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Shelley Fisher

Singer and pianist Shelley Fisher was born on April 6, 1942 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. In 1953, he moved to Chicago and grew up on the city’s West Side. Fisher studied music theory, composition and vocal technique in the Chicago Junior College System, and at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Conservatory of Music. He received his A.A. degree in music education and social science from Crane Junior College in 1963.

Upon graduation, Fisher became the featured vocalist with the Morris Ellis Orchestra in Chicago. In 1966 he had a principal role in Oscar Brown, Jr.'s musical production “Summer in the City.” Fisher went on to open for Stevie Wonder at the original Regal Theater in Chicago. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1970, where he played the piano and sang for the “jet set.” In 1972, Fisher co-starred in the comedy motion picture Calliope. He also played the role of the piano player in The Three Wishes of Billy Grier, starring Ralph Macchio, and in Letter to Three Wives, with Loni Anderson. Fisher wrote and performed the original music for the motion picture Drifting Clouds.

In 1977, Fisher returned to Chicago, where he taught in two Chicago public schools. In 1985, Fisher launched Vantown Productions, Inc., a publishing and production company. He has composed and published many musical titles, including Yesterday’s Dreams (Lou Rawls on Capital Records), Plainsville, USA (Jimmy Randolph on Motown Records), King Size Bed (The Valentine Brothers on Sony Records), and Girl, I Love You, which launched the career of Chicago R&B legend, Garland Green.

From 1978 through 1999, Fisher worked abroad, namely in Osaka, Japan, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Oslo, Norway. In 1997, he wrote, arranged and produced CELEBRATION, A Tribute to Nat “King” Cole, a Las Vegas style program produced at NRK TV (Norwegian TV). Fisher toured in Europe and broke two attendance records with performances in Den Hague, Holland and at Puntaldia, the jazz music festival on the island of Sardinia, Italy.

In 2000, Fisher moved to Las Vegas, where he performed at New York, New York, the MGM Grand, the Venetian, and the MGM/Mirage hotels. He has shared billing or recorded with other well-known artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Dells, Eartha Kitt and B.B. King. Fisher has also recorded two full-length CDs: 2003’s Driving Home, and 2004’s Stories.

Shelley Fisher was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.317

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/23/2013

Last Name

Fisher

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Dell

Occupation
Schools

Farragut Career Academy Hs

Theodore Herzl Elementary School

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Chicago Conservatory of Music

First Name

Shelley

Birth City, State, Country

Clarksdale

HM ID

FIS05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sardinia

Favorite Quote

If You Really Want To See The Daughter, First Look At The Mother.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

4/6/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oatmeal

Short Description

Singer, pianist, and Shelley Fisher (1942 - ) toured nationally and internationally for over thirty years. He also acted in various stage productions and films, and authored a autobiography titled 'A Motherless Child.'

Employment

Turner Manufacturing Company

United States Postal Service

Chicago Daily Defender

Johnson Publishing Company

Delete

Invictus/Hotwax Records (Capitol)

Vantown Productions, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shelley Fisher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about his family's affiliation with the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher talks about his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher describes his early years in Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher describes his early years in Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher talks about his early understanding of gender identity

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shelley Fisher remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shelley Fisher describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about his difficult upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher remembers joining his father in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher talks about his behavior as an adolescent in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher recalls his involvement in Chicago gangs

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about early gang activity in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls the gang violence that he experienced

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher remembers his involvement in criminal activity as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher recalls the inspiration behind his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about his honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher remembers selling magazine subscriptions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher recalls taking the civil service exam to become a mail carrier

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers enrolling at Crane Junior College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about his various jobs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher remembers acquaintances from his youth in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher describes the music scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher talks about record companies and radio stations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher describes the music scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher remembers the music venues and people in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher describes Oscar Brown, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher talks about his role in Oscar Brown, Jr.'s musical production 'Summer in the City'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers singer Lou Rawls

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks writing the song 'Girl I Love You'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls founding Aries Records and moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher talks about learning to play piano

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher remembers singing with the Morris Ellis Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher talks about his early career in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher recalls working with Motown Records in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher talks about his struggle with substance abuse

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher remembers his relationship with Jacqueline Dalya

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher talks about moving back to Chicago, Illinois in the late 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher remembers his job teaching blues music in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls living in Japan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher recalls living in Japan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher remembers his experiences in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher describes his film and music career in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher recalls performing in Europe, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher recalls performing in Europe, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps in Oswiecim, Poland

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about the production of 'Drifting Clouds'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher describes how he started performing in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher talks about the car accident that ended his piano career

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his accident

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about how he revived his singing career after his accident

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher talks about his portrayal of Conrad Murray

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher describes the musical legacy of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher describes his decision to leave Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Shelley Fisher talks about learning to play piano
Shelley Fisher remembers his job teaching blues music in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
I got there it was raining. Got--never go to L.A. [Los Angeles, California] hungry in December. It's the rainy season. And I went, I got there, and I figured if you're gonna jump in the water, get in the deep water, 'cause that's where the, you know, don't be--you know. So I checked in at the Continental hotel [Continental Hyatt House; Andaz West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California] there on Sunset [Boulevard]. Now I, remember I got $350 in my pocket. I think that lasted about three days, and I was out on the street. And I had some jewelry that I pawned, and I checked into the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association]. I went from the five star to the Y (laughter). And I, one day I was so, I didn't even have money to make the phone call to call the agent. I had to walk from Wilcox [Avenue] and Sunset, which is--I don't know if you know L.A.--to 8100 Sunset, which is almost Beverly Hills [California], walked just to see if I, if anybody had a job for me. And about two weeks went by and nobody, they said, "Sorry, we're working on it." And then one day I got a call. I mean I got a yes. And I said, "Well, where, where is it?" 'Cause I'd, I'd, when I went to California, I took music. I'd had charts, all the charts I used in Morris Ellis' band, and you know, I had music up the ying yang, no--I said, "How much music should I take?" He said, "Well, what do you mean?" (Laughter) I said, "Well, how many people in the band?" He said, "Well, you got on the, on your resume that you play piano." I said, "Oh, no problem," (laughter). I knew about ten tunes well enough to be played in public. And I was booked up at San Luis Obispo [California] at this--his brother [Jimmy Ellis] was used to be on 'Laugh-In' ['Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In']. He was--yeah, they was a fantastic restaurant. And so after I would play my ten song repertoire, I would get up and start getting the peop- doing 'Signifying Monkey,' [HistoryMaker] Oscar Brown, Jr.'s (singing), "Said the signifying monkey to the lion one day, there's a great big elephant down the way." And I would go around table to table, and I'd make the people clap. They were my band. They were (laughter)--and in the daytime, I had my music books. I would get down--I was, I would build my repertoire.$$And that's how you learned how to play the piano?$$That's how I learned to earn a living playing the piano.$$Playing the piano (laughter). But when, when had you learned the piano before that, that you've never (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, and now we studied in, in, in, in Crane [Crane Junior College; Malcolm X College, Chicago, Illinois] with sort of theory and harmony, theory, harmony, and compositions. I can look at the music and tell you what it sounds like. But elocution on the, on, on the--you know, when you play to be a piano viturso [sic. virtuoso], you got to go through years of da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. I didn't have the patience for that. So, I learned to play, to, to play the--I could do a solo with my right hand, but I'm playing block chords, as I hear an orchestra playing. That way I had a more full sound, and it wasn't like no one else's, because it's very different. [HistoryMaker] B. B. King does not sing and play at the same time. Did you know that?$$He plays and then he sings.$$Then he sings.$$I think I--'cause, yeah--$$Somebody pull your coat to that? But anyway, singing and--$$No, they didn't put--we worked with them. And I was just thinking, he does play and then he sings.$$He play (makes sounds); then he sings. But playing and hearing all of those notes and executing those notes and singing, not very many people do that well. Nat Cole [Nat King Cole] was the one. Mr. Cole could do it. But so you--and, and in my case, I was, I'm playing, I'm playing the piano. Can't nobody say they can't, can't play piano. They say, "He's not Oscar Peterson." 'Cause I didn't have that ring. But I didn't back down from no gigs. I was good enough to go up and play with Ike [Ike Turner] and Tina Turner. So, to me I, and I still, I still, even though no matter how good you can play, I still allocate learning theory so you can communicate the language. You're, you're dealing with a language. And if you can go to Japan and say I want it in B flat, they can understand you. You go Switzerland: I want it in C sharp played from whatever. They can understand. So, but today's music, but the--all you gotta do is turn your boot up. And you know, nobody understands the language that they supposed to be speaking.$So when you came back to Cabrini-Green [Cabrini-Green Homes, Chicago, Illinois] and you were--how did you get that job?$$With the, with--I had assisted Jimmy [Jimmy Tillman] the year before, in '76 [1976]. And he recommended me to--I forget her name, who was head of--I got a letter. I brought a copy of the letter from that, yeah, from the, from the (unclear). But he recommended me to do the blues program. So we wrote, we wrote the grant, we wrote the--for the Illinois Arts Council [Chicago, Illinois], and they were the liaison to NEA [National Endowment for the Arts]. That was a fan- that was a great experience.$$So talk about that. How long did you do that for?$$It was a three month program. And we used--we had kids from age ten to sixteen, over at the Schiller [Schiller Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois], from the Schiller and the Newberry Schools [Newberry School; Walter L. Newberry Math and Science Academy, Chicago, Illinois] there in Cabrini-Green. And it was diverse racially. And what we did, these kids would--we, we, we projected that we could raise their reading scores and have self-esteem if they were able to communicate their feelings through the blues. So, we taught them how to write their blues with an AAB format. (Singing), "They call it stormy Monday. Tuesday is just as bad. They call it stormy Monday. Tuesday is just as bad. Wednesday is worse. Thursday is--," AAB. And the kids started writing their blues songs. And we found out, Jimmy and I, that the problem with many in education is not the students; it's the teachers half the time. One young lady wrote about her boyfriend--her mother's boyfriend, who was a pimp. He was pimping her mother. And he walked with a limp. And I, I--forgive me for not remembering it 'cause it was such--using those, those rhymes, this girl--I got a picture of her--she wrote, and sang it; she wrote the song, so we would work with the teachers on grading on, on evaluation and so forth. And Will, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, some of the other artists would come in and would do performances, so, to inspire the kids. And this one English teacher gave this girl a failing grade. And the girl came, "Mr. Fisher [HistoryMaker Shelley Fisher], Ms. So and So blah, blah, blah," and it was 'cause the women did not, the teacher did not understand limp, knew very little about pimp and the other lyrics that the young lady was using that were rhyming and making sense in, in terms of the jargon of the hood. I had to explain that. Then they began to respect the program a bit. So we taught the kids guitar, because, let's face it, blues, after three chords it starts to become jazz. So they learned three, three chords and played tambourine and harmonica, and they learned to play their blues. And as a result, the finale was the, they wrote their own--I can't say--what's a--not a graduation but their, their ceremony, their success ceremony, and it was wonderful. It was wonderful what those kids did, how they--you know, it's--and we're talking about all kinds of kids, not just, not just black kids. Some of the white kids had better worse--had problems of abuse than, than, than Dora [ph.] did.$$Right.$$So everybody can be helped from music, when we understand it. But in order to understand it you gotta be able to communicate it. And if I'm just feeding you something, I'm not communicating to you. I'm, I'm marketing you. You're part of my demograph. And why nobody'll write something that anybody else can sing, our Mistys ['Misty'], our Stormy Weathers ['Stormy Weather'], our (singing), "Go down Moses," ['Go Down Moses']. Ain't nobody writing nothing that nobody else can sing. Jay-Z, bless his heart, and him and Beyonce [Beyonce Knowles], ain't nobody can sing that stuff but them (laughter).$$Now, that, that's in '77 [1977], right? Seventy se-(simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Seventy-seven [1977], the blues program.

Anthony Samad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2013.294

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/16/2013

Last Name

Samad

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Asadullah

Schools

Claremont Graduate University

California State University, Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Los Angeles High School

24th Street Elementary School

P.S. 124 Silas B. Dutcher School

John Adams Middle School

First Name

Anthony

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SAM05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/11/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

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

Employment

Los Angeles Community College District

Samad & Associates

Freelance Journalist

Liberty Finance Management

Founders Savings & Loan

Beneficial Financial Company

California State University, Northridge

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony Samad's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad describes his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad remembers lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad describes his community in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Anthony Samad describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Anthony Samad recalls moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Anthony Samad remembers his first impressions of California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers the Watts riots in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad describes the impact of the Watts riots

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad talks about his early admiration of Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad remembers his family's involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad talks about his love of reading

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about his middle school gym teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad talks about his favorite athletes

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad talks about his high school basketball career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad remembers Los Angeles High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad talks about his early awareness of black politics

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad remembers his college recruitment offers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad recalls the development of his political consciousness, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad recalls the development of his political consciousness, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad talks about the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad remembers joining the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad recalls his decision to study broadcasting

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Anthony Samad talks about the changes in black identity during the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Anthony Samad recalls his mentors at California State University, Los Angeles

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers earning a master's degree in public administration

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls founding the Liberty Finance Management Group

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad recalls his introduction to the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about police violence against African Americans

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad recalls his election as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad describes his challenges as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad describes his challenges as president of the NAACP Los Angeles Branch, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about a personal scandal, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad talks about a personal scandal, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad recalls the start of his career as a newspaper columnist

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls his conversion to Islam and return to Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes the work of Samad and Associates

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad remembers his consulting clients

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad remembers the riots in Los Angeles, California in 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad describes the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots of 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad remembers becoming a political science professor

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad recalls founding the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad remembers the speakers at the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad talks about the structure of the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad reflects upon the importance of the Urban Issues Forum of Greater Los Angeles

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad remembers earning his Ph.D. degree

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad describes the social regression that followed the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad talks about his book, 'Saving the Race, Daily Affirmations for Young Black Males'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Anthony Samad describes his recent publications

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Anthony Samad talks about the history of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Anthony Samad talks about the history of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Anthony Samad describes his current book projects

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Anthony Samad reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Anthony Samad describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Anthony Samad talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Anthony Samad reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Anthony Samad describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$4

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

The Honorable Marion Barry

Marion Barry was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi on March 6, 1936. From an impoverished family, he went on to become a vigorous civil rights activist and served four terms as Mayor of the District of Columbia. Barry grew up in Memphis, where he attended Booker T. Washington High School. During the City's 1958 bus desegregation drive, Barry received his first taste of public confrontation and media notoriety. Subsequently, he abandoned his doctoral studies in Chemistry at the University of Tennessee to join the civil rights movement full-time. Barry was elected the first chairman of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1965 to open a local chapter. He never left.

Barry quickly became a formidable politician in the nation's capital. In 1971, he was elected to serve on the city's first school board. Three years later, when Congress allowed local elections, Barry won a seat on the District of Columbia City Council. As the second elected mayor of Washington, D.C., Barry was known for building coalitions with marginalized populations, including African Americans, women and the LGBT community. Barry held that office for twelve years, until a misdemeanor drug conviction forced him to step down. After a brief hiatus, Barry made a triumphant return to political office when he won back a seat on the City Council. In 1994, enthusiastic supporters reelected Barry as mayor in a landslide victory. Barry resided in Washington, D.C. with his wife Cora.

Barry passed away on November 23, 2014 at age 78.

Accession Number

A2000.005

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

8/7/2000

Last Name

Barry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

LeMoyne-Owen College

Fisk University

University of Tennesee

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Marion

Birth City, State, Country

Itta Bena

HM ID

BAR04

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/6/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

11/23/2014

Short Description

Mayor Marion Barry (1936 - 2014 ) was a Mayor of Washington D.C., a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, and the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Employment

District of Columbia Government

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

District of Columbia

Favorite Color

Burgundy

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marion Barry interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marion Barry's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marion Barry describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marion Barry talks about his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marion Barry talks about losing touch with his father at an early age

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marion Barry talks about his siblings and their families

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marion Barry describes growing up in Itta Bena, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marion Barry explains why he moved to Memphis as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marion Barry describes living in Memphis as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about odd jobs he worked in his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marion Barry talks about how his personality changed as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marion Barry talks about how Scouting influenced him as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Marion Barry describes his educational experience

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Marion Barry says his mother complained about her domestic work

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Marion Barry talks about some of his friends from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marion Barry describes his leisure time during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about his decision to attend LeMoyne College

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marion Barry says his family supported his decision to attend college

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marion Barry recalls becoming an activist at LeMoyne College

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marion Barry describes the segregation in Memphis, Tennesse during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marion Barry is unsure why he became active at LeMoyne College

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marion Barry describes speaking at a rally headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marion Barry talks about his admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marion Barry describes working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marion Barry discusses the philosophy and strategies of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marion Barry gives his first impression of Washington, D.C. on his arrival in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about his social work with African American youth in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marion Barry talks about his work as president of Washington, D.C.'s Board of Education

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marion Barry talks about making social improvements while serving on the City Council of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marion Barry talks about appointing minorities to city government positions when he was mayor of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marion Barry explains why he ran for the Washington, D.C. school board

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marion Barry says that his mathematical aptitude and good memory helped him as a politician

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marion Barry describes how his belief in the political system changed over time

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about being shot in the chest in 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about his past endorsements from the 'Washington Post'

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marion Barry describes his first successful mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Marion Barry explains that his politics are based on empowerment

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Marion Barry talks about his relationship with the black middle class

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Marion Barry talks about coping with the difficult nature of political office

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marion Barry talks about his relationship with white voters

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marion Barry talks about the influence of African American politicians

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marion Barry shares some regrets about his time as Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marion Barry discusses Washington D.C's relationship with the federal government

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marion Barry says he never stopped working hard as Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marion Barry discusses the Ivanhoe Donaldson embezzlement scandal

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marion Barry reflects on sex and drug scandals during his time as Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marion Barry describes how incarceration helped him overcome his drug problems and continue in politics

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about his last term as Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Marion Barry talks about his future career plans

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Marion Barry discusses political and economic empowerment for African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marion Barry talks about his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marion Barry does not regret his decision not to pursue a career in science

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marion Barry disagrees with those who have called him an embarrassment

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marion Barry sympathizes with President Bill Clinton

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marion Barry discusses his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marion Barry says what it means to be black in America

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marion Barry explains the uniqueness of African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marion Barry explains why he favors reparations for slavery

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marion Barry talks about the importance of the HistoryMakers project

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Marion Barry at his mayoral inauguration parade in Washington D.C., January, 1979

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Marion Barry's mother, Mattie Cummings, 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - A young Marion Barry supporter, 1992-1994

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Marion Barry in a Martin Luther King Day parade, Washington, D.C., January, 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Marion Barry at a rally in Nigeria, 1992-1993

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Marion Barry with firefighters at his city council inauguration, Washington, D.C., January, 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Marion Barry with son Christopher and friends

Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Marion Barry with fellow city council members, Washington, D.C., January, 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Marion Barry with his son Christopher with rap artist M.C. Hammer, ca. 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Marion Barry, his wife, Cora, and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - Marion Barry with President Bill Clinton at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 21 - Photo - Marion Barry meeting with local businessmen Washington, D.C., 1996

Tape: 5 Story: 22 - Photo - Collage made by a neighborhood group of Marion Barry with his son, Christopher Barry, Washington, D.C., ca. 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 23 - Photo - Marion Barry, Jerry Rawlings, President of Ghana, and their spouses, Washington, D.C., 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 24 - Photo - Marion Barry shaking hands with Judge Eugene Hamilton at his mayoral inauguration breakfast, Washington, D.C., 1995

Tape: 5 Story: 25 - Photo - Marion Barry presenting Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women with a key to the city, Washington, D.C., 1996

Tape: 5 Story: 26 - Photo - Dorothy Height speaking at the opening of the National Council of Negro Women headquarters, Washington, D.C., 1996

Tape: 5 Story: 27 - Photo - Marion Barry and his wife attend a luncheon at the South African Embassy with Nelson Mandela, Washington, D.C., 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 28 - Photo - Marion Barry is sworn in as a member of the City Council, Washington, D.C., January, 1993

Tape: 5 Story: 29 - Photo - Marion Barry interviewed by radio host Tom Joyner, 1996

Tape: 5 Story: 30 - Photo - Marion Barry being greeted during his visit to the Ivory Coast, 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 31 - Photo - Marion Barry being greeted during his visit to Guinea, 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 32 - Photo - Marion Barry speaks while his mother, Mattie Cummings, and sister Gloria look on, 1995