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Allison J. Davis

Television and non-profit executive Allison Jeanne Davis was born on April 7, 1953 in New York City, New York to Doris Nelson and Walter Davis. She graduated from Boston University with her B.S. degree in journalism in 1975.

Upon graduation, Davis was hired as a writer and producer for WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1978, she was hired at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she worked as an on-air reporter. From 1981 to 1998, Davis was employed at NBC, where she served as a writer-producer and as an executive producer for NBC News and MSNBC.com. At NBC, Davis built the original team of “cyberjournalists” overseeing the first original news content on the internet. She also helped launch MSNBC and, from 1994 through 1997, she served as the first executive producer of MSNBC on the Internet. Davis developed, wrote and produced The Scholastic-NBC News Video from 1993 until 1997. She also worked as a writer and producer for NBC News’ Today, as well as a producer for the NBC News broadcasts Monitor, First Camera, and NBC Nightly News.

From 1998 to 2004, Davis served as senior vice president/creative of CBS and Dunbar Productions. At CBS, she created and executive produced the public television series “The Reading Club”. Then, from 2004 until 2009, Davis worked as vice president, chief operating officer, and special assistant to the Jackie Robinson Foundation's chief executive. In 2008, she founded Coopty Productions, which provides organizations with video production services. Davis was then appointed director of communications and media at New York’s Riverside Church in 2009, and, in 2011, she returned to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, where she was hired as director of communications and worked on the promotion for the Jackie Robinson movie 42. Davis has also been an adjunct professor at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, Howard University’s School of Communications and the City College of New York.

Davis was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, where she served as its first parliamentarian, and later as its vice president. She was also on the founding board of the National Visionary Leadership Project, an oral history project established by Camille Cosby, and serves on the board of Poets & Writers.

Davis has received numerous awards and honors, including two Women in Communications Awards and several Emmy nominations. She also received Boston University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009, has received the University’s Alumni Award for Service to Profession twice, and has been a National News Emmys judge since 2009. Davis also contributed to the 2001 book Global News Perspectives on the Information Age, edited by Tony Silvia.

Davis and her husband, Robert G. Wright, live in Teaneck, N.J. They are the parents of two sons: Tyler and Cooper.

Allison Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/13/2014

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jeanne

Schools

Bryant School

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

White Oak Junior High School

Springbrook High School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Allison

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DAV30

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Success Is Your Best Revenge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/7/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Television executive and non-profit executive Allison J. Davis (1953 - ) was an executive producer for NBC News and MSNBC, and senior executive of CBS, Dunbar Productions and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Employment

WBZ TV

KDKA TV

NBC

CBS

Jackie Robinson Foundation

Coopty Productions

Riverside Church

City University of New York

Howard University

City College of New York

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allison J. Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes her mother, Doris Nelson

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about tracing her maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about how her parents met and her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes her earliest memories including having tuberculosis

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes moving to Teaneck, New Jersey in 1958

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis talks about the busing program in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis shares her school memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her relationship with her brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis shares her holiday memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis describes her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis talks about her Caribbean ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis describes the food she ate while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes her personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her father's political activism

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis talks about the telegram that President John F. Kennedy sent to her father

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about moving to an all-white neighborhood in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her mother's social life

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis remembers when her father discovered her brother's baseball talent

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about the relationship between her father and President Richard Nixon

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis remembers her family's political discussions and her involvement with the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about her father's concerns about the labor movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes attending Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her brother's education

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis talks about attending Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis describes how her studies at Boston University prepared her for the working world

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Allison J. Davis describes joining the Black Panther Party at Boston University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her brief involvement with the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis recalls her parent's reaction to her graduating from college early

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes working at WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about her mentor and the lack of African Americans at WBZ

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes her preference for being a news producer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis tells the story of how she became a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis describes the original members of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes Chuck Stone's leadership of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes the vision of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis shares her memories of HistoryMaker Vernon Jarrett

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her husband, Robert Wright, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about her husband, Robert Wright, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing a story on lottery corruption at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing a story on overweight cops at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis talks about working at NBC Nightly News from 1981 to 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing the television news program, "Monitor"

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing "Summer Sunday"

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis describes what she learned in her early career as a television news producer

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes her schedule while producing "Summer Sunday"

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about becoming a producer for the "Today Show" in 1984

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis describes her schedule as a working mother at the "Today Show"

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis tells the story of the births of her children while working at the "Today Show"

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis remembers producing stories in Africa and Cuba for the "Today Show"

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes the audience's reaction to "Today in Africa"

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about General Electric's takeover of NBC News

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis comments on racial representation in news reporting

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis remembers Bryant Gumbel's interview with Ike Turner

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis describes Bryant Gumbel's personality

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about Bryant Gumbel's leaked memo in 1989

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis talks about Today Show hosts Deborah Norville and Katie Couric

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about producing Scholastic-NBC News Video

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis talks about helping NBC News transition to the digital realm

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes the beginning of cyberjournalism at NBC Supernet

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about backlash from the development team after she was featured on The New York Times business page

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about MSNBC

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis talks about her work with Bryant Gumbel's Dunbar Productions

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis recalls witnessing the events of September 11, 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis describes her husband's health problems

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis talks about her sons

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis describes her frustration with nonprofit work, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis describes her frustration with nonprofit work, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allison J. Davis describes her nonprofit work

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allison J. Davis describes working on the movie 42 for the Jackie Robinson Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allison J. Davis talks about her desire to continue telling stories

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allison J. Davis talks about her lack of career regrets

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allison J. Davis comments on the current state of television news

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allison J. Davis comments on the success of online journalism

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allison J. Davis talks about her parents' deaths

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Allison J. Davis describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Allison J. Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Allison J. Davis talks about her pride in her family

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Allison J. Davis talks about the busing program in Teaneck, New Jersey
Allison J. Davis tells the story of how she became a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Transcript
I was also a part of the first sixth grade school because as the, we started to matriculate through elementary school, we discovered that the schools now were becoming a little bit more segregated than--so we segregated, there was a, segregated elementary schools. And we'd all meet up in junior high school. And we didn't know each other. So they decided to bus all the black kids (laughter) to the various white schools in town and then bring all of the sixth graders to one central sixth grade school. And that's been written about, you know, because it was an inter--it was a voluntary busing program that was so very successful back then. And so I was part of that sixth grade.$$So describe it? So the busing, how was the busing?$$The busing, so they took the black kids from my side of town from kindergarten through fifth grade, and they dispersed them to the various elementary schools in town of which, at that time there were seven. And then they took the sixth grade, they took the school which was my home school and made it into a central sixth grade school and bused all the whites to that sixth grade school (laughter). So we all went to the sixth grade together so it eased the, what could have been a tense environment when we all got to middle--seventh grade, junior high school because that's when things can get a little nasty with kids. And so, and everybody's feeling their oats. And so they decided to get us all familiar with each other in sixth grade.$Now, around this time, I also see that--let's see, you joined in 19--you joined WBZ in 19--$$Seventy-five [1975].$$--seventy five [1975]. Now, what about this, what about NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] and you serving the role as parliamentarian? Is that in 1975?$$It is. So I'm in, we have a small group of media workers in Boston [Massachusetts]. And I'm a part of that, but not, you know, not a big part of that. And it was just fledging. And in December of 1975, December 15th, I guess, I'm in Washington [D.C.] and at home, visiting with my parents. Number one, because I would have to work Christmas in Boston. And you kind of forget that news happens at Christmas, (laughter) on Christmas day and Thanksgiving. I was the low person on the totem pole. So I was gonna be, I was gonna be in Boston in Christmas. So I'm there a week before or ten days before, and a friend of mine, Bonnie Nance (ph.) from Chicago [Illinois], she is in Washington working as a, the PR person for U.S. News and World Report. And she's there with a woman named Jeanie Thornton, and she says that the black elected officials are meeting. And there's a party. Why don't you come into the city? And I said, yeah, what the hay? I'm not doing anything. So I asked to borrow a car, and I get there at about 4:00, you know, 'cause we're all gonna meet for drinks, and then we're gonna go to this black elected officials event, and I don't remember if it was the Shore Room, the Sheridan, it starts with a--so I get there. And both of the ladies are there, Jeanie and Bonnie. And they said, oh, by the way, there's this meeting that they've asked a lot of black journalists to come to. You have a couple, an hour or so? And I said, I don't want to go to a meeting, but, you know, fine. So I get to the conference room where this meeting is held, not knowing anybody but Bonnie and Jeanie. And Chuck Stone [HM] who was at the Philadelphia Bulletin [Philadelphia Daily News] at the time is chairing this meeting. And so I'm sitting there, and I'm somewhat looking like the sullen teenager because I'm all anxious to get to the party. And I'm sitting there and finally, they're voting on things, and they are messing up Robert's Rules of Order. And I said, "Mr. Chairman", and I said, "point of order". Now, Chuck is smart. He knew what "point of order" was, but nobody else knew. And he said, "your point?" And I gave whatever point it was, and he looks at me and he says, "and what's your name?" And I said--"and your affiliation?" I said, "my name is Allison Davis, and I'm at WBZ Television in Boston." And he said, "well, Ms. Davis"--no, I said, "and so and what is this we're doing here?" And he said, "we're starting an organization." And I said, "what's the name of this organization?" And he said, "everybody, what's the name? Are we gonna call ourselves the National Association of Black Journalists?" And everybody said, "yeah, yeah, yeah." And then I said, "okay." And he looks over, he looks over to me, and he goes, "and by the way, Ms. Davis, you are our parliamentarian." And I said, "of what again?" (Laughter) And he said, "the National Association of Black Journalists." And from there, I became the parliamentarian. I wrote the original constitution. And I am now rewriting the constitution for consideration this year.

Jacqulyn Shropshire

Civic leader and non-profit executive Jacqulyn Shropshire was born on September 15, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri. She was the first member of her family to attend college, and graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1957 with her B.S. degree in business and economics.

Upon graduation, Shropshire was hired by Trans World Airlines, where she became the company’s first African American employee in an administrative position. Shropshire then worked as a teacher in the Kansas City public school system until 1961, when she married Thomas B. Shropshire and moved to New York. She went on to receive her M.A. degree in education from Hunter College, and was hired as a teacher in the New York City public school system. Then, in 1968, Shropshire moved with her husband to Lagos, Nigeria, where she helped organize the first American Women’s Club, and also founded Fancy That, a newsletter for women.

In 1972, Shropshire’s family moved from Nigeria to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she began thirty years of service with the Milwaukee Urban League, first as a volunteer, and then as executive director. Shropshire also founded and served as president of Momentum Unlimited of Milwaukee, a firm specializing in management development, public relations and special event planning. In 2003, she organized and became board chairman of the Las Vegas Urban League, and, in 2012, she helped establish The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Shropshire has served on the boards of the Milwaukee Urban League, University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee); Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (YWCA); The Next Door Foundation; American Red Cross; National Endowment for the Arts Advisory Committee; Milwaukee Historical Society; Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau; African World Festival; Inner City Arts Council; The Curative Workshop of Milwaukee; the Joint Center of Political Studies in Washington, D.C.; and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. She also organized the first African American debutante cotillion with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and was the first African American female corporate chairman of Wisconsin for the United Negro College Fund.

Shropshire has received numerous awards for her civic work, including the Caucus of African Americans Trailblazer Award; the Alpha Kappa Alpha Outstanding Contributions to the Black Family Award; the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boulé) Judge William “Turk” Thompson Legacy Award; the Las Vegas–Clark County Black History Visionary Award; and the E-Vibe Phenomenal Woman Award. She was also named “A Woman of Excellence” by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation. In 2001, the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee passed a resolution naming a Jacqulyn C. Shropshire Family Literacy Center in Memphis, Tennessee at the Goodwill International School for Boys and Girls.

Jacqulyn Shropshire was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.349

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/25/2013

Last Name

Shropshire

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Lincoln University

Hunter College

Lincoln High School

Garrison School

First Name

Jacqulyn

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

SHR01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Lets Get It On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

9/15/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Civic leader and non-profit executive Jacqulyn Shropshire (1935 - ) served as executive director of the Milwaukee Urban League. In Las Vegas, Nevada she founded the Las Vegas Urban League; and was a founding board member of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Employment

Trans World Airlines

Kansas City Public School System

New York City Public School System

Milwaukee Urban League

Fancy That

Momentum Unlimited of Milwaukee

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:1072,15:1502,21:2104,29:33422,455:36326,508:36678,513:39758,570:40550,584:47938,656:48503,663:53588,770:64130,1002:74470,1144:98114,1607:98758,1619:99126,1624:99494,1629:109795,1774:110175,1797:116934,1885:117206,1890:125170,2053:143850,2252$0,0:219,8:511,13:876,19:1168,24:1825,29:3504,122:5037,151:5475,159:5767,164:6205,171:6935,183:7227,188:7592,194:8103,204:8395,210:10512,253:12702,313:14454,346:20788,370:37266,644:48024,794:52782,881:53758,890:60397,1015:63718,1088:64042,1093:65338,1132:68092,1168:79522,1330:80208,1377:86578,1478:90400,1581:91408,1591:100978,1705:101386,1712:102406,1745:105598,1796:110235,1833:113306,1865:113894,1872:116834,1930:117520,1939:125948,2101:126536,2123:147229,2332:150389,2372:151416,2386:152838,2398:153154,2403:154418,2491:161774,2566:162348,2597:164316,2640:165628,2670:166366,2686:167514,2705:168170,2716:168498,2722:169154,2732:171286,2771:172106,2782:172680,2791:173254,2799:189408,2919:191214,2953:191730,2960:192074,2968:196308,3017:197302,3034:210680,3222:214268,3258:226050,3378
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jacqulyn Shropshire's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her maternal family's relation to Strom Thurmond, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers her neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire lists her aunts and brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers visiting Cedartown, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers her church in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her family's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls her early exposure to the Urban League of Kansas City

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls being hired at Trans World Airlines in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shrosphire remembers her courtship with her husband

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Lagos, Nigeria, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire reflects upon her experiences in Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers the death of Whitney Young

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her husband's career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Lagos, Nigeria, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls joining the Milwaukee Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her work with the Milwaukee Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Debutante Cotillion

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her experiences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her husband's relationship with Virgis Colbert

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers the founding of the African World Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her children's education

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls the founding of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her donation to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her children

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her philanthropy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jacqulyn Shropshire describes her hopes and concerns for the black community in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jacqulyn Shropshire reflects upon her and her husband's legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about her maternal family's relation to Strom Thurmond, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jacqulyn Shropshire talks about Cedartown, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jacqulyn Shropshire narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Jacqulyn Shropshire remembers meeting her husband
Jacqulyn Shropshire recalls the founding of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada
Transcript
You taught for maybe several years. Now how did you meet Tom [Thomas B. Shropshire]?$$Well Tom was traveling with Ebony Fashion Fair at the time with Miller Brewing Company and they always had a dress in the fair. I don't know you know, they always sponsored someone who had one of these beautiful dresses on. I had--I was teaching school [at Booker T. Washington School, Kansas City, Missouri], but Tom was ten years ahead of me and his classmate was also a friend of mine; we all taught together at the same school. So when they came in to do the f- Ebony Fashion Fair, I can't think of my girlfriend's name now, but she passed, she said, "Listen we have a friend coming in for the Fashion Fair. Would you like to go out with us?" So I said, "Oh, no, I gotta go home, work to do," and stuff like that. They said, "Oh, Jacquie [HistoryMaker Jacqulyn Shropshire] you need to get out. Come on, go to the Fashion Fair." So I went to the Fashion Fair, I saw Tom and just right away, you know our personalities just clicked. And we, Tom was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Just right away?$$Well you know Tom had the kind of personality that you loved him or you hated him; there was nothing in between. But Tom had su- so much fun and then afterward we all went out to dinner and what have you. Now the other two girls are married. I'm not, so they said, "Well you know you and Tom should go to dinner or you and Tom should get to know each other," because they knew each other very well. So I say, "Oh yeah, okay." So I didn't think any more about it. Then the next thing I knew that Tom was calling and said that they would be in town and would I, would I have dinner with him. So I said okay, all right, I'll do that; and then I didn't hear from Tom for a long time. And at the time he was in Brooklyn [New York], you know, they were what they call paper hangers at that time, putting signs up. And you know, we just kind of communicated back and forth and back and forth; and then finally he was, he was going to I think Africa, or going someplace, Africa, so he sent my engagement ring through the mail. He asked me if I would marry him, and I said yes. And he sent my ring through the mail (laughter). I mean that, that's Tom.$Can you talk about your work with the Smith Center [Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, Nevada] 'cause I was very impre- you know, 'cause this is what you're starting to talk about that, you know, having Las Vegas [Nevada] establish a life outside of the Strip [Las Vegas Strip]?$$Um-hm.$$So tell me what, what the Smith Center is? Because--?$$Well when I first moved to Las Vegas, you know, I started the Urban League [Las Vegas Urban League] and we did all of that. And then once everything got started everything was fine, so finally Tommy [Thomas B. Shropshire, Jr.] or Teri [Terilyn Shropshire]--somebody said, "Give my mom something to do." Be sure she has something to do, so I knew that my mother [Bernice Thurman Goodwin] was a light opera singer and she never had the time or the place to sing, so--because Tommy's client was MGM, one of the guys who was involved with thinking about the Smith Center said okay we'll find something for her to do. So they came and they sat over here, and they said, "We want you to be on the board at the Smith Center and we're just starting it out, and we have--we don't have anything--we don't even have a plan yet. We're starting from scratch, but we want you to be involved." So I said okay, you know, I didn't have anything else to do. So we met constantly just talking about the Smith Center. Just thinking about what it's gonna look like and how it's gonna be built. I was with them from the architectural committee all the way through putting the last brick, and as a matter of fact, I have a picture of the last nail that went in over there. It gave me something to do. It gave me an outlet that I felt that we could do a lot of things that we didn't have to do on the Strip, that we could have entertainment, you know, that does not have to be inside of a casino; and there were a lot of things that we could do. So I was the only black and there were only two females on the architectural committee. So we, we have followed all the way through, from beginning to the end. And I'm very proud of that. That is one of the things that--a legacy that I'm very proud of.$$So, the chairman was Don Snyder [Donald Snyder]--$$Yeah.$$--right? And then there was Keith Boman, and Kim Sinatra, and Edward [ph.], and Jacobs [Gary Jacobs] and--so a whole host of people.$$They were on, they were on the architectural committee.$$They were on the architectural committee.$$Um-hm.$$I see, they weren't on the board?$$Not at that time.$$Okay.$$They're on the board now.$$Okay. I see. And then this name comes from--it's named in honor of Fred [Fred Smith] and Mary Smith, right?$$Um-hm.$$So you had to figure out as a group how to raise money, you know, where the money was gonna come from. In fact, I understand that you donated yourself a large sum of money, right?$$Yeah, we all agreed--and we knew going in how much money it was gonna cost. The people on the board--a lot of the people came in after it was built. But we had an architectural committee and we found it and we went out and we solicited people we knew who had money and was willing to put up enough for us build a cultural center and they did--I mean they came from every place. At first, we had--I think I was number sixteen if you see the wall, I'm number sixteen--that grew it into what it is. And now, you know, it speaks for itself.