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

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan

Lawyer and political leader William “Mo” Cowan was born on April 4, 1969 in Yadkinville, North Carolina to machinist William Hall and seamstress Cynthia Cowan. In 1987, Cowan graduated from Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina. He earned his A.B. degree in sociology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; and received his J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts in 1994.

From 1997 to 2009, Cowan served on the litigation team at the law firm of Mintz Levin in Boston, Massachusetts, eventually becoming a partner. He served as an advisor to both Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. In 2009, he became chief legal counsel to Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, where he oversaw all legal operations for the Governor’s office. Cowan then served as Governor Patrick’s chief of staff in 2011, where he helped develop the governor’s budget and pass legislation like the Expanded Gaming Act. Governor Patrick then appointed Cowan as interim United States Senator until July 15, 2013. Cowan was the second African American senator to represent Massachusetts, as well as the first African American U.S. Senator to serve concurrently with another African American senator. Cowan chaired the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research, and sponsored several bills during his service. After his time in the U.S. Senate, Cowan joined the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin as counsel, and served as president and chief executive officer of ML Strategies, LLC.

Cowan was a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics in 2013. He also served as president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, president of Northeastern University’s School of Law Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors, and as an active member of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress. Cowan sat on the Board of Trustees at Northeastern University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Chesnut School.

Cowan was named one of Boston’s Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” and one of “Massachusetts Super Lawyers.” In addition to being awarded the Good Guy Award from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, he received the Building A Better Boston Award from the UMass-Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership, and the Paul Robeson National Leadership Award from the Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts.

Cowan and his wife, Stacy Cowan, have two sons, Miles and Grant.

William “Mo” Cowan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 20, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.074

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/20/2016

Last Name

Cowan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Maurice

Occupation
Schools

Courtney Elementary School

Forbush High School

Duke University

Northeastern University School of Law

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Yadkinville

HM ID

COW03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

You Are Better Than No One, But You Can Be Anyone's Equal.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/4/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Grilled Lamb

Short Description

Lawyer and political leader William “Mo” Cowan (1969- ) worked as a litigator before becoming the chief of staff in Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick’s office. He also served as an interim U.S. Senator for the State of Massachusetts in 2013.

Employment

Peabody and Arnold Law Firm

Mintz Levin

Middlesex County District Attorney Office

Massachusetts State Government

United States Government

ML Strategies

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:819,4:9007,102:12458,171:20015,363:20785,378:24360,397:24960,406:26770,413:27610,441:34348,548:35059,559:35691,568:38042,581:39026,594:46104,748:46456,756:66720,947:73900,1137:76112,1150:76416,1155:89132,1277:89816,1284:96678,1455:112153,1703:112765,1726:113020,1732:113275,1738:113530,1744:113785,1750:114448,1766:114703,1772:114958,1778:115213,1784:122230,1857:123530,1884:149849,2288:154222,2342:160395,2463:161430,2474:168590,2580:173956,2673:179136,2725:191896,2937:192754,2948:193190,2982:193785,2990:200444,3112:202172,3148:202620,3168:210040,3256:210348,3261:211610,3278$0,0:408,15:6852,66:10006,139:11251,158:11583,163:15340,206:16078,216:26830,330:27062,335:30360,362:31163,374:33280,477:35170,488:37282,508:38184,523:40808,596:52570,694:52880,700:53376,710:53624,715:54058,726:62114,821:63662,854:65862,870:68230,895:75846,1040:77885,1059:78424,1069:84858,1173:97858,1340:98273,1346:99269,1378:103454,1472:104532,1492:105148,1501:107970,1506:122810,1726:123910,1742:125110,1756:135763,1898:152370,2125:153756,2156:154141,2162:160262,2291:165924,2374:166782,2403:171744,2430:173620,2443:183513,2568:183837,2573:189363,2690:194322,2776:198338,2820:204210,2923:207121,2949:207406,2955:207634,2960:208033,2970:210725,2999:211055,3006:213332,3023:213710,3037:219857,3143:220298,3157:221670,3163:222645,3182:223035,3189:224270,3263:231083,3354:236390,3418:236810,3426:238900,3440:246844,3554:252950,3643:268501,3888:269607,3902:278340,4040
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his mother's education and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls the Ku Klux Klan's presence in Yadkinville, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls the Ku Klux Klan's presence in Yadkinville, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about his father's service in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about his parents' family values

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers spending time with his maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls attending Courtney Elementary School in Yadkinville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls a white childhood friend and his father's membership in Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls running for student body president at Courtney Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about adapting to his environment

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his early social challenges, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his early social challenges, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls attending Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers pop culture in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his activities at Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his social life at Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes the racial tension at Forbush High School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about the vocational training at Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his early teaching aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers his father's death

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes the impact domestic violence had on his family

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls working to help his mother

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about his medical career aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers deciding not to attend an HBCU

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his decision to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers his graduation from Forbush High School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls learning about black history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers the black student groups at Duke University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his decision not to study medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers studying sociology

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his decision to pursue a law degree

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers the Rodney King beating

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes his education at Duke University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls President Ronald Wilson Reagan's visit to Duke University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers Harvey Gantt's senatorial race

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers Christian Laettner

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls a party he threw at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan describes Christian Laettner's reputation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his decision to attend Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers adjusting to living in Needham, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan talks about the academics at Northeastern University School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers his peers at Northeastern University School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan remembers his professors at Northeastern University School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls working at Peabody and Arnold LLC

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls his decision to pursue a law degree
The Honorable William "Mo" Cowan recalls a white childhood friend and his father's membership in Ku Klux Klan
Transcript
Who were s- I mean, a lot of potential lawyers, you know, take political science and--had you thought about law as a, as a ultimate profession--$$No.$$--at this point?$$I came late to law as an idea, probably not until I was a junior, late in my junior year [at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina], and it's 'cause I was taking some course, I had decided on sociology as a major, had sort of prepared myself that I was gonna go to grad school because, well, what else are you gonna do with a sociology major? (Laughter) And I was taking some courses on criminal justice, the correctional system, and so one of the professors would, would bring in lawyers every once in a while to talk and I--'cause I didn't really know any lawyers, I didn't grow up around lawyers, the lawyers I knew were on TV, right. I knew who Perry Mason was but, you know, I, I'm an 'L.A. Law' kid I grew up in the '80s [1980s], right, I'm an 'L.A. Law' kid. So, he would bring these lawyers in to talk to us about various issues and I just became fascinated by the people who were in the profession and I became fascinated by how the profession empowered people to do some important things, certainly around criminal and social justice, right. And, you know, obviously if, you know, you admire people like Thurgood Marshall and all the folks in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund [NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.] and the work that was done there and how lawyers really, you know, shaped this country, right.$$Yeah, I think, you all had [HistoryMaker] Julius Chambers here in North Carolina--$$Yep, yep (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) who's head of the--$$Yep. And so--but you don't, when you think of those people, originally you don't think about their profession. You think about their work, right, and then you realize in part they're able to accomplish the work 'cause they chose the profession that, that they did. And you start to say to yourself 'cause, you know, I'm slightly more mature now at twenty-one, (laughter) twenty-two than I was at eighteen, you wanna actually be able to do something, at least I, at that point I was already thinking, yes, I wanna be successful in whatever it is I do but I think it's important that I try to do something, or I'd like to be able to help people too, right. Or at least, you know, do good, do well, as they say. I wasn't thinking about it necessarily in those terms but if I could then that would be great. And I thought to myself, I remember one, this one lawyer came in and the guy was incredibly arrogant and self-centered but incredibly successful and he was a criminal defense lawyer and I thought to myself, if a guy like that can use the law or a law degree to, to be successful in the way that he's been, imagine what you could do with that degree if your focus was something else, maybe helping other people. So, I began to explore the possibility of going to law school, very late in my college career by the way. And I decided that I wasn't gonna take time off, I had convinced myself that I was already in the mindset of the academic grind, it was better for me that I go immediately from college to law school and not take a break for fear that if I had t- if I did take a break I might not come back to academia.$So, during the school day I was off over here, you know, not, you know, presumab- hopefully we were all learning the same thing. But, you know, I was, so my best friends, this is kind of interesting--from basically first grade through eighth grade, my best friends in grade school were two boys named Kevin [ph.] and Tony [ph.], both white, right, lived in the neighboring community, it sort of, Courtney [Courtney Elementary School, Yadkinville, North Carolina] was a magnet school, so Kevin and Tony. At school we were virtually inseparable, you know, we were all being tracked the same way, both very bright young boys. And we just gravitated towards each other in the classroom, right. Never spent any time outside of school together, and when I say never, I mean, never. Right, in this era of playdates and, you know, parents shuttling kids all around, right. Back then, if you didn't live in the neighborhood or wasn't a bike ride away or whatever, you know, you weren't gonna be hanging out. But again everyone a bike ride away from me was black, which was great but Tony and Kevin, they lived elsewhere, our parents weren't shuttling us back and forth. To the best of my knowledge I don't know that our parents ever met each other. So, this actually ties back to the Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK] a little bit actually. Many, many years later I was in college, I was a freshman in college at Duke [Duke University, Durham, North Carolina] and I, I was visited on campus by one of my teachers from that period in my life who was getting some continuing, you know, she was working on a graduate degree or something and happened to be on campus, caught up with me, and we were just reminiscing. And she said to me, she always found it remarkable my relationship with Kevin in particular, to which I naively said, "Why?" And she said, "No, I just, I just thought it was both interesting and incredible in a good way that you two were so close to each other notwithstanding his father." Now, I had met his father in passing a couple of times, I had actually been at their home once, just as we were part- we were on a school trip and we just made a brief stop. And I said, "Well, what about his dad?" I said, "I didn't really know him but he seemed like a nice guy," right, this is what we say, he seems like a nice guy. She goes, "Oh, well, I just thought it was interesting that the entire, that entire period Kevin's father was a really high ranking guy in the local Ku Klux Klan." And I said, "What?" She said, "Yeah. Like it was widely known, he was very active, and I think he had a, a high rank." And I was just, you know, I'm like eighteen, nineteen, I'm like, "What, what are you talking about," right. But if you think about it, it actually is rather remarkable on some level because during the school day, maybe it turns out we both were living dual lives, Kevin and myself, right. But during the school day, we bonded, we found each other, we connected because of in that school environment, you know, and the things we were studying, he also was on the, as I mentioned he was tracked as well, so, you know, at that stage of your life, being tracked in a public school like that, you know, certainly has its upsides and socially it can have its downsides, like you guys are like the, the nerds or the outcasts, right. And so, maybe two outcasts found them, found each other but then in the outside world, never, never interacted. So, I, I've thought about it a lot since that conversation and for the record I have no way of corroborating whether or not his dad was involved in the way she said. I mean, I have no reason to doubt her but still it's just, you know, it's one of those things, and--$$Was she was a white teacher?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Yes, yes.$$So, she knew that community somewhat (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm, yeah. So, anyway, so that was school. Grade school, as I said, Courtney was K through eighth [kindergarten through eighth grade]. I (air quotes) graduated from eighth grade in 1984.

Fletcher "Flash" Wiley

Lawyer and civic leader Fletcher “Flash” Wiley was born on November 29, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. Four years after his birth, Wiley’s family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was raised. In 1953, Wiley was selected as a charter member of the “Gifted Child Program” by the Indianapolis Public Schools, in which he was the only African American in his class. Upon graduation from Shortridge High School in 1960, Wiley was recruited by the United States Air Force Academy and became the first African American from the State of Indiana appointed to a military academy, as well as the school’s first African American football player. As an athlete, he gained the nickname “Flash,” and in 1965, became the fifth African American graduate of the Air Force Academy and the Academy’s first black Fulbright Scholar. Wiley continued his studies at L’Institut Des Etudes Politiques at the University of Paris in France; and, in 1974, following his service as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, he received his M.P.P. degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

For almost four decades, Wiley has worked as a practicing attorney concentrating in the areas of corporate and commercial law, small business development, entertainment law and real estate. He helped form the Boston, Massachusetts-based law firm of Budd, Reilly and Wiley, the largest minority-dominant firm in New England. In 1996, Wiley joined PRWT Services, Inc., as vice president and general counsel; and before he retired from employment with PRWT in 2008, he helped build the company into one of the nation’s largest minority-owned businesses and Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2009 “Company of the Year”. He remains a member of the PRWT Advisory Board.

Wiley has served as a Director of several for-profit business organizations, including three public companies. He retired in 2011, after two decades as a Director of The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE). He is a director of the privately-held sports enterprise, Haymon Boxing, LLC. He is also of counsel to the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP (formerly Bingham McCutchen LLP), where he specializes in corporate and commercial law. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of the Centaurus Group, LLC, where he serves as an investor and principal in several commercial, real estate development, and management consulting ventures.

Wiley has been involved in many civic and charitable activities. In 1984, he founded and chaired the Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Development. He also served for seven years, first as president and later as national chairman, of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, Inc.; and he later served for two years as chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Wiley is also a founding member of the Black Alumni Associations of both the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a benefactor of Crispus Attucks Children's Center, Inc.; a founding member of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School Black Alumni Organizations; a former Director of the New England Legal Foundation; Overseer of the New England Region Anti-Defamation League; and Chairman of the Board of The Dimock Center, Inc. He has also received numerous civic and professional awards, including induction into the 2010 “Academy of Distinguished Bostonians.” In 2011, he was named by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the Board of Visitors of The Air University; and in 2012, President Barack Obama appointed him to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 2012, he received Honorary Doctorates from Cambridge College and New England School of Law.

Wiley is a member of the Bars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and District of Columbia, and belongs to the American, National, and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

He and his wife, Benaree Pratt Wiley, live in Brookline, Massachusetts. They have two children: a son, Pratt, and a daughter, B.J.

Fletcher “Flash” Wiley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 15, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.206

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/15/2004

10/15/2004 |and| 9/11/2019

9/11/2019

Last Name

Wiley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Houston

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Flanner House Elem Sch (Charter)

Shortridge High School

U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School

United States Air Force Academy

Harvard Law School

Harvard Kennedy School

James Whitcomb Riley School 43

P.S. 23

P.S. 40

P.S. 45

First Name

Fletcher

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL19

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches, Casinos

Favorite Quote

I Am The World's Greatest Over Sixty Year-Old Basketball Player.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Lawyer Fletcher "Flash" Wiley (1942 - ) , CEO of the Centaurus Group, LLC and of counsel to the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, co-founded the law firm of Budd, Reilly and Wiley, and was vice president and general counsel of PRWT Services, Inc.

Employment

Budd, Reilly and Wiley

PRWT Holdings

Bingham McCutchen LLP - Boston

U.S. Air Force

Abt Associates Inc.

Fine & Ambrogne

Fitch, Wiley, Richlin & Tourse, P.C.

Bingham McCutchen LLP

PWRT Services, Inc.

Schnader Harrison Goldstein & Manello

Unity Bank & Trust Company

Snyder, Tepper & Berlin

Shearman & Sterling

Democratic National Platform Committee

U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Mark Battle Associates, Inc.

Congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr. (D-IN)

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:5456,88:6276,126:13328,309:13984,321:16854,368:17428,375:17838,384:18166,389:18494,394:18822,413:19396,421:19888,492:20216,497:24972,600:25710,610:31760,634:35072,691:36084,707:36728,715:41052,789:50896,908:52568,993:52920,998:59960,1187:77070,1402:77630,1411:77980,1417:78610,1428:79030,1435:80850,1474:81340,1483:82950,1518:93030,1751:94570,1844:100150,1885$0,0:216,2:1296,16:7018,76:7552,83:9510,106:28597,354:29083,364:35625,404:36210,414:53720,666:54170,673:54545,679:56345,705:56945,713:59270,755:61145,803:64576,833:68608,881:69448,892:73312,947:77596,1014:78268,1030:84400,1142:95165,1237:95513,1242:97775,1267:98123,1272:99950,1292:100298,1297:104039,1359:111274,1460:116238,1554:131080,1758
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fletcher "Flash" Wiley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recounts his mother's tumultuous background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his mother and his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his mother's personality and the places she lived

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his father and his brother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about basketball player Oscar Robertson

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending Flanner House for kindergarten

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes being placed in a gifted child's program in the Indianapolis Public School district

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his experience in the gifted child program through the Indianapolis Public School district

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his extracurricular activities during his time at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the process of being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his Fulbright Scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about joining the Office of Special Investigation of the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes meeting and marrying his wife, HistoryMaker Benaree P. Wiley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about attending Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the atmosphere of Boston, Massachusetts in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about organizing the Harvard Law School Black Alumni Association

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his involvement in different law associations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes forming his law practice, Budd, Reilly and Wiley, in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his work at Abt Associaties, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Fine & Ambrogne in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his role within Budd, Reilly and Wiley in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his civic activities in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the evolution of the law firm Budd, Reilly and Wiley in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the history of PRWT Services, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his work at PRWT Services, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about the Crispus Attucks Children's Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley sings a rendition of 'Save the Last Dance for Me' by The Drifters

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his love and appreciation for his wife, HistoryMaker Benaree P. Wiley

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley reflects upon his life and his future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about the U.S. military's role in desegregation and its continuing efforts at inclusion

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley narrates his photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley explains how he got the nickname 'Flash'

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$1

DAStory

2$12

DATitle
Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes being placed in a gifted child's program in the Indianapolis Public School district
Transcript
I wasn't certain I even was gonna be a practicing attorney when I went to [Harvard] Law School [Cambridge, Massachusetts]. I just didn't know what else to do with my life. I knew I didn't wanna be a doctor which is something I thought about. I knew I didn't wanna be an astronaut, so I kind of went to law school as a holding place. And after my first year of law school three or four guys from the [John F.] Kennedy School [of Government at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] came over to Harvard Law School and they were recruiting because they were trying to find people that had a technical background, mathematics background, to join a new program that they were putting together at the Kennedy School called the public policy program that used quantitative methods to analyze and political matters and so forth. And they with the all-star group, guys that I had, had heard about in, in college [U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado] and, and, and indeed in high school [Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, Indiana]. Guys like Richard Neustadt, and Tom [Thomas] Schelling, and Howard (unclear), and Bob [Robert P.] Mosteller, all of whom were, were fantastic known scholars and so forth. So after a year of law I went to the Kennedy School, ended up doing the joint program with, with law and, and public policy. So I didn't get out of school until 1974 and was thinking about becoming a public servant. And the only thing I had not done was really work in private sector in a sustained way. And I thought you know that to be a good public servant you really needed to have some private sector experience. And that's what finally persuaded me to go into the practice of law. I said look you got the degree, you're a member of the [Massachusetts] Bar [Association], why not try it out for a couple of years and learn something about business.$I started grade school at five; I would be six in November. And the public school education was a--I had some adjustment problems because I always use to talk out in class and fool around while other people were trying to get their work done. And so I, I got in a lot, a lot of hot water as a, as a young kid trying to learn the ropes. Played hooky a couple of times and--so I guess when I was in the fourth or fifth grade--well, actually they give it earlier, they give you an IQ test just to see if there's something wrong with me. And I guess I did pretty well on the test so they just said well you know, this guy is just not being challenged enough. And a couple years later I got involved as a charter member of a thing the Indianapolis Public Schools were putting together called the gifted child program. And I was the first black child involved in that program in a segregated city, 1952. I was transferred from going to all black schools, which I loved and so forth into, into the white community where I was the only black kid. And having to wrestle with that was sort of an adjustment for me. They would already had more money than I did, they wore clothes differently, they talked about different things and it was only then that I begin to see from their eyes how poor both financially and otherwise that they, they viewed me and other black people. So it took me a little while to deal with that. For a while I told everybody that my father [Fletcher Wiley] was a doctor (laughter). And my mother [Mildred Berg] went to school with me one day and, and she was talking to the teacher and the teacher said, "Well, how's Dr. Wiley doing?" she said, "Dr. Wiley, who's that?" (Laughter) But you cope you know; you cope as best you can.