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Steve Baskerville

Broadcast meteorologist Steve Baskerville was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1950. He attended the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University and graduated from there in 1972 with his B.S. degree in communications. Later, in 2006, Baskerville earned a certificate in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. He received his American Meteorological Society (AMS) Seal of Approval in 2007.

In 1972, Baskerville began his broadcasting career and was hired by the Philadelphia School District Office of Curriculum where he hosted a children’s show on public radio. He then joined KYW-TV, the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, from 1977 to 1984. While there, Baskerville worked as a weatherman, co-hosted a morning talk show with Maurice “Maury” Povich, and hosted a daily children’s program which was honored by Action for Children’s Television. In 1984, Baskerville was hired by CBS as a broadcast meteorologist on their “Morning News” segment, making him the first African American network weatherman. Then, in 1987, he became the weatherman for WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois.

Baskerville’s interest in children’s programming led him to host a two-hour special, “Dealing with Dope.” He also co-hosted a children’s issues program for WCBS-TV titled, “What If.”
In addition, Baskerville has displayed his diverse skills by hosting projects such as “Thanks to Teachers,” a salute to area educators; “Taste of the Taste,” a half-hour live broadcast from the Taste of Chicago; the “All-City Jamboree,” a high school talent competition; and “Beautiful Babies,” a public service campaign.

Baskerville has been honored for excellence throughout his career. In 1999, he won an Emmy Award for the news feature series, “Best of Chicago”; and, in 2001, he was honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for “Best Weather Segment.” Baskerville served as host for CBS 2 Chicago’s Emmy-Award winning program, “Sunday! With Steve Baskerville!” He received local Emmy Awards for his work on CBS 2’s 2004 broadcast of the LaSalle Bank of Chicago Marathon, and his coverage of the deadly tornado in Utica, Illinois in 2004. In addition, he received an Emmy Award in 2005 for the news feature, “Steve’s Getaway Guide.” In 2006, Baskerville earned several more local Emmy Awards including the “Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence.”

Baskerville and his wife live in Glenview, Illinois. They have two children: Aaron Baskerville and Sheena Baskerville.

Steve Baskerville was interviewed by The HistoryMakers August 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.238

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/24/2013

Last Name

Baskerville

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Stephen

Schools

Temple University

Mississippi State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herman

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BAS04

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Have And Not Need Than To Need And Not Have.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/12/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Television personality and weatherman Steve Baskerville (1950 - ) was hired by CBS in 1984, making him the first African American network weatherman. In 1987, he joined WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois where he earned several local Emmy Awards.

Employment

CBS News

KYW TV Philadelphia

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Steve Baskerville's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville describes his mother, Mary Baskerville

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville talks about experiencing racism

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville talks about his mother's career as a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville describes his maternal grandmother and being raised by a widowed mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville describes his paternal family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville shares his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about encountering President Herbert Hoover

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville talks about the talented alumni of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville describes his family life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville talks about growing up in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville talks about celebrating holidays as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Steve Baskerville remembers his family vacations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Steve Baskerville shares his memories of elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville remembers entering a smile contest

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about encountering gangs while attending Shoemaker Junior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville describes Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville talks about being a good student and his plans for college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville describes his activities at Overbrook High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville describes attending church as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville describes his social life at Overbrook High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville talks about his aspiration to be a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville describes the political climate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville recalls the tumult of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville describes harassment by the police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville talks about his father's military service in WWII

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville talks about his decision to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville talks about attending Temple University during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville describes his decision to major in Theater and Communications at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville talks about his first job working on a children's educational radio show

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville talks about his work in children's television programming

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about working on "Evening Magazine" and "AM-PM" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville talks about how he became a weatherman

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville describes his audition for the CBS Morning News

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville talks about African Americans in the Philadelphia broadcasting market in the late 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville talks about meeting celebrities who appeared on "The Mike Douglas Show"

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville describes being recognized in public and working in large broadcasting markets

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville talks about taking a job at a morning newscast in New York City, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Steve Baskerville recalls being encouraged to take a broadcasting job in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Steve Baskerville contrasts national versus local broadcasts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville remembers the celebrities who appeared on the CBS Morning Show

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about his decision to take a job as weatherman for WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville talks about his wife and children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville talks about reporting on Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's death

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville describes working at WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville describes the Chicago broadcasting market

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville talks about the importance of peer acceptance and having an authentic personality in the broadcasting business

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville talks about working with Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Steve Baskerville talks about the major weather stories he covered in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville talks about "The Mike Douglas" show

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about his strategy for dealing with changing management at WBBM

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville talks about hosting "Sunday with Steve Baskerville"

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville describes the non-weather programming that he hosted

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville describes his ideal television program

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville talks about being a people person

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville talks about meeting interesting people

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville talks about winning nine Emmy Awards

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Steve Baskerville talks about earning a certificate in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Steve Baskerville talks about global warming

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Steve Baskerville talks about the controversies faced by HistoryMakers Harry Porterfield and Dorothy Tucker as black journalists in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Steve Baskerville talks about HistoryMaker Jim Tilmon

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Steve Baskerville describes the wage gap between African American female broadcasters and male broadcasters

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Steve Baskerville talks about his heroes

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Steve Baskerville shares his career advice

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Steve Baskerville talks about his son's career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Steve Baskerville talks about his future plans

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Steve Baskerville describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Steve Baskerville reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Steve Baskerville narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

9$3

DATitle
Steve Baskerville talks about the major weather stories he covered in Chicago, Illinois
Steve Baskerville talks about how he became a weatherman
Transcript
Now, tell me a little bit about, you're doing the weather, what is the technology in terms of weather reporting at this time?$$Well, it's very--(simultaneous)--$$I mean your first year (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$I mean we've got all sorts of real help. You know, when I first started we were putting magnets on the board and clouds of suns and everything was pretty much broad, you know, like a broad area of rain will be here and then broad area moves here. And now things are so localized and the computer has done everything to make it so different, you know. You, you're not--and the speed of--the speed and the accuracy of the projections that you make, those are--I can look at, I can go to work now and look at a 48-hour computer model and what this particular model is saying the next two days are gonna be like. And it'd almost be on the money in terms of the hour that--it'll show me that Tuesday night at 11:00, this area is gonna move right into Northeastern Illinois, and more often than not, the next 24 hours, you can be in the 90's percent for accurate. I mean it's--the guesswork is practically gone. They're so sophisticated now.$$What was your biggest weather story the first year you were in Chicago [Illinois]?$$Well, I, and maybe it wasn't the first year, but I was the first reporter on the scene with the Plainfield [Illinois] tornadoes. I happened to have been in Oak Lawn [Illinois] doing something else, doing a story--it was a very, very hot day. And we were talking about people who have strange jobs on hot days, and these were guys that worked in refrigerators all day with coats on, like meat lockers, trying to protect the meat or whatever, and it was like a hundred degrees outside. And then I got word something happened in, around Joliet. Can you get there? And we got in the car, and we went out to a field, and it was commotion , and I, you know, 10 or 11 people out talking to each other in a frantic way. What happened? Tornado, and it went that way. And the person pointed, and when he pointed, it was almost textbook. Tornadoes tend to move on diagonal lines. And it was from like North--it was moving from like Northwest to--Southwest to Northeast, Southwest to Northeast. And we just followed the destruction. It started getting worse and worse. We saw some trees down, and we followed the line and then saw some rooftops gone, saw buildings just leveled. So it was those Plainfield tornadoes and the toughest part of it was what the National Guard had to do that night, and they were, not afraid, but they were troubled. One of 'em said to me, you know, I gotta go out there now in that field and look around, and I don't know what I'm gonna find there. But it was the aftermath of that tornado that was probably the biggest--I've gone to two tornado scenes, not during the midst of the tornado, but here and in Utica [Illinois], there was some big tornadoes, more recent than Plainfield. But those were the big--and I've had a couple all night, gotta stay, be in the station, blizzard episodes. I'd much rather have a blizzard than the severe weather. Severe is quicker, happens and ends quicker, but much more frightening because of the possibility.$$You know, that Plainfield tornado, do you remember what year that was?$$Nineteen ninety [1990], I believe.$$There were a lot of casualties--(simultaneous)--$$Yes.$$Over a hundred people?$$Yes, 'cause it wasn't just Plainfield. It was Crest Hill [Illinois] and maybe parts of Joliet [Illinois]. But I'm, but it was, it was pretty devastating.$Eventually, the boss running, the GM [General Manager] running that station comes down to me and he says, you know, I wish there was a way to get you involved in more of the day. This is working so well. Weather. And I said, what? The weather. Why didn't I think of it earlier? You'd make a great weatherman. I said--$$What was your initial thought when he said that?$$You've got to be kidding. I mean I had never thought of it. Maury [Povich] was an anchor of the 5:00 o'clock newscast, and he liked the relationship we had. And he thought that I could blend into a newscast easily from what he saw earlier. The Dean of Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] was an old-time weather broadcaster, now Dean of Science at Drexel. He says, you know, I like that guy. Why don't you pay me to teach him. I'll teach him the weather. So the station sends me off to Francis Davis, Dr. Francis Davis, and several times a week, one-on-one, special course, special arrangement, I learned the weather like sitting there with notes and pad, pen, teaching me personally, meteorology. Now--$$What did this education involve? I mean how do you teach a weatherman (laughter)?$$Well, I mean it wasn't, it was an informal arrangement for sure. But the goal was, see, there's a--we can't as TV meteorologists ever do as much as the weather service is doing. I mean there are people on staff 24 hours a day, breaking up the day. I mean there's broadcast meteorology and then there's meteorology. I eventually went on and took courses, coursework at Mississippi State [University] where you get credentialed to have a seal 'cause are tests that you have to take and, but in those days, it was very loose. I mean the entry into the world of weather was pretty loose, and there were--I got, one of the most popular weathermen in Philadelphia at the time was a D.J. who made the transition from being a D.J., straight into doing television weather, enormously popular. I mean untouchable, popular for most of the years that I was in Philadelphia. So, so the, the thing about, half of--even to this day, I mean now we can go on the air with credentials and study from the day, from whatever the weather of the day is, but the map isn't the star of that segment. You are. So it's as much personality driven as it is information, especially in this day and age because people have so--we are fighting all sorts of sources for--by the time I'm seen on the air, people have, if they wanted, gotten the information, six ways from Sunday, from their phone, from their iPad, from all sorts of alerts and descriptions of the weather. And, you know, and, but the same for news as well. I think news is changing that way too, but we're really getting off on a tangent, so much so that I'm not sure where--but that was my entrance into steady television work.$$Now, you didn't have like radar weather or did you?$$Yeah, well, the thing that was most special about this arrangement with the Francis Davis who was this instructor of mine, he monitored me every day. I mean I was, it was like riding a bike, you took the training wheels off, and sent me off, and I'm wobbling. And I go on the air with all of the basics. I knew what fronts and highs and lows were and what they did and where they came from. I mean I could put a forecast together. I had to also master the phrasing, and I had to also make sense. And he'd call me after a show. That was great what you just said, that was exactly what's gonna happen or he'd call and say, that was crazy. Where'd you get that? Or that's the most ridiculous thing I ever--and it was wonderful to have someone in your corner like that. So I did, and I thought if I'm lucky, I'll keep this job for the rest of the month.$$What year was this?$$Nineteen seventy, like seven [1977] or so, 1978.

Samuel Williamson

Atmospheric scientist Samuel P. Williamson was born on March 5, 1949, in Somerville, Tennessee to the late Julius Williamson, Jr. and Izoula Smith. He graduated from W.P. Ware High School in 1967. Williamson received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Tennessee State University in 1971 and his B.S. degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in 1972. He went on to earn his M.A. degree in management from Webster University in 1976. From 1996 to 1997, Williamson was a visiting Executive Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government where he explored national security issues involving science, technology, and public policy.

In 1971, Williamson was hired as an elementary mathematics teacher in the Fayette County School System in Tennessee. Later in 1971, he began his atmospheric science career as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Weather Service. In 1977, Williamson joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more than twelve years, he was NOAA’s principal planner and ultimately the Director of the Joint System Program Office for the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) WSR-88D, Doppler Weather Radar System through the design, development and initial deployment of this first major joint program among three Federal departments—the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Transportation. Later, as a Senior Staff Associate for the National Science Foundation, Williamson enhanced science education. In his role as a senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, he helped shape the legislative agenda for science, space, and technology policy. In 1998, Williamson was appointed as the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research. As the Federal Coordinator, he is accountable to the U.S. Congress and the Office of Management and Budget for systematic coordination and cooperation among 15 Federal departments, independent agencies, and executive offices with meteorology programs or interests to ensure the Federal government provides the best possible weather information and user services to the Nation. Under his leadership, significant advances were made in the areas of aviation weather, space weather, wildland fire weather, weather information for surface transportation, advanced modeling and data assimilation, and tropical cyclone research and operations.

Williamson is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Montgomery College Foundation Board, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Guard Association. He also serves on the Committee for the Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS) of the National Science and Technology Council.

Williamson is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award (2010), the NOAA Distinguished Career Award (2010), the NOAA Bronze Medal (1996), and the National Guard Association of the United States Garde Nationale Trophy (1993). In 2006, Williamson was elected as a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute.

Samuel P. Williamson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/22/2013

Last Name

Williamson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

P.

Schools

Harvard University

Webster University

North Carolina State University

Tennessee State University

Fayette Ware Comprehensive High School

Jefferson Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Somerville

HM ID

WIL64

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Be the best that you can be

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/5/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Samuel Williamson (1949 - ) was appointed as the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1998. In 2010, Williamson received the Presidential Rank Award and the NOAA Distinguished Career Award.

Employment

United States Department of Commerce

United States Air Force

Fayette County School System

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and her employment

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's personality and his education and his employment

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's employment

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and his relationship with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's service in World War II as a quartermaster on the Red Ball Express and his skill as a sharpshooter

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his parents' last years together

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mathematical skills

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Somerville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to attend Tennessee State University and receiving a scholarship to do so

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about joining the U.S. Air Force ROTC at Tennessee State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson talks about getting married in 1970

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Tennessee State University the evening that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes the events on Tennessee State University's campus following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his career in the U.S/ Air Force, and well known football players who were at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about football player, Joe Gilliam

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about athletes from Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to study meteorology at North Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience while studying meteorology at North Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience with racism while trying to find housing near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Charleston Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to pursue his master's degree in management at Webster University's Air Force extension program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions at the National Weather Service and as the principal planner of the NEXRAD Joint System Program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mentors, Richard Hellgren and Colonel William Barney

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work as the deputy director of the NEXRAD Joint System Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about receiving the Presidential Rank Award in 2010

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about radar technology for weather and airplane control, and explains the phenomenon of wind shear

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about phase array radar

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson shares his perspectives on the evolution of weather warning systems, and the need for infrastructure to sustain inclement weather

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson discusses the importance of improved weather warning systems and shelter infrastructure

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson discusses the need for better response to severe weather warnings and improved shelter infrastructure

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson explains why the United States is prone to tornadoes

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work in the area of atmospheric and environmental transport dispersion models

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions to improving traffic reports for increasing the safety of highway travel

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his work on improving predictions of the development and impact of storms and hurricanes

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about providing recommendations for better ways of dealing with wildfires in the western U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his collaboration with federal agencies to monitor the impact of solar radiations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career in the military and his experience as a Visiting Executive Fellow at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon the mentoring that he received over the course of his career in the federal government

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his wife and his two children

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Samuel Williamson talks about his father's personality and his education and his employment
Samuel Williamson describes his contributions to improving traffic reports for increasing the safety of highway travel
Transcript
And so, he [Williamson's father, Julius Williamson, Jr.] was picked to do good; he was well known in the community, well respected, he promoted education, he was a family man, he always wanted--he was very spiritual, he was a deacon in the church where he actually grew up at. He became a deacon on the deacon board in 1950 and served fifty-four years on the deacon board where he retired in 2004. He passed the torch to my brother, whose name is Julius Williamson III. He also was chairman. I had already left, you know, I had my own career and so forth. So, but he was the one the community looked up to, my dad was well known and very respected. When people wanted things they came to him, if blacks wanted to borrow money from the bank his word was good enough, you know, up to a certain amount. So he helped people and he believed in helping people and I remember when I was a child, my dad had a lot of clothes and stuff that he had gotten, he was giving things away and my mom [Izoula Smith Williamson] said, "Let me look at it first before you give away everything." So that's just the way he was. I will tell you one other story, he drove a school bus and then there was a young man who every morning, you know, it was cold in the winter time and he would get on the bus with no coat. My day said, "Where's your coat?" He said he left it; there was some excuse he gave every day. As it turns out he didn't have a coat and so about the third day because it was so cold, the kid gets on the bus, my dad had gone to a store and bought a brand new coat and gave it to him. So I happened to meet this young man as he is now an adult and he was telling me about this story about what kind of heart my dad had. He just wanted to help people, he felt that he was in a position; it wasn't like we were out there sharecropping and have to worry about being evicted off our land because we had our own (unclear). So I think a lot of my drive came from my father, my mom was just loving, she just cared, she did everything, you know, for her children but my dad was the primary provider.$$Okay. Now did your dad get a chance to finish school?$$No he did not, my dad had about a fifth grade education. When he went into the [U.S.] Army, then of course as part of the schooling that he got in the Army, then once he came off of active duty in 1946 the VA had what you called the GI school, means that there was money that where you could go to the school and you could learn a trade. I think he really wanted to do his in farming. He had ideas about of becoming a large farmer; he wanted to become a big farmer, you know, a black farmer. And so he learned a lot about how to manage business and so forth. So when you add up his technical training he received once he came off active duty, I would say it probably equated to a GED equivalent to high school.$$So he went to school on the GI bill?$$They called it GI school at the time but it was really the GI bill (unclear).$$So is the GI school to help people in agriculture--?$$Agriculture, development but also there were other skills too. If you wanted to become plumbers, they were technicians. The Booker T. Washington era for what he promoted was technical training, you know, become technicians.$$Industrial (unclear).$$Industrial (unclear)--.$The next thing I did in this job [Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)], I think is very important here is you think about the number of people who are dying on the highways and byways we have about 7,000 people dying on the highways every year. We have about a half million people that are being injured on the highway that are caused by weather. You may have a pile-up caused by fog, or you may have a hundred car pile-ups because of smoke, or for haze or what have you. You may have a pile-up because of frozen or liquid precipitation or even snow or what have you. So what we've done here is we have what you call a national review of what our needs and priority are on where we should be focusing our attention on research and how--what do we do about the black ice problems on bridges. What can we do now to better mitigate that issue so that when you're traveling on these bridges you don't start slipping and sliding and then create a accident that kills yourself or you run into somebody else and it kills them. What can we do to mitigate the fog problems that we are experiencing that are causing these car pile-ups. So what I have done is with this national needs assessment is that, we started a whole train of events of things that people can do. One of the first things you hear when you turn the TV on in the morning time is that you get a weather report and you get a traffic report so what we are doing with that is we are sensitizing people that you are traveling to work and you want to know how the weather is going to impact your travel. That's what I started, I started all that. It got started on all the TV networks; the weather channel works hand in hand with me. That's saving lives if you are more sensitized on what is going on. Another important thing is if you are traveling on vacation we started a national number called 511, you know what 911 is when it comes to emergencies, you dial 511, have you ever dialed it before, you are going to get two things. One is that you are going to get information about road construction or road maintenance so that you have a sense now of where traffic is going to be slow on that artery. Second thing you are going to get is weather. So if you want to know how the weather is impacting your travel on interstate 81 or 66 or 40 or any of the main arteries that you are going to be traveling throughout and in the country then that's what we are giving you now. That's something that I started. The goal is to save lives and it was never done before, this is the first time that this has ever been done when I started this.

E. Don Sarreals

Meteorologist E. Don Sarreals was born on September 22, 1931 in Winston Salem, North Carolina to parents Espriela Sarreals and Sadie Scales. While still a young child, Sarreal’s family migrated to New York City. He attended New York City Public School No. 46 and New York City Junior High School No. 164 before graduating from Bronx High School of Science in 1949. Sarreals went on to earn his B.S. degree in meteorology from the City Colleges of New York in 1955 and his his M.S. degree in meteorology from New York University in 1958.

Before his career as a meteorologist began, Sarreals served in the U.S. Army in 1954 and worked as a part-time lecturer while earning his graduate degree. In 1961, Sarreals began his career as a weather radar supervisor in the National Weather Service (NWS) New York Forecast Office. In 1976, Sarreals accepted a position as the television meteorologist for the National Broadcasting Corporation’s WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., from 1969 to 1975, while concurrently serving as president and consultant for Storm Finders, Inc. As the dissemination meteorologist for the NWS Headquarters from 1976 to 1980, Sarreals helped to develop the nation’s first government-funded radio working system, NOAA Weather Radio. Sarreals also worked as the television meteorologist for the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting. From 1980 to 1992, Sarreals was assigned as chief of Operations and Requirements for the Next Generation Weather Radar Project (NEXRAD). In 1984, Sarreals was appointed chairman of the Working Group for Doppler Radar Meteorological Observation. Sarreals also served as a staff member in the NWS Modernization Division, and as as assistant federal coordinator for DOC/NOAA/NWS Affairs in the Office of the Federal Coordination for Meteorological Service.

Sarreals is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, a recipient of the Ward Medal for proficiency in meteorology, and he is a member of the American Meteorological Society. Sarreals is also the author of the Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1: National Weather Radio Operations supervised the development of Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 2: Doppler Weather Radar Observations. For his contributions and accomplishments, Sarreals was selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Among Black Americans.

E. Don Sarreals was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2013

Last Name

Sarreals

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Don

Schools

P.S. 46 Arthur Tappan School

Junior High School 164

Bronx High School of Science

City College of New York

New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

E.

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

SAR01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches, Southern United States

Favorite Quote

Oh My God!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/22/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Flounder

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist E. Don Sarreals (1931 - ) is a leading Doppler radar specialist for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Employment

National Weather Service Operations Branch

Nexrad Joint System Program Office

Working Group For Doppler Radar Meteorological Observation

National Weather Service Modernization Division

Office of Federal Coordinator For Meteorological Services

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Don Sarreals' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Don Sarreals talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Don Sarreals talks about his mother growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Don Sarreals describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Don Sarreals talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Don Sarreals talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Don Sarreals describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Don Sarreals describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals talks about growing up in New York (part 1)

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals talks about growing up in New York (part 2)

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Don Sarreals talks about his artistic talent

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Don Sarreals talks about playing tennis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience at P.S.46 in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Don Sarreals describes what inspired him to become a meteorologist

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Don Sarreals talks about the process of naming storms

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Don Sarreals talks about the quality of weather reporting prior to the advent of advanced communication technologies

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals describes his experience during the 1938 New England hurricane

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience at Bronx High School of Science

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Don Sarreals talks about his studies at City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Don Sarreals talks about being drafted to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Don Sarreals describes his experience in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Don Sarreals talks about his return to City College of New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience teaching at City College of New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals talks about why he chose not to write a thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience of being recruited by CBS and NBC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Don Sarreals describes how he helped Air Force One land during a storm

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Don Sarreals talks about being the first black professional meteorologist in the U.S.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience as a television meteorologist (part 1)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Don Sarreals talks about his experience as a television meteorologist (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Don Sarreals talks about the ratings at Channel 4

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals talks about the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals describes his mentor, Richard Holgren

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Don Sarreals talks about his company, Storm Finders

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Don Sarreals talks about his professional activities

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Don Sarreals talks about Doppler weather radar and the farmer's almanac

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Don Sarreals talks about his professional activities

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Don Sarreals shares his advice for aspiring meteorologists

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Don Sarreals discusses global warming and the effects of climate change

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Don Sarreals reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Don Sarreals talks about his family and his son's death

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Don Sarreals talks about his granddaughter's interest in meteorology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Don Sarreals talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Don Sarreals describes his family photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Don Sarreals talks about his experience at Bronx High School of Science
Don Sarreals talks about his professional activities
Transcript
Okay. So now did you have a favorite teacher in junior high school [Junior High School 164]?$$In junior high school no, I can't identify a single teacher but it was a blessing to be in the, in what they called the rapid advanced course where they--other words you went into greater detail you know in, on every concept whether it was you know English. I think we started to take language, I think it was Spanish. What--you went deeper into what they knew about science at that time. They made learning mathematics a little more difficult but you advanced yourself. And at that time when I was interviewed as I was coming near, into, near the end of junior high school the, I guess the person who was in charge of interviewing the graduating students asked me what I wanted to be and I told him I wanted to be a meteorologist and he was shocked. And I told him what I'm telling you today that I had read 'Storm' [George R. Stewart] and blessedly because I said that that's how I got into the Bronx High School of Science or else I would have been sent to another school.$$Okay. So this is what year? What are we talking about now, this is--?$$(Unclear).$$And you would have been what thirteen or fourteen?$$Yes, right at that age. (Unclear).$$So 1940--$$So maybe about 1945 before I graduated from junior high school something like that, that I was asked and so my name was put on the list of students for Bronx High School of Science. It was very, very competitive. It was one of the highly rated schools in the country and a very serious school. You know they taught science in a broad range, great depth. Other words, biology, chemistry, physics whereas an ordinary high school it might be limited. A student might only have to take one type of science course. There you had to take just about everything in science to get started so you would know what, how to make a decision some day in the future about what you wanted to do in science.$$Okay. So were there very many other students from your neighborhood that were able to go to Bronx High School?$$No, there were not. There were--it was scattered all over the city. I ran track with a young man, I can't remember his name. He lived in Brooklyn and years later I saw him at a tract meet. He went to Brooklyn College when I went to City College [CUNY]. You know and there was one young lady I think you know she lived in Harlem [New York]. I'm talking about African Americans but there were very, very few.$$Okay. So you mentioned three. Were there anymore than three you think there?$$Yes, but it was a large school and so you know you didn't interface with everyone. You know you went to school, you get there on time, walk into a class and go to the next class. And in my case two or three days a week, maybe I practiced track or cross country. But you--there were so many students in that school you couldn't interface with them all. So I said there were several young African Americans I think who ran track. I met them and there was a young black lady in my class and she told me where she lived in Harlem and so forth. But you didn't actually have time. This was a serious school. You didn't have time to socialize, stand around and socialize a great degree.$$Okay, all right. So now what--with the idea that you're going to become a meteorologist, what was your focus in terms of study at Bronx High School or was there a focus?$$Well in the Bronx High School of Science, of course you can't specialize in that but the idea is to try to get good grades in mathematics and physics because meteorology is really the movement of air particles. It basically comes down to really being physics. It is--there are particles in motion. We call them raindrops, we call them air particles and wind and so forth but actually you saw what is going to happen by the laws of physics so to speak. So physics was very important and mathematics if you wanted to become a physical scientist. It's a form of physical science in other words, meteorology.$$Okay. Now were there any special teachers there in Bronx High School for Science?$$No, I can't remember. The only one I remember is someone I didn't like. In biology on all my tests I got a 98 or a 99 and New York State had a test they called the Regent Test. It was state wide. And while I was taking that in biology, a professor was--a teacher, high school teacher looked over my shoulder. He said you have two wrong and I looked up at him, I said, I know. It's a little funny story there. I was studying for the New York State Biology Regents and my mother [Sadie Beatrice Scales] called me to dinner. On one page of the book there was a one celled you know creature drawn out and inside there were parts of his body and you were supposed to learn that. And my mother called me to dinner and I didn't move right away and then she said there will be no dinner if you don't come. So I got up and I went. And when I came back to the book I went from the left page to the right page, I didn't go back to the first page. And one question was right from where I stopped and at the bottom of the page a new subject started and in the first few sentences there was something written that was the second question and so I got 98 on the Biology Regents instead of a hundred. And speaking of teachers, she--as a term grade she only gave me 95. So I went to her and asked, I said what are you doing? I said I never--I got 98 on the biology regents and on some of my tests I got a hundred, some 98, 99 in her tests. And well her attitude was she had to give somebody a lower score so she gave it to me if you--I was black in other words.$$So she had to give somebody a lower score to (unclear)?$$She wanted to make somebody seem as the best in the class and I just about was. And nobody else got--no one else got a hundred, but I always regret not getting that 100 just for a lifetime achievement if nothing else. But it was doing well in biology that made me turn temporarily to a thought of being a doctor because I did very well meteor--in biology without even trying. And it was later I would turn back to meteorology.$$Okay.$$But in the Bronx High School of Science, it turned me to into wanting to be a doctor temporarily.$$Okay. Now you say there weren't many, there weren't really any teachers that you really liked that much at Bronx High School. What--how were you generally treated, you and the other black students?$$I was treated fairly. The classes were large. Classes were very large and so there wasn't time for them to be very personal. The only person who could be kind to you, there was a track coach, Sam Levinson for example would talk to you or something as a human being. But the classes were so intense. You walk in, you sat down and you did not waste a minute and so there wasn't time for you know personal considerations for example. You just got in there and learned all that you could and then take that home and do your homework.$$Okay, all right. So you ran track I know and did you participate in any other student activities or did you have time for that?$$No, I did not. Remember, I was a poor young boy. I ran track and cross country in the fall and that was it.$Okay, all right. Okay. So now from '76 [1976] to '80 [1980], it says that you were the TV meteorologist for the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting too, right?$$Yes. While I was working on NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Weather Radio, the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting wanted to have an agricultural program but they wanted a professional meteorologist on there. So the director assigned me to appear on the show. Now I did receive funds from the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting but that was permitted because I paid my own travel, I paid for my own clothes, you know to appear on the air and so forth. And so for a number of years I appeared on 'Up On The Farm' and provided weather broadcasts. And I had a talent which they enjoyed. For example, when apples let's say were being harvested they would name this type of apple is 40 percent--the red apples, they're 50 percent, 30 percent harvested and they would give this to me as I walked in the door. An hour later I would have it memorized and so I could not only do the weather but I would give this agricultural information. The brain was working well then, that's what I--let's put it that way.$$So you're pretty, you had a pretty sharp mind.$$Right, right.$$Yeah, okay, able to hold a lot of information. Let me--tell us about, did you have anything to do with the Joint Doppler Operational Project?$$JDOP [Joint Doppler Operational Project], that, that's specifically not--I worked with--I've forgotten what JDOP did. I--after I left NOAA Weather Radio, I joined the next generation weather radar project. It was a multi-agency office for the development of the nation's Doppler weather radar system. JDOP I believe, was an organization out in Norman, Oklahoma that was working on various aspects of Doppler weather radar. I was with the project to develop the program, select a contractor and eventually build a system for the United States of America and that included the United States Air Force, the Federal Aviation Agency and of course the Weather Service to serve the people. But I was with the, what they call NEXRAD.$$Okay.$$And I was Chief of Operations and Requirements originally to define the requirements of all three agencies, get that information to the contractor so they could develop the system properly. Others who had that task failed. I also became Chief of Training Program Development so I had two jobs. And then The Weather Service was supposed to develop Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 11, but it turned out for some reason they said they weren't able to. So Tony Durham, the manager of the NEXRAD program said you're going to have to be chairman of this too. So I was supposed to have one job, I wound up with three but the Federal Meteorological Handbook when finished was said worldwide to be an excellent document.

Gregory Jenkins

Atmospheric scientist Gregory S. Jenkins was born on May 13, 1963 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, Jenkins was fascinated by the weather. He received his B.S. degree in physics from Lincoln University in Lincoln, Pennsylvania in 1987. Jenkins went on to earn his M.S. and his Ph.D. degrees in atmospheric science from the University of Michigan in 1989 and 1991, respectively. His doctoral thesis was entitled, “An Investigation of Archean Climate using the NCAR CCM.”

In 1991, Jenkins began a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. Two years later, he became a research associate at the Earth Systems Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. In 1996, Jenkins served for a semester as an assistant professor of physics at Howard University before joining Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor in the Department of Meteorology. He was promoted to associate professor at Pennsylvania State University in 2003. In the same year, he received the J. William Fulbright Research Award to go to Senegal and worked at Cheikh Anta Diop University on climate change research. Jenkins returned to Howard University in 2004 as an associate professor and director of Howard University’s Atmospheric Science Program. In 2006, he served as a United States African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) committee member and downstream Special Observing Period 3 (SOP3) member. From 2007 to 2010, he held the position of Department of Physics and Astronomy chair. Jenkins’ research focused on tropical storm systems, monsoons and hurricanes. He has travelled all over the world to conduct his research including Senegal, Cape Verde and Barbados. Jenkins has published over forty peer-reviewed publications and was an editor and contributor to the text The Extreme Proterozoic: Geology, Geochemistry and Climate .

Jenkins has held memberships in the American Meteorological Society, National Society of Black Physicists, American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and served as an associated editor for AGU-Journal of Geophysical Research. He was the recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award and the National Technical Association (NTA) Technical Achiever of the Year Award. Jenkins lives in Washington, D.C.

Gregory S. Jenkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 29, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.150

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/29/2012

Last Name

Jenkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Seperated

Schools

Lincoln University

University of Michigan

St. Agatha Elementary School

West Philadelphia Catholic High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gregory

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

JEN08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Senegal, West Africa

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/13/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ceebu Jen

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Gregory Jenkins (1963 - ) , a leader in the study of tropical weather systems and hurricanes, served as the director of Howard University’s Atmospheric Science Program and a committee member of United States African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA).

Employment

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Pennsylvania State University

Howard University

Penn State University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gregory Jenkins's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his father's experience in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his family and growing up in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his childhood interest in science and weather

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about going to Catholic schools and his experience in Catholic church growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his interest in the weather

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his interest in math and science and his lack of interest in English in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his family struggles

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his high school experience, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his high school experience, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his sister, Renee and the influence she had on him.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his interest in basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his lack of guidance for college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his academically challenging experiences at Drexel University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his experience at Philadelphia Community College and decision to attend Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his mentors at Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his road trip to Michigan and his mentor, atmospheric scientist Warren Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins describes his dissertation research concerning the Archean climate

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the importance of cultural communities within academic institutions

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his experiences at Pennsylvania State University and Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his West African climate change research

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his professional activities and publications

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his passion for his work in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about Africa's influence on weather events

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the equipment needed to conduct his research and impediments to conducting his research in Senegal

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his experience at the American Meteorological Society Conference

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the lack of sustainable infrastructure in disenfranchised communities

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about African contributions to the academy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the documentary on the 2010 Hurricane Field Campaign

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about including his students in his research and field studies abroad

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gregory Jenkins reflects upon his life and legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the issues surrounding climate change and Africa's significance in understanding it

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gregory Jenkins talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gregory Jenkins talks about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Gregory Jenkins talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$8

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Gregory Jenkins talks about his childhood interest in science and weather
Gregory Jenkins talks about the issues surrounding climate change and Africa's significance in understanding it
Transcript
Okay, so when you were a kid growing up, what were you mainly interested in doing, and what did you do? What was your personality like?$$The thing is, I was always interested in the stuff that typical kids are interested in. I wanted to be on the basketball court. I loved Dr. "J" [Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers]. I love all of it, okay. And that was just part of me, but there was this curiosity for science and mainly, weather, nature. I had a really, I have a good friend. His dad would take me and my brother to, and John, my friend, his son, to the University of Penn [Pennsylvania], and we'd go to the Observatory and, you know, to gaze at the stars. That, that along with my interests of weather, you know, something that was always there. I mean like, for weather, you didn't really have to go far. You could go outside your door and you could see, wow, these are really big, violent thunderstorms or two feet of snow. I mean it was there. So it was like, the laboratory was already there for me. So that was always a curiosity, and I was, I was constantly interested in learning more and more about it. So I would go to the free library, which was kind of far away, but I would check out books about weather. And, you know, I'd look at these equations. I'm like, what are--how is this related to (laughter) understanding this phenomena? Their books were always too far above me in terms of the math, like, hum, I didn't know what Calculus was at that time. But my interests was always there. So my interest in natural, in physical sciences were always there. As far, I mean I don't know how far back that goes. But it's just always been part of me even to this day. So I feel the same way if you see me in West Africa, and I'm looking at these forecasts. I'm looking at the satellite images of this big dust storm that's projected to come two days away, and I'm excited. I'm waking up in the morning. I'm taking pictures of the sun. I'm, I was the same way before a big snowstorm, like when is it gonna happen? Okay, why didn't it happen? Okay, why did it rain instead of snow? You know, these are always things that drove me, in addition to basketball and all the other stuff that kids do.$$So you've always been interested in the weather.$$Yeah.$$Is there any, your friend's father, you said--$$Yeah.$$--did he work for the Observatory?$$No, he just, he would--$$He just liked to take the kids to the--$$He had colleagues at Penn [Pennsylvania State University]. I mean he didn't work down at Penn, but he had colleagues there, and I used to think he was also a science enthusiast. So I think it was just something that he did anyway. And, for me, it was like, you know, this is great stuff, like--and I think that living in the city, you often don't see enough of the sky. But I was often like interested, like there's the "Belt of Orion". Why is it here in January, but then other times of year, I can't see it that well? Why did it move? You know, those were more curiosities, not knowing that it was the Belt of Orion, just like the way the stars lined up or they lined up or why is this--which I didn't know it was Venus at the time, why is it so bright? You know, what is it, and there was not really enough. There was no one I could talk to and say, you know, is that Venus over there? But the main thing was the library and then once in a while being able to go down to the Observatory to feed your, to feed your hunger for knowledge.$$So the Observatory was at the Franklin Institute or--$$It wasn't in the Franklin. It was on the University of Penn's campus. Now, I did go to the Franklin Institute. I did go to the Natural Academy of Sciences. I loved going to those places. Those were places where I felt like, wow, this is right where I belong, yeah.$Okay, now, do you have a big project ahead of you that you would to, is there something that you could wrap up that you'd wanna do before you, you know, or do you see things in more of an ongoing--$$I think it's always ongoing. The key question for climate change that I'm really trying to struggle with is will it be wetter or drier? And there are competing hypothesis that I would like to test out over the next few years. I still won't know 'cause we have to see it play out (laughter). That's the only thing, but it would certainly be nice to tell policymakers, this is where our confidence is. You know, we feel pretty strongly about this, and we feel pretty strongly about that. But my, my intuition tells me, Mother Earth is not gonna tell us that, that we're going to have to be aware. It's gonna be happening in real time. You're gonna know after the fact, but you'd better prepare for all scenarios. You'd better think about protecting all of your citizens. On another angle with respect to atmospheric chemistry, we've been looking at the role of dust and how it changed ozone, a major, is the greenhouse gas, but it's also a pollutant. And we've seen some just amazing stuff from Africa that lightening, the lightening stroke itself produces so much natural ozone above 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 feet, like, like, just amazing, just, it, you cannot predict. You can only observe. Our observations that we've taken over the last two years, have just blown us away. We're trying to contextualize that in terms of the science that we know and the processes that we know. But we know that there is so much to it, that, like, I will never, I won't be here to fully appreciate all of that. But it's leaving so much room for new scholars to say, look, we're gonna go out. We're gonna need aircraft. We're gonna go explore. We're gonna try to understand this. We're gonna develop a new model. We're gonna do that, we're gonna do that. So much. There's such a, such a wealthy--Africa is wealthy not just for minerals and oil and all those other things. It's wealthy because of its people. It's wealthy because of the knowledge that it's constantly teaching you. You know, it's not, there is no end of the chapter. The book never closes.

Warren Morton Washington

Distinguished scientist Warren M. Washington was born on August 28, 1936, in Portland, Oregon. As a high school student, Washington had a keen interest in science; after graduation he went on to earn his B.A. degree in physics and his M.A. degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his Ph.D. in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, Washington became a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1963. While serving in the position of senior scientist at NCAR in 1975, Washington developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth’s climate; soon after, he became the head of the organization’s Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

As an expert in atmospheric science, climate research, and computer modeling of the earth’s climate, Washington received several presidential appointments. From 1978 to 1984, Washington served on the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere; in 1990, he began serving on the Secretary of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee; and in 1996, he assumed the chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change. Washington also served on the Modernization Transition Committee and the National Centers for Environment Prediction Advisory Committee of the United States National Weather Service. In April 2000, the United States Secretary of Energy appointed Washington to the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. Washington was also appointed to the National Science Board and elected chair of the organization in 2002 and 2004.

Among his many awards and honors, Washington received both the Le Vernier Medal of the Societe Meterologique de France, and the Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for atmospheric science. Washington's induction into the National Academy of Sciences Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, was announced in 1997. Washington also received the Celebrating Twentieth Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences Award at Howard University, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, awarded him the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Washington held memberships in the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society.

In addition to his professional activities, Washington served as a mentor and avid supporter of scholarly programs and outreach organizations that encouraged students to enter the profession of atmospheric sciences.

Accession Number

A2006.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/20/2006

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

Morton

Schools

Jefferson High School

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Portland

HM ID

WAS03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Nobody loves me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

8/28/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Warren Morton Washington (1936 - ) developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth's climate, and was elected chairman of the National Science Board in 2002 and 2004.

Employment

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warren Washington interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his mother's family and her life history

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Warren Washington discusses the lives of his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warren Washington recounts his maternal grandparents' move from Texas to Oregon

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the history of his great-grandparents and the origin of his last name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warren Washington discusses his father's employment and the hospital where he was born

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recalls his maternal lineage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warren Washington shares his earliest memories of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences growing up in a mixed neighborhood and the racial tensions in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warren Washington remembers how he would spend the summers of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls his time in elementary school and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his fondness of public libraries while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warren Washington remembers teachers who inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his job during college and his first car

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes racial attitudes in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls the impact of World War II on his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his feelings of discouragement during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warren Washington shares his impressions of entering college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warren Washington discusses his determination to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes some of his experiences during college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Warren Washington recalls having segregated fraternities and sororities on campus

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Warren Washington stresses the importance of diversity in higher education organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Warren Washington discusses the importance of diversity in science

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Warren Washington recalls his fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Warren Washington discusses his career path after graduating from college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warren Washington talks about his work with early computers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warren Washington talks about starting his graduate work

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warren Washington explains the background of his graduate thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warren Washington discusses how he became an adjunct associate professor

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the racial tensions on a college campus during the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his experience first working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses African American scientific communities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his work under several presidencies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls his first experiences as a scientific advisor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Warren Washington talks about connecting science to greater societal issues

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Warren Washington talks about explaining his work to his parents and the publication of his book

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recounts a few of his presidential appointments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences working with the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warren Washington shares how he responds to a special request from the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the process of building more complex computer models for climate prediction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warren Washington relates the importance of creating better weather prediction models

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warren Washington discusses his beliefs on the social impacts of global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Warren Washington shares his thoughts on Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes an incident in which he provides testimony before Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes working under different presidents

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Warren Washington discusses his thoughts on global warming and meeting Vice President Gore

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recounts his experiences as a mentor and role model

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the awards he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his most rewarding professional achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Warren Washington considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Warren Washington comments on the importance of young people to consider a career in science

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Introduction to Warren Washington's interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Warren Washington describes his family background and educational history

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Overview of Warren Washington's family's migration to Portland, their early life there and his interest in science

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Warren Washington talks about his early interest in science and his decision to pursue science in college

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his involvement in the youth chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his experience at Oregon State University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Warren Washington talks about studying physics at Oregon State University, and his introduction to the mathematical modeling

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Warren Washington talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Warren Washington describes his decision to join the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Warren Washington describes his experience in Boulder, Colorado in the 1960s, and his encounter with journalist, Dan Rather, in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Warren Washington describes his service on the National Science Board

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Warren Washington talks about working with President George H.W. Bush's administration

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Warren Washington talks about the evolution of computer processing capabilities, and his work on climate models at NCAR

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Warren Washington shares his perspective on the debate on climate change and global warming

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Overview of Warren Washington's awards and achievements

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Warren Washington discusses the significance of climate change

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Warren Washington reflects upon his legacy and how he wants to be remembered