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

Evie Garrett Dennis

Evie Garrett Dennis was born on September 8, 1924, in Farmhaven, Mississippi, to Ola and Eugene Garrett. She graduated from Cameron Street High School and received her B.S. degree from St. Louis University in 1953.

Dennis came to Denver, Colorado, as a researcher for the Children’s Asthma Research Institute and The Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children. In 1966, she began her career in public education as a teacher. Dennis was instrumental in convening the first ever convention of The Athletics Congress (now USA Track & Field) in 1980. Since 1983, Dennis has chaired the El Pomar Foundation Awards for Excellence Commission, which recognizes and rewards Colorado nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals that serve their communities with distinction and excellence. She was the Chef de Mission for the United States Olympic Committee for two Pan American Games as well as the 1988 Olympic Games, a first for a woman in Olympics' history. Dennis was one of the first two women to reach the U.S. Olympic Executive Committee and the first to serve as Vice President of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She has chaired its Women’s Committee and Diversity Committee and remains a member of the Governing Bodies Council. She has been a staunch advocate and spokesperson for Title IX, ensuring equal access to sports for young women. Dennis served as Deputy Superintendent of the Denver Public School System from 1988 through 1990 and the District Superintendent from 1990 to 1994. She was the first woman and the first African American to head the 60,000-student district. Dennis was charged with implementing and monitoring the U.S. District Court order to desegregate Denver Public Schools. Through her dedication to improve and ensure equal educational opportunities for all students and to work with the community through the difficult issues presented by the court’s order, Dennis successfully guided the school system through a complicated and divisive period to create positive alliances between the school district, parents, students, teachers, patrons, and community leaders. She designed and implemented innovative programs to meet the needs of the district’s diverse population, including the Education Advisory Councils; the Denver Energy, Engineering and Education Program (DEEEP); and the American Israel Student Exchange Program. Dennis officially retired from the Denver Public School System in 1994.

Dennis was honored as an inductee to the Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1999, she was named Laureate of the Association of National Olympic Committees. In addition, Dennis was inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004.

Accession Number

A2008.118

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/3/2008

Last Name

Dennis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Garrett

Schools

Cameron Street High School

Saint Louis University

University of Nebraska-Omaha

University of Colorado Boulder

Nova Southeastern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Evie

Birth City, State, Country

Farmhaven

HM ID

DEN01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Jerome Page

State

Mississippi

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/8/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Turkey

Short Description

City education administrator and olympics executive Evie Garrett Dennis (1924 - ) was the first woman and first person of color to serve as the vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She was also the first woman and first African American superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, where she was instrumental in the desegregation process.

Employment

Denver Public Schools

Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital

Washington University School of Medicine

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:213,3:497,8:994,16:7904,220:13140,269:13910,277:17989,346:22684,407:23110,415:23962,430:24459,438:28278,467:29218,479:37376,568:55962,781:56298,786:62798,915:63316,923:68447,1000:82306,1103:83146,1114:83986,1125:84574,1133:87262,1240:98480,1346:101196,1383:101681,1389:104688,1437:115530,1582:116028,1590:122095,1652:127474,1732:128278,1747:129820,1761:139548,1968:140024,1979:151580,2089:172720,2294:173040,2299:175040,2340:178535,2382:178811,2387:179156,2393:181433,2442:182123,2460:182399,2465:185753,2496:195910,2638$0,0:990,32:1710,42:3060,63:3870,73:4950,88:5310,93:8241,110:8606,120:9482,135:9847,141:10504,152:11380,184:15687,266:24447,450:25396,465:26345,479:32920,505:39806,568:41486,590:42382,601:42830,606:50470,660:51120,666:62953,787:63585,796:66982,900:68088,916:69747,938:71011,958:76960,998:77870,1012:78360,1020:80040,1053:80600,1062:85286,1123:85784,1131:87112,1162:87776,1171:88523,1180:88855,1185:93503,1253:94084,1263:99422,1279:100129,1287:101038,1301:105214,1378:105498,1383:105995,1392:109190,1441:109758,1450:110113,1456:110894,1469:113668,1520:113998,1526:114262,1531:118400,1573:135490,1746:137803,1756:138799,1775:139380,1784:140957,1814:141372,1820:142202,1831:146898,1869:148050,1895:148306,1900:152722,2025:154194,2072:155346,2100:166936,2252:168469,2270:169126,2285:170075,2308:183530,2461:184015,2467:184403,2472:188991,2536:189594,2546:193630,2595:194060,2602:197156,2650:197758,2658:198102,2663:201520,2693:201845,2699:208124,2799:208580,2807:208884,2812:210252,2838:212152,2879:216484,2991:218232,3030:224700,3080
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633691">Tape: 1 Slating of Evie Garrett Dennis' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633692">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633693">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her mother and her likeness to her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633694">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633695">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her father and her likeness to him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633696">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633697">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633698">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633699">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633700">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her childhood community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633701">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633702">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her home in Farmhaven, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633703">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her brother, Robert Garrett</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633704">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her family's move to Canton, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633705">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about the Church of God</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633706">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers Cameron Street High School in Canton, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633707">Tape: 1 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her family's holiday traditions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633708">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her siblings' occupations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633709">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her undergraduate education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633710">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her decision to move to Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633711">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers working at the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633712">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls teaching at Lake Junior High School in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633713">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers her recruitment as an administrator of the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633714">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her role in the desegregation of the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633715">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis describes the results of desegregation busing in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633716">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the violence during the desegregation of the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633717">Tape: 2 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633718">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis describes the segregated schools in Denver, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633719">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers joining the Amateur Athletic Union</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633720">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls becoming an officer of the Amateur Athletic Union</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633721">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers serving on the U.S. Olympic Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633722">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her experiences at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633723">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers representing the USA Track and Field team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633724">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her graduate education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633725">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers receiving the Congressional Gold Medal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633726">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about steroid testing on the USA Track and Field team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633727">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her interactions with Cuban President Fidel Castro</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633728">Tape: 3 Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her experiences of sexual harassment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633729">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her efforts to diversify the U.S. Olympic Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633730">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls serving as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633731">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her achievements in the Denver Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633732">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls working with Omar Blair</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633733">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis talks about her retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633734">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her daughter and grandchildren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633735">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her trip to Russia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633736">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her experiences abroad, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633737">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her experiences abroad, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633738">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633739">Tape: 4 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633740">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis recalls the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633741">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis remembers the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633742">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her advocacy for athletic and art education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633743">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633744">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633745">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633746">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633747">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/633748">Tape: 5 Evie Garrett Dennis narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her decision to move to Denver, Colorado
Evie Garrett Dennis recalls her experiences at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba
Transcript
So what happens next? You get married to Philip [Philip Dennis]--$$And we (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) and you graduated [from Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri].$$And we, and we get pregnant (laughter) with Pia [Pia Dennis Smith]. We both applied to medical school, Meharry [Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee]. He went, I stayed home and took care of the baby and worked two jobs to support him in medical school. And the year he was supposed to graduate, the year he did graduate, suddenly there was somebody else on the scene with a child to be. And so we were divorced. And I worked two jobs during that time. I worked at what they call the St. Louis Chronic Hospital [St. Louis, Missouri] sort of as a nurse's aide, and then I worked at the post office [U.S. Post Office Department; U.S. Postal Service] at night. And my sister took care of my baby while I supported him in medical school. And as things happen, there you are with somebody else on the scene with a pregnancy and what have you and so a divorce occurred. My child was--I'm doing research at, at Washington University medical school [Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri] during this time, as I indicated as well as working at the post office. Pia was, Pia is my daughter's name, was an allergic child and so the allergist that I took her to see was doing research on the same floor where I was. And he said to me one day, "How is Pia? I haven't seen her in a long time." And I said, "Well it's a long story." He said, "Well better hurry up and tell me because I'm leaving St. Louis [Missouri]." I said, "You are, where are you going?" He said, "To Denver [Colorado]." Then he told me he was coming here to establish the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital [Denver, Colorado]. I said to him, "Do you need a good technician?" He said, "As a matter of fact, Eileen [ph.] can't go," which was his person. And I was working in hypertension and cardiovascular diseases and research. Well we--I conferred with the boss that I was working with on establishing a book, which is listed in, in my bibliography, I mean a list of publishing people there. And he said, "Are you serious?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "I'm going to Denver." And he came back he said, "You've got the job if you want it." Well I have to go to court and talk about taking the child out of town, so that--we worked that in. and so I came here to help him establish the laboratory altogether. I had the, the luxury of equipping the laboratory and doing all the work in asthma and allergy and infectious diseases.$In my role working with women's track and field for the United States, I traveled a lot with teams. And I, I made this statement to a group meeting in Munich [Germany] in a different area one time that I've traveled on every continent in the, in the world and, and some two or three times. And a little guy said to me, "Have you ever been to Iceland?" And I said, "Well no, but I didn't think of Iceland as a continent." But I--it provided me the opportunity to take athletes around the world. And so I've had lots of first in this movement. I was the first then female or minority to serve as a vice president of the [U.S.] Olympic Committee. I was the first female or minority, male or female, to serve as what they call a chef de maison for a major team. I did that at the Pan American Games in Caracas [1983 Pan American Games, Caracas, Venezuela].$$And what does that actually--$$You are responsible for that team and all the staff, for whatever happens. You are the connection to the International Olympic Committee, the international Pan American Games group [Pan American Sports Organization]. I served as that in Caracas [Venezuela] at the Pan American Games, a very difficult assignment. And I was the first chef de maison to serve, female or minority, at an Olympic Games. I did that in 1988 in Seoul [1988 Summer Olympics, Seoul, South Korea]. Then they came back and wanted me to serve as chef de maison for the Pan American Games competing in Cuba [1991 Pan American Games, Havana, Cuba]. All three very difficult assignments because of the, the reaction for men and particularly men in those areas to women being in leadership roles. Mr. Castro and I, well became kissing buddies. Every time he saw me, he wanted to kiss me. When the, when the Gulf War broke out, I was sitting in a press conference with Fidel Castro in Cuba. And I was like how can I get out of here quickly because he just ranting and raving. You didn't know what he was saying, but you knew that he was ranting and raving about that awful United States, you could hear that coming through all the time. But before I was, was ready to leave there, he found out I was in education and he said, "Would you consider coming to, to serve as my deputy of education for two years?" And I said, "Sorry, can't do that." "Oh," he said, "I can arrange." And I said well--$$You're talking about Castro?$$Fidel Castro. I said, "Well let's get the games over with and we'll talk about it." Well the games about over with and had thirty-eight countries competing in these games. And wherever we went, when I came in leading my delegation, that's where the cameras were peeled. They tell me he knew every minute of the day where I was. When the games were over he sent his interpreter to say tell her we need to talk about this before. And I said, "Well, I have to accompany my team back home, so we'll talk about it later." So that ended that conversation. But I, I just tell you all that to tell you some of the things I've, I've come up against in, in, in my role in these areas.

Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.

Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr., sales executive and Olympic medalist, was born March 9, 1922 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father owned an automobile repair shop and was reported in Ebony magazine as the first blind African American to use a seeing eye dog. Douglas attended Gladstone Elementary School and Gladstone Junior High School. As a teenager, he idolized Jesse Owens’ performance in the 1936 Olympics. He was playing football and running track when he graduated from Allderdice High School. Attending the University of Pittsburgh, Douglas won three collegiate titles in the long jump. He earned his B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1948. That same year, Douglas won the Bronze Medal for a 24 foot 8.75 inch long jump in the London Summer Olympics. Returning to the University of Pittsburgh, Douglas completed his M.Ed. degree in 1950.

Douglas worked as night manager for his father’s auto business until the Pabst Brewing Company hired him in 1950. At Pabst, he rose from sales representative to southern district manager. Douglas served as Pabst’s national special markets manager from 1965 to 1968. From 1977 to 1980, he worked as vice president of urban market development for Schieffelin and Somerset Co., where he helped popularize Hennessy Congac X.O, V.S.O.P, V.S and other brands in the African American community. Douglas has worked as an urban marketing consultant since 1987.

In 1980, Douglas founded the International Amateur Athletic Association, Inc. (IAAA), of which he is president. He has also served on the board of directors of the Jesse Owens Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh. Douglas, a member of the NAACP and Urban League, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. Semi-retired, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia. He was selected by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Successful Black Men.

Accession Number

A2005.039

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/7/2005

Last Name

Douglas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Paul

Schools

Taylor Allderdice High School

Gladstone Elementary School

Gladstone Middle School

University of Pittsburgh

Xavier University of Louisiana

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

DOU03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Well, The Deal Is. . .

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/9/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ham, Spinach, Macaroni, Eggs, Milk, Italian Bread

Short Description

Marketing consultant and track and field athlete Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. (1922 - ) was the former national special markets manager for Pabst Brewing Company and also worked as vice president of urban market development for Schieffelin and Somerset Co., where he helped popularize Hennessy cognac in the African American community.

Employment

Douglas Garage

Pabst Brewing Co.

Schieffelin and Somerset Co.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1764,62:4200,108:14280,324:25426,495:27701,524:29521,547:31523,580:32251,591:33980,611:35982,642:44580,684:44990,690:80466,1199:91180,1396:95950,1468:124268,1872:124700,1879:125132,1886:133085,1960:159552,2347:205150,2929:224810,3194:235391,3282:241610,3340$0,0:8230,251:9385,268:15747,329:16791,342:39674,641:44017,706:44825,721:54365,845:60254,894:68375,983:73860,1043:76335,1067:77160,1082:78960,1122:79560,1130:80160,1139:91486,1298:99088,1364:99880,1380:104905,1433:115775,1583:117238,1623:117546,1628:120241,1670:133584,1902:135520,1929:135960,1948:136928,1963:137720,1974:139744,2000:159842,2257:165582,2364:179460,2517:181647,2555:182619,2572:183348,2582:195521,2702:195947,2802:210968,2905:211348,2911:211880,2917:214540,2972:215908,2998:258140,3648
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251315">Tape: 1 Slating of Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251316">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251317">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251318">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251319">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251320">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about how his father lost his sight</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251321">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls his family home during childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251322">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251323">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251324">Tape: 1 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls his childhood community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251325">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his grade school experiences in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251326">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls how Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe inspired him in his early track career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251327">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his athletic achievements during his college years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251328">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about returning home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the early 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251329">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls qualifying for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251330">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. shares his memories from the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251331">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about African Americans in athletics during the 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251332">Tape: 2 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about looking for work after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1949</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251333">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about some of the celebrities he met through working at Pabst Brewing Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251334">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his experiences working as a salesman for Pabst Brewing Company in the southeastern United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251335">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects on the difficulties that African Americans face in the film and television business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251336">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his work for Schieffelin and Somerset Co.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251337">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the struggle of black athletes to obtain equal pay and renown throughout the 20th century</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251338">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the increasing commercialization of professional sports</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251339">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. recalls how he marketed particular brands of alcohol to the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251340">Tape: 3 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about community backlash against alcohol advertisements</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251341">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the bid of New York, New York for the 2012 Summer Olympics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251342">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about how his networking skills led to his success in the liquor industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251343">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon the historical factors that influence purchasing preferences in the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251344">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251345">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about the history of the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251346">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his philanthropic work, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251347">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his philanthropic work, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251348">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251349">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251350">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251351">Tape: 4 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his idols in the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251352">Tape: 5 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/251353">Tape: 5 Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. shares his memories from the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England
Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr. talks about his experiences working as a salesman for Pabst Brewing Company in the southeastern United States
Transcript
Tell me about going to London [England] for the [1948 Summer] Olympics, now this is, this is--was this your first trip out of the United States (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yep, yep that was--for me it was. It wasn't for many of the athletes, like Harrison Dillard and [Mal] Whitfield, who were very renowned, prominent athletes on their team, they'd been in the Second World War [World War II, WWII], I wasn't primarily because of my dad [Herbert Douglas, Sr.] being sightless and I had to work for his business. But, that was my desire, to make the boat and go to Europe. That was a part of the reward, just to make it to Europe. And that I did and I remember seeing Ireland, first country I saw as we got to--as we saw land going over, and the land was just as green, I'd never seen anything green like that before, but that's because it's an island sitting out there in the middle of the water. And it was very beautiful, that was an experience, it was a dual experience for me.$$Okay, were there many black Londoners around in those days?$$Yeah, McDonald Bailey was a hundred [meter dash] man, yeah, but he was--they were very limited, I think he was the only one on that team. I don't recall any others. The name was McDonald Bailey--yeah, now I'm thinking the guy from--but anyhow, they had one sprinter and he placed fifth [sic. sixth] in the hundred.$$Okay, now can you tell us what you were thinking, I mean did you--do you think in retrospect, you know, now you won a bronze medal which is pretty good in an Olympics (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) For the world.$$--'cause a lot of people don't win anything, you know--$$Oh, listen, that was the icing, as I was saying before, the most important thing was to make the Olympic team, because that was an experience within itself. The icing came when you won a medal, and if you ever won a medal, then you'll always have pictures standing up on the podium. You'll always be listed. So no, that was the epitome and--no I wasn't satisfied then, but as I look back on it now I'm satisfied--$$Had you jumped further in the past (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh yeah--$$--than you did that day?$$--yeah, yeah, I jumped as far as he jumped at the time, but, you know, that's just like (laughter) you know, some are ready and some aren't. And--but I never thought that any three people could beat me in the world. You, you have to be that positive, you have to be focused and you have to vision. Anything you do you have to vision and focus, and if you can vision, well it usually comes through. I've found it true in the corporate community and the humanitarian community, to give back and what have you, vision. And I think I got that from my family, my mother [Ilessa France Douglas] and father they were positive then, because my dad went blind they didn't quit.$$Okay, so are there any outstanding interactions or any good stories from the Olympics in London in--from 1948?$$Well, well we all, as I said, rooted for one another and we all won medals. All but one, and he pulled a muscle, he placed fourth and that was Dave Bolden [sic. Lorenzo Wright]. But that's the gratifying thing, you know, we represented our country and we did our, our share.$$Okay.$$And proportionally, disproportionally we won more than we should have had won, you know how that goes--$You got your chance, you got a break too, and what (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's how it started.$$--how did they [Pabst Brewing Company]--what position did they hire you for?$$Well, they hired me to (clears throat) basically go out and make contact with the retailers in--that sold the beer. And then I worked all the southeastern states, and that's because I went to Xavier [University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana] and I knew I had contacts through that area. And the interesting thing, I remember going into Jackson, Mississippi and the distributor there said, "Herb [HistoryMaker Herbert Paul Douglas, Jr.], I have a striker." Now a striker was a guy who carried the beer into the store, and the salesperson he didn't do anything but write up the order. And this gentleman said, "You know Herb," I remember his name was Franklin [ph.], he says, "Herb, Willie is a good young fella and I'm gonna hire him to be a salesperson--a driver salesman." And he did, this is in Jackson, Mississippi, back in the '50s [1950s]. This young guy went out there, and you know who helped me take him through the African American community was Edgar--Medgar Evers. He took him to every--see that's when--before desegregation and blacks owned their own stores, their own hotels, their own restaurants all through the South. And I put on African American salespeople all through the South before I could do it in Wasing- in Baltimore [Maryland] and places like that, even Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] where I worked, where I was born.$$So this is--when Medgar Evers helped was that in--$$He took me to the owners and they would say, you know, he'd say, "Look, put this Pabst in here." And it's a wonder we didn't run into repercussions because Falstaff [Brewing Corporation] other--you know, they had white salesman, they could have, you know, pressured them, but they fell in line, and put our product in, like West Palm Beach [Florida], I remember going there with four white sales reps and myself and as I got around to being introduced and he had met the white reps, this bottler and this distributor of ours, he wouldn't shake my hand. Now, during those days it didn't bother me, 'cause I knew I was as good as any white (laughter), you didn't have to tell me, so he didn't wanna shake my hand, I didn't wanna shake his. And I would report--and then every day that I'd go out and I'd work the black community, I'd come in with the most sales. And then I'd prove to him that he should put on an African American salesperson and he did. The only one that he requested back was me, of the five of us who went down there. Now that was 1950.$$Well, that seems to speak to the importance of making money and (laughter)--$$Bottom line, that's right, yep. You do something where you can make money you're there.$$That's the deal I guess.$$Yeah, that's it, and more so today.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$I've often heard people that worked in the Civil Rights Movement in the South say that in the big cities especially and along the Gulf Coast a lot of the merchants really didn't care--I mean, they--segregation was a custom but it interfered with their business, and they could see beyond what their business could be if they could only get segregation out of the way, so a lot of them really didn't want it but they seemed compelled to do it.$$Oh yeah, because of the law, there was a law you couldn't just go into those places. Now as I go to Atlanta [Georgia] I was there, I worked there from '50 [1950] to '60 [1960], as I go to Atlanta now, this is unbelievable that's one of the best places for young people like yourself to start a business.