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The Honorable C. Ellen Connally

Judge C. Ellen Connally was born on January 26, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio to George and Gwendolyn Johnson Connally. She attended St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School and graduated from the Notre Dame Academy in Cleveland, Ohio in 1963. Connally received her B.S. degree in social studies from Bowling Green State University in 1967, and her J.D. degree from Cleveland State University in 1970.

In 1971, Connally was hired as a law clerk for Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals. From 1972 to 1979, she worked as a trial referee in the Probate Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. In 1980, Connally was elected a judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and became the first African American female elected judge in Ohio without being first appointed. She was re-elected in 1985, 1991 and 1997.

In 1998, Connally received her M.A. degree in American history from Cleveland State University. She then went on to attend Akron University and completed all coursework towards a Ph.D. degree in American history.

In 2004, Connally retired from the Cleveland Municipal Court and ran for chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. She then worked as an adjunct professor of history at Ursuline College from 2005 to 2006, and as a visiting and adjunct professor of law at the University of Akron College of Law from 2006 to 2008. In 2009, she was appointed special prosecutor for the City of Cleveland. In 2010, Connally was elected to the Cuyahoga City Council, the legislative branch of the county government, and was elected president of the council in 2010 and re-elected in 2012.

Connally has served as president of the Board of Trustees of Bowling Green State University, president of the Board of Trustees of the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio, vice president of the Board of Community Action Against Addiction, vice president for Traffic Safety - Greater Cleveland Safety Council, and president of the Northern Ohio Municipal Judges Association. In addition, Connally served on the Mayor’s Task Force on Violent Crime, and on the Executive Committee of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable. She has also been a member of numerous boards, including the Cleveland Bar Foundation, the Cleveland Society for the Blind, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, the Cleveland Public Theater, the Girls and Boys Club of Cleveland, and the Ohio Judicial College. A long time student of the Kennedy Assassination, Connally currently lectures on the subject in programs of continuing legal education and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Historical Society and the Cleveland State University Foundation Board.

Connally has received the 1997 Achievement Award from Cleveland State University’s History Department; a 1999 Certificate of Special Appreciation from Mothers Against Drunk Driving; the 2001 Alumni of the Year Award from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law; the Cuyahoga County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s John J. McMahon Outstanding Jurist Award; and 2004’s National Legacy Award, presented by Councilman Zachary Reed.

Connally lives in the Shaker Square area of Cleveland with her two rescue dogs. She is the mother of one son, Seth, an Iraq War Veteran.

C. Ellen Connally was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 14, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.070

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/14/2014

Last Name

Connally

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Ellen

Occupation
Schools

St Thomas Aquinas School

Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School

Bowling Green State University

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Cleveland State University

University of Akron

National Judicial College

First Name

Cecelia

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

CON06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

1/26/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Potato Chips

Short Description

Judge The Honorable C. Ellen Connally (1945 - ) served as a judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court from 1980 to 2004. She was the first African American female judge elected in Ohio without first being appointed.

Employment

Connally Insurance Agency

Carl J. Character and Samuel S. Perry

Law Department of the City of Cleveland

Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals - Judge Alvin I Krenzler

Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas - Probate Division

Cleveland Municipal Court

City of Cleveland's Fair Election's Committee

Ursuline College

City of Cleveland

University of Akron College of Law

Cuyahoga County Council

Cuyahoga Grand Jury

East Cleveland Municipal Court; South Euclid Municipal Court

General Election for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

Nominee for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

Court's Personnel

Probation Committee

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable C. Ellen Connally's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes how her maternal grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her father's education at the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her father's career, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes how her parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her father's career, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers her family's first home in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her early education in Catholic schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers the politicians from Ohio during her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers the St. Thomas Aguinas School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her family's summer vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls her early political influences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls her decision to attend Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers her first impressions of Bowling Green University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her activities at Bowling Green University

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about the response to the Warren Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers graduating from Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls the election of Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls a scandal in Mayor Carl Stokes' administration

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her experiences at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers her early legal career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her clerkship for Judge Alvin Krenzler

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls her election to the Cleveland Municipal Court

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her early experiences as a judge

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally remembers a domestic violence case

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls her motivation to run for judicial office

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about ruling on prostitution cases

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her efforts to rule fairly as a judge

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her judicial philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about Carl Stokes' time as a judge

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her graduate studies

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about prominent civil rights cases

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about Jefferson Davis, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about Jefferson Davis, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her campaign for chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally recalls her experiences as a special prosecutor for Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about the discrepancies in criminal sentencing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her election as president of the Cuyahoga County Council

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her work with the Ohio Historical Society

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her editorial work

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally shares her views on the Ohio Democratic Party

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her concerns for the African American community in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally reflects upon the education system in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally reflects upon President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her relatives who passed for white

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable C. Ellen Connally describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
The Honorable C. Ellen Connally talks about her efforts to rule fairly as a judge
The Honorable C. Ellen Connally reflects upon President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination
Transcript
And now, this is not a prostitution story, but I was going--I went to the federal building [Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, Cleveland, Ohio] about two years, year and a half, and the guard said--you have to show your ID. And he goes, "I know who you are. You can go on in." And I go, "Like, did I do something wrong?" He says, "No," he said, "no. You gave me a break." He says, "I have this job because you gave me a break." He said, "I won't tell you what it was." He said, "But you were fair and you gave me a break, and I was able to get this job." So, you know, some kid would come in, and he had a marijuana charge, and, you know, he didn't have any other record, and he seemed like a good kid going to school. I'd say, you know, what, prosecutor, can you give the guy a disorderly conduct and he'll pay the maximum fine, and he won't have that mari- that drug charge. Because you know, thirty years from now, something comes up. You got a drug charge on you. So, you know, the people that can go to the first offender program. You know, the kid is going to go in the [U.S. military] service, and they got--he's got, you know, some kind of a little disorderly conduct, similar charge. Say, you know what? Can we put him through the first-offender program? He's got his recruiter here. He's going to the service. He'll be gone. You know, we get him through in a week or so (unclear). So I think those kinds of things, you know, are--a judge can do that, you know, you can, you can help somebody. These are not people that killed somebody. Now, if you killed a dog, that's it, maximum sentence.$$You had some cases like that, huh.$$Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. If you did something to a dog, the prosecutors would all be praying that I would get the case because I, I, you know, it's very hard for me to be fair to somebody--not fair--I'm fair, but be lenient on someone that does something to an animal.$$Okay. So not just dogs, but--$$Oh, yeah. Any kind of animal.$$Any animal. Did you have to deal with--I know Ohio at one time had more exotic animals than any other state.$$You know, we never had any of those. I never had any of those. Those are more out in the suburbs, yeah. I know because I went to a conference when I first became a judge, and they were talking about a wildlife violation. I thought they were talking about prostitution. They were like, no, no, like that jack lighting deer. Like, what the hell is jack lighting deer? You go out like you shine a light up and it scares the deer, and they freeze and you can shoot them or something. I was like, I was like I didn't know what that was.$$That's the first time I've heard of that.$$Yeah. It's called jack (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What-- what's this--$$--lighting deer.$$Okay. So it makes them easier to shoot, just--$$Yeah. Because you, you--$$It freezes.$$--you shine the light in their eye, and the deer freezes, and you can shoot them.$$Oh, oh.$$Which is horrible.$$Yeah. It's really not sport (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Killing Bambi, you know.$$Yeah. Right.$Yeah. Well, I was, I was asking you about the psychic effect. I mean, the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, here, here's my--$$--the effect to, to the psyche of the American people of the--$$Here's, here's my presentation that, that the other assassinations when Lincoln [President Abraham Lincoln] dies, Booth [John Wilkes Booth] is killed within eleven days. When Garfield [President James Abram Garfield] is shot, Guiteau [Charles J. Guiteau] is arrested immediately, and he's ultimately hung after a trial. And, you know, he says that, you know, he's a disgruntled officer, so there's a logic behind--not logic, but, you know, people know. And then Czolgosz [Leon Czolgosz], who actually lived here in Cleveland [Ohio] shot McKinley [President William McKinley]. He's an anarchist and he's, he's hung within, I don't know, like a month or something. And then there's some other attacks on, on presidents, and there's very swift justice. Well, and they're all in plain view. You know, walk up to McKinley, shoot him. Walk up to Garfield, shoot him. But, you know, you got Oswald [Lee Harvey Oswald], you know, he shoots from the window, and, there's--now, there are actually eyewitness that see him shooting out the window, but they get always kind of lost in the shuffle, but--so no one ever knows the motive, and then, you know, when Ruby [Jack Ruby] shoots Oswald, you know, and then there's all this, you know, the, the trial is in the media, and, and Ruby is the executioner, so it, it affects the psyche that no one--there's no finality. There's no due process, and there's no finality, so people are, are wonderi- are never probably going to be satisfied, so that's why we like to--you know, there's me and these other people kind of like to get the word out, the anti--'cause conspiracy people--'cause I've written to a number of historians. They're like, why have the academic community really abandoned the Kennedy assassination? Because it's kind of been taken over by the crazies, and it's, it's hard to argue with them, you know. You have all your evidence there, and they come up with like, you know, well, this guy was walking down the street, and Oswald was like living in the same town, so, therefore, there must be a conspiracy.$$What, what did the Kennedy era mean to you and those who--I mean, writing about the assassination is one thing, but what did that era mean?$$I just remembered that was the first president that I had ever campaigned for. And I think I told you earlier that I went to my aunt's house, and she's this old line Republican, and she's got these Nixon [President Richard Milhous Nixon] signs on her door. I was like, what is this? So I remember that I had Kennedy buttons and my mom [Gwendolyn Johnson Connally] had never worked at the polls, and she actually worked at the polls the whole night that--counting votes, you know, for Kennedy, so I just remember, you know, kind of going--rushing home from school and watching press conferences and, you know, always, you know--we all wore like kind of the Jackie Kennedy [Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis] clothing, and it was just--you know, after this kind of stodgy Eisenhower [President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower], who just kind of played golf. You know, it was exciting. You know, the, the whole Kennedy era was exciting, and so, you know, when he, when he dies, it's just--it's like a relative or something died. It just changed everything.

Leon Bibb

Broadcast journalist Leon Douglas Bibb was born on October 5, 1944 in Butler, Alabama to Georgia and Leon Bibb. At the age of one, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up and graduated from Glenville High School. Bibb received his B.S. degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1966. He then went on to study radio, TV and film as a graduate student. He also served in the Vietnam War and was awarded a Bronze Star.

In the late 1960s, Bibb worked as a news reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He was hired as a reporter for WTOL-TV in Toledo, Ohio in 1971, and worked as a news anchor and reporter for WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio from 1972 to 1979. In 1976, while at WCMH-TV, Bibb became Ohio’s first African American primetime anchor. Then, in 1979, he moved to WKYC-TV in Cleveland, and was promoted to primary news anchor for the Monday through Friday newscasts in 1986. In 1995, Bibb was hired as a news anchor and reporter for WEWS-TV. He has narrated and hosted many shows at WEWS-TV, including “My Ohio with Leon Bibb,” “Leon Bibb's Perspective,” “Kaleidoscope,” and a series called “Our Hometown.” Bibb has interviewed numerous political leaders and notable figures, including President Barack Obama, President George H. W. Bush, Neil Armstrong, and James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, Bibb has written several short stories and poems, many of which have been published.

Bibb has won six local Emmy Awards and received several citations from the Cleveland Press Club for excellence in journalism. He has also received the Distinguished Journalist Award from the Society for Professional Journalists, and Awards of Excellence from Cleveland State University and the Radio-TV Council. Bibb has been inducted into the Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, Glenville High School Hall of Fame, Bowling Green State University School of Communications Hall of Fame, Associated Press Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Sigma Delta Chi Hall of Fame, and the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 1996, Governor George Voinovich appointed Bibb to the Board of Trustees at Bowling Green State University, where he also served as chairman.

Bibb lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with his wife, Marguerite. They have two daughters: Jennifer and Alison.

Leon Bibb was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.050

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/13/2014

Last Name

Bibb

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Douglas

Schools

Bowling Green State University

Glenville High School

Empire Junior High School

Miles Standish Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Leon

Birth City, State, Country

Butler

HM ID

BIB01

Favorite Season

Early October

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

The True Wealth Of A Nation Lies Not In Its Gold And Silver, But In The Knowledge Of Its People.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

10/5/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Chili, or Mahi Mahi

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Leon Bibb (1944 - ) was the State of Ohio’s first African American primetime anchor. He has received six local Emmy Awards, several Cleveland Press Club citations, the Distinguished Journalist Award from the Society for Professional Journalists, and has been inducted into the Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.

Employment

WEWS - TV 5

WKYC - TV 3

WCMH - TV 4

WTOL - TV 11

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leon Bibb's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb talks about the land in Alabama owned by his maternal family after the Civil War

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb describes his maternal grandmother, Katie Crowell

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb describes his mother's childhood and education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb describes how his father was inspired by his mentor, Mr. Fred, to attend college

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb talks about his parents' move to Cleveland, Ohio and then back to Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb talks about noted black Clevelander, John O. Holly, and the Future Outlook League

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb describes his father's experience in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb talks about his father's return from World War II and the family's return to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb talks about his sister, Shirley Blackwell

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb shares his memories of moving into a duplex in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb describes his elementary school and a teacher that encouraged him to pursue a career in journalism

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb recalls the TV and radio shows that influenced him as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb remembers watching the Civil Rights Movement on television

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb remembers the murder of Emmett Till and his experience in the South during car trips to Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb remembers joining Liberty Hill Baptist Church when he was ten years old

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb remembers his sixth grade teacher and mentor, Robert Taylor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb recalls attending Empire Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb describes his passion for classic movies, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb describes his passion for classic movies, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb describes his role in the 2013 movie "Made in Cleveland"

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb shares his regrets for quitting his high school theater production of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leon Bibb describes his experience at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb recalls those African Americans who were on TV and radio when he grew up and his enjoyment of radio announcers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb recalls his favorite radio announcers and the impact they had on him

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb describes his enrollment at Bowling Green State University and meeting his wife, Marguerite Bibb

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb recalls his increasing confidence in his journalistic skills at Bowling Green State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb describes his teacher at Bowling Green State University, Jeff Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb describes being offered an internship at the Cleveland Call and Post in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb remembers covering Jim Brown's trial for the Cleveland Call and Post in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb remembers photographing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Cleveland Call and Post in 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb talks about the accessibility of Cleveland, Ohio athletes Jim Brown and Bill Willis

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb talks about the environment for African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio around 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb recalls beginning his journalism career at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb describes being drafted into the Fourth Infantry Division of the U.S. Army to fight in the Vietnam War in 1966

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb describes serving in the Fourth Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb remembers his friend, Randall Lee Williams, who was killed during the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb talks about earning the Bronze Star Medal

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb describes enrolling at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio for graduate school in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb describes producing the news broadcast for WBGU-TV at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and moving to Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leon Bibb talks about his experience as a reporter for WTOL-TV in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Leon Bibb recalls being hired as a news anchor at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb describes his experience as a news anchor at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb describes interviewing James Earl Ray in 1978 with Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb describes interviewing James Earl Ray in 1978 with Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb describes the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb talks about the media coverage of James Earl Ray

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb describes being offered a position as news anchor for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb describes being offered a position as news anchor for WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb remembers working with Al Roker at WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb describes the social and political environment in Cleveland, Ohio when he returned in 1979

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb talks about the sports teams in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb describes the political environment in Cleveland, Ohio under city council president and HistoryMaker George Forbes

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb describes the economic revitalization of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1990s after the construction of Jacobs Field

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb describes the economic impact of restoring Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb talks about the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leon Bibb recalls working as a reporter with the U.S. Coast Guard in Bahrain during Operation Desert Shield in 1991

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leon Bibb remembers being demoted to street reporting after WKYC-TV was bought by Multimedia Broadcasting, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leon Bibb remembers leaving WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leon Bibb describes hosting "Weekend Exchange" for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Leon Bibb describes his public affairs program for WEWS-TV, "Kaleidoscope"

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb recalls the Cleveland Browns leaving and returning to Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb recalls the Cleveland Browns leaving and returning to Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb talks about the shows he currently hosts for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio and interviewing Don King

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leon Bibb shares his journalistic philosophy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leon Bibb reflects on his work as his dream job

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

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

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Leon Bibb talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Leon Bibb reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Leon Bibb narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Leon Bibb describes interviewing James Earl Ray in 1978 with Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint, pt. 1
Leon Bibb describes hosting "Weekend Exchange" for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio
Transcript
Okay, well, one of the highlights I guess we'd have to say of your stay in Columbus [Ohio] was an interview in Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in [Morgan County] Tennessee of James Earl Ray. Now how did that come about?$$It be--it came because of a pornographer by the name of Larry Flint. Larry Flint ran Hustler magazine. And Larry Flint's Hustler magazine came out of Columbus, although he stayed in trouble with Cincinnati [Ohio] all the time over porno--pornographic issues. But, but he lived in Columbus, and we knew Larry. He was at the TV station all the time because he was interviewing me. You didn't even have to go to him. He'd come to the TV station to be interviewed about any controversy that was going on. He came to me one day and says, "How'd you like to interview James Earl Ray?" I says "Me?" He says, "Yeah, yeah, I, I don't trust the network boys. But, but I know that you Columbus guys--I, I can get you in." I says "You can get me in?" He says, "I'm trying to get him a new trial 'cause I don't think he killed Dr. King, and I'm trying to get him a new--a new trial." I says, "Okay," so I flew--so I run it by the TV station management. I says, "I can fly down with James--with, with, with Larry Flint. It's not gonna cost the station anything." They loved that. "It's not gonna cost you anything 'cause we'll go in his private plane. I'll do a piece on him, about how he's trying to get James Earl Ray a new trial. And we're gonna come back the same so I don't need a hotel." Okay, so a photographer and I go down with, with Larry Flint. Now this is two weeks before Larry Flint--three weeks before Larry Flint is shot in an assassination attempt, and paralyzed for the rest of his life. But he's walking around at this time. So 1978, we fly down, go to Brushy at--we, we land in, in, in Larry's private plane, a plush stretch, almost airlen--airliner style, airliner-length airplane, landed in Knoxville, Tennessee. He's got a limousine waitin' for us, so we get in the limousine. And I'm photographing him. And Bruce Johansson [ph.] is my cameraman, and we're photographing Larry as we drive the ninety miles or whatever to the prison--get to the prison. They know we're coming. We sign in. We go in a little holding area where they do such things, a room about the size of this--maybe not even this size. The next thing I know, James Earl Ray walks into the room, under guard of course. I don't think he's shackled or anything--don't think so, but I know he had on a blue shirt and blue jeans. He walks, in; he says, "You the man gonna interview me?" He's looking at me. I says "Hi, yeah, I am." He says, "Hi, I'm James Earl Ray," puts his hand out. Well, when a man puts his hand out, I shook his hand. It was just automatic. I mean I, I didn't think about it until I grabbed his hand. I said that's the hand that killed [Reverend] Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.], who I photographed in 1965 in Cleveland [Ohio] and who I loved. I didn't think about it 'til we held hands. And then I says well, if I hadn't of shaken his hand, he might have said well, okay, then don't worry about the interview then, and go back into his cell. He did not have to do an interview. So we sat down and we talked about life here and there, what's going on in prison a little bit. I mean I'm, I'm--he knows where I'm going, but I'm just in no hurry to ask the $64,000 question, which I finally asked. And Bruce behind me has got the camera whirring. I hear that click-click, click-click, click-click. We're, we're, we're rolling on camera. "Did you kill Dr. Martin Luther King?" "Oh, no, no, no, no, I didn't kill him." "Do you know who did?" "No, I, I, I, I, I wouldn't know who killed him." "But you were convicted of killing him." "That's true, but I didn't do it." And then he goes on and talks about he was running guns for a man by the name of Raul. This is the new information that had not come out before, to my knowledge--a man named Raul. That's why he was in I guess Memphis [Tennessee] at the time. But he didn't kill Dr. King he said. And we talked a little bit further and went on and on and on. And I--there, there was nothing new other than that that came out. He denied it, denied it, denied it. And fifteen, twenty minutes later it was over with and ended.$And I talked to Channel 5. Channel 5 knew what was going on. We had talked to 5 earlier, and they, they knew that, that I was gonna be out there, and they, they--I had dinner with the general manager at the time here and, and the news director, Gary Robertson--Gary Robinson--and the news director, Paul Stueber. We had dinner and they said, "We got an idea, and we would like for you to come do a show that doesn't exist now; nobody's ever done it before; and it's called the 'Weekend Exchange,' where you would be on the air from eight until 9:30 on Saturday and Sunday mornings, hour and a half each day. Come do that show." They had--the way they described it was something I'd always wanted to do, something like "CBS Sunday Morning," if you ever looked at that. It had that feel to it. And I did that show. And I had a--we had a staff of about four or five people who worked on that show, not counting the photographers who worked--reporters. And I said go long on our stories. If you need four minutes for a story, take the four minutes. Just take--make sure you use it wisely. And we put that live show on the air on Saturdays and Sunday mornings. And I did that for eighteen months or thereabouts and until--$$So this a, a show that's--that consists of mostly in--interviews, right, that, that you were conducting with people?$$We do in-studio interviews like we're doing right now. We'd shoot videotape of a story and hold it for the weekend. We--it was tape, it was live, it was--it was whatever it needed to be. The day Princess Diana died in England [sic, Paris, France on August 31, 1997], I got a phone call at, at 2:00 in the morning, or 1:00 in the morning, something like that--3:00 in the morning--"Leon, the Princess has died. Listen, we're, we're reworking the whole Saturday morning show. Get in here as soon as you can 'cause we're reworking the whole thing, and we'll be going live to London." I mean I did--and I did talkback interviews with people in London, England on the BBC about what was going on. We went live to Paris, France, where the--where, where Princess Diana died in the automobile crash with Dodi al-Fayed [sic, Dodi Fayed]. It--we took whatever we--whatever format it needed to take. We were not in a hurry to come on and say who got shot last night unless it was a major, major event. We would come on and I--and, and I, I would--we would have a live picture. And I would say "You're looking at a live television picture right now of, of, of the sun kind of rising up behind the--Jacobs Field [now Progressive Field], the baseball stadium. You'll see it right on the rim of the--of, of the stadium. The sun began its ascent from the eastern horizon at 6:42 this morning. It is now 8:01. It is now 8:01 or 8:30, whatever it was. And I says so the sun is still climbing to its zenith." And we would start it that way. We were not--and I says wa, wa--"So I'll be giving you the news headlines in just a moment, but let's check on the weather situation." We'll check with the weatherperson. And then we would say, say now these are some, some of the headlines of which took place. It was done that way. And then we would have a long format story, and we would have live interviews. People would come, and it was just a different kind of a--of a Channel 5 News--Channel 5 production, which I really, thoroughly loved--probably my favorite show of all the shows I've ever done in my life. And, and it kept me going, kept my face up there in television, got me back in television, and I did that for eighteen months, until they eventually killed the show and then say well, we want you to go to weekends now, the regular weekend 6:00 and 11:00 news as the co-anchor. And I was paired with, with a co-anchor woman there, or a co-anchor man. And, and we, we did the show at six and eleven until I got promoted to Monday through Friday here at Channel 5.$$Okay. So I mean was, wa--was it a, a ratings issues or, or what, for Morning Exchange?$$For, for the "Weekend Exchange?"$$Or "Weekend Exchange."$$I would guess. I don't think it ever received a huge, huge rating number. I don't know may--I don't--it might have been financial. You know, we had a crew. We had people working that, that show. We had live reports and all of that. It, it might have been that. I'm, I'm not quite certain what it was, but, but it was quality. It, it, it was quality work, as, as I've often said. You know, I live and die by ratings, but if nobody's watching and I know we're doing a fine job--if, if you've got a bar with, with, with, with, with, with dancing women over here on this corner and a church preaching the gospel over there, there may be more people in the bar than in the church, but that does not mean that the church is doing the right thing. It's doing what it's supposed to do. And so I always thought we were doing what we were supposed to do. So I was--I, I was kind of worried when, when, when, when the show died, but I didn't have to get up at 4:00 in the morning anymore either so. I was back to more traditional hours, working 3:00 to 11:30 doing the news on Saturdays and Sundays at six and eleven.