The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Darryl W. Dennard

Broadcast journalist Darryl W. Dennard was born on September 18, 1957 in Harlem, New York to Eleanor Adamson and Glenn W. Dennard. He graduated from De Witt Clinton High School. Dennard was a member of Fordham University’s Upward Bound program and participated in its Bridge program by taking classes at Fordham University. He then went on to attend the State University of New York College at Buffalo and graduated with his B.A. degree in broadcasting in 1981. While at Buffalo State, he was a member of the Black Liberation Front student organization, where he was an executive board member, founding the college’s Minority Resource Center.

In 1980, Dennard was hired as a production assistant at the NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York. He was promoted to a news reporter in 1983, and worked at WGRZ-TV until 1987. Dennard then became co-host of the “Ebony-Jet Showcase” from 1987 to 1991, and was hired as associate editor of Ebony Man magazine. He then served as co-host of the “Black Enterprise Report” and as host and producer of the “Minority Business Report.” Dennard also worked as an anchor of “Good Day Chicago” in the 1990s, and has hosted many other programs, including “Know Your Heritage.” He has worked on WVAZ-FM's “Steve Harvey Show,” WCGI-FM's “Morning Riot,” WGCI-AM's “John Hannah Morning Show,” and WVAZ’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” In addition, he has interviewed many celebrities and notable figures, including President Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey.

Dennard served as Vice President of First Trace Communications, a strategic, cause related public relations firm, and Founder and CEO of Double D Productions, Inc., a full service audio/video production company, which produced the 1999 documentary “Heading West: A History of African Americans on Chicago's West Side,” and the more recent documentary, “Culture of Calm: A Calming Presence,” which chronicles the Chicago Public School’s mentoring efforts directed towards “At Risk” youth in the wake of the Derion Albert beating death.

Dennard’s professional affiliations include the National Association of Market Developers, the Black Public Relations Society, the 100 Black Men of Chicago, the Young Brothers for Christ Youth Ministry at Apostolic Church of God, and the Radio and Television Broadcasting and Theatre Departments at Kennedy King College.

Most important to him are his wife Darlene, and their two children, Autumn, a graduate of Howard University and Darryl Jr, a fine arts graduate at The Cooper Union in New York City. Dennard also has a son-in-law, Brian, and two grandchildren, Ari and Milo.

Darryl Dennard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 23, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.020

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

1/23/2014

Last Name

Dennard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Schools
DeWitt Clinton High School
State University of New York at Buffalo
Ps 59 The Community School Of Technology
Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Darryl

Birth City, State, Country

Harlem

HM ID

DEN02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Now Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For And Evidence Of Things Not Seen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/18/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Darryl W. Dennard (1957 - ) , founder of Double D Productions, Inc., has hosted and anchored nationally recognized television and radio programs, including “Ebony-Jet Showcase,” “Black Enterprise Report,” “Minority Business Report,” “Good Day Chicago,” the “Steve Harvey Show,” “Morning Riot,” and the “John Hannah Morning Show."

Employment
WGRZ TV
Ebony-Jet Showcase
Ebony Man Magazine
Black Enterprise Magazine
Minority Business Report
Good Day Chicago
Know Your Heritage
WVAZ-FM
WCGI Radio
First Trace Communications
Double D Productions, Inc.
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3000,72:4617,110:4925,115:6542,138:7004,146:7620,161:8159,169:10700,219:12548,252:13010,259:13780,305:18866,333:19280,340:22316,395:22937,407:29416,517:40280,739:46966,820:48286,850:48880,861:49144,866:50926,898:51784,911:52114,917:52576,925:53236,938:53500,944:53830,950:54292,958:54820,967:55480,982:55744,987:59770,1010:60062,1015:60646,1021:61230,1031:61595,1037:63260,1047:67004,1138:70388,1212:71396,1227:72044,1238:72548,1247:72836,1252:73412,1262:78388,1344:83418,1392:83950,1401:84786,1416:85166,1422:86078,1434:87294,1451:89422,1516:90334,1533:90714,1539:96566,1675:96946,1681:97782,1694:98618,1707:100138,1743:100974,1756:101278,1761:101962,1779:102722,1793:103634,1814:104698,1857:112685,1901:113070,1912:114885,1986:115160,1992:116095,2004:118911,2030:119601,2045:120291,2057:120636,2063:120912,2068:121326,2076:121809,2084:124258,2097:124548,2103:124838,2110:125592,2132:125824,2137:137546,2326:138092,2335:138872,2346:139496,2356:141212,2377:141758,2385:142772,2412:143942,2432:145034,2449:152732,2498:159128,2616:165422,2647:165914,2655:169932,2717:170916,2731:171326,2736:175918,2831:176574,2840:176902,2845:184360,2924:184960,2937:185740,2952:186940,2981:188500,3024:188920,3032:189580,3047:189820,3052:190600,3077:190840,3082:191620,3101:191980,3108:197380,3263:197800,3271:198340,3334:198940,3355:199900,3385:207195,3432:209490,3507:210765,3567:219660,3687:220255,3696:221105,3702:225322,3731:226024,3741:227316,3756:227676,3762:228036,3768:228684,3773:229764,3793:235524,3945:236316,3958:240206,3983:240750,3996:241090,4002:243266,4048:243606,4054:244150,4064:244558,4071:244898,4077:245170,4082:245714,4091:246122,4104:247278,4123:247890,4134:248298,4143:250814,4196:251970,4229:252310,4235:252582,4240:253602,4275:254214,4285:260110,4319:262040,4348$0,0:3202,23:4426,35:6965,96:9440,140:12509,178:17420,198:17756,205:18260,218:18596,226:20640,251:21662,268:22611,284:23779,321:26604,350:27036,356:27684,366:31213,396:37189,504:37604,511:37936,516:42851,605:43216,611:44676,642:45990,668:46355,674:46939,685:47523,695:48034,715:50078,756:51027,774:51538,782:52268,793:61525,865:62575,883:63100,891:65875,965:66625,978:69550,1050:69850,1055:71125,1076:71575,1083:72100,1091:72475,1097:77028,1120:77462,1128:77710,1133:82730,1183:83130,1189:87920,1255:88295,1261:90495,1291:91145,1302:93200,1314:94568,1338:98600,1367:101552,1423:102272,1447:103208,1517:109241,1560:114186,1659:114496,1665:121076,1762:122640,1798:123388,1813:123728,1819:124544,1833:125292,1846:130664,1997:131072,2004:135042,2045:135978,2060:136602,2071:137538,2091:138084,2100:138396,2105:139020,2116:151059,2296:154901,2370:155353,2375:158105,2399:158405,2404:159230,2417:159605,2424:160055,2432:161330,2462:163505,2531:165005,2570:165605,2579:171399,2679:171948,2690:172375,2698:172680,2705:177621,2840:178353,2855:179146,2878:179634,2887:182964,2905:183819,2925:184275,2934:187004,2969:191474,3034:195538,3095:197714,3139:198258,3148:201960,3237:211932,3359:213804,3406:222100,3502:224660,3542:225220,3550:226420,3576:228100,3606:228420,3611:230500,3664:234817,3687:249340,3926:249664,3931:249988,3936:251608,3968:257369,4019:259112,4046:264843,4125:265178,4131:265513,4137:266116,4148:266451,4154:268848,4182:269120,4191:269936,4206:270276,4212:281410,4316
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Darryl Dennard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard describes his maternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard describes his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard describes spending nights at family members' homes in the South Bronx

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard talks about working at Pioneer Supermarket as a stock boy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard talks about his paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Darryl Dennard describes his father and paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard talks about the first and second waves of The Great Migration

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard describes his father's creative interests and jazz collection

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard talks about his younger sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard describes his extended family

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard describes growing up in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard describes his childhood interests and involvement with Upward Bound and College Bound

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard talks about his experience in Upward Bound and College Bound

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Darryl Dennard reflects on the critical time to motivate young black boys to do well in school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Darryl Dennard talks about his childhood jobs and hustles

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard describes his New York City public school education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard recalls being exposed to Broadway and opera with the Upward Bound and College Bound programs

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard describes running track in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard describes taking an English class at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York while in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard describes his experience at State University of New York College at Buffalo

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard describes his transition to college at State University of New York College at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard talks about black news commentators Max Robinson, Bob Teague and Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard talks about his summers while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard describes why he chose to attend a college outside of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Darryl Dennard describes the communications program at Buffalo State and his focus learning the broadcast speech standards

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Darryl Dennard remembers his first day at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard remembers his first day at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard talks about Buffalo State's Black Student Union, named Black Liberation Front

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard describes his college mentors and working for the U.S. Customs Service

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard describes falling in love and adopting a religion, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard describes falling in love and adopting a religion, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard describes falling in love and adopting a religion, pt. 3

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard describes his internship at WGRZ in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard describes memories from his time at WGRZ

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard describes his offer to host the 'Ebony/Jet Showcase'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard describes being interviewed by HistoryMaker John H. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard talks about African Americans in broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard talks about the changes in black broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard reflects on the lack of blacks in the media industry compared to the 1970s and 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard talks about partiality in journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard talks about his time working for the 'Ebony/Jet Showcase'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard describes interviewing Michael Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard talks about interviewing Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard remembers interviewing Sammy Davis at Johnson Publishing Company headquarters

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard talks about the 'Ebony/Jet Showcase' and his interviewing style

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard describes his journalistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard describes his interview style

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard talks about working with Deborah Crable

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard talks about his family's adjustment to living in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard talks about positions he held between 1991 and 1993

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard talks about 'Minority Business Report'

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Darryl Dennard talks about the significance of black manufacturing companies versus vendors

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard talks about 'Minority Business Report' and the significance in diverse business ownership

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard talks about his work with Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard talks about his production company, Double D Productions

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard talks about his film, 'Heading West'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard talks about black migration to Chicago, Illinois and his film, 'Heading West'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard talks about various programs he has hosted and produced

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard talks about his current projects and mentorship

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard talks about youth violence

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard talks about etiquette and polite society

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Darryl Dennard talks about the current state of video production

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Darryl Dennard describes his disinterest in using social media

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Darryl Dennard talks about the media organizations he's involved in and HistoryMakers Pluria Marshall, Sr. and Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Darryl Dennard talks about his wife, daughter, and grandchildren

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Darryl Dennard talks about his relationship with his in-laws

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Darryl Dennard talks about his son

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Darryl Dennard considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Darryl Dennard considers his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Darryl Dennard describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
Darryl Dennard describes his father's creative interests and jazz collection
Darryl Dennard describes being interviewed by HistoryMaker John H. Johnson
Transcript
Okay, now, now was your--was your father [Glenn Dennard]--did he finish school--$$I think--yeah, he graduated high school.$$Okay.$$And he used to paint and, and enjoyed music. And I remember him taking me, hanging out with him, and we--took me to the Apollo Theater [Harlem, New York City, New York] one time. And as he was at the Apollo Theater, he was backstage, you know, getting high with some of the performers. And--$$You said, said he's friends with Sonny Rollins.$$Sonny Rollins, yes--Sonny Rollins. If I mentioned the name, he, he knew my father, yes.$$And your father was an art--an artist. He was painting--$$He was painting.$$Yeah.$$He was--he was a painter.$$What kind of--(simultaneous)--$$Artist?$$--did he do? Okay.$$Abstract, things like that, you know.$$Right--(simultaneous)--$$He--and he loved music, you know. And then he also loved like informing us on history. So he would get us black history books at the time, black history coloring books that had just came out. He got me a book about Greek and Roman mythology that was a coloring book where I learned about Achilles and how Achilles was dumped in the pool. And the mother dumped him in there, and his skin in a sense became indestructible except for that one area where she held him up by his heel. And then, of course, you know that he was shot there in that heel and ended up dying, you know, so; and books of poetry; and he would also get my sister and I--my sisters [Glenda Dennard and Toya Dennard] and I--he would buy us records. And we would literally listen to--in addition to taking us to the movies--my mother [Eleanor Adamson Dennard] and father taking us to the movies--he would also have us listening to records. And then he would have us listening to jazz records. So on a Sunday, as we were still living in Manhattan [New York City, New York] at the time, and I wish we could have stayed there because if they could have bought that that would have been incredible. But we were right around 96th Street and near Amsterdam Avenue. And I remember we would walk over to Central Park, and he would have a photographer come and take pictures of us. And during that Sunday--I remember on Sundays my mother would be cooking. And they were very, very young at the time, 'cause they had us as teenagers. And I remember two songs in particular that were always played on the console stereo. And one was Dinah Washington, 'What a Difference a Day Makes.' And the other one was, was 'Song for My Father,' by Horace Silver. [Musical beats] and so, you know, I was always filled with jazz, and he had an incredible jazz collection. And--but you know, I just remember, you know, he was tied into that kind of hustle aspect of New York City. And as I got older, I would kind of hang out with him. And my cousin actually ended up spending more time with him on the hustle side. 'Cause, you know, he kind of aware--made me aware of the streets of New York and how to navigate the streets. I knew how to navigate them to a certain extent, but he also showed me how to kind of make money. And we did things legitimately, but you know, he's like hey, this is how you do this; this is--you know, we're gonna go over here; and you can open up the doors in front of Lincoln Center [for the Performing Arts, New York City, New York], and people will give you money for helping open up the door.$$Okay, okay, 'cause always--with so many people I guess it's always something to do--(simultaneous)--$$Well, it was always--$$--if you--$$--something to do--$$Okay.$$--and New York was our playground. And I think I mentioned to you before. Since my grandmother [Lucille Adamson] on my mother's side had eight children, my cousins were my surrogate brothers, so I would spend time with my cousins--my male cousins--during the summer, and they would spend time with me. And you know, we would go over there and spend maybe two weeks spent--we called it spending the night. And I would just spend two or three weeks with them, maybe even longer sometimes, maybe almost an entire month just spending time with my cousins. And then during the year, of course, on weekends get ready to go over my cousins' house and hang out with them and stuff like that. And they always had kind of different jobs, and so I would learn how to hustle the streets with them.$And, and so I remember flying into Chicago [Illinois]. I hadn't been to Chicago before. And I flew into Chicago and met with [HM John H.] Johnson, and we had an interview. It lasted all of maybe twenty minutes to a half an hour. You know, and Mr. Johnson asked me questions like, well, you know, tell me a little bit about yourself, where you're from, things of that nature. And you know, I told him who I was, and you know, they had probably already sized me up way before then--spoke maybe two or three, five minutes to, to [HM] Linda [Johnson Rice]. And I think you know, the job was paying like sixty thousand dollars or something, which would've put--three times what I was making in Buffalo [New York], plus it was--it's national job, and, and everybody knew of Johnson Publishing Company. And so, low and behold, I was gettin' ready to leave, and Mr. Johnson and Linda stepped aside for-[Osbert] Ozzie [Bruno] wasn't even--I don't even know if he was there at the time, and Ozzie is a good friend of mine. They stepped aside for maybe five minutes or so, and I waited outside their offices. And then Mr. Johnson came back and he said--said well, Darryl--and he would speak forthrightly to you--he goes you man--you know goes, "What do you think about becoming the host of my television show?" And here I am, you know, in Buffalo. And you know, so I went, "Well, Mr. Johnson, you know, could you give me a little bit of time, you know, to think about it." And he cut right into me. He said, "Think about it? What you talkin' about thinking about for? Now I'm offering you a job to leave Buffalo, New York, and you're tellin' me you gotta think about it." I said, "You know, you're right, Mr. Johnson. Yes, sir, I'll take it," (laughter). Literally, that's what he--he said, what you gotta think about leavin' Buffalo, New York for? I said, you're right, Mr. Johnson. Please forgive me. I'm sorry. I will take the job. He says okay, good, now Linda take care of that. That's exactly the way it happened, man. And I remember in my soul how I felt. 'Cause I was gonna go back home to my wife [Darlene Dennard], and we had already had my--you know, our daughter [Autumn Dennard]. And my daughter is like--it's '80 [1980], so she's about four or five years old at the time, 'cause she was born in '82 [1982], so this is '87 [1987], you know, five years old. And, and so what happened was that I told my wife I--you know, I'm driving back, and I don't think I called her or anything because there's not like cellular phones and stuff. And I remember driving back--driving out to the airport--out to O'Hare [International Airport, Chicago, Illinois], inside the express lanes, which was kind of weird for me because you know how the express lanes are divided in the middle. And then you had traffic heading one direction, and traffic heading in the opposite direction, and we were heading on the outbound traffic in the afternoon. And you know, I went back home, and my wife met me at the airport, and I said get your bags ready. We're moving to Chicago. And Mr. Johnson actually increased my salary by ten thousand dollars when he offered me the job. He didn't let me know. I accepted at, at that base salary, but he said no, pay him more.$$So this is--this is really exciting, so.$$It was a very exciting time for me. You know, I ended up--I had a beautiful going away party with all of my church members. I went to Bethesda Full Gospel Tabernacle in Buffalo, New York. And the current pastor is Bishop Michael Badger, but Michael was a contemporary of mine. And at that time the pastor was Reverend Billy White, and he's a white guy that was the pastor of this interdenominational Pentecostal church--phenomenal church in Buffalo right on Main [Street] and Utica [Street]. And, and so everybody was just like overjoyed, 'cause they would watch me on TV of course, but you know, I was very much into the ministry and so was my wife, and my buddy, Ron, and my buddy Byron--Byron Brown and Ronald Brown--no relations. But they ended up throwing me a nice little going away party. And Byron Brown became the first black mayor of Buffalo, who just got elected to his third term. And, and so we left. My wife and I we left; we packed our bags and, and came to Chicago in 1987.

Marlene Johnson

Newspaper reporter and assistant editor Marlene L. Johnson was born on November 22, 1936 in Rochester, New York and raised by foster parents on a small farm in Avon. At age twelve, she was stricken with polio. Johnson attended Second Baptist Church in Mumford, N.Y. where Reverend Mordecai W. Johnson once was pastor. She graduated from Geneseo Central High School and then received her A.A. degree from the University of Buffalo. Johnson moved to Detroit, Michigan and earned her B.S. degree in secondary education and English from Wayne State University in 1973. She went on to earn her M.S. degree in media instructional systems from the University of the District of Columbia in 1983. In 2007, Johnson graduated from the Howard University School of Divinity with her M.A. degree in religious studies.

Johnson began her career in journalism as a general assignment reporter for the Associated Press in Detroit. She sued the Associated Press in 1973 on behalf of African Americans and women after being terminated without just cause. A court upheld her claims of discrimination and handed down a landmark decision. This ruling was the catalyst for the establishment of a formal training program for minority journalists at the Associated Press. In 1975, Johnson moved to Washington, D.C. to work for The Newspaper Guild. From 1976 to 1992 she was a public relations practitioner for nonprofit organizations including the National Urban League and the National 4-H Council.

Johnson served as the assistant editor of the “Features” and the “Arts & Entertainment” sections of the Washington Times from 1994 until 2004. She covered stories at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of the Arts, and the Warner Theater. In 2007, Johnson became the executive editor for the online newspapers owned by Redding Communications, Inc., which included the The Washington Continent and the Redding News Review. She left Redding Communications in April of 2008 to pursue personal writing projects. Johnson also has worked for the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged and the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. She is an active member in the National Association of Black Journalists and has supervised student reporters for the NABJ Monitor. In addition, Johnson founded Grapevine Communications, a media consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Johnson received the Excellence of Lifestyle or Entertainment Pages Award from the Virginia Press Association in 1998; and the SPJ Washington Dateline Award for Excellence in local journalism in 2000.

Marlene L. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 2, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.066

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/2/2013

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Schools

University of the District of Columbia

Howard University School of Divinity

Wayne State University

State University of New York at Buffalo

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marlene

Birth City, State, Country

Rochester

HM ID

JOH42

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/22/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Newspaper reporter and assistant editor Marlene Johnson (1936 - ) , former assistant editor at the the Washington Times and past executive editor at Redding Communications, Inc., filed and won a class-action discrimination lawsuit against the Associated Press in Detroit, Michigan that led to a training program for minority journalists.

Employment

Office of Congressman John Conyers

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Wayne State University

Chrysler Corporation

Hughes Aircraft Corp.

Johnson Publishing Company

Grapevine Communications

Washington Times

Delete

Associated Press (AP)

Favorite Color

Lavender

Timing Pairs
0,0:488,4:956,15:1268,20:11500,82:11756,87:12012,92:12588,107:13612,132:14124,141:15340,187:18370,222:21660,264:23408,297:25080,335:25764,345:29108,424:30400,467:36120,504:36420,510:38756,520:41188,566:41572,573:43290,578:50350,619:64886,800:66734,869:69710,894:70186,902:76236,996:76520,1001:77301,1019:105222,1277:108174,1335:113856,1420:114124,1425:114526,1433:116300,1440:122825,1560:123500,1610:128075,1723:133751,1754:134035,1759:145330,1890:150918,1915:151233,1921:151737,1931:157432,2013:161312,2064:163704,2101:164164,2107:165360,2133:165820,2139:171710,2194:171990,2199:177232,2234:191950,2427:193280,2443:197358,2459:198310,2488:199058,2505:202186,2571:208325,2697:208650,2703:209170,2712:221930,2910:222250,2918:229740,3012:238062,3177:238427,3183:245938,3265:246861,3286:249559,3337:250908,3363:252612,3402:253393,3416:257605,3430:258125,3444:263012,3539:264392,3569:269204,3633:269460,3638:279240,3793:280900,3809$0,0:3795,21:7036,52:12202,150:13022,161:25005,329:25716,357:30061,397:30456,403:30772,408:31246,415:38572,502:41800,536:42232,545:46634,599:50208,618:50888,631:58979,729:63050,755:63820,767:65220,797:65850,809:67250,846:74928,943:78390,961:78990,976:79530,987:80490,1005:82820,1043:83450,1055:83870,1062:84150,1068:89330,1213:94720,1352:99650,1381:100240,1394:100594,1402:111113,1530:111558,1536:112537,1559:116890,1613:118915,1659:127125,1786:128620,1811:146964,1930:147517,1941:151388,2011:151862,2018:152731,2033:161638,2100:162182,2109:166220,2130:167228,2152:176195,2244:180290,2333:180810,2342:184065,2364:190040,2438:190490,2445:191915,2476:196398,2517:197034,2530:198420,2549
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marlene Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marlene Johnson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marlene Johnsons describes her mother's family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marlene Johnson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marlene Johnson talks about not knowing her father's identity, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marlene Johnson talks about not knowing her father's identity, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marlene Johnson describes her biggest childhood influence

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marlene Johnson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marlene Johnson talks about her childhood community's church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marlene Johnson describes her school and high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marlene Johnson describes her experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marlene Johnson describes her relationship with her foster siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marlene Johnson talks about her love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marlene Johnson talks about moving with the Cottoms' and George Wilson

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marlene Johnson describes being separated from her foster siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marlene Johnson talks about her favorite extracurricular activities and her first mentor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marlene Johnson describes her aptitude for basketball and her interest in French

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marlene Johnson talks about the popular music, television, and movies of her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marlene Johnson talks about her high school graduation and her aspirations for her future

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marlene Johnson describes her first jobs as a bean picker and babysitter

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marlene Johnson recalls the harrowing experience of living with her father's brother and his wife in Buffalo

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Marlene Johnson describes pursuing an associate's degree and her first secretarial job

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marlene Johnson talks about moving to Detroit and living with her biological mother

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marlene Johnson describes her negative experience with racial discrimination at work

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marlene Johnson describes her experience at Wayne State University and teaching at Miller High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marlene talks about her work experience at General Motors and the political turmoil during that time

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marlene Johnson recalls her brief time in Los Angeles working for Hughes Aircraft and Ebony Magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marlene Johnson talks about her poetry and how it developed into a Grammy award winning song

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marlene discusses her contact with local poets and her brief foray into songwriting

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marlene Johnson describes how Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination personally impacted her work environment

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marlene Johnson describes her work with Congressman John Conyers and being hired by the Associated Press

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marlene Johnson describes working for the Associated Press, and the class action lawsuit that followed, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marlene Johnson describes working for the Associated Press, and the class action lawsuit that followed, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marlene Johnson describes her suit against the Associated Press

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marlene Johnson describes her experience working at the Newspaper Guild in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marlene Johnson describes her work in public relations in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marlene Johnson talks about her role as the Assistant Editor for Features at the Washington Times

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marlene Johnson talks about her job as Assistant Metro Editor for the Washington Times

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marlene Johnson details the criticism she received from the managing editor of the Washington Times

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marlene Johnson talks about her work as Assistant Metro Editor at the Washington Times

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marlene Johnson talks about her decision to resign from the Washington Times

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marlene Johnson talks about the dream she had about going to Divinity School

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marlene Johnson describes her experience in Divinity School at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marlene Johnson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American Community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marlene Johnson describes how she incorporated her ministry into her journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marlene Johnson describes her work with the National Urban magazine after her retirement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marlene Johnson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marlene Johnson talks about the reasons for her limited role in the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marlene Johnson describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

10$5

DATitle
Marlene Johnson describes working for the Associated Press, and the class action lawsuit that followed, pt. 1
Marlene Johnson describes how she incorporated her ministry into her journalism
Transcript
So, this is in what year?$$I got hired in, I think '72' [1972].$$1972, okay.$$And what they said to me was that they had a one-year training program, and they were going to hire me under that. And so, that's what, that's what happened. But actually, they didn't really have a training program. What they did was, they showed me the different wires and you know, walked me around the room, and they sat me in front of the computer, and then they sent me out on the street. And I covered stories and I wrote stories. There was one guy who was on the desk who was always like reluctant to give me stuff. And anyway, somebody amongst them had a complaint that I wrote too slowly. So--$$You had no training whatsoever, right? Except for how to, how things functioned--$$Right.$$--I mean you still trying to develop...$$Right, no training, no training. And so, like nine months in, the boss decides that he's going to retire, and he's going to dump me. And I said oh, my gosh. And so, I was very upset. And so, a friend of mine--well, a co-worker... There was a guy who I'm still in touch with who is now the--I heard he's the managing editor at the Detroit News. His name is John Wolman. John came in during that period of time when I was there. John, his dad was a newspaper guy in Madison, Wisconsin, so John grew up with newspapers. And John taught me a whole lot. If it wasn't for John, I wouldn't have been able to really work at the AP, but John taught me a whole lot. And I would write, and if was doing it too long, he'd say, 'Get up off that copy.' (laughter). I love John. And so, I would get up off that copy. But it wasn't that it was poorly written, it was just I kept re-writing myself, and John knew it. So, anyway when that happened, he and another co-worker named Marty Hirschman came to me. And I was in the Guild, and they said, 'Well, do you want to file suit, if we can get other people to join you?' And I said sure. And so, that's what happened. They got eight other people. I was--and they were all black except one woman, Francis Leewine, I believe, a white woman. And the rest were black guys and maybe a black woman. And that's how the suit went forward, until it got to the class action part, until it got to the--what do you want to call it? It split to the civil suit, it got to the civil suit. And that's when they--this woman who was going after the money who was an attorney in New York, dumped my name off. The reason I knew that happened is because a woman that I was working with in the Guild named Louise Walsh, I ran into her, and we were on a plane together. And she said, 'You know what?' We had become friends. She said, 'I don't remember seeing your name on the suit anymore.' And I said, 'Well, why wouldn't it be on there?' And so, she told me who to call, and I called the guy, Sid Wrightsman, and I asked him. And he waffled and told me about the attorney in New York who was doing the other part of the suit, the civil part. And when I talked to her, she was really nasty. And she was going, 'You know, it takes a lot to be a named complainant on a suit.' I said, 'I've already been on there seven years.' 'Well, you decided you wanted not to be on it.' I said, 'No, I did not. Nobody asked me, you just took my name off.' 'Well, we got, we want to represent women.' And so what happened is, the suit turned from black and one white, to all white and one black. And the one black--the one that went to the civil suit. They took my name off and put another woman's name on it--a black woman who I had never heard of before. And that's how it went down. So, when the money came out--of course Simeon Booker wrote about it in the Jet for me. But they got like eleven or twelve grand, and I got fifteen hundred dollars.$Okay. When you look back on everything you've done professionally... Now, you're not--well, let me just... You were telling me earlier you're not a practicing minister.$$No.$$You mean you got a degree in theology, but the calling is not to necessarily preach--$$Not to preach, no.$$--but to get the information, I guess, or--$$Right. It was a calling in that it was a calling to a ministry. I often tell people that I'm like Moses. Moses didn't like to speak in public, so Aaron did it. I'm like Moses. I bring you the news, but somebody else may voice it. Everybody is not supposed to be a pastor, and I know that I'm not supposed to be. If the time comes when I'm supposed to be in a pulpit, I'll know it. But I am a person who is very shy of speaking to large groups of people, and I always have been. I think I told you I was in a senior play, but I was trembling, (laughter) with my little having to say. And a lot of, if you know it, a lot of people who are actors and actresses are shy people. And I'm a shy in a way. And when I tell people that, they say you can't be shy. Yes, I am, in a way. And that's the way in which I'm shy. And if you're a preacher, you've got to preach. And you perform, and you've got to get people to listen. And if you're standing up there and your voice is trembling, you're not going to get the word across. And one of the things I had said to myself a long time ago, Dr, King is my model for oratory. If I can't get there (laughter), I'm not preaching. And I'm serious about that. If you can't be effective in it, why do it? And I'm not effective in that. I'm a writer. I can be effective as a writer. And so, I do write for my church. I do write for other people, but I'm not effective as a speaker to large groups of people. So, I'm leaving that alone, yeah.$$Okay. So, did you consider doing any counseling or any other kind of--?$$Well, one of the things I thought of when I got the calling was counseling, because it seems like a lot of people come to me for advice. But then I came to understand that pastoral counseling is somewhat different. It's for real, and you counsel people who are in grief and all of that. My soul was too fragile for that, I think. So, I don't do counseling. I didn't want to go into that on that level. I took one course in pastoral counseling and it was interesting, but I knew it wasn't going to be a fit for me, yeah. So, if people want my advice, I'm willing to give it on an ad hoc basis, but not as a professional pastoral counselor.