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Rudolph Brewington

Broadcast journalist Rudolph W. Brewington was born on November 2, 1946 in New York City. He graduated from Cardinal Hayes high school in 1964 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Brewington served two years in the Presidential Honor Guard at Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. before deploying to the Republic of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. Honorably discharged in 1968, Brewington worked in a number of jobs. After studying communications at the University of Maryland at College Park, Brewington transferred to Federal City College (University of the District of Columbia) and graduated with his M.A. degree in adult education. Brewington later studied business administration at Bowie State University and the College of Southern Nevada.

During the 1970s, Brewington held a number of broadcast positions in Washington, D.C. including news anchor at WUST Radio; news director at WOOK Radio; reporter and sportscaster at WWDC Radio; and, news anchor and correspondent at WRC/NBC Radio and WRC-TV. Brewington later co-founded “Black Agenda Reports,” a nationally-syndicated radio production company. He then accepted a position as talk show host at WOL Radio followed by a position as announcer with the nationally-syndicated television news program “America’s Black Forum.” Brewington joined the Sheridan Broadcasting Network in 1981 as a news anchor and correspondent where he covered politics and ten NASA space shuttle missions. Brewington was recalled to active duty in 1990 during the Persian Gulf War, where he served at the Pentagon as a spokesman for the U.S. Navy. He also served as assistant to the Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO).

In 1994, Brewington accepted a position as a public affairs expert with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and, in 1995, he co-founded B&B Productions, which produced the award-winning “Marvin Gaye: Pride and Joy” and “King: Celebration of the Man and his Dream.” In 1998, Brewington was appointed communications administrator with the United States chapter of Amnesty International in Washington, D.C. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired with the rank of Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Brewington has been actively involved with community groups and organizations including the American Federation of TV & Radio Artists, the National Naval Officers Association, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and the Vietnam Veterans of America. He has garnered numerous awards and honors including an EMMY Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Chesapeake and Virginia AP Spot News Awards and other industry accolades. In 1990, Brewington was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series entitled “Domestic Surveillance: America’s Dirty Little Secret.” His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Rudolph W. Brewington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.318

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/22/2013

Last Name

Brewington

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

William

Schools

Cardinal Hayes High School

University of Maryland

Federal City College

Bowie State University

College of Southern Nevada

P.S. 5

St. Charles Borromeo School

St. Thomas the Apostle School

St. Joseph's Elementary School

First Name

Rudolph

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

You Never Lived Until You Almost Died.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/2/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Okra, Tomatoes, Rice, Chicken Feet

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Rudolph Brewington (1946 - ) was the co-founder of 'Black Agenda Reports.' He received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1990 for his investigative series, 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret.'

Employment

Navy LIFELines Services Network

Amnesty International USA

National Naval Medical Center

Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service

United Press International

United States Marine Corps

WUST Radio

WOOK Radio

WWDC Radio (NBC affiliate)

WRC Radio

WOL Radio

WHUT-TV at Howard University

Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Association Personnel, Inc.

Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation

U.S. Navy Public Affairs Office

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rudolph Brewington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the St. Nicholas Houses in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his Catholic schooling

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rudolph Brewington describes his experiences in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his relationship with his twin brother

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the community in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his early political consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his similarity to his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington remembers serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his deployment to Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington remembers soliciting prostitution in Vietnam

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington recalls the start of his journalistic career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his transition to civilian life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington talks about working as a reporter for NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington describes the journalistic community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the development of black radio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington remembers the black news community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington recalls working for the Radio-TV Monitoring Service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington recalls serving as the public affairs director for Association Personnel, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington describes his time at the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington describes the structure of the Sheridan Broadcasting Network

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington remembers being recalled to active duty with the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington describes his role as a public affairs officer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his public affairs work in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rudolph Brewington talks about 'Domestic Surveillance: America's Dirty Little Secret'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rudolph Brewington talks about the impact of his investigative report on surveillance devices

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his transition to Amnesty International

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rudolph Brewington remembers his most challenging public relations cases

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rudolph Brewington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rudolph Brewington talks about his generation's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rudolph Brewington reflects upon the legacy of the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rudolph Brewington narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Rudolph Brewington recalls his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps
Rudolph Brewington remembers the conflicts between black and white troops in Vietnam
Transcript
So how did you choose the [U.S.] Marine Corps?$$Well, to be honest I was walking, I was down in Times Square [New York, New York], 'cause Ron [Brewington's brother, HistoryMaker Ronald H. Brewington] and I used to have, I used to work for a UPS [United Parcel Service] subsidiary called, when I was a teenager, called Red Arrow Messenger Service. It's beautiful. I mean we used to wear riding spats and, and with, I'm sorry, the puffed out pants, are we okay? The puffed out pants and we'd ride bicycles and this was the thing that made it--it was, was good. This is all part of my upbringing. Because I didn't have a father, we'll get to that in a minute, but I had a chance to leave Harlem [New York, New York] and go into areas like Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, Sutton Place [New York, New York]. I saw wealthy white people that--and I was like, "Wow look at all this," you know, and, and some of them accepted me and some didn't. I met Irving Berlin. I met this one. I met that one, you know, and, and they were nice to me. Sarah Vaughan, I met, I met all these people on Park Avenue and Madison Avenue and that was a world of, that, that opened up to me. I, I, it broaden my horizons in terms of, there's Harlem but there's a bigger world like that; like mama [Mosetta Smalls] had told us. And so, but she said the key to getting into that bigger world, you know, was education. Ron, for example, worked for a woman who is--no let begin with me. I worked for a woman named Dea Carroll. She used to put on fashion shows in--which is why to this day when I hear people say, "I'm a model," I say "Well, do you, where do you model at?" Unless you're modelling in New York [New York] or Paris [France] you're playing at it. She put on fashion shows in The Pierre [New York, New York], in the Plaza [Plaza Hotel, New York, New York], in, in the St. Moritz [Hotel St. Moritz, New York, New York]. I mean I saw the best of the best, clothes wise, because girls admired me 'cause I was a teenager. They didn't look upon me as a man. So they didn't have a problem dressing in front of me and putting their, putting their clothes on. But it was an eye-opening experience for me. It was all part of my education and it broadened my horizons about the world and the reality of the world.$$So, but things are sort of brewing at the time that you're going (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--into--$$Yes.$$--into the Marines and they're brewing enough that they sort of crescendo a few years later with the, you know, the anti-war movement.$$Yes ma'am.$$So, but there are those who actually did, you know, and, and, you know, you--were you drafted?$$No. I, I volunteered.$$You volunteered.$$In fact, and now you talk about the reality of the world, a month before I went into the Marine Corps, in fact, in June, this is a part of the history, June of 1964 a young man [James Powell] was shot by a cop [Thomas Gilligan] in New York City six times. Little young man pulled out a knife like that, that big and he was shot and killed and the cop reloaded his guns after shooting him six times and shot him more times. Folks went off. This was the first urban riot in American history. You may recall it, in 1964, June of 1964, there was a major riot in Harlem. Harlem was closed off from the rest of New York City. Food wasn't brought in. Trains, subways didn't stop and that, I was also kind of like, "hm," to me. But no, but I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to go to college. And so I went down to Times Square one day and I saw this guy and he had this fabulous uniform on, dressed blue tops and he was looking sharp, he was looking kind of sharp. And I said, "I want to be that." And so I joined the Marine Corps. I didn't have any idea that, what all was entailed in joining the Marines, the Marines being the nine one one, the first force to go in. I was fortunate. The first year I spent down in Beaufort, South Carolina [Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort], and then I was at Camp Lejuene [Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina] for a minute. And then I was selected one of the first African Americans selected to serve on the Marine Honor Guard [U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard] at Marine Barracks, 8th [Street] and I [Street] Southeast in Washington, D.C. where I, I was one of the first blacks to be at White House ceremonies. And I was burying people at Arlington National Cemetery [Arlington, Virginia] and other places, Iwo Jima [United State Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Virginia] and that was another great experience, eye opening experience for me as well. And then af-$$Okay--$$And then after that I went to Vietnam.$(Simultaneous) Now what did--how did Vietnam come about though?$$Oh boy.$$Because this is, you go off to Vietnam.$$Yes ma'am.$$So you go off in--$$Nineteen sixty-seven [1967].$$--sixty-seven [1967].$$Yes ma'am. My platoon commander said to me, I was hoping after my--two year tour, that was a two year tour. Vietnam [Vietnam War] was raging at that time and that was a two year tour, you were guaranteed to stay on the President's honor guard [Marine Presidential Guard] once you did you, once you got there, which kept me out of combat early. So I thought I would go to Quantico, Virginia [Marine Corps Base Quantico], and kind of skate Vietnam and kind of move on the rest of my life. But no, my platoon commander said to me one day, "Ah, Corporal Brewington [HistoryMaker Rudolph Brewington], you haven't had any combat," and he sent me to Vietnam. And that was an eye opener, I mean you know, to see people be around you and they die, they get killed and you're shooting at people and they're shooting back at you. It was a, it was a religious experience for me because it strengthened my faith in God. I mean, you know, everybody is scared. Everybody is afraid of dying and you see death around you and it doesn't touch you. But something did happen in Vietnam that was interesting. The day Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed, April 4, 1968, I was in Vietnam. I was serving this country, on patrol and we came back and we heard that Martin Luther King had been, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been killed. And so, us black Marines [U.S. Marine Corps] got together to hold a memorial service and all of a sudden we heard this clank, clank, clank, clank, clank and it was Marines on an armored personnel carrier pointing weapons at us telling us to break up this unlawful and treasonous, that was the word, treasonous assembly, like what? We're here to give respect to Martin Luther King, Jr. And they pointed rifles at us and for a few days black and white Marines was like, you know, they were like aiming rifles at each other, the shots were fired at each other; they don't say that much about it but it happened. You know, and I came back from Vietnam angry, politicized. I didn't want to deal with the [U.S.] military ever again in my life, ever. That changed later on.$$Well then it was a hard time in many ways--$$Yes.$$--and so you're there, 'cause emotions are popping over here but, I want to--so what other, can you describe--because you were there a year?$$Yes ma'am, thirteen months.$$Okay. So where were you? There are thirteen?$$Thirteen months (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.