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Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr.

Civil rights activist Reverend Dr. Arthur "Art" Rocker, Sr. was born on June 22, 1955 in Atlanta, Georgia to Samuel William Rocker, Sr. and Reba Craft-Rocker. From the age of seven until eighteen years of age, Rocker was raised and mentored by Reverend Dr. William Holmes Borders, pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of sixteen, Rocker became the president of the youth chapter of the Democratic Party Club. After graduating from L.J. Price High School in 1963, Rocker enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for three years. Rocker then attended the Massey Business College earning his Associate’s degree. He then went on to attend Carver Bible Institute in 1969 and was ordained as a minister and evangelized by Reverend Dr. William Holmes Borders. He also served as assistant Pastor of his father’s church, the late Reverend Samuel William Rocker, Sr. After enrolling at Albany State University, Rocker became the chief organizer of the Shirley Chisholm Campaign under the leadership of Lonnie King, Executive Director for the Atlanta NAACP. Rocker majored in accounting at ASU, and went on to receive his Series 63, 7 and 24 investment banking licenses from the Investment Training Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. He is one of the founders of the National Association of Security Professionals in Atlanta, along with Mayor Maynard Jackson.

From 1994 to 2008, Rocker worked several jobs, but was primarily active in community organizing. Mentored by the late Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College, he worked under the leadership of Dr. Warren Cochrane, General Secretary of the Butler Street YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia and Reverend Hosea Williams, President of Atlanta SCLC. He served as a consultant for the National Presidential Election Campaign, and co-chairman of National Presidential Campaign. Prior to his appointment as senior vice president of Governmental Affairs at LHS EV in 2008, Rocker worked briefly as a real estate agent at the Grand Bahamas Developments in the Grand Bahamas Islands. Additionally, Rocker served as an investment banker at Stuart-James Investments, Portfolio Management Consultants and Rocker Securities, Inc. In 2008, Rocker began his tenure as the Chairman of Southern Christian Leadership Conference for the entire state of Florida. In the wake of the 2010 British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Rocker founded Operation People for Peace, Inc., an organization which serves on the United Nations (UN) Council in the area of Civic and Society. In 2015, Rocker was appointed Presiding Bishop of University of Bethesda Biblical Institute of North America.

Rocker also played a central role in local and national community organizing and politics throughout his career. He served as vice chairman of City of Atlanta transition team for Mayor Maynard Jackson, and the transition team for Governor Charles Christ of Florida. In recognition of his service, Rocker received numerous awards including The Good Brother Award from National Congress of Black Women, Inc., the Chairman’s Award from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the Business Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Outstanding Business Award from the Atlanta Jewish Center. Additionally, Rocker has been named Senior Fellow of the James Madison Institute. Rocker has received honorary degrees from Faith Bible College in Milton, Florida and A.P. Clay Bible College in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rocker is the father of three children and is married to Jessica Donahue-Rocker. He resides in the Gulf Coast region in Florida.

Arthur M. Rocker, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 26, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.201

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/26/2012

Last Name

Rocker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widowed

Schools

Morehouse College

Price Middle School

Massey College of Business & Technology

Carver Bible College

Albany State University

Faith Bible College

A.P. Clay Christian College

Georgia Institute of Real Estate

Investment Training Institute

James Madison Institute

Yonge Street Elementary School

First Name

Arthur

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

ROC01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Thank You, God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

6/22/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pensacola

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Civil rights activist Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. (1955 - ) was the founder and chairman of Operation People for Peace, Inc.

Employment

Grand Bahama Development

Rocker Chemical Co.

Stuart-James Investments

Portfolio Mgt. Consultants

Operation People for Peace

White Rocker Baptist Church

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney

Office of State Representative Billy McKinney

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the racial violence in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about the sundown towns near Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his maternal uncles' migration to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his family's home on Georgia Avenue, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his family's home on Georgia Avenue, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers finding chickens for his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers Yonge Street Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his route to school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers moving to the Thomasville Heights section of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his relationship with his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers the Zion Hill Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about race relations in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his relationship with his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his misconceptions about Jewish people

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers his favorite elementary school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers living with William Holmes Borders

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes William Holmes Borders' relationships with other ministers in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls William Holmes Borders' visitors, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls William Holmes Borders' move to Hunter Street

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls William Holmes Borders' departure from the Morehouse College School of Religion

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers Joseph H. Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls Coretta Scott King's circumstances after her husband's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about the establishment of the Wheat Street Federal Credit Union

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls attending meetings with William Holmes Borders

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the rivalry between Martin Luther King, Sr. and William Holmes Borders

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers Julia Pate Borders' friendships

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls William Holmes Borders' visitors, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers working for Benjamin Mays

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his early interest in art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his fundraising efforts for Luther Judson Price High School

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers living at William Holmes Borders' house

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his brother's membership in the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his decision to join the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about the civil rights activities of 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his small loan business in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers his interactions with the Central Intelligence Agency

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers his return to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about the impact of the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his decision to further his education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls visiting Julia Pate Borders on her deathbed

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers his expulsion from Morehouse College

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about his brothers' occupations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers Samuel Dewitt Proctor

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the split of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. remembers Hosea Williams

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about William Holmes Borders' friends in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his interest in accounting

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes how he met his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about African Americans that passed as white

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the effects of integration

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls his conversations with Benjamin Mays

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. talks about skin color prejudice

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls working for Warren Cochrane

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls organizing voters for Shirley Chisholm's presidential campaign

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls being asked to leave Albany State College

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes the accusations against him at Albany State College

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. describes his interest in accounting
Reverend Dr. Arthur Rocker, Sr. recalls working for Warren Cochrane
Transcript
Now when you--well what did you focus on when you were at the Massey Business College [Atlanta, Georgia], yeah?$$Business administration, accounting.$$Okay.$$I wanted to make sure that I learned about accounting. It's been a fascinating situation for me. Reason being is because at the church [Wheat Street Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia], there was Deacon Ferris [ph.], he was a guy that used to handle all the money for the church. And back behind the curtain, when I say behind the curtain it's not per se behind the curtain, what it was, was a room about half this size, from here to there. Deacon Ferris would be there. And that's where all the money was counted. It was, as you well know we had over five thousand people. It was thousands and thousands of dollars used to be counted there. My brothers worked there, they couldn't go in that room. No one could go in that room but me. Reverend Borders [William Holmes Borders] would sit in the room and he would let me come in the room 'cause I, you know, he would tell me, "Go get my Coca-Cola and meet behind the curtain." And they would sit there and they talk. The only thing that I picked up was the word accounting, accounting, accounting. And I kept talking about accounting and learned that it meant keeping books and what have you, and that's what I wanted to do.$Now we're in the early '70s [1970s] now when you were driving for Benjamin Mays and working for Warren Cochrane?$$Warren Cochrane--$$Yeah.$$--the community foundation. Warren Cochrane came back from New York [New York], he was over the Butler Street YMCA [Atlanta, Georgia]. The Butler Street YMCA was an all-black YMCA. You had black YMCAs that was established in different places. And in New York there was one that was established where there was whites involved. But they brought Warren Cochrane up there to be general secretary because he was strong with the Negro Voters League [Atlanta Negro Voters League]. He was a great organizer. He came up there, [HistoryMaker] Vernon Jordan was up there, Wyatt Tee [HistoryMaker Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker] was up there, a lot of folks, New York was the mecca of trying to get something done. The, the congressman I think he had died or he could have--something but they was all up in New York doing a number of things. And Warren was such a pioneer here, so he came back to Atlanta [Georgia], when I say, I'm sorry we're here in Detroit [Michigan] but I'm saying Atlanta. We came back to Atlanta, he was able to get money from the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Trust Company of Georgia [SunTrust Banks], Life of Georgia [Life Insurance Company of Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia], all of these major places. They put about $5 million in a foundation. He hired me to be his organizer and to literally run the place where he was the executive director. And we had $5 million, the responsibility we had was to go into the black community, give away money to repair homes that they was living in. Some people had moved into homes and after getting into the house, it was a new arena coming in called fair housing. But they was moving into housing but there was something else going on called block bustering [block busting]. Block bustering is when the white community bought up, bought property from white people and put two or three black people in there that didn't have an income, had a lot of children, scare the community and they ran out, and some blacks began to move in and the credit situation was a little lenient because whites was helping each other get out of one place and even the banks, the white banker was helping finance other blacks. But a lot of blacks was getting into these places that did not understand the significance of owning a home. Your hot water heater goes out, you have to cut the grass, you have to buy a lawn mower. Sometimes you have to buy another door, screen door, it was a whole new lesson had to be taught. So what we did, the $5 million would go into the community. We would teach you how to buy a door, what to do with a hot water heater, how you buy another TV, what you do, and we would lend you this money because we did not want a situation to occur the way it was happening that second mortgage companies or pawnshops was buying, getting lien on homes and selling their homes before the people could be in their a year and a half. So the foundation was set up for the purpose of lending money with no interest rate, and my job was to give it away and to find the people who needed the money. And I did that.

Gene Barge

Saxophonist, music producer and song writer Gene “Daddy G” Barge was born in Norfolk, Virginia on August, 9 1926. He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and played clarinet in the school band. Barge then attended West Virginia State College where he first majored in architecture, but quickly switched to music because of his interest in the saxophone. After receiving his B.A. degree from West Virginia State College in 1950, Barge returned to Norfolk, Virginia and played with a number of bands and singing groups including the Griffin Brothers and the Five Keys.

In 1955, Barge recorded his first saxophone instrumentals entitled “Country” and “Way Down Home” on Chess Records’ Checker Label. He taught music at Suffolk High School while playing and singing in bands and touring with both Ray Charles and the Philadelphia vocal group The Turbans. In 1957, Barge played the saxophone on Chuck Willis’ “C.C. Rider,” which became a number one R& B hit. In 1960, he recorded “A Night with Daddy G” with his band the Church Street Five on Norfolk’s Legrand Label. From 1961 to 1962, Barge collaborated with Gary U.S. Bonds on a number of hit records including "School Is In," "School Is Out," "Dear Lady Twist," "Twist Twist Senora," "Copy Cat" and the number one pop hit, “Quarter to Three.” In 1964, Barge was hired as a producer, arranger, and saxophone player for Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois and played on Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” in 1965. Chess Records closed in 1971 and Barge was hired by Stax Records in their gospel division, Gospel Truth. Barge produced Inez Andrews’ “Lord Don’t Move the Mountain” and The Beautiful Zion Baptist Church's "I'll Make It Alright.” In 1974, Barge began working with pianist, Marvin Yancy and Charles Jackson. He was hired to do demos with Natalie Cole. He went to win a Grammy Award for co-producing Cole’s “Sophisticated Lady” in 1977.

Barge has toured with Fat Dominos, Bo Diddley, Chuck Willis, The Rolling Stones and Natalie Cole. He has had roles in many major motion pictures including Code of Silence, Above the Law, Under Siege, The Package and The Fugitive. Barge consulted for Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, The Blues. He also appeared in a 2010 episode of the TV documentary series Legends, entitled "Roll over Beethoven - The Chess Records Saga." Barge lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Gene Barge was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.043

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/20/2012

Last Name

Barge

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

West Virginia State University

J.C. Price Elementary School

First Name

Gene

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

BAR12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Look Alive.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/9/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Saxophonist, songwriter, and music producer Gene Barge (1926 - ) played on Chuck Willis’ pop hit, “C.C. Rider,” co-wrote with Gary U.S. Bonds “Quarter to Three” and received a Grammy Award for co-producing Natalie Cole’s “Sophisticated Lady.”

Employment

Suffolk High School

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System

Stax Records

United States Air Force

United States Navy

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gene Barge's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gene Barge lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gene Barge describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gene Barge describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gene Barge talks about the legacy of slavery in Fayettesville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gene Barge describes his father's musical interests

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gene Barge talks about his relationship with his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gene Barge describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Gene Barge describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Gene Barge talks about his experiences at J.C. Price Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Gene Barge recalls the competitiveness of the local high schools

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Gene Barge describes the geography of Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Gene Barge talks about the black community in Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes the prominent African Americans from Tidewater Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gene Barge remembers meeting Fats Waller

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gene Barge talks about the musicians from Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers joining the Booker T. Washington High School band in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes the political events during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gene Barge remembers an influential teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gene Barge recalls preparing to join the U.S. Army Air Forces

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers his time in the U.S. Army Air Forces

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers his first saxophone

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes his transition to West Virginia State College in Institute, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about the alumni of West Virginia State College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gene Barge remembers Tuskegee Airman John Whitehead

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gene Barge talks about the alumni of West Virginia State College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gene Barge remembers his mentors at West Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about Eleanor Roosevelt's civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gene Barge recalls his work experiences after graduating from college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gene Barge talks about the history of rhythm and blues

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers his early records

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gene Barge talks about his recordings with Gary U.S. Bonds

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes the influence of Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace on his music

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about his half sisters

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gene Barge remembers the Norfolk Seventeen

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gene Barge recalls the discrimination against black artists in the recording industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes the musicians he met at Chess Records

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about the 'Cadillac Records' movie, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gene Barge talks about the 'Cadillac Records' movie, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gene Barge remembers Etta James

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers Cash McCall and Billy Stewart

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes Little Walter's personality and character

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about Muddy Waters' jingle for Hamm's Brewery

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gene Barge recalls recording albums with Howlin' Wolf

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers recording doo wop and gospel music

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gene Barge describes his work with Natalie Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gene Barge talks about his acting career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gene Barge remembers touring with The Rolling Stones

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gene Barge describes the members of The Rolling Stones

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gene Barge recalls his acting role in 'The Guardian'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gene Barge describes 'The Blues' documentary television series

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gene Barge talks about his saxophone style

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gene Barge recalls his efforts to credit studio musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gene Barge remembers his influences and his influence on the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gene Barge shares his advice to young musicians

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gene Barge reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gene Barge reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gene Barge talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gene Barge remembers playing in the Breadbasket Band

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Gene Barge describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
Gene Barge recalls preparing to join the U.S. Army Air Forces
Gene Barge remembers his early records
Transcript
So you, you did con- keep playing the clarinet on some level even though you played football (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I wasn't very good, but I played. Hey, I'd never seen a clarinet before and then Mr. Mc- McPherson [ph.], you know, got us all started. But it started at--how I got to play saxophone was I had--I was in high school [Booker T. Washington High School, Norfolk, Virginia] and I had gotten out of the [U.S.] military.$$Okay. Now wait a minute let me--let--then let's take you to the military first and then we'll get you back to high school.$$Okay.$$So how did you end up getting involved in the military, what happened?$$Well, what happened was when I was, when I was a teenager in high school, we used to go, we used to go when I was a kid, we used to go around the neighborhoods, white neighborhoods about a mile away, quarter of a mile away, and try to go into the alleys and the back of the houses and find metal and scraps and wood and stuff because times were really tight. And we'd find copper or whatever and take it to the--and lead and stuff and some of the guys used to melt it down, melt the metal down and we'd go to the junkyard and sell it. So we stumbled upon a guy--can't think of his name, Mr. West [ph.] or something, who was making an airplane in a garage in his house. And, so we went--so he saw us standing out there looking, so he invited us in, in the garage. And the plane had no wings on it, just a fuselage was in the--so he was putting in the cables for the pedals for the rudders and the stabilizers and you had to put so much of a--so he'd put us in the cockpit and says, "Okay. Now push this pedal, push this pedal." Because he was working by himself. And he was teaching us the names of all the parts of the plane.$$This is a white guy?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$And I think his name was Willoughby [ph.].$$Um-hm.$$And that's when we got introduced to aviation. So when he says, "Okay, when I finish this plane I want to give it a test flight," and we said, "Well, when you gon- Mr. Willoughby when are you going to put the wings--." "I can't put the wings on in here. I'm going to move it and then we'll put the wings on." And, so sure enough later, some months later, he finished that plane and just a spread with the outside of the plane was like canvas or some kind of material, it wasn't metal. They spray it with what you call dope and it would harden up and tighten up. And he flew it across our neighborhood and buzzed the neighborhood. I was so impressed with the flying aspect of it that I wanted to be a pilot. So when--so I began, during the war [World War II, WWII] I began to study the silhouettes of all the planes around the world and what the Japs [Japanese] were using, the Zero [Mitsubishi A6M Zero], the German (pronunciation) Luftwaffe, Luftwaffe planes, the (pronunciation) Fox Wolf 109 [Focke-Wulf Fw 109] and the Mr. Smith [Smith DSA-1 Miniplane] and the American planes, the P38s [Lockheed P-38 Lightning] and all of those planes. So you would have to idenn- a pilot would have to identify just the silhouettes of the planes in order to pass the test and all of this stuff. So we were--I was up on that and I--we had a teacher, a great, a great math teacher named Surelda James [ph.], she was my math teacher. And I went to her and asked her, "Would you teach me a course in pre-flight math?" She says, "You want to--." I said, "Yeah." And her sister was teaching me French, and they also went to First Baptist [First Baptist Church, Norfolk, Virginia], so they saw me in the Sunday, high, in the Sunday school band. So they kind of got to know me, aside from being my teachers. So she did, she set up a course in pre-flight math. Wasn't nobody in the class but me and another guy. And so we took the class and to get me ready to take the entrance exams for the Air Force [U.S. Army Air Force; U.S. Air Force].$$So you were really serious.$$Hm?$$You were really serious.$$Yeah.$$You knew exactly what you had to learn to--$$Yeah.$$--pass the test and--$$Yeah.$Now what, what was the first record that you appeared on?$$The first record I appeared on was with The Griffin Brothers, and I can't remember the title of the tune, but we recorded in Washington, D.C. in a studio. We only recorded about three songs with him. And I appeared--I played on that session with The Griffin Brothers.$$Okay.$$This was around fifty- '53 [1953], somewhere up in that area of time.$$Okay. Now what I have here is that it was on the Dot [Dot Records] label?$$Yeah, on Dot.$$On Dot, okay. Okay. And, okay, so you--so at the time it says here that they just needed a sax player because the regular sax player at--wasn't available?$$Yeah they had a guy, sax player named Virgil Wilson.$$Um-hm.$$And he couldn't make it, so they got me.$$Okay, all right. So, now how did you meet Gary U.S. Bonds?$$Well, for one thing he lived in my neighborhood (laughter). And he used to be in the neighborhood as a little kid. And mother used to bring him to the store; I used to see him down there with his mother [Irene Bonds] at the store. But what happened was I had done a recording in New York with Chuck Willis, a guy came and got in my house and heard about me and came and said Chuck Willis needed a saxophone player, this was around '56 [1956], '57 [1957]. And around '56 [1956], and he came and found me and said Chuck--so I didn't have a job and I just went over to Newport News [Virginia] and joined the band and went to New York with Chuck Willis and we made a demo, 'C.C. Rider' and then later Atlantic Records got, brought me into New York and I did the session, I played the solo on this segment, it became a big hit, 'C.C. Rider,' Chuck Willis.$$Right, I remember that, yeah.$$Well, I played the solo on it and then they brought me back and I played 'Dupree Blues' later. And so after that, things kind of quieted down for me and then Guida [Frank Guida], this guy that owned Legrand Records where U.S. Bonds was the maj- major artist for him, offered me a chance to record so I went with him. And then Gary was on that label and that's when I met Gary.$$Okay. Now I may have jumped ahead too far, but we'll get back to it, but your first recording that you--$$My first, yeah, my first recording was around fifty- 1955.$$Uh-huh.$$And I sent a, sent a--sent this record in, this tape into Chess Records and they liked it and put it out, a thing called 'Country.'$$Okay. This an instrumental, instrumental?$$Instrumental.$$Okay. And did it do pretty good?$$It went to number one hundred on the national charts, but what killed it was 'Honky Tonk.' So that instrumental, that instrumental grabbed all the attention of all the instrumentals that came out during that little period, during that year.$$Now that's Bill Doggett.$$Bill Doggett.$$So, okay, 'Honky Tonk' and that was the biggest instrumental that year.

Maya Angelou

Poet, author, and professor Maya Angelou was born as Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Bailey and Vivian Baxter Johnson. Angelou’s older brother, Bailey Jr., nicknamed her “Maya” when they were children. When Angelou was three years old, her parents divorced and sent her and her brother to live with their grandmother in the harshly segregated Stamps, Arkansas. Angelou and her brother moved back and forth between Stamps and St. Louis throughout their formative years. During World War II, Angelou attended George Washington High School and San Francisco’s Labor School, dropping out for a short while to work as the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco, but eventually graduating at the age of seventeen. Three weeks after her graduation, she gave birth to her only son.

Around 1950, Angelou, then a calypso dancer, changed her name from Marguerite Johnson to the more theatrical Maya Angelou. From 1954 to 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess, and three years later, she moved to New York City in order to concentrate on her writing career. Around the same time, she served as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1961, Angelou moved to Cairo, where she wrote for the weekly newspaper, "The Arab Observer", then to Ghana, where she taught at the University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama and worked as a feature editor for "The African Review". Angelou returned to the United States in 1964 to help Malcolm X build the Organization of African American Unity. Unfortunately, when Malcolm died, so too did the organization.

In 1970, Angelou published her famed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, for which she received a National Book Award nomination. This autobiography was followed by five other volumes, released in 1974, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 2002. Angelou’s first volume of poetry, "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie," was published in 1971, and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize the next year. In 1981, Angelou returned to the South, where she became the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1993, she recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

The recipient of a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 Broadway play Look Away, Angelou was granted three Grammy Awards for her spoken word albums and an Emmy for her supporting role in the television miniseries "Roots." In 1998, Angelou was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008. Later in life, Angelou divided her time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Harlem, New York. She had one son, two grandsons, and two great-grandchildren.

Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

Accession Number

A2010.109

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/31/2010

Last Name

Angelou

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

George Washington High School

California Labor School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Maya

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

ANG01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Mamma Know, You Gonna Teach All Over The World

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

4/4/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Winston-Salem

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chili

Death Date

5/28/2014

Short Description

Poet Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014 ) was the author of the famed autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Employment

Wake Forest University

Favorite Color

All Colors

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maya Angelou's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maya Angelou describes her earliest childhood memory and her brother Bailey

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maya Angelou talks about her childhood and describes the sights, sounds and smells of her youth

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maya Angelou discusses her experience with sexual abuse

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maya Angelou talks about her favorite poets

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maya Angelou discusses her six year period of silence

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maya Angelou discusses her music and dance career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maya Angelou talks about leaving the entertainment industry to join the Harlem Writers Guild

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maya Angelou describes her relationship with John Oliver Killens and James Baldwin

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maya Angelou talks about her relationship with Oprah Winfrey and her legacy

Naomi King

Civil rights activist Naomi King was born in Dothan, Alabama, on November 17, 1931 to a single mother, Bessie Barber Bailey. Her mother, a cook in a prominent Atlanta home, taught her social graces. King, educated in Atlanta Public Schools, excelled in French and English. As a young woman, King was often selected by local clothing stores as a preferred fashion model, at times featured in shop windows. King and her mother belonged to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Sr. served as senior pastor. At the church, King became acquainted with the pastor’s children, and she caught the eye of his youngest son, A.D.

In 1949, King entered Spelman College, where she spent a year studying French before marrying A.D. Williams King, Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and youngest son of Martin Luther King, Sr., in 1950. She later attended the University of Alabama and studied interior design. She would have five children: Alfred D.W. King III; Alveda King; Esther Darlene King; Reverend Vernon King of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Reverend Derek B. King of Indianapolis, Indiana. King lived most of her life as a mother and First Lady. She brought musical concerts, women’s enrichment programs, and tools for living to her husband’s congregations. Together, she and her husband supported Martin Luther King, Jr., when, in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama; at the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957; when students in Greensboro, North Carolina, launch the sit-in movement in 1960; through the Birmingham campaign of 1963; during 1963’s “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”; and throughout 1965’s campaign to vote in Selma. Toward the end of the campaign in Birmingham, on May 11, 1963, a bomb destroyed the Gaston Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was staying, and another damaged the home of Naomi and A.D. King.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. This tragedy was soon followed by the death of King’s husband, A.D., in 1969; on July 21, King and her children were vacationing in Nassau when A.D. drowned in their home swimming pool. On July 30, 1974, King’s mother-in-law, Alberta Christine Williams King, was murdered by deranged gunman Marcus Chenault as she played the Lord’s Prayer at Ebenezer Church. In 1976, King’s younger daughter, Darlene died while jogging from an apparent heart attack, and ten years later, her son Al died in the same manner. In 1984, King’s father-in-law, Martin Luther King, Sr., passed away from a heart attack, and in 2006, she lost her sister-in-law, Coretta Scott King, to advanced stage ovarian cancer. Despite these losses, King has kept her husband’s memory alive through her establishment of the A.D. King Foundation in 2008. She received the SCLC Rosa Parks Freedom Award in January 2008.

Naomi King was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.071

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/14/2010

Last Name

King

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Walker Street Elementary School

Davis Street School

Booker T. Washington High School

Spelman College

First Name

Naomi

Birth City, State, Country

Dothan

HM ID

KIN14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made. We Will Rejoice And Be Glad In It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

11/17/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Civil rights activist Naomi King (1931 - ) was the wife of the late A.D. Williams King, brother to Martin Luther King, Jr. She and her husband supported the Civil Rights Movement. King received the SCLC Rosa Parks Freedom Award in January 2008.

Employment

Citizens Trust Bank

Bank of Louisville, KY

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi King's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Naomi King lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Naomi King describes her mother's family background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Naomi King remembers the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Naomi King recalls her experiences at Walker Street Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls her childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Naomi King describes her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Naomi King talks about the segregated movie theaters in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Naomi King talks about her experiences of segregation in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Naomi King remembers her friends at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Naomi King describes her involvement at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her experiences at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Naomi King remembers the segregated retail stores in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her experiences at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Naomi King remembers her courtship and marriage to Alfred Daniel Williams King

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Naomi King talks about her husband, Alfred Daniel Williams King

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Naomi King talks about the early years of her marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Alberta Williams King, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Alberta Williams King, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Naomi King talks about her children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Naomi King describes her husband's pastoral career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Naomi King describes her husband's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls the bombing of her home in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Naomi King recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Naomi King describes her relationship with Coretta Scott King and Christine King Farris

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her husband's career at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Naomi King talks about the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Naomi King talks about the FBI's surveillance of her family

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Naomi King recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s commitment to nonviolence

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Naomi King remembers the death of her husband, Alfred Daniel Williams King

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Naomi King describes the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Naomi King remembers the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Naomi King describes her work with Coretta Scott King

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Naomi King remembers the death of Coretta Scott King

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Naomi King reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Naomi King describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Naomi King shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Naomi King reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Naomi King reflects upon her husbands' legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Naomi King reflects upon her husband's legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Naomi King narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Naomi King recalls the bombing of her home in Birmingham, Alabama
Naomi King recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s commitment to nonviolence
Transcript
Now talk to me a little bit about the incident of your house being bombed in, in Birmingham [Alabama], 'cause they were calling it Bombingham at that time (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Bombingham, right, right.$$So let's first talk about the bombing at your home when it was in--and what happened? Give me the, the details of that incident?$$Okay, the--it was May the 11th, 1963, a Saturday before Mother's Day and I had set my dining room table with all of my finery on it because the next day was Mother's Day and so I wanted to have everything you know pretty and ready to go for Mother's Day. So it was exactly eleven o'clock, May the 11th, 1963, a Saturday night. My husband [Alfred Daniel Williams King] was in the bedroom working on his sermon. The children were all in bed and after I had finished setting the table and all I decided that I would just sit in my living room and just pray and reflect and just enjoy the peace and quiet of, of the evening. So I was sitting there just you know praying and reflecting when my husband got up and came to the front of, the front--opened the front door. No, he came up the hall and he said, he said, "It's too quiet in here." He said, "Let's, let's just get out of here." So I remember while I was sitting there the picture window began to crack but I didn't hear anything, I didn't see anything and I was just sitting there and at that time that's when he said, he said, "It's too quiet in here. Let's get out here." And opened the front door and he said, "Let's just get out of here," he said, "it's too quiet in here." So he came over and took me by my hand and by the time we got up from the sofa and headed down our hallway, our house was like an L, by the time we got like down by the hallway, the first--the cracking of the, of the windowpane was the first bomb that was hit and I'm told that it was tossed, that's what I'm told. It was tossed and then the second bomb was the one that brought all of the front of the house--oh, I'm sorry--we'll get this?$$Let's stop for a second. Okay.$$The second bomb was the one that brought the front of the house down so that is when the house was bombed and the time.$$And your children were in the house as well?$$Right.$$So you just got everybody out?$$What happened, when that happened then we got everybody up and we went out the back, out the back door because the front was all blown out and was gone and we went out.$$And so, did you, where did you go to stay until--did you fix that house or did you move from that house (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) The house was eventually fixed and we stayed in it because the front was damaged you know, but we could stay in the back of it so it was, it was fixed.$$And did they ever find out who was responsible for this?$$Yes, there was a witness and his name was Roosevelt Tatum, I think that was his name I'm not sure, I'm told that he saw an officer toss something. There was a police car across the street. I'm told that Roosevelt saw that officer toss something and so I'm assuming that must've been the, the first bomb that was tossed over you know into, into the hedges of that and he supposedly went and, and got in a ditch you know 'cause he was afraid you know for his life and so he went and got in a ditch and it was the second bomb that was, that brought the front of the house down, so that's what I'm told.$Now, we know that the nonviolence philosophy was Martin Luther King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] thing, but how did your brother [sic.]--was he, I guess all the--did he buy into it all the way? I mean some people bought into it somewhat, some people bought into it all the way. Was he all the way in with nonviolence?$$I would think so, I can give you two--I'll tell you two stories that, that led me to believe that he bought in it and he lived just what he said, he lived it. I can remember in 1955 when I went to--let's see, to see him and Coretta [Coretta Scott King] because Yolanda [Yolanda King] was their first child and, and, and it was born. This was Montgomery [Alabama] and I went you know to, to see my--'cause she was born on my birthday like I told you, so I wanted to see my niece. So we went and I don't know what day it was but it was a night about eleven o'clock. I don't know what day it was and I was sitting in the darkened living room in there and Coretta was busy back with Yolanda, busy and all and Martin came in, and so when he came in--I told you my nickname is Nene and that's all he ever called me was Nene. I don't care where we were whether--he'd call me Nene. So when, and so he said, "Hi Nene [HistoryMaker Naomi King]." I said, "Hey, ML," so he walked over to his mantel and it was dark in there, all you saw was just the light from the street, you know from--through the window. And I'm sitting there and I glad he couldn't see my face you know. So he walked over to the mantel and he put his hands up on the, the mantel and he said, "You know what Nene?" I said, "What?" He said, and he put his hands up to his throat where his tie was and he said, "You know what Nene?" I said, "What?" He said, "You know what?" He said, and he was fingering, he said, "You know what they tried to choke me to death with my tie. They tried to choke me to death with my tie." So I was just quiet and didn't say anything, and he said--he just kept you know fingering with his tie and he said, "But you know what Nene," he said, "the more they do to me, the more I'm gonna love them 'cause that's what I'm supposed to do. God said that I'm supposed (unclear)." I just couldn't stand it, I just, I just, I just couldn't stand it. I'm glad he couldn't see my face 'cause it brought tears to my eyes. So that was one instance that, that I knew that he was like committed. The other time was when he was in New York [New York] after the stabbing, and I would call him and we would talk you know during the day just to see how he's doing and all that, and so when I talked to him on one occasion I said, I said, "Martin is there anything I can do for you?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "What is it?" I told you my mother [Bessie Barber Bailey] taught me how to cook and, and I didn't like to cook but I did it 'cause I had to. And he said, "Make me a sweet potato pie." I said, "Okay," I said, "I'll find out." I said--he called his wife Corrie, he said, "Find out when Corrie's going to take the flight up in here and if you can make me a sweet potato pie." And I said, "Okay, I'll do that." And so I went straight in, fixed the sweet--find out when she was gonna be leaving, made the sweet potato pie, put it in a plastic container and took it over there for her to take it to, you know to him. So make a long story short when I talked to him, I said, "You got your pie?" He said, "Yeah, Nene I got my pie." He said, "It's delicious as always." And I said, "Well, I'm so glad Martin." And he said, "Nene?" I said, "Yeah ML?" He said, "You know what?" I said, "What?" He said, "If I had sneezed I would've been dead." I just, I almost dropped the phone (makes sound), I couldn't stand it. So when he says if he had sneezed he would've been dead, and when I finally got to myself, I cam- I said, "Martin, ML," I said, "thank god you did not sneeze." I had to hang up the phone.

Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

Pastor and civil rights activist Wyatt Tee Walker, also known as “The Harlem Preacher,” was born on August 16, 1928 in Brockton, Massachusetts to John Wise and Maude Pinn Walker. He attended primary and elementary schools in Merchantville, New Jersey and went on to attend Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, where in 1950 he earned his B.S. degree in Chemistry and Physics, magna cum laude. He remained at Virginia Union and attended the Graduate School of Divinity, where he received his M.A. degree in 1953. Walker was heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement as president of his local NAACP chapter and state director of the Congress of Racial Equality. He met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at an interseminary meeting, forging a connection that continued until Dr. King’s assassination in 1968.

Walker, together with Dr. King, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957; he served as the organization’s third Executive Director in 1960 and helped Dr. King organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1964, Walker left the SCLC and worked as a marketing specialist for the Negro Heritage Library, which aimed to make African American history a more integral part of the revisionist school curricula. Three years later, Walker became the Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City, where he would serve for thirty-seven years. At Canaan Baptist, Walker reenergized the music program, leading it down a new path to several choral albums. In 1975, he earned his D.Min. degree from the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, where he wrote his dissertation on the music of the black religious tradition. The urban affairs liaison for New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Walker served on the National Committee on the American Committee on Africa, which brought many African leaders to the Canaan Baptist Church, including Nelson Mandela. He concerned himself deeply with the apartheid struggle in South Africa as founder of the Religious Action Network of the American Committee on Africa in 1988.

Walker was a published author of many essays, including “The Soul of Black Worship: A Trilogy – Preaching, Praying and Singing” in 1984. He was named as one of Ebony magazine’s “15 Greatest Black Preachers” in 1993. After experiencing four cerebral strokes in 2002 and 2003, Walker retired from his post at Canaan Baptist Church and moved to Chester, Virginia with his wife Ann in 2004. After his retirement, he continued to speak and make appearances and was honored with induction into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.

Walker passed away on January 23, 2018 at age 89.

Accession Number

A2010.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2010

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Tee

Schools

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Virginia Union University

Merchantville High School

First Name

Wyatt

Birth City, State, Country

Brockton

HM ID

WAL14

Favorite Season

None

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/16/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

1/23/2018

Short Description

Civil rights activist and pastor Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker (1928 - 2018 ) founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1957. He also served as the senior pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem for thirty-seven years.

Employment

Canaan Baptist Church of Christ

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Gillfield Baptist Church

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:1112,8:1880,14:9848,224:10712,236:28812,472:63070,780:63570,786:64570,798:69536,835:115149,1350:130288,1471:136230,1541:142030,1597:153176,1721:174605,1860:182770,1957$0,0:1332,15:4594,38:6848,92:15308,236:15830,243:24494,415:44300,589:46540,612:52860,650:64876,783:65272,803:69908,860:71852,889:72257,895:72662,901:73310,911:73796,919:107810,1282
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverent Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes growing up in New Jersey and his father, John Wise Walker

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his experience at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls Samuel DeWitt Proctor, and becoming pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes serving as pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia and president of the Petersburg NAACP

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recounts his civil rights activism with the NAACP, CORE, and the Petersburg Improvement Association in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls when he first met the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recounts how he grew the membership and budgets of the NAACP, SCLC, and the Petersburg Improvement Association in Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls becoming the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes the relationship between SCLC and SNCC

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains the strategy behind SCLC's 1963 Birmingham, Alabama campaign, Project C

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls his and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 arrests in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes HistoryMakers Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Reverend James Bevel

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker remembers the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes becoming pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his work as a cultural historian

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his work against South African apartheid and meeting Nelson Mandela

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker remembers where he was during the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his family

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains how he financed his education at Virginia Union University

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains the strategy behind SCLC's 1963 Birmingham, Alabama campaign, Project C
Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes HistoryMakers Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Reverend James Bevel
Transcript
Tell us about Project C with SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference].$$[Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] said if we could crack Birmingham [Alabama], we could crack the South. Birmingham was the largest and most racist city in the South. And he told me to develop a plan for attack. And [HM Reverend] Fred Shuttlesworth wanted us to come. And he, it [Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights] was our strongest affiliate. So I developed Project C, which was accepted by Dr. King's Executive Committee without changing a comma or a period. And that was the plan for attacking segregation in Birmingham. And everybody, expert or naive, would agree that Birmingham was the chief watershed of the nonviolent movement in America, and led directly to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which had an effect of desegregating America. And I think that was my chief organizational accomplishment, the planning of Project C and executing it.$$Now, what were the key components of Project C? What was supposed to happen?$$Well, using Christian nonviolence as a means of desegregating Birmingham. And the calculation that [Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene] "Bull" Conner would do something to help us, and he did.$$Now, what did he do to help?$$Well, his brutality, the water hoses, the dogs and the unsolved bombings.$$So his predictable brutality--$$Yes.$$--basically dramatized--$$Dramatized our struggle.$$Okay. All right. Now, did the--what difference did the media make in all of this?$$They made a tremendous difference because they publicized during the Cold War, that peaceful demonstrations in the South were being attacked by dogs and dosed with water hose, pneumatic water hoses, and while we were trying to influence, spread our influence to the Soviet Union. So we were the counterpoint of international diplomacy. And that helped propel the [Civil Rights] Movement against desegregation into an international issue.$Let me ask you about the, some of the other personalities involved in the [1963] Birmingham campaign [Birmingham, Alabama]. Tell us a little bit about [HM] Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.$$Bravest man I ever met. Bravest man in the Civil Rights Movement. And they have named the Birmingham airport [Birmingham-Shuttesworth International Airport] after him and erected a statue in Ingram Park, and he deserves all of that because he kept the fires burning in Birmingham, regardless of the brutality they imposed upon the black community. And he never waivered.$$Okay.$$He tried to send his children to integrated schools. They beat him with chains. He's in ill health now, but he's a great person. If it had not been for Shuttlesworth, we would not have won Birmingham.$$Now, what about [HM Reverend] James Bevel and the youth march?$$Well, he organized the children, for the children's march which broke the back of resistance in Birmingham of the mercantile industry. When people saw television pictures of fire hose washing youngsters down the sidewalk in Birmingham, they, they said, this is enough. Segregation must end. And the children's march [Birmingham Children's Crusade] broke the back of resistance in Birmingham.$$Okay--$$And James Bevel was responsible for that.

Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr.

Civil rights activist and pastor Rev. Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. was born on September 13, 1933, in Birmingham, Alabama to Maggie Rosa Lee Wallace Woods, a homemaker, and Abraham Lincoln Woods, Sr., a plant worker and Baptist minister. Woods entered Parker High School at age twelve, where he discovered and developed a skill for shoe repair, tailoring and a gift for public speaking. He graduated in 1950, with a partial scholarship to Miles College.

Throughout the years, Woods would attend the Universal Baptist Institute, the Universal Baptist Seminary and Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College. He holds a B.S. degree in social science, B.D., B.R.E., M.B.S. and D.D. degrees. Woods, his brother, Reverend. Abraham L. Woods, Jr. and Reverend. Fred L. Shuttleswoth co-founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956. The Woods brothers were introduced to Reverends Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy in 1962, when they began working closely with the ACMHR.

In 1960, at the age of twenty-seven, Woods served as pastor for East End Baptist Church. He was arrested and convicted for advocating boycotts of Birmingham’s segregated city bus system. He was sentenced to prison for six months and fined, becoming the first member of the Woods family to be arrested for their participation in the Civil Rights Movement. Woods continued fighting segregation and was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and in 1963, Woods was arrested and beaten by the police for his participation in public protests. The same year, Woods joined the March on Washington. In 1965, Woods protested Birmingham’s voter registration procedures under the leadership of Reverend Edward Gardner, and one year later Woods worked as the strategy chairman for the protest of the shootings of five black protesters at a Birmingham supermarket.

In 2006, at the age of seventy-two, Woods succeeded his brother Abraham as President of the Birmingham SCLC, and became president of the New Era Baptist State Convention a year later. Woods is currently the leader of Shiloh Baptist Church and leads a group called the Prayer Intercessors.

Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 7, 2007

Accession Number

A2007.248

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/7/2007

Last Name

Woods

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wallace

Occupation
Schools

A.H. Parker High School

Tuggle Elementary School

Miles College

East Thomas Elementary School

Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College

Union of Baptist Seminary

Universal Bible Institute

University of Alabama at Birmingham

First Name

Calvin

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

WOO08

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite Quote

Time Is Not On Our Side Unless We Grasp It. Tradition Is Not On Our Side Unless We Live And Create It. God Is Not On Our Side Unless We Listen And Obey.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

9/13/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Pastor Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. (1933 - ) co-founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and participated in the Freedom Rides of 1961, other events of the Civil Rights Movement. He was also the leader of Shiloh Baptist Church, and president of the Birmingham SCLC and the New Era Baptist State Convention.

Employment

Shiloh Baptist Church

Golden Sons Lodge Hall

East End Baptist Church

Roby's Chapel AOH

Believer's Temple Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:444,8:1406,65:6290,250:24204,575:58230,1072:75120,1204:84620,1323:96880,1424:106039,1680:143290,1956:153980,2083$0,0:2187,16:4155,35:70549,616:123735,1151:146828,1462:166756,1706:182566,1939:185592,1996:191820,2033
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his grandfather, Reverend Callie Denson Wallace

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. comments on the Wallace family name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls his relationship with his mother and his childhood church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls living with his grandmother, Rebenia Frazier

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his grandmother's ministry

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls how his parents met and were married

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his father's work and his father's calling to preach

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. clarifies his father's family history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes where his parents lived after marrying

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls the sounds, sights and smells of East Thomas, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls life during the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers East Thomas and Tuggle Elementary Schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recounts being called to preach in the seventh grade

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes himself as a child and his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. talks about his extracurricular activities as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his elementary school and Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his experiences at Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers his high school activities and teachers at Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his memories of Parker High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recalls his years as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his first experience with racism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his decision to attend Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, and to marry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his start in the ministry, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. continues describes his start in the ministry, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes being arrested trying to integrate Birmingham buses in 1959

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his introduction to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes teaching at the Urban Training Center for Christian Mission

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the 1963 Birmingham riots

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers Colonel Stone Johnson, Joe Hendricks, and the Freedom Riders

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his children

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his children's and HistoryMkaer James Bevel's involvement in the 1963 Birmingham riots

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers the political and social environment in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers confrontations with the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. talks about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Project C and the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes picketing the Liberty Supermarket, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes picketing the Liberty Supermarket, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes integration efforts in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the Civil Rights Movement after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the revival of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the revival of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes his college degrees

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the churches that he pastored, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. describes the churches that he pastored, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. expresses his concern for the African American community

DASession

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. recounts being called to preach in the seventh grade
Reverend Calvin Wallace Woods, Sr. remembers confrontations with the Ku Klux Klan
Transcript
Tell me what happened.$$Well, I was sitting in the classroom, at what we call the library table. It was just a little table in the room, in the corner of the room. And we had different books. And she would send some children to sit at the library table. If you finish your lesson wanted to go--you could go to the library. And I was a rather smart boy and I could go to the library most--table most any time. And I was sitting there one day and I had this vision, something happened. I didn't know what was going on. I heard some singing and I was looking around and look like heavens opened up. And I saw this long, white pulpit it was like a desk stretched across the bosom of the sky. And Jesus was sitting at that pulpit and people were sitting around him and he was calling me to come up. And I was--was kind of where--where I was but I--I couldn't--couldn't get up, you know, to go. And he stretched out a Bible to me and told me to preach. And so--but before this happened I missed some of it. I heard somebody--I heard the singing and heard somebody calling me. I didn't see anybody and went up to her desk and asked the teacher did she call me. She said, "No." She didn't think that. I set back down and it was still going on. And I started crying. I went up there to her and asked her did she call me. And she said, "Calvin, you must be losing your mind. You're going crazy or something like that." So when I set back down and cried and it really opened up and I saw all of this happen. So it was--I was a little boy. And when school was out, I ran down the hill, my daddy [Abraham Lincoln Woods, Sr.] hadn't gotten home from work. And when he came, I told him what had happened and he said, "Boy, you've been called to preach." So that's what I remember about school. But I didn't preach then, I was a little boy.$$What grade were you in when this happened?$$I think I was in the seventh grade. In the seventh grade when that happened. And I got skipped a lot. I was in high school when I was twelve.$$So you were an excellent student?$$Yes.$This was also a time that you were arrested again and had a confrontation with the Klan [Ku Klux Klan] at that time. Tell me the--$$Well, I was arrested for integrating a downtown lunch counter. And several whites crowded around us and one of the men spit on me. And I told him thank you sir. And a white man standing there couldn't take it. He singlehandedly drove that entire group out of that--that eating establishment. He did that. Now talking about the Klan we had faced the Klan more than one time. And on one occasion we faced the Klan, black woman dropped dead. We were in Hewitt town helping that place. Young man had been killed over there (unclear) and we--we--we were over there helping them. And the Klan were in their regalia and some didn't even have the hoods on. And Ms. Davis dropped dead. On another occasion during the struggle, we went to Decatur, Alabama to assist the people there. And the Klan took over the town, the police and everything and we had to run like rabbits. It was pandemonium in the city of Decatur [Alabama]. And another time when we faced the Klan it was very horrifying. We went to Forsyth, Georgia to help those people. It was terrible. This lady that comes on TV and got all that money, Oprah [Oprah Winfrey]. They brought her in to try to mediate the situation down there. The Klan were all over the place. They outnumbered the police men and all. We had this big march. It's nothing but the grace of God that brought us through. It was out--(unclear) (simultaneous)$$Is this the march that Hosea [Williams] had put together to Forsyth [County?], Georgia?$$Probably so. I don't just recall who put it together, he probably did but we were there. We faced the Klan and we've had instances where we've seen them here. They'd always be dressed up--wouldn't always be dressed up. But we--we--we have faced those things and I've suffice it to say, we've had some white people who stood up with us in the struggle against that dastardly behavior as well as blacks.

Reverend H. K. Matthews

Civil rights icon and minister Reverend H.K. Matthews was born Hawthorne Konrad Matthews on February 7, 1928, in Snow Hill, Alabama, to Lavinia Johnson and John Henry Matthews. Matthews was raised by his grandmother, Lucy P. Johnson-Matthews, after his mother died. His grandmother was a school teacher and his father was a farmer. He graduated from Snow Hill Institute in 1947, and attended Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University for three years before enlisting in the United States military in 1949.

After serving in the Korean War, Matthews them moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1955, where he became involved with church activities and was mentored by one of Pensacola’s leading black clergy, Reverend W.C. Dobbins. During this time, Matthews became active with civil rights activities and was employed by the Florida State Employment Service. He was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1961. While living in Florida, Matthews founded the Pensacola National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council and the Escambia County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Matthews spearheaded protests that resulted in the increased employment of African Americans at Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital, Southern Bell Telephone Company and the West Pensacola Bank. Matthews was jailed thirty-five times for his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. Matthews returned to Alabama in 1977 and continued to minister at Zion Fountain A.M.E Zion church for twenty-four years. During this time, Matthews was also presiding over twenty-one other churches in the area.

Matthews has received many honors for his work in Pensacola, Florida during the Civil Rights Movement in Pensacola, Florida. In February 2006, the City Council of Pensacola dedicated a park in his honor to recognize the social changes that he brought to the city.

H.K. Matthews was interviews by The HistoryMakers on October 16, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/16/2006

Last Name

Matthews

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Snow Hill High School

Alabama A&M University

First Name

H.K.

Birth City, State, Country

Snowhill

HM ID

MAT04

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Arthur Rocker, Sr

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Destin, Florida

Favorite Quote

Absolutely.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

2/7/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Brewton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard), Chicken

Short Description

Civil rights activist and minister Reverend H. K. Matthews (1928 - ) established the Pensacola NAACP Youth Council and Escambia County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Employment

Florida State Employment Services

Jefferson Davis Community College

Zion Fountain A.M.E. Zion Church

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:258,4:1032,14:8398,139:9190,154:9454,159:9718,164:19438,302:19870,309:25414,387:26566,405:30670,485:31030,491:31390,500:31678,505:38420,576:43040,666:51242,770:67838,927:69434,963:69966,971:71258,995:71562,1000:72550,1016:73082,1024:73994,1047:74602,1059:76426,1100:77262,1116:81278,1132:82874,1157:84386,1180:97207,1358:99000,1365:100290,1391:101236,1408:101580,1413:102526,1429:105656,1473:106232,1482:111940,1572:114106,1585:114638,1593:115778,1615:119882,1711:123494,1746:137070,2029:143996,2168:150590,2238$0,0:6174,158:8784,201:9306,209:9741,257:32697,516:33249,524:33801,533:34422,554:38079,625:39045,650:39597,661:40287,673:40908,683:45220,705:50490,829:62985,1114:67980,1124:68421,1133:68862,1142:69177,1149:69870,1161:72968,1198:81788,1296:87692,1418:88184,1434:88758,1442:89250,1450:93970,1492:94670,1511:96770,1557:105880,1698:108260,1754:114412,1802:119650,1858:120196,1866:123250,1893:124240,1905:127810,1944:128090,1949:130750,2004:131380,2014:131870,2022:137400,2067
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend H.K. Matthews' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend H.K. Matthews lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his maternal grandmother's education and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his high school education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his childhood extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes the collective parenting of his community

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes Christmas celebrations during his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reverend HK Matthews describes his neighborhood in Snow Hill, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls how he became a preacher

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls his professors at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes the role of religion at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his experiences in the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his life after leaving the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers overcoming his alcoholism

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls protesting segregation in Pensacola, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes St. Mark's A.M.E. Zion Church in Pensacola, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend H.K. Matthews talks about Reverend W.C. Dobbins

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls working at Florida's state employment service agency

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend H.K. Matthews talks about managing the Escambia Arms housing complex

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers his ordination

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his first day at Florida's state employment service agency

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his grandmother's influence on his activism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls integrating the Pensacola public school system, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls integrating the Pensacola public school system, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his arrest at Escambia High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers sit-ins at businesses in Pensacola, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls the shooting of Wendel Blackwell

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes the aftermath of Wendel Blackwell's murder

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls protesting Wendel Blackwell's murder

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls being imprisoned for his civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls founding the Pensacola chapter of SCLC

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers the Selma to Montgomery March

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers being attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend H.K. Mathews describes the philosophy behind his activism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his children and grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend H.K. Matthews talks about his book, 'Victory After the Fall'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his congregation in Brewton, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend H.K. Matthews reads from his book, 'Victory After the Fall,' pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend H.K. Matthews reads from his book, 'Victory After the Fall,' pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend H.K. Matthews reflects upon his civil rights activism

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Reverend H.K. Matthews talks about his awards and honors

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Reverend H.K. Matthews talks about Arthur Rocca

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Reverend H.K. Matthews reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend H.K. Matthews describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend H.K. Matthews reflects upon how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend H.K. Matthews narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Reverend H.K. Matthews recalls integrating the Pensacola public school system, pt. 2
Reverend H.K. Matthews remembers the Selma to Montgomery March
Transcript
The following year, the students wanted me to speak at Woodham High School [Pensacola, Florida] and some of the colored teachers out there thought it and said that that school was not ready for me because I was too militant? Whatever the case might was, I guess that was it. And, and my thinking was always that being militant is merely pursuing that which rightfully belongs to you. That, that was my definition of militant, but they didn't see it that way. And then the next big thing with the high school was at Escambia High [Escambia High School, Pensacola, Florida] when the black students went--the African American students went to Escambia High School, they played 'Dixie' and we didn't complain too much about the rebel flag, the use of it. We complained about the misuse of it because they were flaunting it in the face of the black students, and that's when the big, big push against the school system when we took the kids out of school and had Freedom Schools set up all over this county. We had Freedom Schools in Atlan [ph.] chapel, the church and several other areas where the black kids were being taught by retired African American teachers and they were getting all of the subject matter that they needed. As a matter of fact, I set up some down in DeFuniak Springs [Florida] and in Chipley [Florida]. So, we finally got the name Rebel, which was the name of the school, Escambia High Rebels. We got that removed. They changed the name of the football team to the One Hundreds or something and they didn't win a game the following year. But that was the biggest push as it relates to schools. There were rioting going--there was rioting going out at the school and, and I always said they blamed me for everything that happened here. If Santa Claus didn't come, they'd blame H. K. Matthews [HistoryMaker Reverend H. K. Matthews]. Easter Bunny didn't lay no eggs, they'd blame H. K. Matthews. I was in the Evergreen--pastoring a church in Evergreen [Florida] and living up there when one of the last riots broke out at Escambia High School and they said it was my fault. (Laughter) You know, I, I was responsible for it. I'm, I'm a hundred miles away, but I'm responsible for the riots that took place.$You joined Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] and the other soldiers in SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] and you were a leader in SCLC here, Pensacola [Florida]. Tell us about Edmund Pettus Bridge [Selma, Alabama] and that march [Selma to Montgomery March].$$Now, we--I was really, as, as I say, I was a face in the crowd, however, I knew the purpose. The purpose was trying to get a voting rights act passed. And I considered myself and the people did here, a leader in the African American community and I felt that in order for me to represent myself as a leader or represent this community as a leader, I need to be involved in something that was broader than Pensacola and Chipley [Florida] and DeFuniak Springs [Florida] in those areas. And, and, and so when the call went out for people to come to Selma [Alabama], I answered the call. I--you know, I got in my little blue--my pink and white Ford and I, I went to Selma and all, all I wanted to do was just be out. I didn't care if I was at the tail, or the middle or wherever I was. I wanted to be in a part of something that was going to make a significant change in the life of this country. First of all, I served in Korea. I was disappointed that I had fought against an enemy who could come over here and have more privileges than I had. And so I, I just wanted to be a part of that. I, I was not thinking about a part of history making, that was not--that was the furthest thing from my mind. The thing for my mind was the fact that yeah, our people are unable to vote, you know, freely. You know, who, who, who wants an interpreter, consulter. Who can? You know, who wants to pay poll tax. Who wants to do all of this stuff just to be able to pull a lever or to vote? So, you know, that was an opportunity for me to assert myself whether anybody noticed me or not. And so that was my rationale, my reasoning for hooking up with that march because I wanted to be a part of something, something greater than sit-ins and selective buying campaigns--

Xernona Clayton

Broadcast executive, foundation chief executive, nonprofit executive, television host, and television producer Xernona Clayton and her twin sister, Xenobia, were born August 30, 1930 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Clayton’s parents, Reverend James M. and Lillie Brewster, were actively engaged in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee. In 1952, Clayton earned her B.A. degree from Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial College, now Tennessee State University. She later earned a scholarship and pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In 1957, Clayton married noted journalist and civil rights activist Edward Clayton, who died in 1966. She later married jurist Paul L. Brady, the first African American appointed as a Federal Administrative Law judge.

Clayton's civic involvement and participation in the Civil Rights Movement was informed by the Chicago Urban League, in which she worked to investigate discrimination in employment. As an activist, Clayton was instrumental in coordinating activities for the Doctor's Committee for Implementation project, which culminated with the desegregation of hospital facilities in Atlanta, Georgia. Clayton also worked closely with Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to organize fundraising initiatives for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). By the mid-1960s, Clayton was writing for the Atlanta Voice, and in 1968, she became the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV in Atlanta. Her guests included Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. Later that year, Clayton successfully convinced the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to renounce the Klan. In 1982, Clayton began her long standing and impressive career with Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). At TBS, she assumed many roles throughout the years, including producing documentaries, hosting a public affairs program entitled Open Upand serving as director and vice-president of public affairs in the early 1980s. Ted Turner, founder of TBS, promoted Clayton to assistant corporate vice-president for urban affairs in 1988. In 1993, Clayton created the Trumpet Awards for Turner Broadcasting to honor African American achievements. The program is seen in over 185 countries.

As Governor of Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Clayton to the State Motion Picture and Television Commission. She is a member of the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences, the National Urban League, among other civic and professional organizations. Clayton is also a board member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and served as chairman of the Atlanta University Board of Trustees. The recipient of numerous accolades, Clayton received the Leadership and Dedication to Civil Rights Award and the Drum Major for Justice Award from SCLC in 2004. In her honor, the Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Black Journalists established the Xernona Clayton Scholarship. Clayton’s autobiography, I’ve Been Marching All the Time was published in 1991.

Xernona Clayton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 22, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/22/2005 |and| 2/21/2014

Last Name

Clayton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Dunbar Elementary School

University of Chicago

Manual Training High School

Tennessee State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Xernona

Birth City, State, Country

Muskogee

HM ID

CLA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada, Bahamas, Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Change People Around You, Change The People Around You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/30/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Grapes

Short Description

Foundation chief executive, broadcast executive, and television host Xernona Clayton (1930 - ) was the founder of the Trumpet Awards, and the first black woman in the South to host a regularly scheduled prime-time talk show, Variations, which became The Xernona Clayton Show on WAGA-TV.

Employment

WAGA TV

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Chicago Urban League

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1428,20:4896,86:6460,124:7412,145:8772,198:9248,206:10404,240:11492,261:13532,295:20102,335:20772,347:25931,474:28611,524:29080,531:34373,662:34641,667:35311,684:37388,728:37656,733:38728,759:48161,859:52111,922:53770,956:54323,962:54718,968:57325,1016:62855,1137:72650,1279:72946,1284:78940,1445:79606,1457:84130,1471:88546,1561:89098,1574:108552,1934:109514,1953:110180,1964:113436,2019:114324,2033:116618,2077:116914,2082:121310,2106:121913,2120:132365,2350:133839,2380:135782,2417:137926,2491:140338,2520:149904,2596:150480,2603:151440,2615:153700,2631$0,0:810,26:1260,32:1980,42:3420,95:7248,145:8132,165:10924,193:14476,266:15734,290:16474,303:20026,368:21950,403:36902,541:37832,554:48126,694:48498,702:49490,720:49924,728:55776,809:57017,939:57309,944:58915,972:59426,982:63500,1020:65100,1047:70124,1128:75674,1304:76414,1316:85410,1475:87621,1542:88157,1555:96202,1666:104808,1765:105340,1773:105644,1778:105948,1783:107848,1819:108456,1828:116227,1938:127268,2065:132164,2129:135899,2207:143330,2325:143890,2337:147460,2416:148160,2433:148440,2438:150610,2509:151240,2519:151520,2524:155806,2554:156400,2564:156928,2576:157654,2591:157918,2596:162604,2731:163462,2752:163726,2757:167092,2849:167752,2862:176930,2963:181840,3002:185840,3092:186480,3101:190960,3188:200900,3290:201868,3303:206895,3482:207155,3487:207415,3492:208260,3507:209885,3543:210210,3549:213966,3600:215144,3638:215392,3643:216260,3667:216818,3678:217128,3690:217500,3699:221096,3787:224800,3817
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton talks about her mother's paternal background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton relates lessons from her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recounts how her parents met in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's leadership in the Baptist church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton remembers her father's work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her father's humbling response to public praise of Clayton and her twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton describes Dunbar Elementary School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls her favorite teachers and classes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Xernona Clayton's interview, session 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about her educational foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton remembers Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton talks about being a twin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton describes her father's role in Muskogee, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her adolescent career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls her decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton recalls being named the smartest girl in her class at Manual Training High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls matriculating at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Xernona Clayton considers how her childhood influenced her activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls her collegiate extracurricular activities, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls being sheltered from discrimination during college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton recalls participating in a University of Wisconsin twin study

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton recalls studying with her twin at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton describes her approach to learning

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton explains her decision to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon the impact of her father's lessons on humility

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Xernona Clayton recalls how she became involved with the Chicago Urban League

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton talks about the Chicago Urban League's position on labor integration

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton recalls chairing the most successful Chicago Urban League charity dinner

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Xernona Clayton remembers deciding to leave graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Xernona Clayton talks about meeting her husband, Edward Clayton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Xernona Clayton recalls her involvement in Chicago's South Side society

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Xernona Clayton recalls teaching a prominent Chicago businessman to read and write

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Xernona Clayton reflects upon her legacy as an elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Xernona Clayton recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Xernona Clayton explains how she began working for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Xernona Clayton recalls growing up as an identical twin, pt. 1
Xernona Clayton describes her initial work with the Chicago Urban League in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
But as a twin, now, people say it's--did you feel special--I guess you'd have to feel special as a twin, and did you have a special relationship with your twin [Xenobia Brewster]?$$Yes, we did feel special because when we found out we were rare and people made such notice of it--$$When did you first kind of realize it that something unusual was going on?$$Well, since we heard it every day, we started saying, "Mm-mm, you know, we're pretty special." But then we were so close. I mean, my sister and I, it's so like you have a best friend all the time. Everybody else has to go and try to find one and chose one. But I had one, and she had one, and we had each other. And it's somebody you really trust. I mean, you can tell your innermost secrets to your twin sister, and she could tell me hers. As a matter of fact, when we started courting, she'd tell me, like, she's going to slip out tonight when we had the curfew on and we couldn't get out after eight o'clock, and she had this hot date that she was determined to keep. And she says, "I'm going to slip out of the window"--we shared a bedroom; we slept together all the years. She said, "I'm going to slip out because my boyfriend's going to rap on the window, then I'm going out of the window, and then when I come back, I'm going to rap on the window, you let me back in and Mother [Lillie Elliott Brewster] will never know." And, of course, I didn't want her to do it, but that was my sister and my closest friend. And so, she was determined to slip out, that I was going to help her and support her, rather. And I was the one who really was always Miss Goody Two-Shoes. You know, I'd say, "Oh, no you can't break the rules. No, no, no." But she'd say, "Oh, yes, yes, yes." And so, since she was determined, I was going to support her because I didn't want her to get a whipping. And so, like we had those little secrets that nobody knew but us. But one night it backfired because my mother, having her own leveled wisdom, kind of figured something was going on I guess by the behavior pattern or body language. And so, that night when my sister slipped out and I was to assist her to slip back in when she rapped on the window, my mother opened the window (laughter). And she said, "Help me in," and the voice said, "Okay," and she thought it was my voice; it was my mother's voice. And when she came up, you know, she wanted to run back then; of course, it was too late then. Then when my mother gave her that little spanking, then I cried, too, because I didn't want her to, you know, to get spanked. But we shared everything, just everything.$We were talking about the Urban League of Chicago [Chicago Urban League]. And--$$Yes.$$--they needed--$$Well, discrimination was a reality, but they couldn't get a handle on it. So what they decided to do was, let's see if we can, you know, catch come--let do our homework to see if it's really being practice like what we think. So the pattern then was to, or the process was to look in the want ad sections and see who's hiring, what jobs are open, and then apply; apply meaning--now, this was in '52 [1952], and requirements or skills were not all that involved. Like, if you were a clerk, you could apply for a clerk/typist job if you could type and you could spell. And so you didn't have to have, you know, a medical degree to get a job. Now, my sister [Xenobia Brewster] and I had graduated from college [Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College; Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee], so you assume we knew something. We could spell, read, and write, and we could type, and, and we learned how to type in, in college. And I don't know if you remember a man name Cortez Peters, who was the fastest man in, in America.$$Right, Cortez Typing School [sic. Cortez W. Peters Business School].$$Yeah, he was a typist. And we had a chance to meet him. And he came to our college one year, and I got a chance to meet, and boy, I was so fascinated by him. And I said one of these days I'm gonna type like Cortez Peters. And I learned to be a pretty good typist, you know, of course nowadays it doesn't matter much. But I learned how to be a good typist, and so was my sister. So we were both good typists. And so the Urban League said well, let's do this: you be our front men. And we'll always like, position five minutes, ten minutes away from where we'd call. So we called, say Marshall Field's [Marshall Field & Company]. There would be an ad in the paper for a clerk typist. And we'd call and said, "I see you have an ad in the paper." "Yes." "Is the job still open?" "Yes." "It's okay to apply?" "Yes." Then we'd make a beeline over there, like ten minutes away. And we'd get there and, "We're here to apply. I understand you got a clerk/typist at"--we don't tell we're the ones that called. You said, "I came to apply for your clerk/typist job." "Oh, so sorry, but we just filled that." You know, (laughter), well, then you got them right there. Well, that happened with so many companies, Spiegel [Spiegel Inc.]--well, I don't wanna name all of the companies that were kind of guilty but major companies that looked like they were good guys. You know, Marshall Field's, everybody went to Marshall Field's. It was a joy to go to Marshall Field's. They looked like good guys. Spiegel was a good mail order place and oh, a lot of places. And my sister and I went to many of those places that did the same pattern, apply--I mean broadcast the--advertise an opening, and then when you got there, you're black, it's not for you. And we broke down a lot of that. And it was kind of, you know, fun job; job meaning, you know, it was assigned tasks. They were really very--and I was waiting for school to start anyways, then the summer, so it was before we went to col- before I went to school.$$So, so would the Urban League then confront the business in, in a (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And they would--$$--formal setting--$$Oh yeah, and then they, they would document it.$$(Unclear)--$$And so they put, I mean had very good documentation, which means--and then they called a press conference. And of course, then you embarrass the company. And then the, you know, the good guys say well, we gotta change our image. You know, we can't be out here looking this bad. So that's how the integration took place, is all I think just felt embarrassed.$$

The Honorable Tyrone Brooks

Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks was born October 10, 1945, in Warrenton, Georgia. Brooks attended public school in Warrenton, and later went to high school in Keysville, Georgia.

Brooks became active in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the age of fifteen as a volunteer, and by 1967 he was a full-time employee. While there he met such influential leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Joseph Lowery; and the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy. Brooks served in both local and national positions with the SCLC. He was arrested in 1976 in Washington, D.C., while protesting outside the South African Embassy. All told, he has been arrested more than sixty-five times for his civil rights activism. In 1980, Brooks was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he continues to serve. He is active on a number of committees, and led the push to remove Confederate symbols from the Georgia state flag.

Brooks is also president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, and is a member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. He is still highly involved in the civil rights movement, working to eradicate racism, sexism, illiteracy and injustice.

Brooks received his first honorary degree from the John Marshall School of Law in 2001 as a result of his successful campaigning to change the state flag. He has also been awarded with a Public Servant Award from the Atlanta City Council, been inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, and named one of the 50 Most Influential Men in Georgia by the Georgia Coalition of Black Women. Brooks and his wife, Mary, live in Atlanta.

Accession Number

A2003.099

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/6/2003

Last Name

Brooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Chicago

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends

First Name

Tyrone

Birth City, State, Country

Warrenton

HM ID

BRO11

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Human Rights, Politics, Criminal Justice

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Winter

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Human Rights, Politics, Criminal Justice

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Unity in the Black community is our salivation

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/10/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

State representative The Honorable Tyrone Brooks (1945 - ) is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, and led the push to remove Confederate symbols from the Georgia state flag.

Employment

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

George House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyrone Brooks interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks details his family origins in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks recalls his grandmother and the privilege her biracial status granted him

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks discusses his grandmother's white father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks describes his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brooks recounts how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks shares childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks remembers segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks recounts instances of racial violence in Warrenton, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks recalls the media's influence on the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks describes his elementary school years and teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brooks discusses the importance of disciplining children

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brooks remembers high school athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brooks recounts his early involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks details his recruitment into the SCLC

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks recalls his work with the SCLC

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks describes his preparatory school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks recounts his time in Washington, D.C. with Reverend Walter Fauntroy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks remembers averting a crisis with the SCLC

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brooks recalls attending a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks describes a monument to a murdered civil rights worker, Viola Liuzzo

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks details training and recruitment in the SCLC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks discusses staying nonviolent in the face of violence

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks recalls a frightening incident during his activist years

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks recounts a life-threatening incident during his SCLC tenure

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks details the aftermath of his confrontation with the sheriff

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks recounts his unjust imprisonment for his civil rights activism

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks recalls how Sheriff Odom begged his forgiveness

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks reflects on the impact of nonviolent resistance on the U.S.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks remembers his last meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks describes the Poor People's Campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks recalls being jailed during Resurrection City

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks details his work with Ralph Abernathy and Hosea Williams

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks recounts SCLC's efforts to end apartheid

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks conveys the changes following the election of Jimmy Carter

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks describes Jimmy Carter and his works

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks discusses nominating Dr. Joseph Lowery for a Nobel Peace Prize

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brooks reflects on Jimmy Carter's mistakes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks recalls Ralph Abernathy and Hosea Williams endorsing Ronald Reagan

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks explains why he ran for a seat in the Georgia state legislature

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks shares his first challenge as a state representative

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks details the fight over reapportionment of black districts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Tyrone Brooks describes his efforts to curb racial violence in Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Tyrone Brooks recounts the struggle to create a Martin Luther King holiday

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Tyrone Brooks discusses his work and legislation on welfare reform

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Tyrone Brooks explains why he wanted to change the Georgia state flag

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Tyrone Brooks remembers how he fought to change the Georgia state flag

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks details his struggle to change the Georgia state flag

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Tyrone Brooks explains Denmark Groover's role in changing the Georgia state flag

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Tyrone Brooks recounts the referendum to ratify the new flag

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Tyrone Brooks discusses his concerns for the black community

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Tyrone Brooks ponders his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 2000

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks, ca. 1951

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Photo - Hosea Williams at the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia, January 14, 2000

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks at the podium at the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 1993

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks on the Jesse Jackson campaign for U.S. President, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks, John Conyers, and an unidentified man, Washington, D.C., ca. 1985

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with others, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Rommie Loudd, Orlando, Florida, 1978

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks and others at SCLC headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 1970-1980

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Rev. Hosea Williams, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks and others giving a press conference in front of the Atlanta City Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, 1981

Tape: 9 Story: 13 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks being presented an award by Dr. Joseph Lowery at an SCLC function, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 14 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Cynthia McKinney and President Bill Clinton, 1999

Tape: 9 Story: 15 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with members of Jesse Jackson's Presidential campaign, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984

Tape: 9 Story: 16 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Mrs. Juanita Abernathy and Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Atlanta, Georgia, 1989

Tape: 9 Story: 17 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks, Jacksonville, Florida, ca. late 1970s

Tape: 9 Story: 18 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with his son, Tyrone Brooks, Jr., Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 1980s

Tape: 9 Story: 19 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks at the SCLC headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia, 1980

Tape: 9 Story: 20 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks and others, Keysville, Georgia, ca. 1987-1988

Tape: 9 Story: 21 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with John Lewis, Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 22 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks, Atlanta, Georgia, January 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 23 - Photo - Tyrone Brooks with Roy and Marie Barnes, Atlanta, Georgia, 2001

Tape: 9 Story: 24 - Photo - Jesse Jackson with Rita Samuels, Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 2001

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$7

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Tyrone Brooks details the aftermath of his confrontation with the sheriff
Tyrone Brooks details the fight over reapportionment of black districts
Transcript
The media was covering this, of course, and the next day the headlines around the state [Georgia], 'Sheriff Threatens Brooks.' 'Sheriff Threatens to Kill Civil Rights Worker.' And that generated so much anger in the black community and on these campuses that the next night, Dr. [Ralph] Abernathy came, Hosea Williams came, students from the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia], students from Emory at Oxford [College of Emory University, Oxford, Georgia]. They have a campus down there right out of Covington in Newton County. Oxford. Students from Paine College in Augusta [Georgia], Fort Valley College [now Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley Georgia], Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia], Spelman [College, Atlanta, Georgia], Morris Brown [College, Atlanta, Georgia], Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta]. It just seemed like all these campuses, these students just like, "We're coming." The next night, we probably had three or four thousand people, the next night cause the media blew it up. The next day it was, it was the talk of Georgia, man. I mean it was everywhere, headlines and tv coverage. So the next night when Hosea and Dr. Abernathy showed up, we had a meeting prior to the march. And since, you know, they were my superiors, they were my bosses, I assumed that they wanted to lead it. And Dr. Abernathy said, "Well, no, no, no." He said, "You're in charge. You're on the scene. We're here to back you up." And he said, "We--you lead--you're going to lead the march tonight." And I said, "Okay." So we--they said, "We're gonna be right behind you. And we're gonna show the sheriff [Junior Odom] that if he bothers you, he's gonna have to deal with us. And if he bothers us, there's gonna be some more people behind us." And so anyway, that was the point they were trying to make. So we gathered at our church, same church. We marched uptown to the little square in downtown Covington. We had our rally in the park. I had Hosea and Dr. Abernathy to speak, and then we marched out of the park. And we went over to the jailhouse, looking for the sheriff. Couldn't find him. Then we marched to his house where he lives; couldn't find him. We marched all over town, singing, "Ain't gon' let Junior Odom turn us around, ain't gon' let Sheriff Odom turn us around". And we couldn't find him. He didn't show up that night. So we go back to the church, have a big victory rally, and the Movement continues on. So about a week later, I'm leading this march and the sheriff pulls up in his car beside me and he got his, couple of deputies with him. He jumps out, and he says, "Well, you're under arrest." It was not uncommon to go to jail all the time in the Movement. "You're under arrest." "For what?" "Inciting a riot, marching without a permit." I said, "Well, the United States Constitution is our permit, and where did you get the, the accusation that I'm inciting a riot?" "Well, we've heard a lot of speeches and maybe you didn't say it, but somebody, somebody said something about some violence is gonna happen if we don't do this or that." Well, he arrest me. He put me in jail. The next day Hosea sends Robert Johnson down. And Robert Johnson leads another march. He's arrested. The next day Hosea sends Lloyd Jackson down. Lloyd leads a march. He's arrested. And the next day, we have Forrest Sawyer, one of the local leaders. He leads a march. He's arrested. Then the next day Joe Lightfoot. It just kept going on. And every night, they would arrest a leader, always get one leader. That's what the sheriff would do. He thought this was going break the Movement. What it did was, it gave the Movement energy 'cause every time they would put one of us in jail, it would seem like a hundred more people would come out and it would just get bigger and bigger and big--and the crowd just grew. And so we were in the jail, awaiting trial on these little Civil Rights trumped-up charges. Now, we're in jail. We could see out of the windows. You could actually open the windows up. They had these bars on the windows, but you could open the glass part and look out. The, the marchers would come to the jail every night to protest our arrest. But the boycott of the businesses intensified. It just got bigger and stronger. Black folks were not spending their money in the county or the city. They would drive to Conyers and Monroe and Social Circle, Monticello, Atlanta, Decatur, Conyers, wherever. They would not spend money there. So the local economy was hurt.$Then 1981, '82 [1982], we went through our first reapportionment, my first reapportionment. Not--the first apportionment for the, for the African American legislators who were here. We went through the first one. And it was ugly. It was, it was tough. We were fighting for one majority black congressional district out of ten. There were ten congressional districts. We only wanted one, and we wanted it right here in Atlanta [Georgia] where we made up sufficient population to justify one. The leadership of the Democratic Party said, "No, you can't have one in this reapportionment process."$$Just a question now. Now, what is the percentage of black residents in Georgia?$$The percentage of black residents in the state of Georgia is about 30 percent. In Atlanta, it's about seventy percent. So in 1981, '82 [1982], we were fighting over one majority black district in the whole Congressional delegation. The leadership of the Democratic Party said, "No, we're not going to give it to you." The Democrats controlled the House [of Representatives], Democrats controlled the Senate, and they controlled the Executive branch, the Governor's office. So us [Georgia] Legislative Black Caucus members decided to fight to get one, one out of ten. We had to sue the state. That year Black Caucus members, which numbered probably fifteen or twenty--today we're forty-nine, but then we were about fifteen or twenty, we formed an alliance with the Republicans in the legislature. We formed this alliance. And we went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won. We won that district. We beat back the attempts to deny us that one district. And today, John Lewis is representing us in the United States Congress in the 5th Congressional District from Atlanta, Georgia.

The Honorable Charles Hayes

Labor leader and U.S. congressman Charles A. Hayes was born on February 17, 1918 in Cairo, Illinois, and graduated from Cairo's Sumner High School in 1935.

While working as a machine operator in his hometown Hayes helped to organize the United Packinghouse Workers of America, which later became prominent in union reform movements for women and minorities. Hayes remained involved with the labor union movement for fifty years and eventually became vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

In 1983, Hayes was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives, a seat previously occupied by Chicago, Illinois Mayor Harold Washington. Hayes played a large role in Washington's mayoral campaign by lobbying, organizing people and raising money through his union. During his career in Congress, Hayes made a number of changes. He authored and introduced the School Improvement Act of 1987, which was later passed by the House. This act allocated millions of dollars to public schools across the country, allowing them to purchase textbooks, computers and supplies. He also introduced the Economic Bill of Rights, which outlined a plan for the equal distribution of national wealth. In addition, Hayes was an active member of Congress’s Education and Labor Committee, as well as the Small Business Committee. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives until January 3, 1993.

Hayes also was an ardent supporter of the civil rights movement. He was one of the founding members of Operation PUSH with Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. Also, Hayes worked with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

A resident of Chicago, Illinois for most of his life, Hayes died from complications of lung cancer on April 8, 1997 at the age of 79.

Charles Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 25, 1993.

Accession Number

A1993.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/25/1993

Last Name

Hayes

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Schools

Cairo Sumner High School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Cairo

HM ID

HAY02

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/17/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

4/8/1997

Short Description

Labor leader and U.S. congressman The Honorable Charles Hayes (1918 - 1997 ) was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1983. Hayes was also a life-long union worker, founding the United Packinghouse Workers of America and becoming vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Employment

United States House of Representatives

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Charles Hayes names inspirational figures

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Hayes details his investment in unions

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Hayes expresses his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Hayes wants to be remembered for staying the course

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Hayes shares advice for future generations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Hayes lists several prominent Chicagoans who've influenced his career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Hayes shares political views

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$1

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Charles Hayes details his investment in unions
Charles Hayes lists several prominent Chicagoans who've influenced his career
Transcript
What events influenced you? What important events in our history have influenced you the most? Or would you like pinpoint as very important to black people.$$Well, I think that has the most influence on my life was being a part of a very poor family. I had always--it just became a part of me to always have a desire to help people who needed help. Employment--find a decent job, make a decent living. And certainly, in order to do that--I became really interested in unions. And I guess the thing that turned me in the direction of unions most was a job I had--because I had no desire to continue to be a laborer in a hardware flooring plant. I just wanted to make a little money and get enough stashed away to maybe go to an institution of higher learning after just graduating from high school. But the thing that I found out, you can't do it alone if you work in a factory. You have to be together. And that's where unionism became a part of me, down in Cairo, Illinois when I left there and came to Chicago and at the help of my uncle got a job in the stockyards. And the same thing existed dealing with an employer on a one on basis is not the kind of thing where you'd get very far. So, collectivism meant a lot so I started toward unions. And organized in order to improve ourselves financially and yes, be treated like human beings. Some places they didn't treat you like human beings. If you were African American, you were certainly on the low end of the totem pole, you had the worst jobs. The most laborious and dirtiest jobs in the stockyards. It changed when we got organized. So that influenced my life. And I decided that I should stay and stick with unions, work with unions. And I became to be an elected official of a union on both local and international level and then I got into politics as a correlation between politics and a way of life for people. And when I came to Chicago, I worked for [US Congressman William] Dawson and a lot of others--most of the Democratic party, but there was just one of these "me too" Democrats, I never was so hung up with the party label as I was with what they stood for and the kind of program that they were pushing and that's what I supported. So I was characterized more as an independent kind of Democrat. Rather than a, I guess, based on law, they based on label. So that influenced my life when I got tied up in unions, tied up in politics. Yes, when I went into the Congress in 1983 as the successor to one of the greatest people I ever knew--mayor of the city of Chicago, first black person elected the mayor of this great city--Harold Washington. I supported him, fought within the ranks of labor, they didn't want to support, a lot of--didn't want to support a black leader to head--be the chief executive of this city. But we fought. At least neutralized some them to the point where they didn't--wouldn't make an endorsement in the primary rather than endorse Harold they left it up to each individual union to go on their way and endorse whoever they wanted. And then for me to succeed him as a Congressperson is something I never dreamed of, it certainly wasn't my aspiration. I went to my own union in Washington and asked--they asked me after he was elected, who are we going to get to succeed him? I said, "I don't know, we gotta think about it and talk about it." Already a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, one of its leaders. And so I said--they said, "Well, why don't you run?" I said, "Who me?" "Yeah. We' ll help you raise the necessary funds." And it took almost $400,000 for me to be elected, all of it didn't come from labor. But they certainly had the PAC [political action committee] funds. They supported me without it, with thirteen different opponents, it was difficult to win. There's no question about it. So this had great--and when I went into Congress, my interest and concern was to be a voice for the voiceless and it's still that way. Poor people on our society, their needs are neglected. Their desires--the homeless we have, people who have no insurance and all these kinds of things I think it's something government needs to do something about. We still have hungry people. I'm very much opposed to the continuation of spending our money in the interest of people overseas--and the neglected people right here at home. This is my background--this is the way I've been all along.$Thurgood Marshall is a person I knew--first met when he was an attorney for the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. I was active in the NAACP--used to be the one of the leaders of the Chicago chapter of the NAACP. Travelled all over the country to conventions and everywhere supporting and fighting for the rights of people. I remember, he used to have great influence on me. Of course, Ralph Bunche, I didn't know quite as well. I was very happy when he was given the role to try to get justice for Palestinians, 'cause as a leader of labor at that time, there was only a few of us who took the position, even in the old CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations] and AFL-CIO [American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations] at conventions that we think that the Palestinians entitled to a homeland, I still feel that way. They shouldn't be treated as they're outcasts. And so far as Jesse Jackson is concerned--I had gotten to know Jesse when he was on the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC] working with Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.]. And I can remember having marched in the South, marched in Chicago for equality is housing and jobs and education with Jesse. And I think that he certainly has been one who--while younger than me, I have a lot of admirations or admiration for him. Now what the fourth one that you mentioned was--I'm trying to think. Well there are several others than I know I have--Harold Washington, God knows, he had a great part in my life, not just politically, but who knows how to work as a coalition kind of person. We only represent roughly 41 percent--which is a big number--of the population in the city of Chicago, but we don't control how the dollars are spent. And this is--this is what the fight is all about. You can't wrap yourself up just in blackness, the favored color of the people in power is green. And you have to get in the position where you can have something to say how this is distributed and this is where out shortcomings are here and [Chicago mayor] Harold Washington did a lot. And yes, people like Margaret Burroughs who have fought and struggled and built the DuSable Museum, certainly has done a lot to improve and record the history that a lot of our people have played. Ralph Metcalf when he stood up in defiance of the police brutality in this city, will long be remembered in our work--and stood with him. And we've--Addie Wyatt, a person I've known and certainly a religious leader now, but was a labor leader, she certainly has played a great part--a role in my life, and I'll always remember. Along with her husband, Reverend Claude Wyatt, we grew up together, our in Altgeld Gardens. I lived out there in public housing. First decent apartment I ever had in this city, was public housing. And I'll always want to see that these people who live there are not pushed out just because big developers want to make big dollars.