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Fay Ferguson

Advertising chief executive Fay Ferguson graduated magna cum laude with her B.A. degree in English, speech, and drama from Concordia College in Minnesota in 1973. She then received her M.B.A. degree from Indiana University in 1978

After graduation, from 1974 to 1976, Ferguson taught eighth grade English for two years in Michigan City, Indiana. She began her advertising career in 1978 at the Leo Burnett Company and progressed from an account management trainee to account executive. While there, Ferguson coordinated marketing and advertising campaigns for several Pillsbury Company products, including the refrigerated dinner rolls, the sweet rolls, the turnovers, and the slice’n bake cookies. Ferguson then served as senior account executive at Bozell & Jacobs, Inc. where she managed the Alberto Culver account and oversaw the national rollout of their premier line, Mrs. Dash and Alberto Mousse. In March of 1984, Ferguson joined Burrell Communications Group as an account supervisor. She was promoted to vice president in 1986 and became an account director in 1988. After being promoted to management supervisor in 1992, Ferguson was named client service director in 1993 and managed the company’s accounts with the Procter & Gamble Company and the McDonalds Corporation. In addition, she served as co-chair of the new business committee for Burrell Communications Group. In November of 1997, Ferguson became the managing partner of account management and operations. Later, Ferguson was appointed as co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group.

Ferguson has been active on several boards, including the Perspectives Charter School, the Chicago Advertising Federation, The Chicago Network, the North Shore Chapter of the Links, Inc., the American Association of Advertising Agencies – Purple Forum, and the Economic Club of Chicago. She was appointed to the advisory board at Turner Patterson, LLC. In addition, she co-chaired the advertising book benefit for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

Ferguson has received numerous awards, including the “Advertising Working Mother of the Year, Trailblazer Mom” award from Working Mother magazine, and the Target Market News “Advertising Executive of the Year MAAX” award. She was also recognized the “Most Influential Woman” award from the Women’s Leadership Federation; the “Outstanding Women in Marketing Communications” award from Ebony magazine; and the “Advertising Woman of the Year Award” from The Women’s Advertising Club of Chicago and the Chicago Advertising Federation.

Fay Ferguson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.247

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/27/2013

Last Name

Ferguson

Maker Category
Schools

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Grade School

Central Junior High School

La Porte High School

Concordia College

Indiana University

First Name

Fay

Birth City, State, Country

La Porte

HM ID

FER04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs, California

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Have Anything Positive To Say, Keep Quiet.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/6/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Chocolate)

Short Description

Advertising chief executive Fay Ferguson (1951 - ) served as an account executive with the Leo Burnett Company and went on to become co-chief executive officer of Burrell Communications Group.

Employment

Burrell Communications Group

Lee King & Partners/Bozell & Jacobs

Leo Burnett Company, Inc.

Michigan City Elston Junior High School

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:1827,43:2958,64:4350,112:5481,126:7830,174:8265,183:10962,239:12006,252:13311,275:13833,282:15312,302:28509,392:30003,413:32742,459:33821,478:38137,546:38469,551:39050,559:40959,596:41291,601:42868,630:46188,700:54320,828:58120,919:76732,1124:77838,1140:86530,1199:87490,1228:90850,1303:92210,1315:93330,1331:95970,1381:96850,1394:97170,1399:98050,1413:98770,1423:100610,1456:100930,1461:101410,1468:102690,1486:108724,1505:109372,1516:110020,1527:110956,1544:112180,1554:114746,1581:115257,1589:115549,1594:116133,1604:118323,1670:133133,1780:134904,1820:141141,1923:141911,1935:146222,1959:146726,1966:152942,2058:154958,2082:155882,2095:157646,2121:157982,2126:158738,2136:160166,2162:168194,2205:168746,2215:169367,2226:169712,2232:170057,2238:170747,2249:171851,2269:172403,2279:172817,2286:173576,2298:174059,2306:174335,2311:175370,2330:175853,2339:178268,2388:178820,2399:179303,2410:179924,2420:180269,2426:184400,2439:185060,2446:189130,2506:198464,2609:199608,2624:200224,2632:202248,2662:205388,2681:205898,2687:206408,2694:206816,2699:207224,2704:207938,2712:210794,2787:211202,2792:211814,2804:215690,2836$0,0:5092,100:5396,105:7676,135:8360,145:8664,150:11552,192:12084,253:12616,262:15276,324:16112,337:16872,349:17328,356:18468,375:19380,391:21508,427:22724,449:23028,454:23332,459:34054,576:35854,603:36430,612:37150,628:37870,641:41110,695:41398,700:41686,705:42406,719:42982,729:43630,742:43918,752:44350,760:44854,769:45502,779:58542,933:58898,938:59343,944:63470,1004:65822,1102:68006,1156:68762,1166:72710,1291:73382,1300:73718,1308:74642,1321:75062,1327:77414,1380:77834,1392:84806,1526:93342,1563:94587,1589:95915,1610:104796,1832:105709,1844:113160,1903:113727,1911:115590,1948:117777,2002:118182,2009:118668,2016:120531,2046:121827,2063:127700,2104:128900,2124:129220,2129:129940,2141:130900,2160:131620,2172:133860,2209:134260,2215:135140,2228:137620,2263:138740,2280:140420,2298:140980,2306:150250,2387:150775,2393:151510,2401:152770,2417:153295,2424:165144,2554:165872,2565:166873,2579:174335,2691:174881,2699:175427,2706:175791,2711:176155,2716:178703,2775:179704,2791:180250,2799:180614,2804:187322,2862:187826,2870:188710,2878
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about her maternal grandfather's adoption

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson remembers St. John's Lutheran School in La Porte, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls her experiences at the majority-white St. John's Lutheran School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fay Ferguson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Fay Ferguson talks about her early interest in athletics

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Fay Ferguson talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Fay Ferguson talks about the role of religion in her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Fay Ferguson remembers Sunday afternoons after church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson describes her community in La Porte, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to public schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson remembers LaPorte High School in La Porte, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson remembers enrolling at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about the development of her racial identity

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson remembers teaching at Elston Middle School in Michigan City, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson talks about her experiences as a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls the Indiana University School of Business in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to the marketing industry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson remembers joining the Leo Burnett Company Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson describes her responsibilities at the Leo Burnett Company Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson remembers her first marketing presentation

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about the advertising industry

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson remembers her transition to Bozell and Jacobs, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson describes the account executive's role at an advertising shoot

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls being recruited by Thomas J. Burrell

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson remembers Thomas J. Burrell

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson talks about marketing to the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson remembers her clients at the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about the growth of the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson describes her role as the director of client services at the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson talks about the work environment at the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson remembers Thomas J. Burrell's retirement from the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls becoming co-CEO of the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson talks about marketing to the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson talks about black women in executive positions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about the downfall of prominent advertising agencies

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about digital marketing

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson describes the structure of the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson reflects upon the marketing industry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson reflects on her legacy at the Burrell Communications Group

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fay Ferguson reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fay Ferguson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Fay Ferguson talks about the importance of healthy living

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to the marketing industry
Fay Ferguson describes her role as the director of client services at the Burrell Communications Group
Transcript
Well, you know, let's kind of touch, touch base a little bit on Xerox [Xerox Corporation]. Off camera you just mentioned the environment and I think you mentioned something about it being a--$$It was an all male environment as far as the professional careers and there were female secretaries, but in terms of any managers they were all white men and Xerox was a household name and so I was very gratified to be able to get an internship with them and to be able to I thought, contribute, who knows what interns are actually are able to do, but they gave me real world assignments as opposed to just make work, so that, that was really great. I had my own little apartment. It was, it was, it was wonderful.$$How as Rochester [New York] overall?$$Rochester, nothing to it (laughter).$$But it was nice to have your own place, have enough cash?$$Yes and could, could walk to work so it, it was, it was all very good.$$That was a summer internship?$$Yes.$$Okay, thank you, so let's go to Leo Burnett [Leo Burnett Company Inc.]. What was the woman's name again, Judy--?$$Carol Singer.$$Carol Singer, I'm sorry, I don't know where Judy came from, Carol Singer. How did you end up getting a position with Leo Burnett, I mean she came recruited, how, how did you get the job?$$And so then once Carol went back to the headquarters in Chicago [Illinois] at Burnett, obviously they get together and talk about all the different candidates that they've seen and then you're invited up for an interview and so I came up to Chicago to interview with a number of individuals and then I was invited back again for another follow up interview and then made a job offer.$$Okay, and time wise, this is when about, late '70s [1970s] or so?$$Yes, '78 [1978].$$Thanks and you got an offer to, to join Leo Burnett as, in what capacity? What was your position?$$Trainee (laughter). Back in those days we lovingly called the entrance level position as working in the pit, and that's because you went, when you went to work it was dark, when you left work it was dark and you were amongst your peers learning the ropes. You, you were put into different positions, whether it was research, spot buying, writing so that you learned a little bit about every discipline within advertising, which was really quite great because many companies don't do that now because they've become specialists, but I, I was able to be exposed to virtually every position and that's helped me as I worked my way up the ladder so to speak. My first assignment was on Kelloggs [Kellogg Company] and after I left the pit (laughter) and there I had ninety spot TV markets that I analyzed and purchased media for and then after that I went into account management on the Pillsbury account [Pillsbury Company, LLC] where you get into more of the strategic arm, of, of marketing.$Before we get to the 2000s, so you're, you're, you're moving up the, the ladder very nicely, senior vice president in the early 1990s, executive vice president. What was your role within the agency [Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, Illinois] and with the clients at those kinds of levels? What was that like?$$I was actually the director of client services, so I was over all of the accounts in the agency, but being a small agency--so I've gone from large to midsize to small, my job was not--I didn't, I had direct accounts that I worked on, but then I had accounts that I may not be directly involved with, but I was also charged with mentoring and nurturing the account directors to help them grow in their roles and also took on more of a role in terms of financial accountability and profitably for the agency, again the numbers are important on the agency side as well (laughter).$$Absolutely, absolutely, and you had some major clients, beside McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation] you had Exxon Mobil [Exxon Mobil Corporation], Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.], Kellogg [Kellogg Company], Coca-Cola [The Coca-Cola Company], Nation- Nationwide Insurance group [Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company], P and G [Procter and Gamble Company], did you, were you accountable with client services that if something is going awry you, you have to step in?$$Yes, yes, yes and in fact--$$Not that it ever did.$$(Laughter) No we all have our challenges.$$You have your challenges, thank you.$$So in fact, there was a point and time when the McDonald's account was going through a number of issues and I was not working day to day on the account at the time and so Tom [HistoryMaker Thomas J. Burrell] tapped me on my shoulder and said, "Hey, we need you over here." (Laughter) And I was like, "Oh god, no." (Laughter) Because it was interesting that the McDonald's folks were always busy, they're always running around, it was--I said, "I don't get that. What's going on?" (Laughter) I soon found out, it's a retail account, so it was one of the agency's busiest accounts because we were literally doing every month what it took most of the other accounts six months to a year to do, so we were in production every month of the year, which, and we were at client meetings all the time, so it was a totally different environment and it was, it was fascinating in a very different way. I never thought that I could go from a slow, steady, steady pace on a packaged goods client, like a Procter or a General Mills [General Mills Inc.] to a McDonald's, but once I was there it took about, you know, a little bit, six months before I accepted it (laughter), but once I was there I was like wow, this is really what it's about and I, I don't know that I could ever go back, that, that pace, that energy, that excitement, it's, there's, there's exhilaration, there's nothing like it.

Eugene Morris

Pioneering advertising executive Eugene Morris, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 25, 1939. The youngest of four siblings, Morris was raised in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Owning several restaurants, Morris’ parents, Eugene Morris, Sr. and Willie Mae Morris, instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in their son. At the age of twelve, Morris and a childhood friend started a junk resale business with local thrift and resale shops as their clients. In 1952, Morris graduated from Forestville Elementary School. He then attended Tilden High School, graduating in 1956.

Morris attended several community colleges, and was later drafted into the U.S. Army in 1962. He was stationed in Kentucky at Fort Knox, in South Carolina at Fort Jackson, and overseas in Germany. By 1968, Morris returned to Chicago and obtained a job with the advertising agency of Foote, Cone, and Belding. He worked for several years at Foote, Cone, and Belding while attending Roosevelt University. In 1969, he received his B.A. degree in business administration and his M.B.A in 1971 from Roosevelt University. During the period between 1974 and 1986, Morris worked as an account supervisor and senior vice president management supervisor at Burrell Advertising Agency. He developed advertising programs for clients including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Johnson Products.

In 1987, Morris founded his own advertising agency entitled Eugene Morris Communications, Inc. (EMC). EMC has been ranked as one of Black Enterprise’s top fifteen advertising agencies. EMC’s clientele have included American Family Insurance, Tyson Foods, Illinois Department of Transportation, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. EMC has created major multi-cultural and multi-dimensional advertising campaigns that have generated $37.7 million in billings. Morris received the 2005 Martin Luther King Legacy Award from the Martin Luther King Boys and Girls Club for his philanthropic efforts. He has also received the 2006 Illinois Governor’s Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Accession Number

A2006.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/24/2006 |and| 2/1/2006

1/24/2006

2/1/2006

Last Name

Morris

Maker Category
Schools

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School

Roosevelt University

Kennedy–King College

First Name

Eugene

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MOR10

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

Common Sense Ain't Common.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/25/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Advertising chief executive and advertising executive Eugene Morris (1939 - ) owns his own advertising company called Eugene Morris Communications (EMC).

Employment

E. Morris Communications, Inc.

Burrell Advertising

Foote, Cone and Belding

U.S. Post Office

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:888,8:6134,86:18948,333:33832,515:35128,533:51306,696:55128,742:55518,748:64020,859:65424,881:66282,896:68700,927:69168,934:69480,939:74074,954:75946,983:92560,1221:93600,1239:98080,1319:98560,1326:99520,1343:100640,1367:101360,1377:102960,1406:134005,1842:137645,1918:147690,2061:148070,2067:160686,2381:169130,2466:181106,2687:181496,2693:181886,2699:190310,2892:208678,3076:215822,3217:237853,3618:238145,3623:238583,3630:261160,3985:261880,3999:276280,4168:280669,4355:294180,4619$0,0:395,25:16595,299:30789,500:32997,547:34860,614:46394,806:47252,818:48890,860:49202,865:54584,985:54896,990:57470,1033:59186,1066:59888,1077:71390,1198:73640,1237:76490,1286:82650,1341:87393,1401:96735,1509:100335,1590:106840,1694
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugene Morris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris talks about his birth

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris describes his maternal and paternal family histories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris describes moving to the Near North Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris talks about his experience at Sexton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris remembers his sixth grade teacher, HistoryMaker Frances T. Matlock

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eugene Morris describes his experience at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris talks about renting a horse to collect scrap metal

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris describes the racial tensions at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris talks about his experience on the wrestling team at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris talks about his shop teacher at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris talks about his father's restaurants

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris talks about what kind of student he was at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris talks about his experience in the City Colleges of Chicago between 1956 and 1962

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1962

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris describes being stationed in Germany as a U.S. Army clerk

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris describes his experiences with segregation while in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris describes his experience as a company clerk in the U.S. Army at Coleman Barracks in Sandhofen, Germany, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris describes his experience as a company clerk in the U.S. Army at Coleman Barracks in Sandhofen, Germany, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris talks about his entrepreneurial experience on Coleman Barracks in Sandhofen, Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris describes returning to the United States and enrolling at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris talks about his mother's religion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris recalls being hired at the advertising firm Foote, Cone and Belding in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris recalls working at Foote, Cone and Belding and studying at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris recalls working at Foote, Cone and Belding and studying at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris talks about being oblivious to the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris recalls the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris talks about the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris talks about how his car was stolen after his return from Germany in 1965, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris talks about how his car was stolen after his return from Germany in 1965, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris describes his experience as an account executive at Foote, Cone and Belding, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris describes his experience as an account executive at Foote, Cone and Belding, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris describes being hired as an account supervisor and media director at Burrell Advertising in 1974

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eugene Morris recalls working on advertising campaigns for McDonald's and Coca-Cola at Burrell Advertising

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Eugene Morris describes the state of black advertising in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris talks about changing general market advertising campaigns to work for black audiences

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris recalls his departure from Burrell Advertising in 1986 and his relationship with HistoryMaker Thomas J. Burrell

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris describes starting Morris Randall Advertising and E. Morris Communications, Inc. in 1987

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris recalls the deaths of his parents and his likenesses to them

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris talks about his early clients at E. Morris Communications, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris shares his total marketing concept

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris describes losing Oldsmobile as a client in 2001 and how it affected E. Morris Communications, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris describes the quick turnover of business in advertising

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris describes how E. Morris Communications, Inc. rebounded from the loss of Oldsmobile in 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris describes his experience working on advertising campaigns for Wal-Mart Stores

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eugene Morris describes his approach to marketing to different segments of the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eugene Morris talks about founding the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eugene Morris describes his experience working with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eugene Morris describes his experience working with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expressway

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eugene Morris talks about the "Double Dutch" advertising campaign for Tyson Foods, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eugene Morris describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eugene Morris reflects on how his parents would view his career

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eugene Morris shares his advice for young entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Eugene Morris reflects on his faith and marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eugene Morris narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

9$3

DATitle
Eugene Morris remembers his sixth grade teacher, HistoryMaker Frances T. Matlock
Eugene Morris talks about founding the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies
Transcript
But the teacher who impacted me the most in, in, in, in, in grade school was my sixth grade teacher [at Forestville Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois], and her name was [HM] Frances T. Matlock. And she was a little bitty lady, although she didn't look very little to me, 'cause I was a little bitty kid. I mean I, I grew very late. But she was, she was very tough, very tough, physically tough. I mean she would, she would get very physical. She couldn't exist today, but in those days, I mean she didn't hesitate to lay a little corporal punishment on you if, if you got out of line. But she was a tremendous teacher. She was the first and only teacher until I, I guess sometimes in college where I--she taught us anything about black history. And she was doing this in 1950. And she used to bring, during, during February, she would bring all kinds of materials to school, and we would have skits and plays and things like that. But she taught us a lot about having black pride, I mean, you know, long before anybody ever, ever mentioned it. You know, and she taught us a lot about black historical figures who, at, at a time when nobody was taking about it. And I always--you know, she, she taught us just about, about life and wanting to excel and wanting to live a better life. And she taught us social skills, and, and music, and all kinds of different things that, that went above just the regular curriculum. In fact, I, I might be getting ahead of myself, but I had not, had not seen her for a very long time. And one of the things we, we might talk about this later, but I'm real big on, on celebrating my birthdays. And the, the--my E. Morris [Communications] team here, they know that I really like this, and so they always try to do something to surprise me for my birthday. And so one day I had planned to take off for my birthday, and they called me and told me that something had happened, and I need to come in. And so I came in, and they said it's in, in the conference room. And I went in the conference room, and all these people were in there. And so, I--(unclear)--ah, man, they're just trying to trick--it's a birthday surprise, and I thought it was just the staff. But then when I started looking around, I could see, well, wait a minute, there're some other people here, was a friend who I grew up with, who I, I main--maintained contact with. His mother was here and several other people. And then so I see this little lady, and, but she had her back turned, and I couldn't figure out well, who is this? And at first I thought it might have been one of my aunts, and then I said no, it's not her. And she turned around. It was my sixth grade teacher. They had found her.$$How had the found her?$$And they found her--$$That's so awesome.$$--they found her, and, and I just started screaming: Ms. Matlock, Ms. Matlock, 'cause I had not seen her in forty-five years or something, you know--$$And she was still alive.$$She, she was still alive. In, in fact I found a picture of her that we took that day, because we, we, after the, after we had our little champagne and cake celebration, we, we--they had rented a bus, and we went on a tour of all, a lot of the places where I used to live and where I went school. And Ms. Matlock rode the bus with us and spent the whole day with us. And it was just, it was just a fabulous birthday present.$$That's beautiful--$$Yeah.$$Oh, my goodness.$$Yeah.$$I love that.$$Yeah.$$That's so sweet. Was she proud of you?$$Oh yeah. I mean she brought me, she brought all kinds of--she had these clippings and stuff. She had some things that, some clippings that, of, of, that were written about me in the school newspaper, all kinds of things, you know.$$She had been following you all of these--$$Yeah.$$--years.$$Yep.$$That is such a beautiful story. Ah, I wish it was like that still.$$Yeah.$$Oh, I wanted to ask, were, was your--was Forestville [Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois] integrated at that time?$$No, it was an all-black school. It was located on, on 45th and, and St. Lawrence.$$Oh.$$So it was, it was all-black school.$$So wait now, I guess--were you still living here on the north side then, or--$$No, no, we had moved, we had moved back to the South Side.$$Okay, right, that's what--$$We were always moving.$$Okay, I just wanted to get that--$$I don't know why. I don't know if we were trying to stay one step ahead of the rent man or what, but we moved a lot.$$Okay, that's what I was trying to figure out. I'm like, wow, you had a black teacher here on the North Side. That's really cool.$$Yeah.$And the, the other thing that you've done is, is to form the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies.$$Yes.$$What, what led you to start that?$$Well, it's, it's something that's long overdue, and we've tried to do this before. I mean it's been tried a number of times. And for a number of reasons it, it, it never worked before. But it's important that African American agen--agencies be able to speak with one voice. I'm very vocal, and I'm always mouthing off about what's wrong in our industry, and why do you do this? And I write letters to people, you know, to companies and to the media and all that. But they can blow me off, like well, who are you? You know, you're a little guy. You got a little $40 million dollar agency, you know, what do we care about you? But if you have ten agencies or twenty agencies, and we're all saying the same thing, we write a letter, and everybody is on the, you know, is a signatory to it, then people have to pay a little bit more attention to it. And so, we have a lot of problems and a lot of challenges within our industry, and some of them are very specific to African American agencies. And so we need to be addressing those. And I think fortunately, because I have been around a very long time, and I think that I have always conducted myself in a way, tried to make people respect me, tried to operate above board, be a person of my word, know the people, people know that they can count on me, so I, I, I think I was able to get a bunch of agencies in the room, and they know that I didn't have a real agenda, other than this is something that we all need to do for our collective good. It's not just for, for Eugene Morris.