Jimmy Richardson

Jimmy Richardson
Jimmy Richardson

Jimmy Richardson's Paterson roots date back to the 1930's. His parents moved up to the area at the tail end of the Great Migration. He comes from an artistic, inventive, and musical family, whose values sparked a line of Jimmy's accomplishments that include drum-playing in churches and on Broadway, invention of the rain chime musical instrument, owning a photography studio that produced multimedia presentations for corporations and political personalities, and developing historical exhibits for the Paterson Museum and the Paterson Library.

Jimmy, too, has a dedication and passion to Paterson's African-American history. In this series of three interviews, Jimmy discusses the history of the city's African-American churches, which date back to early nineteenth century, African-American newspapers, involvement (or rather lack of involvement) in the silk and textile industry, the Negro League Baseball League and Hinchliffe Stadium, and historical preservation.

 
 
 
 

Interview Transcript Part 1

Barbara Krasner
00:00:00.96
This is Barbara Krasner, oral historian at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. And today is Tuesday, February 27, 2018. I am here with Jimmy Richardson. Welcome, Jimmy.

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:16.00
Welcome! And thank you for inviting me. I think this is going to be a wonderful interview because my life history has been somewhat of a- somewhat interesting.

Barbara Krasner
00:00:29.58
Good.

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:30.47
I think.

Barbara Krasner
00:00:32.23
So, tell me what your connection is to Paterson.

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:35.15
Well, I was born and raised in Paterson. My mother is from Sylvania, Georgia, which is not to be confused with Savannah. From Sylvania, and my father is from Garfield. By way of Saluda, South Carolina, and they are kind of close together geographically even though they're in different states.

Barbara Krasner
00:00:59.46
What brought them up here?

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:59.73
I would think they came during the migration, kind of the end of the great migration. But, they came in the '30's. My mother and my grandmother- well, both my grandmothers- my mother and her mother came here in 1936 from Sylvania. And they came as a result of my aunt Lucille Dobson, who came to Paterson some few years earlier. And following Lucille Dobson came Maddie Dobson. Maddie, actually her name is Maddie May Dobson or Mae Dobson.

Barbara Krasner
00:01:37.24
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:01:37.99
And they both came to Paterson first. And then, my mother came, my mother and her mother came. And my mother came at the age of nine. And when they came to Paterson in 1936, they joined because they were from a religious background and to my surprise later in years only to find out that my grandfather whose name was Julius Cuspart-

Barbara Krasner
00:02:01.69
Could you spell that?

Jimmy Richardson
00:02:02.84
C-U-S-P-A-R-T

Barbara Krasner
00:02:06.75
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:02:07.90
Was an AME Minister, African Methodist Episcopal Minister in Sylvania. And they moved here, and they lived at number six bridge, number six Arch St in Paterson which is in the area historically which is coming more familiar to people, in an area historically called the African Shore. And I'll explain to you what the African Shore is about in a moment. My grandfather, again, was an AME Minister. He never organized or opened up a church in Paterson, but he did open up a little grocery store which soon went out of business because he was not a businessman. He gave away more than he could sell because he couldn't- His ability to understand measurements did not help him. And I'll say it that way. He was not a good businessman so he gave away more than he was selling.

Barbara Krasner
00:03:14.76
Plus, it was the Depression.

Jimmy Richardson
00:03:16.78
Right. It was the end of the Depression, well, middle of it. And when they came here, they joined the Godwin Street AME Zion that was an AME Zion church and it is the oldest African-American church in the city of Paterson. And that- As a matter of fact, and let me explain when I say Godwin Street AME Zion. That is the name of this church before 1912, 1924. In 192- If you need me, I will go back into the history to explain some of these dates as it relates to African-American history.

Barbara Krasner
00:04:02.04
That would be helpful.

Jimmy Richardson
00:04:03.48
Okay, here we go. The 1804 emancipation and of course there were three, people don't know much about the 1886 emancipation which was an emancipation that was not rigidly adhered to by anybody. And then, there was the 1804 emancipation which was a gradual emancipation. And actually, there's two. There's one, the Brazilian Emancipation is basically pretty much the same. So, New Jersey's gradual emancipation and Brazil's emancipation is pretty much the same. And what it said was any child born to an African-American after July 4, 1804, men don't have to work until the age of twenty-five, women to the age of twenty-one. So, by 1830, you see the occupation of some of Paterson’s first free African-Americans in an area along the Passaic River on one side, bounded by River Street on the other. And it was right in the middle. And if you're familiar with that area, you'll understand exactly what I mean when I say bound by that. And of course, in those days, of course, there weren't many- As a matter of fact, William Nelson speaks of slavery in Paterson by 1860. There were only seventy-eight slaves left in Paterson. And you must understand the 1804 emancipation said that they were free after thirty years. But, yet, you must realize that some of them were too old to leave so they wouldn't go so they stayed here until their death. Now, in 1834 you have the establishment of the Godwin Street AME Zion

Barbara Krasner
00:05:55.38
Okay, say that more slowly. The God-

Jimmy Richardson
00:05:56.45
Godwin.

Barbara Krasner
00:05:58.00
Oh, Godwin

Jimmy Richardson
00:05:59.19
Godwin Street AME Zion church which is the oldest African-American church in the city of Paterson. And of course, it is in this area called the African Shore. Now, why it was called the African Shore is because 90 percent of the slaves that were being freed in this new occupied part of Paterson, which was a desolate, nasty, dirty place to live because it was on the river bank, you know, and it was- The river overflowed constantly, you know. As a matter of fact, the 17- no, the 1854 flood was something that has been recorded in the pages of history. And then, the 1882- I think it's '82 or '84 flood- that's another one, a major flood that was recorded in the pages of history. And of course, the great flood in 1903. Now, I'm saying that because that whole area was inundated with flood water, nasty water. And that is where the first occupied settlement of free African-American slaves. Now, within the boundaries of that area was a gentleman named Horatio Moses. Horatio Moses, a white man, Horacio Moses was Paterson's first tinsmith. And his business was on the corner of Main Street and Bank Street. Bank Street no longer exists. And, what he would do, he would give tin to these newly freed slaves to build their little houses that were made of tin with no windows, or if they had windows, they were always broken. No toilet facilities. No toilet facilities in these areas. Now, Horatio Moses was a very generous philanthropist. Even though he wasn't a rich man, he was a person who was- He was one of Paterson's earlier Methodists. So, he really had an affinity for the poor. And it didn't matter who it was. He just really felt bad and sorry for poor people and especially African-Americans. And what he did is above his tinsmith business, he erected or he built it's called the "tin doll." And what it is is it is a carved doll that look- that is about maybe thirty inches in length and it stands about maybe twenty-four inches high. And it is sheathed in tin. And he hung this above his business. Now, he hung this above his business for this reason. You had a lot of immigrants who could not read or write, but this was a marker for his business. But, it also became a marker for the underground railroad. It is the only- This is 2018. It is the only remaining artifact from the underground railroad in the city of Paterson now. So, you have the Godwin Street AME Zion Church which is in this district called the African Shore. And within this district, you have thirteen African-American churches that still exist today that got through establishment or the founding roots in this area, either on one side of the river or the other. And, later on I'll go into, if you choose, if you want the dates and the name of those churches, I will give you that information. So, my parents- My grandmother and my mother joined the AME Zion Church. Now, incidentally when they joined, the pastor of that church was Benjamin C. Robesen. The brother of Paul Robesen, was the pastor of that church. And, in 18- 19- I'm sorry. I'm going to say 18. I'm going to say 1939 and in 1939 also you have Paterson's first African-American bishop whose name was James Taylor. Now, in the interim of his bishopric what happened is the church split. And with that splitting of the church, you have in the city of Paterson that still exists today, the First AME Zion, which is the oldest African-American church incidentally which is also involved in the underground railroad. And then, you have the new AME Zion which was established in 1949 as a result of the church splitting. My parents, my grandmother and my mother left that church and they joined an organization called Bible Way, which actually comes out of Washington, D.C. But they had- I'm sorry- let me back up and let me fix that. They actually joined a church in the beginning called Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ is actually- And I'll call it refuge. Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And that church was established on 125th Street and 125th Street and 7th Avenue in New York, and the church still exists today. And, a month of bickering I mean, and then the Paterson Church was established in 1936, no, 1936 or 1939, but it got established in the African Shore. And the pastor was James I. Clark. I don't know what the "I" is for. James I. Clark Sr. And he was the pastor. And incidentally James I. Clark Sr is of West Indian descent. And the church finally moved to Governor St. And I think it's 258 Governor. And that is when my parents joined that particular organization which was, again, called Refuge Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Barbara Krasner
00:12:44.89
Okay. So, did they join that before or after the Godwin Street AME?

Jimmy Richardson
00:12:50.42
After.

Barbara Krasner
00:12:52.10
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:12:53.39
They left the Godwin Street and joined the Pentecostal movement which was the Pentecostal Movement Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Barbara Krasner
00:13:02.84
And what was your mother's and your grandmother's name?

Jimmy Richardson
00:13:04.08
My mother's name- My grandmother's name was Blossy, Blossy Cuspart. And her maiden name before that, her maiden name was Maynard, Blossy Maynard.

Barbara Krasner
00:13:20.81
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:13:21.48
And of course, my mother was Mary Cuspart. And my mother was the only child. And again, they lived on 6 Arch St in Paterson, which is an area that was designated or dubbed the African Shore even though that name had been long forgotten because that name came about in the 1850s. We're talking about 100 years later, about 100 years later.

Barbara Krasner
00:13:49.95
And so, did your mother and father meet here or in Georgia?

Jimmy Richardson
00:13:54.81
No, they met here. And I never knew why, there's something I never found out how they met. I never asked them, and they're both gone. But, my father was born in Garfield by way of Saluda, South Carolina. Now, my grandmother, my father's mother-

Barbara Krasner
00:14:12.71
Okay, wait a minute. In Garfield-

Jimmy Richardson
00:14:15.68
New Jersey.

Barbara Krasner
00:14:16.94
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:14:18.91
My grandmother was born in Saluda, South Carolina, and she, her name is Queen. Oh gosh! It will come to me. It's a German name. Oh, it will come to me. I can't think of it. It will come to me later. And, they moved to- My family originally moved to Passaic, New Jersey. And my grandmother had eight children. My father was the youngest so they moved to Garfield, New Jersey, I mean, Passaic, New Jersey, where they attended a church in Garfield that is still there. And this is 2018, and we're talking about the 1930s. It was called Calvary Baptist Church. Now, the church has since- I don't want to say outgrown that location- and now the Calvary Baptist Church in Garfield under the auspices of Calvin McKinney is probably the biggest Baptist, African-American Baptist church in Garfield. And my father and mother somehow though they got together. And the story that my father told my mother is that he was from Cuba. And she fell for it. She fell for it, and long after they got married. And they got married in July 28, 1952. And the minister that married them, his name is Floville LaGarde. Now, Floville LaGarde was ordained at this Calvary Baptist Church in Garfield. And in 1957, he opens a church in Paterson, New Jersey. And actually he opened- It was basically a church that they were holding services at 258 Hamilton Ave in the basement, and I forgot the gentleman's first name, but his last name is Eaton. Mr. Eaton. And they held services in the basement of this church. And in October of 1957, they opened up the Community Baptist Church of Love. I remember Floville LaGarde married my mother and father. He opens his church on October of 1957. My mother was never a member of that church even though my grandmother and my father was for a short time. Now, the reason why that is important is because I lived right across the street from the church. And my grandmother became the church mother, Mother Queen Richardson. And I remember as a little boy going to get her every Sunday just to walk her across the street to church because she had osteoporosis. And when- Okay so that's the family part of- Oh, wait, wait, wait. And I forgot. If I could go back to my mother, my mother in 1957, also the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was called Bethel. There was two Bethels in Paterson. One was called Bethel AME, and the other one was Bethel Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They went to the Bethel Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And in 1957 the church split under the direction of Robert Nelson Jones. And he opened up his mission church at 131 Governor Street in Paterson, where my mother and my family, my mother and my family were the first, some of the first parishioners of that church. And at that time, and it's still called, it was called Bible Way. Anyway, and then in 1960, they buy a church that was just recently, and I don't want to say abandoned, the church who owned it built a new one about a block away. And the church was the New Christian Missionary Baptist Church, and that- I forgot what the address is, but it's on Bridge Street and River. And it is that church still exists today. It's still there. And we, the Bible Way Church, bought their building at 12 Governor Street. And we most certainly believe it was in the heart of the red-light district. Now, and that church stayed there for many years and many years.

And of course, I was born in 1952. I have a sister that was born in 1951 who has passed away. And then, I have two other, three other siblings. I have Charles Craig Richardson. I have Laverne Richardson Squire and Gail Richardson, you know those. And so, my oldest sister who passed away, her name was Deborah or Deborah. And of course, I'm the second child, now the oldest. And we were all actively involved in church. My sister was a musician. She was the organist; the piano player then became organist. I was the drummer for this church Bible Way. And my brother was the bassist, and the other two sisters sang in the choir and so did my mother. My mother sang in the choir. Incidentally, my father was a drummer. And so, we got it honest. Of course, he never played with anybody notable unless you're from Paterson, you know, because you play with some of the local bands for the most part. You never played for anybody notable. And, that is kind of the, that is part of the Richardson history as it pertains to the Paterson area and my family, my immediate family. Of course, there are other aspects of which my family because my grandmother had eight children. So there's other cousins, nieces, and nephews all around. Again, I was born in 1952.

Barbara Krasner
00:21:20.48
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:21:22.01
We lived at 117 Governor Street, which is right across the street from the Community Baptist Church of Love, which is where Martin Luther King spoke in 1968. And I mentioned to you that my grandmother was the mother of the church for a number of years until her death.

Barbara Krasner
00:21:47.42
What does it mean to was a mother of the church?

Jimmy Richardson
00:21:52.10
It's like one of the senior officials. Basically, that's what it is. It's a senior official. And for a lack of- For another way to explain, she could be considered a senior advisor. Now, how she advises you and to what capacity, is another story, but it really is a title of respect. That's all. It doesn't necessarily- In most instances, the mother of the church is an advisor, but it doesn't carry a lot of significant power.

Barbara Krasner
00:22:23.69
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:22:24.34
I mean, unless depending on the church and depending on your affiliation with the leaders. But, for the most part, you know, unless you have a young lady who might be in trouble, you know, you might go to the mother of the church to get advice about what to do. Or marital problems, you might go to the mother of church. You know, you don't necessarily want to talk to a male pastor about something that- not that he wouldn't be interested- but you'd rather talk to somebody you're more comfortable with.

Barbara Krasner
00:22:53.48
Yeah, so there was only one mother of the church?

Jimmy Richardson
00:22:58.09
No. In the African-American church, there can be many. There could be many. I mean, it is almost- It reminds me almost like in the African tradition where you have many-

Barbara Krasner
00:23:12.06
Where the community’s the community, yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:23:12.07
-sub-leaders, you know. With sub-leaders but you have one main leader, the chief, and then you have a lot of sub-leaders that, in some instances in the African tradition. And that's how the church still functions. You may have many mothers, or they are rec- And they may not have any power, but they are recognized as one of the mothers of the church. And that's how that goes.

Barbara Krasner
00:23:35.98
What schools did you attend?

Jimmy Richardson
00:23:36.84
I originally went to Public School 24. Public School 24 was the original- It is the original building for William Paterson University. It was called Paterson Normal School. And I forgot what year they moved out, but I went to that school which is on the east side of Paterson. And I went there my whole grammar school education was there. And then, my family bought a home on North Second Street in Paterson, which is, I believe, the first ward. And we bought a house there on North Second Street. And because they bought the house in the middle of the term, the school term, and I graduated from grammar school, I was going to Eastside. So, I spent a year at Eastside, or almost a year, until they found out that I lived out of that area. And then, I went to Central. It was actually it was called Central. And it was called Central while they were building- It was actually called two names. The original building was Central High School. And when they started building Kennedy High School, which is the newest addition to the high school system in Paterson, it was changed to Martin Luther King Annex. No, I'm sorry, Eastside High School Annex and then eventually Martin Luther King School. So, I went to Eastside, and then I went to Eastside Annex, which was another name for Central, which was the second high school. And then, while they were building Kennedy is why I attended then. And after they finished building Kennedy, I was eventually moved to Kennedy High School so I went to all the high schools in Paterson at some point.

Barbara Krasner
00:25:29.46
And then what happened? What did you do after high school?

Jimmy Richardson
00:25:32.22
I was a very ambitious person, very active. I played the drums in church, very, very active in church to the point where I didn't know what was going on around me because I was always in church. I mean, I'm even going to tell you this story, and this is a good one, but I don't know if I want this on record. Very involved in church so I did when I graduated high school with not the greatest of grades. I never went into the military. You must understand I graduated at the middle of the Vietnam situation. And so, I graduated in 1970. And, you know, Vietnam was a bustling thing at that time. And, you know, I was in a lottery system so I didn't go. My number was 369. Yeah, nope, 360-something. It wasn't nine because the nine would not be, there's only 365 days in a year. So, I was three something. It was a very high number so I never was drafted. There was a draft.

Barbara Krasner
00:26:41.27
I remember that.

Jimmy Richardson
00:26:43.00
Do you? And I didn't go. But, I stayed around home, and I worked all the time. And I worked for, I really got a great experience in working because I worked for, as an example, I worked for Van Raalte [Note: verified in Paterson city directories via Ancestry.com]. Van Raalte was a manufacturer of nightgowns and negligees and all kinds of women's underwear. And when I say underwear, night clothes. Again, negligees, slips, any kind of thing that had to do with women's undergarments. And what was so fascinating about it that I did not realize is they use jacquard looms. And you know, you see the weavers down there, and they'd be making all the, not lace, well, they were making lace. They made a lot of lace at this particular factory on Getty Ave in Paterson.

Barbara Krasner
00:27:35.58
And what was the name again?

Jimmy Richardson
00:27:37.67
Van Ralty.

Barbara Krasner
00:27:38.96
Van?

Jimmy Richardson
00:27:40.13
Van R-A-L-T- I'm not sure how to spell it exactly. And they had a main office on Fifth Ave. You know, I tried to find it once online, but and you know, in history. But, you probably can. I probably didn't look far enough. But, they had a manufacturing plant here on Getty Ave in Paterson. And they a distribution center and another manufacturing place in Boonton. And their home office was on Fifth Ave in New York. So, from there I stumbled around, working various kinds of jobs. And again, basically I'm still a teenager, you know, I was coming out of high school. And what I tried to explain to my children is this is a different world than when I grew up. I said, "You could quit a job today and get one tomorrow." In the seventies and even part of the eighties, there was no problem finding a job. Now, you quit a job or you leave the job or quit or change careers, it might be years before you go back to work. And anyway, so I did that for a long time. And then, I really got involved with photography. I got in photography involved with it as an amateur. And I used to, I bought a camera, and I used to go up to Garret Mountain and anywhere, you know, you just learn, you know. Take pictures of whatever you can take pictures of. And [?] developed most of the time. And in the early days, all the film was black or white. When I say black or white, these are underexposed or overexposed so there was nothing ever there. And it took me a long time to learn how to really take pictures with the correct exposures. And, I finally got a part-time job for the Paterson Greater News of Utah at 1982. Is one of three-

Barbara Krasner
00:29:32.56
Wait. The Paterson-

Jimmy Richardson
00:29:36.09
Greater News.

Barbara Krasner
00:29:38.21
Greater News.

Jimmy Richardson
00:29:40.54
It is one of three African-American papers at the time. Actually, it was actually two. There was a second African-American paper in the city of Paterson. The first paper was published in 1852 by Alfred Campbell Gibbs {Note: Alfred Gibbs Campbell is correct], who was a superintendent of the- He was the superintendent of- oh gosh!- [?] together. The HV Butler Paper Mill. Now, why that name may ring a bell to some historians is because it is that paper mill is the first paper mill in this country to produce continuous rolled paper in this country. And it was at the request or request of Alexander Hamilton that this company comes to Paterson. Now, Alfred Campbell Gibbs was the superintendent of that mill, and he was African-American. But not only was he the superintendent of that twelve-building complex, he was also a published of Paterson's first African-American paper, but the paper was about tolerance. And you have to understand in those days in the 1800's all the way up to the 1960's, Paterson was a drunken town. There was so many breweries in Paterson, there was as many breweries as there was churches. And he really railed against tolerance, alcoholic tolerance. He was also part of the anti-slave society. And he was a publisher of the Alarm Bill.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:31.58
Well, wait so he railed against tolerance, or he was for tolerance?

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:38.44
He was for tolerance. He was for tolerance. He was trying to obliterate alcohol because it is, you know, you know the stories about alcoholism and stuff.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:48.70
So, what was the name of the company? HV-?

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:50.75
HV Butler.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:52.62
Butler.

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:53.49
And it was- They were from New York, but they came at the request of Alexander Hamilton. And they came at the request because of war power.

Barbara Krasner
00:32:03.49
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:32:04.09
And again, why that is significant to the African-American community because you have an African-American who is the superintendent of a major paper company in the city of Paterson in which slavery still existed. That's the key to it. Slavery still existed. The second paper which is the one I worked for was called the Paterson Greater News, which was established in 1982. And the publisher, his name was Reginald Powe.

Barbara Krasner
00:32:36.52
How do you spell that?

Jimmy Richardson
00:32:37.47
P-O-W-E I believe.

Barbara Krasner
00:32:40.25
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:32:41.05
And he was born in Paterson, but he became a very wealthy publisher for educational books and curriculums. His company is in New York. It is called Communication Concepts, I believe. And this still exists in New York today. And I became one of the photographers there. Not one. I was the only photographer. Again, and so the owner was Reginald Powe. The publisher was Nathan Wright, Nathan Wright Jr. And Nathan Wright was also an accomplished publisher, writer and publisher, not just a writer and publisher, accomplished writer. He wrote many, several books and one in particular was called a book that had to do with the 1967 riots called Ready to Riot, which is pretty hard to find, pretty hard to find his books.

Barbara Krasner
00:33:40.40
Okay. Let's linger there for a minute.

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:40.94
Okay.

Barbara Krasner
00:33:41.75
So, '67 riots. Was it '67 or '68?

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:44.24
Yep, '67. '67

Barbara Krasner
00:33:46.72
'67? So, what do you remember about that?

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:50.12
The '67 riots, I was living on- I was still living on Gov- Nope. No, I was living in the Alexander Hamilton projects and aka Alabama Ave. You know, if you go to Alabama Ave, everybody knows what that is. But, it was actually the Alexander Hamilton projects, and it was one of the earliest, I think it's the second earliest housing complex, high-rise complex, for low-income housing in the city of Paterson. It was built in 1952 by Paterson Housing Authority. And, I think the first one was around River Street, not Riverside section, I can't think of the name of it. But, there were army guards. But anyway, so I lived there, but the 1967 riots was a really horrific time in the city of Paterson. I was away from it because I lived on the other side of town, either though my grandmother, they lived right in the heart of it. They lived right in the heart, I mean, right in the heart of it. And if you need to reference any of that stuff, the best book to look at that is actually two books. And one is by Christian [Note: Christopher] Norwood. And I forget the name of the book. I think it's Paterson {Note: The title of the book is About Paterson: The Making and Unmaking of an American City, 1974). And the second one which is a very recent book within the last three years is by Richard Polton. And actually he's the co-writer, and I think that book is just Riots, Riot. 1967 but it's called Riot {Note: the book is The 1964 Paterson Riot: Three Days That Changed a City co-authored by George Lipsitz and Richard Polton]. Now, in that book any specific thing that you need to know about that, it will probably be in there. So, I was kind of removed from the riots proper because I lived on the other side of town.

Barbara Krasner
00:35:33.64
What did your father do?

Jimmy Richardson
00:35:36.87
My father was a kind of person who had very minimal education. What I can remember the most is I remember as a little boy he used to deliver coal. And I remember, the reason I remember is because all the racket those coal chutes made because I used to go with him on occasion. But, then as he got older, he did end up working in the chemical industry, in the chemical industry. And I think that's really where he spent most of his occupation, in the chemical industry here in town. As a matter of fact, working for a company called Mona Industries. I don't know if they still exist, but it was called Mona. And as a matter of fact, there was one other place, but I remember another place. As a matter of fact, this place is on the lower end of Market. And it is now a parking lot, and this was a dye house. And I remember my father coming home purple from that dye.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:36.21
Oh, from the dye.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:37.90
You know, from that. He used to come home purple and blue.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:40.29
Now, you said your oldest sister was born in '51.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:44.24
Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:44.34
But, you also said your parents married in '52.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:45.98
That's right.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:47.37
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:47.58
Yep, and you're right.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:48.65
I just wanted to get that straight.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:52.24
Because I was born in '52 so I know.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:54.33
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:54.94
Yeah, you're right. She was born in December of '51, and they got married in July of '52.

Barbara Krasner
00:37:03.74
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:37:04.40
Yeah, July 28. You're good at what you do. What else can I tell you? So, that's what my father- My mother was a domestic. And she was- And she was fortunate in the way that she worked for some prestigious, wealthy Jewish people. I think she worked for the Bograd family. And the Bograd family owned a major department store on Main Street. The building is still there. She worked for them a couple days a week, and she also worked for the Bonders [Note: Could be Bonder or Bodner]. And I believe they became the manufacturers of Hasbrouck Heights Hanger Company. But, I don't know where they used to do manufacturing of hangers before then, but they were Jewish people, and they were involved in the hanger industry. And then, a couple of days a week she worked for the owners of Stenchevers. Stenchevers was a very popular, well-to-do shoe company in Pat-

Barbara Krasner
00:38:11.50
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:38:12.35
And how do you know that?

Barbara Krasner
00:38:13.92
Because I've interviewed people.

Jimmy Richardson
00:38:15.56
Okay. And they talked about Stenchchevers?

Barbara Krasner
00:38:18.03
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:38:18.62
Yeah, my father work- My mother used to do domestic work for them. They lived in Fairlawn, and she used to do domestic work for them. You know, and that's how we grew up. And then, later in life my mother became an aide or a nurse or whatever. I don't know what her position was at North Jersey Training School. North Jersey Training School was a facility for handicapped people- I don't know young or old, but handicapped people. And that's where she retired from after about twenty years. But, as a little boy, I remember her doing domestic work as a young person.

Barbara Krasner
00:38:58.44
Did you ever go with her?

Jimmy Richardson
00:39:00.43
No, never went although they did know, they knew of me, I mean, I could go downtown and you know, if I went into the store, they knew who I was. And it's interesting, it's very coincidental because later in life, my brother became, was employed by Stenchevers. And when Stenchevers closed and moved out, my brother went to the court system. And today my brother is the lieutenant of- one of the lieutenants in Paterson Police Department.

Barbara Krasner
00:39:29.39
Oh.

Jimmy Richardson
00:39:30.23
And he's one of the lieutenants in Paterson Police Department but he's posted to the city hall so he's never had a beat. He's always posted either somewhere in the court system or in city hall. And he's- I guess he's been through, I don't want to say he's been through, but he's been involved with terms of I think five different mayors so he's been around a while.

Barbara Krasner
00:39:58.30
Yeah. So, let's go back to you. So, you're a photographer now.

Jimmy Richardson
00:40:05.61
Mm hmm. And let me tell you, what happened to me, how I delved into photography deeply is I used to go to as a photography reporter, I used to go to- I was always invited to the American Labor Museum's dinners and any kind of exhibitions and shows that they opened, I was always involved. I was always invited. And I was invited by a gentleman. His name was Sol Stetin, and I'm not sure how to spell his name, but I know there's an "I" in it. Sol Stetin. And Sol Stetin was one of the old-time labor leaders. And he just, you know, he just took an affinity to me. And he liked me. And he'd call me and say, "Come, we got an event." I would go. I would take pictures. And what happens to me is I'm drawn into the history. I'm drawn into the history of the labor unions based on the fact of being a photographer and these are stories I have never heard before, didn't know anything about. And, from that I left the newspaper, and I started working for I got a job I was working for Becton Dickinson.

Barbara Krasner
00:41:19.53
So, when did you leave the newspaper?

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:22.88
It was in the '80's. It was in the '80's.

Barbara Krasner
00:41:25.76
And then, you went to work for-

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:28.71
Becton Dickinson in research and development as a clerk. Now, while I was at Becton Dickinson, now I got to back up a little bit. I've been a drummer for the past forty-five years, and I play the drums in New York for there was a play that came out in- It opened in 1979, and it ran through the 1980's, 1985/1986 called “Arms Too Short to Box with God.”

Barbara Krasner
00:41:54.31
Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:55.96
I was one of the drummers.

Barbara Krasner
00:41:56.87
Oh, no kidding.

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:57.94
And it was produced by Vinette Carroll. When that play closed, I went and I played with Vinette Carroll - That was Broadway. Off Broadway was a young man who was from Paterson, who was in that movie, that play “Arms Too Short to Box with God.” His name was William Hardy. He did a production called God's Creations. I was the primary drummer for that. Now, being a musician and being, and then of course you combine that with, of course, these two things don't meet, but they don't meet. Being a clerk at a research and development company, I was surrounded by people making things all the time. And I'm not talking about big things. I worked in the division where they made syringes, sutures, anything that was really minute and for the most part that was specialized in the medical field or as a device. So, I was always surrounded by all this either metal or people making things that were specifically specialized. And I started fooling around with some brass. And I used to listen to the radio all the time. And the more that I would just play with this brass, and I had this brass disk. And this particular disk had- It resonates in the key of C. And I found out that there were a lot of songs that came on the radio that were in that note, or in a diminished capacity. It could be a note that matched with that key of C. And the more I fooled around with it, then I realized, how do I get this to resonate more? So, again, I'm dealing with people who deal with lathes and engineers, people who do drawings, and I state fooling around with this. And in 1979, I invented some musical instrument called the rain chime. And that instrument was eventually picked up by a company in New York called Carol Sound and was distributed in eight countries. I've gone to trade shows around the country from molding this instrument. And I remember in 1979 I only made, I think I made $8,600 a year as the clerk for Becton Dickinson-

Barbara Krasner
00:44:17.84
But, weren't you still in '79 you were working for BD? I thought you went there after the paper?

Jimmy Richardson
00:44:25.53
I did. But no, no, no. After. So I went to BD first, and then later I went to '82 around the early '81/'82 I started working for the paper. So, BD came first, then the paper. And so, what happens is, you know, again you're around all these engineers and designers and manufacturing people and guys with lathes and lycrometers and stuff, and I just really got a fascination with that. And in doing that what happens to me is I invent this musical instrument called a rain chime. And for a lack of a better word and description, it's basically a finger cymbal. But, I was able to design it in a way where I could do two full octaves. But, you could only put three on your hand at a time. Unless you had, you know, I mean, you could put it on a stand and do all, all sixteen. But, if you played it in your hand, you could do like three at a time. And, that was an incredible education. Now, you have to understand I only went to high school. I went to Passaic County for a half a semester and dropped out. And the education I got had to do with metallurgy. It had to do with I had to really find out or research the frequency of various notes and how long they vibrated and what frequency they vibrated. And this is guy, I don't know, I mean, I was playing the drums as a semi-professional. And nobody- And still to this day- That's not true. I do know somebody. But, in those days I know nobody who knew anything about musical instrument design, even though I knew people who were musicians for a long time. They knew nothing about design.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:09.98
Did you have any formal training as a drummer?

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:11.08
No. No, as a drummer, yes. I went to Collective Drummers in 1976. I went to Collective Drummers in New York, where I learned theory from some of the very same people I used to listen to records.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:24.22
But all that time before you were playing-

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:26.25
Yeah, I had been playing. Yeah, I was playing on my own.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:27.13
Did you know how to read music, or did you just play by ear?

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:30.06
No, it was later. It came later. It came later.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:32.86
So, you were playing by ear?

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:33.27
Yeah, I was playing by ear. Now, all that reading, the reading and school stuff came with theory, came later. This is the '70's also. This is before God's Creation and Vinette Carol.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:47.01
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:48.67
You know, this is all before that. That instrument, again, I say that instrument went international. Now, the reason why that's important is because, you know, after the instrument did so well, what happened was a I had a problem with my, with BD. You know, you could call it racism. You can call it whatever you want. But, my boss got mad at me because I had took off a couple of days or you know, and he got mad, and they suspended me. Now, this is a great story! I met Martin Cohen. Martin Cohen was the President of LP International. LP Ltd International. And what LP Ltd International is is the largest Latin percussion manufacturing company in the world at that time. Now, here's the ironic part- Martin Cohen used to work for Becton Dickinson ten years before me and got fired for the same reason, working on this stuff on the job. And, I ran into Martin Cohen. I went to his shop, his manufacturing and his warehouse in Fort Lee. And I went there, and I talked to him, and you know, here's this kid. What do you know? And his question was well, why should I take this? Why should I market and put it on my thing? You know, he says, "You know, I don't need this, you know." So, anyway we parted like that. He wasn't mad; I was a little disappointed. But anyway, I kept working with this instrument. And working with this instrument, again, I think a year later, that's when Carol Sound out of New York picks it up. Now, Carol Sound is a major musical instrument rental company in the city of New York. I don't even know- They might still exist. But, they- Any time you want to get any rental musical instrument, that's where you went, Carol Sound. All the big theaters, play, whatever- That's where you went to Carol Sound, and they would ship it to you, tune it, send it to you, bring it to you. And they picked, and the sideline was exotic percussion instruments. And they picked this instrument up, and they distributed it for me. Now, they asked me did I want to go in 1979 did I want to go to the trade show in Atlanta. It's called the National Association of Musical Merchandise. Now, you must understand. This is the same weekend or week that my boss suspends me for taking two days off. When he told me he was going to suspend me, I'm suspended, I was [?] backwards because I didn't want them to say well, next time. I wanted them to do it because I wanted to go to Atlanta. And I didn't want to have to explain why I was going to be off for another three days. So, I left, and I went to Atlanta. When I get back from Atlanta, guess who's on the front page of The Morning Call? Jimmy Richardson, local musician makes good. They're going nuts! My boss went insane! They called me at the office, and he says, "How dare you go away and you're suspended?" I said, "Are you out of your mind?" I said, "You suspend me, and you want me to sit home and twiddle my thumbs and feel sorry for myself?"

Barbara Krasner
00:50:08.78
For $8,000 a year.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:10.35
Yeah, you know, right. Right. And you know what? Wait. So, I go to them and he was mad. And now they wanted to re-suspend me again. I said, I walked out. I actually I did my time. I said because you're not happy, because you're unhappy as the fact that I wasn't punished is no reason for me to, you know, I'm not going to stay here and do it again. [?] I went to, again, I went to Atlanta. I was down there for three days. I made $12,000 in three days. I made more money in three days than I made the whole year.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:42.29
Yeah. Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:44.53
And again, I'm on the front page of the newspaper. I become a celebrity.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:46.39
What newspaper?

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:48.43
The Morning Call. The Morning Call. I may have stuff if you want. And, then I start getting calls to do speaking engagements. I spoke at a prison in Staten Island. I spoke at a couple of institutions. I looked like a kid, and I was. You know, I think I was twenty-nine.

Barbara Krasner
00:51:10.12
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:51:10.71
You know, and you know, and they're looking at me, and saying this guy can do it. Anyway, so that’s how that happened. Now-

Barbara Krasner
00:51:16.63
So, let me just ask, was there anything in your upbringing, anything in the values that your parents instilled in you or the church instilled in you that gave you the confidence and the tools-

Jimmy Richardson
00:51:32.12
No, not really.

Barbara Krasner
00:51:34.30
-to take this time?

Jimmy Richardson
00:51:34.89
Other than the fact, you know, you're always taught to be honest and do good. And my mother was a very generous, giving person. She was- And when I say generous and giving, she didn't have any money. But, she gave all her time. You know, and my sister and myself are just like that. And we've often talked about it. I'm sixty-five. My sister is fifty-eight, I think. Nope, '55, '56 and we often talk about the tendencies of our mother that we carry because we are both very, very generous in our time and in our talents. So, and the musicianship which comes from my father. My father was a tinker. I mean, he used to make- Oh my gosh! He'd make lamps out- I mean, this may sound ridiculous. It's going to be hilarious! You know how you can get the gallon jugs for that you buy the bleach, the Clorox bleach.

Barbara Krasner
00:52:30.05
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:52:30.70
He'd fill it up with sand, and he'd make lamps out of the bleach bottle, and he would be able to sell them! He'd sell them! And he'd make a lamp out of anything. I kid you not. He'd make lamps out of everything. So, that kind of intuitiveness about being creative really comes from him. And along with the musicianship. My father was a drummer. So, that comes from my father and from my parents, the giving nature of- The giving part of our nature and the artistic part comes from my father, be it something that is manufactured or how we listen, hear, and apply our musicianship. Now, the early part of the question was photography and how Sol Stetin brought me in, and I got involved with the labor unions. And then, I was contracted to do a job for the American Labor Museum. They got a night- The museum, Paterson museum, Passaic County Historical Society and the American Labor Museum got a $96,000 grant to do an exhibition about the textile industry. And it was called life and times, and that exhibition, I think it ended up down at the Smithsonian, I think. But, with a major cultural celebration going on in town. They brought in the mayor from Lyon, France with the Paterson city hall designed after. They had dinners all over the place - I mean, the Hamilton Club, all kinds of exhibitions. I met a young lady who interpreted Evelyn [Note: It’s actually Elizabeth] Gurley Flynn from the silk- I mean, it was incredible. And I'm getting pulled into this more and more to the point where I started doing exhibits at the museum of my own, African-American exhibits. And in 1983, I opened a Paterson museum with its first exhibit of any kind, and it was called Freedom Fighters. And Freedom Fighters is a film documentary- and now I'm using photography- a film documentary about the making of Martin Luther King's birthday and national holiday. Two years in a row I would go down to the Washington D.C. to the Stevie Wonder rallies where they were rallying to make his birthday a national holiday. And of course, it didn't happen until 1983. And that's what the documentary was about. But, that documentary with all the photos stayed down at the Paterson Museum for sixteen weeks. And the reason why it stayed so long because the museum was not even open yet, officially open. They were working on an exhibit, an exhibition called it was a fireman's exhibit. And it has to do with the fire trucks and anything that had to do with the fire engines and anything that had to do with the fire business is what opened the Paterson Museum. But, my exhibit opened it first. I'm not recognized for that, but I've got the proof. And I just kept, for years, just fooling around with history and doing the exhibits on occasion. And I would do more and more at the Paterson Public Library.

Barbara Krasner
00:55:56.14
Were you still living in Paterson?

Jimmy Richardson
00:55:56.68
Always! Yeah. I didn't move out of Paterson until 1989 when I got married. And continued to do photography. And this is what I was going to say. When I was at Becton Dickinson, after that skirmish about me going to Atlanta, I might have been here for about another six months. Turn it off and let me get a drink of water.

Barbara Krasner
00:56:22.92
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:56:23.83
Can you turn it off? Excuse me. [?] Oh, I know, Becton Dickinson, I mean, [?] Becton Dickinson. And after the skirmish that I had with the, my supervisor at Becton Dickinson, there was- and this was in Fairfield, New Jersey- this is in Fairfield. The research, it was called R&D. I forgot the technical name for it because they did all kind of specialty stuff. But, on my lunch hour, I would walk around the block only to find out there was one of the state's largest photography studios, commercial studios, and I would go in. I went in the first time a couple times. And I would just look at all the pictures on the wall. And I would go there every day and just look at the same pictures over and over. And I remember there was a gentleman, his name was Dave Peterson. He was the studio manager. He says, "Man, I see you every day!" I said, "Man, I just can't believe these pictures. They're beautiful!" And this is all commercial stuff. This is not like people. These are broom sets and all that kind of stuff. All kinds of stuff. And now in this studio not only did they have the broom sets, they had the lab. They had design. They had everybody. It was like working in the movies. And so, finally the guy said, "Come on! I'm going to give you the nickel tour." And you could tell that he had me, man. They had me. And I'm just- I'm struck. I'm gone. I'm gone. And they took me around, and then every day I'd go and, you know, and to the point where they said, "Go ahead. Go ahead." I didn't even need a guide or- just go. Just be careful. And I'd go. And they could see that I was just gone. I mean, they had me, you know. And come to find out they had thirteen professional photographers on the job, and they were applying for a grant or a loan from SPCA or somewhere. They were applying for, and they couldn't get it because they had no minorities. And this was the same time I was going through this stuff with Becton Dickinson. And my boss, not my boss, the guy, the manager, the manager says, "Jimmy, how would you like to work for us?" And I couldn't believe it. I mean, you know, I don't know nothing. I mean, my little shooting is not like this! It's not like at all. 35mm and now we're dealing with 8 x 10 view camera. I mean, you name it. And I said, "Are you serious?" He said, "Yeah." And to this day if the studio existed to this day, the only thing on the application is my name, address, and phone number. They hired me right there on the spot! They hired me. I guess they got the loan. And of course, because of the type of person I was, I became their prize and cherished studio assistant because I was young, and I was into it. I had a memory that was like- it was just like a sponge. And again, they had so many props. One of the reasons why this particular studio was so popular is because they had a prop room that took up half the size of the second floor of this entire building, and this building was huge. It was huge! But half the building on the upstairs was nothing but props. Then, in the back of the building, they had a dock made. And on the back of the building, they had seven tractor-trailers full of all merchandise for something to be shot. Now, I started as a studio assistant, and part of my job as the studio assistant, but I was also in charge of shipping/receiving. And then, for the most part, even though it was never given that title, I was basically the properties manager. You could ask me about anything, and I could tell you where it was. I don't care if it was in the front of one of those tractor-trailers- there were seven- I knew where everything was! So, this is what would happen, they'd have a client come in, and they would be working on a room, on a show. We did Congoleum. We did everybody. I mean, it was a huge place! And so, what the designer would do- and all of them- there was like six designers, what they do is they was talking to the client, and they say, "Well, we could add" so and so and so, and then they'd call me on the speaker. They called me so much that one of the clients says, "You know, your name is almost musical they call you so much." So, they would come in, and say, "Jimmy, do you know where-" such and such thing is. I'd say, "I know exactly." And I'd go and get it and bring it back to them. And they were fascinated by that, the fact that I knew where everything the building was. And I stayed there until about five years until I opened my own studio. Now, being a musician, I incorporated photography in my desire to learn, and all of that information that I absorbed about building room sets and about paint about color about lights and about film, again, they had a lab on the premises so you're talking to the chemist. You're talking to the enlarger, the people who are enlarging your prints. You're talking to everybody. They had thirteen photographers, full-time photographers. And the thing about photographers like any other artist, they all the end result is a photograph. But, they all shoot different. And I was the assistant for everybody. Now, I'm learning photography, chemistry, from thirteen different people who are teaching me about stuff that I couldn't afford to go to a school to learn. It's on the job training by professional, the best. You know what I'm saying, the best? And I mean, that's what they did. I mean, the stuff is published all over the world! And you're teaching me and you're showing me. I opened up my own studio in Paterson, downtown Paterson, 35 Church St, I think it was, on the second floor. And of course, the fact that this was in a time where Paterson was trying to incorporate the idea of Paterson becoming an artist community.

Barbara Krasner
01:02:48.57
Right. So, what year was this?

Jimmy Richardson
01:02:50.97
'82/'83. '83/'84 or something like that. And, I get a room downtown in this office, in a building. Now, nobody was in there but me so basically I had the entire floor. I had the whole suite, and I used it to the maximum. I had stuff going on in every room, nothing bad, all good stuff, all photography. And, what I used to do was produce a multimedia presentation. This is when slides were big. I don't know if you remember when they used to have the New York experience with those twenty slide projectors, and they all- I mean, that's the kind of stuff that I used to do. And then, I started getting offers from notable people and companies to do these presentations. Now, I'm using my musical background. I'm using my photography background. I'm using my theatrical background. I'm using just my general knowledge, and I'm doing this stuff. Now, I got to tell you something. Norman Robertson ran for Congress. I did a multimedia presentation for him that he used to carry around to promote his campaign, and it was an easy way to do it because, you know, you could project and show your whole campaign strategy in twenty minutes, or maybe even less depending on what they wanted with narration, visuals, and music, you know. And again, you're getting me for nothing basically. You're getting me for nothing compared to what I was doing. And when I say what I was doing, you say, well, that was nothing. Joey Torres, who was the former mayor of Paterson, I did his first campaign, and he won. He ran for city council. Now, the thing that happened was the African-American community or politicians that were running were a little angry with me because they said, well, why are you helping him? And I said, "Because he's paying me!" You know, I said, "You know, if I need gas, I don't care who's is paying. I don't know who's got it. I just need it." And, I think he paid me $3,000 for one of these multimedia presentations in which he won the election. Now, the most I ever got from any African-American politician was, I think, fifteen dollars. Now, what do you think- Where do you think I'm going? You know, I got so sick of eating beans with no franks. I will work for anybody. So, I worked for Ozzy Pilentia (sp). I worked for Senator John [?], John Torgenti (sp). I worked for Opportunities Industrialization Center. It's- And the abbreviation is called OIC. They were entrenched in Paterson as a learning institution for minority people, not just African-American minority people. And they taught women especially a trade- typing, receptionism. Did I say that right? Receptionism.

Barbara Krasner
01:05:45.85
Reception.

Jimmy Richardson
01:05:48.64
It was receptionism. Anyway, so they contracted me to do their annual fundraising presentation. Now, this is when it really gets interesting. So, I'm starting to make connections with a lot of politicians, and one politician in particular was not able to pay me. And I'll tell you who it was. It was Norman Roberts. He was a Republican, and he lost that election for Congress. And so, at the end of the thing, he wasn't able to pay me. So, when I started working on this project for OIC, Norman has a great speaking voice. I called him, I said, "I need you to narrate something for me." He narrates it. Man, the people, and you talk about at this OIC annual dinner, you got all kinds of corporations and companies there because they want their employees- Well, you know how it goes. And, next thing you know, you have these corporate companies saying, "Well, who was the narrator? Who was narrating? Who wrote that, and who was narrating?" Now, I wrote it, and Norman narrated it. The second year, did it again. Now, they really want to know who it is! So, the second year, I bring Norman as a guest, and then they introduce as the voice behind the presentations. And again, now this is going to sound really weird to you because it is a weird thing. I got scared to death. I really did. I got scared. I mean, if you heard people say they're scared, they're afraid of success?

Barbara Krasner
01:07:20.84
Yeah. Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:07:22.97
I was scared to death. And let me tell you why. I'm a photographer. I'm doing all the sound. I'm writing the scripts. I'm assembling this project. I'm doing the interviews. I'm doing all this stuff on my own out of my own imagination. And I'm putting the whole concept together. You're talking about a project that would take basically a firm or a company that specializes, and I'm doing it alone. And when I see how successful this was, I get scared. I get scared because this thing is way bigger than I ever dreamed. It was fun in the beginning. Now, it's getting scary because I got people who money and their reputations are on the line with this. I mean, they call me to do stuff for them, and I don't know what to do because, you know, I mean, I got Lipton's calling me up saying, "We love what you did! You know, it's so human! And we want to appear, we want to look human and we don't want to look like a corporation." And I'm scared. I am, and I stopped. I stopped. I was scared to death. You know, and again, to other people that might sound silly, but I was. Here, I'm a black guy, young man, working in a corporate world, working with corporate advertisers, corporate people, and I've never gone as far as high school. And I'm doing things that in essence I probably should have no business doing because you don't know enough. But, I'm doing it, and I'm successful. I'm scared to death. I am. And, that kind of, I kind of slowed down from that and stopped doing that because I was scared. I was scared. I was scared of failing. You know, what if this thing blows up in my head, in the face? And you know, of course, at the same time, not long after, I was doing the drumming thing. And then in 1989, I got married, and married a young lady. Again, I met her playing the drums. And I'm playing the drums, and she used to sit in church and watch me, and she used to turn her head this kind of way. And she'd be way out there, but I could see her. And she'd turn her head, and I'd turn my head the other way. You know how your kids, you know so we were flirting with each other. And I'm in the front of the church! And she's in the pew, and we're flirting with each other. Anyway, we dated for a while, and then we broke up. She wanted to get married, and I didn't. I mean, I just- Now, this is going to be very- Don't print this. Why buy a cow when you get milk free, you know? I had- I was playing the drums in New York. I was working. I owned my own studio, had my own apartment, brand new car, had money. I mean, I had invented an instrument that was still going. Why would you get married? At least, why would I get married? I don't want to say you. Why would I get married? I had women really from all over interested in me because I was playing all over the place. I was playing in New York. I was everywhere! Anyway, we stopped seeing each other, and we didn't see each other for about ten years. And then, one day I did some photography work for the Essex [?] which I think was called, then days was called Wein and Associates, I think, or something, Wein Developers, something like that. And I met the developer, and they hired me. And I took pictures of every apartment in the Essex and the Phoenix Mills. And then, they hired me, and I went up to- I was in Newtown. I was all over the place, photographing these units for these people and the guy says to me, he says, "Jimmy, you're a good photographer, but you can't come around me like looking the way you do" because I used to wear sneakers all the time. And, he said it very nicely, and he was real like, he said, "You just can't be with me like that." And you know, I had to dress proper. I had to dress for the job. So, I'm out taking pictures as his private personal photography, doing all these real estate ventures and real estate jobs. And I'm dealing with photography, but I had to dress the part. And anyway, I move into Essex Phoenix Mills in 1982. And I stayed there for seven years, and I never paid over $28 a month. And I was having a hard time with that some months. And I stayed there until I got married, and I got married in 1989.

Barbara Krasner
01:11:56.05
Right, and then you said you moved.

Jimmy Richardson
01:11:57.88
To Hillside, New Jersey. And I stayed there. I mean, we moved around a couple times, but we're back in Hillside now. But, in the course of all of that- Now, I still was playing the drums. I wasn't on Broadways, but I started playing for- I was playing. I got a call from a friend of mine who was playing for the St. James AME Church in Newark. It was the largest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the state of New Jersey. They had a membership at the time of 4,000 people. And they had a very, very popular minister. His name was William D. Watley. William Darnell Watley. And he was an international minister, even though he's not like T.D. Jakes or what's his name? Olsteen. He wasn't like that, but he was involved with a lot of international things that put him on the international map. And St. James AME Church was a African Methodist Episcopal Church. They were still- And the church was in an old building, an old church, that was called, originally was built in 1852, and it was called the High Street Presbyterian Church in Newark on High Street. And in 1942, this African-American church bought this building, the church. And I think it was $600,000, I think. I've forgotten now exactly. No, no it was- I forgot now, but it was by today's standards it's nothing, considering the size of this building. And as a matter of fact, in this building, this building the pipe org- Ah, I'm getting sick when I talk about this. The pipe organ and the stained-glass windows in the church and in the Sunday school room was worth more than the structure. They were all Tiffany windows, and the one in the Sunday school room was a Tiffany window and there's two- There's only one- There's two in existence. The other one is in the New York Armory. And the second one was in this church. And of course, when I went to this church, I was invited to come and hear the choir. And I said, "I can't play here." I mean, it was so different from what I- I'm from Broadway. I'm used to playing with professionals that are highly polished people and musicians and entertainers. And I have this people singing by a piano, and you know. I can't play here. Now, because of my interest in history, I remember to this day, the message that the minister spoke about Harriet Tubman. I was immediately drawn into that, and I said I would try it. I ended up staying there, being the primary percussionist for seventeen years. Now, I bring everything I have to bear. This church, the 4,000 people they have eight choirs. They have rotating choirs, and they do two services a Sunday. And these choirs rotate. I played for every choir. Now, because I come from the kind of background I came, I own my own two-liter chimes. I own my own. I own my timpanies. I had two sets of drums, three sets of drums, one electronic and two acoustic sets. I had drums in every corner because of the nature of whatever church- whatever choir was singing, I don't have to run around. And again, the drums need to be near the other musicians or the other instruments. Up in the pipe- Up in the loft, the choir loft- because it was a Presbyterian church- that's where the pipe organ was with the choir, with the choir in the choir loft. So, that's where the timpanies and the two-liter chimes were. So, I kid you not, if you thought you were in the movies because of the quality and the richness of the musicianship. Now, I'm not saying it was me. I'm saying it was the kind of stuff that I brought to the table. Then, on the floor with the contemporary musicians because I come out of a jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues background, the church was always rocking. The church grew by leaps and bounds. And, because of that, the church at the dynamic of the church change, the pastor saw it. The dynamic of the church changed because the music was, you could feel the music was driving the church. And he was already a good minister. He was a dynamic, powerful minister. But, the setup before he got up was incredible. And to the point where I don't know if you've ever heard of this, but in the African tradition it is called call and response.

Barbara Krasner
01:16:36.40
Oh yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:16:38.33
Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
01:16:39.27
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:16:40.08
Now, so what me and- It was only two of us. But again, the set on the floor was, I think, seventy-seven pieces, and it was a combination of acoustic and electronic, twenty-seven. I mean, all kind of sounds are coming out of that corner. So, the keyboard player, he had a B3 organ, and he had two keyboards- a synthesizer and something else. And between the two of us, you would have thought there was an orchestra up there. Now, what we did is because we both came out of a Pentecostal background that had to do with call and response, and they didn't know anything about that, not that anybody that knew, but it wasn't happening there. And we would undergird him, and it was called underscore. We would underscore him while he was preaching. So, he's preaching, and it's almost like he had theme music under him.

Barbara Krasner
01:17:30.74
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
01:17:31.51
Of course, you got to know your place. You can't play like you're playing a song, but you can do things to lift-

Barbara Krasner
01:17:38.75
and dramatize

Jimmy Richardson
01:17:39.95
Exactly. And you can lift that. And it does two things. It pulls the audience in. It becomes extremely emotional. And it gives him, it's almost like it gives him a second breath because now he's working with the music. And again, we know what to do, and we're not overwhelming him. We know when to pull back. We know when to stop. We know when- When he gets ready to altar call, you got to change the flow. It's different. And the church just grew by leaps and bounds. I mean, whew! The church just blew up. Anyway, that's what I did for- That's why I dropped off the history and photography stuff for a long time because I had put so much emphasis on the drumming at that church with those eight choirs. You always had a rehearsal.

Barbara Krasner
01:18:29.85
So, did you continue a link to Paterson throughout this time?

Jimmy Richardson
01:18:32.79
Yeah, because I came back in 19- 2010 I started doing exhibits again. And this is where it gets interesting, and it kind of focuses on today. In 2010, and again, I had a reputation, and I was known at the Paterson Museum, because you know, I opened the museum. Everybody knew me. They knew what I did. They knew that I did exhibits at the library that were really small. Anyway, 2010 I did an exhibition- a program and an exhibition- called Let's Have Church. And I bring this nationally-recognized minister who was my minister to Paterson to speak, but in addition to that I celebrate twelve, thirteen churches in the city of Paterson. And these churches are some of the oldest churches. I'm not only celebrating the churches; I'm celebrating the ministers. Place was packed. I mean, you know, all these congregations. Not everybody but the church- And of course, then I got a big food reception. As a matter of fact, you know who did the reception? Whole Foods in Paramus.

Barbara Krasner
01:19:40.78
Oh.

Jimmy Richardson
01:19:42.11
The lady told me I broke their budget. She said my program broke the budget. They had to re-think everything. And I haven't gotten anything from them since. But anyway, that's when Gianfranco Archimede-

Barbara Krasner
01:19:54.40
Yeah, I know Gianfranco.

Jimmy Richardson
01:19:55.95
Gianfranco is the Director of Historic Preservation. He comes to me, and he says, "Jimmy, I really want to talk to you." He said, "You know, you were able to bring these African-American churches together." He says, "We're been trying for about five years, and we can't even get them to answer a letter, but you seem to have a connection with them." I said, "Well, most of them I played at." As a musician, I played at the church. They all know how I am, you know, the pastors know who I am. I've played for a lot of musicians. Now, Paterson, even though it's the third-largest city in the state, it is pretty a small town because everything is connected. Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody to goes to the same church, who went to school- Everybody knows somebody. I mean, you know, you do something wrong, believe me, the whole town is going to know, even though it's a big town, everybody going to know. I don't know about the new generation but some time ago. And again, you put that on top of the fact that I had national recognition because of the play on Broadway and then with the musical instrument. I mean, I still get people asking me, you know, "How's the instrument doing?" I still get people asking me, "Are you still playing?" My knees are bad. I don't feel like carrying this stuff around no more. You know, I still get people. And then, of course, people ask me, "Well, you know, are you still taking pictures?" And the part that we haven't even got to the part of me being an executive chef. I was an executive chef for Schering-Plough for years. I was the executive chef-

Barbara Krasner
01:21:19.41
Wow.

Jimmy Richardson
01:21:20.76
-for Schering-Plough. And, but I got to tell you about that, briefly about that. How I got involved with cooking is at the age of nineteen, I got into an argument with my father. And my father, we got- Again, I was real strong- My upper body strength was- I had real strong upper body strength because of the job I had. I worked for Dave Stern Tires, unloading tractor-trailer tires from, unloading tires from tractor-trailers. I mean, they would get 1,000 tires, and we could unload the whole- two, three people- could unload the whole truck, the whole tractor-trailer in about two hours. That's a lot of tires! But, I was good at it because as a kid when I was- I was still- I was, I think, during the summer in high school there was- One of the tire warehouses right across the street from my house so we'd be out there during the summer, riding our bikes. And you know, they'd be unloading the tires. And we got to playing with the driver, and you know how kids do. You know, they would roll the tire, and we'd get it and we'd bounce it in there. And then, we got pretty good at it. Now, the driver saw that we were just having a good time so every day once a week, twice a week, the tractor-trailers would come. They'd come knocking on our door, looking for us, because we could unload the- The kids could unload that truck in a couple of hours where normally it might take them an entire day. The kids would get on that truck, and in the warehouse if somebody was stacking, [?] but we could unload that truck. But behind that as a kid my upper body strength was real strong. And I got into a misunderstanding with my father. And, he was going to hit me with a stick. And I grabbed the stick. I didn't knock him down, I swear. Honest to goodness, I didn't knock him down. But, I was stronger than him, and he fell, he slipped. And when he slipped, he was embarrassed. He said, "Get out!" And my mother said, "Your daddy said you got to go. You got to go." I was nineteen. And I got my first apartment. My first apartment. Now, when you live with your parents, you know, I didn't know nothing about cooking. I mean, my mother cooked so I had to learn how to cook so what I did I got a job working for Vince Lombardi Service Area on 95. It's the first one, depending on what direction you're coming, going South it's the first stop on 95. I was the first dishwasher ever there when they opened it up. And I worked from 11:00 to 7:00. I worked there, and I took the job because I knew I was going to eat and make money. I just had to be able to stay awake and then go to my second job. Sleep in the evening. And then, on the weekend I played the drums. I was always busy, never got into trouble. I was busy! And, one night the chef, the cook, the chef he quit in the middle of the night. And the manager said, "Can you cook?" I said, "No." He said, "Well, you're going to learn," and they threw me on the grill. And of course, because there was so many regulars there from the truck stop, and they see me around, collecting the dishes. They were very patient with me when I burned the stuff up or wasn't done. They were very patient, and that's how I first learned how to cook. And from that, I went from job to job with better chefs, better restaurants. And I changed and went to photography. And I just started learning more and more about cooking to the point I ended up [?]. And they have a camp- On the union campus, there were 4,000 people on the union campus. Now, you got to feed 4,000 people- And again, let me back up. I'm one of fifty people in the kitchen so it's not like I'm doing all this stuff by myself. But, I would start at 4:00 in the morning, and my first- My primary job first thing in the morning is I had to make five different soups, fifty gallons of each, and they had to be done by 8:00. And then after that, then I started working on the entree for lun- Oh wait, for an hour they put me on the grill, doing breakfast. Then, I had to come back in, and then I have to work on the entrees. Now, again, being a drummer and remembering with this mind and memory that I have, I was so good. I'm sorry. But, I don't want to brag, but I was so good. And to the point where the grill section, you know, yeah, 4,000 people only got- I mean, they don't all come at the same time. They have various sites, but some of the stuff I would produce would have to go to these sites. But, you have all the leading corporate people who are at the main headquarters, at the main building. They come down for lunch and, of course, we have- It's like a mall, but the grill section is really popular. And one of the reasons that was so popular is because I was so fast, being a drummer, being coordinated and with great memory, I would stand there- They would stand there. The line would be fifteen deep, and I'd take the first ten. "Yes, what would you like?" "What would you like?" What would you like?" And the whole time I'm cooking-

Barbara Krasner
01:26:26.70
And you probably remembered all those-

Jimmy Richardson
01:26:27.21
That's right.

Barbara Krasner
01:26:27.24
[?] orders.

Jimmy Richardson
01:26:27.76
I remembered everything- how they want it, how they want it- and all this stuff is going on at the same time. And you're working. You're swinging this stuff, and you're reaching down. You're doing this; you're doing that. And you're doing all this stuff, and people used to come just to watch me! Just- They say, "This guy’s unbelievable!" Now, of course, you know what happens. Now, the green-eyed monster shows up, and that's when the other chefs, the other cooks, everybody starts getting jealous. And then, the management, they started looking really strange because now this station is getting so popular that nothing else is happening. Everybody is at the grill station. And, they were and what they were getting nervous about is what happens if Jimmy's out. If he's out, man, we're going to lose a lot. You know, people- You know, I don't know what's going to happen. But, I know that they were very nervous about me ever being out. Then, they hired- You know, long story, but I stayed there for many, many years until I retired, I man, basically retired.

Barbara Krasner
01:27:29.41
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:27:30.23
And you know, I mean, and still do some catering now. But, now you have to understand, all this stuff I'm doing, I'm doing it as a second job. I'm doing it in the morning. We start at 4:00 in the morning. I'm done at 2:00. Rest of the day, you're doing something else, and you know, I mean, it got kind of crazy because you would take sleeping pills at night, and I stopped taking them because I woke up one morning, and I didn't know what day it was. I didn't know where I was. It was really crazy. I mean, and I stopped taking the sleeping pills after that. I went to bed earlier, because, you know, it got really bad. But, in the meantime, everything just-

Barbara Krasner
01:28:05.94
So, go back to Gianfranco.

Jimmy Richardson
01:28:07.01
Oh. So, Gianfranco says, "I can't get any of these ministers to even respond." He said, "We got a couple of churches, one in particular, that really meets the criteria for historic designation." So, I said, "Which one?" He says, "Bethel AME." It was Community Baptist Church of Love. Now, remember my connection with Community Baptist Church of Love is Floville LaGarde married my mother and father and my mother was the mother at that church, but it's also the church that-

Barbara Krasner
01:28:40.04
Your grandmother

Jimmy Richardson
01:28:41.69
-the last place that- my grandmother- It is also the church that the last public place in New Jersey before- period- before King goes to Memphis to Claymoor Temple [Note: Bishop Charles Mission Temple] and does the Mountaintop speech. Last public place he speaks. So, I do know the history. Not only am I talking about- I'm talking about something they may not have been able to find because a lot of it's oral history from people that I grew up, my grandmother, all these people. And I'm talking about the oral history is all that the historic history of the church and of the Union Dutch Reformed Church. That was the hard part. I had to get into the bush and find that stuff. They were so fascinated with it, and Gianfranco said, "What I do is-" and he'll tell you I do all the leg work, the hard, grunt work, in a way, because I do all the historic res- And then they pick it up, and then they fine tune it or something that they feel is questionable, they go and they research it to finish it off. Anyway, church gets the municipal historic designation, the designation of 2010. Then, he starts talking about First AME Zion which was formerly the Godwin Street AME Zion Church. That church gets historic designation. But in addition to doing the historic designation, I proved to them that that church was probably part of the underground railroad. And I proved it. So that church, not only does it get the municipal historic designation, it gets a historic marker, one of the only- In the beginning of that, the only one in town. Then, I do New Community Baptist Church, which is the former church of Bethel where King spoke. They have a new church. Now, what that church was different because it rested on two primary things- the architecture which was by Fred Wesley Wentworth (a very famous architect, Paterson architect who built many significant buildings in town) as well as the fact that Rosa Parks spoke at that church. So, that becomes the African-American connection in addition to the fact that it is an African-American congregation there. So, that becomes the third church. Then, I get the United Methodist Church, and that's on 27th Street. And that church was referred to as the Dutch Reformed Theater throughout the coun- throughout New Jersey. It was as beautiful as the great auditorium in Ocean Grove. It was a grand- Well, not quite as big as that, but it was as grand as that! A lot of very important there get that church designated as a historic landmark because of the architecture and because of the various communities, all being Methodist, but the Methodism was changing a little bit. It started out as a Methodist, Fred Wesley Wentworth and [?] and all that stuff, and then it turns into not a Methodist. And that's why I changed it. Then, the final church was the- It was called the Emory Presby- The Emory Methodist Church. Now, what makes this significant is because it actually- The Emory Methodist Church actually gets started in the Market Street Methodist Church, which would have been the oldest Methodist Church in Paterson, but it burned down in 1902. But, out of that church they started a chapel and a mission, a mission chapel on Beach Street. I lost my S's. And the church was so- It's like today, I mean, they did the homeless thing and the feeding thing. It was so popular that they used to have to have armed guards out there. And we talk about that before 1906. You're talking about then in 1906, turn of the century. It was really popular. So, the church builds another church, and the mission builds a church on the corner of Market and Madison. And it was called the Emory Methodist Church. Built in 1906. Now, it stays there, and then it was called the Methodist- It was called something Methodist, Grand Methodist Church on the east side. It was a powerful church. And the congregation diminished so badly that they merged with the Asbury Methodist Church, which is now United Methodist, the one that I told you got landmarked.

Barbara Krasner
01:33:10.24
Mm hmm.

Jimmy Richardson
01:33:11.06
They merged with them so now this church is up for sale. So, one of the churches is called New Christian Tabernacle. They have a church down on West Broadway in this area which is, and again, I'm taking some liberties. I'm saying within the African Shore district because it's just right on the fringe. It's a little bit out there, but this is in the '70s. And they buy this church, African-American congregation buys this church. Now, and doing the history of this church and now it is a Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal church. But what is so interesting is in my information what I did is I paralleled the Methodist method of how what they did as a mission with this the mission of this church and both organizations get started in 1906. So, you're starting to parallel these two histories- 1906 becomes a critical moment in Methodism as well as the Church of God in Christ. But, the one that was the Church of God in Christ gets started in California, I think in San Francisco, with Reverend Charles Mason. And he becomes Bishop Charles Mason, and he's the Founder of the Church of God in Christ, which becomes an international organization. So, the New Christian Tabernacle, they open this church, and again, they open it up. It's a mission church too. It also is a mission church. And that church gets historic designation also. Then, the church- It's a school on Grand Street. I can't think of the name of it right now. Nursery- Memorial Day Nursery! Have you ever heard of that?

Barbara Krasner
01:35:13.34
No.

Jimmy Richardson
01:35:14.55
The Memorial Day Nursery was founded and constructed and built by Garret Hobart's wife, and I think I forget her first name. You ever heard of Garret Hobart?

Barbara Krasner
01:35:25.03
Mm hmm.

Jimmy Richardson
01:35:26.11
Oh okay, I'm sorry. I apologize. Garret Hobart was the thirteenth [Note: twenty-fourth] Vice President of the United States, who was born, no, I won't say born, but he lived in Paterson as an attorney. And he became the thirteenth [Note: twenty-fourth] Vice President of the United States. Now, he had a daughter. He married Caroline [Note: Catholina] Lambert's daughter. And they were offspring. I think [?] one or two daughters- Well, one daughter died of diphtheria in Switzerland. And upon her death, her mother built this Memorial Day Nursery, which was a nursery for people who worked in the mills who had children. And at the turn of the 20th century, it was called the nickel house because it cost a nickel to keep your children there all day. Five cents. And I guess they fed you and they bathed- whatever they did. And anyway so and I get that church- I mean, that school landmarked in the historic designation. And then finally and two years ago, second historic marker. That school gets a historic marker. So, that's two historic markers that I'm responsible for because of my work in preservation. And then, I get a street name. The Paterson Public Library is on Auburn and Broadway.

Barbara Krasner
01:36:47.89
Yeah, I watched your YouTube video, yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:36:51.92
Yeah, what did you think of it? I mean, I'm all over the place.

Barbara Krasner
01:36:54.44
I mean, it's a passionate play. I mean, passionate and informed.

Jimmy Richardson
01:37:00.24
See, how I get so nervous though. I mean, I feel like I'm on trial every time I give the speech to people. I can talk to you, but if you were ten people in here, I'd be- I'm trying to get better. But anyway, that street gets named for six people, and I'm six people that I am saying are involved in the civil rights movement. And I am including the underground railroad as the first civil rights movement. Henry Lowe, no longer here in Paterson. Francis Butler, he was a minister of the Congregational Presbyterian Church, which in those days, in the 1830's on through, it was the Congregational Church, the Presbyterian churches were known to be abolitionist churches. Francis Butler was the pastor there. I mentioned Albert Campbell Gibbs- African-American. He was also a member there. Also a member of the American Anti-Slave Society. So, you have Francis Butler, Henry Lowe. Then, you have Hugh Irish, who was a publisher of a newspaper in town, I think The Guardian. But, he was also the publisher of another newspaper in Auburn, New York. Now, how Auburn Street gets its name, in the 1860s it was called East Carol Street. And if you look at how can it be that? I mean, the way Carol Street is, how it is. Anyway, he wanted to change the name. And one of the aldermen comes to his home and to get him to sign a petition. And he says, "Well, have you decided what you want to name this street?" And he says, "Well, no, not yet. I don't know what to call it." As he's trying to decide, they put- a parcel was delivered to him as he's trying to decide. And where do you think it's from? Auburn, New York. Now, then, you have- And that's how it becomes Auburn Street, and then it gets turned to Freedom Boulevard. Then, you have in 1982 you have Martin Luther King, who comes and he speaks at the God- I mean, at the Community Baptist of Love on the corner of Auburn and Governor. And then, that was '68, that was 1968, 1968. In 1982 Rosa parks comes, and she speaks at the church, November 2, 1982. And then, the final person is Reverend Fred LaGarde. Fred LaGarde actually worked with Dr. King in Albemarle, North Carolina. He was an activist as well as a reverend. And he's the son of Floville LaGarde, who married my mother and father. He's the son, but he's an activist, and he is one of the men who are responsible for bringing Dr. King to Paterson. And people may think that Dr. King came to Paterson because of race relations. He didn't. He came because he was trying to raise money for the poor people's campaign to go- that he was going to have another march in April. But, he gets killed in, yeah, in April 28, but he gets killed before he gets a chance to do that. So, my idea was this is a street that is loaded with history that all is related to civil rights. And when I wrote my information up, and I presented it that way, it just made sense, and they named it Freedom Boulevard.

Barbara Krasner
01:40:34.48
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:40:35.04
And you know

Barbara Krasner
01:40:35.90
And so, was that- What year was that?

Jimmy Richardson
01:40:38.79
1983. It was done during the- 19- 2013. It was done during a program for the sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the signing of the emancipation. We all know, those who don't know don't realize that the emancipation was actually signed on October 22, but it didn't come into effect until January 1 of 1863. So, it was actually done during that program where it was then Freedom Boulevard, during a program for the emancipation, the 150th anniversary of the emancipation.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:17.58
You have to leave-

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:17.63
I know.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:18.40
-in a few minutes.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:19.64
Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:20.60
So, wow! This has been incredible!

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:23.03
Is it enough?

Barbara Krasner
01:41:25.45
Yeah!

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:27.41
Yeah!

Barbara Krasner
01:41:28.37
But, there's probably still more.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:30.45
Oh, there's a whole lot more because I didn't get things because stadium. I didn't

Barbara Krasner
01:41:34.71
So, I think we might need to schedule a follow-up-

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:35.82
Okay.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:37.17
-so we can go into more.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:38.46
I'm always at Paterson on Tuesdays.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:39.61
Okay, and I'm free on Tuesday afternoon so-

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:42.83
Okay.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:43.46
So, if we could meet a little later.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:48.19
No, because I have to pick everybody up. I mean, the reason I say-

Barbara Krasner
01:41:50.59
Because I need to come up from- I teach south of Princeton.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:55.38
Oh wow.

Barbara Krasner
01:41:56.08
I need to eat before.

Jimmy Richardson
01:41:56.48
Let's do it by phone. Oh, you got to record though, right?

Barbara Krasner
01:42:00.39
Well, I can record over the phone. Wanna do that?

Jimmy Richardson
01:42:04.83
Sure! I mean, I've done it before. I mean, last two years ago I was introduced to a young man, his name was Garrett Kiser. He lives in Vermont, but he was born in [?]. And he was doing an article about the 1913 silk strike. Now, [?] say, oh, you refer people to me when it comes to African-American history. Let me tell you one other thing about Afri- [?] So, Garrett calls me in November of 2015. And he says, he tells me what he wants and he's looking for any information on African-Americans in the silk industry. And I laid it on, man. I tell him. You know, I mean, I tell him stuff that obviously he was fascinated by because there are none. That's the point. There was one that really made a success of being involved in the textile industry. And I said, I explained to him I do believe that part of the reason why African-Americans struggle in this town today really starts in 1824 with, no 1804 with the fact that they couldn't read or write as slaves. And that kind of disenfranchisement I believe still exists today to some degree because that mentality, they never got out of that mentality. You know, some of them went to school and became educated. But for the most part, the mentality was set in stone, you know. You know, and when I say "mentality," be it because there was- be it because they weren't granted the opportunity or be it because they didn't choose to do it. The disenfranchisement existed even in the 1825 there was an article. In the 1820s there was an article that was printed in one of the local newspapers saying that they were looking for young, colored lads, now looking to work in the mills. But, they wouldn't hire them because they couldn't read or write in addition to the fact white folks didn't want to work with them. So, you have those two things going against them. Then, when they started building the Morris Canal, this area that we live in, I mean, that we're in is basically called the Dublin section. It's still part of the Dublin section. And it is called that because in 1824 or in the 1820s when they started building the Morris Canal, rather than hire our African-Americans, they actually put posters and letters and all kind of things in Ireland, where they attracted the Irish to come and build the Morris Canal. So, again, we're knocked out of the box again. Now, there were some of the Lenape Indians from Ramapo and that area that worked in the canals because they worked in the mines up in Ramapo, in Ringwood. And of course, then in 1936 was the advent of the silk industry. Smack in the face again! They weren't part of that. And even to this day with whatever textiles are left in Paterson, there are no craftsmen into the African-Americans. They may be involved in the textiles either as clerks and shipping/receiving, as other things, but not as craftsmen, you know. And in 1913, one of the only, I shouldn't say one, the only African-American to speak at the 1913 silk strike in Haledon was Hubert Harrison, and he was actually part of the beginnings of- He worked with W.E.B. DeBois. And that whole group of radical African-Americans, you know, that were from the West Indies, most of them. And anyway, he spoke at the 1913 strike in Haledon once, and he spoke in Paterson at 155, I think it's 155 Market Street. He spoke down there, but he's the only African-American that you will find in- Let me fix that- in history's pages that was part of the 1913 silk strike. But in the 1970s and the early '80s, there was a man called Lonnie Thompson. Now, I've been looking for Lonnie myself although I have some information about him. Lonnie Thompson is the only person African-American to ever break ranks and open his own business in the textile industry. And he had a business doing silk warping or turning or doing something on the corner of Broadway and Curtis Street [Note: Curtis Place]. And it's right across the street from Sally's. You know what Sally's is?

Barbara Krasner
01:46:48.67
Mm mm.

Jimmy Richardson
01:46:49.89
Salvation Army

Barbara Krasner
01:46:51.55
Ah

Jimmy Richardson
01:46:53.27
That's where this building was on the second floor. And it is so funny because in the '70s when I was learning how to take pictures, he let me in. I was somebody- I didn't know who- I don't even remember who, but he let me in, and I took pictures of the machines in there.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:04.16
Oh

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:07.03
And I still have a couple of pictures. I mean, you know, and of course, now I look at it and say, I didn't know who I was taking pictures of. But, it was machines that were in his business, and he was the only African-American outside of Hubert Harrison involved in the textiles of any notable-

Barbara Krasner
01:47:26.00
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:26.27
-consciousness.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:27.84
So, if we don't meet in person, does that open the possibilities for days?

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:33.96
Sure.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:34.62
Or, do you still want to do Tuesdays?

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:36.08
No, no. Well, if you've got to- I mean, [?] phone. You know, I mean, I'll call the night before and set it up, and I'll tell you what time, and we'll do it over the phone.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:45.41
Okay. I'm available most afternoons except for Friday.

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:49.06
And that's fine. That's fine.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:50.27
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:51.71
Because normally, you know, we'll talk.

Barbara Krasner
01:47:52.61
Because otherwise my person I can't come next week and I can't come the week after that.

Jimmy Richardson
01:47:56.91
Right. Right. We can do it over the phone as long as you can, you know, and I have no problem with going over a couple of times until you get it all, you know, the way you want it, be it dictated or be it recorded. I'll make sure that, you know, I'll give you enough information. I could write a book with my stuff.

Barbara Krasner
01:48:10.89
Yeah, you could. Well, thank you.

Jimmy Richardson
01:48:12.26
You're welcome.

Barbara Krasner
01:48:15.35
So, I'm closing it out. I will stop the recorder.

Jimmy Richardson
01:48:23.78
And did you give them your copy and make a copy for me?

Barbara Krasner
01:48:24.44
I did.

 

Interview Transcript Part 2

Barbara Krasner
00:00:00.79
Today is Wednesday, March 28, 2018. This is Barbara Krasner, serving as oral historian for the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park. And I'm on the phone with Jimmy Richardson for part two of our interview. How are you, Jimmy?

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:20.72
I'm doing fine, thank you.

Barbara Krasner
00:00:22.93
Great! So, as I suggested, we should start today with Hinchliffe and the Negro Baseball League.

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:33.09
Okay. Hinchliffe Stadium, I always refer to it as Paterson's Circus Maximus. And I refer to it in that way because it is kind of built on the order of the Roman circus maximus. And it was built- The beginnings stages was started in about 1920, and when I say beginning stages, there was money raised from the school children to help build that stadium. And it was originally built as part of to be Eastside High School's stadium or stadium or athletic field. And Eastside High School is on the other side of town. And this is when Central was the second high school. We now have two high schools. Well, we've always had two- one on the east side of section, the east section, and one basically in the central part of the city. Now, we have Kennedy High School, which is in the west part of Paterson and Eastside in the eastern part of Paterson. In the 1932 Eastside, Hinchliffe Stadium was built by the city fathers with money from children and other businesses that built this all-sports arena. And so it was built in 1932. It opened in 1933. And, from its outset, it really takes on a great outdoor feeling because it is outdoor in terms of the athletics and because of the sports that was played there. We have baseball. We have swimming, auto racing, bike racing. We have track and field. We have boxing. And I think we- Not think, we have football. So, all those various sports going on in Paterson are in the Hinchliffe Stadium. It really develops and shapes itself as an all-sports arena. But, of course, what really takes hold is Negro League Baseball. And one of the first games was played there. It really starts off with a local team called the Smart Set. Now, the Smart Set was a semi-pro team that comes from Paterson, and it was a grade under the semi-pro teams. It's a little bit under so it never really reaches out to become a semi-pro team even though they get an opportunity to play some of these semi-pro teams. And it was a twenty-one league- On the twenty-one league tour that the Negro Baseball Leagues did, this was one of the central stops. And, this baseball team that I mentioned to you called the Smart Set, it begins around 1932. And it has a number of players- Let's just say all the players were from Paterson and, of course, African-American. And of course, what happens is as the team grows, they take on two very young players, one being Larry Doby from Eastside High School. And he starts playing for the Smart Set on the weekends and in the evenings. It's a semi- kind of a semi-pro team in the evenings, of course, Monte Irvin, who was actually from East Orange, New Jersey. And so what happens is as the Negro League starts developing and Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson becomes one of the stops on this twenty-one league tour, and this tour includes Canada. It also includes South America, Cuba, and a number of other places throughout the country. And so, by 1945/1946 Larry Doby is spotted by the Newark Eagles, and he is recruited as a young man. Right out of high school he is recruited, and he goes to the Newark Eagles. Now, it's been brought to my attention that he never even went to Spring Training because the young people in those days, and a lot of these semi-pro teams, they never really did Spring Training because they were very, very physical fit. They came from the South a lot of times. And they came from places where they were really physically- They were always physically challenged because the kind of the work they did for a living, be it farming or whatever it was, it was always something extremely physical. So, they really never went to Spring Training. And of course, Monte Irvin comes, and Monte Irvin is swooped up by the semi-pro leagues also. And, in 1947/'46/'47, they win the World Series. The Cleveland Indians, they win the World Series, the Negro World Series. And that happens in Paterson at Hinchliffe Stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:05:52.55
So, let me back up a minute.

Jimmy Richardson
00:05:54.45
Sure.

Barbara Krasner
00:05:54.88
So, the Smart Set begins 1932.

Jimmy Richardson
00:05:58.52
Mm hmm.

Barbara Krasner
00:05:59.37
Hinchliffe doesn't open until 1933.

Jimmy Richardson
00:06:01.04
Well, see, the team actually being formed, but they don't start playing in Hinchliffe Stadium until around 1933.

Barbara Krasner
00:06:08.97
Okay. So, did they play anywhere else before?

Jimmy Richardson
00:06:12.48
Yeah, they played- No, they only played- They played at Eastside Park, and they played a lot of the local, the New Jersey teams. And one team in particular, and this has to do with the civil rights part of Negro League Baseball. In one particular story that I've been told by a gentleman named John Ellerby- and I'll tell you about John Ellerby in a moment. He said that Toms River was called, was considered a sundown town. Now, a sundown town is a town where when Negro League players would come and play in Toms River, New Jersey, first of all, you weren't allowed to change into your uniform in the dugout at the stadium or wherever they played. You had to change, and they were forced to change in a firehouse or in a police station, some off-site place because they weren't allowed in the locker rooms of these white stadiums, or white ballparks. And there's an example of that kind of racism that existed in New Jersey. I don't know if you knew this but even in Atlantic City, they had a rope that separated the Atlantic Ocean from black and white people. And I thought that is really ironic and crazy, but that's how it was in those days. And we're talking about the '30s and roughly the '30s, basically the 1930s. So, and they played teams like Calvary Baptist. They also played teams like First AME Zion Church. Now, First AME Zion Church is the oldest African-American church in the city Paterson, founded in 1834. And, they had a number of players that were really significant, and one of the players in particular for the First AME Zion Church was James C. Robesen. James C. Robesen was the brother of Paul Robesen, and he was the pitcher. And he was the other- He had a congregation here in Paterson, and they had a [?] of small, semi-pro team, and they used to play each other. And of course, they used to play a lot of the other white baseball teams. Paterson was really very, very popular, at least it was, again, when people speak of baseball being the national pastime, it is most certainly it is something that is thrown around loosely these days. But, it most certainly was the national pastime because everybody, anywhere you go, they had beautiful baseball fields all over the country. And, you know, and of course, in order to be competitive, you played with everybody. And at least in the semi-pro era. And of course, you had teams like the Cubans, I mean, the black Cubans played in Paterson. Let me give you a list of some of these teams that played. Hold on one second. Well, I'll tell you some of the people, okay. You had Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Josh Gibson, Dizzy Dean.

Barbara Krasner
00:09:35.61
Okay, wait. I can't write that fast.

Jimmy Richardson
00:09:37.31
Oh, I'm sorry! I for- Oh, I thought you were recording it.

Barbara Krasner
00:09:42.54
I am, but I also like to write things down.

Jimmy Richardson
00:09:45.16
Okay.

Barbara Krasner
00:09:45.98
So, Josh Gibson.

Jimmy Richardson
00:09:47.80
Okay, Josh Gibson, Dizzy Dean, John Henry Lloyd, James Cool [James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell], Oscar Charleson, William Judy Johnson, Judd Wilson, Buzz Mackey, Charles T. Bender. Now, he was a coach, but he didn't play. So, but he was a coach, but he didn't play. You also have Jim Thorpe.

Barbara Krasner
00:10:23.98
Well, I've heard of him!

Jimmy Richardson
00:10:24.21
Of course, you know he was not only did he play baseball, but he also played football.

Barbara Krasner
00:10:27.48
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:10:29.20
That's where he got started. But, he played in Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson for the Black Giants, I believe.

Jimmy Richardson
00:10:37.98
Ray Dandridge, Martin Dihigo, Willy Wells, George Subtle, Honus Wells, I'm sorry Wagner. Lloyd Lander, and his brother Paul Lander. Freddy Linstrom, Pi Trainer, and Archie Vaughan. Now, the reason why these twenty-one guys are very important, first of all, as far as Paterson is concerned and Hinchliffe Stadium is because they all played in Hinchliffe Stadium, but they are all in the Negro League's Hall of Fame-

Barbara Krasner
00:11:26.49
Oh

Jimmy Richardson
00:11:27.98
Baseball Hall of Fame. So, that is an important piece of history as it relates to Hinchliffe that you have all these well-known, recognized African-Americans, who played at Hinchliffe. And I was mentioning to you about John Ellerby.

Barbara Krasner
00:11:46.54
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:11:47.50
John Ellerby comes to Paterson in 1928 from Ellerby, South Carolina. This is a great story incidentally. He comes from Ellerby, South Carolina. He's one of twenty-seven children.

Barbara Krasner
00:12:01.16
Oh my God!

Jimmy Richardson
00:12:02.68
Yeah. And of course, there was so many children and relatives that on Saturday was their day off because they lived on a farm, and they worked on a farm. And, they would actually form two baseball teams. And that's where he learned how to play. And his brother, who was twenty-seven years his senior, comes to New Jersey to Paterson. And he's here in Paterson, and he goes home to visit, and he realizes how poorly and how bad they're living. And he decides to bring as many of them who want to come to New Jersey as he can. And he sends two limousines down to pick up his brothers and sisters to come to New Jersey.

Barbara Krasner
00:12:45.01
Wow.

Jimmy Richardson
00:12:45.50
But, when they come, they wasn't enough room for John Ellerby. So, within a couple of weeks his brother sends for him, and he comes on a train. And he comes to North Penn Station, and then he goes into Paterson. Now, this is in 1928. By 1932/33, he join- He gets a job working for the Civil Conservation Corps, who builds Hinchliffe Stadium. So, now and of course, he's a baseball player, but you know, just little home things. And this is when he joins the Smart Set. And he joins the Smart Set, and of course, they start playing at Hinchliffe Stadium, Eastside Park, Westside Park, and a lot of the other little parks, baseball parks, in the area. And all over New Jersey he starts playing. Now, what is so fascinating about him is that he also played against Josh Gibson and he played against a lot of the big-time players who came to Paterson. And he had a very- I think his batting, his yearly batting average was .376 or something like that. But, it was a very, very high batting average for anybody in those days. Now, again, I mentioned to you that Larry Doby had joined this particular baseball team in high school. And of course, he gets drafted into the North Eagles room, and of course, they win the 1946/47 they win the Negro League World Series. Now, John Ellerby stops playing. He stops playing baseball because he gets hit in the eye running to second base. So, he stops playing, but he always keeps us. He keeps up with the game, but he just doesn't play anymore. Now, some of the people who played on that team, the Smart Set, you have George Jenkins. George Jenkins becomes a very successful taxi cab owner and transportation owner, African-American, in the city of Paterson. Wendell Williams, Wendell Williams becomes the first African-American principal [PS #6] in the city of Paterson. And as a matter of fact, his family's name and pedigree really dates back to the forming of Paterson. I shouldn't say the forming of Paterson, but he is one of the earliest- his family is one of the earliest African-American residents in town. And they were also members of the First AME Zion Church. And in those days in 1834, it was called the Godwin Street AME Zion Church. And of course, as the baseball, as it grew and the negro leagues became more popular what happens when- oh gosh!- [?] just fell out of my head- Jackie Robinson! When Jackie Robinson gets inducted into, gets drafted into the Brooklyn Dodgers, that was really the end or the beginning of the Negro Leagues because now what was happening is first it was Larry Doby, I mean, first it was Jackie Robinson. Then, it was Larry Doby. And of course, Monte Irvin. And then, you had a number of other African-Americans becoming part of the major leagues. And that was really the hammer stroke that really started killing the negro leagues because there was- Whether they had them or not there on their game- And they can't- They had a monopoly because white teams didn't want them. They didn't want black players.

Barbara Krasner
00:16:43.12
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:16:45.28
And so, because of that, they really had a good thing going on. And, once Jackie Robinson became part of the major leagues, it all started falling apart for the negro leagues. And that was, for the most part, that was the demise of negro league baseball in this country is because now they were being selected and being put into a lot of the major leagues. Now, again, Paterson’s Hinchliffe's Stadium still becomes very- It's still a very popular place because they have the- They have boxing still going on. And speaking of boxing and Hinchliffe Stadium, Eddie Cotton, who was a former council person here in the city of Paterson, he gets his start as a referee, and he gets- This is in the late '70's when Larry Hazard had become the boxing commissioner for the state of New Jersey, and they were having a boxing match in Hinchliffe Stadium. And he was an amateur referee, and he asked Larry Hazard, who was the commissioner, could he referee a particular fight, and Larry Hazard let him do it. Now, with that being said, what happened to Eddie Cotton, he ends up becoming a national referee. And he actually did the Mike Tyson, a number of Mike Tyson fights. And he's also in a book, and I forgot the gentleman's name who write the book, but it is called Third Man in the Ring. And it talks about these fights that Eddie Cotton becomes one of the early referees in the boxing industry. Now, today Eddie Cotton, who still lives in Paterson, who gets his start at Hinchliffe Stadium, is an international boxing commissioner. And so, then he travels around the world with the boxing commission. And, I'm saying that because all this really relates to Hinchliffe Stadium and how valuable it was. And again, Hinchliffe Stadium was basically- You must look at it from another point of view. It ends up being a training ground for the majors because a lot of those negro league players played in Hinchliffe, and of course, eventually at some point get picked to play with the majors. So, the Hinchliffe Stadium is a major part of the selection from the negro leagues to the majors because it is basically a farm for the majors. And anyway, John Ellerby, he tells a story, and I got him an opportunity to tell his story to WBGL radio, FM radio here in Newark, New Jersey, which is a nationally-syndicated, as a matter of fact, international because it's on the Internet. Internationally-syndicated jazz station. And the news director whose name is Doug Doyle, he interviewed John Ellerby, who moved to South Venice, Massachusetts. And he does this interview in 2013. John Ellerby when he does the interview, he's 102 years old.

Barbara Krasner
00:20:07.77
Wow!

Jimmy Richardson
00:20:08.35
When he does this interview. Now, Doug Doyle and myself are very good friends, and he tells me that in the twenty-four years he had been doing a program called Sports Channel, in the twenty-four years he has done it, and he had interviewed thousands of professional athletes of all, in all genres, I mean, Jim Brown. I mean, you could name, you know, just pick a name, and he probably has interviewed them. But, this one was very, very special to him. And, what happens is the following year, this interview that he does with John Ellerby, he submits it to, you know, they have their radio broadcasting conferences in various parts of the country. And that particular interview with John Ellerby wins three national broadcasting awards. Can you believe it? Three national broadcasting awards! And he tells me that is the best interview he has ever done in his life, and he values it and treasures it like no other. Now, we were talking about the negro leagues and negro league baseball. So, the first empire for the minor leagues was, African-American empire, was Emmett Ashford. But not long after Emmett Ashford, you have Osibee Jelks. Osibee Jelks, he was born in, oh, New Orleans. He was born in New Orleans, and he's very interested in baseball. As a matter of fact, he's coaching and refereeing some of the little YMCA teams. And somebody from the New York- oh gosh! What is- no, I'm sorry for not remembering. Oh gosh! But anyway, he's spotted by one of the scouts. And he is introduced to Branch Rickey. And Branch Rickey sends for him, and he asks him to be the referee for the New York- who is that? Oh gosh! Oh, I can't think today. But any- He ends up being the referee for one of the major league teams. And it will come to me in a minute, the name of the team. And he referees, and he travels all over the country. But, in addition to that, he's the second African-American minor league player. Now, the reason why I'm bringing that to your attention is because, of course, he retires, and in his retirement in 2010 the city of Paterson and the National Park Service and Hinchliffe Stadium unveiled the Rube Foster baseball stamp. And it's a twin stamp- one has the picture of Rube Foster, who is considered the godfather of baseball, negro league baseball, and there's a picture of an empire. Empire. And I invited Osibee Jelks, he was living in Elmwood Park at the time. And I invited him to Paterson to this unveiling of this stamp. And when I spoke to the postmaster and the Congressman was there and introduced him, they asked him to unveil this Rube Foster stamp in front of Hinchliffe Stadium. So, I am very happy to say that a lot of the publicity surrounding that stamp with Rube Foster, at least in Paterson, is really centered around Osibee Jelks, who was an actual empire.

Barbara Krasner
00:24:03.11
Now, how do you spell his name?

Jimmy Richardson
00:24:06.37
OC, okay, is spelled. Here we go. How do you spell his name? Hold on. Okay. Oh, O-S-I-B-E-E-J-E-L-K-S.

Barbara Krasner
00:24:43.16
Okay, great. Thank you.

Jimmy Richardson
00:24:45.44
Yeah, and so that happens. And I'm trying to find the- He's from New Orleans. I'm trying to find department. He works for the Department of Recreation in New Orleans. And he- I'm trying to find [?]. He also did a lot of [?], and he [?] with parts of the California, New Mexico, even until you get back into New York. And he- I'm trying to find- There was a team. I couldn't think of it under Branch Rickey hired him. Oh gosh! Where is it?

Barbara Krasner
00:25:27.41
So, I just looked up Jelks on the Internet, and it says his name is Ossipee.

Jimmy Richardson
00:25:40.56
Well, I've got his bio in front of me, and it says O- Oh, what did I say? O-S-I-B-E-E. Yeah, that's what I said.

Barbara Krasner
00:25:49.95
Right, that's what you said, but that's not what I'm finding on the web so-

Jimmy Richardson
00:25:52.58
Oh, okay.

Barbara Krasner
00:25:53.79
Just for the tape so they know to look him up.

Jimmy Richardson
00:25:56.89
Okay.

Barbara Krasner
00:25:58.40
O-S-S-I-P-E-E

Jimmy Richardson
00:26:01.72
Okay, it's not "P," it's a "B."

Barbara Krasner
00:26:03.25
Right, but on the web nothing comes up for him that way.

Jimmy Richardson
00:26:06.17
Oh, I see.

Barbara Krasner
00:26:07.32
So, it comes up with a "P" and J-E-L-K-E-S.

Jimmy Richardson
00:26:16.61
So he played for them. I forgot- I still can't find, remember who he played for, who hired him. Oh gosh! You'll see. You've got his piece there. You'll find it. Now, another important note to notice about Hinchliffe Stadium, and I will say that it's the negro leagues, but it's not, is that in 2012 the National Postal Service unveiled another stamp. They unveiled the Larry Doby stamp along with four other people, but the Larry Doby stamp is the one that the city of Paterson is concerned with because not only did they give him a forever stamp, they also named the main branch of the Paterson Post Office after Larry Doby.

Barbara Krasner
00:27:05.12
Okay.

Jimmy Richardson
00:27:05.96
And then, last year the Passaic County did their first Passaic County Hall of Fame, and of course, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame? Larry Doby among other people. But Larry Doby, and this was in 2017, Larry Doby was entered in the Passaic County Hall of Fame.

Barbara Krasner
00:27:34.76
So, you mentioned that the Civilian Corps built-

Jimmy Richardson
00:27:38.03
conservation corp

Barbara Krasner
00:27:39.72
Right. Built the stadium. Was that with WPA money?

Jimmy Richardson
00:27:45.66
Yes, it is. Yes, it was. It was, you know, the Civilian Conservation Corp and WPA were basically the same thing, well, they did the same thing and they were under the auspices of the Federal government. But, they were just done differently.

Barbara Krasner
00:28:01.06
Okay. I just wanted to make that clear.

Jimmy Richardson
00:28:05.70
Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
00:28:06.95
And what personal experience did you have with the stadium?

Jimmy Richardson
00:28:11.48
I went to high school. I went to Eastside, Central, and Kennedy, and I actually ran track and field there. So, my personal experience is that I ran track and field at Hinchliffe Stadium. And of course, in the- up until, let's see, I forgot when it started, but it ended in the '80's when they had all the graduations ceremonies for both schools- Eastside and Kennedy High School- in the stadium. And it ended in the '80's. That practice ended in the '80s. I graduated in 1970. In my graduating class, we all, you know, we all graduated inside the stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:28:56.68
Right

Jimmy Richardson
00:28:58.65
And of course, the stadium, that practice was discontinued because they found that the foundation on the, I guess you could say, on the east side of the stadium was not secure. And if they felt that the stadium was unsafe, and that was really the demise of its use in the city of Paterson. And of course, that was the demise. And then, what happens in 2013- it actually starts before then- it was- The Paterson Board of Education really, for the most part, owned Hinchliffe Stadium, and I think they bought it from the city for a dollar. And they were supposed to use it for an athletic field. Of course, they stopped being used. And it took many, many years before they really- They didn't have the money to really fix it up or to really get it back into a working order.

Barbara Krasner
00:29:53.73
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:29:54.37
And then, in 2013 as a result of Brian Lopinto his name. Hold on. But, Brian Lopinto president of the friends of Hinchliffe Stadium. And his name is spelled Brian B-R-I-A-N-L-O-P-I-N-T-O.

Barbara Krasner
00:30:33.50
Great, thank you.

Jimmy Richardson
00:30:36.56
Young man, a young man. I don't know how old Brian is now, but he lived in the shadows of Hinchliffe Stadium. And he's the reason that really started reviving the history and the history of the stadium. And with that being said, there was and there was quite a bit of involvement made with the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission. And a foundation was formed called the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium in which I'm one of the board members. And in 2013 the Hinchliffe Stadium becomes a national historic landmark.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:15.21
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:16.01
And that's basically the short version of Negro League Baseball kind of in Paterson. Of course, there's much, much more that I have not researched that way. But, my involvement is I ran track and field, and I graduated within the stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:39.20
Did you go to events there?

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:39.94
Yeah, I did. As a matter of fact, Sly and the Family Stone was there.

Barbara Krasner
00:31:41.69
Oh.

Jimmy Richardson
00:31:43.10
Every year for many years they had, you know, like in a lot of towns where they have two schools, two high schools in the same town. Well, they had the Eastside and Kennedy, which is the west side and the east side. And they used to do the Thanksgiving Day games at Hinchliffe. But not only that, they had major concerts, Sly and the Family Stone came to Paterson. Duke Ellington played at Hinchliffe Stadium. Of course, you had all the- you had a lot of the boxing tournaments. Eleanor Egg, who was a track and field, an Olympian. She won many trophies there and many events there. She didn't run. She was a swimmer. Eleanor Egg. And it's just a lot of historic things and a lot of people participated there. Some of the medallions that hang on the stadium's facade was built by, were made by a famous sculptor, what's his name? Oh gosh! His name [?] by mine. So, he's a famous Paterson archi- not architect, but sculptor. What's his name? Oh gosh! I don't know why I can't think today. Maybe I had a rough night last night.

Barbara Krasner
00:33:11.16
You don't mean Federici, do you?

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:14.27
Yeah, Federici. I'm so sorry. Thank you so much! Federici, those medallions on the stadium were made by Federici.

Barbara Krasner
00:33:20.57
Now, when you say Eleanor Egg came, and she was a swimmer, did she do a demonstration or something?

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:27.23
Yes, they used to bring in pools into the stadium. They actually built pools, and we actually had swimming competitions inside the stadium. Now, I don't know how they did it. I never seen it. I've never even seen pictures of it, but that's what they used to do.

Barbara Krasner
00:33:45.52
That's interesting. Did you ever go to a car race there?

Jimmy Richardson
00:33:48.49
I never did. A lot of that stuff was before, I don't want to say before my time, but we're talking about the late '40s and '50s. And again, once the high schools took over, that stuff kind of-

Barbara Krasner
00:34:02.86
Yeah

Jimmy Richardson
00:34:03.39
-dwindled away. But, they had motorcycle races, car racing, and all those things went on within the stadium. And that's why I refer to it as the circus maximus because it was an all-sports arena.

Barbara Krasner
00:34:20.02
Yeah. That's great. So, I knew we were going to talk about that today. Was there anything else that you think we didn't cover? We covered a lot in your first interview!

Jimmy Richardson
00:34:33.68
I don't, you know, properly remember. I mean, kind of only because I talked about that. Sometimes I talk so much I forget what I was talking about.

Barbara Krasner
00:34:41.35
Well, we talked about you, but we also talked about the formation of the churches.

Jimmy Richardson
00:34:47.58
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
00:34:50.10
And where African-Americans lived in town.

Jimmy Richardson
00:34:53.91
Yeah.

Barbara Krasner
00:34:54.44
How the community formed.

Jimmy Richardson
00:34:55.64
Let's see. What else can I tell you about that stuff? Well, you know, yesterday we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's visit to Paterson on yesterday. And I don't know if I mentioned this to you that, yeah, I don't know if we did or not, but since I've talked to you, the city of Paterson was granted based on my- based- I think we did talk about this. Based on some research that I did, and I think I mentioned to you about the African Shore-

Barbara Krasner
00:35:22.40
Yes.

Jimmy Richardson
00:35:24.02
Yeah, and anyway we won- The city of Paterson was awarded a $35,000 grant based and the foundation for this grant is based on my research. But of course, it is not entirely mine because historic preservation really shaped it. But, the foundation of the grant was my information. And anyway, they won a $35,000 grant, and the grant is for to hire professional researchers to- not research- Yeah, professional researchers to fill out the applications for four different sites- the underground railroad, the Community Baptist Church of Love, the First AME Zion Church (which is the oldest church, and the Bethel AME Church (which was formerly the Community Baptist Church of Love where Dr. King spoke). And we are trying to get all four of those churches national historic designation, and that is what the money is going to be used for.

Barbara Krasner
00:36:25.01
That's great! That's a big accomplishment.

Jimmy Richardson
00:36:25.93
Yeah, well, thank you. Then, I was at city council meeting last night, and I got- Something else came through. Well, two things came through. Since I talked to you last- Well, let me back up. I don't think I mentioned this to you. This is about the stadium also. In 20- Hold on. All right, here we go. In 20- I think, no, 2013 or 14, the National Historic Trust- Let me give you the right information. Hold on one second. Okay, here we go. Yeah, in 2017 the National Historic Trust in conjunction with American Express gave $300,000 to National Historic Trust 1772 foundation and the National Historic Preservation Commission all donate and got together and donated $500,000 for phase one of the restoration of Hinchliffe Stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:38:01.42
Wow.

Jimmy Richardson
00:38:02.32
And that was on August 29 of 2017.

Barbara Krasner
00:38:08.34
That's also huge!

Jimmy Richardson
00:38:10.20
Wait a minute. I ain't done yet. Then, about two weeks ago, the city of Paterson gets another $500,000 for the National Historic Trust. I'll tell you exactly what it's for, I mean, who it's from again. I have all these files. Okay. On March 12, 2018, they get another $500,000 from the National Parks, from the Department of the Interior. Now, why they get this additional $500,000- It's a grant. But, it is because it is to do more research at and looking at Hinchliffe Stadium as a civil rights and as it pertains to civil rights. So, that's really huge too. There's a lot of work to be done on that. So, they get another $500,000 grant. And I must say that that grant is the highest amount you can get. And they were- I believe there were twenty-six applications, and Hinchliffe Stadium was one of the applicants. And I think four of the twenty-six Paterson was one of seven that got $500,000.

Barbara Krasner
00:39:27.37
So, who's writing these applications? Is that-

Jimmy Richardson
00:39:31.15
The Paterson Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium. And the woman who is a historian in her own rite whose name is Fabie Avilis, she does a lot of grant writing and that kind of stuff as it relates to Hinchliffe Stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:39:47.92
Yeah, I think you mentioned her last time.

Jimmy Richardson
00:39:50.76
Yeah, Fabie is cool, you know. She lives in Bridgeton now, but I forgot. But, she did play a big role in a lot of historic preservation when she lived in Paterson. And at one point she was the Executive Director of the Historic Preservation Commission in its infancy. That's some time ago.

Barbara Krasner
00:40:10.19
Oh, well, that's quite some skill she has to secure that kind of money.

Jimmy Richardson
00:40:16.12
Yeah! Now, I went to the city council last night. I was invited to come and speak in support to see if I could gain support from the city council to sign off on another application that we are writing for Hinchliffe Stadium for $250,000. And all of the city council members signed off with yes on moving forward with this application. And of course, the application has a shelf life, and there's only one city council member who didn't sign off on it. You know, he's, you know, you know, sometimes you just don't know what to say about people. His name is Mike Jack, and he got the- Mike Jackson, and he happens to be running for mayor. But, the problem is one of his observations was, well, I don't understand why it has taken twenty some odd years to build- to do the stadium. You know, and of course, the stadium is- They need about $30,000,000 to do the entire restoration. So, when you get companies that are giving this kind of money, I mean, it is big, but it's small.

Barbara Krasner
00:41:29.24
Yeah. Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:31.30
It's big in terms of the dollar amount on an immediate level, but it's small in the scheme of things in terms of how much you really need.

Barbara Krasner
00:41:36.94
Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up.

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:41.05
That, what part?

Barbara Krasner
00:41:42.85
That while $500K here and $500K there might seem like a lot, it's really a drop in the bucket for $30,000,000.

Jimmy Richardson
00:41:50.11
That's right. Right. And so, anyway, this $200,000, $250,000 that they're applying for, and that is from the Open Parks- It's called the Open - The Green Spaces. It's called the Green Space. It is a subsidiary of the county. And the free holders kind of run and control that. Open Green Spaces, I think. Open Spaces or Green Spaces, something like that. Anyway, and so he was saying, well, you know, how come it's taken so long and yak, yak, yak. I mean, it doesn't take twenty years. You know, and of course, I don't- I try not to, when it gets into that kind of politics, I just kind of just say what I got to say, and I'm always real nervous when I speak in front of city council. As well as I talk and as much as I talk and as well as I know what I'm talking about, for some reason when I go to city council, I feel like I'm on trial. I feel like I'm standing in front of the judge. Anyway, and after I got home and I told my wife, I said, but this guy doesn't get it. You know, this is exactly the reason why it takes so long when you see money that can be obtained to work on it, when you see that kind of money, no matter what the dollar amount is, and you got to say yes, let's do it. Let's go for it. But, to hold it, to say no, and then complain why it's taking so long, this is exactly why. It's exactly why! And he just doesn't seem to get it. And I tried to explain to my wife that the problem with this is it is the application has a shelf life. If you don't apply, the money is gone. You don't get nothing!

Barbara Krasner
00:43:36.94
Well, that's true but-

Jimmy Richardson
00:43:37.57
He just doesn't get it, you know, for some reason. But he wants to be mayor. You know, and the other problem is, you know, they'll dilly dally, the Board of Education, you know, it's like everything else in life. You know, when people see a good thing, when the National Park Service got on board, of course, now what happens is the Board of Education, they closed their fist. And they wouldn't let anything go. And that held it up for years. It held it up because the Board of Education wouldn't let it go. But, they wouldn't let it go, but they wouldn't fix it either.

Barbara Krasner
00:44:09.26
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:44:09.80
So, that got in the way, you know, and all these things happened. And I was going to say something else about that. Oh, before I forget, we were talking- I was mentioning to you about Larry Doby and Monte Irvin coming out of Hinchliffe Stadium-

Barbara Krasner
00:44:24.35
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:44:25.20
-but there are two other place- Johnny Briggs from Paterson who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He comes out of Hinchliffe Stadium and so does, this is another Mike Jackson, Mike Jackson of the Kansas City Royals, he also is a professional major league baseball player who comes out of Paterson and plays at Hinchliffe Stadium as a young man. So, we actually have three people who come out of Paterson, no, we have four people who come of Paterson, our of Hinchliffe Stadium specifically- Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Johnny Briggs, and Mike Jackson from the Kansas City Royals. And these are four major leaguers who people actually made it to the major leagues.

Barbara Krasner
00:45:16.31
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:45:16.80
And well recognized. So, I wanted to mention that to you before I forgot.

Barbara Krasner
00:45:21.97
Yeah. Yeah. No, I'm glad you did.

Jimmy Richardson
00:45:25.34
Yeah, so those are and you know, of course, I know Johnny Briggs. I know him well because in 2014 what I did is I partnered with the National, with the National Post Office. And actually when I say partnered, I did because what they did is they gave me a cancellation stamp. And when I say cancellation stamp, I'm looking at the postmark. But, when I used that cancellation stamp and got with stamps.com, and there were thirteen people in the African-Americans for Black History Month that I presented with their own stamp with this Paterson postmark for Black History Month.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:07.31
Cool.

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:07.91
So, and Johnny Briggs happened to be one of them.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:09.78
That's very cool.

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:11.41
Yeah. And it was. I'm telling you, people still talk about it, and that was in 2014. People still come and say, "Why don't you put me on a stamp?" You know, I don't know. And I moved on from that, you know, moved on from that one.

Barbara Krasner
00:46:26.45
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:46:27.45
So, those are just some of the things that I've done in and around- Oh, there's one other person I wanted to mention to you, and if you want his number, I'll give you his number. This guy's name is Larry Hogan. Larry Hogan, in August of 2017, I bring him to Paterson, and he does a lecture about the Negro Leagues. Now, Larry Hogan is probably the foremost authority on Negro League Baseball, and he lives right in Springfield, or I think, Westfield or Springfield, one or the other. And he comes and he talks about it. But, he brings two of his friends, one gentleman who does an African or an African-American version of [?] at bat and another gentleman named Jim Robinson, who was- I forgot the name of the team. Where's that thing? I just had it in front of me. Who was the - who also was the captain of one of the major league teams, African-American. And again, Larry Hogan is the foremost authority on negro league baseball, probably in this country, and he's really, really close. I mean, we, you know, I brought him- And now what's happening is the National Park Service wants to partner with me and Larry Hogan to do some lectures at some of the high schools-

Barbara Krasner
00:47:51.15
Yeah

Jimmy Richardson
00:47:51.73
-or some of the schools in town to talk about negro league baseball.

Barbara Krasner
00:47:53.86
That sounds great.

Jimmy Richardson
00:47:55.36
I've got to bone up on some stuff. But, he will talk about Negro League Baseball, and I will talk about Hinchliffe Stadium-

Barbara Krasner
00:48:00.03
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:48:02.47
-and its involvement. And I have a record of every game, boxing match, every activity that happened in professional or, I guess you could say, professional activity that happened in Hinchliffe Stadium from 1933 until 1952. Every everything. You name it, I mean, I can't call you anything right now, I mean, quote anything right now. But, I have in my files everything that has ever been done until the high schools bought the stadium or until the Board of Education bought the stadium.

Barbara Krasner
00:48:39.21
Right.

Jimmy Richardson
00:48:40.28
But, every professional everything that ever happened there, I've got.

Barbara Krasner
00:48:46.30
Wow.

Jimmy Richardson
00:48:47.62
So, what else should I talk about? I think we've covered a lot.

Barbara Krasner
00:48:55.08
Yeah. So, what I'd like to do is just reserve the right to come back to you with-

Jimmy Richardson
00:49:01.88
Sure!

Barbara Krasner
00:49:02.08
-additional questions as we transcribe the interviews and I write up something. Do you have a photo?

Jimmy Richardson
00:49:11.94
Sure, yeah, I do.

Barbara Krasner
00:49:13.68
Could you email that to me?

Jimmy Richardson
00:49:15.72
I'll try. I got to get my wife to do it. I think I might have said this to you once before, my computer is so messed up. It's basically good for me writing stuff, but it's hard for me to email photographs, even though I have a photo file of about maybe 20,000 or 30,000 pictures. What happens is it just won't seem to do what it's supposed to do so I can email it. So, I have to figure out a way to get that to you, and I'll work on that.

Barbara Krasner
00:49:42.14
Okay. Super.

Jimmy Richardson
00:49:43.72
I have your email address also. I just can't send stuff out. I can read it. I just can't- I can sometimes I can view, if you forward me something, I can push it forward. I can move it forward, but if you email me. But, for some reason if e- If I write a letter or write something to you and email it, it always comes up all jumbled, all scrambled, stuff is dropped out. It's just a mess, but I have not had the money- I haven't had the money or the time to take it all apart because I have big, kind of, yeah, it's kind of a big system. The stereo is hooked up to it and three monitors and all this junk is hooked up, but it don't work.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:21.18
Got it.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:22.87
So, I'll try and get you a photo somehow.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:25.36
Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for your time, Jimmy.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:27.92
It's a pleasure.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:30.38
So, I'll close this out, and we'll call you if we have other questions.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:35.86
Please do. Please do.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:37.94
Thank you so much.

Jimmy Richardson
00:50:38.05
You're quite welcome. Bye bye now.

Barbara Krasner
00:50:39.80
Bye bye.
 

Interview Transcript Part 3

Jimmy Richardson
00:00:00.14
We were talking about Osibee Jelks, well in 2014 and we were talking about Hinchliffe Stadium. Well, you know, again, I had parted with the Newark Bears and the Newark Bears stadium in Newark. And we had become pretty good friends because I invited him to the Larry Doby unveiling. Now, again, after them coming to that swearing in and that unveiling of the stamp, we started talking. And I was talking about Hinchliffe Stadium, and what they had decided to do, we were talking about public and private sector money and trying to get help. Anyway, what they had decided to do is if we could bring the pub- again, Paterson Public School owned the Hinchliffe Stadium, if we could bring the public schools- This is my answering service- if we could bring the public schools to Newark to the Newark Bear games, they would give back 40 percent of the ticket, of the gate, to the Paterson Public School for the renovation or the restoration of Hinchliffe Stadium. Isn't that great?

Barbara Krasner
00:01:20.44
Yes!

Jimmy Richardson
00:01:21.88
And guess what? I couldn't get them to even answer me back. But, but, now this is what they did. So, even though I couldn't get them as the kickoff for this project, what they did is they gave me 4,000 tickets, 4,000 tickets to the opening of the- to the- As a matter of the fact, it was to the last game of the season. And what they did is they honored Osibee Jelks. They honored him as America's first- actually this says, "Osibee Jelks second African-American professional baseball umpire" and they gave me 4,000 tickets. And they honored him on that day. And it was the last day. As a matter of fact, I think it was the last day before they closed the stadium. The stadium never opened up after that. And I just thought I would mention that to you.

Barbara Krasner
00:02:17.73
Yeah, thank you.

Jimmy Richardson
00:02:19.51
But, that just goes to show you that, you know, sometimes I just try to stay in my place and do what I do because when you start dealing with the powers-that-be, especially the politicians, they never say, but everybody's got another agenda, and it ain't the agenda that sometimes it's not the agenda that is in the best interest of whatever they're working on, in this case the stadium, you know. And they drag their feet and basically everybody is waiting for the National Park Service to take over and then they got [?] say well, it's ours. I know what they're going to do.

Barbara Krasner
00:02:51.72
Yeah.

Jimmy Richardson
00:02:53.14
So, that's what happened, and I just thought I'd mention that to you. I mean, can you imagine? They gave me 4,000 tickets to the game, and I ended up getting- I forget how many people I got to come. And of course, they honored Osibee Jelks with that award as the second African-American major league empire.

Barbara Krasner
00:03:17.25
Well, that's great!

Jimmy Richardson
00:03:18.26
Yeah, so and again, I forgot- I was so busy talking. I knew there was something that I forgot to tell you.

Barbara Krasner
00:03:24.11
Well, thanks for remembering.

Jimmy Richardson
00:03:25.43
All right. That's it.

Barbara Krasner
00:03:26.92
Okay. Take care.

Jimmy Richardson
00:03:28.08
Okay Bye bye.

Barbara Krasner
00:03:29.32
Bye

Last updated: June 10, 2019

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