CBC’s Pope Featured in Cover Story for Ace Magazine
CBC Vice President of Community Relations Paul Pope graces the cover of Ace magazine for its January/February 2003 issue. Published by Phyllis Coley, Ace is a bi-monthly publication about the African American community in the Triangle, available free of charge in several locations locally.
WRAL-TV Producer Clarence Williams and CBC Communications Specialist Andrea Osborne collaborated to write the story published in Ace.
Paul R. Pope, Jr.
A Man of the People and for the People
by Clarence Williams & Andrea Osborne
Paul Pope pitches in wherever help is needed, at CBC and in the community.
Artist, advocate, community leader, caregiver, idealist, pioneer…all these words accurately describe Paul Pope, for no one term can completely capture the veritable Renaissance man, a business man and broadcaster who remains steadfast in his dedication to the community.
How does one capture Paul Pope? Determination would be a key descriptor. As a child playing on Nazareth Street, he was approached by Capitol Broadcasting Company founder and owner A.J. Fletcher. Fletcher told Pope and his buddies, “You kids ever need a job, just come by and see me.” Pope took him seriously and at age 17 walked over to the station and told Fletcher he wanted work. Fletcher took him in and a lifelong relationship between Pope, the Fletcher family and broadcasting was born.
Pope worked his way through college at North Carolina Central, taking a year off to serve in the United States Marines and fight in Vietnam. Pope and a cluster of the operations crew got Production Secretary Billie Krisulewicz to type papers for them, and Pope split his time between his art studies at Central and learning the ins and outs of broadcasting.
“Paul is a hard-working and very focused individual,” said CBC President & CEO and Pope’s long time employer, Jim Goodmon. “He gets results because he understands the community and wants to make things better. He is extremely responsive to people’s needs.”
Pope was instrumental in creating Project Tanzania and keeps it alive today.
During his 33 years at CBC, he became WRAL’s first African American Engineering Operations Manager and in 1998 CBC named him the first African American Station Manager in the company’s history. In 2000, he moved up to become CBC’s first African American Vice President.
Pope never saw a glass ceiling or the fact that he was a black man in a field predominated by whites. He has always held his race as a banner of pride, not shame, and never let anyone make him feel lesser for being so. He’ll be the first to refuse to patronize an establishment that outcasted blacks in its history and the first to embrace organizations that celebrate black history and embrace the ideal that all men are equal.
He heralded the drive to bring Henry Curry’s Eulogy for a Dream alive for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in a historic joint concert between Raleigh’s MLK All-Children’s Choir and the Triangle Youth Philharmonic. The concert, to be held at the BTI Center on Sunday, January 19, 2003, will celebrate young people, and the piece is a compilation of selected speeches and writings of Dr. King.
Pope loves beautiful things. He is a connoisseur of art and has an extensive collection, including his own creations.
Always a driving force in the community, Pope serves as Chairman of the Urban League and also works on the Board of the Interfaith Food Shuttle. No job is too large or too small. He heads a committee with the same enthusiasm as he picks up the daily food donation from the Angus Barn and delivers it to the Interfaith Food Shuttle kitchen on Sunday afternoons. Jill Bullock, co-founder and executive director of the Interfaith Food Shuttle explained,
Pope, along with Ben Waters (left) & Tom McGuire (right) helps break ground for the new wing of the Garner Road YMCA.
“He is very strategic. He thinks globally and yet, when I ask him a questions, he’ll go, ‘Now Jill, that’s your decision to make.’ He doesn’t get involved in nitty gritty details. He will only give advice if asked. He’s so great that way because a lot of board members want to interfere with day-to-day.”
“His breadth of experience is so broad and so deep,” She continued. “We’ve been lucky to have him for the past 7 years. I think he’s incredible. I know how lucky we have been to have him.”
Pope has one son but has been responsible for raising several others. He has spent over three decades as a mentor to the Boy Scouts’ Explorer Posts at WRAL-TV and FOX50. He’s always one to take others under his wing; all the kids in scouting post consider him an alternate father. He praises them when they do good and reprimands them when they do bad.
“Paul is one of my heroes,” said WRAL-TV Director & Producer and fellow Post leader Clarence Williams. “I admire him because of his commitment to the community and people in general. He can always be counted on to help anyone.”
When you look behind many of the charitable and minority organizations in the Triangle, you will find Paul Pope’s name somewhere. Whether on a board, a volunteer, or simply a cheerleader, Pope works as an advocate for minorities, for the young, for the elderly, for the hungry and for the poor. He was instrumental in keeping the Aggie-Eagle Classic, an annual football meeting between NC A&T and NC Central, in the Triangle.
When he sees a need, he develops a plan and puts it into action.