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Anthony Samad

Author, columnist and professor Anthony Asadullah Samad was born in 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from California State University in Los Angeles with his B.A. degree in communications in 1980. Samad went on to receive his M.P.A degree in public finance from the University of Southern California in 1983.

From 1980 until 1984, Samad worked as a branch manager of Beneficial Finance. In 1984, he was hired as the vice president of Founders Savings, and, from 1985 to 1990, he served as president of Liberty Finance Management. Then, in 1991, Samad founded Samad and Associates, a strategic planning and urban affairs firm specializing in the assessment and management of public policy, economic development, urban, social and race issues. In 1996, he was hired by the Los Angeles Community College District, where he currently serves as a professor of political science and African American studies. From 1997 to 2007, he attended Claremont Graduate University, where he received his second M.A. degree in political economy, and then his Ph.D. degree in political science.

Samad has authored five books: Souls for Sale: The Diary of an Ex-Colored Man (2002); 50 Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality in America (2005); Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom (2007); REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics In 21st Century Popular Culture (2012); and March On, March On Ye Mighty Host: The Comprehensive History of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (1914-2013) (2013). From 2007 until 2011, he served as the publisher of Who’s Who In Black Los Angeles. Samad has also been a syndicated columnist, and an opinion leader, publishing articles in newspapers and websites nationwide.

Samad has membership in the Phi Beta Sigma and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities, and has served as a past master of Free and Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliation. He has also been involved with the American Political Science Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. Samad was the Los Angeles NAACP branch president from 1988 to 1989, and, since 1999, he has served as the managing director and host of the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles, a monthly public affairs forum that discusses critical issues impacting urban communities. He also served as the president and chairman of the board of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, Inc. from 2007 to 2009.

Samad has received over 200 awards and citations for his community advocacy work, including elevation to the 33rd and last degree in 1994, the prestigious 2007 Drum Major Award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, and 2008’s Member of the Year from the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.

Anthony Asadullah Samad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 16, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.294

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/16/2013

Last Name

Samad

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Asadullah

Schools

Claremont Graduate University

California State University, Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Los Angeles High School

24th Street Elementary School

P.S. 124 Silas B. Dutcher School

John Adams Middle School

First Name

Anthony

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SAM05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

God Doesn’t Put Any More On You Than You Can Bear

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/11/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Journalist and political science professor Anthony Samad (1957 - ) authored numerous political columns and scholarly publications, including '50 Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality in America.' He also founded the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles.

Employment

Los Angeles Community College District

Samad & Associates

Freelance Journalist

Liberty Finance Management

Founders Savings & Loan

Beneficial Financial Company

California State University, Northridge

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641869">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony Samad's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641870">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641871">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641872">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641873">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad describes his father's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641874">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad talks about his parents' marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641875">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad remembers lessons from his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641876">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad describes his community in Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641877">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641878">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Anthony Samad describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641879">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Anthony Samad recalls moving to Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641880">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Anthony Samad remembers his first impressions of California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641881">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers the Watts riots in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641882">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad describes the impact of the Watts riots</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641883">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his early educational experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641884">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641885">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad talks about his early admiration of Thurgood Marshall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641886">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad remembers his family's involvement with the NAACP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641887">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad talks about his love of reading</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641888">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about his middle school gym teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641889">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad talks about his favorite athletes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641890">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad talks about his high school basketball career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641891">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad remembers Los Angeles High School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641892">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad talks about his early awareness of black politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641893">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad remembers his college recruitment offers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641894">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad recalls the development of his political consciousness, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641895">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad recalls the development of his political consciousness, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641896">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad talks about the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641897">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad remembers joining the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641898">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad recalls his decision to study broadcasting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641899">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Anthony Samad talks about the changes in black identity during the 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641900">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Anthony Samad recalls his mentors at California State University, Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641901">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers earning a master's degree in public administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641902">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls founding the Liberty Finance Management Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641903">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad recalls his introduction to the Nation of Islam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641904">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about police violence against African Americans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641905">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad recalls his election as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641906">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad describes his challenges as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641907">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad describes his challenges as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641908">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about a personal scandal, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641909">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad talks about a personal scandal, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641910">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad recalls the start of his career as a newspaper columnist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641911">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls his conversion to Islam and return to Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641912">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes the work of Samad and Associates</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641913">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad remembers his consulting clients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641914">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad remembers the riots in Los Angeles, California in 1992</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641915">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad describes the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots of 1992</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641916">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641917">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641918">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers becoming a political science professor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641919">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls founding the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641920">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad remembers the speakers at the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641921">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about the structure of the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641922">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad reflects upon the importance of the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641923">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad remembers earning his Ph.D. degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641924">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad describes the social regression that followed the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641925">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about his book, 'Saving the Race, Daily Affirmations for Young Black Males'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641926">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad describes his recent publications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641927">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad talks about the history of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641928">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad talks about the history of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641929">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his current book projects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641930">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641931">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641932">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641933">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641934">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Anthony Samad talks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Anthony Samad talks about police violence against African Americans
Transcript
Let me go back a little bit to the assassinations of Malcolm X and Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.].$$ Okay.$$And I have a note here that both of those assassinations affected you when you were young. So, well tell us about--what did you know about Malcolm X when you were growing up?$$ I had heard of Malcolm X, but I have no recollection of hearing about his assassination at the time that it happened. I remember talking about it and hearing about it maybe a year or two later as the pro black radical movement began to take hold in Los Angeles [California] and the Panther [Black Panther Party] movement became significant in Los Angeles. Then I would hear references to Malcolm X and they killed Malcolm that kind of thing. However, the two most significant generational effects of my life happened November 22nd, 1963, and April 4th, 1968. I remember both of those days like they happened yesterday. It was like the world stopped. I remember them letting out school. I was still in New York [New York] when President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] was killed. I remember the principal coming over the loud speaker and saying, telling the teachers that school is being dismissed, that the children's parents will pick them up outside [of P.S. 124, Silas B. Dutcher School, Brooklyn, New York]. I remember going outside and seeing our parents lined up on the curb and mothers crying and that kind of thing and then the teachers whispering to one another and then the teachers started crying. And then when I got home, that's when my mother [Margaret Davis] told me that the president had been killed. On the day that Martin Luther King was killed, I remember a very, very loud reaction. It was like the whole community came out on their lawns. Everybody ran out of their house screaming, "They killed him." At that point, we lived on Hobart [Boulevard], and it was like the neighborhood mourned together and it was something that I had never experienced, not even with the Kennedy death. I'd been blessed in my family not to have a lot of death. The first death that I was exposed to was the passing of my grandfather on my father's side [John Essex, Jr.], and he died around 1965, '66 [1966], and it, it was, you know, he seemed old so it seemed like just a natural course of life, but you know to see someone in the prime of their lives cut down as Kennedy and King were that brought a different social reality to me that people who do good assume some risks and those risks include death. And this is where you begin now to have conversations with your peers. Generally anytime death is mentioned in your family, it's usually by an older person trying to sit down and console or explain that grandma went to heaven, grandpa went to heaven, that kind of thing. But, to be indoctrinated to political assassinations, you know, I was twelve years old, thirteen years old when King was killed. So before you have reached pub- puberty, you have this political reality as a child that in America death can come upon you for speaking truth to power or for trying to do the right thing or just for being African American in some parts of the country was a sobering reality. It was one that really kind of shaped my worldview.$How were the first few years of Liberty Finance Management [Liberty Finance Management Group, Los Angeles, California]? How--?$$ It was, it was actually good. It allowed me to sustain myself. I will say that I probably never really gave it my full attention because it was at that time I also took a position, an officer's position, in the Los Angeles NAACP [NAACP Los Angeles Branch, Los Angeles, California] in 1986. So, it allowed me to take care of my family and while I pursued my community activism. That was the beginning of my real community activism.$$Okay, now what was the Los Angeles NAACP like when you joined? Who was in it and what were the issues?$$ I became a part of a new wave of leaders. The branch had pretty much died. I mean they had very, very few members, and there was a gentleman by the name of John McDonald who was responsible for revitalizing the NAACP. And the revitalization of the NAACP was phenomenal 'cause he brought a lot of young people including myself to the branch, and he grew the branch from nearly eight hundred members to almost fifteen thousand members. John McDonald passed away in December of 1986 [sic. 1985] at the age of thirty-five. He died of a heart attack at Christmastime.$$This is in 19--?$$ Eighty-six [1986].$$Eighty-six [1986], okay so this is shortly after he brought you in.$$ Yeah, after he pulled me in. So, all of us basically took an oath to stay engaged and try to, you know, keep John's dream alive. And this was also the period of time in which you began to see a significant shift in Los Angeles [California] in terms of the way police were treating people. Police abuse and misconduct was on the rise. We had a police chief by the name of Daryl Gates who essentially took a paramilitary stand against the black community. You know he created this thing called the battering ram. You began to see the vestiges of the cocaine and the crack movement began to come into the African American community and so, and then you began to see the rise of the black gang movement in the black community.$$Now this is, this is an era when out on the East Coast crack cocaine was coming into Washington, D.C., you know some of the East Coast cities. It hadn't reached Chicago [Illinois] yet, but was it doing the same thing on the West Coast?$$ Yeah, it was just beginning to creep in. It, it probably took five years to take hold, so by the early '90s [1990s] it was here, but you, you could see the vestiges of it in '86 [1986], '87 [1987], '88 [1988] and so you began to see LAPD [Los Angeles Police Department] take a more aggressive position. So, as vice president of the NAACP, I took on major issues with respect to economic discrimination and police abuse.$$Okay, LAPD has a long history of antagonism--$$ Oh yeah.$$--with people of color in Los Angeles.$$ Oh going back to the 1920s you know.$$Right.$$ In almost every riot whether it was the black community or Latino community, because remember the zoot suit riots occurred in the 1930s [sic. 1943], and I think that you know even though the Watts riots of '65 [1965] were oftentimes seen as the flashpoint of police misconduct, there had been many, many riots in Los Angeles and when I say many riots you know small conflicts with the police that didn't blow up into full scale riots.$$Yeah, not the, you know--$$ Earlier than 1965, way earlier.$$There's the photo of Malcolm X with a picture of a brother that was shot.$$ Well when the, the, when the police attacked the mosque [Mosque No. 27; Temple No. 27, Los Angeles, California] in 1962 and then of course they attacked the Panthers [Black Panther Party] in 1970 on, on 41st [Street] and Central [Avenue]. They shot out the, the Panther office, you know so, you know they, they have been very aggressive. In the 1980s, they, they had become paramilitary, you know, because Daryl Gates is the police chief responsible for creating SWAT [Special Weapons and Tactics], you know which is, you know the marksmen teams that you know take out snipers and those kinds of things, but that whole set up was perfected on the black community; you know it was perfected on the black community.

Roosevelt Calbert

Physicist and education administrator Dr. Roosevelt Calbert was born on November 13, 1931 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. After graduating from Cameron St. High School, Dr. Calbert attended Jackson State University, where he earned his B.S. degree in science. He went on to receive his M.A. degree in science for teaching from the University of Michigan.Then, he attended the University of Kansas to study plasma physics. He earned his M.S. degree in physics (1969) and his Ph.D. degree in physics (1971).

Early in his career, Dr. Calbert served as director of the Cooperative Academic Planning (CAP) Program at the Institute for Services to Education where he developed curriculum change in black colleges. In 1975, Dr. Calbert began his long career at the National Science Foundation (NSF), joining NSF's Directorate for Science and Engineering Education. Dr. Calbert held many positions over his twenty-four year career with NSF, including senior program analyst in the Office of Planning and Resources Management, agency representative for the White House Initiative of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), section head of Minority Programs and deputy director of the Division of Human Resource Development.

Dr. Calbert's role at NSF was based on his commitment to improving educational opportunities for minority students. He established several programs that are geared toward science, engineering, and mathematics education for underrepresented students. In 1992, he became a member of the Senior Executive Service. Calbert retired as NSF’s director of the Division of Human Resource Development in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) in 1999. In addition to his work at NSF, Calbert has served on the faculty at both Alcorn State University and Alabama State University. He published more than fifty academic articles and presented at professional conferences.

Dr. Calbert received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the National Science Foundation Director's Equal Opportunity Achievement Award and the Senior Executive Service Performance Award. In 1986, he received a Presidential Citation Award from Jackson State University as an outstanding alumnus. In 2007, he was inducted into The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. In addition, he was awarded the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award, the agency’s highest non-monetary honor. This award is given for exceptional leadership, program development or improvement, service in the public interest, or similar contributions that substantially benefit science or engineering, science or engineering education, NSF, or the general public.

Dr. Calbert lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife Thelma. He has four children, eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Calbert passed away on June 7, 2018.

Dr. Roosevelt Calbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.153

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2012

Last Name

Calbert

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Jackson State University

University of Michigan

University of Kansas

Public Elementary School

Cameron Street High School

First Name

Roosevelt

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

CAL03

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Massanutten, Virginia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/13/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Death Date

6/7/2018

Short Description

Physicist and academic administrator Roosevelt Calbert (1931 - 2018) led a twenty-four year career at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he established many minority science education programs.

Employment

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Institute for Services to Education

Alabama State University

Alcorn State University

Jim Hill High School

Clarksdale High School

Favorite Color

Royal Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3520,75:5956,89:6236,95:6460,100:13389,199:21050,302:23140,313:23764,329:33140,429:36632,504:43616,612:60284,877:66070,919:77930,990:81556,1064:85964,1128:86784,1139:89688,1157:99615,1247:102845,1286:107862,1325:108232,1367:118516,1517:118832,1522:139080,1734:165895,1951:169210,2054:179789,2228:185931,2346:187923,2374:210051,2587:210486,2593:213792,2641:215445,2670:218930,2701:219634,2720:220514,2753:234773,2891:239279,3035:240280,3052:250816,3194:256313,3302:274860,3505:278913,3599:279411,3607:280075,3615:280490,3621:283550,3670$0,0:3056,9:6605,47:7697,59:14284,144:22583,264:23766,277:29317,465:57888,737:58416,744:58856,750:67180,893:78617,1031:79408,1043:95103,1178:96582,1198:112290,1559:132503,1810:156052,2037:157540,2060:158191,2068:158842,2076:171308,2235:174660,2331:182060,2471:200919,2689:202939,2783:215640,3013:224560,3079:225600,3095:225920,3100:226240,3105:240690,3389:247720,3458:250010,3490
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22417">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert slates the interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22418">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert shares his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22419">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22420">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22421">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22422">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his family and childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22423">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about growing up in Canton, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22424">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert describes the sights, sounds and smells of his growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22425">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his interests in television and music whilegrowing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22426">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his parents' disinterest in religion and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22427">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his memories of his childhood schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22428">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his high school experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22429">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his preparation for college and his experience at Jackson State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22430">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his experiences at Jackson State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22431">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his photostatic memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22432">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about teaching and his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22433">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his wife and his experience teaching</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22434">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22435">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about an event during the Civil Rights Movement and his experience at the University of Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22436">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about the Ku Klux Klan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22437">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his dissertation and experience at the University of Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22438">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his professional activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22439">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his work to improve resources available to black colleges</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22440">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about science funding and career at the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22441">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about science programs at HBCUs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22442">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his career at the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22443">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roosevelt Calbert reflects on his career and talks about his retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22444">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his work ethic as well as his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22445">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roosevelt Calbert talks about his family and hopes for the future of science education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/22446">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roosevelt Calbert describes his photos</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Roosevelt Calbert talks about his photostatic memory
Roosevelt Calbert talks about his wife and his experience teaching
Transcript
So you had really a photographic memory in terms of--$$I had a photostatic memory, and I could just remember things. I could just, the teacher would sit and look at me 'cause I could--he asked me a question once when I was a freshman. It was in the biology class. And the biology teacher asked me a question. Nobody knew the answer, and he finally called on me. And I still don't know why. I find myself reading out of the book in my mind. I was going from word to word out of the book. I didn't have the book. I had, you know, I had read it earlier. And he stood there with his mouth open (laughter), said, you know, what is going on? And I didn't know what a photostatic memory was. I found out later, of course, that's what was going on. So that happened. Now, I don't wanna jump ahead of you, but I just wanna tie the story together. When I went to graduate school, the same thing happened in taking physics. I'd take an exam and I could hear, get a question so clearly that he was, the teacher would sit and look at me and ask me how did I do that. Of course, he knew how I did it, but I mean he, it was a rhetorical question. And so that, my mind got me through, having that photostatic memory. When I got ready to get a, choose someone to be my advisor for my dissertation, I went to the department head. And I had a course under him, in a course in physics. And he'd give an open-book exam. He said, okay, everybody come in, and he would question you and we open book. I didn't use the open book. I could state back to him every formula that I had, and he stood there with his mouth open because he did not believe I was doing what I was doing. I didn't know what I was doing. I, all I know, I would study very hard. And the next thing I know, he said, yeah, you, (unclear), you know, I'll be your mentor. And that's how I got my PhD is, you know, by his, he was head of the department of physics. He realized the ability I had to do that.$$Now, that's something. That's quite an ability.$$Well, let me give you one other story. And I hope I relate it because I don't wanna forget it. When I took my comprehensive, my written comprehensive, I went into the class. And you have these ten people sitting around you, a board. One guy told me, whom I liked very well, and he liked me, he asked me a question about potential and kinetic energy. And he said how do you know you can convert, you had a conservation of energy, think of a formula where you have potential and tell me how you convert it to kinetic energy. And for the life of me, I had never done that problem before, but something told me what to do, and I need to do this. And, there I was, you'd have to see this. This board, going from side, the board, from side to side of the board. And all of my professors sitting around had their mouths open. They don't believe that I'm doing what I'm doing. And working the problems, when I got to the end, I started out with MGH [MGH = mass, gravity acceleration, and height], all at once the kinetic energy fell out at the end about three blackboards, the answer fell out. Well, at that time, I knew then I was gonna be able to go ahead and continue. So it was those kind of events--I was discussing with my wife now, at the time, I didn't realize what was going on fully.$$That's--$$I don't mean to cut you off, but--$$No, no, that's interesting.$$--I wanted to tie that in a little later on if I forget to mention it to you.$$So, now, did they--you graduated '54' [1954], right--$$Yes.$$--from Jackson State [College].$$Yes.$$And that was the year of Supreme Court decision, "Brown vs. Board [of Education]".$$Yes.$Okay, so when you graduated though, you taught high school first, right?$$Yes.$$You taught high school, oh, now, were you valedictorian of your class in, at Jackson State [University] as well?$$Yes.$$Okay, all right. And, now, I didn't ask you this. But did the school bring speakers to campus to speak to the students, to motivate them and that sort of thing? Did you have a series--$$Yes, yes, we, they would bring some of the top poets. I don't remember all their names at this point, but I remember that--$$Was it Langston Hughes--$$Yeah, Langston Hughes, and there were two or three others they would bring. I just don't remember off the top of my head. And some of the top singers. For example, Leontyne Price played for my eighth grade graduation. (Unclear) that was eighth grade. She was a senior. I met her again when I finished college and I'd been teaching, my first year teaching. I came back and my wife and I met up at a concert of hers. Now, Leontyne, the one thing I wanted to do was to hear her on the stage in an opera, and I never had that opportunity to do that. And I really hate that.$$Leontyne Price, Langston Hughes, other people did come to campus. As the top student, did you have any role when the--$$Oh, (unclear) now, I wish my wife would find that picture, at that time, Marion Anderson came to our campus. And my wife, they appointed several of the top women students to work with Ms. Anderson, you know, to help her, you know, press her dress. She wouldn't let them press it, but they had to do so. But you see that picture, my wife had a pose, you would think that she was Ms. Anderson (laughter), and (laughter) (unclear), but that's another story. But we had a chance to meet people like that on the black campuses. And that's something that was different, that if you had gone to a predominantly white school. I may have met some people. I'm not saying I wouldn't meet anyone, but the opportunity to meet people like that.$$Okay, yeah, I thought I'd ask because of that. Now, you mentioned you met your wife at Cameron Street School.$$Sixth grade.$$And I know you all didn't get married then so--$$No.$$--when was it that you all finally got married?$$Well, we finished Jackson State in 1954. We were married in 1955.$$Okay.$$And we've been married since then.$$Okay, now, were you in love with her all through grade school and all the way up through--$$Were we what?$$Were you in love with her all through grade school and all the way up through--$$I, we were good friends, but, no, we thought we were in love when we were about, I think about juniors in college or something. We (laughter), my other girlfriend I had during the rest of the time was her roommate. But that's another story (laughter). You don't wanna put that in your (laughter).$$No, no, you have to, when this interview's over, we don't have to--I don't wanna get you in trouble (laughter).$$(Laughter) No, no, we were, we became serious when we, I guess we were actually juniors in college when we became serious.$$Okay, so, all right 1955, you're teaching at Jim Hill High School. Now, where is that? Where is Jim Hill?$$That's Jackson, Mississippi.$$Jackson, okay. And you teach--$$I taught in Clarksdale in 1954, '55' [1955], Clarksdale, Mississippi.$$Oh, that's right. That's the first one, Clarksdale, Mississippi, okay.$$Yeah, and then I went to, I came to, went to Jim Hill in 1955, and I stayed there, I think about four years, something like that.

Capt. Avis T. Bailey

Nonprofit chief executive, captain and ship pilot Avis T. Bailey was born on May 19, 1949, in Washington, D.C. to Roosevelt and Dorothy Bailey. He was raised by his mother after his parents separated when he was four years old. The youngest of eight children, Bailey was a precocious child, who learned American history through self-guided tours of Washington, D.C.’s monuments and museums. As a student at Banneker Junior High School in Washington, D.C., Bailey was selected from a citywide pool to participate in the First Scholastic Honors Program. His participation in the program continued until his graduation from Cardozo Senior High School in 1967.

Bailey was one of seven students selected from 450 applicants to compete for a military academy scholarship. Despite early dreams of becoming an astronaut, Bailey won a scholarship to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. The Merchant Marine Academy was Bailey’s first introduction to integrated education. One of only four African Americans in a student body of 1,000, he was often the object of racist jokes and harassment. As a midshipman at the Academy, Bailey visited more than twenty-three countries and ports of call and studied three foreign languages. In 1972, Bailey earned his B.S. degree in nautical science, becoming the twentieth African American to graduate from the Merchant Marine Academy.

Upon graduation, Sun Oil Company (now SUNOCO) hired Bailey as third mate, making him the company's first African American officer. In 1979, Bailey earned his pilot’s license with the Association of Maryland Pilots and became the first African American in the nation to receive a state-issued pilot’s license. As a ship pilot, Bailey traveled thousands of miles up and down the Chesapeake Bay. He became known by colleagues as “the singing pilot,” who would belt out Johnny Mathis tunes from the helm.

In 2004, Bailey founded the Captain Avis T. Bailey Mariner’s Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to mentor inner-city youth and to educate them about maritime careers. Bailey married Tamara Allenette Durant, a former flight attendant, in 2000. He has three sons, Christopher, Jason and Jarrett Bailey, and two stepsons, Luke and Shannon Durant. Bailey retired from the Association of Maryland Pilots in 2006 after a career that spanned thirty-four years.

Captain Avis T. Bailey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.217

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/28/2007

Last Name

Bailey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Schools

Walker Jones R.H. Terrell Elementary School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Cardozo Senior High School

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Avis

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BAI06

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Don't Stick Your Nose In Other People's Business.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/19/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Corn

Short Description

Captain Capt. Avis T. Bailey (1949 - ) was the first African American officer in the SUNOCO fleet and the first African American to receive a state-issued pilot’s license. In 2004, he founded the Captain Avis T. Bailey Mariner’s Foundation to educate youth about maritime careers.

Employment

Sun Oil Company

Association of Maryland Pilots

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1595,37:63890,635:64490,665:66410,683:75018,799:77864,810:90704,999:91194,1005:91684,1011:95310,1078:98100,1086:100884,1132:116092,1310:116460,1315:117104,1323:117656,1330:118024,1335:129013,1505:143452,1652:153792,1788:155186,1810:163678,1898:202065,2411:204155,2439:208065,2457:214065,2588:228533,2786:229170,2794:246596,2990:249482,3094:256736,3306:265121,3402:275058,3451:277414,3494:287540,3636$0,0:8470,136:10270,157:36010,443:36989,456:50331,648:50865,655:51488,664:57418,722:62320,754:62800,766:72652,907:79549,1074:99221,1245:99606,1250:109360,1398:120606,1611:127218,1710:136060,1829:137272,1848:143850,1941:156518,2105:179930,2413:180518,2422:192320,2632:219775,2948:224605,2992:238633,3165:253852,3329:265620,3501:266250,3509:270030,3597:276250,3660
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551969">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Capt. Avis T. Bailey's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551970">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551971">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551972">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551973">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551974">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551975">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551976">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls the gangs in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551977">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes Walker-Jones Elementary School in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551978">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his father's departure from the household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551979">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his household</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551980">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls visiting historic landmarks in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551981">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his early experiences as a student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551982">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes segregation in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551983">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers his early influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551984">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his commitment to education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551985">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers the summer program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551986">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his activities at Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551987">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551988">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers Principal Bennetta Bullock Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551989">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his decision to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551990">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his decision to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551991">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his experiences at the United States Merchant Marine Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551992">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his history professor at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551993">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers his English professor at the United States Merchant Marine Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551994">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his first year at the United States Merchant Marine Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551995">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about the U.S. Merchant Marine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551996">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls the riots of 1968 in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551997">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers his return to the United States Merchant Marine Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551998">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers traveling abroad with the U.S. Merchant Marine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/551999">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey reflects upon his experiences abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552000">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes the countries he visited with the U.S. Merchant Marine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552001">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552002">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls the initiation process at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552003">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his graduation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552004">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers protesting the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552005">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls working for Sun Transport Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552006">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers meeting his first wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552007">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his decision to become a ship pilot, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552008">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his decision to become a ship pilot, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552009">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his role models</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552010">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers his experiences in Venezuela</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552011">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes the role of women in the U.S. Merchant Marine, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552012">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes the role of women in the U.S. Merchant Marine, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552013">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his political beliefs during the 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552014">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his experiences as a junior ship pilot</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552015">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his rapport with foreign ship captains</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552016">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his community in Reisterstown, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552017">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey recalls his return to Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552018">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his experiences as a ship pilot during the 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552019">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his musical interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552020">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his love of music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552021">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Captain Avis T. Bailey talks about his second wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552022">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes the Captain Avis T. Bailey Mariners Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552023">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Captain Avis T. Bailey talks about the importance of education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552024">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552025">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552026">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552027">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552028">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his organizational memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552029">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/552030">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Capt. Avis T. Bailey narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
Capt. Avis T. Bailey describes his experiences as a ship pilot during the 1990s
Capt. Avis T. Bailey talks about his love of music
Transcript
Any highlights in that period in the early '90s [1990s]?$$No, just--the highlights one of my favorite stories is is sailing the, the motor vessel Proof of Gallon [ph.] which was a spirits carrier. It carried scotches and bourbons whatever and small ship under two hundred feet long and I went to the ship and the--and I saw there were no tugboats around. I said so I asked the captain, I said, "Captain are you gonna undock it?" He said, "No you undock it." So I looked around and said okay well the wind was blowing off the dock so I said captain, I said, "You have to pay extra for me to undock." He said, "Okay you undock." I said, "Okay." So I put out a security call and said, "We're ready to undock here," and so I asked the captain one more time I said, "You know you're gonna pay for this? You sure you don't want to undock?" He said, "No you, you undock." "Okay." I said, "Let go all lines." So he let go all the lines and the lines were coming in the wind blew us off the dock about fifty feet. I said, "Pull ahead," (laughter). I said this was the most easiest undocking I've ever done you know. Okay. So they paid for it so. Okay I started not to charge him but I said no this is what what you have to do.$$Wow.$$But then again you have other things that are much harder to have a nine hundred eighty foot ship and the captain turn to me and says, "Captain can you un- can you dock it?" When he tried, he was gonna try to dock it but the fog shut in and you know we're pretty close to the dock this time and I said we did and I turned the ship around to go along side and he and then the fog lifted just when we were about twenty feet off dock. He says, "Well I got you now," but I said, "You're still gonna have to pay me for what I did so." Yeah.$$That's exciting stuff.$$Yeah sometimes it is exciting but sometimes it's a little hair raising. Had the Hyundai New World, a brand new ship on its maiden voyage and it was a coal ship (unclear) thirty-six feet I was taking it out and I just happened to leave my handheld radio in the office. I said well they got radios on the ship. But it was a brand new ship and they didn't have time, they didn't really charge the batteries for the backup and everything like that so, no communication. The ship everything stopped, blacked out and so we were in the main channel and the tugboats had left and so I went out there trying to flag them down to come back because there was only one other ship on the anchorage. And there's five anchorage sitting in Baltimore [Maryland], one ship on an anchorage and of course we're heading towards that ship. So I dropped the anchor at short stay and you know try to hold on with anchor and it's still going, still going so I dropped the other anchor and finally we stopped about seventy-five feet off the other ship and so.$$Close call.$$Yeah, so the engineers got the steam back up or the engines running, pulled up the anchors and the tugboat pushed us back into the channel and we went down the bay [Chesapeake Bay] and I got off at the mid bay station. We had mid bay station at this time, so in Solomons Island [Solomons, Maryland] so I got off there and Captain Hope [ph.] had come on. He was Kings Point [United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York] graduate also. He took the ship the rest of the way down the bay without incident but then he read when that ship was going into Brazil I believe it ran aground and broke in two. Lost the cargo, lost the ship too, brand new ship. Same thing happened everything went out.$$Millions of dollars.$$That can happen (laughter).$$Unbelievable.$So you were talking about music and your love of singing. Who were some of your influences?$$Johnny Mathis (laughter). Yeah, yeah. I like, I like singers that can pull up a chair and just entertain you with their voice. Sam Cooke was one and I used to love music because when back when I was a kid actually in I guess '59 [1958], '58 [1958] I used to sell glossies there at the Howard Theatre [Washington, D.C.] with a Mr. Gaffney [ph.]. Glossies are pictures of the acts that are there and I got to see a lot of the, you know, the James Brown revues and [HistoryMaker] Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Coasters, The Moonglows you know. People that and also my, my brother-in-law my--Earline's [Earline Bailey] husband used to fill in for the some of the guys if they were missing a guy you know with The Moonglows or, or The Clovers, he would fill in for them.$$Did you get to do any performing outside of the Merchant Marine Academy [United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York]?$$No, not I mean other than you know doing karaoke and stuff and like I seen at the Hotel Del Lago [Maracaibo, Venezuela] but professionally no. I might--I guess my biggest thing was singing at the, what is it the benefit there in New York City [New York, New York] at the Madison Square Garden, we sang there. Mickey Rooney introduced us and of that so. It was, it was nice.$$When was this?$$This is back in maybe '71 [1971], '70 [1970], '71 [1971].$$And aboard the ship who listens to you when you were singing aboard the ship?$$The, the quartermaster, the captain who was up there, whoever is up there on the bridge you know. 'Cause I'd be singing on, on the ship there. I guess it stems from when I was with Sun Oil Company [Sun Oil Company, Inc.; Sunoco, Inc.] because Sun Oil we, at that time a radio was not allowed on, on the bridge, radio for music that is. And I didn't need it because I knew most of the lyrics and just sang when I felt like singing and had this one quartermaster that he, he liked to sing too. So he used to sing in a country western band. Well I wasn't that keen on country western sung on my bridge so I told him he'd have to go out on the wing of the bridge to sing. But he said that's unfair so I challenged him to a sing off and said that, "I know more country western songs than you do." And I proved it. And so.$$Well what did you sing?$$Well see the thing about it back in 1963 [sic. 1962] Ray Charles came out with an album called 'Modern Sounds in Country Western Music' [sic. 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music'] and I know every song on the album so it was a no brainer for me.$$Are you a tenor?$$I've sang first tenor, second tenor, baritone and bass.$$Can you give us a bar or so of Ray Charles or Johnny Mathis?$$(Laughter) Let me see Johnny Mathis, (singing) "Arianne's an April morning that come slipping through my window, she's a smell of coffee brewing on a quiet rainy Sunday and the purring of a kitten that has made my neck a pillow for its bed." How is that?$$Lovely.$$That's "Arianne," that's one of my favorite by him.$$Thank you.$$Yeah.$$So that helped you as you traveled up and down the bay [Chesapeake Bay]?$$Yeah (laughter). I mean it you know it, it keeps you awake and cause see like I say it's a long bay I mean we've had that's why we have a mid bay station now down in Solomons Island [Solomons, Maryland] so the, the pilot can get relief if he needs to because it takes anywhere like I said from eight to sixteen hours to get up the bay depending on the speed of the ship. It's one hundred fifty-one miles. It's the longest pilotage for one pilot in the U.S. so.