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Ozell Sutton

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton was born on December 13, 1925, on a plantation in southeast Arkansas in the city of Gould. Sutton‘s mother was a widow who raised eight children: six boys who worked as cotton sharecroppers, and two girls who cooked and did laundry. Despite grueling hours and backbreaking work on the cotton plantation, Sutton managed to graduate from Dunbar High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1944, Sutton became one the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. After surviving bloody conflicts from the Solomon Islands to Saipan, Sutton enrolled in Philander Smith College where he received his B.S. degree in 1950. Sutton became the first black reporter for the white-owned publication Arkansas Democrat; he also served as one of the escorts for the Little Rock Nine in 1957. In 1961, Sutton became director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations where he was part of the group that began the Community Relations Service (CRS). Sutton was given responsibility for the civil rights and opportunity groups that became known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1964.

Sutton’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement included his role as a field representative for the Community Relations Service. Sutton was at the Lorraine Hotel in the room next door to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Sutton then became Special Assistant to the late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas. In 1972, Sutton directed the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service and was responsible for the department’s racial and ethnic conflict prevention and resolution efforts.

In 1990, Sutton served on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 1994, Sutton received the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Department of Justice. Sutton was a former national president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and continued to be a civil rights activist.

Sutton Passed away on December 19, 2015.

Accession Number

A2007.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/19/2007

9/10/2007

Last Name

Sutton

Maker Category
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Gould Colored School

Philander Smith College

First Name

Ozell

Birth City, State, Country

Gould

HM ID

SUT01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

State

Arkansas

Favorite Quote

What Is Required Of Thee Old Man? But To Do Justly. But To Love Mercy And But To Walk On Land.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak, Seafood

Death Date

12/19/2015

Short Description

Civil rights activist and community leader Ozell Sutton (1925 - 2015 ) served as an escort for the" Little Rock Nine," director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, as a field representative on the Community Relations Service, and a director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.

Employment

Arkansas Democrat

Winthrop Rockefeller

Arkansas Council on Human Relations

Community Relations Service

Arkansas State Governor's Office

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475485">Tape: 1 Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475486">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475487">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton describes his maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475488">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton talks about sharecropping</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475489">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton describes what he knows about his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475490">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton remembers his family's employer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475491">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's dispute with the plantation owner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475492">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton remembers Gould Colored School in Gould, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475493">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton describes his education at Gould Colored School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475494">Tape: 1 Ozell Sutton lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475495">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls his siblings' migration to St. Louis, Missouri</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475496">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton remembers reciting poetry at Gould Colored School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475497">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls his mother's values and her influence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475498">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton remembers sustaining an injury while slaughtering hogs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475499">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls living with his mother in Little Rock, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475500">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton describes his work experience during high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475501">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls being drafted to the U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475502">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton describes the segregated U.S. Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475503">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls attending Philander Smith College with Daisy Bates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475504">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475505">Tape: 2 Ozell Sutton recalls his activities at Philander Smith College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475506">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls writing for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475507">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton describes his marriage to Joanna Freeman Sutton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475508">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton remembers working as Winthrop Rockefeller's butler</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475509">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls working at the Little Rock Housing Authority</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475510">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton remembers returning to work for Winthrop Rockefeller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475511">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls directing the Arkansas Council on Human Relations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475512">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton remembers attending the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475513">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls the deaths of Medgar Evers and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475514">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475515">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls how the Civil Rights Act changed in the U.S. Congress</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475516">Tape: 3 Ozell Sutton recalls his involvement in the Community Relations Service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475517">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls the lack of funds for the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475518">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls Winthrop Rockefeller's generosity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475519">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton remembers the second Selma to Montgomery March</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475520">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls being hired by the Community Relations Service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475521">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls investigating discrimination in New Orleans' French Quarter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475522">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the New Orleans mayor about discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475523">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton recalls investigating the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475524">Tape: 4 Ozell Sutton remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475525">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton recalls accompanying Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Birmingham jail</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475526">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton recalls his strategic use of his job title</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475527">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton describes the aftermath of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475528">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton remembers assisting demonstration organizer Bayard Rustin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475529">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton recalls confronting a judge against his employer's wishes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475530">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton remembers serving as Winthrop Rockefeller's special assistant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475531">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton recalls appointing African Americans to the Arkansas government</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475532">Tape: 5 Ozell Sutton recalls becoming a Community Relations Service regional director</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475533">Tape: 6 Slating of Ozell Sutton's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475534">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls orchestrating an escape from the Ku Klux Klan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475535">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls violence between African Americans and the Ku Klux Klan in Decatur, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475536">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton remembers requesting protection from Governor George Wallace</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475537">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls conducting a mediation in Decatur, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475538">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton remembers protecting the civil rights of the Ku Klux Klan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475539">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls an encounter with black militants in Jackson, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475540">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls confronting the Ku Klux Klan in Wrightsville, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475541">Tape: 6 Ozell Sutton recalls mediating a conflict for the Atlanta Police Department</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475542">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton describes the resolution of the Atlanta police hiring conflict</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475543">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton recalls Hosea Williams' march in Forsyth County, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475544">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton recalls securing protection for the march in Forsyth County</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475545">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton describes the history of the Community Relations Service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475546">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton remembers mediating a conflict at Clark Atlanta University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475547">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475548">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton talks about his public speaking engagements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475549">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475550">Tape: 7 Ozell Sutton describes his involvement in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475551">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton recalls organizing a conference on the issue of missing children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475552">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton recalls founding the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475553">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton describes his fundraising with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475554">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton remembers organizing a 100 Black Men, Inc. national conference</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475555">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton talks about his books</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475556">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton describes his wife and children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475557">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475558">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475559">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton reflects upon his life, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475560">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton shares a message for future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475561">Tape: 8 Ozell Sutton remembers his mother's encouragement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/475562">Tape: 9 Ozell Sutton narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Ozell Sutton recalls recruiting and organizing the Little Rock Nine
Ozell Sutton recalls conducting mediations after the Rodney King riots
Transcript
So the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in so many cases got involved in the civil rights struggle and of course I was with them when the kids entered Central High School [Central High School] in Little Rock [Arkansas].$$In Central High School.$$Yeah, in Little Rock.$$In Little Rock, okay.$$Yeah.$$Tell me about that.$$Well, when they went to Central High School--first place we had to recruit the kids and convince 'em to try to go to Central High School. Me and a young, a young white professor, named Dr. Georg Iggers [Georg G. Iggers], that's German. Georg was a German Jew and during World War II [WWII] a lot of the German Jews escaping Hitler [Adolf Hitler] came to this country and quite a few of 'em started to teach at black colleges [HBCUs]. Georg and his wife Wilma [Wilhelmina Iggers] started teaching at Philander Smith College [Little Rock, Arkansas]. Wilma taught German, I had German under Wilma (laughter). I learned never have a foreign language on a native (laughter), they're rough. That Wilma was rough, I tell you. You had to get that German right (laughter), but anyway.$$You were recruiting the kids to go to--$$We went house to house, family to family to try to talk the parents and the kids out of--most especially those youngsters who lived in the Central High School district. After all, Central High School was such close proximity to the black community. A whole lot of blacks walked right by Central High School to Dunbar High School [Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Dunbar Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas] to go to, to go to high school, so Central High School was not something out of sight, it was right, right adjacent to the black community and at first we had thirty-five or forty students primed to go, but as time went by (laughter) they dropped off, and when the time came we had nine, nine to enroll in Central High School.$$So tell me about that?$$And when they enrolled two of us was posted upon the steps of Central High School as decoys. The mob assumed that the kids were gonna come that way 'cause we standing up there on top of the steps, but instead the kids went in the side door and when the mob found out that they were in school and we were decoys they took off after us and I started running. At first I, I was running but they caught my buddy and they knocked him down and they had him down on the ground and I went back to help him get up and that's the way the beat the hell out of both of us, but we finally escaped. You ever seen anybody run a belt line? Do you know what a belt line is?$$No I don't.$$Do you know what a belt line is sir?$$(OFF CAMERA VOICE): I've heard of it but I need to have you explain it.$$Well, when I was started at college, freshman had to go through it and the seniors would like up with them belts and you'd have to run through that line as they whale you, that was part of your induction into the school, but this was not a belt line this was a stick and brick (laughter)--we were running through that crowd and they were whaling on us but we finally got away and that's how I was involved, but not only that, Georg, the young white professor and I organized at Philander Smith classes to help the young people with their grades, 'cause there was certain teachers at Central High School who were not teaching the young people, they were just there right, and so we had classes, evening classes and Saturday classes over at Philander Smith to help them with their biology and to help them with their math and to help them with those subjects with which they were having difficulty, so I helped organize behind that at Central--at Philander Smith College and that's how we assisted the young people in getting through high school.$Now tell me about Rodney King, what did you do out there in California?$$Same thing.$$Oh, same thing.$$I was called in to--sent there by the director of the CRS [Community Relations Service] and I said, "Well why are you sending me out there we have a regional director for the Western Region and he's right in San Francisco [California]. Why are you sending me into his territory?" He said, "Ozell [HistoryMaker Ozell Sutton] nobody knows as much about--in CRS--knows as much about street conflict as you do." I said, "You're calling me a street one, right," (laughter) and we laughed about that. He said, "No but you've more experience in dealing with street conflict than any regional director we have,"--we have ten regions--"and we want you to go." I went out to California, one young man was--two young men--they're two of us and the second night and two of us and we were looking for somewhere we could eat 'cause they'd burned up most of the places down in the area and then we came to this place and that other guy who was with me went on in to the restaurant and I was trying to find a newspaper and I was out. So two young men came up to me and, and I turned around real quickly and they said, "Did we scare you old man?" Well, you know I'm no baby so that doesn't insult me--they called me an old man. I said, "You scared me, not hardly." You know you--one of the things about dealing with conflict you can't show fear. Showing fear is like dealing with a dog, you can't show fear so I said, "You scared me? No, not hardly." He said, "Well you turned around so fast." I said, "I turned around to the ready." He said, "Ready for what?" I said, "Whatever you got on your mind," (laughter) you know, "Scared to death, right? Don't even have a pencil." He said, "Well suppose we decide to take what you have?" I said, "Well if you think I'm gonna stand here and let you do that, well you do that," and so one of the kids said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "Let me tell you young people something." I go on the offense, that's my style. "Last night you was running around burning stuff and running into places and running with TVs on your shoulder and all that, and boy you embarrassed the police. You made them look so bad, but don't think you're gonna get away with that tonight. They are ready for you, they gonna blow you away. I want you to know that. If you've got any sense at all get off these streets." And he said, "Listen at the old man." I said, "You get off these streets 'cause they're ready for you tonight and they gonna blow you away," and one of 'em had a little old Saturday night special. "We can take care of ourselves." I said, "You fool," said, "they got tanks over in the next street over there. You see that helicopter up there." I said, "What scares me, not you but they got both of us in their sight, and in their effort to contain you they might hit me." I said, "And you're here talking to me. So what I'm afraid of is up there, not you." And I said, "Let me tell you one thing, yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil 'cause I'm the baddest SOB in the valley," (laughter), and they had to laugh (laughter), and that way I got rid of them.

James Lowell Gibbs, Jr.

Cultural anthropologist James Lowell Gibbs, Jr., was born on June 13, 1931, in Syracuse, New York to Huldah Hortense Dabney, a school teacher, and James Lowell Gibbs, Sr., executive director of a community center. Gibbs was born prematurely when his mother’s appendix burst during the seventh month of her pregnancy. Gibbs can trace his family ancestry back to 1834 to a paternal great-great grandfather who was born in Florence, South Carolina. Gibbs grew up in Ithaca, New York, where he attended Henry St. John’s School. He skipped the second grade and later attended Boynton Junior High School and Ithaca High School. Gibbs initially wanted to be a commercial artist but changed his mind when he read a book by Paul Robeson’s wife, Eslanda Goode Robeson, called African Journey that showcased Robeson’s field work as a cultural anthropologist in Uganda. Gibbs realized that he wanted to be a social scientist.

Gibbs graduated from Cornell University in 1952 and served as senior class president. Gibbs went on to graduate school at Harvard University and earned his M.A. degree and Ph.D. degree in cultural anthropology. While pursuing his degree at Harvard, Gibbs served as a teaching fellow and resident tutor, the first African American resident tutor in the history of Harvard University. In 1959, Gibbs went on to teach at the University of Minnesota. He remained at the University of Minnesota until 1966. In 1965, Gibbs edited and contributed to the book, Peoples of Africa. In 1966, Gibbs joined the staff at Stanford University as associate professor of anthropology. For three different periods, Gibbs went to Africa and conducted field research on the Kpelle of Liberia. In 1970, Gibbs co-directed and co-produced the documentary film, The Cows of Dolo Ken Paye, which displays the Kpelle people’s methods of conflict resolution. That same year, Gibbs became Stanford University’s first dean of undergraduate studies. He remained in this position until 1976 but continued to serve as a professor of anthropology. In 1983, Gibbs co-authored Law in Radically Different Cultures, a study of law in Botswana, Egypt, the Peoples Republic of China, and the United States. In 1984, he became a senior fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. Gibbs returned to Stanford and served as the codirector of the Stanford/Berkeley Joint Center for African Studies between 1985 and 1987. Between 1987 and 1990, Gibbs served as Stanford University’s chairman of the Department of Anthropology.

Gibbs was the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus at Stanford University. He is married to Jewelle Taylor Gibbs.

Accession Number

A2006.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2006

Last Name

Gibbs

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lowell

Schools

Ithaca High School

Henry St. John's School

Frank David Boynton Junior High School

Washington Irving Elementary School

Cornell University

Harvard University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Syracuse

HM ID

GIB06

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bali, Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Shanghai, China

Favorite Quote

You Have To Work Twice As Hard To Get Half As Far.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/13/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Stanford

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken Curry, Chinese Stir fry, Palm-Oil Chops

Short Description

Cultural anthropology professor James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. (1931 - ) was the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus at Stanford University.

Employment

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Stanford University

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331921">Tape: 1 Slating of James Lowell Gibbs, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331922">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331923">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331924">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls activities with his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331925">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331926">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his parents' move to Syracuse, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331927">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his father's work at Southside Community Center in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331928">Tape: 1 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his father's connection to Ruth Carol Taylor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331929">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his father's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331930">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his parents' community involvement in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331931">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331932">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331933">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his early family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331934">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. talks about his sister, Huldah Gibbs Jones</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331935">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331936">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes Ithaca, New York in the 1930s and 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331937">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his community in Ithaca, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331938">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls how World War II impacted his family and community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331939">Tape: 2 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his religious upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331940">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls attending Ithaca's Henry St. John School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331941">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes Boynton Junior High School and Ithaca High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331942">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331943">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his high school demeanor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331944">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his high school social life in Ithaca</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331945">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his early interest in anthropology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331946">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. remembers receiving 'African Journey' as a gift from his employers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331947">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls attending Cornell University with a high school classmate</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331948">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his first research opportunity at Cornell University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331949">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes the findings of Cornell University's Hometown Project</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331950">Tape: 3 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his mentor, Dr. Robert Johnson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331951">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his mentors at Cornell University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331952">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls the founding of Watermargin at Cornell University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331953">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes the educational component of Watermargin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331954">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. remembers meeting Eleanor Roosevelt</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331955">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls applying to graduate programs at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331956">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his graduate studies in anthropology at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331957">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his fellowship at the University of Cambridge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331958">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes residential education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331959">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his Rotary Foundation Fellowship experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331960">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes how he met his wife, Jewelle Taylor Gibbs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331961">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his mentors at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/331962">Tape: 4 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. talks about St. Clair Drake</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332627">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. explains how his interest in Liberian tribal law developed</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332628">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. remembers his travels to Liberia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332629">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his research on Kpelle tribal law in Liberia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332630">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his analysis of the Kpelle moot</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332631">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his work in ethnographic film with Marvin Silverman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332632">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes 'The Cows of Dolo Ken Paye' and 'Dolo Ken Paye's People Go to the Movies'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332633">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. recalls his return to Ithaca in the summer of 1962</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332634">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his move to San Francisco, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332635">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his career at Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332636">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. explains how he balances academia and social activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332637">Tape: 5 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his volunteerism in East Palo Alto, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332638">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes student-initiated programs at Stanford University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332639">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes the importance of community building</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332640">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his future plans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332641">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. reflects upon changing university demographics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332642">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332643">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes values he considers to be important</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332644">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered by his colleagues</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332645">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered by his future grandchildren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/332646">Tape: 6 James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. narrates his photographs</a>

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DATitle
James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his research on Kpelle tribal law in Liberia
James Lowell Gibbs, Jr. describes his career at Stanford University
Transcript
My research focused on traditional law. We were, we stayed with a Liberian family that I knew through Cornell [Cornell University, Ithaca, New York] connections for about ten days while we got established upcountry with the aid of the government; worked through the Bureau of Mores, Folkways and Customary Laws [sic. Bureau of Folkways, Mores and Customary Laws] to find a location in Panta Chiefdom [Bong County, Liberia], among the Kpelle, where we stayed for a year and a half. My original grant [Ford Foundation Foreign Area Training Fellowships] was for a year, and it got extended for another six months. Jewelle [HistoryMaker Jewelle Taylor Gibbs] assisted me with the fieldwork. She did interviews with women on topics that a man could not interview them about. I spent a lot of time in court hearing cases, analyzing cases. It became very clear that the major legal kind of case that they had was cases involving what we would call rights and women: divorce cases, adultery cases. The Kpelle would say--well, they gave me a name, my Kpelle name is Ya-paulo [ph.]. They would say, "Ya-paulo, when it comes to law, we have only one kind of case here. It's woman palaver." That was the--in Liberian colloquial English, the term for cases involving disputes about women. So my thesis focused on this problem, why is it that most of the cases are woman palaver. So the title of my doctoral dissertation was 'Some Judicial Implications of Marital Instability Among the Kpelle of Liberia' [sic. 'Some Judicial Implications of Marital Instability Among the Kpelle,' James Lowell Gibbs] because one of the things I discovered and documented was a high degree of marital instability. So a contribution of my work was to show that one of the reasons for marital instability is that women's labor is so highly valued. And the economy was based on more on the work of women than on the work of men; that, you know, this is a society where a man can have plural wives, what we call a polygynous society. And because of that, women's labor being so highly valued, a woman does not have to put up with a man who is not treating her well because there will always be another man who would very much like to have her labor in his household. And so that's one of the reasons for marital instability. So, one focus of my work was to demonstrate that. And one of my doctoral students, Caroline Bledsoe [Caroline H. Bledsoe], has done a book ['Women and Marriage in Kpelle Society,' Caroline H. Bledsoe], in which she took that theme and carried it further.$Could you tell us a little bit about your career here?$$Yes. Well, as I said, I started out teaching anthropology. I've always focused a lot on undergraduate teaching. I taught the course in introductory anthropology; a course in culture and personality, going back to my work with Cora Du Bois; and, of course, peoples and cultures of Africa; and later African societies in a changing world. I taught ethnographic film, and that's where the idea for the--I taught the course before I did the film ['The Cows of Dolo Ken Paye: Resolving Conflict among the Kpelle']. And I taught a course called Film Studies of African American Culture; taught a seminar on African law; taught an innovative--a comparative law course called Law and Radically Different Cultures. That was taught in the law school [Stanford Law School, Stanford, California], comparing law of the United States, China, Egypt and Botswana. Those were some of the things I did in teaching. Fairly early on, I got invited to be Stanford's [Stanford University, Stanford, California] first dean of undergraduate studies. There was a sort of internal look at Stanford in the 1960s. And one of the conclusions was that undergraduate education needed to be strengthened, that the university was being dominated too much by the graduate schools and research. And that to do that it would be good to have a new position, a position to be called dean of undergraduate studies for a person that would be within the university, an advocate for undergraduate education. So I was asked to accept that post and I did and did it for six years. And as I was saying earlier, that some of my early experience in residential education came to bear, some of what we were able to do successfully was to expand the idea of research opportunities for undergraduates. So one of the things I'm very proud of is having, with their permission, stolen from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], the idea of an undergraduate research opportunities office, where you would have an office that would create funding for undergraduates to be able to do real research. And, of course, knowing what I told you about the impact of the research I did in Elmira [New York] as an undergraduate [at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York], I was gung-ho about what undergraduate research can do in terms of training people and giving them a commitment to academic careers. So that's one of the things that I was able to do as dean of undergraduate studies.