The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Carol Randolph-Jasmine

Television anchor, journalist and literary agent Carol Randolph-Jasmine received her B.A. degree in biology from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her M.A. degree in science education from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She went on to earn her J.D. degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Randolph-Jasmine entered television broadcasting in the early 1980s as the co-host of the morning talk show, “Harambee,” which aired on WDVM-TV, a CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. While there, she also worked as an anchorwoman and interviewed politicians and celebrities such as Senator Ted Kennedy, comedian Richard Pryor, former first ladies Roselyn Carter and Nancy Reagan, and musician Stevie Wonder. Randolph-Jasmine then joined Court TV, where she served as an anchorwoman, and as the host and moderator of the show, “Your Turn,” until 1986.

In 1987, Randolph-Jasmine joined the literary firm of Goldfarb, Signer & Ross (now Goldfarb, Kaufman & O’Toole), where she specialized in representing authors and clients in television from 1988 to 1991, and, during that time, she also wrote a bi-weekly column, “Metropolitan Life,” for the Washington Times. She then served as general counsel for New African Visions, Inc., the non-profit organization responsible for editing the book, Songs of My People (1992). She is the co-founder of Akin & Randolph Agency, LLC, a firm that represents authors, artists and athletes. Randolph-Jasmine was later appointed as the vice president of strategic communications for Miller & Long Concrete Construction, and was then named senior vice president of legal affairs for Walls Communications, Inc., a minority-owned public relations firm in Washington, D.C.

Randolph-Jasmine is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, and The Links, Inc., where she served as chair of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee. In 2005, she launched a “Construction Academy” at Cardoza Senior High School in Washington, D.C. for students interested in the construction business. Randolph-Jasmine is also a member of the board of directors for the Center for Dispute Resolution.

As co-host of “Harambee” in the 1980s, Randolph-Jasmine won several awards including an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award for “Outstanding Local Programming.”

Carol Randolph-Jasmine was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 5, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.335

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/5/2013

Last Name

Randolph-Jasmine

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Catholic University of America

Washington University in St Louis

Fisk University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carol

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

RAN11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Better To Wear Out Than To Rust Out.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/10/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Television anchor, newspaper columnist, and book publisher Carol Randolph-Jasmine (1941 - ) , co-founder of Akin & Randolph Agency, LLC, is the former co-host of the morning talk show, “Harambee,” which aired on WUSA-TV, a CBS affiliate in Washington D.C. She received an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award for “Outstanding Local Programming."

Employment

Miller & Long Concrete Construction

New African Visions, Inc.

Walls Communications

Akin & Randolph Agency

Court TV

Washington Times

Goldfarb, Kaufman & O' Toole

WDVM TV

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:37400,493:45856,563:72740,829:94590,1200:105746,1330:108650,1366:109266,1375:112611,1404:113007,1409:117140,1471:120092,1529:120666,1574:153860,1964:159790,2026:175066,2314:182416,2376:185188,2449:187234,2501:187696,2509:217639,2983:229690,3216:236830,3349:244860,3424$0,0:2001,66:11560,202:15129,263:15627,270:15959,275:16540,284:17951,304:18366,311:18698,316:35045,559:35450,597:51804,813:55089,888:66888,1028:73155,1097:74104,1150:85076,1309:89407,1400:89762,1406:90117,1412:90472,1418:91821,1447:103335,1604:108226,1743:116698,1862:138410,2211:138896,2218:143108,2284:144647,2311:146348,2348:157050,2501:157405,2507:165845,2633:167495,2686:168095,2697:176120,2872:178970,2923:192290,3145:201192,3295:201852,3306:204162,3364:207200,3379
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carol Randolph-Jasmine's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her maternal grandfather's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the neighborhood where her parents grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her grandfathers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her similarities to her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her childhood neighborhood in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine remembers learning to read and beginning kindergarten at age four

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine remembers learning about black history at Riddick Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine remembers a social science project in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about her early desire to become a psychologist and her high school biology class

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about St. Louis, Missouri's black entertainment scene during her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her childhood career ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about her decision to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her experience at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee as a married woman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about various professions as well as her professors at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes experiencing racial discrimination as a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes experiencing racial discrimination as a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes going to the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about teaching at McKinley High School in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about life in Washington, D.C. and working for the United Planning Organization

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the 1968 riots in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about auditioning for the television show 'Harambee' in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine recalls her early days on 'Harambee'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes a black history segment on 'Harambee'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the African American community of Washington, D.C. during the early years of 'Harambee'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the impact of producer Beverly Price on the show 'Harambee'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes the organization Blacks in Broadcasting group

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about how 'Harambee' evolved as a television show and a special segment on Eubie Blake

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes 'Harambee's AIDS segment

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about earning her law degree and taking the bar exam

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine recalls traveling to Israel to cover the First Intifada

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about working at Goldfarb, Kaufman, & O'Toole

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her role in the publication of "Songs of My People"

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine explains how she was hired at Court TV

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes covering the O.J. Simpson Trial for Court TV

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine analyzes the O.J. Simpson trial

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine explains how she came to work with Miller and Long Concrete Construction

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her civic engagement

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine reflects on her hopes and what she would do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about the portrayal of black people in the media

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about the importance of teaching black history

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine recounts a memorable experience from her time as a teacher

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes her family and second husband

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Carol Randolph-Jasmine talks about how 'Harambee' evolved as a television show and a special segment on Eubie Blake
Carol Randolph-Jasmine describes covering the O.J. Simpson Trial for Court TV
Transcript
Okay, okay. So now 'Harambee' lasted until?$$I don't remember when it went off the air.$$Okay. But it morphed?$$Yeah, it did. I morphed into "Everywoman" was (unclear) the show that followed and it had Rene Carpenter as the hostess and she at one time had another person hosting with her, I think it was JC Hayward. Well I came over and replaced JC, so I would get off the set of Harambee and then go over and walk across the studio and get on the set for "Everywoman". And then they put that together and it became "Nine In The Morning". They added a male host. It was 90 minutes that we did and Doug Llewelyn was the male host. Then they cut it back to an hour again for "Morning Break" and I did that by myself. And then I did the Carol Randolph Show by myself.$$Okay. Did the format change?$$It was still very much like you see today. You know, we had--sometimes we would--we'd have, sometimes a theme, dependent upon what the topic was, segments, musical, phone-in. I remember doing a show, and I don't know why this sticks in my mind, but we were talking about homosexuality and there was a tendency for the members of the panel that was up there to be condescending to some of the questions that were coming in, cause some of them could be really rather ridiculous and show a definite lack of knowledge. And I remember saying that if you hear it from one person then you know there's many more behind him that believes this. You need to give them an answer. And the guy on the program said she's absolutely right. And then he went around and answered that question. Now stands out in my mind simply because it was an open phone question. One of the best fun shows I ever did was with Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams. That was--cause as a teenager I had a crush on Billy Eckstine. And who didn't love Joe Williams with that deep voice of his and they performed. So it was a great show that I'm so sorry that we don't have. And we did a special with Eubie Blake. Claude Matthews was the co-host at that time. And we did a--that was just before Eubie actually died and he played. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience.$$Now he's a pioneer black (unclear). How old was he when he died?$$Was he in his nineties or something like that when he died, I think he was. His fingers could still move up and down the piano, you know, so. Yeah, I think they did this show. What was the Broadway show did in his--$$Oh, "Scott Joplin." Oh no, "Ragtime." Was that what you were talking about. Oh, no, not "Ragtime".$$--It was a Eubie Blake show and he was on '60 Minutes.'$$Yes. Uh-huh, but we were before them. And I don't know how we happened to get him before them, but we did, you know, and we did a special with him that aired at night time. Now I remember doing a show, who was the co-host of that one. I don't even remember now, but we did a late night show cause somebody had decided that there was an audience for late night, and we were talking about sex and a whole bunch of things on that one. That was an interesting show. That was a fun show.$$So it lasted for a few years, or--$$That was only for a pilot. We just did it just to see if there was an audience out there. There was. I don't remember now why they didn't decide to go on and, in fact, just sitting here talking to you about it has brought that back to me, you know, to my mind. But I had forgotten about it, yeah.$So did you have to move out to L.A. [Los Angeles, California] for that?$$No. They had a reporter out there. Actually, I was on the air when they had just gone into making the decision, cause you know these views about what was gonna happen and so forth. And I always felt that the prosecution had not done a very good job in terms of laying out their case. They'd over done it in terms of the DNA evidence, etc. And I remember one of my professors in law school said, "If you gonna go out to shoot a king, you better have a kings-sized rifle." I didn't think they had it and especially with that bit about with the glove, you know, if it doesn't fit, you must have acquit which is the way it was presented in the closing arguments.$$Yeah, by Johnnie Cochran?$$By Johnnie Cochran. And I thought--I remember when O.J. Simpson put on those gloves, I think he was just as surprised as anybody that the things didn't fit. 'Cause you know, I had done domestic law, not a lot of it when I was in Washington [D.C.], and the one thing I always thought, when a woman--when a man finally understands that a woman may really, one who has been abused, is really leaving you, she's in the most danger at that point. Because they don't see whatever, the beating up or any of these other things that they've done as being criminal because she deserved it, I'm entitled, that kind of thing. And so when the first story broke that she was dead and he was arrested, I thought he had done it. I just didn't think the prosecution ever proved it. So I was on the air talking to Ricky Clemmon [ph.], she was out in California, and all of a sudden they said, oh, oh, we got a verdict. But they didn't know what it was 'cause they had to bring in all the people, but it was very quick. So everybody thought it was gonna be a guilty verdict. And Steve Brill [ph.] had sent around this notice to saying there would be no outburst, you know, if you did that, you would be fired. But that was Steve Brill, you know, he would give you these extreme kind of you know notifications. And then when it came in, it was a not guilty thing. It was like most amazing to a lot of people. But it really wasn't to me because I think Marcia Clark thought she could handle that kind of a jury. I understand black people, I understand black women, whatever. Well, I have been, since, on a jury here and I can't tell you I can understand black people because we don't march in the same way. You know, you can say, you know, black people are gonna do this that and the other as she thought she could identify with and what they did was, you know, they were waiting for some kind of a hook, and Johnnie Cochran gave it to them with this, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." And there you have it. But it was on the air, and then O.J. Simpson called in and I was on the air one time. I didn't recognize his voice. I don't remember now exactly what it was he wanted to talk about-$$Did he call incognito or did he-$$--He even--no, he said this is--I was on the air and somebody came flying into the studio and said, O.J. Simpson is on the air. And he was trying to explain, I think, this was when his--the second trial was up, you know about the civil trial. I don't remember his question, but he and I got into a discussion about that, so those are things that stand out in my mind about Court TV.

David B. Wilkins

Legal scholar and law professor David B. Wilkins was born on January 22, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, attorney Julian Wilkins, became the first black partner at a major law firm in Chicago in 1971. Wilkins graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1973. He received his A.B. degree in government with honors in 1977 from Harvard College and his J.D. degree with honors in 1980 from Harvard Law School. While in law school, Wilkins was a member of the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, and the Harvard Black Law Students Association.

Upon graduation, Wilkins served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Wilkins then clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1981 to 1982. In 1982, Wilkins worked as an associate specializing in civil litigation at the law firm of Nussbaum, Owen & Webster in Washington, D.C. He then joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1986 as an assistant professor. Wilkins was appointed as Director of the Program on the Legal Profession in 1991 and received tenure in 1992, making him the school’s fourth African American tenured professor and the sixth in the history of the school. He served as the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law from 1996 until 2008, when he became the Lester Kissel Professor of Law. In 2009, Wilkins was appointed as Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession and Faculty Director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.

As a legal scholar, Wilkins authored over sixty articles on the legal profession, and co-authored, along with Andrew Kaufman, Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession. In addition, Wilkins served as a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Faculty Committee of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Wilkins has also lectured on various issues in legal studies internationally as well as in the United States. Harvard Law School honored Wilkins with the Albert M. Sachs – Paul Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 1998 and the J. Clay Smith Award in 2009. He received the Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor Fellowship in 2008 and was honored as the American Bar Foundation Scholar of the Year Award in 2010. In 2012, Professor Wilkins was elected as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, Wilkins was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden, the Distinguished Visiting Mentor Award from Australia National University, and the Genest Fellowship from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Wilkins and his wife, Ann Marie WIlkins, live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

David B. Wilkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/29/2013 |and| 10/18/2016

Last Name

Wilkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Brian

Occupation
Schools

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL63

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Just Do It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

1/22/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni and Cheese

Short Description

Lawyer and law professor David B. Wilkins (1956 - ) was the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He also served as the vice dean for global initiatives on the legal profession and faculty director of the program on the legal profession and the Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry.

Employment

Harvard University Law School

Harvard University

American Bar Association (ABA)

Nussbaum, Owen and Webster

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Kirkland and Ellis LLP

McDonald's

Commonwealth Edison Company

Covington and Burling LLP

Morrison and Foerster LLP

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5060,126:6230,143:8120,170:9830,188:11270,206:11810,213:14060,241:14510,247:15770,263:16220,269:16670,275:22362,290:28046,352:31340,390:32194,399:32804,405:36586,437:37074,442:40767,455:42222,469:44162,499:44647,505:52100,616:52700,626:53450,637:54050,647:54950,663:55400,671:56450,684:57050,694:57575,703:58700,746:59000,751:59450,758:59750,763:67315,840:71020,898:71400,903:72255,914:73300,927:74155,941:74630,947:75295,955:81020,983:82730,1039:83630,1051:84620,1064:85340,1074:85790,1080:86600,1092:86960,1097:91520,1125:93314,1151:93782,1159:94406,1168:94796,1174:95888,1193:96980,1210:97760,1221:99554,1297:101270,1328:102752,1350:107428,1372:107932,1396:108268,1401:113490,1423:113818,1428:114392,1436:118820,1510:119476,1520:122018,1555:122428,1579:123412,1593:125610,1599:136170,1695:136905,1703:144252,1857:146412,1907:146700,1912:153271,2003:155272,2028:156142,2039:156751,2047:157360,2056:158404,2070:159187,2081:160318,2095:162928,2180:163537,2188:164233,2198:170428,2221:171165,2234:171768,2244:172706,2298:173175,2306:174046,2321:174649,2332:175520,2346:176525,2379:176860,2385:177195,2391:177664,2399:178401,2415:179205,2433:181483,2485:184163,2634:187350,2639:189014,2684:189526,2694:190294,2713:193802,2750:195118,2767:196246,2781:198878,2898:199536,2913:200194,2922:201040,2933:201510,2939:201980,2945:207000,2987:207606,2994:208111,3000:208818,3008:209929,3022:210636,3029:211444,3038:215484,3149:216191,3157:217605,3163:218615,3175:223070,3200:226790,3218:227280,3226:228120,3243:228820,3254:229100,3259:233640,3413:234729,3426:235620,3436:236511,3448:237006,3454:241065,3503:244035,3518:245124,3530:248946,3541:250262,3558:250732,3564:254492,3652:255620,3667:258158,3708:259850,3729:264610,3755:265058,3760:266962,3780:273790,3850:274778,3864:275614,3876:276222,3886:276754,3896:279954,3916:280528,3923:282988,3967:283398,3974:283972,3983:284546,3992:286350,4029:286760,4035:288154,4052:288482,4057:288892,4064:289794,4078:290368,4091:295447,4113:295842,4119:296316,4127:296711,4133:297106,4139:297501,4145:299555,4177:300187,4186:302004,4219:302873,4232:308124,4288:308614,4296:309692,4308:313764,4341:314448,4352:319768,4458:322580,4518:323948,4542:324404,4550:325164,4565:325696,4575:326152,4613:326608,4620:326988,4626:332956,4663:333388,4670:333964,4680:336302,4697:340676,4741:341048,4746:347615,4821:347940,4827:348200,4832:349390,4849$0,0:1863,32:3381,134:3657,139:7038,218:7728,229:8487,241:10074,281:10350,286:11109,298:17892,478:18212,484:18532,490:18788,495:20772,538:21284,546:22052,561:28388,711:28772,718:29092,724:29988,742:30436,752:31204,767:33124,807:33636,816:34532,833:34980,841:35812,857:36196,864:36772,876:37092,882:38884,915:44664,926:45108,933:45996,946:46440,953:50880,1101:51842,1120:52138,1125:56948,1207:57540,1216:58428,1229:60352,1298:60648,1303:62794,1361:67752,1459:75400,1481:95310,1772:98910,1829:99390,1837:103630,1911:104190,1947:113152,2021:113684,2029:119840,2176:120676,2191:121132,2199:128048,2354:128580,2396:129188,2406:130176,2422:142522,2531:144258,2564:144506,2569:146614,2608:148226,2642:155167,2722:156168,2737:156707,2746:157708,2759:158170,2766:159248,2822:163945,2861:164792,2875:165639,2889:167025,2916:175026,3003:176664,3027:179036,3048:182686,3133:186240,3172:186780,3179:189110,3198:189758,3208:190190,3216:194208,3287:194680,3296:202486,3419:203782,3448:204142,3458:204430,3463:204718,3468:205150,3475:208318,3540:213184,3564:214048,3582:214624,3591:215272,3603:224560,3784:225280,3795:232104,3863:233424,3880:234040,3889:251494,4192:252530,4210:255638,4262:269015,4377:269490,4383:270440,4400:274240,4472:276615,4509:282192,4551:282724,4559:283636,4618:285916,4656:286220,4661:286752,4669:288576,4718:289184,4727:289564,4733:291692,4764:292072,4770:292680,4780:293592,4791:294124,4799:294732,4809:299368,4836:299914,4845:300304,4851:301786,4883:302566,4896:311892,5027:312222,5034:315786,5137:316380,5147:316644,5152:321190,5194:322030,5211:323080,5270:324270,5293:330640,5411:331410,5421:331690,5426:334910,5511:341170,5575
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about his sister's research on their family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls his family's connection to the United Methodist Church

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle, J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's education and U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his paternal family's legacy at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers his paternal grandfather's tenure in the U.S. government

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the founding of Seaway National Bank in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's transition to Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about the creation of Lafontant, Wilkins and Fisher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his father's death

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's personality

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls a family trip to South America

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls graduating from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's and paternal uncle's legal careers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his siblings

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his brothers' international travels

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins recalls his childhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers moving to Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes the racial demographics of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his classmates at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his friendship with Arne Duncan

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his family's relationship with the Bowman family

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls his interest in debate at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers his high school debate coach, Earl Bell

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls the gang activity on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the segregation of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's political affiliations

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal family's prominence

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the political climate of the early 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes the founding of the Black Students Association at Harvard University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's influence on his career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his classmates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers meeting Al Haymon at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about the increase of African American students at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the Black Students Association at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his involvement in theater and radio at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his experiences of racial discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers Anthony R. Chase and his wife at Harvard University

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes his summer position at the Commonwealth Edison Company

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins recalls meeting his wife, Ann Marie Wilkins

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's decision to leave Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls joining the Harvard Law Review

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the emergence of critical legal studies at Harvard Law School

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins talks about his clerkships

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences on the Harvard Law Review

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers working with Harold Hongju Koh at the Harvard Law Review

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers his colleagues at the Harvard Law Review

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle's thoughts on his career

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his clerkship for Justice Wilfred Feinberg

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his position at Nussbaum, Owen and Webster in New York City

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his Harvard Law School professor, Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr.

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers being approached to teach at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls the controversy surrounding Jack Greenberg's course at Harvard Law School

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his interview at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the different levels of professorship at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the first African American professors at Harvard Law School

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his initial faculty presentation at Harvard Law School

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls his first year of teaching at Harvard Law School

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the first class he taught at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his position as a graduate assistant at Harvard Law School

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his transition to teaching at Harvard Law School

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about Charles Ogletree's career at Harvard Law School

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the faculty and students of Harvard Law School

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers Derrick A. Bell, Jr.

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$10

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
David B. Wilkins remembers his paternal grandfather's tenure in the U.S. government
David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1
Transcript
So Wilkins, Wilkins and Wilkins in Chicago [Illinois].$$Yes.$$That's the law firm.$$That's the law firm.$$Okay.$$And it was a typical you know black law firm of its day. Meaning it served primarily, if not almost exclusively, a clientele of black individuals and small black businesses. My grandfather [J. Ernest Wilkins, Sr.] had built it up over the years at the time in which there were very few black lawyers in Chicago. He'd become well known in the Chicago legal circle. He was one of the few black lawyers who had gone to a prestigious law school [University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, Illinois]. He was active in Republican politics. This was at the time in which it was still the party of Lincoln [President Abraham Lincoln] and so most blacks were Republicans. That--it was through that combination of being prominent in the legal community, he was prominent--he was the head of the Cook County Bar Association, which was the black lawyers association, and also was a member of the ABA [American Bar Association] and of the Chicago Bar Association, again for black lawyers was very unusual, and I think it was that combination plus his role in politics which brought him to the attention of the Eisenhower administration [President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower]. That's why he got selected for that position and when he left to go to Washington [D.C.], my father [Julian Wilkins] took over the law firm and very quickly thereafter, and I can't quite get the chronology, it might have even been before my grandfather went to Washington, my uncle [John R. Wilkins] also left the firm. First, to go to be a law clerk to William Hastie [William H. Hastie] who by that time was now a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit]. Although he could have been when he was a district judge. Actually I should look that up to make sure. But he was Hastie's first law clerk and I'm pretty sure it was on the Third Circuit. Then my uncle went on to government service where he worked in the Agency for International Development [United States Agency for International Development] living in India for several years and eventually became--was appointed by President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] to be the general counsel of the Agency for International Development, where he became the first black general counsel of that organization. And until, I think this is fair to say, until the Obama administration [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] or certainly until the Clinton administration [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], the only black general counsel. There has now been at least one more and maybe two more. Then he left there to become a professor at the University of California law school at Berkeley [University of California Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, California], the Boalt school of law, where he became the first black professor of that law school and only the second black faculty member in the entire Berkeley campus [University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California]. So he joined there '63 [1963] or '64 [1964] shortly after Kennedy was assassinated.$$Okay.$$My grandfather, in a history that actually is chronicled very well in my sister's book ['Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success,' Carolyn Marie Wilkins], was--held his position for something like two or three years but eventually resigned in the course of a power struggle controversy around the direction of the labor department [U.S. Department of Labor] particularly, (cough) excuse me, in international affairs. So my grandfather had been the delegate to the International Labour Organization, which was a very important hotbed of controversy in the 1950s during the Cold War. And my father's--and my grandfather's appointment there was seen as a kind of way for the United States to blunt the criticism of the Soviet Union, that the U.S. was hostile to labor and particularly to black labor. So he was very much a symbol of his race in that organization and in a story that we still don't fully understand, he got into a power struggle with a new--Eisenhower had a new secretary of labor [James P. Mitchell] who was brought in the second term, I think so in nineteen fifty--fifty- no it was during the first term, it must have been in '55 [1955] or something like that, '54 [1954], '55 [1955]. Eventually my grandfather resigned and it was a big controversy about the resignation. There were lots of stories in the paper. My sister [HistoryMaker Carolyn Wilkins] writes about this in the book. But my grandfather stayed living in Washington as he decided what he was going to do and he died very tragically of a heart attack in his, he was in his mid-fifties. And, so he never came back to the firm.$So is it an easy thing once you work on the law review [Harvard Law Review] to clerk? Is it (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) It's an easy thing to get--almost everybody gets a clerkship--$$Clerkship.$$--but then it's incredibly competitive about which clerkships you get, and the most prestigious ones are on the D.C. Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit] or on the Second Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit], and particularly those which were thought to be quote feeders for the [U.S.] Supreme Court. Meaning that they send--judges who sent a lot of law clerks up to clerk on the Supreme Court.$$So Feinberg [Wilfred Feinberg], he was a feeder?$$So he was--I didn't fully realize it at the time, but because he was sitting in Thurgood Marshall's seat and Thurgood Marshall was the circuit justice for the Second Circuit. He would take often a Feinberg clerk, not always, it wasn't quite like a Skelly Wright [J. Skelly Wright] and Brennan [William J. Brennan, Jr.], where Brennan would just take all of Skelly Wright's clerks. But it was a very--it turned out to be a very advantageous clerkship for me to get, my ultimate dream was to clerk for Thurgood Marshall which was an incredible experience (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, so can you talk about that?$$So, you know people ask me--$$'Cause at that point what age is he?$$So, he's old, he's like seven- well, I mean he's getting younger every day because now as I turn sixty, seventy-eight I think he was or seventy--he was in his seventies, it doesn't seem all that old to me actually. But I think seventy-eight sticks out in my mind. And when people ask me what he was like I say he's kind of like your grandfather, meaning he had a lot of--your grandfather lived an amazing life. So he was really smart and he had lots of wisdom, but he also didn't have a lot of patience and he pretty much knew exactly what he was going to do and what he wasn't going to do and he really didn't put up with much. We'd be arguing with him and we'd be--the law clerks would be saying, "Judge, you have to do this," or, "You have to do that," and he would say, "You know, I only have to do two things; stay black and die" (laughter). That would kind of be the end of the argument. Or he'd turn around and he would point to the wall and he'd say, "President Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] signed my commission. Who signed yours?" (Laughter) So again that was sort of the end of the argument, right. People say, "What do you remember most?" And, "What's the best thing?" And of course there were these amazing arguments and I saw these amazing lawyers including--Larry Tribe [Laurence Tribe] came and argued a case. Walking up the steps to work in this marble building [Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.] was just incredible. But the best part had nothing to do with the law, although I realized it had everything to do with the law, because the best parts were the stories. Everyday about four o'clock, just like your grandfather, he would kind of walk into the office, so he--the way the office worked was each of the justices has a kind of a suite. It's a really weird building, so basically each of them occupies a kind of corner of the building and there are all these separate stairways and elevators and stuff. So actually they hardly ever see each other and you hardly ever see another human being walking in the halls, 'cause there are only nine people that live there and it's a building that's as big as an enormous city block. Most of the people who aren't justices work in the interior of the building, like the clerks and the clerks' office, and then the rest of it is just for these nine what were guys until my first--the year I clerked it was Sandra Day O'Connor's year and so then it wasn't just nine guys anymore, and they stopped calling them Mr. Justice, which I always regretted. I always thought the coolest thing in the world would be to be called Mr. Justice (laughter). So it was a weird building, but anyway Marshall's office was on the--the justice's office was on the corner of course, and then there was a middle office where he had--there were two secretaries and a messenger and then the far office was where the law clerks sat. And there was a big overstuffed chair at the corner by the door and--by the interior door and everyday about four o'clock the judge would kind of walk in and he'd sit down in the chair and he would just start telling stories. He was a master storyteller. All kinds of stories, stories about Brown [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954], stories about escaping lynchings. But also stories about his son, John [John W. Marshall], who is a Virginia State trooper and how they would set speed traps for people, or stories about the custodians who he knew the names of every single custodian who was in the building, or about his marshal who had been with him since the solicitor general's office. His name was Mr. Gaines [ph.]; we called him Gaines. When I first started telling people, I was always kind of sheepish about--I should be talking about the great decisions that were there. I don't even remember--if you press me I could remember one or two cases that were decided and one or two cases that I worked on that I'm proud of. But we only wrote dissents and when we got majority opinions they were like stupid cases, you know that were nine nothing because by that time Burger [Warren E. Burger] was in charge, and it was the Burger court and Marshall and Brennan were totally marginalized.

The Honorable Eric Washington

Chief Judge Eric Tyson Washington was born on December 2, 1953, in Jersey City, New Jersey to Gloria Simkins Washington, a social worker, and Eleby Rudolph Washington, a surgeon. He was raised in Newark, New Jersey and attended high school in Maplewood, New Jersey. Washington graduated from Tufts University in 1976 and received his J.D. degree from Columbia University’s School of Law in 1979. Washington began his law career in 1979 at the offices of Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas. The company is one of the largest law firms in the United States with nearly 1,000 attorneys in over fifty different practice areas. Washington soon relocated to Washington, D.C. to serve as Legislative Director and Counsel to U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews of Texas, before assuming a position in the Washington, D.C. branch of Fulbright & Jaworski.

In 1987, Washington served as Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel, and later as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. After stepping down from this position in 1989, Washington became a partner at Hogan & Hartson, the oldest major law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., and remained there until 1995, when he was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. As an associate judge in the Superior Court, he presided over various criminal trials as well as cases from the Drug Court, Domestic Violence Unit, tax and probate matters on certification from other judges, and cases involving children who were victims of abuse and neglect. Washington was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and six years later, the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission designated Washington to serve a four-year term as Chief Judge of the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals, preceding Judge Annice Wagner.

Washington has previously served as Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Leadership Council for the District of Columbia Courts and is also a member of the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the Courts. Washington serves on many civic organizations as well, including the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Boys and Girls Club Foundation.

Chief Judge Eric Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.274

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/26/2007 |and| 5/23/2014

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Schools

Madison Elementary School

Newark Academy

Columbia High School

Tufts University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Eric

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

WAS04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

It Is What It Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/2/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cajun Food

Short Description

Chief appellate judge The Honorable Eric Washington (1953 - ) was appointed to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals by President Clinton in 1999. He became chief judge in 2005.

Employment

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Superior Court for the District of Columbia

Hogan & Hartson

Fulbright & Jaworski

Delete

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1626,34:2386,45:2690,50:2994,55:4514,71:4970,79:10822,180:14394,228:17054,279:21770,288:24605,370:28259,461:29960,493:33173,552:33425,557:33677,562:34244,575:38402,666:48891,780:49427,789:52643,836:53782,856:54117,862:60482,969:67035,1036:69313,1088:70586,1110:74003,1193:75142,1214:77688,1284:78358,1295:94126,1553:95380,1593:97294,1641:97756,1649:98416,1661:100462,1699:101584,1710:101914,1716:106176,1732:107476,1762:109712,1823:112312,1896:112520,1901:112728,1906:112936,1911:113300,1919:114600,1932:114860,1938:117044,1992:119124,2048:119384,2054:125464,2124:127726,2183:129292,2233:130162,2251:130858,2261:132656,2309:134280,2352:138224,2484:149963,2641:172994,3006:178223,3161:178790,3169:179231,3179:181877,3259:194516,3488:201720,3569$0,0:3452,47:3817,52:4328,60:5788,87:6664,102:7540,114:9949,146:21968,358:24410,401:24806,408:25994,430:26720,442:30842,479:35934,590:36336,597:36939,607:57666,997:60114,1037:60386,1046:76057,1299:76412,1306:78968,1364:83370,1472:88050,1504:95304,1658:95738,1666:109855,1881:111545,1927:111805,1932:117590,2089:128782,2280:129223,2289:130420,2321:130672,2326:131113,2334:131869,2359:132247,2372:138736,2532:139051,2538:140374,2567:154722,2793:167204,2999:168880,3022
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eric Washington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his maternal family history, pt.3

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his father, Eleby Washington, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about how his parents may have met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his parents' personalities and how he takes after them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his father's medical practice

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his father's decision to practice medicine in New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his childhood neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his elementary school years in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes his youthful passion for tennis

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eric Washington describes his childhood sports heroes, Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Eric Washington recalls his parents' attempts at musical training

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Eric Washington recalls the influence of television on his values and aspirations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Eric Washington remembers professional role models as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his middle school years at Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes his time in the Boy Scouts and the development of black consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eric Washington recalls his family's involvement with the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes his memories of the 1967 Newark Riots and moving to Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes playing sports and the development of his social conscience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eric Washington remembers role models from his youth like Gus Heningburg

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes his experience at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eric Washington recalls his decision to attend Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eric Washington remembers living in the Africana House at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes volunteer efforts to connect citizens of Boston, Massachusetts' Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods to local universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about playing basketball at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes how his experience at Tufts University propelled him toward a legal career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eric Washington recalls how racial animus in Boston, Massachusetts led him to attend Columbia Law School in New York City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eric Washington describes his studies at Columbia Law School and the impact of Professor Kellis E. Parker

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about why he joined Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas after graduating from Columbia Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes Houston, Texas in the late 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his work at Fulbright & Jaworski

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about his decision to work for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes why he decided to return to Fulbright & Jaworkski after working for U.S. Congressman Michael A. Andrews

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Texan politicians Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker Lee P. Brown's tenure as Houston, Texas' chief of police

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eric Washington recalls George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign against Ronald Reagan in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about the impact of the Reagan Administration on judicial office in Texas and President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about his tenure as Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about joining Hogan & Hartson and his increasing involvement with the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Eric Washington's interview

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes corruption charges brought against HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eric Washington contrasts the administrations of Mayors Marion Barry and Walter Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the role of the Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Herbert O. Reid, Sr., legal counsel to HistoryMaker Mayor Marion Barry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about working at Hogan & Hartson

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his work as Chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee during President Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's political appointments

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eric Washington describes President Bill Clinton's reputation as the first black president

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about the financial difficulties in Washington, D.C. created by the city's limited tax base, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eric Washington recalls African American judges from his childhood who inspired him to become a judge

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his nomination process to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eric Washington describes the declining trends in presidential judicial appointments

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eric Washington describes his duties as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the history of African Americans in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his service on the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the District of Columbia Courts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eric Washington talks about his focus on domestic violence as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eric Washington talks about drug sentencing in the District of Columbia

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eric Washington recalls his appointment to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1999

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about his work on the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, pt.3

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about Annice Wagner, Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about the Access to Justice Commission headed by Peter Edelman

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about his appointment as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eric Washington describes his vision as the Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about using open court cases to promote transparency with the public and educate law students

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eric Washington discusses the pros and cons of live streaming oral arguments

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about judicial process on the D.C. Court of Appeals, pt.2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about appellate judges on the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Eric Washington compares the D.C. Court of Appeals to two-tiered trial courts in other states

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Eric Washington talks about the use of DNA evidence in trial courts

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Eric Washington talks about his work as President of the Conference of Chief Justices, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Eric Washington talks about how to reform the American criminal justice system, pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his hopes for his third term as Chief Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Eric Washington reflects upon whether he would do anything differently as a judge

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.2

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Eric Washington describes the history of the Historic Courthouse in Washington D.C., pt.3

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Eric Washington describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Eric Washington reflects upon his professional legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Eric Washington talks about his family

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Eric Washington talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Eric Washington talks about his decision to become a lawyer and his father's view of lawyers
Eric Washington describes how he became Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel in Washington, D.C. under Frederick Cooke
Transcript
So, when you were on the verge of graduation from high school, did you have an idea of what you wanted to pursue, career-wise?$$No, I was still torn, I was, you know, torn between that, that real, you know, I--desire to be a, a social engineer, sort of, you know, be involved in helping, which was again, consistent with what my dad [Eleby Washington, Jr.] had done but much more. I was, I was much more of wanting to be out front of that issue, as opposed to being sort of behind the scene, working at, you know. I was, I was much more willing--not much more willing, but much more, you know, much more interested in sort of being on the front line, I think, and working with groups and, and (unclear) primarily antipoverty organizations. I would work the New York City youth services agency, and, and tried to work with, you know, different groups of young people and, and so, sort of be a part of the antipoverty movement and the anti-, and, and try to uplift as much as many people as I could. And so, I sort of had leanings in that way, but I was still the son of a doctor. And still, my brother was going to go to medical school, you know, and he turned out--he, he's an orthopedic surgeon now, like my father was. And, frankly, he freed me up because once my dad got one orthopedic surgeon, I think he was okay with, with me doing something else, although a lawyer is not what an orthopedic surgeon would want his son to be necessarily. You never, never thought, you know, other than those, he, he thought highly of lawyers. But he loved judges and he had good friends who were judges and he, he would draw these distinctions between lawyers and judges in his own mind because he saw lawyers as those individuals who would manufacture malpractice cases against good doctors who had done all they could do to help somebody, and because they hadn't put them together like God--they, that they were somehow negligent in their actions. And so, he thought lawyers somehow were the reason why people brought these lawsuits, as opposed to these people believing they were wrong. And, as I told him, as there being doctors who would testify that they hadn't done everything perfectly 'cause I said, without, without another doctor testifying that you, that you didn't do everything right, they could never find you guilt, you know, they could find you negligent of doing anything right. And then, my father was not talking from personal experience. I don't remember my dad ever being sued, but and maybe once or twice in, in his career, that it might have happened. But I don't remember any of them, but, but he was talking more generally about the medical profession and, and his colleagues and friends who had to, had to endure these unreasonable depositions, and take them away from their patients and go to court, and defend themselves when somebody decides to crash a motorcycle into a wall going 80 miles an hour, break every bone in their body, spend 75 hours in a row putting them back together. And when they're finished, their little pinkie can't straighten up all the way, and they sue you for malpractice. That was, that was--used the classic sort of a story about why lawyers are bad. But my dad, I think, ultimately is very proud that, you know, and, and understood, really did understand and appreciated the important role lawyers played as social engineers, and so I think was very supportive.$$Okay.$$I did promise him I'd never practice malpractice. I'd never be a plaintiff's lawyer doing malpractice work but other than that--$$Okay.$All right, all right. Now, in '87 [1987], you were Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia?$$Right.$$Now, how did that happen?$$One of my good friends, Fred Cooke [Frederick Cooke], who was a partner in another law firm here in town [Washington, D.C.] and, and someone whom, with whom I developed a relationship, was a native Washingtonian, had been put in charge of a search committee for the new Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia which is akin to an Attorney General in most states. And he had--was, you know, was part of this--leading the search committee when, of course, they, they turned around and asked him, would he be interested in taking the job? So, he calls me up and we have lunch, and he starts saying, ahh, they're asking me to take the job. And I spent probably an hour and a half convincing him that it was the great, it was a great opportunity. It was 300 lawyers. He was going to be in charge of basically his own law firm. They represented municipal corporations that had litigation, legislation, that they, they advise the legislative, you know, advising role. They had all these different roles, and he was going to be the top lawyer in charge of that office. I said, you gotta take that. You know, what a great chance, what a great opportunity for you. And then, at the end of this, like impassioned-hour speech to him, about why he should take it, he looked at me and said okay, well, if I take it, you gotta come. And I couldn't argue against it 'cause I just spent an hour arguing for him to do it. So, I, I agreed to come. And, and the interesting story about why I was Special Counsel, because that was not what I anticipated going in as. I was supposed to be--Fred had wanted me to be his deputy immediately, but I didn't know the mayor. I had not had any real contact with Mayor [Marion] Barry [HM], and I didn't know a lot about the city government. And they didn't know, more importantly, from his perspective, a lot about me. And to be in the second, the second ranking legal officer in the district, I think the mayor wanted to feel comfortable that he at least knew who I was. And so, while Fred had wanted to bring me in as the Deputy Corporation Counsel, it's my understanding that the Mayor was little reticent to do that without having an opportunity to work with me first for a few years to know, to know me, and for his staff that could let, you know, deputy mayors and other staff, getting comfortable with me. So, for the first year and a half or so, I was Special Counsel, and then worked closely with all of the Deputy Mayors and others, and helped run the office. And there was no deputy corporation, Principal Deputy Corporation Counsel. Then I ultimately, apparently, got the word. Fred got the word--oh, it's okay, you can move him up now, and I became the Principal Deputy. So, I always acted as the Principal Deputy, but for the first year and a half, I was given the title of Special Counsel.$$Okay.

The Honorable Jock Smith

Attorney, law professor, municipal court judge, and trial lawyer Jock Michael Smith was born on June 10, 1948, in New York City to Betty Lou Nance Bowers and Jacob Smith. Despite the untimely death of his father in 1956, Smith still excelled academically, receiving his B.S. degree from Tuskegee University in 1970 and his J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame’s Law School on May 20, 1973.

After receiving his law degree, Smith then became a legal advisor to the NAACP’s Civil Rights Project in Broome County, New York. A year later, Smith moved to Alabama, and in 1977, he became the assistant attorney general for Montgomery, Alabama. That same year, Smith opened his own law firm in Tuskegee, Alabama where he represented plaintiffs and defendants in both criminal and civil suits until 1998. In 1987, Smith became a city municipal judge in Camp Hill, Alabama, and spent two years on the bench. In 1990, he became County Attorney in Macon County, Alabama. He represented the county in all legal matters for fifteen years. In 1993, Smith worked as an administrative law judge for Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management. The following year, he founded Scoring For Life, Inc., a non-profit organization that encourages teens, children and adults with motivational messages. In 1997, Smith became a principal stockholder and sports agent for Cochran Sports Management while working alongside Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. A year later, Smith joined Cochran at the firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. in Tuskegee, Alabama as a senior partner. In 1999, he also became a play-by-play announcer for Tuskegee University's Tiger Football and the Tuskegee Community Network. In addition to his legal career, Smith also taught at State University of New York at Binghamton and Tuskegee Institute.

Smith has received numerous awards, including honorary doctorates of Divinity Degrees from the Pentecostal Bible College, Tuskegee, Alabama and the Montgomery Bible Institute and Theological Center, Montgomery, Alabama, and keys to the cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Memphis, Tennessee and Flint, Michigan. He has been recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association for tireless dedication and unwavering commitment, inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and received the Inaugural Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Journey to Justice Award in 2005 at the National Bar Association Convention. "The Martindale-Hubbell" legal publication has given Smith its highest rating, the AV Rating, and "Lawdragon" Legal Magazine in Los Angeles, California selected him as one of America’s Top 500 Trial Litigators in 2006 and 2007. Smith was inducted onto the President’s Advisory Council of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), making him the first African American to serve on that board. In 2002, he published his autobiography entitled, "Climbing Jacob’s ladder: a Trial Lawyer’s Journey in Behalf of the ‘Least of These’."

Jock Smith passed away on January 8, 2012.

Jock Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.245

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/5/2007

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Michael

Schools

Andrew Jackson High School

P.S. 15 Jackie Robinson School

I.S. 59 Springfield Gardens

Tuskegee University

Norte Dame Law School

First Name

Jock

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SMI20

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Sylvia Dale Cochran

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York, Las Vegas

Favorite Quote

Civility Is Never A Sign Of Weakness And Sincerity Is Always Subject To Scrutiny.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

6/10/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tuskegee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab Legs

Death Date

1/8/2012

Short Description

Law professor, attorney, and municipal court judge The Honorable Jock Smith (1948 - 2012 ) was senior partner at Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was a former judge for the State of Alabama and wrote his autobiography entitled "Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: a Trial Lawyer’s Journey in Behalf of the ‘Least of These’."

Employment

United States Customs Court

Police Youth Involvement Program

Urban League of South Bend and St. Joseph County

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Civil Rights Project

State University of New York at Binghamton

Tuskegee University

State of Alabama

Camphill Communities of North America

Law offices of Jock M. Smith

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Macon County

Scoring for Life, Inc.

National Law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C.

Tuskegee Community Network

Cochran Sports Management

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:9060,221:29278,432:29674,440:30466,514:30862,519:32050,589:40980,613:56635,759:62901,921:78225,1120:78750,1129:85159,1215:88477,1278:88951,1285:104362,1580:106918,1648:109468,1676:116171,1757:116487,1765:116882,1771:120164,1820:122252,1864:146816,2148:147264,2156:152168,2269:153286,2294:157035,2337:166372,2505:175176,2573:184951,2686:189828,2758:191600,2806:193763,2903:202024,2951:209560,3002:210144,3117:214524,3195:215254,3216:215692,3223:217663,3310:220656,3412:222335,3451:223722,3494:227210,3510$0,0:1919,33:3939,69:17345,229:36279,661:39898,722:43132,809:56730,1000:57255,1009:57855,1019:58155,1024:59055,1106:59355,1111:65122,1177:65542,1183:69154,1284:72934,1359:74194,1376:83848,1517:87785,1568:88975,1583:89315,1588:99988,1749:102420,1798:109488,1993:113717,2071:114879,2119:118610,2175:119170,2196:121760,2275:122600,2322:125610,2472:146556,2791:146892,2819:150756,2886:154452,2966:179872,3206:181630,3432:185634,3563:186019,3569:207480,3805:212898,3861:213758,4147:219262,4256:232990,4428:243852,4490:264920,4719
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Jock Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his father's death

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes lessons from his father

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his mother's personality and his likeness to her

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his paternal uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith explains the origin of his name

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father as a young man

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his father's life in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his neighbors on Nashville Boulevard in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers P.S. 15 in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes the demographics of his schools in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers J.H.S. 59, Springfield Gardens School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his experiences at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his decision to attend the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his experiences at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes what he learned at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his classmates at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about Tuskegee Institute President Luther Foster, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his medical exemption from the draft

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his academic success at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his extracurricular activities at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Gwendolyn Patton

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls how he paid for his undergraduate tuition

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers working for Judge James Watson

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his experiences of discrimination at the University of Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his graduation from the University of Notre Dame Law School

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his experiences of racism

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls working for the Urban League of South Bend and St. Joseph County

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls working for the NAACP in Binghamton, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers teaching law at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls joining the State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his judgeships

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers the case of the State of Alabama v. Donell Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls protecting a client from wrongful eviction

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his motivation as a lawyer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers his recommitment to Christianity

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers joining the Christian Life Church in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting Keith Givens and Sam Cherry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers establishing the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith recalls the case of Tolbert v. Monsanto Company

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Robert Jeter et al. v. Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers Robert Jeter et al. v. Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers representing Carolyn Whittaker

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith reflects upon his awards and influences

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Jock Smith remembers meeting his second wife

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his wife, Yvette Smiley-Smith

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his daughter, Janay Smith

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about Cochran Sports Management, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about his collection of historical artifacts

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about the significance of sports history

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Jock Smith talks about writing his autobiography

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Jock Smith describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Jock Smith reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Jock Smith shares a message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Jock Smith narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
The Honorable Jock Smith recalls his historic victory in an insurance fraud case, pt. 2
The Honorable Jock Smith remembers establishing the law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith
Transcript
And the thing is in closing argument to the jury I remember telling the jury this, "You know normally ladies and gentlemen look at all these lawyers they have over there against me and my client and I would be dwarfed by their presence," I said, "but I'm a Bible toting Christian and I brought my sling shot to court with me, ladies and gentlemen. You know my Bible tells me ladies and gentlemen that Jesus spoke in John 10:10 and told us that the thief would come in the night to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come to give you life and to give you joy abundantly. That must mean that there, that, that, that somewhere there's a robber and a thief somewhere in this courtroom ladies and gentlemen and there they sit." The jury returned a verdict in twenty minutes of $5 million. It was the largest verdict, one of the largest verdicts in the history of the state at the time and the largest verdict an African American lawyer had ever gotten in Alabama. And I rode that verdict for many years. I also remember telling the jury, "Ladies and gentlemen Miller Ephraim has died, but fortunately we were able to read his deposition to you. You know when Knute Rockne went to see George Gipp one day in his hospital room and he was dying, he told him, 'One day when you really need to win a game tell him to win one for me.' Notre Dame [Notre Dame Fighting Irish] was playing in a national championship game against Army [Army West Point Black Knights] and they were behind twelve to nothing at halftime as the story is told. Knute Rockne went into that locker room and told the Fighting Irish what he had to tell them about the story of George Gipp that day and he said, 'Win one for the Gipper.' Ladies and gentlemen, Miller Ephraim is looking down on these proceedings today. He sits with Jesus along the right hand of the Father and expects you to bring him good news based on your verdict; win one for the Miller now." And the jury did. And I sat there for about five or ten minutes after the court was over. A gentleman who was an elected official came to me and said, "Jock [HistoryMaker Jock Smith] do you realize you won the biggest case a black lawyer has ever won in Alabama, but you're sitting there, you haven't moved since the verdict. You should be jumping up and down and be excited." I saw my whole life flash in front of me. I saw my father's [Jacob Smith] death. I heard the edict, "You'll be a good garbage worker." I remember, "You have a gift to speak." All this stuff flashed in front of me and I thanked the Lord for blessing me that day on December 15th, 1988, about four o'clock in the afternoon when the jury not only said $5 million, but said something more important: well done my good and faithful servant. That was the day I knew I had beaten everything that Mr. Stein [ph.] had told my mother [Betty Lou Bowers Nance]. There was no doubt in my mind that was it when the jury, when that foreman of that jury stood up and said $5 million I knew then that I had accomplished something significant. And those were the two cases I most remember before my partnership with Johnnie Cochran. There were some others that I won and settled and made money and it was not making money, it's more to life than that I could tell you about, but it's not gonna tell you about that 'cause that's really not what HistoryMakers [The HistoryMakers] is really about. It's not about money in your pocket, it's about people that you've helped. I've given you some indication.$We started in Columbus, Georgia, because there was a gentleman there named Joe Wiley [Joseph Wiley] that had a preacher, a black preacher who, who was recommending to Givens [Keith Givens]. Though that office only stayed open a year, it didn't live out the true creed of its meaning as the Declaration of Independence says. It still became a cornerstone of the beginnings of Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith [Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith; The Cochran Firm]. We then merged my Tuskegee [Alabama] office, the Dothan [Alabama] office of Cherry and Givens and the Los Angeles [California] office of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. [Johnnie Cochran]. His three other offices in the firm probably six months after the origins of July of '98 [1998], so by January of '99 [1999] we were probably sitting with, we were sitting with four offices, Columbus, Georgia; Tuskegee, Alabama; Dothan Alabama; Los Angeles, California. Johnnie had continued his relationship with Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, the DNA experts, after the O.J. trial [People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson, 1995] and had some kind of arrangement with them in New York [New York]. Six months later after the, so this would have been about a year later, after July of '98 [1998], Johnnie turned over that office to us, so then we had New York as well. He began to trust us, began to entrust more to us based on our earned respect and comradeship together. Cherry [Sam Cherry] and Givens are two white men, so I was the only black, only African American partner in this venture. We began to speak with people in larger cities that we had identified. We kind of redlined the United States, in so called Cochran friendly cities. We had, and the list probably had fifteen, twenty cities on there. We categorized them by priority. Near the top of the list was Atlanta [Georgia]. Chicago [Illinois] was near the top of the list. The District of Columbia [Washington, D.C.] was near the top, and there were some others, I think Memphis [Tennessee] and New Orleans [Louisiana] may have been near the top, Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], some others. And what we began to do was go into these cities and interview these perspective lawyers that we identified based on references that would be good for us and for our operations, to run our operations in these cities. These are lawyers who already had existing firms that were already successful. We didn't take any neophytes on; we took existing lawyers. In, in Atlanta, we selected this Hezekiah Sistrunk [Hezekiah Sistrunk, Jr.] who you know, and in Chicago we selected Jim Montgomery [HistoryMaker James D. Montgomery] who you also know. So, other cities we selected other people. We began to put these offices together. Now I was one of the people that would go and interview these people and I would help make the selections. Like if it got down to a taffy pool I'd go in and say, "You know Johnnie I think we need to go with Jim Montgomery in Chicago. We, we don't, don't need to go with Corboy and Demetrio." Somebody try to say "Ca- ." I said, "No, no, no, no this is an African American firm, no we need to go with Jim Montgomery," and I had to fight for that. I had to fight some of my partners--I won't name them, but I had to fight them 'cause of Jim's age is another thing. They said, "He's too old." "No, no, no, no, no, no this man will be good." Turned out to be right. Same thing in Atlanta, Hezekiah Sistrunk was my choice there. There was another man who was being considered. I said, "No, no we don't need that man. His personal conduct is very questionable. I've seen some things. We don't want this in the firm. Hezekiah Sistrunk." So, we put, we handpicked these people and, and we made some mistakes like any other firm, but we made a lot better choices than we made poor choices and that has sustained the firm and the firm grew to seventeen offices before Johnnie's death. We had opened in New Orleans and St. Louis [Missouri] were the last two offices we opened before Johnnie expired this earth with the Lord--went on to be with the Lord. We had opened D.C. We'd opened Memphis. We'd opened Las Vegas [Nevada]. We, of course as I mentioned already Chicago, Atlanta, and there were others. Los Angeles and New York were already up and running, so we had most of the major cities. We still didn't have Philadelphia. In fact, I would say the only major cities we didn't have at Johnnie's death probably, that I call major African American cities would be probably Philadelphia and Chica- not Chicago, Detroit [Michigan]. We've since opened up in those cities, but we had not at the time of Johnnie's--at the time Johnnie was living.