The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Kenneth Standard

Lawyer Kenneth G. Standard is a prominent lawyer and diversity activist. As a child, civil rights activism was an important part of his family life; his elder sister worked for the national office of the NAACP, and from a young age he heard about and met NAACP lawyers like Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston. Standard graduated from Harvard University with his A.B. degree, and went on to receive his LL.B. degree from Harvard School of Law in 1962.

In 1967, Standard was hired as an attorney with the Bristol-Myers pharmaceutical company. In 1968, he was promoted to counsel of the products division; by 1970, he had been promoted again to become the division’s vice president. Standard continued his legal education, receiving his LL.M. degree from New York University’s School of Law in 1971. In 1988, he began working at the Consolidated Edison Company (Con Ed) as the assistant general counsel for labor relations. In 1999, Standard joined the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he served as special counsel. From 2004 to 2005, he served as president of the New York State Bar Association, and focused on increasing diversity within the legal field. In 2004, Standard joined the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green as a member in its National Labor & Employment Practice. During this time, he also developed and chaired the firm’s nationwide diversity committee.

In 2006, the New York State Bar Association created the Kenneth G. Standard Internship program in his honor, which is specifically designed to support law students from a diverse range of backgrounds. In 2011, Standard received the American Bar Association’s Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity; and, in 2013, he was elected fellow by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Standard and his late wife, Valerie Ann Salmon, have a daughter, Alison, and two sons, Devin and Trevor.

Kenneth Standard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.003

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2014

Last Name

Standard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 47

P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey Elementary School

P.S. 45 Horace E Greene School

Boys High School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

New York University School of Law

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STA10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/4/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Short Description

Lawyer Kenneth Standard (1936 - ) has been an employment and labor lawyer for over forty years, and served as president of the New York State Bar Association.

Employment

United States Securities & Exchange Commision

New York State

New York Telephone Company

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

New York City Board of Education

ConEdison

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Epstein Becker & Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:288,2:1268,13:3816,43:4992,100:19520,167:20160,177:21670,182:25984,211:27180,226:37002,366:38010,379:39186,402:39858,412:45318,498:55060,544:55420,549:56140,561:56500,566:57580,581:70719,739:71522,753:71814,758:72252,765:75829,833:76121,838:94955,1069:95480,1077:96005,1085:96380,1091:96680,1096:98255,1133:108005,1317:108305,1322:113880,1341:114618,1352:115192,1361:119702,1439:121506,1477:122982,1503:123638,1515:124130,1522:132361,1611:133025,1620:133523,1628:134021,1636:134353,1641:136460,1661:137120,1674:137360,1679:138080,1702:138320,1707:143120,1732:149324,1811:149794,1818:151580,1844:152238,1853:153648,1872:154682,1886:155058,1891:159736,1909:165620,1961:167860,1996:168740,2009:169220,2021:169940,2032:174740,2096:175944,2111:176532,2119:181488,2174:182412,2189:183168,2201:183588,2207:184008,2216:184428,2222:184848,2228:188208,2297:189300,2313:190644,2334:191064,2340:194022,2367:195426,2399:196128,2410:196596,2417:197220,2426:198780,2472:201447,2496:202515,2517:203138,2526:203672,2534:206342,2571:209724,2605:210525,2616:210970,2622:216086,2700:218504,2739:218894,2745:219284,2751:223028,2824:223574,2833:224042,2842:224588,2850:225446,2869:225914,2876:226460,2884:229620,2895:231220,2922:231620,2934:232320,2943:233120,2953:236320,3002:238500,3007$0,0:7948,137:10828,191:14956,279:17836,372:33986,563:34490,571:34994,580:35714,592:38738,648:39170,655:39674,664:40394,676:41618,690:44786,786:45218,793:45722,802:52702,851:53318,866:53934,879:54214,885:54606,920:56566,951:56958,960:61160,996:62120,1010:62840,1021:63160,1026:63480,1031:67800,1127:68200,1133:74410,1169:75320,1186:76580,1205:77910,1231:81763,1258:83155,1276:84982,1302:86548,1323:90040,1335:90760,1347:93370,1364:94189,1387:95260,1413:95890,1425:96331,1434:99670,1475:100694,1498:102998,1551:103958,1575:104278,1581:104534,1586:104790,1593:105366,1604:105622,1609:107030,1635:110930,1660:111490,1669:111840,1675:113450,1702:114220,1716:116740,1753:118350,1775:119330,1787:119890,1796:121920,1835:122200,1840:122830,1853:123600,1863:124160,1872:124930,1901:125280,1907:131973,1954:132776,1967:133287,1976:136134,2035:138105,2067:139565,2095:140076,2104:140660,2113:142704,2148:143142,2155:143434,2160:156882,2328:158754,2374:159258,2382:161202,2429:161778,2438:164370,2514:177210,2692:177770,2703:180010,2744:181410,2770:181970,2780:182880,2795:183790,2811:184350,2821:185400,2839:186240,2852:187010,2873:191450,2892
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176864">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Standard's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176865">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176866">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176867">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about his father's service in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176868">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about his Bajan heritage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176869">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about the migration of his paternal aunts from Barbados to Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176870">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176871">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his maternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176872">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176873">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his older siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176874">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176875">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes his childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176876">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard recalls his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176877">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard recalls an experience from his elementary school years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176878">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Kenneth Standard talks about the onset of the Great Depression</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176879">Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Kenneth Standard describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176880">Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Kenneth Standard remembers his eldest sister, Muriel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176881">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about moving to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176882">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the academic influence of his elder sisters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176883">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes spending time with his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176884">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his family's Christmas holiday celebration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176885">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers his elder sister, Phyllis Johnson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176886">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as an Eagle Scout and lifeguard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176887">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard lists his favorite school subjects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176888">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about being awarded his Eagle Scout badge as an adult</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176889">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard talks about his family's eviction in 1954</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176890">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience at P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey elementary school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176891">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard describes Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176892">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about applying to the Naval ROTC program and explains how he financed his college education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176893">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the student body demographic at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1954</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176894">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his suitemates in his freshman dormitory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176895">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers his first weeks as an undergraduate student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176896">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his freshman academic year at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176897">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard explains how he financed his undergraduate and law school education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176898">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes his personal development during his undergraduate years at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176899">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks briefly about playing squash with the Harvard Club of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176900">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his introduction and marriage to his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176901">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard remembers his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176902">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard explains how he avoided the draft</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176903">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the class size, faculty and curriculum at Harvard Law School in 1958</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176904">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard talks about the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176905">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard talks about the absence of discriminatory attitudes from Harvard Law faculty</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176906">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard describes the academic environment at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176907">Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Kenneth Standard describes the black student population at Harvard Law School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176908">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes his jobs between semesters at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176909">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard explains the transition from the LL.B. to the J.D. degree within the legal profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176910">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about the birth of his daughter in 1962</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176911">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes studying for the bar exam</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176912">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an enforcement attorney in 1962</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176913">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure in the New York State Moreland Act Commission legal department</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176914">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard explains how he became a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176915">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his experience as a trial attorney for the New York Telephone Company, and his introduction to judge George Bundy Smith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176916">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his final case with the New York Telephone Company in 1967</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176917">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the legal department at the New York Telephone Company, and joining Bristol-Myers as an assistant staff attorney</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176918">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his career prior to joining Bristol-Myers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176919">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard describes the size and structure of the legal department at Bristol-Myers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176920">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about the involvement of his children at the Bristol-Myers company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176921">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176922">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes the Monarch Crown Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176923">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard describes employee demographics at the Monarch Crown Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176924">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about his promotion to division counsel and division vice president at Bristol-Myers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176925">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at the Bristol-Myers, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176926">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes the nurturing environment at Bristol-Myers, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176927">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes his proudest accomplishments as an employee at the Bristol-Myers Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176928">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard talks about a management overhaul and company reorganization at the Bristol-Myers Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176929">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about his termination from the Bristol-Myers Company in 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176930">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the New York City Board of Education as its director of legal services in 1985</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176931">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at the New York City Board of Education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176932">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Con Edison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176933">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard talks about resolving an employment discrimination lawsuit filed against Con Edison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176934">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm in 2000</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176935">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard describes his volunteer work with BEEP, the Black Executive Exchange Program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176936">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard talks about his involvement with the Harvard Club of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176937">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard describes working at the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176938">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176939">Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176940">Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Kenneth Standard describes the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion plans, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176941">Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Kenneth Standard talks about settling a lawsuit in opposition of the 2003 Harvard clubhouse expansion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176942">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard talks about the additions to the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse and its membership procedures</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176943">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard talks about being elected president of the New York State Bar Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176944">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard talks about black members of the New York State Bar Association and its first black president, Archibald R. Murray</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176945">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard describes his tenure as president of the New York State Bar Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176946">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard remembers an instance of racial profiling against hiim</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176947">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard talks about custodial interrogation and the death of Danroy Henry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176948">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard talks about joining the law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green in 2004</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176949">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Kenneth Standard describes his role as general counsel at Epstein, Becker & Green</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176950">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Kenneth Standard considers retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176951">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Kenneth Standard considers his influence on his children and grandchildren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176952">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon the role his high-quality elementary education played in his success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176953">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard remembers instances of discrimination in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176954">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Kenneth Standard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American demographic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176955">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Kenneth Standard talks about contemporary American social justice efforts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176956">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Kenneth Standard critiques the high cost of legal education and suggests reforms to resolve the unmet legal needs of the public</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176957">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Kenneth Standard considers the factors that contributed to his success</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176958">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Kenneth Standard reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176959">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/176960">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Kenneth Standard narrates his photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Kenneth Standard explains how the Harvard Club of New York clubhouse expansion of 2003 was financed
Kenneth Standard describes his tenure at Bristol-Myers, and his contribution to the organization of the Monarch Crown Corporation
Transcript
I discovered that we had a painting in the clubhouse [Harvard Club of New York, New York, New York] that was worth in the--in the seven figures. We, we got a--we had talked to some agents, art agents about the possibility of selling it. We found that, that they would sell it for us and then their commission would be--it was 10 or 15 percent; I, I can't recall. Then we--and this is all within the first six months of my taking office. We had retained a lawyer who specialized in representing people who have valuable works of art, and he said that he had been contacted by a gallery that had a client who might want to buy the painting, which was called The Chess Game by [John Singer] Sargent, and that the person wanted to see the painting.$$By John Singer Sargent?$$Yes, wanted to see the painting in his home to see how it went with the decor. So we worked out an agreement for him to get the painting on approval. We didn't know who it was; it was an anonymous person, and the painting was shipped out. A day or two after the painting was shipped out, we started getting calls from some members who said I've seen your painting in the Bellagio in Las Vegas [Nevada]. Why is The Chess Game hanging in the Bellagio in Las Vegas? So we didn't respond right away, but we made inquiries; we had our lawyer make inquiries. And it turned out that the person was Steve Wynn, but he didn't want to see it in his home, he wanted to display it in the Bellagio, which was contrary to the agreement that he had signed with us or that had been signed with us on his behalf because he was on disclose. So we directed them to send it back immediately, so the painting was sent back immediately. But this turned out to be a happy aberrational act because our lawyer then said to us, you know, this reminds me that I have a client I think who might be interested and can afford to buy this painting. Let me approach him and see if he is interested. And this client has a foundation, so he did approach the client, the client was interested. The client agreed to buy the painting, $13,500,000 dollars, no 10 percent commission, so we netted $13,500,000 on this painting, which had been given to us about forty or fifty years earlier. It was hanging in our stairway in the front entrance, very accessible to a thief or thieves, no great security. We had a lot of insurance; we were paying about fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year in insurance on it, but it was underappreciated. So I said to the board, I think we need to sell it. I got them to agree, so we sold it, $13,500,000 less $20,000 dollars in legal fees for everything the lawyer had done for us. And so that gave us about 40 percent of the cost of the expansions, which meant that the mortgage could be much smaller. Through prudent management, we also had built up reserve funds, so we had a couple million dollars in cash available to us, so I said, well, let's go ahead and explore with architects the expansion, so we did that.$I would say within six, probably six months of my arrival [at Bristol-Myers, later, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, New York]--$$And you joined in nineteen sixty--$$I--August of '67 [1967].$$Seven, okay.$$Yeah. Yes, and it was a far more generous company than New York Telephone Company [later, Verizon Communications, New York, New York]. They--Bristol-Myers paid much, much better, and keep--there were a lot of other fringe benefits that were not available at the Telephone Company, available at Bristol. So I joined--they also had a policy that all the new lawyers would be sent to law school to learn the kinds of--to deal with the kinds of issues that the company was facing. So I enrolled at NYU [New York University, New York, New York] at the firm's expense. I went down a couple nights a week and I took food, drug, and cosmetic law. I think that was probably the first course I, I took there, and, and I took a number of other courses over the years. And I, like some of the--my predecessors, elected to stay long enough to get an LL.M. [Master of Laws], so that's how I happened to get an LL--LL.M. degree in trade regulation. And so I was preparing myself to do the work as, as I went along and the company was very supportive. We had a change relatively quickly. The man who had been counsel for the division as well as for another division lost the Bristol-Myers Products division and was counsel for just one division, and the lawyer who had been in between me and him was promoted to be counsel of the division, so there was just the two of us then doing that work. Around the same time, I was also asked to help set up a new [U.S.] Military sales organization of all of the products, not simply Bristol-Myers but the Clairol products and Drackett products to Military installations. And a man who had been vice president of sales for products division by the name of [F.] Harry Fletcher, he was the man who was then made the president of this new division, which was called--or a subsidiary--Monarch Crown Corporation, so I helped him to organize that division. He became a lifelong friend of me and his family and my family also became lifelong friends.$$So let me understand something, so you come in 1967. What division are you assigned--I mean you said that--$$I'm--I worked for Bristol-Myers company--$$Right.$$--I'm on the Bristol-Myers company payroll, but I'm assigned to the Bristol-Myers Products division as their lawyer.$$Okay, so you stayed with it, so--$$I stayed with that division during my entire career.$$Okay. And then so, Mr. Flet--you said--$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher.$$Fletcher had been a vice president of sales of Bristol-Myers Products and because of political issues and so on, he lost that position, and then he was given the opportunity to create this new business, which he did very successfully called Monarch Crown Corporation.$$Okay.

Col. Will Gunn

U.S. Air Force Colonel Will A. Gunn was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1959. Gunn graduated with military honors with his B.S. degree in management from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. He went on to attend Harvard Law School where he was elected president of the Harvard Law School Legal Aid Bureau and graduated cum laude with his J.D. degree in 1986. Gunn also earned his LL.M. degree in environmental law from the George Washington University School of Law. His military education included graduating from the Air Command and Staff College in 1993; the Air War College in 1999; and, Industrial College of the Armed Forces with his M.S. degree in national resource strategy in 2002.

In 1990, Gunn was appointed as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of Cabinet Affairs under President George H.W. Bush. In 2003, Gunn was named the first ever Chief Defense Counsel in the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions. In that position, he supervised all defense activities for detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison camp selected for trial before military commissions. This was the first proceedings of this to be conducted by the United States in over sixty years. Gunn retired from the military in 2005 after more than twenty years of service and was named president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington where he led one of the largest affiliates of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 2008, he founded the Gunn Law Firm to provide local representation to military members and veterans in a range of administrative matters. Returning to government in 2009, Gunn was appointed General Counsel in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. He has published articles in the Ohio Northern Law Review and the Air Force Law Review.Gunn served as chairman of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Youth at Risk. In addition, he served on the boards of Christian Service Charities and the Air Force Academy Way of Life Alumni Group.

Gunn has also received numerous awards and honors including the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau’s Outstanding Alumni Award, the Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Career Military Lawyer Award. In 2002, he was elected to the National Bar Association’s Military Law Section Hall of Fame. Gunn’s military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Colonel Will A. Gunn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/26/2013

9/27/2019

Last Name

Gunn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Industrial College of the Armed Forces

George Washington University

Harvard Law School

Air Force Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Will

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

GUN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Just Do It and I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/14/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Military officer and defense lawyer Col. Will Gunn (1958 - ) is the first ever Chief Defense Counsel for the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions.

Employment

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Gunn Law Firm

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington

Office of Military Communications, U.S. Department of Defense

United States Air Force

Pope Air Force Base, United States Air Force

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3535,47:4850,54:5760,67:9127,124:10310,149:10765,155:15770,236:16225,242:20775,316:22868,351:40830,519:41220,525:42156,538:44496,577:44886,584:45276,592:45744,599:49644,643:50112,651:56100,692:56440,698:56984,709:60370,743:60882,752:62098,771:62674,782:63506,809:63762,814:64914,838:65234,844:65746,855:66322,866:66706,873:67602,891:67922,897:70960,918:71325,924:71690,930:72055,939:73004,960:74980,987:75540,996:75860,1001:77860,1071:82740,1136:84260,1162:84660,1168:86420,1198:86740,1203:88100,1231:91460,1239:92090,1248:92720,1257:93980,1275:94970,1285:96500,1307:97850,1333:98210,1338:98930,1348:102080,1385:106300,1392:109704,1437:110164,1443:110716,1451:111544,1461:112096,1468:112648,1475:115860,1499:116685,1511:117885,1532:120360,1573:121935,1613:122610,1622:123660,1644:125385,1671:125835,1678:127860,1706:128535,1717:128835,1728:134107,1763:134545,1770:135056,1779:138779,1840:139436,1852:142940,1920:144765,1960:145714,1978:146882,1997:148342,2030:157300,2094:161170,2175$0,0:8966,131:9396,137:38060,501:39820,540:43420,616:56138,757:57178,774:57802,780:78292,1024:86660,1107:94260,1246:97140,1293:97540,1299:98580,1314:99540,1330:100020,1343:109001,1432:122618,1643:142326,1908:166612,2240:170512,2306:170824,2311:177134,2366:188722,2486:198116,2642:200195,2682:221930,3014:231355,3090:271800,3590:272265,3596:273939,3616:279320,3657
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35202">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Will Gunn's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35203">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Will Gunn lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35204">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35205">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about the significance of Lowndes County as the Black Belt of Alabama and for the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35206">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his maternal grandparents' jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35207">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mother's growing up in Birmingham, Alabama and her career in social services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35208">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his family's move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1962</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35209">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Will Gunn describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35210">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his father's growing up in Opelika, Alabama, his education at Miles College, and his profession as a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35211">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Will Gunn describes how his parents met, married and moved the family to Fort Lauderdale</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35212">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Will Gunn describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35213">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Will Gunn describes his family's road trip the summer of 1967, and his inspiration to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35214">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Will Gunn talks about his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35215">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Will Gunn describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35216">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his childhood home and neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35217">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35218">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about going to Dania Beach, Florida as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35219">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his experience in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35220">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his family's involvement in Greater New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35221">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about why he aspired to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35222">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interests as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35223">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Will Gunn recalls the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35224">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience in middle school in Davie, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35225">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his height and his interest in basketball</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35226">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35227">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35228">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his academic performance and extracurricular activities in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35229">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Will Gunn recalls following the Watergate hearings on TV and his desire to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35230">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35231">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interest in applying to the ROTC programs in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35232">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35233">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35234">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35235">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35236">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35237">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about playing Flicker Ball at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35238">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to become an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35239">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about various career paths after training at the U.S. Air Force Academy training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35240">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his instructors, General Malham Wakin and Captain Curtis Martin at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35241">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about academics at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35242">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about playing basketball at the U.S. Air Force Academy and becoming class president</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35243">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about the U.S Air Force Academy's football and basketball teams</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35244">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about getting into Harvard Law School on the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35245">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35246">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about his first assignment in the Minority Affairs Office at the U.S. Air Force Academy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35247">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his assignment at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting into Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35248">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about meeting his wife at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting married in 1982</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35249">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his first impression of Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35250">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about the people who inspired him to apply to Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35251">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience and academics at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35252">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Will Gunn talks about the teachers who influenced him at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35253">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35254">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35255">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy on public service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35256">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about his involvement with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35257">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy in practicing law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35258">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Will Gunn reflects upon the history of race and law in the U.S. Armed Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35259">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Will Gunn describes his experience in the JAG Corps at Mather Air Force Base</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35260">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his responsibilities as Area Defense Counselor and as a Circuit Defense Counsel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35261">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about being selected as a White House Fellow in 1990</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35262">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his experience as a White House Fellow</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/35263">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about Clarence Thomas' controversial confirmation hearings as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Will Gunn talks about his decision to become an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG)
Will Gunn talks about being selected as a White House Fellow in 1990
Transcript
Now I know in the, I've heard anyway there's a height limit in, in terms of being a pilot--$$Yes.$$--but uh, so even though you're in the [U.S.] Air Force would you, could you qualify to be a pilot at 6'7"?$$Yes. When I got to the Air Force Academy I was pilot-qualified. I had the, the thing that throws a lot of people off is the, is actually the eyesight and I had 20/20 vision and so I was pleased. I was happy to be pilot-qualified but flying was never a dream of mine. So I saw being at the Air Force Academy since they produce pilots, I saw being pilot-qualified as just a great a fringe benefit. The fact that, "Hey this is nice, nice to have." But it was interesting. For the first time in my life you know earlier I mentioned changing ambitions as I was coming up, which I don't think is all that uncommon. Well for the first time in my life I was around people at the Air Force Academy that I heard story after story of people saying things like, "Hey when I was like three or four years old and looked up and saw planes flying, I knew I wanted to fly planes." And there were so many people that I came into contact with that were at the Air Force Academy because of the desire that they had to fly and to be a pilot. That was never my passion. So as a senior at Academy because I was still pilot-qualified and just under the height, height requirements I had to take a course, pilot screening course, which led to being able to solo in a single engine Cessna. Well it was an interesting experience because I found myself getting air sick in, in the patterns as I was you know preparing to land and also during different maneuvers and such. And I really believe it was just my body telling me that, "Hey this is not your thing." And so I turned down the opportunity to go to pilot training because I was eventually able to get past the air sickness but it wasn't something that I was passionate about. On the other hand, I did have a couple of pre-law classes at the Air Force Academy. I did very, very well in those and thought that, "Hmm, maybe I want to be an Air Force JAG [Judge Advocate General]," and eventually that, that came to be.$$Okay.$Now in 1990 we have here that you became a White House Fellow?$$Yes.$$How did that come about?$$Well as a senior at the [U.S.] Air Force Academy I had, I had a friend, a young lady who came out for a visit, and she had with her this brochure about the White House Fellows program. And I took, I took a look at the brochure and it had biographies, short bios of the current class of White House Fellows and I saw it and said, "Wow! This is cut-out for me!" And, but ask I saw those bios and saw the things that the people had done at, at that stage in their career, I knew that I was far too junior for it. But I started to send off each year for the application and each application would have the bios of the current class and the, it became a goal of mine to become a White House Fellow. Finally in 1989 I suppose I appli-well actually 1988 I applied for the first time for the White House Fellows program and I made it after filling out the application I made it to the regionals. I had a regional interview in Los Angeles [California] and felt I'd just had a great day but I didn't make it to the national finals. I actually had a mentor, a guy by the name of Pat Sweeny, who is a black JAG [Judge Advocate General], who was a colonel military judge who presided over my, one of my first cases as, as a prosecutor, who talked to me about the program. Now I was already aware of it but he then a Fellow I believe in the, during the [President Ronald] Reagan Administration and early in the Reagan Administration. And so he became a person that I called upon for advice on the White Fellows program. Well that first year as I said when I went for the regional interviews I had a great day but part of the application asked for you to send in a draft or a memo, a policy memorandum proposing some type of policy to the President of the United States. And you know it wouldn't actually get to the president but they wanted to see how well you write, wrote and how, how well you reason. Well my policy proposal that year as, since I was serving as a defense counsel in particular. I said, well I want to write; I wrote about the, how the military should repeal this ban on gay service members because it didn't make sense to me that in all volunteer force we were getting rid of people because they were gay and when, if we came into a time of conflict, that person who's serving and all they'd have to say is "I'm sorry. I have to leave now. I'm gay." And (laughs) that just didn't, didn't strike me as, as making a whole lot of sense. And so I argued the case and so I sent that in as my policy proposal. After finding out that I was not selected, I got a letter from one of the interviewers and he told me that he was disappointed that I hadn't been selected and encouraged me that if I was interested I should reapply. But also told me that while he didn't agree with my policy proposal, he believed that that had distracted some of the other interviewers--$$[unclear]$$--while, during their deliberations, while no one would admit to it he firmly believed that there were some that were uncomfortable with that proposal and therefore they marked me down. Well the next year I, I suppose I was, I didn't keep the same policy proposal. I wrote on something different and that year I got, I got all the way through and I was named a White House Fellow there in the, in early June of, of 1990. And came to [Washington] D.C. [District of Columbia] a few weeks later for a series of interviews to figure out where I was going to be placed and the fellowship year begins right around, right after Labor Day and it was a phenomenal year.$$

Almeta Cooper

General counsel Almeta Cooper was born in 1950 to her mother Patricia Carter Cooper and her father. She attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, graduating with her B.A. degree in 1972. She then attended Northwestern University School of Law in Evanston, Illinois earning her J.D. degree from there in 1975.

Cooper went on to pursue a career in health law. She began her work as assistant director of health law at the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1977. She then worked as legal counsel for Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1982, MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the mid-1980s, and the Ohio State Medical Association in Columbus, Ohio in 1999. In the early 2000s, Cooper became Associate Vice President for Health Sciences and Associate General Counsel for Health Sciences at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, she became the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Morehouse School of Medicine. She has been very involved in the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) since 1980, serving as the first African American woman president of the organization in 2003 among many other leadership roles. In 2012, Cooper was named a fellow of the AHLA in order to continue her contribution to the association. She is also an active member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and sits on a program committee for the Physician Legal Issues Conference and chairs the Public Health and Policy Interest Group. Cooper lectures regularly at law education conferences and other professional gatherings on topics such as “Medical Staff: The Fault Line between Physicians and Hospitals” and “How to Stay Focused on a Health Law Career.” Cooper was honored as a Mentor by the 2011 Top Corporate Counsel awards from Columbus Business First.

In addition to her health law career, Cooper was involved in numerous groups and organizations, including serving as president of the Central Ohio Links Inc. Chapter. She is also involved with Columbus Reads, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, and the YWCA Family Center. She was awarded the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in 2009 to honor her commitment to her community.

Almeta Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.163

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/10/2013

8/18/2018

Last Name

Cooper

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Wells College

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Loudon Elementary School

Millbrook Park Elementary School

Spelman College

John F. Kennedy High School

Schiller International University

First Name

Almeta

Birth City, State, Country

Durham

HM ID

COO11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

You Should Always Have A Dollar For The Robber. If You Don’t, He Will Kill You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/27/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

General counsel Almeta Cooper (1950 - ) was senior vice president of health services and general counsel for The Ohio State University Medical Center.

Employment

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

American Medical Association (AMA)

Meharry Medical College

MCP Hahnemann University

Ohio State Medical Association

Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF)

St. Thomas Hospital

Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5670,74:9072,147:12555,286:13608,313:17415,389:31403,534:35592,606:36373,616:36657,621:39710,682:41130,716:42763,741:43118,747:51208,802:52121,814:52619,821:56598,844:57462,858:59694,901:59982,906:63870,989:64302,997:65166,1010:82465,1274:90598,1347:94203,1375:95757,1395:100978,1416:102479,1452:116545,1610:119620,1665:121195,1690:121495,1695:122995,1725:124420,1758:130812,1800:135136,1853:137862,1890:146044,2004:146352,2009:151973,2118:154283,2159:155669,2182:163810,2318:165768,2348:167014,2364:169061,2394:170600,2400$0,0:960,24:5306,182:5638,187:6302,206:6800,213:9124,278:9456,283:10535,301:11199,309:12112,321:12942,333:13357,339:14104,351:14934,362:15764,376:17424,400:18088,409:30410,481:32302,509:32990,518:36258,575:36774,582:40250,595:40534,600:42025,635:42380,641:43232,653:43871,665:44226,671:47137,719:48912,749:49409,757:50261,776:50687,784:51326,796:51823,804:56575,821:56923,826:58402,847:59185,857:66328,933:66902,941:68542,965:69198,974:71494,1011:72724,1024:73380,1033:74528,1049:75348,1062:76168,1074:76578,1080:80741,1099:81246,1105:82155,1116:84983,1151:86094,1163:87306,1179:89023,1240:92255,1276:92962,1285:100882,1342:101365,1353:101641,1359:102262,1370:102538,1375:103297,1393:103573,1398:104263,1410:104815,1419:106678,1496:107092,1503:108196,1522:108472,1527:109645,1546:110542,1563:110818,1568:111439,1578:111922,1586:112681,1602:124199,1779:126191,1810:127934,1846:129096,1864:130175,1881:135145,1911:135485,1916:136505,1931:138120,1950:138460,1955:138970,1963:140245,1975:144070,2028:144580,2035:145430,2050:145855,2056:153954,2128:155807,2148:157224,2162:160603,2209:164688,2231:165392,2241:166448,2258:167152,2268:167768,2277:168384,2287:172256,2357:176832,2460:177360,2468:182140,2474:182650,2482:182990,2487:183500,2495:186050,2526:188005,2557:188515,2564:189025,2572:189450,2578:189790,2583:190130,2588:190895,2599:194840,2633
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645576">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Almeta Cooper's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645577">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645578">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645579">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper talks about her maternal great-grandfather, Hawkins W. Carter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645580">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper describes her mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645581">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper talks about her mother's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645582">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper describes her maternal grandparents' professions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645583">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645584">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper talks about her father's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645585">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper describes her father's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645586">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper remembers moving with her family to Willingboro, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645587">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper talks about her parents' marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645588">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645589">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper remembers her father's sense of humor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645590">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper talks about her sister</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645591">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645592">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her home in Roanoke, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645593">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper describes her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645594">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper talks about her extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645595">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper recalls her academic strengths</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645596">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper remembers her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645597">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper talks about moving to a predominantly white area of New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645598">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper talks about her accelerated education program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645599">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645600">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Almeta Cooper recalls her early aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645601">Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Almeta Cooper remembers John F. Kennedy High School in Willingboro, New Jersey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645602">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper remembers her cousin's advice to study law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645603">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper recalls her decision to attend Wells College in Aurora, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645604">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645605">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes the black community at Wells College in Aurora, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645606">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper remembers her travels abroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645607">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper recalls her college exchange programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645608">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper remembers her trip to Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645609">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645610">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper describes her time at Spelman College, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645611">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper remembers the mentorship of R. Eugene Pincham</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645612">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper recalls her mentors at Wells College in Aurora, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645613">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper remembers her summer employment at the Western Union Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645614">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper remembers the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645615">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper recalls her mentors at the Northwestern University School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645616">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her classmates at the Northwestern University School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645617">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper recalls joining the law firm of Vedder, Price, Kaufman and Kammholz, P.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645618">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper recalls her position at the American Medical Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645619">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper remembers being recruited to work for Dr. David Satcher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645620">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645621">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper recalls the highlights of her time at the Meharry Medical College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645622">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Almeta Cooper talks about her marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645623">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Almeta Cooper recalls her position at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645624">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Almeta Cooper recalls joining the Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645625">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper describes her role at the Ohio State Medical Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645626">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper talks about the Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645627">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her time at the Ohio State Medical Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645628">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes her position at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645629">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at The Ohio State University Medical Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645630">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her professional accomplishments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645631">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Almeta Cooper talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645632">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Almeta Cooper talks about her civic engagement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645633">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Almeta Cooper reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645634">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Almeta Cooper describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645635">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Almeta Cooper talks about her friendship with Earlene Wandrey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645636">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Almeta Cooper talks about her daughter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645637">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Almeta Cooper describes her support from the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645638">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Almeta Cooper describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/645639">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Almeta Cooper narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Almeta Cooper talks about the Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee
Almeta Cooper recalls her challenges at The Ohio State University Medical Center
Transcript
Now this was in your file, a frivolous liability case filed against a Dr. Michael A. Banks, in 2007. Did, did you have anything to do with that?$$Right, well, that's what I was talking about, the frivolous lawsuit committee [Ohio State Medical Association Frivolous Lawsuit Committee] that I was involved in, is that what, there were several cases and I'm not sure if this was Dr. Banks' case but there was a case where, one example was, where the physician, the plaintiff, basically, had the plaintiff's lawyer tell the physician's lawyer that, "If you would agree to make a payment to me, even though I know that your physician doesn't have any liability, then we'll release you from the lawsuit." Well that's a very egregious situation right there and, you know, most malpractice companies at the time really didn't have the, the focus to really pursue when those types of situations arose so we were able to put a, you know, kind of shine a spotlight on that kind of conduct and say this is inconsistent with what the standards are in Ohio, you, you know, you cannot do that. And so that was a case where it was found in favor, the one I'm describing, in favor of the physician plaintiff, not the physician plaintiff, I mean, in terms of the physician who brought an allegation of frivolous lawsuit against the lawyer who represented that, that particular plaintiff. That we had another situation where a, a physician, we had another situation where a physician had a name that didn't sound like the typical name that you might hear in Ohio. It wasn't Cooper, it was another name, and the plaintiff's lawyer brought a lawsuit against this physician simply because she had the same last name as the physician who was actually involved in the medical care of the patient and the physician was very upset and she complained and we looked into her case and the lawyer did withdraw the case, but, you know, what people don't understand is once you're named in the case, you have to, you know, notify your company, you have to, you know, the company spends money to get you dismissed and so, you know, those, that, that all adds to the cost and expense of professional liability action. So--$$And adds to the cost of healthcare eventually, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And adds to the cost of healthcare, exactly, exactly. So we were very excited to have some success in, in that arena.$What's been the biggest challenge working f- at Ohio State [The Ohio State University Medical Center; The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio]?$$Well, in the last year, probably the single largest challenge I've had, and it's been in the papers so I can talk about it. We did have an unfortunate incident in which there was a mistake in referral of a proficiency test in our clinical laboratory and a proficiency test is a test that's used to validate the testing that is done in the clinical laboratory. It's not, it does not involve a patient, an actual patient, and what happens is that you're supposed to treat that sample just as you would treat a real patient specimen except you do not process it all the way to its natural conclusion but you send it back to the testing authority and in this instance, one of our employees mistakenly referred it, treated it as a patient specimen and referred it to another laboratory. So, in the clinical laboratory world, even though at the time OSU was doing 10 million tests a year and ten thousand of these proficiency tests, there wasn't any flexibility in the way the code of regulations were written to allow CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] to be flexible with the medical center in terms of what kind of penalty would be assessed and, fortunately, during the time, during the nine months or so that this process was going on there was, the TEST Act [Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act of 2012] was passed which did give CMS more flexibility but in addition, we had very excellent outside counsel. I was able to identify the top lawyer at, Hope Foster [Hope S. Foster], who was at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Mintz Levin [Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.], who represented us and through the teamwork, both of the staff and the leadership in the laboratory, with excellent representation, I'm very pleased to say that in the end we were able to resolve the situation with CMS and it did not result in the very severe penalty of not being able to own or operate a clinical laboratory. So, but along the way we discovered a lot of opportunities that we could, that we needed to address as an organization and as a result of that, one of the things is that, in fact, I'm just in the transition of beginning to do this. I'm now the executive director for HHS [health and human services] advocacy, regulatory and quality improvement program so I will be doing more of this type of work to try to assist us as an organization in addressing any issues that we might have that relates to that, that regulatory environment.

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

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

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/22/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

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

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644522">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644523">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644524">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644525">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about his sister's research on their family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644526">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls his family's connection to the United Methodist Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644527">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644528">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644529">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle, J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644530">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644531">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's education and U.S. military service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644532">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644533">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his paternal family's legacy at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644534">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers his paternal grandfather's tenure in the U.S. government</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644535">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the founding of Seaway National Bank in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644536">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644537">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's transition to Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644538">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644539">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's tenure at Jenner and Block, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644540">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about the creation of Lafontant, Wilkins and Fisher in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644541">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his father's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644542">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644543">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls a family trip to South America</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644544">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644545">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls graduating from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644546">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's and paternal uncle's legal careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644547">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644548">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his brothers' international travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644549">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins recalls his childhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644550">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers moving to Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644551">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes the racial demographics of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644552">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers his classmates at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644553">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins talks about his friendship with Arne Duncan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644554">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins describes his family's relationship with the Bowman family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644555">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls his interest in debate at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644556">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644557">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the environment of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644558">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers his high school debate coach, Earl Bell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644559">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644560">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls the gang activity on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644561">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644562">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the segregation of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644563">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's political affiliations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644564">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal family's prominence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644565">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644566">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the political climate of the early 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644567">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644568">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes the founding of the Black Students Association at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644569">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644570">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American faculty members at Harvard University, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644571">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of David B. Wilkins' interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644572">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644573">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's experiences at the Harvard Law School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644574">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his father's influence on his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644575">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers the African American community at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644576">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his classmates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644577">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers meeting Al Haymon at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644578">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins talks about the increase of African American students at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644579">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the Black Students Association at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644580">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his involvement in theater and radio at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644581">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins talks about his experiences of racial discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644582">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers Anthony R. Chase and his wife at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644583">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins describes his summer position at the Commonwealth Edison Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644584">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins recalls his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644585">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644586">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins recalls meeting his wife, Ann Marie Wilkins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644587">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about his father's decision to leave Jenner and Block in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644588">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls joining the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644589">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644590">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences clerking at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644591">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the emergence of critical legal studies at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644592">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins talks about his clerkships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644593">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins describes his experiences on the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644594">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David B. Wilkins remembers working with Harold Hongju Koh at the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644595">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers his colleagues at the Harvard Law Review</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644596">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins talks about his paternal uncle's thoughts on his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644597">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins describes his clerkship for Justice Wilfred Feinberg</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644598">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644599">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins remembers clerking in the U.S. Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644600">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his position at Nussbaum, Owen and Webster in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644601">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins remembers his Harvard Law School professor, Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644602">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins remembers being approached to teach at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644603">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins recalls the controversy surrounding Jack Greenberg's course at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644604">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his interview at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644605">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about the different levels of professorship at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644606">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins recalls the first African American professors at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644607">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins describes his initial faculty presentation at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644608">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - David B. Wilkins recalls his first year of teaching at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644609">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - David B. Wilkins talks about the first class he taught at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644610">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - David B. Wilkins describes his position as a graduate assistant at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644611">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - David B. Wilkins remembers his transition to teaching at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644612">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - David B. Wilkins talks about Charles Ogletree's career at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644613">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - David B. Wilkins talks about the faculty and students of Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/644614">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - David B. Wilkins remembers Derrick A. Bell, Jr.</a>

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.

Kenneth C. Frazier

Pharmaceutical executive, lawyer, and corporate general counsel Kenneth C. Frazier was born on December 17, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to janitor and former sharecropper Otis Tindley Frazier and homemaker Clara Elizabeth Frazier. The second of three children, Frazier grew up in the deeply impoverished neighborhood of North Philadelphia. Frazier’s parents strongly encouraged education and hard work, ensuring that each of their children knew what it took to succeed. In 1966, when Frazier was twelve, his mother passed away, leaving Otis Frazier to raise three children alone. Frazier graduated from Northeast High School in Philadelphia before attending Pennsylvania State University. Upon completing his B.A. degree in 1975 with highest honors, Frazier enrolled at Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree in 1978.

For the next fourteen years, Frazier worked as a lawyer and, eventually, partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker, Biddle, & Reath. There he represented many corporate clients, including AlliedSignal and Merck & Co., Inc. However, the case which brought Frazier the most praise during this time was the pro bono work he contributed to freeing the innocent Willie “Bo” Cochran after twenty-one years on death row. Frazier accepted a position at Merck & Co., Inc in 1992. Frazier has served in various capacities at Merck, including general counsel, secretary, and vice president. During his tenure as general counsel, Frazier achieved great success in leading the company through more than 5,000 lawsuits regarding the alleged harmful effects of Vioxx.

In 2007, Frazier accepted the role of president of Merck & Co., Inc, and was given the additional roles of CEO and chairman in 2011, making him the first African American to serve as CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. Frazier has served on the boards of several organizations, such as Exxon Mobil, Penn State University, and Cornerstone Christian Academy, a private charter school serving at-risk youth in Philadelphia, which he also co-founded. Due to his professional success and his position on the board of trustees, Frazier was selected to lead the investigation of the allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and university officials. Frazier has received numerous awards, including the 2001 Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the Association of Corporate Counsel’s 2004 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award, and the Equal Justice Initiative’s 2009 Equal Justice Champion award.

Frazier lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Andréa, and their son, James. Their daughter, Lauren, is an engineer.

Frazier was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 2, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.124

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

8/2/2012

Last Name

Frazier

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

C.

Schools

M Hall Stanton Elementary School

Northeast High School

Pennsylvania State University

Harvard Law School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

FRA09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

You Can Be Anything You Want To Be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/17/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Whitehouse Station

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Pharmaceutical executive, lawyer, and corporate general counsel Kenneth C. Frazier (1954 - ) was the first African American to serve as CEO of a major pharmaceutical company and was known for his success in corporate law.

Employment

Merck & Co.

Astra Merck Group

Drinker Biddle & Reath

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:693,8:945,13:1575,29:1827,34:2079,39:3087,62:3339,67:3969,108:4473,117:4725,122:5544,163:5922,170:6363,178:6615,183:7119,195:7686,205:7938,210:8505,221:8757,226:9387,236:10017,248:10899,263:11277,270:11970,283:12222,288:12978,306:13293,312:13986,324:14616,337:15183,348:15435,353:19810,367:20330,377:21175,396:22345,418:22605,423:23125,433:23385,438:23840,446:25530,484:25920,491:26570,503:27480,518:30015,590:30535,606:31120,616:31380,621:32680,651:33200,660:33525,666:33980,675:37380,681:38069,699:38440,707:38811,717:39129,740:39447,747:41264,760:41588,765:42236,778:42722,786:43451,812:45233,855:45638,861:46448,873:48149,907:48716,915:49850,948:50579,979:51065,987:52523,1033:59252,1096:62191,1122:62419,1127:62932,1138:64450,1145:64996,1155:65386,1161:65698,1166:66244,1175:67180,1190:70680,1238:71460,1252:73890,1278:75058,1303:75569,1312:76226,1322:76956,1336:78343,1364:79292,1380:82010,1403:83816,1415:84254,1426:84546,1431:85714,1451:86298,1465:86736,1472:87904,1507:89437,1540:89875,1547:90167,1552:90459,1557:94160,1598:95000,1610:102118,1665:102454,1673:103014,1685:105529,1704:106376,1717:107300,1730:107993,1742:109533,1801:109841,1806:112536,1869:116386,1941:117464,1965:118311,1979:122792,1992:125522,2039:125912,2049:127004,2071:127316,2076:127628,2081:129656,2127:133174,2147:134050,2166:134488,2173:135437,2207:135948,2217:138941,2289:139890,2318:140182,2323:146724,2397:147816,2416:148284,2423:148908,2435:151862,2453:152555,2464:152863,2469:154634,2493:155250,2503:155635,2509:155943,2514:156251,2519:156867,2531:157175,2536:157714,2546:159793,2579:163829,2599:165323,2622:166236,2636:166817,2645:167149,2650:171288,2695:172494,2723:174370,2768:175174,2788:175442,2793:177595,2810:179359,2851:179863,2895:180115,2900:180367,2905:181249,2928:181501,2933:181816,2940:182194,2948:183643,2978:188284,3039:188552,3044:189222,3056:189959,3070:190227,3075:190495,3080:190763,3085:191299,3097:191634,3103:194944,3125:195264,3131:195968,3145:196288,3151:196736,3160:197312,3174:197824,3189:198592,3203:199488,3219:199744,3224:200448,3243:201024,3254:201600,3269:202304,3288:202816,3297:203968,3331:208008,3353:208374,3360:208984,3385:209289,3391:210310,3400$0,0:4016,34:4448,41:5168,53:5456,58:9992,254:10640,264:15880,342:18760,400:21730,496:22450,506:22810,511:23530,527:27746,574:28130,581:28770,597:29090,603:30242,627:32354,685:32802,693:33890,731:34722,748:35298,761:35618,768:35874,773:40630,821:40870,826:41410,834:41890,844:43390,881:44230,900:46510,977:47770,1008:48010,1013:48370,1020:48610,1025:48910,1031:49270,1041:50290,1065:50590,1071:54672,1084:55416,1094:55974,1101:56718,1112:59400,1122:60030,1133:60380,1144:61970,1149:63620,1169:64500,1178:66404,1190:66700,1195:67292,1206:67736,1214:68476,1225:71310,1263:71630,1268:71950,1273:73592,1282:74184,1292:74702,1302:74998,1307:75516,1316:77144,1353:78328,1373:78624,1378:79734,1400:82856,1421:84205,1443:84986,1457:85625,1468:87420,1474:87931,1482:91581,1549:92311,1565:93479,1593:94355,1608:95961,1642:97202,1666:101026,1685:104113,1754:104743,1770:104995,1775:105373,1783:111312,1847:112376,1865:114732,1910:115872,1944:119590,1958:120328,1972:120656,1977:120984,1982:121886,1994:122542,2007:122870,2012:123280,2019:123772,2027:125084,2075:125658,2083:126150,2091:131698,2151:133480,2189:133876,2196:134998,2216:143248,2419:143710,2428:149782,2553:155988,2580:157414,2614:158282,2636:159212,2656:160948,2701:161382,2717:162126,2731:162498,2738:163118,2747:165970,2819:166218,2824:167644,2853:168202,2863:168512,2869:173055,2889:173355,2894:173955,2903:174480,2911:176880,2957:177480,2968:178005,2976:178455,2983:179355,2996:179955,3006:180480,3015:181005,3023:181380,3029:181755,3040:182280,3049:182655,3055:188920,3228:189272,3233:189624,3238:190944,3261:191824,3273:193144,3294:193584,3300:194200,3314:194640,3320:199040,3398:200184,3413:200536,3418:204646,3430:205222,3439:206734,3473:207094,3481:207382,3486:207742,3496:208534,3512:209542,3542:210118,3552:210406,3557:211198,3570:211558,3576:212134,3585:212566,3592:213286,3606:215014,3639:217840,3647:218360,3656:218880,3669:219595,3684:219920,3690:220180,3695:221805,3729:223235,3764:225315,3799:225835,3808:228750,3824:228974,3830:229870,3851:230318,3860:230598,3867:231326,3886:231774,3896:235210,3926:235930,3937:236650,3988:241284,4031:242390,4048:243022,4058:243417,4064:243812,4070:246702,4084:250482,4142:257416,4220:258256,4236:259012,4246:259684,4255:260272,4264:261196,4277:261868,4286:262792,4299:263296,4307:263632,4312:265480,4341:265900,4376:271024,4469:276001,4527:277072,4549:279340,4594:279718,4601:279970,4606:281950,4623:284125,4672:284725,4682:285100,4688:285550,4695:286600,4717:291092,4778:291524,4786:292028,4796:292532,4804:292820,4809:293540,4822:294044,4830:294548,4839:295484,4857:296132,4867:296492,4873:298364,4910:299804,4931:305410,4946:305785,4952:306310,4960:306610,4965:307510,4976:308035,4984:308710,4994:309385,5004:311260,5038:311560,5043:312235,5053:312610,5059:313510,5073:314710,5092:315085,5098:315685,5114:318740,5129
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639090">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth C. Frazier's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639091">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639092">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639093">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639094">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639095">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his household growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639096">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639097">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers an influential teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639098">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639099">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639100">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls the role of his maternal aunts after his mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639101">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his early understanding of race</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639102">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers North East High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639103">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his influences at Nort East High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639104">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his admission to Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639105">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers entering college at sixteen years old</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639106">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his decision to study political science and history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639107">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes the racial discrimination at Pennsylvania State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639108">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his graduation from Pennsylvania State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639109">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his social life at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639110">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his accomplishments at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639111">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his club football team at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639112">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about the school busing crisis in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639113">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mentors at the Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639114">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his first legal case</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639115">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers the case of Cochran v. Herring</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639116">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about African Americans in the law profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639117">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being one of two black partners at Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639118">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his role as general counsel for a joint pharmaceutical venture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639119">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier recalls his promotion to vice president of public affairs at Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639120">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his promotion to general counsel of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639121">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about the recall of Vioxx by Merck & Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639122">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier explains his strategy as general counsel of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639123">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his perserverance during the Vioxx trial</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639124">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers becoming the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639125">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his accomplishments at Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639126">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being named CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639127">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his performance as the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639128">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his role as the CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639129">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639130">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his involvement at Pennsylvania State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639131">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth C. Frazier talks about his interest in education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639132">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth C. Frazier reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639133">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639134">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth C. Frazier describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639135">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth C. Frazier shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/639136">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kenneth C. Frazier narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

10$7

DATitle
Kenneth C. Frazier remembers his mother's death
Kenneth C. Frazier remembers being named CEO of Merck and Co., Inc.
Transcript
So then high school, name of your high school?$$Was Northeast High School [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]--the academic high school in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] is called Central High School, but Northeast High School had just started a program for scientifically gifted children who were interested in the space exploration effort and I really was very interested in space and science. And so I chose to go Northeast High School to this program within there that was again sort of a magnet program for scientifically strong children.$$Now are your parents encouraging you in this regard?$$Well there's an important fact that we've not covered in the academic thing which is that, when I was in the seventh grade, my mother [Clara Frazier] passed away. So at this point, I had only my father [Otis Frazier] who raised me.$$And your father is raising two other children in addition to you?$$Correct.$$So in seventh grade, that's you're what you're twelve?$$Something like that.$$Twelve, thirteen, something around that age?$$Uh-hm.$$That had to be devastating?$$It was, it was, I have to say the most pivotal moment in my life because my mother died of a blood clot that was secondary to a hysterectomy. So she went into the hospital to have a pro- a procedure that I wouldn't call routine, but it was also not something that where we thought she was sick and in jeopardy of her life. And I can still remember my father, we came downstairs to go to school and my father said, "There's something I need to tell you kids and it's that your mother died last night." And I sa- you, know, I can still remember it like was yesterday, how devastating that was.$$And you made it through the seventh grade even this, I mean academically well and in spite of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yes.$$And was that because of your father?$$Yes.$$Tell us a little bit, what your father did. How he kept you guys, how he moved you guys through this?$$Well let me just put it this way. My father was a wonderful man, but he was not very sentimental about his children. And he had very high standards and I remember, I didn't finish the story. We were all devastated when my mother died and I remember he said, "You guys, you kids go up to your room and you can cry a little bit, but when you come down, we're going to have to keep going in life." And we did cry a little bit, but we came down and we had breakfast. And my father said, "Life goes on." And my father was very distant man before then because I think like many families of that time, the mother was the nurturer, the one that raised us. My father, his job in the family was to work and earn money and to hand out the discipline when my mother encouraged him to do that. He taught us obviously how to throw a baseball and things like that. But, like unlike modern parenting where I think my children [Lauren Frazier and James Frazier] feel like they know me, I didn't feel like I knew my father. I knew my mother, my mother was the, was the nurturing parent. And then when she died suddenly my father had to step into that role, and I think that for him it was a great opportunity. Years later he would say, "I would not have even known my children had my wife died." But he, he became the mother and the father. He had no domestic skills but he learned to cook, he learned to do all the things that you needed to do to raise children.$Let's move on to the day that you become chairman of this company. You've been here what (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) CEO.$$CEO.$$First I became CEO and then chairman$$CEO and then chairman. But you've been at Merck [Merck and Co., Inc.] about what seventeen years when you become the CEO?$$Yes.$$Tell, tell me about that day. What was that when the announcement was made, and how you felt and what it meant, what's your thought?$$I felt overwhelmed by the announcement. I've never been a person to feel glad that I got somewhere. My wife [Andrea Wilkerson Frazier] always says, you don't enjoy anything because you're always on to the next thing. So when I became CEO, I was worried about whether or not I could run this company in a way that I would make a very satisfactory mark as CEO. I knew I felt really good when, I can't lie when the announcement came out and I looked at it and I realized I'm the CEO of Merck and my father [Otis Frazier] had a third grade education and was a janitor, I felt really good about that. My family felt really good about that. But I really am honest when I say that it's really not about me. This company Merck is no ordinary place. The work that we do here is incredibly important to mankind. And so, if you step into that CEO role. My office, I feel like I'm renting that office and that it's my obligation to leave this company better than I found it. And so, I think my overwhelming feeling was a feeling of huge, awesome responsibility. And if you knew the scientific enterprise of this company and the people who comprise it, the quality of the scientists and the physicians who make up the core of our research labs. In some ways, you're saying, I'm a mere mortal. How can I be the CEO of people that are that sort of otherworldly smart? And so, I also say, how can I do my job so that I can enable great science since I'm not a scientist. So it's not a kind of thing that you feel very--at least I don't feel very egotistical about it. I feel like I have to prove to the world that my tenure here put this company back on track to greatness.$$Well let's talk a little bit about the symbolic torch at, at Merck that gets passed from one CEO to the next CEO. You, you were telling me a little bit about that previously. Tell us about that on the record?$$Well I think--again I say this is not the ordinary company and one of the exemplars of that is that the modern day founder of Merck is a guy named George W. Merck and he had a saying that every Merck employee knows by heart. He said, "Medicine is for the people, not the profits," and the more we've remembered that the better the profits have been and then he went on to say that, "It's our obligation to ensure that our finest achievement," meaning the medicine and vaccines we created, "are made available to everybody." So everybody knows that and there is a Time magazine article from I believe it's 1951 [sic. 1952] where he made, a, a medical school commencement speech in which he uttered those words. He became a cover story of Time in 1951. And that Time magazine (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The year you were born. No sorry, I'm wrong sorry.$$No, I was born in 1954, but it's, that, that Time magazine, the original magazine is preserved in a, in a glass case and that glass case is handed from one CEO to the next CEO and you're supposed to display it prominently in your office as a reminder that, that's what this company is about. It's about the people, not the profits. And although, we're under the same pressure any other publicly traded company is, I think it's my obligation all the time to remember that while I have to do the short term performance that drives the stock price. What I'm really here is to create long term medical value and societal value. If I do that, that would drive the economic value, which in term will drive the stock price.$$So when you say this is no ordinary place. Then for you, it's a very special place.$$It is, I mean you just look at any indicator of the number of Nobel Prize winners. The work that was done to commercialize penicillin. The work that was done to commercialize the corticosteroids. The work--something like thirteen of the seventeen vaccines that are required for American children are made by this company. So the, the nation trust its newborn to us. The work that we've done in past on HIV [human immunodeficiency virus], which I've talked about a few minutes ago. Work that we're doing on cardiovascular and infectious diseases. What this company has done single handily to expand life expectancy. The work that we've done in Africa where by donating products, we've almost eradicated a horrible series of diseases exemplified by river blindness. When you come to work in a company like that and you realize that the company exists to alleviate human suffering, if you just say that, the company's reason for existing is to apply cutting edge science to develop medically important products, vaccines, and medicines that alleviate human suffering and improve and extend human life. It is no ordinary place.

The Honorable Robert Mack Bell

Judge Robert Mack Bell was born on July 6, 1943 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Thomas and Rosa Lee Bell. His father was a construction worker while his mother worked as a domestic and care giver. His parents separated when he was a young, and Bell was raised by his mother who moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in search of better jobs. He attended Baltimore public schools and graduated from Dunbar High School in 1961. While finishing his senior year at Dunbar in 1960, he, along with eleven other students, were recruited by Morgan State College students to participate in a sit-in at Hooper’s Restaurant, a segregated business. The students were subsequently arrested and convicted for trespassing. Bell was the lead defendant for an appeal of the verdict in the landmark civil rights case, Bell v. Maryland, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and eventually ended racial segregation in Maryland.

After high school, Bell enrolled at Morgan State College in 1961 but was forced to take a year off from school after being hospitalized with tuberculosis. In 1963, he returned to Morgan where he was active in student government, and a member of the honor society and of the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity. After he graduated second in his class with his A.B. degree in history and political science in 1966, he enrolled at Harvard Law School. The first student from Morgan to attend Harvard’s prestigious law school, Bell received his J.D. degree from there in 1969.

After passing the Maryland State Bar Examination in 1969, Bell was hired by Piper & Marbury, where he became the Baltimore law firm’s first black associate. In 1975, he became a judge on the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City in his first judgeship. In 1980, Bell served as a judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore, remaining until 1984. He was then appointed to the bench of the Court of Special Appeals in Maryland, serving in that post until 1991 when he was elected Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. In 1996, Bell was appointed by Maryland Governor Parris Glendening as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. With that appointment he became the only active judge in Maryland to have served at least four years on all four levels of Maryland’s judiciary and the first African American to be named the state’s chief jurist.

Bell is a member of several legal organizations including the National, American and Maryland State Bar Associations. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work in the legal field and lectures often at schools and at community functions.

Appellate Court Judge Robert Mack Bell was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on August 17, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2004

Last Name

Bell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Mack

Schools

P.S. 101A Elementary School

P.S. 139 Elementary School

Dunbar High School

Morgan State University

Harvard Law School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Rocky Mount

HM ID

BEL02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

No preference

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: No preference

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/6/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pork

Short Description

Judge The Honorable Robert Mack Bell (1943 - ) was the lead defendant in the 1964 civil rights case, Bell v. Maryland, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and helped end racial segregation in Maryland. Since 1996, Bell has been Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Employment

Piper & Marbury

District Court of Maryland

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Court of Appeals of Maryland

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:1264,41:1580,46:9243,180:9559,185:10428,198:16730,231:17170,237:19764,250:20132,255:20868,268:22892,305:23628,314:25284,340:36844,480:37876,498:42176,527:42778,536:43466,547:44154,556:46734,606:62485,850:62777,855:63580,900:75769,1163:82551,1265:83586,1280:85311,1309:85794,1317:87381,1346:87657,1351:88623,1376:93890,1396:98426,1438:103594,1521:121650,1789:123344,1816:132400,1910:136080,1934:136400,1939:137280,1950:138000,1962:138320,1967:138800,1975:139120,1980:139920,1991:141120,2014:141600,2022:142080,2035:149213,2105:149710,2114:149994,2119:150278,2129:150562,2134:157449,2276:171788,2486:172424,2493:173166,2502:176876,2543:180215,2559:180555,2565:180895,2570:181320,2576:203160,2902:208476,2943:209496,2975:210210,2984:210720,2990:218310,3097:219054,3106:220077,3127:221565,3151:230134,3197:229804,3207:232700,3285:236512,3348:237844,3396:240878,3610:241248,3617:246110,3663$0,0:4108,44:10854,111:19445,252:19865,271:28290,325:28610,341:28930,346:29410,354:29890,361:30850,370:38556,435:39934,457:40718,466:44966,514:46436,563:49474,651:64110,859
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209800">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Robert Mack Bell's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209801">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209802">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209803">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his father's childhood and explains how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209804">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his mother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209805">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his parents moving to Baltimore, Maryland and their eventual separation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209806">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon his knowledge of his family's history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209807">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his parents' jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209808">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell remembers his maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209809">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell remembers his paternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209810">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209811">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell remembers childhood holiday traditions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209812">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell remembers childhood activities and early lessons from his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209813">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209814">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his childhood neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209815">Tape: 1 Story: 16 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209816">Tape: 1 Story: 17 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his elementary school experiences at P.S. 101-A in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209610">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains why he completed elementary school at P.S. 139 in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209611">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his favorite subject from elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209612">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his aspiration to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209613">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his childhood personality and interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209614">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls attending Faith Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209615">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his experiences at Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209616">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his teachers and principal at Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209617">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his interests while attending Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209618">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls meeting Reginald F. Lewis at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209619">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his first sit-in experience at Hooper's Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland in 1960</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209620">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell speculates about the reasons high school students were recruited for civil rights sit-ins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209621">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his trespassing conviction during a sit-in at Hooper's Restaurant which led to Bell v. Maryland (1964)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209622">Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Bell v. Maryland (1964)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209623">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about the careers of the lawyers and judges involved in the circuit court trial of Bell v. Maryland (1964)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209624">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls the impact of the Bell v. Maryland (1964) trial on his senior year of high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209625">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains his decision to attend Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209626">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls keeping up with his studies at Morgan State College after he was hospitalized for a year</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209627">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his experience at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209628">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains his decision to attend Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209629">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his experience at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209630">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls the founding of BLSA, the Black American Law Students Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209631">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains how his academic success at Harvard Law School opened doors for other African American students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209632">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his classes and professors at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209633">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his first job after law school with Piper & Marbury in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209634">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about being one of five African Americans to pass the Maryland State bar exam in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209635">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his experience at the law firm Piper & Marbury in 1969</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209636">Tape: 3 Story: 14 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about Piper & Marbury's plan to provide community legal services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209637">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his appointment to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City in 1975</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209638">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains his decision to become a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209639">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains the difference between the duties of a district court judge versus a circuit court judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209640">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains why he chose to move from the District Court of Maryland to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209641">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon the value of his judgeship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209642">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls memorable cases from his years as a judge for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209643">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about the challenges of serving as a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209644">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes changes he has observed in criminal cases throughout his career as a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209645">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his experience on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209646">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell talks about his interest in the legal process as a judge on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209647">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell explains the difference between the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals of Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209648">Tape: 4 Story: 12 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes the pace of work on the Court of Appeals of Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209649">Tape: 4 Story: 13 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell describes his responsibilities as chief judge on the Court of Appeals of Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209650">Tape: 4 Story: 14 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon his achievements in light of his family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209651">Tape: 4 Story: 15 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell defines his judicial philosophy and approach</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209652">Tape: 4 Story: 16 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209653">Tape: 4 Story: 17 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209654">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell narrates his photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/209655">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Robert Mack Bell narrates his photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$17

DATitle
The Honorable Robert Mack Bell recalls his first sit-in experience at Hooper's Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland in 1960
The Honorable Robert Mack Bell reflects upon his life
Transcript
Were you starting to become a little bit more socially aware?$$Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I--you know, as you grow older--I mean, as I say, we were beginning to notice the, the women, we were beginning to notice a lot of things. But you gotta remember, we were still rather segregated in those days. I mean, I remember going to some conferences outside of the ghetto area [in Baltimore, Maryland], but that was an eye-opening experience. But I did have--in 1960, I did have a, a very interesting and I think important occurrence. That was when I got involved with sit-ins myself.$$And let's talk a little bit about your sit-in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, see--$$--experience.$$Yeah, see we, we were--we [Bell and Reginald F. Lewis] ran for student government president in my junior--at the end of our junior year, so it would've been for the next year. So at the time that--at the spring of that year, I was student government president elect and this Morgan [State College; Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland] student came to [Paul Laurence] Dunbar [High School; Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for Health Professionals, Baltimore, Maryland] seeking some assistance.$$Morgan college students.$$Morgan State College. In, in those days it was a college, yeah, seeking some assistance in a planned demonstration that was gonna take place on the last day of school in June, and they needed someone to be point person in recruiting students. As student government president, you know, we--I was the one that they checked with and we got some--took some responsibility for trying to get the people together. And in fact when the day came, we did have some people. We got on the bus and we went downtown and participated in some picketing and ultimately, the group I was with ended up going in and sitting in at Hooper's Restaurant [Baltimore, Maryland].$$Hooper's?$$Hooper's, H-O-O-P-E-R-S, with the result that we were arrested. That didn't mean that we were physically arrested on the spot. What it does mean is that we were permitted to go home, that was a Friday, permitted to go home and come back that next Monday and then be fingerprinted and processed.$$So you weren't taken to jail.$$Not right then. No, we weren't taken to jail at all, did not spend a day in jail, but we were prosecuted. I was sixteen (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Were you scared?$$--at that time. Well, you're always scared when you don't know what's happening or you don't know what's going to happen. Yeah, I was scared in two ways, scared of what, what, what might happen, but also scared not to do it in a sense because it was something that I, I decided was important to do. And, and there was a third way, I guess, I was also a little bit concerned about what my mother [Rosa Lee Jordan Bell] would say and do because--$$What did your--what was your mother's reaction?$$She--once it was done, she was very supportive. If I had told her in advance, I'm not so sure she would have permitted me to do it. For that reason, I didn't tell her (laughter).$$And this was in 1960, right?$$Nineteen sixty [1960], yeah. This was--this would've been June 16th or 17th of 1960. Now, this is after the southern thing [Atlanta Student Movement]--$$Right.$$--because they--that all started in--that all started before.$$Right, I think it was in March--$$That's right, see, and--$$(Unclear) in March at southern--$$--and then before March, you had A & T [Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina]--$$Um-hm. Right, exactly.$$--and so it moved up the coast, so--$Any regrets?$$Oh, no. Absolutely not. Why would I have any?$$None?$$That's right, I don't. I really don't.$$What haven't you done yet that you'd still like to do?$$Retire.$$(Laughter) And--$$I'm tired, that's all (laughter).$$When do you anticipate that happening?$$I have no idea. I--you know, I could retire tomorrow. I've been--I've been able to retire from the standpoint of the vesting of a pension since I was sixteen--see, sixteen years--almost fourteen years ago, but I don't know. I, I'm--I have no idea yet. I'll have to see. But I'm just tired right now, that's why I said that (laughter).$$And quickly, what, what are you gonna do when you retire?$$Again, I'll refer to Thurgood [Marshall]. Thurgood said, "I'm gonna sit on my butt, and that's right," (laughter).$$Thank you very much, [HistoryMaker] Judge [Robert Mack] Bell.$$Thank you.

The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson

Federal district court judge Thelton Eugene Henderson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on November 28, 1933 to Wanzie and Eugene Marion Henderson. Henderson grew-up in the South central area of Los Angeles, California in an all-black neighborhood. He graduated from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles and was the recipient of a football scholarship to attend the University of California at Berkeley. In 1956, Henderson graduated with his B.A. degree in political science. Later, in 1962, Henderson earned his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and was admitted to the California Bar in January of 1963.

Both his high school counselor and football coach was alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley and encouraged him to attend their alma mater. While there, he became interested in African American history and helped to form an organization that catered to African American students. After graduating from college, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as a clinical psychology technician. Thereafter, he earned his law degree and was hired as an attorney with the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice, where he served from 1962 to 1963. During his tenure with the Justice Department, Henderson investigated patterns of discriminatory practices in the South. Returning to Northern California, he practiced general law in private practice and was the directing attorney of the East Bayshore Neighborhood Legal Center in Palo Alto. From 1968 to 1976, Henderson was the assistant dean of the Stanford University School of Law. There, he helped increase minority enrollment to twenty percent of the student body and taught law classes.

In 1977, Henderson became a founding partner of Rosen, Remcho and Henderson in San Francisco, where he remained until 1980. He also taught administrative law and civil procedure at Golden State University of Law in San Francisco. In 1980, Henderson was appointed to the United States Federal Court and became the Chief Judge of the United States District of Northern California in 1990, thus becoming the first African American to reach that position. In 1998, he became Senior U.S. District Judge. Henderson was the recipient of the 2003 American Inns of Court Circuit Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit in recognition of a senior practicing lawyer or judge whose life and practice serves as an example for others.

He is divorced and has one son. He resides in Berkeley, California and enjoys fly-fishing.

Thelton Henderson was interviewed by The HistoryMaker on April 7, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/7/2004

Last Name

Henderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Eugene

Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School

University of California, Berkeley

Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California

First Name

Thelton

Birth City, State, Country

Shreveport

HM ID

HEN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fishing

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/28/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson (1933 - ) was the first African American Chief Judge of the United States District of Northern California, and has served as the Assistant Dean of the Stanford University School of Law.

Employment

United States Department of Justice

East Bayshore Neighborhood Legal Center

Stanford Law School

Rosen, Remcho & Henderson

Golden Gate University School of Law

United States District Court, Northern District of California

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:650,22:1370,32:1690,37:2010,42:6792,155:12018,245:12486,253:16698,328:17322,339:21109,356:29330,434:32383,486:33164,502:33590,510:36880,532:38154,553:38973,563:39337,568:39701,573:40793,592:41430,601:42067,611:46617,673:48528,693:51349,744:52168,762:53351,815:63604,876:67320,897:71720,950:72120,955:84670,1137:87820,1203:88100,1208:89220,1223:89990,1236:91880,1269:92160,1274:94680,1325:99763,1350:101692,1366:113500,1624:137801,1920:140777,1976:147101,2072:147566,2078:152402,2165:158404,2216:163354,2274:164058,2283:164410,2288:172506,2405:182066,2445:182528,2452:187148,2545:187687,2553:189381,2592:198140,2688$0,0:170,8:856,16:17394,199:22146,281:29250,359:29562,364:30030,371:30654,380:31044,390:31590,398:33345,420:36320,460:38530,494:40995,516:41420,522:41760,527:42100,532:42695,540:52740,655:56088,725:60835,767:73699,897:76024,934:84952,1110:85696,1120:86719,1132:96013,1221:98050,1254:98535,1260:107530,1340:108314,1349:112010,1420:119738,1543:132896,1735:140924,1814:143505,1884:153295,2056:161058,2147:162018,2159:162402,2164:162978,2172:165570,2204:168738,2268:169218,2274:177910,2357:178624,2365:179440,2370:179848,2375:187118,2394:187458,2400:188954,2418:198228,2580:199788,2608:200100,2616:204307,2639:204889,2647:205956,2660:213619,2784:217010,2790:217358,2795:222027,2849:222566,2857:224722,2888:234570,3030:241680,3184:242130,3190:253998,3306:254302,3311:255670,3339:257570,3370:262140,3408:262540,3414:262860,3419:264380,3441:266860,3490:269980,3549:270780,3563:277632,3636:283375,3734:285514,3762:291020,3810
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191539">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191540">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191541">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191542">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191543">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his maternal and paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191544">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his earliest memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191545">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191546">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his and his family's relationship to church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191547">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191548">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences at Trinity Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191549">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his childhood dreams and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191550">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his junior high and high school experiences in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191551">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes how he applied to the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191552">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about playing baseball and football while attending Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191553">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson recalls his academic experience at Jefferson High School and in his pre-college courses at University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191554">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his friends at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191555">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his academic plans for attending the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191556">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his experiences at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191557">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his courses at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191558">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about playing football at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191559">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his timeline following his 1956 graduation from the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191560">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his experiences at Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191561">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the racial demographics of Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191562">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about passing the State of California bar examination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191563">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his employment expectations following Boalt Hall, the University of California Berkeley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191564">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes how he came to work for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191565">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191566">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his field experiences working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191567">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his field experiences working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191568">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson explains how the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department built a case for voting discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191569">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on his outlook on race, segregation and discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191570">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences interacting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191571">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his resignation from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191572">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on his outlook on his life and law career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191573">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191574">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers the 16th Street Baptist church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191575">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191576">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson reflects upon leaving the U.S. Justice Department in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191577">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his career path following his work for the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191578">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his relationship with Medgar Evers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191579">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers driving James Baldwin from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191580">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his career path following his work for the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191581">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences working as a lawyer in Oakland, California in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191582">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working as assistant dean at Stanford Law School in Stanford, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191583">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working in a law practice with Joe Remcho and Sandy Rosen in the late 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191584">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson explains how he was appointed as a federal judge for the Northern District of California in 1980</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191585">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his work on the appeal for United States v. Banks and Means (Wounded Knee)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191586">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the Krause v. Rhodes appeal in 1977 and the values of his law firm, Rosen, Remcho and Henderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191587">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about applying to be a federal judge for the Northern District of California, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191588">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about applying to be a federal judge for the Northern District of California, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his academic plans for attending the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California
The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers driving James Baldwin from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama
Transcript
All right. So, you've graduated from high school [Jefferson High School, Los Angeles, California] and you've gone to summer school. You're going to enter college. Did you have any i- what were you going to study? What were you plans when you went to college?$$When I went to college, as I said, I think, by then I knew I was gonna be a lawyer and not a doctor. And, I think those were the two choices I saw. And, I was willfully prepared to go to college. My mother--nobody in my family had ever gone to college, and I think, most of them had not graduated from high school. So, I was going in cold, not knowing what it was other than it sounded good. So, that the first day at Cal in registration, they had it outside, and you'd go to tables and they'd have letters of E to H or something. And, you'd get your cards and you'd fill them out. And, finally I got to a table and one of the cards said--one of the students that they'd hired to help with his process said, "What's you major?" She was filling it out. And, I said, "Law." And, I still remember this sort of condescending look, "Law is a graduate major. You're an undergraduate." And, I tell you, I didn't know the difference at that point, between graduate and undergraduate. I--and, I didn't know what my major was. So, she said, "Well, come back when you figure out your major." And, I walked off totally bewildered. And, at this time, if you're--University of California [University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California], one of the biggest schools in the nation at the time, had about less than twenty blacks going. So, I wandered around, I found one, and another one of lucky strokes of mine, I ran into Julius Devereaux. And, I said, "Well, what's your major?" And, he said, "Poli sci." And, I said, "What's poli sci?" He said, "Political science." And, he told me a little about it. And, I went back, and my major was political science. And, I've always thought over these years, he had a brother named Joe Devereaux who was an engineering major (laughter). And, I've often wondered if I'd bumped into Joe, would I had been an engineering major. I mean, I was that naive. I was, in fact, I'll tell you another story. Cal was so big, when I went to summer school, the football team registered me and did all of that for me and I lived in a boarding house there near campus. And, the first day, our class was at 101 Dwinelle. And, I went around looking for Dwinelle Street. I thought that was an address. I was--it's a miracle that I'm sitting here and you're interviewing me, and I survived all of that ignorance I brought to college. But, anyway, that's the way I started off.$There's another story, and tell me if these war stories are getting boring but, there's another story related to an [U.S.] Air Force base. James Baldwin was in Selma [Alabama], and I had met him in Birmingham when he was at the A.G. Gaston [Motel, Birmingham, Alabama]. And then things, the action moved to Selma and he was there. And, I was in the [U.S.] Post Office building where the federal presence was. And, I heard on the radio there, and I was the only one in there then, a two way radio conversation in which they were talking about Baldwin. And, I heard them say, "Yeah, we're gonna get that black nigger. He thinks he's," you know, "down here to tell us what to do." So, and, I don't know who it was, but I went out and I told him. I said, "Hey, I just heard this, and I think you better be careful." And, he says (makes noise). And, he says, "I better get out of here." The story is, I tell you it's absolutely true, but (laughter). So, he had driven there with a SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] worker who had this red convertible and, you know, I said, "No. I don't think you ought to be going in a red convertible." We talked, and we talked, and then finally, I said, "Well, look," it was getting late, "I'm going back to Birmingham, ride with me." And, so, we went and got in my car, and his brother, David [Baldwin], got in and this SNCC worker. And, I--he left his car there, as I recall. We got in the car and I was telling them all the things I had learned. "If--be careful, it's getting dark. If you see a car that seems to be following us, let me know. And, if a car comes up and it looks like it's gonna pass, watch out." Because sometimes they do the drive by. And, I was doing all of this and he was just scared, you know, thinking. And, then I was staying at the Air Force base [Craig Air Force Base], and that's what started this story. So, I hadn't checked out. So, I went to the air force base, went in, checked out, paid my--it's great I stayed in the officer's quarter. It cost one dollar a night to stay there. And, I don't know, I think my per diem then was twenty-five dollars. I came back to Washington always with a lot of money. It was a good deal. So, anyway, checked out of the air force base, got in the car, and drove to Birmingham. And, then he thanked me. And, two stories that grow from that. One, a while later he came to, this is after I lost my job and I was in Washington [D.C.], right. He came to Washington. He was a big attraction then. He was at the height of his fame and I went to this thing that was full of people and he said, "I want to introduce my friend, [HM] Thelton [E.] Henderson who saved my life," you know, and told the story. And, said, you know, and he told the story much like I told it, and then said, "But, you know, when I started feeling safe?" Talking to the audience, and answered his own quest--he said, "When he stopped at the military base and got a gun" (laughter). And, over all the years, I'd never had the nerve to tell him, I didn't get a gun (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$He thought, I had gone and got a gun and I was ready to (laughter). And, I never told him that I just got my suitcase (laughter). But, the other story that derives from that, he always said as we were driving and we got where we knew we safe, we weren't being followed, he said, he was gonna write about this incident and he had a title for it. It was gonna be called 'Flight to Birmingham.' And, the title was the irony, he said, "Last week I was in Birmingham [Alabama] and I thought that was the most dangerous place I'd ever been. And, now I'm fleeing to Birmingham." And, then he was gonna write about that, and he never did. I always looked forward to seeing him write about that incident.