The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Cheryl Burton

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton was born on December 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois to Hattie and Simpson Burton. She graduated from Chicago's Lindblom Technical High School in 1980, and then received her B.S. degree in psychology and biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1984.

Burton was first seen on television on Romper Room and as a contestant on Star Search. She then hosted an hour long cable television show entitled Simply Elegant and worked as a special education teacher for two years. In 1989, she was hired at WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois, where she co-anchored “MBR: The Minority Business Report,” a nationally syndicated weekly series. In 1990, Burton moved to Peoria, Illinois, and worked as a reporter at WMBD-TV. From 1990 to 1992, she served as an anchor for KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, where she also hosted the talk show Viewpoint. Burton then joined Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 as a weekend co-anchor and reporter in November of 1992. In 2003, she was promoted to 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for WLS-TV’s newscasts.

Burton has received numerous honors for her work, including three Chicago Association of Black Journalists awards; the 1997 Phenomenal Woman Award from the Expo for Today's Black Woman; a 1998 Kizzy Image and Achievement Award; the 2004 and 2005 Thurgood Marshall Awards; the Vernon Jarrett Par Excellence Award in Journalism; the coveted 2008 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence International Award; 2009’s Proctor and Gamble Pioneer Award for community service; and several Emmy Awards. She was also the first recipient of the 2005 "Sisters in the Spirit" Award, given by Chicago area gospel singers to persons who exemplify a faith-based life, and was the first alumnus to be inducted into the Robert Lindblom High School’s hall of fame in 2007.

Burton is a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of America and serves as a motivational speaker for the Chicago Public Schools. She serves on the boards of the Life with Lupus Guild, the Multicultural Dance Center and City Year. In addition, Burton is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Cheryl Burton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.152

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/20/2014

Last Name

Burton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Annette

Organizations
Schools

Jane A. Neil Elementary School

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUR25

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

God Is Good

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/25/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton (1962 - ) is the 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 newscasts.

Employment

Andy Frain

Marshall Fields

Elaine Powers

Figure Salon

Paper Girl

Xerox

ABC/Disney

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:228790,3960$0,0:960,15:1422,24:1807,30:10585,190:11355,245:23022,342:23414,347:28216,414:32626,506:40858,620:41544,628:55420,692:92962,1239:94066,1269:94342,1274:94618,1279:95377,1292:95860,1301:112654,1576:116985,1665:117766,1678:124980,1745:125405,1751:125830,1757:126170,1762:126510,1767:127700,1796:136880,1946:138580,1973:152844,2115:153342,2175:154421,2190:161144,2264:175392,2517:182178,2634:183192,2651:184206,2670:185142,2684:187014,2710:187326,2715:194848,2796:197704,2842:198880,2863:199216,2868:205768,2984:210680,3010:212086,3034:245330,3561:245705,3567:246080,3573:266640,3861
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton remembers her paternal great-grandparents in Homewood, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her childhood personality and her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes her family's experience of racial discrimination in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes growing up in the Chatham community of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recalls the churches she attended in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her grade school years in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton recalls her experience in the Girl Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes the activities she participated in as a child and the sacrifices her parents made to make them possible

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton describes her personality and intelligence as a young girl

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about academic excellence in her family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for her sister at the Elaine Powers Figure Salon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recalls running away at age twelve so her parents would buy her a scooter

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her extracurricular and athletic activities at Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about graduating from Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1980

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about appearing on the TV shows 'Romper Room' and 'Kiddie-a-Go-Go' as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls traveling to Washington, D.C. and to Civil Rights Movement sites with her uncle

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about her experience and her roommates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton talks about being a cheerleader for the Chicago Bears while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton talks about her decision not to attend medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at Marshall Field's and as an Andy Frain usher in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Cheryl Burton talks about her medical internship at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleaders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes her schedule while she was a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader and working at Xerox

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader when the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl in 1986

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recounts how she met Jim Rose and how he proposed to her

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for Xerox and the 1983 election of Chicago mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her engagement to Jim Rose and her time on 'Star Search'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton recalls auditioning for 'Charlie's Angels' with Halle Berry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton relates her mother's recollections of life in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her appearance on 'Star Search,' her audition for 'A Different World,' and the beginning of her broadcast news career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton recalls losing her job at the 'Minority Business Report' in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes working at the Home Shopping Network

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton talks about her ex-husband Jim Rose

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes working at WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about 'Baby Your Baby,' her news segment on KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas during the Gulf War

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about getting her job at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her father's death

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes working with HistoryMaker Harry Porterfield and others at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about working at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois while building a home with her then-husband, Jim Rose

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes working for Joe Ahern at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about producing five news broadcasts a day at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her sister's support after her divorce from Jim Rose

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes how she started her annual Christmas toy drive

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about her charitable efforts in South Africa and in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes Oprah Winfrey's 2006 Legends Ball

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls being assaulted in downtown Chicago, Illinois in 2008

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton considers her most difficult interview

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about how she maintains a positive outlook

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recounts her carjacking experience

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes how broadcast news has changed over the course of her career

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her awards and her personality

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about the children's book series she hopes to publish

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her life and what she would do differently

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her independent learning style

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recounts her role with The HistoryMakers since hosting 'An Evening with Harry Belafonte' in 2000

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background
Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
So talk about your mother [Hattie Burton] and her background and what you know about her family?$$Well, my sister--when I was, you know, discussing that this was gonna take place, she said that, you know, my father's [Simpson Leo Burton's] descendants [sic, ancestors] were field slaves and my mom's descendants were house slaves. So it's very different. On my mother's side, everybody is educated. My grandparents are college educated. My mom and dad, you know, my mom and all of her siblings are college educated, and my mom has master's degrees, but on my father's side, they might go to high school, his parents and their grandparents might have gone to eighth grade. My father, though, and all of his siblings have post-graduate college degrees. My mom, she was born--$$Give her name too.$$Oh, my mom's name, she was born Hattie Eloise Woods, and then she married my dad, and her name became Hattie Eloise Burton, of course. And she was born in 1930 [April 5, 1930], during the [Great] Depression. So she talks a lot about that, you know, being poor in the South. But her parents were entrepreneurs, of course. They had a store in the back of their house because they had to, you know, make a way and make money. They sold candy and cookies and bread. They'd sell a slice of bread, one slice of bread. They'd sell one cookie. They'd sell one cigarette, whatever they could sell, you know, or you know, one gulp in their cup and sell that. But so my mom was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, an actual little, red schoolhouse. There were kindergarten all the way up to twelfth grade in this one-room schoolhouse. And my mom had to walk miles and miles to get to school 'cause they lived in the country. And she said they would stop halfway between and build a fire to stay warm before they could get to school. So I like to think my mom was incredibly intelligent because she was going to school with people who were seniors in high school, and she was just five in kindergarten. And her parents were educated. So they made sure that their children were educated as well. My mom excelled and she skipped so many grades when they finally moved out of the country, my mom went from like kindergarten to third grade when she started school. And they didn't say anything because she was smart, and she got right in there. My mom probably, always wanted to be a teacher. Her sister was a teacher and her other sister was a registered nurse, and my mom taught forty years in the Chicago [Illinois] Public School system. She loved having children. And, actually, though they didn't plan on having five. I think my dad probably wanted one or two, but, you know how that is (laughter), so my mom's pretty cute. So (laughter), but so my mom went to high school, and she excelled very well. She, you know, she learned how to sew. Like I said, she wanted us to sew. We all had our own personalized sewing machines where each one was labeled with our names, and we had to sew an item. If we wanted to spend the night over a friend's house, you had to make some clothes. So that was very big for my mom, and then, of course, she goes to college. I think my mom was a virgin when she met my dad. I really do. I ask her all the time, and she doesn't answer. But I think she was, and they went to prom in a Jeep, and she thought my father was so handsome and so smart 'cause she was raised in the country, you know, and he was that slick, Rosedale [Homewood, Alabama], entrepreneur, you know, I've got visions and dreams. We're gonna move to Chicago. We, you know, we're gonna do things. I got plans. I'm gonna president and so she was very impressed. But he was very nice to her, but a go-getter, you know. He had a great spirit about life, and he was always doing something that would better the lives of his family, no matter what the risk. He would do that. And so they met, and mom's the baby of three girls, by the way.$So you're--you know, it looks like a very steady growth, but are you--and you make everything seem so easy, you know--(simultaneous)--$$No.$$--in some respects. But can you--I know besides that, but what have been some of your low points? And what have been some of your--and I have some things here that I know are high points, but can we talk about low points?$$Some of the, you know, when I was a reporter, I worked the night shifts, from two [o'clock AM] to ten [o'clock AM]. So things happen a lot between that time. And I was a reporter Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, two to ten. And I would go out regularly on stories about child molestations and drive-by shootings and child abuse stories, regularly. And it began to chip away at my spirit. It was very hard to keep going to these homes and ask families for photographs of their loved ones who had been killed in a drive-by shooting or who had been molested by their teacher or who had been hit by a car. That, I have a very compassionate spirit, so I take that with me at home. And it was very hard, and it began chip away at who I was. And, you know, I know Oprah [Winfrey] talks very often about when she worked in Baltimore and that's why she auditioned for the job in Chicago [Illinois] to be this talk show host for 'AM Chicago' because she couldn't do it anymore. And I totally understand what she was saying. And people would say, Cheryl, I don't know how you do it. You know, I would go, and I would go into some of the projects in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods. And I'd be climbing up stairs in dark and hoping I wouldn't get shot or attacked with a cameraman, going to get pictures and talk to people, and hoping I wasn't gonna get beat up, coming to a crime scene very soon after, and it does happen to reporters and cameramen, things do happen like that. So I was concerned, and one time I went to a rally, and I have a picture in my office. And I'm holding hands praying with some kids, and he has a t-shirt on that says "Stop the Violence", and somebody took that picture of me and sent it. And, you know, reporters aren't supposed to get involved, but that was who I was. I needed to pray with these people and hold their hands. I'm covering the story, but they started, they asked for prayer, and I held hands and did that. And it got to me so bad that I went to Emily Barr, and I said, "Emily, we have to do something. All of these young people are being killed. And some of them are the brightest." They had futures that were just so shiny, and I said, we must do something. So she agreed with me, and we started a campaign called "Stop the Violence", and our first project that we did was, we had a town hall meeting with the mayor of Chicago [Richard M. Daley], the superintendent of Chicago, the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. And we had some psychiatrists, some psychologists, and we had a gentleman by the name of [HistoryMaker] Roland Martin. And he will tell you that he gives me credit for starting his television career in the city of Chicago because I had hand-picked him to come and be a part of this discussion. Emily liked him so much--she was a little nervous though 'cause he could be controversial. But his verbiage was so on point, and so profound, and it was inspiring. It was motivational, and it got you to think. And so that was our very first project. After that, we did half hour specials where we began to talk to people who worked in the community. But those have been some of my--you know, I've arrived on plane crash scenes, and the deceased are still in the plane. And I've seen dead bodies, and I had to go home, and I couldn't get that out of my head. I've seen them in, dead bodies in sewers, where I've come upon a crime scene, and the police haven't arrived yet. And it was just very challenging.

Hattie Winston Wheeler

Actress Hattie Mae Winston was born in Lexington, Mississippi, on March 3, 1945, to Selena Thurmond Winston and Roosevelt Love Winston. Winston was raised by her grandmother, Cora Thurmond, in nearby Greenville, Mississippi. Attending Washington Irving High School in New York City, Winston graduated in 1963; throughout her academic career she was an accomplished student and an exceptionally talented vocalist. Winston attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. after receiving a full voice scholarship.

Winston moved back to New York City after one year at Howard and enrolled in an actor’s group study workshop; success came quickly. In 1968, Winston became a replacement performer in Hair, in 1969 obtained a part in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, and in 1970 was cast in The Me Nobody Knows, all of which were significant Broadway roles. In 1971, Winston was cast in a replacement role in Two Gentlemen of Verona. In 1983, Winston scored a starring role in the critically acclaimed Broadway play The Tap Dance Kid. Winston’s roles in To Take Up Arms and Up the Mountain earned her two Los Angeles Critics Drama-Logue awards; throughout her career, she received a variety of other theatrical honors, including two Obie Awards (for Mother Courage and The Michigan), CEBA Awards, and an Audelco Award for her contributions to the world of theater. Winston also worked as an independent producer and director, and was responsible for reviving Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity off-Broadway.

Winston worked extensively in the worlds of television and film; she had a regular role on the Emmy-award winning PBS-TV series The Electric Company, where she played Sylvia, in addition to playing Gloria Davis in the critically acclaimed series Homefront. Winston’s other television credits include Nurse, E.R., Port Charles, The Parent Hood, Malcolm & Eddie, The Smart Guy, Scrubs, and Becker. Winston’s film credits include Jackie Brown, Meet the Deedles, Beverly Hills Cop III, and Clint Eastwood’s True Crime.

Winston served as the national co-chair for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee. In 1993 and 1997, the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina honored Winston with the designation of a “Hattie Winston Day.” Over the course of her career, Winston collected scripts and screenplays by African American writers, many of which remain unpublished; in 1998, she donated a collection of writing entitled the Hattie Winston African American Scripts and Screenplays Collection to the University of Louisville in Kentucky. In 2006, Winston participated in the reading “Slave Narratives: A Mighty, Mighty People” for Stories On Stage, a non-profit performing arts organization presenting popular local and national actors in dramatic readings of short fiction.

Accession Number

A2005.237

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/7/2005

Last Name

Wheeler

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Winston

Occupation
Schools

Washington Irving High School

Sacred Heart School

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Hattie

Birth City, State, Country

Lexington

HM ID

WIN03

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cabo San Lucas; Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

It Is Not The Critic Who Counts; Not The Man Who Points Out How The Strong Man Stumbles, Or Where The Doer Of Deeds Could Have Done Them Better. The Credit Belongs To The Man Who Is Actually In The Arena, Whose Face Is Marred By Dust And Sweat And Blood; Who Strives Valiantly; Who Errs, Who Comes Short Again And Again, Because There Is No Effort Without Error And Shortcoming; But Who Does Actually Strive To Do The Deeds; Who Knows Great Enthusiasms, The Great Devotions; Who Spends Himself In A Worthy Cause; Who At The Best Knows In The End The Triumph Of High Achievement, And Who At The Worst, If He Fails, At Least Fails While Daring Greatly, So That His Place Shall Never Be With Those Cold And Timid Souls Who Neither Know Victory Nor Defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/3/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Apple)

Short Description

Actress Hattie Winston (1945 - ) has been recognized with an Obie Award, among other honors. Winston's theatre credits include, "Hair," "The Tap Dance Kid," and, "To Take Up Arms." Her television and film credits include, "Jackie Brown," "Becker," and, "True Crime."

Employment

Negro Ensemble Company

'The Electric Company'

'Becker'

'Homefront'

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:635,7:1877,33:2429,43:2705,48:5910,68:6540,74:9770,106:10250,112:15242,177:16202,193:16970,205:23172,241:23484,246:23796,251:34461,357:38980,414:39332,419:40388,435:42852,468:44612,494:45052,500:45580,507:46988,526:51540,545:53094,573:53834,585:54648,604:59014,664:62270,700:62566,705:63898,725:64268,731:66636,765:75968,834:80375,880:80940,886:82522,911:85890,917:94710,1037:98630,1102:99030,1109:103268,1191:103891,1199:104514,1207:114358,1360:114693,1368:115095,1375:115564,1383:116100,1394:116368,1399:119580,1430:120280,1438:121280,1455:129910,1566:132318,1621:132834,1628:133522,1638:134726,1653:135758,1667:143334,1751:144126,1766:144522,1773:144984,1781:145446,1790:145974,1800:146766,1814:147228,1821:151225,1856:153175,1930:153825,1947:154345,1957:154605,1962:155775,1997:156230,2004:164056,2123:164340,2128:165263,2143:165831,2149:166328,2157:167038,2203:170020,2213:180205,2345:201902,2660:202198,2665:207122,2701:207810,2710:211680,2766:212110,2772:217058,2821:223050,2873:224150,2888:227550,2960:232243,2978:232849,2986:234600,3011$0,0:11084,152:11772,161:13406,197:14352,211:14696,227:16244,253:21404,309:26522,325:27632,345:28668,361:29408,372:30074,383:31406,419:31702,424:33034,445:33404,451:36142,514:40120,523:40564,531:41304,542:42266,557:43006,568:43376,574:44042,587:45004,604:45744,619:50924,717:57551,766:58217,773:71680,916:73792,949:74144,954:76080,985:76608,992:80440,1010:80790,1017:81140,1023:87035,1142:87692,1153:87984,1158:88641,1170:89517,1181:90758,1204:91926,1232:92364,1240:93386,1257:93678,1262:94481,1277:94919,1284:95722,1297:96671,1313:97255,1323:97547,1328:97985,1337:99372,1366:105410,1387:105710,1392:106310,1401:109235,1457:111068,1470:111482,1477:111827,1483:114587,1529:116450,1538:116978,1545:119618,1590:122962,1640:124194,1659:134160,1754:134710,1761:135150,1766:135700,1772:138010,1789:145484,1836:148184,1860:150776,1887:151208,1892:161243,1952:167930,2006:172566,2122:172870,2142:173326,2149:174542,2174:179178,2255:182070,2260
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hattie Winston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hattie Winston lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hattie Winston describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hattie Winston describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hattie Winston describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hattie Winston describes the professions of her paternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hattie Winston recalls her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hattie Winston recalls her father and her father's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hattie Winston recalls her father's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hattie Winston describes being adopted by her paternal aunt

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hattie Winston describes her childhood personality in Greenville, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hattie Winston describes her adoptive father, Louis Pampley

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hattie Winston describes her mother's ill-fated bootlegging business

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hattie Winston describes occupations in her childhood community of Greenville, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hattie Winston describes racial prejudice growing up in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hattie Winston recalls role models from her community in Greenville, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hattie Winston recalls her impressions of race relations in Mississippi in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hattie Winston recalls her teenage ambitions to be in show business

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hattie Winston describes going to live in the North as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hattie Winston describes living with her biological father in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hattie Winston describes living with her best friend, Adrianne Thomas, in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hattie Winston recalls choosing to attend Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hattie Winston describes her experiences at Howard University in the mid-1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hattie Winston recalls joining The Group Theater Workshop in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hattie Winston recalls the start of her professional acting career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hattie Winston recalls the founding of the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hattie Winston describes her experiences in the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hattie Winston describes her stage acting career after leaving the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hattie Winston describes the start of her TV and voice acting career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hattie Winston recalls how she made a career in the voiceover industry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hattie Winston recalls roles from her work as a TV and film actress

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hattie Winston describes her community involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hattie Winston describes her play 'The Slave Narratives'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hattie Winston describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hattie Winston narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Hattie Winston describes her experiences in the Negro Ensemble Company
Hattie Winston recalls roles from her work as a TV and film actress
Transcript
It was incredible, and then as a result of that experience, to meet other people. To meet [HistoryMaker] Harry Belafonte, whom as a little girl in Mississippi, you know, I had seen in 'Carmen Jones,' you know, or to meet Sidney Poitier and have them come to the theater, or to meet Miles Davis and, and have them come to the theater, and then to have them know my name. You know, or to have them come up and say that they admired my work, and then to--it was a very generous time as well. I think that's missing today. By that I mean it was nothing for me to be in the presence of greatness. It was nothing for me to be in the presence of Mr. Paul Robeson or James Baldwin or Diana Sands or Mr. Duke Ellington or any of these people. To be in the presence of absolute greatness, and Brock Peters--$$Right.$$--Sidney Poitier, Al Freeman, Jr. All of the--Roxie Roker--all of these people, and to have them share with me any knowledge that they had. Lou Gossett [HistoryMaker Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.].$$Right.$$I used to sit and just listen to them talk, and it was like being--it was far more than I ever could've learned at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.], and that's nothing against Howard. I don't want you to misunderstand me, but to be--$$You were right in the thick of the dialogue.$$I was in it.$$Right.$$I was in it. And at the time, I didn't realize that I was also creating it.$$Right.$$I didn't realize that. It was an incredible movement--theater movement that was happening in New York [New York] at the time. And then to be a part of NEC [Negro Ensemble Company], to represent the United States of America at the World Theatre Festival [World Theatre Season] in London [England]. Oh, my God! The only theater company in the entire country that was chosen to represent the United States.$$Right. Right.$$Not black company (simultaneous)!$$(Simultaneous) You were there?$$The only theater company that was chosen at that time--$$Right.$$--to represent the United States and then to go to London, and the so-called great democracy, and be on stage, and we were doing a play that was very controversial, which Michael Schultz [HistoryMaker Michael A. Schultz] had directed, called 'Song of the Lusitanian Bogey,' written by a German writer believe it or not called Peter Weiss, W-E-I-S-S, and it was about colonialism in Angola, in Mozambique, and we were actually--our lives were threatened on the stage. They were (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) On the stage?$$On the stage. They were throwing things at us on stage, telling us to get out of the stage, calling us nigger, calling us all kinds of name--these are the very educated Brits. Oh, it was such an exciting time, to be there, and then to go--excuse me--and do my first concert in Rome [Italy] in front of thousands of people. I thought I had gone to heaven. It was so exciting.$$Now we're up to where?$$Oh, God (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Is it 19--$$This is about--oh this is like '69 [1969] I think--$But you've had a few television hits in there.$$Oh, yes. Oh, yes.$$You want to talk about it?$$Oh, yes! (Laughter) Well, I did, as I said, I did 'The Electric Company.'$$Right.$$And then I did a series in New York [New York] called 'Nurse,' and I did that with Michael Learned and Robert Reed. And we were only on for two seasons, but it was interesting and innovative because we shot it in New York, and that was a time when series were not being shot in New York.$$Right.$$So I did that and that was--Michael Learned, just an incredible actress and an incredible human being, and I still see her to this day. And this was back in the '80s [1980s] when we did that. Then I did--the reason I ended up in, in Los Angeles [California] was I came out here to do a series called 'Homefront,' and I did that with Dick Anthony Williams and Mimi Kennedy. Oh, my Lord, Jesus! I'm having a mental moment. But anyway, incredible actors on that show. Kyle Chandler, Wendy Phillips--it's coming back. (Laughter) Great, great actors and the producers of that show, Lynn Latham [Lynn Marie Latham] and Bernie Lechowick [Bernard Lechowick], I can really say that they are my friends to this day. They are my friends. But I ended up--I came to California to do that series, and my family relocated to California as a result of that series. Also, you know, I've had the opportunity to do--I just finished doing 'Becker' with Ted Danson, and we did that for six seasons. So that's quite phenomenal, and right now it's in syndication which is really very lovely. And then in between that, I've done other plays, I've done films. I did 'Jackie Brown' with Samuel Jackson [Samuel L. Jackson] and Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino. I did a movie called 'True Crime' with Clint Eastwood, Isaiah Washington, and--I'm having a moment here, but that was incredible, to work with Clint Eastwood. It's just been--I did a thing called 'Project Greenlight' on HBO which Ben Affleck and Matt Damon produced. The movie that came out of that was called 'Shaker Heights' ['The Battle of Shaker Heights']. That was great. I did a movie with [HistoryMaker] Whoopi Goldberg called 'Clara's Heart.'$$Right.$$So, Whoopi was in that and Beverly Todd was starring in that as well.

Audrey Lavinia Smaltz

Fashion show manager Audrey Lavinia Smaltz was born on June 2, 1937 in New York City. Growing up in the Harlem River Houses with neighbors such as Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Bob Moses and David Scott, Smaltz attended P.S. 46 and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Girls Junior High School. Accepted into New York City’s High School of Music and the Performing Arts, she took her first professional modeling job from baseball’s New York Giants. After graduating high school in 1955, Smaltz worked as a model and fashion commentator. An art major at the City College of New York, Smaltz also worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance and the Rueben H. Donnelly Corporation.

In 1962, Smaltz worked as a model and salesperson at Bloomingdale’s and she became an assistant fashion coordinator for the store in 1964. Hired by Lane Bryant Clothing in 1965, she worked as a model and buyer and also as a fashion coordinator. Moving to Chicago in 1969, Smaltz joined the Ebony Fashion Fair in 1970 as a commentator and fashion editor. In 1977, Smaltz organized her Ground Crew team, a backstage management group which has staffed many fashion shows including those by Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Betsey Johnson, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Alice Roi, Michael Kors, Luca Luca, Nanette Lepore, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole and Ralph Rucci. Smaltz has also worked with corporations like Nike, Vogue, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and J. Crew.

A contributing editor to Vogue, Mirabella and Mode magazines, Smaltz appears frequently on QVC and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a board member of the Black Fashion Museum, Dress for Success, the Gracie Mansion Conservancy and Fashion Group International.

Accession Number

A2005.060

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/8/2005

Last Name

Smaltz

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Lavinia

Schools

City College of New York

New York University

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

First Name

Audrey

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SMA02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Divine Love Always Has Met And Always Will Meet Every Human Need.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/2/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Fashion show stage manager Audrey Lavinia Smaltz (1937 - ) is the founder and organizer of Ground Crew, a backstage management group which has staffed many fashion shows including those by Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole and Ralph Rucci. Smaltz has also worked with corporations like Nike, Vogue, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Employment

The Ground Crew

Johnson Publishing Co.

Lane Bryant

Bloomingdales

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:696,30:4002,79:5829,103:10005,283:30415,636:38530,741:39720,757:40060,762:42185,795:57302,1040:58112,1128:98205,1636:99255,1706:99555,1711:100980,1743:117470,1978$0,0:11040,217:11520,223:14016,251:18414,277:21634,363:25958,435:26326,440:37447,562:40216,678:63003,971:64267,988:64583,993:64899,998:88591,1346:89242,1354:93085,1376:93450,1382:97465,1454:129925,1915:131200,2076:160122,2361:189590,2688
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Audrey Lavinia Smaltz's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes the history of her family name

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Audrey Lavinia Smaltz's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes the beginnings of her business, The Ground Crew

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Slating of Audrey Lavinia Smaltz's interview, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes meeting relatives during a visit to Hilton Head, South Carolina as an adult

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her father's places of employment

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about her father and being born in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about her parents' wedding and honeymoon

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls her earliest childhood memories of living in the Harlem River Houses

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls childhood gifts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls the sounds, sights, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls her childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about growing up with SNCC leader Robert Parris Moses and others in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about attending P.S. 46 Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about attending the High School of Music and Art in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls her school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes the High School of Music & Arts, Devore's School of Charm and modeling

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about being a "Say Hey" kid for baseball player Willie Mays, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about becoming a fashion show commentator

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about staying in New York City after graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about her family's move to Harlem's Washington Heights

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about attending City College of New York and working

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls working as an advertising art director

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about her brief career as a stock broker at Bache & Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls being hired at Bloomingdale's

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls being beauty pageant contestant

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about being the second African American on Bloomingdale's training team

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about becoming an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale's working with Doris Salinger

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls employers underwriting her costs to attend the March on Washington and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls being discriminated against and arrested in Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about working at Lane Bryant as a model, then buyer

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes being introduced to Dr. Stanley Hughes by model Dorothea Towles and marrying him

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about being hired by Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about working for Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls how she commented for Ebony Fashion Fair shows

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about leaving Ebony Fashion Fair and Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her role at Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about starting her own business after leaving Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about working as a Fashion Fair consultant and starting The Ground Crew

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about the services The Ground Crew provides

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about lack of diversity in the modeling industry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz declines to name her favorite models

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her future plans for The Ground Crew

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about her mother's sense of style

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz recalls being hired by the grandson of Steve Kaplan, the man who hired her at Lane Bryant forty years before

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz reflects upon how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Audrey Lavinia Smaltz narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about becoming a fashion show commentator
Audrey Lavinia Smaltz talks about working for Ebony Fashion Fair
Transcript
So that was that, led to my-- that was my first modeling assignment, and after that I didn't really do that much [as a model], you know. It was, there was not much of an outlet. You do fashion shows, that's what you would do, fashion shows at churches. And one particular fashion show they needed a commentator and the commentator I believe was going to get twenty-five dollars and the models were getting ten, so I became the commentator. I just said, I'll be the commentator, just like that. I'll be the commentator. And then they heard me do the commentary. My mother [Rebecca Dora Capers-Smaltz] came with me to make certain that I did the right thing and she was my critic. Oh god was she the critic. And she told me, well you said pretty too many times and you said this too many times and you licked your lips, you know, don't you lick your lips, you know. You black folk always licking your lips. Stop licking your lips and make certain you smile and take--oh, did she give me cree--feedback and criticism all the time. That was funny. So she was my first critic and I became a well-known commentator after that. People would hire me. I just started getting hired all the time. Then I went up to thirty-five dollars an hour--I mean for the show, not an hour, for the show.$$That was pretty good.$$Oh, it was big money, big, big cause you could have a whole dress made to order for twenty-five. So that was great. You know whatever I made I had a new dress made. I didn't save any money. I was living at home and I spent my money, fun, all in Harlem [New York]. Everything was Harlem.$$So this is all during high school [High School of Music & Art, New York, New York], right?$$High school, um-hmm, all during high school. Wow, yeah. And then when I went on to CCNY [City College of New York, New York City] I just kept on modeling and--well it wasn't full time you know. Not like today you know, it was the weekends. You didn't have to take off.$Now the Ebony Fashion Fair was the idea of Eunice Johnson, right? I mean what started the--$$Actually it was the idea of Freda DeNight. It was Freda DeNight's--well you know it's a lot of stories mixed up now after forty eight years. But Mrs. Dent from New Orleans, Dillard University [New Orleans, Louisiana], she needed a fundraiser and she called--she, she said she called Freda [DeNight], Freda spoke to [HM] John [H.] Johnson, John Johnson said fine and Freda got a fashion show together cause Freda was the Fashion Editor or the Home Director Editor or something. And Daviera Edwards [ph.] knew about fashion shows who was Freda's assistant, and so they got a fashion show together. They picked up the girls out of New York. Those are all basically New York girls I think, cause two of my friends are--I'm sure there were some other girls in there and they hit the road with six shows in 1958. And they went by plane and then they realized it's--then it was thirty shows and then they needed a bus and then from then on it's now 160 shows. So when I went there we were doing about seventy-eight shows and then into the third year with me, we doubled those shows. So we went from January to December, we had a break and then we went, we were--excuse me, we went from September through December, then we had a break and we went from January through April. And I think basically they still do that same schedule, I'm not sure, but it was an incredible time. I met Yves St. Laurent, I met Givenchy, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Pauline Trigere. I met all the top designers of the world. I went to their ateliers. We purchased clothes. Eunice had an unlimited budget to buy anything she wanted. We purchased all the clothes for the Ebony Fashion Fair. We'd come back, I would organize the show. I was the fashion coordinator. We hired the models, we'd have model exhibits where the--auditions where the models would come from all over cause there are thousands of girls and guys who wanted to be an Ebony Fashion Fair model. And I--all those young ladies, not all, but so many of them are still my friends. And the most beautiful people you can imagine I met on the road with the Ebony Fashion Fair, doctors, lawyers, Indian Chiefs, bus drivers, sanitation workers, you name it. And people even till this day, "Audrey, I remember you from the Ebony Fashion Fair." I say, "oh, you must be very old. That was thirty years ago." But so many people always remember me from the Ebony Fashion Fair. I had fun. I was a fun commentator. I would just sit up there in a high chair and just talk.$$Can you give--$$Make people laugh.