit- commitment. I go down--I'll never forget this. I go down to the chancellor, Paul Murrill [Paul W. Murrill], the same fellow who had enticed me to come to LSU. I said, "I agree, I will sign, I will sign my contract." I said, "I'm supposed to report September 1st." I said, "But in the meantime, I have gotten an offer to join the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington." You know what he said? I'll never forget this because he made, he made me feel so relieved about it all. He said, "Take the job in Washington." He said, "It will be both beneficial to you and to LSU. Drop me a note, and request a year's leave of absence, and go to Washington." That's what I did, that's what I did, and I am very happy that I did it, I am very happy that I did it.$Well, I--in Washington [D.C.], I was reading proposals, making speeches, interpreting the endowment [National Endowment for the Humanities] to, to the various publics and whatnot. At the end of that year, I didn't want to come to LSU [Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] (laughter). They sent a dean up to Washington. He came up for another meeting. When he came by to see me, he said, "I'm told--we hear that you, you might want to stay in Washington a little longer than this year." He said, "I'm up here to tell you that we want you back, that we're expecting you back, and we have increased your salary just to make you, make sure you come back." So, I'm in another quandary--look, look, the qua- the quandary I gave to you earlier was when I wanted to go to--come back to Southern [Southern University; Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], and finish my, my senior year, you remember. And I said, my mother [Velma Davis Perkins] and the fraternity [Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity]--. Here I am, another quandary in my life: do I want to negate the contract down there, and stay on in Washington? 'Cause I was, I was really doing nicely in Washington, I really was--traveling all over the country and making speeches. And they liked me at the endowment, and that sort of thing, so I had to come and make some hard decisions there. My decision then was to come back to LSU. I talked with somebody, and they said, Washington is temporary. It changes administration every four years (laughter). You, you put your, your eggs in that basket, you don't know how long you're going to be there, you know, it could change. Well, I had some good counseling, so I came on back to LSU, came back to LSU, and stayed twenty-three years. I did twenty-seven at Southern, and I came back to LSU and did twenty-three, including two retirements. I retired once--they asked me to come back. I retired again, they asked me to come back. Then, this last time, which was in 2005, I think it was, I said I'm not going back this time. It became a joke: you're back (laughter) you're back down here. Every chancellor would ask me to come, come, come back there, mainly because I, I, I did a lot of letter writing, a lot of speech writing. And they would let me represent the university and I could represent it well, and people would see they have a black now at LSU, I mean, you know, who, who represents the university. Each chancellor would ask me, ask me to come back, and I, I'd stay here two or three months and, oh, come on, I'd go back down there.

Gwendolyn E. Boyd

Mechanical engineer and civic leader Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd was born on December 27, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama to Dora McClain. Boyd’s mother passed away when Boyd was thirteen years old, and her godmother, Emzella Mapson, raised her. Boyd's teachers, at the all-black McDavid Elementary School, nurtured her love of math from a young age. Boyd was one of five black students to integrate Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama. In high school. she helped establish a student interracial council, was a member of the math honor society, and performed choir before graduating as valedictorian in 1973. Boyd attended the historically black Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama on a scholarship, graduating summa cum laude with her B.S. degree in mathematics and minors in music and physics in 1977. She received a fellowship to attend Yale University's School of Engineering in New Haven, Connecticut, becoming the school's first African American woman to receive an M.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1979.

Following her graduation, Boyd worked briefly as an engineer at IBM in Kingston, New York. In 1980, she was offered a position as a submarine navigation systems analyst at the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University. Boyd was later appointed to high-level administrative positions, first as the assistant for development programs in 1998 and then the as executive assistant to the chief of staff in 2004.

Boyd has been an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., rising through the ranks of the sorority's leadership since joining as a student at Alabama State. In 2000, Boyd was elected for a four-year term as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Boyd also serves on the board of directors of Leadership Greater Washington, the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Bennett College and the National Partnership for Community Leadership. She is a member of The Links, Inc., the National Council of Negro Women and Ebenezer A.M.E Church in Fort Washington, Maryland where she serves on the ministerial staff. In 2007, Boyd received her M.Div. degree at Howard University and is an ordained itinerant elder in the A.M.E. Church. She has also received honorary doctorates from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Bennett College in North Carolina. In 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Boyd to the board of trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Gwendolyn E. Boyd was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.161

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/25/2007

Last Name

Boyd

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Schools

McDavid Elementary School

Jefferson Davis High School

Alabama State University

Yale University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gwendolyn

Birth City, State, Country

Montgomery

HM ID

BOY02

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

The Lord Is My Light And My Salvation. Whom Shall I Fear?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

12/27/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Montgomery

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Collard Greens

Short Description

Civic leader and mechanical engineer Gwendolyn E. Boyd (1955 - ) was the first African American woman to receive her M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University. In 2000, she was elected national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Boyd became the president of Alabama State University in 2014.

Employment

International Business Machines Corporation

Johns Hopkins University. Applied Physics Laboratory.

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:3500,16:4716,39:7452,94:12620,195:14900,239:15432,247:16724,270:17256,278:17712,285:20904,337:21436,346:21968,354:22500,366:22956,373:23716,385:30150,412:30940,425:32283,452:32678,458:33942,474:34890,487:37892,523:38208,560:38998,571:42711,636:46503,699:47135,722:49505,764:58930,836:59270,841:59695,847:61565,880:74066,1060:74885,1070:80955,1119:81550,1127:82060,1134:83675,1160:84270,1169:86565,1206:88860,1244:92198,1267:92494,1272:94640,1308:95602,1325:96638,1350:97156,1358:97452,1363:97748,1368:100042,1394:101300,1415:110880,1522:113890,1590:114730,1604:116620,1636:116900,1641:119980,1696:122780,1752:123200,1759:123690,1782:126980,1832:129570,1885:130060,1893:140600,1956:141880,1976:144912,2004:147096,2046:147486,2052:148188,2063:148500,2068:157750,2208:160504,2267:164311,2331:164635,2336:164959,2341:168442,2399:168928,2407:170548,2437:171034,2445:171439,2451:172087,2461:173140,2479:179296,2565:188882,2612:192236,2665:198372,2736:199308,2756:200010,2770:200400,2776:202896,2818:209472,2893:218493,3038:219237,3047:225840,3137:229095,3193:243916,3368:248130,3456:252736,3516:257480,3527:257720,3532:258080,3539:263475,3624:264276,3636:265344,3650:270854,3720:271340,3728:277334,3839:279278,3874:287030,3933:290267,3987:291014,3998:292093,4013:292923,4026:293421,4035:300366,4117:302070,4153:302638,4162:303419,4183:306250,4206$0,0:735,3:1163,8:1912,16:4435,23:4839,35:10394,86:11101,95:11707,102:13121,121:14939,144:15343,158:15747,163:16151,168:16858,176:22290,203:24840,261:25740,275:27165,324:27840,335:28365,344:31440,411:31890,419:32265,426:33165,441:40920,458:41886,466:42852,474:48150,506:48890,514:49482,523:51036,551:51332,556:52220,571:52960,583:59028,667:63960,709:64260,715:64710,722:68668,758:71048,796:71388,802:72884,830:75520,847:79390,904:80380,914:81460,931:81910,938:84700,982:85420,992:86500,1006:88840,1047:89920,1063:90730,1073:96760,1178:97390,1187:104440,1192:108700,1282:113812,1323:115990,1351:116386,1356:117475,1370:120883,1396:124231,1440:128842,1487:129222,1493:130590,1523:131426,1549:131806,1555:141914,1783:148830,1928:156060,1942:156558,1949:161123,2033:161538,2039:167431,2170:167763,2175:168261,2183:168842,2192:170834,2221:174584,2227:175102,2235:175620,2244:176138,2252:176656,2260:178432,2289:178802,2295:179394,2310:183464,2417:184278,2431:188065,2445:188585,2456:191965,2524:192355,2532:192615,2537:204470,2683:206390,2713:206950,2721:208310,2741:208630,2746:209030,2752:209350,2757:211050,2763
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gwendolyn Boyd's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Boyd lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her upbringing and the role of God in her life

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Boyd remembers her mother's death and her last words to her

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about not knowing her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about growing up in the Tulane Courts projects of Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her childhood friends and her interest in math

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Boyd describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about overcoming her hardships and being independent from an early age

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her experience in junior high school during integration

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her role on an integrated council with black and white students at Jefferson Davis High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about protesting the song "Dixie"

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about the social and political activities during the 1950s and 1960s and their influence

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her decision to attend Alabama State University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her transition to Alabama State University and her community activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her interest in math, and about being recruited to pursue her graduate studies in engineering at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about being accepted into Yale University's School of Engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about transitioning from Alabama to Connecticut, finding Varick AME Church, and funding her education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her experience at Yale University's School of Engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her experience working at IBM, and her decision to leave IBM and join Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her experience at Johns Hopkins University and her experience in submarine school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about becoming the president of the Washington, D.C. chapter and the millennial president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her leadership initiatives in South Africa as the president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her leadership initiatives as the president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about the Project SEE initiative

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about the mission of the Delta Homeownership Initiative for Financial Fortitude program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about the Leadership Delta program

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her faith and her admiration of HistoryMaker Bishop Vashti McKenzie, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her faith and her admiration of HistoryMaker Bishop Vashti McKenzie, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her board appointments with Leadership Washington, the Children's National Medical Center, and United Way

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about the National Partnership for Community Leadership, The Links, Inc., and her other professional affiliations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her faith in God

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gwendolyn Boyd shares her message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gwendolyn Boyd describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$4

DATitle
Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her interest in math, and about being recruited to pursue her graduate studies in engineering at Yale University
Gwendolyn Boyd talks about her experience working at IBM, and her decision to leave IBM and join Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory
Transcript
So did you know what you were going to become or what you would do?$$I didn't know what I was going to become but whatever it was, I knew it had to involve math.$$Okay.$$I just knew it had to be something that involved math, that involved problem solving, that involved putting things together. Again, it goes back to my love of sewing, which is putting pieces of a puzzle together to make a garment, my love of music, which involved, you know, notes, which have, you know, mathematical connotations to them. So everything that I did, not knowing it then, but everything that God ordained for me had mathematical background in it. So I knew whatever career I wanted, it had to involve math. Alabama State [University] was traditionally and still is, traditionally known as a teachers' college. It was founded as a teachers' college. So just about everybody who came through there became a teacher. That's what, that's what you went there for. But somewhere in my spirit, the Lord said, no, I don't think you're gonna be a teacher, didn't know what, but I knew something that had to do with math. So as I matriculated I started taking Physics, and really loved Physics, which, you know, combined my love of math and problem solving to real-life situations. We did not have Physics, as a major. We had it as a minor at Alabama State. So I took all the courses that were available to me for, as a Physics minor. I was also a Music minor. Again, my love of music, but knowing in my mind or telling myself in my mind I did not have the talent that would take me to the Metropolitan Opera, and I wanted to eat every day. So I wanted to stick with something that would put food on the table. So I was a music minor. I had to do two recitals and all the other things that, you know, were a part of that discipline. But somewhere towards my junior, the latter part of my junior year, I started talking with my advisor and he said to me, "You need to start thinking about going to grad school". And I said, "To do what?", you know, and he said, well, just start looking at some things and start reading, you know, look at some ways you can use your talent and your skill. And I just started reading about engineering, never met an engineer in my life. No engineers were on our campus, so I had no point of reference as to what, you know, to talk with someone. But in reading about what engineers did, I said, this is what I want to do. I wanna be able to solve problems, using my math and using my physics and solve world-life problems. This is what I wanna do. And so as my senior year approached, I took the GRE and did well on that and then I started applying to graduate school. And my advisor said, you know, just apply to a broad number of schools and the --I said, well, I don't have any engineering as an undergraduate. What will happen if I apply, you know, for graduate school for engineering without an engineering undergraduate major? And he said, well, let's just try it and see, and so I did. And so I applied for grad school and had actually been accepted at the University of Illinois and had talked to the dean there and was, you know, ready, had my apartment all set, getting ready to graduate, and graduated top of my class at Alabama State. So, and then I got this phone call from Yale [University]. I have to be perfectly honest. I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke on me (laughter). They said, this is, you know, Dr. Aptful (ph.) from Yale University. And I said, yeah, right. Okay, and we understand that you're interested in pursuing graduate work in engineering. I said, yes. Well, we'd like to offer you a fellowship to come to Yale. And I said, okay, who is this? (Laughter). He says, no, this is actually, you know, I'm the associate professor, you know, here in the School of Engineering, and we'd like to talk to you about applying to Yale because, of course, I had not applied, applying and coming here as--and being a part of our graduate program. So without an application or anything, he said, if you're willing to come, yeah, if you have them send us your transcript, and we'll work through the details. And I was accepted into Yale's graduate school for engineering.$So what happens next?$$Well, I now have to get a job (laughter). And needless to say, having a degree from Yale opened a number of doors, doors that I didn't even know existed before, and companies were calling me and saying, we wanna, you know, we want you to California to work for such and such, and, you know, and I was flying all over the place. This was wonderful. I said, this is nice, you know, but you have to make a decision to go somewhere. And I started working with IBM in Kingston, New York, another shocking transition (laughter). Now, I've learned how to live in New Haven [Connecticut], which is, you know, Metropolitan kind of a city. Kingston, New York is in the Catskills. It's where, you know, people kind of go for meditative--there is nothing in Kingston except IBM. And I think even now they've closed the plant there. So, again, I'm in an environment where I am the only African American, female, and, you have a sense of, this is why they've hired me. But there was absolutely no fulfillment in the assignment that I was given. IBM is a wonderful company, and I don't want to disparage it in any way, but I, the assignment that I was given was not one that was very enlightening, encouraging, whatever word you wanna use for it.$$What was the assignment?$$Actually, nothing. I was to read through some manuals and comment on some pieces, but I wanted to do engineering, didn't really want to read manuals and give comments and so I became impatient and said, I don't think I'm going to be able to stay here. And so some of those people who I had flown on the planes with and, you know, done interviews with, before I decided to come with IBM, I called them back, and said, "Remember me?" (Laughter) And that's when my godmother's advice of "Don't burn your bridges and be careful how you treat people and how you talk to people". They said, oh, yes, yes, we remember you very well. And so, I said, I'm interested in coming back or, you know, at least talking with you again about an opportunity. And one of those opportunities was at Johns Hopkins at the Applied Physics Laboratory. And the gentleman who had interviewed you said, oh, we would just love to have you here. We can't offer you IBM money because that was another mistake that I made and which I tell young people all the time. I know that this, in this environment, in this society we live in, everybody goes for the money. But going for the money in that case was a mistake for me. I should have gone with the kind of assignment, the kind of work that I really wanted to do. So he said, we can't offer you IBM money, but we can offer you a great job and a great assignment. And so, in 1980, I came to Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and I've been there ever since.

William A. Clement, Jr.

Entrepreneur and corporate chief executive William Alexander Clement, Jr. was born on January 22, 1943 in Atlanta, Georgia to politician Josephine Dobbs Clement and Executive Vice President for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company William Alexander Clement, Sr. Clement received his B.A. degree from Morehouse College in 1964, majoring in mathematics and business administration, and his M.B.A. degree in finance and insurance from Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967.

Clement worked as a credit analyst for NCNB Corporation (predecessor to Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a registered representative for Bache & Company as well as a representative for The Robinson-Humphrey Company prior to becoming vice president and senior loan officer of Citizens Trust Bank in 1973. In 1977, Clement was a political appointee in the Carter Administration and served as an associate administrator of the United States Small Business Administration. While in this position, he served as senior management officer for the federal government’s largest minority business development program. Clement also received a presidential appointment by President Jimmy Carter to join the board of directors of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank in Washington, D.C. In addition, he was founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of DOBBS, RAM & Company, a systems integration company. Founded in 1981, DOBBS, RAM & Company was engaged by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to maintain its E-Filing System.

Clement became an outside director of Atlanta Life Insurance Company in 1992, and in 2001, the board of directors named him chairman. In 2008, Clement was elected president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc., and worked in this position for three years. He also served on the boards of two publicly-traded companies, Radiant Systems, Inc. and TRX, Inc.

Clement has been active in numerous civic and community organizations. He was former chair of the board of Opportunity Funding Corporation, a trustee of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation, and a former trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center. He served on the board of directors of The Commerce Club and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Clement was also a charter member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, a former co-chair of the Atlanta Action Forum and a former chair of the Atlanta Business League. He has served as a member of the trustee board ministry of Antioch Baptist Church, as co-grantor of the Brown-Clement Endowed Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College, and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows.

Clement is married to R. Ressie Guy-Clement and is the father of two daughters and the grandfather of two grandchildren.

William Alexander Clement, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.114

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/27/2007

Last Name

Clement

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Morehouse College

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

W. G. Pearson S.T.E.A.M. Elementary School

Whitted Elementary School

Hillside High School

First Name

Willliam

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

CLE05

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Don't give in, don't give up, and don't give out.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/22/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Potatoes, Cornbread

Short Description

Corporate chief executive and entrepreneur William A. Clement, Jr. (1943 - ) is the co-founder of DOBBS, RAM & Company and, as of 2008, serves as the President and CEO of the Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc.

Employment

Atlanta Life Insurance Company

DOBBS, RAM & Company

United States Small Business Administration

Citizens Trust Bank

Robinson-Humphey Company

Bache & Company

NCNB Corporation (predecessor to Bank of America)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8356,89:13676,216:19224,320:19680,327:23480,403:28526,428:37956,580:48326,737:49859,772:75110,1043:85442,1285:96045,1359:115726,1671:117206,1702:123090,1795$0,0:26328,311:57692,738:61003,810:62774,853:63082,858:70880,907:84822,1123:88566,1178:89190,1187:89892,1198:97146,1320:109916,1471:110330,1479:113480,1487
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William A. Clement, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his father, William Clement, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his grandparents' farm on Edisto Island in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his childhood neighborhood of Buttermilk Bottom in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls his childhood memories of Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his mother, Josephine Dobbs Clement

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his father, William Clement, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William A. Clement, Jr. begins to talk about his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his grandfather's emphasis on education, and his mother's sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. continues to describe his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his childhood neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his five siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers attending majority white summer camps in Boston, Massachusetts as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls his activities during his junior high years

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his favorite teacher at Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about sit-ins in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his experience with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his senior prom at Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes Dr. Benjamin Mays and his professors at Morehouse College

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his jobs in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about working for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls the desegregation of Rich's Department Store and hearing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes working for Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his experience at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his first job out of graduate school with the NCNB Corporation and the bank's history

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his first wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls working for Bache & Company, and for Robinson-Humphrey Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls working with Herman Russell and Jesse Hill during Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the history of Citizens Trust Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. details his tenure as vice president of Citizens Trust Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his work as an associate administrator of the Small Business Administration in the President Jimmy Carter Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the benefits of his experiences in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the beginning of The Dobbs Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his company, DOBBS, RAM & Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his second marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about how he became the chairman of Atlanta Life Insurance in 2001

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his work on the board of Radiant Systems, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the national reach of Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his church, Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his participation in 100 Black Men and the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his work on the Opportunity Funding Corporation and Friends of Morehouse

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his parents' deaths and managing Maynard Jackson's estate

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about politicians in his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. shares his advice for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. shares his business advice

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about what he would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
William A. Clement, Jr. talks about sit-ins in Durham, North Carolina
William A. Clement, Jr. talks about Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign
Transcript
Now civil rights are heating up in Atlanta [Georgia], are your parents involved in civil rights?$$My father [William Clement, Sr.] was, my father was on the Durham Committee For [sic, On] The Affairs Of Black People which was a very, very strong activist organization in, in Durham [North Carolina]. And Durham was the second city in, in the 1960s for the sit-ins. Greensboro [North Carolina] was the first and Durham was the second. And we were in, involved in that, they took us down to Woolworth's or whatever the store, I can't even remember what it was and it, it, it, it just was--I hate to say this, but it was a thing to do. It was not dangerous at that time even though the kids in Greensboro--but it was nothing, you know, like what [HM] John Lewis faced or people in Selma [Alabama], and once again, Durham was a relatively small town and so it was a really a non-event just going down to, you know, sit in a, a luncheon counter at, at, at one of the five-and-ten stores there.$$Were things turned around easily there?$$No, no, eventually it became--but, it was not--even though it started in Greensboro then, an, you know, the images we have of the dogs and the hoses and all, and that was in places like Birmingham [Alabama] and maybe some cities in Mississippi. But that, for some reason just did not happen in North Carolina. I think one reason is that North Carolina's always been a fairly progressive state relative to the other southern states. We had a Governor, whose name was Luther Hodges, and he had a lot of industry there, a place called Research Triangle which had a lot of businesses there and so it was a, a different kind of place, it still is a, a more progressive place then some of the southern, you know, real southern states like Mississippi and Alabama.$During this time Maynard Jackson moves back to Atlanta [Georgia] and we grew up together, even though he was a little older--from the reunions and all, but when he gets back to Atlanta we kind of bound again and it was in the early '70s [1970] that he started talking about running for mayor. And so he called four of us together one Saturday--well, including him, four including him, David Franklin, who was married to Shirley Franklin at one time; gentleman by the name of Chuck Williams, who is dead now; and Maynard. And he talked about wanting to run for mayor, he had run now for the United States Senate against [Herman] Talmadge and then was the sitting vice chair, or vice chairman of the Aldermanic Board which is almost like President of the Atlanta City Council today. And he was still only his thirties, and people thought that he would wait until his, his turn, but he had noticed that the demographics in Atlanta changed and that the Atlan--the city of Atlanta registered voters become predominately black, and he thought that with the right campaign that he could win. And so I tell that because it was really a turning point of my life. I, I, I really got directly engaged in politics. David Franklin and I put up the first $40,000, I mean, back in the '70s [1970], that was a lot of money and we actually lent it to the campaign and he developed a staff and campaign staff and the election was next year and, you know, he won and the rest is, the rest is history.

David Steward, Sr.

Technology entrepreneur David Steward, Sr. was born on July 2, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Clinton High School in Clinton, Missouri in 1969 and received his B.S. degree in business administration from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri in 1973.

After graduation, Steward worked as a substitute teacher and served as an associate executive for the Boy Scouts of America. In 1974, Steward was hired at Wagner Electric, but was laid off the following year. In 1976, Steward accepted a marketing and sales position with the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, as the first African American in that role. Steward remained with the company until 1979 when he joined Federal Express and served as a senior account executive. In 1984, Steward founded Transportation Business Specialists, Inc., which audited and reviewed freight-bill and overcharges for the railroad industry. Steward later founded Transport Administrative Services, which was hired by Union Pacific Railroad in 1987, to audit three years of freight bills for undercharges, managing nearly $15 billion of rate information. In 1990, Steward founded World Wide Technology, Inc., specializing in cloud capabilities, data center and virtualization, security, mobility and networking technologies along with voice, video and collaboration solutions. WWT provides advanced technology solutions from over 3,000 manufacturers to the commercial, government and telecom sectors.

In 2018, WWT made Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the seventh consecutive year. They also appeared on the 2018 Best Workplace in Technology list by Great Place to Work, Forbes’ Largest Private Companies list and placed eighth on Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work.

Steward is a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; the council board chair for the Greater St. Louis Area Council Boy Scouts of America, executive board member of Central Region and vice president and executive board member of National Boy Scouts of America. He is chairman emeritus of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis and serves on the board of the Global Leadership Forum, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Civic Progress of St. Louis, and Biblical Business Training. In 2004, Steward published Doing Business by The Good Book, which matches scripture with guidelines for business practices.

Steward and his wife, Thelma, have two children.

Steward was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.178

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/18/2006

Last Name

Steward

Maker Category
Schools

Clinton High School

Lincoln School

Franklin School

University of Central Missouri

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

STE09

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

George L. Knox, III

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God, And His Righteousness; And All These Things Shall Be Added Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

7/2/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Louis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Steak, Greens, Mashed Potatoes

Short Description

Technology entrepreneur David Steward, Sr. (1951 - ) was the founder, owner and CEO of World Wide Technologies, a company that specializes in supplying technological and supply chain solutions to its customers, suppliers and partners.

Employment

Boy Scouts of America

Missouri Pacific Railroad

Federal Express

Transportation Business Specialists

World Wide Technology, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Steward, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. describes his maternal grandfather's entrepreneurialism

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. remembers his maternal grandparents' interest in sports

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Stewart, Sr. describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. describes his mother's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. describes his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Steward, Sr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. describes his father's upbringing in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. describes his father's experiences in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Steward describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. describes his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. remembers St. James Methodist Church in Clinton, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. recalls his family's move to Clinton, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Steward, Sr. recalls lessons he learned in Clinton, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Steward, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - David Steward, Sr. remembers school integration in Clinton, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. describes his experiences of integration

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. remembers his early interest in history, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. remembers his early interest in history, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. describes a teacher who influenced him

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. recalls playing football and basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. remembers Clinton High School in Clinton, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. recalls applying to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. remembers Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Steward, Sr. describes his father's emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - David Steward, Sr. remembers Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. describes his initial experiences of urban life

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. remembers studying business

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. talks about African Americans in business

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. recalls his employment search after college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. describes his early work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. recalls his experiences of racial discrimination at work

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. recalls lessons from his work as a salesman

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David Steward, Sr. recalls working at Federal Express

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. recalls his accomplishments at Federal Express

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. recalls acquiring his first company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. describes Transportation Business Specialists

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. explains computer network terminology

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. recalls founding World Wide Technology, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. recalls his challenges at World Wide Technology, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. explains the 8(a) Business Development Program

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. talks about the importance of customer satisfaction

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David Steward, Jr. describes the components of a successful business

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David Steward, Sr. talks about his company's international business

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - David Steward, Sr. reflects upon the success of World Wide Technology, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. describes the clientele of World Wide Technology, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. talks about the growth of World Wide Technology, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. describes his business philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. talks about his federal contracts

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. describes his corporate partnerships

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. talks about his book

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. talks about his business practices

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David Steward, Sr. talks about the success of his book

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Steward, Sr. describes his charitable activities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Steward, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David Steward, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David Steward, Sr. reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David Steward, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David Steward, Sr. talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David Steward, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
David Steward, Sr. describes his initial experiences of urban life
David Steward, Sr. talks about the growth of World Wide Technology, Inc.
Transcript
Just kind of compare and contrast the city life that you were exposed to versus what you already knew.$$Well I was considered an outsider and a country boy. And coming from a small town. So the, the sense of who I was, was, was during that period in time was an Uncle Tom. Because--$$Why would they characterize it like that in a sense?$$Because my exposure to persons--my broader exposure to persons who were not of color. Even to the extent of speaking to my, my friends that were from Clinton, Missouri and coming in this environment, little small comments were: "You're an Uncle Tom aren't you?" You know. It was that kind of thing going. It was--right after obviously Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] passed, had--was assassinated, but the, the black power stuff was going on. The pride around black folk was going on as well. And we were considered kind of outcasts. And we weren't a part of the, the, the, the caste system structure that was set up in the cities for, for most persons of color as well. You had, you had doctors and lawyers and very few businesspeople and professional people who were, who were teachers here in St. Louis [Missouri], for example. And then you had everybody cascading under that, you know.$$Okay, you're talking about the black caste system (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, the black caste system, you know. And I didn't realize there was a black caste system. I didn't realize there were, you know--that, that there were certain neighborhoods where people were doing well and people weren't doing well. I didn't realize that there weren't a significant number of black businesspeople running big business in St. Louis or in Kansas City [Missouri] or in major cities. I didn't realize how few and far between they were. That was a shock to me. I, I was shocked that there weren't more resources, that we weren't more organized and we, there was--the economic opportunities weren't, weren't--we, we hadn't broken through into. And, and their--people from the cities perceptions of, of what was possible was very limited from what I could see, you know. And so my exposure to, to--in college [Central Missouri State University; University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri] was an eye opener. I was excited about getting exposed to, to--and being involved in the social aspect of, of that so I could learn as much as I possibly could about the differences, and, and obviously the common ground and so forth as well. Because all of a sudden I get the opportunity to see for the first time a wide range of people of color from the city that I'd never been exposed to before. So I learned how to dance. In fact I learned how to dance back in Clinton, Missouri. And so I could do dances from St. Louis or Kansas City, they didn't know if I was from Kansas City or St. Louis. You know, when I first got, got to St. Louis, to, to, to school. But that was, that was a good experience for me. It was fun. It wasn't whether you were going to school. I met some relationships in college that are relationships I have to this day. They always viewed me as a person of, of--that was trying to do the right thing, you know, even though people were trying to maneuver and, and be slick about the way and how they, they interacted with me. My, my sister [Joan Marie Steward Newbill] was a great protector as well because she knew a lot of them as well before I got there, she forewarned them that, "My brother's coming up here. I don't want any of that foolishness, you know, when he gets here." And so she kind of forewarned them, kind of paved the way. So my brother and sister kind of paved the way for, for me to come in and, and not have to, to deal with some of the shenanigans and, and junk that maybe they had to be exposed to when they initially got there, being from the country.$$And did you mostly socialize with the black students, or--$$Yeah, because one of the things that I wanted to learn as much about is--because they would--because most black students would have--would ostracize you if you didn't, you know. I mean it's just the way it was. So there was--their own prejudice that was going on during that period of time as well. However, I wanted to be exposed as much as I could to the persons of color because I wanted to learn as much as I--and, and be connected to the, the relationships and so forth they had in the cities, which I thought were gonna be important to me later on.$We're considered a, you know a, a--the premier systems integrator in the country, from, from voice over IP [Voice over Internet Protocol], to telepresence that we're doing, the stuff we're doing with Wi-Fi, the stuff that we're doing within security. The stuff we're doing in optical are unique and different than anybody in the space. It has allowed us to be able to bring those technologies to the spaces that we're in, to take their technology and their backbone to, to a whole other level, which is exciting to see. In addition to that, our--how we've integrated ourselves and those partners I think are unique as well. How we do our transactions electronically. How we are managing the supply chain in delivering those products and, and services and integration services to our clientele. The way we're implementing those applications and so forth. We can manage the whole supply chain, which brings down costs, which brings visibility and efficiency. I think has allowed them to be even more excited about the ease and the way that we do business with, not only our partner, but also with the clients that we're doing business with. And so we put--invested over $30 million just in back office systems this past year with our inter- Oracle Enterprise [Oracle Enterprise Manager] resource planning system, a whole business system that cuts across all--every aspect of our business. We--ten year ago we were, we were smart enough to, to have implemented that system and had cuts across every aspect of our business now with a (unclear). And then now to upgrade that and having taken two hundred people out of our organization [World Wide Technology, Inc., Maryland Heights, Missouri] to implement that system this year and we cut over July the, the, July the 4th, which will take us to the next level, is exciting to see happen. It allows us to be able to scale our business and grow our business efficiently where our expense level won't be the same as it would be if we had then. So we haven't fully used the, the breadth of the applications that we have, have implemented, but very few companies can say that they have implemented Oracle 11i in their environment to bring the kind of efficiencies for the future of their business that we have. And so we're looking forward to the future. We think we, we talk like and we act like and we walk like and we like a company that's much, much bigger than, than we are. And I think people see that, that advantage and that innovation and still that entrepreneurial spirit that I think is incorporated in the culture of this organization, that is exciting for them to want to partner and work with us in the future as well.

Martha Reeves

Martha Reeves, the earthy alto voice of Martha and the Vandellas, was born July 18, 1941, in Eufaula, Alabama. The eldest of eleven children, Reeves moved with her parents to Detroit, Michigan, before she was a year old. Reeves attended Russell Elementary School where Emily Wagstaff taught her vocals. A cheerleader who loved composition and music, Reeves studied voice with Abraham Silver at Northeastern High School. She was chosen to sing Bach’s Aria and she competed in talent shows. After graduating in 1959, Reeves worked in sales while performing with Rosalind Ashford and Annette Sterling as the Del-Phis and solo as Martha LaVille.

In 1961, William “Mickey” Stevenson, head of the Artists and Repertoire department for Motown Records, noticed Reeves at Detroit’s Twenty Grand Club. Reeves, along with Ashford and Sterling, sang back up for Marvin Gaye’s hits, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” and “Hitch Hike” in 1962. In 1963, Berry Gordy signed the three to a recording contract as Martha and the Vandellas. Named by Reeves for Van Dyke Street and Della Reese, her favorite singer, the group’s first hit was “Come and Get These Memories”. The million selling “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave” led a string of hits, including 1964’s “Dancing in the Streets”, “Nowhere to Run”, “Quicksand”, “My Baby Loves Me”, “I’m Ready for Love” and 1967’s “Jimmy Mack” and “Honey Chile”. Though they toured the United States and Europe to the acclaim of millions, they were the first group released by Motown when the company moved its operation to California in 1971. In 1974, Reeves sang for the film Willie Dynamite. That same year, her solo album for MCA, Martha Reeves, set a record for production costs, but did not match her earlier success.

Performing in 1983’s Motown 25th Anniversary Special and numerous other television shows and concert tours, Reeves is also featured in the film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Reeves’ 2004 album is titled Home to You.

Accession Number

A2005.022

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/20/2005

Last Name

Reeves

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Russell Elementary School

Northeastern High School

First Name

Martha

Birth City, State, Country

Eufaula

HM ID

REE03

Favorite Season

July 18 (Her Birthday)

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rio De Janiero During Carnivale

Favorite Quote

Lord have mercy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/18/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tomatoes

Short Description

Motown singer Martha Reeves (1941 - ) was the lead singer of the musical group Martha and the Vandellas, which recorded several hits for Motown Records, including "Dancing in the Streets”, “Nowhere to Run”, “Quicksand”, “My Baby Loves Me”, “I’m Ready for Love” and 1967’s “Jimmy Mack.”

Employment

Stanley Home Products

Citywide Cleaners

Motown Records

MCA Records

Arista Records

Universal Studios

Itch Records

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Martha Reeves interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Martha Reeves's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Martha Reeves recounts her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Martha Reeves remembers her father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Martha Reeves recalls her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Martha Reeves shares stories from her family's past

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Martha Reeves discusses her parents' courtship and life in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Martha Reeves describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Martha Reeves talks about family life during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Martha Reeves recalls her early passion to become a singer

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Martha Reeves shares memories of her childhood in Detroit

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Martha Reeves remembers experiences in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Martha Reeves describes her personality as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Martha Reeves recounts her early involvement in music

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Martha Reeves lists her childhood musical idols

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Martha Reeves discusses her various jobs after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Martha Reeves details her introduction into the entertainment business

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Martha Reeves recalls the first Martha and the Vandellas recordings

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Martha Reeves remembers her first hit single

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Martha Reeves discusses radio stations that helped popularize her music

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Martha Reeves comments on backing musicians that recorded with her

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Martha Reeves shares her thoughts on becoming an internationally-known performer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Martha Reeves explains her choice to make more danceable music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Martha Reeves shares how she continues to produce her signature sound

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Martha Reeves laments the demise of Motown

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Martha Reeves recounts her career after her contract with Motown

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Martha Reeves discusses mentoring young artists

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Martha Reeves explains how Motown artists were trained

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Martha Reeves recalls Maxine Powell's influence on Motown

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Martha Reeves comments on popular music of today

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Martha Reeves discusses her current relationship to Detroit

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Martha Reeves shares her hopes for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Martha Reeves reflects on her career

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Martha Reeves describes her family's reaction to her success

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Martha Reeves shares how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Martha Reeves recalls the first Martha and the Vandellas recordings
Martha Reeves explains how Motown artists were trained
Transcript
Now are you telling us this--you're right--?$$Yeah, I'm in, I'm in the, in the A & R [Artists and Repertoire] department minding my own business answering the phone and this was like three months into my employment. I worked nine months as a secretary. And this panic was stricken at the front door. "The union man's coming! The union man's coming! Martha, go in the studio and sing this song." "What song?" "Sing this song." "What's the name of it?" "I have to let him, let him go," and he sings a little bit of it for me. So I have to go and place myself on the mike. They play the music and the union man takes his time so I have to sing it maybe one or two times to get to know it. And, this is all because Berry [Gordy] had been given rules that he could not record any music unless there was an artist on the microphone. And the union man made a surprise visit trying to catch Berry off guard. Maybe they'll shut him down or maybe, you know, just catch him off so he could fine him or some kind of way involve the union. And, I did a good job--to the point where when Berry heard it he said put this out on her. She sounds good on it.$$Okay, so that was, so that record came out as the first--.$$Yes, it did, called "I'll Have to Let Him Go."$$--as Martha Reeves.$$Martha Reev-, Martha and the Vandellas.$$Martha and the Vandellas, okay. So the backup singers were there.$$I had called Rosalind [Ashford] and then had--and Gloria [Williamson] in to sing behind this drummer. My boss, Mickey [William Stevenson], had told me that they were going to record this drummer who was on the list maybe fourth down. And, he had been going on the road playing for Smokey Robinson. And, he was always disguised. He would wear a hat on his head, pipe in his mouth, glasses on his eyes, even had a beard one time. And he didn't know him, but when Mickey said he was going to record him we were all surprised. So I called The Andantes--Jackie Hicks, Louvain Demps, Marlene Barrow, who were the regular girls that sang behind everybody, and they were in Chicago [Illinois]. They weren't supposed to be in Chicago. They were supposed to be at Motown's beck and call 'cause they were under contract. So instead of busting my girls, I called in people that I knew I could sing with, the Del-Phi's--Rosalind Holmes, Annette [Beard] Helton, and Gloria Williamson. Gloria Williamson decided in the first of negotiations that she don't, didn't want to be on Motown, that she ne-, was going to keep her job with the city. So she didn't continue us, with us when the group changed to the Vandellas. But as Del-Phi's we sang behind Marvin Gaye, "A Stubborn Kinda Fellow," in the days of four tracks. That was all the singers were recorded at the same time on one mike. When this man pulled that hat off of his head, those glasses off his eyes, and that pipe out of his mouth, we looked at somebody who was as fine to me as any movie star could ever be. He even reminded me a little bit of Sam Cooke, who I met briefly before he was killed--very good-looking young man. And he could really sing. We didn't know he was a s-, I didn't know he was a singer. I just thought he was a drummer, session drummer. And then Marvin Gaye was discovered. Couple months later he married Berry's sister, Anna.$$Okay. And we heard Marvin Gaye the drummer first.$$(Simultaneously) Yes, he was. Yes, he--he, he was a drummer at Motown because he could do that, he could play drums. But he came there with Harvey Fuqua to be a singer. He just had to wait his turn to sing.$$Okay. So tell me about the Vandellas now. I mean, the--okay, now who are the other two and how did--you knew them from the Del-Phi's?$$Yes, they were the Del-Phi's.$$Okay.$$And when we came to--when I called them to do the session with Marvin Gaye, which was my job to call the different artists and the singers, Mickey liked our harmony right away and considered us as artists for the company right away.$Can you tell us some more detail about how, how the Motown look and attitude and all that was formed by Mrs. [Maxine] Powell and the other people that worked with the, the artist?$$The first girls' group that I remember meeting at Hitsville was The Marvelettes. And they had a record called 'Mr. Postman' that went to number one immediately. They were chosen from a, from a talent show in Inkster [Michigan]. They were the winners. And the prize to WCHB's contest was a recording contract with Motown Records. And when they went on the road the first time Mrs. Edwards traveled with them and found out that there's a lot of things that artists need to know before you just expose them to other countries and, and different cultures. And when they returned Berry [Gordy] said, well, we'll get some people to train them. And the first thing they did was hire chaperones. These were lovely ladies who'd--Bernice Morrison was my mentor. They would simply would tell us things like etiquette, you know, protocol and keep us kind of calmed down in gatherings and make sure that none of the men took advantage because that was something very, very dangerous to do--have young ladies traveling with different older men and married men. And so we had to have some sort of control taken. And after the chaperones Mrs. Edwards realized there should be more. And Berry said there's, there's someone who has done this before who could probably show them how. And he hired Maurice King. Maurice King taught us to sing ballads and to work the Twenty Grand and to go from the R & B [rhythm and blues] to the standards, graciously--vocally to be able to sing songs like "All the Way" and "People" and then come back and sing our hits and, and have shows that were interesting and, and entertaining--to increase our boundaries. Then the idea came that we should not just do the street dances 'cause The Temptations were the dancin-est people you ever saw and their choreography was made up by Paul Williams. And The Marvelettes could really, really dance and they made up their own routines. But Berry wanted it smoother. They wanted it, us to go to Broadway. He wanted us to play the Copacabana. He wanted us to be on the 'Ed Sullivan Show.' So he hired [Charles] Cholly Atkins from vaudeville. And Cholly, who had previously worked with Gladys Knight and the Pips and had them already in that state--they were the smoothest R & B group out on the road. He wanted more of that style, so they hired the man who was responsible for Gladys Knight and the Pips being that grateful, graceful, and that was Cholly Atkins, himself, of Cole and Atkins dance team from vaudeville. And then Maurice King hired Johnny Allen who played very, very good keyboard to sit with us--two- to three-hour sessions and teach us songs, teach us the proper way to vocalize. And the--there's an art with two-part harmony background singing 'cause usually a background is three parts. But he taught us the art of singing with two parts and blending the third voice around the vocals. And all of that was necessary. But when we weren't on the road, we were in the studio. There was always a session going on--always something or some instruction that you had to catch up with and to be a part of when you were not on the road.