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Reuben Harpole

Academic administrator and foundation executive Reuben Harpole was born on September 4, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Reuben K. Harpole, Sr. and Mardree Johnson Harpole. He graduated from North Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and earned his B.S. degree in elementary education in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Harpole served at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education for thirty-one years as a senior outreach specialist at the University Center for Urban Community Development. In 1998, he went to work as a program officer for the Helen Bader Foundation (now Bader Philanthropies, Inc.), where he spearheaded the selection of 758 grants totaling more than $6.4 million. In 2007, Harpole established the Reuben K. Harpole Jr. Education Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which invested $19,000 in the college education of young African American men interested in teaching.

Harpole served as a civil rights worker and community leader who led development efforts for several Milwaukee institutions including the Black Holocaust Museum, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for Urban Community Development, and the Harambee Community Development Corporation. Harpole is credited for his contributions to the founding of more than twenty-five community centers and programs that promote education including Milwaukee Public Schools’ Homework First program, the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, 100 Black Men of Greater Milwaukee, and Bader Philanthropies’ Community Partnerships for Youth.

He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his dedicated civic work and promotion of education. In 2005, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee awarded Harpole an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters for his work in improving Milwaukee communities. On September 21, 2009, he was honored as the official “Paramount Chief of Milwaukee” and received a portion of Second Street, near North Avenue. Milwaukee named the section of Second Street, “Reuben K. Harpole, Jr. Avenue.” In 2015, Harpole and his wife, were awarded the first Distinguished Educator of the Year award at Celebrate Teachers & Teaching. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association honored Harpole with its Community Service Award in 2016.

Harpole and his wife, Mildred Carwin Harpole, have two children: Annette and John.

Reuben Harpole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/21/2017

Last Name

Harpole

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

K.

Schools

Roosevelt Middle School

Ninth Street Elementary School

North Division High School

Milwaukee Area Technical College

First Name

Reuben

Birth City, State, Country

Milwaukee

HM ID

HAR48

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Wisconsin

Favorite Vacation Destination

Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

The Purpose For Education Is To Keep The World From Cheating You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

9/4/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbeque

Short Description

Academic administrator and foundation executive Reuben Harpole (1934 - ) served at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education for thirty-one years as a senior outreach specialist at the University Center for Urban Community Development and as the program officer for the Helen Bader Foundation.

Employment

University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

Helen Bader Foundation

Asentu Rites of Passage Institute, Inc.

Milwaukee Star

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reuben Harpole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rueben Harpole recalls how his parent's met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rueben Harpole describes his parent's personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rueben Harpole lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rueben Harpole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rueben Harpole remembers his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rueben Harpole describes his early neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reuben Harpole talks about racial discrimination in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole remembers his parent's divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole talks about author and scholar Increase Allen Lapham

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reuben Harpole remembers the entertainment venues and black musicians in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reuben Harpole talks about important figures in the black community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reuben Harpole remembers attending Mount Calvary Holy Church of America in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reuben Harpole recalls the death of his maternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reuben Harpole remembers attending North Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reuben Harpole talks about working for Stark's General Cleaners in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reuben Harpole recalls his experiences at North Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reuben Harpole remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army and proposing to his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reuben Harpole remembers learning to play the saxophone while stationed in Korea

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole talks about the Harpole family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole recalls meeting his wife while studying at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole remembers Milwaukee Mayor Frank P. Zeidler

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reuben Harpole talks about his community initiatives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reuben Harpole describes the Central City Teacher Community Project

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reuben Harpole remembers working at the Milwaukee Star and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reuben Harpole shares his philosophy on community development

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reuben Harpole remembers the civil disturbance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reuben Harpole talks about his mentorship of black college students

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reuben Harpole talks about his activism for housing reform in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole recalls helping Oprah Winfrey enroll at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole talks about the summer prep program at Campion High School in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole describes the success of the students from the summer prep program at Campion High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reuben Harpole talks about former Miss Black America Sonya Robinson

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reuben Harpole recalls corruption in the U.S. Small Business Association

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reuben Harpole talks about the minority business contracts and sports figures in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reuben Harpole describes America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reuben Harpole talks about the funding for America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole remembers James Cameron's work at America's Black Holocaust Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole talks about his organizational memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole remembers Anthony Mensah and his Rites of Passage program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reuben Harpole talks about the impact of the Rites of Passage program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reuben Harpole recalls establishing the Reuben K. Harpole, Jr. Scholarship fund

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reuben Harpole talks about the Milwaukee Public School's Homework First Program

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reuben Harpole recalls the end of the Homework Comes First Program

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reuben Harpole talks about his retirement and the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reuben Harpole describes his hopes and concerns with the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reuben Harpole talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reuben Harpole reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Reuben Harpole describes the Central City Teacher Community Project
Reuben Harpole describes America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Transcript
We ended up running a program called, Central City Teacher Community Project. We had been working with a lot of neighborhood folks and they were like, they, they knew the community and they could talk with the parents. So we decided that the teacher needed to know the community and we worked together with something called, CESA 19 [Cooperative Educational Service Agency]. This was different school districts, together with the Milwaukee public school district [Milwaukee Public Schools] and we'd talk with the School of Education at UWM [University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education, Milwaukee, Wisconsin] and got the professors involved with us and so we raised enough money to pay for the tuition of the teachers that are in the program so they could get some credits towards, so some of them could become teach- principals at some point. So, we ran that for about two or three years and the last year we had 235 teachers and administrators in the program and we brought some of the brightest brains in the education field in the country to Milwaukee [Wisconsin] 'cause we had enough money to take care of it and this is what we assigned the teachers to do. We wanted them to go into the neighborhood and get to know ten families, really get to know 'em and let the families get to know them and then they'd come back to, well we're operating out of Fulton Middle School [Robert Fulton Middle School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin], that's where they were shooting those BB guns, then discuss what was going--what happened as a result so they could learn the community--learn who they were work--they were teaching, you know, in the fall and that program, it ended up being terrific and the professors learned and the stud- and the teachers learned and as a result of that, things just happened.$All right, what--now you were involved, in the '80s [1980s], you got involved with the, the black holocaust museum with [HistoryMaker] James Cameron, right?$$Eighty-eight [1988], right.$$Yeah, well tell us about that.$$Well, the chairman of the board of America's Black Holocaust Museum [Milwaukee, Wisconsin] wasn't functioning and so I used to talk with Dr. Cameron constantly 'cause he was, he had his own business. He cleaned rugs and things like that, things, stuff, I used to do with Walter Stark [ph.] and--$$And wait a minute, before we get started on anything, just tell us what America's Black Holocaust Museum is and who is James Cameron.$$America's Black Holocaust is a museum called, bad fruit. It tells about the lynchings that took place in the South, mostly, of black folks who were slaves, had been brought over here from Africa to pick cotton in the South and Mr. Cameron was fifteen or sixteen years old when he was with two of his buddies and they caught themselves going to rob a couple that was making love and they held them up and then after Dr. Cameron saw that, he was a customer of his 'cause Cameron used to shine shoes in this little town in Marion, Indiana and this guy used to--was very nice to Mr. Cameron when he'd give 'em a tip for shining his shoes and he saw that was his friend, he told the guys that he was with, he said, "Man, I don't want any part of this, I'm going home." So he said he got halfway home and he could hear the gunfire. They had shot and killed this young man [Claude Deeter] but they didn't kill the girl [Mary Ball], they killed the young man and then a crowd gathered and started looking for him and see, he, he didn't tell his mother [Vera Carter Burden] and father what had happened, he just went and got into bed and then all of a sudden, there was a bang, doors were, somebody banged on the door, he got scared. It was the police and a group of people and they pulled him out. He said, "I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything." But they took him to jail. And then, they were about ready to kill him, they took the, his buddies out and they killed one before they got to, to the tree to hang 'em. It was about twenty-five thousand people had gathered 'cause they heard there was, be a lynching going on. So somebody in the audience screamed out, "Let that kid go, he didn't do anything." He said, he doesn't know who it was that, that called out. And so, he was working, he left, he went and served time in Anderson, Indiana and when they, he kept going up for parole and then finally they decided to give him parole and they sent him up to Detroit [Michigan] and he had, I think he worked for General Motors [General Motors Corporation; General Motors Company] for a while in Detroit. Then he came back to Milwaukee [Wisconsin], he said, he went over to, he had this, he had this firm where he was cleaning rugs and houses and so forth, just like I was doing with John--Stark General Cleaners [Stark's General Cleaners, Milwaukee, Wisconsin], and paid his wife's [Virginia Hamilton] way and his way to Africa, no, yeah, to, to Europe, to Africa and to Europe, and then he went over to, where he saw the Jewish museum [Yad Vashem, Jerusalem] where, in Israel, where, in terms of the Holocaust that had taken place when. So he told his wife, "Honey, we need to tell about the holocaust that took place among us." And so when he came back, that was his, his whole mission, was to tell the story that had not been told about the lynchings that took place in the South, of us. So, because two of his buddies had been killed. In fact, that's the most famous picture in the, in the world about lynchings and those were, Abe--Tom [Thomas Shipp] and Abe [Abram Smith].

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.