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Jonelle Procope

Lawyer and foundation president Jonelle Procope was born on March 20, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother, Corinne, was a teacher; her father, John L. Procope, Sr., was a businessman and hospital administrator. Procope was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She received her B.A. degree in economics from Howard University, and her J.D. degree from St. Johns University.

In 1977, Procope was hired as an associate attorney at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City. She then joined Viacom International Inc. in 1980, where she specialized in entertainment law for the company’s divisions including Viacom International, MTV, Showtime Entertainment, and Viacom Productions. From 1988 to 1994, Procope worked as director of business affairs for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, where she served as primary legal counsel to the Advertising and Media departments for the company’s Consumer Products Group. From 1998 to 2003, she was vice president of business and legal affairs for Blackground Records, an independent record label in New York City. Procope was then named president and chief executive officer of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. in March of 2003.

Procope has also been active in numerous civic and community organizations. She sits on the boards of New York Public Radio, the Arthur Ashe Learning Center, the 125th Street B.I.D., and the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. She is a member of the Friends of Education Committee of the Museum of Modern Art and the NYC Landmarks50 Advisory Committee.

Procope has been profiled in The New York Times Public Lives column, which recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to New York City, named as one of Portfolio magazine's 73 Biggest Brains in Business, profiled in Ebony magazine, and honored by The New York Daily News as one of 100 Women Who Shape Our City. In 2014, she received the Matrix Award – “Women Who Change the World” from New York Women in Communications.

Procope is married to Frederick O. Terrell and resides in New York City. They are parents of two adult sons, Matthew and Evan.

Jonelle Procope was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 8, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/8/2014 |and| 08/25/2014

Last Name

Procope

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Alice

Schools

Lansdowne Friends

Friends' Central School

Philadelphia High School for Girls

St. John's University

Howard University

First Name

Jonelle

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

PRO03

State

Maryland

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/20/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Lawyer and foundation president Jonelle Procope (1951 - ) was the president and chief executive officer of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.

Employment

Apollo Theater

Blackground Records

All Access Entertainment

Bristol Myers Squibb

Equitable Real Estate Group

Viacom International

Skadden, Arps, Meager & Flom

Byron Lewis

Advertising CEO Byron E. Lewis Sr., was born on December 25, 1931 in Newark, New Jersey to Thomas Eugene and Myrtle Allen Lewis. Growing up in Queens, New York, Lewis graduated from Shimer Junior High School and John Adams High School. In 1953, he received his B.A. degree in journalism from Long Island University.

Upon graduation, Lewis served in the United States Army, and then held a variety of jobs, including social work, before launching his advertising career. In 1961, he was hired as an advertising sales representative for Citizen Call and Urbanite Magazine. Lewis also worked for Amalgamated Publications, and later became vice president, director of advertising at Tuesday magazine from 1963 until 1968. In 1969, Lewis established UniWorld Group, Inc., the nation’s oldest multicultural advertising agency. Following UniWorld’s initial success, he expanded the agency and created UniWorld Entertainment in 1977, UniWorld Hispanic (Unimundo) in 1980, and UniWorld Healthcare in 2002. UniWorld’s clients have included AT&T, Avon Products, Burger King, Colgate Palmolive, Eastman Kodak, Ford Motor Co., Mars Candy, Stax Record Shaft film series, and the United States Marine Corps. Lewis also worked on the Black Political Summit in 1972, Kenneth Gibson’s mayoral campaign in 1971, and Reverend Jesse Jackson’s first presidential campaign in 1984. He created and produced a number of national media productions, including Sounds of the City, a Black radio serial; America’s Black Forum; and This Far By Faith, a PBS film. Lewis also founded the American Black Film Festival, formerly known as the Acapulco Black Film Festival. In 2012, he retired and became UniWorld’s Chairman Emeritus.

Lewis has received numerous awards and honors. He received Black Enterprise’s AG Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named one of Long Island University’s Alumni of Distinction. Lewis has been inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame, Omega Psi Phi’s Hall of Fame, and the AdColor Hall of Fame. He has also received an honorary doctorate degree from Adelphi University. Lewis has served on the boards of the Apollo Theater Foundation, the Jackie Robinson Educational Foundation, the NYC Mission Society, the Phoenix House Foundation, and Long Island University.

Lewis is married to Sylvia Wong Lewis. He has one son: Byron Eugene Lewis, Jr.

Byron Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.265

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/23/2013 |and| 10/24/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Shimer Junior High School

John Adams High School

Long Island University

First Name

Byron

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

LEW16

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sag Harbor

Favorite Quote

Nothing is better than an idea whose time has come.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/25/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Apple)

Short Description

Business chief executive Byron Lewis (1931 - ) is the founder of UniWorld Group, Inc., the nation’s oldest multicultural advertising company.

Employment

Citizen Call

Urbanite Magazine

Amalgamated Publishers

Tuesday Magazine

UniWorld Group, Inc.

Favorite Color

All Colors

Marianne Camille Spraggins

Investment banker, entrepreneur and lawyer Marianne Camille-Spraggins was born in Harlem, New York. Her father, Roy Travers Spraggins, was a lawyer active in Harlem politics in the 1960s. Spraggins graduated from Boston University with her B.A. degree in English literature. She worked as a law clerk while attending New York Law School; where she went on to receive her J.D. degree. Spraggins also received her LL.M. degree in international law from Harvard Law School.

After receiving her LL.M., Spraggins was hired as an associate professor of law at the New York Law School and as the director of the school’s Urban Legal Studies Fellowship program. Then, in 1979, she was hired as an investment banker at Salomon Brothers, Incorporated, working in the Mortgage Finance Department. Spraggins was then promoted to vice president of the Municipal Finance Department in 1985. She would serve in that role until 1988, when she was hired as a first vice president at Prudential Bache Securities. Two years later, she was hired at Smith Barney in New York, where she became the first African American female managing director on Wall Street.

In the early 1990s, Spraggins was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and appointed by President Bill Clinton as the director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. In 1994, she signed on as co-chair and chief operating officer at W.R. Lazard, an underwriting and asset management business, where, following the death of Wardell Lazard, she worked to revive the company. In 1998, she was hired by the asset management company Smith Whiley and Company as a senior managing editor, and then, in 2000, as the chief executive officer of Atlanta Life Insurance Company Investment Advisors. Then, after briefly working as the president of the consulting company Buy Hold America, Spraggins was appointed a superdelagate of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. In 2011, she was hired by The BondFactor Company LLC, where she served as chief marketing officer.

Spraggins has served on a variety of national boards including FuturePac, Ft. Valley State College, Count-Me-In, and the Historic District Development Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia. She has also served on several governmental commissions including the DeWind Commission on Banking, Insurance and Financial Services, and Governor Cuomo's Task Force on Consumer and Mortgage Banking. Spraggins was a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee and co-chair of its Credentials Committee. She was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York Law School and the Apollo Theater Foundation, where she chaired the Restoration Committee.

Marianne Camille-Spraggins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.263

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/20/2013

Last Name

Spraggins

Maker Category
Middle Name

Camille

Schools

Boston University

New York Law School

Harvard Law School

P.S. 46 Arthur Tappan School

J.H.S. 52 Inwood Junior High School

Walton High School

First Name

Marianne

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SPR05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Favorite Quote

Promise Little, But Do Much.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/2/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Investment banker and law professor Marianne Camille Spraggins (1945 - ) was the first African American female managing director on Wall Street.

Employment

Covington, Howard, Hagood & Holland

New York Law School

Salomon Brothers, Inc

Prudential Bache Securities

Smith Barney

Securities Investor Protection Corporation

W.R. Lazard

Smith Whiley & Co

Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Buy Hold America

BondFactor Company LLC

Favorite Color

Lime Green

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marianne Camille Spraggins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her sister

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her father's involvement in politics

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes the Harlem community in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her childhood role models

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers her decision to attend Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her experiences of discrimination at Boston University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her experience at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her father's encouragement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers living in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her position with NBC

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers her father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls earning her degree from New York University School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers passing the bar examination

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers developing an interest in finance

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers the mentorship of Russell L Goings, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her interview with Salomon Brothers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her training at Salomon Brothers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls securing a placement at Salomon Brothers, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls securing a placement at Salomon Brothers, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about Lewis S. Ranieri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her role at Salomon Brothers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her time at Prudential Bache Securities

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers learning to close a deal

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers the African Americans on Wall Street

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers David N. Dinkins' mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls joining Smith Barney

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her experiences at Smith Barney

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her role at Smith Barney

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marianne Camille Spraggins compares her experiences at Wall Street firms

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her accomplishments at Smith Barney

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marianne Camille Spraggins reflects upon her experiences on Wall Street

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers Wardell Lazard

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls her role at W.R. Lazard and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers joining Smith Whiley and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her involvement with Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her presidential appointments

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her role at The BondFactor Company, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her work at The BondFactor Company, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about the history of African American financiers

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marianne Camille Spraggins reflects upon the legacy of Travers Bell

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marianne Camille Spraggins reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her civic engagement

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about black politics

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about black entrepreneurship

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her interest in African art

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marianne Camille Spraggins describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marianne Camille Spraggins reflects upon her career and legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marianne Camille Spraggins talks about her father's hopes for her career

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Marianne Camille Spraggins remembers developing an interest in finance
Marianne Camille Spraggins recalls securing a placement at Salomon Brothers, pt. 2
Transcript
You liked law, then? Did you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes. It was a natural for me (unclear).$$Okay. And so, what courses did you gravitate to? That you sort of remember?$$The business law, the constitutional law, if I, if I practiced law, I'm sure I would have been a litigator. If I actually practiced.$$But you then come back to New York law school [New York University School of Law, New York, New York] and start as associate professor. But then, how long do you do that? You do that for a couple of years, and then how do you make the change?$$Make the transition? Well--$$Because, it just is like, you're on a track, and the next thing you know, you're at some, you know, at Salomon Brothers.$$Well, you know, there's a thread. When I was in law school, I took a seminar type course from somebody named Nicholas Deak, D-E-A-K [Nicholas L. Deak]. And there was something, a big foreign exchange operation called Deak-Perera in New York [New York]. And as it turned out, he was the Deak. And the course was international business transactions. And we used to go down to Wall Street, to Chase [Chase Manhattan Bank; JPMorgan Chase and Co.], to different banks and interview people and, and we had to do a paper for the course, rather than an exam. And I chose to do one on Swiss banks. Whereupon I learned that there was always something different about this Nicholas Deak. I think he was Hungarian. He was very suave, and there was something mysterious about him, and he always arrived with his driver and a different antique car, and I was just fascinated. Who is this, right? And I was always late for his class, and I would come in about ten minutes late, 'cause I was working [at Covington, Howard, Hagood and Holland, New York, New York]. And, and he would, and it was small, you know, maybe fifteen of us. And it was at, like ten o'clock in the morning, and he would stop what he was doing, and he would say, "Good afternoon, Miss Spraggins [HistoryMaker Marianne Camille Spraggins]." And I said, I came in like Loretta (Unclear) [ph.], "Oh, good afternoon." (Laughter) But anyway, I came to learn that he owned a Swiss bank. Well, that just knocked me out, right? Because I think the thread through it all for me is power. And, you know, I understood political power from this Harlem [New York, New York] vantage point of getting people in jobs and knowing city hall and getting people in judgeships. But I always knew there was something more. And when I took that course, and we went down into those bowels of Wall Street, I didn't know what they did, but there was a different energy, and just a, kind of like a veil being lifted for me. I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was really important and it was kind of a magnet. So when I realized that he owned a Swiss bank, that just took me to a whole other level and I just became very engaged in wanting to know more and about this whole world. Right? And so that is how my interest started, and then the more I was around it, which wasn't a lot, I really realized that this was the real seat of power. So going to Wall Street, I mean, naturally I wanted to make money, but that wasn't the driving force. It was the power that it represented, and knowing that this is a table that we did not sit at. And that we had to. So that's how I ended up going to Wall Street.$And he was from Georgia, by the way. He had run the Georgia office and had a horrible reputation in this regard. And so I, before I knew it, I was yelling, I was screaming, I was crying, and I was telling him. I said, "Let me tell you one thing." I said, "You can subject me to anything you subject everybody else around here to." I said, "That, and no more. Because you don't understand who I am." And I said, I said, "I am Roy Spraggins' daughter. That means nothing to you, but it means everything to me and it means everything to everybody who ever put anything into trying to make something out of me in this life. I will do that and no more, and do you understand?" Well he was like, "Nobody." One of the things that was my observation on Wall Street is that women, that men have done something that women typically have not done. They have been either in the [U.S.] military, or been engaged in some kind of active team sport, which means that, you know, I make this move, you make that move. You say yes, I say no. Right? All that. You go forward, I go back. To a woman, when you're confronted with a situation, really what you do is supply some kind of logic and common sense. So if somebody says something to me and it doesn't make sense to me, I don't just respond. I will ask why. And then typically, in certainly that environment, they really have no idea what to do with that. So that is what I was confronting at that moment. He was livid. He had never, he was purple, he was out of his chair, he was screaming at me. He had gone to a level I couldn't care less, and I said, "And everybody tells me I'm not supposed to cry, well, I don't care. This is what I do. I see those people out there and they cuss and swear and go to strip clubs and I cry. And if you don't like it, it's tough." This is how this was going, right? So he shut me up and he looks at me and he tells me, "You are gonna, you don't like it up there?" He goes, "You're gonna sit there." And he points to this desk outside his office. Okay? And he goes, "And you go there right now." So that's where he sent me. And so I went and I sat there, and I tried to get myself back together. And I said, "Marianne, this can't be happening, you know? Not like this, right?" So long story short, meanwhile, they had driven the other black woman out. And they didn't know I was around, that I heard them. One partner picked up a phone and called the other like, "Guess who's gone?" Like it's a game, a big joke, right? And I had said to myself at that time, "I'm leaving here one of two ways. Either I'm really gonna make it or they're taking me out on a stretcher. I am not going any other kind of way, period." So I gathered my things, and that next day, I went to the cafeteria. At Salomon Brothers, the cafeteria is a place where everybody comes to. You have your own private dining rooms, right? So that's where, you know, luncheons take place with customers and so forth. But as far as the firm goes, in the morning, partner, everybody comes to the cafeteria. So I set up my desk at a table right near the cash register. And had all my financial press, books, everything, and I said, "This is my office." I said, "Because one day," and I'd read everything cover to cover. I said, "One day, somebody is gonna have to say, 'Who is that black woman? Why is she sitting there every day reading the papers,' right? Reading books." And if anybody made eye contact with me, I went to their office. And I said, "My name is Marianne Spraggins [HistoryMaker Marianne Camille Spraggins], and I was in the last class." Meanwhile, another class has already started. "I was in the class and I didn't get placed. Do you have any work you need done?" Well, first of all, they were probably just so embarrassed and aghast and awkward, they didn't know what to do, right? I mean, I was, wasn't confrontational, I was just very nice, you know? "You need anything done?" And so, I guess they said, "Poor soul." They would give me something to do. And long story short, I did that a few times and I ended up working on some publication. I'll never forget, we were (unclear) write notes, and as a result of that, I got sent on another interview which led to me being placed in a job and it was in, with Lew Ranieri [Lewis S. Ranieri] who is the father of the mortgage securities market. It was at the very, very, very beginning of it and so that's where I started in an area that was completely brand new and made a way for myself. That's how I got started.$$So how long did it take you past that? You know, almost, you know from the time period that that happened, how long (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Of that, which thing happened?$$You know, when, when you set up in the cafeteria. How long did that take afterwards?$$Months, a few months.

Ray Chew

Musician and music director Ray Chew was born in 1958 in the Harlem, New York to Henry and Elaine Chew. Chew developed an interest in music at an early age. At age six, Chew received a scholarship to attend the Julliard School’s Children’s Program. He continued to pursue music education throughout his childhood, and enrolled in institutions such as Third Street Music School and the High School of Music and Arts where he was exposed to iconic musicians such as jazz legends Lionel Hampton, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie.

As a music arranger and multi-instrumentalist, Chew has worked with notable musicians including Gladys Knight, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. In 1974, Chew received his first big break in the music industry when he was given an opportunity go on tour with recording artist and Broadway star Melba Moore. Chew was selected to produce music for Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1975. He went on to serve as the music arranger on seven albums with the legendary duo over a twenty year period. In 1980, Chew became the musical director of the Saturday Night Live Band. In 1998, he co-founded Chew Entertainment with his wife, music executive Vivian Scott Chew. Later Chew and his wife founded Power to Inspire, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve music appreciation among youths He continued his career in television when he was named musical director of “Showtime at the Apollo,” a talent competition filmed at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater, in 1992. In 2001, Chew composed the score for the short film, The Gilded Six Bits, earning him his first credit for a musical score; and, in 2008, he was recruited as the bandleader for the Democratic National Convention. In 2009, he was selected by President Barack Obama to direct the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Chew became the musical director of “American Idol” in 2011.

Since his early years as a student at the High School of Music and Arts, Chew has received recognition for his talent as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist. Chew served as the musical director of the Apollo Theater Foundation and as a national trustee for the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Chew is married to Vivian Scott Chew. they have two daughters: Bianca and Loren.

Ray Chew was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2013

Last Name

Chew

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Leighton

Schools

P.S. 125

P.S. 121 Throop School

P.S. 144 Col Jeromus Remsen School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Manhattan School of Music

First Name

Raymond

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

CHE07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Punta Mita, México

Favorite Quote

Reach Beyond Your Grasp.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

9/7/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Musician and singer and music director Ray Chew (1958 - ) served as the music arranger on seven albums with the legendary duo Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson. He also served as the musical director for the television shows “Showtime at the Apollo” and “American Idol.”

Employment

Delete

American Idol

Favorite Color

Brown

Toni Fay

Communications executive Toni Fay was born on April 25, 1947 to George E. and Allie C. (Smith) Fay. Fay received her B.A. degree from Duquesne University in 1968. She obtained her M.S.W. degree, four years later, from the University of Pittsburgh. She also received her M.Ed. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. Fay began her professional career in 1968 when she was hired as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Welfare. She was then named the director of social services for the Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center in 1972. Fay was also appointed regional commissioner of the Governor's Council on Drugs & Alcohol for the state of Pennsylvania, serving in that capacity from 1973 to 1976. In 1977, she was named director of planning and development for the National Council of Negro Women. She was then hired as an executive vice president of D. Parke Gibson Associates, a public relations firm.

In 1982, Fay was named manager of community relations for Time-Warner, Inc. in New York. After only a year with the media conglomerate, she was promoted to the position of director of corporate community relations and affirmative action. She would go on to serve in that role for ten years before being appointed Time Warner’s vice president and corporation officer. After eight years as vice president, Fay launched her own management consultant firm TGF Associates in Englewood, New Jersey.

In addition to her corporate career, Fay was a member of the transition team for former U.S. President William Clinton in 1992. She was also appointed by President Clinton to the boards of the National Institute for Literacy and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Fay has served on a number of boards for civic, social and educational entities, including that of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, UNICEF, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Library, the Apollo Theatre Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Bethune Cookman College, the Coro Foundation, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, among many others.

Toni Fay was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.162

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/1/2012

Last Name

Fay

Maker Category
Middle Name

Georgette

Schools

Duquesne University

University of Pittsburgh

A Whizz Kids Preschool Inc Ii

A-Karrasel Primary Grade Center

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

Teaneck Senior High School

P.S. 169 Robert F Kennedy School

First Name

Toni

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

FAY01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Morocco

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/25/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Communications executive Toni Fay (1947 - ) was vice president of Time Warner, Inc.

Employment

New York City Department of Welfare

Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

D. Parke Gibson Association

Time Warner, Inc.

TGF Associates

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Toni Fay's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Toni Fay lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes how her maternal grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandfather and great uncle's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Toni Fay remembers visiting her grandfather in New Jersey after the 1967 Newark riots

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her family's relationship to the Presbyterian Church

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recaps her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes her mother's childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her father's start of an African American high school football league

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about her father's draft into the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her family's perspective toward the draft

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Toni Fay explains how her parent met and fell in love

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her childhood home in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her parents' dispositions and considers her likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes experiencing discrimination in the Teaneck, New Jersey schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Toni Fay recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes her childhood activities in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Toni Fay remembers beating Roosevelt "Rosey" Brown in ping pong

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about the distinction between Harlem and Washington Heights

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her experience at P.S. 169 elementary school in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Stitt Junior High School and moving to Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes playing in the band at Stitt Junior High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes leaving New York City for Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes how she avoided being held back from the eighth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her neighbors in Teaneck, Jersey, including the Isley family, and northern migration to the suburbs

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes attending summer camp and other structured activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes the racial discrimination she experienced in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about entertaining her parents' friends

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her father's establishment of a football team in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recalls attending the March on Washington in 1963 and boycotting companies that were segregationist

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about Malcolm X and remembers visiting "Southern" cousins in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her decision to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Toni Fay explains why she elected not to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes her undergraduate experience at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport, then-professor in the Duquesne University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes being accepted into graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about her parents' mentorship

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes moving to San Francisco, California briefly after leaving her job in Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about moving back home after spending one year in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes interviewing with and being hired by HistoryMaker Dorothy Height

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes initiatives she oversaw at the National Council of Negro Women

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes being hired by the D. Parke Gibson Association public relations firm

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes being hired at Time Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Time Inc. and relationship with executive William J. Trent, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes making connections with Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, and others through the Black Leadership Family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about the members, requirements and objectives at the Black Leadership Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes the development of her literacy program at Time Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes the literacy program she developed at Time Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about Time Inc.'s merger with Warner Communications Inc. in 1990

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes meeting HistoryMaker Quincy Jones and her involvement in the Listen Up Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about becoming Time Warner's first African American officer

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Americanos: Latino Life in the United States' and Gordon Parks' 'Half Past Autumn' at Time Warner

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about the external projects she worked on, including the Business Policy Review Council

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Toni Fay explains why the Business Policy Review Council stopped operating

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her retirement from Time Warner

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about challenges surrounding the preservation of the Apollo Theater

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her role in the revitalization of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Toni Fay remembers HistoryMaker Ossie Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her role on President Bill Clinton's transition team

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes her literacy work with the Clinton Administration and Time Warner Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Toni Fay lists various boards she has served on over the years

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Toni Fay reflects considers what she might have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Toni Fay considers her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Toni Fay shares her advice to young professionals

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Toni Fay describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania
Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book
Transcript
And I got--as I said, I think I've been blessed my whole career. All of a sudden, there was a brand new agency being started by Governor Milton Shapp in Pennsylvania. And it was to be the single-state agency for drug and alcohol abuse. Again, this was a whole new wave in the whole health and mental health arena nationally. So he started it, and the single-state agency was called the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. And for some reason, I was hired to be head of the whole region, which put me in charge of twenty-four counties in western Pennsylvania in allocating their drug and alcohol money for their county programs and other things. It's the first time I'm managing a staff, first time I was traveling statewide to look at programs. So I learned so much, and the first time I had to deal with administration, with panels. So I was taken from a community-based activity, thinking about, you know, we're just gonna improve the lot of people, to an administrative position dealing with budgets and money and plans and, and more racism, which was easier because outside of Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], if you know western Pennsylvania and you should coming from Dayton [Ohio], I mean it's Appalachia in some places. I remember going to one of my counties and the, the county commissioner was blind. And I'm walking in to introduce myself, and he said, "Oh, yeah, I heard this, this colored gal got that job." I said, yes, and she's right here in front of you, you know (laughter). And what, and, and you have a request before me, you know. So, you know, I learned those--it was like the sum total of the things I had learned from Teaneck [New Jersey] (laughter), that I had to bring to that experience too. But it was a great job. I mean it propelled me totally out of traditional social work into now looking at this whole understanding of public health systems and administration and managing people.$There were two things going on that propelled me in getting my officer's stripe, which was unbelievable. First, I had this, "what the hell" attitude. I'm just gonna keep my head down and not stay in the gossip, rumor mill about who's on first, who's on second. My boss, who was then Jerry Levin [Gerald Levin], who became the chairman of Time Warner later on and did the AOL deal to our, our chagrin, Jerry said, call me only if you need me 'cause he was in his own political battle. So, you know, we were all just holding on. None of us were gonna put our hands up to say, "I'm leaving" 'cause they said, "Oh, at least let's get a package if we're gonna leave." So that's when I was approached to take on this project called 'Songs of My People.' I had gotten a call from a couple of the photographers that were looking at some way--quite frankly, they were a little outraged that this project around black women had traveled all around the United States and gotten such notoriety and there weren't any black photographers engaged in it. So many of them had gotten together, who were the top photographers in many of the newspapers around the country to say, let's do a day-in-the-life kind of concept. They brought it to me. I said, this is fabulous. Now, how am I gonna talk this company into it? I went to our book company and said, you all got to do this. They said, it sounds good. I said, I want us to get into the exhibition thing. We could travel this to all of our markets because in the newspaper--I'll never forget, when I went to the chairman, I said, "Look, Jerry, every paper is talking about records and synergy and movies and synergy. Not one is mentioning books, not one is mentioning magazines, not one is mentioning--it's all about now, this new entertainment complex. I have a book project that I wanna get all of our businesses engaged in." And it's gonna propel our agenda in terms of saying to the black community, we are here and the white community too. And think about all these museums. You like culture. Well, I sold it to Jerry to say--he said, "Toni, I like your thought." He said, but I don't even know how we're gonna pay for this. If we have to commit to fund an exhibition, all our money's tied up in this deal. Do you know how I got the exhibition funded? There was a line that the banks had not attached that was the retirement gift for Dick Munro, who was the outgoing CEO. That was the only line not attached in the deal we're paying for this merger (laughter). So if you ever see any literature from 'Songs of My People,' 'cause it traveled in over a hundred countries, you know, through the State Department [U.S. Department of State]. I mean it's just great. It always says, and "Is dedicated to Dick Munro through his retired," (laughter). It went on for five years. It was a major book, gangbusters exhibition. And what I liked most about it, and I think why people remember me and always come up to me and all of our executives in the company and said, "I'm one of the 'Songs of My People' photographers. They all got better jobs. Some became the press secretaries for Clinton [President William "Bill" Clinton] and everybody got promoted at their newspapers. And that's also how we got so much press 'cause when we would hit town, all of a sudden they could go to their publisher and say, look, I'm in this exhibition, and this is in our town. So you're gonna get some play. I mean it was just gangbusters. It was a landmark thing for the craft of photography. So that was one--