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Marvis Kneeland Jones

Elementary school teacher, travel agent, and public relations manager Marvis Kneeland-Jones was born on February 1, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. She was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated from Hamilton High School with honors. After the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education mandated the desegregation of the Southern school system, Kneeland-Jones was among the first eight African American students to pass the entrance exam and enroll in Memphis State University. She and her fellow students eventually became known as the Memphis State Eight.

Kneeland-Jones graduated from Memphis State University with her B.S. degree in elementary education in 1974, after a four-year hiatus caused in part by the neglect and discrimination she experienced in her time there. During her time at Memphis State, Kneeland-Jones worked as a secretary for the NAACP. She went on to receive her M.S. degree in education and teach in the Memphis Public School system for the next twenty-five years. Kneeland-Jones also organized voter registration drives in Shelby County and worked to help her husband, Rufus E. Jones, run a successful campaign for State Representative in Tennessee, a position he held for sixteen years. Upon retirement from teaching, Kneeland-Jones went to work as Public Relations Manager for the government relations consulting company REJ & Associates, which her husband had founded.

Kneeland-Jones has been involved with numerous charitable and civic organizations, among them the Links Inc., the Friends of Memphis and Shelby County Libraries, Washington Chapel Church Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the National, Tennessee, and Memphis Education Associations. Kneeland-Jones has been awarded lifetime membership in the NAACP, has been named a Civil Rights Pioneer Honoree, and has been honored with the Arthur S. Holman Lifetime Achievement Award by her alma mater, Memphis State University. Memphis State University also established the Memphis State Eight Best Paper Prize in 2000, for the best historical paper on the African American experience, in honor of Kneeland-Jones and her colleagues. In 2006 the Memphis State Eight were invited back to Memphis State to see the prize awarded at a conference on African American history and be honored for their pioneering roles in desegregation.

Accession Number

A2010.086

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/27/2010

Last Name

Kneeland-Jones

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

LaVerne

Schools

Hamilton High School

LeMoyne-Owen College

University of Memphis

Hamilton Elementary School

Douglass K-8 Optional School

Trevecca Nazarene University

First Name

Marvis

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

KNE01

Favorite Season

Birthday

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

God Help Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/1/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Memphis

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Travel agent, elementary school teacher, and public relations manager Marvis Kneeland Jones (1941 - ) helped to desegregate Memphis University and worked to promote civil rights and education throughout Memphis.

Employment

Memphis Public School System

For All Seasons

REJ & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613054">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marvis Kneeland Jones' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613055">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613056">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613057">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613058">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about her mother's teaching career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613059">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613060">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about her father's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613061">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her parents' marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613062">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers her mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613063">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the deaths of her maternal family members</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613064">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613065">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers the Douglass community in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613066">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613067">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences at Hamilton Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613068">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls her childhood activities in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613069">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her early involvement in Memphis' Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613070">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the civil rights leadership in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613071">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers her early participation in sit-in protests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613072">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls the desegregation of the city buses in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613073">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers moving to the Douglass community of Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613074">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences at sit-ins in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613075">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls the discriminatory admissions practices at Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613076">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes the NAACP's first attempt to integrate Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613077">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes the formation of the Memphis State Eight</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613078">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls her reluctance to enroll at Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613079">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the Great Migration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613080">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers her first day at Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613081">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences of racial discrimination at Memphis State University, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613082">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences of racial discrimination at Memphis State University, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613083">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls her academic experiences at Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613084">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls graduating with honors from Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613085">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers meeting her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613086">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about her marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613087">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613088">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marvis Kneeland Jones recalls her graduation from Memphis State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613089">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her career as an educator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613090">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about her children's education and careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613091">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613092">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marvis Kneeland Jones remembers her students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613093">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her husband's legislative career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613094">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about Mayor W.W. Herenton of Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613095">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the need for education reform</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613096">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613097">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marvis Kneeland Jones reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613098">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marvis Kneeland Jones reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613099">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Marvis Kneeland Jones talks about the need for job training programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613100">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Marvis Kneeland Jones describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613101">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marvis Kneeland Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/613102">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marvis Kneeland Jones narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences of racial discrimination at Memphis State University, pt. 1
Marvis Kneeland Jones describes her experiences of racial discrimination at Memphis State University, pt. 2
Transcript
So, now after the dean [R.M. Robison] gave you all his rules of what he didn't want you to do and to get off campus as fast as you can (laughter), what did the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] tell you all?$$Well, the NAA- we told them about the registration process and the NAACP said, "Look, if you don't like what they have picked out for you go to them and tell them. And for your courses, your orientation and everything, and tell them that you are not happy with that. And if they say anything to you, give me a call." Well, you know we were so tense that we didn't do that. We just took what they gave us and went on.$$So you didn't tell the NAACP what the dean said or anything there?$$I didn't tell them.$$You, you didn't tell them, okay?$$Yeah, I--we told them, but I said--the NAACP said, "If you don't like what you got in terms of courses and--go and tell the dean that you don't like it and the administration," as they would say. But we didn't do that. We just took what they gave us and went on.$$But the NAACP didn't know that you all were just taking stuff you didn't like?$$No, they didn't know.$$That's what I--that's the point (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They were saying, "Okay, so how was your day?" Mr. Turner [Jesse H. Turner, Sr.] every day, "Did you go to the cafeteria?" "No." "When you going?" "We, we don't know Mr. Turner. We, we don't really have time. We gonna have to get off the campus by twelve [o'clock]. We don't even have time to go to the library." And he said, "Well, I don't know why you can't, go on to the library." Well we ignored him because we wanted to get off of that campus like we were told. We just didn't do it.$$Now were you all afraid of the students?$$Sort of. Because--actually we didn't have very much socialization among each other. We were never in a class together, it was always one of us. And when we would go in, we would be sitting, if you sit in the middle you're gonna have seats vacant on both sides and behind you. And we used to wonder why people would be getting up. You know, how we had--how you go into class. And that's what would happen. And then we also--$$But, but did you really wonder why?$$Yeah--$$You didn't expect that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) We wondered why and but we didn't--we just told the NAACP about that and of course they just said, "Well, you can't do anything with the people that move. But if they bother you, you must let us know." Well they didn't bother you, they just treated you indifferently. And you had to not pay attention to it. And when I, I noticed in my class, see I was the only one in there so I didn't have anybody to talk to in my group. I raised my hand and sometimes the teacher would just overlook it and somebody else would've answered the question. I didn't like that. So I ended up staying at Memphis State [Memphis State University; University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee] under these conditions for about two years and then I quit 'cause it was too much for me. Some of the others dropped out in the first year and went somewhere else.$$Did anybody finish there?$$Yes, Luther McClellan [Luther C. McClellan] was the first person to finish and he was from Manassas High School [Memphis, Tennessee]. And he finished and he was chemistry, mathematician and he started working for the government and he went into their service. And he did finish. The one--the next person to finish was Eleanor Gandy and she was from Douglass High School [Memphis, Tennessee]. And she majored in French. Now they went straight through. The rest of them, let's see, Sammie Burnett [Sammie Burnett Johnson] left in--after one year and she was my partner. And Ralph [Ralph Prater] finished, and I think he went--he didn't finish, but he went to Howard [Howard University, Washington D.C.] and got a law degree there.$That's Ralph Prater?$$Ralph Prater, uh-huh.$$You said that they put sugar in his gas tank?$$Oh, one day we were going home and he was trying to get the car started. He said, "I know there's nothing wrong with my car 'cause I just had a tune up." And so he tried to start it 'cause he was gonna take us to the bus, we were gonna miss our bus because it was about a couple of blocks up the road and he was just giving us a ride. And we could get a chance to interact with each other. But then we--Luther [Luther C. McClellan] and--not Luther but James Simpson [sic. John Simpson] and they looked and said, "Man, you got something in your tank." And that's when he found out that he had sugar in his tank. So somebody had to put it there. We don't know who. But anyway it was there. Another incident that happened is that Sammie [Sammie Burnett Johnson] and I were walking to catch the bus and we wal- went through what they call Jones Hall [Memphis, Tennessee]. And at Jones Hall, these football boys were standing out there and they said, "Okay, you niggers need to get outta here, we don't want you here." And of course, we were furious. We didn't know what to do, so we kept walking real fast and, and Sammie told me don't look back, we're just gonna walk and do what we have to do, and I did. Another incident that happened is the orange situation where some of the par- of Memphis State [Memphis State University; University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee] they said that they--oranges were thrown at them. And it was little irritating stuff like that, just irritating. So that pushed a lot of them away to go to other schools, to just leave that kind of environment. What got me out is that I got married and I had three children right away and I did not want to go under that kind of stress for life. I did not think I had a normal college life. I had experienced it at LeMoyne [LeMoyne College; LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, Tennessee], but when I went to Memphis State it was a whole lot different from what I was used to.$$What was the, the feedback that you received from Mr. Turner [Jesse H. Turner, Sr.] and the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]? What did they say about--did they have anything to say about you all not staying in school?$$Well, sort of you know, by that time I wasn't working for him then, you know. I was at home being a homemaker. But I started school taking three hours, six hours.$$Okay, but I wanted to go back to when you all--when the, when the first, the black students first started dropping out of that bad situation at Memphis State. Did they--did they try to gather you all together and talk you back into going?$$Oh sure they talked to us a lot, but we just decided that this was not for us. Luther wanted to because he was very smart and he wanted to stay because he, he wanted to be a part of--he wanted to go on and get a higher form of education. And when he went in the [U.S.] Air Force he really did.$$Now did--did anybody--I'm sorry, but did anybody from the NAACP ever go up to Memphis State and talk to the dean [R.M. Robison] or the president [Cecil C. Humphreys] about how you all were being treated?$$You know what, I really don't think so. But I don't really know, because when I told my parent [Jones' father, James Kneeland] about it he said, "Well, you're just gonna have to keep going and do what you know to do." But by that time I had met my husband [Rufus E. Jones, Sr.] and I was ready to get married.$$Okay, well I just wanted to make sure I--how that worked 'cause if you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I don't remember that. I do remember that the first year that we were there, they used to call us all together and we would go down to Mutual Federal [Mutual Federal Savings and Loan Association, Memphis, Tennessee] and have those meetings with those lawyers. But I really don't know what came out of that because it was at that time that the State Board of Education [Tennessee State Board of Education] allowed us to come to that school. And then I think they just said everything was okay, unless we complained, nothing else was done about it. And we just scattered. Now what? (Unclear) (laughter).$$Okay, well that--that's important 'cause I think we do need to know the dynamic of how the NAACP was working. And if they, they put you all, they, they organized you to go there, it seems like somebody would've, there'd been some follow through?$$Mr. Turner was trying to, you know. But you know, as I left and I wasn't working there anymore, because when I went to school, you know, I couldn't work. I had to spend most of my time studying. I just couldn't.

Phyllis Hicks

Newspaper marketing director and nonprofit administrator Phyllis Jean Mosley Hicks was born on March 7, 1943 in Omaha, Nebraska to Juanita Agee Mosley and James P. Mosley, Jr. Hicks’ civic-minded grandmother, Emma Lee Agee, was a 1919 member of the church pastored by Reverend Earl Little (Malcolm X’s father) and was a childhood friend of the National Baptist Convention’s controversial Reverend Joseph H. Jackson, as well as Whitney M. Young, Jr. Her paternal grandfather Rev. J. P. Mosley Sr. led a demonstration to integrate the swimming pools in 1954 in Chillicothe, Missouri. Whitney M. Young was president of the Omaha Urban League, where Hick's mother worked as his personal secretary. Her mother played trumpet in an all girl band and her father was a saxophone player. Hicks studied piano and voice for several years and she was a member of the Elks Drill Team. She attended Long and Howard Kennedy elementary schools. Hicks was a member of NAACP Youth Chapter, worked on the school paper and was a member of the journalism club and the yearbook staff at Omaha Technical High School. Graduating in 1961, she attended Peru State Teachers College.

Married in 1963, Hicks took a job with the Power Electric Company and volunteered for Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Centers, Inc. (OIC). Hired by OIC in 1967, she produced eight pageants for the organization in addition to serving in as instructor and in an administrative role for thirty years. Hicks joined Sitel Corporation in 1998 as a quality assurance representative and trainer. Employed at CSG Systems, Inc., she served as product support analyst through 2005 when she retired.

Marketing director for the "Omaha Star," the oldest and only African American newspaper in Omaha, Hicks also writes a column called “It’s Just My Opinion” for the publication. She is the founder and mentor to “The Stepping Saints,” a local drill team. Hicks is the recipient of the Woman of the Year, the Black Heritage Award, OIC’s Thirty Year Service Award and the City of Omaha’s Living the Dream Award at the 2002 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

Phyllis Hicks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.279

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/5/2007

Last Name

Hicks

Maker Category
Schools

Howard Kennedy Elementary School

Omaha Technical High School

Peru State College

Creighton University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Phyllis

Birth City, State, Country

Omaha

HM ID

HIC03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Nebraska

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nebraska

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/7/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Omaha

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Nonprofit administrator and newspaper marketing director Phyllis Hicks (1943 - ) was the marketing director and columnist for the Omaha Star newspaper. She volunteered for thirty years for the Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Centers, Inc.

Employment

Power Solutions Electric Company

Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.

Sitel Corporation

CSG Systems, Inc.

Omaha Star

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:10906,292:11842,311:12202,318:13066,333:14290,369:15874,399:16450,410:17746,436:18898,459:19618,472:35996,647:36788,659:38812,697:43036,779:55514,924:55830,929:59938,1009:60491,1017:63809,1080:65547,1117:73494,1211:85380,1445:92820,1658:93300,1675:102613,1835:103303,1850:103648,1856:103924,1861:104338,1868:106822,1939:111010,1962:116752,2033:117247,2039:120217,2081:132639,2199:135621,2249:136118,2257:136899,2277:137254,2283:138106,2304:138958,2319:139313,2325:142330,2330:148170,2446:154154,2598:154426,2603:157690,2696:159254,2732:169720,2902:170210,2941:178241,3012:178857,3022:179319,3030:182707,3107:192717,3408:197070,3422$0,0:4446,63:17378,218:17847,226:19053,259:32230,410:32630,416:33350,426:34710,446:35510,457:37270,495:40740,514:41160,528:44310,603:50260,767:50680,774:55064,787:58510,846:61030,922:61660,983:73950,1214:78766,1279:82406,1333:95890,1523:96520,1533:96970,1539:97420,1545:120324,1946:123015,2021:125361,2078:125844,2089:126672,2105:132704,2151:133536,2166:133856,2172:134368,2185:138924,2317:145128,2521:153825,2634:159000,2740:159300,2745:159675,2752:160050,2763:160575,2772:161025,2779:161475,2787:163050,2816:163500,2838:163800,2843:164100,2848:176534,2973:179966,3044:182696,3109:183086,3115:184256,3134:186050,3170:189248,3238:190808,3276:197492,3335:200132,3415:204019,3471:206863,3532:207574,3542:209707,3586:210023,3591:210576,3600:212077,3629:212551,3655:214921,3697:216343,3732:223479,3813:224118,3826:224686,3849:231576,4043:231871,4052:232225,4064:232756,4114:244800,4323:246245,4355:250155,4453:250580,4459:275793,4778:276290,4787:277284,4807:277852,4816:281047,4910:285662,5011:293045,5086:296130,5141
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531304">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Phyllis Hicks' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531305">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Phyllis Hicks lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531306">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Phyllis Hicks describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531307">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Phyllis Hicks talks about Malcolm X's family in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531308">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Phyllis Hicks describes her maternal grandmother's civic involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531309">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Phyllis Hicks describes her mother's community in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531310">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Phyllis Hicks describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531311">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Phyllis Hicks describes her family's civil rights activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531312">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Phyllis Hicks describes her mother's work for Whitney Young</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531313">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Phyllis Hicks describes her father's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531314">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Phyllis Hicks describes her parents' interests in music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531315">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Phyllis Hicks describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531316">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Phyllis Hicks describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531317">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Phyllis Hicks talks about the role of music in her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531318">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Phyllis Hicks talks about her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531319">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Phyllis Hicks describes her early activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531320">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Phyllis Hicks remembers her stepfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531321">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Phyllis Hicks remembers the St. Martin de Porres Club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531322">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Phyllis Hicks recalls the basketball team at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531323">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Phyllis Hicks remembers Technical High School in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531324">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Phyllis Hicks recalls her decision to attend Peru State Teachers College in Peru, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531325">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Phyllis Hicks remembers Peru State Teachers College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531326">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Phyllis Hicks recalls singing at Peru State Teachers College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531327">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Phyllis Hicks describes the Civil Rights Movement in Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531328">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Phyllis Hicks talks about Nebraska's Native American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531329">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Phyllis Hicks remembers reading African American publications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531330">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Phyllis Hicks recalls her maternal ancestors' experiences after moving to Omaha</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531331">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Phyllis Hicks describes the start of her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531332">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Phyllis Hicks recalls working for the Opportunities Industrialization Centers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531333">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Phyllis Hicks describes her projects at the Opportunities Industrialization Centers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531334">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Phyllis Hicks describes her later career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531335">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Phyllis Hicks talks about writing for the Omaha Star, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531336">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Phyllis Hicks talks about writing for the Omaha Star, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531337">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Phyllis Hicks describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531338">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Phyllis Hicks talks about the police shooting of Vivian Strong</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531339">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Phyllis Hicks recalls the black business district in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531340">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Phyllis Hicks talks about the African American community in Omaha, Nebraska</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531341">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Phyllis Hicks reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531342">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Phyllis Hicks reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531343">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Phyllis Hicks talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/531344">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Phyllis Hicks describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

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Phyllis Hicks describes the start of her career
Phyllis Hicks talks about writing for the Omaha Star, pt. 1
Transcript
After you got married [to Alonzo Hicks], you kind of dropped out of Peru [Peru State Teachers College; Peru State College, Peru, Nebraska] for a while and--$$Um-hm.$$Well, what did you do?$$I worked at the Power District [Omaha Public Power District], got involved in the politics down there because all of the black, except for two women who had been there for years, worked in the mail room, so I started my campaign. I got that job because my roommate in college, her stepfather was an engineer there, and he had gotten--they got me the job 'cause I had college--in the mail room, you know? And so I, I rebelled. When we used to have to go, there was a plant that was about six blocks; we'd take the mail up there twice a day, then we'd have to go out and wait on a bus to take the bus to go to another plant--it was on 43rd Street. And they said before I came, they used to have to even go down by the river to take that mail, and they'd be on the bus and you're standing out here, and one day it was raining cats and dogs, and they'd give you galoshes and a raincoat and umbrella to go carry this satchel of mail. I told her, "I am not going." This is what--I say, "I have been driving since I'm ten years old, and you have all those cars down there in the garage that belong to OPPD [Omaha Public Power District]. I am not going out in this rain to carry mail or anything else. Now, you can do what you got to do." So (laughter), they took me in to the vice president's office. I said, "I'm not going." I said, "Now, if you want the job, you got it." And he (laughter), he said, "Well, we'll get somebody to carry it; it is raining kind of hard." And from that day on, the women didn't have to take the bus no more. They--he'd started using the couriers. They didn't let us drive, but they started using a courier service. So I guess I've always been a rebel. I just--you know, for wrong and injustice I just had to stand up and let it be known. And so I worked there until I decided to have a child. And in those days there was no such thing as pregnancy insurance, so I had to quit, and then you had to re-apply, but then I didn't wanna go back 'cause it's just--a lot of things had happened there that they discriminated against people, and it's so funny because one guy that started in the print shop there the same day I started, his name is Fred Petersen, ended up being the president of the power company. And we always kind of maintained a friendship through the years, and when he got his first check as president, he called and asked me to lunch and he said, "I just couldn't show this to nobody but you." He showed me his check, and you know, I had a lot of choice words for him. So anytime I needed anything, he owed me--I'd call, "Fred," (laughter), I'd say, "'cause you didn't know anything when you started. I helped you get your promotions." And so it was always a joke, but I said, "It's not a joke." But he ended up being president of the company. And so then I didn't go back to work there. I worked six months at an insurance company, and then they were starting what they called the OIC, Opportunities Industrialization Centers, Reverend Sullivan--Leon Sullivan's program (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, right, in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], right.$$Okay, all right. I started--I quit my job with a six month-old baby [Wayne Hicks], and went to work for free.$Your column, It's My Opinion [ph.]? Is that--$$Um-hm.$$Okay. When did you start writing that?$$When I came--started working at the Star [Omaha Star]. I came--I retired (laughter) April 2000--April 15th, 2005, and I started working down here at the Star in June, so I retired a whole month and a half? (Laughter) And so then I'd been here for a little while, and I decided I would write this one particular story about the substandard and the government money going to the subsidized private business, and then after that, I started it. And I figure--I write it because it's what I think, I can say what I think, if you don't agree you can write back and say what you think, but that's my opinion whether you like it or not. So it gives me freedom to say what I really want, within reason (laughter).$$Okay. Now, what have been some of the issues that you've (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, there's a filling station, it's right at the base of where they're gonna start this new North Omaha [Omaha, Nebraska] plan, and it's a Sinclair [Sinclair Oil Corporation] station, and I just happened to--I needed gas, I was coming from city hall, and I went up Dodge [Street], and I said, "Well, I won't go to that one, I'll go to one in the neighborhood," but I happened to look at it and I remember I say, "Well, you know, I'm really on empty," so I stopped and got gas, and then I came on down and I came down 24th [Street], and I got to the one on 24th and Cuming [Street], in a same Sinclair station, but the, the price was forty cents more a gallon. I say, "Wait a minute, something is wrong." So I drove all the way back to Dodge Street to look at it, so the--I was so mad, so I went into the--I stopped to come in there and speak to the manager. They say the manager wasn't there. I say, "Well, who decides who--what you sell the gas for?" Well, I guess they said the manager. I said, "Well, I wanna talk to the manager." So I just couldn't sleep. I got up that next morning bright and early; took my camera, went and took pictures of the one that I got gas from, came down to the one that was in North Omaha, and took pictures of that one being forty cents more a gallon and, and I asked the girl (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Forty cents less, I mean the one--$$More.$$Oh, the one--$$The one that I got gas (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, the first one, yeah. It was--that's--yeah, right, okay.$$On Dodge Street, it was off downtown. And so then I asked to speak to the manager, I left my name and number, they never called. So I wrote--I took pictures and showed it (laughter), and I put it--I wrote that in Just My Opinion. The manage- didn't--the manager or one of the employees wrote me an email, just real nasty, about that he's the nicest person, that I had no business doing that, and all, and he gave them jobs, and blah, blah, blah. Come to find out, under disguise, the manager was Hispanic--the owner is Hispanic, and had--and nobody knew he was Hispanic, and he called me and he said, "Can I meet with you?" I said, "Sure." He said, "I want you to change that story because I come and they told me not to meet and not to open up 'cause I would have all the--all this, and I don't make the money that the other station--I don't have a quick shop and I don't have--." I said, "Sir." He said, "What they're selling gas for--and they're still doing it, still. You go down there now and it's still forty cents more." And I said, "When you bought your gas and it was the same price as everybody else's gas, granted it may have gone up the next time you bought it, but are you gonna tell me that in two weeks that you bought your gas, your tanks were empty? That you had to raise your price?" "Yes, I had to--I don't make any money off the gas and, and, and you--I just made my money--," and he has a Subway. I say, "Well, you make it off the sandwiches. You're right at the bottom of the hill of Creighton [Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska]." And so he went on, and he just went on and said, "I want you to change that story." I said, "I'm not changing my story." And so he kept on and kept on, and I said, "I am not changing it." I say, "Now, if you wanna write something, your opinion, I'll put it in there, but I am not 'cause it's the fact. Is this not your store? Is this not your sign? This is not the one on Dodge--this is not their sign." So I made a call, and I called all--about seven more in Omaha [Nebraska]. Some of 'em would tell me their prices--most of 'em wouldn't over the phone. So I started going around looking at 'em, and so he changed it a little bit, but then he went right back. If you go there now, he's forty cents more. So--$$Okay.$$And I--you know, I just wrote it and I didn't go back and revisit it, which I probably should, because he's still doing it. And people pull up without even noticing, fill up their tanks, and they can go right down the street, or four blocks over, and get it for forty cents less a gallon.$$Okay.$$So that's what, that's what inspired me to write those two stories, and that's when I started writing my articles.