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Paula Giddings

Professor Paula Giddings was born on November 16, 1947 in Yonkers, New York to Virginia Iola Stokes and Curtis Gulliver Giddings. She received her B.A. degree in English from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1969, where she served as editor of the university’s literary magazine, The Promethean.

In 1969, Giddings worked as an editorial assistant for Random House and later as a copy editor until 1972. She then became an associate book editor for the Howard University Press. Giddings then moved to Paris, France in 1975 where she served as the Paris bureau chief for Encore America/Worldwide News. In 1977, she was transferred to the New York office and served as an associate editor until 1979. Giddings published her first book, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, in 1984. The following year, she served as a contributing editor and book review editor for Essence magazine. She then became a distinguished United Negro College Fund (UNCF) scholar at Spelman College. In 1988, she published In Search of Sisterhood, and subsequently joined the faculty of Douglass College at Rutgers University where she held the the Blanche, Edith, and Irving Laurie Chair in Women's Studies from 1989 to 1991. Giddings also served as a visiting professor at Princeton University and Duke University. In 2001, Giddings joined Smith College as the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Africana Studies. She also served as the editor of Meridians, feminism, race, transnationalism a peer-reviewed feminist, interdisciplinary journal. She then became Smith College department chair and honors thesis advisor for the department of Africana studies. In 2002, she edited Burning All Illusions: Writings from The Nation on Race 1866-2002; and, in 2008, she published Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching. Giddings retired from Smith College in 2017.

Giddings has also written extensively on international and national issues and has been published by the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeune Afrique (Paris), The Nation, and Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, among other publications.

In 1982, she received a Ford Foundation Grant; and, in 1985, Giddings was the recipient of the Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. That same year, she received the Alumni Award from Howard University; and, the following year, Giddings won the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus Award and the Building Brick Award from the New York Urban League. In 1990, she received the Anna Julia Cooper Award from Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, and an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Bennett College. In 2008, her book Ida, A Sword Among Lions won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award.

Paula Giddings was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 8, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.226

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/8/2018

Last Name

Giddings

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Paula

Birth City, State, Country

Yonkers

HM ID

PAU01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

11/16/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Northampton

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Breakfast

Short Description

Professor Paula Giddings (1947- ) served as the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor Emerita of Africana Studies at Smith College and authored When and Where I Enter, In Search of Sisterhood, and Ida: A Sword Among Lions.

Favorite Color

Blue

Derek Ferguson

Entertainment company executive Derek Ferguson was born on April 20, 1965 in the Bronx, New York to Roberta Lewis Pieck and James Ferguson. He attended Stuyvesant High School, and, at the age of sixteen, was accepted into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1985 with his B.S. degree in economics. Upon graduation, Ferguson was hired as an auditor and mergers and acquisitions analyst at Coopers and Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and became a certified public accountant. In 1988, he co-founded and served as chief operating officer of Urban Profile Communications Inc., which produced the Urban Profile lifestyle magazine. In 1990, Ferguson received his M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School, where he was also vice president of the African American Student Association.

In 1991, Ferguson sold Urban Profile Communications Inc. and secured a position at Bain and Company in Boston, Massachusetts. At Bain, he became one of the first two African Americans to be promoted to manager. In 1996, he was named vice president of worldwide finance at Sony BMG Entertainment, and was then appointed vice president of finance and operations for BMG Special Products. In 1998, Ferguson was hired as Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group’s chief financial officer, where he was responsible for business development, business planning and forecasting, and financial operations of the Bad Boy family of companies. Ferguson has since been named chief growth officer of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group and reports directly to the company’s chairman, Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Ferguson is a member of New York Covenant Church in New Rochelle, New York, where he is the leader of the Economic Justice ministry. Through this ministry, the Church has launched various businesses, including Cross Trainers Apparel, Covenant Building Services and Life Music. In addition, Ferguson has held bible studies for employees at Bad Boy Worldwide for a number of years.

His awards include the Maggie L. Walker Award for the African American at the Wharton School with the highest grade point average, and the Emma Higginbotham award for academic achievement and community involvement.

Ferguson is married to Regina Bullock Ferguson. They have three children; Reginald, Maya and Peri.

Derek Ferguson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 5, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.139

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/15/2014

Last Name

Ferguson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Talmar

Organizations
Schools

P.S. 69 The New Visions School

Cs 232

Ps 152 Evergreen School

Jhs 125 Henry Hudson

Stuyvesant High School

University of Pennsylvania

Harvard Business School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Derek

Birth City, State, Country

Yonkers

HM ID

FER05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina, South Carolina beaches

Favorite Quote

For We Are God’s Workmanship Created In Christ Jesus To Do Good Work That Was Planned In Advance For Us To Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/20/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Entertainment executive Derek Ferguson (1965 - ) was the chief growth officer for Combs Enterprises. He also co-founded Urban Profile magazine.

Employment

Bad Boy Entertainment/Combs Enterprises

Bertelsmann Music Group

Bain & Company

Urban Profile Communications

Coopers & Liebern

Favorite Color

Maroon and Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Derek Ferguson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson recalls his religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson talks about his parents' move to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson describes his brother, Gregory Ferguson, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson describes his brother, Gregory Ferguson, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson talks about his sister Robbin Ferguson

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Derek Ferguson recalls his early success in school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson talks about the benefits of keeping a gifted student among their peers in school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson talks about his sister's interests

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson remembers his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson describes the socioeconomic and racial demographics of his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson talks about his father's trucking business

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson remembers his parents' hospitality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson talks about the support from his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson describes the sight, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Derek Ferguson talks about his sports icons

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Derek Ferguson remembers being accepted to Stuyvesant High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson remembers his first day at Stuyvesant High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson describes his experience at Stuyvesant High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson talks about his interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson recalls his favorite music as a deejay

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson recalls his decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson describes his social experience at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson talks about his academic performance at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson remembers his summer internships

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson talks about his mentors at Coopers and Lybrand

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson remembers cofounding Urban Profile magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson describes Keith Clinkscales

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson talks about the content in Urban Profile magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson describes the operating structure of Urban Profile magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson talks about the distribution and marketing strategy for Urban Profile magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson talks about the profitability of Urban Profile magazine and the Harvard Business School student handbook

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson describes the network of Harvard Business School alumni

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson remembers being hired at Bain and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson describes the merger of Camelot Music by Trans World Entertainment Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson talks about minority recruiting at Bain and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson recalls his decision to leave Bain and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Derek Ferguson describes his experience working at Bertelsmann Music Group

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson talks about the music industry during his time at Bertelsmann Music Group

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson recalls building professional relationships at Bertelsmann Music Group

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson remembers interviewing with Sean Combs

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson talks about the development of Sean John clothing line

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson describes the organizational structure of Combs Enterprises

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson remembers Benny Medina

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson talks about corporate structuring

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson describes his role in the first two years as CFO at Combs Enterprises

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson describes the quality and success of Sean John clothing line

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson remembers the executives at Combs Enterprises

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Derek Ferguson talks about the pressures facing the music industry

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Derek Ferguson recalls the artists signed to Bad Boy Records

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson describes his role as CFO of Comb Enterprises

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson remembers Comb Enterprises' joint venture partnership with Warner Music Group

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson talks about the success of Combs Enterprises

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson talks about Sean Combs' business acumen

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson describes the Blue Flame marketing agency

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson talks about the development of Revolt television network

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson recalls recruiting Andy Schoen and Keith Clinkscales to Revolt television network

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson talks about AQUAhydrate

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson recalls Combs Enterprises' acquisition of Ciroc

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson talks about the marketing for AQUAhydrate

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Derek Ferguson describes his role as chief growth officer of Combs Enterprises

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Derek Ferguson talks about merging his faith and his professional life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Derek Ferguson recalls starting a bible study and worship service at Combs Enterprises

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Derek Ferguson talks about the unconventional nature of religion in the workplace

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Derek Ferguson shares his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Derek Ferguson reflects upon the legacy of his generation

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Derek Ferguson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Derek Ferguson talks about the individual's role in collective action

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Derek Ferguson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Derek Ferguson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

11$8

DATitle
Derek Ferguson recalls his early success in school
Derek Ferguson describes his role in the first two years as CFO at Combs Enterprises
Transcript
(Simultaneous) So when did you catch up in the grades?$$So I was in third grade, I did about a couple of months in third grade [at P.S. 69 The New Visions School; P.S. 69 Journey Prep School, Bronx, New York] and the teachers were, so I was doing really well and they decided to give me an IQ test and I took a bunch of these IQ tests and basically kind of a couple of months into third grade they're like, "We're moving you to fourth grade." And what was tougher about it is at the time, so I grew up in the Bronx [New York] so we're in the Bronx so I'm at a school where I can walk to the school, this is third grade, and I walk with my brother [Gregory Ferguson] and sister [Robbin Ferguson] went there, so I, you know, walked with them. And they wanted to move me to the fourth grade, but they also wanted to move me to a special program, which was at a different school [C.S. 232, Bronx, New York]. So now, I'm gonna be younger than all the kids, I'm in a different neighborhood, which is, you know, the Bronx is still the Bronx, right, so you don't know what you're walking into. And I had to take a bus to school, public bus, and I was eight years old or something, you know. So, back then, I look at it now and I'm like wow, my parents [Roberta Lewis Pieck and James Ferguson] were really, really trustworthy because they kind of showed me how to get to the school once and then I was like, I was taking the bus, like public bus myself to go to school in this new kind of foreign area to me with all these kids I didn't know, and it was like really, like there's a lot of times when I'm just like wow, you know, God was just on my side because the kids were so nice, they were so helpful, they were so friendly that they kind of welcomed me in and helped me out and like literally, you know, you had this program, there was a lot of kids that were, that were accelerated but the rest of the school was just the school. And so there was a lot of, you know, fights and, you know, everything you would expect in an inner city and I just had, I just had kids that just decided to protect me, like for no reason, like oh no you can't, don't bother him, you know like big kids that would just literally step in and diffuse any issue that anybody would have towards me. It was just like literally like kind of angels protecting me, but that, that's, but that's on the side so I did third grade, so third to fourth and so then I was a year behind my sister and then I did a program in junior high school [J.H.S. 125 Henry Hudson, Bronx, New York] where I did seventh, eighth and ninth in two years, versus three years. It's called an SP program, pretty popular program in, in the cities at that time, so at that point, so going into high school I, I basically caught up with my sister.$So what are the things that you play an instrumental role in, let's say your first two years [at Combs Enterprises]?$$So I think it was, you know there was always major initiatives that were going on, right, so I may not have the timeline right, but you know, so negotiations with Arista [Arista Records] always ongoing. After every deal there's a new deal you're working on, and then eventually negotiations with other record companies. When I first came on board, we really finalized the initial deal with Sean John, where we brought on a partner to partner with us and actually fund the launch of Sean John, so I was heavily involved with that.$$Now who was the partner?$$The partner was a company, an Indian family that was based out of Queens [New York] and their fashion, the name of their company was Fashion Ventures. The family was the Soni [ph.] family, great family. They were like kind of garmentos, but not your traditional Garmentos in that they learned that business but they were highly educated, highly sophisticated, you know not the kind of people that grew up in the garment world. They were also in real estate. I learned a lot from working with them. The key guy there, a guy named Ashok Soni [ph.]. I talked to him every day. He was a meticulous kind of business person, organized, analytical. Unfortunately died suddenly at the age of fifty, very young. About, that was maybe about eight, eight years ago or so, but, but he, so that was a great experience I had. So early on I would say, you know, probably Sean--and then know also figuring out the magazine which I knew was gonna be an issue, and eventually we ended up closing it down. But, you know, I knew how much money a magazine required, and just didn't think, you know, at the time I didn't know if that was the best use of funds. So we, so I sat down immediately with the magazine, Sean John. We opened a new restaurant [Justin's] in Atlanta [Georgia], and the ongoing negotiations or renegotiations with the record company [Bad Boy Records].$$Okay, so when did he, from the beginning would he [Sean Combs] bring you in at the beginning, or did, did it take time? Were you really a deal was sort of cut and then you were trying to figure out how to make the deal the best deal or, or how, and, and who was running, then who also was brought in to run these various enterprises?$$So several questions there, I think the--$$So, so let's start with the first question, so at what point is he, you know, do you get, are deals already in place and then it's your job to sort of figure that out.$$Right, so, so when I came on board there may have been some things in place, but I jumped right into the center of whatever was going on. And once I was there, as things initiated, either I would be initiating things, or as they were initiating I was always kind of front and center, you know, me, his attorneys, the business head, or him, depending on whose driving the deal, and at some point he would always get involved once we got it to a certain point. But yeah, so I mean at the end of the day we were a small company so anything significant going on, I was pretty much involved in.$$And what are you learning about yourself and the business, because Sean John became very, it probably put a different face on him, you know in a very, almost a classic, you know, kind of, it took him from hip hop--$$Yeah.$$--you know, urban music to respectable member--$$Yeah.$$--you know, or whatever.$$What's amazing is being around this environment and being around Sean at the time, you always had this feeling like we could do anything. You always had this, you know and like having had my own company, African American owned company, I knew the barriers we ran into and things relationship wise and how when we sat in a room, I know it felt. When we sat in a room it felt like we were really asking for a favor, you know what I mean? Whereas when I as in the room with him it was kind of like, we had the power, you know. So like you, you're either gonna wanna do this with us, or we're gonna go to somebody else. But we're getting this done. So it was a great feeling of empowerment and being in a position of power in these rooms, largely because of the mentality he created and really believed, and really because he was able to do a lot of these things and he proved he could do them, but you're right, Sean Jean was the first major one where he showed he could take something from other than the record company, take something from really zero to being a significant success.