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Dominic Ozanne

Construction entrepreneur and chief executive Dominic Ozanne was born on April 10, 1953 in Cleveland, Ohio to Betty and Leroy Ozanne. Ozanne earned his B.S./B.A. degree in finance from Boston University in 1975. He then attended Harvard Law School, where he was senior comments editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and received his J.D. degree in 1978.

Ozanne worked briefly for the law firm Thompson, Hine, & Flory, after which he joined the Ozanne Construction Company as general counsel. His father had founded the company in 1956, making it one of the nation’s first black-owned construction companies. In 1990, Ozanne was named president and Chief Executive Officer of the company. He expanded the firm beyond the greater Cleveland area and secured a number of significant contracts for projects such as the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools Rebuilding Program, the Orleans Parish Sherif’s Office Rebuilding Program, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Administrative Campus, and the Elkton, Ohio Correctional Facility.

In recognition of his achievements, Ozanne was awarded the 1991 Engineering New Record Award for Excellence and served as president of the National Association of Minority Contractors from 1989 to 1990. The Ozanne Construction Company was ranked no. 61 on Black Enterprise’s list of the top 100 industrial/service companies in 1998, named the Best-in-Class in Workforce Diversity for middle market companies by the Greater Cleveland Partnership in 2011, and listed in the top 100 Construction Management-for-Fee Firms by Engineering New Record in 2011. The company is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Ozanne has been a member of a number of civic, educational, and professional groups such as the Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustees, the Cleveland Museum of Art Board of Trustees, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Advisory Board – Harvard Law School, the Construction Employers Association Board of Trustees, the Lay Finance Advisory Board, Diocese of Cleveland, the St. Ignatius High School Board of Regents, and member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

Ozanne is married to Gaile Cooper Ozanne and they have four children; Dominic II, Monique, Olivia, and Joshua. Dominic II has worked as a project engineer at the Ozanne Construction Company’s New Orleans office.

Dominic Ozanne was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/13/2014

Last Name

Ozanne

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Saint Ignatius High School

Boston University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Dominic

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

OZA01

State

Ohio

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

4/10/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

USA

Short Description

Construction chief executive Dominic Ozanne (1953 - ) served as president of the Ozanne Construction Company, one of the nation’s first black-owned construction companies.

Employment

Thompson, Hine, & Flory

Ozanne Construction Company

John B. Cruz III

Cruz Construction Company president John Bert Cruz, III, was born on May 7, 1943, in Wareham, Massachusetts. Cruz’s parents, John B. Cruz, Jr., and Madeline Martin Cruz, were the children of first generation emigrants from the Cape Verde Islands, off the Northwest coast of Africa. Descended from whale harpooners, Cruz’s grandfather John B. Cruz, Sr., was a prohibition era business associate of Joseph P. Kennedy. Living with his mother until he was twelve, Cruz attended school in Wareham, Massachusetts, Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. Cruz worked alongside his father as a carpenter in Boston in 1956. Completing his studies at Patrick T. Campbell Junior High School, Cruz graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1962; he then enrolled in Wentworth Institute where he studied business administration.

Joining his father’s carpentry business, Cruz took care of the administrative work as superintendent and estimator of jobs. Significant growth led to the two going into the general contracting business with the formation of John B. Cruz Construction Company in 1969. In 1970, Cruz was bonded and accepted his first general contracting job. Mentored by Dennis Blackett, Cruz completed Taurus Apartments, an affordable housing project in 1973. Attending the Minority Developers Executive Training Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cruz gained the acumen necessary to build over 1,500 units of housing and to specialize in build-to-suit projects. By 1983, Cruz was building between 300 and 400 units annually, managing a workforce of over 2,000, and managing apartments. The John B. Cruz Construction Company provided general contracting services for various Boston area projects including The Fortress, Council Towers, Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute Laboratory Research Institute, Boston Police Department Headquarters, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Prang House, and Prang Estates. Cruz handled jobs as large as $17 million as a general contractor and $150 million working with other companies; in 1989, he developed a $36 million, 463 unit project.

As an active member of the Contractors Association of Boston and the National Association of Minority Contractors, Cruz joined with Smoot, Moody, McKissack and other black firms to fight for legislation to ensure parity for minority contractors. Cruz committed to helping Cape Verdean and other minority contractors to develop, and to staying and working in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Cruz also established the John B. Cruz Bridgewater State University Scholarship in his father’s name.

Accession Number

A2007.132

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/11/2007

Last Name

Cruz

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Schools

Boston Technical High School

Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 Inclusion School

The John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science

Wentworth Institute of Technology

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Wareham

HM ID

CRU02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Construction chief executive John B. Cruz III (1943 - ) co-founded the John B. Cruz Construction Company, and was an advocate for minority contractors in the United States.

Employment

John B. Cruz Company

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John B. Cruz III's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz talks about his grandparents' experiences in Cape Verde

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III remembers his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III talks about his paternal grandfather's business

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz describes his father's profession

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes his father's experiences of work discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III talks about his father's U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III recalls the founding of the John B. Cruz Construction Company

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about his relationship with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III remembers moving frequently as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III recalls moving from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III recalls his experiences in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - John B. Cruz III describes his elementary school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes the Cape Verdean community in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes his community in Buffalo, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III talks about racial identity in the Cape Verdean community, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about racial identity the Cape Verdean community, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III remembers Patrick T. Campbell Junior High in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his family's musical interests

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III remembers Boston Technical High School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III recalls his start at the John B. Cruz Construction Company

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - John B. Cruz recalls his decision to pursue a career in construction

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III remembers his first car

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes the influences on his early career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III remembers joining the John B. Cruz Construction Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III recalls his first general contracting project

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III remembers the influence of Dennis Blackett

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his financial obstacles

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III recalls the growth of the John B. Cruz Construction Company

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III talks about his government contracting work

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III describes his apartment developments in Miami, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes his plans for the John B. Cruz Construction Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III talks about the Contractors Association of Boston

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III talks about the importance of minority businesses

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about his professional obstacles

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his accomplishments

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III talks about the opportunities in the construction industry

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III describes his family

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III talks about his community leadership

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes his children's education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon modern racism

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
John B. Cruz III describes the Cape Verdean community in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
John B. Cruz III talks about the Contractors Association of Boston
Transcript
Your mother [Madeline Martin Allen] married a guy in Buffalo [New York], right?$$Right.$$Right. And so, one of the questions I think would be interesting is how did--we were talking about the difference between Buffalo and Cape Cod [Massachusetts]. And we talked a lot during the break about some of the differences in scenery, and pollution, and--$$Right.$$--water and stuff in Buffalo, opposed to on the cape.$$Well, again, it was a big culture shock. Because here I'd come from basically a Cape Verdean community where Cape Verdean in some homes is spoken more than English. And again, the things of large families, music, all the time close knit. And it's a country town, and beautiful beaches in that part of the country. We used to only have to walk a quarter of a mile to maybe half a mile at the most. And in back of the house was a beautiful pure river we used to go swimming in, and in fact swam naked in there a lot of times. There was actually--one of my fondest memories was my [maternal] grandfather [Casimere Martin] impressing me on his--because if you live in Cape Verde you have to swim, because there's nothing but islands, well most people learn to swim. But he could swim excellent, but he could hold his breath. And I can remember him diving in the water, and I'd be afraid my grandfather would drown because he wouldn't come up until sometime later. And I do the same thing now. People marvel. And I was just impressed with my grandfather. I said, I'm going to do that. I'm going to be able to dive in the water and hold my breath like my grandfather. So it started way back then, positive or negative influence people give you.$You've been part of the movement of the black contractors to, nationwide to unite, I guess, for their own benefit and protection. Tell us about the organizations you've been a part of.$$My first experience, my first experience came with the Contractors Association of Boston [Boston, Massachusetts], which is--for a while--it's no longer in existence. It was the oldest ongoing contractors association in the country. We used to like to boast about that all the time. But about five years ago--it's still chartered, but it's really not active. But we were incorporated before the National Association of Minority Contractors was. And we have a saying here that, "If you're black, whatever you're doing in Boston [Massachusetts], whether you're a businessman or a professional, you'll be doing better at it somewhere else," because of the racial climate in Boston. And it's true, it is true. I don't mean that to knock anybody in particular; maybe I mean it to knock the town and the state, whatever it is. Yeah, fine, but it still is that today. I can tell you, I'm in it. And I know that if I had the same energy. Because of my net worth, the other minority contractors around the country, they are able to do better with less adversities and impediments--better politics, whatever you want to call it. They are able to do better with the same amount of energy that you would spend doing the same thing here in Boston. And that's why a lot of professionals leave Boston. And I'm not saying it's something that people don't know. So, we formed--and what that did do was made bonds. We formed the Contractors Association of Boston, and we went out and we demanded parity and fairness in the construction industry. And we, Massachusetts, was one of the first states that actually came out with a legal set aside on work, and Boston was one of the first cities. Other people came here and copied Boston and Massachusetts, and that's because of Contractors Association of Boston.$$Now when was that achievement? When did you get the--$$We started the Contractors Association of Boston, it was started in I believe 1965 or '66 [1966], it was back then. So even though Boston was adverse and had hardships, it forced something to come up good from it; like my father [John B. Cruz, Jr.] started a business [John B. Cruz Construction Company, Boston, Massachusetts] because of adversity. It started a strong partnership among local people and the contractors who were trying to get into the contracting industry. And again, it was a very active association for over twenty years.

Paul J. King

Contractor and CEO of UBM, Inc., Paul King was born September 6, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in a business-minded family, King attended St. Anselm Elementary School. Graduating from Mayor Daley’s alma mater, De La Salle High School, in 1956, King went on to the University of Chicago to study chemistry, the University of Illinois for construction management and pursued graduate studies in political science from Roosevelt University.

Working his way through college, King’s part time paint contracting work exploded into a full time business. He then faced the reality that the city rarely awarded jobs to black contractors. Keenly aware that public contracts were necessary for growth, King began to organize with other black contractors. He became executive director of the United Builders Association of Chicago in 1969 and a national officer in the National Association of Minority Contractors. In association with the Builders Association of Chicago and The University of Illinois King developed two courses in construction management for minority contractors. He spearheaded two national meetings that involved hundreds of contractors and a working alliance with Congressman Parren Mitchell. As a faculty member of Advanced Management Research-International, King lectures on affirmative action issues. He has also been a contract compliance officer for the United States Department of Labor. Today, King is the Chairman and CEO of UBM Construction with over 100 employees and contracts worth up to a billion dollars. He is also chairman and founder of the O’Hare Development Group.

Traveling to twenty-four states and over forty cities to speak about the plight of minority contractors, King’s economic and political views are published in Black Scholar, Emerge Magazine, and Black Enterprise. He is a lecturer at Roosevelt University in African Studies and contemporary black issues. King lives in Chicago with his wife, LoAnn.

Accession Number

A2003.297

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/13/2003 |and| 5/17/2004

12/13/2003

5/17/2004

Last Name

King

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

De La Salle Institute

St. Anselm's School

University of Chicago

Roosevelt University

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

KIN05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Everyone Wants To Go To Heaven, But Nobody Wants To Die.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/6/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Contractor Paul J. King (1938 - ) is the Chairman and CEO of UBM Construction, and also the chairman and founder of the O’Hare Development Group. King’s written works have been published in Black Scholar, Emerge Magazine, and Black Enterprise, and he is a lecturer at Roosevelt University in African Studies.

Employment

UBM Construction

Roosevelt University

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:10904,250:11468,257:14382,316:28944,422:32138,435:37802,543:38186,548:39242,566:48649,675:49013,680:50196,687:62663,971:63573,985:63937,990:66212,1027:66667,1033:69943,1090:77576,1118:77986,1124:79216,1144:80528,1173:81102,1181:82660,1209:82988,1214:87990,1307:89056,1322:89876,1331:90532,1341:98319,1411:99209,1425:101879,1460:115179,1573:116601,1599:123474,1741:123869,1748:124422,1756:125133,1925:138738,2015:139584,2065:144754,2140:151445,2180:151825,2185:152205,2190:160327,2324:165535,2400:166000,2406:166558,2427:168604,2445:185078,2623:185757,2632:188861,2698:192935,2755:206544,2946:206872,2951:229884,3307:234070,3324:236478,3373:236908,3379:237252,3384:238198,3397:241380,3441:241724,3446:242240,3454:248998,3520:249378,3526:250214,3547:252950,3597:253786,3612:254546,3628:258766,3678:259470,3688:259822,3693:260174,3698:263060,3742$0,0:11904,119:30048,386:30624,396:41160,443:43260,461:44060,470:46560,486:61360,664:65660,720:77192,782:78808,797:81164,814:86744,893:87240,898:87860,904:93194,944:110296,1122:115013,1208:115636,1216:115992,1221:138032,1489:167486,1730:167916,1736:168604,1745:170740,1760:181720,1838:182787,1851:193696,1977:202832,2033:204850,2041:208009,2084:221810,2282:237138,2416:243018,2465:248114,2502:252345,2534:254477,2542:269050,2763
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul J. King's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul J. King lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul J. King describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul J. King describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul J. King talks about his role models in his father's family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul J. King describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul J. King describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul J. King describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul J. King describes his childhood interests and activities in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul J. King describes his memories of Jesse Binga and Richard Wright

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul J. King talks about racial boundaries on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul J. King describes his experiences at St. Anselm's School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul J. King describes his choice to attend De La Salle Institute in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul J. King describes his experiences at De La Salle Institute in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul J. King describes his experiences at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul J. King talks about joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul J. King talks about his family members' experiences in college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul J. King describes his academic studies at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul J. King describes playing varsity basketball at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul J. King describes his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul J. King describes his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul J. King talks about his marriage and his first job after college at DeSoto Chemical

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul J. King talks about the absence of father figures for young black men in modern America

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul J. King talks about the beginning of his career in the contracting industry

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul J. King describes his experiences at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul J. King describes his involvement with Communiversity in Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul J. King describes the beginnings of his efforts as a writer and speaker

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul J. King talks about a symposium on black thought in Sausalito, California in 1972

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul J. King talks about organizing to protest a construction project in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul J. King talks about organizing to protest a construction project in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul J. King describes the history of race in American construction unions

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul J. King talks about advocating for affirmative action in contracting before the federal government

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul J. King names the members of the Group of 12 at the July 1969 protest in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul J. King talks about changes in the involvement of African Americans in contracting during his career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul J. King talks about the achievements of his contracting firm, UBM, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul J. King talks about the decline of trade schools in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul J. King's interview, session two

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul J. King describes community organizing which led to the creation of The Chicago Plan for trade union desegregation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul J. King remembers negotiating The Chicago Plan for trade union desegregation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul J. King talks about the evolution of affirmative action programs since the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul J. King talks about the role of gangs in the African American community of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul J. King talks about the role of gangs in the African American community of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul J. King talks about returning former inmates to the workforce

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paul J. King describes lobbying efforts with the Minority Business Enterprise Braintrust

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paul J. King describes the early activities of the National Association of Minority Contractors

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul J. King describes working with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington to promote affirmative action

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul J. King talks about affirmative action debates in Chicago from 1983 to 2004

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul J. King talks about the need for activism in the 21st century, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul J. King talks about the need for activism in the 21st century, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paul J. King describes initiatives to expand the role of African Americans in the construction industry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Paul J. King talks about his efforts with Project Pride in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Paul J. King talks about the importance of lifelong learning

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Paul J. King describes his experiences at HistoryMaker Nathan Hare's retreat in the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Paul J. King describes his writing career from 1973 to 2004

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Paul J. King reflects on the setbacks of the movement for affirmative action

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Paul J. King describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Paul J. King describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Paul J. King talks about his memories of Dr. Bobby E. Wright

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Paul J. King reflects on his 1972 essay "Delirium or Imperium," pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Paul J. King reflects on his 1972 essay "Delirium or Imperium," pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Paul J. King reflects on the Sutton E. Griggs novel 'Imperium in Imperio'

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Paul J. King reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Paul J. King considers what he would have done differently

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Paul J. King describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Paul J. King describes his memories of Jesse Binga and Richard Wright
Paul J. King describes the early activities of the National Association of Minority Contractors
Transcript
Yeah, you were just, you just shared a couple of things with me about the neighborhood [Washington Park, Chicago, Illinois], if you wanna--$$Oh yeah, we were--you were talking about growing up and you know, childhood activities. And a couple of the things that I remember is people that became very important to me later that I didn't know then, I had the opportunity to meet Jesse Binga, who, he used to have breakfast, meals at the school [St. Anselm's School, Chicago, Illinois]. The nuns that were running the school used to provide him with meals. He wasn't desolate, but I think that he came by there simply to, you know, exchange--to have a sense of community with some people that were, knew his background and knew his past. And--$$Now he was the head of Binga [State] Bank [Chicago, Illinois]--$$Yes, oh yeah, Jesse Binga was the head of Binga Bank, and of course he tried to make--he tried to send the Binga--expand the Binga Bank, you know, into downtown even. And he also talked to downtown banking interests about using his bank as a frame of reference to expand banking services into the, into the black communities further south, you know, which is an amazing thing, again, talking about this notion of histor--being a uniquely favored historic generation. Here I was, a kid having an opportunity to meet, up close and personal, and just hear somebody like Jesse Binga talk about what his ideas and his vision was and then to see him not succeed but be able to predict what was gonna happen. And now look at all of the banking activity that's taking place. I mean you've got banks up and down Stony Island [Avenue]. You've got Northern Trust Bank, which we built on 76th [Street] and State [Street]. So what he was after, besides Seaway [Bank and Trust Company, Chicago, Illinois] and Independence [Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois] preceding all of this, what Jesse Binga was after was something that very, was very, very important. And he got shot down because it was just something, black folk didn't have any business thinking like that, let alone trying to be part of the business machinery that was gonna profit from that kind of thing. And at that time also I met Richard Wright, who was, you know, navigating through the neighborhood. I think he lived somewhere in the neighborhood at that time or was visiting. But, but you didn't know the full import of who these people were when you were a kid. It's only when you, you know, become older and begin to recall who you met, and then how they carried themselves, and how they thought, and what some of their dreams were. You know, that was always something that stayed, you know, that stays with you. And even as an adult, you tend to go back to those childhood examples for giving you a frame of reference, you know, to pursue your own visions.$$Now did you have a conversation with Richard Wright at all?$$Yeah, but you know, it wasn't a conversation like this. It was a kid talking to a grown man. You know, so you might say hello, hello, Mr. Wright, or hello, Mr. Binga. How are you? You know, and they would give you some sage comment or two. But you got more out of sitting down and being within earshot and listening to them talk to other adults where their conversation was more of a, on an even keel rather than talk down to someone. But you know, the--I think the thing that impresses me about the exposure that I had to Wright was just that he always seemed to be plodding along, you know, and you never would think that he was gonna be successful person in the sense of making a lot of money or being somebody that's really in the newspaper or what have you. But it turns out that they were, you know, and that was very important.$We were talking about the--how the contractors got together.$$Yeah, so the contractor dimension largely took hold on a national level vis-a-vis the National Association of Minority Contractors [NAMC]. And that was an organization started in Oakland, California, by Ray Dones, D-O-N-E-S, and he is still alive. And we will be meeting I guess for the thirty-fifth consecutive year in a couple of weeks in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. And, in that context, the national association was also interested in organizing in different cities, the logic being that, if we were empowered, we would be the better trainers and the better employers of black workers. And so that was the mission pretty much of the National--NAMC, National Association of Minority Contractors. On a political level, we were getting, we were able to get [HistoryMaker] Parren [J.] Mitchell [III] to do things within this U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] that were just terrific. I mean we had guys from Chicago [Illinois] like Art Minzier [ph.] and Connie Mack Higgins, who were officials in the Small Business Administration. And we had a program which is called the 8(a) [Business Development] Program, which is a set-aside program that allows for federal contracts to be negotiated and not competitively bid. And we began to use that and improve that, and they said, no, it's not just enough to have that. We're gonna have to have loans. So we were able to institute a direct loan program. Then they said, contractors can't wait for their money, so we arranged for an advance payment program. I mean you get a contract, give you an--you sign it. You have some money put in the bank against it. We created models and mechanisms within the Small Business Administration that allowed for every problem that we had encountered or could imagine to be addressed in some way or another. Again, there were a large--UBM [Inc., Chicago, Illinois] was a large benefit--UBM was one of those 8(a) contractors for a limited period of time. And then the program became, you know, in this anti-affirmative action era that, you know, basically, basically started, you know, with [President George Herbert Walker] Bush--I mean with [President Ronald Wilson] Reagan in the '80s [1980s]. The program got in some way, in some ways got watered down. But still, because it was part of a law, it is in effect today, and firms can still benefit from some of those things that we started during that period of time. The contractor program nationally then was one more of federal contracting and national organizing. So we had a contractors' group in St. Louis [Missouri]; we had one in Philadelphia; we had one in Atlanta [Georgia]; we had one in Memphis [Tennessee], all around the country.