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Charles Evers

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers was born on September 11, 1922 in Decatur, Mississippi to Jess Wright and James Evers. Evers received his B.S. degree from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi in 1950.

Evers enlisted in the United States Army and served overseas during World War II. After his return to the U.S., he began working as the first African American disc jockey at WHOC Radio station in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1951. There, he worked for a family-run funeral home, operated a taxi service, a bootleg liquor business and operated the Evers Hotel and Lounge, which featured blues bands. Evers was active in the Mississippi branch of the NAACP and became the chapter’s state voter registration chairman in 1954. He also became involved with the Regional Council of Negro Leadership in 1952, and often spoke at its national conferences. In 1956, Evers moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he operated Club Mississippi, the Subway Lounge and the Palm Gardens nightclubs. After the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers, he returned to Mississippi in 1963 and became the field director for the Mississippi branch of the NAACP. In 1969, Evers was elected as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, the first African American to be elected to this position in the state of Mississippi during the post-Reconstruction era. Evers ran unsuccessfully for governor of Mississippi in 1971 and for United States Senate in 1978, each time as an independent candidate. He remained as mayor of Fayette until 1989. After losing the mayoral election in 1989, Evers became the store manager of WMPR 90.1FM in Jackson, Mississippi.

Evers has often been honored for his work in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1969, the NAACP named him Man of the Year. He was also selected as a Mississippi delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Evers, has also published two autobiographies, Evers, in 1971, and Have No Fear, in 1997. He has served as an informal advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, George C. Wallace, President Ronald Reagan, and Robert Kennedy.

Evers has seven children; Patricia Murchinson, Charlene Evers-Kreel, Carolyn Crockell, Shelia Evers Blackmond, Yvonne Evers, Wanda Evers and Rachel Evers.

Charles Evers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.105

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/24/2017

Last Name

Evers

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Decatur Consolidated School

Newton High School

Alcorn State University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

EVE02

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Birth Date

9/11/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Anything

Short Description

Civic activist and political leader Charles Evers (1922 - ) the brother of slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, was the first African American mayor elected in Mississippi post-Reconstruction era.

Employment

WHOC Radio

WMPR Radio

Fayette City Government

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:276,4:33278,526:37663,621:46430,1384:55820,1449:57750,1476:69730,1598:96968,1919:125234,2290:132205,2396:141520,2526:165944,2892:166854,2905:169948,3313:176825,3446:203090,3769:229008,3999:233645,4100:259170,4456:259530,4461:276306,4854:280572,5271:320914,5811:325514,5942:334490,6101$0,0:2079,94:2387,99:3696,132:4004,138:5544,182:7469,223:12320,322:12705,328:13013,333:13937,346:45520,767:69604,1429:82460,1583:89066,1647:89470,1670:94684,1738:95152,1853:99726,2001:105544,2026:106129,2739:135370,3002:136620,3090:152345,3384:189172,3499:216300,3704
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Evers' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Evers lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Evers describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Evers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Evers lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his community in Decatur, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles Evers talks about his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles Evers describes his father's lumber stacking business

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Charles Evers remembers B.B. King

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Charles Evers recalls his start in the funeral business

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Charles Evers talks about his experiences during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Evers remembers picking pecans with Medgar Evers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his family traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Evers recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers the lynching of James Tingle

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his friendship with Jackie Robinson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers returning to Mississippi after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles Evers remembers his reason for moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about his employment as a bootlegger in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his brothel on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Evers recalls his confrontation with the mafia in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about his daughters

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Evers remembers Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Lorman, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Evers remembers investigating the death of Emmett Till

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Evers describes the assassination of his brother, Medgar Evers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Evers remembers his role in the NAACP after Medgar Evers' death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Evers recalls his decision to run for mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles Evers remembers the Selma to Montgomery March and the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Evers recalls his election as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Evers remembers his gubernatorial campaign in Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Evers talks about the acquittal of Medgar Evers' murderer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Evers talks about William Waller and Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Evers talks about leaving the Democratic Party

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Evers remembers his campaign for U.S. Senate

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Evers describes his relationship with President Ronald Reagan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Evers remembers President Richard Nixon

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles Evers reflects upon his contributions to the City of Fayette, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles Evers talks about joining the Republican Party

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles Evers talks about his work in the radio industry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles Evers describes his management of WHOC Radio in Jackson, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles Evers talks about his support for President Donald John Trump

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles Evers reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles Evers reflects upon his family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles Evers narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$8

DATitle
Charles Evers describes his early involvement with the NAACP
Charles Evers remembers the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Transcript
So, when do you get involved with civil rights or the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]?$$Medgar [Medgar Evers] and I started NAACP, before I went, before I went to Chicago [Illinois]. Here's what happened. Roy Wilkins, Gloster Current [Gloster B. Current], the so called big shot darkies who's head of the NAACP, had heard and, and President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] had heard about Medgar and I trying to get Negroes to do certain things. Let me tell you how got that, here I go again. One day Medgar and I was in Decatur [Mississippi] standing on the courthouse square. I like to tell this story. And an old white man, half bent over, walk by me and look at me and said, "Let me tell you niggers something." I flinched and Medgar said, "No, no Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "You all niggers won't never be nothing. Until you all learn how to vote." I looked at him, "You hear me? Until you learn how to vote." I say, "What do you mean by that?" He said, "Who's the mayor?" I said, "I don't know." "Who the sheriff?" I said, "I don't know." "You see what I'm telling you? You see what I'm telling you niggers?" So, Medgar kept telling me, "No Charles, no Charles," 'cause he, he's always the peace maker. So, he said, "Until you all learn how to vote, you ain't gonna never be nothing." And that stuck with me. And I told her [sic.], I say, "You know what?" I went home and I asked my women, then they didn't know. And they didn't know, I mean I think they knew but they didn't know, they just knew of them. And from that day on, we went back, went back to Alcorn [Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College; Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi] and started getting our school mates to go back home in their neighborhood up in Delta [Mississippi Delta] and get our folks and go register and they had hell broke out. That's when we started. And John Kennedy was president and just become president. And he heard about the Evers boys. Course, I mean, 'cause at that time, for, for, for niggers trying to register in Mississippi was, that was headlines and he got up and he, and he called Medgar, President Kennedy called Medgar. And Medgar went and met with him and they became friends. And then when he was killed and Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy] and I were friends before when that sort of put the family together. Between Medgar and John and me and Bobby. And then when John was killed--they both came to Medgar's grave, and when John was killed I went up and Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and we had, by that time we had gotten to be good friends, the Kennedys and, and me. And that's how it happened one of those kinds of crazy ways.$$All right.$$And then we, then after that I became--Medgar became head of the NAACP.$$Okay, well (unclear) let me see we're in 1948 now. So let's, let's before we go forward. You all start the NAACP, now was first chartered in, in Vicksburg [Mississippi] right? And then they had to recharter it again? But, do you know about the Misssis- Mississippi State Conference, which led a lot of the, the demonstrations and voter registrations (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Medgar was the head of that, yeah.$$--in Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$And Medgar was the one that lead that. 'Cause became Medgar took over it was quiet, it was very quiet. But, Medgar became the field secretary of the NAACP.$$Do you know these names like Aaron Henry?$$Oh yes indeed. Aaron was president of the branch up in Clarksdale [Mississippi]. He was the first black elected official in state--Mississippi State Legislature.$$Okay.$$My dear friend.$$And, and what about Winson Hudson?$$Oh yeah. The Hudson sist- big women they call them like they call them the big women, two sisters. And they all from--they were over Leake County, Carthage [Mississippi].$$Okay. And the C.C. Bryant?$$Oh yeah, C.C. them was down there in Hattiesburg [Mississippi].$$Okay, so they all these were all people who worked (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) All of them, part of--$$Now, C.C. worked with the--establishing the first Freedom School or what?$$Yeah.$$Tell me of what, what was a Freedom School?$$Freedom was just a school trying to teach us how to become citizens what to do, and what a citizen should do. And C.C. headed up in Hattiesburg. And he's gone too now. All of them gone, I'm the only one left. Isn't that something, and, and I look around all the time say, "Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers] are you next. Stop kidding yourself," I'm not kidding myself. Because all them old friends of mine, all my dear friends gone. 'Cause we were in there together. And I when I was in Philadelphia I started a movement in Philadelphia, Mississippi. With my funeral home [Charles Evers Funeral Home]. And I, and I, I'm black disc jockey ever worked in a white radio station [WHOC Radio, Philadelphia, Mississippi].$$Right, that comes next. I was just gonna ask you about one other person and that was Gilbert Mason [HistoryMaker Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.]?$$Oh yeah Gilbert yeah from--he died a few years ago.$$Okay.$$Dr. Mason.$$And, and what did he do down in Biloxi [Mississippi].$$He was the pres- he was a doctoring, he was a doctor, he was president of the NAACP in the Biloxi branch.$$Okay, so they wanted to inte- integrate the beaches down there?$$Yeah, yeah we all inte- yeah he integrated, he lead the, I was there with him. He led the, the march on the beaches. We couldn't go on the beaches down there. But, Dr. Mason along with the rest of us. He led us and we followed him on the beaches. And they (unclear) but see, I ain't never turned the other cheek. And we weren't supposed to, but I'd fight them, I'd fight them rascals like nothing. And we all got fighting down there and totally, finally we totally integrated the beaches. Now we can go, you can go around there now. And slip on your, your bathing suit and sit down there as long as anybody else, there, whites all around you don't think nothing about it.$$Okay.$$Under Gilbert Mason, sure did.$After that, then Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] is killed, and--$$Oh god.$$--you talk about that you were friends, you know, with the, Medgar [Medgar Evers] was friends with John and you were very good friends with Bobby [Robert F. Kennedy]. So, tell me what, what that was like? And about your re- tell us about your relationship with the Kennedy family?$$Well, we just became like Evers family, Kennedy family, that's all, that's all I can say. I'm close to Ethel [Ethel Skakel Kennedy] and all them now. In fact, I was with Bobby when he was shot, I was there when he was killed.$$Were you?$$I was right there, I was right there, yeah. When he was killed. We were in Los Angeles [California], campaign, we'd won the election. And when, and the when he went down stairs to the big ball, down to receive it and greet the people. And he said, "Come on Charles [HistoryMaker Charles Evers]." "I'll watch you on TV." "Oh come on damn it." I said, "Okay I'll be on down." He and Ethel and the rest of family went on down before me. I said, "Well hell, I'll go on down." I know I like that cracker, used to call him old peckerwood cracker all the time. I knew that cracker (unclear). So, I went on down by myself and I always stand right in front of him because he spoke too long. I always, I always do this (gesture) to him, when time was up. And so, I, I was came in as I always do, stood right by in front of him. He was on the stage speaking. And when he got--kept going, I (gesture) he was always watch me 'cause, I knew he's, he's, "Well I see it's time for me to go, I guess I spoke too long," or something like that. And thanked the people for it over and over again. And he turned, I thought he was coming down and let's go out the front [of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California]. When he turned he went back through the ki- I never understood that to this day, why'd he go out through the kitchen. I guess that's the way he was supposed to go. Went back through the, that's where they shot him back in the door. And now I heard the shot. I thought it was balloon, had balloons everywhere. And so I heard, "They shot the senator." I broke on the stage he was laying I picked him up just held him. (Unclear), "Bobby please don't leave me, please don't leave me, please don't leave me us Bobby," and Ethel is screaming, I told Rosey Grier, "Hold Ethel." And, "Somebody call, call an ambulance, call a hearse quick, an ambulance." So, we got an ambulance I went with him to the hospital I stayed with him. He died I was right there. I, and we carried him back to New York [New York]. And that's another violated, then the men I saw going in to sit, I said no, they put in a casket, they, in there with the casket from New York, from California to New York. Right beside Bobby all the time. And then we left there on the train coming back from there. We had nothing but a stop, they brought him back to, to Washington [D.C.] to bury him. You know I couldn't go to that funeral. I just couldn't, I tried and I just couldn't. And that was the last time I saw him.$$Oh okay.$$I don't want to talk about it.$$Okay, all right.$$I'm sorry. We were so close and he believed in me and I believed in him. He, he would have made the greatest president. I'm sorry.$$No, that's, that's fine.$$And here gone, my brother and him. I have nobody left. So, but the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. That's what I have live by that. I'm sorry. But that, that's why I'm very remorseful about Bobby and Medgar so. And Ethel and I are supposed to go up there next month. She's down in Florida right now.$$Who is that?$$Ethel, Bobby's wife, Ethel Kennedy.

The Honorable Marvin Pratt

Political leader Marvin Pratt was born on May 26, 1944, in Dallas, Texas to Leon Pratt, Sr. and Mildred Joyce Pratt. He moved with his family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1959, where he attended North Division High School. After high school graduation, Pratt enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for three years. In 1968, after he received an honorable discharge from service, Pratt enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he obtained his B.A. degree in political science in 1972.

After graduation, Pratt began his political career working as an intern for Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier. Pratt ran for his first political seat as alderman on the Common Council, in 1984; he lost that election to Roy B. Nabors. Pratt ran again in a 1986 special election for the same seat and won. Upon his election to alderman, Pratt was appointed to the Finance and Personnel Committee. As a committee member, one of the initiatives that Pratt worked on was the Residents Preference Program, which helped to create employment opportunities for City of Milwaukee residents. In 1996, he was elected as chairman of that committee, a position he held until 2000. In 2000, Pratt was elected as the Milwaukee Common Council president. Pratt remained in that position until 2004. In 2004, when Mayor John Norquist stepped down, Pratt was appointed as the acting mayor of Milwaukee, the first African American to hold that position. However, Pratt lost the mayoral election in 2004 to Tom Barrett. In 2006, Pratt began his own consulting firm, Marvin Pratt and Associates LLC, which specialized in consulting and government relations. In 2011, he was elected as interim Milwaukee county executive, making him the first person to hold both the position of mayor and county executive in Milwaukee.

In 2016, Milwaukee Public Schools named a school in honor of Pratt; the Marvin E. Pratt Elementary School. Pratt also holds the rank of major in the United States Army Reserves.

Pratt and his wife Dianne, have two children, Michael Pratt and Andrea Pratt-Ellzey, and five grandchildren.

Marvin Pratt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 20, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.056

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/20/2017 |and| 02/24/2017

Last Name

Pratt

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Marvin

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

PRA03

Favorite Season

October, football season

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

New Orleans

Favorite Quote

Civility is not a sign of weakness.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

5/26/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Political leader Marvin Pratt (1944- ) was the first African American acting mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Favorite Color

Blue, and also green

The Honorable David A. Paterson

Political leader David A. Paterson was born on May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York to Basil Paterson and Portia Paterson. An infection left Paterson legally blind shortly after his birth, so his family moved to Hempstead, New York so that Paterson could attend school without being required to be in special education classes. Paterson went on to earn his B.A. degree in history from Columbia University in New York in 1977. In 1983, Paterson earned his J.D. degree from Hofstra Law School in Hempstead.

After graduating, Paterson worked for the Queens District Attorney’s Office. In 1985, Paterson joined the campaign staff for David Dinkins’ third campaign for Borough President of Manhattan. That same year, Paterson was elected to the New York State Senate as the youngest state senator in Albany, serving on the State Senate until 2006. In 2002, Paterson was elected as the first African American New York State Senate Minority leader. In 2006, Paterson stepped down from the Senate to run as the first African American lieutenant governor of New York, which he won by a landslide with candidate Eliot Spitzer. In 2008, Spitzer resigned from the position of governor amid a scandal, making Paterson the first African American and legally blind governor of New York in 2008. As governor, Paterson reduced New York’s budget deficit by $40 billion and increased the welfare allowance for needy individuals for the first time in 20 years. Paterson also introduced legislation that would later end discrimination against same-sex couples in New York. After leaving office, Paterson hosted a radio show for New York station WOR from 2011 to 2012. He also taught government as an adjunct professor at New York University. In 2016, Paterson joined Stifel, Nichoulas & Company as a director of investment.

In 2007, Paterson received the John Jay Award, which is reserved for distinguished alumni, from Columbia University. In 2014, he served as the chairman of the New York Democratic Party, as well as on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Paterson also chaired the board of the Achilles Track Club.

Paterson has two children; a stepdaughter, Ashley, and a son, Alex.

David A. Paterson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.055

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/15/2017 |and| 04/11/2017

Last Name

Paterson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

PAT10

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Peacefulness - state of being, not a geophysical place.

Favorite Quote

By the time he learned to say hello, it was time to say goodbye. (And 2 others on recording.)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/20/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Political leader David A. Paterson (1954- ) was the first non-white New York State Senate minority leader, as well as the first African American lieutenant governor of New York, and both the first African American and legally blind governor of New York.

Favorite Color

Orange or pink

The Honorable Kenneth Gibson

Political leader Kenneth Gibson was born on May 15, 1932 in Enterprise, Alabama to Willie Gibson and Daisy Gibson. In 1940, his family migrated to Newark, New Jersey. He attended Monmouth Street School, Cleveland Junior High School and graduated with honors from Newark’s Central High School. Gibson served in the United States Army in the 65th Engineering Battalion from 1956 to 1958. He continued his education after leaving the army, and received his B.S. degree in structural engineering in 1962 from the Newark College of Engineering in Newark, New Jersey.

From 1950 to 1960, he worked as an engineer for the New Jersey Highway Department. Then in 1960, he was hired as the chief engineer for the Newark Housing Authority and was promoted to the position of New Jersey State Official Chief Structural Engineer for the City of Newark in 1966. In this role, Gibson held several community administration and management roles for the City of Newark and the Office of Mayor Hugh J. Addonizio. In 1970, Gibson was elected to the position of Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and served four consecutive terms from 1970 to 1986 – he was the first African American Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Gibson also ran unsuccessfully for governor of New Jersey in 1981 and 1985.

During his career, he received numerous recognitions and awards for his public and government service. In 1964, Newark’s Junior Chamber of Commerce named him Man of the Year. In 1976, Gibson was elected president of the United States Conference of Mayors, as the first African American to hold this position. In 1979, Gibson received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Gibson was active in the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the YMCA and the YWCA. He headed Newark’s Business and Industry Coordinating Council, a job-finding organization, and served as vice-president of the United Community Corporation, an antipoverty agency.

Gibson passed away on March 29, 2019.

Kenneth Gibson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

01/31/2017

Last Name

Gibson

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Central High School

Cleveland Junior High School

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Monmouth Street School

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Enterprise

HM ID

GIB08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Wherever American Cities Are Going, Newark Will Get There First.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

5/15/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

3/29/2019

Short Description

Political leader Kenneth Gibson (1932 - 2019) was elected as the 34th Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and was the first African American elected mayor of any major Northeastern United States city. He served from 1970 to 1986.

Employment

Gibson Associates

City of Newark, New Jersey

Newark Housing Authority

New Jersey State Highway Department

Favorite Color

Dark colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:902,19:1394,27:1886,35:4397,50:5198,61:5643,67:6355,75:9203,125:9826,133:10805,147:11428,154:11962,162:16749,237:17331,244:17719,249:24950,338:25754,357:26357,369:26759,376:27228,385:27496,390:29171,416:37124,515:37982,537:48132,630:52248,695:54852,735:57288,786:58296,802:59136,822:59472,930:90805,1128:100454,1211:119411,1321:137800,1528:166862,1745:169720,1825:202740,2064$0,0:1053,16:1408,22:1692,27:2260,37:3822,65:5526,112:6449,202:6804,208:7514,220:8011,228:8437,235:8863,243:10212,267:13692,284:13956,289:17330,300:18298,316:18738,322:19090,327:22720,349:34620,472:64094,741:69764,779:88406,999:98386,1091:109704,1275:110388,1282:110844,1287:139650,1502:139918,1507:140186,1512:140588,1520:156766,1752:157446,1766:158670,1796:159146,1805:159690,1815:166930,1876:180865,1954:181635,2043:182251,2053:183945,2088:184407,2095:189486,2134:192355,2147:192810,2155:193590,2168:206810,2393:207242,2400:214580,2468:214936,2473:223930,2599:241120,2695:266550,3075:277773,3193:283910,3262:284325,3277:284657,3282:290830,3373
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Kenneth Gibson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about racial discrimination in Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his family's move to Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his community in Enterprise, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the Newark Public Schools

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his community in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about growing up in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers playing the saxophone

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the economic impact of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the treatment of African American soldiers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his experiences in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers working for the Newark Housing Authority

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes the racial demographics of Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his career at the Newark Housing Authority

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his civil rights activities in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls his early political influences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the state of public education

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the criminal justice system

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his election as mayor of Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls the start of his mayoral term in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the healthcare and insurance industries in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his administrative appointments in the City of Newark

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his hiring strategy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his crime reduction programs

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls his presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his relationships with other mayors

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his affirmative action program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the tax crisis in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson shares his views on taxation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the discriminatory sentencing practices in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his gubernatorial campaigns

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon his experiences as the first black mayor of Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers Amiri Baraka

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his successor, Mayor Sharpe James

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his engineering consulting firm

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his indictment

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers Ras Baraka

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon the treatment of African American politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson shares his advice to aspiring African American politicians

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson narrates his photographs

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DATitle
The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls the start of his mayoral term in Newark, New Jersey
The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his administrative appointments in the City of Newark
Transcript
When you come into office, this is historic. You become the first African American mayor of Newark [New Jersey], one of the largest cities in the United States, after a mayor [Hugh Addonizio] who's been in there for a long time who has fallen from grace. But you're dealing with some, some big issues for your city that you've run on. What are, what are some of the things that you were able to implement in this first term?$$You know, it's very hard for me to separate the terms now because--$$Okay. Well, you just tell me what you remember.$$The things that I can--$$Let me ask you this differently. You are, you are mayor from when to when?$$From 1970 to 1986.$$And so, there're several elections in between there?$$Yeah, four elections.$$Four elections. So, you don't have to limit it to the time period, let me know some of the accomplishments you feel that you were able to make.$$Well, when I took office, Newark had some of the worse health statistics in the country. We had the highest tuberculosis rate, the highest venereal disease rate, the highest infant mortality rate.$$In the whole country?$$In the whole country. The highest maternal mortality rate, and I can go on and on.$$Why do you think the highest?$$Only because healthcare and health conditions are symptomatic of life experiences and the quality of life. If the housing is poor and lead paint is all over the place; if your healthcare system is poor and people are not able to go to the doctor as much as they should; if pregnant women are not able to get care during pregnancy, then you end up with these kind of problems. I was able to put together a healthcare network, and we had the major healthcare providers join in with preventive medical care, and we were in, within one to two years, able to improve all of those statistics. So, there were children being born then that are now still alive because of that system. So, how much is a human life worth? I think that we saved lives; and that, to me, is a better statistic than anything that we were able to do otherwise.$So, I'd like to learn more about the relationship that you built with Newark [New Jersey] that--excuse me--with Prudential [Prudential Life Insurance Company of America; Prudential Financial, Inc.] and other businesses, because that's part of what you are known for; helping to bring more businesses into Newark, to bring more money into the city.$$Well, you know, I'd like to take credit for all of that. But the point is that it makes good sense, business sense, to be where people and businesses are, because they provide a service. The guys that I made friends with in downtown Newark, they laughed at me at first when I said I was going to be the mayor; they didn't believe it. I convinced them to do some special things in Newark. Before I was elected, I went to every major business in downtown Newark. And I told them, I said, "I'm going to be the mayor, and I just want one commitment from you. Once I become mayor, then you help me." I said, "Because I realize who actually has the power in town." After they got finished laughing, then I got elected and I called them all back up. I said, "Okay, I'm here now." They gave me, without cost to the city, a senior vice president of every business in downtown Newark. The guy who chaired the committee was a senior vice president for Prudential; his name was Bob Smith [ph.]. I made him the business administrator for the City of Newark, at no cost to the city, and he stayed for three months and they gave him another three months. They were able to help me change the way the city operated, just based on their experience and knowledge about how to get things done. It didn't cost the city any money.$$So this was a relationship that you had planned that you had planted the seed when you were running?$$Oh, yeah.$$And then they all agreed to help?$$That's right, they all came.$$And over what period of time were they helping you?$$It was six months, officially. It was more than that, but actually I made him business administrator for six months.$$Okay, so I have to break the timeline for a moment, since we're having this particular topic. So, do you see value in the current presidential administration [President Donald John Trump] bringing these businesspeople in to do these jobs?$$It depends on what they're doing. You can't--just because these guys are businessmen don't mean they're smart. (Laughter) The people that I brought in were people who actually had the power in Newark; they were already here.$$Okay.$$I didn't resurrect--I didn't bring in new people. Prudential was the home base in Newark, and had been for a hundred years. These guys that we read about nowadays, they, in most cases, have no commitment to improving the quality of life of the normal citizen; they have no real interest in doing it. So, I don't know what's going to happen. Getting back to my pet peeve, how can a person run in charge of public education who doesn't believe in public education? The guy [Rick Perry] who's in charge of environmental protection [United States Department of Energy] said that that was one of the departments he was going to eliminate when he was running for office. Are these the kind of people you should put in charge? It's a like a person who tells you that, "I don't like children," and you put them in charge of child welfare. There's something wrong with that.