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Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence

Professor and psychiatrist Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence was born on June 27, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and went on to receive his B.A. degree in pre-medicine in 1959 from Indiana University-Bloomington, and his M.D. degree in 1962 from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Lawrence interned at E. J. Meyer Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, from 1962 to 1963 and then served two years as a general medical officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1965. He returned to Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship in child psychiatry and his chief residency in general psychiatry in 1969 at Indiana University School of Medicine. He was board certified in psychiatry in 1970 and child psychiatry in 1971. Lawrence was then assigned to the Child Guidance Clinic at Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas from 1969 to 1972. He then joined the faculty of the Medical School of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) as assistant professor in 1972 and served as associate dean for student affairs (Dean of Students) in the Medical School in 1981, serving in that role until his retirement in 2005. Lawrence retired as tenured professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Family and Community Medicine in 2005. The University of Texas Board of Regents bestowed upon him the title professor emeritus in 2005, and Lawrence returned to the department of psychiatry on a half-time basis to construct the faculty development process for the department.

Lawrence served as a member of numerous organizations including as the 92nd President of the National Medical Association (NMA) from 1993 to 1994. He also served as past chairperson of the Group on Student Affairs (GSA) Minority Affairs Section of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). He was awarded the AAMC Minority Affairs distinguished Service Award for his leadership and work on behalf of underrepresented minority students throughout the U.S. in 2004. He also served on the Council of Children, Adolescents and their Families of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) of which he is a Distinguished Life Fellow. He is also a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), he served as past membership chairperson. He received the 2005 AACAP Jeanne Spurlock Lectureship Award for his contributions nationally and internationally to the understanding of the role of race and culture in children’s mental health.

Lawrence served on the Executive Committee of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County and chaired the Board of Trustees. He also chaired the Management Board of San Antonio Fighting Back, a major substance abuse intervention project funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Lawrence and his wife, Dr. Barbara Lawrence, have three children; Courtney Nicole Lawrence, MD, Leonard Michael Lawrence, MD, and David Wellington Lawrence, MPA. They also have five grandchildren.

Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 6, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.119

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/6/2018

Last Name

Lawrence

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Leonard

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

LAW06

Favorite Season

My Birthday

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lisbon, Portugal

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/27/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Professor and psychiatrist Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence (1937- ) was named professor emeritus University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Medical School in 2005 and previously served as associate dean for Student Affairs in the Medical School in 1981, and a tenured professor.

Favorite Color

Blue

Vera Ricketts

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts was born on October 20, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Sarah Chilton Phelps and Robert Phelps, Sr. There, Ricketts attended Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37 and Crispus Attucks High School where she graduated in 1941. She later went on to attend Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and graduated with her B.S. degree in pharmacology in 1948. As an undergraduate student, she was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Ricketts began her career as a pharmacist at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1958, Ricketts became the first female African American pharmacist at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. During this period, she also helped establish the pharmacy at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, where she trained nurse practitioners in pharmacology. Ricketts eventually returned with her husband, William Newton Ricketts, to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the District of Columbia General Hospital pharmacy. In 1960, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, California, where she worked as an administrator at his medical practice. An active community leader, Ricketts advocated for the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhood. Ricketts went on to serve as the president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association from 1981 to 1982.

In addition to her professional career, Ricketts was also active in other community organizations in the Los Angeles area. In 1979, Ricketts founded the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and she served as its chapter president from 1983 to 1985. Ricketts also founded the Theta Mu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Through her membership in the sorority, she volunteered on the board of the Jenesse Center, Inc., a shelter for battered women and children in Los Angeles. In 2017, Ricketts and her husband, William Newton Ricketts, received recognition for their thirty plus years of humanitarian work in Jamaica.

Ricketts and her husband have four daughters: Verlie Ricketts Lockings, Renee Ricketts, Victoria Ricketts Wilson and Wendy Ricketts Greene.

Vera Ricketts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

07/23/2017

Last Name

Ricketts

Maker Category
Schools

Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

RIC21

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Give something back to the community.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/20/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oats, Raisins and Dates

Short Description

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts (1922 - ) worked at Howard University Hospital and Duke University Hospital. She also served as president of the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and was a founding member of the graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Employment

Howard University Hospital; Freedmen's Hospital

Duke University Hospital

D.C. General Hospital

Favorite Color

Yellow

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vera Ricketts' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her parents' move from Clarksville, Tennessee to Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts recalls her early interest in science

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts remembers attending Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts talks about her early racial experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers the everyday amenities of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts recalls attending the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Vera Ricketts remembers her challenges at the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts remembers graduating from Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her responsibilities as a pharmacist

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts recalls being rejected for a job in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers meeting her husband, William Newton Ricketts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts recalls working at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts talks about the birth of her daughters

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts recalls her coworkers' support at Duke University Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers returning to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts remembers segregation in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts recalls her work at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes the process for manufacturing saline solutions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her administration work at her husband's medical practice

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts remembers advocating for the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts talks about her organizational involvement in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers the founding of the Los Angeles chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers co-chartering the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts talks about her public service activities

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts describes the role of friendship in The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts narrates her photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her role as president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her daughter's careers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts talks about her grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts shares her advice to aspiring pharmacists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts talks about her marriage to William Newton Ricketts

Larry Ridley

Jazz musician and music professor Larry Ridley was born on September 3, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Lawrence and Nevolena Ridley. He was taught to play the violin at the age of five, but later became interested in jazz music and learned to play the bass. Ridley graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He went on to attend Indiana University in 1955, but completed his B.S. degree at New York University in 1971. He earned his M.A. degree in cultural policy from the State University of New York Empire State College in 1993, and his Ph.D. degree in performing arts from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 2005.

After attending the Lenox School of Jazz summer program in 1959, Ridley moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional jazz musician. In the 1960s, Ridley was active in the New York jazz music scene, playing on tours and in studio recordings with a wide range of notable jazz musicians, including Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Lee Morgan, and Jackie McLean. In 1971, he was hired as a professor of music at Rutgers University’s Livingston College, where he developed the college’s jazz education program, creating both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in jazz performance. From 1970 to 1973, he toured the world as the bassist for Thelonious Monk. Ridley released his own album, Sum of Parts, in 1975. From 1981 to 1985, he played as part of the tribute band Dameronia, in honor of the composer Tad Dameron. In 1985, Ridley formed his own group, the Jazz Legacy Ensemble, releasing two albums Live at Rutgers University and Other Voice. Ridley retired from Rutgers in 1999, but continued to teach at the Manhattan School of Music and Swing University at Jazz at the Lincoln Center. He chaired the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Panel. He also served as the coordinator of the Jazz Artists in Schools program, executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus and northeast regional coordinator for the International Association for Jazz Educators.

Ridley received numerous awards and accolades for his work in jazz music and education. He was inducted into the International Association for Jazz Educators Hall of Fame, the Downbeat Magazine Jazz Education Hall of Fame, and the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame. He was honored by a Juneteenth 2006 Proclamation Award from the New York City Council, and was the recipient of the Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Jazz Legacy Award, the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation’s Living Legacy Jazz Award, and the Benny Golson Jazz Award from Howard University.

Larry Ridley was interviewed by The Historymakers on November 30, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.141

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/30/2016

Last Name

Ridley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

George Washington Carver School 87

Shortridge High School

Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University

New York University

State University of New York / Empire State College

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

William D. McCoy Public School 24

First Name

Dr. Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

RID01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/3/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Jazz musician and music professor Larry Ridley (1937 - ) taught at Rutgers University from 1971 to 1999, and played with jazz legends such as Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk.

Employment

The Montgomery-Johnson Quintet

The Jazz Contemporaries

Slide Hampton's Octet

Horace Silver Quintet

Rutgers University

Jazz Legacy Ensemble

African American Jazz Caucus, Inc.

Duke Ellington Orchestra

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Ridley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley describes his family's residence at Lockefield Gardens in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley recalls his maternal family's involvement with Madame C.J. Walker

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley describes his early friends

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley recalls his initial interest in learning an instrument

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers his first violin

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley recalls his early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley recalls playing music with James Spaulding and Virgil Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley remembers his early interest in jazz

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley talks about his father's ice business

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley remember Ray Brown

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley remembers The Montgomery Brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley recalls his encounters with racism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley recalls his encounters with racism, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes his experiences at Shortridge School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley remembers forming a jazz band in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls his early jazz influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his initial experiences at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley remembers his bass teacher at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley recalls attending a summer course at the Lenox School of Jazz

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley remembers playing with Max Roach in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley describes the roles of each instrument in a jazz band

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of the bass line in a jazz composition

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers his experiences at the Lenox School of Jazz in Lenox, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley talks about the art of performing with a jazz band

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with Max Roach

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley reflects upon the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls his limited performances in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley remembers the artists with whom he collaborated

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley describes his duo performances in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley talks about managing his professional engagements

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of being flexible as a jazz artist

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers completing his bachelor's degree at New York University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with Thelonious Monk

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes Thelonious Monk's musical style

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley talks about the differences between bandleaders' styles

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls heading the jazz program at Livingston College in Piscataway, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley talks about his role on the jazz panel for the National Endowment for the Arts

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley talks about the Jazz Artists in Schools program

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley recalls earning his master's degree and training music teachers

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley remembers Wynton Marsalis' family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his professional and educational engagements in the 2000s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of music education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley recalls the designation of jazz as a national treasure by the U.S. Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley reflects upon the lack of government support for jazz programs

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley reflects upon his life and the future of jazz education

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley shares his advice to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Larry Ridley talks about the prevalence of jazz music

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Larry Ridley describes the roles of each instrument in a jazz band
Larry Ridley describes Thelonious Monk's musical style
Transcript
And so when it comes to playing with these great drummers and other musicians in the jazz world, because much of it is improvisational--this kind of melding of talent--$$Yes.$$--which is very different from, say, the classical music that you learned in school. Can you talk about your process when you're working with different artists and creating music together?$$Well, apart from the blues, which anybody that's learning how to play knows, learns how to play the blues and you learn the twelve bar blues form. But the different compositions that are a part of what musicians use, you know. Like a song like 'Fine and Dandy,' (sings musical notes) or 'Cherokee,' (sings musical notes), you know, all of these song compositions have chord changes that are a part of it. So you know, whoever's playing the piano or the guitar in terms of chordal instruments, they're playing that. And every individual in the group has their particular role. The bass player is like the link between the harmonic instruments and the drums. So, that's what forms the rhythm section. And occasionally, there'll be a guitarist that might be a part of it, too, and that becomes the rhythm section. And we're accompanying the horn players that are on the front line, you know. And they will have songs that they're playing and there're chord sequence to all of the tunes, and you learn what the chord sequences are. And my role as the bass player is to improvise the bass line that becomes the link between the piano and the guitar as the chordal instruments, and the drums. So the bass is like in the center of making that link, which is very important. And it's important to know how to get a groove. Like Duke Ellington wrote that song, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing" ['It Don't Mean A Thing'] (laughter).$You also describe one of the things that you appreciated about Thelonious [Thelonious Monk], that he was the master of understatement.$$Yes.$$Can you describe that?$$Whereas a lot of musicians--and speaking of him as a pianist--and it applies to certain other instruments, too--the idea of understatement, and his use of dissonance. And he would achieve dissonance--like when you look at a piano keyboard, you got the white keys and you got the black keys. Well, you know, like when you play like a white key and a black key at the same time, that's called a minor second intervallically, in terms of musical language, and it gives a certain kind of sound of dissonance. He could incorporate that type of thing into his playing, and it gave him his unique approach to soloing. And he would always--the way he would construct--he had his own way of rhythmic patterns in terms of the lyricism. And if you listen to some of his songs, you know, he had like one song, (sings musical notes) and so forth. That's one of his tunes, you know. But just an interesting use of rhythm and using minor seconds. Like I say, like if you got a white key and a black key right next to it, and you hit both of them simultaneously, that gives you the sound of a minor second. It's a more strident tone, and it becomes more constant the wider you go with the intervals, the intervallic relationship of one note to the next. And he had a way of utilizing that to create a very singular approach to his soloing and his use of rhythm. He would say, (sings musical notes). And it was just very flexible in terms of how he could move the rhythms around, you know. And that was a signature part of his trademark as a pianist. He wasn't trying to play more lyrically or melodically, in the sense of like Red Garland or Oscar Peterson or anybody--Bud Powell, or anything. He loved Bud Powell, though, because Bud would do some things where he would use minor seconds on the piano, too. But Bud was--in fact, he wrote a song called 'In Walked Bud.'

Winifred Neisser

Television executive Winifred White Neisser received her B.A. degree with honors from Harvard University’s Radcliffe College in 1974. She received her M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Lesley College. Neisser also completed further graduate work in Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Upon graduation, Neisser was hired at NBC where she headed several major divisions. While there, she served as Vice President of Family Programming, Director of Movies for Television and Vice President of Television Movies, NBC Productions. As vice president of family programming at NBC, Neisser oversaw special programming for children and families, including the award-winning miniseries titled, “Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.” Neisser then joined Sony Pictures Television where she served as Senior Vice President of Movies for Television and Miniseries.

Neisser has served on the board of directors for several academic and non-profit institutes. At Harvard University, Neisser was appointed to the Harvard Board of Overseers as well as the Radcliffe Institute’s Advisory Board. She served as Trustee on the board of the Otis College of Design and The Center for Early Education. Neisser was a member of the Television Academy’s Board of Governors for several years. She also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood and the National Guild of Community Arts Schools.

Neisser’s award-winning projects include “A Raisin in the Sun” for ABC, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards and won the Humanitas Award; “Broken Trail,” a western for AMC, which won four Emmy Awards including “Best Miniseries”; “The Company,” a miniseries about the CIA which won the DGA Award and the WGA Award; “Having Our Stay: The Delaney Sisters First 100 Years,” which won a Christopher Award and a Peabody Award; “The Crossing” for the Arts and Entertainment Channel (A & E), which won the Peabody award; “The Beach Boys: An American Family,” which was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Best Miniseries; and “Call me Claus,” a Christmas movie which starred Whoopi Goldberg and featured music by Garth Brooks.

Neisser is married to Ken Neisser. They live in Los Angeles and have two children, Nick and Alexis.

Winifred White Neisser was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.299

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/17/2013

Last Name

Neisser

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

White

Schools

Radcliffe College

Homestead High School

Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary

Lesley University

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Winifred

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

NEI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Use Common Sense

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/23/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Television executive Winifred Neisser (1953 - ) served as Vice President of Movies and Miniseries and Vice President of Family Programming for NBC Productions, and went on to become Senior Vice President of Movies for Television and Miniseries for Sony Pictures Television.

Employment

Sony Pictures Television (Columbia Tri-Star Television)

NBC

WMTV

Caribbean School

Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Winifred Neisser's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her maternal grandfather's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her maternal grandparents' move to Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser talks about her maternal family's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser recalls her parents' decision to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes her mother's community involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser remembers Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin].

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her experiences at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her academic and extracurricular involvement in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes her early exposure to black media

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about her early experiences of religion, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser talks about her early experiences of religion, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser remembers her college applications

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser recalls her start at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls her start at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her experiences at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes her extracurricular activities at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser remembers hearing Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and Alice Walker speak at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about the black student movement at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser remembers the influential figures at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser recalls her graduation from Radcliffe College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser remembers teaching at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser remembers teaching at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Puerto Rico, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Puerto Rico, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser talks about her transition to the broadcast industry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser recalls her work at WMTV-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser recalls her work at WMTV-TV in Madison, Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser recalls working with Phyllis Tucker Vinson Jackson

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her work as NBC's vice president of family programming

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser talks about her collaboration with Jim Henson

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls her transition to the television movie division of NBC

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her role in the Danielle Steel movie franchise

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser describes the changes in the television industry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser talks about the regulations on broadcast networks

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser remembers joining Columbia TriStar Pictures

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes her career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her career at Sony Pictures Entertainment, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser remembers producing 'Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser recalls producing 'Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser remembers producing 'Broken Trail'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser talks about the importance of stories that resist racial stereotypes

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser describes her current projects

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Winifred Neisser talks about Amy Biehl, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser talks about Amy Biehl, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Winifred Neisser describes what she may do in the future

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Winifred Neisser talks about African Americans in broadcast media

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Winifred Neisser describes a story that she likes

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Winifred Neisser describes her advice to aspiring broadcasters

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Winifred Neisser reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Winifred Neisser reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Winifred Neisser describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Winifred Neisser talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Winifred Neisser talks about balancing life and work

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Winifred Neisser describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Winifred Neisser narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Winifred Neisser recalls moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, pt. 2
Winifred Neisser remembers joining Columbia TriStar Pictures
Transcript
Yeah, so here we were, so we were moving into foreign territory. Now, you know, I was twelve years old and I didn't wanna move anyway 'cause all my friends were back in Milwaukee [Wisconsin]; I had gone to the same school from kindergarten through eighth grade; most of my friends in school were going off the Rufus King [Rufus King High School; Rufus King International High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin], so I was like, if they can do it why can't I? And my parents [Winifred Parker White and Walter White, Sr.] said well, you're not old enough. You're not old enough to understand why we--why we're making this move, and we promise that we will bring you back to visit your friends in Milwaukee. Now the drive from Milwaukee to Mequon [Wisconsin] is about fifteen minutes, but to me it was like moving to the moon because it was so different. And, and, and I didn't wanna do it, and I didn't even know what my parents were going through because they really kept it--kept it very quiet from, from us. The, the first real inkling that I got that we were moving into hostile territory was when we actually moved into the house, and my mother said to us, "Don't answer the phone," (laughter). And (unclear), "What are you talking about don't answer the phone?" She said, "I'm--until I tell you differently, do not answer the telephone." So--and it was because they were getting all kinds of threatening phone calls from people. So we moved in the middle of the school year--or not in the middle but towards the end of the school year. We mu--we must have moved in March or April, and my mother drove us into Milwaukee everyday so we could continue--so we could finish our school years at Philipps School [Emanuel L. Philipp Elementary School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin]. And, and, and the only reason I bring this up is because, even though there were the neighbors who were hostile and, and nasty, one day towards the end of the school year my mother locked her car keys inside the house just as she was supposed to come and pick us up. And so she, she didn't know what to do in the days before cell phones and all of that. So she went--she went to our next door neighbor, who was actually a Jewish doctor, who was actually very nice, Dr. Finkelstein [ph.]. He wasn't home. So then she went to the next house, and she knocked on the door. And this is a woman she actually didn't know very well, and her name was Mrs. Kenop [ph.]. And she explained her situation to Mrs. Kenop, and Mrs. Kenop said--she--and my--and my mother said, if you could just call my husband and tell him that he needs to go pick up the children, or if you would let me come in and I would, you know, call him. I just need somebody to know that I can't get there. And Mrs. Kenop said, "Take my car," and gave my mother the keys to her car. So I re- I have--I just have this very vivid memory of standing there waiting for my mother and my mother driving up and going, "Where did you get this car?" It wasn't a particularly nice car, but it was--it was not her car. And that was--and that was one of the first signs to the family that things were gonna be okay, that there were--there were really decent people in the neighborhood who were, you know, willing to help us out. And, and, and things did sort of start to turn around a little bit after that.$Your career at NBC basically ends in '95 [1995], is that--?$$ Yeah, basically NBC Productions went through a major restructuring. The people that had hired me and put me in that position were replaced, and they didn't fire me. They actually said, "What would you like to," you know, "would you like to stay on or would you like to leave?" But I realized I was kind of out of sync with this new group that was there, and at this point I had two kids. I had--let's see; this was, like, the end of '94 [1994], so Nick [Nicholas Neisser] was two and Alexis [Alexis Neisser] was four. And I thought: I don't mind taking a little time off here and regrouping and trying to figure out what I wanna do next. So I said--so I came to the end of my time there, and I was really planning on taking time off. And went to a cocktail party for a friend of mine who was an agent, and--I, I can't remember if she was being promoted or something. And I ran into a woman who worked at what was then Columbia TriStar [Columbia TriStar Television] and who had been my--who had sold movies to me. The--basically, when you were at the network, there were certain producers--you were assigned certain producers and they would always bring their projects to you. And this woman and I had worked on a few projects together, and I ran into her at this cocktail party--Helen Verno. And she said, "What are you up to?" Because since I'd been at NBC Productions I hadn't been dealing with, with her anymore because we were now competitors. And I said, "Oh, I'm just leaving NBC Productions," and she said, "Oh, my god, my development person is just leaving. Would you think of--would you consider coming to work for me?" So I was--my leave of absence was I think three weeks before I was back (laughter) working again. And I went to work at what was then Columbia. This was before Sony [Sony Pictures Entertainment] bought the studio.$$Okay, okay, all right, so, so at Columbia, which, which becomes Sony later on--$$ Right.$$Yeah--$$ Now I will say that part of way that I did--part of the reason I took the job was because she said to me--you know, she said, "I don't think I can pay you what NBC was paying you." And I said, "Well, look, I was really planning on taking time off, so if you tell me I can go home every night at six o'clock and, and that you're not going to ask questions if I take off to go on a fieldtrip at my kids' school, and give me, you know, a certain amount of flexibility, then I don't mind working for less money." It wasn't that much less, but it was still less. And she said, "Fine," and so that was--that was my compromise of going back to work.$$Okay, that was a good move for--$$ It was. It, it actually was--it was a great move. And it turned--and you know, and it was just lucky that the studio was ten minutes from my house, so (laughter). Whereas NBC had been like a forty-five minute commute.

Eunice Trotter

Newspaper owner and nonprofit chief executive Eunice Trotter received her A.S. degree in journalism from Indiana University-Southeast in 1976 and her B.S. degree in journalism in 1981. Trotter returned to school at Webster International University and graduated from there in 2002 with her M.B.A. degree.

Trotter was the first African American woman to serve as an editor for the Indianapolis Star, the largest daily paper in the State of Indiana. She purchased the Indianapolis Recorder in 1987 and served as editor-in-chief and publisher until 1991. Trotter also worked as a reporter for the Stockton Record and the New York Post. She has held several other editorial positions, including zones editor for Florida Today, associate editor at The News-Sentinel, and courts editor with The Palm Beach Post. In 2005, Trotter founded Mary Bateman Clark Enterprises, where she has worked to incorporate the history of African Americans in Indiana into mainstream U.S. history. She became a communications specialist for American Senior Communities in 2011.

Trotter served on the Board of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. In addition to numerous other awards, she was recognized for her professional accomplishments by the Indianapolis, Indiana Chapter of the Young Women’s Christian Association with their Salute to Women of Achievement Award.

Trotter is working on publishing a book, Mary Bateman Clark: A Woman of Color and Courage.

Eunice Trotter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/7/2013

Last Name

Trotter

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Indiana University Southeast

Martin University

Webster University

Arsenal Technical High School

John Hope School 26

Shortridge High School

William A. Bell School 60

Paul C. Stetson School 76

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Eunice

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

TRO01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Have A Hammer, Use A Shoe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

6/15/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Indianapolis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Newspaper editor Eunice Trotter (1953 - ) was the first African American woman to own the Indiana Recorder and the first African American woman to serve as an editor at the Indianapolis Star.

Employment

Mary Bateman Clark Enterprises

Indianapolis Reader

Stockton Record

Florida Today

New York Post

News Sentinel

Indianapolis Star

Palm Beach Post

American Senior Communicates

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eunice Trotter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter talks about her mother's experiences in Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter talks about Mary Bateman Clark's lawsuit against indentured servitude, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter talks about Mary Bateman Clark's lawsuit against indentured servitude, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter talks about the Harrison family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon the legacy of Mary Bateman Clark

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter talks about her father's black separatist views

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter describes her community in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter talks about the history of Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter talks about the impact of racism on memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter talks about her father's alcoholism and her work to support the family

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eunice Trotter describes the black community in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Eunice Trotter talks about her early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter talks about her religious affiliation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter remembers John Hope School 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter talks about her father's knowledge of Mary Bethune Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter talks about her biggest influences at John Hope School 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter remembers her childhood asthma

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter talks about her family's involvement in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter remembers household entertainment

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter describes her schooling

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter recalls the challenges of moving to a new school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Eunice Trotter remembers the Klu Klux Klan and the Black Panthers recruitment at her high school

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Eunice Trotter remembers her teachers at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Eunice Trotter remembers her mother's work in domestic service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter remembers her Teen Talk gossip column

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter talks about her decision to become a writer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter recalls running for the high school track team

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter remembers singing with the Soulettes

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter recalls meeting her first husband

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter talks about The Invaders youth organization

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter remembers Robert F. Kennedy's speech after the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter recalls her graduation from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter remembers securing a reporting positon at the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eunice Trotter talks about her interest in covering crime

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter remembers her work as a crime reporter for the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter remembers her start at the Indianapolis Star

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter talks about her experience working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter remembers Reginald Bishop

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter remembers the early meetings of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter remembers Martin Center College in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter describes how she became the owner of the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon her decision to return to the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter talks about her tenure as the owner of the Indianapolis Recorder, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter talks about her tenure as the owner of the Indianapolis Recorder, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter recalls her decision to sell the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter describes her philosophy of journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter talks about her freelance journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter remembers the O.J. Simpson verdict

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter talks about her articles in the New York Post

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter remembers joining the staff of Florida Today

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter talks about the community of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter recalls covering the Burmese population in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter remembers becoming the editor of the Indianapolis Star

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon the state of journalism, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon the state of journalism, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter talks about her favorite newspapers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter talks about the need for a multicultural news portal

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter talks about the consolidation of journalism

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter describes her oral history project, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Eunice Trotter describes her oral history project, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eunice Trotter talks about the Mary Bateman Clark Project

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eunice Trotter talks about the founding of the Indianapolis Recorder

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eunice Trotter reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eunice Trotter describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eunice Trotter talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eunice Trotter talks about her amateur bowling career

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eunice Trotter describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Eunice Trotter narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$8

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Eunice Trotter describes how she became the owner of the Indianapolis Recorder
Eunice Trotter talks about the Mary Bateman Clark Project
Transcript
I'm not trying to go too fast here, but, but in 1987 you become the owner, editor, and publisher of the Recorder [Indianapolis Recorder]--$$Yes.$$--is that? So, how, how did that come about, and what were--how were you getting along at the Star [Indianapolis Star], and did that have anything to do with it or was it just an opportunity or what?$$Well, in 1986, I had--well, actually in '85 [1985], I'd started a syndicate. My belief was that, media wanted content of interest to African Americans, but did not have the staffing to provide it. That was my belief. And I began to recruit writers around the country to be content providers, and I began marketing this work to newspapers, mainstream newspapers. Now, the work included cartoon strips, columns; that kind of work, some games, puzzles, that were Afrocentric, and I marketed this, but I found that the papers that we were subscribing to were not the mainstream papers. They was the black weeklies that wanted it and subscribed to it. So I had picked up quite a few subscriptions from weeklies. And we operated much like any syndicate, King Syndicate [King Features Syndicate, Inc.]. In fact, there was a syndicate that had a name real similar to ours, but had far more resources than we had. Ours was called Syndicated Writers and Artists [Syndicated Writers and Artists, Inc.]. And the big one was Syndicated Artists and Writers [ph.]. (Laughter). So. We provided the content. A lot of newspapers couldn't pay us on time, so we grew our company by including collections persons to help us get the money that the newspapers owed us. And the business grew, and I had to make a choice here. Do I continue working for the Star or do I, you know, strike out on my own. And so I did, I struck out on my own, and I found that once I left full time employment, more opportunities opened up for me, but it wasn't related to the syndicate. There were these opportunities were companies wanting PR [public relations] service; you know, "Can you do news releases?" So I formed a PR component of the business, and it--soon really, it became the overwhelming part of the business that kept us going. So we had clients like, Indiana Black Expo. We did the publicity, the PR for the Indiana Black Expo, Madam Walker [Madam C.J. Walker], Wilma Rudolph, she was a client, and on. I won't try to name everybody that worked with us. We started in my house, and we moved into an office building, and we moved into a bigger office space. And then I got a call from the Recorder. George Thompson [George J. Thompson] was the manager. By then, Mr. Stewart [Marcus Stewart, Sr.] had died, and he wanted to know if I would come and help him manage the newsroom, because they were having issues there. So we worked out an arrangement where I would set my business down inside of the Recorder. So part of the physical facility of the Recorder was devoted to my own business. And they gave us office space for that. So I had staffing for that, and then I set out to help manage the Recorder. And soon the Recorder became the dominant presence in my life, and I ended up closing the PR services syndicate down, and then interest was offered to me to continue there at the Recorder. And that's how I ended up at the Recorder.$So, let me go back again to the, your ancestor, Mary Bateman Clark. Now, you have something called the Mary Bateman Clark Enterprises [sic.]?$$Project.$$Project?$$Um-hm.$$Okay, project. It's not enterprises?$$It's Mary Bateman Clark Project.$$Okay. And when did you start the Mary Bateman Clark Project?$$Well, that started--let me think here. Because we started informally, you know. The project, actually, was a research project, and that's the reason it was called a project. And it had became a project to get a marker placed in Vincennes, Indiana, honoring Mary Bateman Clark. And it started in 2003, '4 [2004]. We've been at it for about ten years. And when I say we, I mean myself and my sister [Ethel Brewer McCane] and people who have been supporting us to get this done. So the research first, and then after the research, the marker, which we now have placed--we are continuing the project with the documentary ['Mary Bateman Clark: A Woman of Colour and Courage']. We want to get a headstone placed in the cemetery where she's buried, and we want to get this book published as part of the project.$$Okay. Okay. This started in 2003 and there's still some goals that haven't been met?$$Yes.$$Now, how did you--you might have told me in an early part. I don't think--I don't remember it though. How did you decide to pick this story up in the first place, 'cause, and you were telling me before as it relates to what your ancestors did, but I didn't--I don't think asked you about how you, you know, decided to focus on this.$$Well, actually, it started as a genealogy project. I, you know, wanted to know more about my father's [Charles Brewer, Jr.] side of the family, because, like I said, he left Vincennes and he never went back. And he told us some things about it, but I knew that his father [Charles Brewer, Sr.] was born there, I knew his father's father was born there, and I thought, okay, this would be a great line to trace, so. It started as a genealogy project. And I guess I could have focused on a lot of different ancestors from that line, because each one--not each one, but many, I should say, have made some contributions to Indiana. And so, actually--initially, I started with Sam Clark [Trotter's paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Samuel Clark], her husband, 'cause he is the patriarch. And he's the one who was at the Battle of Tippecanoe. I found secondary support for that; newspaper clips when he died, which was in eighteen sixty something, saying that he was in the Battle of Tippecanoe with [President] William Henry Harrison. And he was a hostler, horse handler for William Henry Harrison. And so that's where I really wanted to go. But then, as I found out about his wife, and then as I went to the Recorder, which happened prior to 2003, so actually, the research story, long time ago before then. There was this trunk at the Recorder, and in this trunk, and I told you that at the Recorder is stacks of paper everywhere, junk and clutter; well, there was a big shed in the back of this building with a trunk in there, and inside that trunk was just such a treasure trove of stuff. And one of the things there was the history of the A.M.E. church [African Methodist Episcopal] of Vincennes, Indiana; the history of Bethel A.M.E. Church of Vincennes, Indiana. And this history was written by the founder of the Indianapolis Recorder before he founded the Recorder. So the Recorder was founded in 1895. The history was written prior to 1895, and it was, I think, 1891, something like that, it was written. And it was a history of Bethel A.M.E. Church that read--that include every pastor, every board trustees, all the information about when Paul Quinn [William Paul Quinn] came to visit. This whole wonderful history about that church. And in that same history book were bios of the founders, and the very first one was about Sam and Mary Clark. And so when I saw that, I thought, oh, boy. This is really coming together for me. So I began to continue on that trail, and it just really took me all through Vincennes and through--I can't count what library clippings, you know, files. If--I'm going to give you one of those videos to take and you can just--you can gleam whatever you want from that. But I just, yeah. I just--It just opened the door to a lot of information about both of them. So I really--I could have gone Mary Clark, I could have gone Sam; but Mary's court case [Mary Clark, a woman of color v. G.W. Johnston] is what made--which is what made me really glom on to her, because this--and that's not in history books. There was nothing online. There's nothing in libraries that I saw about her, you know, and this case. This was an important case, and why wasn't there some information about that. That was my question. It was the why. It was a journalistic question, you know. Why isn't this story out there somewhere. Why have we been taught that Indiana was a free state when it wasn't, you know. And why is that lie continuing to be perpetuated even today, you know, in history books. So that's why I started with that. I wanted to, to correct that history, 'cause it's--we've been, we've been told a big lie.

Norma Pratt

Entrepreneur Norma Russell Pratt was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on January 17, 1945 to Mildred Newberry and Fred L. Russell. Pratt's family moved to Philadelphia where she attended West Philadelphia High School, graduating from there in 1962. Pratt then attended Cheyney University, where she graduated with her B.A. in education in 1966. After working as a school teacher, Pratt became a travel agent for Rodgers Travel, Inc., a company that was co-owned by her father. With her father's passing in 1980, Pratt was named President and CEO of Rodgers Travel. In the 1990s, Pratt enrolled her company, which she incorporated years earlier, into the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) business development program. With infrastructure assistance from the federal program, Pratt was able to secure a $10 million yearly contract with Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois in 1991, Rodgers' first federal government contract.

Through the SBA 8(a) program, Rodgers won a variety of federal government and municipal contracts from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services, the Department of Defense, as well as several military bases across the country and Lajes Field in Portugal. Under Pratt's leadership, Rodgers Travel, Inc., which has been in business for sixty years, became a multi-million dollar business.

Pratt has been recognized for her leadership of Rodgers Travel, having garnered the Eastern Pennsylvania Minority Small Business Person of the Year award and recognition from publications such as the Philadelphia Daily News, USA Today and Black Enterprise. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Link, Inc. Pratt lives in the suburban Philadelphia area and has two adult children.

Norma Pratt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 21, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.132

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/21/2012

Last Name

Pratt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

R.

Schools

West Philadelphia High School

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Henry C. Lea Elementary School

Andrew Hamilton School

William L. Sayre High School

First Name

Norma

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

PRA02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/17/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Transportation chief executive Norma Pratt (1945 - ) was the president and CEO of Rodgers Travel, Inc., the oldest African American travel agency in the nation.

Employment

Rodgers Travel, Inc.

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Norma Pratt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt talks about the lynching of her maternal great uncle in Hawkinsville, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt describes her maternal family's relocation to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Norma Pratt talks about her mother's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Norma Pratt describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Norma Pratt remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Norma Pratt talks about her family's legacy with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Norma Pratt recalls her paternal grandmother's family history

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Norma Pratt describes her father's educational aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt recalls how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt talks about her early household

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt remembers her family's relocation to the Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Norma Pratt describes her neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Norma Pratt recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Norma Pratt describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Norma Pratt shares a story about her father's work at North Philadelphia Station

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Norma Pratt talks about her father's position with Rodgers Travel, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Norma Pratt describes the history of Rodgers Travel, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Norma Pratt talks about the discrimination against African American travelers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Norma Pratt remembers the decline of the black travel industry

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt talks about her father's legacy at Rodgers Travel, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt recalls attending Henry C. Lea Elementary School and Andrew Hamilton Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt remembers her father's guidance in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt recalls her experiences at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Norma Pratt remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Norma Pratt describes her family's emphasis on college education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Norma Pratt recalls attending Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Norma Pratt remembers her parents' views on the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Norma Pratt remembers her father's travel arrangements for Leon Sullivan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Norma Pratt recalls her experience at Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt remembers meeting her first husband, Kenneth Hamilton

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt talks about her teaching positions in the School District of Philadelphia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt remembers training at Rodgers Travel, Inc.'s office in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt recalls joining the Society of Travel Agents in Government

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Norma Pratt describes her second husband's background

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Norma Pratt remembers meeting her second husband, Gregory Pratt

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Norma Pratt recalls her decision to manage Rodgers Travel, Inc. remotely from California

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Norma Pratt remembers her first government contract

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Norma Pratt describes Rodgers Travel, Inc.'s government contracts

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Norma Pratt talks about Rodgers Travel, Inc.'s leisure business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Norma Pratt describes the necessity of travel agencies in the 21st century

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt describes the responsibilities of travel agencies with government contracts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt talks about the challenges of modern day travel

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt talks about the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the travel industry

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt describes the clientele at Rodgers Travel, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Norma Pratt talks about the state of small business travel agencies

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Norma Pratt describes Rodgers Travel's international business

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Norma Pratt talks about the airline industry

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Norma Pratt talks about the future of leisure travel

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Norma Pratt describes her friend, Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Norma Pratt reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Norma Pratt describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Norma Pratt reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Norma Pratt talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Norma Pratt describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Norma Pratt narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
Norma Pratt remembers her first government contract
Norma Pratt recalls her decision to manage Rodgers Travel, Inc. remotely from California
Transcript
But at that point, that's when I wrote my first proposal for government. Scott Air Force Base [Illinois], and I believe it was--it was in 1991 and I believe that was when Adam--oh my god, what was the general's name that--$$Colin Powell [HistoryMaker General Colin L. Powell].$$Colin Powell I think might have been in charge around that time. And the [U.S.] Air Force wanted to--wanted to use small businesses. Women owned, minority owned, and they--and they were one of the first branches of government that was trying to give women and minorities, and small business, in general, a chance. So Scott Air Force Base was a $10 million a year account. And I wrote the proposal. My husband helped me write the proposal too, and we sat down there and wrote our first government proposal, keeping in mind that I had been going o- going to these meetings [of the Society of Travel Agents in Government; Society of Government Travel Professionals] in Washington D.C. I'd probably had been to ten of those meetings just meeting people, just trying to understand the acronyms and things. You know, 'cause government has all that stuff that I didn't really understand. And I got to meet people and know people and--and understand the nature of that business and I wrote the--I wrote the proposal when it came out for bid. They went out to bid for small business. So I was the first African--I was the first minority woman business [Rodgers Travel, Inc.] to win a government account, and that was in 1991, I believe, maybe--maybe 1992, during that period. I won that. It was a--it was a wonderful time, but you--as I said, it wasn't a credit card account, they didn't have that then. So I had to have seven hundred thousand dollars a month in order to sponsor that. Well, Greg [Pratt's second husband, Gregory Pratt] didn't ha- Greg didn't have that much. You know, he came ov- he ga- gave me about four hundred thousand. So I was about three hundred thousand short and after I won it. You know, you--you know how you say to yourself, now you wanted this thing, now can you really do it? He gave me the four hundred thousand dollars, Greg gave me four hundred, because most of his money was in stock and all that. So, so he was able to come up with four hundred thousand dollars to give me, and one of his--Jack Tramiel--actually was Dick Sanford [Richard D. Sanford] I think, which was one of the other guys in there [Atari] lent me three hundred thousand dollars. Can you imagine that, you know, looking back on that, I said, you know, somebody has enough money to just give you three hundred thousand dollars based on the fact that you say you're gonna do this. I got three hundred thousand dollars for sixty days and I paid him back the entire three hundred thousand dollars in--in the sixty days. Because at the time, we were making 10 percent commission. So it didn't take me long to be able to--at the time, the airlines don't pay commission now. But at the time, the airlines were paying 10 percent commission. So 10 percent of $10 million a year of course is a million dollars. And after two months, I had got enough profit that I could pay--pay him back. And that was the start of it. But I could last thirty days, but I couldn't last thirty--I couldn't last thirty days and one second (laughter), you know what I mean, I had to have. And--and the government was very kind to me and that's why I don't--I'm not angry with the government. You know, when you--you get--you know, you hear a lot of things about the government, but you know what they did for me, they started paying me every two weeks instead of every thirty days, and they made sure I got paid every two weeks. That got me out of the--they made sure that I succeeded. They did not want me to fail as I was the first woman minority business, you know what I mean, to get a government contract in travel. So I--basically that's the phase of--and that's how I actually got started.$Now to get back to me.$$Now this is Greg Pratt?$$Greg Pratt.$$Pratt.$$Greg Allen Pratt [Pratt's second husband, Gregory Pratt].$$Okay.$$He d- he and I are not together now either, but he lives in Bowie, Maryland and still doing well. You can look him up, he's still doing great. But what we did, when we moved to--to get back to how we got in the government. Greg was making a whole lot of money then. So I was living in California and there's another story I got that leads into this. I didn't want to leave Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. I was living in West Chester [Pennsylvania] at the time. I had my--my business and I wanted to continue with my business. But Greg had moved to California and we were married, and we're supposed to be a family. I'm living in Philadelphia and he's living in California. So after a year or so, he came back--he came and he said, "Okay you gotta make up your mind what you wanna do. You know, are you coming to California with me or you gonna st- stay here and run your business?" It was only a small bus- for his comparison. Rodgers Travel [Rodgers Travel, Inc.] was a small business. So, I went to California. But you know God works in mysterious ways. I sat there and I thought that the travel agency couldn't do--work without me. I thought that it couldn't operate without me. I went in everyday, you know, and. So I--in fact, Rosenbluth [Rosenbluth Vacations] was an example to me. I said well I had read that Rosenbluth was--also a Philadelphia corporation and the grandfather was a friend of my father's [Fred Russell, Jr.]. I said, how do they run seventeen hundred locations? Mr. Rosenbluth [Harold Rosenbluth] ain't at seventeen hundred locations, he probably hasn't even been to them all. You know, he's probably never even set foot in them. So I said now if he can do seventeen hundred locations from a distance, I can certainly do one. That was really a turning point in my business life. Because I had to figure out a way how to run my business without being there. And I did. In fact, the--I've had fifteen travel agency offices at certain periods of time. Now that's dwindled down and I'll tell you why.

The Honorable Michael B. Coleman

City of Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman was born on November 18, 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana to John H. Coleman, a physician, and Joan Coleman, a criminal victim’s activist. Coleman’s family moved when he was three years old to Toledo, Ohio where his first jobs were working at the corner drug store, Kroger’s supermarket and his father’s barbeque restaurant. He attended St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio and then went on to receive his B.A. degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1977. Coleman obtained his J.D. degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1980.

After completing his law degree, Coleman began his career as an attorney in the Ohio attorney general’s office. In 1982, he was hired as a legislative aide for then Columbus City Councilman, Ben Epsy. Coleman joined the Schottenstein Law Firm in 1984 and became a member of the Columbus City Council in 1992. He served as president of the city council from 1997 to 1999. In 1998, Coleman was the gubernatorial running mate to Democrat Lee Fisher, but they lost to Republicans Bob Taft and Maureen O'Connor in the closest gubernatorial election in Ohio in twenty-eight years. In 1999, he won a highly contested race to become the 52nd mayor of Columbus, Ohio and the first African American to hold the post. As mayor, Coleman spearheaded the Columbus Downtown Business Plan and Neighborhood Pride, a program designed to engage communities to revitalize their neighborhoods. He also created the after-school program, Capital Kids, in 2001 and the Green Spot program in 2006, to encourage Columbus residents and businesses to protect the environment. Coleman has leveraged incentives to create and retain more than 92,000 jobs in the Columbus area. He was re-elected to the office of mayor in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Coleman has been recognized many times for his commitment to the Columbus community including receiving the Community Service Award from the Columbus Bar Association and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC’s) Sustainability Award. He is an honorary member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Coleman has three adult children, Kimberly, Justin and John.

Michael B. Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 4, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/4/2012

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Schools

St. John's Jesuit High School & Academy

University of Cincinnati

University of Dayton School of Law

Lincoln Elementary School

St. Angela Hall

Maumee Valley Country Day School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

COL21

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

A City That Stays The Same Falls Behind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/18/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Mayor The Honorable Michael B. Coleman (1954 - ) became the first African American mayor of Columbus, Ohio in 2000, and spearheaded the redevelopment of downtown Columbus.

Employment

State of Ohio

Columbus City Council

Schottenstein Law Firm

City of Columbus

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:234,2:2734,69:6165,104:19846,362:20254,367:59346,680:60490,696:67508,778:69380,842:69740,848:75173,910:75558,916:81982,977:89666,1044:89978,1049:91382,1092:107338,1304:143314,1661:145940,1677:146540,1682:149188,1699:149750,1706$0,0:2862,47:11450,132:15311,207:15806,216:16202,221:19377,281:22403,342:23026,349:23649,358:24272,366:35204,535:46142,716:55378,827:57100,853:77606,1108:77982,1113:79768,1145:97520,1441:123280,1796
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Michael B. Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his father's early life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the black community in Madison, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his parents' experiences at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's work at the Indianapolis 500

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his father's medical practice in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the black business district in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about Lincoln Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his parents' involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the television broadcast of the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his introduction to politics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the presidential election of 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his admiration of Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his experiences at the Maumee Valley Day School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls transferring to St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his social activities at St. John's Jesuit High School

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the incidence of crime in his childhood community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his discriminatory high school counselor

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his transition to University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his activities at University of Cincinnati

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers becoming a Democrat

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his work with Upward Bound

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his early involvement in presidential campaigns

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Mayor Jerry Springer of Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about black politics in Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his early exposure to black attorneys

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers the Law School Admission Test

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his summer positions during law school

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers his internship at the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his time in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers C.J. McLin

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers William J. Brown's mayoral campaign

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his work for Ben Espy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls founding the Young Black Dems

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Buck Rinehart's mayoralty of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his campaign for Columbus City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Columbus Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls his presidency of the Columbus City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Lee Fisher's gubernatorial campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his campaign for the mayoralty of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his experiences as the first black mayor of the City of Columbus

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his initiatives in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his initiatives in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the housing crisis in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the economic diversity in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the economic diversity in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about the growth of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his relationship with the white community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his accomplishments as mayor of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his challenges as mayor of Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his focus on urban redevelopment

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman recalls the changes in federal funding to the City of Columbus

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his staff members

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
The Honorable Michael B. Coleman remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Honorable Michael B. Coleman describes the housing crisis in Columbus, Ohio
Transcript
I remember Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] came to Toledo [Ohio] before then, before '68 [1968], 'cause he was assassinated in '68 [1968].$$Right. On this--$$Actually (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) this day--$$This day--$$--actually--today, yeah.$$This day in '68 [1968]. I remember when he was a younger person, he came to Scott High School [Jesup Wakeman Scott High School, Toledo, Ohio], and I remember the--he was in the gym and the whole community, black community--came out, and several thousand people squeezed in the gym on little steel chairs, the fold up chairs. And I remember standing on the fold up chair 'cause I couldn't see, and I remember it was just an exciting time 'cause he preached, he spoke, and while I didn't understand everything he said, I said, "This is a great man. He's doing a great thing. He's helping us some kind of way." And I remember in those days where Dr. King and--would pay for his next trip, by the trip, by what he was doing there--said, "Pass the bucket." And in this case, the bucket was a steel--literally, a steel bucket was passed person to person, and it came to me. I was standing on the chair and I, and everybody, and there was all this quiet money in the bucket--dollars--and it was filled with ten dollars, five dollars, one dollar--lots of money in this big steel bucket. Came to me, and I reached in one pocket, I felt lint, reached in the other pocket, felt a nickel. I took out the nickel, dropped it in the bucket, and I heard it hit the bottom of the bucket, clang at the bottom of the bucket, and I passed the bucket along. I was so proud, so proud to make a contribution to this effort of saving people.$So I'm very proud of our city, and we have our challenges, just like any city. We have the blight of vacant and abandoned housing, which I've got, we got a plan for that, (makes noise) and I'm convinced in three or four years, it'll be all gone.$$Okay.$$Move south that problem.$$Someone was telling me about--now you have a plan--you don't really focus on tearing down a lot of homes (unclear).$$Well, actually, here's what we're doing.$$Okay.$$We have actually a comprehensive effort. We are gonna be tearing down the worst of the worst homes. We haven't done that in the past, but we are now gonna do it because you can't--they're unrepairable. They're burnt out or they're just not gonna be repaired--nobody will, nobody can. I'm tearing 'em down. That's one hand. The other hand is out of this equation is that I'm remodeling and rebuilding homes that can be saved, so it's kind of a two prong approach, and we're trying to preserve housing as well. So tearing down, you know, we got a plan for tearing 'em down, spend $11.5 million to tear down nine hundred homes. We have federal dollars and city dollars, it's totaling now well over 40, $45 million in rehabilitating homes. So it's comp- comprehensive, a comprehensive effort. And by the end of this term, we will not have a vacant abandoned problem in the City of Columbus [Ohio].$$Now did the housing crisis of 2008 affect the--or how did it affect Columbus?$$Well, the housing crisis, the financial crisis affected Columbus by virtue of--like every other city--caused a lot of houses to go foreclose and become vacant and abandoned, which left blight in the neighborhoods all throughout--old neighborhoods, new neighborhoods; and that was a problem we had to deal with, and we're dealing with it. And we're getting it done.

Patricia Russell-McCloud

Motivational speaker Patricia Russell-McCloud was born on September 14, 1946, in Indianapolis, Indiana to Willie and Janiel Russell. The youngest of three daughters, Russell-McCloud delivered her first major speech at the age of eight, before the convention of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church convention in Los Angeles. In 1964, Russell-McCloud graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and went on to receive her B.A. degree in history in 1968 from Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. In 1970, she enrolled at the Howard University School of Law and received her J.D. degree in 1973.

In 1973, Russell-McCloud began working for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington D.C and by 1974, she was involved in a recommendation to the U.S. Department of Justice that eventually led to the Supreme Court case United States vs. AT&T , which broke up what was then the largest monopoly in the United States. Russell-McCloud received several promotions, eventually becoming the head of the Complaints Branch within the Broadcast Division of the FCC. In 1982, she met E. Earl McCloud, a minister and military science instructor at Alabama A&M University and they married in 1983. That same year, she left the FCC to begin her own motivational speaking business, Russell-McCloud Associates.

Over the past 27 years, Russell-McCloud has become one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the nation. Her clients include McDonalds, the United States Navy, Coca-Cola, United Auto Workers and a host of other prominent companies. Black Enterprise Magazine named her the fifth best motivational speaker in 1998. From 1994 to 1998, Russell-McCloud served as president of the Links, Inc. Her book, A is for Attitude: An Alphabet for Living was published in 1999, and she has released an audio CD of her speeches entitled Never Give Up and a separate recording of her speech The Power of Connecting . Russell-McCloud has received numerous honors, including the keys to more than 300 cities.

Accession Number

A2011.028

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/20/2011

Last Name

Russell-McCloud

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Shortridge High School

Kentucky State University

Family Development Services

Howard University School of Law

Howard University

First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

RUS08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Whatever You're Going Through It's A Temporary Inconvenience For A Permanent Improvement.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/14/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Motivational speaker and lawyer Patricia Russell-McCloud (1946 - ) was a Federal Communications Commission attorney, the president of The Links, Inc. and a motivational speaker.

Employment

Russell-McCloud Associates

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Indianapolis Public Schools System

Detroit Public Schools System

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Russell-McCloud's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patricia Russell-McCloud lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patricia Russell-McCloud lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes the Haughville neighborhood of Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers the Woodrow Wilson School No. 75 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her social activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers speaking at a national meeting of the A.M.E. Zion church, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers speaking at a national meeting of the A.M.E. Zion church, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about segregation in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes the music of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about Revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes the music of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her experiences at Short Ridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her decision to attend Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers joining the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her academic experiences at Kentucky State College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's service activities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her decision to attend the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her time at the Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers her peers and professors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls joining the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her work at the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her role as the chief of complaints at the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers organizing a conference of black-owned broadcast networks

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers her retirement from the Federal Communications Commission

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her membership in The Links

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls the history of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patricia Russell-McCloud reflects upon her legacy at The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes programs during her presidency of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about meeting Elizabeth Catlett

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her changes to The Links' policies

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her decision to become a motivational speaker

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her start as a motivational speaker

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her mentorship program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers writing 'A Is for Attitude: An Alphabet for Living'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her stage play, 'Keep Rising'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patricia Russell-McCloud describes her philanthropic activities

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her inspirational CD, 'Never Give Up'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her role as a bishop's wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her favorite motivational speakers

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Patricia Russell-McCloud talks about her awards

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Patricia Russell-McCloud reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Patricia Russell-McCloud shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Patricia Russell-McCloud reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patricia Russell-McCloud narrates her photographs.

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

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DATitle
Patricia Russell-McCloud recalls her decision to attend Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky
Patricia Russell-McCloud remembers writing 'A Is for Attitude: An Alphabet for Living'
Transcript
So how do you begin to prepare for college? You think you may want to be an attorney, but you're not sure. How do you begin to prepare to go to college? Who's there to help you?$$My godmother went to Kentucky State [Kentucky State College; Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky], and she was very hopeful that I would be willing to be interviewed by the recruiter when he came. She was telling him that I was a speaker, that I was smart and that I could sing, and that I could be on any or all of those scholarships and it would be a wonderful experience. So I listened and I met the recruiter when he came, among other recruiters who came to my school [Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, Indiana], but I met him. But he told me about a man named Dr. Henry E. Cheaney and that he was a history and political science professor at Kentucky State. So I did all this research on Dr. Henry E. Cheaney. Excuse me. He was renowned. And I said, "Oh, I have to study under him, I just have to go there." And the choir, the concert choir of Kentucky State, was traveling all over and, including New York, inclu- I mean everywhere. And they were under a master director. And many of those people in that choir have gone on to be in operas and all that. So then I said, "Oh, I want to be in that choir." And, so then I looked at some of the other professors. One of the top speech and drama persons, Dr. Winona Lee Fletcher, was at Kentucky State. And when I went to their campus, I loved it. Rolling hills, buildings that were welcoming, attitudes and behaviors that were embracing. I'd never been around that many black people who were educated and had a mind to encourage me to be my best and to achieve against the odds and all that. And it wasn't so far from Indianapolis [Indiana] that if, if anything else, you could catch a bus and go home. So I selected Kentucky State.$You also are an author?$$Yes, yes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Tell me about your book.$$I--one day I received a call from a literary agent and she asked me had I ever considered writing. I said, "I consider it all the time, but I just haven't had time." And she said, I said, "The only thing I can think of offhand--." She was thinking a compilation of speeches would be a book. And I said, "I'm sure that's true, but I don't have time to put all that together." I said, "One thing they love, they, my audiences, they love this thing I wrote called the alphabet." She said, "What is it?" I said, "It's A to Z, and it is the walk away." Even at, even when I'm with corporations, they said, "Will you do the alphabet?" I said, "The alphabet is not in this speech." They said, "But would you just do it?" I said, "You're the client, of course I'll do it." And every letter is a word of empowerment, attitude, brain power, courage, dedication, preparation, now, all of that. And it just goes (makes sound) like that. It goes very quickly, and people just cannot believe that I'm going through the whole alphabet in a new form and way. So she said, "I believe that every chapter is a letter." And I said, "Really?" Attitude, brain power, courage. So she said, "Write me an outline of three chapters. Write me an outline of your book and then write me three chapters and then I'll shop it." And she did, and the book became bestselling. And she said, she called me one day and she said, "I don't want to blow your mind." And I said, "Okay, what happened?" Like I said, I had dismissed it, you know, what's this? She said, "We shopped it to five houses, publishing houses in New York [New York], and--," I'm sorry, "--we shopped it to seven, and five bought the book. Five bid the book."$$Tell me the name of the book again.$$'A Is for Attitude: An Alphabet for Living' [Patricia Russell-McCloud].$$And what year was it published?$$Ninety-nine [1999].$$Ninety-nine [1999]$$And that--then it was re-launched last month, because it was bestselling. And then they changed the cover, the forward, and the acknowledgements.$$Who wrote the forward?$$Margot James Copeland [HistoryMaker Margot Copeland], the national president of The Links [The Links, Incorporated].

George Shirley

Opera Singer George Shirley was born on April 18, 1934 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Irving and Daisy Shirley. By age four, Shirley had begun performing, joining his mother and father as a musical trio within the Indianapolis church community. After moving to Detroit, Michigan with his parents at age six, Shirley continued to build his musical talents, playing the baritone horn in a community band, and studying voice while a student at Northern High School. His musical acumen earned Shirley a scholarship to Wayne State University, where he performed in his first musical drama, Oedipus Rex, with the Men’s Glee Club in 1955. He graduated that same year, receiving his B.S. in Music Education.

Also in 1955, Shirley became the first African American high school music teacher in the city of Detroit. A year later, after being drafted into the Army, he became the first African American to sing with the U.S. Army Chorus, where, influenced by fellow choir members, Shirley decided to pursue a career in opera. In 1959, he performed in his first staged production, Die Fledermaus, with a small company in Woodstock, New York. The following year, after winning the American Opera Auditions in New York, he was invited to play the role Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme in Milan, Italy. In 1961, Shirley won first prize in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, thus becoming the first African American tenor to be awarded a contract with that company, where he performed from 1961 through 1973. He played major roles in more than twenty operas, often performing with fellow African American opera pioneers Leontyne Price and Shirley Verrett. During and after his stint with the Metropolitan Opera, Shirley was a well sought tenor across the globe, appearing in productions in London, Italy, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston and a host of other cities. Shirley also won a Grammy Award for a recording of his performance in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte.

In 1980, Shirley joined the staff of the University of Maryland as a professor of voice. In 1985, the University honored him with a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. In 1987, he returned to the Detroit area, as a professor of voice at the University of Michigan, and five years later, he was named the Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Professor of Voice. In 2007, Shirley was named the Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice upon his retirement.

George Shirley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 10, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.045

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/10/2010 |and| 10/25/2012

Last Name

Shirley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Irving

Organizations
Schools

Wayne State University

Alger Elementary School

Balch Elementary School

Moore Elementary School

Sherrard Intermediate School

Northern High School

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

SHI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

4/18/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ann Arbor

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Music instructor and opera singer George Shirley (1934 - ) is a professor of voice at the University of Michigan, and in 1961, he became the first African American tenor to earn a contract with the Metropolitan Opera.

Employment

Miller High School

United States Army

Metropolitan Opera

University of Maryland at College Park

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Shirley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Shirley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Shirley describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about his maternal family's migration north to Indianapolis, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Shirley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Shirley talks about the family land in Summer Shade, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Shirley talks about his father's education and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Shirley talks about his birth by caesarian section and his mother's fertility complications

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Shirley describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Shirley describes his father's near death experience in a Detroit, Michigan hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about the establishment of People's Community Church and his father's work as an insurance agent in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Shirley describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Shirley describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Shirley describes Ebenezer A.M.E. Church and growing up in Detroit, Michigan's North End

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Shirley talks about music curriculum in the Detroit Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about his exposure to classical music at Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about his experiences at Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Shirley recalls his decision to attend Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Shirley describes performing Igor Stravinsky's 'Oedipus Rex' at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Shirley talks about teaching at Miller High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Shirley describes joining the United States Army Chorus

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Shirley talks about segregation in Washington D.C. during the 1950s and his experience in the United States Army Chorus

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Shirley describes performing in the United States Army Chorus and seeing an opera for the first time

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about meeting Themy Georgi

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Shirley describes the beginning of his opera career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of George Shirley's interview

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Shirley describes his first performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about African American singers in the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Shirley details the history of black opera singers in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Shirley talks about the National Negro Opera Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Shirley talks about Caterina Jarboro, Jules Bledsoe, Paul Robeson, and Roland Hayes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Shirley talks about meeting Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - George Shirley talks about changes in the musical tastes of black youth during the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Shirley talks about black opera singers recognized in 1960s popular culture and the challenges involved in composing operas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Shirley explains why he pursued a career in classical music

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Shirley describes seeing his first opera, Verdi's 'Rigoletto,' in 1957

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about Scott Joplin's opera 'Treemonisha' and musicians' desire to be multi-dimensional

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Shirley talks about the differences between jazz and classical music

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - George Shirley talks about performing with Shirley Verrett and Leontyne Price

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - George Shirley talks about performing roles for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about the roles he performed throughout his operatic career

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about receiving criticism for using pale makeup in a performance of 'The Stag King'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - George Shirley talks about the incorporation of race in critics' reviews of African American performers

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - George Shirley describes his first visit to Atlanta, Georgia in 1962

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - George Shirley talks about returning to Atlanta, Georgia in 1966

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about his performance of Romeo in 'Romeo and Juliet' at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1969

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about the end of his career at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - George Shirley talks about his operatic career after the Metropolitan Opera and singing in multiple languages

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - George Shirley describes the challenges involved in operatic performing and highlights from his career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - George Shirley talks about teaching at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - George Shirley talks about teaching at the University of Maryland and joining the faculty at the University of Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - George Shirley explains the significance of the role of Porgy in George Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - George Shirley talks about performing in 'Porgy and Bess' and its international reception

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about twenty-first century American opera compositions

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - George Shirley talks about his students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - George Shirley describes his approach to instructing voice students

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - George Shirley talks about taking proper care of a voice and managing acid reflux disease

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - George Shirley addresses the misapprehension that weight corresponds to a singer's ability

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - George Shirley describes the significance of diet and vocal training for opera singers

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - George Shirley describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - George Shirley talks about his family

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - George Shirley reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - George Shirley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - George Shirley sings an aria from 'Girl of the Golden West' in Italian

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$7

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
George Shirley talks about music curriculum in the Detroit Public Schools
George Shirley talks about performing roles for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City
Transcript
Now did you, now you were part of the, a little group you said your parents formed with you with just the family to sing in church and--$$And just, just my mother [Daisy Bell Shirley], my dad [Irving Shirley], and myself. That was in Indianapolis [Indiana]. And then, and then when we came to Detroit [Michigan], I, my mother sang in the senior choir. My dad would play for me, for teens, and so we didn't perform as a unit anymore. But I would give recitals at Ebenezer [A.M.E. Church, Detroit, Michigan] and sing for social functions. The music education curriculum in the public schools taught children to read music from the first grade. So by the time you got to the sixth grade, if you had any musical chops at all, you were musically literate. Then junior high school there were really good choral ensembles. In high school choral and instrumental ensembles were quite outstanding. When I began my teaching career at the old Miller High School [Detroit, Michigan] in 1956, my choir participated--I started in '55 [1955] and '56 [1956] my choir participated in the first annual choral, citywide choral festival. And all the high schools choir, high school choirs participated in that--high level of repertoire performed, excellent ensemble, singing in tune, singing with precision. It was quite spectacular. And unfortunately that's been reduced to almost nothing now (simultaneous)--$$But, but in the days that you were coming along, the music department, I mean the (simultaneous)--$$Music curriculum was fabulous.$$--Music program were strong, that's right.$$The whole Motown industry grew because of that, all of those singers that Berry Gordy hired to begin his enterprise were musically literate. They could read music. Two years ago I met [HM] Martha Reeves at an AGMA [American Guild of Musical Artists] meeting--after a meeting, sorry. And I started to introduce myself. She said, "Oh, I know who you are. You were my high school music teacher." (Laughter). She was in my, one of my girls' voice classes along with Kim Weston. But these schools produced all that great talent that came out of Detroit, jazz musicians, classical musicians. When I was at the Metropolitan Opera [New York, New York] there were five people on the roster from the Detroit area. And that's pretty good for one of the major opera houses, international opera houses, to have five performers from Motown. Joseph Silverstein was a longtime concert master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra [Boston, Massachusetts]. He came from Cass Tech [Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan]. Isidor Saslav from the Baltimore Symphony [Maryland], concert master, Cass Tech. This town produced great talents, [HM] Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin. Smokey, Smokey formed his group when he was a student at Northern High School, people like Tommy Flanagan [Thomas Lee Flanagan], Yusef Lateef, no, Ahmad Jamal, [HM] Della Reese, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Kirk Lightsey. The names go on and on and on and on and on. The cultural curriculum of Detroit Public Schools was second to none in the nation and now it's destroyed. It's almost, almost destroyed by people who are looking to save money.$$Are you--we'll talk about that later in more detail, but when you were a kid, now were you aware that you had musical talent, or were you considered to be talented in music?$$Well, yes, as I said, I mean I started singing when I was about four. So I knew that the singing was part of my life. When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, I mean I had sung the solos. In 'Messiah,' [George Frideric Handel] high school I sang the tenor solo in the first course of the [Giuseppe] Verdi '[Messa da] Requiem' in one of our concerts. So I knew that my talent was considerable. I decided not to, to go into professional music as a singer. I mean I thought that was, that was a little far away, as, that's far, that was as far, that was as remote as New York City was from Detroit. But, I decided to become a music teacher. That was going to be my career, and I was indeed happy with that until Uncle Sam interrupted with the [U.S.] Military draft. And it was after the draft that I decided to pursue professional singing as an opera singer.$Okay. So, within a year's time it seems that you had developed quite a repertoire of, of roles in, in, in, in one year [at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, New York].$$Yes.$$Now this is--$$The interesting thing is my career got started, again, on this emergency jumping in. And that proved to the management that they had someone who could do that and not fall flat on his face. The result was that I was asked to do that probably more often than I should have. And young, initially there'd be nerves or less--the more I was asked to do that, the more of a problem it became. The roles that I did at the Met [Metropolitan Opera], I think I did twenty-seven roles altogether there. Of those roles, the ones that I had sung prior to performing them at the Met were very few. One that I had sung prior to that was Rodolfo [in 'La boheme' by Giacomo Puccini], 'cause I made my debut in Italy in, in that in 1960 before I went to the Met. Don Jose was another one that I had, had already sung. I think that was it.$$Okay.$$I think all the rest of them were for the first time anywhere. And that can really sort of begin--and some of those were with, at the last minute. The 'Cosi [fan tutte' by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]--the Ferrando in 'Cosi' was the last minute. The des Grieux in [Jules] Massenet's 'Manon' was last minute because Nicolai Gedda's father died. He sang the first performance of a new production, and I was covering him, so I sang the next two and Nick went off to his father's funeral. des Grieux in [Giacomo] Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut' was at the last minute because a tenor canceled. Nemorino in 'L'elisir d'amore' [Gaetano Donizetti] was last minute, (laughter) actually. I had come to the end of my season this particular year, and I was getting ready to go off and do recitals in the South. And Rudolf Bing asked me, he said, "George," he said, "We have a performance, a performance of 'L'elisir d'amore' coming up." And he said, "We don't have a tenor. Would you, can you do this?" Well, that "L'elisir" wasn't on my list. And I said, "Mr. Bing, I don't know the opera." He said, "But you, you, you've got to help us," in his English accent, "You, you've got to help us. Good God, you've got to help us." I said, "Well, I'm, I'm going off to sing recitals in Tuscaloosa [Alabama] and Talladega, Alabama, next week," said, "Well, all right." So, he called me (laughter) on the telephone when I was either in Tuscaloosa or Talladega. He said, "George, you've got to do this." And I said, "Gee." I said, "Okay, I'll, I'll, I have to take a look at the score when I get back 'cause I don't know it." It wasn't on my list of covers. I got back and the opera, the score is about this thick. And I'm thinking heaven's sake. It's got recitative, and it's got arias and so forth. So I learned it. I had about two weeks to learn it. And I did the performance, and it was a success. A number of years later they offered me another performance (laughter), one. And that was in 1967 I think. It was the year that [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] was assassinated, and--$$In '68 [1968].$$--in '68 [1968]. And the performance was scheduled for the week in which he was assassinated, and I canceled it. I said I, I can't do this performance now. And so they had to get somebody to (laughter) replace me. And they eventually offered me another performance, and that was with Reri Grist. I took that one. But that was sort of the pattern that so much of what I did at the Met, except for I think those two roles that I mentioned, and maybe I've forgotten one. It was all for the first time, and on most of those roles for the last, at the last minute, because somebody canceled. The first, Gabriele Adorno in 'Simon Boccanegra' of [Giuseppe] Verdi was last minute because somebody had canceled. After a while, you know, that kind of thing really started getting to be a bit much for me to handle. And, but that's the way it went.$$Now is, the implication here, now if we were looking at sports, then we would know how to look at this. You, you always sit on the bench until the starter gets hurt, and then they put you in--$$Right$$--At the last minute, and you succeed, and then, you know. But they only put you in when somebody else is--$$Well, I, I, I did have also chances to do my first performances of things. The, the, the, the, the, it wasn't always just jumping at the last minute. My, my point is that jumping in at the last minute was, happened a lot during my eleven years there. And it began to sort of be something that I really didn't look forward to doing. But, again, American singers who have contracts there are expected because the Met is not like an opera house in Europe. When somebody cancels in Paris [France], they can call Germany, or they can call the UK [United Kingdom], or they can call Italy and say, "Can you, you have somebody you can send over to do the performance tomorrow night because so and so is ill?" And that happens. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States because the Met is a year-round, I mean it's the one opera house that has really a full season. The other opera houses have people come in to do specific shows. And once they have done their show they're gone. They're doing something else. They don't have a roster of artists that's available for the Met to call on if they need some assistance. So they have to have all of their singers in-house. Today there are singers who are under contracts I understand and make very good money, but they're, they're just basically as covers. So that, you know, they may go through a whole season without ever getting on stage to perform. And that's not something that I would really like to, I wouldn't want to deal with that, but I understand that that is the case with a number of artists. But that's the way the Met protects, protects itself, so that what I did was what other singers do. But I, I got the feeling that I did it (laughter) maybe a little bit more often for big roles than some of the other singers did, but that was the way it worked out.$$Okay. So for eleven years, what percentage do you think of, of your roles were, were where you were pushed into service and had to, you know, perform this great feat again?$$I'm terrible at trying to figure percentages, (laughter) but I would say less than, I'd say maybe forty percent.$$That's almost half the time, yeah, yeah.

Janet Langhart Cohen

Award winning journalist, Janet Leola Floyd Langhart Cohen was born on December 22, 1941, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was raised by a single mother who worked as a domestic. She earned her high school diploma from Crispus Attucks High School in 1959, where she was a member of the band and debate team.

From 1960 until 1962, Cohen attended Butler University. In 1962, she was hired as an Ebony Fashion Fair Model and toured across the United States with the group. Four years later, she moved to Chicago to pursue her modeling career and was hired by WBBM-TV as a weekend weather girl. While living in Chicago, Cohen befriended singer Mahalia Jackson, Muhamad Ali and Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1972, she was hired by her hometown television station to host a new show, Indy Today with Janet Langhart.

The following year Cohen’s career soared when she was hired by the ABC affiliate in Boston to host Good Day in Boston. During her twenty-five year career, she has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and BET, and produced several programs, including On Capitol Hill with Janet Langhart. As an overseas correspondent, she covered news in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and special assignments for Entertainment Tonight. Langhart also co-hosted America’s Black Forum with Julian Bond.

Shortly after the death of Dr. King, Cohen married her first husband, Tony Langhart, a Chicago police detective. In 1978, she married Dr. Robert Kistner, a physician and one of the developers of the birth control pill. In 1996, Cohen married former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen. During his tenure she created and hosted Special Assignment, a weekly television program that was broadcast globally over the Armed Forces Network from 1997-2001.

In 2004, Cohen authored a book of her memoirs entitled From Rage to Reason: My Life in Two Americas. She has also worked as a columnist for the Boston Herald and served as a spokeswoman for Avon Cosmetics and U.S. News and World Report. She has been a judge for the White House Fellows Program and advised the Miss America Organization.

Accession Number

A2005.072

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/18/2005

Last Name

Cohen

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Langhart

Organizations
Schools

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

COH01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

If it is going to be, it is up to me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/22/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread

Short Description

Television host and television producer Janet Langhart Cohen (1941 - ) is an award-winning television journalist and worked as a newspaper columnist for the Boston Herald. During her twenty-five year career, she has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and BET, and produced several programs, including, "On Capitol Hill with Janet Langhart." As an overseas correspondent, she covered news in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and special assignments for, "Entertainment Tonight."

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
360,0:786,9:1425,22:1993,31:4900,72:5572,89:8836,103:15860,166:16268,174:16608,180:16880,187:17356,202:17968,213:18716,227:19056,233:19872,247:20484,258:21504,276:22592,296:23476,314:23816,320:27898,332:28250,340:33882,418:34410,425:35872,435:38464,451:38952,460:39379,468:39745,490:40172,498:45540,635:45784,640:50481,754:50908,762:52006,790:52311,796:52860,810:53165,816:53714,828:54080,835:54324,840:60987,888:61353,895:61719,902:64342,958:67880,1035:68246,1042:68734,1054:68978,1059:69466,1075:76298,1251:76542,1256:81610,1280:82546,1310:83698,1329:85858,1383:86578,1395:87082,1403:90538,1477:91474,1499:100834,1599:102586,1635:103097,1643:103608,1651:105506,1696:106674,1720:111528,1788:112072,1798:115588,1849:115892,1854:117716,1883:118400,1893:118704,1898:119084,1904:120376,1934:121364,1957:121896,1966:122276,1972:124252,2015:124784,2023:126684,2062:128204,2092:132780,2141:134740,2184:135790,2204:136350,2214:139430,2276:143070,2349:143910,2377:147660,2391:152940,2534:153420,2544:153720,2550:154200,2562:154680,2573:155220,2583:155520,2589:155940,2597:159750,2625:160730,2664:161290,2673:162410,2698:163040,2713:163530,2721:163880,2727:166890,2793:168710,2826:168990,2831:171100,2844:173395,2886:173820,2892:174330,2906:187360,3225:190300,3237:190568,3243:190836,3248:192779,3291:193114,3297:196330,3383:201087,3482:201623,3494:207807,3542:209112,3564:212766,3641:213201,3647:216850,3668:218362,3695:219010,3706:219586,3717:220162,3726:222466,3763:222970,3771:225523,3781:228329,3856:231135,3916:231806,3930:239704,4051:240949,4066:241530,4074:242111,4083:246240,4129:246776,4139:247379,4149:247915,4166:248451,4175:249054,4186:249389,4192:249724,4207:249992,4212:250394,4219:251600,4245:251935,4251:252270,4258:252538,4263:255085,4289$0,0:3080,76:3360,81:3640,86:10360,247:10780,254:11200,262:11550,268:11900,274:12460,283:17246,317:17827,327:19404,358:22807,412:23139,417:23471,422:23886,428:25214,457:25546,462:25961,485:30277,553:30692,559:31024,564:33846,606:36419,669:37166,709:37664,716:40486,770:46530,776:47930,796:50764,826:51376,836:53212,875:53552,881:54436,895:55932,924:57156,934:57904,961:74549,1152:75102,1160:77021,1207
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Langhart Cohen interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen recounts her reunion with her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her early understandings of race and racism

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen remembers her paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen shares an early memory of a Ku Klux Klan meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes the sights, smells and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her childhood environs, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her elementary school experience in Indianapolis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her early religious involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen remembers the Emmett Till murder

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls how Emmett Till's murder affected her

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen shares a lesson in race from her college years

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her aspirations of becoming a model

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses the racial climate of Indianapolis, Indiana during the Civil Right era

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her stint as an Ebony Fashion Fair model

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her interactions will Mahalia Jackson

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen recounts the beginnings of her television career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her television career in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on her early television success

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her marriages and racism due to her interracial marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Langhart Cohen details her employment with television program 'Entertainment Tonight'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her experience working at BET, Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Langhart Cohen describes her career as "First Lady of the Pentagon"

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on issues of race in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on interviews she conducted

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Langhart Cohen reflects on her life's course

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Langhart Cohen wants to be remebered as a 'race-woman'

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Janet Langhart Cohen discusses her lobbying efforts on behalf of anti-lynching legislation

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Janet Langhart Cohen shares an early memory of a Ku Klux Klan meeting
Janet Langhart Cohen recalls her experience working at BET, Black Entertainment Television
Transcript
Tell me, what is your earliest memory of growing up? What's one of the first things you remember?$$My earliest memory--is being at the [Ku Klux Klan] Klan meeting.$$Tell us about that. This is--.$$My mother was working for a white couple in the suburbs of Indianapolis, and they had two lovely daughters. I was about five, maybe four or five, and they were ten or twelve or whatever, and it was in, in what we call Indian summer in October. And I remember playing with them. They were awfully nice to me. They would give me their ribbons cause I had long pigtails or plaits as you call 'em, and, and they were silk ribbons. And they would say, let Janet have our ribbons. She doesn't have any ribbons. And in one of the pictures in my book, I'm wearing their ribbons. And it's--I never thought of it being second hand except that they belonged to two very sweet girls. But one Indian summer afternoon a parade of cars were coming by, a caravan of cars were coming by, big black, shiny cars with bug-eyed lamps and beautiful grills that looked like faces. And the girls would say to me, Sally and Jane, I don't remember their names, but those are the names I gave them, said, let's go see where they're going. And I said, okay. So I went with them, and I remembered, they had me in the middle and holding my hand or running up, following the cars. And we were on this, this slope, looking down at a grade. And we can see the cars there, and we saw--and what was strange to me, it was children. It was women, men, but everybody was wearing white, white robes. And I thought that was fascinating, and we're lying on our bellies looking over at this. And then as it started to get dark, as it does during October, it gets dark earlier, the girls looked at me and said, oh, stars are beginning to come out; come on, we got to go. And just before we did that, they put something over their heads that looked like pillow slips, hoods, and they began to chant something. All of them were chanting in a strange formation. And then at the end of the clearing, this puff of flame, just (whoosh sound). It was a cross, and it was burning, and I thought as a child, fire is fascinating. And I wanted to yell out, but I remembered the girls had asked me to be quiet because they told me, we'd get into trouble if they found out we had you here. And I thought it was because I was little, and they were taking me far from home. And later--I didn't tell mother. When we got home, the kids went up, the girls went up to get ready for their dinner. My mother was preparing their parents dinner. After she prepared their dinner, I stopped with my little coloring books, and she and I had dinner. And I thought about telling her, but then I thought, no. I'd already been admonished about being quiet, going too far from home. And I thought I wouldn't tell mother that until years later we were watching TV. And I saw a Klan meeting on TV, and I said, I was at one of those. And mother said, no, you weren't (laughter), you wouldn't have survived. And I said, I was there, I saw it. This is what they do and whatever. And she said, you were? And I, and I said, yeah, I said, I can tell you the lady you were working for when, when this happened. And then mother remembered there used to be a lot of Klan meetings cause in those days, the Klansmen would walk out of their offices with their Klan uniforms on or robes, and so mother would see that. And so she knew that, well, maybe I had too. And I told her exactly how it happened. The little girls had gave me their ribbons and how nice they were. So that's one of my first memories. One of my other memories is probably sitting in front of a potbelly stove in another boarding house in a rocking chair and watching galoshes--I don't know if you know what galoshes are, but they're overshoes, rubber overshoes. We called them galoshes. And when you wear them out in the cold, they get real stiff. But if you put 'em by the stove, as they get warm, they fall over. And so I remember their falling over and scaring me, and I flipped over in the rocking chair and everybody laughing. And I remember that's the first time, I didn't like people laughing at me. It's the first time I felt embarrassed, that feeling.$After E.T. ['Entertainment Tonight'], you did have, have the opportunity to work with America's Black Forum and BET.$$Out of the blue.$$And what was that like for you as an African American journalist?$$Oh, it was heaven. It was heaven because I didn't have to worry about somebody calling up and say, tell that--go back down South. I didn't have to mince words to not, to not hurt the feelings of racists, to give them their innocence. I could, I could talk about that black stuff that my white producers had asked me not to talk about. Don't talk about that because the viewers don't think of you as black. And I said, well, do they think of me as white? No, I said, so if they don't--.$$But just not really black.$$Oh, yeah, not that black as somebody had said once, which is insulting, isn't it? Yeah. So to be on America's Black Forum with Julian Bond, to be at Black Entertainment Television, and with all the criticism that BET got for not being substantive enough, I got to do substantive stuff. I was in heaven. It was, it was--I was just free to be me, to be all that I am and not be a black girl dressed up in a white girl's suit, dancing around things that are equally important to us.