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Danny Glover

Actor Danny Glover was born on July 22, 1946 in San Francisco, California. His parents, Carrie and James Glover, were both postal workers and active members of the NAACP. Glover was a student at Daniel Webster Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School. He graduated from George Washington High School in 1964. Glover went on to attend San Francisco State University in the late 1960s, where he played a role in the 1968 student strike, which led to the creation of the first ethnic studies department in the country. Glover went on to work for the City of San Francisco as an evaluations specialist and program manager in the Model Cities Program from 1972 to 1977. Glover trained as an actor in the Black Actors’ Workshop at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, as well as with Jean Shelton at the Shelton Actors Lab.

Glover’s career as an actor began in college, where he acted in a play by artist-in-residence Amiri Baraka. He went on to act in his first feature film, Escape from Alcatraz in 1979. Glover has been noted for his roles in The Color Purple, the popular Lethal Weapon series (1987, 1989, 1992, and 1998), Predator 2 (1990), To Sleep With Anger (1990), and Angels in the Outfield (1994). He served as a narrator of the animated films of The Prince of Egypt (1998), Antz (1998), and Our Friend, Martin (1999). In 1994, Glover co-founded the Robey Theatre Company, a Los Angeles-based non-profit with the mission of developing new plays about the Black American experience. In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films, a company expressly dedicated to production of socially-conscious films from around the world. As a humanitarian, Glover has lent his voice and aid to the American Postal Workers Union, United Auto Workers, and Service Employees International Union, amongst many other causes.

Glover was the recipient of countless awards and honors, including the BET Humanitarian Award in 2004, an NAACP Image Award – Chairman’s Award in 2003, the 2002 Marian Anderson Award, several NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead in 1991, and a 2011 Pioneer Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. Glover also received the prestigious Medaille des Arts et des Letters from the French Ministry of Culture and was honored with a tribute at the Deauville International Film Festival in 2011.

A noted humanitarian, Glover served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, during which time he focused on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He was a UNICEF Ambassador.

Glover lives in San Francisco with his wife, Eliane Cavalleiro. He has one daughter, Mandisa Glover, from a previous marriage.

Danny Glover was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 20, 2015.

Accession Number

A2015.014

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/20/2015

Last Name

Glover

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

George Washington High School

Roosevelt Middle School

San Francisco State University

Daniel Webster Elementary School

Irving M. Scott School

City College of San Francisco

First Name

Danny

Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco

HM ID

GLO02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

I'm Too Old For This...

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/22/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Berkeley

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mother's Cooking

Short Description

Actor Danny Glover (1946 - ) portrayed the detective Robert Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' franchise. His activism extended to the 1960s, when he was involved in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College.

Favorite Color

Beige, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Danny Glover's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Danny Glover lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Danny Glover describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about his parents' activism, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Danny Glover describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Danny Glover remembers his early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Danny Glover describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Danny Glover lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Danny Glover describes his maternal grandparents' farm in Louisville, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Danny Glover talks about his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Danny Glover recalls his start at Roosevelt Junior High School in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Danny Glover recalls his early experiences of bullying

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Danny Glover describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about his relationship with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Danny Glover talks about his parents' activism, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls his parents' employment at the U.S. Post Office Department

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Danny Glover remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Danny Glover describes his teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Danny Glover talks about his long term friendships

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Danny Glover recalls his decision to attend San Francisco State College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Danny Glover recalls his decision to attend San Francisco State College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Danny Glover describes his involvement in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Danny Glover remembers the student led strike at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls the trials of the strike leaders at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Danny Glover describes the popular music of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Danny Glover remembers his parents' perspective on his activism

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Danny Glover describes his connection to the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Danny Glover talks about his activism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Danny Glover talks about the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Danny Glover remembers the black studies movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Danny Glover recalls the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about the political views of African American scholars

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Danny Glover talks about his political ideology

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls his early work with the Model Cities program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Danny Glover remembers the start of his acting career

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Danny Glover remembers his early experiences of religion
Danny Glover describes his involvement in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College
Transcript
So, is education--what about religion in the hou- ? Are your parents religious or not?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$Yeah. My mother [Carrie Hunley Glover] came out of, she, my grandparents--my f- my grandfather [Mack Hunley], Baptist. My grandmother, A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal]. Pine Hill [Pine Hill Baptist Church] was my grandfather's church in Louisville, Georgia. Lofton [Lofton A.M.E. Church] in Wrens, Georgia was my grandmother's church. And my mother converted, from my understanding, and it's to C.M.E. [Christian Methodist Episcopal] because she went to a C.M.E. college [Paine College, Augusta, Georgia]. And so, we went to C.M.E. church from my earliest memories, and still I'm a member of Missionary Temple [Missionary Temple C.M.E. Church], right on, right here in the city, in the heart of the black community in the Fillmore [Fillmore District, San Francisco, California]. And I remember going there from the child- from childhood, you know. Before we moved from the projects to buying a home, it was just--once we bought our home in the Western Addition, in Haight-Ashbury [San Francisco, California], it was closer; the church was closer. I didn't have to, we didn't have to come all the way across the other side of town to go to church. But yeah, my mother was very much involved in the church. She, her involve- the level of involvement--our level of involvement did not match my mother's level of involvement (laughter), or her desire. Because in the church, the church performed certain other things just besides spiritual uplifting. It gives you status, permanent status. And, and my mother would always try to put me and my sister and my brother in these pl- (laughter) in the Easter play or the Christmas play. And we'd be up there in the back holding a palm or something (laughter) in the corner or something like that. Mama would say, "How come I come to these and you have--you never have nothing to say? None of y'all never have nothing to say." We said, "Shoot, Ma, we don't even want to, we don't want to be here," (laughter). And then--because you, you know, you're anointed through your children. They'd say, "Oh, Ms. Riley [ph.]." (Cough) Or, "Oh, Ms. Hanberry [ph.], oh, Ms. Hanberry, your--," I don't think Ms. Hanberry had children, or whoever this member was, "your child was so wonderful." She never, my mother never got that from nobody (laughter) because I had--like, neither one of us never had, we never had a lead in a play. We never had the lead in a hymn. We were always in the background, and all that stuff like that. We were--it was me, Connie [Connie Glover Grier], and Reggie [Reginald Glover], you know. In fact it's funny, because for a long time--so this is 1958, '59 [1959] when 'Raisin in the Sun' ['A Raisin in the Sun,' Lorraine Hansberry] came out. And I was like--there was a woman named Lorraine Hansberry, and I was just enamored with her. I just watched it, and nobody ever come up to her. I said how come people don't come up to her and tell her how great her play is, you know (laughter)? I had heard about the play, I had read about the play and everything else.$$You read about the play and heard about the play?$$Huh?$$You heard about the play?$$Oh, I heard about the play. This is Lorraine Hanber- I thought--I didn't get the last--it's (pronunciation) Hansberry (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Hansberry.$$Hansberry. And I said, nobody ever--and I'm sitting up in the church, and I watch her. Moment I read it, I said--and I connected the name, because she was prominent in the church. But nobody ever said nothing. Nobody ever would ever come to her and say, and I thought--it was, it was funny. I thought that she, that she was the woman who wrote the play--$$(Laughter) Okay. Right.$$--'Raisin in the Sun'--as a kid you know (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$And (unclear) this is my secret, you know, as a twelve year old kid; you know, twelve year old kid, or eleven year old kid whenever this comes out I said, man, she goes to our church! (Laughter) You know, it's the thing--you know then somebody--I'm glad I found out. I forgot how I found out that it wasn't the same woman. But I'm glad I didn't kind of like announce it or (unclear) (laughter). But I wasn't that kind of person. I wasn't going to go out and say, "You know who goes to my church? Lorraine Hansberry," you know and everything. And I wasn't that kind of person, you know, and everything else. I just waited and I found out, boy, that's not her, you know.$So, there's just amazing--then, you, you'd hear, read everything. Like, like I remember--now that we've become good friends, Don L. Lee.$$Oh, right.$$Don, I remember him when he was Don L. Lee (laughter).$$Now, he's Haki--$$Huh? [HistoryMaker] Haki Madhubuti (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) Madhubuti. Right.$$Remember, I remember when he was Don L. (unclear) Don L. (laughter). So, all this stuff--he had to calm us down, all your stuff, it's just, it's terrific. And you're just saying, now--you're saying, there's a cat--okay, what's, what do I read, you know? Sort of struggling, what do I read? What is the conversation? What is, what is the narrative that's going on here? You're trying to figure--you don't put it in that terms and everything else. So, you have your first major book that you struggle through, Franz Fanon, 'Wretched of the Earth' ['The Wretched of the Earth'].$$Right.$$Nineteen sixty-seven [1967]. Say, whoa. Then you try to read it over and over and over to get the concepts and chara- learn the concepts, what he's talking about. And, and, and, really, your relationship to the concept is visceral the first time. You just feel it, the way he talks about the colonizing, the colonizing, everything else, in some sense. So, you have to, you have to now put on a little hat, and see yourself as a coloni- colonizer as well. So, all these kinds of things are the kind of things that San Francisco State [San Francisco State College; San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California], in a sense, began to shape there. I remember reading Nkrumah [Kwame Nkrumah] you know. I remember, I remember reading Julius Nyerere's African socialism. I wanted to major in economics, now. You know, I'd come out there with the idea I wanted to major in engineering because I was good at math. But it was economics now. So, all these kind of things. And, and it was always--I mean that three years, that three years through 1969, from the spring of--the summer of 1966 through the fall of 1969 and into 1970 were some of the most intense years of my life.$$Right, because there's a lot of activity.$$We brought [HistoryMaker] Nathan Hare out in 19- in the fall of 1967.$$Well, talk about that. Because this, when I was reading about this, I was thinking this would make a really good movie.$$Huh?$$I was thinking it would make a really good movie. Because this--first of all, what you're talking about with Nathan Hare and the takeover--$$Yeah.$$--you know is really the start of black studies. And--$$Well, I think on the one hand, Nathan Hare was the primary voice. He was at Howard University [Washington, D.C.]. And like I said, we know, we controlled the budget, the student budget, let's bring Nathan Hare out there, sp- fall of 1967. And Nathan Hare--and the strike came out of--. And we had Summerskill [John Summerskill], who was the president, who seemed to be one of--kind of like Kennedy liberals and everything else, and everything. He'd lived in Africa, worked in Africa and everything, was (unclear). So, you know, we got a lot of leeway. We'd go in there, and we're young and obnoxious in some way. You know, we go in there, in a meeting with him. And somebody--I'm not going to name who--would take their, have their bullet bandolier on, and then throw it on the table before the meeting (laughter). We'd do stuff like that. We planned stuff like that. We'd go into the meeting and say (laughter)--we would come in, we'd be meeting and someone would take off their bandolier, you know, the bullet--then throw it on the table first and start--you know what I'm saying (laughter). Some (unclear) (laughter). I mean (unclear). And I remember that stuff. You know, I remember we did that stuff, you know. We set the tone of the meeting, right here: "Now we have to have--," this and all, you know. And he was our friend, and--as much as he wanted to be a friend within the narrative and context of the school itself. And then, but the other things that came out of there--since they were organizers back as far as 1966, they were involved in the Western Addition Community Organization, WACO, another organization that were mobilizing in the black community, in the Fillmore [Fillmore District, San Francisco, California]--the traditional black community, in the Fillmore, mobilizing for the fight against redevelopment. So, we would attend meetings and sit there in meetings and just simply be observers; as students, as gophers, or runners, or whatever (unclear), whatever, and facilitate the meeting. So, we were assigned as the BSU meeting--as the BSU, as a part of the Black Student Union, to go to certain meetings in the community and re- and report back. That's how, that's how we functioned. So, we weren't just simply thought of us as students; we had an off-campus office. We got redevelopment agency, who we're barking at to give us an off-campus office right on Ellis [Street] and--between Fillmore, between Fillmore [Street] and Steiner [Street]. We had an office there right around the corner from the really wonderful soul food place. And there were all these things that were there. I think, I think on the one hand, to be--if you look at it now, it's certainly driven by our orientation and commitment, but, and driven--for those who were young, we followed those who had been in the struggle and everything else. And, but, a lot of that was sponsored by our own kind of, like bravado and naivete of youth, you know, all of that stuff.

Larry Gossett

Political activist Larry Gossett was born Lawrence Edward Gossett on February 21, 1945, in Seattle, Washington. The son of Johnnie Evelyn Carter Gossett and Nelman Gossett, he grew up in Seattle’s southern and central areas. Gossett attended High Point and Horace Mann Elementary Schools and graduated from Franklin High School, where he was point guard on the basketball team. In 1963, Gossett was one of the few black males to attend the University of Washington.

In 1966, Gossett spent a year with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Through VISTA, he received community organizing training with Harlem Youth, Inc. Gossett came back to Seattle as “Oba” and went on to become the school’s first student to graduate with a degree in African American Studies. Gossett was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He was a co-founder of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union (UWBSU) and used the organization to leverage the University of Washington’s Black Studies Program. Gossett attended the Black Youth Conference in Los Angeles, California in 1967 that featured James Forman, Harry Edwards, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. He was the organizer of the Seattle Alliance of Black Student Unions and helped organize nearly a dozen high school, middle school and collegiate black student unions throughout the Seattle area. On March 29, 1968, Gossett was arrested, but was later exonerated after leading a sit-in to protest the treatment of black students at Franklin High School.

In 1982, Gossett founded the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC). He served as the Executive Director for the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) from 1979 to 1993 and helped to provide job assistance, a food bank and programs for at-risk youth. In the mid-1980s, Gossett was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition. As president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Gossett supported Norman B. Rice’s mayoral candidacy in 1989. In 1991, Washington’s King County Council was expanded from nine to thirteen members, and in 1993, Gossett won a seat representing Washington’s District 10, an area stretching from the Montlake Cut to Beacon Hill. As a councilman, Gossett has dedicated his time to the reformation of the criminal justice system, better public transportation and job opportunities for the poor and minorities.

Gossett serves as a member and chair of the King County Council. Gossett, a high profile black activist with strong ties to the Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities, was a prime mover in 1996 for changing the symbol of King County (Seattle) from 19th century slaveholder, Rufus Devane King to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The county’s official logo was changed to an image of Dr. King. There is a fifty-eight minute documentary produced by University of Washington television that features Gossett’s BSU activism. The film is called In Pursuit of Justice.

Accession Number

A2007.305

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2007

Last Name

Gossett

Maker Category
Schools

Franklin High School

West Seattle Elementary School

Horace Mann Elementary School

George Washington Middle School

James A. Garfield High School

University of Washington

First Name

Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

GOS02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Barbara, California

Favorite Quote

I Am Proud To Serve You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

2/21/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Civil rights activist and county council member Larry Gossett (1945 - ) represented the State of Washington's District 10. He was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition.

Employment

Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Central Area Motivation Program

King County Council

Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, University of Washington

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett talks about the history of Nigton, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett talks about his father's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Gossett describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Gossett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers his favorite music and television shows

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett remembers Washington's notable African American athletes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett recalls playing basketball in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett talks about the racial demographics of the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett recalls the racial climate at the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his early perceptions of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers joining the Volunteers in Service to America

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls his work with Volunteers in Service to America in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited programs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about his civil rights activities in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett remembers the 1967 Black Youth Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett recalls the agendas of the University of Washington's Black Student Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his arrest in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about his early political aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett remembers his time in jail during the Seattle riots

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his trial in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett describes his role as a student recruiter for the University of Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett talks about the founding of Seattle's Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett talks about the Rites of Passage Experience program at the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his election to the King County Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about the original namesake of King County

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Theodore V. Wells, Jr.

Attorney Theodore V. Wells, Jr. has made a mark on the legal world as one of the most sought-after white collar criminal lawyers. Ted Wells was born Theodore Von Wells, Jr. on April 28, 1950 in Washington, D.C. to Phyllis and Theodore V. Wells, Sr., and grew up in a small rowhouse in Northwest, Washington, D.C. Wells was raised by his mother, who worked in the U.S. Navy’s mailroom. Wells became known for his academic focus, and by the time he attended Calvin Coolidge High School was known for his grades as well as his prowess on the football field.

In 1968, Wells graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School and attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. While attending Holy Cross, Wells was mentored by Reverend John E. Brooks and Edward Bennett Williams and became head of the black student union. One classmate, also a member of the union, was current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with whom Wells participated in a walkout because of the school’s racially motivated unfair practices. In 1971, Wells married his high school girlfriend, Nina Mitchell, in Washington, D.C. The following year, he returned to school and received his B.A. degree.

After graduation, Wells attended Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School simultaneously, receiving both his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees in 1976. Wells was one of only forty-three black students then enrolled in Harvard Law School. He then worked as a law clerk for Judge John J. Gibbons, a Third Circuit judge, where he worked alongside another current Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito. The following year, after a very brief clerkship at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Los Angeles, Wells joined the Lowenstein Sandler law firm in New Jersey and worked doing pro bono criminal defense work under mentor Matthew Boylan. There, he would hone his trial room technique.

In 1982, Wells became partner at Lowenstein Sandler. The following year, he won his case for Hudson County Prosecutor Harold Ruvoldt, then on trial for bribery and extortion and in 1987 successfully defended Raymond Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, his first high profile case. In 1993, Wells was elected Fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers, and, in 1994, he was chosen as one of the most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal, a title he earned again in 1997 and 2000.

In 1998, Wells won a case for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy in U.S. v. Espy, and the following year, Wells effectively defended Franklin L. Haney, a Tennessee financier who had become involved in a campaign finance controversy for the 1996 presidential elections. In 2000, Wells became Bill Bradley’s National Campaign Treasurer during his unsuccessful presidential run. That year, he also joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, becoming partner and litigation department co-chair. Since then, Wells has defended a number of major corporations in a variety of cases, and his clients have included Johnson & Johnson, Mitsubishi Corporation, Philip Morris, ExxonMobil and the Carnival Corporation, as well as the first RICO case on Wall Street. Most recently, Wells defended Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff “Scooter” Libby in the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal.

Wells was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.175

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/15/2007 |and| 6/7/2007 |and| 7/25/2007

Last Name

Wells

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Rudolph Elementary School

Keene Elementary School

Paul Public Charter School

College of the Holy Cross

Harvard Law School

Harvard Business School

First Name

Theodore

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WEL02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Boy, Boy, Boy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/28/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Litigator Theodore V. Wells, Jr. (1950 - ) was partner and litigation department co-chair at the law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Employment

National Park Service

Pricewaterhousecooper (PwC)

Arnold and Palmer

Alston, Miller and Gaines

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Seton Hall University School of Law

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Favorite Color

Aqua Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Theodore V. Wells, Jr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the Northwest neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his early pastimes

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his early interest in literature

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his best friend from childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his relationship with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his father's shooting

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his civil rights activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the severity of segregation in the South

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the influence of his best friend's father

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers Kent B. Amos and A. Barry Rand

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers successful individuals from his neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his high school football career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his college recruitment as a football player

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls his decision to attend College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the athletic recruitment process

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his athletic scholarship offers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls his arrival at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his first semester at the College of the Holy Cross

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the political climate at the College of the Holy Cross

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers dating his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his African American peers at the College of the Holy Cross'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers Clarence Thomas

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to quit the football team

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the platform of his Black Student Union

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes Clarence Thomas' involvement with the Black Student Union

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the protest movements of the early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his academic interest in economics

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his employment during college

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. narrates his photographs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Slating of Theodore V. Wells, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the walkout at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the walkout at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers the aftermath of the walkout at the College of the Holy Cross

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his sophomore year at College of the Holy Cross

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers John E. Brooks

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon the success of his peers from the College of the Holy Cross

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to pursue a graduate degree

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his law school applications

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his wedding and honeymoon

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls moving to Somerville, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his enrollment at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the J.D./M.B.A. degree program at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his first year at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his classmates at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls his professors at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his work on the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the African American faculty of the Harvard Law School

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his summer internships while at the Harvard Law School

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the integration of corporate law firms

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his judicial clerkship

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls obtaining a clerkship under Judge John Joseph Gibbons

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes Judge John Joseph Gibbons' former law clerks

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his clerkship under Judge John Joseph Gibbons

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the state of minorities in the courts in the 1970s

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his duties as a judicial clerk

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his clerkship at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers Raymond A. Brown

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to join Lowenstein Sandler LLP, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to join Lowenstein Sandler LLP, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls working on a Soviet Union espionage case

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his casework at Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers defending Al Dickens

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls his position under Matthew P. Boylan at Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers defending Harold J. Ruvoldt, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers defending Harold J. Ruvoldt, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls defending Raymond J. Donovan

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his political involvement in New Jersey

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers the U.S. Senate campaigns in New Jersey

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers meeting Bill Bradley

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls Bill Bradley's presidential campaign

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his professional aspirations

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his decision to turn down judicial appointments

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers Judge Herbert Jay Stern

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his political activities in New Jersey

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers becoming a partner at Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his compensation as a trial lawyer

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his relationship with Bill Bradley

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his roles in the Democratic Party

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls being offered a position as a U.S. attorney

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes how he came to represent Mike Espy

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers the case of United States v. Espy

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his defense strategy for the case of United States v. Espy

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his federal casework

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his defense of Calvin Grigsby

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the chronology of his federal casework

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the case of United States v. Lauersen

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to join Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the mentorship of Arthur L. Liman and Edward Bennett Williams

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his decision to join Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about his preference to work solo

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the case of United States v. Flake

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the importance of research for trial lawyers

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. remembers his defense of Merck and Co., Inc.

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the process of deferred prosecution

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the case of Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his legal casework

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the case of United States v. Libby

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his most influential legal casework

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his political ideologies, pt. 1

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes the role of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. reflects upon his political ideologies, pt. 2

Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. talks about the role of African Americans in politics

Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Theodore V. Wells, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$2

DATape

6$9

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls the walkout at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, pt. 2
Theodore V. Wells, Jr. recalls working on a Soviet Union espionage case
Transcript
And we held a meeting that night after the decision was rendered that the students would be expelled, held a meeting of the black student's union [Black Student Union]. And I was the vice president of the BSU at that juncture. And there were a lot of discussions about what we should do, including whether we should take over an administration--over the administration building. And someone, I don't--do not recall whose idea it was, someone at some point in the meeting stood up and said, "You know what? This is so wrong, so fundamentally wrong and speaks so loudly about the college's attitude towards black students and towards issues of fairness. We should just leave. We should quit school and just leave and start over somewhere else." And it was an idea that just caught on like wildfire. It just went through the room, and suddenly you had in this room of forty or fifty people, people said, "You know what? We don't need to take over any administration building, occupy anybody's property, engage in trespassing. I mean the best way to send the message as to how we feel is just to leave and we'll find another college." And we took a vote, and we decided we were gonna--we were all gonna quit school the next day. And I informed the college president who was Father Swords [Raymond J. Swords] that night that the black students had decided to resign. And Father Swords, I'll never forget, looked at me in a fairly cold fashion, and he said, "Well, that's your right, but we're not changing our mind." And I said, fine. So I went back to the, what was called the black corridor. Most of the black students lived in the third and fourth floor of the Healy dormitory [Healy Hall]. And I went back and everybody came out into the halls, and I advised them that I had met with Father Brooks [John E. Brooks], and that he basically said, if you're gonna resign, resign. And we went on--I remember I went on the college radio station that night and announced that at ten o'clock tomorrow morning, each and every black student at Holy Cross [College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts] would be leaving school, and we would have a press conference at ten that morning. And we spent the night calling our parents, and it was one of the most traumatic nights of my entire life because as one of the leaders, I not only had to tell my mother [Phyllis Wells] I was quitting school, where I had a full scholarship, but I had to get on the telephone with the parents of some of the other students, who wanted to understand what was going on. And I was, at that time, nineteen years old and being put in a spot of trying to explain to a number of parents why their young sons--it was an all-male school at that time--why their young sons were giving up their scholarship because almost all of us were on some type of financial aid or, or scholarship.$I started at Lowenstein [Lowenstein, Sandler, Brochin, Kohl, Fisher and Boylan; Lowenstein Sandler LLP], and about two months later--well, I started, I was in the slash litigation corporate department, cause I still am confused, whether I'm gonna be a litigator or corporate lawyer. And I'm still trying to feel my way, but I've been there about sixty days, and the--two Soviet spies were arrested, charged with espionage, a guy named Enger [Valdik Enger] and a guy Chernyayev [Rudolph Chernyayev], and Matt [Matthew P. Boylan] was retained by the Soviet Union [Russia] to represent Chennai. And Matt said, "Okay, this is what I hired you for." He said, "Come on, you're gonna be my main associate on this case." And it was a huge national case. It was a show trial. It was right after Watergate. I guess, probably Webster [William H. Webster] had become head of the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], and they were trying to increase the prestige of the FBI. And they made a--a very conscious decision was made to have, what I'll call a show trial. And there were fascinating legal issues, diplomatic immunity because there was a wiretap. It was this big sting operation, and I'm only a few months out of my clerkship [with John J. Gibbons], and I'm in one of the biggest cases in the country, huge espionage case. And as life would have it, Sam Alito [Samuel Alito], who was co-clerk with me, Sam had gone to the U.S. attorney's office and Bob Del Tufo [Robert Del Tufo] was the U.S. attorney then, and he grabbed Sam. He said, "Well, come on, you're gonna be on the spy case with me." So Sam and I are truly ninety days, you know, four months, something like that out of our clerkships, and we're now going against each other in this huge espionage case. And it was a sting, so nothing really got stolen. The alleged thing was whether they were stealing secrets with respect to the Trident [missile] submarine system. But it was, it was a fascinating representation. I mean we truly were retained by the Soviet Union. Both of these, both of the defendants were employees of the Soviet mission [Consulate General of Russia in New York City] in New York [New York], and Enger, who was the equivalent of a colonel in the KGB, he was presented by a guy named Marty Popper [Martin Popper] and Don Ruby [Donald N. Ruby], and Popper, the way he got connected with the Soviets was he had been an assistant prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials. And he worked on Justice Roberts' [ph.] staff. And he worked with, I guess, the Soviet prosecutors during the Nuremburg trial, and when he set up his practice, he started representing the Soviet mission. So he was a natural choice to represent Enger and Matt, Matt had no connections or anything to do with the Soviet Union. But Matt was just viewed as one of the top trial lawyers. And they asked Matt would he come in and represent Chernyayev, who was like a sergeant in the KGB. And we did so, but then Matt had a terrible falling out 'cause they--the Soviets were always concerned that Matt--that Chernyayev might defect. And they didn't trust us either 'cause we--they had no connections with us. So we never got to talk to our client by himself, you know, in an entire eighteen months of representing him. There was always a senior diplomatic official, I assume, another KGB guy. But they never let him out of their sight. And we went to trial in front of--Fred Lacey [Frederick Bernard Lacey] was the federal district court judge. And that was my, that was my first big case. And we picked that jury in two days, but we impaneled the jury like three o'clock in the morning. And Lacey told them finally at three in the morning that they were gonna be sequestered. And it was, it was a fascinating case. They were, they were convicted, never did a day in prison. Lacey gave them both thirty years, but they were swapped for maybe three or four Soviet dissidents. And I remember Sam and I, we had written the--the conviction had taken place. They were out on bail pending appeal. And I remember Popper called me one day and said, "Well, we just cut the deal with the White House, but you have to go to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in the morning," meaning me, "to withdraw the appeal." And I remember--and he said, "Come to New York right away." And I was a little suspicious of, of Marty--I mean he's dead now. I thought Marty might swap me, if it would help (laughter). And I told everybody, I said, "I'm going over to Marty. If I don't show up or something," (laughter), "this is where I am." And I went to the Third Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit] the next morning, and I signed a bunch of papers with ribbons on them, and then they did the swap at a--somewhere, maybe at some airport around D.C. [Washington, D.C.]. That afternoon, went on national TV. So they never did any time. Then we were actually supposed to go to the Soviet Olympics [1980 Summer Olympics, Moscow, Russia], and then, but then Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] boycotted the Olympics. So we were, we were invited to go to the Olympics as their guests, but we never, never went 'cause the, because the U.S. boycotted the Olympics. But that's how I started doing criminal law. I mean, it, it--with the Soviet spy case.