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The Honorable Dennis Archer

Political leader and lawyer Dennis Archer was born on January 1, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan to Ernest Archer and Frances Carroll. He graduated from Ross Beatty High School in 1959, and enrolled at Wayne State University before transferring to Western Michigan University in 1963, where he received his B.S. degree in education in 1965. In 1966, he enrolled at the University of Michigan but transferred to the Detroit College of Law, where he received his J.D. degree in 1970.

Following his graduation from Western Michigan University, Archer taught special education in Detroit Public Schools from 1965 to 1970. In 1970, Archer began working for the law office of Gragg & Gardener, P.C. He left the firm in 1971 to help found Hall, Stone, Archer & Glenn. In 1983, Archer was named president of the National Bar Association. The following year, he was elected president of the State Bar of Michigan. In 1985, Archer was appointed by Governor James Blanchard to serve as an associate justice on the Michigan Supreme Court. He was elected to an eight-year term but resigned in 1990. In 1994, Archer was elected as Mayor of Detroit. He would go on to win reelection in 1998. During Archer’s tenure as mayor, Detroit experienced a decrease in crime and an increase in economic growth. Following his second term as mayor, Archer became chairman of Dickinson Wright PLLC in 2002. In 2003, he became the first African American president of the American Bar Association. Archer later resumed his private law practice, Dennis W. Archer PLLC, after serving in that capacity.

Archer has won numerous awards and distinctions during his career. In 1998, Engineering News-Record magazine named him Newsmaker of the Year, and honored him with an Award of Excellence. Ebony magazine also named Archer one of its Most Influential Black Americans. Governing Magazine named Archer Public Official of the Year in 2000, and he was also featured on Newsweek Magazine’s list of Twenty-Five Most Dynamic Mayors in America. Archer served as a trustee for Western Michigan University, on the Board of Directors of Compuware Corporation. He founded the Dennis W. Archer Scholarship Fund in 2001.

Dennis and his wife, Trudy DunCombe Archer, have two sons: Dennis W. Archer, Jr. and Vincent DunCombe Archer.

Dennis Archer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.183

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/16/2017

Last Name

Archer

Maker Category
Middle Name

W.

Organizations
First Name

Dennis

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

ARC12

Favorite Season

Warm

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sarasota, Florida; Martha's Vineyard; Detroit, Michigan

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/1/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Political leader and lawyer Dennis Archer (1942 - ) was an associate justice on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1985 until 1990. He served as Mayor of Detroit from 1994 until 2002 and became the first African American President of the American Bar Association in 2003.

Favorite Color

Black

The Honorable Ewart Brown

Political leader and physician Dr. Ewart Brown was born May 17, 1946 in Flatts Village, Bermuda to Ewart D.A. Brown and Helene Darrell Brown. He attended the Central School and the Bermuda Technical Institute before attending the Berkeley Institute in 1957. Brown’s parents sent him to Spanish Town, Jamaica for high school, where he attended St. Jago High School. While living in Jamaica, he took an interest in politics, and was exposed to teachings by Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante, leaders of the Jamaican independence movement. Brown enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1964, where he studied chemistry. At Howard, he worked as a sportswriter for the Washington Post, was elected president of the student council, and was active in football and track and field. In 1966, he represented Bermuda as a sprinter in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Brown was a leader in the 1968 student occupation of Howard’s administration building, and helped to negotiate an agreement with university trustees. He graduated in 1968 with his B.Sc. degree.

Brown continued his studies at the Howard University School of Medicine, where he graduated with his M.D. degree in 1972. He hoped to practice medicine in Bermuda, but after being denied a license there on account of his political views, he moved to California and earned his M.S. degree in public health from the University of California at Los Angeles and opened the Vermont Century Medical Clinic in South Central Los Angeles. After finally earning his license in Bermuda in 1988, he founded Bermuda Healthcare Services, campaigned for office and then won election to the Parliament of Bermuda representing the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) in 1993. Brown was promoted to Minister of Transport in 1998 when the PLP became Bermuda’s ruling party, and then became deputy premier in 2003. He defeated Alex Scott in a PLP leadership contest in 2006, and so took office as Premier in October of that year.

In office as premier, Brown’s accomplishments included implementing restrictions on vehicle ownership, advocating for Bermuda’s independence from the United Kingdom, and agreeing to resettle on Bermuda four Uighur Muslims who had been freed after their imprisonment by the United States at Guantanamo Bay. He also continued his medical practice, and founded Brown-Darrell Clinic in 2008 with his wife, Wanda Henton Brown. Brown stepped down as premier in 2010.

Ewart Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/20/2017

Last Name

Brown

Organizations
First Name

Ewart

HM ID

BRO65

Favorite Season

Warm

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

I'm making lemonade out of lemons.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/17/1946

Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Bermuda

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Political leader and physician Dr. Ewart Brown (1946 - ) founded Bermuda Healthcare Services and the Brown-Darrell Clinic, and served as the ninth premier of Bermuda from 2006 to 2010.

Favorite Color

Orange

The Honorable Richard Ernest Arrington, Jr.

Political leader Richard Arrington was born on October 19, 1934 in Livingston, Alabama to Richard Arrington, Sr. and Mary Bell Arrington. Arrington graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School in Fairfield, Alabama in 1951. He went on to attend Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama where he earned his B.S. degree in biology in 1955; his M.S. degree in biology from the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan in 1957 and his Ph.D. degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma in 1966. Arrington later continued his post-doctoral work in higher education administration at Harvard University and the University of Michigan.

After graduating from the University of Detroit, Arrington returned to Miles College as an assistant professor of science from 1957 until 1963. In 1959, he served as a National Science Foundation Fellow in genetics at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and in radiation biology at the Medical College of the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Arrington then studied molecular biology at Washington University, St. Louis in 1960. He later returned to Miles College and served as acting dean and director of the summer school program. Arrington was then promoted to chair of the natural sciences department and became the dean of Miles College in 1966. In 1970, Arrington was named executive director of the Alabama Center for Higher Education and served until 1979. In the same year, he was hired as a part-time associate professor of biology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. In 1971, Arrington was elected to the Birmingham City Council and won re-election in 1975. Arrington ran for mayor of the City of Birmingham and was elected as the first African American mayor in 1979. After twenty years as mayor, Arrington retired in 1999 and worked as a visiting professor of public service at the University of Alabama, Birmingham until his retirement in 2003. In 2008, he published his memoir, There’s Hope for the World.

Arrington has seven children: Anthony, Kenneth, Kevin, Angela, Erica, Matthew and Jennifer.

Richard Arrington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.094

Sex

Male

Interview Date

05/04/2017

Last Name

Arrington

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Miles College

University of Detroit Mercy

University of Oklahoma

University of Michigan

Harvard University

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Livingston

HM ID

ARR02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Egypt

Favorite Quote

Some Men See Things As They Are And Ask Why. I Dream Things That Never Were And Ask Why Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/19/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beef tips

Short Description

Political leader Richard Arrington (1934 - ) served as dean of Miles College and was the first African American mayor of the city of Birmingham, Alabama.

Employment

Miles College

University of Alabama at Birmingham

City of Birmingham, Alabama

Alabama Center of High Education

Favorite Color

Blue-Brown

Timing Pairs
498,0:6650,187:18186,309:19916,322:31540,525:36096,603:39416,667:63870,1087:64130,1092:65790,1099:67768,1140:68198,1146:68714,1157:73186,1317:88840,1658:96110,1739:107271,2100:139704,2477:153046,2702:153562,2709:164770,2874:166530,2945:171900,3035$0,0:616,13:1617,23:2387,35:3003,47:3619,57:4081,64:5544,88:5929,95:10549,150:12551,179:13090,188:13783,204:21868,336:22407,348:31600,430:32080,437:35600,501:45898,622:59022,871:61538,984:83809,1348:87046,1412:87544,1419:101541,1624:130106,1962:139500,2097:153160,2244:157738,2368:176122,2673:179804,2711:186478,2772:191208,2890:191552,2895:197830,3034:224730,3470:226330,3512:246645,3795:251895,3977:268778,4230:270604,4314:281927,4505:285398,4557:286377,4592:295842,4774:299490,4830:306942,4997:309048,5035:314175,5070:320566,5191:331560,5353
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Richard Arrington's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Richard Arrington lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers his paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his maternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Richard Arrington lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers Robinson Elementary School in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers Fairfield Industrial High School in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers his decision to attend Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Richard Arrington recalls the Crumbey Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his interest in biology

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his transition to a majority-white environment

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers working at the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his fellowship from the National Science Foundation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his graduate education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers registering to vote

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his experiences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his marriages and children

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers the zoology department at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his study of foreign languages

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Richard Arrington recalls his return to Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his decision to run for the Birmingham City Council

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about his achievements on the Birmingham City Council

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers his first mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes the support for his first mayoral campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers forming his mayoral administration

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Richard Arrington describes the impact of his mayoralty on Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Richard Arrington reflects upon the first generation of black mayors in U.S. cities

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Richard Arrington reflects upon the end of his mayoralty

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Richard Arrington talks about the appointment of Judge U.W. Clemon

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Richard Arrington reflects upon the political aims of the black community in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Richard Arrington reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Richard Arrington reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Richard Arrington shares a message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

7$9

DATitle
The Honorable Richard Arrington describes his decision to run for the Birmingham City Council
The Honorable Richard Arrington remembers his first mayoral campaign
Transcript
While I was there [Alabama Center for Higher Education], around I think 1972, some Miles College [Fairfield, Alabama] students come. They want me to run for office--$$Okay.$$--political office. I had never thought about running in my life, politics, never thought about it. But I got three young men in my office right downtown. They asked me to run for mayor [of Birmingham, Alabama]. I said--1972--said, "No, I can't do that." "Well, if you won't run for mayor, would you run for the city council?" Well, we had one black on the city council that time. We all had to run at large. And we had only had one black, Arthur Shores, who outstanding civil rights attorney, home had been bombed three times here by the Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK]. He was the only black. He was courageous, lawyer, very quiet man. And so they--I said, "Well, I might run for the council." I had--really didn't intend to run. And I said to them, "I'll tell you what," just the three young, "I'll tell you what: come back tomorrow and see me; let me think about it." I was really thinking they won't come back. Sure enough, the next day, boom, they're right back in my office again. So I finally said to myself, "Here are these guys are concerned about the city, young black guys. I don't have the nerve to say no to them." I said, "Okay, I'll run for the council." Sure enough, I ran, and to everybody's surprise I won. And then we had to run at large in the city. And, and they had--we didn't have blacks. They had one black out of nine, so I became the second black to sit on Birmingham City Council. And the black community was fairly well excited about it, that we got--now we were getting two blacks out of nine on the council. None of them, particularly young folk, weren't particular excited about me. I didn't have a record in civil rights. In fact, they had always thought Arthur Shores, who I thought was one of the most courageous there was--as I said, his home had been bombed, and he had done all, used to be the--we got a lot of black attorneys now, but it used to be just a handful of them. And--'cause he was quiet at city council meetings, they didn't like him. They wanted him to be militant and raise sand. And so here I am, I get elected, and then I listened to the talk shows, and they, they weren't excited. And they just say, "Well, the white folk got them--this time they got them a, a black with a Ph.D. degree, and he never marched; he never done this; he never done anything." That's what they were, you know, saying. And I was hearing all that. But anyway, I got into politics, and I became sort of the voice for the black community. I raised all of the affirmative action programs, all the--I, I did all of that. And all of a sudden, the black community was politically in love with me (laughter). Here's a guy, you know, they thought this man has never done a thing to win his spurs; he never marched; he never demonstrated; he nev- and now here I am, and all of a sudden, oh, well I (gesture)--$There's some progress, because you just talked about the police brutality and trying to make a difference there. But in 1975--you want to talk to me about Bonita Carter, because that was something that, that happened during that time.$$Yeah, that's what triggered my running for full time as a, as the mayor (cough). I had--during my time on the council [Birmingham City Council], I had, as I said, focused on certain issues of racial discrimination in this city, which was very rampant (cough) not only calling attention to it but introducing bills to bring about affirmative action, doing investigations actually, not just talking about mistreatment of people but getting the details, researching the background on police officers, 'cause there were certain ones who had--after you get in the business, you see right away you're gonna find out--you know, like we had seven hundred officers, and you--we had ten or fifteen of them was all--every time there was a problem they were always involved in it. All you have to do was go and dig in and look at them, and you'd find out they'd beaten somebody up before. The city has paid out money 'cause they did this. Nobody took them on. And I did; I took them on; I took on the police union. And I was able to do it because the black vote was--you know, after the Selma [Alabama] thing and the black vote was growing, and so I was able to do it and had that strong support. We didn't have a majority of, of black--the majority of the votes wasn't black, but we--blacks had about 40 percent of the votes, and they voted solidly. And, and so for eight years on the city council I introduced every affirmative action law. I fought for contracts. I did all of that. I was the voice, which I guess surprised a lot of people 'cause, as I said, you know, I hadn't been--I wasn't militant. I never knocked on the desk and raised the sand. No, I didn't do that kind of thing. So, because I had fought against police brutality and police reform on the council, when one of the worst police officers we had, George Sands, ends up killing a young black woman through a, almost a terrible mistake case--he shoots her in the back several times in a car--and of course, they're rioting and all of that, and my good friend was mayor then, David Vann, and who I thought was the smartest guy I ever met in politics, and the black community insisted he had to fire the police officer, who had, had a terrible record, and now he's killed this girl. And Vann didn't want to do him. He's getting pressure for the police union and in the white community. And what he ends up doing is he's gonna--he just puts the police officer on desk duty, wouldn't fire him. So the black preachers here in the city got very angry with him and start protesting. And they called me to a meeting and decided that it was time to run a black. And they, they, they just told me, "You've got to run," you know, and about fifty of them. I met with them, and they say, "We're gonna have a press conference this week, and oh, we want you to announce you're gonna run. We've been supporting," and that's the story. I announced and a lot of folk were surprised, newspaper and all. And they didn't, really didn't think I was gonna win. The newspaper, Birmingham News [The Birmingham News] carried editorials and said, you know, "One day surely Birmingham [Alabama] shall have one of his black sons or daughters as mayor of this city, but we're at least ten years away from that." And two weeks later I was the mayor (laughter). That's, that's an interesting story, but it's a true story.$$(Laughter) Well--$$And so I was elected. I--we had a--we ran an election and with six or seven people running for mayor, and I got 47 percent of the vote. And it was pretty clear that in a runoff I was likely to win. I mean, the white business community got very busy, hired consultants. They turned out the white vote, bussed the kids in who were off at the different colleges back in here to vote and all that. They turned out 67 percent in the runoff; 67 percent of white vote turned out. But 70 percent--72 percent of the black votes turned out. I won by two thousand votes, largely because of the whites around the University of Alabama [University of Alabama at Birmingham] area worked, worked at the University of Alabama here in Birmingham, they vote- they, they crossed racial lines and voted. And so I--that's how I ended up winning, yeah--$$The, the popular vote--$$--for that.$$--because--$$Yeah.$$--it, it wasn't like you were unknown. People knew who you were.$$Oh, by that time, yeah, I, I--they knew who I was (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) They knew who you were.$$I mean, the black community was, of course, solidly behind me. And some, some--a few whites were, mainly, as I said, those around the university had been attracted--lived in that area, they would cross racial lines in their votes, and they had gotten to know me. And the difference in the race votes, it went almost along--the first mayoral race I was in--along racial lines. The white candidates that was in the runoff got most of the white votes, and the black--I mean we got the blacks. The turnouts were very, very high. But the fact that I was able to pull around two thousand some of the white votes, helped me to get a--to defeat them.

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 Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mississippi

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/11/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Jackson

Country

USA

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

02/20/2017

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

USA

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

02/15/2017

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

USA

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

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/15/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

USA

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
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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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$3

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.