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Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford L. Stanley was born on March 31, 1947 in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1965, Stanley enrolled in South Carolina State University and graduated with his B.S. degree in psychology in 1969. He went on to graduate with honors from Johns Hopkins University with his M.S. degree in counseling in 1977. In 2005, Stanley received his Ed.D. degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Stanley’s military education includes the Amphibious Warfare School (1978), the Naval War College (1983), the Marine Corps Command and Staff College (1984), and the National War College (1988).

Throughout his thirty-three year career, Stanley has served in numerous command and staff positions in the U.S. Marine Corps, including as commanding officer of M Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, commanding officer of Headquarters Company of the 4th Marines; commanding general of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, California; and commanding general of the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. In 1993 Stanley assumed command of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment. Stanley has also served in various assignments outside of the Fleet Marine Forces, including as psychology and leadership instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; executive officer at the Marine Corps Institute; special assistant and Marine Corps aide for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy; and as a desk officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia and the Pacific Region in the Pentagon. In 2002, Stanley retired from the U.S. Marine Corps at the rank of Major General. He went on to serve as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania, and then as president of Scholarship America, Inc. Stanley was sworn in as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on February 16, 2010.

Stanley is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the South Carolina State University Alumni Association, the National Naval Officers Association, and the White House Fellow’s Foundation and Association. He also serves as a member of the Board of Deacons at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stanley’s military honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. His civilian awards include receiving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (N.A.A.C.P.) Meritorious Service Award, the N.A.A.C.P. Roy Wilkins Award, and the American Legion Award for Inspirational Leadership. Stanley also received Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degrees from Spalding University and South Carolina State University, and the Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Stanley and his wife, Rosalyn Hill Stanley, have one daughter: U.S. Navy Commander Angela Yvonne Stanley.

U.S. Marine Corps MajGen. Clifford Lee Stanley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.178

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/6/2013

Last Name

Stanley

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

University of Pennsylvania

Johns Hopkins University

South Carolina State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clifford

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

STA08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/31/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Villanova

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Grits

Short Description

Major general Maj. Gen. Clifford Stanley (1947 - ) was assigned as commanding officer of the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California from 1993 to 1994, making him the first African American to command a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Regiment.

Employment

Company M, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines

United States Marine Corps

1st Battalion, 6th Marines

1st Marine Regiment

Marine Corps Institute and Parade Commander at Marine Barracks

First Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island

2d Fleet, USS Mt Whitney, LCC-20

Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Marine Corps Base

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifford Stanley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his mother's career, her personality, and how she raised her family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his paternal family's life during discrimination in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his family being the target of a sniper attack and their response towards racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his grandparents and how he was taught about the importance of character

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the sniper attack on his family in April, 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the impact of the sniper attack on his family in April of 1975

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his father's education and how his father was drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his father's employment as a photographer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother, Michael Stanley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about growing up around relatives in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about the integration of schools in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about his favorite teachers in school and college and his elementary school in Washington, D.C.,

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his interest in reading and his struggle with mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities as a child and his limited interest in television

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about his middle school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement in South Carolina State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending high school in Washington, D.C., and his family's interest in President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service activities and African American members of the military

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in junior ROTC in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about his desire to become a lawyer while in high school, and the poor counseling that he received there

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley describes his decision to attend South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about the summer of 1965, before heading to college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at South Carolina State University as well as meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his extracurricular activities and leadership positions at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the South Carolina State Student Legislative Branch and the resignation of President B.C. Turner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the disciplinary standards at South Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Clifford Stanley talks about his stand during the Orangeburg Massacre

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about meeting the governor of South Carolina and Attorney Matthew Perry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about majoring in psychology, and graduating from South Carolina State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his brother's service in the Vietnam War, and joining the U.S. Marines

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about joining the U.S. Marine Corps and his training at Officer Candidate School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about leadership standards for the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley talks about becoming an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley talks about getting married in 1961, and reflects upon the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about serving as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon being an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Academy and talks about pursuing his master's degree at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience and training at the Amphibious Warfare School

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his philosophy of command

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as the Infantry Company Commander, 3rd Marine Division, in Okinawa, Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignments as a ceremonial parade commander and a special assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia and talks about the Beirut bombing of 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley talks about attending the National War College, and writing a paper on the fall of the Berlin War

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his experience as a White House Fellow in the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley describes his service as advisor for POW/MIA Affairs and as assistant for Australia and New Zealand, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley talks about his service as head of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command Battle Assessment Team at Quantico and in the Gulf War

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley describes his assignment and experience as Infantry Regimental Commander in the 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley explains the Posse Comitatus Act

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as a Fleet Marine Officer of USS Mount Whitney, and the challenges that he faced as an early-select colonel

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley talks about the USS Mount Whitney

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that was signed into law in 1993

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses his assignment as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, at the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters and as Director of Public Affairs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley discusses his service as Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley talks about the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his appointment as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley discusses his disappointing experience as the executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley discusses the genesis of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley discusses his experience as the president of Scholarship America

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his appointment as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in 2009

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his experience as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley discusses some of the problems that were faced by the Department of Defense when he became the Under Secretary of Defense

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about the closure of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the circumstances surrounding his resignation as the Under Secretary of Defense in 2011

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon the being treated differently when making executive decisions in the U.S. Marine Corps and at the Pentagon

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley discusses his involvement with the National Naval Officers Association

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clifford Stanley talks about his involvement in the Baptist Church

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clifford Stanley describes his activities after retiring as the Under Secretary of Defense.

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his legacy as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Clifford Stanley describes his hopes and concerns for U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his career as a U.S. Marine

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Clifford Stanley talks about his daughter, Angela Stanley

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clifford Stanley reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clifford Stanley discusses his religious faith

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Clifford Stanley talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$6

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Clifford Stanley discusses the challenges and resistance he faced in the U.S. Marine Corps
Clifford Stanley discusses his experience at Camp Lejune and Parris Island in the 1980s, and the challenges that he faced in the Marines
Transcript
So, I check into the USS Mount Whitney [Norfolk, Virginia, as a Fleet Marine Officer]. I was there, I wasn't there four months, and I was early selected for brigadier general. And that also hasn't happened since then. I think there were two or three of us. There might have been three. But anyway, it was a below zone select. And that was, I might have been the only one, I'm not sure. But anyway, to make a long story short, I think I was the only one. That also set the stage for a different set of expectations. And so, I'm now a pioneer, when I didn't want to be a pioneer. And so, life got pretty interesting after that. I'm now in a peer group, as I'm standing here with brand new brigadier generals who were much senior to me. They were, you know, they used to be much senior to me. They're no longer. That doesn't go over very well in the [U.S.] Marine Corps. And so, that's one of the things that I experienced right early on. And although I had no regrets about it--because I didn't select myself, the Marine Corps did. You fast forward--even though I know we're going to go back to some of this. I was not selected for major general the first time. That's transparent to a lot of folks. And I'm now back with my peers. But that's considered just about, you know, pass over. The subtleties, or not so subtle things, were that your record didn't change. But there are a lot of folks who said, okay we're going to make this right, you know. Because the people who selected me were people like this general that weighed in, and some other folks--these other older generals--who saw, who wanted, and who pushed. But I was closer now to a peer group who were a little bit senior--who didn't see, who didn't like, and who didn't support. And so, I ran into what I would call the block. And--$$So, every time you were helped up, there was--they made another group a little angrier.$$Oh yeah, oh yeah. And again, I mean if you had your (unclear), you'd rather just kind of be in the mix. Because I'm not trying to do anything. You're just trying to do your job and to serve. It's still altruistic, but that's not the way that's taken when someone's reaching in to do things. My peers at the other services--that happened, but they were advanced. I mean, you know, and they continued. They became four-stars. They became three-stars and things like that. But in the Marine Corps, after myself--me and Charlie Bolden [also a HistoryMaker] left. That's when things started opening up a little bit, because our move was within two, within a month of each other. Both of us were in the same position. Charlie goes down to NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration]. And both of us retired as two-stars. Both of us were continuing to be pioneers; both of us were reaching a certain point; and both of us, independent of each other, without collusion, said it's time. And we moved. And then things opened up a little bit. I've kind of gave you some narrative that wasn't where your question was, but--.$$Yeah, but that's important narrative though, nevertheless.$Alright, so, Camp Lejeune [North Carolina] in '84 [1984]. [Marine Corps recruit Depot] Parris Island [South Carolina] in '86 [1986]. So, you were at Camp Lejeune for two years.$$Uh huh.$$Alright.$$There's a lot in that story, though. This is--are you familiar with command screening at all? Heard of that? Most of the services, the [U.S.] Army's had it a lot longer than the [U.S.] Marine Corps had. But in order to become a commander, particularly at the lieutenant colonel level, most services--the [U.S.] Navy, the Army--now the Marine Corps, the [U.S.] Air Force--have a screening process that's held out of the local command. And they look at your records and your reputation and what you've done. And they say "Okay, here's a person. We're going to select you." And they have a board that convenes, not a statutory board, but a board. At that time, it was no command screening process in the Marine Corps. And so, selection of commanders was pretty much--it was parochial, pretty much. It was done by the local commander. "I want this person to be my commander." And there could be pros and cons, whatever way. And so, when I was at [Camp] Lejeune, I went in as a major, a senior major, XO [executive officer] of an infantry battalion. And that's a very critical time. Because right then, as I was selected for lieutenant colonel, the argument that some have made in my absence has been that I should have been afforded the opportunity to become an infantry battalion commander. I remember that. That was one of the things I said I wanted to do right from the very beginning. And I wasn't. And so, when I left Lejeune to follow my orders and go to Parris Island, South Carolina--General Glasgow, who was actually the division commander in Okinawa [Japan] the last time I was there--was then the CG, the commanding general of Parris Island, South Carolina Marine Corps Recruit Depot. I checked in, and General Glasgow was not very happy that I wasn't afforded the opportunity to command an infantry battalion. He said, "You should have been." And he said, "But we're going to right that. We're going to ensure that you command a battalion here." And so, he said, "You'll start out as the inspector until a battalion opens up, and then I want you to become our first Recruit Training Battalion Commander." Then I came out of the top level schools list. This is where the unusual stuff comes in. I was the only person out of all the lieutenant colonels there--there were quite a few who was selected for a top level school. And so, General Glasgow called me back in and said, "Some people aren't going to be happy about this, but I'm going to put you in command of the battalion immediately. So, prepare to take command, so that you can at least have this done before you go to school. And you will go to school, you should go to school. You've been selected for school." So, he did that. But when he did that, the regimental commander wasn't happy, but he couldn't do anything. The regimental commander was a colonel. I was a lieutenant colonel. So, the general puts me in command. I take command, the first time a black is now in charge of a command at Parris Island. It's a battalion. General Glasgow retires. At the retirement ceremony you know kind of what's coming. General Glasgow is retiring. General Hore (ph.), another general, he comes in and he's taking over. Colonel Ogle (ph.), as soon as the Chain of Command Ceremony is over, Glasgow leaves. I go to my office. The colonel comes over to my office, sits down, looks at me and says, "Your sugar daddy is gone. Your 'blank' belongs to me." And I'll never forget that. And I said, "Alright, Sir, I'm going to still serve. I'm going to do my job to the best of my ability." And that was it. And so, I went home and told my wife [Rosalyn H. Stanley]. I said, "I think my career is about shot here. I'm just going to go ahead and kind of (laughter)--." That was one of the times I said that. And to make a long story short, fortunately General Hore (ph) also kind of knew not only my record, but also my reputation. And he just sort of hovered, and didn't allow certain things to happen. And there were a group of colonels that were peers of the other colonel, who also knew me. One happened to be, had been stationed at the [U.S.] Naval Academy when I was up in that area. He also knew me. And so, they didn't allow it to happen. So, I was blessed. I was very fortunate. But it was close, in terms of--. And he didn't do me any favors, but he didn't kill me. And so, as a result--much like what Colin Powell said in his book if you've read it--you know, I got fortunate. Because I was fortunate because of just people watching out for me, you know. And those were white officers. You know, these were seniors, you know. But the bottom line was that there was still a lot of contention. Those things didn't go away over the years. In fact, they got harder the more senior I got. The junior--what I dealt with was as a junior officer, a lot of applause. Once I made major, things started getting a little heavy. And they got heavier, the more senior I got. You know, I can't say, you know, I'm--. But that's just kind of how it was.$$I guess it makes sense on some level.$$Uh huh, yeah. Yeah, so it got pretty heavy.$$But you did have people around you that--$$Oh, yeah.$$--that knew what you could do.$$Oh yeah, no question.$$Okay. So, now you're at Parris Island for, until 1987, right?$$Yeah, just a year.$$Okay.

Rodney Reynolds

Magazine publisher Rodney J. Reynolds was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the University of Cincinnati where he studied graphic design and advertising. Reynolds undertook his first publishing venture with a national, general purpose publication targeted towards African American men, Spectrum Magazine.

In 1992, Reynolds and Corporate Cleveland Magazine developed Minority Business, a quarterly publication where he served as publisher and editor. He went on to publish New Visions and Renaissance Magazine. He also developed Today, a magazine that focused on African American families. Reynolds founded RJR Communications, Inc. in 1992. In 1995, Reynolds, along with Forbes, Inc., began publishingAmerican Legacy Magazine, which centered on African American history and culture. In February of 2001, RJR Communications and New Millennium Studios, founded by entertainer Timothy Reid, launched American Legacy Television, a nationally syndicated television program. Reynolds has served on the board of directors for the Mount Vernon Public Library, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Central & Northern Westchester, the Harriett Tubman Home, and the Rye Country Day School. He was appointed as the diversity chairperson for the New York Blood Center - Westchester Region. In addition, Reynolds is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

In 1998, Reynolds received the “Forty Under 40 Award” from The Network Journal. In addition, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. honored his work with the Lillian Award. He received the Percy E. Sutton Award from the Harlem Business Alliance; the Visionary Award from the African American Men of Westchester; the National Business Leader of the Year Award from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester & Rockland County; and the 2002 Triangle of Service Award from the Southeast Regional African American Preservation Alliance. In 2004, Reynolds received the inaugural Earl G. Graves Entrepreneurial Award; and, in 2005 he was the recipient of the W.O. Walker Community Excellence Award.

Rodney J. Reynolds was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.203

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2013

Last Name

Reynolds

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Jerome

Schools

University of Cincinnati

Dartmouth College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Rodney

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

REY03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Hang In There.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/9/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Magazine publishing entrepreneur Rodney Reynolds (1958 - ) , founder and publisher of American Legacy Magazine, serves as president of RJR Communications, Inc. and executive producer of American Legacy Television.

Employment

RJR Communications, Inc.

Reynolds Publishing Co.

Wesley & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Rodney Adkins

Corporate executive and computer engineer Rodney Adkins was born on August 23, 1958, in Miami, Florida, to Archie and Wauneta Adkins. He attended Miami Jackson High School where he graduated in 1976 as valedictorian. In 1981, Adkins graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering. He then received his B.A. degree in physics from Rollins College in 1982, and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1983 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Adkins began working at International Business Machines (IBM) in 1981 as a test engineer. In 1986, he was promoted to manager of special component engineering. In the early 1990s, Adkins helped to develop the IBM ThinkPad, one of the first laptop computers, and a frequent winner of design awards following its launch in 1992. In 1993, he attended Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. A promotion to vice president of commercial desktop systems followed in 1995. Within three years, Adkins became the general manager of the UNIX server division, which he revitalized. In 1998, IBM named him to its Worldwide Management Council which consisted of forty-five of IBM’s top executives. In 2002, Adkins was promoted to vice president of development for IBM’s systems and technology group, and he remained in that position until 2007 when he was named an IBM corporate officer and senior vice president of development and manufacturing for the systems and technology group. Adkins became the first African American to attain that position in the history of IBM. In 2009, he was named the senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s systems and technology group. Adkins was named senior vice president of IBM’s corporate strategy in 2013.

Adkins has received numerous awards including the 1996 award for Black Engineer of the Year, the 2007 Black Engineer of the Year, and Black Enterprise magazine’s Corporate Executive of the Year in 2011. Fortune magazine has also named Adkins one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America in 2002, and, in 2001, the National Society of Black Engineers awarded him the Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Industry. In 2011, Adkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Adkins is married to Michelle Collier, and they have two sons, Rodney and Ryan.

Rodney Adkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.173

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/9/2013

Last Name

Adkins

Maker Category
Middle Name

C.

Occupation
Schools

Rollins College

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School

Miami Jackson Senior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Rodney

Birth City, State, Country

Louisville

HM ID

ADK01

Favorite Season

Christmas, New Years

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami Beach, Florida

Favorite Quote

We're Moving Forward And We're Moving Fast.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/23/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood, Clams

Short Description

Corporate executive and computer engineer Rodney Adkins (1958- ) has worked for IBM for over thirty years. He was the company’s first African American corporate officer and senior vice president of development and manufacturing for the systems and technology group.

Employment

International Business Machines (IBM)

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rodney Adkins' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins describes his mother's education and occupation as a nurse

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about his father's job as a custodian

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about your siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rodney Adkins talks about growing up in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the Allapattah neighborhood in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about reading comic books as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about taking things apart as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about his childhood experiments with radios and becoming interested in systems

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about the influence of the Space Program when he was a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about his schools

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about his mentor Mrs. Johnson and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes how he became involved in the martial art Nisei Goju Ryu

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins describes his involvement in the martial art Nisei Goju Ryu

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about his middle and high schools

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins describes his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins describes his time in the dual-degree program at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about African American student organizations at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins describes how he was recruited by IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes the history of IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the history of computers and IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about being a test engineer at IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his time at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his work on the IBM ThinkPad

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins describes his work at IBM before he got involved in management

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM ThinkPad

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes his transition from being an engineer to being a manager at IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the open-door policy of IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins describes the marketing of the IBM ThinkPad

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about the restructuring of IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his role as vice president of commercial desktop systems at IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about the acquisition of Lotus by IBM

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about Lotus Notes

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes being the general manager of the UNIX server division at IBM

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about collaboration in engineering products

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks IBM becoming the world leader in UNIX systems

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM's 1999 attitude change

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his promotions in IBM

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about the sale of IBM's personal computer business

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about the new era of computing

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about becoming a senior vice president and group executive at IBM

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM Blue Gene System

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM supercomputer Watson

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the minority programs at IBM

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about the Strategy Fifty

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins reflects on the future of his career

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins talks about his mentors at IBM

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Rodney Adkins talks about the restructuring of IBM
Rodney Adkins talks about the sale of IBM's personal computer business
Transcript
Now, IBM went through a restructuring in 1988, I believe, right? Could you tell us about that, and how did that affect research and development?$$So, it turns out one of the constants in IBM is our commitment to long-term research and development. And this is a company that really, really doesn't waiver from that, you know. So when you look at how the company started, and even when you look at our profile today, we continue to invest heavily in R and D, in research and development, because we have an innovation agenda, and we do believe innovation is part of--part of the capabilities in the--and solutions that we provide to the marketplace. This point on restructuring, just like any company, we have been faced throughout our history--not once, but it's been times in our history where we were challenged in terms of sustaining our growth, and, you know, continue to make a difference in the marketplace. And that was sort of an inflection point for us back then, where we actually had to rethink our overall portfolio and the focus of the company. So we made adjustments. And like any, I think, market leader or high-performance company, they are willing to deal with change. And, you know, I think that's one of the hallmarks of, you know, a company that has survived for a hundred years, that we are willing to deal with making change, and we continue to invest in innovation. And I think if you take those two principles, those have been sort of foundational for, for IBM. And even when you start to look at where we are today, we are already asserting, and have been asserting, that as we see the future, moving forward, we think that there is a new wave of computing. And we've already started making the investments. We've actually already delivered some products to the marketplace that will start to, you know, deliver on what we're describing as the cognitive era of computing; you know, the ability of, you know, systems that will have more learning techniques built into the systems as opposed to this current era or the previous era that we've been was more about programmable systems.$$Okay Okay. Now, in '93 [1993], you know, IBM was experiencing a downturn when Louis Gerstner--$$Yes. Yeah, Lou Gerstner joined the company.$$--became the CEO [chief executive officer].$$Yeah.$$And--well, there was this dramatic acquisition of Lotus, you know. Now, what were your thoughts about that?$$Well, Lotus--so, first of all, the point on Lou joining the company, he actually the--I guess, the first--he was the first CEO in our history that was hired from the outside; not a heritage IBM--IBMer. And I think he did some fundamental things to help, sort of, get IBM back on a growth track. And it was really going back to what we were good at - focused on the client and making sure that we are making the investments that will make a difference for the marketplace and our clients. And, as you can see, throughout his tenure along with the senior leadership team, we made, again, the necessary adjustments and changes to get us back on the growth path that, you know, back on the growth that we wanted to be on. So when you look at Lou, he did make a difference through his leadership along with other leaders across, across the company.$In 2004, I guess, prompted by the new CEO, Lou Palmisano--$$Palmisano, yeah.$$--IBM actually sells its PC- PC [personal computer] business to Chinese-based Lenovo.$$Yes. Lenovo.$$And what's your view of this sale?$$Well, the sale of our PC business to Lenovo, at that point in time, was the right, I think, time for us to sell that business, because, again, we started to see patterns in the marketplace where value was migrating to new spaces and into new areas. And this was very consistent with the role I had after coming out of the UNIX business on pervasive computing, because we started to see where the PC was no longer the centerpiece in IT [information technology]. New types of devices were being enabled as part of the information technology environment. And intelligence was moving into new types of devices, sensors, and actuators becoming part of business processes, even buildings. You start to look at how intelligence was being--medical devices being embedded, smart phones, tablets. So our view, at the time, was, you know, and this is traditional at IBM in terms of continued change and sustainable investments around innovation. That was a point in time where we said it made more sense for us to focus on other areas of growth with our clients. So the decision was, it became more straightforward over time where, since the PC was no longer the center of IT, this was an opportunity for us to sort of divest in that area and start to invest in other areas, like, more investments in software, more investments in services, more investments in what we're calling today smarter planet solutions, which some of the things that I worked on as part of Pervasive Computing, is consistent with some of the things that we're doing around what we call smarter planet solutions. So our view was, the value and the opportunity was shifting, and it made more sense for us to focus on those new areas of opportunity.$$Okay. Okay. Was there any reason why China was--I mean, you have any analysis as to why China wanted to take over the PC business?$$Now, I'm not sure if--well, I mean, when we looked at the opportunity, Lenovo was, you know, among the list of interested parties, and that's who we ultimately closed the business, business transaction with.$$Okay. So they were really interested in still making PCs then?$$Yeah. And even today, when you look at Lenovo's business model, they are--they continue to be a strong, you know, provider of PC-based, PC-based solutions.

The Honorable Michael B. Coleman

City of Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman was born on November 18, 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana to John H. Coleman, a physician, and Joan Coleman, a criminal victim’s activist. Coleman’s family moved when he was three years old to Toledo, Ohio where his first jobs were working at the corner drug store, Kroger’s supermarket and his father’s barbeque restaurant. He attended St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio and then went on to receive his B.A. degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1977. Coleman obtained his J.D. degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1980.

After completing his law degree, Coleman began his career as an attorney in the Ohio attorney general’s office. In 1982, he was hired as a legislative aide for then Columbus City Councilman, Ben Epsy. Coleman joined the Schottenstein Law Firm in 1984 and became a member of the Columbus City Council in 1992. He served as president of the city council from 1997 to 1999. In 1998, Coleman was the gubernatorial running mate to Democrat Lee Fisher, but they lost to Republicans Bob Taft and Maureen O'Connor in the closest gubernatorial election in Ohio in twenty-eight years. In 1999, he won a highly contested race to become the 52nd mayor of Columbus, Ohio and the first African American to hold the post. As mayor, Coleman spearheaded the Columbus Downtown Business Plan and Neighborhood Pride, a program designed to engage communities to revitalize their neighborhoods. He also created the after-school program, Capital Kids, in 2001 and the Green Spot program in 2006, to encourage Columbus residents and businesses to protect the environment. Coleman has leveraged incentives to create and retain more than 92,000 jobs in the Columbus area. He was re-elected to the office of mayor in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Coleman has been recognized many times for his commitment to the Columbus community including receiving the Community Service Award from the Columbus Bar Association and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC’s) Sustainability Award. He is an honorary member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Coleman has three adult children, Kimberly, Justin and John.

Michael B. Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 4, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/4/2012

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Schools

St. John's Jesuit High School & Academy

University of Cincinnati

University of Dayton School of Law

Lincoln Elementary School

St. Angela Hall

Maumee Valley Country Day School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

COL21

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

A City That Stays The Same Falls Behind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/18/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Mayor The Honorable Michael B. Coleman (1954 - ) became the first African American mayor of Columbus, Ohio in 2000, and spearheaded the redevelopment of downtown Columbus.

Employment

State of Ohio

Columbus City Council

Schottenstein Law Firm

City of Columbus

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:234,2:2734,69:6165,104:19846,362:20254,367:59346,680:60490,696:67508,778:69380,842:69740,848:75173,910:75558,916:81982,977:89666,1044:89978,1049:91382,1092:107338,1304:143314,1661:145940,1677:146540,1682:149188,1699:149750,1706$0,0:2862,47:11450,132:15311,207:15806,216:16202,221:19377,281:22403,342:23026,349:23649,358:24272,366:35204,535:46142,716:55378,827:57100,853:77606,1108:77982,1113:79768,1145:97520,1441:123280,1796
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Michael B. Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his father's early life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the black community in Madison, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his parents' experiences at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's work at the Indianapolis 500

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's medical practice in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the black business district in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about Lincoln Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the television broadcast of the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his introduction to politics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the presidential election of 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his admiration of Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his experiences at the Maumee Valley Day School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls transferring to St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his social activities at St. John's Jesuit High School

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the incidence of crime in his childhood community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his discriminatory high school counselor

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his transition to University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his activities at University of Cincinnati

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers becoming a Democrat

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his work with Upward Bound

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early involvement in presidential campaigns

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Mayor Jerry Springer of Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about black politics in Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his early exposure to black attorneys

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the Law School Admission Test

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his summer positions during law school

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his internship at the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his time in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers C.J. McLin

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers William J. Brown's mayoral campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his work for Ben Espy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls founding the Young Black Dems

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Buck Rinehart's mayoralty of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his campaign for Columbus City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Columbus Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his presidency of the Columbus City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Lee Fisher's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his campaign for the mayoralty of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his experiences as the first black mayor of the City of Columbus

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his initiatives in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his initiatives in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the housing crisis in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the economic diversity in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the economic diversity in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the growth of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his relationship with the white community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his accomplishments as mayor of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his challenges as mayor of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his focus on urban redevelopment

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the changes in federal funding to the City of Columbus

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his staff members

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the housing crisis in Columbus, Ohio
Transcript
I remember Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] came to Toledo [Ohio] before then, before '68 [1968], 'cause he was assassinated in '68 [1968].$$Right. On this--$$Actually (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) this day--$$This day--$$--actually--today, yeah.$$This day in '68 [1968]. I remember when he was a younger person, he came to Scott High School [Jesup Wakeman Scott High School, Toledo, Ohio], and I remember the--he was in the gym and the whole community, black community--came out, and several thousand people squeezed in the gym on little steel chairs, the fold up chairs. And I remember standing on the fold up chair 'cause I couldn't see, and I remember it was just an exciting time 'cause he preached, he spoke, and while I didn't understand everything he said, I said, "This is a great man. He's doing a great thing. He's helping us some kind of way." And I remember in those days where Dr. King and--would pay for his next trip, by the trip, by what he was doing there--said, "Pass the bucket." And in this case, the bucket was a steel--literally, a steel bucket was passed person to person, and it came to me. I was standing on the chair and I, and everybody, and there was all this quiet money in the bucket--dollars--and it was filled with ten dollars, five dollars, one dollar--lots of money in this big steel bucket. Came to me, and I reached in one pocket, I felt lint, reached in the other pocket, felt a nickel. I took out the nickel, dropped it in the bucket, and I heard it hit the bottom of the bucket, clang at the bottom of the bucket, and I passed the bucket along. I was so proud, so proud to make a contribution to this effort of saving people.$So I'm very proud of our city, and we have our challenges, just like any city. We have the blight of vacant and abandoned housing, which I've got, we got a plan for that, (makes noise) and I'm convinced in three or four years, it'll be all gone.$$Okay.$$Move south that problem.$$Someone was telling me about--now you have a plan--you don't really focus on tearing down a lot of homes (unclear).$$Well, actually, here's what we're doing.$$Okay.$$We have actually a comprehensive effort. We are gonna be tearing down the worst of the worst homes. We haven't done that in the past, but we are now gonna do it because you can't--they're unrepairable. They're burnt out or they're just not gonna be repaired--nobody will, nobody can. I'm tearing 'em down. That's one hand. The other hand is out of this equation is that I'm remodeling and rebuilding homes that can be saved, so it's kind of a two prong approach, and we're trying to preserve housing as well. So tearing down, you know, we got a plan for tearing 'em down, spend $11.5 million to tear down nine hundred homes. We have federal dollars and city dollars, it's totaling now well over 40, $45 million in rehabilitating homes. So it's comp- comprehensive, a comprehensive effort. And by the end of this term, we will not have a vacant abandoned problem in the City of Columbus [Ohio].$$Now did the housing crisis of 2008 affect the--or how did it affect Columbus?$$Well, the housing crisis, the financial crisis affected Columbus by virtue of--like every other city--caused a lot of houses to go foreclose and become vacant and abandoned, which left blight in the neighborhoods all throughout--old neighborhoods, new neighborhoods; and that was a problem we had to deal with, and we're dealing with it. And we're getting it done.

William "Sonny" Walker

Civil rights activist, nonprofit chief executive, and management consulting entrepreneur William “Sonny” Walker was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and went on to teach in Arkansas public schools. In 1956, in the wake of the Brown vs. Board U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Walker helped to prepare the Little Rock Nine to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Walker went on to manage the campaign of T. E. Patterson, the first African American elected to the Arkansas School Board.

In 1965, Walker started the Crusade for Opportunity, one of the first Head Start programs in the U.S. and then began serving as director of the Economic Opportunity Agency of Little Rock and Pulsaki County. Throughout this time, Walker worked to promote integration of everything from television news anchors to the local chapter of the United States Junior Chamber. In 1969, Walker began serving as Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s head of the Arkansas State Economic Opportunity Office. He was the first African American to hold such a position in a Southern governor’s cabinet.

Walker moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1972, and began serving as a division director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal. In 1976, Walker became a member of the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Walker eventually became Coretta Scott-King’ speech writer and in 1994, he served as interim director of the King Center. Walker went on to found the consulting company the Sonny Walker Group, which specializes in networking, marketing, and employee training.

Walker was a member of the board of trustees of Morris-Brown College, the board of directors of the Butler Street YMCA, the EduPac Action Committee, and the Georgia Partnership for Education Excellence. He was heavily involved with many other community organizations and received numerous awards, including the Community Service Award from the Atlanta Business League, the Distinguished Community Service Award from the National Urban League, the Outstanding Public Servant in the State of Georgia Award from the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Award from the National Association of Community Action Agencies.

William “Sonny” Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 21, 2011.

Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Accession Number

A2011.029

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/21/2011 |and| 3/18/2012

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

"Sonny"

Schools

Merrill Junior High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Arizona State University

University of Oklahoma

University of Arkansas

Federal Executive Institute

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

WAL15

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Indies

Favorite Quote

Out Of The Night That Covers Me, Black As The Pit From Pole To Pole, I Thank Whatever Gods May Be, For My Unconquerable Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/13/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

6/15/2016

Short Description

Management consulting entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and nonprofit chief executive William "Sonny" Walker (1933 - 2016 ) fought for integration during the Civil Rights Movement, worked to promote increased economic opportunity through various federal agencies and programs. He also served as an important member of the board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and worked as Coretta Scott-King's speech writer. Walker passed away on June 15, 2016.

Employment

Arkansas Public School System

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Arkansas State Government

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Office of Economic Opportunity

National Alliance of Business

Sonny Walker Group

Favorite Color

Cream, Crimson

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-grandmother's immediate relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his paternal great-great-grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers meeting his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his stepmother, Nettie Harris Walker

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his half sister

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the influential people from his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his experiences during the Great Depression

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the end of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls attending Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his early after school jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his decision to attend the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers attending Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his influences at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his connection to Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his former wife Loraine Tate and their children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the racial climate in Arkansas during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls teaching in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about members of the Little Rock Nine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his time as president of the Arkansas Teachers Association Department of Classroom Teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers advocating for equal pay for teachers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the violence of the mid-1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls meeting President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his involvement with Crusade for Opportunity

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Sonny Walker recalls his role with the National Head Start Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his efforts to desegregate in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls disarming the Black United Youth group in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes Dale Bumper's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of William "Sonny" Walker's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers his move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the growth of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls his role with the Office of Economic Opportunity

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers affirmative action initiatives under the Richard Nixon administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the changes in the Democratic Party during the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the changes in the national political landscape in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the political landscape of Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls Maynard H. Jackson, Jr.'s mayoral campaign in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls transitioning to the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his support of African American owned banks in the South

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his work with the National Alliance of Business

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls improving Coretta Scott King's public speaking skills

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the formation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the activities created to memorialize Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about working with Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte and Nelson Mandela

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls becoming director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker describes the historic Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker recalls the leadership changes at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the future of The King Center

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his decision to support Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker shares his views of President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his civic involvement in the Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about his consultant work at Sonny Walker Group

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William "Sonny" Walker describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William "Sonny" Walker remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William "Sonny" Walker talks about the Atlanta Missing and Murdered Children cases

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William "Sonny" Walker reflects upon his life

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William "Sonny" Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
William "Sonny" Walker describes the discrimination faced by the Little Rock Nine
William "Sonny" Walker remembers Ozell Sutton
Transcript
Well, let's go back--$$Okay (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) before they actually get in, because you get to teach them [at Horace Mann High School; Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, Little Rock, Arkansas]. You said four of the nine?$$I taught five of the nine.$$Five of the nine. Tell me who they were, and how you were instrumental in preparing them to transfer to go to Central [Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas].$$Well, you know, it was more than just--the preparation was more than just what was occurring in the classroom, because the students were identified based on their academic excellence. So we tried to take the best, because we wanted them to succeed. A woman named Daisy Bates, who was head of NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], was the guiding force behind that, and a number of persons in the community, including [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton who was working with the Arkansas human relations commission [Arkansas Council on Human Relations]. I had been working as a sports writer for Mrs. Bates' newspaper, the State Press [Arkansas State Press], so she brought me into the process to a great extent. They had a number of other folks, especially NAACP related persons that helped in trying to chart a course for these nine kids. We also had to involve their families, because much of what was going on resulted in reparations, re- repercussions and resistance to the rights of those families. In other words, sometimes the father would lose his job. Sometimes the mother would lose her job, and that kind of thing, as a result of integrating the schools. So, those were the kinds of things that we had to deal with in addition to preparing them academically, mentally and emotionally, for going there. We tried to tell them, we were going to try to instill some of the King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] principles of nonviolence in them. Now, because they hit you, don't hit them back. But we didn't get across to Minnijean Brown [Minnijean Brown Trickey] very well, because some guy put some chili, threw some chili on Minnijean, and Minnijean took, threw chili back. And so, there were some who didn't accept well being abused and intimidated by some of the students who didn't want them there. So, it was quite a time in '57 [1957]. The crowds were jeering the students as they would come in. And I'm sure you saw the--I taught Elizabeth Eckford, and I'm sure you saw when she was isolated by herself, and there was this crowd jeering this young girl. She was frightened, didn't know what to do, she was isolated from the others. They usually tried to go in together, but somehow she got separated from the other eight, and was alone, and it wasn't a very pleasant kind of experience for her. But, Little Rock [Arkansas] in '57 [1957] was really something. But the thing that I think is unknown, or not, with very little emphasis placed on it, was not '57 [1957], '58 [1958], which was the first year that black students left to go to Little Rock Central, but the really tumultuous year was '58 [1958], '59 [1959], the school year of '58 [1958], '59 [959]. Do you realize that there is no such thing as a '59 [1959] graduate of a Little Rock public school? The high schools did not open in '58 [1958]. Rather than continue the integration that they had in '57 [1957], the board decided to close the high schools--close, which affected not just African American kids, but all students. And this is what really brought out white parents, especially mothers, who said, "We're paying the price for all this discrimination and resistance to integration." And they had a panel of American women that were formed, and they went around and spoke to audiences about the fact that they needed to go on and accept the fact that integration is real, it's here, it's the order of the court, and there's no point in us trying to further resist it. Let's just be supportive of it, and hope that we have the best environment for all of our children in the school system. But no graduate-- can you imagine, I want to reiterate it. I repeat it for emphasis. No graduate of the public schools in Little Rock in 1959 because the schools, high schools, did not open in the fall of '58 [1958]. So [HistoryMaker] Ernest Green, who was the first graduate, was in the graduating class of '58 [1958], because he was the only senior that was with the nine, the only one of the nine who was in the senior class, so he graduated and the others were put on hold. They had to go other places, go to parochial schools, go to the county schools, go to St. Louis [Missouri], Chicago [Illinois]--somewhere where there was a relative so they could continue to be in school. But they couldn't go to high school in their own home towns. What a crime, what a shame, but that was the case.$You mentioned [HistoryMaker] Ozell Sutton. And he, I know that he also wrote for one of the newspapers, as you did as well. Is he a friend of yours?$$Ozell I consider to be my longest existing and best friend. We are very, very close. We worked together in Little Rock [Arkansas]. He was with the Arkansas Council on Human Relations. But we also attended the same church, so we got a chance to see--and then with me working with Mrs. Bates [Daisy Bates] as a staff writer for her paper [Arkansas State Press]. And Ozell was on the staff of the Democrat [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette], which was the major white paper. Ozell was the first journalist to be hired by them. And together, we worked to integrate the television and radio industry. We almost singlehandedly, the two of us, working with the assistance of a guy named Lonnie King [Lonnie C. King, Jr.] from Atlanta [Georgia] who was under contract with the Community Relations Service, and who helped us to chart a course to get public, to get public television stations as well as radio stations to hire African Americans. And this required a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of energy, a lot of convincing, a lot of cajoling, and whatever. So Ozell and I worked very closely together. And Ozell became employed as a special assistant to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. As a matter of fact, although I was designated as the first black cabinet appointee, Ozell was on the governor's staff when I was appointed, so he got there first, before I did. And Ozell was, of course, was an advocate for me because there was opposition. Some folks thought I was too militant to be part of the governor's cabinet, but the governor didn't buy into that, and Ozell, of course, was one of the strong advocates inside on my behalf. When we chose to come to Atlanta, we came at the same time. He came with the Community Relations Service in the [U.S.] Department of Justice, and I came with the Office of Economic Opportunity for the eight southeastern states. And we were offered the opportunity to occupy the home of a guy named T.M. Alexander, Jr., who was being assigned to HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] in Washington [D.C.], and so because he and Janis [Janis Alexander] had this home and they didn't want to sell it, because they didn't know how long they'd be gone. They asked Ozell and myself to occupy their residence for them. And so we moved into their home when we came.$$What year was that?$$This was '72 [1972].$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Nineteen seventy-two [1972].$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$So we'll talk more about that when we get to the 1970s, okay (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Okay.

Bishop Eddie L. Long

Pastor Bishop Eddie Lee Long was born on May 12, 1953 in Huntersville, North Carolina, to Floyd and Hattie Long. Long graduated from North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, North Carolina in 1972. In 1976, he earned his B.A. degree in business administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina where he became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

From 1979 until 1981, Long worked for the Ford Motor Company as a zone manager in parts and services. He then was hired at HoneyWell where he worked in the energy management division from 1981 until 1987. In 1986, Long received his M.A. degree in divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1987, he became the senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. Since his installation, New Birth’s membership has multiplied to well over 30,000 members. In 2001, Long began serving as co-chair for the “Hosea Feed the Hungry” Project, and in 2004, he established a mentorship program known as the Longfellows Summer Academy in order to assist in the mental, physical and spiritual development of young men between the ages of twelve and sixteen. In 2006, Long earned his Ph.D. in pastoral ministry from the International College of Excellence in Tampa, Florida.

Long served as a member on several boards including the Morehouse School of Religion Board of Directors (Vice President); Board of Trustees for North Carolina Central University; Board of Trustees for Young Life; Board of Directors for Safehouse Outreach Ministries; and 100 Black Men Of America. Long authored numerous books, including I Don't Want Delilah, I Need You; Power of a Wise Woman; What a Man Wants, What a Woman Needs; Called to Conquer; Taking Over; It's Your Time!; Gladiator: The Strength of a Man; The Blessing in Giving and Deliver Me From Adam.

Long married Vanessa Griffin Long, a native of Columbus, Georgia on March 10, 1990. They were married at Central United Methodist Church. Long had two adult children, Eric and Edward, and two teenage children, Jared and Taylor.

Bishop Eddie Lee Long was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008.

Long passed away on January 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2008.035

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Long

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

North Mecklenburg High School

North Carolina Central University

Rand Elementary School

Robert Lacy Ranson Junior High School

Northwest Junior High School

First Name

Eddie

Birth City, State, Country

Charlotte

HM ID

LON03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

Watch This.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

5/12/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

1/15/2017

Short Description

Pastor Bishop Eddie L. Long (1953 - 2017 ) was the senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in Lithonia, Georgia. He was co-chair for the Hosea Feed the Hungry Project, and in 2004, he established a mentorship program for boys known as the Longfellows Summer Academy.

Employment

Ford Motor Company

Honeywell, Inc.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1780,47:4984,126:10413,226:10947,234:16650,308:27304,385:33224,496:33805,505:41206,622:43174,655:43666,667:47438,757:55878,833:56494,842:57110,851:59310,887:65030,1014:71042,1073:72386,1093:73142,1103:78098,1217:78938,1228:79694,1246:81122,1322:94153,1484:103365,1600:107298,1717:107850,1726:109575,1772:109920,1778:116240,1861:126372,2156:137139,2331:141160,2354$0,0:2132,98:5904,177:6396,184:9922,235:10578,245:10906,250:11398,319:15826,412:16564,455:31784,630:32168,635:40796,737:45280,803:57592,1185:58960,1207:63064,1297:70130,1322:72986,1400:86594,1695:97790,1849:99367,1875:104560,1931
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bishop Eddie L. Long's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bishop Eddie L. Long lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls moving to Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes Rand Elementary School in Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers his elementary school teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his home in Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his experiences in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls Northwest Junior High School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes Ranson Junior High School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers working for his father

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers his neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers working as a school bus driver

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his aspirations to become a preacher

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his father's challenges as a minister

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers his courses at North Carolina Central University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his activities at North Carolina Central University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bishop Eddie L. Long talks about developing his confidence

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bishop Eddie L. Long remembers paying for his education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bishop Eddie L. Long describes his early career

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
Bishop Eddie L. Long recalls his aspirations to become a preacher
Bishop Eddie L. Long talks about developing his confidence
Transcript
Your father [Floyd Long, Jr.] was a preacher. What church did he pastor, or did he preach at (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) What church he didn't pastor. This is the history of my dad. My dad is a pastor. My dad would go start a church, a lot of times from scratch, build a new building. He'd grow the membership, get in the new building, and within six months, on just a normal Sunday, he'd get up, cuss the deacons out, and telling my mom [Hattie Alston Long], "Let's go." And he'd walk down the aisle and leave, and we followed behind him, and would never come back. He'd go start another church. So, he was a church builder. He could grow a church with members, and then he would always build a nice building. And it never failed; within six months he's going to get up, cuss the deacons out, and leave.$$Did you ever find out what the problem, what problem he was having with the deacons (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, as a--as a pastor myself, (laughter) it is very challenging at times to work. And he was always in a rural church. So in a rural church, the deacons generally always felt that they were supposed to run the church, and all the pastor was to do was to come and preach and do ceremonial things. But they controlled the pastor and everything else, and my dad just wasn't going for that. He would deal with it, and argue with them for a while, and after a while he'd get sick of them. I guess he was looking for a place where he would be the visionary, et cetera. But my dad was a tough man, too. He was a tough guy, I gotta, you know. So--$$So you spent your Sundays in church?$$Yeah, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the sun, all day.$$And what were your thoughts about church? Did you have any idea that you would become a preacher at that time?$$At one time, I really wanted to be a preacher. I used to be the little cute boy, and Mama would say, "He's going to be a preacher." And I'd be playing preacher. "Oh, look at him," you know. And then after a while, it's like I don't want nothing to do with this. I, I just didn't want it. I had seen what my daddy was going through and all that, and I wanted to be a businessman. That's the side of my daddy I caught. That's why I went to North Carolina Central University [Durham, North Carolina] and majored in business and marketing.$And why do you say you were shy?$$I was very shy. I was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Really?$$Because I never, it took me a long time to grow out of secondhand clothes, and people always looking at me as a secondhand guy. I was a senior in high school [North Mecklenburg High School, Huntersville, North Carolina] before I got a pair of Converse. You either had Converse, or you had nothing. Converse was only ten dollars, and I, I couldn't afford them. And so if you had something from Kmart [Kmart Corporation] on, kids would make fun of you, you know. And so, you had to have some Chuck Taylor Converse. So, I always made myself second. I just--it was hard, and I never--because I didn't dress right, and I never thought a girl would want to talk to me. I was surprised when I went up to them. I just, I got my nerve up when I talked to my girlfriend in tenth or eleventh grade, and we got together. I didn't think she was going to pay me any attention. I just said, "I'm desperate now for a girlfriend (laughter)." But I just never--I had this thing in my head. Even now, my wife [Vanessa Griffin Long] pushes me, you know. I can deal with it. I was raised with three boys, wasn't no sisters. And the challenge me and my wife has, she was raised with--she's seven of seven girls, no boys. And I'm four boys, you know, and all of that. And so I said, "You don't know nothing about men." And she said, "You don't know nothing about women." I say but I'm very comfortable in ministering the men and addressing men. When it gets around to talking to women, I get nervous, you know. So, she pushed me to do the women thing--elect ladies. And it just, and I'm surprised that I have something to say. But it's more so a mental thing, that I'm still thinking I'm still in the secondhand clothes. I'm thinking I'm Cinderella after the carriage turned back to the pumpkin, you know. And so--pray I overcome.

Dennis Hightower

Broadcast executive and business professor Dennis Fowler Hightower was born on October 28, 1941 in Washington, D.C. to Marvin William Hightower and Virginia Fowler Hightower, an educator. After graduating from McKinley High School in 1958, Hightower attended Howard University where he earned his B.S degree in 1962. In addition to joining Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and being a college athlete, Hightower was the top graduating cadet of the Army ROTC university program.

After graduating from Howard University, Hightower was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he served as a platoon leader and company commander in the 101st Airborne Division. Afterwards, Hightower was trained as a counterintelligence officer and field operations intelligence officer, working in strategic and operational assignments in the United States and abroad. Hightower also served in Vietnam in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, where he was promoted to the rank of major. Hightower was awarded two Bronze Star medals, a Purple Heart, three Air Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Army Commendation Medals with distinction for valor, the Vietnam Honor Medal First Class, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

In 1970, Hightower was hired by Xerox as manager of organizational planning. He left his position there in 1972, when he was awarded a fellowship to attend Harvard Business School. He graduated in 1974 with his M.B.A. Hightower then joined McKinsey & Company and worked as a senior associate and engagement manager until 1978, when he was hired by General Electric’s Lighting Business Group. In 1987, Hightower was hired by The Walt Disney Company as vice president of Consumer Products for Europe, based in Paris, France, and later became president of Consumer Products for Europe, Middle East and Africa divisions. In 1995, he was promoted to president of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications.

Upon his retirement in 1996, Hightower joined the faculty of Harvard Business School, initially as a senior lecturer and then as a professor of management in the M.B.A. program. On August 11, 2009, Hightower was appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy secretary of commerce. Hightower was charged with general management duties until his tenure ended on August 27, 2010.

His numerous awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Pioneer Award; Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award and Bert King Service Award; and an honorary doctorate degree and Alumni Achievement Award for Business from Howard University. He is a board member of Accenture, Ltd., Brown Capital Management, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. and Casey Family Programs, and a former trustee at Howard University.

Dennis Fowler Hightower was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/31/2008

Last Name

Hightower

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

McKinley Technology High School

Lucretia Mott Elementary School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Harvard Business School

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dennis

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HIG04

Favorite Season

None

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/28/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Business professor and broadcast executive Dennis Hightower (1941 - ) was the president of Walt Disney Television and Communications. As president, he oversaw Disney's acquisition of ABC, ABC Family, ESPN, A&E and Lifetime Networks. Upon his retirement in June 1996, Hightower joined the faculty of Harvard Business School, initially as a senior lecturer and then as a professor of management in the M.B.A. program. He also acted as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce from 2009 to 2010.

Employment

United States Army

Xerox Corporation

McKinsey and Company

G.E. Lightening Business Group

Russell Reynolds Association

Walt Disney Company

White House Administrative Office (U.S.)

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his maternal grandparents' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers his maternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower talks about the military career of his maternal uncle, James Fowler, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower describes his early neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about his mother's teaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his experiences at Lucretia Mott Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates, Charlene Drew Jarvis and Colonel Frederick Drew Gregory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower describes his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower remembers integrating McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower describes the African American community in Washington, D.C. during segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about the intellectual African American community of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers integrating McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls his appointment to the United State Military Academy Preparatory School in West Point, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower remembers his high school principal, Charles E. Bish

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his experiences at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls his social activities at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower describes Howard University's social hierarchy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower talks about Eddie C. Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower recalls working for his father as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers the civil rights activities at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls the debate between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower talks about his wife, Denia Stukes Hightower

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes his early career in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about his knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement during his military service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls serving in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about his decision to leave the military

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower remembers applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower remembers applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower talks about the African American alumni of Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower recalls his classes at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower remembers his classmates at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower describes the political climate at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dennis Hightower remembers prominent African American business executives

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower describes the start of his career at McKinsey and Company and General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower remembers General Electric CEO Jack Welch

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower recalls facing racial discrimination as a businessman

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about the restructuring of Mattel, Inc.'s business

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower describes his work at Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower talks about his working relationship with Frank Wells at The Walt Disney Company

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower recalls the changes to Disney characters in different countries

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower remembers his first impressions of Soweto, South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower recalls meeting Desmond Tutu, Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower recalls meeting with European royalty

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower talks about the success of The Walt Disney Company throughout Europe

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower remembers Michael Eisner's leadership of The Walt Disney Company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dennis Hightower talks about his disagreements with Michael Eisner

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dennis Hightower recalls debating with Michael Eisner over television programming

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dennis Hightower remembers protesting the re-release of 'Songs of the South'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dennis Hightower describes his discontent with Disney channel programming during his tenure

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dennis Hightower talks about his decision to teach at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dennis Hightower describes his teaching experiences at Harvard Business School

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dennis Hightower talks about his career after leaving Harvard Business School

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dennis Hightower reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dennis Hightower shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dennis Hightower reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Dennis Hightower remembers integrating McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1
Dennis Hightower talks about the success of The Walt Disney Company throughout Europe
Transcript
And, of course, in my ninth grade--that's when the Brown decision [Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954] was passed. So instead of going to Dunbar [Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, Washington, D.C.] like everybody else in my family and all of our other friends who would have gone to Dunbar, we tested for different schools. And most of us ended up testing, like Paul [J. Paul Reason], myself and Leona Fitzhugh [J. Idorenyin Jamar] whose father [H. Naylor Fitzhugh] was the second or third grad, black to graduate from Harvard Business School [Boston, Massachusetts] in 1933. All of us tested into McKinley [McKinley Technical High School; McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.] which was more science and technology. So I tested into their pre-engineering program. And, again, we got to McKinley, and there it was very clear, early on, that the white teachers were not happy that we were there, and particularly, because we were bright. And the thing that we then felt and understood more clearly than we had ever before was how well prepared we really were. And there was a struggle, frankly, because many of the students, many of the teachers--there was a track system in D.C. [Washington, D.C.] at the time. There were four tracks. Track one was the top track, which they called college prep, and then track two, I forgot, I forgot what it was called. But then track three and track four were basically training you to be a secretary or to be a, you know, a trades person, whatever. So they tried to keep most of us out of track one, but it didn't work because our work was track one work, so those of us who did well, we ended up after the first semester in all track one, which would be AP [advanced placement] today. And we showed what we can do. And then what we realized was that these white kids weren't all that smart (laughter).$$What was the percentage of black students at McKinley?$$It changed. It was very interesting over that three years from '55 [1955] to '58 [1958]. I would say we had about 350 in our class. Going in, let's say 15 percent, 20 percent at the max were, were black. By the time we graduated, 75 percent were black. That's when the white flight occurred. Everyone who didn't really believe that educat- that integration was the right thing, that's when people moved to Silver Spring [Maryland], to Bethesda [Maryland], to Chevy Chase [Maryland]. That's when the white flight occurred.$And I'll give you an example. Michael Eisner and I were in Moscow [Russia] the day that McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation] opened their first restaurant in, near Pushkin Square [Pushkinskaya Square], in Moscow. We were there because we were gonna see Yeltsin [Boris Yeltsin] and (unclear) about a Disney Store, in Russia, in Moscow. The problem was, they wanted us to put it right next to the KGB headquarters in Detskiy Mir which was a children's store in Russia. It's, you don't want me to get into that. But, yeah, we were at Pushkin Square. And Michael said, "Dennis [HistoryMaker Dennis Hightower], what's going on there?" I said, "That's the opening of the store," and, you know, McDonald's was our promotional partner, like they are in the U.S. for all the animated films. There were like thousands of people ringing this small store. I said, "Michael, I want you to look and I want you to observe what's happening." I said, "Here is entrepreneurialism in its purest form." What you will see is that they were letting people in. No restrictions on how many could go in at a time. People were coming out with their bags of whatever, hamburgers, French fries, whatever. And they were selling it to the people who were in line. I said, "That tells you that we can do business here. So despite the repression that people had gone through and lived under," I said, "there are a lot of rubles stuck literally in mattresses waiting to be used. There's pent up demand here, Michael." And sure enough, that's exactly what happened. So when we actually, you know, moved in there and got set up with publishing and some of the other things we did (makes sound), we just took off because the money was there. And the money was there because my deal with Frank was that I would not (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Frank?$$Frank Wells. I was not gonna put Disney [The Disney Company, Burbank, California] at risk. So when my key publisher wanted to come in from Denmark 'cause they had done a lot of business there as well, they had to pay me in German, in Deutsche marks because that was the strongest currency at the time, that they took the currency risk when we brought Nestle [Nestle S.A.], Mattel [Mattel, Inc.] and other, our other major product partners in, they would pay us in the currency of choice that their contract was under, not in rubles. The advertisers, the same way. So even though my plan said we weren't gonna make money for five years, we made money in the first two years of getting it started up because we shipped at risk. And Disney's great for OPM, using other people's money (laughter) you know. But that's again the pound, the brand, you know.$$Were you equally successful in countries like Spain?$$Yeah, I mean those countries had been there. Those were the, those were sort of the core countries. What we did, we took it to another level, took it to another level in terms of product design, product quality, distribution, marketing, taking more control of the brand as Disney whereas before, the licensees basically took charge of the brand. And I said, "Now, we're, you know, that stops today." We started doing value analysis and saying where along the value chain can we stop and bring it back in house and, 'cause we were just leaving too much money on the table, and we were putting the brand at risk 'cause nobody was basically minding the store or minding the brand. So, you know, I ended up buying up almost all of my publishers, and I became the publisher. We set up factories that did clothing where we controlled the design, especially the high end stuff that was several thousand dollars of, you know, in price, and in price points, retail price points. And then we'd get, you know, like Hennes and Mauritz [H and M Hennes and Mauritz A.B.] or CNA [CNA Financial Corporation] or some of the other big retailers, El Corte Ingles [El Corte Ingles S.A.] in Spain to the, sort of the midlines which then complimented the other lines in their business and they also gave us space, two hundred to three hundred square meters of space within their stores so even though I didn't run the Disney stores, I had the special permission from Frank and Michael to set up shop within shops. They weren't stand alones like the Disney Store. They were three hundred square meters where we then controlled the merchandise mix.

The Honorable Alphonso Jackson

Cabinet appointee Alphonso Jackson was born on September 9, 1945 in Marshall, Texas to Henrietta and Arthur Jackson and grew up in South Dallas as one of twelve children. Jackson learned the value of education and the importance of strong work ethic from his parents. He attended both Lincoln University in 1965 and A&M Commerce in 1966 on track scholarships before receiving his B.A. degree in political science from Northeast Missouri State University in 1968. In 1973, Jackson received his J.D. degree from Washington University School of Law.

Jackson's career began in 1973 as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. From 1977 through 1981, Jackson became the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis, Missouri. He also served as a director of consultant services for the certified public accounting firm, Laventhol and Horwath in St. Louis. Jackson was then appointed as Executive Director of the St. Louis Housing Authority. He held this position until 1983 and became the Director of the Department of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, D.C. in 1987. In 1989, Jackson became president and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Dallas, Texas. Jackson’s executive title marked him as the first African American to head the agency, saving the Housing Authority from the racial discrimination law suits that had been mounting against it. During Jackson’s tenure, he worked to improve the dilapidated buildings and unsafe conditions that had become standard in the city’s neglected public housing units.

In 1996, Jackson left the public sector when American Electric Power-TEXAS hired him as President. There, Jackson ran the $13 billion company for the next five years, until he was appointed as the Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer under the George W. Bush Administration. Working under then secretary, Mel Martinez, Jackson managed the daily operations of the $32 billion agency and its 9,300 employees. In 2004, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Jackson as the nation’s thirteenth United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This distinction marked Jackson as the third African American in the Bush Cabinet after Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell and Rod Paige, the Education Secretary. He resigned from this position on April 18, 2008. Since 2008, Jackson teaches at Hampton University as a professor and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Leadership. Jackson also serves on numerous national and state commissions including the General Services Commission of the State of Texas and the National Commission on America’s Urban Families.

Alphonso Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 3, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.225

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/3/2007

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

St. Anthony Academy

Lincoln University

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Truman State University

Washington University School of Law

H.S. Thompson Elementary School

St. Peter Academy

First Name

Alphonso

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

JAC26

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

There's No Place Like America.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

9/9/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Cabinet appointee The Honorable Alphonso Jackson (1945 - ) served as the nation’s thirteenth United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Employment

City of St. Louis

St. Louis Public Housing Authority

Department of Public and Assisted Housing

City of Dallas Housing Authority

Texas Southern University

United States Senate

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:564,12:940,18:9306,133:14664,261:28070,423:28734,433:35042,596:45290,741:45890,748:49133,768:54426,870:54821,876:55137,881:56401,921:56717,926:61457,1020:61773,1025:67338,1092:67794,1099:68098,1107:68858,1130:69238,1136:71594,1166:76323,1210:76708,1216:77093,1222:77709,1231:79018,1256:93712,1505:94328,1514:94636,1519:100719,1673:101181,1680:114330,1877:114610,1882:117514,1921:117906,1929:123708,2018:124332,2025:125060,2033:134490,2159:136434,2189:136722,2194:137370,2205:138954,2238:146660,2323:147570,2329$0,0:1274,15:4641,62:5915,77:29795,310:43630,479:45102,507:54372,622:58308,682:71770,866:72470,875:76629,926:80570,969:81425,980:86420,1030:86740,1035:89540,1103:97306,1168:105828,1346:109332,1446:114140,1572:115140,1588:120774,1662:121158,1669:125026,1700:128634,1739:132926,1870:137346,1909:141210,1960:141720,1967:156152,2187:159800,2247:171210,2334:177804,2396:188138,2501:192602,2610:192890,2615:193610,2626:197138,2710:197786,2720:211028,2883:211875,2895:214031,2952:217385,2994:217780,3000:218491,3010:220308,3041:220703,3049:221414,3063:221809,3069:223152,3094:224337,3130:225680,3163:227181,3195:237170,3332:241741,3383:242086,3389:243328,3413:248900,3555
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Alphonso Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his mother's personality and accomplishments

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the murder of his neighbor by a white policeman

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his role among his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his community in South Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers suffering from asthma

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination in his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his education in Catholic schools

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his early writing talent

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers joining the track team at St. Peter Academy in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his track and field competitions

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his decision to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls joining the Philadelphia Pioneer Club

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls transferring to the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his transfer to East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination on the track team at East Texas State University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his experiences of discrimination on the track team at East Texas State University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Coach Kenneth Gardner

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his undergraduate degree program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his graduation from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers earning a master's degree

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his acceptance to law school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his experience at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his activism at the Washington University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the community of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his political activism in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the Selma to Montgomery March, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the Selma to Montgomery March, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his focus as a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Frankie Freeman

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers Margaret Bush Wilson

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his hometowns

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his position at the University of Missouri - St. Louis

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his work with John Danforth

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls being selected as public safety director in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the political climate of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers working for James F. Conway

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the St. Louis Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers running for comptroller of the City of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the District of Columbia Department of Public and Assisted Housing

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about his start in public housing administration

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes the history of public housing in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon the Model Cities program

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work for the Dallas Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson remembers the integration of public housing in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his activism in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his relationship with President George Walker Bush

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work at the Central and South West Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his role at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his experiences at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about public housing programs

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his hopes for the future of public housing

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson talks about housing policy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his personality

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Alphonso Jackson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson recalls his track and field competitions
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson describes his work at the Central and South West Corporation
Transcript
You're--you know, you're active in, you know, in the track team, you're competing. You compete--do you--do you compete statewide at that point?$$Statewide.$$Okay. And you're developing a name for your--you know, yourself. Now, was your track team one of the best track teams in the state? No?$$(Shakes head) No, I was one of the--I ended up being the, the best sprinter in the State of Texas in '67 [1967], '68 [1968], public or private. There were three of us and you--one was George Aldredge who was at Highland Park [Highland Park High School, Dallas, Texas], a very rich community. The other was Warren McVea who you've heard about from San Antonio [Texas] and myself. And Mr. Lark [ph.] got me a chance to, to participate in the public school track meets, which was rare because at that point in time, they were segregated. So you couldn't run against--the black high schools could not run against the white high schools in Dallas [Texas], but I had a chance, opportunity to run and beat George Aldredge in high school, and to beat Warren McVea. Now, you have to understand how things were in Texas. If you were in south Texas, San Antonio and south, schools were integrated, but if you were in north Texas starting with Waco [Texas] above, schools were totally segregated. And so Warren McVea was in an integrated environment down in San Antonio at Brackenridge [G.W. Brackenridge High School] and I was--I was not. And so when I ran against George Aldredge, it was because I was at the Catholic high school [St. Peter Academy, Dallas, Texas] that they permitted that. Because the bishop at that time talked to the athletic director in the Dallas public school system [Dallas Independent School District] and he permitted me to run in the meet. And I was the only black to, to run in a white meet at that time and that was '67 [1967] and '68 [1968]. So, I knew there was a difference. Now, we could compete against all the Catholic high schools even though they were white all over Texas, but we didn't compete necessarily against public schools. So half of our, our--plus, plus I played football, too, my sophomore, junior, and senior year. We would play Catholic high schools in Texas, but when we played public schools, we would play segregated public schools like in Ennis [Texas], Waco, Tyler, Texas.$You decided to leave public sector and go and seek--you know, have your real first, you know, business, non-public sector job?$$By accident again. I was on the board of the Boy Scouts [Boy Scouts of America] and the chairman of Central and South West Corporation named Dick Brooks [E. Richard Brooks] was the chairman of the metropolitan area, Fort Worth, Dallas [Texas], Boy Scouts, and he was also on the executive board of the national Boy Scouts. And he was very concerned that we did not have enough blacks and Hispanic Boy Scouts. So, he asked the executive director, he said, "Who can we get to help us get more black and Hispanic kids in the Boy Scouts?" So, Earl [ph.] recommended me and I became vice chair for urban scouting. But what Dick didn't understand and no one understood, they wanted to have three hundred black and Hispanic boys within the next two years. Well, I ran public housing. All I had was black and Hispanics. So, what occurred is within six months, I had like 310 people signed up. It took them about another four months to get all the uniforms. So, after I did that, Dick said, "That is just wonderful." And he called me, he said, "Let's have lunch." So, I said--I told my wife [Jackson's second wife, Marcia Jackson], I said, "Well, probably he's gonna ask me to go on his board." And so I had lunch with him and we talked for a few minutes and he says, "What do you expect to do after you leave the housing authority [Dallas Housing Authority]?" I said, "Well, I hadn't thought about that because I don't plan to leave." He said, "Well, we have a division called Central South West International," and he said, "I really need someone to come in as the vice president to negotiate all of our deals." I said, "I don't want to be a human rights--I mean, a human resource person." He said, "No," he said, "I'm talking about negotiating deals around the world." I said, "Well, what does that mean?" He says, "Just what I said." And he says, "I think you've got the right skills." So, I said to him, I said, "Well, let me talk to my wife." And I talked to my wife and she said, "Well, pursue it further and see what." So, I ended up going back, having an interview a couple of weeks later and after talking, I said, "That sounds great to me." And what I did at that point in time was I said, "What is this job going to pay?" He never answered the question. But in the end when I went for the final interview, it was--it was quite a lot and I became a corporate executive, which means you're a principal in the firm. And so I ended up going there. And it was easy transition because I really didn't have to know anything about the utility business. I had to negotiate deals for us. And as an attorney, it was easy to negotiate deals. So, I negotiated our deal in India, China, Brazil, England, and around the country. And after negotiating those deals, a couple of years later, he comes to me and said, "Why don't you become president and chief operating officer of Central South West, Texas," which was our major corporation in Texas. I said, "I really don't know anything about the regulating side of the business." He said, "That's no problem." And so what he did for a week, he got me a tutor, a very--expert in regulatory affairs and for ten hours a day, I stayed with that tutor and learned it and became president and chief operating officer. And then we merged with EP [American Electric Power (AEP)] and I stayed there until I came here with the president [President George Walker Bush].

Julian Manly Earls

Physicist and federal government administrator Julian Manly Earls was born on November 22, 1942 in Portsmouth, Virginia to James and Ida Deberry Earls. He graduated from Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia in 1960 and went on to earn his B.S. degree in physics from Norfolk State University in 1964. Upon the advice of his mentor, Dr. Roy A. Woods, Earls attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to obtain his M.S. degree in radiation biology in 1965. Earls then moved to Cleveland to work at NASA for six years at the Lewis Research Center. NASA sponsored Earls to obtain his Ph.D. degree in radiation physics at the University of Michigan in 1973. Also, while working at NASA, he graduated from the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development in 1978.

Working at NASA for over forty years, Earls became NASA's first black section head, first black office chief, first black division chief, first black deputy director, and NASA's second black center director. Earls was hired as the director of the Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003. As center director, Earls has been responsible for research, technology and systems development programs in aeronautical propulsion, space propulsion, space power, space communications, and microgravity sciences. He manages an annual budget and oversees all employees and contractors. Earls has written several publications for technical and educational journals. He also wrote NASA’s first health physics guides. On two occasions, he has been awarded NASA medals for exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership and has received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive for career Senior Executive Service (SES) members.

Earls has been awarded honorary degrees by Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, New York, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Technical Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Society of Black Physicists, the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. An avid runner, he has run at least twenty-five marathons and was given the honor of being a torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Earls and his wife, Zenobia, reside in Beachwood, Ohio. They have two sons, Gregory and Julian, Jr., and one granddaughter, Madisyn Chandler.

Julian Earls was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 10, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/10/2005

Last Name

Earls

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Manly

Schools

Crestwood High School

Crestwood Middle School

I.C. Norcom High School

Norfolk State University

University of Rochester

University of Michigan

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Julian

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

EAR02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

God did not give anybody everything, but He gave everybody something.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/22/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Lemon Meringue)

Short Description

Federal government administrator and physicist Julian Manly Earls (1942 - ) worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for over forty years, and has served as the director of the NASA's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center

Cuyahoga Community College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julian Earls' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julian Earls shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about his parents and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood and talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his four brothers and two sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julian Earls describes his parent's jobs as well as family holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about growing up in the Union Holiness Pentecostal Church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julian Earls talks about his elementary, junior high, and high school years

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julian Earls remembers the segregated schools in Virginia and graduating from Crestwood High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about his decision to attend Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julian Earls describes his professors at Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about going to graduate school and his early years at NASA

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's contracts with minority and women-owned firms and making science fun for young people

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about increasing African American participation in engineering and physics

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Boule, and his mentors at NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about affirmative action

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's equal employment opportunity office and the values of NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about the NASA astronaut program

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his wife, Zenobia, and their two sons, Julian Earls, Jr. and Gregory Earls

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about Cleveland public schools

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julian Earls discusses civil rights, education, and the importance of stable family structures

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about Ohio and the 2004 Presidential Election

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about his long distance running

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about Dr. Willie Ray "Karimi" Mackey

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about mentoring and Northeast Ohio as home

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about the difference between the North and the South

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julian Earls explains how science and technology are good for the economy and a global society

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about ethics in science and technology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about the ethics of cloning

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julian Earls shares his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julian Earls describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes
Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.
Transcript
All right, so again, I'm looking at what's happening at the, I guess we say, the macro level. In '64 [1964], you said you didn't have a clue. But I would think by the late '60s [1960s] when you're here in Cleveland [Ohio] in the era of the, well, the tenure of Carl Stokes as mayor, you must have known that history was being made?$$Oh, absolutely, and it was at that point that I really became active in trying to encourage black youngsters to focus upon math and science and increase the numbers of black scientists and engineers by increasing the number of black students who took those courses. And I joined an organization called the National Technical Association, an organization of black scientists, engineers, architects that had been founded in Chicago in 1925. And once I found out about that organization, I decided that we needed to form a Cleveland chapter. And we formed the chapter here in Cleveland and started working with youngsters in the local school system. Our first program was established a Kirk Middle High School in East Cleveland. And we, second, next we moved out into the Warrenville school system. And we had black scientists, engineers, technologists working at any number of different companies here in Cleveland, Ohio. And we would go out on Saturday mornings into the schools and take projects for the students and also had a parental involvement section where the parents would be involved and would have to essentially agree that they would work with the students. And some sessions, they would actually come with the students on Saturday morning. But that was one of the efforts. And then I started right here within NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], people blame me for the being the catalyst for starting the movement that said, look, not only do we need more black people working within NASA, but we need to make sure that we have black people in true, powerful management positions here at NASA. And at that time, we didn't have blacks who were managers, section heads, branch chiefs, division chiefs and so forth. And I became the first black section head at NASA. I was the first black office chief. I was the first black division chief. I was the first black deputy director, but I was the second black center director. But back in those days, back in '64 [1964], '65 [1965], we have records and archives of things that we did to make the points that we needed to open up opportunities for blacks here within NASA, Lewis Research Center at the time. But then, we were the catalyst for any number of changes within the agency for black employees. And, of course, being in Cleveland, when Carl Stokes was elected mayor, you would have to live in a cave not to know the importance of the activities that were going on at that time.$$Okay. Okay, so that was '67 [1967]--$$That's right.$$--his first victory?$$That's right.$$Do you remember the election night--$$I certainly do.$$--when it was announced?$$I certainly do.$$I watched a video in the 'Eyes on the Prize' series and I saw people dancing in the street.$$(Laughter).$$Were you a part of that crowd?$$I was not dancing on the street, but I was dancing in my living room. That's for sure (laughter).$$Did you ever have an opportunity to work with Mayor Stokes?$$No, but I worked with his brother back in those days. And I really call him my hero. Congressman Louis Stokes and I forged a relationship when things needed to be changed within NASA. And I credit him for all the progress that has been made within NASA as an agency, with progress that has been made for people of color and females. I credit him especially with the progress that has been made with the small disadvantaged businesses because it was Congressman Stokes who attached to the NASA appropriations bill, a requirement that eight percent of all contract dollars in NASA had to be spent with small disadvantaged businesses in the set-aside program. He was the architect of that which is a requirement that still exists to this day at this agency.$$Okay, and so those things are coming into being in the '60s [1960s] to the 1970s, in that era?$$Yes, that's--$$So more than a generation ago?$$Yes.$I mean I'm just so proud of them. And so, I don't know if that's because NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] is pushing them out front and saying, here's a role model or if they just have that excellence, that's part of that formula you just told me about. Were they just that cream, you know, that just rose to the top?$$Well, I have to tell you my Guy Bluford [Guion "Guy" S. Bluford, Jr.] story.$$Okay.$$I applied to be an astronaut in 1977. That was the same year that Guy Bluford applied, Fred Gregory [Frederick D. Gregory] applied, Ron McNair [Ronald Ervin McNair] applied. Guy Bluford and I were born on the same day, November 22, 1942. And I kid Guy because I tell him he was born at 10:00 a.m. in the morning. I was born at 4:15 in the afternoon, and NASA, as a tie breaker, went with the old man. That's why he got in the Astronaut Corp and I didn't. But I've worked with those astronauts. When Guy was launched, his was the first night launch of the shuttle, and I was the speaker for the Education program at Kennedy Space Center [The John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida] when Guy Bluford went on the first flight as the first African American in space. And Guy subsequently retired from the Astronaut Corp and came to work here at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland [Ohio]. He was a program manager for a major contract here and is still living here in the Cleveland area.$$And how about Mae Jemison [Mae C. Jemison]? Have you had a chance to work with her?$$Absolutely. Mae and I talked, before Mae's launch, the last six months before Mae launched, Mae's launch, she and I must have talked at least once a week about some of the issues and some of the challenges confronting her as the first African American female going in space. As a matter of fact, one of the things that she and I talked about was she did a down link from her shuttle mission with the Chicago school system, which she's a product of the Chicago school system. And so we worked that, and I've been in touch with her since that time. She's absolutely--I maintain that NASA has a little back room where they build perfect people to make them into astronauts. And that's why I never got selected to (laughter) to be an astronaut.

Ralph Gardner-Chavis

Chemist and chemistry professor Ralph Gardner-Chavis was born on December 3, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio to Vivian Hicks Gardner, a teacher and housewife, and Clarence Chavis Gardner, a musician and government worker. Gardner-Chavis was educated in the Cleveland Public School system. He attended Bolton Elementary School and Audubon Junior High School. Gardner-Chavis graduated from John Adams High School in 1939 and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1943. He completed his graduate studies at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, earning both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry in 1952 and 1959, respectively.

In order to avoid fighting in World War II, Gardner-Chavis took a job as a research assistant on the Manhattan Project between 1943 and 1947. The project resulted in the United States developing the atomic bomb to end the war in 1945. Immediately after leaving this position, Gardner-Chavis was unable to find a job as a chemist, so he worked as a waiter from 1947 to 1949. He was eventually hired as a research chemist and project leader at the Standard Oil Company in Ohio where he remained for almost twenty years. Gardner-Chavis then took a teaching position in Cleveland State University’s chemistry department where he held a full-time faculty position from 1968 to 1985. As a professor, Gardner-Chavis had an interest in early childhood learning and development, and he started a program with his adult students that advocated reading to babies. He fought for the inclusion of black studies and multi-racial courses in the curriculum at CSU. Gardner-Chavis later combined his part-time teaching with work in the research lab of the Molecular Technology Corporation, where he was also on the board of directors and served as vice president of research. Gardner-Chavis went on to hold emeritus status in the CSU chemistry department while continuing his research on catalysis and molecular technology.

Throughout his career as a chemist, Gardner-Chavis published numerous research articles. He became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1942 and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2001.

Gardner-Chavis passed away on March 27, 2018 at age 95.

Accession Number

A2004.030

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/19/2004

Last Name

Gardner-Chavis

Marital Status

Married

Schools

John Adams High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Western Reserve University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

CHA05

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Francisco, California

Favorite Quote

Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

12/3/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Death Date

3/27/2018

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist Ralph Gardner-Chavis (1922 - 2018 ) was a research assistant for the Manhattan Project before working as a chemist for the Standard Oil Company and teaching chemistry at Cleveland State University.

Employment

Manhattan Project (U.S.).

Standard Oil Company

Cleveland State University

Molecular Technology Group

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph Gardner-Chavis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his father's upbringing and interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph Garder-Chavis talks about his early childhood in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis discusses his family's move to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his Cleveland neighborhood and the schools he attended

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about how his family managed during the Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his mother's working for the Welfare Department

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares a story about his junior high math class

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains how he became a chemist instead of joining the military

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains how he ended up working as a chemist on the Manhattan Project

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis shares the history and the science behind the Manhattan Project

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis continues to discuss the technology behind the atomic bomb

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about other key players in the race to build an atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes the atmosphere in Chicago, Illinois during the creation of the atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about the United States' decision to drop the atomic bomb

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis reflects on the fate of the Manhattan Project and the post-war mood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his difficulty finding a job as a chemist after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his graduate education and starting his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about wanting to work on catalysts at Standard Oil

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about completing his Ph.D. requirements and playing ping pong

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis recalls working under his supervisor at Standard Oil

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis discusses his research on the interactions of gas molecules with the surface of a solid

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about race-related issues between himself and the head of his laboratory at Standard Oil

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about how his publication was chosen for a conference in Moscow, Russia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis details traveling to Moscow for his conference presentation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains the rise and fall of his American Dream Soap Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his students at Cleveland State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his "Reading to Babies" initiative, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his "Reading to Babies" initiative, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his work on diversity curriculum initiative at Cleveland State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis explains his battle for tenure at Cleveland State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his conflict with the Department of Chemistry's Personnel Action Committee in the chemistry department at Cleveland State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis responds to a question comparing his fight to be promoted to the story of Galileo

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his relatives and friends

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about his propensity for the written word and his interest in music

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis reflects on his career as a scientist and his accomplishments in the field of catalyst chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis recites one of his poems

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis responds to a question about the future of weapons of mass destruction

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes his photographs

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ralph Gardner-Chavis describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Ralph Gardner-Chavis continues to discuss the technology behind the atomic bomb
Ralph Gardner-Chavis talks about wanting to work on catalysts at Standard Oil
Transcript
Now this wasn't public information was it when you started working on the project [Manhattan Project]?$$No, no, no.$$Okay.$$No the, the lab was in a little white one story, big white one story building that didn't look like anything. I mean there were no guards outside at all because you didn't want to call attention to the lab because it would be a prime target for sabotage. And they trusted the people not to, not to tell anyone as to what they were doing.$$Okay. So this continued then the research--.$$Right.$$--to produce this atomic bomb--.$$Yeah.$$--for about a year and a half after you got there?$$Yeah, right and--.$$And so when is the technology perfected?$$Well the work I was doing was, I did two things there. One, I worked on some of the development of the process to extract the plutonium. See the plutonium now is, is on, is in these uranium rods but the amounts of plutonium were tiny, micro, microgram amounts, so, so tiny you can't you know really precipitate it or anything like that. So they had to devise methods for concentrating this plutonium and the method that I was working on was called co-precipitation. Turned out they found that bismuth phosphate had the same crystal structure as the plutonium phosphate. So when they precipitated bismuth phosphate the plutonium phosphate would occlude on the top of the bismuth phosphate or come down with the bismuth phosphate and in that way they could concentrate the plutonium. Then they would oxidize the plutonium to another oxidation state and this time when they precipitated the phosphate it didn't come down. It, it was a soluble phosphate in that time. So alternating back and forth why they were able to concentrate it eventually to the point where they could use metallurgical techniques to make, to make the bomb.$$Okay.$$And the bomb is about the size of, about the size of a kind of big grapefruit just maybe about that big around. And the way you, the way they did it they had in those days developed what they call dynamite in shaped charges. In other words they could fix the dynamite so it would blow in a certain direction like that. So you would, a machine ate pieces of plutonium that they, that when they put them together they would make a sphere. But you're not supposed to try them together to see if they fit cause if you did it would be, then the atom bomb would explode. So you have to be seeing these pieces of plutonium but don't as I say try to see if they fit each other. And then they would be in this container inside some kind of apparatus so they were apart and then to explode the bomb they would have the dynamite blow the pieces together and of course as soon as they came together why then they would you know begin this fission. So I mean so you have you know three, three neutrons and then you have nine and you have eighty one then you have two, forty three and so forth, but all this happens just like that and the bomb goes off.$$All right. So one of these bombs or the capability of using this bomb--.$$Oh yeah, yeah.$$--for 1945 and--(simultaneously).$$Yeah, and it's interesting in that there are several things about this. One is the fact that when I first went on the project many people that I talked to hoped that it was really impossible to make a bomb because we felt that mankind is much too flaky to be entrusted with such awesome power. But on the other hand if it was possible to make one, we had to be first before Germany. So we did work you know very diligently at this to try to make the bomb.$Well let's stay there at the Standard Oil experience for a little while longer. I hear and I've read too some of the reading and preparation for this discussion that you've done a lot with catalysis.$$Yes.$$And you told me some years ago that a catalyst is a thing that starts a process.$$Yeah that makes a reaction take place.$$That causes a reaction to take place.$$Take place right.$$Okay. So were you at that point in your career focusing on catalysis or something else?$$Now yeah, I went on, I went to, I began at Standard Oil in '49 [1949] and I did my work for several different, I did several different things there in the beginning. But the one thing that I did work a good deal on was a separation process called liquid thermal diffusion. Well we, did the, the group that I was with they did, we did all the work that they wanted done. In fact they actually sold the process and the patent to somebody, to another company so therefore they were really completely through with that. So they gave me a, a chance to choose something else I would like to work on that of course would be of interest to Sohio [Standard Oil of Ohio], had to be something they were interested in too. Well I had, knew there was such a thing as a catalyst and that, that the catalyst would cause a, a chemical reaction to take place but it wouldn't be consumed in the, in the reaction. So it meant that a small amount of catalyst could then initiate a tremendous amount of reactions and, which almost seemed to me like, it almost seemed as if you were getting something for nothing practically to have this thing that would keep on you know operating and operating and not be used up. And the people didn't know much about it at that time but just that, what I've said is that the catalyst initiated the chemical reactions, it wasn't used. So I thought that would be an intriguing area to work on so I made a proposal to Sohio and then I, my first proposal was that I would simply do some reading in the field to see what if there was something I could come up with that would be of interest and so they allowed me to spend several weeks reading papers and books and articles, publications and books. And what struck me about what I was reading was the fact that the work that others seemed to do, appeared to me to be what I call anecdotal. In other words what this person did didn't seem to bear much relationship to what the next person did. And I have described their work as being like little vignettes that were very carefully done, very scientifically measured and very, very well reported but there still was no unifying concept or thread between them. And thinking about this made me realize these people really didn't know what they were doing at all and made me feel that I didn't want to do what they were doing. I wanted to do something different. And a person came to the research lab named Ray Meyers and he gave a lecture on his idea. And his idea was that a matching of the vibrational frequencies, you know all the molecules and things are vibrating all the time like they're shaking all the time. All our atoms are shaking and the vibrational frequencies or the matching of the vibrational frequency of the two reactants would facilitate the reaction, would cause a reaction to go. Why in my reading nobody else had ever said anything like that and this seemed to me to be an idea that nobody else was using and also one that made a lot of sense because I kind of thought about it like Pacman was, was present in those days. And so Pacman ran around like that so if they were doing it in, in, in phase of each other they could interact but if they were doing it out of phase, they couldn't, made a lot of sense to me. So I thought well I wanted to design my work then to either use or test this Meyers idea.$$Okay. And so you're working in the labs--.$$Yeah.$$--at Standard Oil?$$At Standard Oil.$$Were you able to, to also focus your, your research, your graduate research for the Ph.D. on that same material?$$Eventually I was able to, yeah. Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$Yeah.