The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon
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.

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
0,0:21620,254:33664,383:34098,391:34532,400:38740,452:41084,471:41516,476:44108,499:45630,514:48420,529:51592,558:53772,572:54290,581:64381,781:64816,788:65860,806:66208,815:74796,967:75775,981:76754,993:78356,1029:85970,1129:86530,1138:96118,1255:98680,1261:99440,1306:104748,1343:105294,1355:108492,1455:109038,1463:109506,1505:109896,1512:110286,1518:112158,1543:112782,1554:113328,1562:121734,1610:130650,1709:131294,1719:132950,1749:138746,1914:163947,2111:166818,2178:172473,2247:173865,2279:175257,2307:183776,2450:193466,2615:201825,2682:207100,2703:211032,2737:211402,2749:217100,2868:217544,2876:221126,2888:221816,2894:222506,2900:225442,2919:234786,3000:238054,3083:238742,3093:244116,3199:244486,3205:245744,3225:247742,3245:248186,3253:251368,3390:287476,3863:287812,3870:288148,3875:292516,4011:292852,4063:298396,4179:309914,4310:311040,4323$0,0:4652,58:5240,64:22880,244:23255,250:31280,431:34100,440:34568,455:45350,577:45950,586:46250,605:48725,645:49925,665:50600,675:63018,854:65830,932:66210,938:72675,992:73440,1006:73780,1011:79379,1094:82943,1153:83438,1159:94700,1296:104466,1432:105582,1450:111720,1530:130108,1800:130623,1807:134580,1847:135024,1854:136208,1884:136874,1889:137244,1895:137836,1909:138132,1914:139538,1942:147266,2043:147562,2048:147858,2053:149412,2083:150596,2101:155632,2121:160318,2221:162590,2276:163797,2295:166779,2392:179068,2562:179728,2580:181510,2626:184084,2673:184942,2687:192076,2753:192312,2781:196388,2834:196876,2844:198462,2893:199621,2926:199987,2933:200292,2939:204522,2998:208738,3071:210630,3102:224262,3183:224886,3234:251558,3557:256460,3632:257240,3651:271364,3835:271892,3844:273492,3859:280504,3990:282636,4048:282964,4053:288071,4142:303182,4330:304390,4344
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. There, 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; and, establishing the George Jackson Prison Movement to bring Afrocentric literature to inmates. By 1978, the program had transition 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, Coates 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; Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka in 2007; and, in 2012, it 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

N/A

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 - ) former Black Panther and 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

Esther Jackson

Magazine editor Esther Jackson was born on August 21, 1917 in Arlington, Virginia to Esther Irving Cooper and George Cooper. She graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. in 1934, and enrolled at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, where she earned her B.A. degree in social work. Jackson went on to earn her M.A. degree in sociology at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1940. Her thesis, The Negro Woman Domestic Worker in Relation to Trade Unionism, examined the issues faced by African American domestic workers, and the benefits of labor unions.

Jackson joined the Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) in 1940 and became a member of the voting project in Birmingham, Alabama. From 1942 to 1946, she worked as the organization’s executive secretary. In 1947, Jackson and her family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she became active with the local branches of the Progressive Party and the Civil Rights Congress. During the 1950s, Jackson worked for the National Committee to Defend Negro Leadership and the Families of Smith Act Victims. In 1961, Jackson became the managing editor of Freedomways, a globally distributed journal that featured the work of Derek Walcott, C. L. R. James, Julius K. Nyerere, Alice Walker and Nikki Giovanni. Jackson also co-edited the books Black Titan: W. E. B. DuBois, published in 1970, and Paul Robeson: The Great Forerunner, published in 1978. Jackson remained the managing editor of Freedomways until it ceased production in 1985. In 2015, Sara Rzezutek Haviland published, James and Esther Cooper Jackson: Love and Courage in the Black Freedom Movement, a biography detailing Jackson and her husband’s activism.

Jackson was the recipient of several awards including the 1987 Community Contribution Award from the Harlem School of Arts, the 1989 Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, and the 1990 Mary Church Terrell Award from Clara Barton High School. In 2003, Jackson was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of Humane Letters from the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University.

Jackson and her late husband, James Jackson, had two daughters.

Esther Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.213

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/15/2018

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Esther

Birth City, State, Country

Arlington

HM ID

JAC48

Favorite Season

Spring and Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/21/1917

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Favorite Food

N/A

Short Description

Magazine editor Esther Jackson (1917 - ) worked for social reform organizations like Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC), Progressive Party and the Civil Rights Congress before working as the managing editor for Freedomways journal for over twenty years.

Favorite Color

N/A

Karen Thomas

Education administrator and marketing executive Karen Thomas was born on August 19, 1955 in Newark, New Jersey to Howard and Ruth Young. She graduated from Abraham Clark High School in 1973 in Roselle, New Jersey. Thomas received her B.S. degree in communications in 1977 from Simmons College (Simmons University) in Boston, Massachusetts and later her M.S. degree in sports and special events marketing in 1989 from New York University. In 2008, Thomas received her M.A. degree in educational administration; and, in 2012, her Ed.D. degree, in urban education, graduating magna cum laude, both 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 for two years from 1980 to 1982. Then from 1982 to 2000, Thomas served as marketing director at ESSENCE magazine in New York City where she was responsible for all the marketing functions across the corporate divisions of the publication group including print, event marketing, special events, public relations and research. Thomas is credited for creating and producing, The Essence Awards, an Emmy-award winning prime-time television special; The Essence Music Festival, the largest gathering of African Americans annually; and Essence television program, a nationally syndicated magazine-format television program. 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.

In 1999, Thomas changed careers and became the lead founder of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School. In 2000, she became the CEO for the Marion P. Thomas Charter School and grew it into the largest independently operated free public charter school in Newark with a network of four campuses and serves students grades pre-kindergarten to twelve. 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. She also served as an adjunct professor at New York University and Simmons University.

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.

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- ) was the lead founder and CEO of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, New Jersey. Prior to that she served at Essence magazine where she launched the Essence Awards, Essence Music Festival and the Essence television program.

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 and received his B.A. degree in communications from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 1984, and his M.B.A. degree from University of Phoenix in 2012.

Holbert began his professional career in broadcast journalism and served twenty years 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 served 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, and senior partnership specialist at U.S. Census Bureau from 2009 to 2010. Holbert was 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 and later became city council president for the Village of Woodmere, Ohio and served from 2011 to 2017.

He served as 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 while launching a local restaurant called Sides 2 Go BBQ in 2017.

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 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- ) was the second African-American elected mayor of the Village of Woodmere, Ohio in 2017. He served for twenty-five years as a reporter and anchor in the Greater Cleveland area.

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

Joe Madison

Radio host Joe Madison was born on June 16, 1949 in Dayton, Ohio to Nancy Stone and Felix Madison. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1967 in Dayton. Madison enrolled at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, in 1967, but received his B.A. degree in sociology in 1971 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

He worked in public relations at General Motors Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan from 1969 to 1970 and also worked as a statistician for the Saint Louis Cardinals football club, in St Louis, Missouri in 1970. He served as a communications associate for Mead Corporation, in Dayton, during the 1970s, and worked as associate director in urban affairs at Seymour & Lundy Associates, a public relations firm in Detroit from 1971 to 1974. Madison was selected to serve as executive director of Detroit's NAACP branch at the age of twenty four, the youngest person to be appointed to the position, serving from 1974 to 1978. Appointed by NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks, Madison then served as NAACP national political director from 1978 to 1986. He began his broadcasting career at Detroit's WXYZ-AM radio station in 1980, and later worked at FM talk station WWDB in Philadelphia. Madison joined WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1989 where he developed “a crossover appeal” handling issues that included race, but were aimed at the station's multicultural audience. From 1989 to 2007, he worked as a broadcaster at Radio One. In 1998, Madison left WWRC-AM to start an online chat show. He joined urban talk radio station WOL-AM, in Washington, D.C., serving as broadcaster and program director from 1999 to 2013. He joined SiriusXM in 2007. A radio talk show host and civil rights activist, widely known as “The Black Eagle,” Madison can be heard on his SiriusXM Urban View titular weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show

Joe Madison was elected to the board of directors for the NAACP, and served from 1986 to 1999 and he also was appointed chairman of the NAACP Image Awards.

Madison and his wife Sharon have four children including Michelle, Shawna, Jason and Monesha, and five grandchildren.

Joe Madison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2018

Last Name

Madison

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Roosevelt High School

Washington University in St Louis

First Name

Joe

Birth City, State, Country

Dayton

HM ID

MAD06

Favorite Season

Early Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

What Are You Going To Do About It?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/16/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United State of America

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Radio host Joe Madison (1949- ) joined SiriusXM in 2007, hosting SiriusXM Urban View’s weekday morning show, The Joe Madison Show, as “The Black Eagle.”

Employment

Seymour & Lundy

Mead Corp.

Detroit NAACP

NAACP

WXYT-AM Detroit

WWRC-AM DC

Radio One

Sirius XM

Favorite Color

Black

Stacey F. Tisdale

Journalist Stacey F. Tisdale was born on November 10, 1966 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Charles B. and Jettie S. Tisdale. Tisdale received her B.S. degree in international business and finance in 1988 from Marymount College, in Tarrytown, New York.

Tisdale worked on Wall Street as a cash manager for commodities firm Balfour Maclaine International, and worked on the trading floor of the Coffee Sugar Coca Exchange. Tisdale served as a writer for the Dow Jones newswire service, Telerate. She produced, wrote, reported and hosted programming for Wall Street Journal Television, which became CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel). Tisdale served as business correspondent at CBS News, CBS MarketWatch, The Early Show, CBS Evening News, and CBS Radio from 1996 to 2000. She also hosted a show on Tech Live, TechTV’s daily news program and served as a financial reporter at CNN (Cable News Network) where she filed business and consumer reports for all of the CNN networks, including, CNN, CNNI and Headline News and Marketsource from 2000 to 2004. She reported for Inside Africa, a weekly news magazine show on CNN International and contributed reports to Money Talks, the nationally syndicated program created by BusinessWeek. Tisdale appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a financial expert and in O, The Oprah Magazine. She wrote for Essence magazine, and co-authored the book, The True Cost of Happiness: The Real Story Behind Managing Your Money.

In 2010, Tisdale founded Mind, Money, Media Inc., a production company. Tisdale launched WinningPlay$, the curriculum and behavior-based financial literacy program, was awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Excellence in Economic Education Award. In 2011, The National Association of Black Journalists awarded Stacey Tisdale its Community Service Award for the WinningPlays$ program.

Tisdale reported for PBSnational news magazine show Need to Know, and PBS Newshour Weekend. A financial expert on NBC’s Today Show, she was also a blogger for the Huffington Post – Black Voices platform, and business correspondent for Al Jazeera America from 2013 to 2014. She served as senior editor of personal finance at Black Enterprise.

Tisdale also created financial education and life skills programs customized for professional sports teams and corporations including the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, the New York Giants of the NFL, and the female employees of Microsoft. She served on the advisory committee for The Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair for Media, Culture, and Feminist studies at Rutgers University.

Tisdale has one son, Christopher.

Stacey F. Tisdale was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 29, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.137

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/29/2018

Last Name

Tisdale

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Stacey

Birth City, State, Country

Bridgeport

HM ID

TIS01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Martin

Favorite Quote

You Are Already Perfect. If You Don't Believe That, It Is Due To A Poverty Of Your Understanding. Get Rid Of That Understanding And You'll Be Rich.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/10/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese

Short Description

Journalist Stacey F. Tisdale (1966- ) served as a financial reporter for CNN, The Early Show, CBS Evening News, and CBS Radio.

Favorite Color

Blue

Vera F. Wells

Television executive Vera F. Wells was born on December 31, 1944 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated second in her class from Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School in 1963. Wells went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. to study psychology, but left before graduating to move with her husband to New Haven, Connecticut, where she worked for Community Progress, Inc. In 1969, Wells graduated from Yale University with her B.A. degree in psychology in 1971, the first coeducational graduating class. While at Yale University, Wells helped to create a new seminar called The Black Women and the Chubb Conference on the Black Woman, which brought Professor Sylvia Ardyn Boone to the university. Boone would become the first tenured African American woman on the Yale faculty upon her promotion in 1988.

After graduating, Wells became the director for School Volunteers for New Haven, Inc. She spent the summer of 1972 assisting Elga R. Wasserman on the Carnegie Council on Children alongside Sylvia Ardyn Boone, whom she had befriended at Yale University. In the 1970s, Wells spent two years at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts to study organizational management. She then became the associate director of the international division at the National Council of Negro Women where she conducted field research in East and West Africa. After returning to the U.S., Wells accepted a position in promotional research at NBC’s headquarters in New York City. She was eventually promoted to director of audience services. In this role, Wells oversaw the creation and standardization of closed captioning at NBC, following the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. After the death of Sylvia Ardyn Boone in 1993, Wells became the founder and director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University’s Timothy Dwight College. The memorial project houses the collection of Boone’s literary and personal papers and awards both undergraduate and graduate scholarships to students working in the fields of African and African American art.

Wells served as a member of the University Council at Yale University for ten years. Within the council, she was a founding committee member of YaleWomen, Inc. and the Theater Review Committee. Wells also served on the boards of the National Advisory Council of the Yale Black Alumni Association, the Yale Development Board and the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. In 2007, Wells was honored with the Yale Medal for her volunteer service to the university.

Vera F. Wells was interview by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.135

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/28/2018 |and| 6/30/2018

Last Name

Wells

Maker Category
Middle Name

F.

Organizations
First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WEL07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa; Italy; Saint Croix

Favorite Quote

We all yearn for transcendence, ... (Sylvia Boone)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/31/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Television executive Vera F. Wells (1944- ) was a member of the first coeducational graduating class of at Yale University in 1971, a long-time executive at NBC, and the founding director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project at Yale University.

Favorite Color

Brown