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Brenda Wood

Broadcast journalist Brenda Blackmon Wood was born on September 8, 1955 in Washington, D.C. to Welvin Bray and Bernice Blackmon. Wood graduated from Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland in 1973. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in speech communication and mass media from Loma Linda University in Southern California in 1977.

Upon graduation in 1977, Wood was hired as a news reporter for WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1978, she left that market for a brief time to serve as a general assignment reporter at WSM-TV in Nashville, Tennessee. One year later, Wood returned to WAAY-TV as the evening news anchor. In 1980, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent eight years as the evening weekday news anchor for WMC-TV. In 1988, Wood was hired as the evening news anchor and reporter at Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV, where she also hosted the Emmy award-winning news magazine show, Minute by Minute. She then joined WXIA-TV in Atlanta in 1997, where she anchors the 6pm and 11pm weekday newscasts, as well as her signature newscast, The Daily 11 at 7 with Brenda Wood. Wood was also co-producer and host of WXIA-TV’s Emmy award-winning prime time show, Journeys with Brenda Wood, which has received the National Association of Black Journalists’ 1998 award for Community Affairs Programming.

Throughout her career Wood has received numerous honors and awards, including eighteen Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Southeast Region; six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); and three awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters (GAB). In 2013 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year by the Governor's Office of the Georgia Women's Commission, and received the Legacy Award from the Atlanta Business League. Wood has also been named Who's Who in Atlanta; awarded the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor," and named "Best Local News Anchor" by Atlanta Magazine in 1998. Wood has also received an award from the Georgia Chapter of Women in Communication, the Gabriel Award of Merit from the National Association of Catholic Churches, and a journalism award from the Georgia Psychological Association, as well as several awards and honors from local civic and community organizations.

Wood is a member of the NATAS, the NABJ, the AABJ, the Atlanta Press Club, and Women in Film. She serves on the boards of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theater Company and Chayil, Inc., a nonprofit that helps domestic abuse victims. In addition, Wood serves on several local advisory boards in the Atlanta area.

Wood lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has two daughters, Kristen and Kandis.

Brenda Wood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.072

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/21/2014

Last Name

Wood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Blackmon

Schools

Takoma Academy

Loma Linda University

Oakwood Adventist Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

WOO11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/8/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Brenda Wood (1955 - ) has worked as a reporter and news anchor for Atlanta, Georgia’s WAGA-TV and WXIA-TV for over thirty-four years. She has received eighteen Emmy awards, six awards from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, and the NAACP's Phoenix Award for "Best News Anchor."

Employment

WAAY TV, Huntsville

WSM TV, Nashville

WMC TV, Memphis

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

WXIA-TV, Atlanta

Favorite Color

Teal

Timing Pairs
0,0:7380,128:11808,203:12546,214:13612,227:15252,255:15580,261:25060,353:25368,364:25676,369:26215,378:27139,391:28063,408:30065,474:30373,479:30758,488:31297,499:31913,509:33299,540:34146,556:34916,569:41952,603:43510,621:45314,693:46462,714:46954,721:47446,728:57582,870:59922,954:62340,1018:62964,1027:63588,1047:63978,1053:65304,1086:67644,1144:71170,1149$0,0:2864,26:6305,60:7415,72:8636,86:9524,109:10634,123:18665,270:20000,286:20890,297:22492,316:30372,384:34712,451:35314,475:36776,567:40818,611:42452,644:42796,649:46666,713:47268,734:47698,741:48816,768:56442,818:60290,893:61030,904:62214,934:62510,939:62954,946:71920,1111:74266,1182:77716,1260:78682,1278:83274,1301:83862,1308:88054,1338:88732,1345:89862,1356:93246,1392:93576,1398:94500,1420:94830,1426:95556,1445:96414,1463:97074,1474:101308,1491:101753,1497:102109,1502:102910,1512:109495,1558:116295,1677:120375,1762:120970,1770:121310,1775:130405,1911:137804,1978:140807,2024:141577,2035:146967,2171:147737,2185:148969,2206:156470,2301:156841,2309:157159,2316:157901,2338:158855,2366:159438,2379:167824,2523:168644,2534:170858,2586:181180,2709:181520,2715:182540,2730:182965,2736:185296,2744:192060,2924:199908,3059:206572,3240:213125,3316:217780,3366:218660,3381:221620,3457:223860,3484:226900,3565:233648,3602:234312,3614:243970,3798:244270,3803:245995,3839:246295,3844:254254,3959:254514,3965:254930,3974:255554,3996:255814,4002:258608,4032:263310,4081:263566,4086:263822,4091:264206,4098:269134,4205:274062,4343:274510,4354:275278,4372:275598,4379:275918,4385:279710,4393:280510,4405:281630,4424:282030,4430:287824,4531:291154,4596:299280,4670:299640,4675:306322,4757:306742,4763:314470,4931:314806,4936:319390,4977:321630,5008:326590,5189:327230,5199:329710,5239:331870,5321:334430,5363:344686,5444:344982,5449:345944,5474:346314,5481:352350,5551:353302,5580:356170,5586:356910,5600:357428,5609:365642,5788:366234,5797:366826,5807:367566,5818:367862,5823:377454,5901:381950,5952
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Wood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks about her biological mother and her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her adoptive parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes the history of musicianship in her maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive father's family background and talks about his career as a musician

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood describes her adoptive mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood describes growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood talks about the death of her biological mother in 1960, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood explains why her adoptive father, Henry Blackmon, immigrated to the Netherlands

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about her upbringing as a Seventh Day Adventist and attending Seventh Day Adventist schools throughout her education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about her experiences at Woodson Junior High School and the Dupont Park Church Seventh Day Adventist School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood remembers taking piano lessons from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's friendship with singer and actress Joyce Bryant

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Wood talks about her mother's relationship with singer Roberta Flack

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Wood talks about wanting to be a Broadway performer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Brenda Wood describes her experience at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Brenda Wood remembers the riots in Washington, D.C. in 1968 after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Brenda Wood describes the racial demographics of the student body at Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Wood describes how she became interested in speech and communications

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Wood talks about deciding to attend Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Wood talks briefly about the Loma Linda University Medical Center's legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Wood talks about transferring to Loma Linda University and wanting to become an investigative filmmaker

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Wood talks about joining WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama in 1977

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Wood explains why she chose not to leave Huntsville, Alabama for Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Wood talks about receiving an offer to join WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Wood talks about her marriage in 1978

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Brenda Wood remembers watching JC Hayward and Max Robinson on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.
Brenda Wood remembers being interviewed by WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama
Transcript
So, now, did you pay--considering what you're doing today, did you pay special attention to news people on television?$$No, not really. I do remember, I was--I remember when JC Hayward and Max Robinson arrived at Channel 9 in Washington [D.C.] and loved them, probably, I guess, because I don't know this to be a fact, but we watched Channel 9 all the time. And they were the first blacks that I saw on TV giving the news. So, my mom [Alma Montgomery Blackmon] was very, very proud of that. She loved Max Robinson, you know. They were always in--so I watched them growing up. I can't say, though, that I, you know, that was not--I didn't look--I don't know. You know, I, I admired them greatly, but I don't really recall thinking one day I want to be JC Hayward, you know what I'm saying? Don't--it wasn't that. But I did watch them all the time.$$Okay, so you were keenly aware of them, but you weren't--$$Absolutely.$$--you didn't see them as future, you know--$$No, you know, at the time, I wanted to be a Broadway singer, or you know opera singer. That's kind of where my head was 'cause that's, that'a what I was hearing all the time.$I was--by this time I was engaged. My fiance was slated to graduate in December, and then we were gonna get married. And then I was gonna start the master's fellowship there in Ohio [at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio]. He was gonna do his residency there. So between June of graduation from undergrad and December I had this free time. So I applied for a job somewhere in Huntsville [Alabama]. And I, you know, I had done a little bit of radio in college at the college radio station, and I had done some internships--$$I was gonna ask you if they had a station there?$$Yeah, they did. It was all automated, so, yeah, I didn't do very much but punch buttons. And I had done some internships in Los Angeles [California] with a couple of independent film companies. So I had a small resume. I'd sent it back home to then Huntsville. And I just, you know, sent it everywhere to radio, TV, newspapers, just, you know, I just needed something to do. And I wanted to do something in communications. And--$$Now, this is in the space between Loma Linda [University, Loma Linda, California] and Ohio State?$$Correct.$$Would have been Ohio State.$$Right, so I sent out my resume like in April. I knew I was gonna be graduating in June, so I had put together a little resume and sent it out before graduation. I got an inquiry before graduation from a couple of newspapers, little local newspapers, couple of radio stations that were interested, and a television station. And my first week back home from, after graduation, I only went to the TV station for the interview, not smart, you know. It's like, "Oh, I don't wanna work at a newspaper. And I don't wanna work at a radio station." I wanted to--and the reason why I wanted to do the TV was because they shot film. And this is 1977. So they're still shooting film. So in my little brain, I'm thinking, well, I wanna do film, and they do film. So I'll (laughter) do film. So I went, I accepted the, the invitation to come and do an interview at the television station there.$$Okay, so you saw yourself as behind the cameras kind of--$$Yeah, yeah, right, but they--and they were, I knew they were looking for a reporter. And I had taken one journalism class. So, you know, I wasn't so much interested--what drew me to the TV station wasn't that I wanted to be a reporter or let me see what reporting is like? It was, I, you know, I don't know. I knew nothing. So, you know, it was like, they shoot film, and I wanna do film. So I'll go to the television station and apply to be a reporter. And it doesn't really connect. But that's what I did. And Adrian Gibson was the news director at the time, and he interviewed me, and I said, really all the wrong things, thinking back on it. You know, I said, I don't wanna be, I'm not interested in being a reporter. You know, have you ever done any reporting? No, taken, you know, have you taken classes? Just one. Yeah, well, what do you see in your future? Well, I wanna be a filmmaker. Do you wanna be a reporter? "No, not really. And by the way, I'm leaving in six months 'cause I'm going to Ohio State to get my master's in filmmaking. And then I'll be gone. Oh, and on top of that, I don't work on Friday nights or Saturdays 'cause I'm Seventh Day Adventist." And this man hired me (laughter). I don't know why. I did a, they put me in front of the camera on the news set in the studio and asked, you know, just said, talk, you know, just talk to the camera. And I did, and I don't even know what I said.$$This is your first time talking, I mean being the talent on a television program.$$(No audible response) 'Cause, you know, we didn't have the--different from today. At, at--neither at Oakwood [College, Huntsville, Alabama] nor at Loma Linda did they have a studio set up, you know, did they have a, you know, a little news operation. They had none of that where I was, none of that. So it really was the first time I'd been in a studio, the first time I'd talked in front of a camera or any of that.$$Okay. So did they build your work around your religion and other--$$Yeah, they did. They gave me a Sunday through Thursday schedule. Fortunately, because they're in Huntsville, they knew of Oakwood's existence. They knew of the Seventh Day Adventist College. So they--and the woman that I was replacing who was also a black female, ironically, left to go to Ohio State University to work on her master's degree. Isn't that just funny how life works. So, you know, and because it was the '70's [1970s], and I filled two quotas, I was black and female, you know, I would, I was, you know, I was a twofer. So they wanted to hire--they had a slot for (laughter) a twofer. They were losing one, a black female. And so they get to hire one. So that probably was more of the motivating factor than anything else (laughter) in hiring me. I was there (laughter). I was a warm body (laughter).$$Now, well, you had the credentials which some, it was like a driver's license in some ways. You have a degree in communications.$$Yeah.$$So they can say, they can justify your hiring by pointing to these degrees.$$Right. It wasn't a degree in journalism.$$I mean in communications.$$That would have been helpful. Well, yeah, it was in communications. You said it right. You know, it was very broad, very generic, yeah.$$All right.$$But I filled the bill.$$Okay, okay, and ever--anyone ever told you that you looked like a television talent?$$No.$$Really, up to that point?$$Oh, no. No, as a matter--$$Interesting.$$--of fact, when I was in college, people would say to me, you know, "What's your major?" "Communications." "Oh, what's that?" You know, that--it's the '70s [1970s]. It was a new major. "What's that?" And my standard answer in explaining what that was, you know, "Well, you know, I wanna go into filmmaking." "Huh?" And then my retort would be, "Well, anything but news."

Ricki Fairley

Marketing executive Ricki Fairley was born on June 17, 1956 in Washington, D.C. to Wilma Holmes and Richard Fairley. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with her B.A. degree in English. She went on to receive her M.B.A. degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1981.

Upon graduation, Fairley was hired as an associate brand manager for McNeil Consumer Products Company in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. She then worked as an associate brand manager at Nabisco from 1984 to 1988, and as senior brand manager at Reckitt & Colman from 1989 until 1995. In 1995, Fairley was named vice president of marketing for the SEGA Channel, and from 1996 to 2000, she served as marketing director for The Coca-Cola Company. She then worked as vice president of marketing for Chupa Chups USA from 2000 to 2003, and as partner and strategist for PowerPact, LLC from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, Fairley was hired as partner and senior vice president of strategy and planning for IMAGES USA, and promoted to chief marketing officer and partner in 2009. In February of 2012, Fairley established DOVE Marketing Inc., where she serves as president.

Fairley is the president emeritus of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association, is a member of the Dartmouth Committee on Trustees, and serves as board chair of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company. Fairley has also served on the boards of the Latin American Association, Ne-Yo’s Compound Foundation, and Move This World. She manages the relationship between the Links, Inc. and the White House Office of Public Engagement as a member of the National Women’s Issues and Economic Empowerment Committee, and is a member of the Silver Spring, Maryland Chapter of the Links, Inc.

Fairley holds the Leadership Award from the Creative Thinking Association of America, was named a Top 100 Marketer by Black Enterprise magazine in February 2011, and is a member of the 2011 Class of Leadership Atlanta. She received the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 2013 Multicultural Excellence Award for the African American radio advertising for the Obama for America campaign.

Fairley has two daughters, Amanda and Hayley; both are graduates of Dartmouth College.

Ricki Fairley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.069

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2014

Last Name

Fairley-Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Dartmouth College

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business

Academy Of The Holy Cross

Keene Elementary School

St. Anthony Catholic School

St. Michael the Archangel School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ricki

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FAI04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Negril, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

No Is Never The Answer, It's Always How.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

6/17/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Fudge Sundaes

Short Description

Marketing executive Ricki Fairley (1956 - ) was the founder of DOVE Marketing Inc., and worked as a brand manager and senior marketing executive at top corporations for over thirty years.

Employment

McNeil Consumer Products Company

Nabisco

Reckitt & Colman

Sega Channel

The Coca-Cola Company

Chupa Chups USA

PowerPact, LLC

IMAGES USA

DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:11882,242:12426,252:16564,271:19250,289:20340,302:20885,308:39646,610:40192,619:51335,754:51595,759:51855,768:55090,817:56440,849:59890,898:60640,910:61840,929:78120,1159:79256,1177:80818,1206:88645,1295:89425,1307:89880,1317:90985,1337:97485,1510:104110,1582:104630,1597:114965,1906:115355,1913:120262,1930:121419,1951:121864,1978:123288,1999:125890,2007:126640,2071:127240,2101:132190,2181:132790,2190:149710,2414:152990,2504:165619,2800:166222,2823:171220,2878:171780,2887:173220,2916:173540,2921:173860,2926:188239,3136:188634,3142:193216,3234:198904,3361:204325,3417:206788,3455:222235,3792:226180,3835:226600,3842:231710,3979:232690,4001:235420,4142:235700,4167:242015,4222:242477,4230:242939,4238:246480,4307$0,0:6972,201:14800,246:20456,323:20900,330:22824,379:25340,443:25636,448:32296,597:38303,638:38730,689:43254,760:48014,887:49578,919:72919,1349:81969,1423:117945,1998:118189,2003:122830,2096:127236,2151:127780,2161:128256,2171:128664,2178:128936,2183:130840,2219:131520,2230:134784,2314:149095,2537:156976,2718:157260,2744:171148,2891:172534,2927:175932,2940:176415,2949:177105,2960:179796,3013:187115,3193:187790,3203:195440,3373:204314,3549:241264,4050:241568,4154:250242,4267:253266,4338:253914,4350:262652,4457:265130,4556:271756,4623:280630,4734:288610,4872:289218,4882:306098,5067:307580,5102:318180,5311:318740,5370:333140,5498
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ricki Fairley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal great-grandmother's memories of Frederick Douglass

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal family's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley describes her father's educational experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ricki Fairley talks about her sister and immediate family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley describes her upbringing in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her father's emphasis on Ivy League education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley talks about her early interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley remembers her first exposure to black advertising

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley talks about her father's involvement in her career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley remembers her experiences at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley talks about her early literary interests

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley remembers traveling with her family

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley recalls her arrival at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley talks about the black community at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers adjusting to college life

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley recalls her influences at Dartmouth College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley remembers the all-black cheerleading team at Dartmouth College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley recalls her decision to attend the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her father

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley recalls her experiences at the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley remembers her internship at the McNeil Consumer Products Company

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley talks about her first marketing position at the McNeil Consumer Products Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes Johnson and Johnson Products' response to the Chicago Tylenol murders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers marketing Children's Tylenol and CoTylenol

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers working for RJR Nabisco, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her experiences at Reckitt and Colman plc

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley describes the collapse of the Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley recalls the discrimination against mothers in Corporate America

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley describes her role at The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley recalls establishing the Idea Works think tank at The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers creating the Dasani bottled water brand

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley recalls developing the Coke Cards promotion

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers initiating The Coca-Cola Foundation's sponsorship of the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley remembers The Coca-Cola Company's advertising deal with the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley describes her work at Chupa Chups U.S.A.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley remembers marketing pasta during the low carb diet trend

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley recalls marketing Hillshire Farm to the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes Hillshire Farm's relationship with Steve Harvey

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers the impact of her breast cancer diagnosis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers her work on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her work on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley talks about founding DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley talks about the future of black advertising firms

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley describes her company, DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley talks about her breast cancer advocacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley talks about her father's perspective on her career

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley talks about the support for black entrepreneurs

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal great-grandmother's memories of Frederick Douglass
Ricki Fairley recalls the discrimination against mothers in Corporate America
Transcript
They're from your [paternal] great-grandmother, I guess right?$$Yes.$$Okay. What was her name?$$Her name was Cora Wilkinson.$$Um-hm.$$And--$$So you've got her letters, that's really--$$Yeah they are very, very cool, handwritten letters. She tells the story of moving to Washington [D.C.] when she was about twelve and her dad was actually run out of Charleston [South Carolina] by the Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK]. He was very kind of rebellious and kind of a (background noise)--you know, and they owned--the family owned a oak farm in Charleston and he was kind of run out of town and fled to D.C. and built a house in Anacostia [Washington, D.C.] using the oak from the farm and they were sitting on the porch one day and Frederick Douglass happened to walk down the street and walked up and knocked on the door and said, you know, "Who built your house? I just bought the land next door and I'm looking for someone to build a house." And her dad, I guess my great-great-grandfather said, "I built the house from my farm in Charleston." He's like, "Well build me a house." So he actually built Frederick Douglass a house next door. And her letters talk about how she was afraid of Frederick Douglass because her--him and her dad used to argue at night sitting on the porch. Her dad would always talk about him because he had--was like I think somewhat of a womanizer and always had white--had several white wives. They would have these arguments over politics or whatever and they always would kind of wake her up from sleep arguing about stuff. It was probably--you know, that was their relationship, I don't think it was mean, I think it was sort of how they talked to each other, it was fun. But it distur- it disturbed her as a kid and she told these stories like I don't know they woke me up again and I don't know what they are fighting about, I wish they would shut up and the letters are pretty funny. But, but that was sort of the story there and then later there is actually an area in Annapolis [Maryland] called Highland Beach [Maryland], you know Highland Beach? It's a black beach, so Frederick Douglass actually bought this peninsula in Annapolis called Highland Beach and sold the land to black families to have--to let them have a beach house. So, my--so, I think Highland Beach was established in 1896 [sic. 1893] and so somewhere in there our family did buy land there. So we have some land in Highland Beach.$$Yeah I think it was all--it was purchased in Douglass' name from what I recall on the tour, you know Douglass died in 1895--$$Yes.$$--but his son [Charles Douglass] actually managed the development (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Managed the development, and actually his daughter [Rosetta Douglass]--he never lived in the, in the house there. There is a house there that's his house but his daughter did--lived in the house and the house is like a museum. It's a very, very cool place to go to, and--$$Right, I think Mary Church Terrell's descendants operate the museum.$$Yes and she lives next door, Jean [Jean Langston], yes.$$Exactly.$$So they all grew up with my parents.$$So Douglass would argue about his--his girlfriends.$$His girlfriends, his politics, whatever and the way Cora described it, it was like gosh they are arguing again, now what are they talking about. I think she was probably like a young teenager.$$What--what was your--now this would be--Cora would be your great-grandmother so it would be your great-great-grandfather (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, yes, yes.$$--who was arguing with Frederick Douglass. Do you know his name?$$No but I can tell you later, I can look it up.$$He was the one who was chased out of North Carolina [sic.] by the Klan (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Out of North Carolina, yes I do have his name I just--forgive me, I have a really great memory but I just don't have same day service (laughter).$$No this is good because it gives people a clue. That's why I asked the question just to give people a clue because if you don't know his exact name that's all right (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I have it though, yeah, we have--$$Yeah, okay.$$--a great recording and actually--actually what we've been able to find is that they--they all went to Oberlin [Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio].$Do you have kids yourself at this point?$$So, in--my daughters were born in '85 [1985] and '92 [1992]. So I had Amanda [Amanda Brown] when I was at Nabisco [RJR Nabisco, Inc.] and I was the--I should have told this story back then but I was the only woman in the office that had kids--had a kid. I hid it until I was six months pregnant. I just kept putting safety pins in my skirt. And, you know, I was pretty thin so I could sort of get away with it for a while until one day I threw up in my plate at the lunch table (laughter) and I had to finally tell them that I was pregnant. It was a major deal, I was, I was a month away of getting promoted; they promised me that I would be promoted to brand manager and the VP of marketing took me out to lunch that day and said, "Ricki [HistoryMaker Ricki Fairley] you have done a disservice to this company. We were banking on you, we were going to invest in you, we were going to promote you but now you got pregnant and I have no guarantee that you're going to come back. So and if you tell this conversation to anyone, it's between me and you, I am not going to be able to promote you now and if you reveal this conversation, I will deny it." So I went back after lunch--I'm, whatever, twenty-nine years old go back after lunch. My boss was a woman. The women in the company all wore suits with ties. A couple of them were married, most of them were not married, never had kids, weren't even thinking about it. The women before me were hard core.$$They wore men's suits and ties?$$They wore like (gesture)--they were hard core. They were not about to even think about having a baby. And my--so I had a woman boss, and she had a woman boss, and then we had a male boss on top of her who had five kids, whose wife stayed home. And so, so I went to my boss and I told her what happened and she was like horrified so she went to her boss and her name was Valerie Friedman--she went to her boss and he went to bat for me, the guy with the five kids and he reported to the VP at the time and he went to bat for me and I got promoted like three days later, eight months pregnant. But it was a fight and even then when I came back from maternity leave, they did everything possible to challenge me and they gave me an assignment where I had to travel every week to see if I would--if I could stick it out. And literally my mom [Wilma King Holmes] at the time was--I would literally get on a plane in Newark [New Jersey], fly to D.C. [Washington, D.C.], throw the baby at my mom, check the baby's luggage--Amanda's luggage on the plane and then I'd run and get on another plane going where I was going and my mom would take the kid and the--get the luggage and take the kid. And we did that for about six months until I proved myself that I was going to be able to work with a baby. And, for the first six months of her life we did that and then I had a live in nanny after that. They did everything possible to challenge whether I could have a kid and work too. So, and I was determined so, then I had Hayley [Hayley Brown] at Reckitt and Colman [Reckitt and Colman plc; Reckitt Benckiser Group plc] right when I started the trade marketing department and it was a new day and I said, "You know what, the kid is attached to the boob, the boob has to go on the road, the kid goes with the boob." I forced it on them and literally I would have the people working for me pushing this stroller and we would go on a business trip and one guy his name was Tim [ph.] and he's like, "I got the stroller today," because someone would carry my briefcase, somebody would take the baby but I took her everywhere. I travelled with her until she was off the boob for a year and I travelled with Amanda when she was out of school, we would all go, everywhere. So, you know, I was like--it was a different, you know, corporate environment and, and I tried to open the doors for other women to have babies because it was not heard of.$$So it's possible to do that, it's just the culture of the company that makes it difficult to--$$Yes, yes and in those days they didn't know it, their wives stayed home. They went home and dinner was cooked and the babies were in bed and they were happy campers. They didn't have a concept for a woman, "You know I've got to go get--my kid is sick, the school just called and I've got to go get my kid." That was not a concept for them and I think the women around me we just okay, we're going to deal, and teach them how to deal.$$So they were out of touch.$$Yeah they just didn't know. They were men--white men who never had to think about it, right.$$And their reaction--initial reaction was to stress you out.$$Yeah and so but I mean I had to have a live in nanny because I travelled and I had to make choices. I had--I had a live in nanny that lived with me from when Amanda was about six months until she was five and then we had a nanny until we moved to Atlanta [Georgia] until I'd say she was about eleven and then I had a nanny--and when they, when they--Amanda turned sixteen and could drive because at that point it becomes a driving thing. Amanda said, "Okay mom I'm done with nannies, I can drive now." So I said okay and we gave up the nanny. It was like a family decision, "All right well the nanny does these five jobs. Which one are you going to do, 'cause the jobs aren't going to go away." So, but, my kids are still very close to our one nanny that we had the longest, Holly Ann [ph.].