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Jean Boone

Newspaper executive Jean Boone was born on March 14, 1943 in Columbia, South Carolina to Helen Patterson and Daniel Patterson. Boone graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia in 1960, and went on to earn her B.A. degree in sociology and anthropology from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1962. She then received her M.S. degree in social work in 1966 from Boston University.

After graduating from Boston University, Boone moved to Richmond, Virginia, where her husband, Raymond Boone, Sr., was editor of the Richmond Afro-American. She became an adjunct professor of education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also worked as the associate director for housing and economic development for the Urban League of Richmond. In 1981, Boone joined the Children’s Defense Fund as the director of state and local affairs, serving until 1989. In 1988, Boone also served as the manager of community affairs and marketing for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. When Boone’s husband established Paradigm Communications, Inc. in 1991, Boone joined him as advertising director. The following year, Paradigm Communications, Inc. published the inaugural issue of the Richmond Free Press on January 16, 1992. Boone was named publisher of the Richmond Free Press in late June 2014 by the board of directors of Paradigm Communications, Inc. after her husband’s death.

Under the leadership of Boone and her late husband, the Richmond Free Press’ accomplishments were recognized by the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the NAACP and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. In 2001, the newspaper was the recipient of the Best in Commercial Renovation Award in recognition of its leadership during a downtown revitalization project. Boone was honored by the YWCA of Greater Richmond with the 2004 Outstanding Women in Communications Award and at Hattitude 2016: Hats Off to Women, which was hosted by the American Business Women’s Association. Boone served on the board of Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc.

Boone and her late husband, Raymond Boone, Sr., had two children, Regina and Raymond Jr., and a grandson named Raymond III.

Jean Boone was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 9, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.145

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/9/2016

Last Name

Boone

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

P.

Schools

Dillard University

Boston University

Waverly Elementary School

C. A. Johnson High School

Bennett College for Women

First Name

Jean

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

BOO05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

It's Opportunity Time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chilean Sea Bass

Short Description

Newspaper publishing executive Jean Boone (1943 - ) founded the Richmond Free Press in 1992 with her husband Raymond Boone, Sr., serving as the newspaper’s advertising director until 2014 when she was named publisher following her husband’s death.

Employment

Children's Defense Fund

Virginia Commonwealth University

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Richmond Free Press

Baltimore Blueprint

United South End Settlements

Greater Washington Urban League

Greater Richmond Urban League

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jean Boone's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jean Boone lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jean Boone describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about her likeness to her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jean Boone describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers the Waverly community in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jean Boone remembers black street vendors in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jean Boone remembers Waverly Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jean Boone recalls her influential teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jean Boone remembers C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jean Boone remembers C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jean Boone recalls her aspirations during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jean Boone remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jean Boone recalls her decision to attend Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jean Boone remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro, North Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jean Boone recalls transferring to Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers Professor Lester Granger

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jean Boone remembers enrolling in the social work program at Boston University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jean Boone remembers the political events of the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jean Boone recalls her influences at Boston University

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jean Boone remembers organizing for the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jean Boone remembers Melvin King

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jean Boone recalls her internship at the Greater Washington Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jean Boone remembers meeting her husband, Raymond H. Boone

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her accomplishments at the Urban League of Greater Richmond

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jean Boone remembers teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jean Boone remembers her husband's role at the Richmond Afro-American

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jean Boone describes her projects at the Baltimore Blueprint

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jean Boone recalls working with the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jean Boone describes her work with the Children's Defense Fund

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jean Boone remembers her role at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jean Boone reflects upon her efforts to diversify the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes her husband's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about the internment of her husband's father during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jean Boone talks about the history of interracial marriage in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jean Boone talks about the prevalence of mixed black and Asian ancestry

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes her husband's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jean Boone describes her husband's upbringing and education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jean Boone describes Raymond H. Boone's vision for the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jean Boone talks about the facilities of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jean Boone talks about the black community in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jean Boone describes her role as the advertising director of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jean Boone talks about the relationship between the Richmond Free Press and the Richmond Afro-American

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jean Boone remembers the editorial stances of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jean Boone talks about the Richmond Free Press' political endorsement process

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jean Boone remembers the candidates endorsed by the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jean Boone talks about the future of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jean Boone describes the staff of the Richmond Free Press

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jean Boone talks about the political climate in Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jean Boone reflects upon her husband's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jean Boone reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jean Boone describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jean Boone describes how she would like to remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Jean Boone talks about the internment of her husband's father during World War II
Jean Boone remembers her role at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Transcript
I don't know quite how he [Boone's father in law, Tsujiro Miyazaki] got to, to Suffolk [Virginia] but he did, and what's even more remarkable is that he opened a business, which was called the Horseshoe Cafe [Suffolk, Virginia] (laughter). And he served a, I'm sure he served more than just one, one fare, but he served something called yak and yaka mein. And I later learned actually from my daughter [Regina Boone] who spent three years in Japan after she finished college, and yak in Japanese means--had something to do with noodles. And I don't wanna say it means noodles 'cause I'm, I'm not proficient, but in the language, but at any rate, he served that and it was a huge success. And, and the restaurant was a huge success as I understand it, and to this day there are people in Suffolk who still make yak 'cause they learned it from him, or imitated him. So, he was there, my husband's mother [Leathia Boone] I think worked with and for him, and sh- and that's who they met. And they had a, a child him, Raymond [Raymond H. Boone] and then they had another child, Gerald [ph.], so it was Raymond and Gerald. What happened in the '40s [1940s] when the internment camps, the white peop- (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah during World War II [WWII].$$World War II.$$The Japanese Americans were considered the enemy--$$The enemy.$$--or potential enemies by the U.S. government and were rounded up.$$Right--$$That's I just want to make sure people know that--$$Yes that, that's--and the relevance to today of course is that the President-elect Trump [President Donald John Trump] is saying he wishes to do something very similar to people of Muslim faith. And it was a very scary time then and it's even more scary for people who are Muslims in America now. So that's the relevance and that's the editorial slant if you will, or reason for the editorial in this week's edition of the Free Press [Richmond Free Press]. At any rate, what I know is and what my husband told me is that white people pointed him out; they were the ones who outed him in Suffolk. And he was taken to Arkansas, there were two internment camps there, he went to one and then another. And he wrote letters back, we have letters that he wrote asking about the boys, being concerned about people. Being concerned about his, his business in the, the inventory from the business, a relative of, and keep in mind my, my husband was a young child at, at the time. So he, what he knows is what you know what his elders told him in later years. He has the, the photographs that's in the Free Press this week is one that the owned. I think his mother gave it to him, his brother who he, he passed away in the, in the mid--mid to late--he passed away late '60s [1960s], early '70s [1970s], of a heart condition, he was young. And my husband never, you have to understand, I am telling his story because my husband was, I'm not sure what the right word is, embarrassed or uncomfortable with telling the story of who, who he was, of, yeah.$Yeah so this is eight, eight years. So the Baltimore Symphony [Baltimore Symphony Orchestra] now, you're the manager of community affairs and marketing for the Baltimore Symphony. Now what was--I mean I don't know if many symphonies worry about you know, you know--$$Inclusion?$$Yeah right, so how did this come about, and--yeah, um-hm (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well how did that come about? Well, it actually came about because the symphony received significant funding from the State of Maryland. And a gentleman who passed away, whose name is, was Pete Rawlings [HistoryMaker Howard "Pete" Rawlings] was on the Appropriations Committee [of the Maryland House of Delegates]. If you recognize the last name, his daughter [Stephanie Rawlings Blake] is the outgoing mayor of Baltimore [Maryland]. But Pete was very concerned that the money was coming from taxpayers. But the symphony was essentially lily white, and he felt that that was not right, and indeed it wasn't. And so they decided to hire someone to deal with that issue, and I was selected. I had minimal knowledge of symphonic music, but I had, I had a lot of interest in inclusion and knowledge of how to get basically middle class people and not so middle class people into the symphony hall [Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, Maryland] and to feel comfortable. And I always said to myself when I went there, that I never wanted to get so comfortable there that I forgot what it was to be uncomfortable in a new situation. Because that's the way the people would be feeling that I was trying to bring in. We had a committee; a cross section of Baltimoreans who you know, advised and came up with programs. And then I sought to implement them and we had, you know we had all Baltimore--we had one that I was particularly proud of. It's called the All-Baltimore Concert, and what that did was, we did was we found twelve non-profit organizations. We asked, we gave them tickets to sell to the symphony, they sold them, we gave them the tickets at five dollars, and they sold them for ten. They kept the five and they got their constituents into this, into the symphony. So when you looked at the audience, it was a very cross--very much a cross section of Baltimore. Organizations such as Girl Scouts [Girl Scouts of the United States of America] as well as you know a church organization. You know you name it, so the, the, the, the visual, the optics were all Baltimore and it was a wonderful concert that people enjoyed. We had African American composers on the program; we had African American performers on the program. And it, it, it worked and I mean that's an example we, once we had the Boys Choir of Harlem come and perform. And then we had kids from the community to come and have dinner with them after the concert, again making people feel comfortable in the symphony hall.