Oral Histories

Interview of Jaleesa Hazzard

Interviewed because of connection to tennis player Arthur Ashe. Ashe was a family friend of the Hazzard family throughout his life.
Purpose Served: An Oral History of the Exemplary Life of Arthur Ashe, 1943-1993
African American History
Biographical Note:
Interviewed because of connection to tennis player Arthur Ashe. Ashe was a family friend of the Hazzard family throughout his life.
Nwonye, Chinyere Jasmine
Hazzard, Jaleesa
Persons Present:
Hazzard and Nwonye.
Place Conducted:
The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Chinyere Nwonye, an interviewer for the Arthur Ashe Oral History project as part of the UCLA Arthur Ashe Legacy Center. Chinyere is a graduate of UCLA with a background in neuroscience and African American Studies.The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading Arthur Ashe’s Advantage Ashe; Arthur Ashe and Neil Amdur’s Off the Court; Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad’s Days of Grace: A Memoir; Raymond Arsenault’s Arthur Ashe: A Life; and various archival articles from the Los Angeles Times and Daily Bruin. The interviewer also referenced the Wikipedia page of Ms. Hazzard’s late husband, Walt Hazzard, to gain additional background on his basketball career at UCLA and within the National Basketball Association (NBA). For oral history methodology she read select chapters of Don Ritchie’s Doing Oral History; Valerie Yow’s Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Robert Weiss’ Learning from Strangers; and she watched several oral histories from the Library of Congress. She also watched HBO’s Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World and BBC’s Arthur Ashe: More than a Champion.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. The interviewee was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content.
1.5 hrs
Series Statement:
Purpose Served: An Oral History of the Exemplary Life of Arthur Ashe, 1943-1993 is an initiative of the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund (AALF) at UCLA and is funded by AALF and by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. By launching an oral history project to document and capture the firsthand recollections of Ashe’s colleagues, associates, family, and friends, UCLA was fulfilling its commitment to the Arthur Ashe Learning Center to document and disseminate the considerable impact of one of its most significant graduates.In his memoir Days of Grace Arthur Ashe stated, "I don't want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments.” Although this series provides a comprehensive account of Ashe’s considerable accomplishments as a tennis player, it also offers a substantial number of first-person accounts of historical moments and stories beyond the scope of tennis. Ashe’s ascent in the tennis world coincided with many important developments in the sport: the onset of the Open Era, the shift from a mostly “country club” sport to the public arena, the commercialization of tennis, and the rise of the celebrity athlete. But his life also intersected with a number of significant milestone in the second half of the twentieth century, including the civil rights and women’s movements, the Vietnam War, the fall of apartheid in South Africa, and the AIDS/HIV crisis. In their reflections on Ashe’s work and activism, participants in this series share stories of his engagement with these crucial moments in U.S. history. Finally, the series also contains information about segregation; student life at UCLA in the 1960s; ROTC; West Point; Black life in Richmond, Virginia and St. Louis, Missouri; the work of TransAfrica and Artists and Athletes against Apartheid; and the relatively unknown histories of the American Tennis Association and Dr. Robert Walter Johnson’s Summer Tennis Camp.Interviewees were sought across the country and internationally, reflecting Ashe’s broad swath of associates and his status as a prominent athlete and a respected public intellectual. Although the series reflects his entire life, special attention was given to locating childhood friends, military associates, and fellow students in St. Louis and at UCLA. Participants who could speak of his devotion to support youth in the sport and his activism were also included in this series.The series commenced months before the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of the initial interviews align with traditional oral history methodology in being conducted in person. After stay-at-home orders were initiated across the country in March of 2020, interviews were conducted via the Zoom video conferencing platform. Many of these sessions were preserved on video recordings as well as audio recordings.
Jaleesa Hazzard is born in Washington D.C. but her family moves to Kelly Hill after 1959 or 1960 – She attends Hayward High School, a predominantly White school – Becomes a cheerleader and class president – Graduates in 1962 – Accepted into Stanford University, but ultimately attends the University of California, Los Angeles – Few African-Americans attend UCLA, but they all hang out an area in the Student Union named The Coop – Challenging academic environment – Meets Walt Hazzard and Arthur Ashe on Bruin Walk in 1963 – Becomes UCLA’s first Black song leader in spring 1963 – Getting to know Walt Hazzard as they cheer together – Cheering at UCLA basketball’s first championship game in 1964 – Marries Walt in 1964 – Walt and Ashe’s friendship – Walt Hazzard, Ashe, Kermit Alexander, and Fred Slaughter road trip to Buffalo, New York in 1962 – Walt joins the U.S. men’s basketball Olympics team in Tokyo, Japan and is selected as a territorial draft by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964 - Walt leaves the Lakers in 1967 and subsequent movement between professional teams – Ashe’s contained personality on and off the court – Walt’s retirement in 1974 and coaching career – Completing her degree at the University of California, Berkeley – Dr. Harry Edwards, Reverend Jesse Jackson, the 1968 Olympic Boycott and their attempts to get Ashe involved – Ashe and Walt Hazzard maintaining contact throughout the years with Ashe’s early morning phone calls – Hearing (medical) equipment in the background during last conversation with Ashe – Impact of Ashe’s HIV/AIDS announcement – Remembering Ashe as fearless.