Francis X. Donnelly
Detroit News reporter
I planned a trip to Detroit after returning from Birmingham and before going to Houston- where my mother was being honored by The Honey Brown Hope Foundation. I called Frank, explained to him about our journey and how I would be in Detroit July 27, 2015. My purpose was to interview him for my mother's second book "Pride Restored" Civil Rights Activist Mamie King-Chalmers Memoirs. He stated that he would be honored to be in the book, and he would be really honored to have me interview him.
Mr. Donnelly stated that throughout his career as a Journalist he has never been Interviewed. I found that to be wonderful. His first interview and it would be done by me, Excellent I thought. Frank stated that once I was finish interviewing him he would interview me for the article he was writing about my mother and I. We set the date for Friday July 31, 2015 at Detroit News Office @1pm
Friday July 31, 2015:
Kandi: What was your childhood like and where did you grow up?
Frank: Woodbridge New Jersey a suburb of New York , 20 miles from the city.
Kandi: What inspired you to become a Journalist?
Frank: I have always loved sports. In high school, I made the decision to become a Journalist. When I went to college I became interested in politics
Kandi: What are some of the major stories you have written about?
Frank: Your Mother Mamie was my biggest story, actually the most important one also. She played a important role in the Children Crusade for the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham Alabama 1963. She was ignored and lied about which was sad. Your mother was definitely one of my biggest stories. I Thank you for that Kandi.
Kandi: Your Welcome Thank you for writing the story. Which one of the many stories you have written was the most touching? and why?
Frank: Your Mother, because of what happened to her and for history purposes she played a major part in the Children Crusade.
Kandi: When you first received my letter what we're your thoughts?
Frank: Your letter touched me, for some reason your letter ranged true for so many reasons. It seem truthful, you indicated so many things, that were true and known to be true. I have been a reporter for over 30 years, so you can tell when a person is telling the truth. With that being said, If what was stated in your letter is true. This is a very important story, for History and for the Civil Rights Movement. Once I started checking it out, calling people in Birmingham. All the facts started lining up as you stated in your letter. It was Mamie King who was in the front lines of the Children Crusade with evidence and pictures (lots of pictures) to back it up.
Kandi: Before you contacted me, I know you had started doing your investigation. (I knew that because I am a reporter a talk show host, so we must have our facts together) Were there any doubts in your mind about my mother's story?
Frank: I felt this were true and you had significant facts in your letter. For some reason your letter ranged true immediately after I started reading it. It caught my attention immediately.
Kandi: What made you decide you would take my mothers Crusade on and write her story?
Frank: It started with your letter, without you writing me I would not have known. History needed to be corrected. Your mother lives in Detroit, this story was about a Detroiter. The Detroit News and I felt the connection and this was a chance to correct history. To right a wrong that was done to your mother.
Kandi: After initially speaking with me what we're your thoughts about our conversation?
Frank: Because in your letter you had laid out the facts. I was struck by your dedication to help your mother. Also your emotion I heard in your voice, you spoke very intelligently. Your intuitive thoughts, about your mother life and story captivated me. I said to myself here is a daughter that is sincerely dedicated to helping her mother, and getting her story out.
Kandi: Yes I am, Thank you
Kandi: When you met and interviewed my mother what we're your thoughts?
Frank: She is Civil Rights Activist Mamie King-Chalmers so I came with ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES. I brought cameramen, we did the interview and a video. I also returned for a second day, so we at The Detroit News made it a 2 day event. When I first met her she had such charm and grace about herself with a humble spirit. For a person who was of such Great Importance in the Children Crusade for the Civil Rights Movement. Who has had their entire Life, Images, Identity, Accomplishments, Experiences and most All Their Pride STOLEN, REMOVED, and IGNORED for nearly 30 years. She was not Bitter she was quite elated to see me and my team. Her Courage, Bravery and Humbleness surprised me. She was so nice and a very gentle and intelligent person who knew everything about the Civil Rights Movement and the people who were involved. She spoke very gracefully.
Kandi: After hearing the entire story about how my mother's identity was stolen and hidden for years what we're your thoughts?
Frank: It was disgusting that the impostor says she made a mistake after 25 plus years of claiming Mamie's Life. To go around all those years claiming and deceiving the world and history off of Mamie's true life experiences and accomplishments were very disturbing.
Kandi: Were there any road blocks during your investigation? If so, what were they?'
Kandi: The impostor caused road blocks, she really wouldn't talk to me, besides the phone call. I really wish I could have interviewed the Photographer Charles Moore who took all of your mother's photos during the Demonstrations. It seems as if he followed her with the camera. So many photos were taken of her.
Kandi: Were you or the Detroit News ever successful in contacting Oprah Winfrey and her Producers?
Frank: No, Never, We have reached out to the show and Oprah countless of times. We have never received a response back. We also sent out for old show tapes and transcripts and never received them.
Kandi: Are you a Democrat or Republican? Who is your candidate for President? and Why?
Frank: I am a Independent as a reporter we have to be careful, on our voting we don't want to show favoritism. My pick would be Hillary Clinton she will break the wall and become the first woman President.
Kandi: What is your favorite food
Frank : Italian, Lasagna
Kandi: Have you accomplished your goals in life?
Frank: One of My goals is to write a book, maybe you Kandi, can help me with that, being that you have started your own publishing company Kandi Kane Ent. How would people contact you with their manuscripts?
Kandi: I would be honored to help you, for you helped My mother, for that we are totally grateful. People can contact me or send manuscripts to email@example.com and also call me 909-264-0878 & 947-282-0053.
Kandi: Are you married with children?
Frank: I am Divorced, I have a daughter Olivia who lives in Florida
Kandi: Is there anything that you have learned being a reporter about the world we live in today?
Frank: Well I believe that President Obama has done a great job. He has left the next coming President sitting good.
Kandi: What are your views on police brutality?
Frank: It's funny that you ask me that. Our boss wants us to tweet about, The College Police officer in Ohio. People nowadays do not have faith in police officers because of some of the problems that they are dealing with The murders of unarmed black men. I believe faith can be restored in each and every neighborhood if everyone works together.
Kandi: Yes, that is one of my mottoes "Together We Can Make A Difference." I would like to take this time to Thank you and The Detroit News for investigating and writing my mother story and Introducing her to the world for that we are truly grateful. You gave my mother and our family Our Legacy Back, I
Thank you, and we thank you Sir.
Frank: You’re welcome and thank you too. Kandi you are a wonderful daughter, you are a great investigator, reporter, writer and talk show host. Welcome to the world of Journalism. You will be very great as a Journalist. Also you may use myself and The Detroit News on your resumes. Much success young lady,
Kandi: Awwwwwwwww Thank you for this opportunity.
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