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

The Honorable Ray Miller

Retired State Senator Ray Miller was born in Hampton, Virginia on April 6, 1949. Miller graduated from East High School in Columbus, Ohio. He then attended Ohio State University and graduated with his B.S. degree in political science and his M.A. degree in public administration in 1971 and 1973, respectively. Miller was hired as the vice president for Columbus State Community College from 1975 to 1978. In 1976, he was appointed assistant director of legislation for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union (AFSCME)/Ohio Council 8. Miller then worked as a deputy special assistant to President Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1980. After working for the White House, he returned to his vice president post at Columbus State Community College from 1975 to 1978. Miller returned to the post again from 1981 to 1986 and finally from 1987 to 1993. He was elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives in 1981 and again in 1998. In all, Miller served sixteen years in the Ohio House of Representatives, becoming dean of the state legislative body during his tenure. Miller was also appointed president of the National Urban Policy Institute in 1997 and president/CEO of the Professional Employment Services of America, a year later.

In 2003, he was elected to the Ohio State Senate, becoming the fourteenth African American elected to the Ohio Senate in the state's 205-year history. Miller also served as the minority whip of the Senate before his retirement in 2010. During his tenure as state senator, Miller was chief sponsor for legislation that helped to create the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the Community Mental Health Act of 1988 and the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, where he served as founder and chairman. Additionally, Miller is regarded as the "Father of Head Start Funding" in Ohio because of his sponsorship of legislation that established the nation's first state-level funding for the Head Start Program.

Miller also authored legislation which established the Institute for Urban Education at Central State University. He also established a 25% set aside for minority health programs from Ohio's $10 billion Tobacco Settlement Agreement. Miller is also the chief sponsor of legislation that led to the creation of the Ohio African-American Hall of Fame.

He has garnered numerous awards for his service, including Trailblazer Award from the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus; International Pathfinder Award from the World Congress on the Family; a Distinguished Legislator of the Year Award from the American Public Health Association and the President’s Award from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Miller is the president of The Center for Urban Progress in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Marty, have one son, Ray III.

Raymond Miller was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 2, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.095

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/2/2012

Last Name

Miller

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

The Ohio State University

East High School

Washington-Jackson Elem Magnet

Fair Elementary School

Franklin Junior High School

Champion Avenue School

First Name

Ray

Birth City, State, Country

Hampton

HM ID

MIL08

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Never Allow Your Greatest Accomplishment Become Your Highest Achievement in Life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

4/6/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cake (Pineapple Upside Down)

Short Description

State senator and state assemblyman The Honorable Ray Miller (1949 - ) was regarded as the "Father of Head Start Funding" in Ohio because of his sponsorship of legislation that established the nation's first state-level funding for the Head Start Program.

Employment

Ohio State Senate

National Urban Policy Institute

Columbus State Community College

Ohio State House of Representatives

U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance

White House

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:875,18:6425,216:8000,240:9875,284:40190,715:40670,721:49416,798:53894,854:70994,1145:102890,1482:149140,2064:150050,2078:150400,2084:165510,2296:185270,2453:191183,2567:191767,2577:192935,2613:194395,2634:194687,2639:196366,2670:207774,2756:208222,2764:208606,2771:218014,2957:218462,2965:221662,3028:222750,3050:236162,3240:239396,3284:240012,3294:244093,3365:253120,3432:253618,3440:253950,3445:262694,3532:277360,3733:284560,3788$0,0:12620,146:16275,218:16955,236:22310,315:27560,391:30500,444:31270,461:38060,577:38340,582:49754,715:50164,721:52460,765:62430,903:64110,951:66336,966:73104,1052:74688,1128:81456,1226:100386,1482:149356,1996:149842,2003:155134,2051:177020,2314:178635,2337:179825,2357:180760,2369:181355,2377:186980,2405:253865,3238:257522,3307:301560,3828:333645,4111:346700,4262
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ray Miller's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ray Miller lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ray Miller describes Hampton, Virginia as his mother's birth place

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ray Miller describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ray Miller talks about his mother's extended family in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ray Miller describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ray Miller talks about his father, Inus Ray Miller, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ray Miller talks about how his father may not have been his father and moving frequently as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ray Miller describes his relationship with his father after his parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ray Miller recounts how his parents may have met, and his relationships with them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ray Miller recalls his mother, Inez Smith Miller's second marriage to George Emerson

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ray Miller recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ray Miller describes growing up on a U.S. Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recalls the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ray Miller lists the schools he attended in Hampton, Virginia; Wichita Falls, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ray Miller describes being an introverted child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ray Miller describes the musical talent in his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ray Miller talks about Columbus, Ohio's jazz scene

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ray Miller recalls his years at Fair Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, and attending the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ray Miller remembers President John F. Kennedy and his 1963 assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recalls the 1963 March on Washington, and his mother's preoccupations with attending church and playing the lottery

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ray Miller recounts how he became involved in the Federal Model Cities Program's Model Neighborhood Assembly in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ray Miller describes working with the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ray Miller remembers his involvement with the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Agency, and his boxing coach's mentorship

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ray Miller describes his interests in middle and high school, and losing his brother to leukemia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ray Miller talks about deciding to attend Kent State University in Kent, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ray Miller recalls classism at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recounts his suspension from Columbus, Ohio's East High School, and the intervention of his band teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ray Miller lists some of the musicians and groups he knew while playing with the Four Mints band in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ray Miller talks about the basketball team at East High School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ray Miller recalls enrolling in Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ray Miller describes the African American student community at Ohio State University in Columbus

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ray Miller recalls helpful advisors he had at Ohio State University in Columbus

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ray Miller recounts confronting National Guardsmen at Ohio State University in Columbus, at the time of the Kent State University shooting

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ray Miller remembers John Evans and other African American leaders at Ohio State University during the late 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recounts a student strike at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ray Miller recounts his decision to attend graduate school for public administration at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ray Miller recalls his Ohio state legislative fellowship in 1971 with Majority Leader Rep. William Mallory and Majority Whip Rep. Richard F. Celeste

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ray Miller recounts being snubbed by the Black Elected Democrats of Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ray Miller describes the mentorship of Ohio State Representative C.J. McLin

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ray Miller describes working for AFSCME, a government employees' union, and at Columbus State Community College

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recalls the 1979 Columbus Board of Education v. Penick court decision on school desegregation

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ray Miller reflects upon the positive and negative effects of school desegregation in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ray Miller describes working for AFSCME, a government employees' union

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ray Miller recounts accepting the position as Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ray Miller recalls working with President Jimmy Carter and the Congressional Black Caucus, including HistoryMakers U.S. Congressmen Charles Rangel and Louis Stokes

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ray Miller talks about representing President Jimmy Carter and making deals with members of the U.S. Congress

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ray Miller recalls his dealings with Ron Brown, who represented Senator Edward Kennedy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ray Miller recalls bringing HistoryMaker Dick Gregory to the White House to talk about the Iranian Hostage Crisis, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ray Miller recalls bringing HistoryMaker Dick Gregory to the White House to talk about the Iranian Hostage Crisis, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ray Miller reflects upon Jimmy Carter administration's relationship with the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ray Miller compares HistoryMaker Andrew Young and Jimmy Carter

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ray Miller recalls preparing to leave the White House after Jimmy Carter's 1980 electoral defeat

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ray Miller talks about what the presidential administration of HistoryMaker Barack Obama has done for African Americans in politics, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ray Miller talks about what the presidential administration of HistoryMaker Barack Obama has done for African Americans in politics, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$8

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Ray Miller recalls working with President Jimmy Carter and the Congressional Black Caucus, including HistoryMakers U.S. Congressmen Charles Rangel and Louis Stokes
Ray Miller recalls bringing HistoryMaker Dick Gregory to the White House to talk about the Iranian Hostage Crisis, pt. 2
Transcript
So I went and did that [directed Office of Federal Contract Compliance, Washington, D.C.] and--great experience, great experience. And that's when I really found out how powerful [Ohio state rep.] C. J. [McLin] was because people, in that building, people visiting from other states would say, "Good Lord"--my boss, who was Louie Martin, and legendary Louie Martin.$$Oh, yes, Louis [E.] Martin.$$Yeah, that's who I worked with directly. So I came in as a chief of staff. Louie needed somebody--he needed a man, number one, he had all women, Karen Zanica [ph.], Julia Dobbs, very bright women, University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois], Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], you know who ends up in the White House, a bunch of Ivy Leaguers. But he needed somebody practically who knew politics and a man. So I come in and met with a little resistance, but then you prove yourself. So I showed that I knew how to work the [Capitol] Hill even though that wasn't my job. They had congressional leads on staff. I still wanted to go up and do it because they couldn't get anything done. And [President Jimmy] Carter was fish out of water. In terms of really knowing how to work Washington and the [U.S.] Congress, he was pretty much disastrous almost. That was--you know when you're in a situation and you're afraid and you're not comfortable. Well he surrounded himself with all the Georgia guys, Hamilton Jordan, and Jody Powell, and Rick Hutchinson, so the small circle, talented guys--you know Hamilton had better instincts politically and so did Jody than Carter. Carter didn't have political instincts. He's an engineer. So he would literally come to the meetings--because I was a deputy, I was second level guy, so I'm in all the meetings, so he would literally come into the meetings with gridded, the engineer's paper, gridded paper, you know what I mean, and a portfolio. He's a naval guy. He's on time and I'd set up meetings with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and you know how that goes, all the brothers from the Congressional Black Caucus get together and they're talking stuff and they show up late, some, maybe six of them would show up on time, and maybe three of them are coming from some other committee but they're going to get there and they may get there ten, fifteen minutes late, and Carter, being the engineer and the naval guy, man, he was intractable. So, you know how politics go. The first is a lot co-bits and these are people that you don't get a chance to see all day every day, so [HM] Charlie Rangel is asking Lou Stokes [HM Louis Stokes] about something, and Bill Clay about. So these guys are like talking and catching up. And Carter is just sitting there getting hot, and then Charlie Rangel stands up and he does the New York, "The problem, mister president, is that we're like two ships passing in the night, and if you understood what we're trying to do." So he's doing the Charlie Rangel and Carter is sitting there because he could get tight, really tight. He had that big old toothy grin, but he would be really tight inside. And I'm watching him--I got pictures--I could show you some pictures if I could pull them of me standing in the background of meetings that I've convened. And I've been raised in politics, so I have a real appreciation for it. I really enjoy it. I like the give and take of it all. And he didn't. For him, we are here to talk about this and--I remember in one of these meetings, he said--closed his portfolio, he said, "I was here on time." Who cares? "I was here on time and you weren't. I think we have exhausted this conversation. The meeting is over." I was like, "No, you didn't, not with members of the Congress, right?" So I then had to go and repair that.$I bring him in--after several attempts, I tell the Secret Service I want to bring [HM] Dick Gregory in and they said, "Well, Mr. Miller, have you looked at his record?" I said, "No." They said, "Do you know how many times he has been arrested? I said, "No, I don't know how many times he's been arrested." They said, "Like fifty-two times or something like that." I said, "This is Dick Gregory. This is like prot--Yeah, he would have been arrested but for social protests, you know that kind of thing, not as a criminal." They said, "Okay, we'll let him in but only into your office." So my office--we had a beautiful suite right on the east wing, right on 15th [Street] and Pennsylvania [Avenue] there. So right inside the door, our office looked into the Jacqueline Onassis Gardens--so I say this to Dick, "I'm going to set up a meeting for you to meet with the president [Jimmy Carter]." He said, "Oh no, brother, I'm not meeting with the president." I said, "Why," and he said, "I know what happens to black folks when they meet with the president." He said, "A little cavity opens up on the top of your head and your Uncle Tom jumps out," and he said, "Whatever the president says, you say, 'Oh, yes, sir, Mr. President, I agree with you." He said, "I'm not meeting the president." He had me dying laughing. I said, "No, man, you got all this information." He said, "No, I'm not doing it." He said, "You meet with me tomorrow morning at the Hay-Adams Hotel and bring your tape." He said, "You gotta a tape recorder?" I said, "Yep." He said, "You bring your tape recorder," so we meet like 7:30 in the morning. He's doing this Bahamian diet. He's got all these pills and tea. No food. And then he starts telling me all this experimental stuff about your strength that comes from it. Then we get down to the interview, and we sat for about three or four hours, right? I'm popping tapes, man, one after the other. And he was right. I mean the bottom line we had their assets frozen when it was all said and done. It was a sizable amount of money. I can't remember how many millions or billions of dollars it was. But if you recall when [Ronald] Reagan won, it was no time before the hostages were released. We had the failed attempt where they went in and they said that sand got up into the engine of the helicopters and the helicopters crashed into the compound and those guys lost their lives.$$Yeah, they called it the "October Surprise,"--(simultaneous)--$$--Yeah.--(simultaneous)--$$--now, or the plotting around that being that-- I know a lot of people--I guess some conspiracy theorists and (unclear) people think it was a sabotage.$$Absolutely, absolutely and I'd be one of those. I'd definitely think it was sabotaged. But I think it goes back--I don't know if I've heard anybody say this, but when the President Carter came in, he did a very foolish thing, in my opinion, he terminated something in the neighborhood of two hundred CIA agents and when you go back and take a look at that--at the very beginning of his administration--and that's the last thing you want to do to have the cloak and dagger guys, you know, on the opposite of what you want to do. There was never much conversation around that, but when I saw that, I was like, "Oh, my goodness!" It would be ten times worse than a governor coming and firing 250 highway patrolmen. They have too much information. It would be that kind of analogy but only a hundred times worse because some of these guys are trained to sabotage, trained to disrupt, and worse. Yeah, that's what he did. So, in any event, Gregory had all kind of proposals about a big prayer vigil on the South Lawn and all those kind of things that he thought we could add in. I'm like, "Okay, I don't think we need to do all that." But because of that, then I was in all the negotiations, all the senior meetings, around the Iranian hostage crisis and I was there when the helicopters went down and I saw Jimmy Carter break down and cry in the Oval office. We were at the Oval Office together when the attempt went off, and Dick Gregory put me there whether he knew that or not because I had all that information--I had all those tapes that I shared with the foreign policy staff.