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Dr. Billie Wright Adams

Medical professor and pediatrician Dr. Billie Wright Adams was born in Bluefield, West Virginia. Her father, William Morris Wright, was a country doctor who accepted chickens and potatoes in lieu of cash for his services. Adams received her B. S. degree from Fisk University in 1950. The following year, she received her M. S. degree in zoology from the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Intending to begin a career in research, but not wanting to be isolated in the laboratory, Adams enrolled in medical school at Howard University. After receiving her M.D. degree in 1960, she focused her efforts on pediatric medicine, completing her residency at Cook County Children's Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in hematology at Cook Country Hospital from 1963 to 1964.

From 1964 to 1967, Adams served as a research associate in the Department of Hematology at the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research. She began teach as a clinical instructor at the Chicago Medical School in 1967. Adams served as an attending at Michael Reese Hospital in the pediatrics department in 1970 and then was appointed chief of the Pediatric Hematology Clinic at Mercy Hospital. Two years later, she joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in the Department of Pediatrics as a clinical assistant instructor. In 1976, she was promoted to clinical associate professor. Adams became the project director in 1980 of a United States Department of Health and Human Services funded grant for a Pediatric Primary Care Residency Program at Mercy Hopsital. From 1981 to 1987, Adams served as the Assistant Program Director of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics. Her professional responsibilities over the years have also included acting bureau chief of the Chicago Department of Health, Bureau of Community and Comprehensive Personal Health; former president of the Chicago Pediatrics Society and coordinator of a medical student training program at Cook County Hospital.

Adams was recognized many times for her dedication to pediatric care. In 1997, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics named her Pediatrician of the Year. She received the 1999 Chicago Medical Society Public Service Award and the 2012 Timuel Black Community Service Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Adams served on the board of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Adams is the widow of Frank Adams and the mother of Chicago attorney Frank Adams, Jr.

Dr. Billie Wright Adams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 17, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.187

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/17/2002

Last Name

Adams

Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Wright

Schools

The Toya School

The Young Street School

Genoa Junior High School

Genoa High School

Fisk University

Indiana University

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Billie

Birth City, State, Country

Bluefield

HM ID

ADA01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Virginia Mountains, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/15/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Watermelon, Fruit

Short Description

Medical professor and pediatrician Dr. Billie Wright Adams (1935 - ) was the program director in the Department of Pediatrics at Mercy Hospital. Adams also served as an associate clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine while maintaining a private practice.

Employment

Cook County Children's Hospital

Mercy Hospital

Chicago Department of Health

Cook County Hospital

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Favorite Color

Black, Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Billie Wright Adams's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her sister

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her family's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her father's civic activities in Bluefield, West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her experience in grade school

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Genoa High School in Bluefield, West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Fisk University and her decision to become a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about some of the writers and entertainers who visited her childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her childhood experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her missed opportunities at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about raising her son, Frank McClinton Adams, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience in pediatrics

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billie Wright Adams talks about diversity at Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billie Wright Adams talks about the New Cook County Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billie Wright Adams describes the type of student she treasures

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billie Wright Adams talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billie Wright Adams talks about her regrets

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billie Wright Adams lists her favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billie Wright Adams lists her favorites, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Dr. Billie Wright Adams describes her father's civic activities in Bluefield, West Virginia
Dr. Billie Wright Adams talks about her experience at Cook County Hospital
Transcript
So we knew that it was very important that we have training but even more so that we did community service. My dad [William Morris Wright] was very civic minded and was active there in the city and at the college. He likewise became interested in politics so he did not want an elective office but he did serve as chairman of the democratic branch for the Negroes as they called it, living in Southern West Virginia and was very supportive. And also at that time there was a very active Lincoln University [Chester County, Pennsylvania] alumni club. And as you can imagine in that small state because West Virginia is a small state, that there were few alumnists from Lincoln but the lovely thing about it is that we had Langston Hughes who came to our home. Langston Hughes had graduated from Lincoln and came and spent time at our home and read and we have a book that he signed. Somehow another, the other books were lost in moving but we just of course didn't value it as much. Also Thurgood Marshall had been a graduate of Lincoln, Pennsylvania who had come to Bluefield [West Virginia]. It was not that far away from D.C. and some people would come there sort of as a respite, just to get a little rest. But we did have the sponsorship of the Lincoln Alumni like Horace Mann Bond who was the president of Lincoln, the youngest one, [HM] Julian Bond's father who came to our home. And then when my father [William Morris Wright] died, came there to eulogize my dad on the part of his activity at Lincoln University. So they had people from the capital, Charleston [West Virginia], some of the smaller communities who all got together. And because it was a college town and Bluefield was named as the gateway to the billion dollar coal fields, we didn't have coal mines right in Bluefield but within a radius of twenty some odd miles were coal mines. But in our community we had coal operators, coal owners, the railroad was big. In fact Bluefield was the center for the Norfolk and Western Railroad and that the purpose of that mainly was to transport the coal from the coal fields to other parts going east. And so my dad knew all of those, knew a lot of the people in the community. And I was getting ready to say, with it being the billion dollar coal fields, we also had a lot of musicians who would come there. Some of the big bands we remember. Duke Ellington would bring his band because at the college the sororities and fraternities and the alumni groups would sponsor them in addition to the fact they would go to their one night stands and what we called the coal mines. So I just have good memories of having those people who were in and out of our home and then with my father being a physician, some of the band members who would become ill when they would travel that area, my dad would see them as patients.$With your career, so within the context of knowing the condition of these children and here, and you're working with these children every day, that's what I wanted to know how you deal with attaching and detaching?$$The attachment part is very easy because you always hope that the child will be the mechanism by which this will be a better world. That the child will recognize, respect, the child will then go on to explore their possibilities and again to help us, as I said to make this a better world. So it's easy to attach to children and children respond to you. They can certainly see love and respect. Now the detachment you ask about is a bit more difficult because you know that you have to let go because what is that saying that it is a student and children act as teachers to you. That it is the wise teacher who recognizes that their students can teach them. And I try to be a student of medicine. I can be very opinionated and at times my son [Frank McClinton Adams, Jr.] says judgmental. I hope not so much but absolutely, positively I know that I have some very strong beliefs. It takes a whole lot to get me detached from those beliefs. And I do remember when I first went to Cook County [now called John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County] as an intern and of course if you remember that at that time it was one of the largest hospitals in the world at, I think was it Belleview, but it was the largest hospital with like 3,000 beds. I really became attached to that hospital because I saw it as a place where one could give service and one could learn. I learned so much from my patients. I learned on so many levels and I had made a commitment that I wanted to remain a student of medicine. And yet, I felt having attended Howard Medical School [Howard University School of Medicine] which was a wonderful experience for me. But when I first went to County there were only two black interns my year. I was the only black female at that time and there was another gentleman there who was a graduate of one of the local schools who found it a little difficult to bond with other blacks. But there were some who were in their residency but they interned and trust me that was a lot of work, physical work and a lot of emotional work, but so rewarding. And I learned so much that it stayed with me the rest of my life. And when I rotated as an intern through pediatrics that was then I decided that I wanted to specialize in pediatrics. And I was so impressed with the quality of care, it wasn't perfect but the quality of care and all the good that could be done at that community. That time when I first came, many of the black physicians were not permitted to join the staff of a major hospital and it was then in Chicago [Illinois] that we were--they were instituting the lawsuit--

Delories Ricks-Wallace

Businesswoman Delories Dell Ricks-Wallace was born on August 28, 1933, in Huntsville, Alabama. She moved with her family to Fort Wayne, Indiana, when she was 10 years old. By the age of 11, Ricks-Wallace was earning money by altering clothes in her uncle Norvel Ricks' dry cleaning business. She has combined her innate creative talents and sharp business acumen to become a true entrepreneur.

After high school, Ricks-Wallace attended Lockharts Tailoring School and obtained the skills needed to open her first sewing business. Her business prospered, and Wallace's business expanded to include a designer men's clothing line, WenDell's World Manufacturing Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana. The garments created there were sold in clothing stores she owned in Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana. In 1975, Ricks-Wallace founded Impulse Florist in Fort Wayne and showed the world yet another talent.

Ricks-Wallace's son, Kim, died in 1982. She closed her businesses, but two years later opened Luxury Limousine, Fort Wayne's first limousine service. Together with her husband Charles "Charlie Bob," Ricks-Wallace has owned and operated many other businesses, including Charlie's Tap, Kim's Korner, Wallace Maintenance, Club Zimmer and Blackman Prairie Subdivision-a collection of single-family homes located in Fremont, Indiana.

Over the years, Ricks-Wallace has been active at Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church, the Old Fort YMCA, the Fort Wayne Urban League Guild and the Ladell Traveling Club. Wallace and her husband raised seven children: Yvonne, Charles, Kim, LeeAnn, Emmett, Clifton and Wendell, as well as Kim's three children: Tara, Kim Jr. and Delories. Their grandchildren number twenty-four, not counting their seventeen great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Ricks-Wallace passed away on February 15, 2011.

Accession Number

A2002.138

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/29/2002

Last Name

Ricks-Wallace

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Dell

Schools

Winston Street Elementary School

James H. Smart School

Lockhart's Tailoring School

First Name

Delories

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

RIC04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/28/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Indianapolis

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Death Date

2/15/2011

Short Description

Transportation entrepreneur Delories Ricks-Wallace (1933 - 2011 ) owns and operates a limousine company.

Employment

Wendell's World Manufacturing Co.

Impulse Florist

Luxury Limousine, Inc.

Charlie's Taphouse & Café

Kim's Korner

Wallace Maintenance

Club Zimmer

Blackman Prairie Subdivision

Dee-Lee's

Mr. Adrian

Favorite Color

Lime Green, Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Delories Ricks-Wallace's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Delories Ricks-Wallace lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes her parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about her maternal family homestead on Tenth Calvary Hill in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about her maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes how her maternal family ended up in Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about being related to Dr. Vance Marchbanks

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about growing up in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about her grandfather's job as a mason

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes her childhood interests and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes how she learned to sew and tailor clothes

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Delories Ricks-Wallace shares her thoughts about school

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about her favorite teacher at Winston Street School in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about what excited her as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about attending Lockhart's Tailoring School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about getting married and having children

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes how she came to attend Lockhart's Tailoring School in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about proving her success to those who expected her to fail

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes what inspired her to open her first store

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about the challenges blacks faced getting jobs in Fort Wayne, Indiana's department stores

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about opening her second store, Mr. Adrian, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes the threats and robberies she encountered upon opening her second store, Mr. Adrian

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about the lawsuit she was involved in and closing her store, Mr. Adrian

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about opening and later selling her floral shop, Impulse Florist

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about starting her limousine business, Luxury Limousine

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes the clientele for her limousine service, Luxury Limousine

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes Luxury Limousine's celebrity clientele, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Delories Ricks-Wallace describes Luxury Limousine's celebrity clientele, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Delories Ricks-Wallace's talks about the Fort Wayne African/African American Historical Society Museum building

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Slating of Delories Ricks-Wallace's talks about her civic involvement and the "Old Fort Wayne" neighborhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Delories Ricks-Wallace shares her concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Delories Ricks-Wallace shares her concerns for today's youth

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Delories Ricks-Wallace shares her concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Delories Ricks-Wallace talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Delories Ricks-Wallace narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Delories Ricks-Wallace narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Kenneth Crooks

Georgian civic leader Kenneth Crooks, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 12, 1931. He attended elementary school in Hampton, Virginia and secondary school in Jamaica, West Indies. Crooks graduated in 1957 from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelors Degree of Business Administration and received a Masters of Business Administration from Atlanta University in 1962.

Crooks went to work for the National Urban League in its Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, covering twelve southern states in 1962. His responsibilities there included providing technical support for local Urban Leagues and developing new affiliates in the South. Crooks remained at the Urban League until 1991, taking time off in 1972 to assist Maynard Jackson's first campaign for Mayor of Atlanta. During his tenure at the Urban League, he worked in Economic Development and Employment, Education, Housing, Counseling and Community Awareness programs. He also developed programs for youth in fine arts, creating the Summer Youth Academy, the "Do the Right Thing" Rallies and brought the Chattahoochee Court-Appointed Special Advocates program for deprived and neglected children to the community.

In 1993, Crooks moved to Columbus, Georgia to serve as President of the Urban League of Greater Columbus. He had previously held the position of Community Service Specialist and Assistant Director of Development at the Fort Valley State College. Crooks also serves as Special Assistant to the pastor at Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church. He has received several awards recognizing his service to the community, including "Man of the Year" for 2001, given by the Men's Progressive Club of Columbus.

Accession Number

A2002.016

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/16/2002

Last Name

Crooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Clark Atlanta University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

CRO02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: Would accept honorarium, though not required; flexible on range
Preferred Audience: All

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

If I’m Not Up To It, I’m Down On It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Swordfish

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive Kenneth Crooks (1931 - ) was the president of the Columbus, Georgia Urban League.

Employment

Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church

Urban League of Greater Columbus

Fort Valley State University

Urban League of Broward County

National Urban League (NUL)

Delete

Atlanta University

Grambling State University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1490,15:7352,143:9872,186:10208,191:20876,446:21632,461:22724,477:31965,520:36315,611:36990,622:40440,682:40740,687:41490,699:58912,947:59248,952:70096,1107:71812,1156:72142,1162:72406,1167:77224,1261:78214,1277:87460,1356:88160,1368:88440,1373:90190,1399:90470,1404:92710,1448:94390,1479:95370,1494:97680,1540:103107,1588:103983,1604:104640,1614:109312,1730:111648,1791:111940,1796:112232,1801:119094,1968:121576,2022:122014,2029:129388,2083:134272,2197:134734,2206:138038,2232:140271,2281:140656,2291:143220,2296:143655,2302:152785,2468:166980,2627$0,0:3182,86:3698,93:13778,219:23202,384:32860,506:33240,512:44108,777:45628,809:50732,843:54861,903:58758,952:62652,1043:84241,1326:88033,1391:99082,1518:99863,1536:104265,1613:111985,1726:119335,1904:119785,1914:120685,1955:131094,2068:145985,2272:148825,2337:154008,2446:155570,2499:155854,2504:157629,2537:165820,2618
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Crooks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crooks describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crooks remembers his early childhood in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crooks describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Crooks recalls an experience with segregation in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Crooks describes attending school as the son of the headmaster

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Crooks remembers his family's move to Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Crooks discusses his father's educational expectations

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Crooks talks about returning to the United States to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Crooks recalls the sights and sounds that remind him of Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Kenneth Crooks talks about segregation and cold weather at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his decision to major in business administration and other college experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Kenneth Crooks remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army as a medic after graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his struggle to find a job as a black man in New England and moving to Grambling, Louisiana after his father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his role in the Atlanta Student Movement while he was a graduate student at Atlanta University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crooks talks about coordinating student sit-ins in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crooks describes how the Atlanta Student Movement focused on improving the economic power of blacks

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crooks talks about civil rights organizations and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s influence on them

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his effort to create a job placement office at Atlanta University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Clarence Coleman's role in recruiting him to join the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the roles of Lester Granger and Whitney Young in the history of the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Crooks talks about significance of the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Crooks talks his role in the National Urban League and its impact on his personal life

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s connection to the Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the expansion of the National Urban League and working on Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson's campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Whitney Young and Vernon Jordan, presidents of the National Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crook's talks about National Urban League President Hugh Price's emphasis on sound economics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crook's describes the untapped potential of the black church

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crook's talks about the future of the National Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crook's talks about his leadership of the Urban League of Greater Columbus in Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crook's talks about the National Urban League's agenda and its approach to AIDS in America

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crook's reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Kenneth Crooks talks about coordinating student sit-ins in Atlanta, Georgia
Kenneth Crooks talks about Clarence Coleman's role in recruiting him to join the National Urban League
Transcript
As the, as the president of the student body for Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia], (unclear) the graduate school, I got involved with the youngsters from Clark [Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University], Marshbon (ph) Spelman [Spelman College] and Morehouse [Morehouse College]. These were young, aggressive, tuition-having-been-paid-by-parents-kids (laughter). When I was a graduate student struggling, working on the weekends at the Jewish club out on, I'm not sure where the location is, but I had waiter's jobs on the weekends where I was waiting tables, trying to survive to make it in those tough times. And so there was--although I felt strongly in support of what they were doing, I didn't have the wherewithal to--I had to watch out where the next meal was coming from (laughter). No father and my mom [Adele Crooks] was working as a counselor and I was a grown person at that time, and didn't feel like I should burden her with that responsibility. And so I was really caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in fulfilling my role as an African American, which I was, who I just happen to have spent some time in Jamaica and the Jamerican, which we like to call ourselves, we had a (unclear) little group trying to make it in the great country of opportunity. The kids would take a rally club approach to some solutions and I would try with others to meld--mold that so that it didn't have to be as dramatic as they like to see it happen. I think I spent a lot of time on the telephone in Reverend [Joseph Everhard] Boone's church payphone directing kids to where the police were not, 'cause the police couldn't be everywhere at the same time. So we'd the find the location where there were no police cars; we'd send the kids from that location to the place where there were no policemen and they would try to sit-in. And when the cops got over there, then we'd (unclear), and in fact they were not at Sears, then we send the kids back to Sears. So for a couple days there we had an exciting play with the, with the police. And they did arrest the kids and they took them to jail and we'd take them food baskets and take letters back and forth for their--to their parents and they'd write theirs in jail and we'd spend the time doing that. I saw myself in the coordinating, functioning, assisting role and not being in jail with the kids. Somebody had to do the other part of it and I think that's where the T.M. Alexanders [Theodore Martin Alexander, Sr.] and the wealthy black Atlantans tried to make sure that they had a vehicle for solving the problems.$So did you feel these were sincere efforts on the part of these businesses? Did they really want blacks--$$No, no,$$--in their--$$(Laughter). When the guy come to town and he, and he--well there were exceptions. The guys who were on the liberal end of the totem pole said, "where is the place that I can stay, no I don't want to stay at the Hilton, what's the nearest hotel to the school, what's Paschal's Motel [Paschal's Motor Hotel] like, I can't find it in the book, how do I get there", etc, etc. Those guys did get cabs and came to the Paschal's and stayed there and did their things, did the interviews, some in Paschal's, and some on campus [Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia]. Others stayed downtown, came to the campus at nine o'clock in the morning, left at four and didn't invite us over as they did the other placement officers, I learned later, and that was kinda were we were. But the basic--the largest majority of them were complying with, with what seem to have been a directive from somewhere upstairs that said, "let's get some folks hired".$$Did this create any frustration in you?$$I wouldn't call it frustration. I take each of these experiences as challenges. I recognized that there's an education that white America needed and the only way to give them the education that they needed was to kinda put them in a setting in which they had as little fear as possible. And that they did not expect to be jumped on if they asked the wrong question. In each of the other settings, if they asked the wrong question, they get pounced on and in other settings they found themselves kinda afraid of the environment. I try to put them at ease and when I did that I able to get through them, I think, to them. And this has been the hallmark of my approach to life and that's how I got involved with Whitney [Whitney Young], and Whitney at the School of Social Work [at Atlanta University], and when I got the call from Clarence Coleman at the Urban League in Atlanta--National Urban League in Atlanta--that said, "how would you like to work for the Urban League"? I said, "doing what"? He said, "doing for Atlanta University for 40 other schools". I couldn't turn it down. So I became the liaison for black schools for the South, to try to get them to put their placement offices in some kind of an order so that we could go ahead and build a schedule. And part of my job, having linked up with some of the big industries was to get that information even down to LeMoyne College and some of the other schools all over the South, an exciting experience.