Presenter: Funding for this program is made possible in part by the KET Endowment for Kentucky Productions.
Narrator: Alice and Wade are to me like the ultimate power couple.
Devon: They always want the best for people and they always give their best to people.
Allan: When my father decided to help integrate the University of Louisville basketball program, it's not surprising that he took that challenge.
Darrell: It's just amazing to see when you look back at what coach has contributed that people don't really realize in this community.
Sadiqa: She is such a good example of what success should look like, especially in the black community.
Female Speaker 1: And she has done a wonderful job of advocating not only for women-owned businesses but also our women of color owned businesses.
Devon: She never meets a stranger.
She's the ultimate counselor.
Logan: When Wade met Alice, that probably the best thing that happened to Wade.
Carrye: Their marriage, they would hope people would think is their greatest accomplishment, and the joy and the happiness that they have with each other.
Natalie: They had plenty of failures, and things that they learned from and they had to pick themselves up and keep pushing forward.
Scooter: And the more that people can hear stories like this and learn from people like Wade and Alice, the better our society, the better our country, the better our world is going to be.
[music fading] Alice: I was born here in Louisville Kentucky on December the 15th, 1946 on Grand Avenue in the West End of Louisville, and when I think about my life's experiences, I have to think about family, faith, education, and athletics, but especially that foundation of growing up on Grand Avenue.
Carrye: Grand Avenue was Alice's sanctuary.
We all grew up in very grounded communities wherever we were in this city.
And that's very special.
And Grand Avenue was a very, very special place.
Grand Avenue was like a small community and it was a safe community.
However, she understood at a very early age what she couldn't -- could not do because she was black because when we were in segregated schools, we were taught our history, we were taught where we came from, how we got here and the struggles.
And we participated in the civil rights struggles.
So we wanted and always wanted fairness, not more just equal.
Wade: I was born in Alcoa, Tennessee, on October 9th, 1944.
The city of Alcoa was a very unique city, and that it was named after the aluminum company, Alcoa Aluminum, which was one of the largest aluminum companies in the world.
The city, in my estimation, was far advanced than a lot of southern towns, primarily because Alcoa pumped quite a bit of money into that city for its workers.
So the story behind this is that when Alcoa when first came here, they had a lot of people working in the pot room, right?
So they went and they went out into Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi and pulled in blacks who were able to really withstand the heat and work in the pot room.
And that's how this whole community came together.
That's why we're probably so close in terms of family because we all came in as strangers and we all just started to bond.
Dad used to talk about mentoring the young black guys that were coming in because he felt that they weren't just tough enough - to stick it out.
And so he was saying, you know, what the money you could make, good jobs.
Now, you're supporting your family, your homes and cars.
He said, because they didn't want to stay.
I come from such a legacy of strong, motivated, beautiful, impactful activist women.
This is one of my very favorite pictures because it is a picture of my mama, aunt-- her sister, aunt Renee, aunt Daisy, aunt Julia, and aunt Minnie.
All of these women were educated and served as role models to me.
Wade: The history of my father was similar to a lot of African Americans back in the 40s and late 30s and that they had menial jobs at the plants.
And for the most part, when there was a downturn in the economy, the African-American workers during that time were some of the first to be laid off, and the last to be hired back.
So that was kind of the thing that happened to my father and my mother for the most part was a homemaker.
Logan: Wade was a nice looking guy back -- during that time, you know.
Wade: During that time!
Logan: Wade was growing up.
Wade wasn't as tall as he is today and he had the biggest ears man, and we used to laugh at his ears.
I mean they were big but, you know, just like anything.
His body grew into his ears.
So, now, they're absolutely great.
Alice: This is a very special picture to me because it's just kind of symbol of our family.
My father was a coach at Louisville Central High School, which was all black high school.
And he coached there for over 30 years -- 28 years and coached football and basketball.
Without a doubt Central High School under the leadership of coach Kean, not only in basketball but in the sport of football, was the echelon of high school for the African-Americans.
They were the school.
Allan: This is my grandfather, National High School champs 1952, 1955, and 1956.
He made a powerhouse.
Alice: He's the winningest coach in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in basketball.
Allan: Over 800 wins.
Daddy's in the Hall of Fame, Wade is in the Kentucky Hall of Fame and Allan's in the Kentucky Hall of Fame.
So quite a legacy in this room.
Wade: All right.
This is me and the coach that I am sitting next to is my grandfather, this is a very special man.
This is to Mr. and Mrs. Allen Garner 133 West Franklin Street, Alcoa Tennessee 37701, Wade's grandparents.
And it's from Wade from when we lived at 3306 Grand Avenue.
And it says -- Dear, mama and papa, we plan to come home around 8th June and hope to stay until the 11th or 12th.
Alice and Allan are doing fine.
Allen and his dog cannot play together for long.
Allan plays too rough for him.
He kicks him with those hard shoes.
The dog waits until Allan takes his shoes off and puts his pajamas and then he tries to bite Allan's foot.
Wade: We took the dog to Nashville with us last week, and they both slept in the back seat until they got home.
Smokey slept in Allan's lap.
Wade: We're going to take some movies and show them when we get home.
Papa might be there to take Allan out to the pond and do some fishing.
Y'all take care and we'll see you on the 8th.
Love, Wade, Allan and Alice.
Alice: Wade's painting a picture for mama and papa of the everyday activities in his house, so that they can see what really goes on beyond what they may be seeing or hearing.
Wade: My sister who was the only girl in the family was the youngest.
And I often tease her and I tell her, I said I was so glad that you came along because I knew it wouldn't be long before my dad would not have us going outside to that bathroom, once she got here.
Janet: We lived at 258 West Fulton Street in Alcoa.
When dad found out that mom was having a little girl, I guess he started thinking about now, where are we going to put this little girl?
We got two boys.
So anyway, dad decided at that point that he was going to remodel the house.
He was going to make it accessible for me, make it usable for me and we put in a bathroom.
Because prior to that, we had just a little space off the back porch that we used for our bathroom.
And it's a little embarrassing to say that, but that's how we grew up -- And that's how all of the houses were - in Alcoa at that time.
Janet: So that's what we did.
We grew up with that.
And so dad said, well we can't have her going out in the cold and going to the bathroom.
And I'm sure that mom thought, now why for her and not me?
Sonja: I remember Wade when he was in the second grade.
Oh boy, he was a great student and he tried to do everything that he needed to do to satisfy Miss Reese, that was his teacher, and one day she asked as all teachers do.
"Wade, what would you like to be?"
And he said, "The cab driver".
Alice: I went to Virginia Avenue Elementary School, that was where the principal was Mr. Karl Liggins, and every day, we sang the negro national anthem, and the national anthem and we recited the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.
And I think in his own particular ways, he says, yes, we have a culture that is limiting, right?
But we live in a bigger culture that is aspirational.
And I think that we became the first generation to actually be able to enact that dream.
Natalie: She and my dad grew up in the south, grew up at a time where opportunities weren't there in society, you know, put African-Americans in a corner and said, no, this is what you're going to do, and this is what we have for you.
And she broke all of that.
Wade: Growing up in the south in the 1940s and 50s was through my memory was just a totally different world.
To some degree, you didn't -- as a youth, you didn't remember how separated the country was and how separated the city was, but then it was like something would happen and just smack you in the face, and say, wait a minute, this is totally different from the way things should be.
My parents don't even complain about what they went through.
They talk about it and it's the reality of what they went through.
And I think it's painful for them to realize that in a lot of ways, not a lot has changed since they were younger, it's just not as overt as it was when they were growing up.
But they've never complained or used it as an excuse.
So that's admirable to me.
I think it's important to understand in terms of their upbringing and the culture that they came out of that that was how people were raised coming through the civil rights movement and Jim Crow and segregation that, yes, we have all of these obstacles, but you're not going to allow these obstacles to stop you from being who God has created you to be.
Alice: Muhammad Ali grew up at 3302 Grand Avenue, we were at 3306.
And he would come when he was in town and knock on the door.
We hear all this commotion outside and here comes Mohammad just dropping by the neighborhood as he often did when he was in town, he would come back.
Wade: He just fought Ken Norton.
His jaw was broken at the time, and that was actually pretty much wired shut.
So when he came in and he told me, he said, "So what are you doing here anyway?
He said, "This is my girlfriend - when I grew up."
- Which is not at all true.
He said, "You don't belong here."
So he's kind of, kind of shoved me and back up, put his gloves up.
I said you're already hurt now.
- [laughs] - I'm gonna take you out, you keep messing around, and it's gonna be all over for yourself.
And he started laughing and then we talked about just the neighborhood.
Alice: It was a middle-class neighborhood when we lived here.
It certainly brings back a lot of memories, a lot of pride.
The amazing thing about our experience even with dad and coaching was that, we were able to spend half of our childhood here in Louisville and then the other half in Tennessee.
So growing up that opportunity to be really get close to both sides of our family was an amazing and awesome experience.
The anchor for us in the community had to be Charles M. Hall School on Watts Street.
Wade: The school, the same school, the structure is different because now it's like a community center.
They named the old gym after me and my high school coach.
His name was Clarence Teeter.
So the gym was renamed after the two of us.
And that's why I'm proud to see my name on this building because of all the things that went on when I went to school here, before me, and even after me.
Logan: So this is the hall -- Charles M. Hall school marker.
And of course, these are some of the throwback of -- back when Hall was first started et cetera.
The only key thing is this right here.
[both laughs] - Logan: So -- - Wade: So you did get one of my better pictures, so I'm thankful for that.
Logan: So I think that -- I think what's amazing though is that that we live long enough to see - something like this done.
You don't always capture these kind of pictures, - these kind of moments, - Yes.
and there's so much history here for this school and for this city.
Allan: My father has always been a supporter of where he's from and his community, his roots.
And to this day, he still contributes his name and his likeness and everything that he can to raise money through a charity golf event, so that young people in this community can experience something that he experienced.
Initially, we only had like three things to participate in this thing.
And so you can see with over the years, just his name.
It's been a major contributing factor to where this thing stands now.
You've got 30 something teams here now.
And I think it's outstanding that he comes back and raises money with this golf tournament for a scholarships.
Al: Wade and Allan, they've done a great job and everyone around here respect them.
He's got the utmost respect and I am one that respects him very highly.
When I walk into this gym.
It is a sacred place to me and I get very emotional because I just remember all of the events that took place that affected our lives.
- This is where it happens.
- Oh yeah.
That's where the magic starts.
A lot of, a lot of great memories.
Wade: And walking and see it now, - it just jogs your memory - Logan: Oh yeah.
Wade: and you no longer like, the girls - had good basketball team - Oh yeah.
and we had good basketball teams.
And look at this place.
I mean, it's -- it was full.
You couldn't get in.
I mean it was an event, you know, like, no other event probably in a lot of towns.
When we see Tommy Woods started playing basketball at Hall, they brought a different basketball game to this area, and the older guys told Teeter who was the head coach, you got something Teeter.
And they brought a new brand of basketball in.
We started here in the first grade on the other side of this building.
And then as we got older, and as we started to understand the importance of athletics and all the guys that have come before us, this is what we wanted to end up.
I remember just at the circle where your favorite shot, because you were always... - [imitating shot] - [both laughing] - it wasn't a fake and drive.
It was bouncing south and pop.
Wade: There we go.
Alice: Wade graduated from Charleston High School in 1962 back during the times that segregation was still pretty prominent.
It's a time that I guess sometimes we like to not remember, but it's so important that we do remember.
Natalie: But at the time, University of Tennessee was not recruiting black athletes.
And their story begins, you know, in Louisville Kentucky.
Wade: I can remember like it was yesterday when the letter came from the University of Louisville to coach Teeter, and said, "We have an interest in one of your players, so much so that we want you all to come up for a visit".
And when I found out that the letter was from the University of Louisville, you know, I got excited but I didn't -- I'm thinking Tennessee state, Knoxville colleges and those places.
And coach Teeter said, "No."
I said "We got to take a look at this one."
Kenny: When you think about Wade Houston being one of the first African Americans to walk on that campus.
I can't imagine what they went through.
Not just the bad, but the good as well.
You're the first, you're the gold standard.
You're the example of why African Americans come into the school to play athletics.
Alice: When Wade, Sam, and Eddie made that decision to enroll at the University of Louisville back in 1962.
I'm not sure that they, especially Wade, coming from Alcoa Tennessee in that environment, understood what a significant endeavor that really was.
That was special to us because he was breaking new territory.
Natalie: The first of anything has a really hard road to go down and they make it just a little bit easier for those that come behind.
Logan: So now you move into an environment where not only are you going to be suspect to a lot of attention, but you're gonna be ridiculed, you're going to have situation thrown at you, that gonna test your character.
I remember at that time we had to ride, still ride on the back of the bus.
So I'm riding on the back of the Greyhound bus and the Greyhound bus stops from Louisville to Knoxville.
That bus must have stopped 10 times, you know, you couldn't use the bathroom, so you had to fend for yourself, find a way to get off the bus and somewhere to use the bathroom.
And I said, I will never do this again.
I said, I'll never take a Greyhound bus at that time.
That experience was one that I'll never forget.
There were times that he would call and he'd want to come home.
He would want to come home.
But Wade was an example.
He had chosen to do this to go to University of Louisville, and mom and dad just thought, okay, you can do this and we'll help you.
Allan: When my father decided to help integrate the University of Louisville basketball program, it was to me -- it's not surprising that he took that challenge.
He was readily accepted by the black community and they were great support for him and he certainly had his challenges, but he handled them with a lot of guts and a lot of dignity.
Charlie: I went to every game, sitting right behind about yelling at everything.
And for football, he was at every game.
He'd be sitting down yelling, I mean, we cheered each other on.
It's just been a great, you know, great relationship.
Alice: I graduated from Louisville Central l in 1964.
But there was no really relationship between me and Wade from 1962 to 1966 except the fact that they would all come to the Louisville Central games to see the Louisville Central basketball team, but to see the cheerleaders also.
I didn't watch the game because they were just high school guys playing and I didn't -- I've seen enough of that already, so.
But the cheerleaders caught my attention and this one particular cheerleader caught my eye.
Logan: When Wade met Alice, that could be a story to itself.
That probably was the best thing that happened to Wade.
Then I think there was upward bound out at the University of Louisville.
And I think some of that connection was when more things started to happen and the romance started to blossom In 1966, during the summer, I got the opportunity to be a counselor with the outward bound program at University of Louisville.
Low and behold, I walk in Bigelow Hall and who is there?
But wait, actually, that's how the romantic interest began.
When I saw her.
I said, this -- when I saw you years ago and I knew at some point we'd see each other again and she said, what are you talking about?
I said, I used to watch you when you were a cheerleader.
She said you were stalking me.
I said, no, I wasn't stalking you, I was just watching you there.
Alice: We've been dating now for three years and he hasn't made one single move towards anything that might be more permanent.
I always tell him he was coerced.
Her best friend had just gotten engaged.
And so when I found that out I said this, I said the pressure is going to be building up pretty good on me when -- Once she knew that I knew that her best friend had gotten engaged.
My husband and I got engaged in March of 1969.
Now Alice and Wade were dating at that time, but they were not engaged.
She just didn't think I was ready for it, but I was.
I was just like any 23, 24 year old guy yourself, having a good time.
And then that's when I presented with the ring and she was, I guess, she was excited, at least she acted excited.
But that was the start of where we are now.
Darrell: A lot of the players that you're going to be talking to about coach Houston was coach with coach Houston at the University of Louisville.
Coach Houston coached me prior to the University of Louisville he coached me at Male High School.
Anderson for the bounce pass to Griffith.
Here's the shot, good.
Anderson: Griff was -- he always been dirty, and it was just fantastic playing with him.
You see famous athletes that have had Wade as a coach and saw him as a father figure, and they still speak of him in that way even though they might be 50 or 60 years old.
I mean that's how deep respect is really built and it's really an amazing thing to see.
For one he's a great figure of an authority.
He and his presence establishes that.
It's almost like okay, he's like my dad, but playing sports.
I remember being 5, 6 years old traveling with Louisville Male to road trips as far as Houston, Texas.
And what I remember the most is having a small duffel bag.
But in that bag was what I pretended to be as a Louisville uniform.
So in my imagination I was on the team with Darell Griffith, Bobby Turner, Jeff Macke.
Male Speaker 1: Coach always had Allan everywhere, even when we traveled, you know, this is a perfect father-son relationship because coach had Allan everywhere that we were at.
And it was good for us as young men to see their relationship.
Male Speaker 2: If these are my heroes.
And he was like the grand master, you know what I mean?
So it was a real interesting dynamic.
Allan Houston was a little kid at Male High School, coach would bring him around and we would just gravitate to Allan because he was a little fella.
He was a little brother, he looked up, he being just looking up, soaking in all the information.
But going to UofL was -- because I would watch the games even before when I was still coaching in Male and I want to throw things through the television when they --I was just such a big fan of having played there that I was just so, such a strong fan.
But going there was really kind of a dream come true.
So when that opportunity came, it was just one that I felt I should take.
Darrell: He realized coach Crump that he had to get a main recruiter.
He had to get that father figure recruiter and that's when they offered coach Houston the job.
And coach Houston took the job and he continued to bring in the players that it took to put coach Crump's system into winning.
Natalie: UofL's basketball program was super close back then.
The coaches and the families and the players, it was a true family, especially like in the 80s.
Kenny: One of the main reasons I came to the University of Louisville was Wade Houston and I wasn't alone in that.
Scooter: As a coach has grown with success, he understands what his role is as far as mentoring and coaching people in life, not only in sports but in life.
Male Speaker 3: They fed him, they had family dinners at the house, he didn't get paid for, but that was a bonding that he had because when he promised young man's mother that he's gonna look out for him, he made it.
Darrell: He just had that presence about him.
He had that character about him that you knew as a parent that if my kid goes to play for this guy, he's gonna be, I feel comfortable that that man is going to look after my kids.
Kenny: Not only did he coached me in college and mentor me and was a father figure for me in college, he also as a man, he's been advising me for years.
I wouldn't be sitting here in this seat as the head coach of the University of Louisville if it wasn't for Wade Houston.
Darrell: For that championship game was no pressure.
It was what you dream of as a kid and it was a moment that I relished and I was looking forward to.
So I was ready to go.
The preparation and the hard work that goes into winning six games in a row like that and then went in a big game.
I mean it's just -- it's crazy.
It was put up or shut up here in 1980, you know, and I was just determined.
I knew that I had a young team coming in and I had to lead by example.
So, the 1980 Championship lead up to other tournaments and final fours.
So it didn't just give us a win in 1980, it gave us a presence.
So in the 1980s we were as good as a guest, in '86 we won it again.
Kenny: It was unbelievable, unbelievable experience as a basketball player to learn throughout the year, what winning basketball was, but also in the recruiting process, having Wade talk about why you come to school here.
Athletics has played such an important part in my life.
To be a coach's wife, you better like it in order for you to be successful because it is a partnership.
She just guided particularly all the guys who are from out of town.
She just guided them as a mother figure.
Alice: I can remember Wade handed me a telephone at midnight talking to recruits mother on the west coast, that was 9:00 o'clock and said, "Yeah, Alice wants to talk to you."
So you become a part of the process.
Scooter: And she looked me in my eyes then and asked me, she said, how long are you gonna make my husband chase you around the country?
You do know he has a family here that would like to see him.
And that right there struck a chord with me and pretty much sealed the deal.
It was a package deal that you got with coach Houston and Miss Houston that was unique.
Kenny: We spent more time with her at times than we did with coach Houston.
Darrell: She was a part of behind the scene package that always helps.
That always be there when your belly got growling.
We always had players around the house.
There was always somebody in our house.
Often we would be sitting around the kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon maybe at 6:00 or 7:00 o'clock and they would call Alice and they say, "Mom, what's for dinner?"
The one day my brother and I were going out to coach's house and I don't think he anticipated us coming.
We were hungry, So, he was going out to his house to see if he was home to get something to eat.
Darrell: I was so happy for coach Houston when he got theTennessee job because it's his time to be a head coach.
When I was offered a job and people heard about it.
They were saying, "coach don't don't do that."
Said, you know the SEC is this, Tennessee is football, Tennessee is, is women's basketball.
When Denny leaves, you're going to be the head coach at UofL.
So stay, don't go.
And I said, no, for the last 10 years I'm promoting opportunities for black coaches, I got to go.
Wade likes to tell the story because one of the press conferences.
And I can't -- I still can't believe he said it.
The reporter asked him, "So tell me how you got Allan at the University of Tennessee" He says, "well, it makes a big difference if you sleep with the mother."
[laughing] Allan: My only dream was to wear a Louisville uniform.
Honestly, I think that was important to me as being drafted and the very first day you could sign, I've signed with Louisville.
Finally April comes and I hear my mother screaming off the balcony that he got the job for the head coach of the University of Tennessee.
Wade: Initially it's not even about basketball as much as it was being able to hang out with your son that do things that fathers and sons normally do.
Alice: For us to go back to Alcoa, for him to be able to go back to Alcoa to be a coach at an institution in which he couldn't even enroll in in back in the early 1960s, and to have his parents and his aunties and uncles and brothers and sisters, cousins be a part of that.
But the icing on that cake was to be able to have Allan with us for four more years.
Allan: We got family from Alcoa, a whole section in Thompson-Boling Arena every night, we're represent them.
We got cousins, we got people all over the country saying, this is the first black head coach in SEC history, who represent them.
Wade has spent so much of his life since 1977, recruiting other young men, mentoring other young men, being there and listening to the stories of other young men.
So, for him to have the opportunity to have his own right there with him every day, challenging him, listening to him, giving him a player perspective from a young man, college players' perspective.
It was really so wonderful.
Kenny: I can only imagine, you know, Wade being at Tennessee and Allan being the star of the team.
What that felt like for him to have one of the best players in the country with him every day trying to help him win SEC games, It had to be gratifying.
For him to be able to accomplish some of the things he's done in a tough league like the SEC, the SEC is such an Athletic League and when you're going against defenders that are such great athletes night in and night out and still able to score 23 points a game, shoot almost 50%, and do the things he's done is a tribute to Allan.
At the same time he's a very, very bright student.
He's probably gonna major in math and he has a full load academically as well as his responsibilities on the basketball court.
And when you can combine those two things and I have nothing but good things to say about Allan.
Randy: Being a college basketball player today, puts enough pressure on young men as it is.
But when you consider Allan Houston plays in the Southeastern Conference, is a star in that league and plays for his father at the same time, normally that would make it a lot tougher on some people.
Allan: I don't think it creates any pressure because I think, you know, down the road we can both look at it and say, you know, I'm glad I made this evening, it was all for the better.
I can look at it right now, even though we're not winning right now.
But I can still say it was all for the better because you learn so much about each other.
One of the very first things and I'm sure that he'll have the opportunity to talk to you about that was the whole Cherokee golf experience.
Every other basketball coach that had been at the University of Tennessee as an option.
We're giving memberships to the Cherokee Country Club.
No, Wade didn't get that.
Wade: When coach Dickey came to Illinois to interview me the first time, on the way out, he said, "Oh by the way, we do have this country club where most of the coaches belong."
He said, "but I don't know if it would be an option for you."
There were some amazing, amazing people that supported us, loved us authentically here in Tennessee, but we also knew that there were a lot that didn't want things to change.
At moments it felt like, okay, yeah, first black coach in the SEC and first black coach at Tennessee, and you know, it felt at times like Tennessee kind of patted themselves on the back for doing that, for hiring him.
But then not really giving a full opportunity and full time like other coaches may have had to build a program and have that success.
And while I think we can all acknowledge that it didn't end like maybe it might have been written by a publicist and certainly did end for this family with another chapter of the struggle toward equality.
Lynn: So, by the time he got fired from Tennessee, they were about five years into the business that is now HJI.
And it looked different then and it's taken many different courses since then.
But it -- the foundations were laid once he was fired at Tennessee.
After we left the University of Tennessee, we got a really big opportunity to do a joint venture with a company at a Kenosha, Wisconsin.
And over the next seven years, that partnership ended up being the largest minority transportation company in North America.
Charles: I think that we all can learn a lot from the Houston story, not just those of us that live in Louisville or even just in Kentucky, but nationally, when you think about an African American couple coming through segregation, overcoming those obstacles, getting an education, being successful business people, yet remaining grounded in who they are and not losing themselves in all the luxuries of life.
I think that's definitely a story that we can all learn something from.
Charlie: We really couldn't have done it without Alice because you know, Wade was coaching full time and I was always out trying to do stuff with the customers and so forth.
So, she was really always watching the business.
If you don't have somebody watching the business, you're gonna lose your business.
Basically, she was the glue that held everything together.
Male Speaker 4: Alice is cursed.
She's got big picture ability, but also operational ability.
Okay, so she's got it both together, which of course is the perfect combination.
Sadiqa: I think Charlie Johnson and Wade Houston were visionaries and I also know that Alice's contribution to every business dealing, that Wade has had cannot be overstated.
She is a smart woman, she is a strong woman.
And he is a better man for having chosen her.
Lynn: I'm currently CEO of HJI Supply Chain Solutions and HJI Supply Chain Solutions is an acronym for Houston Johnson Inc, and several years ago we felt like the company being named Houston Johnson Inc didn't really tell our customers what we do for the community.
So, HJI Supply Chain Solutions is the name that we kinda rebranded as and we provide materials management, order fulfillment, third-party logistics services in the Louisville area, currently in Memphis, Tennessee.
My relationship with my mother has been a huge blessing.
I feel honored to carry the torch that she has started through HJI.
I feel like she has always been there to support us to give great advice.
She has always been the first person I needed to call when I'm confused or upset or sad about something and she's always treated not only myself that way, but all of my friends and the people around me.
Male Speaker 5: Alice is a real inspiration to the business world because they see in her kind of the whole package.
Big brain, big heart, determination.
And then I think a lot of respect.
Lynn: Her intellect you know helps, she and my husband to run this family business that my parents can trust that is going to exist, you know, for generations to come.
Allan: I mean I've had countless people that have said your mother helped me so much.
I don't know what I would done without your mother I don't even know these people, but they reminded me of how much she's helped them in life.
The best thing about coach and Miss Houston is they want bright people with them.
They weren't selfish entrepreneurs, they were given entrepreneurs.
They want to share their experience with them, try to guide you to who to meet and what channels to go through, what you needed to go through based on their trials and errors.
Male Speaker 5: I think that North Star for Wade and Alice is just to treat other people the way they want to be treated.
It doesn't matter what the faith tradition is, what the skin color is, what your dialect is, it's just connecting you on a human value level.
These are people who really do care about the community.
I mean when I said, "Alice, I want to build this sport's complex.
I think we can have a sports and learning complex."
And she just -- I mean she was as excited as anybody.
She thought this is a great idea, we should do this, I'll do anything to help you.
Alice is so relatable, she's so grounded, she's so down to earth.
Yet, she gives you this like level that you want to aspire to.
So, she really puts together a business legacy, a community legacy and it literally gives a prototype for like what it can look like.
There's no one like Alice.
You know, so when you meet Alice, you don't let go of an Alice, like you stay very connected to your Alice if you're fortunate enough to find an Alice.
Lynn: She fights for what she believes in and she brings out the best in people.
She has done a wonderful job in that organization of advocating not only for women owned businesses, but also our women of color owned businesses.
She is such a good example of what success should look like, especially in the black community, because we need people to walk into a boardroom, to walk into whatever the room is and remember where they came from and remember to show us others of us the way and she does that.
She is really an amazing example of what mentorship is.
One of the things that young women always ask me is were you always a leader?
But to me, a leader is one who influences their environment, whether that environment is this room, that warehouse, that church or an organization and helps to develop the people around them.
And I would hope that we don't take on the norms and standards of others and that we continue to nurture, to develop, to foster because to me it is through that process, that real leadership exemplifies itself and plays it forward.
Natalie: My mother will be receiving the Trailblazer award from the Women's Business Enterprise Council, and I will be honored to be able to interview her and do a discussion with her to honor her by giving her that award.
Everything is a family affair for Alice.
Any little or big things, she wants her family there.
What's the one big thing WBE's need to know and understand upfront about navigating the corporate supply chain?
I think we need to understand and know especially when we are investing our time to come to workshops and to network, that this is a long process.
If you're in this because you're expecting an immediate reward or gratification, you would best utilize your time someplace else.
Business is fundamentally about relationships and it takes time to build relationships and to build trust.
But there are many significant attributes and benefits to networking with each other and understanding the challenges that each of us have in our business and sharing our experiences and crying together and laughing together and celebrating together.
But if you are coming to these events, expecting corporate America to immediately open the doors, that's not going to happen.
But I have something to say to corporate America too.
[audience laughing] Alice: Well, can I ask my next question to lead you into that one?
[audience laughing] Because I have the mic and it's my mic.
[clears throat] [audience laughing] This is a time that I hope she can kind of sit back and reflect and enjoy and just as I say, receive the flowers.
[audience applauding] If you want to know the true legacy of Wade and Alice Houston, just look at their kids.
You can't talk about Wade and Alice, without talking about their family and their grandchildren as well, and just the spark that that puts in their eyes and the incredible job that they've done with their kids and their grandkids.
I have learned a lot from coach Miss Alice about parenting and how important family is.
You know, when I think about Natalie and Lynn, and Natalie being a successful dermatologist, and Lynn has been involved with HJI, all because they are a tight-knit family.
Wade: The success of our daughters really kind of brings everything back into focus for us.
There was a time when I was just really so bitter about the whole experience and Alice would always bring me back.
She said, she said, "Look, look at how much we've been blessed" you know, throughout our lifetimes, from our daughters and from Allan and from our grandkids."
And she, and she's right.
When you interview any of the, any of the kids, ask them about their parents' relationship.
[laughs] Be sure to ask that.
Allan: What we saw was not just action, what we heard were not just words, we saw a deep, deeply rooted desire for each other's well-being.
They enjoy being with one another and they have such respect for each other and I think they just like each other.
As a couple, they mesh so well because they are passionate about the same things.
They're passionate about God, they're passionate about their family, they're passionate about helping other people.
Allan: I look back on every day that goes on, I appreciate more and more what my parents did, who they are, who they were and how they developed myself and my two sisters.
I remember when all the children were born, you know.
Just little things like nurturing Allan's talent.
I just remember just the joy, you know, nurturing him, watching him do that.
Natalie: Lynn and I have been best friends since day one.
Like if you look at pictures of us, Lynn always has me by the hand or me by the arm or hand on the back, kind of guiding to a point where, you know, we have this.
We joke about it even still and I'll say, "You're not the boss of me," you know.
So, so, having a big sister like that, we have always been the best of friends and she's always been, you know, that role model too.
Lynn: Being the daughter of Wade Houston has been a lot of fun.
One thing, he liked to joke.
He pulled a lot of pranks on people even as a child.
And so, dad is, to some strangers, might seem serious and very stoic, but he is a huge jokester.
He is a prankster from -- I mean, from the day that I can remember.
So, she was going on about how nice he was in the center, I didn't see that side of him quite yet.
And when you go to visit him at UofL in his room, many times he would pull pranks on his roommates.
I was sleeping on my bed one time, just sleeping with my hands like -- It relaxed on me and he put the shaving cream on my chest and fairly tickled my nose, and when I, you know, react had shaving cream all over my face.
He hide in my closet and, you know, I'd come in and -- lay down in the summer, then he'd jump out on me.
So, I mean, he was just a prankster all the time.
Well, growing up, our house became identified and known, known as, as a booby trap, literal booby trap.
I was one of his favorite subjects to pick on.
[laughs] I remember, one time at a dinner party that they were hosting.
I like to talk, that's evident and when I would turn my head to the left, he was on the right and he had a long apparatus about 40 inches long that acted as a prong.
The handle was like a scissor and the end was like a tongue and he would take food off my plate.
[Logan laughs] Logan was maybe next door to this, to this prank that we pulled on one of my classmates.
And maybe street over, you were street over from Charles or next door?
-Yeah, next door.
So, one of my classmates was an only child.
Well he had an older brother, but he was the only child.
So, his parents would go back to Alabama every year for just a vacation or whatever.
So, a couple of my other friends and I came up with this idea that we were gonna send a hearse in a funeral home to his house, and say they were coming for him.
[both laugh] So, we send -- we called the funeral home and they sent the hearse to his house, and the guy's dressed in a black suit and there's a knock on the door and his name was Charles McNear.
And they said, "We're coming for the body of Charles McNear."
[both laugh] And he almost passed.
He said, "Man, I ain't dead."
[both laugh] Natalie: My favorite childhood memories are probably our Christmas mornings just being together as a family.
The five of us and my parents, again have always received so much joy by giving to others, and just their joy of seeing their children on Christmas morning having the time of our lives, opening gifts and being together with family.
Allan: My mother, no doubt about it, is and was the bedrock.
She is what the house was built on.
Allan wrote this letter to me while he was in college.
I'm not going to read all of it, but I am going to read the things that I find so precious.
"Dear, mom, I am writing this note to tell you how much I appreciate everything about you.
There are so many things I could mention, but three things stand out to me the most.
I appreciate the way you have raised me into a respectable man."
I had an uncle on my mother's side who was not just a coach, but he was a teacher, and every time I would see him, he would ask me how my English is, how my enunciation is, how's my writing.
Alice: "I appreciate the way you have maintained our relationship.
I appreciate your warm, sincere, loving personality.
Thank you for guiding me, thank you for our relationship and thank you for sharing your glowing personality with me.
If I had a chance and it was under my control, I would have my wife be someone just like you.
But you could always find him with a ball in hand or a ball around.
When we grew up on Sorrento, I feel like my memories of that house are mostly on this semicircle court.
And he's always outside and the neighborhood kids would come through and they would be playing basketball.
And so, if Lynn and I, if we made him mad, he's going outside to shoot or if you know, whatever was going on, I think basketball was his kind of quiet place and just where he loved to be.
My parents love being grandparents of 15 grandchildren, I'll tell you that.
That is their pride right now in this moment, in this stage of their life.
I think that both of them would tell you right now that the most enjoyment that they get surrounds those 15 kids.
Alice: Having the joy of having 15 grandchildren, ages 23 to 10, I have my own focus group about any subject that you would want to bring up.
She was very -- just a very concerned loving mom.
All about family, all about family.
About her family and about her extended family.
And she says, that her greatest accomplishment is her family.
One of the Houstons' greatest accomplishments is in fact their long and loving marriage.
Here's to the 50 years of God's blessings to your marriage.
We love you so much.
[people cheering] Wade and I didn't come from the same kinds of physical environment, but the foundation that we did have was God, family, and values, and work ethic, and a commitment that marriage was not transitory for us.
Mom and Pops are angels because what they've given to this community, what they've given to individuals, what they've given to me personally, invaluable.
Charlie: They share.
They don't mind giving, They don't mind helping.
I'm just so proud to call them friends.
And I tell you, he has been an absolute jewel in my life in so many, many ways.
We're like yin and yang.
We probably don't agree how much, but together, we're a pretty good team.
♪ Here in our beloved Kentucky ♪ ♪ Stands the school of royal fame ♪ ♪ Dear to all who cross her threshold ♪ ♪ Loved by all who bear her name ♪ ♪ For she stands for right and duty ♪ ♪ Justice is her motto too ♪ ♪ She is stern but staunch and true ♪ ♪ Then of Central, we will sing ♪ ♪ Central, O Central High Central, ours till we die♪ ♪ We lift her banners far and high ♪ ♪ Let her colors reach the sky for Central ♪ ♪ Oh, Central High ♪ Presenter: Funding for this program is made possible in part by the KET Endowment for Kentucky Productions.