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Brenda Wood

Broadcast journalist Brenda Blackmon Wood was born on September 8, 1955 in Washington, D.C. to Welvin Bray and Bernice Blackmon. Wood graduated from Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland in 1973. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in speech communication and mass media from Loma Linda University in Southern California in 1977.

Upon graduation in 1977, Wood was hired as a news reporter for WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1978, she left that market for a brief time to serve as a general assignment reporter at WSM-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. One year later, Wood returned to WAAY-TV as the evening news anchor. In 1980, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent eight years as the evening weekday news anchor for WMC-TV. In 1988, Wood was hired as the evening news anchor and reporter at Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV, where she also hosted the Emmy award-winning news magazine show, Minute by Minute. She then joined WXIA-TV in Atlanta in 1997, where she anchors the 6pm and 11pm weekday newscasts, as well as her signature newscast, The Daily 11 at 7 with Brenda Wood. Wood was also co-producer and host of WXIA-TV’s Emmy award-winning prime time show, Journeys with Brenda Wood, which has received the National Association of Black Journalists’ 1998 award for Community Affairs Programming.

Throughout her career Wood has received numerous honors and awards, including eighteen Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Southeast Region; six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); and three awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB). In 2013 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year by the Governor's Office of the Georgia Women's Commission, and received the Legacy Award from the Atlanta Business League. Wood has also been named Who's Who in Atlanta; awarded the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor," and named "Best Local News Anchor" by Atlanta Magazine in 1998. Wood has also received an award from the Georgia Chapter of Women in Communication, the Gabriel Award of Merit from the National Association of Catholic Churches, and a journalism award from the Georgia Psychological Association, as well as several awards and honors from local civic and community organizations.

Wood is a member of the NATAS, the NABJ, the AABJ, the Atlanta Press Club, and Women in Film. She serves on the boards of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theater Company and Chayil, Inc., a nonprofit that helps domestic abuse victims. In addition, Wood serves on several local advisory boards in the Atlanta area.

Wood lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has two daughters, Kristen and Kandis.

Brenda Wood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.072

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2014

Last Name

Wood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Blackmon

Schools

Takoma Academy

Loma Linda University

Oakwood Adventist Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WOO11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/8/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Brenda Wood (1955 - ) has worked as a reporter and news anchor for Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV and WXIA-TV for over thirty-four years. She has received eighteen Emmy awards, six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, and the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor."

Employment

WAAY TV, Huntsville

WSM TV, Nashville

WMC TV, Memphis

WAGA-TV (Television Station: Atlanta,Ga.)

WXIA-TV, Atlanta

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Wood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks about her biological mother and her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her adoptive parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes the history of musicianship in her maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive father's family background and talks about his career as a musician

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood describes growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood explains why her adoptive father, Henry Blackmon, immigrated to the Netherlands

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her upbringing as a Seventh Day Adventist and attending Seventh Day Adventist schools throughout her education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about her experiences at Woodson Junior High School and the Dupont Park Church Seventh Day Adventist School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood remembers taking piano lessons from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's friendship with singer and actress Joyce Bryant

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's relationship with singer Roberta Flack

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Wood talks about wanting to be a Broadway performer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Brenda Wood remembers the riots in Washington, D.C. in 1968 after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Brenda Wood describes the racial demographics of the student body at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood describes how she became interested in speech and communications

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood talks about deciding to attend Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks briefly about the Loma Linda University Medical Center's legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about transferring to Loma Linda University and wanting to become an investigative filmmaker

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about joining WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama in 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood explains why she chose not to leave Huntsville, Alabama for Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood talks about receiving an offer to join WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her marriage in 1978

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.
Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama
Transcript
So, now, did you pay--considering what you're doing today, did you pay special attention to news people on television?$$No, not really. I do remember, I was--I remember when JC Hayward and Max Robinson arrived at Channel 9 in Washington [D.C.] and loved them, probably, I guess, because I don't know this to be a fact, but we watched Channel 9 all the time. And they were the first blacks that I saw on TV giving the news. So, my mom [Alma Montgomery Blackmon] was very, very proud of that. She loved Max Robinson, you know. They were always in--so I watched them growing up. I can't say, though, that I, you know, that was not--I didn't look--I don't know. You know, I, I admired them greatly, but I don't really recall thinking one day I want to be JC Hayward, you know what I'm saying? Don't--it wasn't that. But I did watch them all the time.$$Okay, so you were keenly aware of them, but you weren't--$$Absolutely.$$--you didn't see them as future, you know--$$No, you know, at the time, I wanted to be a Broadway singer, or you know opera singer. That's kind of where my head was 'cause that's, that'a what I was hearing all the time.$I was--by this time I was engaged. My fiance was slated to graduate in December, and then we were gonna get married. And then I was gonna start the master's fellowship there in Ohio [at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio]. He was gonna do his residency there. So between June of graduation from undergrad and December I had this free time. So I applied for a job somewhere in Huntsville [Alabama]. And I, you know, I had done a little bit of radio in college at the college radio station, and I had done some internships--$$I was gonna ask you if they had a station there?$$Yeah, they did. It was all automated, so, yeah, I didn't do very much but punch buttons. And I had done some internships in Los Angeles [California] with a couple of independent film companies. So I had a small resume. I'd sent it back home to then Huntsville. And I just, you know, sent it everywhere to radio, TV, newspapers, just, you know, I just needed something to do. And I wanted to do something in communications. And--$$Now, this is in the space between Loma Linda [University, Loma Linda, California] and Ohio State?$$Correct.$$Would have been Ohio State.$$Right, so I sent out my resume like in April. I knew I was gonna be graduating in June, so I had put together a little resume and sent it out before graduation. I got an inquiry before graduation from a couple of newspapers, little local newspapers, couple of radio stations that were interested, and a television station. And my first week back home from, after graduation, I only went to the TV station for the interview, not smart, you know. It's like, "Oh, I don't wanna work at a newspaper. And I don't wanna work at a radio station." I wanted to--and the reason why I wanted to do the TV was because they shot film. And this is 1977. So they're still shooting film. So in my little brain, I'm thinking, well, I wanna do film, and they do film. So I'll (laughter) do film. So I went, I accepted the, the invitation to come and do an interview at the television station there.$$Okay, so you saw yourself as behind the cameras kind of--$$Yeah, yeah, right, but they--and they were, I knew they were looking for a reporter. And I had taken one journalism class. So, you know, I wasn't so much interested--what drew me to the TV station wasn't that I wanted to be a reporter or let me see what reporting is like? It was, I, you know, I don't know. I knew nothing. So, you know, it was like, they shoot film, and I wanna do film. So I'll go to the television station and apply to be a reporter. And it doesn't really connect. But that's what I did. And Adrian Gibson was the news director at the time, and he interviewed me, and I said, really all the wrong things, thinking back on it. You know, I said, I don't wanna be, I'm not interested in being a reporter. You know, have you ever done any reporting? No, taken, you know, have you taken classes? Just one. Yeah, well, what do you see in your future? Well, I wanna be a filmmaker. Do you wanna be a reporter? "No, not really. And by the way, I'm leaving in six months 'cause I'm going to Ohio State to get my master's in filmmaking. And then I'll be gone. Oh, and on top of that, I don't work on Friday nights or Saturdays 'cause I'm Seventh Day Adventist." And this man hired me (laughter). I don't know why. I did a, they put me in front of the camera on the news set in the studio and asked, you know, just said, talk, you know, just talk to the camera. And I did, and I don't even know what I said.$$This is your first time talking, I mean being the talent on a television program.$$(No audible response) 'Cause, you know, we didn't have the--different from today. At, at--neither at Oakwood [College, Huntsville, Alabama] nor at Loma Linda did they have a studio set up, you know, did they have a, you know, a little news operation. They had none of that where I was, none of that. So it really was the first time I'd been in a studio, the first time I'd talked in front of a camera or any of that.$$Okay. So did they build your work around your religion and other--$$Yeah, they did. They gave me a Sunday through Thursday schedule. Fortunately, because they're in Huntsville, they knew of Oakwood's existence. They knew of the Seventh Day Adventist College. So they--and the woman that I was replacing who was also a black female, ironically, left to go to Ohio State University to work on her master's degree. Isn't that just funny how life works. So, you know, and because it was the '70's [1970s], and I filled two quotas, I was black and female, you know, I would, I was, you know, I was a twofer. So they wanted to hire--they had a slot for (laughter) a twofer. They were losing one, a black female. And so they get to hire one. So that probably was more of the motivating factor than anything else (laughter) in hiring me. I was there (laughter). I was a warm body (laughter).$$Now, well, you had the credentials which some, it was like a driver's license in some ways. You have a degree in communications.$$Yeah.$$So they can say, they can justify your hiring by pointing to these degrees.$$Right. It wasn't a degree in journalism.$$I mean in communications.$$That would have been helpful. Well, yeah, it was in communications. You said it right. You know, it was very broad, very generic, yeah.$$All right.$$But I filled the bill.$$Okay, okay, and ever--anyone ever told you that you looked like a television talent?$$No.$$Really, up to that point?$$Oh, no. No, as a matter--$$Interesting.$$--of fact, when I was in college, people would say to me, you know, "What's your major?" "Communications." "Oh, what's that?" You know, that--it's the '70s [1970s]. It was a new major. "What's that?" And my standard answer in explaining what that was, you know, "Well, you know, I wanna go into filmmaking." "Huh?" And then my retort would be, "Well, anything but news."

Condace Pressley

Journalist Condace Pressley was born in 1964 in Marietta, Georgia. She graduated from Marietta High School in 1982, where she was a columnist for her high school paper and co-editor of the school’s year book. She then went on to attend the University of Georgia and served as the news director of the college’s radio station before graduating magna cum laude with her B.A. degree in journalism in 1986.

Pressley was first hired at Cox as a reporter/anchor in 1986. She worked her way up, and in 1999, became the assistant program director and worked on radio stations AM750 and NOW95.5FM News/Talk WSB. In 1992, she was promoted to Cox’s general manager; and in 2012, became the general manager for WSB-AM. Pressley hosts her own show, Perspectives , where she interviews celebrities, authors, news makers and community leaders. She also contributes news reports to Atlanta's Morning News with Scott Slade and the Sean Hannity Show .

Pressley has been recognized numerous times for the quality of her journalism. In 1990 and 1991, she was named Radio News Woman of the Year Atlanta by the American Women in Radio and Television; and in 1990, she was also named Radio News Woman of the Year Atlanta by the American Women in Radio and Television. Pressley was elected president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists in 1993. In 2001, she was elected president of the National Association of Black Journalists, and became director of the Radio Television News Directors Association. Pressley was honored at the 2010, YWCA Tribute to Women Leaders, and named a Pioneer Journalist by the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists in 2012. Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin named July 11, 2012, Condace Pressley Day.

Pressley has been published in the Nieman Reports , the Federal Communications Law Journal , and The Atlanta Daily Journal , and has served as a featured as a guest on CNN and C-SPAN .

Condace Pressley was interviewed by The History Makers on February 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.049

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/19/2014

Last Name

Pressley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Levica

Schools

St Joseph Catholic School

Marietta High School

University of Georgia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Condace

Birth City, State, Country

Marietta

HM ID

PRE05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida Panhandle

Favorite Quote

It Doesn't Matter Who Gets the Credit as Long as You Get the Job Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/10/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Condace Pressley (1964 - ) is the assistant program manager for Cox Media Group in Atlanta, hosts the radio program Perspectives, and was previously the president of the National Association of Black Journalists and the director of the Radio Television News Directors Association.

Employment

Cox Media Group Atlanta

WSB Radio

Georgia Radio News Atlanta

WRFC Radio, Athens

WNGC/WGAU Radio

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Condace Pressley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's upbringing, education, and nursing career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley describes her mother's career as a nurse at Kennestone Hospital and at the Lockheed Corporation in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recounts her mother's experiences during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about her father's career as a shopkeeper for the Lockheed Corporation and the Ford Motor Company in Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley recounts how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes her parents and her brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her childhood homes in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls her childhood neighborhood in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about her grade school years at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and her mother's mentor

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley describes her transition to Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Condace Pressley talks about her experience at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes changes in Georgia during the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes working on the yearbook staff at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley describes working on the yearbook staff at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley recounts her decision to attend the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley describes her teachers and her first radio journalism jobs while at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about athletes at the University of Georgia and Marietta High School, like Herschel Walker, Dominique Wilkins, and Dale Ellis

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes HistoryMakers Monica Kaufman and Jocelyn Dorsey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about her A.B.J. degree and her extracurricular involvement at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley talks about extracurricular activities at the University of Georgia in Athens

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley describes interning and working at the Georgia Radio News Service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley recounts how she was hired at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia while working at the Georgia Radio News Service

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes working at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia with Skinny Bobby Harper

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley describes covering politics on WSB Radio in Atlanta and meeting four U.S. presidents

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls working with Atlanta, Georgia mayor Maynard Jackson while president of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley recalls interesting local stories she covered at WSB Radio in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley describes becoming president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and hosting the first UNITY conference in 1994

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley talks about covering politics during the 1994 election of Atlanta, Georgia mayor Bill Campbell

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes interviewing civil rights leaders including Coretta Scott King and HistoryMakers John Lewis and Andrew Young

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley recalls the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about professional boxer Evander Holyfield

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley explains her journalistic philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley talks about her radio program, 'Perspectives,' on WSB in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley recalls the 1994 and 2000 Super Bowl games in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley reflects on the major events in Atlanta, Georgia since the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley remembers the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley remembers the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Condace Pressley recounts her term as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 2001 to 2003.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley reflects upon African American representation among news directors

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley talks about challenges facing African American news directors

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley explains how broadcast news programming has changed since the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley reflects upon how the cable news networks like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC have affected the American news market

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley reflects upon how African American political views are represented in cable and broadcast news

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley explains why conservative voices dominate the talk radio format

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Condace Pressley talks about news and en Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Condace Pressley talks about her civic involvement and about HistoryMaker Xernona Clayton

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Condace Pressley reflects upon her future plans and what she would do differently

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley describes attending the 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugurations of HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Condace Pressley talks about Antoinette Tuff, who convinced a gunman to surrender at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Condace Pressley talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Condace Pressley describes her family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Condace Pressley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Condace Pressley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Condace Pressley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Condace Pressley describes covering politics on WSB Radio in Atlanta and meeting four U.S. presidents
Condace Pressley reflects upon how African American political views are represented in cable and broadcast news
Transcript
I remember February 17, 1991, when the air war started [Gulf War], that was the moment at which our program director morphed our station [WSB Radio, Atlanta, Georgia] from being a full-service radio station into a news talk radio station. We went to all news in the morning, talk throughout the day, news--heavy news presence in the afternoon. And that has evolved in the twenty-plus years since.$$Okay. Okay. So. So you became the morning show producer in '87 [1987], is that?$$Yes. Yes.$$Okay. All right. And this is [Skinny] Bobby Harper is on in the morning?$$Yes. He was with us until--Bobby left--Bobby and Kathy [Fishman] left--they left in '91 [1991], 'cause I remember that I was here. The [Atlanta] Braves went worst to first. I got to cover the World Series that year. That was a lot of fun. And then, as I say, when the Gulf War started, me at the radio--the one thing that is certain about working in radio is the uncertainty of working in radio. And so the program director then, they blew up the radio station, and Bobby and Kathy left. And we put on--we pull our guy out of the helicopter, the traffic reporter, and made him the host of our morning show. His name is Scott Slade, and he's still hosting our morning show today. But, yes. I went from being a nighttime anchor to being a producer and a reporter, a morning reporter, and then I was the news assignment editor, and then I was the assistant news director--the assistant program director, and now the manager of programming operations and community affairs.$$Wow. So you covered the Democratic National Convention [DNC] in '88 [1988]?$$Yes, I did.$$Here in Atlanta? Yeah.$$Yes. I think I've covered every political convention since '88 [1988].$$Yeah. [HM Reverend] Jesse [L.] Jackson was a big feature in that.$$And that was that eternally-long Bill Clinton speech. Yes. (laughs).$$Okay.$$Well, yeah. Jesse was here for that one as well.$$And Michael Dukakis (simultaneous)--$$Yes.$$--was the nominee of the Democratic Party.$$Yes. He was. He was--that was--I actually have--I've had great--covering politics, I've great experience covering politics and presidents. I covered the DNC in '88 [1988], and I've covered the DNC and the RNC [Republican National Convention] since. We used to do what we call ascertainment interviews. And we would invite in community leaders when--before deregulation of the industry. And we would sit in the big boardroom and have lunch and discuss issues of community interest. And once President [Jimmy] Carter came, and I had to sit next--in the big boardroom in our old building, I sat next to Jimmy Carter, and we had lunch, and we talked, and he was the nice--he is the nicest man. He is a true WYSIWYG, "what you see is what you get." And I remember asking him, I was like, you know, what was, as he looked back on his presidency, you know, what was the thing that's really troubled him the most. And he talked to me about, you know, staying up at night during the Iran Contra hype--hostage situation [Iran Hostage Crisis 1979 - 1981] and not being able to resolve that, because, you know, it was his failure to resolve that, the hostage crises that led to [Ronald] Reagan's election, and what happened after that. But I got to cover Reagan. That was back in the day when the White House would do regional media visits. And this was very early in my career, and it was in the early term of the Reagan presidency. And they would invite regional media to come up and participate in a White House news conference. And I knew that President Reagan's favorite color was red, because Helen Thomas would always be sitting on the front row with her red suit, and I got to go and I put on my red suit and got to stand up and go, "Mr. President, Mr. President." And it was--$$So you did your homework.$$I did. I did my homework. And the only thing was I still messed up though, because there was another regional reporter there who managed to get President Reagan to say, "You know, when I am in Nashville [Tennessee], I listen to W dot dot dot." And she got it, she fed it down the line, and the radio station in Nashville turned it into a promo on a company hour I.D., and they said, "Why didn't you get him to do that? 'Cause he's not supposed to do that." And they got--it ran, maybe, three or four hours before--of course, they got a cease and desist from the White House that says the President doesn't do promos. So, but I did. I got to ask--I asked Reagan a question. I was--actually rode in a presidential motorcade. I was pool reporter when Bush Forty-One [George H.W. Bush] came to Atlanta for the first observation of the [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] federal holiday. And we went out. We met Air Force One up at Dobbins [Air Reserve Base]. I've never driven that fast, and there's never been as little traffic on the Atlanta interstates as when there's a presidential motorcade riding through the city; and did that; came to the King Center, met Bill Clinton through my work with the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists]. And really, the only president I haven't either interviewed or met is [HM] President [Barack] Obama. But I think I've got a few more years to perhaps make that happen.$Is there any--what program today do you think comes closer to representing the interests of the African American community?$$(Pause). I think to the extent that there are those who want to put the African American community in one box, there probably is not one program. Because in 2014, I don't think that the color is necessarily black or white, or brown or white. The color is, and for many years now, has always been green. So you are going to have your church-going conservative African-Americans who are going to gravitate to the likes of a Herman Cain and other personalities on the Fox News Channel. Then you are going to have more progressive African-Americans who are going to gravitate to the message of [HM] the Reverend Jesse Jackson or [HM] Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC. And then you're going to have, yet, another group of African Americans who believe that I can make an opinion on my own; I don't need to have your opinion to tell me what to think. And they're gonna read and choose CNN and do some of those other things and just gather the information and make decisions for themselves. We got a lot of great black journalists out there, and many of them are my friends. I love [HM] Roland Martin and what he's doing over at TV One. I love [HM] Tavis Smiley. He's a terrific interviewer. I love what he's doing over at PBS. But, again, even in that arena they still each bring a certain point of view and a certain amount of their personality to the journalism that they do in order to attract, again, a very well-researched audience.$$Okay.$$It's very niche now, I think it is.$$Yeah. I'm going to raise a contradiction here. This is something that--I think that the only place where you see a balance of black conservatives and black liberals is on television, 'cause you don't see it in real life. You don't see half black people conservative and half progressive or--you know, you just don't see that in real life. Even conservative black church-goers tend to not be really supporters of the conservatives--you know, of the conservative mindset, even though they have Herman Cain or (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Maybe on some issues. Not on all of the issues, but certainly on some issues. I can see that.$$Yeah. It seems like the media has more of them gathered than they, you know, represent--than are represented in terms of votes and that sort of thing in the real world. But, would you (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, well, there's a reason why President Obama [HM President Barack Obama] has a 89 to a 90 percent approval rating among African Americans. I mean, clearly, African Americans are--you know, I don't want to say that we--I don't think we as a people, you know, vote in the lockstep. I think there is certainly a certain significance, the fact that, that he's the President of the United States, that he--a reelected President of the United States for a second term, which means the first term was not an accident as some people perhaps would like to say. But I think to the extent that some people might suggest, especially people who are not black, that all black people think alike. I think that's definitely not true.

Ernie Suggs

Journalist Ernie Suggs was born in 1967 in Brooklyn, New York. He entered into college at North Carolina Central University in 1985, where he was editor and chief and sports editor for the college’s award winning newspaper, The Campus Echo , and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He graduated in 1990, with his B.A. degree in English Literature.

In 1990, Suggs was awarded an internship by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) to work for Gannett Newspapers based in White Plains, New York. He returned to Durham, North Carolina in 1992, as a writer for The Herald-Sun . In 1996, Suggs was awarded a fellowship from the Education Writers Association, which culminated in his seventeen piece series Fighting to Survive: Historically Black Colleges and Universities Face the 21st Century . He went on to become a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1997, where he covered politics, civil rights and race. In 2001, Suggs authored the Aetna African American History Calendar, which was focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Suggs’ series on HBCUs was the most in-depth newspaper examination of the topic ever undertaken, and was recognized for many awards: Journalist of the Year from the American Association of University Professors; First Place, Salute to Excellence Journalism Award for Investigative Reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists; Journalist of the Year from the North Carolina Black Publishers Association; Journalist of the Year from the North Carolina Press Association; and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 2002, he was named director of Region IV of the NABJ, and became vice-president of the organization in 2005. Suggs was chosen for the prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 2008, and in 2009, he joined the Nieman Foundation’s board. In 2010, he was the keynote speaker at 61st Annual Honors Convocation at North Carolina Central University; and he was given the Pioneer Black Journalist Award by NABJ in 2013.

Ernie Suggs was interviewed by The History Makers on February 18, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.073

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/18/2014

Last Name

Suggs

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Terrell

Occupation
Schools

PS 241 Emma L Johnston School

J W Parker Middle School

G R Edwards Middle School

Rocky Mount High School

North Carolina Central University

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ernie

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

SUG02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Be The Best You Can Be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/18/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Journalist Ernie Suggs (1967 - ) is a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the former vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists, and author of the award-winning series Fighting to Survive: Historically Black Colleges and Universities Face the 21st Century.

Employment

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Durham Herald-Sun

Gannet Westchester Newspapers

Favorite Color

Gold

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernie Suggs' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs talks about his maternal grandmother's education at an all-black boarding school in Whitakers, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs describes the people who raised his mother: his maternal grandfather, his great aunt Clarene, and Alice Wells

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs describes his mother's childhood in Edgecombe County, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernie Suggs talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernie Suggs describes his parents' relationship and his similarity to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs talks about being reunited with his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs describes his sister's disappearance

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs talks about his sister and her upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs reflects upon his childhood neighborhood and his early academic ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs talks about growing up in Brooklyn, New York during the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs talks about his early interest in the news and attending P.S. 241 in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernie Suggs talks about his favorite teachers and his favorite subjects in elementary school at P.S. 241 in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs describes his interest in comic books and the Marvel Universe

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs explains his mother's decision to move to North Carolina in 1979

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs talks about the early New York City hip hop scene

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs talks about his school experiences in North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs talks about taking college prep courses at Rocky Mount High School in Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs explains the social relations at Rocky Mount High School in Rocky Mount, North Carolina during the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ernie Suggs describes his college application process

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ernie Suggs recalls his decision to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ernie Suggs describes HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs talks about his mentors at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs talks about writing for the Rocky Mount Telegram and the Campus Echo, the student newspaper at North Carolina Central University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs explains his English literature major at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs talks about his National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) internship at Gannett Westchester Newspapers

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs talks about graduating from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and his post-college job plans

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs describes working for Gannett Westchester Newspapers in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs explains his responsibilities as a journalist for the Herald Sun in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ernie Suggs recalls the stories he covered as a reporter for the Herald Sun in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ernie Suggs talks about reporting on historically black colleges and universities in the late 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ernie Suggs explains the challenges facing historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs talks about the future of historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs talks about his award-winning series on historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs talks about volunteering at and reporting on the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs talks about North Carolina Central University's sports programs

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs talks about joining the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a staff journalist in 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs talks about his membership in the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs talks about stories and individuals he reported on for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ernie Suggs describes the movie industry in Atlanta, Georgia and the opportunities the city offers

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ernie Suggs talks about Georgia state and Atlanta city politics in the early 21st century

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ernie Suggs talks about Martin Luther King, III's presidency of the SCLC and the organization's activism in the early 21st century

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ernie Suggs talks about how Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy has impacted his children

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ernie Suggs talks about the controversies surrounding the Martin Luther King, Jr. family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ernie Suggs talks about the legal battles waged by the children of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ernie Suggs talks about the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. and their control over his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ernie Suggs describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ernie Suggs recalls his time at Harvard University as a Nieman Journalism Fellow in 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ernie Suggs talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ernie Suggs reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$8

DATitle
Ernie Suggs talks about his early interest in the news and attending P.S. 241 in Brooklyn, New York
Ernie Suggs talks about stories and individuals he reported on for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Transcript
Back to the newspapers though, you would--why would you be so desperate to get a newspaper?$$I liked to know what was going on so I would--you know, back in those days and I'm sure it's still now they had the newsstands where the newspapers would just basically be out and I would just walk by and pick one up and just keep walking (laughter). So that was my--that was the existence of my life of crime. So I would steal the [New York] Post, the [New York] Daily News, the New York Times to just kind of read what was going on. I enjoyed--I think I was able to understand the Post and the Daily News a little better because it was about New York, and it always had those spectacular headlines. The New York Times is a little bit high-brow for a preteen. But yeah I would just read it, pick it up and take it to the house, let somebody else read it but you know that was one of things I would do, steal newspapers.$$So there wasn't a particular part, I know you were a sports writer at one point in high school.$$No, it wasn't anything--$$It wasn't because of the sports necessarily.$$No, I would read everything. I would read what was going on in the city, you know, the blackout.$$The blackout was yeah go head.$$The '70s [1970s] there was so much stuff going on in New York City with the blackouts with the bankruptcy, the Bella Abzug and [Mayor] Ed Koch. For me it was a very exciting time. There was always stuff happening. So I would want to know what was going on. I would want to know what was actually going on in the city in terms of murders, the [New York] Yankees of course, TV shows. I loved watching television so reading was probably an extension of that. So yeah I wanted to read everything. I wanted to know what was going on particularly in the city.$$Okay.$$So I imagine I stole the Post and the Daily News more than the Times.$$Did you have any favorite writers in the newspaper?$$No it wasn't any--it was just like what's going on in the news today. I would just go by and snatch it and just keep walking and that was it (laughter).$$Okay.$$I wasn't trying to go see what Bill Madden wrote or anything.$$So at P.S. 241 [Emma L. Johnston School, Brooklyn, New York] you're in a gifted program and like who's in school with you? Is it mostly African American or is it mixed?$$It's mostly African Americans. It's a Brooklyn neighborhood so it's mostly African American but it was--it had a good deal of diversity as well particularly in the gifted program.$$Okay.$$So, yeah as I said the diversity was there. I mean, I learned a lot about diversity in New York in, at P.S. 241 in terms of different cultures, languages, different types of people.$I know you said James Mallory was here already at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution but what else attracted you to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution?$$Atlanta [Georgia], you know Atlanta at that time was the black mecca, so to speak, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. It was only five hours away from North Carolina--my home in North Carolina so I can drive quickly. I had a lot of friends who were moving here and people were always just talking about Atlanta as this place that people were coming to that you can make a lot of money. There was a big music scene that was coming about that was kind of changing. Atlanta was becoming a focus of that. Not that I was a music person but Atlanta was becoming the focus of a lot of things and it was a place that--it was a big city and you know as I said, you always want to go to a bigger city when you work for a newspaper. So Atlanta was at the top of my list. It was always at the top of the list and you know New York [City], of course, going back to New York to work in the city. But Atlanta was a reasonable place that was close and it was kind of southern and I had kind of gotten used to the whole southern thing living in North Carolina so this was the place where I wanted to come.$$Okay what were some of the notable stories that you've been involved in with your writing here in Atlanta?$$Well I've been here since 1997 as you said so that's about seventeen years so I've covered everything. I came here as a night cops reporter. So my first job--it's weird because after covering all this great stuff in Durham where you're kind of the big fish in the little pond, you become the little fish here. So my first job for the first six months was night cops. So I would come in every day at 3:00 and work until 12:00 until after the news went off covering cops. Shootings, accidents, traffic jams just you know you name it, I did it. So I did that for about six months then I moved on to education, covered higher education and then K-12. So I've basically covered everything at this paper that you can cover. I've covered cops, education, I've done some sports, I've done some features. I've done crime, of course, but the thing that I cover that's kind of always been an overriding theme of all my coverage has been race. I've covered government politics, elections but race has always been kind of the main area that I've become--that I've become an expert in, that a lot of my coverage always kind of goes back to. So if I'm covering government or if I'm covering politics and something racial happens or there is a racial or an event that happens or some situation that involves race, I'm usually the guy that gets pulled in to cover that because of my expertise and because of my interest in it. So with Atlanta being the home of the Civil Rights Movement because of the people who live here. So I've covered [HM] Joseph Lowery and [HM] C.T. Vivian and Hosea Williams and [HM] Andrew Young and [HM] Fred Shuttlesworth and you know, [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.], his life and legacy hovers over all of that. So I've covered everything about the King legacy since day one. Since I've gotten here that's kind of been what I've been in charge of doing. So I'm that guy who covers all of that and it's been great 'cause these are the kind of people when you talk about the history, I've always had a keen interest in history, these are the kind of people I read about growing up. These are the people that I--and to be able to meet Coretta Scott King and [Andrew] Andy Young and Joseph Lowery--Joseph Lowery performed my wedding. So these are the kind of people that I've read about who I kind of consider the second founding fathers of the country that I'm covering now on a regular basis who call me every now--it's funny we talked about [HM Reverend] Jesse [L.] Jackson and my first kind of experience watching his campaign. You know, Jesse Jackson has my cell phone number and I--sometimes I look on my phone and I see, oh man Jesse's calling and I don't have time to talk to him right now (laughter). You know what I'm saying so it's kind of weird that you know, this guy that you grew up idolizing now becomes kind of a peer or someone that you kind of can, you know, feel comfortable talking to and kind of reaching out to and, and associating yourself with.

Trymaine Lee

Journalist Trymaine Lee was born on September 20, 1978. He was raised in Chesilhurst, New Jersey, and graduated from Milton S. Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Lee briefly attended Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania before transferring to Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey, where he received his A.A. degree in communications in 2000. Lee went on to attend Rowan University, where he was a staff writer for the school’s newspaper, The Whit. In 2003, he graduated from Rowan University with his B.A. degree in journalism/communications.

Upon graduation, Lee was hired as an intern for the Philadelphia Daily News. He went on to work as a police and crime reporter at the Philadelphia Tribune and Trenton, New Jersey’s The Trentonian. In 2005, Lee was hired as a reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he covered Hurricane Katrina and was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for his coverage of the storm’s aftermath. From 2006 to 2010, Lee served as a staff reporter at The New York Times, where he covered the Harlem beat for the paper’s metro desk and contributed to The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. From 2011 to 2012, Lee worked as a senior reporter for The Huffington Post and was one of the first national reporters to cover the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012. That same year, he was hired as a national reporter for MSNBC, where he reports on social justice issues and the impact of politics and policy on everyday people.

In addition to winning a Pulitzer Prize, Lee was named the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2006 Emerging Journalist of the Year. He also received Rowan University’s Alumnus of Distinction Award in 2006 and Camden County College’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2010. In 2011, the New York chapter of the NABJ honored Lee with the Griot Award for Overall Excellence, and, in 2012, he received the April Sidney Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.

Trymaine Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/20/2014

Last Name

Lee

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dewitte

Occupation
Schools

Milton Hershey School

Camden County College

Rowan University

Shirley B. Foster Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Trymaine

Birth City, State, Country

Stratford

HM ID

LEE08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint Martin

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/20/1978

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken,
Macaroni & Cheese,
Collard Greens

Short Description

Journalist Trymaine Lee (1978 - ) served as a national correspondent for MSNBC. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2006 for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Employment

Philadelphia Tribune

The Trentonian

The Times-Picayune

The New York Times

The Huffington Post

MSNBC

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Trymaine Lee's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee talks about his mother's influence

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee describes his maternal grandmother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee describes his community in Chesilhurst, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Trymaine Lee remembers the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Trymaine Lee describes his early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Trymaine Lee describes his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Trymaine Lee remembers his stepfather's struggle with addiction, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Trymaine Lee remembers his stepfather's struggle with addiction, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee describes his neighbors in Chesilhurst, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee remembers Chesilhurst Elementary School in Chesilhurst, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee describes his early authority figures

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee remembers Chesilhurst Elementary School in Chesilhurst, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee recalls his admission to the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee remembers his arrival at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Trymaine Lee reflects upon his experiences as a boarding school student

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Trymaine Lee reflects upon his time at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Trymaine Lee describes the social culture of the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee remembers his academic success at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee remembers playing football at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee remembers his teenage dating experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee recalls the influence of hip hop culture, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee recalls the influence of hip hop culture, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee describes the development of his interest in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee remembers being recruited to play college football

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Trymaine Lee describes his decision to leave Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Trymaine Lee remembers the death of his childhood friend

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Trymaine Lee remembers developing a mature worldview

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Trymaine Lee describes his decision to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee remembers the journalism program at Rowan University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee remembers his summer employment at Circus Time Amusements

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee recalls securing an internship at the Philadelphia Daily News

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee describes his internship experiences at the Philadelphia Daily News

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee remembers his mentor, Michael I. Days

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee recalls working as a police reporter at The Philadelphia Tribune

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee talks about his experiences at The Trentonian

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Trymaine Lee remembers joining the Times Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Trymaine Lee remembers his coverage of Hurricane Katrina, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Trymaine Lee remembers his coverage of Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Trymaine Lee remembers the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee remembers winning a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee remembers joining the metro desk of The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee describes his challenges at The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee talks about his coverage of the New York State Assembly

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee talks about the impact of digital technology on print journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee talks about the lack of black journalists at mainstream publications

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee remembers joining The Huffington Post

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Trymaine Lee remembers his colleagues at The Huffington Post

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Trymaine Lee remembers breaking the news of Trayvon Martin's death

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Trymaine Lee talks about the journalistic philosophy at The Huffington Post

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Trymaine Lee talks about the changes in the news industry, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Trymaine Lee talks about the changes in the news industry, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Trymaine Lee talks about the future of black journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Trymaine Lee describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Trymaine Lee reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Trymaine Lee reflects upon the legacy of his generation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Trymaine Lee narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$11

DATitle
Trymaine Lee recalls the influence of hip hop culture, pt. 2
Trymaine Lee remembers his coverage of Hurricane Katrina, pt. 2
Transcript
So what--but who was your favorite--what, what are--what favorite artists did you have from that or lyrics do you think from that time?$$I liked a group called Naught- Naughty by Nature because they were from Jersey [New Jersey]. So what I ended up doing is, because I was so close to Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], most of my friends there they were like New York kids and Dominicans from Washington Heights [New York, New York], and Harlem [New York, New York], and, and Brooklyn [New York]; and then there were Philly kids; and, and I was one of the few from Jersey, so my natural--I was always with the Philly kids because we were so close. So when I went home, I would be going over to Philly and hang with them later on. But I always listened to like Naughty by Nature. They're from Jersey. Of course we still listened to Queen Latifah, and Ice Cube, and you know, Boogie Down Productions. My brother--my older brother [Oliver Lee], I had the benefit of hearing all the good music and knowing what, what the good music was because my, my brother was a hip hop head. He was a deejay in a little rap group. He was--he was all into it, so I was always around that, break dancing from the early age. So I guess th- thinking back to '90s [1990s] again, of course, you know, some of the early Jodeci 'cause that, that blend of hip hop and R and B was, was big. I'm trying to think we're talking about--it was--it was the golden era. You had Biggie [Biggie Smalls; The Notorious B.I.G.]--Biggie's "Ready to Die"; "Illmatic," Nas. The greatest rap music that ever--"Doggystyle," Snoop's [Snoop Dogg] album; Dr. Dre's "The Chronic"; all the greatest music came out. And we're--we had the benefit of our age of hitting the tail end of the MC Lytes and Run-DMCs. We're old enough to, to kind of remember some of that. But going into that golden age--Wu-Tang [Wu-Tang Clan], all their debut albums--they call it the golden era of hip hop and, and it's serious. And so we were just (laughter)--we were just all into it, dressing like 'em, talking like 'em, you know. But it was--$$But you had the East Coast, West Coast too, right, right? 'Cause--or was West Coast then?$$Yeah, that--$$Was the west--$$--that, that happened a little later. That, that's--$$That happened--oh, so you're earlier--$$When we graduated [from Milton Hershey School, Hershey, Pennsylvania] in '96 [1996], Tupac [Tupac Shakur] was killed in '96 [1996].$$I see.$$Biggie--$$Now--$$--later that year.$$--now were you a big Tupac person?$$I was, I was because he was with a group called Digital Underground and so--which was, you know, kind of a goofy--the humpty, humpty hump and--'The Humpty Dance,' and it was kind of a goofy group. Then my brother had all the early Tupac tapes, "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z."--excuse me, excuse my language--all those early ones; all those early Tupacs. I was already into Tupac before. So to this day like me and my best friend, Martin [ph.], you know, we're still Tupac fans. You know, Tupac--and, and the thing about Tupac was he spoke to me in particular in a different way because I felt very much like adversarial because I understand what's happening here. But he was also--he, he--his mother is Afeni Shakur. He was rooted in the Panthers [Black Panther Party]; and Geronimo Pratt, and all these figures that I had been reading about and I knew about even at seventh, eighth grade, and it meant something me. And I felt like it's okay to stand up again, and if it's not right you could fight it (laughter), and why not? And why shouldn't we, being young, gifted, and black and strong, and articulate--why not? I mean so that--he played like a serious role (laughter) early on.$Later that next day, I ended up seeing a guy, Bruce Nolan, a great reporter, another guy who, you know, took me under his wing enough--religion reporter, just a great guy, really nice guy. His parents lived in the French Quarter [New Orleans, Louisiana], somewhere down there, so he went to check on his family from what I--from what I can recall. And they said, "Hey, there are group of guys that are still here, and so they would come get us in the morning. So you know, let's just--let's just do what we got to, they were come and get us in the morning." They have a truck or something. And so meanwhile city hall [New Orleans City Hall, New Orleans, Louisiana] was taking on more water in the basement, so we have to go across the street into a hotel. And the windows are all blown out from the storm, I mean the, the storm wreaked havoc on the city, even the French Quarter, which was spared a lot. I--as soon as we walk in the door I, I--the lights are flickering, it's just dark, it's musty, and I see this, this woman crying. And she embraces this rescue worker, 'cause she's hugging this rescue worker, saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." And he's like, "No, we're here," dah, dah, dah. And so after she's done talking, I, I--you know, go up to, to the--to the woman and I say you know, "Sister, what, what--what's going on? I heard you thanking the rescue worker. How did you get here? What happened?" She, she goes on and tell me one of the most heartbreaking stories that I've ever written, one of the most harrowing ordeals I've ever heard come from someone's mouth. Her family had had a family reunion in town over the, the course of the previous days. The storm came. They all got separated. She ended up being with a number--several other family members at the time when the, the floodwaters are rising. She's in the Lower Ninth Ward [New Orleans, Louisiana], one of the first places that was inundated by this floodwater. The water's rising. She runs up the steps; they all run up. They get into their second floor apartment and they hear banging on the--on the--on the--on the floor. It is the downstairs neighbor who is a forty-one year old woman and her five year old son. She said at some point it stops and the water keeps rising. The water is rising and rising. They run into the attic, but they're enclosed; it's the attic, and the water's still rising. Some of the, the men in the group and some other women, they're banging through, banging through, end up breaking through--break- breaking a hole through the, the, the ceiling of the roof. They're waving their t-shirts, and they hear boats coming closer. So mind you, there's so much floodwater that, you know, there are boats in the streets, boats coming up to their rooftops of the houses to pick the--houses to pick people out of the--out, out of the flood. That's how high the water is. They get picked up into one boat. Another boat comes. She said that the, the water was so high and that there were actually bodies floating in the water. And she said there was one baby that she saw that was so fresh and so perfect and just so innocent floating in the water. And she's crying as she's telling me. Of course I'm--I got tears coming out my eyes. I'm writing notes and the teardrops are hitting my pad, and I'm like oh my--and I had no idea because no one at that point--no one had really been out there like that. You know, this is like the second day. So we knew it was bad, but no one knew it was this bad. And so this was like the first kind of feature that captures what is really happening out there. So I'm, I'm writing the notes, writing the notes. I end up staying the night at the hotel, sleeping on the floor somewhere. And I'm writing out this story. I'm writing out this story of this woman and this rescue, and, and incorporating--because they were having meetings still, city hall basically relocated to the hotel. So I was around officials. I was getting--wrote the whole story down in, in a notepad. I finally get picked up the next day by some of my colleagues, and we don't know where to go or what to do. We didn't have any electricity, like, so we just started heading south down towards the bayou looking for gas first. The lines were, you know, streaming out. Okay, and, and so ul- ultimately we ended up at a newspaper called the, The Houma Courier [The Courier], which is a New York Times paper [The New York Times Company]. They let us sleep on the floor, and for the next week or so we reporter back and forth from Homer. So we'd drive all the way down to Houma, Louisiana; and then drive all the way back to New Orleans [Louisiana] each day. And, and we--they had Internet, so everyone was back--the, the ba- the newspaper [Times Picayune] basically relocated to Baton Rouge [Louisiana]. So we were filing our stories from The Houma Courier, which had, you know, Internet (laughter) and power.

Albert Fitzpatrick

Journalist and media executive Albert Fitzpatrick was born on December 30, 1928 in Elyria, Ohio to Mary and Ben Fitzpatrick. He was the seventh of twelve children. Fitzpatrick developed an interest in journalism in high school, during which he worked part-time as a sports reporter for Elyria’s local newspaper, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. He earned his B.A. degree from Kent State University where he studied sociology and journalism. Fitzpatrick also served terms in the U.S. Army and Air Force. He is a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.

In 1956, Fitzpatrick joined the Akron Beacon Journal, where he was the only African American employee in the company. Fitzpatrick was promoted to news editor of the Beacon Journal, where he directed the paper’s Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the 1970 Kent State shooting. In 1973, Fitzpatrick was named managing editor of the newspaper, making him the first African American to run a major metro newsroom. In 1977, he was named executive editor. Then, after writing a letter to the chairman of Knight-Ridder, Inc. about the lack of diversity in their workforce, Knight-Ridder offered him a job as director of minority affairs. Fitzpatrick worked in that position from 1985 to 1987 and then as vice president of minority affairs, also at Knight-Ridder, from 1987 to 1994. He created diversity programs which enabled Knight-Ridder, which owned forty-five newspapers at that time, to become the top news entity in the country in diversity. Fitzpatrick has since taught classes at Kent State University, was an associate professor and interim chairman at Howard University from 2001 to 2002, and served as a diversity consultant for corporate, government, and non-profit firms.

Fitzpatrick has been a member of a number of professional organizations, including the National Association for Minority Media Executives, where he served as the first chair, and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). He joined the NABJ in 1976, just months after it had been founded, and was elected president in 1985. Fitzpatrick has also been involved in a number of civic and charitable organizations, serving as president of The Coming Together Project and as board member of the Beacon Journal Charity Fund. He is a member of Beta Rho Boule of Sigma Pi Phi, and is a Sigma Delta Chi fellow. Fitzpatrick served two terms as president of the Akron Press during the 1980s, and chaired the United Negro College Fund in Miami, Florida in 1997 and 1998.

Fitzpatrick has received the NABJ’s Frederick Douglass Lifetime Achievement Award; the Ida B. Wells Award for outstanding contributions to journalism; the Chairman’s Citation for Editorial Excellence from the National Press Foundation; and the Distinguished Service Award from Howard University. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Broadcast Editorial Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, Region 4 of the National Association of Black Journalists, and Elyria High School.

Fitzpatrick lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Derien Fitzpatrick. Together they have three children: Sharon, Karle, and Albert II. Fitzpatrick also produces three newsletters for his church family and fraternity.

Fitzpatrick was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.041

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/11/2014

Last Name

Fitzpatrick

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Earl

Schools

Kent State University

Elyria High School

Hamilton Early Childhood Center

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Albert

Birth City, State, Country

Elyria

HM ID

FIT01

State

Ohio

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/30/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Akron

Country

USA

Short Description

Journalist and media executive Albert Fitzpatrick (1928 - ) became the first African American to run a major metro newsroom through his work at the Akron Beacon Journal. He also served as the vice president of minority affairs for Knight-Ridder, Inc. and as president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

Akron Beacon Journal

Knight-Ridder, Inc

Leon DeCosta Dash

Journalist Leon DeCosta Dash has captured the struggles, triumphs, and human spirit of his subjects through his written work. Dash was born on March 16, 1944 in New Bedford, Massachusetts to Leon Dash, Sr., a postal clerk, and Ruth, an administrator for the health department. The family moved to New York City, and Dash grew up in the boroughs of Harlem and the Bronx, New York. As a college student at Lincoln University, he served as the editor for the school newspaper, the Lincolnian. It was not until he transferred to Howard University where he received a paying position in journalism. That year, in 1966, The Washington Post hired Dash as a journalism intern and a cub reporter. Two years later, he graduated from Howard University with his B.A. degree in history. After graduating, Dash joined the United States Peace Corps in Kenya.

Upon his return, Dash began working full-time for The Washington Post. In 1972, Dash along with Ben Bagdikian, wrote The Shame of the Prisons, which exposed problems within the American correctional system. In the following year, 1973, Dash embedded himself with Angolan rebel forces and then again from October 1976 through May 1977. This work earned him the George Polk Award from the Overseas Press Club and the prize in International News Reporting given by the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, both in 1974. In 1975, Dash along with forty-three other journalists, co-founded the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

In 1979, Dash took the position of Bureau Chief of West Africa, covering stories in the region including, the Nigerian civil war, the Liberian and Ghanaian coups and the refugee crisis, until he left the post in 1984. In that year, he joined the investigative desk at The Washington Post. In 1986, Dash published his “At Risk” series and won numerous prizes including the Distinguished Service Award from the Social Services Administration of Maryland. He then developed this series into When Children Want Children, published in 1989. This critically acclaimed book garnered Dash numerous awards including the Washington Independent Writers President’s Award. In 1995, Dash and The Washington Post photographer, Lucian Perkins, won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism on their report of a District of Columbia woman's struggle with poverty, crime and drug use. In 1996, the article was turned into a best-selling book, Rosa Lee. Dash also received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences based on the documentary.

In 1998, Dash took a professorship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The following year, New York University named the “Rosa Lee’s Story” series as one of the best one hundred works in twentieth century American journalism. In 2000, Dash received the Swanlund chair, the highest endowed chair position at the University of Illinois, and in 2003, he became a permanent faculty member. Dash has received his honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lincoln University. He has two daughters, Darla and Destiny.

Dash was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.081

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2008

Last Name

Dash

Maker Category
Middle Name

DeCosta

Schools

Lincoln University

P.S. 133 Fred R. Moore School

J.H.S. 113 Richard R. Green

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Leon

Birth City, State, Country

New Bedford

HM ID

DAS02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kenya

Favorite Quote

Help Me, Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/16/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Urbana-Champaign

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Clams (Fried)

Short Description

Journalism professor and newspaper reporter Leon DeCosta Dash (1944 - ) won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, for his Washington Post article on a woman's experiences of poverty and crime in Washington, D.C. He was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

The Washington Post

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leon DeCosta Dash's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his maternal grandmother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about the Garvey movement

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his maternal great-grandfather's death

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the West End of New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the black community in New Bedford, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his mother's nursing career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his family's religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his father's enlistment in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his paternal grandfather's employment

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his father's friendship with Timuel Black

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his father's postal service career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his kindergarten class at P.S. 133 in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his early personality

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers P.S. 133 in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his home life

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the Riverton Houses in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the screening process for the Riverton Houses

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his early interests

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the first time he consumed alcohol

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers rock and roll music

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his introduction to African culture

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta Dash lists the schools he attended in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers Olinville Junior High School in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the Civil Rights Movement in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his attitude towards school

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the Rhodes Preparatory School in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about the development of his racial identity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the poetry readings in Greenwich Village in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes how he takes after his maternal grandfather

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls experiencing racial discrimination in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the Rhodes Preparatory School in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his childhood personality

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his parents' investment in private education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his start at the Rhodes Preparatory School

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls being accosted by a high school classmate

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his social life during high school, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his early experiences with alcohol

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his social life during high school, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his decision to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the Baruch School of Business in New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls reading E. Franklin Frazier's 'Black Bourgeoisie'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers transferring to Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers meeting his daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers reuniting with his daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers transferring to Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his first position at The Washington Post

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the history department at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers Chancellor Williams

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about Ahmed Sekou Toure and Stokely Carmichael

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about Cleveland Sellers

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the political climate at Howard University

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his internship at The Washington Post

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls developing an interest in journalism

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the assassination of Malcolm X

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta recalls learning about the Cuban revolution

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the student activists at Howard University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls his early reporting for The Washington Post

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers graduating from Howard University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his draft deferment

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about the Nandi social customs

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his teaching experiences in Kenya

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon his experience in the Peace Corps

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his first marriage

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his return to The Washington Post

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the racial discrimination at The Washington Post

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's ruling on The Washington Post

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his struggle with alcoholism

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes 'The Shame of the Prisons'

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his assignment to Angola, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his assignment to Angola, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his first trip to Angola

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls negotiating his assignment to Angola

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls founding the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls founding the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers returning to Angola, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers returning to Angola, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his paternal great uncle

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes 'A Long March in Angola'

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls seeking treatment for his alcoholism

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his success as a journalist

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his third trip to Angola

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the Angolan Civil War

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about Jonas Savimbi, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers reporting on the Angolan Civil War

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers Jonas Savimbi's treatment of dissidents

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about Jonas Savimbi, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the assassination of Jonas Savimbi

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls reporting on Marion Barry's mayoral campaign

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls The Washington Post's endorsement of Marion Barry

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls teaching at the University of California, San Diego

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls establishing an African bureau of The Washington Post

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls serving as the West African bureau chief of The Washington Post, pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls interviewing Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers visiting Jerry Rawlings' home in Ghana

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the coup against Liberian President William R. Tolbert, Jr.

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about African Americans' views of Africa

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the overthrow of Ugandan President Idi Amin

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls serving as the West African bureau chief of The Washington Post, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon the perceptions of Africa

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers investigating adolescent childbearing

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls joining The Washington Post's investigative unit

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes the Washington Highlands community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers writing 'At Risk: Chronicles of Teenage Pregnancy'

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his findings about adolescent childbearing

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his study of intergenerational poverty

Tape: 15 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls discovering drug abuse among the officers at the D.C. Central Detention Facility

Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes how he met Rosa Lee Cunningham

Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls the impact of his series, 'Drugs in the Ranks'

Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his early interviews of Rosa Lee Cunningham

Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes Rosa Lee Cunningham's family background

Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about Rosa Lee Cunningham's education

Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes Rosa Lee Cunningham's introduction to criminality

Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the public response to 'Rosa Lee's Story'

Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers the death of Rosa Lee Cunningham's grandson

Tape: 17 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his methods as an investigative journalist

Tape: 17 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers interviewing Patty Cunningham

Tape: 17 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls Rosa Lee Cunningham's confession to prostituting her daughter

Tape: 17 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his series, 'Young Male Killers'

Tape: 17 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his transition to academia, pt. 1

Tape: 17 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his transition to academia, pt. 2

Tape: 17 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash recalls joining the faculty of the University of Illinois

Tape: 18 Story: 1 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers his invitation to interview Allan Boesak

Tape: 18 Story: 2 - Leon DeCosta Dash remembers interviewing Allan Boesak in South Africa

Tape: 18 Story: 3 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his early academic career

Tape: 18 Story: 4 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 18 Story: 5 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his friendship with Rosa Lee Cunningham, pt. 1

Tape: 18 Story: 6 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his friendship with Rosa Lee Cunningham, pt. 2

Tape: 18 Story: 7 - Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon his life

Tape: 18 Story: 8 - Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 18 Story: 9 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 18 Story: 10 - Leon DeCosta Dash talks about his family

Tape: 18 Story: 11 - Leon DeCosta Dash describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

10$11

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Leon DeCosta Dash describes 'The Shame of the Prisons'
Leon DeCosta Dash reflects upon the National Association of Black Journalists
Transcript
During this time period you wrote this book with Ben Bagdikian, right?$$Oh yeah, yeah.$$What was the--$$Yeah, well, we did a project called 'Shame of the Prisons' ['The Shame of the Prisons,' Ben H. Bagdikian and Leon Dash]. This also led to the, the twenty-two demands, or however many demands there were. Ben Bagdikian, I was covering, in '71 [1971] I was covering the D.C. [Washington, D.C.] prison system and writing stories out of the prison system. And Ben Bagdikian was getting ready to do a ser- (cough) a series on prisons in the United States. And he asked for me to be, to work with him. And a city editor who had been a thorn in my side and had been blocking me in a number of ways, and we were really coming to a point where it was going to be a major confrontation between the two of us, tried to get another reporter assigned to Ben Bagdikian, but I was well aware of it 'cause Ben Bagdikian told me. So that, all that information was in the, the twenty-two demands about what the particular, we named the editor, I named the editor and what he had done and so on, in an effort to stymie my career, I felt. So that all became an issue and, and as part of these demands or confrontation with Ben Bradlee. Hm, but then Ben and I went on to do the project. The project was the first time that I did extensive long term interviews and it was very significant to me because I, I found the, in the prison system, well, as I began looking at the prison system I already knew that 50 percent of the thirty odd men, thirty odd thousand men and women who cycled through were criminal recidivists, people who were arrested on a fresh crime two years, within two years of being released from a previous sentence. And my interest was, well, what do we do now to really intervene in their lives so that they can, so this syndrome will stop, this repeated coming back and forth to prison. So I was really looking at the prison's rehabilitation system, which maybe affected 2 percent of the prison population; I didn't know that at the outset. And I found a, a grandfather, father, and grandson, in the Central prison [D.C. Central Detention Facility, Washington, D.C.], and but they didn't wanna be, the one in the middle, the father didn't wanna be a part of the project. I also knew that from prison officials that there were entire family units circulating through the prison system. And then I found a father and a son who, the Lawrence Smiths [Lawrence Smith, Sr. and Lawrence Smith, Jr.], and I interviewed them. And over the long term, long term interviewing, they eventually--I'm saying long term, over three months of interviewing--they eventually revealed that they didn't have this, the basic skills to be habilitated, they had never been habilitated so you couldn't, they were semi-literate, they had never been given a full academic foundation to make them competitive in the American job market. Drug dealing was one of their options as far as they saw it. And that meant that father and son would continue to cycle through the prison system. And that was this, that was my contribution to these, to the series, that rehabilitation was a false, if not frayed hope given this, this condition. And so then that was published as a book that year, I think in '72 [1972], or s- yeah, '72 [1972].$$Seventy-two [1972], right.$$Literally after we filed our complaint against The Washington Post, you know. And they began making some changes.$When you look back at the organization, has it been effective in terms of--$$Oh, I think it has been in terms of both challenging media outlets in terms of lack of their diversity, challenging the American association of newspaper editors [American Society of News Editors] about commitment to diversity, not only for blacks, non-whites. And out of that other groups have organized themselves to mirror the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists], National Association of Hispanic Journalists came after us, national organization of Asian American journalists [Asian American Journalists Association], and national organization of Native American journalists [Native American Journalists Association]; all of those are a result of the NABJ organizing itself. And these unity, UNITY conferences, all four groups come together as they will later, later this month to hold a national conference and it's called a UNITY conference. A lot of job, jobs are, are, are people are, people come to recruit. I don't know what's happening now because there's a lot of turmoil both particularly in the newsprint industry and the competition over technological changes and a lot of newspapers are downsizing. But there are a myriad opportunities not only newspapers but other organizations come there to recruit, recruit employees. So I'm expecting it to be the same this year.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.

Luther "Badman" Keith

Journalist Luther Alton Keith was born on October 9, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan to Mittie Savella Ashworth and Luther Caesar Keith. Keith’s father was a postal employee who founded the United Committee on Negro History. Keith attended Sampson and St. Agnes elementary schools. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1968. He then studied at the University of Detroit, where he was mentored by Mary Helen Washington and graduated with a B.A. degree in journalism in 1972.

Hired by The Detroit News in 1972, Keith served as a general assignment reporter before becoming a sportswriter in 1973. In 1979, Keith worked as the state capital bureau correspondent specializing in economic and budget issues and writing periodic columns on state legislative issues. He was also a frequent commentator on the “Off The Record” television program. Keith was appointed assistant city editor in 1982 where he directed local coverage in the criminal courts and directed a five-person news team.

Taking a two year leave of absence, Keith served as founding director of Wayne State University’s Journalism Institute for Minorities from 1985 to 1987. He returned to The Detroit News as Assistant City Editor in 1987 and Night City Editor in 1988. From 1988 to 2005, Keith worked in a number of positions for The Detroit News, including features writer, copy editor, business editor, assistant managing editor, public editor, senior editor and columnist. Keith was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award from Wayne State University in 1987 and the Ameritech Living the Dream Trailblazer Award in 1999, Keith became the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1993, Keith created On Detroit, a weekly grassroots mini newspaper that ran until 2003. He was honored with the Excellence in Urban Media Award from the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2001 and Wayne State’s Helen Thomas Diversity in Journalism Award in 2005.

Keith, inspired by Luther Allison and mentored by James Soberg of the Luther Allison Band, started playing the blues guitar in 1981. He now performs internationally as Luther “Badman” Keith. Keith has produced several CD’s including, Badman and Thunder in My Blues. In 2006, he founded and served as executive director of Arise Detroit, a broad-based volunteer coalition that addresses illiteracy, high school dropout rates, crime, youth violence, drug abuse, domestic abuse, neighborhood blight and unemployment.

Keith and his wife, Jacqueline, have one child, Erin.

Keith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2007

Last Name

Keith

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Cathedral High School

Sampson Elementary School

St. Agnes Elementary School

Sampson Academy

University of Detroit Mercy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Luther

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

KEI03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tennessee

Favorite Quote

Be Part Of The Change. Make It Happen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/9/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Newspaper editor Luther "Badman" Keith (1950 - ) writes for the Detroit News and created On Detroit, a weekly grassroots newspaper. He is also a blues musician know as Luther "Badman" Keith.

Employment

Detroit News

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:254190,4255$0,0:193030,3312
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Luther "Badman" Keith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his mother's birthplace in Wilson County, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith recounts his mother's education and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his father's community service in Detroit, Michigan and meeting Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his father's influence and his own interest in journalism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his paternal grandfather's businesses in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith remembers the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his childhood household and the 1967 Detroit riot

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his memories of the 1967 Detroit riot

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon race relations after the 1967 Detroit riot

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his years at St. Agnes Catholic School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes learning about African American accomplishments as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls the racial makeup of St. Agnes Catholic School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his blue eyes and fair complexion

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls his years at Cathedral High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Detroit

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about playing baseball and writing for the school paper while at the University of Detroit

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his first job and working at the Detroit News

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his literature professor at the University of Detroit, Mary Helen Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith explains the joint operating agreement between the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls how his uncle, HistoryMaker Damon J. Keith, helped him get his first reporting job at the Detroit News

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about becoming a sports writer for the Detroit News

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about switching from sports writing to covering Michigan politics and economic issues for the Detroit News

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his efforts to encourage diversity in journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes some of the best stories of his journalistic career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith explains how he helped create On Detroit, a public-interest section in the Detroit News

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon covering controversial political topics in his Detroit News column

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes working as a senior editor for the Detroit News

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon the obstacles African Americans face in the journalism field

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about writing a controversial column on corporate greed and prominent black writers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith recounts how he became a blues musician under the mentorship of Luther Allison

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his early music career and the origin of his nickname

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith recalls performing in Belgium

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes themes in his blues music compositions

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his style of blues music

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes the beginning of Arise Detroit

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about Arise Detroit and the need for activism in the Detroit, Michigan community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his goals for Arise Detroit

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Luther "Badman" Keith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about the need for individuals to help the Detroit, Michigan community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about how Arise Detroit has partnered with other service organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about what he would do differently

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Luther "Badman" Keith talks about his resemblance to Muhammad Ali

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Luther "Badman" Keith reflects upon his legacy, and how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Luther "Badman" Keith narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Luther "Badman" Keith explains how he helped create On Detroit, a public-interest section in the Detroit News
Luther "Badman" Keith describes themes in his blues music compositions
Transcript
But, you talk about one particular story, if there's--it's one thing among other things that I have done is that one of the things I have tried to do as I tried to be a door opener and be sensitive to the fact that this role to play as it relates to the black community in Detroit [Michigan]. And, so, there came point in time, in the early 1990s where the black community or some leaders were boycotting the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Because--and to some extent, they had some validity about what they felt was a preoccupation with stories that portrayed the city or played--portrayed black in the most negative light. And, not enough focus on some of the story--things that were of a positive nature. People who were doing the right thing in some areas of achievement that were overlooked for the more sensationalist view. And, so, these leaders meet with the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. And, actually the newspaper put me in the position of being a link to the community to bring these people in a talk. And, so, out of those discussions grew an idea of--for a new news product for our paper which, which I devised, implemented, and we called it "On Detroit." And, it was a weekly section that was focused on people who were doing the right thing. Kids who were great--kids who are achieving. The best of the city, you know, an inspiring piece. And, that product, we published it for ten years. And, people felt that the, you know, that the newspaper cared about 'em, that they saw--someone said they called--I see myself in this. And, so, that--$$How did it--I mean, why did it end?$$Because management decided it was time to end it (laughter).$$Okay.$$And, just basically they felt like the circulation and the advertisement revenue dollars that the time--the business climate had changed and they simply didn't want to pursue it. And, so, that was their decision. But, it--I think, it represents, I think, a high point in community outreach for the Detroit News. Because, it said that, you know what, we're willing to come here, not just tell us what you don't like, willing to do something significant. And, a matter of fact, one of the leaders of the boycott who is the head of the local NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] now, Reverend Wendell Anthony--who, if you haven't heard about him, you will hear about him--who was a leader of the boycott, was so persuaded by the fact of what we're doing with this new, this publication we call "On Detroit," that he wrote a weekly column for us. That's how strongly he believed in what we were doing. That our ardent critic wrote for the newspaper at no compensation I might add. But, again, it goes back to where I think about win-win situations. And, from the newspaper standpoint, all you're doing, you're building good will. You're showing people you care and you are portraying a slice of life that isn't seen. I did have some of my white colleagues here talk, when we would talk about doing this type of a newspaper, said, "That's not news. News is people getting shot. News is people getting held up. That's not news." And, I still think that that's still a problem with some of our media. But, because there is another side of that equation that I think, it's not a question of ignoring the negative, it's a matter including the positive, because that's how life is. And, so, you can sure, sure you can show a hundred carjacking and a hundred murders; just show that and nothing else. But, that's not all life is and it would be unfair to do that. And, so, even though I was--and I wrote some powerful things to relate to. But, that idea, that concept of being able to create something like that for the community represents something really special to me because people really felt connected. Because our goal was all those stories that the other folks don't want, we want 'em. That's what we're, we're here for you for that. And, so, as well as, I also think it played a contributing role in turning the newspaper into other stories that could run throughout the regular newspaper that we wouldn't be aware of, because we hadn't established that kind of grass-root connection this allowed us to do.$Tell me what, what are the themes that you write about? Here you're a person who's been a writer for a number of years--$$Right.$$--Editor of the Detroit Free Press, but you're playing the blues--$$News, the Detroit News.$$But, what do you--Detroit News, yeah. And, what are your themes?$$Well, you know, what's so great about this because as a journalist see, I've--I haven't just done one just thing, I've done a lot--plus, you have your life experiences that you draw on. So, I write about everything. I've written songs that--with meaning. Like I wrote a song called, 'Get Along.' Borrowing from Rodney King, a song that talks about, you know, it's time for us to get along, put (unclear), let's get along. I've written--and I like to have humor. I've written a song called, 'Barbecue Baby.' "I got a Barbecue Baby, she sure knows how to grill. Her stuff's so hot, make a country preacher squeal."$$(Laughter).$$You know, I've got a new song that I've just written. It'll probably be on my next piece, I--it's called 'Menopause Woman.'$$(Laughter).$$Now, when you, when you think of menopause woman, people do just what you do. They laugh. But, I have kinda of a different sense of humor. I say, "I got a menopause woman--people don't know, what is he gonna say next--I say, "all the men pause when the girl walks in." It's like, wow. I wrote, I wrote a song like 'Rocks on Mars' about Martians. I've written songs about "Badman." I had to write a story about my, my, you know, 'cause people always say, "Why they call you Badman?" So, I had to write a song. So, I wrote a song called "Badman." And, it goes, I guess a couple lines, I was, I was a young boy, I was only three, all the kids used to pick on me. One day I took a stand. I knocked them all out with both of my hands. They call me "Badman." You know, I got, "I got older. I went to school. I didn't learn no golden rule. Someone, somebody picked on me, now they're sleeping with the fishes in the sea. I'm a "Badman," you know. So, I--one of the things I'm noted for in my songs is humor. But, I also try to bring some thought. I wrote a song called, "What's the Use." And, it's about, you know, if you have, you know, if you go to church and don't love your brother, what's the use. And, so, a lot of themes, so, my songs run, there's sometimes humor in 'em. There's sometimes, there sometimes serious. So, just everything, and I try to make it, I try--as someone said to me in an article that was published just a few weeks ago about me, I was playing a blues festival here, I said, "The blues, you know, people misinterpret what the blues are about." See the blues are not to make you sadder. That's not what the blues are about, in my opinion. The blues are to help you through the sadness. To make you feel better. To help you get over, and through the sadness. That's what the blues is about. As I told, this one reporter who interviewed me, "I don't wanna play all night to be sad. I don't wanna play all night to make people sad. What is the point of that?" What you want 'em to walk out and say, dang, I'm feeling good man. Man, I feel good. I wanna hear, I wanna hear some more of that. I wanna come back next week and hear some more of that. So, that's what I try to do with the blues.

Martha Brock-Leftridge

Photographer Martha Gean Brock was born on September 19, 1958, in Isola, Mississippi, to Dorothy Amos Brock and Herman Brock. She attended segregated schools in Iverness and Belzoni, Mississippi, graduating in 1976 from the then integrated Humphries County High School. She was taught photography by Floyd Bailey at Mississippi Valley State University, where she was photographer and editor of the college yearbook. Graduating in 1980 with her B.S. degree in criminal justice, Brock relocated to Chicago where she later completed her M.B.A. degree from the University of Phoenix in 2006.

Initially working in the corporate world, Brock’s interest in photography was rekindled in the mid-1980s as her friends and colleagues recognized her talent. Ignoring criticism for shooting with a Minolta 5000 Max, Brock’s knack for capturing celebrities has made her one of Chicago’s most published African American photographers. Trusting her instincts about where to be and when to be there, Brock’s photographs of Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, Luther Vandross, Rosa Parks, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, Debra Winger, Ice-T, Jerry Springer, Whoopi Goldberg, and Michael Jordan, among hundreds of others, have appeared in various print media, including: the Chicago Defender, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, Today’s Chicago Woman, Jet, Ebony, Essence, N’Digo, Sister 2 Sister, Upscale, and Vibe magazines. Brock established Martha Brock Photography in 1992, where she specializes in celebrity, commercial, fashion, special events, and public relations photography. Her photographs of current events are featured on the websites of Chicago’s WVAZ, WGCI, and WPWX radio stations. Some of her other clients include J Records, R. Kelly Jive Records, Chicago Housing Authority, The Boys and Girls Clubs, and T.D. Jakes Ministries.

Brock is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Chicago Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Women Executives. As a founder of the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers (CAAAP), Brock’s work is featured in CAAAP’s first book, The Journey: The Next Hundred Years.

One of her most popular photographs is a candid portrait of Michael Jordan, shot in the Chicago Bulls’ Berto Center in 1996. Volunteering in Chicago area schools, Brock’s community involvement led to her election to the Trustee Board of Oak Park, Illinois, in 2005. Always with a knack for being in the right place, Brock appeared in a photo along side Oprah Winfrey in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Accession Number

A2006.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/24/2006

Last Name

Brock-Leftridge

Maker Category
Middle Name

G.

Occupation
Schools

O.M. McNair Middle School

Humphreys County High School

Mississippi Valley State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Martha

Birth City, State, Country

Isola

HM ID

BRO37

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Oahu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

What Gets Measured, Gets Done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/19/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Photographer Martha Brock-Leftridge (1958 - ) founded Martha Brock Photography in 1992. One of Chicago’s most published African American photographers, she was also a founder of the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers.

Employment

WGCI Radio

WVAZ Radio

Chicago Defender

WPWX Radio

Village of Oak Park Trustee Board

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:6118,56:6854,67:10181,83:14247,133:25770,370:26954,405:31468,488:32800,572:33096,577:33688,587:40919,632:41885,668:43748,709:50303,898:52856,952:55340,1015:57617,1072:73410,1265:74320,1281:75230,1299:75490,1304:75750,1309:76205,1318:76660,1327:77765,1361:78545,1377:79195,1398:79780,1411:87624,1485:88009,1494:91243,1565:91628,1571:98740,1637:99748,1656:100468,1669:102080,1681:102506,1689:103074,1698:103358,1703:108115,1782:109393,1807:110103,1820:110742,1829:111452,1842:120332,1965:122060,1996:123428,2030:124436,2049:124724,2054:128468,2139:132860,2254:144525,2410:144870,2416:148251,2505:149424,2527:149700,2532:153840,2625:154116,2630:154392,2635:154875,2644:155703,2665:157842,2727:158256,2742:158739,2752:167630,2846$0,0:9171,148:13329,234:13868,248:15177,278:21491,377:39658,577:47166,666:53025,782:53397,787:63273,898:63549,903:64584,932:67275,1001:74934,1187:79288,1214:79864,1226:80120,1231:80952,1248:85555,1312:85981,1333:86265,1354:96418,1522:104132,1634:104872,1647:105316,1654:109585,1715:112510,1774:112770,1779:113030,1786:113355,1792:114525,1819:115695,1844:115955,1868:116930,1890:119790,1954:120505,1972:126266,1996:132114,2110:134426,2154:135038,2168:136058,2197:136670,2209:137690,2228:138166,2237:139322,2263:146280,2275:146576,2355:155900,2562:156196,2567:158564,2617:159378,2633:160192,2653:160488,2658:170320,2777:170770,2790:173620,2845:177520,2936:184535,3010:185320,3020
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Martha Brock-Leftridge's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Martha Brock recalls moving to Belzoni, Mississippi as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her maternal relative in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Martha Brock-Leftbridge describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls her segregated school in Belzoni, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes changes to her community in Belzoni, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers picking cotton in Belzoni, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls her introduction to photography

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers being sexually abused by family members

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the racial violence in Caile, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about her parents' resourcefulness

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about white flight in Belzoni, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers Humphreys County High School in Belzoni

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her studies at Humphreys County High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls attending Itta Bena's Mississippi Valley State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls her photography at Mississippi Valley State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her activities at Mississippi Valley State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls being sexually assaulted as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls being editor in chief of her college yearbook

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls studying sociology at Mississippi Valley State University

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers those who influenced her

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls celebrities who visited Mississippi Valley State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers moving to Oak Park, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls entering Chicago's photography industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the beginning of her media career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about her radio career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls running for office in Oak Park, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls her election to the Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the social history of Oak Park, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about discrimination in Oak Park, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes Oak Park's African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers photographing Michael Jordan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers photographing Michael Jordan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about her style of photography

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the Chicago Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her youth programs at Oak Park and River Forest High School

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Martha Brock-Leftridge reflects upon her time on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Martha Brock-Leftridge reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Martha Brock-Leftridge reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls photographing R. Kelly at the 2002 Winter Olympics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about documenting R. Kelly

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Martha Brock-Leftridge reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Martha Brock-Leftridge talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Martha Brock-Leftridge describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Martha Brock-Leftridge narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Martha Brock-Leftridge recalls her photography at Mississippi Valley State University
Martha Brock-Leftridge remembers photographing Michael Jordan, pt. 2
Transcript
But during the time that I was there, my freshman year, this is so fascinating. I really reaffirmed my love for photography. I was taking my sc-, class photographs and I was standing in front of the photographer and he was telling me how I needed to take this photo and I began to pose and he said, "Oh, you're a natural." I said, "Really?" And, and you know we had this conversation; it was a great, great conversation his name was Floyd Bailey. He was the top photographer for the university [Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Mississippi] and he had been there for years. He s-, he made a statement to me, he says, I said, "You know I'm so." I said to him, I said, "I am so fascinated about photography and I just wanna learn a little bit more about photography." He said, "Oh really?" I says, "Yeah." And I was really serious but I never knew he would take me up on the offer. He said, "Okay, come back tomorrow after your last period is done," or whatever, "and we can go through some things." He took me through the whole mechanics at that time of the camera, he was using a Canon. His Canon was a Canon 101 [ph.] and he began to take me through the mechanics of how to change the rolls of film. How to change the flash and how to synchronize the lights and how to make sure that the light is reflected off of a person's body, face and all of that while they were taking their pictures and I took the photographs for the sophomore class as he told me that. I stood behind his camera and as the students would come in I would snap their school day picture. That's how I started photography. And I did that for all of my years at the university. From my freshman year they made me the co-editor of college yearbook and from that time on I was the editor of the--of, of my class and my last two years at the university I was the editor-in-chief of the college yearbook. He put a camera on my neck and just told me to start taking photographs. And I took those photographs and I would take them back at the end of that session and we would go into the dark room and I would develop them myself, with his teaching. This happened for four years while I was in college and that's how I did photography. That's how I got into the full-fledge of photography. And I was looking back at some of my yearbooks and I started to look at the staff, I had a little staff, the yearbook staff that I worked with. And I had to do my, you know, you have to do your editor-in-chief's message at the end of each year and I would--I told them that I thought that the governor need to enact an ordinance to make sure that the people were paid for this position (laughter). But I, you know, I didn't know any better at that time, you know, it was a school thing and you don't get paid to be a editor-in-chief, but I didn't know.$So, while I sat there, Michael [Michael Jordan] had a mic on and some kind of way, Steve [Steve Levy], who was interviewing him from 'SportsCenter' said, "Michael, I ca-," no, somebody in the audience said it, said, "Michael we can't hear you, you need to adjust your mic." So Michael goes, instead of going under his shirt the way he had a little t-shirt on, you know it's a jersey, he opened his jersey up like so and tried to adjust the mic and while he did it he kept looking, but I was at his level of gravity, so my lens was shooting like so and he looked right at this part of my lens and, and the pose was so sexy. And I managed to capture right under his left breast was--I don't know if you call men breast. Do you?$$(Laughter).$$No, you don't say that--well under his left nipple, Michael, he had his brand of the Omega Psi Phi [Omega Psi Phi Fraternity], the Que sign, I didn't even know that while I was taking that photograph. It was later on when I went to the lab and I was headed back home and my--the lab tech called on my cell phone, she says, "No, you gotta get back here now, you gotta get back." And I says, "What's the problem?" She says, "Oh, you gotta see this." She says, "Michael Jordan, you have taken one of the best photographs of Michael Jordan that I've ever seen." I get back to the lab, now that wasn't the part that I got floored about, I thought the image was great, it was totally out of sequence from everything else 'cause I had documented Michael that whole day, everything that I could get close to him on. It turns out that this photo bared the number 23 and 23A as a negative. And that was his jersey number and I was like, how could this happen? And I believe that God planted that photograph there for that moment and that time. There were tons of photographers behind me, if you ask me what angle do you think they got, I guarantee they didn't get my angle because I was the only photographer at that angle and at that vantage point with Michael. And I had that mili-, it was a, it was a tech 10mm lens that I had on my camera to get that shot, and I just zoomed in and I just kept shooting. I never stopped shooting and when I began to look at the sequence now, that shot was like a shot that God just said, boom, it's gonna be right in there.$$Now, now (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's amazing.$$--did you shoot with a motor drive or anything?$$It was, it was, I shot on a continuous mode, it was, I, I didn't shoot it manually. I shot it, I think I shot it shutter priority mode, but I just kept shooting. I didn't, like, focus or anything like that. I didn't take the time to do that because when you shoot in continuous mode, you just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and you, whatever you get you're thankful that you get something. And, but I had it in focus from when I set there and being that I had, I, I was able to set up so early it was already in focus. Had that been out of focus it would, this point would be totally non-existent basically.

Les Payne

Journalist and author Les Payne was born on July 12, 1941 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a child, Payne was always interested in writing. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1964 with B.A. degree in English. Serving six years in the United States Army, Payne worked as an Army journalist and wrote speeches for General William C. Westmoreland. While on assignment in Vietnam, he ran the Army’s newspaper, and when he was discharged, he had attained the rank of captain.

Payne joined Newsday in the late 1960s, serving as the associate managing editor for the paper’s national, science, and international news. In 1968, as an investigative reporter, Payne covered the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther, Jr., and in the 1970s, he covered the Black Panther Party. He won a Pulitzer Prize for The Heroin Trail in 1974, which was a Newsday series in 33 parts that traced the international flow of heroin from the poppy fields of Turkey to the veins of drug addicts in New York City. Later, it became a published book. He also covered the Symbionese Liberation Army and authored The Life and Death of the Symbionese Liberation Army. As a Newsday correspondent, Payne reported extensively from Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the United Nations. During the 1976 Soweto uprising, he traveled throughout South Africa and wrote a series that was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in foreign reporting. Payne was also responsible for Newsday’s Queens edition, whose news staffs have won every major award in journalism, including three Pulitzer Prizes. He was also a columnist for the Tribune Media Services.

As one of the founders and former presidents of the National Association of Black Journalists, Payne worked to improve media fairness and employment practices. He was also the Inaugural Professor for the David Laventhol Chair at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Payne received several awards including the United Nations’ World Hunger Media Award, and three Unity Awards for investigative reporting. In 1990, he won cable television’s highest honor, the Ace Award, for an interview with Mayor David Dinkins on Les Payne’s New York Journal. In addition, he was a recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from Medgar Evers College and Long Island University.

Payne passed away on March 19, 2018 at age 76.

Accession Number

A2006.071

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/10/2006

Last Name

Payne

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Twentieth Street Elementary School

Hartford Public High School

University of Connecticut

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Les

Birth City, State, Country

Tuscaloosa

HM ID

PAY06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Achieve Immortality Before You Die.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/12/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hartford

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish

Death Date

3/19/2018

Short Description

Newspaper reporter Les Payne (1941 - 2018 ) was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, who was a founder and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Working for Newsday in the 1960s, he covered the Black Panther Party and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Employment

Newsday

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1790,29:3235,52:5105,82:11677,174:33550,458:34150,467:34675,475:43825,652:50500,808:58177,906:63847,1027:129192,1797:143293,2098:147019,2175:147778,2193:161790,2482:173460,2693:174300,2722:176460,2762:180780,2911:188250,3023$0,0:8688,123:10838,156:11956,174:12386,179:18320,344:33280,508:51540,773:55320,852:55600,857:56860,886:57770,902:60290,937:60850,946:64700,1031:64980,1036:67850,1096:68340,1104:70790,1160:71140,1166:78584,1246:78949,1251:83329,1362:83840,1371:84205,1377:93200,1498:93740,1506:98060,1596:100580,1643:101300,1652:102020,1662:102380,1667:113208,1852:113604,1864:114462,1880:115056,1915:118092,1983:121392,2072:121656,2077:154992,2634:155993,2675:164564,2887:172916,3060:180058,3117:184270,3176:184756,3184:186214,3227:189940,3295:190264,3301:194395,3387:194719,3392:195772,3406:208050,3599:208930,3628:211650,3687:232270,4060:234440,4113:237590,4189:238150,4198:258200,4524:263346,4581:267042,4686:283360,4938
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Les Payne's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Les Payne lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Les Payne describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Les Payne describes his maternal great grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Les Payne describes his mother's upbringing in Hale County, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Les Payne describes his mother's aspiration to be financially independent

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Les Payne talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Les Payne remembers his maternal family's migration north

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Les Payne recalls his early childhood in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Les Payne describes his church involvement as a child in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Les Payne describes tent revivals in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Les Payne describes the importance of church for his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Les Payne recalls listening to records of C.L. Franklin's sermons

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Les Payne remembers communion at Baptist services in the rural South

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Les Payne recalls the mourners' bench at Tuscaloosa's St. Paul Baptist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Les Payne remembers his baptism at the age of twelve years old

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Les Payne recalls skipping the first grade at Tuscaloosa's Twentieth Street Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Les Payne recalls his experiences at Twentieth Street Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Les Payne remembers when his oldest brother nearly drowned

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Les Payne recalls seeing the Ku Klux Klan drive through Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Les Payne describes his mother's decision to move to Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Les Payne remembers Hartford Public High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Les Payne remembers when his grandmother addressed a white teenager as "Sir"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Les Payne recalls his refusal to address a white salesman as "Sir"

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Les Payne describes the impact of segregation on his self-worth

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Les Payne recalls differences between Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Les Payne recalls scoring above his white peers at Hartford Public High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Les Payne describes how he improved his sense of self-worth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Les Payne talks about how he addressed his shyness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Les Payne describes his early interest in Russian literature

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Les Payne shares his opinion of Mark Twain

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Les Payne recalls how his interest in writing developed

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Les Payne recalls being barred from engineering courses at Hartford Public High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Les Payne recalls studying engineering at the University of Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Les Payne recalls his decision to leave the University of Connecticut's engineering program

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Les Payne describes his early interest in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Les Payne reflects upon his journalism prospects as a young college graduate

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Les Payne remembers joining in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Les Payne recalls how his civil rights activity impacted his U.S. Army career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Les Payne recalls how black psychologists informed his thinking

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Les Payne describes his role as a U.S. Army journalist

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Les Payne shares his opinion of the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Les Payne recalls being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Les Payne describes the impact of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Les Payne remembers being hired at Newsday

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Les Payne describes Newsday's predominantly white readership

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Les Payne recalls writing a story about Long Island's immigrants for Newsday

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Les Payne recalls his undercover fieldwork in Long Island's migrant community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Les Payne recalls his cover being questioned by his work crew chief

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Les Payne describes founding Uptight, a black opinion magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Les Payne describes his coverage of the Black Panther Party for Newsday

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Les Payne recalls covering the international heroin trade for Newsday

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Les Payne recalls travelling to South Africa to cover the Soweto uprising

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Les Payne describes his Newsday coverage of South Africa's Soweto uprising

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Les Payne recalls the founding of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Les Payne describes the impact of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Les Payne talks about his marriage and children

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Les Payne remembers the birth of his son, Jamal Payne

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Les Payne recalls being followed by the French government

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Les Payne shares his opinion of President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Les Payne recalls experiences that impacted his column writing

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Les Payne recalls when Ronald Reagan began his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Les Payne shares his criticism of American political leaders

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Les Payne talks about how African Americans misread white politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Les Payne talks about how Malcolm X overcame his sense of inferiority

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Les Payne explains the concept of counter-rejection

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Les Payne reflects upon Malcolm X's teachings

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Les Payne describes Newsday's coverage of the Iraq War

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Les Payne recalls advocating for Newsday journalists to stay in Iraq

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Les Payne describes the arrest of two Newsday journalists by the Mukhabarat in Iraq

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Les Payne recalls working to free two Newsday journalists from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Les Payne talks about how he acquired his leadership skills

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Les Payne talks about the dearth of African American White House correspondents

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Les Payne describes his future plans

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Les Payne talks about why he decided to share his story

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Les Payne narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Les Payne describes his role as a U.S. Army journalist
Les Payne recalls covering the international heroin trade for Newsday
Transcript
Here I am at, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and this guy is asking me, you know, if, if I believe in nonviolence and I told him, "No." I told, I told him that I think people, black people, should defend themselves. I told him, "I don't, I don't believe in nonviolence; I don't believe in sitting in and laying in. I, I'm, you know, you know--." I told him that. But despite that, I got, I got my security clearance and, and went to my C20 class, and then I got extended because there was a build-up, you know, by this time it was 1965, and there was a build-up in Vietnam, and so all regular [U.S.] Army officers--I was a regular Army officer; that's the commission that I took. All regular Army officers were extended and they could be without--you, you had no option. What would happen is that coming up to three years, you would put in a request to get out, and then they could grant it or not, and they just blanketly did not grant it, so I was extended. No, they can only extend you for eighteen months at a time, so they extended me and retrained me, in their words, as an Army journalist, and sent me to Vietnam, and so I went to Vietnam in--I went to Vietnam in 1967, and I was there most of 19--from January '67 [1967] to January '68 [1968].$$Can you remember some of the s-, the issues you covered in Vietnam--the things you wrote about for the Army?$$(Laughter) I mean, I mean I said I was an Army journalist but, you know--I mean journalism is to the Army what Army food is to food (laughter). I mean I was, I was a propagandas, man; I mean I was--I didn't really cov-, okay, here's what I did--I mean I wrote the Army newspaper, you know; I was the editor, publisher, I was the editor of the Army newspaper. Okay, when I, when I went to Vietnam, I was a--the [U.S.] military people will understand--a 5505; that was my military occupational specialty, my MOS. The 5505, we'll just say a journalist; if you look that up that's what it'll say--Army journalist, that's what I was. But, I ran the newspaper, I wrote speeches for Westmoreland [General William C. Westmoreland], I wrote messages, we answered some of his letters and stuff, and I also worked in an office that dealt with the civilian press. The civilian--five hundred-odd civilians would come over to cover the war [Vietnam War] from all over--mainly the U.S., but Europe as well, and they would be handled by MACV, Military Advisory Command, Vietnam [Military Assistance Command, Vietnam], MACV. So, I worked for Westmoreland on his staff as an information officer; we worked with the civilian press. If they wanna get to the battle zone, we would tell 'em how to get there and we would give them briefings, and that sort of thing, so I did that. But those were the kinds of jobs that I did, you know as, as, as an Army journalist. I was not a combatant, I was not armed. I was only armed twice, and I think it was when I was a payroll officer, so I was not a combatant and I did not kill anybody, thank God, and I don't think I would have.$The other thing that happened is that the heroin epidemic was gripping America, and particularly New York [New York]. New York was the heroin capital; New York was the--New York City, mainly Harlem [New York, New York] and Bedford-Stuyvesant [Brooklyn, New York], was the heroin consumption capital of the world. I think in the year--roughly around '70 [1970], '71 [1971], it was like 1100 drug overdoses in New York City alone--1100 heroin overdoses--people dying from drugs. Now, the murder rate in New York now is like six hundred a year--homicide rate is like six hundred a year in '06 [2006]; well, back then 1100 drug overdoses. I mean it was in--it was incredible epidemic, and not only was people dying of heroin overdoses, but to get the heroin, most of these people were not employed. There was a lot of crime: muggings, people stealing tape decks, breaking into houses; crime rates was astronomical, and I think over two thousand people were killed a year in homicides, a lot of it drug-connected. So, Newsday, at that point, you know--this is in '71 [1971], began to say, okay, because what had happened is that drugs began to creep into the white communities, so Newsday, which is a white suburban community--it was not in New York City at that point, it's mainly on Long Island [New York]--began to be interested in--to find out how they can begin to write about this heroin epidemic that was beginning--only beginning to get into the white suburbia, and so they put together a team of three reporters. The team leader was a guy name Bob Greene [Robert W. Greene], who was a legendary investigative reporter; he had won a Pulitzer Prize for land scandals that he had written about in--on Long Island--in Babylon [New York], by the way--Babylon town. So, they told him he could have the pick of the litter; he could put together a team of two reporters to go abroad and look at the--they wanna look at the international flow of heroin; not just to cover it as a local New York story, but to cover it--how does heroin get here? Well, it gets here--at that point, 80 percent of the heroin was coming from, from Turkey and through the French connection--Marseille [France] mainly, the Marseille area and into, essentially, the veins of the junkies. And so Newsday was gonna put together this team; Greene had the pick of the litter; he chose me as one of the two reporters--I and a fellow name Newt Royce, and I was picked for a number of reasons; my [U.S.] military background didn't hurt. Here I was, a former captain, a ranger--clearly someone who could take care of himself and could travel abroad, and I was also developing a reputation as somebody with the migrant story [about Long Island, New York's migrant community] and the Panther [Black Panther Party]--as somebody, you know, who had learned the--was learning the craft. So I was picked, you know, for that particular story, and the three of us we went to investigate essentially the international flow of heroin, you know, and we wanted to trace it from the poppy fields in Turkey, where it is converted into morphine base, to the laboratories in Marseille area France, where this morphine base is converted chemically into heroin, and then that heroin was shipped, you know, dockside, into United States, so that, that was a story, and it was a great adventure. I mean here I am a young reporter on this international story, and we ended up spending, you know, it was eight months abroad. We, we bought a villa--or rented a villa--leased a villa in, in Istanbul [Turkey], and lived there for three months, and while we were doing that, we were investigating--unbeknownst to the Turkish government, which was--martial law was in Turkey at that point. We were int-, we were investigating how Turkey--how the, the farmers in Afyon [Afyonkarahisar Province, Turkey], which is where--the part of Turkey where it was grown--how do they grow the opium poppy, and how do they get--how does it, it get from being opium to morphine base, and how does it get to France? And so we covered that. And who makes the money? How does it travel? Those are things that, that the three of us we finding, and we did document that. Then, after three months there, then we moved to France; we, we bought a villa--rented a villa in, in a little place called Le Lavandou [France], which is on the Mediterranean [Mediterranean Sea], which is between Marseille and Nice [France] and, and from that base where we were living, I mean we looked at the French connection, you know, and reported on it--again, another three and a half months. And then after that, then we came back to the states and then wrote the piece, which became a book called 'The Heroin Trail' [Newsday Editors]. We got the Pulitzer [Pulitzer Prize] in 1974, and I think it still stands up pretty much as, as an account of how it worked back in those days--how the international drugs case happened.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-winning journalist, author, and school desegregation pioneer Charlayne Hunter-Gault was born on February 27, 1942, in Due West, South Carolina, to Charles and Althea Hunter. Because her father, a chaplain in the United States Army, was often re-assigned, Hunter-Gault and her siblings attended schools in California, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia and Alaska. Hunter-Gault graduated third in her class from Atlanta’s Henry McNeal Turner High School in 1960. Backed by a group of black businessmen and accompanied by fellow student Hamilton Holmes, Hunter-Gault applied for admission to the segregated University of Georgia. Initially denied admittance, she enrolled at Wayne State University in Detroit, but Constance Baker Motley of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a group of Atlanta lawyers won her admittance to the University of Georgia in January of 1961. Hunter-Gault transcended the expected racial hostility, served a summer internship with the Louisville Times and graduated with her B.A. degree in journalism in 1963.

That same year, Hunter-Gault accepted a job as an editorial assistant with the New Yorker magazine. She won a Russell Sage Fellowship for a year and then served as a reporter and evening anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. She returned to print journalism by accepting a post with the New York Times in 1968, establishing the newspaper’s Harlem bureau. In 1978, Hunter-Gault joined PBS’s McNeil-Lehrer Newshour where she served as national correspondent and filled in as an anchor. She joined NPR in 1997 as chief correspondent in Africa. In 1999, Hunter-Gault became the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau chief for CNN.

Hunter-Gault has received numerous awards for journalism including two National News and Documentary Emmy Awards and two George Foster Peabody Awards. She has been recognized by the National Urban Coalition and the American Women in Radio and Television. Named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, Hunter-Gault has written articles for Essence, Ms., Life, and Saturday Review. Her courage as a pioneer integrationist has been chronicled by Calvin Trillen and recognized by the University of Georgia, where a hall is named for her and fellow student Hamilton Holmes. Her autobiography, In My Place, was published in 1992. Hunter-Gault’s exploration of modern Africa, entitled New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa’s Renaissance, was published in 2006.

Hunter-Gault is the mother of a grown son and daughter and currently lives in South Africa with her husband, banker Ron Gault.

Accession Number

A2006.092

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/15/2006 |and| 6/17/2006

6/15/2006

6/17/2006

Last Name

Hunter-Gault

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Henry McNeal Turner High School

Frank L. Stanton Elementary School

E. R. Carter Elementary School

University of Georgia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charlayne

Birth City, State, Country

Due West

HM ID

HUN05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

My Values Are A Suit Of Armor.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/27/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Sarasota

Country

USA

Short Description

Newspaper reporter, television news correspondent, and civic activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault (1942 - ) won admittance to the segregated University of Georgia in 1961. She has reported for 'The New York Times', PBS’s 'McNeil-Lehrer Newshour', NPR, and CNN, for whom she is the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau chief.

Employment

The New Yorker

Washington University, St. Louis

NBC News

The New York Times

The MacNeil/Lehrer Report

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charlayne Hunter-Gault's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains the significance of the church in her life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the origins of her love for Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls how her family valued education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her father's U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her father's experience as a U.S. military chaplain

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recounts how her parents met, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recounts how her parents met, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers visiting New York City with her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her middle-class background

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers moving to the Alaska Territory in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her time in Anchorage, Alaska Territory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her year in Anchorage, Alaska Territory

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers Henry McNeal Turner High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her high school accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her influences as a high school student, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her influences as a high school student, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the impact of historically black schools in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers volunteering to integrate the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers the process of applying to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains the policies used to exclude African Americans from public universities in Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls being admitted by court order to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her state of mind as she prepared to enroll at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers registering at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the riot on her second night at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers leaving the University of Georgia after the riot

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the drive back to Atlanta, Georgia after the riot at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes returning to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her time at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her supporters at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers her friends at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls a breakthrough she had with fellow students at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault compares her experience at University of Georgia with Hamilton Holmes'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes Hamilton Holmes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon the courage of her generation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about her marriage to Walter Stovall

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls moving to New York City to work for The New Yorker

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes writing for the The New Yorker

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers New Yorker Editor William Shawn helping her develop as a writer

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls why she cut short her fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her accomplishments at NBC

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault shares her thoughts about being a news anchor

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls reporting on Ralph Featherstone's funeral

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers white editors' discomfort with black journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers opening a bureau of The New York Times in Harlem, New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls changing The New York Times' standard term for African Americans from Negro to black

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about being mistaken as white in Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon how she grew as a reporter at The New York Times

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls leaving The New York Times to work for 'The MacNeil/Lehrer Report'

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers discrimination suits against The New York Times

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the first African American wedding announcement in The New York Times

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains how she landed an interview with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers her interview with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about 'Apartheid's People'

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls covering Nelson Mandela's release from prison

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her relationship with Nelson Mandela

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains what made 'The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour' unique

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains her motivation for creating 'Apartheid's People'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls 'Apartheid's People' interview subjects, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls 'Apartheid's People' interview subjects, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers interviewing Thabo Mbeki

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault compares public broadcasting to corporate broadcasting

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers interviewing Mengistu Haile Mariam

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon the treatment of African leaders accused of crimes against humanity

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon reporting in Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about Robert Mugabe's rule of Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault considers the future of Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the African American community's response to her work

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about cultural production in South Africa

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her current work

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault considers the history of post-colonial Africa

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about the contemporary African renaissance

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes issues facing African women and children

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her hopes and concerns for the African American and African communities

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon her life

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about her family

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls being admitted by court order to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia
Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about 'Apartheid's People'
Transcript
But we were determined to do this, and so, I enrolled at Wayne [State University, Detroit, Michigan] and Hamp [Hamilton Holmes] enrolled at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia], and I think he was enjoying it. I certainly was enjoying Wayne. It was a--you know, it wasn't a typical university, it was more like a city college. You know, there was one building that was about fifteen or sixteen floors, and it had university office building, offices, et cetera, and I think the student dormitories were in there, student rooms on the, you know, on three of the floors--three of the higher floors, one for graduate students, one for guys and one for girls. So, it wasn't a huge boarding school, because most of the students who went there were from Detroit [Michigan] or within commuting distance. And a lot of them were older, too, you know, because it, it was a city college. Some of them were coming back from [U.S] Army stuff or, you know, having to work their way through. But still, I got into it and enjoyed it and, you know, made a lot of friends and, in fact, I came back in--for the court case in December of '60 [1960], and it was just before Christmas, and the case lasted a week, and I had wanted to go after I finished testifying, because it was all the parties that were leading up to the end of the term and the judge--the state refused to let me go. I think it was just totally punitive. And so we stayed and then I flew back to Detroit, got my things and came home for Christmas. It was home however long the Christmas holidays were. And then I went back to Detroit for the next term in January, and I had just arrived. And one day, I had walked from one of the buildings into my dormitory and everybody was saying, "You got a phone call, you got a phone call," and I found that it was a reporter. I must try and remember her name, I thought I would never forget it, and she said it was such and such, so and so from the Associated Press. And she said, "Congratulations." And I said, "For what?" She said, "Oh, you haven't heard?" And I said, "No." And she said, "Well, you've just been admitted to the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia]. Federal Judge [William Augustus] Bootle has just ordered you admitted to the University of Georgia." And I said, "Oh, my God, I can't believe it!" And of course, you know, I hadn't heard from [Donald] Hollowell who was like--he was more than a lawyer to me, he was almost like a father, and I certainly thought that, you know--but he just hadn't had--I mean, they just--it was just so big they hadn't--because this was the first major desegregation case in the South, other than Little Rock [Arkansas], but at certainly at the level of higher education.$$This was before the University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama], I think that was in '63 [1963], or before [University of] Mississippi [Oxford, Mississippi]?$$Well--actually, Autherine Lucy had applied [to University of Alabama] earlier and been admitted under court order, but had been suspended for the riots which happened similar to us, but that's getting ahead of the story. And she wasn't re-admitted because she was very critical of the administration.$$Now she was in, in--$$Alabama.$$Alabama. Okay.$$And, so this was the first big opening.$But then I went to South Africa in '85 [1985]; that was one of the biggest stories that I did for them ['The NewsHour'; 'PBS NewsHour']. We did a five-part series that ultimately became 'Apartheid's People,' and we got a Peabody Award for that, the highest award in broadcast journalism, and it recognized that this was the first time that, you know, any television had actually looked at the people of apartheid, as opposed to the caricatures of the good and the evil and, you know, the oppressed and the oppressor. We actually tried to understand why an Afrikaner might be the way he was and, you know, what he thought and all of that. And--$$What conclusion did you reach, I mean, what, what were some of the insights gained?$$Well, you know, those who practiced apartheid or believed in apartheid could give you justification in the Bible for the supremacy of whites, and they--I think they actually believed it. That they had these God-given--this God-given right to rule. They actually could find in the Bible the justification for oppression. They believed it. And one of the people I interviewed told me that one of the Afrikaners said that, you know, "Well, we believe in giving black people their rights, but we have to first bring them up to the first world standards," that South Africa is first world and third world. Of course, it was a rationalization. He may have believed it. Because I went back and visited some of them after the end of apartheid and then said, "Okay, now how do you feel that blacks are about to take over?" "Well, you know, those who are taking over, they're first world, they, you know, they're different." And you know, without being racist, I mean, when I heard that I was so appalled. But, you know, now that I've been over there, it's--I would say the same thing, but for different reasons and for different motivations. I mean, it is first world and third world, I mean. Johannesburg [South Africa] is like Atlanta [Georgia] or New York [New York], or you know, city. Skyscrapers. High tech. Boutiques. Anything you wanna find. But five minutes from Johannesburg is third world. It's just when I analyze it that way, I'm not meaning it to say that black people will never be able to achieve rights 'til they're educated to the rights. I mean, that was the whole point of saying that, then. But Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, talks about two economies now, and it's very much like the two societies that the Kerner Commission [National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders] talked about in 1968, you know, there's a white, prospering, economically stable white society and then there's the black one. And South Africa is doing things to change that equation, but it's gonna take a long time. So, you still have those two societies--one white and prospering, with few blacks joining it, and then one massively deprived, black, poor black community. So, anyway, those were--that was a critical intervention on our part in those days, '85 [1985]. And then I subsequently went many other places around the world to--I think I went Haiti, I think for [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide and, you know, some of the big stories of those times. I went abroad to cover, as well as, you know, big domestic stories, but we did analysis and in-depth reporting of these issues, and it was a great growing experience for me.$$Did you think in the late '80s [1980s] when you were there, in '85 [1985] and on, that apartheid would be over as soon as it was over?$$No, nobody did. Not even the African National Congress [ANC]. They were totally surprised when, when [Nelson] Mandela was released. I'd been planning to go back around about that time and had sent a producer down to kind of nose around and see what stories we might do, and she got back on a Friday, and I think it was Saturday that [F.W.] de Klerk said he was going to release Mandela. So we left on a Sunday. She was back for two days.