The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Henry Ponder

Henry Ponder was born on March 28, 1928 in Wewoka, Oklahoma. He was the eleventh of fourteen children born to Frank and Lillie Mae Ponder. Ponder excelled in academics and participated in his high school student council as the class president. After hearing a speech by Mary McCloud Bethune, Ponder was inspired to become a university president. He graduated from Douglas High School in 1946 and attended Langston University, where he pledged the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and received his B.S. degree in agriculture in 1951.

Ponder served two years in the United States Army during the Korean War. When he returned to civilian life, he worked as a research assistant at Oklahoma State University. He then earned his M.A. degree from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Ponder served as both Chair and Assistant Professor for the Department of Agriculture and Business at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia. He also served as the Chairman of the Department of Business and Economics of Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia. Additionally, Ponder was the Vice President of Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama. In 1973, he fulfilled his dream by becoming President of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. After an eleven year tenure, he became the President of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee for twelve years. While at Fisk, Ponder was honored as one of the “100 Most Effective College Presidents in the United States.”

In 1996, Ponder left Fisk University to serve as the CEO and president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In early 2002, he became President of Talladega College in Alabama. While in his presidency, Ponder helped retain the 160-year-old institution’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ponder currently lives on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina with his wife of fifty-five years, Eunice. They have two adult daughters.

Ponder was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.033

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2007

Last Name

Ponder

Maker Category
Schools

Oklahoma State University

Johnson Grove School

Langston University

Douglas High School

The Oklahoma State University for Agriculture and the Applied Science

The Ohio State University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Wewoka

HM ID

PON02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Birthday

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Senegal, West Africa

Favorite Quote

Take Your Time, Not Your Life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/28/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Oysters on the Half Shell

Short Description

University president Henry Ponder (1928 - ) served as Vice President of Alabama A&M University, President of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, President of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and President of Talladega College in Alabama.

Employment

The State Training School for Incorrigible Negro Boys

Tinker Air Force Base

Virginia State University

Fort Valley State College (Ga.)

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College

Benedict College

Fisk University

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1530,31:1955,37:32170,375:41698,449:42382,459:44180,470:69971,736:74424,828:89740,1042:90130,1048:152258,1728:195330,2133:195610,2138:201049,2204:204969,2286:224010,2495$0,0:3501,44:21544,262:35830,373:41836,468:43838,505:49658,557:56158,652:57192,667:57850,677:60220,685:61900,707:62635,715:63370,724:69460,841:98512,1116:107963,1223:110000,1244:110776,1253:117410,1310:132726,1548:133166,1557:138030,1566:142818,1637:143490,1646:166575,1971:166883,1976:167499,1989:167807,1994:168192,2003:175710,2063:177573,2096:186323,2205:189088,2244:209492,2475:214890,2533:227170,2779:227545,2785:227845,2790:228520,2802:232230,2831
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Henry Ponder's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder recalls his childhood in a large family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder remembers lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Henry Ponder describes his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder describes his brother, Tinch Ponder

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder describes his sister, Katheryn Ponder Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder describes his brother, Paul Harding Ponder

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder describes his sisters, Mayme Ponder Jackson

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder describes his remaining siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder describes his chores on the farm

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder recalls being responsible for the farm from an early age

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Henry Ponder remembers growing up during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Henry Ponder describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder recalls the Johnson Grove School in Wewoka, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder remembers Douglas High School in Wewoka, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder recalls hearing Mary McLeod Bethune speak

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder describes his childhood entertainment

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder recalls how his family avoided the effects of the Dust Bowl

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder describes his decision to attend college, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder describes his decision to attend college, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Henry Ponder describes his first year at Oklahoma's Langston University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder recalls meeting his wife at Langston University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder remembers his academic success at Langston University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder describes his professors at Langston University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder talks about the role of college fraternities and sororities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder talks about how fraternities changed in his lifetime

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder describes fraternities' community involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder remembers his graduation from Langston University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder recalls being drafted to serve in the Korean War, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder recalls being drafted to serve in the Korean War, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder remembers his promotion to sergeant in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder describes his experiences in Korea and Japan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder recalls his graduate studies at The Oklahoma State University for Agriculture and Applied Science

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder remembers joining the faculty of Virginia State University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder recalls earning a Ph.D. degree at The Ohio State University for Agriculture and Applied Science

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder talks about voting rights and segregation in Oklahoma

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder remembers segregation in Virginia and Oklahoma

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder recalls the reaction of Virginians to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's death

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder describes his daughters' births

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder remembers moving to Fort Valley, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder remembers moving to Fort Valley, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder describes his civil rights activism in Fort Valley, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder describes his civil rights activism in Fort Valley, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder describes his experience at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Huntsville

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Henry Ponder describes how he became the president of Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder recalls his decision to reject the presidency of Saint Paul's College

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder remembers his presidency of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder talks about expanding the academic programs at Benedict College

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder recalls his decision to become president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder talks about achieving his goal of becoming a college president

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder recalls his presidency of the National Association for Equal Opportunity and Higher Education

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Henry Ponder describes organizational involvement

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Henry Ponder describes his work as a consultant in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Henry Ponder describes his presidency of Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Henry Ponder describes his involvement in the church

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Henry Ponder remembers receiving his first honorary degree

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Henry Ponder talks about his retirement in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Henry Ponder talks about his older daughter, Cheryl Ponder

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Henry Ponder talks about his daughters' educations and careers

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Henry Ponder describes his marriage to Eunice Ponder

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Henry Ponder reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Henry Ponder describes his message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Henry Ponder describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Henry Ponder narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Henry Ponder recalls hearing Mary McLeod Bethune speak
Henry Ponder remembers his presidency of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina
Transcript
Had you thought about what you would like to become?$$Yes, I did. And this is another anecdotal story that I'll tell. When I was in the seventh grade [at Johnson Grove School, Wewoka, Oklahoma], I heard, and I don't know how I heard this, because I didn't read it in the newspaper, that's my point. And we didn't have television, and I know it wasn't on the radio. So, I heard it, that Mary McLeod Bethune was speaking in Wewoka [Oklahoma] at a Methodist church one night. And I said, "I'm going to go hear her." Now during this time--let me back up a little and say that during this time, the greatest person in the African American community, when I was in the seventh grade, was a college president. I mean that was something that nobody thought you could ever become. It was like you're flying to the moon now. But this was a college president, and I'm four miles in the country, and I walked four miles into town to hear her speak. And my mother [Lillie Mae Edwards Ponder] let me go, she thought--and again, I think about all these things and say that my mother even knew how important it was for me to hear this person speak, because it might do something for me. I mean she never told me this, but now as adult, that's all I can make of it. And I walked in and listened to Miss Bethune speak. She had on a mink coat, I remember that. And apparently, it was fall, or chilly, and the church wasn't heated apparently, because she didn't take her coat off. All of this is in retrospect now, I'm guessing. And I listened to her speak, and goodness, I was so impressed with this woman. She was just outstanding, she was a dynamo. And then I walked four miles back home from that. And in that trip from that church to home, as a seventh grader, I said "I'm going to be a college president." So, Miss Bethune was my role model. And now let me just hasten to say, when I made that decision, I had enough realization to know what it took. If you're going to be a college president, first of all you've got to finish the eighth grade. I mean, these are things that just fell into place. Then you've got to go to high school. You got to graduate from high school, then you got to go college. You got to graduate from college, and then you've got to go to graduate school, you know, all these things. As I progressed, I realized that all these things had to be done. And that thought is the thing that drove me to do the education that I have been fortunate enough to get.$Then a few years later in '73 [1973], I was offered a job as president of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and we took that. And that was a good experience, a very good experience. We had all the things that we wanted, and we were able to do some things to make sure that the college grew. We increased the endowment, added some new programs, increased the enrollment, and increased the number of Ph.D.'s on the faculty. We did all the things that we should do. We raised money; we were able to raise quite a bit of money, and we left the place with about $13 million in the endowment. So--$$The endowment was very--well, let's talk about Benedict College. Because historically it was a college that was established for recently emancipated African Americans. Is that right?$$That's correct.$$So, how did you feel about that part of the history of the school?$$Well, I took pride in that part of the history. It was, it was started by the, the first president was Henry Tisdale [sic. Timothy L. Dodge]. And a lady from Boston [Massachusetts] gave the money to buy the land to set up the first school, to set up the first building for the recently emancipated African Americans. And I felt very good about this, and felt that the school needed to stay true to that heritage, rather than trying to hang out its shingle as educating the elite. Rather than that, we ought to make sure that we try to educate those youngsters that have difficulty getting into colleges and universities on a general basis. So in other words, I took the position that if I had a choice--if I didn't have but five positions left in my freshman class, and had a choice between five students who had the highest GPA [grade point average] possible, or students who just barely had a GPA for admission--I would take the five on the lower end, because those on the upper end could always go someplace else if they wanted to, and those on the lower end couldn't. So, I took that position. I also took the position that we hang our shingle out as an open admissions college. And an open admissions college means that you accept students where they are, and proceed to move them to where they ought to be at graduation, so let's stay true to that image rather than trying to compete for the high scoring students. And I also reasoned that if we tried to compete with Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], we can't do that. Harvard knows how to educate smart people, they know how to do that. If we tried to compete with them on that, we'd lose every time. But Harvard does not know how to educate youngsters who need to be motivated. We know how to do that. Let us continue to do that, and let Harvard continue to do what they're doing. If we do that, then there will always be a place for a Benedict College.

Robert Green

Renowned educator and author Robert Green was born on November 23, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Detroit public schools, and while at student at Sherrard Intermediate School, he was a member of the band and earned extra money by delivering telegraphs. He earned his high school diploma from Northern High School in 1952, where he was a member of the football and track teams.

In 1954, Green was drafted in the army and stationed at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco. While working at the hospital at night he attended San Francisco State College and earned his bachelor's of arts degree in general psychology in 1958. He went on to earn his master's in educational psychology from San Francisco in 1960. While working on his Ph.D. at Michigan State University, he was a researcher on a project examining desegregation in Prince Edward county Virginia, a school district that closed its public schools when ordered to desegregate. Green earned his Ph.D. in 1963.

Green joined the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as its National Education Director in 1965. In this position he worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King until he left the organization in 1967. From 1968 through 1973, Green was the Director of the Center for Urban Affairs at Michigan State University. In 1973, he was named the Dean of the College of Urban Development, a position he held until 1982. From 1983 until 1985, Green was the President of the University of the District of Columbia. He would eventually return to MSU, where he currently works as an administrator and professor.

Green is the author of several books that focus primarily on the impact that poverty and racial discrimination has on American's urban populations. His writings include The Urban Challenge, Poverty and Race and Metropolitan Desegregation and Expectations: How Teacher Expectations Can Increase Student Achievement. Green has served as an expert witness in more than twenty school desegregation cases. He and wife Lettie have been married for nearly fifty years and have three grown sons.

Accession Number

A2004.095

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2004

9/30/2004

10/1/2004

Last Name

Green

Maker Category
Schools

Northern High School

Sherrard Intermediate School

Michigan State University

San Francisco State University

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

GRE07

Favorite Season

Thanksgiving

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Take It A Day At A Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/23/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Pound), Vanilla Ice Cream

Short Description

Academic administrator Robert Green (1933 - ) served as the director of the Center for Urban Affairs at Michigan State University, and later became the dean of the College of Urban Development. Green is also the former president of the University of the District of Columbia.

Employment

Letterman Army Hospital

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Michigan State University Center for Urban Affairs

Michigan State University

University of the District of Columbia

Favorite Color

Blue, Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:6120,124:7920,152:17280,284:17820,292:23728,309:24000,314:33928,538:34880,561:41580,652:44800,696:46060,717:49700,812:51240,850:55370,964:56140,981:56420,986:57190,1003:57820,1014:67216,1092:67968,1101:70600,1138:71070,1144:73016,1155:74600,1191:92586,1525:92906,1531:93162,1537:93802,1551:100006,1639:101194,1671:102052,1686:102712,1699:105368,1738:110672,1829:111374,1840:111686,1845:120422,1992:133858,2202:134596,2214:140746,2338:141730,2348:142058,2353:143862,2386:154350,2466:154854,2479:155790,2494:156582,2509:157086,2517:158526,2539:159030,2548:160758,2583:167260,2685$0,0:792,17:3816,113:5328,178:6336,191:24906,442:61390,1023:61930,1030:71465,1172:72122,1183:78911,1337:80079,1361:92210,1473:93440,1535:94916,1564:99016,1637:118098,1904:118446,1909:132949,2077:133294,2083:134191,2098:134467,2103:139504,2211:140884,2248:149790,2385:150912,2406:151728,2424:152238,2430:166919,2600:167334,2606:172110,2682:175190,2762:177780,2820:178340,2829:179250,2843:182960,2945:198850,3147:200138,3167:200966,3187:203701,3228:206461,3282:210670,3370:211084,3377:211429,3383:212533,3406:213706,3430:214603,3444:214879,3449:227910,3572:245908,3781:246682,3812:247112,3818:247800,3832:252700,3903:253316,3914:253701,3920:256704,3988:257166,4003:261160,4035:262350,4055:267487,4083:267972,4089:273089,4131:275972,4161:280290,4203
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Green describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Green describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Green talks about his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Green talks about his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Green talks about lynchings in the South and his father's decision to move to Detroit, Michigan, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Green talks about lynching in the South and his father's decision to move to Detroit, Michigan, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Green describes his father's military service in France during World War I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Green describes the threats African American soldiers faced when they returned from World War I and II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Green explains his parents' move to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Green remembers violence against African Americans integrating neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Green talks about the impact of fear on African Americans and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s greatest contribution

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Green describes his earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Green talks about his siblings and his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Green describes his experience traveling in the South with his father as a child during the 1930s and '40s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Green recalls how his childhood prepared him for his civil rights work with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Green talks about Dwyer Elementary School and being sent to Moore School for Boys in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Robert Green reflects upon his childhood anger and describes his upbringing in the Church of God in Christ

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Green talks about Sherrard Intermediate School and Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan and his relationship to his brothers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Green remembers his siblings' and his involvement in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Green describes how his views on religion have changed over the years and his father's church

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Green talks about playing football in high school, and wrestling at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Green talks about his father's focus on education and its impact on his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Green describes his siblings' mentorship

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Green recalls attending San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Green talks about mentors at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Green talks about racial discrimination he experienced while trying to obtain a school psychologist position

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert Green remembers meeting his wife at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Green remembers being the first black Yellow Cab driver in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Green talks about his wife Lettie Green's role in apprehending the Marcus baby kidnapper in San Francisco, California in 1955

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Green remembers his civil rights work in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Green talks about housing discrimination in East Lansing, Michigan and desegregating Big Ten Athletic Association officials

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Green talks about Carlton Goodlett's influence on him in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Green remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Green remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Green recalls the Meredith March Against Fear in 1966

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Green remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s response to a threat of assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Green recalls the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) harassment of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Green remembers the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Green reflects upon the psychological impact of racism on civil rights leaders, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Green talks about civil rights activist C.T. Vivian

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Green reflects upon the psychological impact of racism on civil rights leaders, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Green describes how he was affected psychologically by the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Green talks about the psychological protection afforded some civil rights activists by religious faith and a strong sense of self, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Green talks about the psychological protection afforded some civil rights activists by religious faith and a strong sense of self, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Green describes his directorship of the Center for Urban Affairs at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Green recalls his career as a university administrator in Washington, D.C. and Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Green describes his recent work with public school districts, his current projects and the best civil rights book

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Green reflects upon what people don't know about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Green talks about the meaning of militancy and the American culture of violence

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Green talks about the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and King's unrealized potential

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Green describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Green talks about the Association of Black Psychologists' founders and goals

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Green explains the need for African American professional organizations, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Green explains the need for African American professional organizations, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Green reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Green reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Green talks about serving as board chairman of Piney Woods School in Piney Woods, Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Green talks about his parents and tells the story of his mother meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Green talks about his family and his friendship with the King family

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Green describes how he would like to remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert Green narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Robert Green narrates his photographs, pt.2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Robert Green narrates his photographs, pt.3

DASession

2$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Robert Green describes his experience traveling in the South with his father as a child during the 1930s and '40s
Robert Green remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s response to a threat of assassination
Transcript
My dad [Thomas J. Green] was a Pentecostal minister, so when I used to travel south with him to the annual Church of God in Christ convention, so I saw discrimination firsthand in the South. My mother [Alberta Vinson Green] would try to prevent having to seek food by cooking enough food to last us the trip from Detroit [Michigan] to Memphis, Tennessee to the annual Church of God in Christ meetings. Sometimes, she'd run out of food. And that's when I can recall my dad going to the back of restaurants, knocking on the kitchen door because in those days, most of the cooks were black. They were black. And they--when we would knock on the door, they would see us. They knew what the--the issue was food. And sometimes they would, they would talk to the owner. He would allow us to eat in the kitchen. Sometime they would not--we'd have to take the food out, and eat in the car. And sometimes, they wouldn't let the cooks give you any food at all. And that was kind of rare because that was before the protest movement so, and blacks--that status was well-defined. Growing up, I remember sometimes going with my dad into the black community, seeing the sheriff, and the sheriff always knew when you were out of town--ad out-of-towner. My dad, he knew the southern ways. My dad knew how to smile and my dad knew how to say "Sir." And so, we were trying to find the colored community, and the sheriff would direct us there. And we would sometimes go there and get food--occasionally, maybe spend the night. In those days, when you were traveling and blacks saw that you're travelers, they took good care of you. I remember that. I remember my dad being, always keeping money in his pocket, cash--because that was a route that a lot of the black ministers took. And the sheriffs knew you were coming. And I can recall one very specific, one very specific occasion in Tennessee--my dad being stopped by the sheriff. And my dad was probably traveling through town maybe ten, fifteen miles per hour. And he was--said, "Boy, you know you're speeding." And my dad would say, "Yes, sir". My dad said, "How much do you need?" He said, "What can you give me?" And my dad would give him five or ten dollars, and they'd let him go. So, that was a pattern. So, I saw this kind of activity growing up, which led me to begin early on, long before I had a Ph.D. and studied psychology, human behavior, to understand the corrupt aspect of America and how that, at the basic level--a local sheriff, shaking down a black minister from the North for five or ten dollars--how basic that is to the later corruption that we saw in America. I won't talk about Enron [Corporation].$You were talking about all the--what you learned about American race working with [Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.]. But I know there are a couple--there's one incident that I heard about where you were in a car with Dr. King, and Bernard Lee, and I think, [HistoryMaker] Andrew Young?$$James Belk. That was in--$$[HistoryMaker Reverend] James Bevel?$$Belk--$$Belk.$$James Belk owned the gas station.$$Right. Well, tell that story from the beginning.$$We were in a car--and was it Grenada [Mississippi] or Natchez [Mississippi]?$$What year is it, too? Let's give us a perspective?$$That was the year I returned to Michigan State [University, East Lansing, Michigan] or that was in '66 [1966]--$$Okay.$$--fall, and I was (unclear)--so I mean fall of '66 [1966]. We were--it was the opening of school, and we were there to assist parents in staying strong under the segregation of those schools. And I believe it was Natchez--it was Natchez or Grenada. I've got it in my notes--Natchez. And we pulled up to a Texaco station. Dr. King--in the front of the car was Coretta [Scott] King's cousin, Obie [ph.] was driving--not Obie--well, anyway, Coretta King's cousin was driving. And Dr. King was on the right side, front seat. In the back was Andrew Young, myself, and Bernard Lee who had travelled with Dr. King. And we always tried to get Dr. King to sit in the back of the car in the middle where he'd have more protection. And he would never, never do that. And so, we pull up to the light, and--it was Grenada. James Belk, owner of the gas station, saw Dr. King. He was pumping gas. He stopped pumping gas. He walked up to the car, pulled out his pistol, and put it up to Dr. King's temple. Why Bernard, why the driver, Obie--Obie was his name--didn't take off--I don't know--but everybody froze. He said, "Martin Luther King, Jr., you so and so, and so and so, I'm going to blow your f-ing brains out." Dr. King very calmly turned to him and said, "Brother, I love you." And that pistol came down. Well, of course, we all were at--probably had heart attacks in all four chambers, and we were pretty put out. See, it was-"Dr. King, we told you, you should ride in the back, you should ride in the back of the car. Look what happened." He very calmly turned to us and said, "Look, [President] John Fitzgerald [Kennedy] had the [U.S.] Army, the [U.S.] Navy, the [U.S.] Air Force, the [U.S.] Coast Guard, and the Secret Service, and they assassinated him. When they're ready for me and my time comes, I'm gone." I remember that incident. That was his response. The other thing that I remember was a meeting of the [Mississippi] Freedom Democratic Party [MFDP] in Chicago [Illinois] where Dr. King spoke. We were on our way to Washington, D.C. where he gave the keynote address at the American Psychological Association's [APA] meeting. He had been invited by [Dr.] Kenneth [B.] Clark and Tom Petty who would speak there, and I was traveling with him. And, matter of fact, my wife [Lettie Clement Green] was with us during that time. And there was a lot of shouting at Dr. King by so-called liberals, liberal blacks, and radical blacks, and liberal whites that non-violence is not going to work and why are you pressing non-violence on us? We need to, you know, be more militant in our stance against segregation. Some, some even talked about taking up arms against segregation in America, which came to have nothing to do with. And the next day--I mean, they shouted him down and it was, he was visibly annoyed by it, not shaking fearful. In the plane the next day on our way to Washington, D.C., he said, and I heard him say this to Andy Young and myself, "There's really only one place I really feel comfortable speaking today. And we said where?" He said, "In the black church in the South," and that's where he was assassinated while getting ready to go speak at a black church in the South. He was going to speak at the Church of God in Christ [Mason] Temple in Memphis [Tennessee]. That's where he was shot. So, King had--he was never afraid, but there was a growing awareness that he could be a target for assassination and we all worried about it.

Samuel Yette

Samuel F. Yette, the author of The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America, was born on July 2, 1929, in Harriman, Tennessee, to Frank Mack Yette and his wife Cora Lee Rector Yette (the family name is pronounced “yet”). Growing up in segregated Tennessee during the Great Depression, Yette attended Jamieson Elementary School in Harriman and Campbell High School in nearby Rockwood, Tennessee. Campbell High School principal John Brown Olinger mentored Yette, who graduated in 1947. After a brief interlude at Morristown College in 1947, he finished his studies at Tennessee State University from 1948 to 1951.

After joining the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and serving from 1951 to 1953, Yette returned to teach and coach at Campbell High School from 1953 to 1954 and at Howard High School in Chattanooga from 1954 to 1955. Between 1954 and 1956, Yette worked as a sports writer for The Chattanooga Times and as a sports caster for WMFS radio. Yette completed his B.S. in English from Indiana University in 1956 and his M.A. in journalism and government in 1959. Also in 1956, Yette was teamed with photographer Gordon Parks as a special correspondent for a four part series on civil rights that appeared in LIFE Magazine. In 1956 he became a reporter for the Afro-American Newspapers in Baltimore and Washington, before serving as associate editor of Ebony from 1957 to 1959. That year, Yette was named director of information for Tuskegee University, where he remained until 1962. Yette covered City Hall for the Dayton Journal Herald as their first black reporter in 1962. Yette became the Peace Corps’ press liaison for Sargent Shriver’s visit to Africa in 1963 and was made the executive secretary of the Peace Corps in 1964. He was then appointed special assistant for civil rights to the director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, a position he held until 1967.

Becoming the first black Washington correspondent for Newsweek in 1968, Yette covered urban violence and began writing The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival In America. The Choice, published in 1971, was an African American insider’s view of the relationship between the Vietnam War, the War On Poverty and African American survival. For The Choice, Yette garnered a Special Book Award from the Capitol Press Club in 1971, and the Top Non-Fiction Work of Distinction from the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in 1972. Featured on PBS’s Black Journal, Yette lectured widely.

In 1972, Yette accepted a position as professor of journalism at Howard University while continuing to write columns and commentary for the Miami Times, Tennessee Tribune, Philadelphia Tribune, Richmond Free Press, Nashville Banner and the Afro-American Newspapers and for magazines like Black World, Black Scholar, Black Collegian and Black Books Bulletin. He founded Cottage Books, Inc., and republished The Choice in 1982. In addition, Yette was a political commentator for BET in 1987 and 1988 and hosted Talk TV Politics on WHMM-TV (now WHUT) from 1991-1992.

Yette was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 7, 2004.

Yette passed away on January 21, 2011, leaving behind two grown sons.

Accession Number

A2004.065

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2004

Last Name

Yette

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

F.

Schools

Campbell High School

Jamieson Elementary School

Morristown College

Tennessee State University

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Harriman

HM ID

YET01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Egypt

Favorite Quote

139th Psalms

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/2/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken, Salad (Tuna)

Death Date

1/21/2011

Short Description

Newspaper columnist, author, and book publishing chief executive Samuel Yette (1929 - 2011 ) is the author of, "The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America," which has won several awards. A professor of journalism at Howard University and founder of Cottage Books, Inc., Yette has had a wide and influential career, and is still an active photojournalist and author.

Employment

United States Air Force

Campbell High School

Chattanooga Times

WMFS Radio

Afro-American Newspapers

Ebony Magazine

Tuskegee University

Dayton Journal Herald

United States Peace Corps

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Newsweek Magazine

Howard University

BET

WHMM TV

Cottage Books

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5598,38:12084,141:20182,199:20722,205:27634,275:35794,346:39178,385:40212,404:54914,531:55210,536:63928,624:71048,710:73588,730:94016,867:94793,877:112638,1009:131660,1093:150848,1276:151184,1281:151940,1293:152696,1303:153032,1308:157904,1351:158660,1363:161684,1406:168640,1426:169240,1433:169940,1442:172540,1492:177735,1530:178115,1535:178495,1540:183862,1576:189533,1622:198851,1667:201492,1693:206406,1731:206776,1737:209514,1772:217125,1823:221346,1850:222316,1863:223868,1886:224838,1907:225808,1918:247340,2176:248028,2186:255549,2238:259429,2276:260108,2284:260690,2291:261078,2296:262824,2322:263600,2333:264376,2344:269568,2360:275420,2425$0,0:794,7:15583,211:16826,222:17617,229:19312,246:20555,263:21346,271:21798,276:22589,285:30391,343:31140,350:37088,403:37748,409:38276,414:40791,433:43395,447:44130,454:47090,476:48180,486:48725,492:49815,503:50251,508:51559,521:52540,531:54066,550:55265,563:56137,570:58753,603:64830,636:66678,655:67602,662:69846,684:70374,689:71298,696:73605,711:75600,733:78762,748:80346,764:80922,769:86709,827:92978,876:94304,891:95120,901:95732,907:104015,946:106038,971:106514,976:109297,996:110187,1011:111166,1025:111789,1032:115460,1063:117368,1073:118830,1084:123268,1128:127406,1179:128315,1190:133620,1224:134313,1233:148750,1361:151128,1399:153290,1411:153915,1417:162740,1508:163444,1517:169110,1565:169936,1574:175482,1631:176770,1646:179990,1699:185306,1769:188370,1808:193885,1830:197786,1900:198450,1937:203798,1996:205646,2041:213050,2131:217458,2271:220270,2317:225170,2402:225882,2412:234924,2614:235540,2623:236772,2664:237388,2671:242302,2720:245190,2742:245946,2755:247782,2775:248754,2786:249294,2792:258375,2890:260160,2925:260500,2930:262200,2959:262540,2964:263135,2972:263475,2977:266875,3004:274765,3125:275105,3130:275445,3135:275785,3140:276380,3148:280380,3154:284513,3193:289112,3278:289404,3283:290645,3305:291594,3320:300304,3426:312758,3545:316398,3579:322465,3617:323515,3630:328355,3660:329520,3670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Yette's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette talks about his mother and describes her personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette describes his maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette shares a story about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Yette recalls growing up in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Samuel Yette lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Samuel Yette describes where his family lived when he was growing up in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Samuel Yette describes local personalities from his childhood in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette remembers the cruelty he experienced growing up in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette recalls his time at Jamieson Elementary School in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette lists his teachers at Jamieson Elementary School in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls a childhood crush at Jamieson Elementary School in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette explains how his family became involved in the effort to integrate schools in Harriman, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette recalls his mentor John Brown Olinger

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette explains the tragic circumstances that led to John Brown Olinger becoming principal of Campbell High School in Rockwood, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Yette recalls teachers at Rockwood Colored High School in Rockwood, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Samuel Yette recalls the extracurricular activities that helped him gain admittance to Morristown College in Morristown, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Samuel Yette explains how he transitioned to being a sports announcer at Tennessee State Agricultural & Industrial University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette recalls founding The Meter student newspaper at Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette describes lessons learned through founding and running The Meter student newspaper at Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette explains how Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College fostered his interest and career in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls the courses he did poorly in at Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette describes his experience in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette recalls the racism he encountered while in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette explains how he was able to address the racism he encountered while in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette recalls discrimination he encountered from professors at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette talks about the Negro minority seat on the student council at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette recalls inviting Carl Rowan to speak at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls returning to teach high school in Rockwood, Tennessee and being the first black person to be given a library card in his hometown

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette talks about beginning his journalism career at Ebony in 1957

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette recalls meeting his wife and marrying her in 1958

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette explains how he became director of information for Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Yette recalls how he persuaded the Montgomery Advertiser to publish him during his time at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette explains how he got an interview for a job with the Journal-Herald of Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette recalls his trip to New Orleans, Louisiana to interview for a job with the Journal-Herald of Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette describes the racist encounters he had at the Journal-Herald of Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls encounters with Glenn Thompson, the editor of the Journal-Herald of Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette recalls being sexually harassed by a coworker at the Journal-Herald in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette recalls being sexually harassed by a coworker at the Journal-Herald in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette talks about traveling to Africa with Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette recalls his promotion to executive secretary from public information officer in the Peace Corps

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette explains why he left the position of special assistant to the director of U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette recalls moving to New York, New York and being hired by Newsweek in 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls the events that led to his firing from Newsweek

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette explains the impetus for publishing his book 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America' in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette talks about an excerpt from 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America' that discusses rice exportation in the U.S. in the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette discusses the financial motives of top government officials named in his book 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette recalls interviewing Secretary of Labor George Shultz on Meet the Press

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette talks about the reception and legacy of 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette recounts teaching the importance of attributable sources to his journalism students at Howard University in Washington D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette talks about the issue of journalists working in the intelligence community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette talks about the publications produced by his company, Cottage Books

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette lists the journalists he admires

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Samuel Yette describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Samuel Yette shares advice for aspiring black journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Samuel Yette reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Yette reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Yette considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Samuel Yette talks about his plans for another book

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Samuel Yette recalls sharing his career success with his mother during Harriman Tennessee's Golden Anniversary celebration

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Samuel Yette narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Samuel Yette narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Samuel Yette talks about traveling to Africa with Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver
Samuel Yette talks about an excerpt from 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America' that discusses rice exportation in the U.S. in the 1960s
Transcript
So, now, Peace Corps, next--$$Well, I left there, and went--Carl Rowan called me. And I came to the Peace Corps, and went to Africa for the first time with [R.] Sargent Shriver. Douglas Kiker, who later worked for NBC News, was the head of the information bureau of public information [director of information] at the Peace Corps. And Sargent Shriver was, frankly, a very difficult person for whom to work, very difficult, very demanding. And, in fact, Kiker's job was on the line, because the most recent guy who had traveled with Shriver to South America, Shriver sent him back mid-trip--said, get out of here, go, go back, and get fired, or whatever, you know. So, Kiker's job was on the line. So, he sent Shriver a note saying, "I'm sure [HistoryMaker] Sam [Samuel] Yette can handle what your demands are--take him to Africa." So, we went. And one of two things, I think, really caused him--once we got to Ghana to--we were visiting Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana. But he sent Kiker a letter when we got to Ghana, saying, Sam Yette is doing an excellent job. And what that meant was your job is saved for the moment. Now, I think two things especially turned him around. I was interviewing the, President [William] Tubman, who was very proud of the fact that he had descended from slaves in Georgia (laughter). But anyway, while I was interviewing him, then I went--Shriver was getting an honorary degree from the University of Liberia [Monrovia, Liberia]. And I went, not to--you know, I didn't care that much about the reception. I went to the office and ran off copies of my story telling about his honorary. And in the story, I had used the initials for the degree, and whatever. And the [U.S.] State Department guy, who later became a state department executive, who was the in-country person in charge--the next morning, was looking at it. And he says, "Oh, Sarg," he says, "No, he's, he's made a mistake here." And I said, "Beg your pardon?" And he said, "No, I, I, I don't think that's--." And I said, "No, no, no, you're thinking--I checked it" (laughter), "So it is correct" (laughter). So, oh, oh, he says, "Oh, oh, okay." So, those two things caused Shriver to think that--hey, he needed somebody in his office who could take care of things like that. Number one, I knew what I was doing and, secondly, I had gone on, and done it--the work instead of going to the reception.$What I discovered was--a couple of things. One, I'm going to read from page 130 [of 'The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America,' HistoryMaker Samuel Yette], okay. "When the decisive decade, the 1960s began, the United States was not a leader among the world's rice growers, exporters, or consumers. At the close of the decade, the United States still was not a big rice consumer, nor even a major rice grower. But as an exporter, the United States was number one despite a green revolution that dramatically increased rice yields in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and South Vietnam--all customers for U.S. rice. As the decade closed, the United States still produced less than 1 percent of the world's rice, but was incredibly the world's leading rice exporter, consuming only 35 percent of its rice produced, selling the other 65 percent abroad to a hundred countries, but mainly to South Korea and South Vietnam." Now, what I discovered was there are only five rice-producing countries, uh, states in the United States, only five--California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and what's the other--$$It should be Mississippi, wouldn't it?$$--Mississippi. And the people who were chairmen of these committees were all from these states. For example, just let me give you an idea. The congressional chairmanships in the 91st [U.S.] Congress and these rice-cut representatives are in bold type. Their allies in italics. In the [U.S.] Senate, the Agricultural [sic. Agriculture, Nutrition] & Forestry Committee, [Senator] Allen J. Ellender, and his third in command, [Senator] James O. Eastland of Mississippi; the appropriations committee, Allen J. Ellender of Louisiana; [Senator] John [Little] McClellan of Arkansas; [U.S. Senate Committee on] Armed Services, [Senator] John C. Stennis of Mississippi--$$He was almost 100 years old then (laughter).$$--[Senator] Russell B. Long in charge of [U.S. Senate Committee on] Finance; [Senator] J. William Fulbright of Arkansas was in charge of [U.S. Senate Committee on] Foreign Relations; John McClellan of Arkansas, in charge of [U.S. Senate Committee on] Government Operations [later U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs]; James O. Eastland and John McClellan--Eastland from Mississippi, McClellan from Arkansas--both in charge of [U.S. Senate Committee on] Judiciary; [U.S. Senate Committee on Education] Labor and Public Welfare[later, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)], [Senator] Ralph Yarborough of Texas; and so forth. Well, they can control anything, including the fact that the President [Lyndon Baines Johnson] of the United States was from Texas, one of the rice-producing states. It was about food and the manipulation of the ability of those people in the Far East to feed themselves. That's what it's about.$$So the dynamic of that, as I remember the book, is that, as the U.S. bombed South Vietnam and the rice paddies were destroyed, then rice would have to be exported from the United States to--$$Absolutely.$$--at the taxpayers' expense?$$Absolutely, absolutely. And when they were talking about burning off the vegetation, the brush, defoliation, as they would call--as it was called, defoliation of the jungles. What they were doing, they were destroying the people's rice (laughter). That's what the defoliation was.$$They were telling us that the Viet Cong were hiding in the foliage, so we need to get rid of the foliage to (laughter)--$$Yes. And so, now, what we're faced with, we're faced with a situation--not unlike the '60s [1960s], but we--it's just changed places. Now, it's oil--still about oil.