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The Honorable Jeh C. Johnson

Cabinet officer and lawyer Jeh C. Johnson was born on September 11, 1957 in New York City to Norma Edelin and Jeh Vincent Johnson. He graduated from Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls, New York in 1975. He then received his B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1979, and his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1982.

In 1982, Johnson was hired at the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, and later joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 1984 as an associate. From 1989 to 1991, Johnson served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He subsequently became the first African American partner at Paul Weiss. In 1998, Johnson was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force until 2001, when he returned to Paul, Weiss. Johnson was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense in 2009. In 2012, Johnson returned to private law practice. The following year, Johnson was nominated by President Obama as Secretary of Homeland Security and served until 2017. He then rejoined the law firm of Paul Weiss as partner.

Johnson has served as chairman of the New York City Bar’s Judiciary Committee and was elected as a fellow by the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2004. He has also served as special counsel to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, on the board of directors for Lockheed Martin, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Center for a New American Security. In 2008, Johnson was a delegate for the Democratic National Convention. He has also served as a non-resident senior fellow for the Harvard Kennedy School of Business and as a trustee for Adelphi University.

In 2017, Johnson was named Cyber Security and Data Privacy Trailblazer by the National Law Journal and was honored with the Anti-Defamation League’s Gorowitz Institute Service Award. He also received the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award, the NYSBA Pioneer Award, John J. McCloy Award, and the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award. In 2018, Johnson was listed among Savoy magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers; and, in 2019, he received Columbia’s University’s Annual Black Alumni Council Heritage Award. He also has ten honorary degrees.

Jeh C. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.027

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/8/2019

4/8/2019 |and| 9/18/2019

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C

Schools

Columbia Law School

Morehouse College

P.S. 143 Louis Armstrong School

Poughkeepsie Day School

Sheafe Road Elementary School

Oak Grove Elementary School

Wappinger Falls Junior High School

Roy C. Ketcham High School

First Name

Jeh

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JOH55

Favorite Season

Late October

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tuscany

Favorite Quote

No Man Can Be Justly Judged Unless You Have Seen The World Through His Eyes

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/11/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Veal Saltimbocca

Short Description

Cabinet officer and lawyer Jeh C. Johnson (1957 - ) was the first African American partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP before serving as general counsel of the Department of the Air Force, general counsel for the Department of Defense, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

Employment

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Defense

Department of the Air Force

Southern District of New York

Sullivan & Cromwell

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Favorite Color

Orange

Charlynn Goins

Civic leader and business executive Charlynn Goins was born on September 15, 1942 in New York City, New York. Her mother was Charlotte Wilson, a model and book seller; her step-father, Clifford Wilson, was a United States Army captain and postal worker. Growing up in New York, Goins graduated from Briarcliff Manor High School in 1959. She then attended Barnard College, where she received her A.B. degree in government studies in 1963. From 1963 to 1964, Goins completed graduate courses at the Teachers College at Columbia University. In 1976, she received her J.D. degree from Columbia University Law School.

Goins was hired as a tax lawyer in 1976 at the law firm Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, now Proskauer Rose LLP. Then, in 1982, she left the practice of law and joined Integrated Resources, Incorporated, as the assistant to the president. In 1986, Goins was promoted to chief operating officer of a new Integrated Resources subsidiary. She worked in that role until 1990, when she was hired as the senior vice president and director of international marketing at Prudential Mutual Funds and Annuities. In 1997, Goins retired from Prudential and began serving as a consultant to the United States Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. Then, in 2004, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, named her the first African American woman chairperson of the board of directors for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Goins has served as a board member of numerous organizations. From 2001 through 2004, she served on the boards of the Community’s Bank and its holding company, the Urban Financial Group. From 2001 through 2006, Goins was a member of the board of Mainstay Funds. In 2002, she was elected to the New York Community Trust’s Distribution Committee, where she went on to serve as chairman. In 2006, Goins was named to the board of directors of AXA Financial, Incorporated, and its subsidiaries AXA Equitable Life and MONY Life. Then, in 2008, she was elected to Fannie Mae’s board of directors. Goins has also served on various other boards including Continuum Health Partners, Beth Israel Hospital, St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, FOJP Service Corporation, New York City Global Partners, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Gracie Mansion Conservatory. She was honored in 2008 by Mayor Bloomberg with the installment of “Charlynn Goins Day.” Goins was also awarded the United Hospital Fund Trustee Award in 2008.

Goins lives in New York with her husband, Dr. Warren Goins. They have two children: Hilary and Jeffrey.

Charlynn Goins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.260

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/21/2013

Last Name

Goins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Briarcliff High School

Barnard College

Teachers College, Columbia University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Charlynn

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

GOI02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/15/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cheese

Short Description

Lawyer Charlynn Goins (1942 - ) was the first African American woman chairperson of the board of directors for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Her career spanned over thirty-five years in the fields of law, corporate business and philanthropic charity.

Employment

Proskauer Rose LLP

Integrated Resources, Inc.

Prudential Mutual Funds and Annuities

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charlynn Goins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins shares her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins talks about her father and stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins talks about her name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins describes her childhood neighborhood in New York City, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins describes her childhood career as an actor

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience at Professional Children's School (PCS) in New York City, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience on tour with the play "The Climate of Eden"

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charlynn Goins talks about growing up in New York City's Washington Heights and skipping ahead in school

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charlynn Goins describes her community in White Plains, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Charlynn Goins talks about her decision to attend Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins describes her childhood personality and the community of African American teenagers she met in White Plains, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience at Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins talks about the black community in White Plains, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins describes her decision to attend Barnard College in New York City, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience at Barnard College in New York City, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins talks about her wedding to HistoryMaker Dr. Warren Goins and their first years of marriage, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins talks about her wedding to HistoryMaker Dr. Warren Goins and their first years of marriage, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins recalls her experiences after graduating from Barnard College in New York City, New York in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins describes moving to Essex, England with her husband, HistoryMaker Dr. Warren Goins

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience living in Essex, England

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes the birth of her daughter in Essex, England

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins describes her social life in Essex, England and traveling across Europe

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins describes the role of social class in England

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins talks about other people's perception of her as African American in England and the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins talks about her significant experiences and travels while living in England

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins describes moving to The Bronx in New York City, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charlynn Goins talks about her mother's death, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins talks about her mother's death, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins describes her family's move to New Rochelle, New York after the birth of her son in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her community in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins describes her involvement with the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins talks about the status of African American medical doctors

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins describes her decision to enroll in law school in 1973

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience as a district leader for the Democratic Party in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins describes her community's reaction to her decision to enroll in law school

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins talks about her experience and support while a law student at Columbia Law School in New York City, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins describes being hired as a tax lawyer by the firm of Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins describes the environment of the law firm of Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience in international tax law and being hired by Integrated Resources, Inc. in 1982

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience at Integrated Resources, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins describes the effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Integrated Resources, Inc. and Integrated Resources International

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins reflects on the racism and sexism she encountered during her careers working in international tax law and business, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins reflects on the racism and sexism she encountered during her careers working in international tax law and business, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins talks about challenges she faced during her career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins talks about the collapse of Integrated Resources, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins talks about moving to Manhattan, New York and selling her house to her daughter in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her and her husband's 1989 apartment search as an African American couple in Manhattan, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins describes building a vacation house in Sag Harbor, New York and its black community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins describes being hired by Prudential Securities in 1990

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience creating and selling mutual funds internationally for Prudential Securities, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience creating and selling mutual funds internationally for Prudential Securities, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins reflects on the decline of Prudential Securities and her experience there

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins describes her retirement from Prudential Securities and undergoing open heart surgery

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins describes working with HistoryMaker Peter F. Hurst, Jr. on the board of The Community's Bank in BridgePort, Connecticut

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins talks about her experience on the board of Mainstay Funds

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience on the board of directors of AXA Financial, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience on the board of directors of Fannie Mae as well as on other boards

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charlynn Goins reflects on what she has learned from her experience on corporate boards

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charlynn Goins describes her experience as chair of the board of directors of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and meeting Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charlynn Goins talks about the boards of directors she is currently on

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charlynn Goins reflects on her civic engagement and corporate career

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Charlynn Goins reflects on her plans for the future and on her accomplishments

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Charlynn Goins describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Charlynn Goins talks about her and her husband's collection of African American art

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Charlynn Goins talks about her marriage to HistoryMaker Dr. Warren Goins

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charlynn Goins describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charlynn Goins reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charlynn Goins narrates her photographs

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Charlynn Goins narrates the photographs of her husband, HistoryMaker Dr. Warren Goins

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
Charlynn Goins talks about her experience and support while a law student at Columbia Law School in New York City, New York
Charlynn Goins describes being hired as a tax lawyer by the firm of Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn
Transcript
So you go off and what is the, the, both the racial and female/male ratios in law school at the time?$$At Columbia [Law School in New York City, New York], my first year, there was a decent number of African American students but not large. I mean, I can't remember if my class--I don't even remember how large my class was but there might have been 15 or 20 blacks in the class, mainly men, and there weren't that many women in the school and there were virtually no older people. So it was--I was a minority in many ways. And I, I didn't get to know my classmates. I had too much else on my plate. For one thing, I drove to school every day from New Rochelle [New York] because getting to Columbia from Westchester is not that easy. I would have had to take a train and then some buses and so I drove but there were no garages around Columbia at the time and so the first year I had to get to school, park, go to class, come out and then double park while the police went up for the alternate side of the street parking and I would eat lunch and read in the car for a couple of hours and then go back, and then I could move the car back across into a parking space on the street and go back into school. So, I did that for one year. So you could imagine I didn't know my classmates very well and then after that, for my second and third year, we were very fortunate--we were on the board at that time, a Boys & Girls Harbor, and one of our fellow board members was very involved at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine [New York City, New York], he got me a parking space on the Cathedral's campus and so I was able to park and I could spend the day at class and go back and just get my car and go home. But I really didn't get to know many people. Some of the older women, the few of them that were there in my class, I got to know well but other than that, there wasn't any social life attached to school.$$What about the classes, though? Because the first year can be somewhat daunting?$$Oh, it was so hard for me. I mean, I had barely read anything but a magazine for ten years and to get to law school, I was really, really challenged and my first semester I did not do particularly well. I didn't do well, period. I was a very average student but then I got the hang of it and I ended up doing pretty well.$$So who are you, who are you discussing things with if you, you know, you're, you've got your family life and you're studying in your car, and you're driving back and forth? Who are you, like a lot of times it helps to have study groups and things?$$No study group, ever. Never had one, never even thought of having one, never.$$So, so once you, so, but you're, but Warren [HM Dr. Warren Goins] is being supportive this whole time?$$Oh, Warren was incredible, and his parents [Ernestine Goins and Jepther Goins] were incredible. Warren changed his hours so that he was home all day on Tuesdays and then worked Saturdays instead and that way when it came time for braces to be adjusted at the orthodontist or there was a school play, he could take the time off to go to that and that way I could go to school and his parents would come at the drop of the hat and spend the weekend and just take over if I was studying for exams or something like that. So, they were wonderful.$$So, it was like a modern day-- I mean, they were--everybody was supportive because--$$Oh, and I was terrified to tell my mother-in-law that I was going to go to law school. She had been a homemaker her whole life and I don't even think she knew many people, women who worked, and when I told her I was going to law school, I was really afraid that she was going to be furious that I was abandoning my family and I was shocked. She said, "If I had--if I were your age or had to do it over again, I'd do the same thing." And she and dad were up there all the time helping with the kids, and summers even. We had a house in Sag Harbor [New York], they would go out and spend a month with the kids and we would come on weekends. So they were always right there for us, wonderful.$$So she was then, what she was feeling the same way that, not the same way, but had similar sentiments about desires? Other desires?$$I'm not sure. I'm not sure because she was a very reclusive person, not at all social, really only close to her sisters but not other people so I'm not sure she would have been comfortable out in the world.$$Right, but--$$But she was very supportive of me.$$That's, that's really--$$It was amazing--$$Amazing.$$--because I was really scared to tell her.$$Okay, I mean we're talking about the early, you know, the 1960s [sic, early 1970s]. I mean women are burning their bras by this time.$$Right.$$You know, there's women's rights coming into being but still, you know, people have their ideas about what is proper and what's not proper, you know.$$That's true, and I think that the African American community is slower to accept new ways.$$That's right.$$At least traditionally, I think, that's been the case.$$That was--that has been the case. I mean, still, so you--and three years is a long time.$$It is.$$I mean, it's a long time.$$You know.$$Right.$So I'm gonna-- so, tell me what you do during the summers.$$Okay, my first summer after law school [Columbia Law School in New York City, New York], I stayed at home with the family. Then that fall, the beginning of my second year, I interviewed on campus for a summer internship at one of the Wall Street law firms and I interviewed--I signed up for interviews at a number of them. Some actually said, "oh, you're too old, you know, how could you--" and I said, "Well, I'm 31, I thought I had a few good years left" but they had never had the experience of having a new summer clerk or a new associate come in at such an advanced age. But I did get offers from three firms to come as a summer intern and I choose Proskauer, Rose [Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, now Proskauer Rose LLP] and so that was what I did my second summer. And then at the end of my internship there, they invited me to return as an associate upon graduation. So, after taking the Bar exam, that third year, the summer after the third year [1976], I returned to Proskauer.$$So what are, what is the work that you did that summer and how large a firm are they? And--$$They're a very large firm with offices in Europe and in California and Washington [D.C.]. They're one of the oldest and largest predominantly Jewish law firms like Paul, Weiss [Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison]. They'd been around since the days when the "A" students at Harvard Law [School in Cambridge, Massachusetts] couldn't get a job if they were Jewish, so they created their own firm. They had a big practice, a labor practice, representing hospitals and medical groups, not on the plaintiffs side but on the defendants side and a big corporate department and a big tax department, not tax litigation but tax planning, also a large litigation department. They represented the NBA [National Basketball Association] and they--David Stern was there, who is now head of the NBA and I knew David and I ended up doing international tax law. I went to law school to be a poverty law person, a civil rights person and I got to law school and the courses I hated were constitutional law, all the things where I just felt that I was floating around with nothing to grab onto and what did I like? Corporations, tax, all those courses. So, that's what I ended up doing.$$You know, that's surprising even in terms of your description that you love the literature, and you know, and Latin, and you know, didn't like math or science and you end up--$$But, tax law is not about numbers and calculations and that kind of thing. Tax law is like finding loopholes, looking for pieces of a puzzle and putting them together to plan how to structure an acquisition or a deal and it's really, it's supposedly the most intellectual area of the law, and never get a tax lawyer to do your tax return, or something like that, it's just not the same as accounting or economics. I had taken economics at Barnard [College in New York City, New York] and didn't like it at all but I loved tax law.