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A'Lelia Bundles

Award-winning news producer and author A'Lelia Bundles was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 7, 1952. After graduating high school in Indianapolis, Bundles went on to Harvard College, earning her A.B. in 1974, and then to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, earning an M.S.J. in 1976.

During her senior year at Harvard, Bundles began working at WTLC-FM as a news anchor. Later that same year she was hired by DuPont as an assistant in the public affairs department, and she remained there until 1975. Upon completing her master's degree, she went to NBC News, working as a producer for several programs across the country. In 1989, Bundles went to ABC News, where she became the Washington bureau chief and the producer of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Currently, she works with ABC as the director of talent development.

Bundles is also the author of a book, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, based upon the business empire built by her great-great-grandmother. Walker was born in 1867 to freed slaves and went on to create a hair-care product to enable both herself and her saleswomen to become self-sufficient. The work has earned Bundles much praise, including a 2001 New York Times Notable Book mention and the 2001 Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians. She has had articles published in a wide variety of magazines and journals as well, including The New York Times Book Review, Essence, and Fortune Small Business.

Bundles serves as vice chairperson of the Madam Walker Theatre Center, chairperson of the National Association of Black Journalists Authors Showcase, and past president of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association. She has also won an Emmy.

Accession Number

A2003.132

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/13/2003

Last Name

Bundles

Maker Category
Schools

North Central High School

Harvard University

Columbia University

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

A'Lelia

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUN02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults and College Students. Madam C.J. Walker, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, women in business, television news, Harlem Renaissance

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: Can be negociated.
Preferred Audience: Adults and College Students. Madam C.J. Walker, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, women in business, television news, Harlem Renaissance

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/7/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon, Sweets

Short Description

Author and television news producer A'Lelia Bundles (1952 - ) is the former ABC News bureau chief of Washington, D.C., produced ABC World News Tonight, and serves as the director of talent development. Bundles is also the author of, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, based upon the business empire built by her great-great-grandmother.

Employment

WTLC Radio

DuPont Company

NBC News

ABC News

ABC

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of A'Lelia Bundles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her mother's background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her mother's education at Howard University and Palmer Memorial Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - A'Lelia Bundles talks about her father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - A'Lelia Bundles talks about growing up in a neighborhood of black professionals

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls her childhood experience attending predominantly white schools

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her personality and favorite books as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls the lack of books about African Americans when she was a child

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls the music she listened to growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles remembers the backlash she experienced at her predominantly white high school when she was elected Vice President of the Student Council, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls connecting to the Black Power Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her college decision process

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls her time at Harvard University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - A'Lelia Bundles remembers her first jobs after college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - A'Lelia Bundles remembers her professors at Harvard University, including Martin Kilson, Derek Bell, Orlando Patterson, and Pierre-Michel Fontaine

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her senior thesis at Harvard University about the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles reflects on her gift for writing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls an internship at Newsweek Magazine in Chicago and meeting black journalists including Vernon Jarrett and Basil Phillips

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - A'Lelia Bundles describes beginning to research her great-great-grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - A'Lelia Bundles reflects on the effect that Madam C.J. Walker's legacy had on her mother, A'Lelia Mae Perry Bundles

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls her early career in network television at NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls covering the 1982 trial of Wayne Williams in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - A'Lelia Bundles remembers Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.'s U.S. presidential campaign in 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - A'Lelia Bundles remembers Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.'s 1984 presidential campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her work as a producer for NBC News shows and ABC's "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her work with news anchor Carol Simpson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls becoming the Washington D.C. deputy bureau chief for ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her decision to leave NBC to write "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker"

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her research for "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker"

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - A'Lelia Bundles recalls working with Alex Haley in 1982 on a novel about Madam C.J. Walker

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - A'Lelia Bundles describes fighting with the Alex Haley estate to publish "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker"

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - A'Lelia Bundles recounts her legal battle with the estate of Alex Haley, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles recounts her legal battle with the estate of Alex Haley, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles describes her reaction to Beverly Lowry's book on Madam C.J. Walker

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - A'Lelia Bundles describes Madam C.J. Walker's political activism, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - A'Lelia Bundles describes Madam C.J. Walker's political activism, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - A'Lelia Bundles describes how her book "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker" was received

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - A'Lelia Bundles talks about wanting to write about other relatives

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - A'Lelia Bundles reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - A'Lelia Bundles talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - A'Lelia Bundles narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
A'Lelia Bundles remembers Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.'s 1984 presidential campaign
A'Lelia Bundles describes Madam C.J. Walker's political activism, pt. 1
Transcript
--We're back to the '84 [1984] campaign?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$Oh, I know that guy (unclear).$$Well, it was, you know, Jesse is amazing. We would--he would go somewhere. Jesse would over-schedule all the time. All the other campaigns, there were phone banks set up. There was the luggage call. The Jackson campaign had none of that. This was a campaign that I thought was operating on the biorhythms of Jesse. But it was a great ride. I remember we would arrive at a church two hours late and one of the things--this was before cellphones and as the producer, I had to find the phone. I had to find the phone to check in with the office. And I had become very adept at finding the phone in the church and getting to the office and make--being able to make the first phone call. And people would have been waiting in the church for hours. The churches would be hot. People would be fanning. They're in the aisles and you think, "Jesse, it's eleven o'clock, how are we going to do this?" And Jesse would get up and Jesse would get that spirit and Jesse would get that activism and everybody would be on their feet. And he, you know, especially when you went through the South, you would see a lot of elderly black people who you know hadn't been able to vote when they were younger and Jesse would say, "Hands that pick cotton can now pick a President". And he energized people and, you know, he knew that there were--Jesse was cutting corners here and there, maybe the campaign wasn't highly organized and maybe the campaign wasn't on time but he really made a difference and he really energized American politics. And recently I was talking with a friend who was also on the campaign, Bruce Talman, and Bruce said, "You know, we really ought to do some kind of conference or something and talk about what happened, what that--what that campaign meant" and I said, "You know, it's true, there are so many things." Jesse really changed the face of American politics, of American presidential politics. He--his campaign created or enhanced the careers of a large number of African American journalists and other journalists as well because Jesse's story was the most interesting story. And his story wasn't really covered properly by the mainstream press. He was dismissed by "The New York Times" and the Hymietown story in the "Washington Post" hurt him. And Jesse would make jokes from time to time. I remember when we went to Johnson Publishing on one trip to Chicago [Illinois] and we were--the journalists were getting a tour and I think he was--he was taking people who were part of the mainstream press on these tours or exposing them to different black institutions 'cause he knew they didn't really know anything about them. Now you know some of us knew something but these white journalists didn't really know anything about Johnson Publishing and to be in that building and to see it. But Jesse said, "That's all right, 'The New York Times' may not cover me but my people read 'Jet' [Magazine]," and it was true. We knew--you know that you knew that "Jet" was going to cover everything that Jesse did, and you know, and still to this point, I would never be without my "Jet Magazine" every week. But it was really--it was a great ride. I mean, from early January, I-I joined the campaign on a stop in Memphis [Tennessee]. I think the first night I was on the campaign there was a fire alarm. We got up in the middle of the night, and we were always having to leave really early and get back really late. We went to--after the primaries were over, we went on a trip to Cuba and Nicaragua and Salvador and Jesse released the political prisoners from Cuba. During the [Democratic National] convention, there was a lot of electricity because there was a lot of infighting and people were curious what Jesse was going to do. But I'm really glad that I participated in that campaign. Later that year, after covering the Democratic campaign, I then covered the [Geraldine] Ferraro campaign. And that was, I think, as exciting for women as Jesse's campaign was for African Americans but it wasn't as exciting for me. I wasn't, you know, I didn't feel like I connected with Ferraro. And later in the year, in November, after the election, I finally was at home, I had basically been gone the entire year except for coming home for two or three days at a time to do my laundry and then I was back on the road. And I remember, you know, November, or whatever the Friday after the election, waking up in my own bed and not having any idea where I was because I was so used to being in a hotel. But I-I made some great friends on that campaign and it was really fabulous to be a part of history being made.$$Okay.$$I think I feel that way more than any other story that I've ever covered. I was there in the midst of history.$What did you discover about Madam [C.J.] Walker that you had not known that was the most exciting things for you?$$You know what was really thrilling for me was to find what a political activist she was, you know. What everybody knows is Madam Walker had something to do with hair. They think she invented the straightening comb. She didn't invent the straightening comb. So there's more myth about her then there is, you know, reality and fact. And I think that's true of a lot of famous people, that the myths around them kind of overtake the details because people like, you know, really sort of, you know, simple, easy, you know catchwords that they can--that they can hook onto. But she's so much more interesting and so much more multi-dimensional than that. And in doing the research, I was thrilled to find that she had been really involved in the anti-lynching movement and she had helped finance the NAACP's [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] anti-lynching initiatives. She had spoken out for the rights of black soldiers during World War One [1914-1918]. She was an early feminist: a person who advocated economic independence for women. She--in 1917, the year before Mary Kay was born, she had her first convention of national sales agents and more than 200 women came from all over the country and she gave prizes, just like Mary Kay, but she gave prizes not just to the women who sold the most products, or who brought in the most new agents, she gave prizes to the women who contributed the most to charity and to political causes. At the end of the convention, the women sent a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson protesting the recent riots in East St. Louis [Missouri]. And then a couple of weeks later, she traveled with a number of Harlem leaders to--from New York [New York] to Washington [D.C.] to the White House to try to meet with President Woodrow Wilson to urge him to make lynching a federal crime. And then later, during World War One, when a lot of people were being investigated, she was investigated by a black spy, a black war spy named Walter Loving. She and Ida B. Wells [Barnett] were at a rally and I read some of the War Department classified documents and she was called a "Negro Subversive" and I just loved this because it was like being on a [Richard] Nixon enemies list in 1968 and I thought, "Go Madam." You know, you're speaking out enough that you're upsetting people but you're doing the right thing. So I loved finding that out about her. I also found out about a husband she never mentioned and, you know, a marriage and the fact that she didn't divorce this second husband but married a third husband, you know. So there were other things and those were the kinds of things that I felt, because my mother had given me permission to tell the truth, I could tell them. But to me it made her a more believable character and when I tell the story, one of my motivations is to inspire other women and I speak at, you know, across the country at a variety of places. I speak at Ivy League schools, I speak at elementary schools and last fall I spoke at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women [Bedford Hills, New York]. I had learned that they were reading my book in the college course there and I called the professor and asked if I could, could come to the prison and talk to the women. And she invited me and there were about 80 women who came to this evening assembly and they had written papers and they had, they read from their papers and they had great questions and it was just thrilling to me to know that these women in prison were inspired by Madam Walker's story because in her story there is, you know, early loss of family. There's abandonment, there's abuse, there are family members who commit crimes, you know, there is poverty. So there are lots of things that women who are having difficult times can, can relate to and after the visit to the prison, I wanted to do something for these women 'cause they were, you know, they were trying so hard in that environment to improve themselves intellectually and, you know, just make their lives better and make their children's lives better. And so I e-mailed a bunch of friends who are authors and I asked if they would donate a book, an autographed book, to the women to inspire them. And now we've collected more than a thousand books and a few weeks ago I spoke at the commencement for the prison, the college graduation at the prison. So that to me is the greatest reward in writing this book that there are people who are inspired and that there are kids who can do their reports on Madam Walker and tell her story, you know, 'cause you don't get rich writing a book and I didn't write the book to get rich. It would have been nice if I had gotten rich writing the book but that wasn't--that wasn't the motivation and it's born out, you know, almost every week I get a call from somebody who is inviting me to come do a speech or who wants to hear the story. And it's, you know, it's what I love to do.

Paul Brock

Distinguished journalist Paul Brock was an only child born in Washington, D.C., on February 10, 1932. After attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., Brock set out on his career path.

Brock spent eighteen years as a radio journalist before moving into television producing and reporting, starting at WBNB in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. From there, Brock went on to become news director at WETA and later WHUR in Washington, D.C. While with WETA, he was credited with bringing the first live coverage of a congressional committee hearing ever aired. Brock was also the originator, producer and chief fundraiser of the NAACP Nightly Convention Highlights program that aired on PBS from 1978 to 1983. Later, Brock served as producer, writer, editor and national distributor of the NAACP Voter Education public service announcements. The success of this was a launching point for him to move into a position as fundraiser, assistant producer, and vice president of the company that produced American Playhouse. In 1994, Brock became media coordinator of the Village Foundation, an organization working to "repair the breach" between African American males and the rest of society.

Brock left the Village Foundation in 2002, but he remains active with the NAACP, having been with the organization since 1948. He has also served as the deputy director of communications for the Democratic National Committee, vice president for news and operations at American Urban Radio Network, and is a senior fellow for public affairs at Howard University's Institute for the Study of Educational Policy. He has also been a member of the National Association of Black Journalists since 1974. In 1975, Jet and Ebony both recognized him as Man of the Year, and in 1983, Brock received the Black Filmmakers Award for Producer of the Year. Brock has four children and a wife, Virginia.

Accession Number

A2003.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2003 |and| 6/8/2003

Last Name

Brock

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Briggs Elementary School

P.S. 139 Frederick Douglass School

Shore Junior High School

Samuel C. Armstrong Manual Training High School

Howard University College of Pharmacy

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BRO01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Flexible

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Late May, Early June

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Flexible

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sashimi

Short Description

Photojournalist Paul Brock (1932 - ) specializes in celebrity, commercial, fashion and public relations photography. His photos have been published in Ebony, Essence, Vibe and other magazines and publications.

Employment

WBNB TV

WETA TV

WHUR TV

Village Foundation

Favorite Color

Deep Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Brock's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Brock lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes a relative of his, West Ford, who was a slave of John Augustus Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Brock talks about the possibility that his relative, West Ford, was the son of President George Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes his mother's family background in Gum Springs, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes his mother's childhood and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Brock describes his childhood living near Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York and the people that lived near him, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Brock describes his childhood living near Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York and the people that lived near him, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Brandywine, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes his experience in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes moving back to Washington, D.C. in 1945 and attending Shore Junior High School and Armstrong Manual Training School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes the one time he met his biological father, William Brock

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes his childhood interest in reading and writing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes his mentors and prominent African Americans who lived in his Washington, D.C. community

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes his social life in the Yadrutas Club in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paul Brock talks about his favorite subjects in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paul Brock describes his intention to major in pharmacy after graduating from high school.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes his employment during the two years he studied at the Howard University College of Pharmacy in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes his experience in the U.S. Air Force and in the National Security Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes leaving the National Security Agency, his wife, and Washington, D.C. to open a business in St. Thomas in 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes moving to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and gaining custody of his children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes working for IBM and the radio station in the U.S. Virgin Islands and being hired in television

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes anchoring television news and creating a radio jazz show in St. Thomas

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes returning to the United States to work in radio after the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul Brock describes being news director at WETA radio in Washington, D.C. and being interviewed to be news director of NPR

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes his experience as news director for WHUR in Washington, D.C. in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes the formation of the Washington Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes Max Robinson, HistoryMaker Maureen Bunyan, and the founding of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes his two interns at the Democratic National Committee, Maurice Williams and HistoryMaker Barry Mayo

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes the murder of Maurice Williams by Hanafi Muslims at the Washington, D.C. City Hall in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes his being a vice president for news and operations at the Mutual Black Network

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Brock talks about the difficulty of running Mutual Black Network and its importance

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paul Brock describes reporting on the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida in 1972 for WHUR-FM

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes his experience of the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida in 1972

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Brock talks about HistoryMaker Basil Paterson and the momentum of African American politicians between the 1972 and 1976 Democratic National Conventions

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Brock talks about how the political perspective of African Americans contrasts with that of white American voters

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes the Democratic National Committee after the 1972 election

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes the murder of Maurice Williams by Hanafi Muslims at the Washington, D.C. City Hall in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Brock talks about his proximity to the Watergate burglary and the guard who discovered the break-in, Frank Wills

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes Hamilton Jordan's strategy for convincing Democratic delegates to select Jimmy Carter as the Democratic nominee in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Brock reflects on the success of President Jimmy Carter's campaign strategy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Brock's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes the disappointment of the Democratic coalition in Jimmy Carter's presidency

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes Ted Kennedy's campaign against President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential election

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes his response to President Jimmy Carter's firing of HistoryMaker Andrew Young in 1979

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes the issues that the NAACP spoke on during the 1980 presidential election

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes his role in HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Brock talks about HistoryMaker Milton Coleman's interview with HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse Jackson during his 1984 campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paul Brock talks about HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse Jackson's speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paul Brock describes HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign strategy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes his experience with American Playhouse, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes his experience with American Playhouse, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes the life story of Denmark Vesey

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes the casting and reception of "Denmark Vesey's Rebellion"

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes his second television production, "Solomon Northrup's Odyssey"

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes the reception of "Solomon's Northrup's Odyssey" and the loss of funding for the his series with American Playhouse

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes the difficulty African American historical films have reaching a teenage audience

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Paul Brock describes his experience at a screening of "Solomon Northrup's Odyssey" in Santa Monica, California

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Paul Brock describes the importance of understanding history

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Paul Brock describes how covering the Bakke case in the press informed his understanding of the black community and white journalists, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Paul Brock describes how covering the Bakke case in the press informed his understanding of the black community and white journalists, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Paul Brock describes the details of the Bakke case

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Paul Brock describes his current involvement in protecting affirmative action

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Paul Brock describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Paul Brock reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Paul Brock describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Paul Brock narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Paul Brock describes returning to the United States to work in radio after the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965
Paul Brock describes his experience of the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida in 1972
Transcript
And one day, we were listening to the radio, and the-- [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] was getting ready to cross the Edmond Pettus Bridge [in Selma, Alabama, 1965], and the kids were looking very concerned. And I asked them if they knew what was going on, and one of them replied that they thought the police were beating those negroes. That didn't sound right to me, and I asked, "Well, do you guys know any negroes?" They looked at one another and thought about it for a long while, and the I believe my oldest son said, "Dad, I believe I know one," and he named a friend of mine who had an afro long before they became popular in the states, but that was the only one they could think of. I knew--you knew, I had many friends, many multicultural friends, but the fact that they didn't know that they were negroes, I knew it was time for me to leave the Virgin Islands, and right after that, that summer, I left and came back to New York. I'm going to my friends now to see if they're ready to hire me at NBC and so forth and so on, and they wouldn't return calls, and I finally got a job part-time at Westinghouse at WINS there in New York, and was doing only part-time at KYW in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. And after about two years, I got a break. They interviewed me, the general counsel of ABC had or was starting this program "Wide World of Sports" and he wanted me to be in then. And he set up an interview, and supposedly they were hiring me. They said, "Oh, you're hired, don't worry," but they never brought me to work. And I recognized it was a rouse.$$Was that Barry Frank or somebody by that name?$$I'm trying to--you mean the people who interviewed me? I can't remember for some strange reason, I cannot remember. I know they--every time I'd go there, "Okay, we're going to bring you to work in three weeks." Three weeks would come and go, never happened. Finally, I just got tired of running around, just doing radio work I could pick up. Oh, by the way, at that time, I had gone back to doing typewriter and office sales for an independent company in New York just to supplement my income. I was teaching English. That's where I met the wife of the general counsel of ABC, and I realized I wasn't going to get that job even though they were saying I had it; and I got an offer from Smith-Corona to come Washington [D.C.]. And I took that job, and went home with my kids.$$Was that a sales job?$$Yes, a sales job. I was given the major federal agencies, Howard University. I mean they made the deal so sweet, and I knew I could make much more than I could part time at Westinghouse and no time at Wide World of Sports with them making excuses, so that's what brought me back to Washington.$We were talking last time I think about the Democratic [National] Convention of 1972 [in Miami Beach, Florida].$$Alright.$$Can you tell us about your role in that?$$Yeah, that was a historic convention in many ways. I was a news director for a station in Washington, D.C., a radio station in Washington, D.C. WHUR-FM and we somehow scrapped the bottom of the barrel to get a couple of reporters to get a couple of reporters to that convention to cover it for our Washington D.C. audience. We went to Miami [Florida], and at that convention, of course, it was historic for a number of reasons. A) It was the convention where Shirley Chisholm announced, threw her hat into the ring and ran for president, of for the presidential democratic nomination at that convention. It was the convention where a number of African Americans wanted to play a pivotal role in that convention because they knew they held a certain percentage, a very important percentage, of that vote that the Democrats were gonna have to depend on. And so people like [Robert] Sonny Carson went down, and they were urging their people to get out and vote in New York City [New York]. And some of the other civic leaders, grassroots leaders, gang leaders in various cities, including Chicago [Illinois], Los Angeles [California] were going to urging their people to get out and vote, to take part in that democratic process. We were down to cover it for-- George Wallace was one of the people down for that democratic convention. I remember that well because one of my reporters who was Trinidad was not aware of George Wallace's previous reputation; and looking for him one day, I couldn't find him and there he and George Wallace were just having a great pow-wow and enjoying themselves. And I think I was very, very surprised at that moment, but most important, I think, besides Shirley Chisholm trying to run, the Maynard Jacksons and the [HM] Julian Bonds, trying to get the black community from all over the states--the United States to pull their power together behind a candidate was very, very important. The black vote was not promised to any one individual, not even Shirley Chisholm and they wanted--the Julian Bonds and the Maynard Jacksons of the world, the [HM] Basil Patersons of the New York, the Charles Evers of the Mississippi and so forth, they wanted to negotiate with the power structure there at that convention to get the very best deal that they could of the recognition of the power that they had and what they brought to the party. And, of course, George McGovern was a leading candidate at that convention, and eventually, of course, did win the nomination.$$McGovern is described as the only honest man in the senate at one point by one of the Kennedys (unclear).$$I was not aware of that statement, but it's certainly an excellent statement. How true it is, I have no idea, but I do know that once he was on the verge of winning that nomination to get him over that final hump, Charlie Evers forced McGovern to deal with African Americans at that convention and that we wanted a piece of the pie, we wanted the chair of the Democratic party. And McGovern was not going to give that up, but, finally, the negotiations came down to the vice chair and they looked at some names and finally they settled on the name of [HM] Basil Paterson to be the vice chair of the democratic party, and, of course, this was as high as any black had come.

Bob Black

Photographer Bob Black was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 4, 1939. Black was one of five children, and attended Chicago public schools. After briefly attending Woodrow Wilson Junior College, Black began working.

Black started his career as a professional photographer in 1965, working at the Chicago Defender as a staff photographer. By the time Black joined the Defender, it had already established itself as the largest African American-owned newspaper in the nation, and had been fighting for full equality for African Americans since its inception in 1905. In 1968, Black left the Defender for the Chicago Sun-Times where he remains today as a photographer.

As a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Black was one of the founders of the Visual Task Force, an organization of still and video photographers within the NABJ. He is also a founding member of the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers (CAAAP), established in 1999 to bring together local African American photographers to promote their work and educate future generations.

Black has been the recipient of numerous awards, including collecting first place at the World Press Photo Competition. He also actively pursues projects outside his work for the newspaper, including a series of photographs of life in the Dominican Republic and a series of photographs displayed along with other CAAAP members at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.

Accession Number

A2003.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/17/2003 |and| 2/27/2003

Last Name

Black

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

William W. Carter Elementary School

TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School

Kennedy–King College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bob

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BLA02

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

I Love You With The Love Of Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/4/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Corn

Short Description

Photographer Bob Black (1939 - ) worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was awarded for his photography. He is also a founding member of the Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers, established in 1999, to bring together local African American photographers to promote their work and educate future generations.

Employment

Chicago Defender

Chicago Sun-Times

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bob Black's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bob Black lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bob Black describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bob Black describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bob Black describes his father's background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bob Black describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bob Black describes the Washington Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bob Black describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bob Black describes his childhood experiences, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bob Black describes his childhood experiences, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bob Black describes his experience in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bob Black talks about the teachers who supported him

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bob Black describes his experience at Englewood High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bob Black describes his friendship with HistoryMaker George Carruthers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bob Black describes his introduction to photography

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bob Black describes the support he received from photographers in his church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bob Black describes cameras he has owned and used

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bob Black describes his experience in the Illinois National Guard

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bob Black describes being inspired by photojournalist and HistoryMaker Gordon Parks

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bob Black describes his first job as a photographer for the Chicago Defender's "Teen Page"

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bob Black describes his experience as a photographer for the Illinois National Guard

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bob Black describes his experience as a photographer for the Chicago Defender

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bob Black talks about the photographic techniques he uses

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bob Black describes being hired at the Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bob Black describes his colleague John Tweedle at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bob Black describes his colleague John Tweedle at the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bob Black describes his most memorable experiences at the Chicago Defender

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bob Black describes his daily routine as a photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bob Black describes his daily routine as a photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bob Black describes facing police brutality as a journalist during the Democratic National Convention in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bob Black describes the obstacles faced by photojournalists

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bob Black describes working outside of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bob Black describes covering an airplane crash at O'Hare International Airport in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bob Black describes coping with covering violent and traumatic stories

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bob Black talks comments on helping victim or taking a photo first

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bob Black talks about some of the remarkable people he has met

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bob Black narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bob Black narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bob Black narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$9

DATitle
Bob Black describes being inspired by photojournalist and HistoryMaker Gordon Parks
Bob Black describes his most memorable experiences at the Chicago Defender
Transcript
So, you knew from high school on that you wanted to be a photographer?$$Yes, yes, I was--I knew--I didn't know exactly which way I was gonna go with it, but I did know that I wanted to be a photojournalist; I knew that. And it was about that time that I learned about [HM] Gordon Parks. And when I began to study his work and see his work, I said, oh yeah, this is what I wanna do. I didn't know if I would have an opportunity to do it at a place like "Life," but I knew I wanted to do it somewhere. And then I began to really look and study the work of other photographers, even the local guys that, that worked at the, the [Chicago] Defender. [Herman Santonio] "Tony" Rhoden and Cleo Lyle, I used to study their work, how they took their pictures. If I saw them out someplace, I'd watch 'em, you know, and see how they would handle an assignment, and how--if they used flash, how they would light it and all that. Then I would look at the results of the paper and see what they got and everything. So, as I--and I would ask questions, and these guys were very nice. They would, they would tell me a lot of things, so I learned a lot from 'em. So, but every week, when "Life" magazine--in those days it came out every seek. It was a big magazine. And I would go and get a "Life," and I would look first to see if Gordon's name was still in the masthead, you know, see--make sure they hadn't fired him yet. And (laughter) he was still there. And then the next thing, I would look to see if he had a, a special piece that--a photo essay that he had done. And if he did, I'd go right to that page. I didn't look at anything else. And then I began looking at these pictures, and I began to study his work. And I said oh yeah. And I remember he, he would shoot everything available light. And, and, and I started doing also some freelance work for the, for the Defender." And so I would shoot a lot of techniques that he would use, available light, and (laughter), and it would work. The stuff would work. It would look good, but I would always get this bad feedback from the editors of the Defender. "We can't use this. You, you didn't, didn't light this up." I said "Yes, I did. I used the light that was in the room." "Oh, this is not gon' work." I said "Well, Gordon Parks does that" (laughter). And it was a woman. Her name was Alberta Meyers, and she said "Well, you're not Gordon Parks, and you--and it's not gon' work in our paper." I said, "Well, just try it, just try it." And of course, (unclear) had to go with it, and it worked. You know, for whatever reason, it reproduced well, it looked good, and it worked. And I said oh, okay, you know. So then I began to use flash, try to use it more creatively when I could. I would sneak a shot in there that wasn't done with flash, and (laughter), and most of the time (laughter) it worked out better than the flash shot did. So, but he was my inspiration, and whether--to, to tell me that if he could do it at that time, at some point in time, I'll be able to do that somewhere.$Now what, what were some of your most memorable experiences as a photographer for the press, for the [Chicago] Defender and [Chicago] Sun-Times?$$Oh, boy, one was with the Defender, while there, the Milwaukee [Wisconsin] open housing marches [1967-1968]. That was a very memorable time, 'cause they were turning that city upside down. And every night they were out there, you know, and taking abuse from the people who didn't like what they were doing. And so I, I had a chance to be, to be on the inside of that and, and follow that through, and then, just here in the city [Chicago, Illinois], being able to--at the time, the Defender was doing really meaningful stories about the black community here in Chicago. And so I had a chance to work on a lot of those stories, along with Betty [Washington]. And the housing-- the health care was one. I think we did something on housing, and we just did a, a lot of things that I just wish I had access to those negatives now. But it, it really gave me the kind of insights that were very helpful for me to understand what was really--how the people were really suffering in some areas in the cities. And, and, and it caused me to, to want to use my camera to try to express those situations, and to--so I dug in as deeply as I could. I would spend time way beyond what was expected of me. If it meant that the picture I needed to get was gonna occur at 9:00 at night, even though I was supposed to be through at five, it didn't matter, I was out there. If I had to be up early in the morning, I was there, whatever it took for me to get what I needed to do, to tell the story of people of--who couldn't tell their story really well. I recall during the riots on the West Side, I was day and night, you know, very fatigued, but I had to be there.$$And you had double duty then--(unclear)--(simultaneous)--$$Well--$$--(unclear)--$$--yeah, with the--well, see, I, I couldn't double duty with the Defender at the time. I had to strictly go with the [Illinois] National Guard. But what I did--not only did I document their activity, but I also told the story from the people's point of view too. 'Cause I had the access, I could do that very easily, and nobody would never know which way I was coming from, 'cause I had the uniform.$$(Simultaneous)--the National Guard (unclear) like--$$Yeah, whatev--what, whatever--how they were interacting, how, what, whatever their duties were, and then I would try to capture how the people were feeling, try to catch it on their faces and whatnot. Even if they had a negative reaction to the National Guard people, I would try to capture that, 'cause since I had the access, I just used it as, as much as I could.