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MediaMakers are involved in publishing and broadcasting, and include, but are not limited to, reporters, news anchors, bloggers, television producers, radio station managers, and magazine publishing executives. These are HistoryMakers recognized for the innovative programming and important coverage they provide in print and both on the radio and on television.

Ann Walker Marchant

Public relations executive Ann Walker Marchant was born on August 18, 1960 in Tuskegee, Alabama to Clarice Dibble Walker, IV and George Henry Walker. Her family later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, where she attended Rosemary Hills Elementary School and Montgomery Hills Junior High School. After graduating from Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., Marchant attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and spent her junior year at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her B.A. degree in liberal arts with a concentration in political science from Sarah Lawrence College in 1982.

After graduating college, Marchant worked for the City of Atlanta’s Parks and Recreation Department as a counselor and program director, helping organize community centers for young people across the city. In 1983, she left this position to pursue her modeling career after winning a contract with Elite Model Management. Marchant modeled for Coca Cola and the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, among others. She began her career in communications at Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and communications firm based in New York City. In the early 1990s, she was a press secretary for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. From 1993 until 1999, she served as a deputy assistant and director of research and special projects in the Clinton administration’s White House Communications Office. Marchant also developed the communications practice for the Luxembourg based company, ImagiNations S.A., and served as executive vice president and director of global business development for Weber Shandwick International. In 2000, Marchant founded The Walker Marchant Group, a boutique public relations firm based in Washington, D.C. that provided strategic communications counsel and issues management to global corporate brands like Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson and Johnson and the Toyota Motor Corporation.

In addition to her career as a public relations executive, Marchant served on a number of boards, including the Washington Ballet, Africare, Knock Out Abuse Against Women and the Howard University School of Communications Board of Visitors. In 2011, she joined the George Washington University Board of Trustees.

Marchant has one daughter, Rebecca.

Ann Walker Marchant was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 21, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.085

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/21/2019

Last Name

Marchant

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Walker

Schools

Georgetown Day School

Sarah Lawrence College

First Name

Ann

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAR22

Favorite Season

August

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Never chase men, money, or friends.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

?

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Public relations executive Ann Walker Marchant (1960- ) served for six years as a special assistant and director of research and special projects in the Clinton administration’s White House Communications Office before founding the Walker Marchant Group, a public relations firm in 2000.

Employment

Burson-Marstellar

Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign

Clinton Administration's White House Communications Office

ImagiNations S.A.

Weber Shandwick International

The Walker Marchant Group

Favorite Color

Purple

Dawn Davis

Publisher Dawn Davis was born on June 23, 1965 in Los Angeles, California to Leona Julia and Louis Davis. She graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, California in 1983, and received her B.A. degree in international relations from Stanford University in Stanford, California in 1987.

In 1987, Davis entered into a two year analyst program at the investment bank First Boston in New York City. Davis was then awarded a scholarship through Rotary International to complete an independent study abroad in Nigeria. While on this trip, Davis decided to leave investment banking and returned to New York City where she became the assistant to Andre Schiffrin at his newly founded publishing house, The New Press. In 1991, Davis published her first book, If You Can’t Stand the Heat: Tales from Chefs and Restaurateurs, which featured world renowned chefs Anthony Bourdain and Edna Louis. Davis left The New Press in 1995 and joined the Penguin Random House imprint of Vintage Books. In 2001, Davis moved to HarperCollins as the vice president and editorial director of Amistad, the company’s imprint devoted to work from and about the African diaspora. While there, Davis acquired and published award-winning novels and bestselling memoirs, including Edward P. Jones’ Pulitzer-Prize winning The Known World and Chris Gardener’s The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a major motion picture. In 2013, Davis founded her own imprint, 37 INK, at Simon & Schuster, Inc. 37 INK has published a variety of works including The Butler by Wil Haygood, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae, Never Caught: The Washingtons Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and Nafissa Thompson Spires’s Heads of the Colored People, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction. Through 37 INK, Davis also launched an online national black book club, The Inkwell Book Club.

Davis has received several awards and honors for her work. In 2019, Poets & Writers named her the Editor of the Year. She was also honored alongside Reginald Van Lee with the Visionary Award from the Metro Manhattan Chapter of The Links, Incorporated in 2014. Davis served on the Board of Directors of the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City.

Dawn Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2018.

Accession Number

A2019.077

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2019

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Our Savior's Lutheran School

Immaculate Heart High School

Stanford University

First Name

Dawn

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

DAV44

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and Italy

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/23/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Publisher Dawn Davis (1965 - ) was vice president and editorial director of the HarperCollins’ African American imprint, Amistad, before becoming the founder, publisher, and vice president of 37 INK, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Employment

Credit Suisse First Boston

The New Press

Random House Publishing

HarperCollins

Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster, 37 Ink

First Boston Corporation

Penguin Random House- Vintage Books

Amistad

Ecco Press

Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Inkwell Book Club

Favorite Color

Gray

James F. Blue, III

Producer James F. Blue III was born on August 5, 1969 in Richmond, Virginia to James F. Blue, Jr. and Addie L. Wall. In 1991, Blue received his B.A. degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

In 1991, Blue was hired by NBC News as an editorial producer and guest booker for The Today Show. Two years later, he served as a field producer for a primetime magazine show at NBC News. In 1994, he was hired as a Nightline producer for ABC News in London, United Kingdom. During his twelve year career with Nightline, Blue produced stories on the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 1996 presidential elections, colorism within the Black community, and the auction of the estate of Jackie Kennedy. In 2006, he joined Discovery Communications as a producer with the Koppel Unit. The same year, Blue’s debut documentary for Discovery, Iran – Most Dangerous Nation, won the national Emmy Award for best long-form program. In 2008, Blue founded Public Affairs Media Group, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland. He went on to serve as executive producer at BET Networks in 2011, where he produced the documentary "Michelle Obama on a Mission: Impact Africa." In 2013, Blue was appointed as the Washington Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent by ARISE News. In 2015, Blue joined PBS NewsHour as the senior content and special senior producer.

Blue served on the advisory board of The Samaritan Community beginning in 2008. In 2009, he was elected to the board of trustees of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the board of overseers of the Baltimore School for the Arts. In 2013, Blue became a member of the board of trustees of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. He was a member of the Overseas Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Blue has won every major broadcast journalism award including eight national Emmy Awards, two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and two Overseas Press Club Awards. In 2012, he received the NABJ Award for Overall Excellence. Blue was also twice a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

Blue and his husband have two children: Alden and Effie.

James F. Blue III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.070

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2019

Last Name

Blue

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Schools

Princeton University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

BLU03

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and Cape Town, South Africa

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/5/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Shrimp from Nancy's

Short Description

Producer James F. Blue, III (1969- ) served as a producer for NBC News, ABC News in London, and BET Networks before becoming the senior content and special senior producer at PBS News in 2015.

Employment

NBC News

ABC News

Discovery Communications

Public Affairs Media Group, Inc.

Black Entertainment Television

ARISE News

PBS NewsHour

Favorite Color

Purple

Jabari Asim

Author and magazine editor Jabari Asim was born on August 11, 1962 in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Southwest High School in 1980, and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

In 1988, Asim was hired by the startup African American publication, Take Five magazine, as a contributing writer. By 1990, he was promoted to senior editor of the magazine where he ran the magazine’s literary section until 1992, when he became a copy editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here, he would take on the additional role of arts editor of the weekend section; and, in 1993, he was made book editor. In 1996, Asim moved to Washington D.C. when he was hired by the Washington Post to serve as an assistant editor before becoming senior editor of the newspaper’s Book World in 1999. The Washington Post Book World was a weekly book section in which Asim wrote, assigned, and edited reviews. He remained in this role until he became editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, in 2007. From 2008 to 2010, Asim served as a scholar-in-residence in African American Studies and in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign; and, in 2009, he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in the general nonfiction category. Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts hired Asim in 2010 to work as an associate professor of writing, literature, and publishing. He left The Crisis in 2017.

Asim is the author of nonfiction, fiction, children’s and adult’s books, and poetry. His children’s literature includes The Road to Freedom: A story of the Reconstruction (2001), Whose Toes are Those? and Whose Knees are These? (2006), Daddy Goes to Work (2006), Girl of Mine and Boy of Mine (2010), Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington (2012), Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis (2016), and A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (2018). His adult works include Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life (2001), The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why (2007), What Obama Means: …For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future (2009), A Taste of Honey (2010), Only the Strong (2015), and We Can’t Breathe (2018). Asim’s poetry has also been featured in the Black American Literature Forum, The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art, Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century, and The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York's Most Famous Neighborhood from the Renaissance Years to the 21st Century.

Asim lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Liana Asim, and the couple has five children.

Jabari Asim was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2019

Last Name

Asim

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Wade Elementary School

Central Visual and Performing Arts High School

Northwestern University

First Name

Jabari

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

ASI01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Newport, RI

Favorite Quote

Writing Is Work, But It's Joyful Work

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/11/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Author and magazine editor Jabari Asim (1962 - ) was editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, from 2007 to 2017, and became associate professor of writing literature and publishing at Emerson College in 2010. He has also authored fifteen books.

Employment

Sears

Take Five Magazine

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Washington Post

Washington Post Book World

The Crisis

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

John Guggenheim Foundation

Emerson College

Favorite Color

Green

David A. Wilson

Journalist and media executive David A. Wilson was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1977 to Vernon and Beverly Wilson. One of ten children, he was raised in the Georgia King Village housing projects in Newark. Wilson went on to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. In 1997, during his sophomore year in college, he was hired as an intern at WABC-TV in New York City, where he worked on the show Like It Is and was mentored by Gil Noble. Wilson received his B.S. degree in communications from Rowan University in 1999.

Upon graduation, Wilson worked at the assignment desk for local news outlets. In 2000, he was hired at Network News Service (NNS), where he served as lead producer and oversaw newsroom operations. Wilson went on to research and develop content for the award-winning CBS News program 48 Hours. In 2005, he left his job at CBS, co-founded the film production company Three Part Media LLC, and began work on the film Meeting David Wilson, a documentary that chronicles Wilson’s personal journey to find answers to today's racial disparities in America, where he served as director and writer. Meeting David Wilson premiered on MSNBC in 2008, and won the Radio-Television News Directors Association/UNITY: Journalists of Color Award.

In 2009, following the success of Meeting David Wilson, Wilson and Three Part Media founded NBC News’ TheGrio.com, the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. Wilson first served as managing editor of TheGrio, and was named executive editor in 2011. In 2013, TheGrio became a division of the MSNBC cable channel.

Wilson has been honored as one of The Network Journal‘s 40 Under 40.

David Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/19/2014

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Andre

Organizations
Schools

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

Milton Hershey School

Arts High School

Rowan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

WIL71

Favorite Season

May, September

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahia, Brazil

Favorite Quote

You Are The Best You That Anyone Can Be. Don’t Forfeit That One Advantage In Life By Trying To Be Someone That You’re Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/15/1977

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai Chicken Red Curry

Short Description

Journalist and media executive David Wilson (1977 - ) wrote and directed the film Meeting David Wilson and cofounded TheGrio.com.

Employment

Network News Service

CBS News

Three Part Media LLC

TheGrio.com

WABC-TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Wilson lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Wilson remembers the hardships of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers the Georgia King Village housing project in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Wilson describes his home in the Georgia King Village projects

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Wilson describes his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - David Wilson talks about his father's abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Wilson reflects upon his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers growing up with ten siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Wilson describes the quality of the education system in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes his decision to enroll at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Wilson recalls his family's response to his enrollment at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Wilson describes his decision to leave the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers returning to Newark, New Jersey to attend Newark Arts High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes his early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the alumni of Newark Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his interests during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers his friends at Newark Arts High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls his decision to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers developing an interest in documentary film

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Wilson talks about his experiences at Rowan University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Wilson recalls the influence of Professor Ned Eckhardt

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Wilson talks about his internship with Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - David Wilson remembers covering the assault of Abner Louima

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - David Wilson recalls covering the death of Betty Shabazz

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Wilson describes his short film 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his first job as a production secretary for '48 Hours'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his experiences of racial discrimination at CBS

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers the production tactics on 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Wilson remembers the production of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about the release of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the creation of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Wilson reflects upon the documentary filmmaking process

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers the premiere of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls lessons from the making of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the reception of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers launching TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes the process of creating TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about TheGrio's early competitors

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David Wilson describes the challenges of building an online news source

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David Wilson talks about his plans for TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the racial gap in digital entrepreneurship

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Wilson describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about the legacy of TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Wilson reflects upon his generation's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Wilson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble
David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project
Transcript
And, you know, are you familiar with Gil Noble?$$Yes.$$A legend--TV legend.$$We had wanted to do his interview and didn't get a chance.$$Oh. He, he changed my life. He changed my life. I was a bumbling, super stuttering, under confident kid. And the ritual with Gil was that, I would get there at WABC [WABC-TV, New York, New York] around eight o'clock in the morning. He would have me read the newspapers, and he would then have me come into his office and have me talk about what are the top stories and to explain and to articulate my views on those stories. And that did more for me than anything else. And he said, "Well," and he would give me exercises, you know, because at that time, I thought--I flirted with the idea of actually being on air. So he said, "Okay. Take a newspaper and you read the newspaper and you do it as if you're reading the news--the teleprompter." And I'll go home, read, you know, as I practiced. And it--you know, what it really got me comfortable with doing is being able to talk in public, and being able to be opinionated and share my thoughts in public. And he would have me sit down and watch interviews of--with, you know, Adam Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.]; interviews with Betty Shabazz. Every morning I would get a call, and, you know, I would answer his phone and I'll hear this voice, like, "Hello, David [HistoryMaker David Wilson]. Is Gil there?" I was like, "Who is this?" "It's Charlie Rangel [HistoryMaker Charles B. Rangel]," every, every morning. And, you know, calls from Charlie Rangel, Nipsey Russell, Percy Sutton; you know, giants. And, you know, they'd come by. Dr. ben-Jochannan [HistoryMaker Yosef ben-Jochannan], you know, the Egyptologist. These were his friends. And it was just really good. And that summer was really important because it's also--two big stories broke that summer. The Abner Louima case? And then also the, the death of Betty Shabazz. And so that was important that summer. I learned a lot that summer. And he taught me one thing that was really important, because, before I was not one who wanted to--you know, I come from Newark [New Jersey], and I didn't want to--I always wanted to distance myself from being the (gesture) black guy. The guy who did the black things. And I had an opportunity at NYABJ [New York Association of Black Journalists] when they were honoring Gil Noble, and his daughters were there, and I was so happy they were there, 'cause I got the opportunity--I was being--we received--TheGrio [thegrio.com] received an award, and I got to say something to his daughters, which was, "Look, you know, Gil taught me that it was no less of a virtue to cover news that impacted my community." You know, I had always wanted to be--do mainstream stuff and just stay mainstream, and he taught me that there was no shame and it was just as virtuous to cover black topics and to be a black journalist. And that--I can tell you right now with 100 percent certainty that if I had not encountered Gil Noble in my life, we wouldn't be here right now, because I certainly wouldn't be doing TheGrio [thegrio.com]--I don't know where I would be. And then, you know, my first student documentary project, when I got back to school [Rowan College of New Jersey; Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey], was a documentary called 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII.' And I that doc--it was about a ten minute doc--and I got Gil Noble to voiceover, do the voiceover on it. And we won several awards. The documentary was inducted into the women's memorial [Women in Military Service for America Memorial] in Arlington, Virginia.$$So let me ask you, did he ever tell you what he saw in you? Because he died when?$$Just maybe two years ago (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Two years ago.$$Um-hm.$$'Cause--his collection, you know. What happened to his collection?$$Oh, he had all of, you know, tons of foota- he has the largest--$$I know but what happened to it?$$I don't know. I mean it's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was the thing, I think, people were questioning.$$Oh. He owned that, and he, he, he--$$He owned that--$$--and that was the pride of his life, his collection.$$Right. I just don't know what had happened to it. But 'cause he had gotten ill, right?$$Yeah.$And so, as, you know, I left and, and I--just so happened that, November, I'd done a little gig to help make ends meet for Victoria's Secret Fashion Show shoot, and I ended up meeting my, still business partner today, at that shoot. And had I never left that, you know, 'The Ananda Lewis Show,' I would have never met my current business partner. And we started doing some things. We had a business that we had started doing TV pilots. That didn't go anywhere. And then we launched another business doing sort of CD business cards. We had these business--CD business--CD business card CDs--business sized CDs that we would then go out and produce content for different corporations for, and put them on these cards. Somebody forgot to tell us that the Internet existed, and the business failed. But we did have some good clients. We had Penguin Books, was one of our clients. We had some other folks. And we got a lot of press coverage. We were in Newsweek, Black Enterprise, you know. We got some good coverage. And then it--$$Now did you ever come across [HistoryMaker] Clayton Banks and Ember Media in the--and that--'cause he had been doing that too? But he's older than you.$$No. Not that I--$$Okay. Okay.$$No.$$All right.$$No. No. I don't recall ever meeting him or that name.$$So your business partner, say his name again.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And can you tell us about Dan?$$Dan is from Chevy Chase, Maryland. Sort of, you know, just a very white bread sort of guy, all-American white guy. We come from sort of completely different backgrounds, you know. He grew in middle of, you know, Chevy Chase, Maryland. His father is R. James Woolsey [R. James Woolsey, Jr.], former head of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. And we still to this day have a very contentious relationship, but it's always good, you know. I always say that we're always on the same page, but never on the same paragraph or we're least, we're always on the same page, but not reading the same line. And--but we work well together because we're always making each other better. And so, at this particular time, doing the business, I just started to get interested in my family history. I always had an interest in my family history, because I always was curious about how did, you know, how did we end up in Newark [New Jersey], and you know, all of this. I always had this awareness of, well, how did I end of here? And so I started doing research, and I, obviously, worked at '48 Hours,' and so now I knew how to actually do research and find people and dig up information. And so I used that sort of skillset and knowledge from doing investigative reporting to start looking into my family's history. And I would tell Dan some of the things that I found out about my family. I told him that I found out about this white guy in North Carolina who was a direct descendant of my family's former slave owners, and, you know, his name is the same of mine, David Wilson, and that he owns this plantation--the--still the plantation--the plantation that used to be the plantation where my family was enslaved on, the land. So Dan was like, "Oh, you have to do a documentary. You got to do something with that." And I'm like, eh, I wasn't motivated by it. I never wanted to be on camera. And, you know, I had had my time where with the idea of being an on camera reporting, and I just knew that it wasn't something for me, and I didn't want to do it. And he kept on convincing me, and so eventually I relented. And at this particular time, I had gotten a--I had started working at CBS again. They had called me back to be--for a job at CBS in--Network News Service [Network News Service, LLC], which is an ABC, CBS, and Fox News conglomerate. And I eventually rose up the ranks and became lead producer there. It was never anything I was interested in. It was just a job. But Dan convinced me, he said, "Okay. Let's do this documentary." And I called my other buddy, Barion [Barion Grant], who went to high school with me [at Arts High School, Newark, New Jersey], and I said, "Well, Da- Barion, we're about to do this documentary ['Meeting David Wilson']. You should come." Barion had worked on 'Tupac Resurrection' documentary for MTV [Music Television; MTV]. And we, we started working on it.

W. Paul Coates

Publisher W. Paul Coates was born on July 4, 1946 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Edna Coates and Douglas Cryor. Coates enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. He later received his B.A. degree in community development from the Homestead Montebello Center of Antioch University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1979 and his M.L.S. degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1980.

After Coates returned from Vietnam, he settled in Baltimore, Maryland and began volunteering for the community breakfast program organized by the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party. In 1970, Coates became defense captain of the Baltimore Black Panthers where he was in charge of managing all Panther activities in Maryland, including implementing free clothing and free food programs and housing assistance, before leaving the organization in 1971. He subsequently established the George Jackson Prison Movement to bring Afrocentric literature to inmates. By 1978, the program had transitioned into the Black Classic Press (BCP), which Coates founded in order to publish books by and about people of African descent. After receiving his M.L.S. degree, Coates joined the staff at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. In 1990, he was a contributing editor for the published work, Black Bibliophiles and Collectors: Preservers of Black History, along with Elinor Des Verney Sinnette and Thomas C. Battle. In 1991, Coates retired from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center; and, in 1995, he launched BCP Digital Printing to specialize in short-run printing. In 1997, author Walter Mosley granted Black Classic Press domestic and foreign rights to publish his novel Gone Fishin’. The book sold more than 100,000 copies, making it one of the biggest books ever published by Black Classic Press.

Black Classic Press republished several works including Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton by Bobby Seale in 1991, and Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka in 2007. In 2012, BCP also published A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s “Malcolm X,” by Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs.

Coates is the father of nine children; Kelly, Jonathan, Malik, Menelik, Ta-Nehisi, Darius, Jared, Damani and Kristance, including two additional adult children through marriage.

W. Paul Coates was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 20, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/20/2019

Last Name

Coates

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Paul

Occupation
Schools

Sojourner-Douglass College with Annapolis High School

Clark Atlanta University

First Name

W.

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

COA02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

7/4/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Publisher W. Paul Coates (1946 - ) is the founder of Black Classic Press (BCP) and BCP Digital Printing.

Employment

Black Classic Press

Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

BCP Digital Press

U.S. Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Karen Thomas

Education administrator and marketing executive Karen Thomas was born on August 19, 1955 in Newark, New Jersey to Howard and Ruth Young. After graduating from Abraham Clark High School in 1973, Thomas received her B.S. degree in communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1977, and her M.S. degree in sports and special events marketing from New York University in 1989. Thomas went on to receive both her M.A. degree in educational administration in 2008 and her Ed.D. degree in urban education in 2012 from Kean University in Union, New Jersey.

Upon graduating from Simmons College, Thomas worked as a copywriter in the public relations and marketing departments at Chemical Bank in New York from 1978 to 1980. She joined McGraw-Hill Publishing Company as a copywriter and worked in the book club direct marketing sales group from 1980 to 1982. From 1982 to 2000, Thomas served as marketing director at Essence magazine in New York City. During this time, Thomas created and produced The Essence Awards, an Emmy-award winning prime-time television special, The Essence Music Festival, and Essence television program. In 1999, Thomas founded Marion P. Thomas Charter School; and, a year later, she became its chief executive officer. In 2011, Thomas joined Kean University as adjunct professor for the graduate school of education where she taught organizational theory, supervision and leadership, and curriculum development. In 2019, she also served as an adjunct professor at Simmons University, where she taught a course on digital culture before retiring from academia later that year.

In 1998, she received the NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Television Production, and an Emmy Award for the Essence Awards Prime Time TV Special, Patti Labelle tribute. Thomas received the Alumnae Achievement Award from Simmons College in 2000. She was also the recipient of the 2015 Profiles in Diversity Journal Company and Executive Women Worth Watching Award for her contributions to education. In 2017, she received the Education Innovator of the Year Award from New Jersey Charter School Association.

Thomas resides in Paris, France, where she studies art history.

Karen Thomas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 26, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.202

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/26/2018

Last Name

Thomas

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Karen

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

THO30

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

8/19/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Education administrator and marketing executive Karen Thomas (1955- ) served as marketing director at Essence magazine from 1982 to 2000, before serving as founder and chief executive officer the Marion P. Thomas Charter School since 1999.

Favorite Color

Turquoise

The Honorable Ben Holbert

Journalist and political leader Ben Holbert was born on March 6, 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio to Benjamin, Jr. and Mollie Holbert. He graduated from Benedictine High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1977, received his B.A. degree in communications from Kent State University in 1984, and his M.B.A. degree from University of Phoenix in 2012.

Holbert began his professional career in broadcast journalism and served as a reporter and anchor at several media outlets in the Cleveland television market, including WJKW-TV, WKYC TV-NBC, WVIZ-PBS, WUAB-TV-43/WOIO-CBS, and WJMO-1490-AM, from 1985 to 2005. He also worked as vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Television Network from 2001 to 2002, and served as general assignment reporter at WKYC-TV, NBC from 2002 to 2005. He was director of communications at Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, in Decatur, Georgia from 2006 to 2007, and served as interim chief communications officer at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District from 2007 to 2008. He was also a senior partnership specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau from 2009 to 2010. Holbert was an aide and executive assistant to the commission president of Cuyahoga County from 2010 to 2011. He established and served as president at Holbert Enterprises in 2010; and, in 2011, was elected city councilman, later becoming city council president for the Village of Woodmere, Ohio, remaining until 2017. Holbert subsequently worked as the Cleveland chapter parliamentarian for National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) in 2014, and was a business specialist at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District from 2014 to 2016. He also served as adjunct professor at Cleveland State University in 2016. The following year, he launched a local restaurant called Sides 2 Go BBQ. In 2017, Holbert was the second African American elected mayor of the Village of Woodmere, Ohio.

Holbert has received numerous honors and awards including Kent State University- Outstanding Alumni Award and Community Service Award, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity-Omega Man of the Year, Village of Woodmere-Council Member Award, and Knights of Peter Claver-Image Award. He was inducted into the Benedictine High School Hall of Distinction. He was also the recipient of four Emmy Awards for journalistic reporting and the Akron (Ohio) Broadcasters Hall of Fame “Personality of the Year”.

Ben Holbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 24, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.188

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/24/2018

Last Name

Holbert

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Ben

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

HOL23

Favorite Season

Late Summer And Early Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Friendship Is Essential To The Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

3/6/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Journalist and political leader Ben Holbert (1959 - ) served as a reporter and anchor in the Greater Cleveland area for twenty-five years before being the second African American elected mayor of the Village of Woodmere, Ohio in 2017.

Favorite Color

Purple

Jeraldine Williams

Journalist and lawyer Jeraldine Williams was born on January 14, 1946 in Ybor City, Florida to Mildred Williams and Judge Williams. Williams graduated from George S. Middleton High School in 1963, and enrolled at the University of Florida, where she and thirteen other African American students integrated the College of Journalism. Williams received her B.S. degree in journalism and communication in 1967, and was the first African American to be awarded the Hearst Journalism Award. Upon graduating, she accepted a position as a general assignment reporter at The St. Petersburg Times. Williams earned her M.B.A. degree from Atlanta University in 1972.

During the early 1970s, Williams worked as an assistant manager at First Federal Savings and Loan before becoming the first African American female manager of Freedom Savings and Loan in Tampa, Florida in 1973. She also worked as an education planner and state coordinator with the Model Cities Program for the City of Tampa. Williams enrolled at the Florida State University College of Law in 1977, earning her J.D. degree in 1981. She was then hired by the Florida Department of Insurance, where she worked as a staff attorney. In 1982, she became the owner and publisher of the Capitol Outlook newspaper in Tallahassee, Florida. In the early 1990s, Williams moved to South Africa, where she worked as a writer for Ebony - South Africa. She also established Management Consultancies and conceptualized her book Up to the Bottom while living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon returning to the United States in the late 1990s, Williams practiced law with her daughter, Salesia Smith-Gordon, in Palm Beach, Florida before moving to Hillsborough County, Florida, where she worked as an attorney in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court.

Williams helped to establish the Greater Tampa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and served on the board of the Bob Gilbertson Central City Family YMCA. She also served on the board of the Joshua House, Infants and Young Children of West Central Florida, Inc. and founded the East Ybor Historic & Civic Association, Inc. She was also a marathon runner, participating in a Lymphoma and Leukemia marathon in 2001, the 60-mile walk for Breast Cancer in 2006, and the Egyptian Pyramids Marathon for Infants and Young Children of West Central Florida, Inc. in 2011. Williams received the Tampa NAACP’s Living Legend Award in 2015 and the Griot Drum Award from the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists in 2017.

Williams has one daughter, Salesia Smith-Gordon, one son, Walter L. Smith, II, and one grandson, Walter L. Smith, III.

Jeraldine Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.182

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/9/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Jeraldine

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

WIL86

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

I Lift Up My Eyes Into The Hills, From Whence Cometh My Help. My Help Cometh From The Lord, Which Made Heaven And Earth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

1/14/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Tampa

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Guava

Short Description

Journalist and lawyer Jeraldine Williams (1946 - ) was the owner of the newspaper Capitol Outlook, in addition to practicing law for over thirty years.

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Dolores Allen Littles

Photography editor Dolores Allen Littles was born on May 21, 1932 in Long Island, New York. After graduating from Hempstead High School in 1950, Littles enrolled at Pace College, where she completed secretarial coursework. Littles later transferred to the City College of New York, where she earned her B.A. degree in 1959.

Littles joined LIFE magazine as a part-time employee, working at the clip desk for several months before her promotion to full-time work where she worked closely with the editorial and copywriting departments. She also assisted staff photographer Gordon Parks with his exhibit at Eastman Kodak by creating titles for the photographs used in the show. Littles worked as a copy assistant with the editors of LIFE on the book The Life Treasury of American Folklore, published in 1961 by Time, Incorporated. That same year, she served as a staff writer for LIFE magazine’s, Life World Library series Brazil by Elizabeth Bishop and Italy by Herbert Kubly. In 1968, Littles received credit as a member of the photography editorial staff for Time-Life Books’ Foods of the World series. In 1979, Littles was credited as the assistant director of photography of the Time Life book, ‘The Spanish Main’, edited by Jerry Korn. In 1982, Littles served as the director of photography for Time-Life Books cookbooks Shellfish and Hors d’oeuvres as well as books of photography such as The Great Themes, The Print and The Jet Age. During her tenure at Time Life Books, Littles served as the assistant chief and eventual chief of the picture department. In 1995, Littles curated the works of two contemporary photographers, Seldon Dix, Jr. and Adger W. Cowans, for the Hofstra University Museum in Long Island, New York. After twenty-eight years with Time Life Books, Littles retired as the director of photography.

Littles held memberships with the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP and City College of New York Alumni Association. She received the Townsend Harris Medal For outstanding post-graduate achievement at City College of New York’s 137th annual alumni dinner in Manhattan, New York in 2017.

Dolores Allen Littles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.167

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2018

Last Name

Littles

Maker Category
Middle Name

Allen

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Dolores

Birth City, State, Country

Hempstead

HM ID

LIT04

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

It Is What it Is.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

5/21/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Duck

Short Description

Photography editor Dolores Allen Littles (1937- ) worked at director of photography, assistant chief and chief of the picture department for Time Life Books.

Favorite Color

Blue