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Sylvester Joubert

Entrepreneur Sylvester Joubert was born on March 16, 1946 in Plaisance, Louisiana to Lillian and Adolph Joubert, Jr. Joubert graduated from Plaisance High School in 1965 and then received his certification in automotive mechanics in 1970 from the Technical School in Opelousas, Louisiana.

In 1970, he moved to Anchorage, Alaska to pursue career opportunities and went to work in aircraft and ground equipment maintenance at Western Air Lines in Anchorage in 1971. While working at Western Air Lines for nearly fifteen years, Joubert became “entrepreneurial” and developed multiple businesses. He established his first company:
Joubert Landscaping Plus which was in operation from 1972 to 1979. He opened an income tax office and bought and sold real estate. In 1980, he took a leave of absence from Western Air Lines, to dedicate more time to his businesses. In 1981, he was awarded a contract with the State of Alaska for Skycap and Storage Services at Anchorage International Airport. In the same year, Joubert became the first African American TEXACO station independent owner in the State of Alaska. He retired from Western Air Lines in 1985, and opened the eatery, Catfish Kitchen, bringing the freshwater food staple and his mother’s secret recipes to Alaska from the years of 1986 to 1988. He also has operated Advantage Car & Van Rental, an enterprise operating in equipment rental and leasing since 1988. Also, that same year, Joubert entered the car sales business full-time launching Midnight Sun Car Sales and then expanded the business, and added a rental car division called Midnight Sun Car & Van Rental, in 1997. With two Anchorage locations, and a staff of twenty five, he also instituted a hiring and mentoring internship program for high school and college students during the summer months. In 2002, Joubert served as president at Fairview Auto, Inc., a family-owned and operated used-car dealership in Anchorage.

Joubert was recognized for his accomplishments in business and awarded Entrepreneur
of the Year in 2017 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Anchorage Branch.

Joubert and his wife JoAnn have two adult children, Christine and Gregory, and six grandchildren.

Sylvester Joubert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.099

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/20/2018

Last Name

Joubert

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Plaisance High School

First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Plaisance

HM ID

JOU01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

He Who Starts Behind Must Run The Fastest Or Remain Behind Forever

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alaska

Birth Date

3/15/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Anchorage

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Entrepreneur Sylvester Joubert (1946- ) the first African American TEXACO station owner in the State of Alaska in 1981 was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017 by the NAACP, Anchorage Branch.

Employment

Self Employed

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable James Joseph

Former United States Ambassador to South Africa James Alfred Joseph was born on March 12, 1935 in Plaisance, Louisiana to Julia and Adam Joseph, farmers. Joseph attended the segregated St. Landry Parish Training School where he excelled in English and original oratory. He won the state oratory competition and placed second in the national competition. Joseph was an avid athlete who achieved success in track and basketball, and during high school, Joseph served as student government association president. In 1952, upon graduation from high school, Joseph entered Southern University where he served as class president, president of the Baptist Club and as the debate team champion. He graduated with his B.A. degree in political science and social studies. In 1959, Joseph received his master’s degree in Divinity from Yale University. At Yale, Joseph became active in civil rights protests and marches while serving in the ROTC in a non-combatant unit.

In 1963, Joseph began his academic career at Stillman College while working as a civil rights organizer. As an ordained minister, Joseph also taught at Yale Divinity School and the Claremont Colleges, where he served as University Chaplain. In 1971, Joseph left academia and was hired as Vice President of Cummins Engine Company. He also served as president of the Cummins Engine Foundation. After five years in corporate philanthropy, Joseph moved to government in 1977 when he was appointed Under Secretary for the Department of the Interior under President Jimmy Carter. In 1982, Joseph returned to philanthropy as the president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations, an international organization comprised of more than 2,000 foundations, where he served until 1995. During this time, President Ronald Reagan appointed Joseph to the Advisory Committee to the Agency for International Development, and in 1985, he was named a Distinguished Visitor at Nuffield College at Oxford University.

In 1996, Joseph joined the ambassadorial ranks when was named United States Ambassador to South Africa under President Bill Clinton where he would serve until 2000. As such, he was the first ambassador to present credentials to President Nelson Mandela. Joseph was awarded the Order of Good Hope by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Joseph continues to speak publicly about a variety of civic, religious and academic issues and is the author of The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. After Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and Joseph’s home-state of Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco named Joseph the Chairman of the newly formed Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Joseph is also the founder of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke University and the University of Cape Town.

Joseph was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.186

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2007

Last Name

Joseph

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

St. Landry Parish Training School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Yale Divinity School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Plaisance

HM ID

JOS01

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I'm Not An Optimist Because I Do Not Believe Everything Ends Well. I Am Not A Pessimist Because I Do Not Believe Everything Ends Badly.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

3/12/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Civil rights activist and foreign ambassador The Honorable James Joseph (1935 - ) was appointed Under Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President Jimmy Carter, and became President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Joseph as Ambassador to South Africa.

Employment

Stillman College

Claremont Colleges

Cummins Foundation

Department of the Interior

U.S. Department of State

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable James Joseph's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his aunts and uncles

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his early interest in reading

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his activities in Plaisance, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in southern Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in southern Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers his influences in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the St. Landry Parish Training School in Opelousas, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about the Creole culture

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the Starlight Baptist Church in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the Ku Klux Klan in St. Landry Paris, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers working in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph describes segregation in Opelousas, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his extracurricular activities in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls joining the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his influences at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the Reserve Officers' Training Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his U.S. Army service

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers briefly teaching the third grade

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his civil rights activities at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his Danforth Foundation fellowship

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his studies at the Yale Divinity School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights work in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph describes a demonstration in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph describes a demonstration in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights achievements in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls protesting the Vietnam War in Claremont, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his oratorical style

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls the civil rights leaders in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers organizing protests at Claremont College

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about returning to the South

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his civil rights work in Edwards, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his career at Claremont College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls serving as a foundation executive

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Joseph describes his accomplishments as a foundation executive

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Joseph describes the Martin Luther King Fellows program

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers visiting South Africa, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Joseph remembers visiting South Africa, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Joseph talks about his involvement with the TransAfrica Forum

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Joseph recalls his appointment to the U.S. Department of Interior

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
The Honorable James Joseph describes his civil rights achievements in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The Honorable James Joseph recalls his appointment to the U.S. Department of Interior
Transcript
As you look back now, how would you define the accomplishments of those days (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, you know, what? In a year, the, the lunch counters were integrated, the restrooms were integrated, the hotels were integrated, they were hiring black people. The University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama] started bringing in blacks for their basketball team and football team. And once during the course of the, the movement during that year, I was invited by a campus minister at the University of Alabama to meet with some people. And while I was meeting, he went out for a minute and then he came back in and he said, "People are gathering in the front. I think we'd better sneak you out the back door," and they did. But a year later, you know, they were looking for athletes (laughter) and stuff. So I would say we were so successful that at the end of the year I said the local community is engaged. And I, I had a, a, a baby [Jeffrey Joseph] when I left New Haven [Connecticut], and he was only a couple of months old and I used to get these threatening calls every night about what they were gonna do to him. And it was very tough for my wife [Doris Joseph] and so my friend from Claremont [Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California] came over and offered me a job (crying).$$Yes, yeah, it's okay.$Jumping ahead just a little bit, tell me about your work with the [U.S.] Department of the Interior.$$Well, I was at Cummins [Cummins Engine Company; Cummins Inc.] minding my own business (laughter) and Andy Young [HistoryMaker Andrew Young] and I were at a conference in Lesotho and Jimmy Carter [President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] had just been elected and I said, Andy and I were having breakfast, and I said, "Andy, are you gonna go in the Carter administration?" 'Cause he had been such a big supporter and he said, "Oh, no. I, I've just gotten a few very important committees in the [U.S.] Congress and I'm gonna stay," he said, "but you ought to go." I said, "Oh, no, I've just gotten big promotions at Cummins and now I've got an opportunity to do more things." Two weeks later both Andy and I were in the Carter administration (laughter). It just happened that in my case, Cecil Andrus was the governor of Idaho and he was a friend of Jimmy Carter's and he was asked to be secretary of the interior. And I had a next door neighborhood who had been in a law firm in Idaho and he and Cecil Andrus were friends. And Cecil Andrus called him to see whether he'd consider being solicitor general. And so Cecil Andrus shared with him what he was looking for and a number two person to run the department and he says, "I've just got just the person for you; he's my neighbor." So he came back and he said, "I'd like for you to meet Cecil Andrus. He wants to meet you," and I say, "The Department of Interior? I mean, why would I wanna go to the Department of Interior?" And so he said, "Why don't you take a look at it?" So I did research the next few days. I found out everything I could, and I found out that it was one of those departments blacks ignored because they usually went into the ones that, social welfare kind of agency. But there were a lot of resources there that whites were taking advantage of, that black people were not getting. And so I said well I think I'll go talk to him. And then I went to Washington [D.C.] and talked to Cecil Andrus and I liked him very much, even though we had very different background. He had been a lawyer, a logger for gun (unclear) politics, got elected governor and now he was being appointed secretary of interior. My background was very different but I liked him and I decided to go and do it.