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Lula Ford

Illinois Commerce Commissioner Lula Mae Ford was born on March 11, 1944 to a family of nine in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Ford’s father was a World War II veteran that worked most of his life in the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and her mother was a homemaker who also instilled in Ford, as a child, the importance of education. After attending Coleman High School in Pine Bluff, Ford went on to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1965. She then relocated to Chicago, Illinois where she pursued her M.A. degree in urban studies at Northeastern University and later earned her M.A. degree in science, career education and vocational guidance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In 1965, Ford began her teaching career at Horner Elementary School. She served in that capacity until 1975 when she became a counselor for at-risk students. Then in 1976, Ford was hired as the mathematics coordinator at McCorkle Elementary School. She resigned from that position in 1979 to become a liaison for parents and the principal selection committee as the ESEA Reading Teacher and Coordinator. Later in 1984, while serving as a math teacher for John Hope Academy, Ford became the coordinator for the Effective Schools Campaign, organizing GED programs and the school’s black history programs. Ford went on to become the principal for Beethoven Elementary School and was awarded the principal of excellence award for her performance in 1992, 1993 and 1994. She also provided administrative leadership when she fulfilled the position of assistant superintendent of Chicago Public Schools in 1994. Afterwards, from 1995 until 1996, Ford served as the chief instruction officer, advising teachers and faculty on the best teaching practices.

Ford has received many awards and recognitions for her achievements in the field of education including: the Walter H. Dyett Middle School Women in History Award, the Kathy Osterman Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Arkansas, Pine Bluff and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northeastern Illinois University. Ford was hired as the assistant director of central management services for the State of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. In 2003, Ford was appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission and was reappointed to the same office in 2008.

Ford is an active member of many civic organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Lakeshore Chapter (IL) of The Links, Incorporated, and the board of the Trinity Higher Education Corporation.

Ford lives in Illinois and is the proud mother of one adult daughter, Charisse Ford.

Ford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.022

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2008

Last Name

Ford

Schools

Coleman High School

Coleman Elementary School

New Town School

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Lula

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

FOR11

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

Help Me, Jesus.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/11/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Education executive, state government appointee, and elementary school principal Lula Ford (1944 - ) held teaching, administrative and counseling positions at several of the Chicago Public Schools before becoming the district's assistant superintendent. She also served on the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Employment

Henry Horner School

Helen J. McCorkle School

John Hope Community Academy

Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School

Chicago Public Schools

Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Commerce Commission

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4575,77:11700,232:19114,318:20588,358:28427,534:44734,756:46456,774:59308,950:59698,956:64144,1044:65938,1077:74839,1238:78993,1342:88480,1424:89160,1438:96615,1677:99188,1764:99644,1771:100252,1781:116010,1932:120400,2046$0,0:3610,20:4370,33:12578,208:13110,216:14630,266:15162,274:17214,359:29654,551:36623,719:38831,779:39521,787:48400,865:50575,902:51550,926:68202,1144:68586,1151:69994,1186:71594,1229:72106,1242:73066,1272:73386,1278:78680,1330:79618,1353:84628,1415:95238,1693:97086,1777:99858,1849:101244,1881:101904,1902:102300,1909:102564,1942:104214,1967:104610,1978:105534,2004:111792,2071:113808,2103:115824,2151:117420,2187:118428,2203:118848,2212:127254,2316:133622,2398:136943,2487:142300,2579:144736,2617:149758,2694:153858,2742:155055,2773:166374,2937:175895,3034:181220,3108:182195,3125:182720,3133:183095,3139:196898,3280:218855,3662:225755,3797:227890,3887:236947,3992:242000,4050:244457,4132:252778,4267:254940,4293
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lula Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lula Ford lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lula Ford talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lula Ford talks about her father's experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lula Ford describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her neighborhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lula Ford remembers her early religious experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lula Ford recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lula Ford remembers the civil rights activities in Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls the discipline of Principal C.P. Coleman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the African American community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lula Ford remembers the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her interests at the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lula Ford recalls her civil rights activities in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lula Ford remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes the start of her teaching career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lula Ford recalls her first impressions of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lula Ford remembers the influential figures in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lula Ford recalls teaching at the John Hope Academy in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about the desegregation of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her graduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lula Ford recalls her transition to educational administrative positions

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her work at the Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lula Ford describes her administrative roles in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lula Ford talks about the underperformance of the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lula Ford describes her assistant directorship of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lula Ford talks about her experiences as an Illinois Commerce Commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lula Ford describes her organizational memberships

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lula Ford talks about the Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lula Ford describes her social and political volunteer work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lula Ford describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lula Ford reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lula Ford describes her family and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lula Ford narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Lula Ford describes the black business district in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Lula Ford recalls her accomplishments as the principal of Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Okay, now before we leave Pine Bluff [Arkansas], tell us something about 3rd Street [sic. Avenue]? Third Street was a, I would call a, the black metropolis of downtown Main Street. You had all kinds of black businesses, the beauty colleges were there. Wiley Branton taxis [Branton's 98, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], their family owned the taxicab, black taxicab company.$$Wiley Branton [Wiley A. Branton, Sr.]?$$His family the Brantons owned the taxi cab company. Then there was a hotel there, exclusively for blacks. And everybody who would leave out of, if you wanted to go eat, where you could sit you would go to 3rd Street. You could find everything barber shops, beauty shops, every. And, and certainly juke joints, all that would be on 3rd Street. Downtown was Main Street, you know, where you have the stores, Kresge [S.S. Kresge Company] and Woolworths [F.W. Woolworth Company] all those kinds of things would be on the Main Street. And I think that was probably 5th [Avenue] or 6th Avenue but 3rd Street was where most blacks would come up from the rural areas and would be able to get food and just have a good time.$$Okay, so a lot of pe- people from the smaller towns would come, come into (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Small towns came to Pine Bluff.$$Would they come in on the weekends and something?$$They'd come in on a Saturday.$$Okay. Was there a lot of live music in those days?$$Yeah, you, I met, when I was in college [Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas], that's the first time I saw Ike and Tina Turner Revue and Bobby Bland. We had what was known as the Rec- Townsend Recreational Center [sic. Townsend Park Recreation Center, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]. And that's where you would have the live acts. Bobby "Blue" Bland's band would come in. As I said Ike and Tina Turner Revue, that's where I first saw them.$$Okay, was it unusual for, for the big named acts to come through?$$No, not for Pine Bluff (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay.$After I, I, I added bicycles for perfect attendance all year, I got a--bought I don't know how many bicycles my first year. And iss- gave them out for perfect attendance. So, it improved my attendance but, because when, if you have five children in the family and monitor them and I say why is this child absent, they say, "He has chickenpox." I knew then that if he, he has five brothers and sisters next week they are gonna be out. So, I, then I told the board [Chicago Board of Education] I said, "You all got to give me a waiver, so I can get some perfect attendance here, because my children, there's an epic- chickenpox epidemic. Any time you have this close of quarters and you have this many children in a family you're gonna have that." So, I've had indicators of success always my first year. But, then I could see my children going out of a lower quarter, quartile. But, when I look back and saw that these children are getting ready to go to gym and taking out time away from task onto me. I must I need to, the second year I said I need to extend my school day. So, I brought my teachers in and I said, "I can pay you an hourly rate but I need you one hour after school. How many people," only wanted the names of the people who cannot stay. Only three people could not stay. That's because they were in school. I extended my school day from--to 3:30. And they could only teach reading, extend my reading. And that's when my scores began to improve. And that's the model that Paul Vallas took when he took over the Chicago Public Schools. He took the model that I had created at Beethoven [Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois] and that was extended day reading (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Really okay?$$If you know your children are not getting enough time on task and I know that my parents were not going to be able to do some of the kinds of things that I needed them to do, then I needed my children there longer. I also, brought another gym teacher. And then Compton [HistoryMaker James W. Compton] was the president of the school at that time and I did get the gym. That was one of my goals. The gym did come the year I left. And they named it after me the Ford Arena [ph.]. It was built but I was--$$Where, where is it?$$It's at the, it's in the school.$$At Beethoven?$$Beethoven yeah.$$Okay.$$Built it on the front side of the school.$$They call it the Ford Arena?$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$Oprah [Oprah Winfrey] adopted the school, when I was there. I did a grant with Stedman [Stedman Graham], I have a picture of that one over there. She adopted the school. And she would take my top reading scorers from kindergarten through eight out for lunch. She had, she did that two years and then she visited the school. So, we had a lot of support.$$Was it easy to get a hold of Oprah?$$I, I met her through Edmund, I mean Stedman.$$Okay.$$Uh-huh.$$Okay.$$But, you know, how that was, we did a grant together and then she got a lot, he got a lot of play out of that. And then she, the children went crazy, she would send limousines for them, of course they were excited about that. But, it was an interesting time to be in schools. But, I think I gained most of my weight being a principal. 'Cause you would be so tired at the evenings that you would go home and Gladys [Gladys Luncheonette, Chicago, Illinois] was in the area so I would get a dinner go home and go to bed. My daughter [Charisse Ford] was away in college and I had no husband at the time, so. But, it was very rewarding.$$Okay. Now, so you won, you won three awards during that period of time, you said. And Paul Vallas took your model. I mean did he ever officially acknowledge that was the model, he got?$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$And the mayor came to our school.$$Okay.$$President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] visited my school in 1994.$$Okay.$$Mrs. Edgar [Brenda Edgar], Jim Edgar's wife came out and read to my kindergarten children. I have pictures of that also over there. But, because and, and six legislators from the state came to see how I was spending my state Chapter I [Elementary and Secondary Education Act Chapter I] money. And that was the way I was spending it to make sure that my children got time on task.

Kenneth L. Coleman

Silicon Valley executive Kenneth Louis Coleman was born to Louis Boyd Coleman and Katie Owens Coleman on December 1, 1942 in Centralia, Illinois. Boyd was a factory worker and Katie a maid. Both parents strongly emphasized education. Coleman enjoyed sports at Lincoln Elementary School and at Centralia High School, where he was co-captain of the basketball team in his senior year. Coleman attended and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1965 with a BS in Industrial Management. Coleman’s part time student employment as a key punch and computer operator at the OSU Research Center led to an interest in computers. After graduation Coleman attended Officer’s Training School and was commissioned at Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He went on to acquire his M.B.A. degree from The Ohio State University in 1972.

Coleman served in South Korea at the time of the Pueblo Crisis. While in Korea Lieutenant Coleman helped effectively defuse a potential race riot on the base. This led to an assignment to establish an Office for Affirmative Action and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation at Hamilton Air Force Base in Marin County, California. After separating as a Captain in 1972, Coleman was introduced to the Hewlett–Packard Company by Roy Clay (the first and only black mayor of Palo Alto, CA). At HP Coleman held several senior management positions, including a two year assignment in Northern Europe. In 1982, Coleman joined Activision, Inc., where he became Vice President of Product Development. Coleman joined Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 1987. During his fourteen years at Silicon Graphics, Coleman held several executive level positions. His last position at SGI was Executive Vice president of Sales, Services, and Marketing where he managed an organization with 4,000 employees in thirty-seven countries.

In 1999, Coleman was named one of the ten most influential African Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in 2001, one of the top 25 Black executives in technology by Black Enterprise magazine. Retiring that same year, and after consultation with his friend and mentor Dr. Price Cobbs, Coleman founded and became CEO of ITM Software in Mountain View, California. Over the following 5 years Coleman was able to raise venture capital in ITM of a $20 million. It was important to Coleman that he make available the opportunity for African American investors to participate. Five years after its founding ITM was sold to BMC Software.

In 2006 Coleman was appointed chairman of Accelrys, Inc., scientific informatics software and services company for life sciences, chemical and materials R&D. Accelrys enables its customers to both accelerate their research process to more rapidly discover new therapeutics, materials and compounds; and to introduce new efficiencies into the process that drive lower costs.

In the spring of 2010 he was appointed to a special government advisory group on U.S./India Trade Policy. The Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) is an adjunct to the United States-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) that provides strategic counsel to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk on enhancing bilateral trade and investment between the two nations.

Coleman is a member of the Boards of Directors of City National Bank, MIPS Technologies, and United Online. Coleman is also the recipient of numerous honors, including the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award; the National Alliance of Black School Educators Living Legend Award; the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley Exemplary Leader Award; the One Hundred Black Men of Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Silicon Valley Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.

Coleman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 13, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/13/2007

Last Name

Coleman

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

Centralia High School

Lincoln School

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Centralia

HM ID

COL14

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Leaders Lead.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/1/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Altos

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Technology executive Kenneth L. Coleman (1942 - ) held positions at Activision, Inc., Silicon Graphics, Information Technology Management, Accelyrs, City National Bank, MIPS Technologies, and United Online.

Employment

The Hewlett Packard Company

Activision Publishing, Inc.

Silicon Graphics

ITM Software Corporation

Accelrys, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2945,105:5035,126:5985,138:9820,182:14950,255:22690,402:23500,416:25480,446:26020,461:27640,490:33862,522:40310,601:41990,629:46150,715:48310,774:53794,856:59380,938:59660,943:60080,950:69162,1117:69430,1122:69966,1134:87840,1529:91984,1576:95411,1602:96104,1612:98568,1666:103958,1795:104728,1808:107577,1883:107962,1889:117913,2013:120839,2066:124073,2127:124381,2132:125305,2144:127846,2226:139146,2319:140644,2374:153804,2484:159612,2614:160052,2628:171826,2811:180252,2856:180684,2863:180972,2868:183650,2882:183970,2887:187570,2961:204205,3217:204800,3225:207180,3273:208965,3295:212110,3341:212875,3352:227668,3583:228448,3594:231724,3665:232660,3685:233908,3707:239710,3742:239958,3747:241263,3755:243960,3800:244518,3808:249050,3848:255540,3907$0,0:1620,53:7454,142:7834,148:8366,156:15434,335:20526,437:29987,531:30332,537:32333,582:34679,615:35011,620:35758,630:37584,657:38165,667:52344,859:53096,868:54224,882:58830,1016:59300,1023:67577,1099:68241,1114:69901,1140:79098,1245:79554,1252:82214,1313:94936,1418:96388,1486:96982,1496:98038,1522:99886,1573:103985,1618:105685,1650:117738,1838:119560,1865
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth L. Coleman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his mother's upbringing in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers his first experience of southern racism

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his father's upbringing in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his father's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers his community in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers his early responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes the Lincoln School in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his transition to the integrated Centralia High School in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about segregation in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers Roland Burris

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls the influence of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes the entertainment of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth L. Coleman reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls the athletics program at Centralia High School in Centralia, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his experiences of discrimination at Centralia High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers his discriminatory history teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his early exposure to African American professionals

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls transferring to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his experiences at The Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his activities at The Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers the events of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his influences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes the African American community in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his decision to attend graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his program at The Ohio State University College of Administrative Science

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers being drafted into the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls the racial discrimination in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman reflects upon his experiences in the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his decision to leave the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls joining the Hewlett-Packard Company

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers Roy L. Clay, Sr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his experiences at the Hewlett-Packard Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls his experiences of discrimination in Europe

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his work in the commercial computing industry

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers the HP 3000 computer

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman reflects upon his parents' view of his success

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes lessons from his time at the Hewlett-Packard Company

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls joining Activision Publishing, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers joining Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kenneth L. Coleman remembers leaving Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls founding the ITM Software Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his corporate board membership

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kenneth L. Coleman recalls the initial investments in the ITM Software Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his role at Accelrys, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his charitable work

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kenneth L. Coleman reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Kenneth L. Coleman shares his advice to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Kenneth L. Coleman describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Kenneth L. Coleman narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Kenneth L. Coleman recalls the athletics program at Centralia High School in Centralia, Illinois
Kenneth L. Coleman talks about his work in the commercial computing industry
Transcript
You played basketball for the high school [Centralia High School, Centralia, Illinois], right?$$Yeah, in high school I played basketball, football, I ran track for two years, played baseball for two years. And I was, I went from a town that's famous for basketball in Illinois, and it's historically has had, at least when I was. Prior to me and post me, had very good basketball teams, and I played four years of basketball and was captain my senior year in basketball. Our teams were, were, were not great teams. My junior year we had a good basketball team, but not great. The only other, the time I played, our football teams in Centralia [Illinois] the time I played were, were exceptional. When I was a junior we were ranked sixth in the nation as a high school football team by Parade magazine.$$Really, that's, that's, pretty good.$$Yeah, we were only one score, we're undefeated and the one score I think, in four years in high school football I only played in one losing football game. And so we had very good football, I was a guard in basketball, and I was a point guard in basketball, and I was a wide receiver in football. The year (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So you were on point guard on, on the basketball team, which is interesting.$$Yeah I was point guard in basketball.$$In an integrated basketball team.$$Yes, integrated basketball team, integrated football.$$So they must've really respected you, to--$$Yeah so it's really interesting I thought about this 'cause you see the reason people talk about it and, and I kind of knew this. In, in basketball there was this unwritten rule that now I understand that people kind of talked about it, but you didn't, it wasn't again, it wasn't, this image that was right here in your face. But you kind of knew it, and that was you know on a basketball team on the floor you tend to never have no more than three blacks at any one time. It was just kind of unwritten thing, but you, but you had blacks, but you couldn't win and winning mattered, okay. In football we just didn't have the numbers, so you would never you know have a chance of having more blacks than white on a football team at one time. We just didn't have enough numbers, it's a numbers game, but, but athletics was a very important part of my growing up. The ability to compete, the ability of teamwork, you know operating a team, the relationship with hard work and results really kept you out of trouble. So there were lots of good things happened for me as a kid being, being an athlete.$$I mean (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Highly, I highly recommend that young men and women be involved in sports. There are many lessons in life that are really important in being in--part of a sport and the things you might learn from that experience.$$Now were you close with your coach?$$Well we, it's a, was pretty much impossible in that environment to be close to coach where there was a feeling that coach was like God (laughter) okay. And so, so, so I was not what I consider, or I think any of the kids white or black, would be close to the coach. Now because I was quote, a good kid, that is I worked ca- I mean I was a successful athlete through hard work and through dedication and through a reasonably intelligent athlete, versus super skills, okay. And so I think coaches respect people who work hard, are coachable okay. They, you know they liked great athletes okay, but they respect I think people who kind of approach sports the way I became a good athlete through that. And when--so like I said I was captain of the basketball team and so I was a good athlete, very coachable and coaches liked and respected and would listen to you. But I wasn't close to them when I was in high school, closer after I became an adult actually with some of them. But again it was a very positive experience for me and my, and who I've become, no question.$So how long did you live in Europe?$$Two years.$$Two years, okay, all right. Now, what, what brought you back?$$Yeah I was scheduled to live there another couple years but HP [Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, California] decided to create a business around the commercial computing business. And the person who became the general manager called me and said, "Would you come back and be on my management team?" And we help build HP first big billion dollar business the HP 3000 commercial computing business. And it was a, a great opportunity I was the third employee in that division and we built a business from zero to a billion dollars over, over five, six years. And so it, it was very important meaningful opportunity for me and a chance to do something important, and I was involved in that, and enjoyed it a lot.$$Now these are the days before personal computers and small computers and you, you had (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) These, this--$$--people.$$So yes, yes these are the days of the, we were a leader in the mini computer business. And so until that time the computing world had been dominated by two kinds of technology. One was well basically one technology, the mainframe computer, the big computers. And, and people connected terminals to big computers to do work, but all the processing was done in big computers and called mainframe. HP was a leader along with Digital Equipment Corporation and Data General [Data General Corporation] a few other companies were a leader in what was called midsize computers. In those days they were called mini computers, and they were smaller computers that could be used by departments rather than by the corporate headquarters or smaller companies who couldn't afford the big computers. And so the HP 3000 was a, a leader in that sort of computing and we help build that business for HP.