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Pierre Sutton

Broadcasting executive Pierre M. Sutton was born on February 1, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Percy E. Sutton and Leatrice Sutton. He attended the University of Toledo in Ohio and received his B.A. degree in 1968. Sutton then pursued graduate studies at the University of Kentucky and New York University, and later completed the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School.

In 1971, Sutton, along with his father, co-founded the The New York Courier, a weekly newspaper, where he served as the executive editor until 1972. During that time, he also fulfilled duties as the vice president of Inner City Research & Analysis Corporation in New York City. Also in 1971, Sutton’s father co-founded Inner City Broadcasting Corporation (ICBC), one of the first African American-owned broadcasting companies in the United States. When ICBC acquired WLIB Radio in New York City in 1972, Sutton was brought on as the public affairs director. He then served as the vice president of ICBC from 1975 until 1977. Then, in 1977, Sutton became the president of ICBC and assumed responsibilities of the company’s radio stations in New York and California.

Sutton has held leadership positions in numerous professional, business and non-profit organizations. He served as a member of the board of directors for the Better Business Bureau of Harlem from 1972 to 1977; then Sutton was named as the inaugural vice president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). He also became a member of the board of directors for the Minority Investment Fund. Sutton’s community involvement includes serving as the chairman of the board of directors for the Harlem Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. He was selected to sit on the board of directors for the New York City Marathon in 1979, and was appointed as its executive commissioner. He also served as a member of the board of directors for the Hayden Planetarium, and as a member of the board of trustees for the Alvin & Ailey Dance Foundation.

Pierre M. Sutton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.314

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/10/2013

Last Name

Sutton

Maker Category
Middle Name

Monte

Occupation
Schools

University of Toledo

University of Kentucky

New York University

Harvard Business School

P.S. 123

Intermediate School 59

Andrew Jackson High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Pierre

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SUT03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/1/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Broadcast executive Pierre Sutton (1947 - ) was the cofounder of The New York Courier and president of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation. He also served as the inaugural vice president of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB).

Employment

New York Courier

Inner City Research & Analysis Corporation

WLIB Radio

Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1878,32:2494,42:2802,47:3264,54:3880,63:9578,156:10117,166:12504,202:13043,211:13505,218:14275,228:15738,245:16431,256:18048,285:23850,302:29656,352:30237,360:45448,471:45824,476:46294,482:47422,495:52860,553:53628,559:58716,645:60156,669:65320,696:66904,731:67264,737:70790,763:71305,769:101694,1112:102006,1120:104112,1155:104580,1163:108948,1261:109650,1272:118825,1313:136800,1439:137160,1445:137592,1453:141768,1536:146075,1556:151603,1609:151911,1614:153143,1637:155684,1674:156531,1687:156916,1693:157301,1699:158764,1743:159072,1748:160997,1780:161844,1791:162383,1802:166156,1896:169082,1922:171546,1963:172932,1988:198242,2235:198538,2240:200314,2300:200832,2340:204828,2382:205198,2388:205716,2397:210704,2428:211848,2442:216864,2512:217304,2517:218272,2529:219240,2541:224480,2564:225232,2573:225890,2582:226548,2590:230308,2623:230778,2629:239090,2708:239888,2716:240572,2724:246455,2796:247877,2818:248351,2826:249457,2845:249773,2850:252610,2870$0,0:2100,69:2688,98:3276,106:4704,125:5292,133:5796,141:6216,147:8210,195:8777,204:10154,226:17444,352:19226,488:26678,597:27407,611:27731,616:28298,625:30566,671:44279,817:46604,849:51626,909:51998,914:52370,921:52928,929:56183,965:71787,1087:87919,1269:88792,1280:89180,1285:89859,1293:90538,1301:92687,1311:93239,1321:94481,1339:96344,1370:96896,1380:97379,1388:98138,1400:99035,1415:99449,1427:99932,1435:100829,1461:104830,1493:113240,1550:116824,1616:126666,1773:128829,1798:130065,1808:133010,1861:133274,1866:133802,1876:150134,2129:171145,2371:171715,2379:173235,2398:179940,2442
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Pierre Sutton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton talks about his father's move to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton recalls his neighborhood in Queens, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Pierre Sutton talks about his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Pierre Sutton recalls his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Pierre Sutton describes his schooling in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton describes his father's law practice

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton talks about his dyslexia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton talks about his college education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton recalls his experiences in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton remembers the black market during the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton talks about acquiring The New York Courier

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton remembers the Woolfolk-Petioni family, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton remembers the Woolfolk-Petioni family, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton describes the content of The New York Courier

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton describes the Inner City Research and Analysis Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton talks about the life and death of Malcolm X

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton recalls the impact of the Vietnam War on his relationship with his parents

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton remembers the acquisition of WLIB Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton talks about the success of WBLS Radio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton recalls the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation's community involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton talks about the initial financing of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton describes his initial role at the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton talks about the black politics of the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton talks about the role of radio in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton describes the programming on WBLS Radio and WLIB Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton remembers the invention of the circular polarized antenna

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton talks about Dionne Warwick

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton describes his father's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton remembers David Lampel

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton reflects upon the impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton describes the founding of Essence magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton recalls the expansion of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton remembers the economic and political challenges of the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton remembers his acquisition strategy for the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton describes the founding of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton compares the black communities in New York City and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton talks about the Harlem Clubhouse

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton remembers his financial challenges

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton remembers meeting Coleman Young

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Pierre Sutton talks about Inner City Broadcasting Corporation's expansion into California

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Pierre Sutton remembers the revitalization of the Apollo Theater in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton remembers the revitalization of the Apollo Theater in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton remembers selling KGFJ Radio and KUTE Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton talks about the work of Janice Campbell and Vy Higgensen

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton talks about his competition from disco radio stations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton recalls the competition between WBLS Radio and WRKS Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton talks about the deregulation of the broadcasting industry

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton talks about Charles Warfield, Jr.'s career at WBLS Radio

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton remembers 'Showtime at the Apollo'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton remembers the introduction of cable television

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Pierre Sutton talks about the changes in cable franchise agreements

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Pierre Sutton talks about the Queens Inner Unity Cable System and Urban Cable Works

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Pierre Sutton describes his partnership with Time Warner Cable

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Pierre Sutton talks about the merger of the National Black Network and Mutual Black Network

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Pierre Sutton recalls the pressure to expand the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Pierre Sutton remembers his failed deal with Cathy Hughes

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Pierre Sutton recalls the problems with the Apollo Theater revitalization project

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Pierre Sutton recalls his father's ambition to develop Africa's cable infrastructure

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Pierre Sutton talks about his father's impact on New York City's Harlem community

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Pierre Sutton remembers the Telecommunications Act of 1996

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$11

DATitle
Pierre Sutton describes the programming on WBLS Radio and WLIB Radio
Pierre Sutton remembers the revitalization of the Apollo Theater in New York City, pt. 1
Transcript
So let's talk about those early years and what you're learning about radio and the immediacy of radio. You know, because you spoke about a little bit, you know, the difference. So you--you're head of news and public affairs. What are--who is already in place on air, and who do you bring in place?$$Well, we were fortunate in that we had a terrific program director, the famous Frankie Crocker, Frankie "Hollywood" Crocker, a unique man who became--we spoke about the club scene earlier. We became number one for a reason. It was, it was in ra- in radio because we were, we would, we had it all. We had all--on FM radio, we had all of the music. They came to us first, and they came to us often with their music. We got it first because we're the biggest radio station, as we saw it, in America (laughter), you know. Frankie Crocker--we used to--he is something, Frankie Crocker. "I am the originator, not the imitator, not the flower or the root or the rod. While others are laughing and joking, Frankie Crocker," or he would supplant that with WBLS [WBLS Radio, New York, New York], "WBLS is taking care of business, cooking and smoking, too much to take too soon. If you don't dig where we're coming from, you got a hole in your soul. Don't eat chicken on Sunday" (laughter). You know, you know, that is kind of a rap. But it's--it was, it expresses pride, and it certainly got people's attention. We would, so we had a great deal of influence of course in music that's being played. But we brought the music to the people. There was, record day was an interesting day. That was the day when people from the record companies would come to our place of business and would bring their wares. "Will you play this, will you play this?" And it was kind of well organized, that day. However, if you would walk into our lobby, I sometimes described it as a scene, the bar scene from 'Star Wars,' because people looked wild, you know. They were from a different kind of world. You know, the music scene is very different from our relatively conservative (laughter) broadcasting environment. So, but it, but it was--there were two sides of it. It was, there was entertainment, which was WBLS. And then there was a much more serious side at WLIB [WLIB Radio, New York, New York], where we were still on the AM band. We were doing more talk radio, we were doing black news and information. We were, we were communicating with the Caribbean. We would, we had shows where we were interacting with continental Africa. We were doing our best to interact with the African diaspora on WLIB--a very serious other side of Inner City Broadcasting [Inner City Broadcasting Corporation]. The AM station made no money. It was completely flipped. FM is god now; and all the money is coming in from the FM side in order for us to do this work on the AM side.$Your father [Percy Sutton] comes on. I want to move into the Apollo Theater [New York, New York] because that besides--that becomes part of Inner City [Inner City Broadcasting Corporation], but that's a huge project, take on project. And you're really, you're becoming an entertainment conglomerate sort of, with--am I right? No?$$That would be the idea, but that's not really how it worked out (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay. I know, I know, I know. But that was the concept, that was--$$That was--oh boy--$$Okay.$$--was it the concept. There's--there was very few monies that we saw that we could make money in this man's world and one of whom of course is entertainment. And you have to put sports in there, too, that's part of entertainment. It is what it is. The Apollo Theater, we talked earlier about the death of the Chitlin' Circuit and the radio--I'm sorry, the venues, the theaters, that were a part of that Chitlin' Circuit that existed, that died with the end of segregation. Well, the Apollo Theater was like many of these other theaters, going to become a church, and it was in bankruptcy. And my father thought it was a good idea to buy it out of bankruptcy.$$Wow.$$Now here was the trick. There would be a conversion of this theater, taking its mere fifteen hundred seats and making it into a television production and post-production facility, thereby effectively increasing the size or the seating capacity by the number of people who had television sets, potentially. So that--the theater was bought and it was supported by--and its--bought by Inner City, basically bought and supported by Inner City Broadcasting--and its, and its building, its state of the art television production and post-production facilities--only to discover that the people who were producing things wouldn't come to Harlem [New York, New York], just would not come to Harlem. I can kind of understand. The only thing that was on Harlem that was still sta- was standing was the Apollo Theater. The rest of 125th Street was an absolute mess. And to get through that mess to get to the Apollo Theater--why would they, why would they do that, when they can stay downtown and be comfortable? So the grand idea of the Apollo Theater becoming, re- revitalizing the Apollo Theater, bringing back the glory of the Apollo Theater was greatly diminished by the lack of enthusiasm for the project in the producing community downtown.

Garth Reeves

Newspaper publishing chief executive Garth C. Reeves, Sr. was born on February 12, 1919 in Nassau, Bahamas. His family moved to Miami, Florida four months after he was born. His father, Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves, was a partner in The Magic Printing Company and founder of the Miami Times; his mother, a homemaker. His daughter, Rachel J. Reeves, became publisher and chief executive officer of the Miami Times in 1994 following the untimely death of her brother, Garth C. Reeves, Jr. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami in 1936, Reeves enrolled in Florida A & M University where he earned his B.A. degree in printing in 1940.

Reeves served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1942 to 1946 in both the European and Pacific theaters. He then returned to Miami to work under his father Harry Ethelbert Sigismund Reeves, who founded the Miami Times newspaper in 1923. In 1970, Reeves was named publisher and chief executive officer of the when his father passed. Reeves went on to become the first African American to serve on the governing boards of the Miami-Dade Community College, Barry University, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Dade County. He also served as organizing chairman of the board for National Industrial Bank, which was the first integrated bank in the State of Florida. During the 1950s, Reeves worked to integrate the local beaches, parks, and golf courses. Reeves served for ten years as president of the Amalgamated Publishers of New York City, which represents over one hundred African American-owned newspapers throughout the United States. He was also elected to serve two terms as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

Reeves is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a founding member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Miami, Florida. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University of Miami, Barry University and Florida Memorial University.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 5, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.183

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/5/2013

Last Name

Reeves

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Garth

Birth City, State, Country

Nassau

HM ID

REE08

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/12/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

North Miami

Country

Bahamas

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Newspaper publishing chief executive Garth Reeves (1919 - ) former president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, served as publisher and chief executive officer of the Miami Times for over twenty years.

Employment

Miami Times

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:32835,302:57574,476:80220,619:80958,630:84672,659:85260,668:86520,685:92455,732:93130,743:93730,752:95455,779:105838,851:107278,888:111963,917:116875,959:120572,1027:120868,1032:132750,1125:135710,1186:136030,1191:139870,1268:145240,1321:145897,1332:148452,1365:154800,1411:155535,1419:157950,1450:158475,1456:171832,1734:189435,1910:207874,2057:208498,2066:209044,2075:210994,2114:212554,2145:212944,2151:213412,2159:227630,2269:228062,2276:235106,2333:237610,2343$0,0:1206,40:34449,515:68926,902:163936,2018:189508,2333:218218,2641:218514,2646:299940,3565
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Garth Reeves' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves remembers working on his father's paper during childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves describes the history of Overtown, Miami, Florida, where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves talks about racial tensions in his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves discusses tourism in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves discusses D. A. Dorsey and the history of African Americans in Miami, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves discusses D. A. Dorsey and the history of African Americans in Miami, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves talks about what he liked to read as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves talks about his childhood in Overtown, Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves remembers the discrimination faced by his father in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Garth Reeves talks about the entertainers who came to Miami during the winter

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Garth Reeves describes the segregation in Miami theaters

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves talks about working for his father's newspaper as a boy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about 'The Miami Times' coverage of lynchings and Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves talks about his entrepreneurial activities in high school, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves talks about his entrepreneurial activities in high school, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about how his father motivated him to make good grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves remembers the 1936 Summer Olympics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Garth Reeves recalls meeting Joe Louis while reporting for 'The Miami Times'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Garth Reeves remembers when Jackie Robinson first took the field in baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Garth Reeves talks about his mentor, J.L. Langhorn at Florida A&M University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves recounts his entry into military service

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about his experience in boot camp

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves describes his time in the military

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves remembers being homesick during his military service

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about what he liked and disliked about the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves talks about his mother's advice for him after serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Garth Reeves describes working with his father at the Miami Times

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Garth Reeves talks about how the Miami Times hit its stride during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Garth Reeves talks about joining the Civil Rights movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Garth Reeves talks about his role in desegregating Miami's beaches, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Garth Reeves talks about his role in desegregating Miami's beaches, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Garth Reeves discusses Thurgood Marshall's influence on non-violent direct action in Miami, Florida

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Garth Reeves talks about racial tensions in his childhood community
Garth Reeves describes working with his father at the Miami Times
Transcript
So, I've heard this story before from Birmingham, Alabama and other places in the South, where the Klan would take a couple of days, a day or during the year and just ride through, or parade through the black community?$$That's true.$$And would they be armed? Were they armed when they did that?$$Oh, they were armed. Oh, yes, they were armed.$$Okay.$$And we didn't, couldn't see them, but then (unclear) they came out. Everybody knew they were in charge. I've only heard about one group that challenged the Klan once. And I never did find out who it was, but I think the word around town was it was, I think they called him Texas Slim. But anyhow, the Klan was getting ready to parade on 11th Street. And they were starting across the railroad tracks which was the white section. And while they were gathering, Texas Slim had gotten his boys together, and they brought out their artillery. And they started firing as soon as the Klan started in our direction. And the Klan retreated that night. They did not parade that night because it was a little too much fire power there.$$Now, these were dangerous times in terms of lynchings all over the South and--$$Oh, yes.$$--and race riots when white people would burn the black community down and that sort of thing?$$Well, lynching was prevalent in those days. That's one thing my mother always warned me about because lynching was, was--oh, it was a popular thing among the whites to show their control in the South.$$And in the North actually. I mean there were plenty in the North too as far--$$Yes, there were, yes, there was.$$--as far North as Minnesota and, you know, Indiana and Ohio.$$It was not as prevalent in the North as it was in the South, yeah, just put it that way.$$Right, I just wanted--I didn't wanna leave that out so in case somebody watching this thought it was just in the South (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$But it's not. But, okay, but Overtown was--$$Yeah, Overtown was a thriving community. And there was--rich people from the North used to come down to Miami Beach and downtown Miami to spend money during the winter. And we called it, the "season." They would come in after Thanksgiving and stay until up in the year, after--until the weather got better up North. And we had a pretty solid community, pretty solid, a well-knit, closely-knit community.$And so what was the state of the "Miami Times" then? What was your circulation and what was your impact on the community in those days?$$Well, it was doing pretty good. Of course, I was a, although I went to work at the "Miami Times", I--we were not making the money. But my dad also had a job printing establishment on the side. He was running like two things, the newspaper and the job printing.$$Now, did he have like a gas station too or something 'cause you mentioned like going to get gas and did he have some other businesses too other than just the printing and the newspaper?$$No, just the newspaper and job printing?$$Okay.$$So we printed everything, but in the town, you know, envelopes, books, invitations, programs, funeral programs, you know, everything. My dad's motto was, "We print anything from a card to a newspaper." And we did. We used to do the school newspaper too, print that too. So we had a thing going, and so I went over to the job printing place department. And I found out that I had to do some restructuring on the prices 'cause my dad had, you know, how you--old people, they set one price and prices change, and they think they should just stay right there. But things would go by, you know, so they--(simultaneous)--$$Paper's going up and the ink's going up.$$Right. So there was a catalog I discovered in reading that told you how to price. And my dad had never seen this catalog before. He just did it on his own. He would figure out what the paper cost and what the ink cost and what the labor cost and add 'em up, and maybe add on 15 percent, you know. Well, I learned better after I read this catalog. And the catalog, they wouldn't sell it to you. They'll rent it to you because you had--they changed, every time they changed prices or something, they'd let you know. And I restructured the pricing for dad, and I was making a ton of money, man. It was, we had a good business. But dad was doing good in what he was doing, but he just did not understand the right pricing. He didn't keep up with what was happening in the, you know. And I got that going, and so we subsidized the newspaper. The newspaper was getting, was getting along, but it wasn't making any money. But the job printing office was making the money, and so we didn't worry about that. Whatever they were short over there, we'd pick it up. And things went quite well there. I got, the new machinery was working well. And we bought a new press, a bigger press and--$$And so you bought a linotype machine too, right, is that--$$Yeah, bought the linotype.$$Now, was that your idea to get that?$$Huh?$$Was it your idea to--$$No, no, my dad bought this on his own. Yeah, I was (unclear)--$$And that's the time that you were sent to New York to learn to operate it--$$Yeah.$$--when you saw Jackie Robinson play his first game?$$So we were doing quite well. And one hand was washing the other one, and one time I was telling my dad, I says, you know, I said, you're wasting your time with that newspaper (laughter). I said, you--there's a lot of money to be made over here in this job printing. People in this town need a lot of printing. So he said, nah, I'm a stick with it, said, you subsidize me a little bit now. He said, but one day this newspaper is gonna, it's gonna make more money than that job printing. I said, nah, you gotta be kidding (laughter). And sure enough, when the newspaper hit its stride, I closed the job printing department, shut it down, closed it down, yes, I did. And I said, the old man was right.

Ernest Levert

Engineer Ernest D. Levert was born on March 15, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. Levert grew up in Cleveland where he attended Max S. Hayes High School and interned with NASA at the John H. Glenn Research Center as a sophomore. He graduated from Max S. Hayes High School in 1972. Then, after working briefly as a tool and die welder at Club Products in Cleveland, Levert served a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and attended the U.S. Navy’s C-1 Welding School. Levert went on to graduate from Ohio State University in 1982 with his B.S. degree in welding engineering, specializing in laser-beam and electron-beam welding.

In 1986, Levert joined Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Division in Dallas, Texas where he worked on projects under NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense that included International Space Station and the Army Tactical Missile System. Levert’s division created and implemented photovoltaic radiators for the International Space Station’s crew areas and the removal of excess heat. He also developed a system of elbow tubing designed to carry coolant gases in radiators that are part of the Space Station. In 1996, Levert was appointed senior staff manufacturing engineer at Lockheed Martin; and, by 2000, Levert’s team had successfully welded 284 missiles. Throughout his career, Levert has developed standard policies and processes that provide structural integrity for many Lockheed Martin products. He also contributed a chapter to the book, Sparking the Future: National Center for Welding Education and Training, published by the Welding Education Center in 2009.

In 2002, Levert became the first African American to serve as president of the American Welding Society. He was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award from Ohio State University’s School of Engineering in 2004 and with the NOVA Award for Outstanding leadership from Lockheed Martin in 2006.

Ernest D. Levert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.025

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2013

Last Name

Levert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D

Schools

The Ohio State University

Max S. Hayes High School

Wilson Junior High School

John D. Rockefeller Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ernest

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

LEV02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

With God in your life and faith in yourself, you can set and achieve your goals no matter what you were told.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

3/14/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak (Rib Eye)

Short Description

Material science engineer and welding engineer Ernest Levert (1954 - ) , the first African American to serve as president of the American Welding Society, has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA as an engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Employment

Lockheed Martin

General Dynamic - Convair Division

Ametek, Straza Division

United States Navy

Favorite Color

Black, Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernest Levert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his relation to the O'Jays lead singer, Eddie Levert

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert talks about his growing up and his childhood neighborhoods

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernest Levert talks about his childhood influences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his childhood job at Cleveland Stadium

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his interest in welding

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about the Hough, Ohio Riots

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his high school and his first job at NASA

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about his mentor, Julian Earls

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert talks about his favorite movie, "October Sky"

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ernest Levert talks about sports in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about the importance of communication skills

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about Star Trek

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his involvement in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience working at Club Products

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his encounters with racism in the U.S. Navy, part 3

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his decision to attend The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his internships and summer employment during college

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his professors at The Ohio State University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at Ametek Straza

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his departure from Ametek Straza

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about his experience at Geodynamics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert talks about joining Lockheed Martin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his work at Lockheed Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about his projects at Lockheed Martin

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert talks about his conflicts with management

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his NASA projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and Ronald McNair

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert shares his advice for aspiring welding engineers

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ernest Levert talks about Lockheed Martin

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ernest Levert his impact internationally

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ernest Levert talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ernest Levert reflects on his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ernest Levert reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ernest Levert talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ernest Levert talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Ernest Levert describes his photos

Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr.

Retired colonel and education administrator Porcher L. Taylor was born on August 9, 1925 in Jacksonville, Florida to Porcher L., Sr. and Mary Bell Taylor. Taylor’s father was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Florida Tattler. The weekly newspaper ran from 1934 until his death in 1964. Taylor was hired by his father to work in the family business, Taylor and Son Printing Company, Inc. Taylor worked as a typesetter and a pressman until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Navy and spent three years on tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, he was able to enroll at Tuskegee Institute with support from the Army’s G.I. Bill.

In 1946, Taylor enlisted in the Tuskegee Institute Reserve Officer Training Corps – the precursor to the famed Tuskegee Airmen – and completed his training in 1949. Taylor also played varsity football for three years as first-string fullback and was selected as one of Tuskegee Institute’s All-Time Greatest Football Athletes in 1985. With the outbreak of the Korean War, Taylor was deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1971, Taylor became the first African American promoted to full colonel at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Taylor is one of few living Americans who served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Koran War and Vietnam War – in both the U.S. Navy and Army. He served in the Navy for three years and the Army for twenty-five years.

In 1961, Taylor received his M.S. degree in counseling from Virginia State University (VSU), where he also served as president for student affairs and as director of counseling. He also served as professor of military science and tactics at VSU. He was then selected to enter a doctoral program at the University of South Carolina in 1968; and, in 1972 he became one of the first two African Americans to earn a Ph.D. degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina.

Taylor has been recognized for his many contributions. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, an honor shared by former U.S. President Gerald Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Taylor lives with his wife Ann in Petersburg, Virginia.

Porcher L. Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.196

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/15/2012

Last Name

Taylor

Middle Name

L'Engle

Occupation
Schools

New Stanton High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Porcher

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

TAY13

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do something good every day for somebody other than yourself. and AIRBORNE!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

8/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Petersburg

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pudding (Bread)

Short Description

Colonel (ret) and educator Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr. (1925 - ) is one of the few servicemen that served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War – in both the Navy and Army.

Employment

Taylor and Son Printing Company

United States Army

Virginia State University

City of Petersburg, Virginia

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Porcher Taylor's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about growing up in Georgia, and his mother's education and faith

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather's entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather, Dennis Taylor's involvement in the Knights of Pythias and his move to Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor discusses how his grandmother was deceived by her lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's education at Tuskegee University in the George Washington Carver Class of 1922

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his parents attending church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his sisters, Virginia Anita Williams and Betty Ruth Belton

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up during segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about starting school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in sports while growing up, and his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in reading, and black newspapers while he was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's printing business, and his father's death in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his favorite teachers in grade school and being a member of the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in high school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor describes his decision to attend Tuskegee University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and 1944

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about the segregated U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being assigned to the South Pacific Theatre in World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience aboard a U.S. Navy submarine chaser in World War II and the end of the war

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his return to the U.S. from World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his discharge from his World War II assignment and the end of his career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignment as a guard for Japanese prisoners of war in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about attending Tuskegee University on the GI Bill

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about playing football at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting his first wife at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about majoring in commercial industries at Tuskegee University, and being called back into active duty during the Korean War

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in the U.S. military

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the Korean War and in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about the desegregation of the U.S. Army and the importance of ROTC programs in colleges

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignments at Schofield Barracks following his return from the Korean War in 1955

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Porcher Taylor talks about earning his master's degree in counselor education at Virginia State University

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Porcher Taylor talks about his career in education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about desegregation in Columbia, South Carolina, and the reaction at Fort Jackson to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his mentor at Fort Jackson, and describes his decision to attend the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at Uiojongbu, Korea, and becoming a member of Lions Club International

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about retiring from the U.S. Army and serving as the vice president for student affairs at Virginia State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor talks about his life after retirement and his awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor shares how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being elected as the military aide-de-camp by the governors of Virginia, and receiving the Noel F. Parrish Award

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$1

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II
Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background
Transcript
You know, at that time, just before that, before the war [World War II] ended, '45 [1945], there was, and I think I'm right, an artillery unit from Ohio, black. They got in some difficulty over there. And they shot up the town almost. I don't, don't print that 'cause I'm not sure about that. That was just a rumor, that was just a rumor. I'm not sure. But I know something like that happened down in--just across the Texas boarder over into Mexico.$$Oh, you mean back in the early part of the century.$$Yeah.$$You're talking about Brownsville--$$Yeah, the 24th Infantry--$$Yeah, there's a Houston, what they called the Houston [Texas] riot and the Brownsville raid.$$Yeah, okay, you got it, Brownsville. Well, you know that, so I don't have to--$$Yeah, it was two of 'em, 1917 and 19--I can't think of the other one.$$Right, so that's easy for me to believe that the Ohio artillery unit did do that.$$Yeah, there seems to be some altercations that are not recorded in history, that took place in the military in those days, that were, you know, were kind of hushed, kept on the hush, you know--$$That's right, that's right. Okay, we came, we left Hawaii coming back to the [mainland United] States. We docked at Treasure Island, Treasure Island, right off from San Francisco [California], took leave, liberty and all that kind of stuff. Then we moved up the West Coast. We went up and docked in Bremerton, Washington, up near Seattle [Washington] and went into a [U.S.] Navy shipyard up there in Washington Lake, what they called it. And we were just lounging around up there, having a good time, going on liberty and so forth. And I remember one thing that happened. Of course, I told you there were only two blacks on that submarine chaser. This guy bet me that I would not jump off that boat into the Washington Lake, big lake. I said, yeah. That was the easiest five dollars I ever won in my life. I jumped off right in the (unclear). And I was a swimmer, a Boy Scout. I could outswim anybody in the world, whatever. Anyway, so we left there, came back out through Juan de Fuca. That's a little waterway going in from Bremerton, Washington, into Washington Lake, and went back down through, past San Francisco, down to the Panama Canal and came on up the Coast of Florida, and back up to Navy Amphibious Base, at Little Creek, Virginia. But before that, before we got up there, down in Panama, I was, I got the surprise of my life in Panama. We went on liberty, you know, had a good time and so forth on the Balboa side, not on the Colon side and the Panama City side. But there, I went to the bank to cash a check, and there were two lines. I said, wait a minute--we're back in America, two lines, what you mean two lines? They didn't call it black and white or colored and white. They called it gold and silver. So, which is more valuable gold, than silver? So the blacks stood in the silver line and the whites in the other line. Surprised the heck out of me, in Panama City, whatever.$$So they had segregated lines in Panama?$$Yeah. Ain't that something? Instead of black, colored and white.$Now, I'm gonna ask about your family history. I'm gonna ask about your mother's side of the family and your father's side, but separately, so we don't get 'em mixed up.$$I understand.$$So can you give us your mother's full name and spell it for us, please?$$Yes, my mother, first name, Mary, M-A-R-Y, Bell, B-E-double-L.$$And--$$Oh, I need to get maiden name, I'm sorry. Mary Virginia, Virginia her middle name--$$Okay.$$V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A, and Bell, of course, was her maiden name.$$Okay, all right.$$She was born and reared in Albany, Georgia.$$And what year was she born?$$Nineteen zero five [1905].$$Okay, now, what can you tell us about your mother's side of the family? How far back can you trace them and what were they doing in history? Are there any stories?$$You know, unfortunately, I can't go beyond three generations. And, of course, there's a reason for that. I can go back to my grandmother and grandfather on her side, and I can go back to supposedly, her father, my grandmother's father. She was very light-skinned, and I guess you could say she could "pass", if that's the right word today.$$Well, what was your grandmother's name?$$Stella.$$Stella, okay.$$Stella Bell. She married a Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-D-E-R. In fact, he was born, oh, I'm guessing, about fifteen to twenty years after slavery. And it's hard to follow them back because--and I'm not so sure I'm authorized to say what I'm about to say. But if (laughter), if you don't wanna show it, don't. But back in those days, and I've done a little bit of research on this, that my color would not be the color that I am if the, the Master, the Master, they called him, back on the farm where most blacks were raised back in those days, if he hadn't taken liberties from my great great grandmother or whatever it happened to have been. I would not be this color today.$$Okay, so the great, great grandfather was the Master, right?$$Absolutely.$$Okay.$$Absolutely. During my research, that's what I found out, yes. And, of course, my grandparents both came out of Sasa, Georgia and Cusped, Georgia, and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida later.$$Okay, now, you were gonna tell us something about your great grandfather, your mother's [grand]father, right?$$Well, all I can tell you is that he was (laughter) white.$$No, that's the great grand--your mother's father was white, you're saying?$$No.$$Okay.$$My mother's grandfather and my great grandfather.$$Right, right, that's what I thought.$$I'm sorry, I--$$Now, do you know anything about your mother's parents?$$Yes, quite a bit, yes. They settled, as I mentioned in Jacksonville, Florida.$$Okay, okay.$$And, yes, you had another question about that?$$Well, their names, your mother's grandfather's name was--I mean your mother's father's name was what? Do you know?$$Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-$$Okay, Snyder, okay.$$Snyder Bell, uh-huh.$$Okay, so I'm missing a generation here somewhere. But I'm not, let's see, 'cause I got your--okay, I've got your, your grandmother was Stella Bell, grandfather, Snyder Bell--$$Oh, my grandmother's mother and father.$$Right, right.$$The only thing I know is, as I mentioned earlier, that he was white, and he took advantage of her mother.$$Okay, all right. Now, I got it.$$That's about all I can tell you about that.$$Okay, all right, 'cause I thought I'd skipped a generation, but, you know, but--$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And I might make it--not a real comparison between my paternal grandparents and my maternal, when we get to that part.$$Okay, all right.

E. Lee Lassiter

Newspaper columnist and journalism professor E. Lee Lassiter was born on July 11, 1936, in Carpenter, North Carolina. His father, Narvie Lassiter, was a tenant farmer while his mother, Margie Upchurch Lassiter, was a housewife and sold cosmetics. Lassiter’s parents made a pact that all of their children would graduate from high school and, unlike most tenant farmers, insisted they attend school every day. Lassiter attended the segregated Apex Elementary School in Apex, North Carolina and Barry O’Kelly High School in Method, North Carolina, graduating in 1954. He worked his way through college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in, receiving his B.A. degree in secondary education in 1959. He earned his M.A. degree in journalism from Boston University in 1963 and his Ed.D. degree from Morgan State University in 1993.

While a student at Tuskegee, Lassiter joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In 1961, he served in the Adjutant General’s Corps of the Army as a correspondence officer and technical writer and remained in the Army Reserves for another ten years. Near the close of 1961, he joined the editorial staff at the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper before moving, in 1965, to the Baltimore News-American, where he remained until the newspaper ceased operations in 1986. During his time at the Baltimore News-American, Lassiter wrote editorials and worked in various positions in the editing department. In 1974, he became a regular columnist at the newspaper, with syndicated columns in newspapers around the nation. After the paper closed, Lassiter accepted a position as an associate professor of English at Coppin State University. He retired from teaching in 1999, and began working as a public relations associate for the University. In 2003, he retired from that position, but accepted a contract to work in the same capacity online from his home.

Lassiter is an active member of numerous associations, including the NAACP, the Baltimore Tuskegee Alumni Association and the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland. He has been a member of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Baltimore for forty-four years. Active in community service for almost forty years, among his numerous awards are the Tuskegee University Presidential Associate Award, African Methodist Episcopal Church Christian Service Award and the Council for Cultural Progress Public Service Award. In 1981, he was honored with a Giant in Journalism trophy. Lassiter lives in Baltimore with his wife, Hannah Louise Lassiter.

E. Lee Lassiter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 16, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2010

Last Name

Lassiter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Apex Elementary School

Berry O'Kelly High School

Tuskegee University

Boston University

Morgan State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

E.

Birth City, State, Country

Carpenter

HM ID

LAS03

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

7/11/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs, Beans

Short Description

Journalism professor and newspaper columnist E. Lee Lassiter (1936 - ) worked at the "Baltimore News-American" for twenty years, writing a nationally syndicated column for twelve of those years. He joined Coppin State University in 1986 as an associate professor of journalism and English before retiring in 2003.

Employment

Boston University

United States Army

Afro-American Newspapers

Baltimore News-American

Coppin State University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of E. Lee Lassiter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his maternal grandfather, Claude Upchurch

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about her mother's lack of education, but her own emphasis on the importance of education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his paternal grandfather who was a farmer

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his father's growing up in Chatham County, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - E. Lee Lassiter describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his parents' emphasis on their children's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes her earliest childhood memories of Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter describes the community where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his father's reputation as a farmer, and his efforts as a parent

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter recalls his favorite radio programs

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the show 'Amos 'n' Andy'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his mother's entrepreneurship and his interest in magazines

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about being bused to his elementary school in Apex, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his family's car

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his teachers in school and his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the importance and role of church in his upbringing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in high school, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in highs school, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about how he learned about black history and black literary giants while in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his extracurricular involvement in school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his father's taking he and his brother to the black museum in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about being the editor of his high school newspaper

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his awareness of civil rights and the 'Brown vs. Board of Education' ruling

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his decision to attend Tuskegee University, and he and his brother's long trip to high school during their senior year

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about graduating from high school and the teachers who influenced him

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes how his family raised the money for him to attend Tuskegee University in 1954

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his journey from North Carolina to Tuskegee University, and being away from home

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the five-year program at Tuskegee University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his education at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the teachers who influenced him at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about graduating from Tuskegee University and applying to Boston University for graduate school in journalism

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
E. Lee Lassiter discusses his journey from North Carolina to Tuskegee University, and being away from home
E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience at Tuskegee University
Transcript
We got the train ticket, and I got on the train. I took it, 900 miles, almost a thousand miles to Tuskegee [Alabama] from Raleigh [North Carolina]. And one of the experiences that I remember--two. One, my family was there, and I'd never been on a train. And they said their good-byes. And I walked away to get on the train, and I never looked back because I had read that when you--one of these philosophical things that I took too far, when you change directions, and you set a new sight, don't look back. So I didn't look back. Years later, I found out it broke my mother's [Margie Ree Upchurch Lassiter] heart. She wanted me to look back and give me that last wave as I get on the--you know how mothers are, any parent. I never looked back, and she cried and cried and hurt for years. I didn't know. But that was the reason. I'd heard, when you change course, don't look back (laughter), so I didn't. So I got on the train, and after thirty miles on the train, we went through Sanford [North Carolina]. That's where my grandparents on my mother's side had grown up, and I mean where she had kind of grown up. The nearest town was Sanford. And I realized, going to visit my grandparents in Sanford was the furthest I'd ever been from home. That was the last sign I saw that I'd ever seen, recognized, knew anything about, thirty miles from home, going 900 miles. It was the end of the world for me. I had never--and it registered with me, what you're really doing, you know, and this kind of thing. So I took the train ride to Tuskegee, and that's how I got there. And no pocket change, arrived on Saturday, and school doesn't really crank up till Monday. You can't register, you can't anything. I had no way to eat for two days, no money, no anything. But my friend who had been there one year before me, broke the rule and let me eat one meal on his meal ticket. And that's how I--I wouldn't have starved, but I had, didn't have a dime. Interesting that my wife had come from another town, same lack of preparation for (laughter) those two days. So she starved for two days too. But we didn't know each other (laughter). But the 150 [dollars], on Monday, you gave--I gave it to the school and started the five-year plan. And it was a hard experience, so I didn't go home for four years. I never saw my family again for four years. And that, when I went home for four years, it was just for overnight. And I went back to Tuskegee [University] to finish that one year. Then I went. When I finished, I didn't have money to go home. I had to borrow fifteen dollars to have enough to catch a bus to go home with my diploma. So--$$So nobody from your family was able to come to see you graduate?$$No. Her family--we had kind of gotten engaged by then. Her mother was there. No one from my family.$In the whole time I was at Tuskegee [University, Tuskegee, Alabama], I got eleven dollars from home. The first Christmas, I wrote home, and everybody was writing home or going home. And I wrote home and said, it'd be nice if I had a few dollars for Christmas. And my father [Narvie Hester Lassiter] didn't have it, which I should have remembered. But I forgot, you know. So I wrote and asked, and he sent me ten dollars, and that was it. And then I had one aunt, one cousin, who sent me one dollar in a card in those five years. And I still have it. I have the card, and the dollar. She's passed, but that's what it meant to me. And she was a special cousin because in all of these thirteen children that my mother's [Margie Ree Upchurch Lassiter] mother had, they had children that I grew up with, cousins. She was in an awkward age, and there were no girls. So she played with the boys. So, she was a special cousin to me. I knew her, you know, I think she knew me. So when I went off to college, she sent me a dollar (laughter). And when I went home years and years later, looking forward to telling her how much it meant to me that she had done that, she had been in an automobile accident, and her mind was damaged. She hardly knew me. So I never got the chance to tell her like I'm telling you, but I still have it. I can put my hand on the card and the dollar. But in those five years, that's all I got from home. So I had to work it. At one point, I had five jobs, back-to-back. I would do my Tuskegee regular job. Then I had a job cleaning the faculty clubhouse, and drinking their sodas and playing their music. Nobody came, nobody--two faculty members came to the clubhouse, two younger ones. The older ones never came over, so I had the run of the place. I studied, and I drank their sodas. I watched Bill Russell play his first game on their television (laughter) and listened to Edward Griggs [ph.]. There was only one classic album in the building. So I listened to it all--Pierre Gent suite over and over and over. I love it. And every time it plays, I can't resist telling her, that's Edward Griggs. She says, you know so much about classic music. [Whispering]. That's the only one I know (laughter). But that was--and then I'd leave that job and I went to a shoe store and sold, supposedly sold shoes. And then I would leave there and go to the Dean of Men's Office and work during the night in the Dean of Men's office, one summer--not every, but--$$Okay, now--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$--that's how I got through it. And the one student who went before me, from Apex [North Carolina], he was majoring in veterinary medicine, and he never finished. He was brilliant--we were talking about Dr. Dibble, earlier, you and--(simultaneous)--$$Right, Dr. Eugene Dibble, yeah.$$--who managed the hospital, one of his friends was a Dr. Ford who had a daughter. And my friend became the boyfriend of Dr. Dibble--Dr. Ford's daughter, living the life, and had access to their home, had access to their car. So he got off the five-year plan. Then Dr. Ford moved to California. And his last year there, he couldn't eat because you--once you get off the plan, you can't get back on it. And he was real good in school, and I used to watch him--and I got to repay that favor where he let me eat on his card. I let him eat on my card, which was illegal, but we did it. And I used to watch him dissect those animals, eat crackers, soda crackers, white crackers. That's all he had. And eventually he just--and he would go down to the edge of the campus. There were some plum bushes. This is a true story. He wasn't the only one eating those plums (laughter). You know, a lot of five-year plan, you had to make it the best way you could. And he would eat plums, eat those crackers, dissect those animals, and keep trying, but it was just too much. So he never finished.$$Did he just leave school?$$He left school. I think he was a junior.$$Did he go back home?$$Went back home, and then what exactly became of him, I don't know. One of the reasons that's so significant to me is because that was my motivation to stay on the plan, to maximize the plan, don't get carried away with whatever might happen to you in this process. This is your ticket out from the farm and poverty and all of this. Act like it.

David Lattin

Professional athlete and entrepreneur, David Lattin was born on December 23, 1943 in Houston Texas. His mother, Elsie Lattin, was widowed when Lattin’s father died in 1949. Lattin attended elementary and secondary schools in Houston before graduating from Evan E. Worthing Senior High School in 1963. Lattin was named All-State and All-American both his junior and senior years and was the first Texas player to be named to a High School All-American team.

Lattin left Tennessee State in 1964 citing the lack of basketball competition. He returned to Houston and played the AAAU before receiving a full scholarship to attend Texas Western College in 1965 where he played with the Miners, a Division 1 team in the NCAA. Under the leadership of Coach Don Haskins, the Miners won the 1966 Division 1 NCAA National Championship with five black starting players. Lattin was named All-American during the 1966 and 1967 seasons.

In 1967, Lattin left Texas Western College after he was drafted as the number one pick by the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors. He went on to play with the Phoenix Suns, the Pittsburgh Condors, and the Memphis Tams, ending his professional career with the Harlem Globe Trotters from 1973 to 1976. Returning to school, Lattin earned his B.S. degree in business administration and started several successful business ventures including Your Maison Housing.

Lattin was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. That year, he also wrote Slam Dunk to Glory.

Lattin has a son Clifton, a daughter Leslie, and several grandchildren.

David Lattin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 11, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.016

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/11/2010

Last Name

Lattin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

L.

Schools

Blackshear Elementary School

William E. Miller Junior High School

Evan E. Worthing Senior High School

University of Texas at El Paso

Tennessee State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

LAT04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

The Judge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/23/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Corporate foundation executive and basketball player David Lattin (1943 - ) was part of the historic Texas Western College team that was the first to start an all-black lineup at the NCAA championship. He went on to play for professional teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Harlem Globetrotters.

Employment

Golden State Warriors

Phoenix Suns

Memphis Tams

Harlem Globetrotters International

Republic National Distributing Company

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Lattin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Lattin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Lattin describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Lattin describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Lattin recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Lattin remembers his community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Lattin recalls his involvement with the Boy Scouts and YMCA

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Lattin describes his experiences at Blackshear Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Lattin describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Lattin describes his junior high school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Lattin describes his early success as a basketball player

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - David Lattin remembers his first basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Lattin remembers learning to swim

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Lattin describes his college scholarship offers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Lattin remembers his mentor, Lloyd C.A. Wells

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his senior year at Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Lattin recalls his experiences at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Lattin describes his first impressions of the Texas Western College of the University of Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Lattin describes the basketball team at Texas Western College of the University of Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Lattin remembers Coach Don Haskins

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Lattin talks about his transition to college basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Lattin recalls the first game in the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Lattin talks about the NCAA final game against the University of Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Lattin remembers Coach Adolph Rupp

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes the final game of the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Lattin recalls his preparation for the NCAA finals

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Lattin talks about slam dunking

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Lattin recalls winning the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Lattin describes the aftermath of his victory at the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Lattin recalls being drafted by the Golden State Warriors

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Lattin describes his professional basketball career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Lattin talks about his children and business career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Lattin shares his opinion on student athletes' compensation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his mentorship efforts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Lattin reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DATitle
David Lattin describes his early success as a basketball player
David Lattin describes the final game of the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament
Transcript
Now you, you said very quickly about how, how you built up your stamina, stamina to be able to, to play the following year during that summer that you grew. Can you tell me again, you, you said you rode your bike to--$$Rice Stadium [Houston, Texas].$$Rice Stadium, okay--$$Right.$$--and what did you do?$$Ran seventeen hundred stairs a day in the sun at about two o'clock in the afternoon. I knew nothing about nutrition. I don't know why I didn't pass out (laughter).$$Okay, so you, you were ready once you got to the new school?$$Yeah, because it was--and actually even though I was running the stairs I was playing basketball as well, so I was getting my skills together and I was getting stronger and then I found out I could jump and then the rest is history.$$Okay, so now, what high school do you go to?$$I went to Worthing [Evan E. Worthing High School, Houston, Texas], Attucks [Crispus Attucks Junior High School; Crispus Attucks Middle School, Houston, Texas] first and then--Attucks was Worthing and then they built another, a bigger high school, senior high school and that was Worthing, so I left Attucks and went to Worthing.$$And tell my about the experience there?$$At Worthing?$$Um-hm.$$It was a good experience for me because in the eleventh grade, when I got to the eleventh grade then I was high school All-American and I was the first high school All-American from the State of Texas in basketball at that level and so things started to really happen for me after that because the day that I was All-American, yeah, I got to tell you this story. They was announcing that I was All-American, the principal announced on the PA system that, you know, "We have an All-American in our school in basketball and it's Big D [HistoryMaker David Lattin]" and all that stuff you know, so everybody was--had a great time with that and so I got home that afternoon and somebody had called my mom [Elsie Boyd Davis] and gave her this pitch about I was the high school All-American, so I had my feet propped up on the coffee table and she walked in the door, she said--I'll never forget this, this is funny, she said, "Okay, Mr. High School All, All-American, it's okay that you are high school All-American, but get your foot off my coffee table." I said, "Yes ma'am, yes ma'am, yes ma'am." (Laughter), "You still can't put your foot on my coffee table."$$Your mother, was she very supportive? Did she come to your games?$$My mother never saw me play but once when I was playing for the Globetrotters [Harlem Globetrotters]. If I told my mother that--she couldn't tell you what a rebound was. She knew nothing about the game, didn't really care. All she cared about was that I was having fun and I was happy, so she knew nothing about the game at all.$$Did your grades get better?$$My grades did improve. There was a teacher by the name of Ms. Douglas [ph.] in high school and she was an English teacher and she was quite serious about making good grades, about everybody making good grades, so she would stay back and make sure that all the athletes, not just me, but other athletes as well, if they weren't studying like they were suppose to then she would make sure that, that they got their homework together before they left school. And actually she would stay until after basketball practice was over and we would go down in her room and she would, she would work with everybody, make sure that everybody got their grades together; because it was very stressful going to school, being an athlete and then having to--and the last thing you felt like doing was studying after practice, so you know, it's very difficult. The athletes have to, have to, they have to compete in the classroom the same, just like everybody else, there's no excuse.$$Were there rules in place that said that athletes had to have a certain average?$$No, there was, there were no rules in place that they had to, but everyone was aware that they, that that's this was what they needed to do. I mean, the guy--the kids were not like the kids are now, you know, you could talk to us, you know. If somebody said something that made sense, I mean, most, most of us would listen, so, it's nothing like it is now.$With all the publicity about you and, and your team, to keep you from not being so cocky you said that the, the coach [Don Haskins] would make you work a little harder, but did you begin to see that it wasn't this tournament [1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament] and the players--it wasn't just about you and basketball, but that there was a bigger picture?$$Oh absolutely and of course, in the beginning we were just playing basketball, but you know, later in life, you know, the next year for instance--right after the game no reporters came to our locker room to talk to us. Nobody brought--put mics in front of our face to, to get an interview or anything. And so you know never--we didn't think about it that much, you know, we just were anxious to get back to El Paso [Texas] where everybody--we had a lot of love there, in El Paso. It's just that the newspaper guys were stunned, you know, they didn't know what to write after the game because, you know, they thought it was going to be a walk over. They didn't know what to say, you know, this team with five African American players on, on the court beat all white Kentucky [University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky]--it was impossible, can't happen. They really did not know what to say or what to write. They were just, they were just stunned and, and no one after the game mentioned anything about five African American players had defeated all the white boys at Kentucky, nobody talked about that, not until next year when it really, when it really hit home and Sports Illustrated wrote articles and started writing and stuff about all of the, the African American players that had beat all white Kentucky, that's when it really, really, really hit home. No one said anything in the beginning because it took a while to catch on to what had happened.$$This, this--well, walk me through when you got off the bus to play this, this game, I mean, this, this changes history for the N- NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association]? Describe for me that game.$$You know, getting off the bus, first of all, we're living in a hotel where the Duke team [Duke University, Durham, North Carolina] and all its supporters stayed in the same hotel as we did. We didn't have hardly anybody there, just Bobby Joe Hill's brother and sister and a few others from Detroit [Michigan]. And they had "Go Duke" all over the place, I mean, I mean we couldn't hardly even walk out of the door, everything was Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, not, nothing for Texas Western [Texas Western College of the University of Texas; University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas]. We didn't have not one little sign, not anything. So the bus driver, I told the story about the bus driver, the bus driver in my book ['Slam Dunk to Glory,' David Lattin], where I was the last one to get off the bus, you know, I'm always the last one to get off the bus. I would get--I was getting--I was disembarking and the bus driver said to me, "Why are you playing this game? Why are you wasting your time? You cannot beat Kentucky. You cannot beat them. They've got a white coach and that's Adolph Rupp. You, you African American guys think you can beat Kentucky? You're out of your mind, are you crazy? Why don't you just get back on the bus and let me take you back to the hotel and just forget about this game." (Laughter) So anyway, I didn't say anything, I just looked at the guy, you know, and proceeded on to the, to the game. I saw him after the game; he didn't say anything he just kind of looked straight ahead.$$So how it--because you said that everything, there was no signs and you had very few supporters there. What was it like walking out onto the court?$$Wow, you know, with the Confederate flags flying all over the place and you know, all the signs you know, just, you know, some of the things that I can't tell you that were said (laughter), "We got them by the toe now, they can't get away, it's all over." (Laughter) But it was, it wasn't intimidating for me. I never felt for one second that we were going to lose. I was hoping, I was hoping that I could stay in the game, you know, because, because the referees can control the game because they can just call fouls at random and control the game if they need to. This was a final game with every, every, with everyone looking, so I guess they called, called it as close to being right as they could. I had four fouls anyway, but that's as close as it could be.$$So you felt that the refs were more or less true to form?$$I thought as, as well as they could be. I, I, I mean there were fouls--the first foul against Pat Riley was not a foul, you know, and if you look at the tape over and over, and over, Pat--I talked to Pat about it--he said, "No man, it was a foul," you know, but still again I had to live with that. So I had to be very careful that I would--couldn't, couldn't foul out of the game. I had to be very, very careful. There were things I just couldn't do, I mean the coach had complained about the--about me, and the game and, and I talk about that in the book a little bit. The night before some of the games the coaches complained that they couldn't let me get away with some of the things I was doing, you know and I wasn't really doing anything, but just working harder under the basket doing what I do, you know, and that's about it, but--

Philip Simmons

Blacksmith Philip Simmons was born on June 9, 1912 to Rosa Simmons on Daniel Island, South Carolina. He was raised by his grandparents until he was eight years old. He then went to live with his mother in Charleston, South Carolina. He completed the sixth grade at Buist Elementary School in Charleston. When he was thirteen years old, Simmons became the apprentice of the local blacksmith, Peter Simmons (no relation). After which, he worked for almost eighty years as a blacksmith.

Simmons’ first duties were to clean floors, make and maintain the fire and hold the horses. He moved on to other work, much of which involved shoeing horses and repairing carriage wheels. Although cars replaced horses as modes of transportation, Simmons mastered other tools, allowing him to create trailers for cars. In addition, he learned how to repair ironwork for houses and he became skilled at ornamental ironwork. Sometimes, Simmons would be commissioned to do specific work, but most of the time, the image was his own design. He has fashioned over 500 decorative pieces of ornamental wrought iron throughout Charleston, South Carolina. Simmons fashioned a gate for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1982, Simmons created his favorite work, "The Star and Fish Gate." It won the National Heritage Award and the National Endowment of the Arts Award, and it was purchased by the Smithsonian. Simmons has also received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.

The vestry and congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church dedicated the grounds of the church to develop a commemorative landscaped garden as a tribute to his exceptional mastery of wrought iron. In 2006, South Carolina State University awarded him an honorary Ph.D. in F.A. degree.

Philip Simmons passed away on June 22, 2009.

Philip Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/1/2007

Last Name

Simmons

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

Buist Academy

Burke High School

South Carolina State University

St. Luke's Reformed Episcopal Church

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Philip

Birth City, State, Country

Daniel's Island

HM ID

SIM06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Georgia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

6/9/1912

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra Soup, Turnips

Death Date

6/22/2009

Short Description

Blacksmith Philip Simmons (1912 - 2009 ) worked as a blacksmith for nearly 80 years, and during that time fashioned over 500 decorative pieces. Simmons fashioned a wrought iron gate for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Employment

Peter Simmons’ Blacksmith shop

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Philip Simmons' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Philip Simmons lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Philip Simmons describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Philip Simmons describes his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Philip Simmons describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Phil Simmons describes his mother's visits to Daniel Island, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Philip Simmons describes what he knows about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Phil Simmons remembers the Buist School in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Philip Simmons describes his grade school education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Philip Simmons remembers his introduction to art

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Philip Simmons describes his blacksmith training

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Philip Simmons remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Phil Simmons describes his duties at the blacksmith shop

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Philip Simmons describes his early artistic work as a blacksmith

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Philip Simmons describes his mentor, blacksmith Peter Simmons

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Philip Simmons remembers the impact of motorized transportation

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Philip Simmons remembers building automobile trailers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Philip Simmons describes his blacksmithing tools

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Philip Simmons describes his transition to decorative wrought ironwork

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Philip Simmons describes his first client and his artistic process

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Philip Simmons describes his wife and family

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Philip Simmons describes the history of his blacksmith shop in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Philip Simmons remembers the death of his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Philip Simmons remembers his children's adoption by his family members

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Philip Simmons describes his ironwork for the City of Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Philip Simmons remembers his introduction to blacksmithing machinery

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Philip Simmons describes his neighborhoods in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Philip Simmons describes how he began working on wrought iron gates

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Philip Simmons talks about repairing wrought irons gates in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Philip Simmons talks about his artistic materials and process

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Philip Simmons describes his relationships with customers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Philip Simmons describes the content of his lectures

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Philip Simmons describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Philip Simmons talks about the Philip Simmons Garden in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Philip Simmons describes his ironwork tours in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Philip Simmons describes his artwork for the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Philip Simmons describes artwork for the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Philip Simmons talks about the changes he witnessed in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Philip Simmons talks about segregation

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Philip Simmons talk about why he was not drafted to the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Philip Simmons remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Philip Simmons talks about Marcus Garvey and the Black Star Line

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Philip Simmons reflects upon the March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Philip Simmons describes his message to future generations, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Philip Simmons describes his message to future generations, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Philip Simmons describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Philip Simmons describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Philip Simmons narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$1

DAStory

12$11

DATitle
Philip Simmons describes his ironwork for the City of Charleston, South Carolina
Philip Simmons describes his blacksmith training
Transcript
So now your work is in demand, you know, for the gates and fences and balconies. So now the city--the city asked you to do some things, right? What are some of the pieces that you designed for the City of Charleston [South Carolina]?$$I made a lot of pieces for the City of Charleston. I can name some of the thing now was given to me, job--different jobs were given to me by the city, and most of those jobs was given to me were for a purpose, they had a purpose to give it to me, like the gate, like the welcome gate to Charleston, the waterfront gate now in the waterfront, the gate--the egret on the, on the--in the statehouse and the gate--and the national museum, like the Smithsonian institute [Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.], all of those things were given to me for a purpose. One for the airport [Charleston International Airport, North Charleston, South Carolina] when people come in the airport and want to see what Charleston look like after not coming in Charleston and to tour Charleston, they would see something in the airport, Waterfront Park [Charleston, South Carolina], people coming by water, like to come here by water, and they will see the gate there. Welcome people by water, welcome people by land, welcome people by plane, and I like that. I got--I got what you call a good kick out of that, because all that time I was making these pieces for the city and private homes through business they had, I was learning. I didn't know everything when I start. Because I made that first gate for Krawcheck [Jack Krawcheck], a merchant here in Charleston, that was the first gate I made.$$You say it's Krawcheck?$$Um-hm.$$How--how do you spell that?$$Huh?$$Do--how do you spell Krawcheck?$$K-R-E-W-C-H-E-C-K [sic.]. K-R-E-W-C-H-E-C-K, that's a merchant here, clothing store. First gate I made for him. But, now, gates was here before now, because a lot of those gates and pieces--different pieces came from Europe, came here from elsewhere.$$Um-hm. But yours were very unique.$When you were in high school [Burke Industrial School; Burke High School, Charleston, South Carolina], what grade did you go to?$$I went to seventh grade. I quit in the seventh grade.$$Okay. And you--that's when you went to the local blacksmith, right? Tell me about that. You went to ask for a job?$$I went--after I got about eight years old, or when I came into Charleston [South Carolina], I was eight years old, I wanted to go in the blacksmith shop then. I was excited about the blacksmith shop, because the blacksmith shop, up until today I like excitement, I like sport and all that kind of stuff, and up until today I got--when I first came here to Charleston, I got excited about the blacksmith shop, 'cause what was going on in the blacksmith shop made me excited. The horses, you have to help shoe the horses, you have to make the fire up, like some of the pictures you will see I got around here, and I had to keep the fire burning, and I learned--first thing I learned how to make up the fire and how to keep it going, and from there on, I started taking up smaller thing in the blacksmith shop. And finally I'd go on to the bigger thing (simultaneous)-$$(Simultaneous) But before-$$--like building the wagons for the horse, shoeing--$$Build--you were building the wagons for the horse?$$Yeah, I was building the wagon for--or repair, and also building, too, 'cause I had to work with the old man [Peter Simmons] until I was able to do it on my own, 'til I learned to create things on my own, and that's the time I really went into the creative stuff.$$Okay. But tell me, before you got hired at the blacksmith shop, you didn't get hired the very first time you went there.$$No, I didn't.$$What happened? What did he tell you?$$He told me I was too young at eight years old (laughter).$$When did he tell you to come back?$$And I--and I was at this kind of shop, because I wanted to go in that blacksmith shop, because a lot of excitement, like I foresaid, a lot of excitement was going on in the blacksmith shop.$$(Laughter).$$But I was told the old man had to be safe, had to use safety precaution, so he wouldn't hire me at the age of eight. But I keep insist on I wanted to go in that shop. That shop was exciting, honey, at my first time in that blacksmith shop.

Melvin Van Peebles

Filmmaker, author, and actor Melvin Van Peebles was born on August 21, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up during World War II, he spent his adolescence with his father, a tailor. Van Peebles graduated from Township High School in Phoenix, Illinois, in 1949 and spent a year at West Virginia State College before transferring to Ohio Wesleyan University where he earned his B.A. degree in English literature in 1953.

During the late 1950s, Van Peebles served three and a half years as a flight navigator in the United States Air Force. After the military, he lived briefly in Mexico and San Francisco where he wrote his first book, The Big Heart, which was about the life of San Francisco’s cable cars and their drivers. Moving to the Netherlands, he studied at the Dutch National Theatre before moving to France in the early 1960s. During this time, Van Peebles wrote several published novels in French, including La Permission in 1967. He filmed this story under the title, The Story of the Three-Day Pass, and it was selected as the French entry in the 1968 San Francisco Film Festival. It earned critical acclaim, which helped him obtain a studio contract with Columbia Pictures. In 1969, Van Peebles returned to the U.S. to direct and score his first Hollywood film Watermelon Man. The film was released in 1970, followed by his independent feature Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, probably his best known work. Some of his other films include Don’t Play Us Cheap in 1973, Identity Crisis in 1989, Gang in Blue in 1996 and Le Conte du ventre plein in 2000.

As a playwright and composer, Van Peebles wrote two Broadway hit plays: Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death in 1971 and Don’t Play Us Cheap in 1972, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination. As an actor, Van Peebles has appeared in several films including Robert Altman’s O.C. and Stiggs in 1987 and Mario Van Peebles’ Panther in 1995, which he also wrote and co-produced. In 2005, Van Peebles was the subject of a documentary entitled How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It). He has been honored with numerous awards, including a Grammy and a Drama Desk Award. He received the Children’s Live-Action Humanitas Prize for The Day They Came to Arrest the Book in 1987, and in 1999, he was awarded the Chicago Underground Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Van Peebles resides in New York City.

Accession Number

A2006.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2006

Last Name

Van Peebles

Schools

Ohio Wesleyan University

Thornton Township High School

University of Amsterdam

West Virginia State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Melvin

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

VAN05

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/21/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Actor, film director, fiction writer, and playwright Melvin Van Peebles (1932 - ) was best known for his 1971 independent film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which was credited with helping start Hollywood's Blaxploitation era in the 1970s. He also wrote novels and two Broadway plays, and acted in several films.

Employment

United States Air Force

United States Postal Service

San Francisco Trolley Company

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melvin Van Peebles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melvin Van Peebles lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his father's tailor shop in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melvin Van Peebles describes work experiences from his childhood in Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his sexual relationships as a teenager, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his sexual relationships as a teenager, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls his African Methodist Episcopal upbringing, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls his African Methodist Episcopal upbringing, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls the impact of moving to Phoenix, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls lessons from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his experiences at West Virginia State College

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his experiences at Ohio Wesleyan University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melvin Van Peebles remembers his first experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls being ostracized at Ohio Wesleyan University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melvin Van Peebles describes joining the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls segregation in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melvin Van Peebles talks about how he became interested in the arts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his decision to leave the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls pursuing relationships with black and white women

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls the birth of his son, Mario Van Peebles

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls moving to San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melvin Van Peebles recalls writing about San Francisco's cable cars

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melvin Van Peebles remembers making his first films

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melvin Van Peebles describes his career setbacks in San Francisco

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Melvin Van Peebles remembers making his first films
Melvin Van Peebles describes his career setbacks in San Francisco
Transcript
I called the guy and I said, "Look, I want to make movies." He said, "Great. Is it going to be fiction or," he said, "what's the documentary going to be about?" I said, "I don't want to do a document, I want to make it fiction. I want stories." I said, "How long are movies, anyway? I've been going to movies all my life, triple features and everything else, but I never paid any attention." "Well, they're ninety minutes or a little longer." I said, "Well, how much is film?" He said, "Well, what're you going to shoot it in, in 16 or 35?" I said, "What's that?" He said, "16 or 35 millimeter." I said, "What's that?" I mean, I knew nothing. And he told me, he said, "I got a 16 millimeter camera. And if you want to do it, I'll do it with you. I won't charge you anything for the camera." "Okay." So, my first feature film that I shot turned out to be eleven minutes long. And I began to teach myself bit by bit, nobody taught me. Then I remember we got the first film, the first film I shot, projected on the wall. I said, "Wow, it's okay. The story's here, but it's not right yet." He said, "Of course not, you haven't edited it yet." "What's that?" I mean, that's the level--now film talk is ubiquitous. Everybody knows about this and all that. I never heard--he didn't talk film before. And anyway, I made those short films. And when I, well, first I asked the guy how much it would be. And he told me the price, and I calculated it. And at that time, you could make a feature film for $557; that was my calculation. Shit, no problem, fine. It was a lot of money, but still. But so, I remember the first day we were getting ready to shoot the film, and the guy's out there, "Okay, this is going to be scene four, take this, roll--." "Whoa, wait a minute, the film. Oh, don't use all the film." I had counted how much it costs for ninety minutes of film, period. That's what I counted, not knowing there was editing or this, or none of that. Then after that I said, "Okay, at least we got these shots, and it'll be a little shorter than I thought." The guy said, "Now we got to go to the laboratory and develop it." "Oh, so okay." He said, "No, no, no, no, no, you never touch the negative, you've got to make another print." "What!" (Laughter) In the meantime my wife [Maria Marx] is getting rocks in her jaws the size of Mount Rushmore [Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota]. I have to sell my car, et cetera (laughter). So, but I got it, I got them.$And then that's how I went into music. I couldn't afford any musicians, and all, I mean, musicians who were dependable. Everybody else, "Yeah, brother, I'll be there. Oh, man, you know, I got high last night and my old lady," blah, blah, blah. So I got disgusted, and that's when I numbered the keys on the piano and started picking out melodies. That's what happened. And then I made these little films and I took them down to Hollywood. And they looked at them and said, "Oh, you obviously can't be a director. You see, there's a snowfall in Kilimanjaro [Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania] this year, so therefore--," and blah, blah, blah. "And there're only so many wheels," and you know, all kinds of blah, blah, blah. So I decided that I couldn't--by that time, Mario [Mario Van Peebles] had a sister [Megan Van Peebles] and I had a family to feed, et cetera. So in the meantime, I'd gotten fired from the cable cars [in San Francisco, California], because the guy who runs the cable car said he didn't think--personally, he didn't think Negroes should read, let alone write. And when the book ['The Big Heart,' Melvin Van Peebles] was a success and complimentary to the cable cars, I got fired. I said, "What are you firing me for?" He said, "It looks like you're going to have, your profile fits the profile of someone who's going to have a big accident." They fired my ass. So anyway, what happened was, I go to work to the Negro university, that is, the post office. And ironically, the post office was called the Rincon Annex [Rincon Annex Post Office, San Francisco, California], where--I mean the irony just won't quit, you know what I mean. So I say, "Okay." So then I say, well, I have to go to my second love. And Sputnik [Sputnik 1], the first little Russian satellite had just gone up. You know, the beatniks were really not called beatniks. They were originally called beats, and then the N-I-K was added afterwards. That's what we called the beat generation, and then later on they became beatniks, in honor of Sputnik. So I felt that the future, one of the secure business futures, was going to be in the calculation of trajectories, to keep these things up, which is called celestial mechanics. And the best place for celestial mechanics at that time was Holland [the Netherlands]. So I had the G.I. Bill [Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944], I write to Holland, and I say, "Hey, I'm coming early to brush up on the language," and they accepted me. And on my way to Holland, I came to New York [New York] and took a boat, Mario and Maria [Maria Marx] and Megan and myself, to Holland. I took these three films that I had, and leased them to a little art house, to a film distributor, and went to Europe.

Peter F. Hurst, Jr.

Peter Frederick Hurst, Jr., founder and chief executive officer of the Community’s Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was born on October 29, 1955, in Houston, Texas. Raised in the Third Ward of Houston by parents Peter and Ophelia Hurst, Sr., Hurst was an Eagle Scout at the Wheel Ave. Baptist Church. Attending E.L. Blackshear Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Junior High School, Hurst graduated from Mirabeau Lamar High School in 1974 as a member of the National Honor Society. Hurst earned his A.B. degree in accounting, magna cum laude, from Duke University in 1978, and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1981.

Hurst clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1981, and a year later he joined the Steptoe and Johnson Law Firm in Washington, D.C. From 1984 to 1986, Hurst served in the General Counsel’s Office of the Federal Reserve Bank. Moving to New York City, Hurst worked as an investment banker with E.F. Hutton, and in 1987, became senior vice president with Dean Witter. Going into business for himself in 1990, Hurst worked with smaller clients through Bahia Partners and Hurst Capital Partners. In 2001 Hurst created the Community’s Bank, opening branches in the Connecticut cities of Hartford, Bridgeport, and Bloomfield. As founder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president of the Urban Financial Group, the company which controls Community’s Bank, Hurst runs the only independent, minority owned bank in Connecticut.

Hurst has served on the boards of the Republic New York Corporation; the Bridgeport Area Foundation; the Community Service Society of New York; Boy Scouts of America (Bronx Council); the University of Scranton; and the United American Healthcare Corporation. Hurst was honored in 2003 by the African American Affairs Commission of Connecticut, and in 2004 became the first African American to serve as grandmaster of the Phineas T. Barnum Parade and Festival in Bridgeport.

Accession Number

A2005.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/15/2005

Last Name

Hurst

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Schools

Harvard Law School

Sidney Lanier Junior High School

Blackshear Elementary School

Lamar High School

Lanier Middle School

Duke School

First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

HUR01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Often Wrong, but Never in Doubt.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

10/29/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hartford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Bank executive Peter F. Hurst, Jr. (1955 - ) was the founder and chief executive officer of the Urban Financial Group, which controls the Community’s Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Employment

Steptoe & Johnson

Federal Reserve Board

E .F. Hutton

Dean Witter

Bahia Partners

Hurst Capitol Partners

Community's Bank

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peter F. Hurst, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his paternal family background and his parents meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his parents' personalities and his resemblance to them

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about being adopted

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his formative reading experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about attending Blackshear Elementary School and Sidney Lanier Junior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about playing the trumpet in school and at church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about the band at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities at Mirabeau Lamar High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his involvement in the Boy Scouts of America

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls his high school academics and his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. explains his decision to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his activities at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. explains his initial plan to pursue an accounting career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. remembers his experience at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about overcoming a financial hurdle in order to graduate law school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects on what he learned as a law clerk for HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. tells a story of HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith in the courtroom

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. remembers attending the NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner with HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes working for Steptoe and Johnson LLP and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recounts switching from a law career to investment banking in 1986

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. recalls the trajectory for founding Hurst Capitol Partners Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the process of starting The Community's Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects on the development of The Community's Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes the diverse clientele and staff at The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about The Community's Bank involvement in community development

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his civic involvement as leader of The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about the future of The Community's Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. shares two stories of the The Community's Bank assisting its customers

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about his mother witnessing his success

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Peter F. Hurst, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Peter F. Hurst, Jr. talks about The Community's Bank involvement in community development
Peter F. Hurst, Jr. tells a story of HistoryMaker Judge Damon Keith in the courtroom
Transcript
What significant projects has the bank [The Community's Bank, Bridgeport, Connecticut] supported, you know, in the community, would you--?$$Well two things. Let me describe--we're designated, when I say we both the bank and our holding company. Our holding company is called the Urban Financial Group. We're designated by the U. S. treasury department [U.S. Department of the Treasury] as a community development financial institution. Which means that both the bank and the holding company have, as our primary missions, community development. Which doesn't mean we're doing bad loans it just means the kind of you know market Bridgeport [Connecticut] is and the kind of things we're doing as a bank will by definition improve this community. Because we're focusing on you know residential real estate loans which you know enhances and supports homeownership. We're focused on doing commercial loans which enhances and supports entrepreneurship. So, you know, because we're a community development financial institution a lot of our lending activities qualify for something that the treasury department has called a bank enterprise award. Where it's, it's almost like a Discover Card you get cash back for lending that you've done in certain markets. So based on our lending activities in Bridgeport, Hartford [Connecticut] and New Haven [Connecticut] respectively, you know, we got an award earlier in our fiscal year, our fiscal year starts July first and ends June 30. So October we got a bank enterprise award of over $300,000. So, you know that's an example of, you know, something that, you know, the bank directly does in, in fulfilling its mission of lending that's had a positive impact. We also support a lot of causes and, you know, like I'm active on a lot of local boards of directors. And the bank is, you know, supported things like there's an organization in town called The Music and Arts Center for Humanities [sic. The Music and Arts Center for Humanity, Bridgeport, Connecticut] and every year they have a show put on by the Ailey II traveling production. And we support that by buying tickets for kids in Bridgeport schools to go to that performance. Because the theory is, is that, you know, a significance cultural event, the kids wouldn't have the money to go otherwise and, and you know we want to support that. I've done things like they, they have a read aloud day and I go, you know if not every month, every other month to a school here in town that's on the, you know, one of the poorer sections of town call the Newfield School [Bridgeport, Connecticut] and I read to a group of first grades. And I actually went you know last Thursday and read a Langston Hughes book, you know signif--you know in significance of, you know, Black History Month.$Can you remember the cases you all were working on when you were clerking there?$$Yep, a lot of, you know, significant cases that we worked on. But I guess one of the most significant things I saw during that year, the Sixth Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit] sits in Cincinnati, Ohio, so like every six weeks or so we would, you know, you know go down to Cincinnati, and have like three days of hearings. And I'll never forget there was a social security appeal, a lot of cases you never write opinions on, they, they just, the lower court decision gets aform- affirmed on order. But there was a, it was a social security appeal where a woman had applied for social security benefits, had been denied and, you know, she had appealed that denial. And you know so they would always send, you know, a lawyer from the social security to represent the government. And I'll never forgot this, you know, the lawyer was making his argument and [HistoryMaker] Judge [Damon J.] Keith leans over smiles and said, "Excuse me sir, but I just have one question for you, does ice water run through your veins?" And the lawyer just said, "No judge, I don't want to appeal this case I agree with the woman's position but they're their making me do this." And I just thought that was the most amazing thing. That, you know, he didn't brow beat the guy, didn't say it in a nasty way he just said it very you know succinctly, very matter of fact and the guy just cracked (laughter). So I mean we, we dealt with a lot of very important cases during my year with the judge, but that one incident, you know, stands out in my memory, as to you know what the Judge was all about you know. And, and how he did things because he essentially in open court you know with a stenographer present got a lawyer to just throw away his whole position (laughter) with a simple question, so.$$That's quite a story though--$$Yeah.$$--that's a--yeah. That's a story you'd have to hear from somebody else other than Judge Keith about his--$$Right.$$Yeah.

Alfred Brothers, Jr.

Engineer and airplane pilot Alfred Brothers was born on December 14, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts to Alfred S. Brothers, Senior and Edith Irene Yates. His father served as a combat engineer in the black 366th Infantry Regiment during World War II while his mother stayed home to care for the family. Brothers graduated from Boston Latin School in 1960 and enrolled in Boston University's College of Engineering. While at Boston University, Brothers became a cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps. After graduating in 1964 with a B.S. degree in engineering and the rank of second lieutenant, Brothers joined the United States Air Force, where he served for the next twenty-two years. Brothers began his Air Force career flying B-52 planes in the Vietnam War and became one of the youngest aircraft commanders in the strategic air command.

In 1972, Brothers used his engineering education and served in the foreign technology division of the Air Force at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Brothers was then assigned as a detachment commander to a new ROTC program at Wright State University in Dayton. Brothers focused on encouraging the development of African American engineering students and pilot candidates. During his tenure, the graduation and commission rates for students in the Air Force ROTC increased by 90%. After retiring from the Air Force in 1986, Brothers moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to work as an engineer for Magnavox, now the Raytheon Company. Brothers was promoted from engineer to program manager where he was responsible for the technical direction and management of a program. He was in charge of attaining financial and schedule goals for particular government programs. Always interested in continuing his education, Brothers obtained his Ph.D. degree in business administration at age sixty from Century University.

In addition to his professional activities, Brothers was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and became president of the Boy Scouts Council, the first African American to be council president. The council involved eleven counties and about 14,000 kids and 4,000 adults. Brothers sat on numerous boards including the board of the African/African American Museum and Historical Society in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Alfred S. Brothers, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 30, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.130

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/30/2002

Last Name

Brothers

Maker Category
Schools

Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 Inclusion School

Boston Latin School

Boston University

Century University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alfred

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

BRO06

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Nothing Is impossible.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

12/14/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Wayne

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Engineer and airplane pilot Alfred Brothers, Jr. (1942 - ) was an officer in the United States Air Force for twenty-two years, serving as a pilot and wing commander in the Air Force ROTC, before working as an engineer program manager for Magnavox.

Employment

United States Air Force

United States Air Force Communications Satellite Group

United States Air Force Ballistic Missile Facility Branch

Wright State University

Magnavox / Raytheon Company

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Air Force Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Brothers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfred Brothers names his parents and shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfred Brothers talks about his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfred Brothers talks about his parents' first meeting and their occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfred Brothers talks about his childhood neighborhood in Boston

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alfred Brothers talks about his childhood interests and high school teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alfred Brothers talks about his mentors and his father's involvement in politics

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alfred Brothers talks about the artificial language, Esperanto

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alfred Brothers talks about his involvement with the Boy Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfred Brothers remembers staging a peaceful protest in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfred Brothers talks about sports, church and socializing during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfred Brothers talks about meeting his wife at a school party in Boston

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfred Brothers talks about his experience with the Air Force ROTC

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfred Brothers talks about his experience flying planes

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfred Brothers remembers his life in Ohio as an Air Force pilot

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfred Brothers recaps the dates of his Air Force career and talks about his retirement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfred Brothers talks about his leadership position in the Boy Scouts of Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfred Brothers talks about his interest in genealogy and other post retirement activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfred Brothers talks about the possibility of flying cars

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfred Brothers discusses technology and the importance of continued schooling

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfred Brothers discusses the need to promote science in the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfred Brothers reflects on his career and talks about his legacy