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Michael Jack

Television manager Michael Jack was born on June 6, 1951 in Berlin, Germany to Johanna Magrete Kresse and Huston Jack, Jr., a military veteran. He moved to Massachusetts at age two, however, he relocated frequently with his father to several military bases in the United States and Germany. Jack attended John F. Kennedy High School in Willingboro, New Jersey and Heidelberg High School in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, Jack enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Haverford College where he earned his B.A. degree in political science.

After graduating from college, Jack worked for WABC-TV in New York, a subsidiary of Capital Cities ABC-TV, where he would serve for nineteen years. Jack moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1980, serving as an account executive for ABC sales spots in the city until 1981, when he became a national sales manager at KGO-TV in San Francisco, California. He was promoted to local sales manager at KGO and remained at the station until 1986.

In 1986, Jack moved to Los Angeles becoming Capital Cities’ National Sales Office Sales Manager, where he would work for a decade. In 1996, Jack joined NBC, working for Los Angeles’ KNBC as Vice President of Sales. In his role, Jack oversaw the entire department on both local and national levels. Three years later, Jack became president and general manager of Columbus, Ohio’s NBC affiliate, WCMH-TV station, succeeding executive Bill Katsafanas in managing the entire station. During Jack’s tenure, WCMH led the market in early morning news, late news and prime time markets.

An industry veteran, Jack became president and general manager of WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., jumping from the thirty-fourth largest television market in the nation to the eighth-largest. The same year, Jack was named NBC’s Vice President of Diversity by General Electric Company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Wright. He became the President and General Manger of NBC New York in 2010. Jack serves on a variety of boards, including the Greater Washington Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Michael Jack resides in New York with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Truce.

Michael Jack was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.277

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/28/2007

Last Name

Jack

Maker Category
Schools

Haverford College

Heidelberg American High School

Bryn Mawr College

John F. Kennedy High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Berlin

HM ID

JAC27

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Mexico

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/6/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Germany

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Television station general manager Michael Jack (1951 - ) was the president and general manager of NBC New York.

Employment

WABC TV

ABC

WNBC TV

WCMH TV

WRC-TV

Bloomingdales

Celanese Fiber Company

KGO-TV

NBC

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Jack's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Jack lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his mother's upbringing in Germany

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Jack recalls moving frequently between the United States and Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Jack recalls his early experiences of travel

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls the radio and television programs of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about his education in New Jersey and Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael Jack talks about his family's perception of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael Jack remembers the assassinations of Malcolm X and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michael Jack describes the demographics of Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael Jack remembers the African American community at Haverford College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Jack recalls studying at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Jack describes his early work in retail marketing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls starting in the sales training program at WABC-TV in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about the television advertising industry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about the television programming of the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Jack recalls the lack of diversity at New York City's WABC-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of racial discrimination at WABC-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Jack talks about his career in the sales division of ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his philosophy of salesmanship

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about selling airtime to niche advertisers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes the importance of experience in the media industry

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Jack remembers his decision to work for NBC

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his marriage and family

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his role at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Jack reflects upon the representation of African Americans in the television industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Jack talks about the lack of diversity on television

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Jack reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his transition to WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael Jack reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael Jack reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Michael Jack talks about his parents' response to his success

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Michael Jack describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry
Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
So I was telling you a couple of self-inflicted wounds (laughter), 'cause you were asking about how I felt people at ABC treated me and I really was talking just in general about some experience in Corporate America, but back to that period of time, I was, 'cause I was making very little money, was also selling suits at night at a store called Barneys [Barneys New York], so I, I, after saving Barneys discount, I bought a silk tan jacket. I was sharp and proud. It was the first time, other than a blue blazer that I bought at Bloomingdale's that I actually bought something and I rode down the elevator with the president of the division at that time. And I had on some dress sandals. I don't know if you recall the type that where, you had kind of slits in 'em but I was looking sharp.$$Huaraches they're called, I think, or something like that.$$Not huaraches, but a little more dressy than that and I was, I thought I was looking bad, so, up in the elevator with him. Riding down the elevator, he says, looks over at me and says something about the jacket. And I said, "You like it? Well come on down to Barney's, I'll hook you up. I'll give you a little discount," et cetera. The next day, the next day, there was a memo that came out that all account managers, salespeople who worked for ABC will wear suits or at the--in casual moments, blue blazers, so, so should I have been smarter? Probably. Had I been there longer, maybe the outcome would have been different. But it clearly was, we were on different pages. Had I worked at the time for a different company maybe the outlook would have been different.$$You were actually thinking that he wanted one of 'em.$$Oh, absolutely. I, and I was gonna hook him up. And he was looking at me as, who is this crazy fool riding down the elevator, thinking he's looking sharp, et cetera, et cetera. There haven't been many situations like this, but I remember distinctly one that I know, as I was doing it, it was not the smartest thing to do, but I wonder had the same conversation happened between two white males, if the outcome had been the same, so. Not a bad outcome 'cause I didn't get fired, but we were at a dinner, I can't remember if it was a client dinner or one of just ABC personnel at the time, and one of the guys who happens to have the job that I now have, was sitting at the table with me, along with, I think it was the president of the division, another guy at the time. This is a number of years later, and the conversation came up about country clubs, and we got into this debate about why he thought it appropriate that you could exclude African Americans from country clubs. And I, I just, his rationale was, well because it's private. And I remember distinctly saying, and it stopped the conversation. "So, let me understand this, so it's okay to discriminate in public--in private, but not in public? Is that what you're saying?" So, all in all this world is comprised of people who, despite seeing color as the first thing that walks in the door, is how we deal with each other. Some people never get past that initial reaction and some people do, so, to generalize, I've been successful. Could I have been more successful earlier if I had been evaluated only for the things that hopefully I am evaluating individuals for, competency and performance and those kinds of things, maybe, probably, but this is America.$We were talking off camera about the nature of what you're doing, you were saying that in terms of my concern about public affairs programming, that only 7 percent of the programming nowadays is on the air.$$Is over the air (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Is over the air. That rest is cable, right?$$That people receive via the antenna, in this area, and there are some areas that are even less, the Bay Area [San Francisco Bay Area, California] for instance. Everybody's wired there.$$Okay, so then the presumption is that people would get, would have access to, well cable access channels who carry public affairs shows and then any other niche you kind of--programing would be carried on some other cable channel. Is that pretty much it?$$I mean, I think that's somewhat of a generalization but that's relatively fair. People, people unfortunately don't watch a lot of that programming either (laughter). We do some shows here, one called 'A Reporter's Notebook' [sic. 'Reporter's Notebook'] and another called 'Viewpoint' about a single topic with folks within the community talking about issues that are important here the Washington [D.C.] area, so we do give a voice to it. And the good news is we've locked it in between Sunday morning programming and what's happening in the world is people are waking up earlier and those now become very highly rated areas, but beyond that, you know, I think the domain of public affairs programming is no different than the domain of any other programming you know. People, there are so many different things that people are doing, so many distractions, so many multitask these days that finding audiences for programming is difficult in the broadcast business, but a lot of it's going online. We talk all the time. Our competition is not ABC and CBS and FOX, its Google [Google Inc.] and Yahoo and that's where the world is today. I spent a lot of time talking about how to grow our business on all the multiplatforms that exist. We're content providers but we've got to have the content where people want to watch it and we're, watch and use it. It's a different world than it was thirty years ago.$$We were discussing too that NBC 4 [WRC-TV, Washington, D.C.] here is not a superstation like WGN [WGN-TV, Chicago, Illinois] or WOR [WOR-TV; WWOR-TV, Secaucus, New Jersey] used to be or TBS [Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.], but what you do here, you do, you shoot programs for national distribution here like 'George Michael Sports Machine' ['The George Michael Sports Machine'] used to. Is that still being produced here?$$That was cancelled in March of this year.$$Okay.$$We took it off the air. It had been on for twenty-five years, but we do do here, of course, 'Matthews Show' ['The Chris Matthews Show'], 'Meet the Press,' a show called 'It's Academic' that has a regional place. It's a high school--kind of like 'Jeopardy' for high school competitions. We do--$$'McLaughlin' ['The McLaughlin Group'] is here.$$'McLaughlin' is done out of here, done out of our studios, yeah, downstairs.$$Okay, all right, so, yeah this was like, you know, once we drove up here I mean, I, I been to a few stations, but I've never seen as many antennas, and (laughter)--$$Yeah, right, right. We also have a few MSNBC shows and CNBC down here. It's also the network news bureau, so Tim Russert is the managing editor of NBC News in Washington, so we share the same building.

The Honorable Eric Washington

Chief Judge Eric Tyson Washington was born on December 2, 1953, in Jersey City, New Jersey to Gloria Simkins Washington, a social worker, and Eleby Rudolph Washington, a surgeon. He was raised in Newark, New Jersey and attended high school in Maplewood, New Jersey. Washington graduated from Tufts University in 1976 and received his J.D. degree from Columbia University’s School of Law in 1979. Washington began his law career in 1979 at the offices of Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas. The company is one of the largest law firms in the United States with nearly 1,000 attorneys in over fifty different practice areas. Washington soon relocated to Washington, D.C. to serve as Legislative Director and Counsel to U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews of Texas, before assuming a position in the Washington, D.C. branch of Fulbright & Jaworski.

In 1987, Washington served as Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel, and later as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. After stepping down from this position in 1989, Washington became a partner at Hogan & Hartson, the oldest major law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., and remained there until 1995, when he was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. As an associate judge in the Superior Court, he presided over various criminal trials as well as cases from the Drug Court, Domestic Violence Unit, tax and probate matters on certification from other judges, and cases involving children who were victims of abuse and neglect. Washington was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and six years later, the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission designated Washington to serve a four-year term as Chief Judge of the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals, preceding Judge Annice Wagner.

Washington has previously served as Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Leadership Council for the District of Columbia Courts and is also a member of the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the Courts. Washington serves on many civic organizations as well, including the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Boys and Girls Club Foundation.

Chief Judge Eric Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.274

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/26/2007 |and| 5/23/2014

9/26/2007

5/23/2014

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Madison Elementary School

Newark Academy

Columbia High School

Tufts University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Eric

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

WAS04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/2/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cajun Food

Short Description

Chief appellate judge The Honorable Eric Washington (1953 - ) was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Clinton in 1999. He became chief judge in 2005.

Employment

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Superior Court for the District of Columbia

Hogan & Hartson

Fulbright & Jaworski

Delete

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1626,34:2386,45:2690,50:2994,55:4514,71:4970,79:10822,180:14394,228:17054,279:21770,288:24605,370:28259,461:29960,493:33173,552:33425,557:33677,562:34244,575:38402,666:48891,780:49427,789:52643,836:53782,856:54117,862:60482,969:67035,1036:69313,1088:70586,1110:74003,1193:75142,1214:77688,1284:78358,1295:94126,1553:95380,1593:97294,1641:97756,1649:98416,1661:100462,1699:101584,1710:101914,1716:106176,1732:107476,1762:109712,1823:112312,1896:112520,1901:112728,1906:112936,1911:113300,1919:114600,1932:114860,1938:117044,1992:119124,2048:119384,2054:125464,2124:127726,2183:129292,2233:130162,2251:130858,2261:132656,2309:134280,2352:138224,2484:149963,2641:172994,3006:178223,3161:178790,3169:179231,3179:181877,3259:194516,3488:201720,3569$0,0:3452,47:3817,52:4328,60:5788,87:6664,102:7540,114:9949,146:21968,358:24410,401:24806,408:25994,430:26720,442:30842,479:35934,590:36336,597:36939,607:57666,997:60114,1037:60386,1046:76057,1299:76412,1306:78968,1364:83370,1472:88050,1504:95304,1658:95738,1666:109855,1881:111545,1927:111805,1932:117590,2089:128782,2280:129223,2289:130420,2321:130672,2326:131113,2334:131869,2359:132247,2372:138736,2532:139051,2538:140374,2567:154722,2793:167204,2999:168880,3022
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eric Washington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.3

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his father, Eleby Washington, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about how his parents may have met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his parents' personalities and how he takes after them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his father's medical practice

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his father's decision to practice medicine in New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his childhood neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his elementary school years in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes his youthful passion for tennis

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eric Washington describes his childhood sports heroes, Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Eric Washington recalls his parents' attempts at musical training

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Eric Washington recalls the influence of television on his values and aspirations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Eric Washington remembers professional role models as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his time in the Boy Scouts and the development of black consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eric Washington recalls his family's involvement with the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his memories of the 1967 Newark Riots and moving to Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes playing sports and the development of his social conscience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eric Washington remembers role models from his youth like Gus Heningburg

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his experience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eric Washington recalls his decision to attend Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eric Washington remembers living in the Africana House at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes volunteer efforts to connect citizens of Boston, Massachusetts' Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods to local universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about playing basketball at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes how his experience at Tufts University propelled him toward a legal career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eric Washington recalls how racial animus in Boston, Massachusetts led him to attend Columbia Law School in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes his studies at Columbia Law School and the impact of Professor Kellis E. Parker

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about why he joined Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas after graduating from Columbia Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes Houston, Texas in the late 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his work at Fulbright & Jaworski

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to work for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes why he decided to return to Fulbright & Jaworkski after working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Texan politicians Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker Lee P. Brown's tenure as Houston, Texas' chief of police

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign against Ronald Reagan in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about the impact of the Reagan Administration on judicial office in Texas and President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his tenure as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about joining Hogan & Hartson and his increasing involvement with the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes corruption charges brought against HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eric Washington contrasts the administrations of Mayors Marion Barry and Walter Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the role of the Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Herbert O. Reid, Sr., legal counsel to HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about working at Hogan & Hartson

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his work as Chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee during President Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's political appointments

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes President Bill Clinton's reputation as the first black president

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eric Washington recalls African American judges from his childhood who inspired him to become a judge

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his nomination process to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the declining trends in presidential judicial appointments

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his duties as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the history of African Americans in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his service on the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the District of Columbia Courts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his focus on domestic violence as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about drug sentencing in the District of Columbia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eric Washington recalls his appointment to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1999

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.3

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Annice Wagner, Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the Access to Justice Commission headed by Peter Edelman

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his appointment as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his vision as the Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about using open court cases to promote transparency with the public and educate law students

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eric Washington discusses the pros and cons of live streaming oral arguments

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about appellate judges on the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Eric Washington compares the D.C. Court of Appeals to two-tiered trial courts in other states

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about the use of DNA evidence in trial courts

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his hopes for his third term as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Eric Washington reflects upon whether he would do anything differently as a judge

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.2

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.3

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Eric Washington reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his family

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATitle
Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers
Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke
Transcript
So, when you were on the verge of graduation from high school, did you have an idea of what you wanted to pursue, career-wise?$$No, I was still torn, I was, you know, torn between that, that real, you know, I--desire to be a, a social engineer, sort of, you know, be involved in helping, which was again, consistent with what my dad [Eleby Washington, Jr.] had done but much more. I was, I was much more of wanting to be out front of that issue, as opposed to being sort of behind the scene, working at, you know. I was, I was much more willing--not much more willing, but much more, you know, much more interested in sort of being on the front line, I think, and working with groups and, and (unclear) primarily antipoverty organizations. I would work the New York City youth services agency, and, and tried to work with, you know, different groups of young people and, and so, sort of be a part of the antipoverty movement and the anti-, and, and try to uplift as much as many people as I could. And so, I sort of had leanings in that way, but I was still the son of a doctor. And still, my brother was going to go to medical school, you know, and he turned out--he, he's an orthopedic surgeon now, like my father was. And, frankly, he freed me up because once my dad got one orthopedic surgeon, I think he was okay with, with me doing something else, although a lawyer is not what an orthopedic surgeon would want his son to be necessarily. You never, never thought, you know, other than those, he, he thought highly of lawyers. But he loved judges and he had good friends who were judges and he, he would draw these distinctions between lawyers and judges in his own mind because he saw lawyers as those individuals who would manufacture malpractice cases against good doctors who had done all they could do to help somebody, and because they hadn't put them together like God--they, that they were somehow negligent in their actions. And so, he thought lawyers somehow were the reason why people brought these lawsuits, as opposed to these people believing they were wrong. And, as I told him, as there being doctors who would testify that they hadn't done everything perfectly 'cause I said, without, without another doctor testifying that you, that you didn't do everything right, they could never find you guilt, you know, they could find you negligent of doing anything right. And then, my father was not talking from personal experience. I don't remember my dad ever being sued, but and maybe once or twice in, in his career, that it might have happened. But I don't remember any of them, but, but he was talking more generally about the medical profession and, and his colleagues and friends who had to, had to endure these unreasonable depositions, and take them away from their patients and go to court, and defend themselves when somebody decides to crash a motorcycle into a wall going 80 miles an hour, break every bone in their body, spend 75 hours in a row putting them back together. And when they're finished, their little pinkie can't straighten up all the way, and they sue you for malpractice. That was, that was--used the classic sort of a story about why lawyers are bad. But my dad, I think, ultimately is very proud that, you know, and, and understood, really did understand and appreciated the important role lawyers played as social engineers, and so I think was very supportive.$$Okay.$$I did promise him I'd never practice malpractice. I'd never be a plaintiff's lawyer doing malpractice work but other than that--$$Okay.$All right, all right. Now, in '87 [1987], you were Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia?$$Right.$$Now, how did that happen?$$One of my good friends, Fred Cooke [Frederick Cooke], who was a partner in another law firm here in town [Washington, D.C.] and, and someone whom, with whom I developed a relationship, was a native Washingtonian, had been put in charge of a search committee for the new Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia which is akin to an Attorney General in most states. And he had--was, you know, was part of this--leading the search committee when, of course, they, they turned around and asked him, would he be interested in taking the job? So, he calls me up and we have lunch, and he starts saying, ahh, they're asking me to take the job. And I spent probably an hour and a half convincing him that it was the great, it was a great opportunity. It was 300 lawyers. He was going to be in charge of basically his own law firm. They represented municipal corporations that had litigation, legislation, that they, they advise the legislative, you know, advising role. They had all these different roles, and he was going to be the top lawyer in charge of that office. I said, you gotta take that. You know, what a great chance, what a great opportunity for you. And then, at the end of this, like impassioned-hour speech to him, about why he should take it, he looked at me and said okay, well, if I take it, you gotta come. And I couldn't argue against it 'cause I just spent an hour arguing for him to do it. So, I, I agreed to come. And, and the interesting story about why I was Special Counsel, because that was not what I anticipated going in as. I was supposed to be--Fred had wanted me to be his deputy immediately, but I didn't know the mayor. I had not had any real contact with Mayor [Marion] Barry [HM], and I didn't know a lot about the city government. And they didn't know, more importantly, from his perspective, a lot about me. And to be in the second, the second ranking legal officer in the district, I think the mayor wanted to feel comfortable that he at least knew who I was. And so, while Fred had wanted to bring me in as the Deputy Corporation Counsel, it's my understanding that the Mayor was little reticent to do that without having an opportunity to work with me first for a few years to know, to know me, and for his staff that could let, you know, deputy mayors and other staff, getting comfortable with me. So, for the first year and a half or so, I was Special Counsel, and then worked closely with all of the Deputy Mayors and others, and helped run the office. And there was no deputy corporation, Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel. Then I ultimately, apparently, got the word. Fred got the word--oh, it's okay, you can move him up now, and I became the Principal Deputy. So, I always acted as the Principal Deputy, but for the first year and a half, I was given the title of Special Counsel.$$Okay.