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

June Baldwin

Television executive June M. Baldwin graduated from Stanford University with her B.A. degree in psychology. She went on to receive her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.

Following graduation, Baldwin served as clerk for the jurist Luther Swygert on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois. She then moved to Los Angeles and was hired as an executive for NBC, where she was responsible for, among other things, the day-to-day business transactions for The Tonight Show and Carson Productions, the television and motion picture production company founded by the late talk show host, Johnny Carson. At NBC, Baldwin became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry. She then worked for Norman Lear, Quincy Jones and Aaron Spelling, where she held the position of head of business affairs at their independent production companies.

Baldwin went on to be hired as vice president of business affairs at United Paramount Network. She also worked in a similar capacity at Columbia TriStar Television from 2000 until 2001. In 2004, Baldwin was hired as director of business and legal affairs at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station. Then, in 2010, she was promoted to vice president and general counsel of KCET. Baldwin has negotiated a variety of production deals, and has worked on such critically acclaimed productions as Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, A Place of Our Own, Los Ninos En Su Casa, Wired Science, and SoCal Connected.  In addition, for seven years she managed business and legal affairs for the PBS late-night talk show Tavis Smiley, and the primetime series Tavis Smiley Reports.

Baldwin has served on numerous boards, including the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, the Hollywood Policy Center, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the California Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood, the Archer School for Girls, Women in Film, Women in Film Foundation, Artists For A New South Africa, The Coalition for At-Risk Youth, NBC Credit Union, the Minority Health Institute, and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association.

June M. Baldwin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.310

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/20/2013

Last Name

Baldwin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Michelle

Schools

St. Madeline Sophie

Ancilla Domini Academy

Shipley School For Girls

Stanford University

Harvard Law School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

June

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BAL04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Everything In Its Time

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/4/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Television executive June Baldwin (1950 - ) became one of the first African Americans to enter the executive ranks of the entertainment industry when she worked for NBC.

Employment

KCET

Columbia Tri Star TV

United Paramount Network

Spelling Television

Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment

NBC

Favorite Color

Blue, Greens

Timing Pairs
0,0:5476,133:6064,141:6820,153:13605,184:15345,198:17820,208:18124,213:18808,223:19644,235:20252,246:20632,252:21696,266:22304,275:22836,284:23140,289:38964,416:39332,421:39884,429:40620,440:41080,446:41540,458:49811,539:50523,551:54617,619:58358,654:59320,669:59690,677:62730,715:63490,730:65300,735:69150,812:69430,817:69990,826:73490,934:74190,947:75520,982:76640,1012:77410,1025:78670,1047:82730,1059:83185,1069:83575,1076:88902,1151:89286,1158:90118,1178:91270,1205:94004,1215:94872,1249:95926,1271:103425,1385:103899,1393:104689,1404:105005,1409:106032,1430:106348,1435:106743,1441:107296,1449:109113,1486:109587,1494:114549,1528:115713,1543:128328,1775:130264,1801:131672,1820:132112,1825:138308,1899:142137,1955:143532,1978:143997,1984:147523,2027:148282,2043:149386,2065:150076,2081:153244,2147:153678,2156:153988,2162:155834,2172:157044,2184:159464,2208:163361,2245:164025,2256:164523,2264:164855,2269:165270,2275:173040,2312:173502,2324:175504,2360:175812,2365:176120,2370:176505,2376:176890,2382:179970,2395:180410,2400:186382,2456:186994,2468:190532,2512:191140,2522:191520,2528:193260,2536:193900,2546:194300,2552:194860,2561:195180,2566:200996,2632:202004,2648:204002,2669:204206,2674:204461,2680:204818,2689:205124,2697:205379,2703:205583,2708:207317,2775:215410,2822:220563,2888:223960,2917$0,0:5152,111:5888,130:6532,139:6992,145:7820,160:12492,183:14156,202:19044,276:19980,284:28924,464:40605,602:44368,641:46290,695:46848,705:47654,729:48832,759:50568,800:52676,874:53172,885:53730,895:54598,918:54846,923:58810,938:59290,945:61050,986:65012,1006:65740,1015:67142,1053:67646,1062:68006,1068:68870,1082:70958,1179:72758,1226:73334,1240:74342,1307:75062,1324:75494,1331:78302,1395:78878,1404:79886,1426:80318,1434:80966,1445:81470,1453:81830,1459:88126,1526:88470,1531:91566,1589:105392,1764:105784,1769:107156,1785:107842,1794:108332,1800:112530,1848:113234,1860:113586,1865:113938,1870:114554,1877:115082,1884:117546,1919:118074,1929:128986,2046:132770,2075:133640,2086:135293,2111:135815,2118:138427,2131:140389,2150:140825,2155:146234,2202:147296,2225:148299,2253:150069,2306:151249,2341:159058,2484:159594,2489:160532,2498:163810,2526:164290,2535:165686,2545:173813,2636:174643,2652:175058,2658:175556,2665:176220,2674:180619,2758:181864,2807:186400,2828:187318,2838:193835,2913:198247,2973:203654,3040:204694,3055:206566,3078:207294,3102:207710,3107:217324,3226:220882,3255:235454,3567:236882,3586:237806,3599:239066,3618:239402,3623:240662,3652:249765,3732:250105,3737:256920,3796:259608,3815:261576,3854:270443,4012:270687,4017:273124,4034:274068,4061:276664,4138:281888,4203:282192,4208:282724,4217:286738,4276:292432,4398:295552,4456:309223,4618:315471,4676:315763,4681:318330,4732
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of June Baldwin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - June Baldwin lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her mother's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about her father's young adult years

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - June Baldwin describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her parents' civic activities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her early household

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - June Baldwin describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes the sights and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - June Baldwin remembers the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - June Baldwin describes her early interest in acting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers race relations at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her religious experiences at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - June Baldwin talks about the prominent figures who inspired her

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls developing her racial identity during the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - June Baldwin remembers her teachers and guidance counselor at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - June Baldwin talks about creating a scholarship at the Shipley School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls attending the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - June Baldwin remembers studying psychology at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - June Baldwin talks about Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about the Black Power movement at Stanford University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - June Baldwin remembers her classmates and experiences at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - June Baldwin remembers her challenges at Harvard Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - June Baldwin recalls clerking for Judge Luther M. Swygert

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her early legal career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - June Baldwin describes her experiences at Morrison and Foerster LLP

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - June Baldwin recalls working for Silverberg, Rosen, Leon and Behr

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - June Baldwin talks about joining Women In Film

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - June Baldwin recalls her entry into the entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her initial experiences at NBC

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - June Baldwin recalls working on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - June Baldwin remembers the black television executives in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about Michael Jackson's award at the NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - June Baldwin recalls her proudest moments as a television business affairs executive

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - June Baldwin remembers working at Norman Lear's company, Act III Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about working for Quincy Jones Productions, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - June Baldwin recalls working with Aaron Spelling Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - June Baldwin remembers her music publishing venture with George Butler

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - June Baldwin recalls working at United Paramount Network

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - June Baldwin describes her work at Columbia TriStar Television

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her position at KCET in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - June Baldwin talks about the merger of KCET and Link TV

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - June Baldwin describes the growth and changes at KCETLink

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - June Baldwin talks about her board memberships, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - June Baldwin shares her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - June Baldwin reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - June Baldwin reflects upon her legacy in the entertainment industry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - June Baldwin talks about her dating life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - June Baldwin describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - June Baldwin talks about her international travels

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - June Baldwin describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - June Baldwin narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
June Baldwin reflects upon her time at the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
June Baldwin recalls visiting the Black Panther Party in Algeria
Transcript
Well, tell us the Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] story.$$So obviously Shipley was a seminal event in my life. And for all of the, the challenges, I developed some wonderful friendships with a few girls there who are lifelong friends, like sisters. And they saw me; they--it didn't matter to them that I came from a different background or that I was black. And so they were my rocks, and we're still very, very close today. Also in 2003, Shipley gave me the distinguished alumna award, which was a huge shock to me because I had not had much contact at all with the school since I left. And I had an opportunity to tell my story, which I had never done. But I wanted them to know that I loved and appreciated the education that I got and that I saw it as a very positive thing. It was very difficult for my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris] to decide to send to me to Shipley. That was not something that we did in the black culture. You don't send your daughter off during her adolescent years to be part of a social experiment. And I'd never really realized how much that had weighed on my mother because, of course, that shaped the rest of my life. So they gave me the award, which was very lovely, and they honored and acknowledged my mother. And the school official said, "I don't think I would have had the courage to send my child away like that." And so I was very happy because although it's been my journey it was also my mother's. So fast forward, I ran into a Shipley classmate at Stanford [Stanford University, Stanford, California] whom I hadn't even been friends with at Stanford. Again, when I left Shipley I sort of didn't wanna have anything to do with Shipley. Fast forward, I run into this classmate, and she's a, a writer for The New York Times and she said, "I ha- it's great to see you. I have an idea and I'm wondering if you'd be interested." And the idea was to create a school sca- a class scholarship for an underprivileged girl of color. And she wondered if I thought that was a good idea, and if I would work with her on it. And I said oh, I think that's a great idea. So last May we went to our forty-fifth reunion, and we proposed this to the class, and that is what we're going to do. And sh- they have said that it was because of knowing me, and it was a time when their lives changed that that inspired her to want to do this scholarship. And so it just was so overwhelming for me to come out of the blue after all these years. Because I think when you make personal sacrifices--I mean I did it willingly and gratefully. I appreciated the opportunity. But at some point when you look at where race relations are today, and you say was it worth it--you know, was it worth it? And so this validates that. It was worth it. I mean, I decided it was worth it, but this is a, a, a really gratifying validation.$Now who was in the Panther [Black Panther Party] entourage, I guess, in Algeria besides Eldridge Cleaver?$$The names of the other people I don't know. I don't remember. What--I was very excited to be there. Eldridge Cleaver was extremely nice to me, very respectful. As I said he wanted to--me to stay on because I spoke French and be a translator. And I think as a result of my Shipley [Shipley School for Girls; The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania] experience and my own sense of identity, I had the big Afro, very much wanting to claim my identity, and wanting to have a quote, unquote revolutionary experience. I was a big supporter of the Panthers. You know, they were doing wonderful work; they were feeding children; they were educating children; they were providing healthcare services. I mean, they were being portrayed as terrorists, but they were doing many wonderful things. And they were just really seeking social justice for a lot of oppression that was going on. And so I wrote my mother [Audrey McLaughlin Harris]. I also was still interested in being the actor, so I had tried out for 'Hair' ['Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical']. There was a--in Marseille [France]. And I was finished with school [Stanford University, Stanford, California], and so I was a quarter ahead of myself because I had gone a year straight through. And I didn't wanna graduate early, so I wanted to stay in Europe for another three months. And I thought I'll try out for this play. Maybe I'll get this role. And then I went to Algeria and was asked to be the translator and it--and at first really wanted to do that. And so I said to him, "Well, you'll have to write my mother." And so he did, and my mother still has the letter in pale blue stationary with the Black Panther insignia that jumps out at you. And he wrote her a very nice letter asking permission for me to stay on for a couple of months and be a translator. And by day three, there used to be--everyone would be upstairs in a room and listening, talking, and the--there were concentric circles and I was in the second circle. And someone got up and went down to do kitchen duty, and I--who was in the first circle--and so I moved up to be in the first circle. And then the person came back, and I wasn't aware the person was going to come back, and so I said, "Oh, I'm sorry I took your seat." And he said, "Oh no, sister, you didn't take my seat; it's the people's seat." And in that moment I realized, hm, everything is communal here, and there weren't--there weren't any women. I wasn't seeing any women. And all of a sudden I realized, hm, I might become communal property (laughter) if I didn't affiliate or associate with someone. And of course that wasn't what I was wanting. You know, I was wanting to have this political experience. And so I decided that I didn't wanna stay, and so I did not. Meanwhile, I would have come--had I gone back--I would have still gone back to France and then come back. In the meantime, my mother got the letter, and she and my brother [William James] were quite horrified. And they admired the Panthers. It's not that they, they didn't, but they didn't want their daughter there in Algeria with--$$Now this is--$$--Eldridge Cleaver.$$I mean 'Soul on Ice' [Eldridge Cleaver] had been published in 1960 [1968]--well, I know I read it in '67 [1967], so it was already out. And he was--he made some remarks about women that weren't really very--$$Misogynistic.$$--encouraging.$$Yes, yes, but that's what I'm saying. That's what was so fascinating, because he was not like that at all with me. He was just this amazing gentleman and intelligent and just lovely, lovely. Now I was only there three days, but that was my experience. And when my mother decided--my brother was, "You tell her to get on a plane and come home." And my mother was like, "No, no, I'm just going to use the truth and, and add something." And so she told me she was going to have to have surgery, and she really would like me to be there for the surgery and so would I mind coming home. I still hadn't heard about the play. And she said, "And if you get in the play, then I'll send you back;" so I went home. And she was having surgery, but it wasn't, you know, as serious as I had thought (laughter), and they just wanted to get me home so. And then I did not get into the play so I did not go back.$$Now did you--did you happen to talk to Timothy Leary?$$No, I did not.$$Or see him even?$$I got a glimpse, but no.$$And was he (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They, they had him in a room. You know, we were staying at a hotel, and we would come over and be there during the days and the evenings.

The Honorable Audrey Collins

Federal District Court Judge Audrey B. Collins was born on June 12, 1945 in Chester, Pennsylvania to Dr. Furman L. Brodie Jr. and Audrey Moseley Brodie. She attended Yeadon High School in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class. Collins attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earning her B.A. degree in political science in 1967. That year, she received Howard University’s Woman of the Year Award and married her husband, Dr. Tim Collins. In 1969, she earned her M.A. degree in public administration from American University’s School of Government and Public Administration. In 1974, Collins returned to school to earn her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. She was a member of the UCLA Law Review, and earned her J.D. degree in 1977, graduating with the Order of the Coif.

In 1977, Collins served as an assistant attorney of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and in 1978, she was hired as a deputy district attorney of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. In 1987, Collins was promoted to head deputy at the Torrance Branch office. She was then appointed as the assistant director of the Bureaus of Central and Special Operations the following year. In 1992, she was named the assistant district attorney and a deputy general counsel in the Office of the Special Advisor, where she served as counsel to the Los Angeles Police Department Board of Commissioners. Two years later, President Bill Clinton nominated Collins for a seat on the District Court for the Central District of California. She served as chief judge for the court from 2009 through September, 2012.

In 1988, Collins received the Loren Miller Lawyer of the Year Award by the John M. Langston Bar Association. In 1994, she was awarded the National Black Prosecutors Association’s Distinguished Service Award, and, in 2006, she was presented with the Bernard Jefferson Judge of the Year Award by the John M. Langston Bar Association. In 2012, Collins was awarded both the Outstanding Jurist Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award. She is a member of the National Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles County, the John M. Langston Bar Association, Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, and the National Association of Women Judges.

Collins and her husband have two adult children, one whom is an actor and the other an attorney.

Judge Audrey B. Collins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.344

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/18/2013 |and| 11/14/2014

Last Name

Collins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

B.

Schools

Yeadon High School

American University

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

William B. Evans Elementary School

Howard University

First Name

Audrey

Birth City, State, Country

Chester

HM ID

COL25

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Barbara, New York City

Favorite Quote

Let's Just Get It Done.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/12/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Audrey Collins (1945 - ) served in the Central District of California from 1994 to 2013. She was the court's chief judge from 2009 to 2012.

Employment

United States District Court

L.A. County District Attorney's Office

University of Southern California

Los Angeles Unified School District

Model Cities

District of Columbia Public Schools

Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP

California Court of Appeal, District 2

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5928,131:8284,232:21938,513:22230,518:22522,523:23033,531:23471,538:23763,584:30430,608:31086,619:32152,643:32726,651:33464,662:38854,723:40570,745:42598,793:43690,814:45328,834:48526,894:49228,905:49540,910:57457,964:58328,978:61745,1060:62683,1083:63018,1089:63286,1094:63688,1102:64090,1110:64626,1120:65497,1136:65765,1141:66368,1155:67105,1170:71610,1191:71890,1196:74060,1253:74550,1262:75740,1284:76020,1289:76580,1298:79870,1361:82110,1395:82460,1401:82950,1409:83370,1416:87544,1428:88636,1447:97384,1581:99232,1620:103236,1694:103698,1703:105161,1728:106162,1747:113579,1832:113944,1845:115646,1872:117754,1926:118094,1932:118842,1959:120066,1979:123874,2070:124894,2086:135300,2271:136275,2295:137325,2309:150950,2538:151510,2548:152280,2561:154730,2606:159260,2636:161735,2708:168860,2836:189640,3182$0,0:1141,39:7405,187:7840,193:11407,256:12538,270:18369,306:18838,314:19374,325:19910,335:23863,422:27280,521:34794,616:36054,635:36390,640:48560,811:49244,822:52588,899:56768,976:57072,981:57756,1001:60112,1068:60796,1079:68280,1126:68600,1131:71560,1182:71960,1188:72920,1205:73240,1210:73560,1215:73960,1221:75720,1287:76120,1293:76520,1299:76840,1304:88752,1439:89360,1447:90804,1474:92932,1560:93236,1565:93540,1570:95440,1612:96124,1622:97568,1645:97872,1654:99468,1686:99772,1691:100152,1697:100532,1703:101292,1715:107484,1745:109460,1778:110220,1789:110828,1801:111360,1810:111664,1815:114248,1878:118835,1939:121760,2015:122735,2029:123635,2042:124235,2047:124760,2056:126260,2083:127085,2158:130470,2165:131170,2176:131450,2181:132010,2194:134250,2255:136470,2270:137002,2278:138978,2316:140878,2360:141790,2375:142094,2380:145438,2437:146122,2448:153992,2563:154264,2568:158695,2682:160354,2722:163830,2784:164225,2790:164857,2799:171670,2896
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Audrey Collins' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her mother's intelligence

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers ice deliveries at her maternal grandparents' home

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her paternal relatives' migration to the North

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her family's roots in the Presbyterian church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her parents' reasons for leaving Chester, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls the discrimination against her family in Yeadon, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her friendship with Donald Bogle

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her mother's students

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her elementary school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes the grade levels at Yeadon Junior Senior High School in Yeadon, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the music and television of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her father's political affiliation

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls her summer employment

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers visiting the campus of Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her professors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the civil rights activism at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's speech at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls the start of her interest in law

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers joining the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls teaching at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her husband's dental career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her early jobs in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the Watergate scandal

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her experiences of discrimination she faced at the University of California, Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her transition from private practice to the district attorney's office

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls her work at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls her work at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the civil unrest in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the case of the State of California v. Soon Ja Du

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the Rodney King trials

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her role on the Committee of Bar Examiners

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her work as a federal district judge

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her staff

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the need for new judicial positions

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her ruling on Humanitarian Law Project v. Reno

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls upholding the removal of nativity scenes from public property

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers a child custody case involving the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Audrey Collins' interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her work with Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls serving as the legal advisor to the grand jury

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her career at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls serving as a head deputy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her position in the Association of Deputy District Attorneys

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls her role as an assistant bureau director of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her role in the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about police brutality in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes the changes in criminal justice in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers applying for a federal judgeship

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers her judicial confirmation hearing

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes the history of African American judges in California

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the duties of a federal district judge

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes the outcome of her challenge to the USA PATRIOT Act

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her brother's legal work

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her notable cases

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the Myspace anti-spam ruling

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers the challenges to the City of Los Angeles' billboard ordinance

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her position as chief district judge

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about her programs to lower recidivism

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Audrey Collins remembers enforcing the rights of disabled prison inmates in Orange County, California

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls serving as chief justice of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her decision to remain an active judge

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her appointment to the California Second District Court of Appeal

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Audrey Collins talks about the duties of an appellate judge

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her judicial philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - The Honorable Audrey Collins reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her children

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - The Honorable Audrey Collins describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

12$5

DATitle
The Honorable Audrey Collins recalls the start of her interest in law
The Honorable Audrey Collins describes her work as a federal district judge
Transcript
Well in terms of p- political science, I know that Howard's political science department had to be a lot different from the civics classes you had in, in Yeadon [Pennsylvania], so what--what did you learn?$$ (Pause) I'm sorry?$$So what did you learn at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] that was different from what was at, taught at Yeadon High School [Yeadon Junior Senior High School, Yeadon, Pennsylvania], you know.$$ Well Yeadon, I mean you know that was high school. I'm sure I had civics of some kind because that's what they did then; they don't do it anymore, they don't have civics, which is a great loss. And I know Justice Sandra Day O'Connor you know, one of her goals in life now is to try to restore civics to the curriculum. So I'm sure we had it. But I mean Howard of course was just more in depth, examination of both our political system and then, and then others and some comparisons with other, other countries, essentially, parliamentary system, et cetera. So I mean it was, it was a very good program, and I can't say that there was any one thing that made me think I wanted to study law. But just being in that environment at that time, even from high school on, although high school was very different. You began to realize I mean people like Thurgood Marshall are in this environment. You know we have the [U.S.] Supreme Court downtown and all of these changes taking place. And this is an area in which you could do some good. To tell you the truth, I initially was interested in criminal defense because that seemed--I mean very logical at the time. You wanna defend people. It wasn't until later events took place that I switched over and became a prosecutor, both because that was where the opportunity was at the time, and I came to realize that you--there's really a lot of power in the prosecution. They are the people who decide whether to bring the charges in the first place. They have a lot of discretion in how a case is disposed of, which has to do with sentencing, and most of the victims are black or people of color across the country, and certainly here in L.A. [Los Angeles, California]. But the goal, at the time you know, you thought well I'm going--I wanna obviously gonna defend, you know. So certainly being in that atmosphere at Howard. I mean there were so many things going on. Even the fine arts, you know, was amazing. I didn't know Debbie Allen at the time, I think she was behind me. But just that--here you are and you know, you can do anything. Which was something my mother had already instilled in us of course that there's no limit because you're African American or a woman or whatever. And in fact I remember when I went through that phase, Future Nurses of America, I'm gonna be a nurse. My mother said, "Well why don't you wanna be a doctor?" And I thought okay. But I, I, I didn't at the time. I mean to me it was a nurse. And she's like, "No, why don't you wanna be a doctor?" So our--I think our, our parents [Audrey Moseley Collins and Furman Brodie, Jr.] raised us to obviously you're gonna get educated, you're--and you can do whatever you want. You decide what to do.$How'd you like the job? I mean you're still do- doing it, so you must like it (unclear).$$ Yes. No it's, it's a wonderful job. Both being a trial, trial judge and then the time I was chief judge. The variety is one of the best things. I mean there's some negative things about the system that aren't working right now; we're not getting new judgeships. We haven't had any new judgeships since 1990 and look how our population in the Central District [Central District of California] has boomed since then. So our caseload has just sort of gone up exponentially. But the variety is fun because you get to do everything, unlike many courts that are divided into departments, which makes a lot of sense. You know you either do criminal or you do civil, you do probate, you do family law, you know you do long cause trials, you do juvenile. We do everything. I mean I get civil and criminal cases, all at the same time. I get motions in criminal and civil all at the same time. You might be doing a criminal trial, you might be doing a civil trial. And the variety of cases within the civil arena is breathtaking. From constitutional law to things that are removed from state courts. You get your Fair Labor Standards Act [Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938], as well as your state labor code violations. You can get many employment law discrimination cases under both federal and state law. Discrimination based on sex, age, gender, race. Your Americans with Disabilities Act [Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990]. And again a lot of these also have state law counterparts. You get a lot of Americans Disabilities Act. And then you just get cases that are removed from state court because the defendant is not a California corporation. So again, a lot of California labor code, wage and hour violations, you know I didn't get my overtime, I didn't get my rest period, breach of contract. Just regular old breach of contract. I have a huge one involving Boeing [The Boeing Company] and some international corporations over some big deal they tried to do, Sea Launch [Sea Launch Company, LLC; Energia Overseas, Ltd.]. They were gonna launch satellites into space and it failed and everybody's suing everybody else. It's breach of contract. But they're from all different places, so there's diversity. So I've got, I've got breach of contract. It, it's just amazing--like copyright and intellectual property. Copyright, trademark, patent, just a little bit of admiralty law, not much but you know, if, if it's admiralty law, it has to come here [U.S. District Court for the Central District of California]. A little bit of--occasionally like a railroad case under the railroad act has to come here. So you truly never know what you're gonna get. I mean after nineteen years, I still see new stuff where I look at--I go, "What is this? I've never seen this before."

Walter L. Gordon, Jr.

Civil rights attorney and photo collector Walter Gordon, Jr. was born on June 22, 1908, in the Ocean Park neighborhood in Santa Monica, California. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Gordon’s parents were well educated and served as community leaders. His father was a mail carrier in South Pasadena and worked for African American owned newspapers and publications including: "The Messenger," "The Negro World," "The Chicago Defender" and "The Crisis." As a youth, Gordon also helped to keep the African American community informed by delivering newspapers to homes and barbershops. He soon became a familiar face in Los Angeles and was recognized by many of its elite crowd.

Gordon attended University of Southern California (USC) Preparatory School where he graduated and went on to enroll at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating with his degree, he earned his J.D. degree. In 1936, at a time when the Los Angeles legal system was plagued with segregation, Gordon became one of the city’s first attorneys when he established his law practice in the same facility as one of Los Angeles’s oldest African American publications, "The California Eagle." As a neighbor of the publication, he also began collecting photographs given to him by the newspaper’s editor. During the next few decades, his legal practice became a prominent and vital institution in Los Angeles’s downtown and Central Avenue District. He represented a wide assortment of public servants, athletes and entertainers.

In the mid-1940s, when the Los Angeles Police Department began targeting African American night club owners for operating during late night hours without a special permit, Gordon successfully persuaded the court to allow various African American night club owners a special permit to operate. Then, in 1947, he successfully represented a former Hollywood cameraman and owner of Shepp’s Playground, Gordon Sheppard, in an entrapment case. Gordon also represented legendary jazz vocalist, Billie Holliday, in a case in which she allegedly slashed a heckler with a knife after he interrupted her performance of “Strange Fruit.”

Gordon has kept a special collection of memorable African American photographs throughout his career. His collection includes valuable photographs of the Langston Law Club, composer Count Basie, musician Louis Armstrong and the black resort Val Verde. In 2003, he was awarded the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and in 2004, he retired after more than sixty years of practicing law. Gordon's photo collection is housed and made available for scholarly and public access through the Edward L. Doheny, Jr. Memorial Library's Digital Collection, at the University of Southern California.

Walter Gordon passed away on April 16, 2012 at the age of 103.

Walter L. Gordon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 3, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.071

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/3/2008

Last Name

Gordon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

University of Southern California

The Ohio State University

Huntington Drive Elementary School

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Ocean Park (Santa Monica)

HM ID

GOR02

Favorite Season

June, July

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Racetrack

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/22/1908

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions, Steak, Ice Cream

Death Date

4/16/2012

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Walter L. Gordon, Jr. (1908 - 2012 ) practiced law for over sixty years in Los Angeles, where he represented a wide assortment of public servants, athletes and entertainers, including Billie Holliday. He also has an extensive photo collection of notable African Americans including Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

Employment

Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:21860,265:45008,568:98660,1036:99100,1041:99980,1133:136389,1466:146905,1694:147430,1700:154598,1765:162470,1943:170914,2021:171306,2026:176794,2109:219460,2467$0,0:22156,168:58680,545:87280,747:98930,825:101210,852:101780,858:102806,866:118330,1007:131563,1104:133381,1135:134189,1144:136180,1149:150959,1309:154062,1344:154704,1351:164910,1444:165694,1452:174434,1519:174850,1524:178178,1570:190290,1693:190746,1698:194740,1718:195950,1730:196555,1736:208245,1858:222083,1958:223292,1992:231356,2011:235724,2050:247059,2148:247431,2153:247803,2158:254499,2279:254964,2285:259056,2341:288700,2740
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter L. Gordon, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's career, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's career, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's social activism

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls graduating from Rose Hill Elementary School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the Rose Hill Park community in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers his childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his interest in athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his high school education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers being hired at a bowling alley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers finding buried money

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls the racial discrimination in California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Thomas W. Myles, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Thomas W. Myles, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls the University of Southern California Preparatory School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Madeline Johnson, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Madeleine Johnson, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls experiencing racial discrimination at the YMCA

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers his decision to return to California

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls experiencing racial discrimination at the YMCA
Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's social activism
Transcript
So, now I'm like a rooster then walking around in Boston [Massachusetts]. I want to see everything, and the main street in Boston was--for transit trade, was Tremont [Street]. And it was raining weather and on the streetcars as you, you see, the, the guys coming from work hanging on the, the, the--that was wartime. That's--because I'm thinking about how the guys were hanging on the outside on these cars going down Tremont Street or Massachusetts Avenue, could be Massachusetts Avenue. But, they had--there was a women's clubhouse on Massachusetts Avenue that, that everybody, all the women, school women, visited on Sunday. They had meetings just like the forum [Los Angeles Forum] here. So, the number--they didn't call it by the street number, they said, "556," and they wouldn't say women's clubhouse, say, "We're going to 556." So, I got a job, but I must tell you first that--yeah, after going down there, I ran into a lot of guys (unclear) boys and then we got in a debate and they all knew I was from California. And then they asked me where I was stopping. I told them YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association]. They bucked their eyes at me and as if to say, he's lying. He--he's lying. And they said--they ended up saying, "Can you take us over there? We, we, we want to see your room."$$Because they didn't believe you?$$No. So, I, not knowing what it was all about said, "Sure." So, we all went over to the YMCA. I went to the room and after the, the boys had left, they all expressed amazement, the man told me, "I'm sorry, Mr. Gordon [HistoryMaker Walter L. Gordon, Jr.], we did not know you were black and you have to leave." We have to--and they, they got in touch with a young woman whose husband was a doctor. He went to Tufts University [Tufts College; Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts]. And, do you know anything about Boston?$$Yes, sir, I do.$$He went to Tufts. His name was Malcolm Proctor, Proctor [ph.]. By the way that's the first time I have been able to remember that number. I--when you get a certain scene--but I've never been able to remember his number. So, Proctor called his home and he told me--he offered me--they offered me to stop at a doctor's home, Dr. T.E.A. McCurley [ph.]. He's West Indian and he, he let me have a room in his house and I got a job, and doctor--and then Dr. McCurley--oh, my mother [Vertner Lewis Gordon] got in touch with Dr. McCurley. They became great friends for years.$My mother [Vertner Lewis Gordon]--I was telling you about how very, very dedicated she was to young people. She had been pushed and aided and studied and more or less respected in New Orleans [Louisiana]. And she was not a star in looks but she was a beautiful woman, but you could see she wasn't aiming to impress people with looks. She was plain, plain without being decorated. And so my mother--the various students who looked and showed promise here in Los Angeles [California], she would learn who they were. They knew who she was and they would all come to her. Everyone needed aid then. People didn't have money. And, to give you an example, just a single example was that in the matter of acquiring a home, blacks could only own a home on or near one block of Central Avenue. I might have made an error here slightly, but by that, you could only go over about to San Pedro Street in Los Angeles from Central Avenue. Central Avenue was the key. Now you got--if you moved and bought a home more than two or three blocks west of Central Avenue, you could--not allowed to live in it. You could buy the home and the big decision that blacks began to applaud was the fact where at least we can buy that property. Previously, they were enforcing where you couldn't even buy. So, that was a big decision. And then--so, San Pedro Street north and now it would be one block, two or three blocks from Central Avenue west. And then Alameda Street was one or two, three blocks east. So, you were limited to that territory and the people were squeezing in to that small county and those small streets and the houses became tumbling down and unrepairable, and some of them had to be torn down, and that made this a very tight territory where you couldn't get a good looking home. Now, as the people crowded in the town and would have to be forced into this cubbyhole, sentiment passed along in conversation and blacks became very disturbed by the situation. So, what happened was that organizations started, started being inaugurated and initiated and the youngsters would learn about your, your mother, my mother, and the older adults that were concerned so I'd come in my dad's [Walter L. Gordon, Sr.] office on Central Avenue real estate, small office, not one of these great big pretentious offices, but we had--his desk was shiny and varnished and the property was kept up. And my dad had this innate ability to make a place look like something. And I would come there at noontime to maybe have an early class and get out early--$$Well, what year (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) and it would be--$$What year, Mr. Gordon [HistoryMaker Walter L. Gordon, Jr.], would this have been?$$This would be about 1928, '29 [1929].