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Linda Torrence

Television producer and public relations director Linda Torrence was born on November 23, 1944, and grew up in College Station, Arkansas. She graduated from Wrightsville High School in Wrightsville, Arkansas in 1962. Her father, Samuel Hudson, was the city’s first black police officer. Torrence attended Arkansas Baptist College and majored in business administration. She was the first black teller at the First National Bank in Little Rock from 1962 to 1967 and later managed the College Station Community Credit Union in 1972. Torrence was politically active after high school and was the first African American female to represent Arkansas at the Democratic Convention in 1972 as an officer of the Young Democrats Club. She also hosted a television talk show on ABC-TV in Little Rock.

Torrence worked in adult education at the Urban League in Rochester, New York, and in fundraising at CBS, WHEC-TV as Director of Public Affairs. Torrence served as assistant to the director in the Donor Resources Department of the American Red Cross in Portland, Oregon, and co-founded two companies, the Walker (Business) Institute and Belcher-Torrence, a human resource company. Both companies offered business development and marketing strategies to businesses in the Portland community. Torrence was vice president of marketing and communications for the Private Industry Council (PIC) and director of human resources for Rogers Cable Television, a subsidiary of Canada’s largest cable company. At Rogers Cable, Torrence was the host of the talk show, Women in Focus, which aired for three years.

Torrence joined the staff of WAGA-TV in 1990. In her position as director of community relations and public service, Torrence is the station’s liaison to the Atlanta community. Torrence manages FOX5’s sponsorships of non-profit organizations and serves as the point of contact for community related activities and issues. She is producer of The Georgia Gang, a weekly talk show of panelists who discuss Georgia politics, and directs the production of FOX5 Editorials.

Torrence serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Grady Hospital Foundation and Georgia Commission on Women. She is the recipient of numerous awards and citations and has been honored by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for her role in the development of the America’s Youth Passport. Torrence is a mother and grandmother. She resides in DeKalb County with her husband Joseph Phillips.

Accession Number

A2006.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/18/2006

Last Name

Torrence

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

College Station Elementary School

Wrightsville High School

Arkansas Baptist College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

TOR01

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/23/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Human resources chief executive and public relations chief executive Linda Torrence (1944 - ) was the Director of Community Relations and Public Service for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the producer of, "The Georgia Gang," and directed the production of FOX5 Editorials.

Employment

First National Bank of Little Rock

College Station Community Credit Union

The Flint Spokeman

KGW-TV

WHEC-TV

American Red Cross Oregon Chapter

Belcher-Torrence

‘Women in Focus’

Rogers Cable

Portland Private Industry Council

WAGA-TV (Television station: Atlanta,Ga.)

'The Georgia Gang'

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485524">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda Torrence's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485525">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485526">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485527">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485528">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485529">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lina Torrence describes her brother and maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485530">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485531">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lina Torrence describes her siblings and maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485532">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence describes College Station, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485533">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lina Torrence remembers her early pastimes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485534">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lina Torrence describes her early experiences of religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485535">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence remembers celebrating the holidays, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485536">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes the African American community of College Station, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485537">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers her family's homes in College Station, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485538">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her elementary school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485539">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence remembers celebrating the holidays, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485540">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her integrated neighborhood in College Station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485541">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her neighbors' occupations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485542">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls visiting Little Rock, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485543">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence remembers College Station Elementary School in College Station, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485544">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Linda Torrence describes her elementary school teachers and principal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485545">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence recalls riding the bus to Wrightsville High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485546">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her activities at Wrightsville High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485547">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers becoming pregnant in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485548">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes the sports teams at Wrightsville High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485549">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence recalls attending college and working while a single mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485550">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence recalls filing a racial discrimination lawsuit, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485551">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls filing a racial discrimination lawsuit, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485552">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls managing College Station Community Credit Union</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485553">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence recalls managing The Flint Spokesman newspaper in Flint, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485554">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence recalls earning a degree from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485555">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her introduction to the television broadcast industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485556">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence describes her involvement in the 1972 Democratic Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485557">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls being motivated by the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485558">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence remembers managing work, school and mothering</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485559">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her public affairs work at WHEC-TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485560">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence describes her early experiences of television and radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485561">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence remembers moving to Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485562">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence remembers obtaining her position at KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485563">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence recalls the climate of Flint, Michigan and Rochester, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485564">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence recalls her work at KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485565">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls serving on Portland Custodians' Civil Service Board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485566">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her community involvement in Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485567">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes the community of Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485568">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls working for the American Red Cross in Portland, Oregon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485569">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence reflects upon being a trailblazer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485570">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence recalls founding the Belcher-Torrence consulting firm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485571">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence describes her consulting firm, Belcher-Torrence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485572">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence recalls becoming the human resources director of Rogers Cable Systems</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485573">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence remembers her talk show, 'Women in Focus'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485574">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence recalls joining the Portland Private Industry Council</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485575">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her duties at the Portland Private Industry Council</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485576">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence describes her coworkers at the Portland Private Industry Council</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485577">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence recalls founding the Walker Institute organization</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485578">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485589">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485590">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence describes her move to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485591">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence talks about her work at Atlanta's WAGA-TV station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485592">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Linda Torrence describes her role as community relations director at WAGA-TV</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485593">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Linda Torrence describes her children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485594">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Linda Torrence talks about her husband, Joseph Phillips</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485595">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Linda Torrence talks about The HistoryMakers project</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485596">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Linda Torrence talks about her religious faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485597">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Linda Torrence describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485598">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485599">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/485600">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Linda Torrence narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Linda Torrence describes her involvement in the 1972 Democratic Convention
Linda Torrence remembers her talk show, 'Women in Focus'
Transcript
When I was in Little Rock [Arkansas], I was somewhat involved in politics. I, at one time, was the first African American woman to represent the State of Arkansas, if--well, I shouldn't say at one time, I was the first African American woman to represent the State of Arkansas in the 1972 Democratic Convention [1972 Democratic National Convention, Miami, Florida].$$All right, so how did that come about?$$I was very actively involved in, in--first of all, I was very active in the young Democrats club. And at the time that I got involved, I was the only African American person that was an officer of the young Democrats club. I was the secretary for the young Democrats club.$$Now, was this attached to the school [Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Arkansas], or was this just in the city (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, no, this was, no, this was, this was a political organization of young people involved in the political process. And the other people were, were not people of color, so I was very active with them. I also was active in my, in my community, in terms of trying to work with the community to bring about change. For example, I told you that there was a lot of violence in College Station [Arkansas]. I remember a group of people in College Station got together and they called the sheriff down to talk about all of the violence and the killings. And as a result of that then, you know, my name was in the newspaper, like along with some other folk that were involved. And that was really the beginning of my political process. And as I grew older and left College Station and moved to Little Rock, I was still politically active. And, in fact, at one time, believe it or not, I was very seriously thinking about running for the state legislature. And my attorney told me at the time, the same guy that represented me in the lawsuit, that he said, "Linda [HistoryMaker Linda Torrence], you may not be as effective as a single woman," because at the time, I was single. And, but I did go on to the '72 [1972] Democratic Convention representing the State of Arkansas, and had a tremendous experience. It was in Miami, Florida that year. And that was also the first year that the Democratic Party decided that it would change its rules to include people under thirty, blacks, and people, and women, so I fit all three categories. I was under thirty, I was African American, and I happened to be a female. And so, that's exactly what they were looking for in terms of getting more into the democratic process, as far as the, the convention was concerned. So, I went to the convention representing the State of Arkansas.$$So--$$And I'm sure the man at the television station, having known me from working in the bank [First National Bank], having been aware, especially being in the media, that I was involved in politics. I'm sure, probably from his perspective, I would have been a good candidate that they could take a chance on at this television station. So, I, I would guess that, that was part of what fueled his desire, or his interest in me, in terms of working in that, in that television station.$$Okay.$$And, oh, I, I guess the other part of it, I've always had a very outgoing personality, always been a people person all of my life, love people, love working, interacting with people. So, I'm sure he saw that. And, of course, when you're, when you're hosting a television show, you want somebody that has, that had personality, and I think that's what I had. And so, I would imagine that he was looking at those things.$$And then, you were groomed immaculately also, right? You said your [maternal] grandmother [Mattie Rembert Williamson] always had your hair done.$$Oh, yeah.$$You always kept your hair in place and, you know, done--$$Oh, yeah.$$--really nice and then you, you actually looked the part. I want to ask, did the, did your involvement in the young Democratic club help to bring about the changes in the rules that the Democratic National Convention had, as regard to blacks, women, and people under thirty?$$You know, I really can't say that. I think that was just something that the Democratic Party overall was looking at. And I'm sure there were probably similar clubs like the one that we formed in Arkansas and other states. And that is not to say that they didn't have an impact, but I can't say that our particular group had an impact. We were probably a part, a small part of a, of a, an entire process.$While I was there, one of the program directors, one of the producers, rather, came up to me one day because I had interviewed her for a job. And she said, she said, "Linda [HistoryMaker Linda Torrence], you do an excellent job of interviewing." She said, "I thought you asked some great questions when you were interviewing me for this job." She said, "I think we ought to do a television show, and have you host it." And I said, "Oh, really," I said--she said--I said, "I, I would like to do that." And so, she developed a show, and it was a show that was geared toward women. And the name of the show was 'Women in Focus' with Linda Torrence, and I did that show for about--I don't know, three or four years. I didn't get extra pay for it, but I just did it because I thought it would be a fun thing to do.$$Good for the resume, too.$$Absolutely. And I should tell you, one of the persons that I hired in that company was Dan Rather's daughter. Her name was Robin Rather. I have no idea where Robin is right now. I have not seen or heard from her since I left that station but, yeah, I hired Dan Rather's daughter. She was a producer.$$Oh, my, okay. I wanted to ask a quick question here. Was it about around this time that human resources started that, that was a name for, you know, that department in corporations, so before that, it was called something else.$$Personnel.$$Yes.$$No, it was still personnel at the time because my title was director of personnel.$$Okay, all right, 'cause it was what, during the--well, sometime afterwards that it became human, the human resource department? Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, right, right, exactly.$$Duties didn't change, but the name changed?$$Right, right.$$And I think that change was just to make it--well, make it appear or to have it more people-oriented?$$Um-hm, um-hm.$$Okay. Now, how long did the show run, you say, human, 'Women in Focus'?$$I think I did that show probably for about three years.$$And it was on the cable station--$$Um-hm.$$--that you, that you had?$$Um-hm.$$And what type of, it was 'Women in Focus,' but some of the photos we saw, we saw a lot of men on the show (laughter).$$Well, some of the shows that we did were men who had women bosses. I mean, how do you, how do you--we would ask, you know, part of the show would be--well, as a man, how do you feel reporting to a woman? One of the shows we did were women who were, who had their first child at age forty.$$Okay.$$You know, things like that.$$All right. And how long did you stay with--what was the name of the company? We just said a cable company (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) At the time, it was called Rogers Cable Systems.$$Okay. So, how long did you stay with Rogers (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I think I was there for about six years.