How We Got Over: Growing Up in the Segregated South (Video)

How We Got Over: Growing Up in the Segregated South

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GOOD AFTERNOON, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WELCOME TO DALLAS COLLEGE EASTVILLE CAMPUS. IN CELEBRATION OF OUR JUNETEENTH EVENT WITH THE OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION, IT'S WONDERFUL TO SEE ALL OF YOU FACE TO FACE. SO THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US TODAY. AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE STREAMING THIS PROGRAM FROM YOUR DESK, YOUR OFFICE, WHEREVER YOU MAY BE, WELCOME TO OUR PROGRAM. IT IS MY PLEASURE. THIS AFTERNOON TO INTRODUCE YOU TO AND HAVE OUR FORMAL WELCOME BY THE CHIEF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INCLUSION OFFICER FOR DALLAS COLLEGE, MARISOL ROMANI. THANK YOU, EVERYONE, FOR MAKING TIME TO BEING HERE TODAY AND GOOD AFTERNOON. AND SHE SAID, I'M DOING THE FORMAL INTRODUCTION, BUT I'M ACTUALLY DOING THE INFORMAL INTRODUCTION BECAUSE I JUST WANTED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STANDING UP HERE AND SEEING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU THAT WE WERE NOT ABLE TO SEE LAST YEAR WHEN WE CELEBRATED JUNETEENTH FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH A CONVERSATION WITH SOME OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS FROM DALLAS COLLEGE ABOUT WHAT JUNETEENTH MEANT TO THEM. THEIR LOVED ONES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES. THIS YEAR, WE CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION WITH COMMUNITY GUEST SPEAKERS WHO MOST OF YOU KNOW FROM BEING PART OF OUR COMMUNITY. AND SOME OF YOU WILL GET TO KNOW AS THE CONVERSATION TAKES PLACE TODAY. WE WILL BE ENGAGING IN THE WISDOM OF LEARNING FROM THE PAST TO MOVE INTO A STRONGER FUTURE TOGETHER. AND I WANT TO STRESS THE WORD TOGETHER TODAY. DALLAS COLLEGE COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INCLUSION. PUTS INTO PERSPECTIVE CONVERSATIONS LIKE TODAY, WHERE WE HEAR FROM OUR FAMILIES, FROM OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, FROM OUR TEAM MEMBERS, AND WE ARE PROUD TO BE ABLE TO RECEIVE SOME OF OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS THAT WILL BE INTRODUCED SHORTLY IN A MORE FORMALIZED WAY. WE ARE PROUD TO PROMOTE THROUGH OUR DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION OFFICE CONVERSATIONS LIKE THE ONE YOU WILL HAVE TODAY. THAT MAY SEEM FORMAL AT THE BEGINNING, BUT WE WANT TO KEEP INFORMAL BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION. I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK DR. TAYLOR FOR PROVIDING US WITH THIS AND HOSTING US AT THIS WONDERFUL EASTFIELD CAMPUS TODAY AND TO THE PRESIDENTS THAT PROVIDED ACCESS FOR US TO BE ABLE TO LIVESTREAM THIS PRESENTATION TODAY. AND NOW I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME DR. TAYLOR, PRESIDENT OF EASTFIELD CAMPUS, AND JASMINE, DR. JASMINE PARKER, TO COME UP TO THE PODIUM TO CONTINUE PRESENTING IN A FORMAL WAY TODAY'S PRESENTATION. WELCOME, BOTH. WELL, GOOD AFTERNOON. IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE YOU ALL ON BEHALF OF DALLAS COLLEGE EASTFIELD CAMPUS. WELCOME. WE'RE SO GLAD TO HAVE YOU. WHETHER YOU'RE HERE IN PERSON OR VIEWING US VIRTUALLY, THIS IS A VERY EXCITING DAY IN TIME FOR US AND WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO A GREAT CONVERSATION THIS AFTERNOON. BUT FIRST, LET'S PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST. I LIKE TO RECOGNIZE OUR DALLAS COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES THAT ARE WITH US TODAY. WE HAVE MR. LETTA COMPTON. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. WE ALSO HAVE JOINING US TODAY OUR CHANCELLOR, DR. JUSTIN LENNON. I'D LIKE TO ALSO RECOGNIZE ALL OF OUR DALLAS COLLEGE LEADERSHIP TEAM, WHICH YOU JUST PLEASE STAND AND BE RECOGNIZED. NOW I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO SEVERAL DISTINGUISHED GUESTS THAT ARE WITH US TODAY. WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND AND BE RECOGNIZED? WELL. WELL, WE THANK YOU ALL. WE THANK ALL OF THOSE GUESTS. SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, WELL, WHAT IS DISTINGUISHED? HOW DO YOU DEFINE THAT? WELL, YOU ALL ARE DISTINGUISHED. SO THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE. WE ARE EXTREMELY PLEASED TO HOST THIS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION EVENT, HOW WE GOT OVER GROWING UP IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH, A COLLECTION OF 24 NARRATIVES PRESENTED BY A SPECIAL GUEST, DR. HELEN BENJAMIN AND MS. DEAN NASH JOHNSON.

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WE ARE EXCITED TO HEAR THAT CONVERSATION SHORTLY, BUT I WILL TELL YOU, AFTER READING THROUGH THE NARRATIVES, I BEGIN TO THINK, MY GOODNESS, WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THESE GREAT AUTHORS TODAY. AND I REALIZE NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE THAT I WOULD NOT BE WHERE I AM TODAY WITHOUT THE SACRIFICES AND THE STRUGGLES OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE ME. AND SO WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS EVENT. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL FIND IT ENLIGHTENING AND INSPIRING. SO IT IS MY PLEASURE AT THIS TIME TO TURN THE PODIUM OVER TO DR. YASMIN PARKER, DALLAS COLLEGE SENIOR DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION, AND SHE WILL INTRODUCE OUR GUEST SPEAKERS.

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BECOME A LADY FROM GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY WITH A BACHELOR'S OF ARTS AND APPLIED MATHEMATICS. MICHAEL WENT ON TO GRADUATE SCHOOL TO EARN HIS MASTER'S DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE AT OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY. AFTER GRADUATE SCHOOL, HIS CAREER IN TECHNOLOGY BEGAN AT IBM, WHERE HE WAS HIRED AS A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER FROM THE COMPANY'S FEDERAL SYSTEMS DIVISION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.. HE LIVED THERE FOR TEN YEARS BEFORE RELOCATING TO DALLAS AS AN IBM PROGRAM DEVELOPER AND SYSTEMS ENGINEER. HIS IBM CAREER SPANNED NEARLY FOUR DECADES. HE WAS HIRED. HE HIRED NINE YEARS AGO AND STILL LIVES IN DALLAS TODAY. EXCUSE ME. HE RETIRED NINE YEARS AGO AND STILL LIVES IN DALLAS TODAY. AT THIS TIME, WE WOULD LOVE FOR OUR CO EDITORS TO JOIN US AT THE TABLE FOR A VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING CONVERSATION. I'M GOING TO STAND, THOUGH, OKAY. BECAUSE I HAVE A POWERPOINT PRESENT. SO. GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYBODY. IT IS JUST AN INCREDIBLE PLEASURE TO BE HERE TODAY. IT'S LIKE OLD HOME WEEK FOR ME, I HAVE TO TELL YOU, BECAUSE. MY COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAREER STARTED AT CEDAR VALLEY COLLEGE. DR. SEABROOKS YES, I WAS A DIVISION CHAIR. I STARTED THERE IN 1986, SO I HAVE VERY CLOSE TIES TO THIS DISTRICT. IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE FOR JIM, BUT NOT HARD ME. WHO KNOWS WHERE I WOULD BE TODAY. BUT BECAUSE HE DID AND I REALLY ENJOYED MY WORK IN THE DISTRICT, SO IT'S SUCH A PLEASURE TO BE HERE. BUT IT'S ALSO A PLEASURE BECAUSE ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE HERE THAT I KNOW PEOPLE I WENT TO COLLEGE WITH. WE WENT TO BISHOP TOGETHER AND OF COURSE, JUSTIN AND I GO BACK AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE WORLD AND DR. SEABROOKS HAS BEEN A MENTEE OF MINE. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING THAT HE DOES. AND OF COURSE, SHIRLEY HIGGS WAS AT SEAT OF VALLEY WHEN I WAS THERE. AND SOME OF YOU KNOW THAT PATRICIA BENJAMIN IS MY LITTLE SISTER. SO. SO IT'S A GENUINE PLEASURE TO BE HERE. AND I WANT TO THANK. JASMINE AND ALL THOSE RESPONSIBLE, AND ESPECIALLY GEORGE. WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH GEORGE ON THIS PROJECT. SO THANK YOU, GEORGE, SO MUCH AND JASMINE FOR THE WORK YOU'VE DONE TO GET US HERE TODAY AND FOR HAVING THE FORESIGHT TO DO THIS AND TO TO HONOR JUNETEENTH. AND SO WE ARE HERE. I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH OF A CONVERSATION IT'S GOING TO BE, BECAUSE WE JUST HAVE SO MUCH WE WANT TO TELL YOU. NOW, GET YOUR QUESTIONS TOGETHER. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE LITTLE SPACES IN THERE WHERE YOU CAN ASK US SOME QUESTIONS. BUT WE HAVE A LOT WE WANT TO TELL YOU BECAUSE. THE BOOK TO US IS IS REALLY IMPORTANT AND THEN IN CONNECTION WITH JUNETEENTH. SO WE'RE GOING TO GET STARTED. AND I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WHICH BUTTON I AM TO PUSH. NOT THAT ONE. NOT THAT ONE. OC. ALL RIGHT. SO THE TITLE OF OUR BOOK IS HOW WE GOT OVER GROWING UP IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH, A COLLECTION OF NARRATIVES.

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AND SO. THERE ARE 24 WRITERS OR CONTRIBUTORS TO THE BOOK. GENE AND I YOU JUST HEARD HER BEING READ ABOUT AND SHE'S SITTING RIGHT THERE, SERVED AS EDITORS FOR THE BOOK, AND WE HAD 23 RIDERS. AND SO I WANT TO START, THOUGH, AND I KNOW ALL OF YOU RECOGNIZE THIS WOMAN OPENLY AND BECAUSE IT'S JUNETEENTH. I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR US TO TALK ABOUT OR TO HEAR HER TALK ABOUT WHY IT IS IMPORTANT. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT. AND IT WILL BE OBVIOUS TO YOU HERE THAT IT'S BEFORE THE PRESIDENT APPROVED IT AS A HOLIDAY. WELL, IT'S IN MY DNA TO HELP PEOPLE. HUMAN TEETH IS ACTUALLY. 19 JUNE, AND IT STARTED IN 1865 WHEN THE GENERAL, GORDON GRANGER AND 7000 BLACK TROOPS MADE THEIR WAY TO GALVESTON TO TELL THE 250,000 ENSLAVED PEOPLE THERE THAT THEY WOULD FLEE. HE NAILED THAT ORDER. IT WAS CALLED GENERAL ORDER NUMBER THREE TO THE DOOR OF REALLY CHAPEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. AND WHEN THOSE PEOPLE CAME IN FROM THEIR WORK AND SOMEBODY READ THAT TO THEM, THEY STARTED CELEBRATING. AND WE'VE BEEN CELEBRATING EVER SINCE. THEY GAINED SO MUCH. THEY GAINED THE ABILITY TO NAME THEMSELVES, TO HAVE CHILDREN THAT WEREN'T TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM. THEY WERE ABLE TO DRESS, TO OWN PROPERTY, TO VOTE, PAYING TAXES. THE JUNETEENTH CELEBRATIONS. THE NATIONAL JUNETEENTH SERVICE FOUNDATION STARTED BY DR. RON MEYERS, WHO WAS A BAPTIST MINISTER. HE WAS A MEDICAL DOCTOR AND A JAZZ MUSICIAN, ALL ROLLED INTO WORK. AND DR. MYERS WENT ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, SETTING UP JUNETEENTH FESTIVALS AND EDUCATIONAL COMPONENTS. WE OWE HIM WHAT WE HAVE TODAY, WHERE WE TRIED TO GET THE BILL PASSED TO MAKE IT A NATIONAL HOLIDAY. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR THIS YEAR FOR JUNETEENTH? AND HOW CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED? I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THIS RALLY WE HAD LAST YEAR THAT OVER 300 CARDS FOLLOWED MY 2.5 MILE WALK FROM DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH TO LITTLE LODGES TO SYMBOLIZE THAT IT WAS TWO AND A HALF YEARS AFTER THE EMANCIPATION THAT THE NEWS REACHED THE ENSLAVED IN TEXAS. WE MOVED TO FORT WORTH. MY PARENTS BOUGHT A HOUSE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, ONLY WHITES, AND THEY DIDN'T WANT TO SAY IT ON THE 19TH OF JUNE. THEY FORMED A LOCAL 500 STRONG SET AND MY FATHER CAME WITH A GUN AND THE POLICE TOLD THEM THAT IF YOU CARE, WE'LL LET THEM ALL HAVE. THE PAPER SAYS THAT THE POLICE COULDN'T CONTROL THE MOB. A PAIR OF SINISTER FRIENDS AND THEY LEFT UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS WITH THOSE PEOPLE TOLD THAT PLACE BURNED FURNITURE. IF WE HAD BEEN ALLOWED TO STAY IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD, THEY WOULD HAVE FOUND THAT WE WANTED THE SAME THING. THEY WANTED DECENT JOB, DECENT PLACE TO STAY. MY DAD COOKED FOOD ON THE TABLE. THE KIDS GO TO SCHOOL. AT THAT TIME, THEIR CHILDREN IN ONE DIRECTION. AND WE WERE IN ANOTHER. BUT WE ALL WANTED THE SAME THING. BUT WE WEREN'T ALLOWED TO STAY. WE NEED TO BAND TOGETHER AND TRY TO WORK OUT THE DISPARITIES THAT EXIST IN OUR SCHOOLS AND OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

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JOBS. THE PAY NEEDS TO BE EQUAL FOR EVERYBODY DOING THE SAME JOB. THERE'S SO MANY THINGS THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER TO ERADICATE THESE DISPARITIES. WE NEED TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. WE TOOK THAT MANY SIGNATURES TO THEM IN SEPTEMBER AND I WAS BACK IN WASHINGTON AND SPOKE AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB. AND DO YOU KNOW SENATOR CONYERS AND REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE AUTHORED BILLS THAT SAME DAY TO MAKE JUNETEENTH A NATIONAL HOLIDAY. I HAVE DONE THE HOLY DANCE, AND I JUST MIGHT. I'VE LEARNED YOU'VE BEEN DMV. STILL. LET'S CALL IT. WHAT DO THEY SAY? LET'S CALL IT A RAP. HE'S STILL MY HEART. SO WE ALL NEED TO HAVE SOME OPENLY IN US. WE SHOULD. YOU MAY NOT DO THE BIG THING THAT SHE DID, BUT SOMETHING THAT EACH ONE OF US DO. AND I JUST WANT TO REMIND US. AND SO WE KNOW THAT A CIVIL WAR ENDED IN 1865. AND WE'VE COME A LONG WAY AND WE HAVEN'T. AND SO WE WE TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK AND HOW IT STARTED. SO AS I SAID, IT CONTAINS 24 STORIES BY 24 DIFFERENT PEOPLE. AND THE 24 OF US GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL IN 1968. AND IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT 1968, YOU KNOW THAT PIVOTAL YEAR. I MEAN, SO MUCH WAS GOING ON IN THAT YEAR. IT WAS THE YEAR. THAT MARTIN LUTHER KING JR WAS ASSASSINATED. IN APRIL AND WE GRADUATED IN MAY. AND MICHAEL WAS VALEDICTORIAN OF OUR CLASS. AND I DON'T THINK HE'S GOING TO TELL THIS TODAY. SO I'LL TELL IT. IT'S IN HIS STORY. HE HAD WRITTEN HIS SPEECH ALREADY. AND THEN MARTIN LUTHER KING JR WAS ASSASSINATED. AND MISS BAKER, OUR ENGLISH TEACHER, CALLS HIM BACK IN AND SAYS, WE'VE GOT TO DO ANOTHER SPEECH. AND HE STILL HAS HIS ORIGINAL SPEECH. THAT'S A LONG I MEAN, IT'S AN OLD SPEECH, RIGHT? SO THE BOOK CAPTURES WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR US GROWING UP IN THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES IN ALEXANDRIA. AND SO HOW DID IT COME INTO BEING? WELL, I'M ON A BOARD OF A COLLEGE IN NEW YORK, AND WE WERE IN A DEA TRAINING. AND THE WOMAN WHO WAS CONDUCTING THE TRAINING WAS TALKING ABOUT REDLINING. AND I'M ASSUMING YOU KNOW WHAT REDLINING IS WHAT HAPPENS IN BLACK COMMUNITIES. YOU'LL SEE RAILROAD TRACKS AND FACTORIES AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS. AND AS SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT IT, I JUST WAS TRANSPORTED. I MEAN, LITERALLY, I WAS JUST OUT OF THAT ROOM AND INTO MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD AND I COULD SEE MY NEIGHBORHOOD. WE HAD AN OAK FLOORING PLANT. ON ONE SIDE THERE WERE FOUR STREETS AND THEY WERE ALL NAMED FOR TREES, THE RAILROAD TRACK HERE AND A TRACK HERE. AND THE FOURTH STREETS WERE BETWEEN THE TRACKS AND THERE WAS AN OAK FLOORING PLANT ON ONE SIDE AND THEN A LUMBER MILL ON THE OTHER SIDE AND A STINKING CHICKEN PROCESSING PLANT BEHIND US. THAT'S WHERE AND IF THAT'S NOT REDLINING, I MEAN, ANYWAY, SO I'M THINKING ABOUT THIS. AND ALL OF THIS CAME TO ME. I'M NOT KIDDING. IN LIKE 2 MINUTES, THE TITLE, HOW I WAS GOING TO GET THE CHAPTERS WRITTEN, THE ORGANIZATION, EVERYTHING. AND THAT WAS IN OCTOBER. AND I JUST. YOU HEARD THEM SAY SHE WORKED FOR THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, RIGHT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SHE CAN WRITE. AND SHE'S MARRIED TO MY CLASSMATE AND THEY'RE MY FRIENDS. SO I CALLED HER AND SHARED THE IDEA WITH HER. AND SHE SAYS, OH, AND I SAID, WOULD YOU HELP ME? AND SHE SAYS, ABSOLUTELY. AND THEN I CALLED ANOTHER CLASSMATE WHO KNOWS EVERYBODY IN THE CLASS AND GET ANYBODY TO DO ANYTHING. REVEREND LARRY SMITH. AND HE SAYS, OH, YEAH. AND SO WE WERE OFF AND RUNNING AND GOT THE 24 PEOPLE AND THEY WERE SO EXCITED ABOUT PARTICIPATING.

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AND SOME OF THEM, OF COURSE, SAID, AND JEANNE'S GOING TO TALK MORE ABOUT THIS PART I CAN'T WRITE. WE'RE LIKE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THAT. JUST GET IT ON PAPER. WE'LL HELP YOU. SO THAT'S HOW IT GOT STARTED. AND THEN OUR FIRST MEETING WAS IN DECEMBER. ZOOM, OF COURSE. AND I THINK BY LIKE MARCH, WE HAD EVERYBODY'S STORY. ONE GUY SAID WHEN HE GOT THE CALL FROM LARRY, HE SAID, I'M STARTING ON MINE TONIGHT BECAUSE I WANT TO LEAVE THIS FOR MY GRANDCHILDREN. SO THERE WAS A SENSE OF URGENCY AROUND IT FOR EVERYBODY. AND I MEAN, THEY GOT ON IT AND I WAS AMAZED BY WHAT THEY COULD REMEMBER. AND I AMAZED MYSELF BECAUSE WHEN YOU START FOCUSING ON IT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF THINGS JUST JUST COME BACK TO YOU. SO WHY, THOUGH? WHY WRITE A BOOK LIKE THIS NOW? WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE WANT TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO LIVE IN THAT TIME. AND THEN, OF COURSE, FOR ME, HAVING BEEN AN ENGLISH TEACHER, I WANT PEOPLE TO WRITE. I WANT PEOPLE TO BE INSPIRED TO WRITE. AND YOU GET INSPIRED SOMETIMES BY READING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN. AND SO THAT'S THAT INSPIRATION. OUR STORIES ARE JUST SO IMPORTANT. AND THEN, OF COURSE, TO PRESERVE HISTORY FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCED IT. ALL THESE BOOKS YOU READ, ALL THESE HISTORY BOOKS YOU READ, ARE OTHER PEOPLE TELLING YOUR STORY, THEIR POINTS OF VIEW? WE HAVE TO TELL OUR OWN STORIES. AND THEN FINALLY, HISTORY, AS YOU KNOW, IS UNDER ATTACK. BOOKS ARE BEING BANNED AND THINGS ARE BEING EXCLUDED. WE'RE TRYING TO FORGET WHAT HAPPENED. LET'S PUT IT DOWN. LET'S PUT IT ON PAPER. VIDEOTAPE. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO WRITE IT, VIDEO IT. BUT GET THE STORY TOLD. GET THE STORY STRAIGHT. YET THE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW, THAT'S IMPORTANT. SO THOSE ARE JUST A FEW REASONS WHY IT WAS DONE. I WANT TO TALK A BIT ABOUT. ALEXANDRIA, OUR HOMETOWN, AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE. SOME HISTORY OF IT, BECAUSE ONCE WE GOT THE STORIES DONE, I'M JUST THINKING, WELL, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ THIS. THEY NEED A CONTEXT. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND. SO WE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH. ALL THESE NEWSPAPERS BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN TEN OR 15 NEWSPAPERS IN ALEXANDRIA, AND ALL OF IT WAS NEWS TO ME. THERE WAS A SLAVE DEPOT IN OUR TOWN. YOU CAN'T GO THERE NOW AND FIND ANY EVIDENCE THAT THAT WAS EVER THERE. BUT IT'S ALL DOCUMENTED IN THOSE NEWSPAPERS. AND SO ALEXANDRIA IS RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF OUR STATE RIGHT HERE. CENTRAL LOUISIANA IS WHAT WE CALL IT, SIN. AND YOU CAN SEE ALL THOSE LITTLE TOWNS. IT'S THE HUB. AND IT DIDN'T BECOME A CITY, THOUGH, A LITTLE TOWN UNTIL 18, 19. BEFORE THAT, ALL OF THAT WAS RAPIDS PARISH AND IT WAS AGRICULTURALLY RICH LAND. YOU SEE ALL THAT BLUE IN THERE? THAT'S WATER, BAYOUS. THERE'S LOTS OF WATER IN LOUISIANA. AND SO IT'S VERY RICH. THINGS JUST GROW. THINGS WILL JUST GROW THERE. AND SO THEY NEEDED PEOPLE TO WORK THIS LAND. AND FREE LABOR WOULD BE SLAVES. SO THAT'S HOW. AND OF COURSE, BEFORE THE COLONISTS, I CALL THEM COLONISTS. WE DON'T TYPICALLY DO THAT, BUT THAT'S REALLY WHAT THEY WERE. CAME THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WERE THERE. THERE WERE NATIVE AMERICANS WHO LIVED IN THE AREA. AND THERE ARE STILL SOME. THEY'RE NOT, OF COURSE, AS MANY, BECAUSE MANY OF THEM WERE TRANSPORTED TO OTHER PLACES. MANY OF THEM DIED. THERE'S JUST A WHOLE HISTORY THERE THAT I'D LOVE TO EXPLORE MYSELF EVEN MORE. AND SO YOU WILL SEE THIS SYMBOL ON THE BOOK. AND I KNOW ALL OF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS SANKOFA SYMBOL, BUT IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO US BECAUSE IT COMES FROM AFRICA, OF COURSE, AND IT'S THE ICON TRIBE IN GHANA AND IT'S A MYTHICAL BIRD. AND WHAT YOU SEE HERE. IS THIS BIRD STANDING ERECT? FACING FORWARD. BUT WITH THE HEAD TURNED BACK THE MESSAGE HERE AND THIS IS WHAT WE DID IN WRITING THOSE STORIES. WE WANTED TO LOOK BACK, BUT WE WANT TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD. WE DON'T WANT TO BE STUCK IN THAT PAST. IMAGINE. IF WE HELD ALL THAT STUFF IN THOSE STORIES IN US, STAYED IN THAT PLACE, WE WOULD NOT ADVANCE. AND THAT'S THE SYMBOLISM HERE TO LOOK BACK. BUT DON'T STAY THERE, MOVE FORWARD. AND SO THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOL TO ALL OF US AS A GROUP. AND THEN. WE HAD TO ESTABLISH THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT AND IT'S IN FOUR DIFFERENT PARTS.

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SO THERE'S INFORMATION IN THERE ON ENSLAVEMENT, THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION, WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN OUR HOMETOWN, AND THEN THE SEPARATE BUT EQUAL PART AFTER PLESSY VERSUS FERGUSON PAST SEPARATE BUT EQUAL, AND I CALL IT SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL. AND THEN THE THIRD PART, OUR HIGH SCHOOL. AND I KNOW THEY'RE JUST ALL OF US IN THIS AGE GROUP WHO ATTENDED A BLACK HIGH SCHOOL. YOU TALK TO ANYBODY WHO WENT TO A SEGREGATED BLACK SCHOOL. WE LOVE OUR SCHOOLS, DON'T WE, EUGENE? BOOKER T MADISON. ALTHOUGH, YOU KNOW, IN THE DALLAS AREA AND OURS WAS PEABODY AND PEABODY, EVERYBODY, EVERY STORY YOU READ, THEY DIDN'T TALK TO EACH OTHER. PEOPLE WERE JUST WRITING THEIR INDIVIDUAL STORIES. THEY TALK ABOUT PEABODY AND WHAT IT MEANT TO THEM AS INDIVIDUALS AND HOW IT SAVED OUR LIVES, INSPIRED US, AND COULD SEE MORE IN US THAN WE COULD SEE IN OURSELVES. AND THAT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT. AND THEN THE FOURTH PART HAS TO DO WITH THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND SOME HISTORY. WE HAD AN ATTORNEY WHO HAD STUDIED UNDER THURGOOD MARSHALL AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY. HE CAME BACK TO ALEXANDRIA. HE COULD HAVE DONE ALL KINDS OF THINGS IN THE WORLD, BUT HE CAME BACK THERE TO HELP WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND TOOK ALL KINDS OF CASES AND JUST MADE SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE AND SACRIFICED A GREAT DEAL TO TO DO THAT FOR OUR FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO MAKE THAT CHANGE. AND, YOU KNOW, THE FEAR THAT EXISTED AT THE TIME. AND THE OTHER THING THAT HAPPENS, THAT'S A LITTLE FRUSTRATING FOR ME BECAUSE I LIVED IN CALIFORNIA FOR 27 YEARS. PEOPLE WHO DID NOT GROW UP IN THE SOUTH HAVE ALL THESE IDEAS ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD OR WOULD NOT HAVE DONE HAD THEY BEEN IN THE SOUTH. I WOULDN'T HAVE SAT ON THE BACK OF THE BUS AND I WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS. OH, YES, YOU WOULD HAVE. AND THAT'S WHY I WANTED TO INCLUDE THAT HISTORY, TO GIVE PEOPLE SOME CONTEXT OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE. THERE'S A STORY IN THERE BY JAMES GOUGH IN WHICH HE TALKS ABOUT. NO. THERE'S THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE WHO MENTIONED. A PERSON BEING HANGED, LYNCHED THERE. WE WERE MAYBE SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OLD AND TWO OF THEM SAW THAT AND DIDN'T REMEMBER IT UNTIL I STARTED WRITING THIS. AND THEN WE STARTED TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT AND TRYING TO INVESTIGATE IT TO FIND OUT WHO IT WAS THAT I'M STILL ON THAT ONE. I'M IN VERSION TWO OF THIS. IN THE SECOND EDITION, I'M GOING TO HAVE THAT MYSTERY SOLVED BECAUSE I DO KNOW WHO HIS BROTHER WAS NOW. BUT BUT THESE KINDS OF THINGS HAPPENED IN OUR COMMUNITY. THEY'RE SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OLD. THERE'S BEEN HANGING FROM A POLE IN FRONT OF OUR COMMUNITY CENTER. AND THEY SAW THAT. SO THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS AND ALL OF THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE. I WANT TO JUST QUICKLY FURTHER ESTABLISH IN THE CONTEXT IS JUST THESE ARE REAL NUMBERS FROM THE CENSUS, 1799, 1800 AND ALL THE WAY UP TO 1860. BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR. YOU CAN SEE WHAT THOSE POPULATION NUMBERS LOOKED LIKE. SO WE GO TO WHITES IN 79 AND THEN 530 BLACK SLAVES, 175 BLACK, THREE MEN, TWO TOTAL OF 706 PEOPLE IN RAPIDS PARISH. AND LET'S JUST MOVE OVER. YOU CAN SEE IT INCREASES AND YOU GET TO 1860. WHITE'S 9711. LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF BLACK SLAVES. 15,358. I DIDN'T MAKE THAT UP. IT'S IN THE CENSUS. AND THEN BLACK FREEMEN. TO 91, THERE WERE SOME FREE BLACKS WITH A TOTAL OF 25,360 PEOPLE. NOW, THE NEXT SLIDE IS GOING TO SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. NO. THIS ONE I'LL TALK ABOUT. I JUST WANTED YOU TO SEE IN THOSE NEWSPAPERS I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT. THEY HAD THESE. ALL OF THIS SURPRISED ME BECAUSE WE DIDN'T LEARN THIS IN EIGHTH GRADE WHEN I TOOK LOUISIANA HISTORY. SO I WAS GETTING A REAL LESSON HERE. BUT THEY HAD THEY HAD THESE ADS AND THEN I HAVE MORE THAN ONE IN THE BOOK, AND YOU CAN SEE THEM. I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO TAKE TIME TO REALLY LOOK AT THOSE, TO READ THOSE AND HOW THEY DEHUMANIZED THE SLAVES. NEGROS FOR SLAVE SALE FROM NORTH ALABAMA WILL BE IN ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA, BETWEEN 15 AND 20TH WITH ABOUT 75 NEGROES CONSISTING OF ABLE BY THE FIELD HANDS, ETC., ETC.. ONCE LIFE COULD BE PURCHASED FOR 1800 DOLLARS, THEY WERE VALUED COMMODITY. AND SO THERE WAS A BLACK COAT. AND THAT COMES FROM THE FRENCH WHERE THEY HAD ALL THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS ABOUT HOW SLAVES WERE TO BEHAVE AND THEY WOULD BE ARRESTED OR BEATEN OR WHATEVER THE PUNISHMENT WAS FOR BREAKING THAT CODE.

[00:35:01]

THE CODE ALSO INCLUDED HOW WHITE PEOPLE SHOULD TREAT SLAVES. SO WE GO TO POST-CIVIL WAR. YOU KNOW THAT THE SOUTHERN STATES STARTED TO SECEDE FROM THE UNION. ALEXANDRIA. I'M SORRY. LOUISIANA WAS NO EXCEPTION TO THAT. SEE. DECEMBER 1860, A MONTH AFTER NOVEMBER SIX, 1860 ELECTION OF PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN. THAT WAS A SCARY THING FOR PEOPLE. AND LOUISIANA SECEDED IN 1861, BUT THEY CAME BACK THREE YEARS LATER. IN 1868, THEY WERE RESTORED TO THE UNION. BUT IN ORDER FOR THEM AND ALL THE OTHER SOUTHERN STATES TO BE RESTORED, THEY HAD TO AGREE TO DO CERTAIN THINGS. THEY HAD TO AGREE TO FREE THE SLAVES. SO THEY CAME UP WITH THIS NEW CONSTITUTION AND THEY PUT ALL THESE THINGS IN THERE THAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO. THEY DID NOT DO THOSE THINGS, BUT THEY PUT THEM THERE. BUT TO GET BACK IN. AND YOU CAN SEE THE CENSUS NUMBERS, 1860, WE JUST WENT OVER THOSE. BUT LOOK AT 1870 WHITES, 7742 BLACK SLAVES, NONE WHY THEY WERE SET FREE. AND THEN THAT THOSE BLACK SLAVES BECAME THEN EVERYBODY WAS FREE 10,000 OR SO WITH THE POPULATION OF 18,000. AND YOU SEE HOW THOSE NUMBERS WERE REDUCED AFTER THE CIVIL WAR. AND WE INCLUDE ALL OF THIS INFORMATION SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHERE WE WERE, WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE WE WERE BORN IN 1950. TO ESTABLISH A CONTEXT TO HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND. AND WHEN YOU ARE IN A SEGREGATED ENVIRONMENT AND I CAN SAY THIS BECAUSE I GREW UP IN ONE, THERE'S SOMETHING THAT HAS SUCH AN IMPACT ON YOUR PSYCHE. AND WE TALK ABOUT THE FUN WE HAD. YOU KNOW, WE ADJUSTED. THAT'S WHAT WE DO. WE ADJUST. WE MAKE THE BEST OF SITUATIONS, BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE WHOLE. WE HAVE A LOT OF ENDURANCE AS A PEOPLE. ANYBODY WHO'S GONE THROUGH ANYTHING LIKE THAT AND ENDURES IT, YOU'RE STRONG, BUT IT DOES HAVE AN IMPACT ON HOW YOU BEHAVE IN THE WORLD. YES. WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THAT TEN YEAR SPAN? THE REDUCTION IN TOTAL POPULATION, THE CIVIL WAR. SOME OF IT'S THE CIVIL WAR, BUT A LOT OF BLACKS LEFT THE SOUTH AND STARTED LEAVING THEN. AND, YOU KNOW, AND THE GREAT MIGRATION JUST CONTINUES. BUT A LOT OF THEM LEFT. FAMILIES WERE SEPARATED. SOME WERE LOOKING FOR TRYING TO FIND THEIR FAMILIES AND ALL THAT. SO THEY LEFT THE COMMUNITY AND SOME WERE KILLED. AND SOME OF THEM, WHEN THE THE UNION TOOK OVER ALEXANDRIA, IT BURNED THE TOWN AND THE MEN HAD GONE TO FIGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR, AND THE SLAVES WERE LEFT THERE WITH THE WHITE WOMEN, AND THEY WERE FIGHTING WITH THOSE WOMEN AGAINST THE UNION. AND SOME OF THEM WERE KILLED IN THAT PROCESS. SO THAT ACCOUNTS FOR SOME OF THE REDUCTION. A LOT OF THE WHITE MEN WERE KILLED. AND SO THIS WAS US AT 18 AND 1968, AFTER ALL OUR LITTLE TIME TOGETHER IN OUR HOMETOWN, WE HAD, I THINK, SIX ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, TWO JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS. SO FROM THOSE SIX ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, THREE SCHOOLS WENT TO LINCOLN ROAD JUNIOR HIGH, AND THREE OTHER STUDENTS FROM THERE WENT TO JOHN STREET JUNIOR HIGH. AND WE ALL MET UP IN HIGH SCHOOL. BECAUSE WE HAD JUST ONE BLACK HIGH SCHOOL. SO THERE WE ALL WERE IN 1968. AND I PUT HERE, READY OR NOT, WE SET OUT ON OUR JOURNEY. WE HAD NO CHOICE BECAUSE OUR HOUSE, OUR PARENTS THEME WAS, I DON'T KNOW, WHERE ARE YOU GOING WHEN YOU GET TO BE 18, BUT YOU ARE NOT STAYING HERE. MY MOTHER LIKES TO TRY TO DENY THAT RIGHT NOW, BUT NO, MA'AM, WE ALL REMEMBER IT. AND OUR BROTHER, OUR YOUNGEST BROTHER IS TEN YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME AND HE IS SO FUNNY. HE SAYS, I WOULD HEAR THEM SAYING THAT TO Y'ALL. AND I WAS SO SCARED. I WAS JUST THINKING, OH MY GOD, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? SO SCARY TIMES, YOU KNOW. ANYWAY, HE MADE IT THROUGH. SO I'M INTRODUCING FOLKS. SO YOU WILL HEAR FROM GLORIA TODAY, THE BANKER, AND YOU WILL HEAR FROM MICHAEL TODAY. AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT JEAN BEFORE. SHE HATES THIS PICTURE, BUT SHE NEVER SHOULD HAVE. LET ME SEE IT. JEAN IS NOT QUITE AS OLD AS WE ARE. WE LET HER IN OUR CLUB BECAUSE SHE'S BEEN TO ALL OF OUR HIGH SCHOOL REUNIONS.

[00:40:02]

IT'S JUST LIKE SHE'S IN THE CLASS. SHE'S OUR EDITOR. BUT I HAVE TO SHOW YOU THIS OFF, JEAN. JEAN IS FROM LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA. AND HOW OLD ARE YOU ON THIS PICTURE, JEAN? 14, I THINK. 13, 13. IT WAS. NO, THAT'S ME. IT WAS LIKE. IS THAT NOT THE CUTEST THING? OCH THAT'S THE, THAT'S THE COEDITOR I THINK I WAS IN, I WAS IN NINTH GRADE SO I THINK I WAS 13. YEAH. OCH AND THEN OF COURSE YOURS TRULY. OKAY. SO THAT'S THE, THAT ENDS MY PART. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS. WHAT WAS THAT? ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS, REACTIONS? YES, BUT MY GRANDFATHER'S NAME WAS ROBERT LOUIS. CAN YOU STAND UP? AND SO PREDICTED ROBERT SMITH. AND HE'S FROM ALEXANDRIA. I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU KNEW HIM. HE PASSED IN 2016. I WASN'T SURE. I'M JUST BEING NOSY BECAUSE NOW I'M GOING TO GO READ. THAT'S ROBERT LOUIS SMITH. LET'S TALK. IT'S NOT RINGING. HOW OLD WAS IT? DO YOU KNOW? 70 THIS YEAR. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN 70. OH, WOW. HE'S PROBABLY IN MY YEARBOOK. WE'LL TALK. GIVE ME A PHONE NUMBER. I'LL LOOK HIM UP. WOW. ROBERT LOUIS SMITH. OH, GLORIA. GLORIA KNOWS HIM? YES. I'M FROM INDIA. I'M A PROUD GRADUATE OF PEABODY. OKAY. ALL RIGHT. IT LIKE. WOW. WE ALL CAN. YEAH. TO THE VIEWING AUDIENCE. ONE LADY SAYS. ASKS US IF WE KNOW HER. GRANDFATHER, HER PAPA AND GLORIA DOES ONE OF THE RIDERS. AND THEN THIS. ANOTHER LADY STANDS UP AND SAYS, HE'S MY COUSIN, SO. OCH, YES. OH, I HAVE A QUESTION FOR THE ROOM AT LARGE. YES, MA'AM. AND MOST PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME FOR A WHILE KNOW THIS. I WAS BORN DURING SEGREGATION. AND I'M WONDERING IF THERE'S ANYBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD. AND THAT WAS BORN WHEN THE UNITED STATES WAS SEGREGATED. SO THAT WOULD BE ANY TIME UP TO 1968, I GUESS. YEAH. YEAH, WE WERE BORN IN 50 I THINK. THEY DON'T WANT TO RAISE THEIR HANDS. THEY DON'T WANT TO TELL IT. THEY DON'T WANT TO TELL IT. IT'S A GOOD QUESTION, THOUGH. I DON'T MIND. I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE ABOVE BRYAN. I KNOW. THAT'S RIGHT. I KNOW. THAT'S RIGHT. YEAH. AND FEELING GOOD AND LOOKING GOOD. LOOKING GOOD. YEAH. THERE, THERE ARE QUITE A FEW OF US. AND THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING, AND I TELL THIS TO YOUNG ADMINISTRATORS IN CALIFORNIA, ALL OF US WHO HAVE LIVED THIS ARE GOING TO DIE. I MEAN, THE NEXT 20 YEARS WILL ALL BE GONE. THERE WILL BE NOBODY WHO'S LIVED IT TO TELL IT. AND THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET IT WRITTEN DOWN. IT WAS A GOOD QUESTION. BECAUSE OF THAT. YES. TO ASK HOW MANY PEOPLE BECAUSE. YEAH, NOT NOT THAT MANY. YEAH. I THINK THE THE PURPOSE IS FOR THIS TO BE PRESERVED AND WE NEED PRESERVERS WHICH WOULD MEAN MILLENNIALS AND YES. AND GENERATIONS SINCE THE ZOOMERS AND. OKAY. I'M GOING TO TURN IT OVER TO JEAN. IF THERE'S NOT A QUESTION, SHE'LL TELL YOU HOW IT ALL GOT DONE. YES, I HAVE A QUESTION. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE. YOU'RE WELCOME. I HAVE A QUESTION. HOW IS THIS RECEIVED BY YOUNGER GENERATIONS WHEN YOU GO TO. 20 SOMETHING, 30 SOMETHING. HOW IS THIS POWERFUL INFORMATION RECEIVED? WELL, I THINK THEY RECEIVED WELL. THEY'RE SURPRISED BY A LOT OF IT. WE DID THIS AT IN FORT WORTH AT ONE OF THE COLLEGES THERE, AND THEY WERE JUST SHOCKED. BUT THAT SLAVE SLIDE, A LOT OF THEM JUST DON'T KNOW IT. THEY DON'T KNOW IT. SO I THINK WE ALL HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO TO SHARE INFORMATION AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO DO RESEARCH. IF JUST ONE PERSON PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME WHAT I EXPECT, I SAID, WELL, I'VE GOTTEN A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN I EXPECTED FROM IT. BUT IF ONE PERSON DECIDES TO BECOME A HISTORIAN, THE OTHER IS. THAT'S THE GOAL FOR ME. THAT'S THAT'S HUGE. BUT WE JUST CAN'T FORGET OVERLOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED IN THE PAST AND WHAT BROUGHT US WHERE WE ARE TODAY.

[00:45:01]

YES, SIR. SO, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING ONE THING THAT YOU MENTIONED ABOUT THE YOUNG MAN WATCHING THE LYNCHING, YOU SAID HE WAS SEVEN OR EIGHT. YES. I HAVE A SEVEN YEAR OLD SON AND AN EIGHT YEAR OLD SON RIGHT NOW. AND I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO IMAGINE THEM HAVING WITNESSED THAT. AND SO WE'RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT PRESERVING. WHAT THE HISTORY AND A GOOD MENTOR OF MINE, HIS NAME IS DR. LEONARD MOORE IS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN. HE'S A HISTORY PROFESSOR. HE WROTE A BOOK. THE NAME OF THE BOOK IS. TEACHING BLACK HISTORY TO WHITE PEOPLE. AND IN THE BOOK, IT CHRONICLES A LOT OF THE BLACK EXPERIENCE. AND ONE OF THOSE THEMES WAS ABOUT LYNCHING AND HOW IT WAS JUST AND I DIDN'T KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WASN'T IT WASN'T IN THE HISTORY BOOKS AND HOW PEOPLE WOULD MAKE A FESTIVAL. YES. YES. YOU HAVE FAMILIES THAT WILL COME AND WATCH, BE SPECTATORS. AND THAT JUST SHOOK ME TO MY CORE THAT THAT WAS I'M GRATEFUL THAT THAT HISTORY WAS PRESERVED SO THAT WE CAN SHARE IT AND TELL OUR STORY. BUT IT'S JUST, YOU KNOW, IT'S THOSE KINDS OF THINGS THAT YOU DON'T YOU'RE NOT REALLY TAUGHT UNTIL YOU OPEN A BOOK AND SOMEBODY SHARES THEIR STORY. SO, AGAIN, THANK YOU ALL. THERE WERE MANY LEGENDS IN DALLAS COUNTY, AND THE DAY BEFORE WE SENT THIS OFF TO THE PUBLISHER, I WENT TO AN EVENT DOWNTOWN WHERE THEY WERE THEY HAVE A PLAQUE. I'VE FORGOTTEN WHICH STREET, BUT A MAN WAS LYNCHED. I'LL GET ALL. I'LL TELL YOU TOO MUCH. I'M GOING TO STOP MYSELF. OKAY, JEAN, I'M SO WILD. I HAVE TOO MUCH INFORMATION. SO JEAN IS GOING TO COME IN TO OUR HOUSE, HOW WE HAD GOT DONE. IT'S SO GREAT TO BE HERE AND SEE ALL OF YOU. I HAVE TO SAY THAT MY ROLE IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS HAS BEEN REALLY BEHIND THE SCENES, WHICH IS WHY I CHOSE JOURNALISM AND NEWSPAPER PRINT JOURNALISM IN PARTICULAR. MY EXPERIENCE IS MOSTLY IT'S MY MY CAREER HAS BEEN DIVIDED INTO HALF TIME OF THE 30 YEARS AS A WRITER AND THE OTHER HALF AN EDITOR. SO I KNOW FROM BOTH SIDES WHAT HELEN WAS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH. AND SPEAKING OF HELEN, I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR A WHILE AND TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS MY ROLE AND WHAT HAVE I DONE. I SEE HER AS AN I'M GOING TO USE THE AVIATION ANALOGY. I SEE HER AS THE PILOT FOR ALL OF THIS AND ALL OF THE CLASSMATES WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS AND CONTRIBUTED TO THIS FEEL THE SAME WAY. AND I JUST PRETTY MUCH HAVE SERVED THE ROLE AS OF. WING PERSON, I GUESS, IF YOU'RE GOING TO STAY IN THE AVIATION LANE. SO WE STARTED ALL OF THIS IN DECEMBER 2020 WITH A VIRTUAL MEETING, THE ZOOM MEETING THAT HELEN REFERRED TO. AND I WAS MEETING MOST OF THE CLASSMATES WHO AGREED AT THAT POINT TO PARTICIPATE. I WAS MEETING MOST OF THEM VIRTUALLY FOR THE FIRST TIME. I HAD GONE TO REUNIONS, BUT MY CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE CLASSMATES ARE AMONG ONLY A FEW, AND ONLY A HANDFUL OF THEM WERE GOING TO BE A PART OF THIS. SO I, AS A STRANGER TO MOST OF THEM, HAD TO WIN OVER THEIR TRUST IN ME FOR PRESERVING THEIR VOICES, MAKING SURE THERE WOULD BE EQUAL GIVE AND TAKE IN THE PROCESS. AND WE WERE DOING THIS VIRTUALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC, AND IT WAS JUST A REAL TERRIBLE TIME FOR THE COUNTRY IN GENERAL. WE HAD THAT SUMMER BEFORE THE THE GEORGE FLOYD TRAGEDY. AND SO IT WAS JUST ONE THING AFTER THE OTHER. BUT HELEN WAS DETERMINED. SHE SAID, WE CAN GET THIS DONE. AND I DIDN'T KNOW HER TIMELINE IMMEDIATELY WHEN SHE BROUGHT ME ON BOARD. AND WOW, THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY, BECAUSE I WORKED IN A IN A FIELD WHERE YOU HAD THE LONG STORIES THAT YOU WERE GIVEN PLENTY OF TIME TO RESEARCH AND WRITE OR EDIT, AND YOU HAD THE SHORT STORIES WHICH YOU HAD TO TURN OVER IN A DIME, THE BREAKING NEWS STORY. SO MECHANICALLY, HOW THE BOOK CAME TOGETHER, IT'S REAL BORING. SO I'M GOING TO BE BRIEF AND THEN I'M GOING TO JUST TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT LAST MINUTE EFFORT OF MINE TO DO THE EPILOG. SO HELEN AND I DIVIDED WE, WE DIVIDED THE WORK UP. WE CAME UP, WE DEVISED A SYSTEM WHERE HALF DOZEN OF THE CONTRIBUTORS WOULD WORK WITH ME FOR FIRST ROUND AND VICE VERSA. SO WE BOTH GOT TO, WE EACH GOT TO READ EVERY STORY AND EDIT EVERY STORY FIRSTHAND, EITHER ON THE PIGGYBACK OF THE OTHER. BUT THE STORIES GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION. WE TOOK TIME WITH THE WRITERS.

[00:50:02]

AND THE THING I'M MOST GRATEFUL FOR AND AND HONESTLY MOST SURPRISED AT WAS THE WILLINGNESS OF THE CONTRIBUTORS TO STAY, STAY ON, ON, ON, ON THE ON THE MISSION. AND THAT WAS I WANT TO TELL MY STORY. I WANT YOU TO ASK THE QUESTIONS, THE HARD QUESTIONS, SO I CAN MAKE SURE THAT I GOT IT RIGHT. AND I WANT YOU TO DO FACT CHECKING. I WANT YOU TO DO ALL THAT OTHER MECHANICAL STUFF THAT EDITORS DO. AND BETWEEN THE TWO OF US, THERE WERE VERY, VERY FEW AND VERY INSIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES IN THAT AREA. SO WE GOT THE WORK DONE, I WOULD SAY BY SUMMER, TWO OR THREE ROUNDS OF EDITING. AND KEEP IN MIND, THIS IS VIRTUALLY I'M USED TO BEING AN EDITOR IN REAL PERSON TIME AND THIS WAS NOT HAPPENING, BUT WE GOT SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER, THE WRITERS AND MYSELF, HELEN ALREADY KNEW MOST. YOU KNEW ALL OF THE CLASSMATES. SO BY SUMMER WE FELT. REALLY COMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO SAY THAT WE'RE AT THE END, WE CAN GET MOCKUPS OF THESE AND SEND THEM BACK TO EACH RIDER. THIS WAS LIKE ROUND FOUR. I THINK BY THEN HAVE THEM LOOK AT IT AND THEN. YOU KNOW, GIVE THEM THE LAST CHANCE TO SAY, NO, I DIDN'T MEAN TO SAY THAT OR OOPS, I MISSPELLED MISS SO-AND-SO'S NAME, THAT SORT OF THING, BECAUSE WE WERE FACT CHECKING HELEN AND I. BUT WE ONLY COULD CONTROL AS MUCH AS WE COULD CONTROL. SO GIVEN THAT WE WERE DONE BY SEPTEMBER WITH A FINAL DRAFT AND MEANWHILE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER, HELEN WAS WORKING REMOTELY IN CALIFORNIA AND SHE CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT WE NEEDED TO DIVIDE THE BOOK UP INTO THOSE FOUR PARTS AND INTRODUCE THE SERIES OF ESSAYS THAT WAY. SO WE HAD FOUR SECTIONS WITH IF I CAN DO THE MATH, WRITE SIX ESSAYS IN EACH SECTION, AND THAT INVOLVED HER AND MYSELF DOING INCREDIBLE RESEARCHING ON THOSE TOPICS TO FACT BASE ALL OF THE THINGS THAT WE WERE SETTING UP EACH PORTION WITH. AND FOR ME, I THINK SHE TURNED OVER TO ME PROBABLY SOMETHING SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN MOST COMFORTABLE WITH DOING HERSELF WAS THE EDUCATION PART, WHICH WAS THE TURN OF THE CENTURY WHEN PUBLIC EDUCATION WAS BECOMING THE REAL BIG DEAL IN THE COUNTRY. AND AND SO WE HAD TO GO BACK AND FIND THE HISTORY OF PEABODY HIGH SCHOOL. AND FORTUNATELY FOR US, AND THIS WAS WAS SO DIFFERENT FOR ME BECAUSE I'VE BEEN RETIRED FROM DAILY JOURNALISM FOR, WHAT, TEN YEARS OR MORE, IT WAS ALL ACCESSIBLE AND BACKED UP BY RELIABLE SOURCES AND DOCUMENTS FROM ACADEMIA TO THE CENSUS TO ALL THE OTHER ASSETS. SO WE WERE WE WERE VERY FORTUNATE IN THAT WE COULD SECURELY BELIEVE THAT WHAT WE WERE PRESENTING TO OUR READERS WOULD BE FACT BASED. AND SO WE INTRODUCED EACH SECTION THAT WAY. AND THE SCHOOL HISTORY, IF YOU'RE GOING TO READ THE BOOK, I WOULD REALLY EMPHASIZE HOW SIGNIFICANT THAT STORY OF PEABODY HIGH SCHOOL AND HOW IT BECAME PEABODY WAS TO THE 24 AUTHORS THAT YOU WILL MEET THROUGHOUT THE BOOK. THERE'S A REASON THAT THERE HAS BEEN SUCH A HIGH RATE OF SUCCESS AMONG THE CLASSMATES IN GENERAL OF THAT SCHOOL'S HISTORY. THEY HAD A FOUNDER AND A LEADER THAT WAS BAR NONE. SO I REALLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO TO DO THAT, READ THAT PARTICULAR SECTION WITH A LOT OF HEART QUICKLY. I WAS CALLED ON TO DO THE EPILOG WHEN HELEN SAID THIS WAS PROBABLY THE ONLY GLITCH IN THE WHOLE PROCESS. WE LOST A COMMITMENT TO BY A PERSON WHO WAS NOT ABLE TO DO THE EPILOG. AND HELEN REMEMBERED I'D DONE I THINK I'D DONE THIS STORY FOR THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS. IT WAS AN ESSAY, ACTUALLY, A FIRST PERSON ESSAY ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BROWN DECISION. AND IT WAS A STORY IT WAS MY FIRST PERSON STORY ABOUT MY JOURNEY INTO DESEGREGATION OF SCHOOL. AND I PUT AIR QUOTES THERE BECAUSE IT LASTED ONE YEAR. MY FRESHMAN YEAR, I MY PARENTS MADE THE DECISION FOR ME TO ATTEND THE WHITE SCHOOL DURING THE TIME IN LOUISIANA WHEN THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE OPTION WAS AVAILABLE. BUT WE ALSO CAME TO LEARN HISTORICALLY THAT THAT WAS A ONE SIDED OPTION. BLACK STUDENTS WENT TO WHITE SCHOOLS, BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN IN REVERSE. WE HAD WHITE TEACHERS WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO THOSE SCHOOLS. SO MY STORY IS ABOUT MY JOURNEY.

[00:55:04]

IT'S A QUICK EPILOG IN THE BACK OF THE BOOK. MY, MY JOURNEY FROM. BEING IN THAT POSITION AND THE TOLERANCE OR INTOLERANCE THAT I EXPERIENCED. SO I'M TWO YEARS BEHIND, BY THE WAY, TWO YEARS BEHIND THIS CLASS, BUT THEY REALLY DON'T SEE ME THAT WAY. THEY SEE ME AS VERY MUCH THEIR CONTEMPORARIES, AND I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THEM. SO I THAT'S PRETTY MUCH MY PART IN IT. AND HELEN IS TRYING TO MAKE A BIGGER DEAL OUT OF IT. THAT IT IS. YEAH. I AM SUPPOSED TO ASK YOU ABOUT ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT THE. PUTTING THE BOOK TOGETHER, WHICH, AS I SAID, IS THE MOST BORING PART OF THE PROCESS. SO ANYBODY HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THE MATERIAL WAS GOTTEN AND WHAT KIND OF CLASSMATES EXPERIENCES WE ALL WE HAD AS EDITORS FEEL FREE. OKAY. THANK YOU. YES. WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE AND SHARING YOUR STORY. I CANNOT WAIT TO DOVE IN. OH, GOOD. MY CHILDREN, THEY LOVE HISTORY. OH, GOOD. WELL, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT DOING AN AUDIOBOOK WITH VOICES? WE. WE HAVE THOUGHT WE HAVE. AND, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW WHY? I THINK I REMEMBER WHEN HELEN FIRST CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA, I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT ABOUT PROFESSOR HENRY LOUIS GATES, THE HISTORIAN, THE WELL-KNOWN HISTORIAN WHO CAPTURED THOSE SLAVE NARRATIVES. AND, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS THE CENTURY PRIOR TO THE CENTURY WE WERE BORN IN. AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WAS SO REMARKABLE TO HEAR THEIR VOICES IN THEIR STORIES AND THEIR BROKEN ENGLISH AND, YOU KNOW, JUST REALLY AUTHENTIC. AND THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL FIND IN THIS BOOK, I THINK. VOICES THAT ARE SO DIVERSE, IT'S AMAZING. SO THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION. WE HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND WE'RE STILL THINKING ABOUT IT. MY DAUGHTER'S KIND OF EXPLORING IT A BIT TO SEE HOW WE CAN GET IT DONE, BECAUSE PEOPLE KEEP ASKING FOR THAT. THEY WANT TO HEAR PEOPLE READ. YES, YES, YES. ALL RIGHT. I'LL TRY. WAS THERE EVER A MOMENT WHEN YOUR STORY WAS HARD TO TELL? I WOULD IMAGINE THAT KIND OF TRIGGERING AND RETRAUMATIZING TO RELIVE SOME OF THOSE. YEAH. AND WHEN YOU READ SOME OF THEM, YOU CAN SOME PEOPLE HAD A KIND OF ROUGH TIME. I MEAN, ONE OF THE WRITERS, SHE'D HAD SOME REAL TRAUMA IN HER LIFE AND SHE WAS TRYING TO DECIDE. THE BIG DECISION IS HOW MUCH AM I GOING TO TELL? WHAT AM I? BECAUSE, YOU KNOW AND WE ALL KNOW EACH OTHER AND WE THE WRITERS DIDN'T READ THE STORIES UNTIL THE BOOK CAME OUT, BUT OTHER PEOPLE'S STORIES AND THEY WERE SENDING ME MESSAGES LIKE, MAN, I HAD NO IDEA. WE ALL GREW UP TOGETHER, BUT WE DIDN'T LIVE IN EACH OTHER'S HOUSES. EXACTLY. AND SO THE BIG THING WAS, HOW MUCH WILL I TELL? I HAD THAT. I'M LIKE, DO I REALLY WANT TO TELL THAT? AND FROM THE EDITING STANDPOINT, THERE WERE THERE WERE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE YOU YOU KNEW FROM EDITING THE COPY THAT THERE WAS JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE THAT WAS NOT TOLD. AND, AND SO THE BACK AND FORTH WITH THE WRITERS PULLED OUT A LOT OF THAT, WHICH MADE IT A MORE SIGNIFICANT. AND THEN THERE WERE PEOPLE I CALLED AND SAID, ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? YOU WANT TO SAY THIS BECAUSE ONCE IT'S IN THE BOOK, WE CAN'T PULL IT BACK ONCE IT'S OUT THERE BECAUSE SOME OF IT, IT'S VERY SENSITIVE. BUT WHAT WE DISCOVERED IS THAT FOR A LOT OF THEM, IT WAS CATHARTIC AND THEY WANTED TO TELL IT. I MEAN, THERE'S ONE STORY IN THERE, SHERMAN FULTON'S STORY. I MEAN, IT IS I WAS CRYING THROUGH THAT STORY. I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS IT WAS JUST DIFFICULT FOR ME TO GET THROUGH IT. AND I CALLED HIM AND I IT JUST I HAD NO IDEA HIS LIFE WAS THE WAY HE TOLD IT. AND HE IT WAS AND HE READ HE SENT ME LIKE, I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY TABLETS I HAD TO TYPE IT OUT. HE WROTE IT ON YELLOW PADS. HE SENT ME LIKE EIGHT TABLETS AND HE WROTE IT IN PENCIL AND THEN I TYPED IT OUT. SO I WAS, I WAS, IT WAS COMING IN TO ME. IT WAS IT'S A TOUGH ONE AND THAT'S NOT ALL OF IT. WE WE HAD TO EDIT IT. IT WAS JUST SO, SO MUCH. BUT THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND WHEN I CALLED HIM, HE SAID, HELL, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. I'M DONE. I'LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO. BUT HE HAD TO IT SEEMED TO ME THAT HE JUST HAD TO TELL HIS STORY. HE HAD TO GET IT OUT. AND HIS IS AMONG IF YOU IF WE GET ANY FEEDBACK FROM OUR READERS AND WE'RE GETTING A LOT OF FEEDBACK FROM READERS, HIS IS THE ONE THAT TOUCHES UNIVERSALLY. I THINK OF ALL THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE A DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN US FEEDBACK.

[01:00:06]

HIS IS THE ONE THAT TOUCHES THEM THE MOST. IT'S YEAH. INCREDIBLY SAYING IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD NUMBER OF PEOPLE AT HOME. THERE ARE EIGHT PEOPLE OF THE 24 WHO STILL LIVE IN ALEXANDRIA OR THE SURROUNDING AREA. JUST CURIOUS, THOSE OF YOU WHO CHOSE DALLAS, HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT CONCLUSION? I CAME TO COLLEGE HERE. I HAVE ANSWER. YEAH, WELL, I RELOCATED HERE. REAL. WATCHING THESE. WELL, I WAS IN A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP. AND I HAD TO LEAVE TOWN. WOUND UP IN CALIFORNIA TO STAY THERE FOR 15 YEARS. MOVED TO DALLAS BECAUSE I DIDN'T GO BACK TO. ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? SO WE HAVE TO EVERY TIME WE DO SOMETHING, WHOEVER I SEND OUT A CALL AND WHOEVER WANTS TO COME AND PRESENT AND SHARE THEIR STORY CAN COME. SO WE HAVE TO. TODAY, THE DALLAS PEOPLE, MICHAEL AND GLORIA, AND THEY WILL JUST GIVE YOU WHATEVER THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR ABOUT THEIR STORIES AND TO HOPEFULLY ENTICE YOU TO READ THEM. YES. OH, I'M SORRY. WHAT'S MY QUESTION IS. I FIND. THAT. BEING BORN WHEN? VERSUS DESEGREGATION. I HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. ON HOW I SEE. EACH ERROR AND A DIFFERENT FEEL IN THE BACK. AND I FIND THAT. I WAS. ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT I COULD GO WHERE I WANTED TO GO, WHEN I WANTED TO GO OUT. AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO ASK ANYBODY AND DIDN'T HAVE ANY RESTRICTIONS. DID YOU FEEL THAT SAME WAY? DURING THAT TRANSITION PERIOD. YOU LOOK AT IT, BUT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING. YOU FELT FREER DURING DESEGREGATION. IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE. DID YOU FEEL FREER DURING DESEGREGATION TO MOVE AROUND? YEAH, A LOT OF THE ESSAYS ADDRESS THAT. RIGHT. I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT THE WHITE PEOPLE. AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST WANTED TO HAVE THE FREEDOM, NO RESTRICTIONS TO MOVE AROUND AND DO WHAT I WANTED TO DO WHEN I WANTED TO DO IT WITHOUT HAVING ANY. AND YEAH, THAT'S THAT'S HOW I WAS. I DIDN'T NECESSARILY WANT TO BE WITH THEM OR WHERE THEY WERE. YEAH. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, AND I FIND THAT IT'S COLORS THE WAY I SEE DIFFERENT THINGS. I HAVE A, UM, KNOW I'M MAKING SURE I HAVE. SHE'S MUCH YOUNGER THAN ME. AND WE GOT INTO A REAL ARGUMENT ABOUT A YEAR AGO ABOUT DONALD TRUMP. AND I COULDN'T BELIEVE THAT SHE WAS ALL FOR DONALD TRUMP. AND, YOU KNOW, MY POOR PICK ONE UP FOR ONE THING AND, YOU KNOW, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. AND I THOUGHT, I'M NOT RACIST WHEN I SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT? A RACIST. OH, EXCUSE ME. I DON'T CARE HOW THEY PUT IT OR WHATEVER SHE SAYS. WELL, I JUST GET TIRED OF OLDER PEOPLE ALWAYS GOING BACK TO RACISM AND THINGS. AND, YOU KNOW, I GET TIRED OF HEARING THAT. AND I TOLD HER, I GET TIRED OF HEARING THAT, TOO. BUT THE THING IS, YOU KNOW, I WAS VERY FRANK WHAT I SAID. BUT ONE THING THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN IS THAT I'LL NEVER FORGET THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED RIGHT DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME AND WHAT I WITNESSED. AND SO AND WHAT I LIVED, YOU KNOW, I CAN'T FORGET THAT. YOU KNOW, SO THAT BOTHERS YOU. YOU'RE BLACK. YOU NEED TO GET OVER IT BECAUSE IT'S TRUE, YOU KNOW? BUT I FIND THAT WHEN I LOOK AT THOSE TWO PERIODS OF TIME, IT COLORS MY PERSPECTIVE AND THE DECISIONS I MAKE ABOUT A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS. YEAH. THE IMPACT OF EXPERIENCES. CURIOUS ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM WERE BORN DURING SEGREGATION? NOT THAT MANY. WE'RE ALL GETTING. WE'RE GETTING OLD. YOU WANT TO GO FIRST? GLORIA, YOU MIGHT.

[01:05:33]

GOOD AFTERNOON TO THE DALLAS COLLEGE. ADMINISTRATORS, FACULTY, STUDENTS AND AUDIENCE MEMBERS GATHERED HERE ON THE EASTFIELD CAMPUS IN PERSON AND TUNING IN VIRTUALLY. THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE MY CONTRIBUTION TO THIS COLLECTION OF NOTEWORTHY LIFE STORIES. TO BE DOING SO IN CELEBRATION OF THE UPCOMING JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY IS EVEN MORE SPECIAL. IT'S AN HONOR TO SHARE WITH YOU A BRIEF PORTION OF MY NARRATIVE ABOUT GROWING UP IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA DURING THE 1950S UNDER JIM CROW LAW. I'M A MATH GUY. SO WHEN HELEN, WHOM I'VE KNOWN SINCE KINDERGARTEN, INVITED ME TO JOIN THE GROUP OF TALENTED CLASSMATES AND BE A PART OF HOW WE GOT OVER STORYTELLING, I INITIALLY TURNED HER DOWN WITH THE EFFECTIVE COASTING FROM HELEN AND MY WIFE, JEAN, WHICH IS RIGHT THERE. HER COEDITOR, I BECAME A CONTRIBUTOR, AND THE VERY FIRST MEMORY THAT CAME TO MY MIND IS THE PORTION OF MY ESSAY I WILL BE SHARING TODAY. I REMEMBER IN MY 1970S COLLEGE YEARS AUTHORS, POLITICIANS, CELEBRITIES, SPEAKING AT SPECIAL EVENTS AT MY HBCU CAMPUS AND HOW I WOULD HANG ON TO EVERY TRUTH SPOKEN AND HOW ENLIGHTENED IT FELT TO TAKE IT ALL IN FOR THIS GATHERING. MY CLASSMATES AND I WANT TO ENLIGHTEN YOUNG PEOPLE, THE GENERATIONS OF STUDENTS HERE, AS WELL AS THE MILLENNIALS BEFORE THEM. IN THE SAME WAY, I WANT YOUNG PEOPLE OF ALL RACES AND CULTURES TO KNOW THAT FOR ME AND ALL BLACK PEOPLE. THE CRUEL AND UNFAIR PRACTICES. THAT MY CLASSMATES AND I EXPERIENCE. GROWING UP JUST A LITTLE MORE THAN A HALF A CENTURY AGO WAS THE NORMAL. AND THAT EXPERIENCE UNDERSCORES THE ROUTINE HARSHNESS MANY BLACK FAMILIES HAD TO ENDURE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAST CENTURY. BLACK HISTORY. LIKE ALL HISTORY HAS TO BE SHARED, REMEMBERED AND KEPT, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES. THE SECTION I WILL READ CONCERNS MY EARLY CHILDHOOD AND MY FIRST DIRECT VICTIMIZATION ON THE RACISM. IT WAS THE SUMMER BEFORE KINDERGARTEN. I WAS FIVE. THE EXPERIENCE WAS SO EARLY THAT I WAS NOT TRULY AWARE OF OR AFFECTED BY THE MOMENT IN REAL TIME. IT WASN'T UNTIL GRADE SCHOOL WHEN I LEARNED ABOUT SEGREGATION AND INTOLERANCE THAT I CONNECTED THE DOTS. I WAS ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF RACISM. RACISM? WHEN YOU HEAR THE PORTION I READ, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY KIDS MAKE YOU WANT TO START LIFE OVER. TO QUOTE THE GREAT MUHAMMAD ALI FROM MY GRANDPARENTS, IN MY INSTANCE, I'M SURE THE PAIN WAS DEEP. WELL, I HOPE THAT I HAVE RAISED YOUR INTEREST. HERE'S THE PASSAGE FROM MY ESSAY.

[01:10:04]

BEFORE MY MOTHER STARTED WORKING A STEADY JOB THE SPRING BEFORE KINDERGARTEN, I WAS AFTER I TURNED FIVE. MY PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS, WHO BY THEN LIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS VISITING US. MY GRANDMOTHER WANTED ME TO GO BACK WITH THEM FOR A STAY THROUGH THE SUMMER. THIS WAS THE EARLIEST TIME I RECALL HAVING AN INTEREST IN MATHEMATICS DURING MY STAY WITH THEM. MY TWO GRANDS WOULD TEACH ME ABOUT NUMBERS BY PLAYING MANY GAMES WITH ME. THEY WOULD GIVE ME LOOSE CHANGE FROM THEIR POCKETS AND MY MOM POCKET BOOK. EACH TIME THEY EMPTIED THEM, THEY WOULD ASK ME TO COUNT THE COINS AND ADD IT TO MY ALREADY GROWING STASH. I NEVER GOT IT WRONG. EXCUSE ME. I WAS SO GOOD AT MONEY. BY THE TIME I RETURNED HOME, MY MOTHER WOULD INSIST THAT I ACCOMPANY HER TO THE GROCERY STORE TO HELP HER TALLY AT THE CHECKOUT. I BECAME HER HUMAN CALCULATOR. THE TRIP TO DC WAS AN ADVENTURE IN MANY WAYS, AT LEAST AS A CHILD. THAT THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT UNTIL I LEARNED WITH HINDSIGHT, THE COLD REALITY OF RACISM IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH. ON THE TRIP THERE FROM ALEXANDRIA. MY GRANDMOTHER, MY GRANDFATHER DROVE THEIR CAR AND ON THE RETURN MY GRANDMOTHER ACCOMPANIED ME BY TRAIN. BOTH EVENTS WERE FIRST FOR ME. DURING THE ROAD TRIP, WE MADE A NUMBER OF STOPS ON THE WAY, MOSTLY BATHROOM STOPS. BUT AS I RECALL, THE BATHROOMS WERE OUTDOORS. NATURE SPOTS OFF THE ROAD, SOMETIMES IN WOODED AREAS. I FIGURED OUT AS I GREW OLDER WHY MY GRANDPARENTS HAD PACKED TOILET PAPER AS WELL AS FOOD FOR MEALS. PLACES TO EAT AND LODGING FOR BLACK ROAD TRAVELERS WERE NON-EXISTENT. ON THE RETURN TRIP BY TRAIN. THE PASSENGER CARS MOST LIKELY WERE SEGREGATED, BUT THAT DIDN'T STICK WITH ME AS MUCH AS THE ROAD TRIP STOPS. IN MY FIVE YEAR OLD MIND WHO CARED ABOUT WHO WAS ON THE TRAIN. MY GRANDPARENTS HAD GIVEN ME A TRAIN SET THAT SUMMER AND ALL I REMEMBER WAS PLAYING WITH MY TOY TRAINS AND THE THRILL OF BEING ON AN ACTUAL TRAIN RIDE. ONE SELF-INFLICTED SCARY STORY DID COME OUT OF MY DC ADVENTURE. IT WAS MORE OF A HORROR FOR THE ADULTS THAN FOR ME. MY FAMILY OUTING ON THE WASHINGTON MALL WITH MY GRANDS TO ENJOY THE 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE WHEN I GOT SEPARATED FROM THEM. AFTER HOURS OF EXASPERATION ON THEIR PART, WE FINALLY WERE REUNITED IN A DC POLICE STATION WHERE I'D BEEN ENTERTAINED BY FRIENDLY COPS. WHO GIVEN ME A CHOCOLATE COVERED ICE CREAM BAR ON A STICK. MY HANDS WOULD TELL THE STORY AND REPEAT THE FIRST WORDS I SAID TO THEM. AFTER HOURS OF THEIR SEARCHING, THEY FOUND ME. I SAID, POLICEMEN ARE YOUR FRIENDS. I TOLD HIM THE ONLY MEMORY I RETAINED FROM WHAT HAD BEEN A TRAUMATIZING EXPERIENCE WAS CRYING UNTIL THE POLICE FOUND ME. AND SITTING IN THE POLICE STATION SMILING WHEN THEY GAVE ME THE ICE CREAM. IT TURNED OUT THAT TWO OFFICERS, ONE WHITE, ONE BLACK THAT FOUND ME WANDERING ALONG THE GROUNDS AFTER LOSING MY GRANDPARENTS.

[01:15:09]

MY FRIENDS LATER EXPLAINED THAT THEY HAD BEEN VIEWING PRESIDENT DWIGHT EISENHOWER TRADITIONAL MILITARY STYLE PARADE. WATCHING ME GET EXCITED, SEEING THE HUGE TANKS AND ARTILLERY. AND IN AN INSTANT, I HAD DISAPPEARED OUT OF THEIR SIGHT. THE AIR FORCE THING WAS ONE GOOD THING FOR BLACK CHILDREN THAT CAME OUT OF THE 1950S. WE WERE REQUIRED TO WEAR CIVILIAN DOG TAGS AND MY GRANDPARENTS HAD GIVEN ONE FOR ME, GIVING ONE FOR ME THAT CONTAINED THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION AFTER THEY RETURNED HOME, FEELING HELPLESS AND HOPELESS. THEY RECEIVED A NOTIFICATION. NOTIFICATION THAT I HAD BEEN FOUND. IT TOOK YEARS BEFORE MADEA, MY MOTHER COULD RECOVER FROM THIS EVENT AND LAUGH AT OTHERS RETELLING THE STORY. AND OF COURSE, REPEATING FAMILY HISTORY. MY ADVENTUROUS DAUGHTER, AT ONLY A SLIGHTLY AGE OLDER THAN FIVE DECADES LATER IN A HUGE DOWNTOWN D.C. HOTEL, WHILE EDDIE NELSON FAMILY REUNION WAS SEPARATED FROM HER OLDER COUSINS IN CHARGE OF KEEPING HER WATCH. IT WOULD TAKE 30 MINUTES OF TOTAL PANIC BEFORE WE FOUND HER MOSEY AS MADEA, AND DAD TEASINGLY DESCRIBES IT ON AN UPPER FLOOR IN SEARCH OF THE HOTEL INDOOR SWIMMING POOL THAT SHE HAD OVERHEARD HER OLDER COUSINS DISCUSSING. THANK YOU. ONCE AGAIN, IT HAS BEEN AN HONOR TO SHARE PART OF MY NARRATIVE WITH YOU. YOU HAD TO HOLD ON TO IT. OH, OKAY. GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE. I AM GLORIA, ROBERT SADDLER, NARRATIVE NUMBER 21. UNLIKE MOST OF MY CLASSMATES, CAN YOU GUYS SEE ME? UNLIKE MOST OF MY CLASSMATES THAT PARTICIPATED IN THIS BOOK, I AM FROM BATTERY RAPIDS. BY RAPIDS. IT'S ABOUT TEN MILES ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA. THERE WAS AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ON BY A RAPIDS FROM THE FIRST TO THE EIGHTH GRADE, AND THAT'S WHERE I ATTENDED BEFORE. I WENT INTO ALEXANDRIA AND ATTENDED JONES STREET JUNIOR HIGH AND COMPLETED HIGH SCHOOL AT PEABODY HIGH SCHOOL. BUT FIRST, I WANT TO JUST SAY A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MY MOTHER AND FATHER. MY BOTH MY MOTHER AND FATHER WERE BORN IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH. MY MOTHER COMPLETED EIGHTH GRADE. SHE WAS ABLE TO READ AND WRITE. MY FATHER ONLY COMPLETED THE FOURTH GRADE, COULD NOT READ AND WRITE, BUT HE WAS ABLE TO SIGN HIS NAME. MY MOTHER'S FOURTH CHILD OF FIVE. MY FATHER IS THE SEVENTH CHILD IS. YEAH, THE SEVENTH CHILD. THE BABY OF HIS FAMILY. SO I WAS ALWAYS TOLD WHEN MY FATHER WAS GROWING UP, HE WAS SPOILED, DIDN'T WANT TO WORK, DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL, BUT WOULD ALWAYS ASK FOR MONEY. SO MY GRANDMOTHER, WHO ADORED HER BABY, WHENEVER HE WOULD ASK FOR MONEY, SHE WOULD ALWAYS GIVE IT TO HIM. BUT HIS HIS FATHER WOULD NOT. SO MY FATHER STARTED HIS OWN CAREER GAMBLING, PLAYING CARDS AND SHOOTING DICE, AND THAT'S HOW HE WOULD MAKE HIS MONEY. BUT EVENTUALLY HE WENT INTO THE NAVY, DID A STINT IN THE NAVY, AND CAME OUT A FEW YEARS AFTER THAT.

[01:20:03]

HE AND MY MOM MET AND GOT MARRIED AND STARTED A FAMILY. SO MY GRANDFATHER AND GRANDMOTHER OWNED A FARM OWNED BY RED PETE, AND THAT'S WHERE WE LIVED UNTIL I WAS IN MY MID-TEENS BECAUSE MY GRANDMOTHER AND GRANDFATHER OWNED THE FARM AFFECTIONALLY KNOWN AS BIG MAMA AND BIG PAPA. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY RENT. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO BUY FOOD. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN PROVIDE GAS FOR THE VEHICLE. SO, I MEAN, WE WE HAD IT MADE. BUT A TRAGEDY OCCURRED IN 1965. WE WERE ON OUR WAY FROM ALEXANDRIA BACK HOME. AND AS WE WERE ON THE HIGHWAY, WE COULD SEE BIG FLAMES SHOOTING UP. WE DIDN'T HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS. BUT AS WE GOT CLOSER TO HOME, IT WAS OUR HOUSE BURNED DOWN TO THE GROUND. AND ALL WE COULD DO IS JUST STAND THERE AND JUST WATCH EVERYTHING JUST BURN. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND BY YOUR PIECE, IT'S ABOUT TEN MILES ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF ALEXANDRIA. IT'S FARMLAND. SO YOU HAVE NO FIRE TRUCKS. YOU HAVE NOTHING OUT THERE. YOU DO HAVE WHAT WE CALL GENERAL STORES. AND THOSE GENERAL STORES HAD WHITE ENTRANCE AND BLACK ENTRANCE. SO IF YOU WERE AFRICAN AMERICAN, YOU CANNOT ENTER THE STORE IF IT SAID WHITE ENTRANCE. I HAD A COUSIN, THE FIRST COUSIN, SHE WAS KIND OF BOLD. SHE WAS IN HER LATE TEENS. I WAS IN MY EARLY TEENS, AND SHE WANTED TO CHALLENGE THE SYSTEM WHAT WAS UNKNOWN TO ME WHEN WE WENT TO THE STORE. SHE WANTED TO ENTER THE WHITE DOOR. SHE WANTED TO ENTER THE STORE. THAT SAID, WHITES ONLY. AND THE PROPRIETOR OF THE STORE WALKED UP TO US AND SAID, YOU'RE COMING IN THE WRONG DOOR. AND SHE SAYS, NO, NO, I'M COMING IN THE RIGHT DOOR. UNBEKNOWNST TO ME, SHE HAD A GUN IN HER HAND, BUT SHE HAD THE GUN HIDDEN. SO SHE TOLD THE PROPRIETOR, SHE SAYS, WELL, MY GREENBACKS. AND THAT'S WHAT WE WOULD CALL MONEY BACK IN THE DAY. MY GREENBACKS BEEN JUST AS WELL AS ANYBODY ELSE'S. SO HE TOOK. NOW YOU GET OUT OF THE STORE AND DON'T COME BACK. SO NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE NEVER WENT TO THAT STORE AGAIN. BUT OUT BY YOUR SPEEDS, I DON'T KNOW IF ANYBODY'S EVER HEARD OF AN OUTHOUSE. OH, WELL, THERE WERE OUTHOUSES OUT THERE, AND WE HAD OUTHOUSES. HAS ANYBODY EVER HEARD OF A SLOP JAR? OH, LORD, HAVE MERCY. SO WE HAD THOSE AS WELL. THE OUTHOUSE WAS FOR DAYTIME, THE SLOP JAR WAS FOR NIGHTTIME. SO. AND THOSE THOSE WERE FUN TIMES. SO I NEVER AS I WAS GROWING UP ON BY RECIPES, WHICH WE WOULD CALL THE COUNTRY, I NEVER FELT THAT WE HAD LESS THAN ANYBODY ELSE. I GUESS THAT WAS BECAUSE WE GREW UP ON OUR GRANDFATHER'S FARM. BUT AFTER OUR HOUSE BURNED DOWN, MY FATHER DECIDED HE DIDN'T WANT TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY ANYMORE. SO WE RENTED A SHOTGUN HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA, STAYED THERE FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, AND MY PARENTS BUILT A HOUSE IN ALEXANDRIA. SO AFTER THEY BUILT THE HOUSE, DADDY HAD TO FIND HIM A REAL JOB. A REAL JOB. GAMBLING WAS NOT GOING TO DO IT. SO WHAT HE DID, HE STARTED WORKING FOR THE POST OFFICE, THE US POST OFFICE. HE WOULD WORK AT NIGHT AS A JANITOR, BUT HE ALSO LOVED DRIVING. SO HE STARTED HIS OWN TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS. SO WHAT HE WOULD DO AT NIGHT WHILE HE WAS WORKING, YOU KNOW, IT DIDN'T TAKE ALL NIGHT TO CLEAN A BUILDING. SO AFTER HE'D CLEANED, HE'D GO TO SLEEP. DURING THE NIGHT. AND THEN THE NEXT DAY HE WOULD PICK PASSENGERS UP. THE ONLY TRANSPORTATION COMPANY I KNEW OF IN ALEXANDRIA WAS YELLOW CAB. BROADWAY CAB STARTED. IN THE. EARLY SEVENTIES. AND THAT WAS MY DADDY'S COMPANY. YES. SO HE DID THAT FOR A WHILE AND WORKED AT THE POST OFFICE UNTIL HE RETIRED AFTER HE RETIRED FROM THE POST OFFICE. THERE WERE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT A CONTRACT WITH THE RAILROAD.

[01:25:05]

SO DADDY LOVED TO DRIVE. HE FOUND THE PAPERWORK THAT HE NEEDED TO BID ON A CONTRACT WITH THE RAILROAD. DADDY COULDN'T READ. DADDY COULDN'T WRITE. SO HE BROUGHT THE CONTRACT HOME TO MY MOM. THEY REVIEWED THE CONTRACT. HE TOLD HER HOW TO FILL IT OUT. SHE FILLED OUT THE CONTRACT FOR HIM. HE SUBMITTED THAT BID AND WON THAT BID. BEFORE LONG, MY DAD WAS MAKING SIX FIGURES A YEAR WITH THAT CONTRACT. NOW, DADDY LOVED TO MAKE MONEY AND HE LOVED TO SPEND MONEY. I MEAN, HE REALLY LOVED TO SPEND MONEY. AND MY MOTHER WOULD, YOU KNOW, GET AFTER HIM ALL THE TIME AND TELL HIM, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO SAVE. WE NEED TO PUT SOME SOME OF THIS MONEY BACK FOR HARD TIMES. HE DIDN'T SEE IT THAT WAY. HE FELT IF HE WORKED HARD, HE HAD TO PLAY HARD. SO AND HE DID. AND I DO REMEMBER MY MOM TELLING HIM, SHE SAYS, YOU KNOW, IF I GO BEFORE YOU, YOU'RE GOING TO MARRY A YOUNG WOMAN AND TAKE EVERY DIME YOU GOT. MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY IN 1990. DADDY REMARRIED IN 2002. DADDY DIED IN 2006. BROKE. ALL HIS MONEY WAS GONE. YEAH. MY STORY, AS I SAID, I GREW UP ON BY REPEATS ON BIG MAMA AND BIG PAPA'S FARM. WE LIKE I SAID, WE HAD EVERYTHING WE NEEDED. I DIDN'T WANT FOR ANYTHING. BUT BACK DURING THOSE DAYS, WE WOULD USE WHAT WE CALL RUBBER BOARDS, TIN BOARDS TO WASH CLOTHES. NO AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINE WASHING MACHINES AND THOSE SAME RUNNING BOARDS AND TEN BOARDS THAT WE WERE USING THEN. THE ZYDECO MUSICIANS ARE USING THEM TODAY FOR THEIR MUSIC. WELL, I HAD THREE TV STATIONS AND THE TV STATIONS WOULD GO OFF THE AIR AT MIDNIGHT. AND YOU WOULD YOU'D HEAR IT. THE SIZZLING SOUND. ON ON BY EURIPIDES, THERE WAS ONLY ONE SCHOOL FOR BLACKS. IT WENT FROM THE FIRST TO THE EIGHTH GRADE. WE HAD EIGHT TEACHERS IN THE SCHOOL. WE HAD A PRINCIPAL. WE HAD AN ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, SECRETARY, CAFETERIA STAFF, AND THAT WAS ABOUT IT. BUT I MEAN, IT WAS SUCH A CLOSE KNIT FAMILY ON THE BAYOU. WHENEVER THERE WAS ANYTHING GOING ON WITH THE THE SCHOOLS, THE CHILDREN IN THE CLASSROOM, EVERYBODY ON THE BAYOU WOULD PARTICIPATE. YOU'D HAVE GAME NIGHT BASEBALL ON FRIDAY NIGHT WHETHER YOUR KID WAS PLAYING BASEBALL OR NOT. EVERYBODY ON THE BAYOU WAS THERE CHEERING EVERYBODY ON. SO IT WAS JUST ONE BIG FAMILY. SO AFTER COMPLETING THE EIGHTH GRADE, WE WERE BUSED TEN MILES FROM BY RAPIDS INTO ALEXANDRIA TO JONES STREET, JUNIOR HIGH. AND THEN AFTER JONES STREET, THAT WAS THE NINTH GRADE. WE WENT TO PEABODY HIGH SCHOOL AND GRADUATED IN 1968. THANK YOU. OH, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT JOB, BUT I'M READY FOR A MOVIE. NOT THE AUDIO CHANNEL. I WANT THE MOVIE. SO, OPRAH, WE CAN CALL HER, RIGHT? WE CAN CALL HER AND TRY TO GET IT. OH, OKAY. THERE WE GO. DO YOU HAVE SOME CONNECTIONS? ALL RIGHT. WELL, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT'S BEEN A WONDERFUL DAY, AND WE'RE SO GLAD THAT YOU'RE HERE WITH US TODAY. HELEN. JEANNE, MICHAEL AND GLORIA, WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING. WE WOULD LIKE TO CLOSE TODAY'S EVENT WITH DR. JASMINE PARKER. JASMINE, PLEASE. AND THEN PLEASE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LISTEN TO ALL THE DIRECTIONS BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE MORE FOR THE AFTERNOON. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. ON BEHALF OF THE DIVISION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND INCLUSION AND OUR DEPARTMENT OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION, WE WANT TO THANK YOU FOR TUNING IN. IF YOU ARE LIVE STREAMING TO OUR JUNETEENTH INSTITUTIONAL SIGNATURE EVENT AND FOR ATTENDING IN PERSON. ALSO AT THIS TIME, WE WANT TO RECOGNIZE NOT ONLY TRUSTEE COMPTON, BUT ALSO OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO ARE IN THE ROOM PRESENT. PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED.

[01:30:08]

THANK YOU SO MUCH. AND AS A FINAL NOTE OF GRATITUDE, I TRULY WANT TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE THANK YOU TO OUR OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT'S. THIS IS A NEW EFFORT AND PATHWAY FORWARD FOR DALLAS COLLEGE TO COME TOGETHER ACROSS OUR MANY CAMPUSES AND SATELLITE CENTERS TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY, CULTURAL, INCLUSIVE PROGRAMING THAT MEETS THE NEEDS OF OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY. WE DO HAVE THREE OF OUR CAMPUS PRESIDENTS WHO ARE PRESENT TODAY. PLEASE STAND TO BE RECOGNIZED. AND AT THIS TIME WE WELCOME YOU TO OUR RECEPTION THAT IS LOCATED JUST OUTSIDE OF THIS ROOM. WE WILL BE HAVING A BOOK SIGNING WHICH INCLUDES BOTH CO AS WELL AS TWO OF OUR AUTHORS WHO ARE HERE TODAY AND BOOKS WILL BE FOR SALE AT THE TABLE LOCATED TO MY IMMEDIATE LEFT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.