The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Xernona Clayton

Broadcast executive, foundation chief executive, nonprofit executive, television host, and television producer Xernona Clayton and her twin sister, Xenobia, were born August 30, 1930 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Clayton’s parents, Reverend James M. and Lillie Brewster, were actively engaged in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee. In 1952, Clayton earned her B.A. degree from Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial College, now Tennessee State University. She later earned a scholarship and pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In 1957, Clayton married noted journalist and civil rights activist Edward Clayton, who died in 1966. She later married jurist Paul L. Brady, the first African American appointed as a Federal Administrative Law judge.

Clayton's civic involvement and participation in the Civil Rights Movement was informed by the Chicago Urban League, in which she worked to investigate discrimination in employment. As an activist, Clayton was instrumental in coordinating activities for the Doctor's Committee for Implementation project, which culminated with the desegregation of hospital facilities in Atlanta, Georgia. Clayton also worked closely with Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to organize fundraising initiatives for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). By the mid-1960s, Clayton was writing for the Atlanta Voice, and in 1968, she became the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV in Atlanta. Her guests included Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. Later that year, Clayton successfully convinced the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to renounce the Klan. In 1982, Clayton began her long standing and impressive career with Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). At TBS, she assumed many roles throughout the years, including producing documentaries, hosting a public affairs program entitled Open Upand serving as director and vice-president of public affairs in the early 1980s. Ted Turner, founder of TBS, promoted Clayton to assistant corporate vice-president for urban affairs in 1988. In 1993, Clayton created the Trumpet Awards for Turner Broadcasting to honor African American achievements. The program is seen in over 185 countries.

As Governor of Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Clayton to the State Motion Picture and Television Commission. She is a member of the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences, the National Urban League, among other civic and professional organizations. Clayton is also a board member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and served as chairman of the Atlanta University Board of Trustees. The recipient of numerous accolades, Clayton received the Leadership and Dedication to Civil Rights Award and the Drum Major for Justice Award from SCLC in 2004. In her honor, the Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Black Journalists established the Xernona Clayton Scholarship. Clayton’s autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time was published in 1991.

Xernona Clayton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 22, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/22/2005 |and| 2/21/2014

Last Name

Clayton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

University of Chicago

Manual Training High School

Tennessee State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Xernona

Birth City, State, Country

Muskogee

HM ID

CLA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada, Bahamas, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Change People Around You, Change The People Around You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/30/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grapes

Short Description

Foundation chief executive, broadcast executive, and television host Xernona Clayton (1930 - ) was the founder of the Trumpet Awards, and the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV.

Employment

WAGA TV

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Chicago Urban League

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1428,20:4896,86:6460,124:7412,145:8772,198:9248,206:10404,240:11492,261:13532,295:20102,335:20772,347:25931,474:28611,524:29080,531:34373,662:34641,667:35311,684:37388,728:37656,733:38728,759:48161,859:52111,922:53770,956:54323,962:54718,968:57325,1016:62855,1137:72650,1279:72946,1284:78940,1445:79606,1457:84130,1471:88546,1561:89098,1574:108552,1934:109514,1953:110180,1964:113436,2019:114324,2033:116618,2077:116914,2082:121310,2106:121913,2120:132365,2350:133839,2380:135782,2417:137926,2491:140338,2520:149904,2596:150480,2603:151440,2615:153700,2631$0,0:810,26:1260,32:1980,42:3420,95:7248,145:8132,165:10924,193:14476,266:15734,290:16474,303:20026,368:21950,403:36902,541:37832,554:48126,694:48498,702:49490,720:49924,728:55776,809:57017,939:57309,944:58915,972:59426,982:63500,1020:65100,1047:70124,1128:75674,1304:76414,1316:85410,1475:87621,1542:88157,1555:96202,1666:104808,1765:105340,1773:105644,1778:105948,1783:107848,1819:108456,1828:116227,1938:127268,2065:132164,2129:135899,2207:143330,2325:143890,2337:147460,2416:148160,2433:148440,2438:150610,2509:151240,2519:151520,2524:155806,2554:156400,2564:156928,2576:157654,2591:157918,2596:162604,2731:163462,2752:163726,2757:167092,2849:167752,2862:176930,2963:181840,3002:185840,3092:186480,3101:190960,3188:200900,3290:201868,3303:206895,3482:207155,3487:207415,3492:208260,3507:209885,3543:210210,3549:213966,3600:215144,3638:215392,3643:216260,3667:216818,3678:217128,3690:217500,3699:221096,3787:224800,3817
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton talks about her mother's paternal background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton relates lessons from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recounts how her parents met in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's leadership in the Baptist church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton remembers her father's work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's humbling response to public praise of Clayton and her twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton describes Dunbar Elementary School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls her favorite teachers and classes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about her educational foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton remembers Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton talks about being a twin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's role in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her adolescent career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls her decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls being named the smartest girl in her class at Manual Training High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls matriculating at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls being sheltered from discrimination during college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls participating in a University of Wisconsin twin study

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton recalls studying with her twin at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her approach to learning

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton explains her decision to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon the impact of her father's lessons on humility

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls how she became involved with the Chicago Urban League

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about the Chicago Urban League's position on labor integration

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls chairing the most successful Chicago Urban League charity dinner

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton remembers deciding to leave graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton talks about meeting her husband, Edward Clayton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton recalls her involvement in Chicago's South Side society

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls teaching a prominent Chicago businessman to read and write

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon her legacy as an elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton explains how she began working for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1
Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
But as a twin, now, people say it's--did you feel special--I guess you'd have to feel special as a twin, and did you have a special relationship with your twin [Xenobia Brewster]?$$Yes, we did feel special because when we found out we were rare and people made such notice of it--$$When did you first kind of realize it that something unusual was going on?$$Well, since we heard it every day, we started saying, "Mm-mm, you know, we're pretty special." But then we were so close. I mean, my sister and I, it's so like you have a best friend all the time. Everybody else has to go and try to find one and chose one. But I had one, and she had one, and we had each other. And it's somebody you really trust. I mean, you can tell your innermost secrets to your twin sister, and she could tell me hers. As a matter of fact, when we started courting, she'd tell me, like, she's going to slip out tonight when we had the curfew on and we couldn't get out after eight o'clock, and she had this hot date that she was determined to keep. And she says, "I'm going to slip out of the window"--we shared a bedroom; we slept together all the years. She said, "I'm going to slip out because my boyfriend's going to rap on the window, then I'm going out of the window, and then when I come back, I'm going to rap on the window, you let me back in and Mother [Lillie Elliott Brewster] will never know." And, of course, I didn't want her to do it, but that was my sister and my closest friend. And so, she was determined to slip out, that I was going to help her and support her, rather. And I was the one who really was always Miss Goody Two-Shoes. You know, I'd say, "Oh, no you can't break the rules. No, no, no." But she'd say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes." And so, since she was determined, I was going to support her because I didn't want her to get a whipping. And so, like we had those little secrets that nobody knew but us. But one night it backfired because my mother, having her own leveled wisdom, kind of figured something was going on I guess by the behavior pattern or body language. And so, that night when my sister slipped out and I was to assist her to slip back in when she rapped on the window, my mother opened the window (laughter). And she said, "Help me in," and the voice said, "Okay," and she thought it was my voice; it was my mother's voice. And when she came up, you know, she wanted to run back then; of course, it was too late then. Then when my mother gave her that little spanking, then I cried, too, because I didn't want her to, you know, to get spanked. But we shared everything, just everything.$We were talking about the Urban League of Chicago [Chicago Urban League]. And--$$Yes.$$--they needed--$$Well, discrimination was a reality, but they couldn't get a handle on it. So what they decided to do was, let's see if we can, you know, catch come--let do our homework to see if it's really being practice like what we think. So the pattern then was to, or the process was to look in the want ad sections and see who's hiring, what jobs are open, and then apply; apply meaning--now, this was in '52 [1952], and requirements or skills were not all that involved. Like, if you were a clerk, you could apply for a clerk/typist job if you could type and you could spell. And so you didn't have to have, you know, a medical degree to get a job. Now, my sister [Xenobia Brewster] and I had graduated from college [Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee], so you assume we knew something. We could spell, read, and write, and we could type, and, and we learned how to type in, in college. And I don't know if you remember a man name Cortez Peters, who was the fastest man in, in America.$$Right, Cortez Typing School [sic. Cortez W. Peters Business School].$$Yeah, he was a typist. And we had a chance to meet him. And he came to our college one year, and I got a chance to meet, and boy, I was so fascinated by him. And I said one of these days I'm gonna type like Cortez Peters. And I learned to be a pretty good typist, you know, of course nowadays it doesn't matter much. But I learned how to be a good typist, and so was my sister. So we were both good typists. And so the Urban League said well, let's do this: you be our front men. And we'll always like, position five minutes, ten minutes away from where we'd call. So we called, say Marshall Field's [Marshall Field & Company]. There would be an ad in the paper for a clerk typist. And we'd call and said, "I see you have an ad in the paper." "Yes." "Is the job still open?" "Yes." "It's okay to apply?" "Yes." Then we'd make a beeline over there, like ten minutes away. And we'd get there and, "We're here to apply. I understand you got a clerk/typist at"--we don't tell we're the ones that called. You said, "I came to apply for your clerk/typist job." "Oh, so sorry, but we just filled that." You know, (laughter), well, then you got them right there. Well, that happened with so many companies, Spiegel [Spiegel Inc.]--well, I don't wanna name all of the companies that were kind of guilty but major companies that looked like they were good guys. You know, Marshall Field's, everybody went to Marshall Field's. It was a joy to go to Marshall Field's. They looked like good guys. Spiegel was a good mail order place and oh, a lot of places. And my sister and I went to many of those places that did the same pattern, apply--I mean broadcast the--advertise an opening, and then when you got there, you're black, it's not for you. And we broke down a lot of that. And it was kind of, you know, fun job; job meaning, you know, it was assigned tasks. They were really very--and I was waiting for school to start anyways, then the summer, so it was before we went to col- before I went to school.$$So, so would the Urban League then confront the business in, in a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And they would--$$--formal setting--$$Oh yeah, and then they, they would document it.$$(Unclear)--$$And so they put, I mean had very good documentation, which means--and then they called a press conference. And of course, then you embarrass the company. And then the, you know, the good guys say well, we gotta change our image. You know, we can't be out here looking this bad. So that's how the integration took place, is all I think just felt embarrassed.$$

Janet Angel MacLachlan

Stage and film actress Janet Angel MacLachlan was born on August 8, 1933, in Harlem, New York; her mother, Iris South MacLachlan, and father, James MacLachlan, were both Jamaican born and members of the Church of the Illumination. Attending P.S. 170 and Julia Ward Junior High School, MacLachlan graduated from Julia Richmond High School in 1950, and earned her B.S. degree in psychology from Hunter College in 1955. While holding down clerical jobs MacLachlan studied acting at the Harlem YMCA, the Herbert Berghoff Acting Studio, and the Little Theatre of Harlem. Later, MacLachlan received additional training from The Actors Studio, Joanie Gerber Voiceovers, and Theatre East in Los Angeles.

In 1961, MacLachlan took Cicely Tyson’s place in The Blacks: A Clown Show by Jean Genet, and worked alongside James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Jr., Maya Angelou, and Roscoe Lee Brown. In 1962, MacLachlan was cast in the parody Raising Hell in the Sun and became active in Actors Equity and The Committee for the Employment of Negro Performers. MacLachlan spent a year at Minneapolis’ Tyrone Guthrie Theater and acted in Washington, D.C.’s Shakespeare Festival before she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1964. Starting with The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965, MacLachlan appeared in over seventy-five television shows, including: I Spy (1967), The FBI (1966), Star Trek (1967), The Fugitive (1966), The Name of the Game (1969/70), The Rockford Files (1975), Good Times (1978), Archie Bunker’s Place (1980), Cagney and Lacey (1982/83), Amen (1988), Murder She Wrote (1985), Murder One (1986), Family Law (2000), and Alias (2002). MacLachlan’s television movies included: Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style (1976), Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (1978), The Sophisticated Gents (1981), For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983), and The Tuskegee Airmen (1995). MacLachlan’s feature films included: Up Tight (1968), ...tick...tick...tick (1970), The Man (1972), Sounder (1972), Tightrope (1984) and Black Listed (2003).

Often cast as a judge, nurse, doctor, psychiatrist, teacher, or social worker, MacLachlan was also featured in the Emmy Award winning KCET-TV PBS production of Voices of Our People: In Celebration of Black Poetry. MacLachlan served as the grant committee chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while remaining a resident of Los Angeles.

Janet MacLachlan passed away on October 11, 2010.

Accession Number

A2005.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/30/2005

Last Name

MacLachlan

Middle Name

Angel

Schools

Julia Richman High School

Julia Ward Howe Junior High School 81

P.S. 170

Hunter College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAC01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Greece

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/27/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Death Date

10/11/2010

Short Description

Stage actress and film actress Janet Angel MacLachlan (1933 - 2010 ) appeared in over seventy-five television shows, including: I Spy, The FBI, Star Trek, The Fugitive, The Name of the Game, The Rockford Files, Good Times, Archie Bunker’s Place, Cagney and Lacey, Amen, Murder She Wrote, Family Law, and Alias. In addition to a prolific television career, MacLachlan also appeared in numerous television and cinema movies.

Employment

New York Life Insurance Company

Universal Studios

St. Mark's Playhouse

Guthrie Theater

Special Markets, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2955,25:3380,31:4145,42:4485,47:5590,62:10945,207:19562,315:24254,384:25784,406:26600,411:27110,417:30305,431:31070,448:34980,504:37722,627:53710,766:54110,772:61044,794:70068,965:70452,970:87140,1073:88245,1088:91226,1101:92536,1112:93060,1117:93584,1122:94239,1128:98330,1134:99660,1139:100326,1149:101288,1159:101584,1164:102620,1187:103212,1196:113600,1397:119060,1456:119480,1461:121370,1488:122315,1499:122735,1504:128070,1543:128334,1548:128598,1553:129258,1567:141768,1675:142528,1687:143060,1696:143744,1708:144276,1717:145036,1731:147848,1761:148836,1775:150356,1799:157804,1836:159270,1852$0,0:1590,18:2332,27:5064,77:6338,90:8592,156:8984,161:12904,214:13590,221:14178,229:21150,254:22200,267:24822,292:25342,304:29502,348:30022,354:48768,526:52345,558:53025,570:53790,582:58890,690:60080,711:75150,914:75910,925:76480,932:76955,938:80470,987:80945,996:81515,1003:91352,1121:92298,1136:93502,1157:101610,1235:102120,1242:102630,1249:103310,1258:109600,1363:113066,1371:116246,1410:118070,1416:120226,1447:126270,1512:143261,1633:158762,1752:159399,1760:170999,1973:171355,2043:185270,2116:185970,2124:186770,2159:188770,2182:189770,2194:190170,2199:197074,2257:198450,2278:209362,2363:210194,2374:213768,2413:214832,2432:217036,2463:220532,2517:221064,2525:225675,2553:226100,2559:226695,2569:227885,2587:228310,2593:228735,2599:240770,2769
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Angel MacLachlan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her parents' disinterest in their Jamaican roots

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mother's education and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers family stories and an early childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her father's experiences in the British Army during World War I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her mother's passing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her visits with family members

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers attending all-girls schools in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her favorite childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her self-perception growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about attending dances as a teenager in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers being cast in a play at P.S. 170 in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her college ambitions as a high school student in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her interests and activities in junior high and high school in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her jobs after graduating from Julia Richman High School in New York, New York in 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about forming friendships through the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about completing her degree at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her early involvement with Little Theater at the Harlem YMCA in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her social activities as a student at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her relationship with her mother while attending Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her early theater involvement in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her employment during and after her final year at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls working on Wall Street in New York, New York in the late 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mental health throughout her childhood and early adulthood

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her home life growing up

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers traveling to Europe in 1961

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls her involvement with Jean Genet's 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' at St. Mark's Playhouse in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her concurrent understudy roles for 'Moon on a Rainbow Shawl' and 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' in the early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the unconventional structure of 'The Blacks: A Clown Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers performing in 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' and 'Raising Hell in the Son' in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about being hired by the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her disappointment in being cast in non-speaking roles at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers signing with Universal Studios Inc. in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her parents' reaction to her acting career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her acting jobs with Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her career trajectory following her release from Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan explains her motivation for cutting her hair after being let go from Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her role in 'I Spy'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers wardrobe challenges for her role in 'I Spy'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her impression of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about integration in her youth

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her involvement with political and professional organizations in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about traveling to East Germany in 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her work for Communications Bridge Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls her decision to leave Communications Bridge Institute and become sober

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about becoming sober and her organizational involvement in the late 1980s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her role in '...tick...tick...tick...'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about the productions of 'Sounder' and 'The Man'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her roles in 'The Man' and 'Sounder'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon African American actresses' access to roles

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers her favorite acting roles

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about theater roles she wanted to play

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers projects and roles she would like to do

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her disappointment in the television industry

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about chairing the grants committee for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her television preferences in relation to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' voting procedures

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers the impact of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' voting system

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the unconventional structure of 'The Blacks: A Clown Show'
Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her acting jobs with Universal Studios Inc.
Transcript
Most, if not all, of the black actors who were working in New York [New York], at some point or at some time or another did 'The Blacks[: A Clown Show,' Jean Genet]. They were either an understudy, or they came in and replaced, and they were kicked out, or they came in and they did the show and then they behaved badly and they were thrown out, or they, you know, whatever. It was just the kind of show that there were two, two sets. You know, there was the royal set, and then there were the street people, if you know the play. Do you know the play at all?$$No, I've, you know, I (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You've never seen it?$$No, I've never seen it.$$Okay. It's very difficult to, to, to explain because it's, it was difficult for me to understand going into the play. There were, there were--it was very stylized, and there were, there were people dressed as, as the queen. I think [HistoryMaker] Maya [Angelou] played the [White] Queen at, at some point. And the--$$Maya Angelou.$$Maya Angelou--and the, the religious leader or the, you know, there, there were all those, those characters that were taken from, from countries that had, that were, that were run by European countries, you know.$$Colonized--$$It was that--they were colonized. Thank you, I knew I could count on you (laughter).$$(Laughter) Okay, I'm sorry. Go ahead.$$At any rate, and then there were other people who were performing this play for the royalty. And then there was another group of people who were backstage, who were off the stage, and they were preparing the revolution. So there were three sets of people going. And if, if one of them was replaced, everybody just adjusted to this new character. It's not like it was a traditional play where--where relationships were, were important to maintain, you know. It's a, it's an incredible play.$So any rate, so I came out here [Los Angeles, California]. I was greeted by everybody at Universal [Studios Inc., Universal City, California]. I realized that there was one black guy under contract, and he and I became sort of friends. And there were maybe two or three other black women, black young women, in town who were under contract to a major studio or a network. Somebody was with NBC; somebody was with Paramount [Pictures, Los Angeles, California]. And I can't remember what else there was, but there I was at Universal. And so I asked, you know, "What should I be doing? Should I come to the studio every day? Should I," you know, you know, "watch directors? Are there classes?" And I was told, "Don't do anything. Don't worry about it. Just go to the beach; enjoy yourself. Don't take any acting classes. We don't want you to change." You know, "Just sort of be," you know, "just enjoy yourself. You're under contract. You'll be paid forty out of fifty-two weeks." Twelve weeks they'll have to put me on a, on, on no salary, and, and everything was gonna be fine. So, one of the directors that I had met when I was--who, who actually had directed me for my, for my scene, my, my test scene, you know, I became pretty friendly with him. And he requested me on a show that he was, he was directing there that I should start getting used to working for camera. I mean I had done three little television shows in New York [New York], like one scene each. And I'd done these little commercials with no dialogue, but I really didn't understand the whole process of filmmaking. So, I worked with him. I think it was a, it was a [Alfred] Hitchcock. Then it as a '[The Alfred] Hitchcock Hour' show. I really did one, two, another Hitchcock, "The Monkey's Paw[: A Retelling," 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour'], and a--'Bob Hope [Presents the] Chrysler Theatre.'$$Yeah, that was a scary one, "The Monkey's Paw."$$"The Monkey's Paw"? Yeah, that was, that was me. It was a very, but it was a very modern kind of jet set group. And, and a loan-out, they loaned me out to do 'The FBI' and a, a fashion show [Edith Head fashion show] for Universal Studio Tours because the tour center had not been built in '64 [1964], '65 [1965]. And that's all I did for Universal, and so they fired me. They fired me June of '66 [1966], which was like a year and a half. Actually, they brought me in in November. So, the following November they, when, when contract renewal time came, they said to me that because they had, had not used me a great deal, and they had not made their money back on me, they were not gonna give me my raise. And (laughter) I said, "Well, if you're not gonna give me my raise then let me go, you know. I don't want to be here."