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Cleo F. Wilson

Nonprofit administrator and foundation executive Cleo Wilson was born in 1943, and spent her early years in the Chicago housing project of Altgeld Gardens. After spending two years at Robert Crane High School, Wilson graduated from the Frances Parker High School in 1961. Later that year, Wilson enrolled at Chicago State Teacher’s College, now Chicago State University. In her sophomore year, however, she left school to protest school segregation in Chicago’s Englewood community and later, the Vietnam War. After leaving the activist movement to support her children, Wilson worked as a keypunch operator until deciding to return to school in 1973. She received her B.A. degree in English from Chicago State in 1976.

In 1976, Wilson was hired as an accounting clerk for Playboy. She eventually worked her way up to supervisor of Accounts Payable. In 1982, she joined the Playboy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hugh Hefner’s empire. After just two years, she was appointed Executive Director of the foundation. As its head, she included employees in the process, asking for their opinion on grant decisions. Wilson also engaged the Foundation in the process of “microphilantrophy,”—giving smaller amounts of money to more organizations—including many grassroots efforts in Chicago. Wilson also continued to fight for civil liberties and racial equality, filing a lawsuit against the City of Chicago and State of Illinois to ensure fair voting protection for Chicago’s African American residents and serving as vice president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was also an early HIV/AIDS activist, beginning in the 1980s, when HIV/AIDS was still very poorly comprehended and stigmatized by the general public. She was appointed to the Chicago AIDS Foundation’s Board of Directors in 1989, and starting in the next year served as president of that organization for three years.

In 2002, Wilson became president of The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, a Chicago nonprofit organization dedicated to highlighting self-taught and outsider art, and in 2007, she became executive director of the center. She left Playboy after 25 years of service in 2005, but has continued to tour on the lecture circuit and is a board member or advisor for many civic organizations.

Cleo Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 25, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.100

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/25/2010

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

F.

Schools

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

Parker High School

Chicago State University

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Cleo

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL55

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

God Damn It!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Coconut Cake

Short Description

Nonprofit administrator and foundation executive Cleo F. Wilson (1943 - ) served with the Playboy Foundation for twenty-five years, and was advocate of civil rights, HIV/AIDS awareness and the arts.

Employment

Playboy Inc.

Playboy Foundation

Center of Intuitive and Outsider Art (Intuit)

Favorite Color

Light Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cleo F. Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cleo F. Wilson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about her mother's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cleo F. Wilson describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Cleo F. Wilson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers George Washington Carver Primary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the tension between her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her foster mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her relationship with her parents while in foster care

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her schooling in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cleo F. Wilson describes her early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her foster home

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the jazz band at Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers joining the protests against the Willis Wagons in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about the struggle for school desegregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls living in the Student Peace Union's commune at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers meeting her first husband

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her associations with radical organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls her criticism of nonviolent philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the surveillance of her home by the Chicago Police Department's Red Squad

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers her first divorce

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls meeting her second husband

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls working as an accountant for Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the workplace environment at Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the history of the Playboy Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cleo F. Wilson recalls her start at the Playboy Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the grantees of the Playboy Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cleo F. Wilson remembers Harold Washington's mayoral campaign in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the Playboy Foundation's support for the arts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about micro philanthropy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cleo F. Wilson describes the Will Feed Community Organization in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about granting process at charitable foundations

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about her organizational activities

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cleo F. Wilson reflects upon her career at Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cleo F. Wilson reflects upon her success at Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cleo F. Wilson describes Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about her interest in outsider art

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cleo F. Wilson reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cleo F. Wilson talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cleo F. Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cleo F. Wilson narrates her photographs

Walter Bailey, Jr.

County commissioner and lawyer Walter Bailey was born in 1940, in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from Booker T. Washington high School and went on to attend Southern University on a football scholarship. The student sit-in protests against segregation were sweeping the South at this point and Southern University was no exception. Bailey’s brother, D’Army Bailey, also attended Southern University and he became a leader of the Civil Rights Movement on campus. Bailey helped his brother with his civil rights organizing and went to protests with him, some of which were broken up violently. Southern University did its best to badger the Baileys into giving up their protests and boycotts, eventually expelling his brother and shutting down rather than accepting back its students who had been arrested in various protests.

Undaunted, Bailey went on to receive his J.D. degree from the Southern University Law Center and founded the Walter Bailey law firm. Bailey was involved in several important civil rights-related cases, including the case that desegregated Shelby County public schools and the legal defense of Martin Luther King Jr. during the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. In 1985, Bailey served as lead counsel on the favorably decided Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Garner , which forbid police officers’ use of deadly force to make an arrest unless they had probable cause to believe that the fugitive posed a deadly threat to them or bystanders.

In 1971, Bailey was elected to an unexpired term on the Shelby County Commission and was elected to a full term in the same role in 1972. Bailey served in this capacity until 2006, when term limits required him not to run, and during his tenure on the commission he was elected chairman pro tempore and then chairman proper for two terms. While on the commission, Bailey fought to rename county parks that had been named after various members of the Confederacy. In 2010, once Bailey had waited the mandated period of time, he ran again for the Shelby County Commission and his victory was unopposed.

Accession Number

A2010.089

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/28/2010

Last Name

Bailey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L

Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BAI08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Live In The Moment.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

8/21/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Porterhouse Steak

Short Description

Lawyer and county commissioner Walter Bailey, Jr. (1940 - ) served on the Shelby County Commission for thirty-five years, and was involved with several important civil rights court cases, including the U.S. Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Garner.

Employment

Memphis City Government

Walter Bailey Law Firm

Favorite Color

Red, White

Timing Pairs
0,0:11214,154:15342,190:20358,260:20710,265:23262,303:23614,308:28415,340:50814,651:59390,719:70115,779:79160,835:79528,840:80356,850:83484,920:85324,950:96690,1031:115664,1349:127070,1492:127390,1497:128110,1509:130936,1533:131766,1541:133343,1565:133758,1571:136912,1676:145500,1769:146200,1854:169903,1972:183778,2115:184308,2121:193696,2226:198524,2266:201145,2301:205380,2382$0,0:1932,42:3960,81:9732,193:19945,252:22570,283:43616,404:44904,416:49590,448:57414,501:68578,604:76450,669:76795,675:77416,686:84900,737:88670,754:115828,986:120493,1062:121678,1081:133298,1292:195891,1805:200310,1860:237440,2072:248370,2154:248670,2159:249420,2170:249795,2176:256703,2255:261030,2328:271378,2397:284758,2666:295120,2810:324430,3189:328450,3217:339962,3310:340298,3319:342514,3331:360620,3510:377200,3697:378880,3711
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Bailey, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his paternal grandfather, D.A. Bailey pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes how he takes after his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his paternal grandfather, D.A. Bailey pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the home he grew up in in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience at Rosebud Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience at the Larose Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the beginning of his football career and playing little league baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about training with the Booker T. Washington High School football team as a student at Larose Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes playing football at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists the black high schools in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his social life at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about his relationship with his brother, HistoryMaker D'Army Bailey

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the absence of political discussion in his childhood home

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1958 and being recruited by Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. remembers joining the Southern University football team

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. lists notable black college football players from the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains why he changed his major from physical education to political science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. remembers Adolph Reed at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Dr. Felton G. Clark, the former president of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about a student boycott at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana led by his brother, HistoryMaker D'Army Bailey

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Professor Adolph Reed's criticism of Southern University president Dr. Felton G. Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as largely Catholic

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the consequences of the anti-segregation demonstrations at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about deciding to become a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about transferring into the Southern University Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his experience as a student in the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about taking the bar exam in Louisiana and in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about joining HistoryMaker Russell B. Sugarmon and A.W. Willis' law practice in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes winning a housing discrimination lawsuit in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about his involvement in a Shelby County, Tennessee school desegregation case

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his work with the American Civil Liberties Union on an obscenity lawsuit

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains why Martin Luther King, Jr. had been in Tennessee when he was assassinated in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. explains how the NAACP Legal Defense Fund works

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes the aftermath of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s killer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about becoming the Shelby County Tennessee Commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about housing discrimination and white flight in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner decision, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner decision, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about arguing Tennessee v. Garner before the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about being elected chairman of the Shelby County Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his responsibilities as Shelby County Commissioner in Shelby County, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the election of former Memphis, Tennessee mayor Willie Wilbert Herenton

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for black leadership in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the Confederate Park in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Walter Bailey, Jr. expresses his opinion about Memphis, Tennessee politicians' handling of race issues

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Walter Bailey, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the 2008 election of HistoryMaker President Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about Nikki Tinker's run for U.S. Congress

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Walter Bailey, Jr. talks briefly about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Walter Bailey, Jr. considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Walter Bailey narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about arguing Tennessee v. Garner before the U.S. Supreme Court
Walter Bailey, Jr. talks about the Confederate Park in Memphis, Tennessee
Transcript
So we went up and argued the case before the United States Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall was on the Supreme Court then. And in a split decision, 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that you can't shoot an unarmed fleeing felon except under rare conditions, and they enumerated those rare conditions. Number one, if his escape would pose a danger to others like a Jack the Ripper, some notorious potential killer, or if his activities while you were trying to arrest him posed a danger to the police officer and you shot in self defense or something of the sort. But no more of that, the Supreme Court said of shooting young kids running away from crime scenes who are obviously unarmed. And that decision has saved more lives, more lives than any, case of recent times. I mean nationally.$$I think that was the case that sent Cincinnati [Ohio] up in flames a couple of years ago.$$Oh, really?$$A case of the Cincinnati police shooting an unarmed young man running away from, you know, (unclear) like that.$$Yeah. In fact, Justice [William] Rehnquist, when the case was being argued, said well this could apply to the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] and the federal law enforcement officers, which, I mean, it does, that what it say. If you in law enforcement, whether it's the FBI, CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], some sheriff in a small town, you just can't shoot people who are unarmed running from and suspect that are running from crime scenes.$$Now in your opinion, is this a racially kind of charged issue. I mean how many young white men are shot running away from--were they any?$$No, not here in Memphis [Tennessee].$$Okay, during that period.$$No, you just had some trigger happy cops then. I mean they were on the force, they were, the thing is there were, there were a just a small number, about three or four of them, that were really just trigger happy. But they had black neighborhoods where burglaries would more than likely occur and they would snatch that shotgun off that rear panel, I mean off that front panel and unload.$$Now, okay, so this is a landmark court case?$$One of the most, in my opinion, this is one of the most important United States--I mean important court cases had been rendered.$$And the official name of it is?$$Tennessee versus Garner [Tennessee v. Garner, 1981].$$Okay, Tennessee versus Garner. Okay.$Yeah, we were talking about the nature of politics down here. Tell us about the Confederate Park [Memphis Park] and what that's about. This Confederate memorial park.$$Well, we've got in the downtown area, we've got a number of Confederate monuments dedicated to the memory of the Confederacy, and I think it's an outrage. We've got tributes to, as an example, to some of the most villainous and cruel Confederate leaders and it seems to me that that shouldn't be. I think paying homage and giving recognition to those type people like Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis, that is an outrage. It makes me want to puke. And what has happened is those monuments start popping up throughout the South right after the Civil War and Reconstruction. They were designed to let, as symbols to let the world know, and, of course, their fellow citizens here, to let people know we still love our Confederacy, and these are our heroes I don't care what you say about them, whether they, this is where our sentiment is. "We think we were right then, and we think we're right now." That what they symbolize to me and the got organizations like the sons and daughters of the Confederacy that give the thrust to these kind of monuments. So one day I was in my office, I had a different location that was across the street from Jefferson Davis' monument over there in the park and they had the Leonard [sic. Lennox] Lewis fight here in Memphis [Tennessee], him and [Mike] Tyson, and the lawyer out of the New York for Leonard Lewis was a, he and I were at my office, he associated me as counsel on a matter he needed handled here, and he was staying at the Peabody Hotel. We were walking in front of my office and we passed that Jefferson Davis monument, he said he couldn't believe it. He said, "Jefferson Davis." He said, "Only in Memphis, Tennessee." So at that point, I said I'm gone take some measures to try to get these monuments removed, especially we're in a majority black city and there we are paying tribute and homage to some of the most ruthless Confederate leaders that the world has known. So, I started a movement. I was on the Center City Commission Board which gives guidance to how downtown should be developed. I got them to pass a resolution and nobody, and Steve Cohen was on the board too. He was the only vote against, after an extensive study, against the Center City Commission passing a resolution raised in the city council to rename the parks and remove the monuments.$$Now there's a, is it called Confederate, was it called Confederate Park or what was it?$$There was a Confederate Park down there too. You got a Confederate Park, which is right here on Front Street, with Jefferson Davis statute in it, and then you got a Jefferson Davis Park [Mississippi River Park] right down the hill from it, and then you got Nathan Bedford Forrest.$$Now he's the founder of the Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK]?$$He's the founder of the Klans. Got him on a big horse being glorified right in the heart of midtown. They had, he was initially buried in the cemetery, and they removed his body, him and his wife, and brought them and put them in the park. They named that park Nathan Bedford Forrest Park [Health Sciences Park]. And those rebels go nuts when you attack those monuments. Now what has happened is that the, even though we've had two black mayors, neither one of them has had the guts to tackle the issue, on this everybody ought to love everybody premise of theirs. It ain't that they think everybody ought to love everybody, they just don't want to stir up any controversy. They want to, and that's not leadership. That not leadership. To duck tough issues, racial issues.

E. Lee Lassiter

Newspaper columnist and journalism professor E. Lee Lassiter was born on July 11, 1936, in Carpenter, North Carolina. His father, Narvie Lassiter, was a tenant farmer while his mother, Margie Upchurch Lassiter, was a housewife and sold cosmetics. Lassiter’s parents made a pact that all of their children would graduate from high school and, unlike most tenant farmers, insisted they attend school every day. Lassiter attended the segregated Apex Elementary School in Apex, North Carolina and Barry O’Kelly High School in Method, North Carolina, graduating in 1954. He worked his way through college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in, receiving his B.A. degree in secondary education in 1959. He earned his M.A. degree in journalism from Boston University in 1963 and his Ed.D. degree from Morgan State University in 1993.

While a student at Tuskegee, Lassiter joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In 1961, he served in the Adjutant General’s Corps of the Army as a correspondence officer and technical writer and remained in the Army Reserves for another ten years. Near the close of 1961, he joined the editorial staff at the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper before moving, in 1965, to the Baltimore News-American, where he remained until the newspaper ceased operations in 1986. During his time at the Baltimore News-American, Lassiter wrote editorials and worked in various positions in the editing department. In 1974, he became a regular columnist at the newspaper, with syndicated columns in newspapers around the nation. After the paper closed, Lassiter accepted a position as an associate professor of English at Coppin State University. He retired from teaching in 1999, and began working as a public relations associate for the University. In 2003, he retired from that position, but accepted a contract to work in the same capacity online from his home.

Lassiter is an active member of numerous associations, including the NAACP, the Baltimore Tuskegee Alumni Association and the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland. He has been a member of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Baltimore for forty-four years. Active in community service for almost forty years, among his numerous awards are the Tuskegee University Presidential Associate Award, African Methodist Episcopal Church Christian Service Award and the Council for Cultural Progress Public Service Award. In 1981, he was honored with a Giant in Journalism trophy. Lassiter lives in Baltimore with his wife, Hannah Louise Lassiter.

E. Lee Lassiter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 16, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2010

Last Name

Lassiter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Apex Elementary School

Berry O'Kelly High School

Tuskegee University

Boston University

Morgan State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

E.

Birth City, State, Country

Carpenter

HM ID

LAS03

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

7/11/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs, Beans

Short Description

Journalism professor and newspaper columnist E. Lee Lassiter (1936 - ) worked at the "Baltimore News-American" for twenty years, writing a nationally syndicated column for twelve of those years. He joined Coppin State University in 1986 as an associate professor of journalism and English before retiring in 2003.

Employment

Boston University

United States Army

Afro-American Newspapers

Baltimore News-American

Coppin State University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:1701,11:2286,17:10044,118:25373,322:34580,442:35175,451:35685,458:43810,537:44235,543:60048,860:60702,867:69256,950:69760,957:97449,1288:98539,1341:112920,1535:126898,1690:133110,1758:138484,1821:147842,2001:158758,2100:164416,2180:165844,2215:184635,2417:194864,2526:198057,2585:198778,2593:214020,2819:215140,2834$0,0:6560,106:6995,112:20588,391:54982,788:99536,1297:100052,1331:109720,1489:134104,1796:171298,2312:171682,2317:180272,2414:185698,2468:201664,2698:210527,2869:222816,3035:251965,3383:262525,3484:263630,3500:277236,3644:293767,3914:321120,4284:329150,4364
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of E. Lee Lassiter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his maternal grandfather, Claude Upchurch

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about her mother's lack of education, but her own emphasis on the importance of education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his paternal grandfather who was a farmer

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his father's growing up in Chatham County, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - E. Lee Lassiter describes how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his parents' emphasis on their children's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes her earliest childhood memories of Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter describes the community where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his father's reputation as a farmer, and his efforts as a parent

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter recalls his favorite radio programs

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the show 'Amos 'n' Andy'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his mother's entrepreneurship and his interest in magazines

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about being bused to his elementary school in Apex, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his family's car

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his teachers in school and his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the importance and role of church in his upbringing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in high school, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience in highs school, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about how he learned about black history and black literary giants while in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his extracurricular involvement in school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his father's taking he and his brother to the black museum in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about being the editor of his high school newspaper

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his awareness of civil rights and the 'Brown vs. Board of Education' ruling

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his decision to attend Tuskegee University, and he and his brother's long trip to high school during their senior year

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about graduating from high school and the teachers who influenced him

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - E. Lee Lassiter describes how his family raised the money for him to attend Tuskegee University in 1954

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - E. Lee Lassiter discusses his journey from North Carolina to Tuskegee University, and being away from home

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the five-year program at Tuskegee University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about his education at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about the teachers who influenced him at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - E. Lee Lassiter talks about graduating from Tuskegee University and applying to Boston University for graduate school in journalism

DASession

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DATitle
E. Lee Lassiter discusses his journey from North Carolina to Tuskegee University, and being away from home
E. Lee Lassiter describes his experience at Tuskegee University
Transcript
We got the train ticket, and I got on the train. I took it, 900 miles, almost a thousand miles to Tuskegee [Alabama] from Raleigh [North Carolina]. And one of the experiences that I remember--two. One, my family was there, and I'd never been on a train. And they said their good-byes. And I walked away to get on the train, and I never looked back because I had read that when you--one of these philosophical things that I took too far, when you change directions, and you set a new sight, don't look back. So I didn't look back. Years later, I found out it broke my mother's [Margie Ree Upchurch Lassiter] heart. She wanted me to look back and give me that last wave as I get on the--you know how mothers are, any parent. I never looked back, and she cried and cried and hurt for years. I didn't know. But that was the reason. I'd heard, when you change course, don't look back (laughter), so I didn't. So I got on the train, and after thirty miles on the train, we went through Sanford [North Carolina]. That's where my grandparents on my mother's side had grown up, and I mean where she had kind of grown up. The nearest town was Sanford. And I realized, going to visit my grandparents in Sanford was the furthest I'd ever been from home. That was the last sign I saw that I'd ever seen, recognized, knew anything about, thirty miles from home, going 900 miles. It was the end of the world for me. I had never--and it registered with me, what you're really doing, you know, and this kind of thing. So I took the train ride to Tuskegee, and that's how I got there. And no pocket change, arrived on Saturday, and school doesn't really crank up till Monday. You can't register, you can't anything. I had no way to eat for two days, no money, no anything. But my friend who had been there one year before me, broke the rule and let me eat one meal on his meal ticket. And that's how I--I wouldn't have starved, but I had, didn't have a dime. Interesting that my wife had come from another town, same lack of preparation for (laughter) those two days. So she starved for two days too. But we didn't know each other (laughter). But the 150 [dollars], on Monday, you gave--I gave it to the school and started the five-year plan. And it was a hard experience, so I didn't go home for four years. I never saw my family again for four years. And that, when I went home for four years, it was just for overnight. And I went back to Tuskegee [University] to finish that one year. Then I went. When I finished, I didn't have money to go home. I had to borrow fifteen dollars to have enough to catch a bus to go home with my diploma. So--$$So nobody from your family was able to come to see you graduate?$$No. Her family--we had kind of gotten engaged by then. Her mother was there. No one from my family.$In the whole time I was at Tuskegee [University, Tuskegee, Alabama], I got eleven dollars from home. The first Christmas, I wrote home, and everybody was writing home or going home. And I wrote home and said, it'd be nice if I had a few dollars for Christmas. And my father [Narvie Hester Lassiter] didn't have it, which I should have remembered. But I forgot, you know. So I wrote and asked, and he sent me ten dollars, and that was it. And then I had one aunt, one cousin, who sent me one dollar in a card in those five years. And I still have it. I have the card, and the dollar. She's passed, but that's what it meant to me. And she was a special cousin because in all of these thirteen children that my mother's [Margie Ree Upchurch Lassiter] mother had, they had children that I grew up with, cousins. She was in an awkward age, and there were no girls. So she played with the boys. So, she was a special cousin to me. I knew her, you know, I think she knew me. So when I went off to college, she sent me a dollar (laughter). And when I went home years and years later, looking forward to telling her how much it meant to me that she had done that, she had been in an automobile accident, and her mind was damaged. She hardly knew me. So I never got the chance to tell her like I'm telling you, but I still have it. I can put my hand on the card and the dollar. But in those five years, that's all I got from home. So I had to work it. At one point, I had five jobs, back-to-back. I would do my Tuskegee regular job. Then I had a job cleaning the faculty clubhouse, and drinking their sodas and playing their music. Nobody came, nobody--two faculty members came to the clubhouse, two younger ones. The older ones never came over, so I had the run of the place. I studied, and I drank their sodas. I watched Bill Russell play his first game on their television (laughter) and listened to Edward Griggs [ph.]. There was only one classic album in the building. So I listened to it all--Pierre Gent suite over and over and over. I love it. And every time it plays, I can't resist telling her, that's Edward Griggs. She says, you know so much about classic music. [Whispering]. That's the only one I know (laughter). But that was--and then I'd leave that job and I went to a shoe store and sold, supposedly sold shoes. And then I would leave there and go to the Dean of Men's Office and work during the night in the Dean of Men's office, one summer--not every, but--$$Okay, now--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$--that's how I got through it. And the one student who went before me, from Apex [North Carolina], he was majoring in veterinary medicine, and he never finished. He was brilliant--we were talking about Dr. Dibble, earlier, you and--(simultaneous)--$$Right, Dr. Eugene Dibble, yeah.$$--who managed the hospital, one of his friends was a Dr. Ford who had a daughter. And my friend became the boyfriend of Dr. Dibble--Dr. Ford's daughter, living the life, and had access to their home, had access to their car. So he got off the five-year plan. Then Dr. Ford moved to California. And his last year there, he couldn't eat because you--once you get off the plan, you can't get back on it. And he was real good in school, and I used to watch him--and I got to repay that favor where he let me eat on his card. I let him eat on my card, which was illegal, but we did it. And I used to watch him dissect those animals, eat crackers, soda crackers, white crackers. That's all he had. And eventually he just--and he would go down to the edge of the campus. There were some plum bushes. This is a true story. He wasn't the only one eating those plums (laughter). You know, a lot of five-year plan, you had to make it the best way you could. And he would eat plums, eat those crackers, dissect those animals, and keep trying, but it was just too much. So he never finished.$$Did he just leave school?$$He left school. I think he was a junior.$$Did he go back home?$$Went back home, and then what exactly became of him, I don't know. One of the reasons that's so significant to me is because that was my motivation to stay on the plan, to maximize the plan, don't get carried away with whatever might happen to you in this process. This is your ticket out from the farm and poverty and all of this. Act like it.

Audrey Peeples

Former YWCA executive and women's rights advocate Audrey R. Peeples was born in Chicago on May 22, 1939 to Thelma and John Rone. For nearly thirty years, she has held leadership positions with some of Chicago's - and the country's - preeminent women's organizations.

Raised in Chicago, Peeples earned her B.A. degree in 1961 from the University of Illinois at Champagne. After twelve years working as a trust manager for Continental Bank, she became associate regional director for Girl Scouts USA in 1973. Three years later, she rose to executive director of the Girl Scouts of Chicago, and held the position until September 1987. At that time, she left the Girl Scouts to become CEO of the Young Women's Christian Association.

Under Peeples' leadership, the YWCA made significant inroads into helping improve the lives and rights of women. Peeples spearheaded efforts to end racist practices within the organization as well as to expand the YWCA's childcare initiative. Additionally, she promoted violence and pregnancy prevention for children and young teens, and introduced new cancer education and screening programs for women. Peeples' stewardship also saw the agency's annual budget quadruple, from $3 million to $12 million, enabling the YWCA to extend its offerings. In anticipation of her retirement, Peeples successfully recruited Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women, to succeed her in 2001.

Peeples is currently the co-chair of the Alumnae Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust. She has served on the Board of the Executive Services Corps, and as vice president of the ACLU of Illinois. She is on the Dean's Advisory Board of the School for New Learning at DePaul University, and is a member and past chair of the Chicago Network, an affiliate of the International Women's Forum. Peeples has also served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Chicago the Chicago Foundation for Women, Junior Governing Board of the Chicago Symphony, and Girl Scouts of the USA. She is the recipient of the Thomas and Eleanor Wright Award from the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations for her work on the YWCA's Racial Justice Program.

Peeples was married for twenty-nine years to Anthony Peeples, who died in 2001. They have two children, Jennifer and Michael. Peeples lives in Chicago.

Accession Number

A2003.203

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/25/2003

Last Name

Peeples

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow (3/27/2001)

Schools

John B. Drake Elementary School

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Northwestern University

First Name

Audrey

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PEE03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Arizona

Favorite Quote

Good Grief.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/22/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Association chief executive and nonprofit chief executive Audrey Peeples (1939 - ) served as the CEO of the YWCA and the executive director of the Girls Scouts of Chicago.

Employment

Continental Bank

Girl Scouts USA

Girl Scouts of Chicago

YWCA

Favorite Color

Purple

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Audrey Peeples' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Audrey Peeples lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Audrey Peeples introduces her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Audrey Peeples talks about her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Audrey Peeples describes her mother's migration to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Audrey Peeples describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Audrey Peeples describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Audrey Peeples describes her father's experience during The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 when he first moved to Chicago, Illinois' Black Belt

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Audrey Peeples recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Audrey Peeples describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Audrey Peeples describes her childhood activities and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Audrey Peeples talks about her family's religious faith and practice

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Audrey Peeples talks about her parent's disbelief in organized religion

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Audrey Peeples describes her favorite childhood radio shows

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Audrey Peeples talks about attending John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Audrey Peeples remembers her teachers at John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Audrey Peeples describes her experience as a student at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Audrey Peeples remembers teachers at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Audrey Peeples remembers teachers at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Audrey Peeples describes her extracurricular activities at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Audrey Peeples explains her decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Audrey Peeples describes her social experience as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Audrey Peeples remembers her professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Audrey Peeples talks briefly about the absence of civil rights activity at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in the 1950s, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Audrey Peeples talks briefly about the absence of civil rights activity at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in the 1950s, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Audrey Peeples describes her father's skepticism toward integration

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Audrey Peeples describes being hired at Continental Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Audrey Peeples talks about earning an MBA degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Audrey Peeples career remembers the world's first electronic stock transfer performed at Continental Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Audrey Peeples explains how her marriage and pregnancy affected her career at Continental Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Audrey Peeples describes becoming associate regional director for the Girl Scouts of Metropolitan Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Audrey Peeples remembers becoming executive director at the Girl Scouts of Metropolitan Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Audrey Peeples describes joining the YWCA in 1987

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Audrey Peeples talks about anti-racist and anti-sexist programming at the YWCA

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Audrey Peeples talks about the significance of the Harriet M. Harris YWCA on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Audrey Peeples describes challenges she faced as CEO of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Audrey Peeples talks about women recognized at the YWCA Women of Achievement Leader Luncheon

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Audrey Peeples explains the history and mission of the YWCA

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Audrey Peeples talks about the history of the Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Audrey Peeples talks about the YWCA's collaboration with the Urban Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Audrey Peeples talks about right-winged criticism of the YWCA after having hiring Patricia Ireland as CEO, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Audrey Peeples talks about right-winged criticism of the YWCA after having hiring Patricia Ireland as CEO, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Audrey Peeples talks about surrounding YWCAs in the Chicagoland area and the future of the YWCA

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Audrey Peeples describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Audrey Peeples tells a story about her father's encounter with notorious African American Chicago policeman "Two-Gun Pete"

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Audrey Peeples reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Audrey Peeples describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Audrey Peeples narrates her photographs

DASession

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DAStory

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DATitle
Audrey Peeples explains how her marriage and pregnancy affected her career at Continental Bank
Audrey Peeples describes joining the YWCA in 1987
Transcript
And then I got married and it was like, oh no she's married. She's a woman and she's married and then six months after I got married I got pregnant 'cause I was already thirty-one years old, and it was like, oh no you're gonna have a baby. And so I worked in personal trust and they thought it was an embarrassment for me to be walking around in personal trust pregnant 'cause you had to wear maternity clothes. So, they put me in trust operations, which I hated. I just absolutely hated it, and by that time I had gotten on the national board of the Girl Scouts and the bank let me have the time because I was, it was good for the bank and it was good for publicity and you know. So, I would go to these national board meetings in New York all the time, and when I got pregnant I told them I was gonna take maternity leave and I would come back after my baby was born, because black women go back to work. Well, they had never had a white woman who got pregnant who came back to work, never. And so after my baby was born and I came back nobody took me seriously. I mean, first of all they put me in trust operations division, which was a division where young kids who were training to be supervisors were coming, and I made at the time $10,000 more than anybody they had in the department, but it was sort of like, you know, we're not taking you seriously anymore because you obviously are going to stop working, you know you're gonna be a mother and a wife. So, I went to a board meeting with the Girl Scouts and the lady said, "How do like being back at work?" I said I hate it, I just hate it, and she said, "How would you like to come and work for the Girl Scouts?" and I said--I didn't even ask her what the job was. I said what are you paying? And she said what are you making? And I told her and she said well we could probably match your salary. So, I took the job and I went back and quit. I was shocked at myself. I didn't think I would--I had a incredible encouragement from my husband because the bank was I had ever known, I had been there fourteen years already and it was like oh no what am I going to do, I can't leave the bank and he said sure you can. So, he was an incredible supporter, and so I left, and I think had I not left I never would have achieved the success that I achieved in my life, so I'm glad I left.$And I stayed there until a search firm came and got me for the Y [YWCA] and I stayed there, let me see--oh I forgot that part. When I went over to the Girl Scouts, I found out I was pregnant. I took a month off and I got pregnant with my second child, and the major difference in working for a women's organization and working for a men's organization presented itself because the Girl Scouts were absolutely wonderful. They--I was pregnant and they just said you know this happens, you know, you need any time for the doctor do what you need to do. But, anyway so then I had my baby. So, by the time I became the executive director I had two babies, two children. But, the, the thing was is that when I went to the Girl Scouts I loved my job. I did a real good job there. I loved it. And then the search firm came and said, you know, we've got a job at the Y would you like to interview, and I said no. And the guy was really good. He has a search firm in Chicago, Willie Carrington, Carrington and Carrington, and he said, "Well can we just meet for dinner." I said I don't know--(unclear)--and he said please just come for dinner and when I went for dinner with him I had no idea the Girl Scouts, I mean the YWCA did so many things. So, I said hey I might be interested in this job and it was a lot more money. So, I with a bigger agency, had more staff, you had a broader array of opportunities, so I went for the interview. I went for about five interviews and when I got the job in 1987 and I stayed there until I retired in 2000.