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Patricia J. Williams

Lawyer Patricia Joyce Williams was born on August 28, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts to Isaiah Williams and Ruth Williams. After graduating from Girls’ Latin School in 1969, Williams received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College in 1972. She went on to receive her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.

From 1975 to 1978, Williams served as deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles Office of the City Attorney, where she focused on consumer protection. She joined the Western Center on Law and Poverty as a staff attorney in 1978. In 1980, she moved to Golden Gate University School of Law, where she worked as an assistant professor for four years before joining City University of New York Law School as an associate professor. From 1988 to 1993, Williams worked as a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. During this time, she served as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School, Duke Law School, and Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Williams joined the faculty at Columbia Law School in 1991 and taught contracts, consumer protection, and theories of equality. In 2019, she left Columbia Law School to serve a joint appointment at Northeastern University in the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Williams has written multiple books, including The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor, The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice, and Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race. Her scholarship has contributed to the development of critical legal studies and critical race theory.

Williams served on the board of advisors at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Society of American Law Teachers, the National Association for Public Interest Law, and The Bell Foundation. She also served on the board of directors at the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and was a member of the American Philosophical Society. Williams also worked for The Nation, as author of the column, “Diary of a Mad Law Professor.”

Williams has received the Romnes Endowment for Excellence in Scholarship from the University of Wisconsin, the Alumnae Achievement Award from Wellesley College, and the Graduate Society Medal from Harvard University. In 1990, Williams received the Pioneer of Civil and Human Rights Award from the National Conference of Black Lawyers. She received the Bruce K. Gould Book Award from Touro Law Center in 1992, and the Exceptional Merit Media Award from National Women's Political Caucus in 1993. In 2000, she received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.”

Williams has one son: Peter.

Patricia Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.101

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/12/2019

9/12/2019 |and| 10/21/2019

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

Boston Latin Academy

Wellesley College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

WIL94

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Beach

Favorite Quote

You Have A Right To Exist No Less Than The Grass Or The Trees Or The Sky

Bio Photo
Birth Date

8/28/1951

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Short Description

Lawyer Patricia Williams (1951- ) was a professor at Columbia Law School for twenty eight years and is a leading scholar of critical race theory.

Employment

Office of the City Attorney

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Golden Gate University School of Law

City University of New York Law School

University of Wisconsin Law School

Stanford Law School

Duke University School of Law

Columbia Law School

Harvard University

The Nation

Northeastern University

Favorite Color

Blue/Green

Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr.

African American Studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in Keyser, West Virginia on September 16, 1950, the son of Henry Louis Gates Sr. and Pauline Augusta Coleman. Gates first enrolled in college at Potomac State College in 1968, before transferring to Yale University in 1969. In 1970, he received a fellowship from Yale that would allow him to work and travel in Africa. Gates graduated from Yale in 1973, receiving his B.A. degree in History. Gates was also honored in 1973 with an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award. The first such grant to be given to an African American, the award allowed Gates to study at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. At Cambridge, Gates enrolled in the Clare College, and studied English Literature. Gates was able to work with scholars such as Wole Soyinka, the first native of Africa to win a Pulitzer Prize, British Labor scholar Raymond Williams and literary critic George Steiner. While he returned to the United States in 1975, Gates continued his studies, and received PhD. in English Language and Literature from the University of Cambridge in 1979.

Gates enrolled at Yale Law School in 1975, but left after a month. He stayed at the New Haven, CT. institution, becoming a secretary at with the University’s unit of African American Studies. In 1976, Gates was appointed as a lecturer in English and African American Studies, and named Director of Undergraduate Studies. Gates was made an Assistant Professor at Yale in 1979, and stayed at the University until 1985 While at Cornell University, where he served as a Professsor of English, Literature and Africana Studies from 1985 to 1990, Gates groundbreaking text Signifying Monkey A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism, was released. A 1989 American Book Award winner, the work extended the application of the concept of “signifyin(g)” to analysis of African American works and thus rooted African-American literary criticism in the African American vernacular tradition. The work gained Gates critical acclaim nationally, and he quickly translated his success into a more mainstream career as a “public intellectual,” writing pieces on race and other issues for publications like the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Nation and The New Republic.

After a short stay at Duke University from 1989 to 1991, Gates moved onto Harvard University, where he became a Professor and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, a position he still holds today. Gates was also the co-founder of TheRoot.com, an online magazine, and editor of the Oxford African American Studies Center.

Accession Number

A2013.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/29/2013

Last Name

Gates

Maker Category
Middle Name

Louis "Skip"

Occupation
Schools

Yale University

The University of Cambridge

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Keyser

HM ID

GAT03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

What You Talkin' About?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

9/16/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti, Meat Sauce

Short Description

English professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. (1950 - ) extended the application of the concept of “signifyin(g)” to analysis of African American works and thus rooted African American literary criticism in the African American vernacular tradition. The work gained Gates critical acclaim nationally, and he quickly translated his success into a more mainstream career as a “public intellectual,”

Employment

Harvard University

Cornell University

Duke University

Yale University

Root.com

Oxford African American Studies Center

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. talks about African American genetic research

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. recalls his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. talks about The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. recalls his family background
Transcript
So I'm going to ask about your family history. I'm going to ask about your mother's side of the family and your father's [Henry Louis Gates, Sr.], but we'll start with your mother's side.$$Okay.$$Can you give us your mother's full name and spell it for us?$$Pauline Augusta Coleman Gates [Pauline Coleman Gates], Pauline Augusta, is standard, Coleman, C-O-L-E-M-A-N.$$Okay, and what is her date of birth and place of birth?$$September 17th, 1916 and she was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.$$All right. Now, what can you tell us about your mother's side of the family? How far back can you trace them and what are the stories from that side?$$Oh, I can trace my family on both sides back to my fourth great-grandparents. So, my mother's third great-grandfather was John Redman, he's my fourth great-grandfather, and John Redman mustered into the Patriot army, the Continental Army, on Christmas Day, 1778 in Winchester, Virginia, and was mustered out in April, 18--April, 1784, and he got a pension from the United States government for his service. He was a free Negro and because of that, my brother, Paul [Paul Gates], and I are members of the Sons of the American Revolution.$$Okay.$$He died about 1819, I think. On the same side, we can identify two sets of fourth great-grandparents. They happened to have lived in the same county, Hardy County, Virginia, which is now West Virginia. Isaac Clifford is my fourth great-grandfather. He, too, was a free Negro. He--we have an interesting paper trail on him because--both of these men were born about 1760, we guess, because a white man named Riley [sic. James Ryan], who lived down the road from Isaac Clifford, captured him and tried to make him a slave on his farm and Isaac actually sued for his freedom and half a dozen white men testified on his behalf in the court case in seventeen seventy- 1795 and 1796, and he was freed for wrongful imprisonment, which is a legal term for, when a free person, among other things, when a free person is, someone tries to impress them back into slavery. So we have a very extensive paper trail. My family owned property, they were free on that line from the middle of the 18th century. They owned property. Some of the property my family, my cousins still own, and they never moved. You know, these are ancestors who were born 250 years ago and they lived thirty miles from where I was born and this, I was born in the Alleghany Mountains of, in the Potomac River basin, halfway about, between Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] and Washington [D.C.].$$I'm sorry. Now, for some reason in the haste of this, I forgot to ask you your date of birth and place of birth.$$September 16th, 1950, Keyser, West Virginia.$$Okay.$$And, so when the world's best genealogist in my family tree, the people who do the family trees, my guess on finding your roots, I was astonished. I mean, I was floored. We knew a lot about the, the Gates side of the family, but nothing, really, about either side of the family. Not, considering the irony that all these records were in two courthouses thirty miles from where I was born, it's amazing. So American history and Gates family history, in my mother's case, Coleman family history, were inextricably intertwined, through paper.$$So do you think if you had not been Henry Louis Gates [HistoryMaker Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr.] looking for this, would you, you think there--would have been likely that you would have found any of this information?$$Oh, since the revolution in the digitization of records, anyone would have found it now but we found it when I was doing my first PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] series on genealogy and genetics ['African American Lives'] and that was, we were doing the research in 2005. One genealogist, Johni Cerny, found three sets of my third great-grandparents and then a fourth genealogist, going into the archives in, the local archives in Hardy Co- excuse me, a fourth genealogist named Jane Ailes [Jane E. Ailes], going into the archives in Hardy County, Virginia, found the next layer but there is a detailed paper trail. No one had really looked before until digitization. Now we can do it in seconds, what it would take months and months even years to do and a lot of money, someone with a lot of leisure time and great patience, looking page by page, record by record, my god, and now you just go to the computer, type in a name, and your ancestors pop up on the ancestry.com database.$So moving forward through the Civil War period, what were your ancestors doing on your mother's side? Can you give, do you have any idea?$$Well, on my, those two sets (cough), those two sets of fourth great-grandparents on my mother's side, we can also identify one set on my father's side, my father's mother's side, and that was Joe [Joseph Bruce] and Sarah Bruce. They're my fourth great-grandparents, and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Okay, I'm trying not to get them mixed up, these two sides mixed up.$$Yeah, the first sides, the Redmans, the Redmans and the Cliffords are my fourth great-grandparents on my mother's side. My mother was, again, Pauline Coleman [Pauline Coleman Gates]. On my, but her mother [Margaret Howard Coleman] was a Redman, and her grandmother [Lucy Clifford Howard] was a Clifford, so you could see how it works. On my father's side (yawns), I need an espresso, on my father's side, it's four o'clock, man, I've got to get that caffeine sugar thing, on my father's side, through his mother who was a Redman, she's descended from the Bruces. Joe and Sarah Bruce are my fourth great-grandparents. We actually have the will, we actually know who owned them. They were slaves owned by Abraham Van Meter and in his will in 1823, he freed them and, one of their children, and then promised to free the other children upon the death of his wife, Elizabeth [Elizabeth Van Meter]. She died in 1836 and all of them were freed. So, again, we have a tremendous paper trail and they all lived near each other. All these people knew each other and their descendants. They all lived in the same county [Hardy County, Virginia; Hardy County, West Virginia] and there was a handful of black people up there in these hollers with all these white people and I'm a Redman on both my mother's side and my father's side (laughter), 'cause there's so few black people there. On the Civil War, several members of my family fought in the United States Colored Troops. My [maternal] grandmother's uncle, J.R. Clifford [John Robert Clifford], was the first black lawyer in the State of West Virginia and he's on a stamp, United States postal stamp, in the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement series. He was a member of the Niagara Movement with Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois] and, in fact, was the host of the 1906 meeting at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is about two hours, I guess, east of my hometown [Keyser, West Virginia]. So--$$So, so was he connected to Storer College [Harpers Ferry, West Virginia] there?$$Oh, yeah.$$Okay.$$Everybody was around there, but he had a law practice and he had his own newspaper. He was a newspaper editor and publisher, it was called, the Pioneer Press. These are my genes, man, that's where I come from.$$Okay, there are writers and, Pioneer Press, okay. So, okay, so moving forward to your grandparents, I guess. What were they doing?$$My paternal grandparents--$$No maternal.$$My maternal grandparents, my grandfather died in 1945. He was a janitor, a laborer, not a jani- he was a laborer at the Westvaco paper company [West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company; Westvaco Corporation]. His name was Paul Coleman and my grandmother was a housewife, she had twelve children. On my father's side, his father [Edward St. Lawrence Gates] was, had his own business, and his grandfather [Edward Gates] did. They had a chimney sweep business and a janitorial business and he, my grandfather was the janitor at the First National Bank [First National Bank and Trust Company of Western Maryland] in Cumberland, Maryland, and my grandmother, Gertrude Helen Redman [Gertrude Helen Redman Gates], was a housewife.$$Well your father's name is the same as yours except a senior [Henry Louis Gates, Sr.], right?$$Um-hm.$$And what was your father's date of birth and place of birth?$$My father was born June the 8th, 1913 in Patterson Creek, West Virginia.$$And that's close by?$$It's all there (laughter), in that same thirty miles.$$All right, all right. Now did, can you go back as far on your father's side as you--$$I already did, remember through my father's mother's side.$$Oh, okay, all right.$$Yeah, and my father's father's side, we could go back to Jane Gates, who was a slave, who was born in 1819. This is the only side that we can trace on my family tree where the person was not freed before the end of the Civil War. Jane's children were all fathered by the same man, she said, that's what she told her children. Her children all looked white and according to the DNA analysis, he was an Irishman because I have the O'Neill haplotype, my Y DNA, and it comes from, well, it's very common in Ireland. About 10 percent of all the men in Dublin [Ireland] have the same Y DNA signature.

Warren Morton Washington

Distinguished scientist Warren M. Washington was born on August 28, 1936, in Portland, Oregon. As a high school student, Washington had a keen interest in science; after graduation he went on to earn his B.A. degree in physics and his M.A. degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his Ph.D. in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, Washington became a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1963. While serving in the position of senior scientist at NCAR in 1975, Washington developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth’s climate; soon after, he became the head of the organization’s Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

As an expert in atmospheric science, climate research, and computer modeling of the earth’s climate, Washington received several presidential appointments. From 1978 to 1984, Washington served on the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere; in 1990, he began serving on the Secretary of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee; and in 1996, he assumed the chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change. Washington also served on the Modernization Transition Committee and the National Centers for Environment Prediction Advisory Committee of the United States National Weather Service. In April 2000, the United States Secretary of Energy appointed Washington to the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. Washington was also appointed to the National Science Board and elected chair of the organization in 2002 and 2004.

Among his many awards and honors, Washington received both the Le Vernier Medal of the Societe Meterologique de France, and the Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for atmospheric science. Washington's induction into the National Academy of Sciences Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, was announced in 1997. Washington also received the Celebrating Twentieth Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences Award at Howard University, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, awarded him the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Washington held memberships in the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society.

In addition to his professional activities, Washington served as a mentor and avid supporter of scholarly programs and outreach organizations that encouraged students to enter the profession of atmospheric sciences.

Accession Number

A2006.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/20/2006

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

Morton

Schools

Jefferson High School

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Portland

HM ID

WAS03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Nobody loves me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

8/28/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Warren Morton Washington (1936 - ) developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth's climate, and was elected chairman of the National Science Board in 2002 and 2004.

Employment

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warren Washington interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his mother's family and her life history

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Warren Washington discusses the lives of his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warren Washington recounts his maternal grandparents' move from Texas to Oregon

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the history of his great-grandparents and the origin of his last name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warren Washington discusses his father's employment and the hospital where he was born

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recalls his maternal lineage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warren Washington shares his earliest memories of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences growing up in a mixed neighborhood and the racial tensions in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warren Washington remembers how he would spend the summers of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls his time in elementary school and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his fondness of public libraries while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warren Washington remembers teachers who inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his job during college and his first car

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes racial attitudes in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls the impact of World War II on his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his feelings of discouragement during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warren Washington shares his impressions of entering college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warren Washington discusses his determination to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes some of his experiences during college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Warren Washington recalls having segregated fraternities and sororities on campus

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Warren Washington stresses the importance of diversity in higher education organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Warren Washington discusses the importance of diversity in science

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Warren Washington recalls his fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Warren Washington discusses his career path after graduating from college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warren Washington talks about his work with early computers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warren Washington talks about starting his graduate work

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warren Washington explains the background of his graduate thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warren Washington discusses how he became an adjunct associate professor

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the racial tensions on a college campus during the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his experience first working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses African American scientific communities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his work under several presidencies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls his first experiences as a scientific advisor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Warren Washington talks about connecting science to greater societal issues

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Warren Washington talks about explaining his work to his parents and the publication of his book

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recounts a few of his presidential appointments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences working with the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warren Washington shares how he responds to a special request from the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the process of building more complex computer models for climate prediction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warren Washington relates the importance of creating better weather prediction models

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warren Washington discusses his beliefs on the social impacts of global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Warren Washington shares his thoughts on Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes an incident in which he provides testimony before Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes working under different presidents

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Warren Washington discusses his thoughts on global warming and meeting Vice President Gore

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recounts his experiences as a mentor and role model

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the awards he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his most rewarding professional achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Warren Washington considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Warren Washington comments on the importance of young people to consider a career in science

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Introduction to Warren Washington's interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Warren Washington describes his family background and educational history

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Overview of Warren Washington's family's migration to Portland, their early life there and his interest in science

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Warren Washington talks about his early interest in science and his decision to pursue science in college

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his involvement in the youth chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his experience at Oregon State University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Warren Washington talks about studying physics at Oregon State University, and his introduction to the mathematical modeling

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Warren Washington talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Warren Washington describes his decision to join the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Warren Washington describes his experience in Boulder, Colorado in the 1960s, and his encounter with journalist, Dan Rather, in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Warren Washington describes his service on the National Science Board

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Warren Washington talks about working with President George H.W. Bush's administration

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Warren Washington talks about the evolution of computer processing capabilities, and his work on climate models at NCAR

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Warren Washington shares his perspective on the debate on climate change and global warming

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Overview of Warren Washington's awards and achievements

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Warren Washington discusses the significance of climate change

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Warren Washington reflects upon his legacy and how he wants to be remembered