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Willie Cole

Sculptor Willie Cole was born on January 3, 1955 in Somerville, New Jersey. In 1958, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he took art classes at the Newark Museum, and later attended the Arts High School of Newark. Cole went on to receive his B.F.A degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, New York. He continued his art education by attending classes at the Art Students League of New York.

After graduation, Cole worked as a freelance artist and graphic designer. In 1988, he completed his first major art installation, Ten Thousand Mandellas. The installation led to his first major gallery show, which took place at Franklin Furnace Gallery in New York City, New York in 1989. The following year, Cole served as the artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. In 1997, Cole created the piece, Stowage, garnering him a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Cole had a number of solo exhibition shows that followed, including a show at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2001. In 2010, an exhibition show of his work took place at the James Gallery of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In 2013, Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Work opened at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before the exhibition began travelling across the country.

Cole has received many awards for his work as an artist, including the Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1991, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant in 1995, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 1996, the David C. Driskell Prize in 2006, and Timehri Award for Leadership in the Arts in 2009. In 2004, Cole received the Lamar Dodd Fellowship at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Cole served as an artist-in-residence at several institutions, including the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Washington, the Contemporary in Baltimore, Maryland, the Capp Street Project in San Francisco, California, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Cole has one son.

Willie Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 3, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/03/2017

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Arts High School

Quitman Street Community School

Somerville Elementary School

Robert Treat Academy Charter School

School of Visual Arts

Art Students League of New York

First Name

Willie

Birth City, State, Country

Somerville

HM ID

COL28

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

My Mind.

Favorite Quote

It Doesn't Matter When You Get On The Bus, Just When You Get Off.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

1/3/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sunflower Seeds

Short Description

Sculptor Willie Cole (1955 - ) was most known for his found object assemblages, which featured steam irons, high heeled shoes and plastic water bottles. His work addressed themes of domesticity, femininity and racial identity.

Employment

Queens Economic Development Corporation

American Cyanamid Company

Freelance Graphic Designer

Freelance Illustrator

University of Delaware

Favorite Color

Orange and Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willie Cole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willie Cole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willie Cole describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willie Cole describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willie Cole describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willie Cole talks about his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willie Cole describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Willie Cole remembers working at American Cyanamid Company

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Willie Cole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Willie Cole describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Willie Cole remembers the Stella Wright Homes in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Willie Cole talks about his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willie Cole talks about his early art forms

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willie Cole describes his schooling in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willie Cole remembers his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willie Cole talks about his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willie Cole remembers the riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willie Cole remembers Amiri Baraka's influence in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willie Cole talks about the alumni of Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willie Cole describes his experiences at the School of Visual Arts in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Willie Cole talks about his early career as a graphic designer

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Willie Cole talks about his black magazine illustrations

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Willie Cole talks about his interest in commercial art

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Willie Cole remembers the Art Students League of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Willie Cole talks about his theater training

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willie Cole remembers the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willie Cole talks about his role at the Stepping Stone Theatre Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willie Cole talks about his decision to focus on the visual arts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willie Cole talks about the birth of his son

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willie Cole remembers selling mail order pamphlets

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willie Cole recalls his attempts to sell illustrated children's stories

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willie Cole recalls his day jobs in New York City during the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willie Cole talks about the Works Gallery in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Willie Cole remembers his first professional art shows

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Willie Cole talks about his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Willie Cole describes the origins of his sculptural practice

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Willie Cole recalls his experiences at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willie Cole talks about becoming a single parent

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willie Cole talks about the meanings of his steam iron sculptures

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willie Cole recalls the start of his mask making practice

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willie Cole recalls the impact of his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willie Cole talks about his sculpture, 'House and Field'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willie Cole recalls the start of his shoe sculptures

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willie Cole talks about his studio spaces

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willie Cole describes his shoe sculptural practice

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willie Cole talks about his spirituality

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Willie Cole describes his method for sculpting with shoes

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Willie Cole talks about his floral motif sculptures

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willie Cole talks about the theme of his shoe sculptures

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willie Cole talks about the influences on his mask sculptures

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willie Cole recalls his awards and honors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willie Cole talks about his monumental woodcut, 'Stowage'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willie Cole remembers Robert Blackburn

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willie Cole talks about his piece, 'Man Spirit Mask'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willie Cole remembers his artwork inspired by September 11th, 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willie Cole describes his work about President Donald John Trump

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Willie Cole remembers receiving the David C. Driskell Prize

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Willie Cole talks about his love of music

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Willie Cole talks about his art dealer and marketing

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Willie Cole recalls the start of his work with plastic water bottles

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Willie Cole talks about his plastic bottle sculptures

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Willie Cole talks about his animated character, ShooFly

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Willie Cole reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Willie Cole reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Willie Cole shares his advice for aspiring African American artists

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Willie Cole narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Willie Cole narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$12

DATitle
Willie Cole describes his shoe sculptural practice
Willie Cole recalls the start of his work with plastic water bottles
Transcript
With the shoes you begin doing the work in '93 [1993] and it has evolved over time? What are the, what are the, kinds of artistic expression that you are developing for the shoes? What are you making?$$Currently what I'm making with the shoes?$$Starting back from you know, as you (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well with, with all the work, and I kind of discover this, or maybe begin to apply this with the, with the irons, but I'm telling myself that I am working to exercise the memory in these items, whether it's true or not I always start with that, with that premise, so all my shoe pieces, I feel their, their personality, the woman that wore them is in this shoe still, the spirit of that person is in this shoe or on the shoe, so I put those together to, you know, bring that forward, I mean definitely with the masks and things.$$So you, you describe having organized the shoes by color and plus whatever their similarities are. So there's, there's that, but you're bringing more than one pair of shoes into it, so what is that spiritual relationship that you are defining I guess, from multiple pairs of shoes to put them into a mask or--?$$Oh I feel--my sister [Debra Cole (ph.)] would call it, let go and let God, but you know I don't use that kind of language, but so for me it's just about being open to the inspiration, don't have a preconceived notion of what you're doing, just you know, you've got a pile there. Like when I finish a piece I'm always amazed and my friend [Lawrence Ramsey], the African art dealer, told me I have to freak myself up first before I can freak the world out, so I'm just looking to get that moment that just blows my own mind and it comes through play because you can't play unless you're relaxed, so you know, the pieces to me kind of, they tell me what to do, what piece to pick up. I create certain limitations because when I was a painter I worked in limitations from reading about the Impressionists and the point was rather they worked from following the illustrator, Maxfield Parrish, I would always limit my color palette to just the primary colors and never used the color black; so that idea fused in with a little bit of Buddhism has led me to these ideas about oneness and you know just everything is a multiplication of a single element.$You've been working with plastics, plastics, plastic water bottles (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Plastic water bottles, that's right.$$When did you start doing that?$$I started that about three or four years ago.$$So that would be around 2014?$$Yes, yes.$$And how did that begin?$$Well in New Jersey there's a place called Grounds for Sculpture [Hamilton, New Jersey]. It's a big outdoor sculpture park. They had three buildings with galleries inside and I was invited to do a show there, a one person show, so in my mind I thought it was an outdoor show, but when I had the meeting they wanted me to be inside in one of the galleries, so then I say, "Well, is there a budget for this show?" And they say there's no budget, so that's how I came to water bottles. During that meeting I was drinking a bottle of water and the next day I'm at a friend's house in Union, New Jersey, Ted Davis [ph.], sitting by his pond drinking water and I'm squeezing the bottle and I'm realizing all these lines and ribs on the bottle, on bottles like the one I have, they are to make the bottles collapsible so I can manipulate the image of the bottle by manipulating these lines. I was able to make a fish, so I'm looking at the fish in his pond so that kind of led me to make a fish. That night I dreamed about a chandelier made of the water bottles and there was a Buddha in every bottle, so that's what I made for that show ['From Water to Light'], the Buddha chandelier. It just started from there. It played in well for me because of my interest in health and the environment, but also because a few years earlier I'd received an award for recycling from this county, Morris County, New Jersey because of my work with the shoes and the irons they saw me as a recycler, so now I'm really recycling something that affects the environment.

Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg

Aircraft commander Lucius Perry Gregg, Jr. was born on January 16, 1933 in Henderson, North Carolina to Rachel and Lucius Gregg, Sr. Gregg graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1950, before receiving his B.S. degree from the U.S. Naval Academy as the fourth African American to ever graduate. Gregg received his M.S. degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1955, Gregg began his service in the United States Air Force, working as a pilot from 1956 to 1959. In 1961, Gregg became the mission commander for the VIP Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Also during this year, Gregg started working for the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research as a project director in space technology and worked there until 1965.

In 1965, Gregg became the Northwestern University Associate Dean of Science, and was also promoted to the rank of major in the U.S. Air Force. In 1969, Gregg became the Alfred P. Sloan Fund program officer, before moving to the First Chicago University Finance Corporation assuming the role of president in 1972.

In 1975, Gregg graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University Business School, and in 1979, became Vice President and Director of National Public Affairs, and Vice President of Governmental Relations at Citibank/Citicorp. In 1985, Gregg worked as Vice President of Public Affairs for the New York Daily News, before moving to Los Angeles to become the Vice President of Corporate Communications at the Hughes Aircraft Company/Hughes Electronics.

In 1999, Gregg founded the Foundation for the Study of America’s Technology Leadership in Marina Del Rey, California. The foundation seeks to understand and raise awareness of the factors that led to America’s technology leadership—from the role of innovation to the assimilation of women and minorities into the technology leadership arena.

Gregg has served on numerous technological and scientific boards including the Fermi (AEC) National Accelerator Laboratory, the Academic Board of the U.S. Naval Academy and the National Academy of Science Foundation Commission on Human Resources.

Gregg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/17/2007 |and| 4/20/2007

Last Name

Gregg

Maker Category
Middle Name

P.

Occupation
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Douglas Elementary School

United States Naval Academy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Lucius

Birth City, State, Country

Henderson

HM ID

GRE10

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Boating

Favorite Quote

Most Major Achievements Come From Those Who Can Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants And Look Forward.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

1/16/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Crab Cakes, Baby Back Ribs

Short Description

Aircraft commander Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg (1933 - ) founded the Foundation for the Study of America’s Technology Leadership in Marina Del Rey, California.

Employment

Northwestern University

Hughes Aircraft Company; Hughes Electronics Corporation

New York Daily News

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Bristol-Myers

Citibank, N.A.

U.S. Air Force

Foundation for the Study of America's Technology Leadership

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:5322,45:5886,52:6450,59:6920,64:9740,97:10116,102:10492,107:10868,112:15873,148:19193,272:23011,307:24920,328:33492,417:34356,431:36695,443:37388,451:43622,502:44237,508:46328,526:51863,583:57152,606:69288,817:70026,833:75678,874:76990,880:81234,939:83210,970:83514,975:88730,1019:91100,1041:91450,1047:92150,1063:92570,1070:92920,1076:94919,1087:95211,1092:96087,1108:96525,1115:97693,1135:98642,1155:99226,1165:101562,1216:102000,1223:102511,1231:102803,1236:105139,1276:105431,1281:105723,1286:110570,1318:113045,1338:125016,1504:125360,1509:132895,1571:134396,1598:136371,1629:138346,1664:147897,1754:148900,1779:149254,1786:151931,1812:161035,1902:161667,1926:165422,2041:165710,2046:165998,2051:166790,2064:168518,2129:168950,2136:169382,2143:169958,2152:172334,2197:173918,2223:174350,2231:174854,2239:175142,2244:180505,2286:186430,2341:190380,2356:198366,2458:199054,2467:201118,2490:201806,2499:203010,2515:203784,2530:205246,2555:205934,2570:206794,2592:207654,2608:220704,2704:221200,2837:223170,2852:224070,2863:227070,2910:227970,2920:228370,2925:228770,2930:231585,2958:232520,2971:235155,3033:235580,3039:241275,3145:242635,3164:243485,3176:248230,3203:250940,3229:251250,3235:252150,3248$0,0:1026,28:1441,34:5568,89:6486,101:11094,152:11696,160:12212,168:12986,185:15652,219:27004,338:31051,423:32542,457:33181,468:33465,473:35737,522:39410,535:39980,543:40645,551:43590,603:45205,624:47580,654:48150,670:49005,682:49480,688:55490,705:56335,720:56790,729:58546,745:68274,944:68802,951:75354,1011:75762,1022:77394,1063:80350,1090:81650,1135:90469,1196:93790,1266:102630,1338:103782,1352:104430,1379:119757,1542:123150,1596:123672,1604:125530,1609:125762,1614:126110,1621:126458,1628:126748,1634:128972,1650:129332,1656:129980,1667:130268,1672:133590,1747:136664,1788:137054,1794:141340,1820:141580,1825:142600,1847:151729,1938:152021,1943:153043,1960:154138,1980:154649,1988:155087,1995:157451,2005:158060,2014:158582,2022:158930,2027:168176,2099:168645,2114:169047,2121:172112,2136:172721,2145:173156,2151:181206,2263:181675,2268:182211,2277:183752,2310:192821,2393:195952,2413:196400,2421:196784,2428:197168,2435:204000,2535:204960,2545:210670,2594:211399,2605:212047,2615:221820,2804:222384,2811:228200,2892:228600,2898:229480,2912:233160,3019:233480,3024:233800,3033:241814,3069:242394,3082:244050,3091:244410,3097:244698,3102:246420,3112:250260,3167:251508,3182:256480,3257:271430,3360:272030,3371:280340,3450:281680,3478:290309,3532:292051,3569:292319,3574:295092,3587:297586,3602:302650,3663:303964,3688:304329,3701:309512,3810:309877,3816:311337,3850:311629,3855:314050,3864
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg lists his sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his early religious experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his mother's employment in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his maternal grandparents' home in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers Douglas Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his mother's expectations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his experiences in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about the impact of migration in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls the start of the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his training in the U.S. Marine Corps, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his training in the U.S. Marine Corps, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his mother's role in his admission to the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the entrance examination for the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his admission to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the black community in Annapolis, Maryland, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the black community in Annapolis, Maryland, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about Wesley A. Brown's experiences at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his experiences at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls the rowing team at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his roommate at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes Jimmy Carter's support for Wesley A. Brown

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about his friendship with Wesley A. Brown

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his invitation to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls joining the advisory board of the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes the changes to the United States Naval Academy's admissions policies

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers joining the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his promotion to first lieutenant

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his experiences as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his aeronautics training

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the escalation of the Cold War

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his research in aerospace engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls joining the faculty of Northwestern University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the birth of his son, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the birth of his son, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls joining the faculty of Northwestern University, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his role at the National Accelerator Lab in Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the student protests at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls Northwestern University's advancement in the college rankings

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg reflects upon his experiences at Northwestern University

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his work at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his recruitment to the First National Bank of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his career at the First National Bank of Chicago

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his integration efforts in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about his university board memberships

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his role as chairman of Tulane University's Board of Visitors

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his work for Bristol-Myers

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his advisory work for the National Academy of Sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about interstate banking regulations

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his public relations work for Citibank, N.A. in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers meeting with journalist James F. Hoge, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the publisher's forum at the New York Daily News

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls the New York Daily News' presidential debate

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes the history of the New York Daily News

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about James F. Hoge, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his recruitment by E. Pendleton James

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers joining the Hughes Electronics Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about the Hughes Electronics Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his public television board service

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his career at Hughes Electronics Corporation

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers the riots of 1992 in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers writing speeches for C. Michael Alexander

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls the Hughes Electronics Corporation's partnership with historically black colleges

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg remembers his wife, Doris Jefferson Gregg

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes how he met his wife, Beverly Carmichael Gregg

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes his passion for boating

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about science and technology in the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg reflects upon his life

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about science and technology in the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg talks about the opportunities for careers in science and technology

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes the Student Technology Roundtable

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg recalls his training in the U.S. Marine Corps, pt. 1
Lt. Col. Lucius P. Gregg describes Jimmy Carter's support for Wesley A. Brown
Transcript
And then, of course, to my surprise--well, I really wasn't that knowledgeable, but anyhow, I can just tell what happened. After I came out of boot camp, and they sent us off to cold weather training, and we're trying to show how, at the age of seventeen, we're trying to show how tough we are, that we can really cope with the challenges they were putting before us. I went through cold weather training, and then, because of my size, I got special training as--with the heavy machine gun. It was a water cooled rapid fire machine gun that would--you'd put on a tripod. And, one person had to feed the bullets in--through on a belt, and another person was behind, and you had to have a certain size in order to carry that, that kind of stuff and be able to fall on the ground and put it up and set it up within a matter of a few seconds and start opening fire. And the other thing they qualified me for was the flamethrower. And for those who can think back as to what those two things meant, I wanted to perform well, but then when I think about it ten or twenty years later, the life expectancy of a person operating the heavy machine gun--you're making so much noise that you're immediately--and you've got tracer bullets that were red hot that you used to guide and make sure that you've got it aimed to the right person or the right foxhole or house or something, or the flamethrower, which if you open it up in the middle of the night, it just basically lights up exactly where you are. The life expectancy of that person is less than a few minutes, because you're almost--you have to sacrifice yourself in order to perform, and the enemy immediately recognizes where you are and you basically tell them that, and they counter.$$Right.$$And here I was seventeen. I wasn't thinking of that, but yet that was one of the parts of the [U.S.] military.$$Where did you take this training?$$San Diego [California], and also Camp Pendleton [Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, San Diego County, California].$$Okay.$$Camp Pendleton. But then what happened was that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It sounds as if now you're having second thoughts about this whole thing.$$At seventeen, I was more interested in--I was with my buddies from Chicago [Illinois] and we were having too much fun being, being men. You know, we had just left home under the supervision of our parents. We were now out on our own, we could go and drink beer at age seventeen, eighteen years old, we could go into San Diego where the bars were, and sometimes the guys would fight with the sailors. I mean, the sailors and the Marines [U.S. Marine Corps], even though the Marines come under the [U.S.] Navy, there's always that little tension (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) But you were being men there at seventeen, or almost eighteen.$$Yeah. So I can understand how seventeen, eighteen year olds get into--are tempted to do something that they would not do if they're ten years older, what have you, because you just don't--you don't think, and I think society is willing--and the courts sort of say, well how old are you at seventeen? Okay. You just don't have that depth of judgment in terms of it. But, anyhow, that, that was what I was being prepared for.$(Simultaneous) Interesting, going back to the first--Wesley Brown [Wesley A. Brown], who came out of there in 1949, what the naval historian found from talking around, talking you know twenty, thirty years later to his classmates, really almost fifty years--was that there were--some of the southerners got together--southerners who were like a year or two ahead, they could give him demerits. If you got so many demerits because your shoes weren't shined enough, or your pants weren't pressed enough, and so forth, your uniform, you reach a certain number of demerits and you're out of there, just on terms of being mili- unsatisfactory for--you know, what they would expect of a naval officer. And so those demerits could be given to you by those that are above you. And they didn't have to account (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) By you mean fellow cadets?$$Fellow cadets that were above you--seniors. So in, if you're in your first or second year, anyone who was a year ahead of you or in their senior year could actually come, they could come around to your room when you weren't there and see if your bed was--your bedding, your bed cover had to be tight enough that they could drop a quarter on it, and it would have to bounce. And if didn't they could write you up for not--. I mean, it was really being a little bit mean, because you'd have to have it in for the person that you're--. And anyone could do that to--particularly to any plebe, any freshman's room. And, evidently there was some sentiment developing within his class, now kee- I'm sorry, let me come back to this. Keep in mind that before Wesley Brown graduated, five other blacks had been admitted to the academy [United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland] over a seventy-five year period, and had never graduated, okay. And so, what appeared to be in the making was that--and these are Wesley Brown's classmates (unclear)--that the southern guys were beginning to get together to say, he doesn't belong here, and it's our duty to make sure that we get him out of here, okay, except for one guy. He was two years ahead of Wesley Brown, and his name was Jimmy Carter [James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.].$$(Laughter) And he had the courage--$$And he went to them. He went to this southern group where he knew he had heard that they allowed this kind of discussion when they put, when they got their heads together. And, the Georgia peanut farmer went there and said, "I understand what you're trying to do, and I'm going to ask you not to do it, because I know what you're up to." Which meant that Jimmy Carter was saying to them, I know what you're up to and if I go forward and report on this, then you guys will be in some kind of trouble on it. So (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And as a southerner, he was really going against--that took a lot of courage.$$Yeah. And he wasn't from one of the major cities of the South, you know, they expect--out of Atlanta [Georgia] or out of Nashville [Tennessee], or what--something like that but might not have be--. No. And, and this did not come out until this historian made the rounds and got four or five of Wesley Brown's classmates, or those who were a year or two ahead of him to verify--$$Do you remember the name of this historian on that?$$Yes (laughter), Schueller [sic. Robert J. Schneller, Jr.], Schueller, because he first started out to do a complete book on the blacks who had come through the academy, and so he wanted a biographical summary from me, and I managed to get it together. But then after he got all this together, he said, "No, the first book has to be on Wesley Brown." He said, "If there's another book--there will have to be a second book, but I don't think we ought to take that life and mix it in with all those that came through ten years later or fifteen years later," or what have you.

Barbara Ann Teer

Founder and CEO of the National Black Theatre, Inc., Barbara Ann Teer was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on June 18, 1937, to a family of educators and leaders in the field of community development. After graduating magna cum laude with her degree in dance education from the University of Illinois, Teer moved to New York City to begin her career as an actress, dancer, and director.

In the 1960s, Teer left show business to begin teaching at Harlem's Wadleigh Junior High School; her methods helped to develop the Group Theatre Workshop, which became the foundation for the world renowned Negro Ensemble Company. In 1968, Teer founded the National Black Theatre with the aim of maintaining and developing African American cultural traditions. In 1983, Teer expanded the purpose and vision of the National Black Theatre by purchasing a 64,000 square foot city block of property on 125th Street and Fifth Avenue, creating the first revenue generating black art complex in the country by housing several entrepreneurial businesses.

In May 1994, Teer was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Rochester, New York; in 1995, she received an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters from the University of Southern Illinois. Teer is included in Who's Who Worldwide, which recognizes her as a global business leader and has received more than sixty awards and citations. Teer passed away on July 21, 2008 at the age of 71. She leaves behind two children: her son, Michael F. Lythcott, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University's Business School and her daughter, Barbara A. Lythcott, is a graduate of New York University.

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer passed away on July 21, 2008, at the age of seventy-one.

Accession Number

A2005.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/6/2005

Last Name

Teer

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Dunbar Elem School

Bennett College for Women

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

TEE01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand

Favorite Quote

Right On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/18/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

7/21/2008

Short Description

Arts administrator Barbara Ann Teer (1937 - 2008 ) was the founder and chief director of the National Black Theater, whose mission was to maintain and develop African American cultural traditions. Teer was recognized as a global business leader, receiving more than sixty awards and citations.

Employment

National Black Theatre

Wadleigh Junior High School

Favorite Color

Blue, Pink

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Ann Teer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her parents' family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending Bennett College for a year

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her sister's activism and her decision to leave acting

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes herself as a child and her experience with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her schooling in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer remembers the pressure to adapt to mainstream culture

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her childhood home in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her neighborhood in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls notable figures from East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending church and school in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls traveling in Europe after college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her experience at New York City's Henry Street Settlement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience as a theatre actress

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer contrasts her modern dance training to black dance

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls writing for The New York Times

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes founding the Group Theatre Workshop

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes co-founding the Black Arts Movement in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes Harlem in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about The Last Poets

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about Amiri Baraka

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls playwrights Historymaker Paul Carter Harrison and Joseph Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon black theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her role in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience in Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the spirituality of her work

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience at FESTAC in Nigeria in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience visiting Nigeria in 1977 and 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the black arts and theatre community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the transformation of Harlem, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the gentrification of Harlem, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls meeting Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles and divorcing Godfrey Cambridge

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the need to re-interpret black history

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the power of theatre

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the sustainability of the National Black Theatre

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

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DATitle
Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre
Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company
Transcript
So, when I graduated, summa cum [summa cum laude], from the University of Illinois [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois], I was shipped off to Europe. And I studied there with everybody you can think of because of who I was within the dance profession. Now, I left Europe after Switzerland, and London [England], and, and the whole thing. Now, I came to New York [New York] to work on my master's [degree] at Sarah Lawrence [Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York]. But I was bored with school because I never saw anything that represented where I came from. It was a different, a different kind of culture. And I did well. However, when Pearl Primus came to the University of Illinois with her drummers, and her husband was Percival Borde. All these people are probably dead now--I mean, they're not probably--they are. There were five hundred young women in this gym for this master class of Pearl Bailey--I mean, Pearl, Pearl Primus. Actually, I work with Pearl Bailey. And she started playing the drums, and I just went crazy. And everybody else didn't know what was happening and I did, and I said, oh, I have to go somewhere and do what my heart is pumping. So, I went to Pearl Primus. I came to New York. I stayed at the Henry Street Playhouse [Henry Street Settlement; Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York] with Alwin Nikolais, which was, again, a derivative of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham--all those names. I mean, I was really in that profession until I hurt my knee. My daddy [Fred Teer] was a coach. He came to New York to try to help me with my knee. And I met all these wonderful actors who were in 'Raisin in the Sun' ['A Raisin in the Sun,' Lorraine Hansberry], and because one of the leads in 'Raisin in the Sun' came from St. Louis [Missouri]. The rest is history. Lonne Elder [Lonne Elder III], Lorraine Hansberry, Sidney Poitier, [HistoryMaker] Robert Hooks--all of these people became my friends, and my whatever. And I left the dance profession after travelling with Alvin Ailey, and [HistoryMaker] Louis Johnson, and going to Brazil. I mean, I did a whole lot of stuff. And then, I came into the world of theater and acting, studied with Sanford Meisner, and Philip Burton, and Paul Mann, and Lloyd Richardson. You name it, you name it, you name it, until finally, my instructor at the time was Sanford Meisner, who was the most important acting teacher. And, of course, at that time, everybody was talking about Stanislavski [Konstantin Stanislavski] and the message and, and Lee Strasberg, and all that stuff. And Sandy Knox [ph.] said, "You know, Barbara [HistoryMaker Barbara Ann Teer], you don't need to study anymore, you need to work--"$And it was so powerful 'cause I--first thing I choreographed and designed a piece, which now Ntozake [HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange] calls it choreopoems. But those days, I took a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, which was eight lines, called 'We Real Cool,' and I developed it into a whole evening. Well, Joe Pappa [Joseph Papp] was a big deal at the time. He's now dead too, Public Theater [New York, New York]--he saw it, and he loved it, and he wanted me to come and do something for him. And I said no. But he put 'We Real Cool' on the mobile unit that toured all the boroughs of New York [New York]. So, all my little kids who were 14, 13, so got to get a taste of show business. That was the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company. So, when Douglas Turner [HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward] wrote an article ['American Theater: For Whites Only?' Douglas Turner Ward] for The New York Times about black people in theatre--he called it Negroes--he got a lot of opportunities to get grants. But we were in the Village [Greenwich Village, New York, New York] at St. Mark's theatre [St. Mark's Playhouse, New York, New York], and we were doing Imamu's [Amiri Baraka] plays. And I was just acting all over the place. So, what happened was when they got that first big grant from the Ford Foundation [New York, New York], they changed up on me. It was called the Negro Ensemble Company, and I--that was just offensive to me. It's black, like we're going to call it Negro, you know. It was in the Village. I thought it should be in the black community--like that. And they were picking plays that didn't have anything to do with the culture that I knew. So, I left them--my friends, I left them. I'm always leaving people. I left them and I came to Harlem [New York, New York]. With the reputation of wanting to start an authentic black theatre company, not one in the Village, but one in Harlem.