Taylor D. Whitaker was born and raised in Nacogdoches, Texas and graduated from E. J. Campbell High School in 1962. Whitaker is a forty-three year veteran barber and owner of Whit's Barber Shop on Shawnee Road. M. L. Glenn was born and raised in Nacogdoches, Texas and graduated from E. J. Campbell High School in 1951. Glenn joined the Navy after graduation and traveled the world before returning to Nacogdoches in 1973. We have no biography of Lonnie Wells.
(Taylor Whitaker-left, M.L. Glenn-right)
The interview was conducted by Jessy K. Hanshaw on June 30, 2010 in Whit's Barbershop in Nacogdoches, Texas.
HANSHAW: Jessy Hanshaw, interview with Taylor Whitaker, M. L. Glenn, and Lonnie Wells for the African American Heritage Project, location Whit's Barbershop, Shawnee Lane, Nacogdoches, Texas.
[End of audio one]
HANSHAW: Okay, June 30, 2010, 1:25 p.m. [hair clippers are responsible for the buzzing sound in the background]. All right, so how long have you lived in Nacogdoches?
WHITAKER: All my life.
HANSHAW: All your life. How long has your family lived in Nacogdoches?
WHITAKER: All their life.
HANSHAW: All their life. What neighborhood did you grow up in? I am not really familiar with East Texas.
WHITAKER: On the west side of town. What we call the Mill Park Community.
HANSHAW: What was that like when you were growing up?
WHITAKER: Wasn't nobody out there. Just Black people. Wasn't no White folks staying out there in the Mill Park. Blacks owned everything on that side of town.
HANSHAW: What school did you go to?
WHITAKER: E. J. Campbell.
HANSHAW: E. J. Campbell? Is that an elementary school or a high school? [E. J. Campbell was the historically African American high school].
WHITAKER: That is the school right there [points to a school building next door to the barbershop; today the building serves as the local school district's offices].
HANSHAW: The school right there?
WHITAKER: [Unintelligible] . . . and then we come to E.J. Campbell where we graduated right there at E.J. Campbell.
HANSHAW: Okay. And was that . . . when did you graduate?
HANSHAW: In '62?
HANSHAW: Okay, so, was this before or after any integration took place in Nacogdoches?
WHITAKER: It hadn't took place yet.
HANSHAW: It hadn't taken place yet? What do you remember from Nacogdoches before?
WHITAKER: You going to ask me all the questions? You ain't going to ask them none?
HANSHAW: Anyone who wants to answer. What do you remember about Nacogdoches schools before any of the integration took place?
GLENN: About the schools?
HANSHAW: About the schools.
GLENN: Well it was just. Well it was just a Black school. It was just a normal school.
HANSHAW: Just a normal school?
HANSHAW: What about as far as the community went? What do you remember about the community as a whole?
WHITAKER: On Shawnee [Street; historically African American neighborhood in Nacogdoches] we had beauty shops, barbershops, two funeral homes, two doctor's offices, post office, and everything right here on Shawnee.
PATRON: Picture show.
WHITAKER: Picture show.
HANSHAW: Okay. All was on this road?
WHITAKER: All on this road. This was one of the main streets, Shawnee.
HANSHAW: Okay. Shawnee.
GLENN: I was raised on this side of town and I graduated in 1951 from E.J. Campbell. The high school was across the street from here before they built the new high school. The high school and the elementary school were all together. When he and I both went to school over there [refers to Mr. Theo Johnson, a barbershop patron] at the same time. And this was the main street in the Black community. This, Shawnee was the main street and, as a matter of fact, was one of the only streets in the Black neighborhood that had pave on it. The rest of them had red dirt and sand on them. There was no other paved streets in the Black community. E. J. Campbell school was a normal school, as normal could be but they had discipline over there. We didn't have air condition. we didn't have a cafeteria. We didn't' have none of those types of things. It has nothing to do with the school of today. The school we were involved in was a completely different school. When they had recess the boys came on one side and the girls went on the other side. This was during our school and the principal kept it strictly under a disciplinary rule. I mean, once you got in school, you could hear a pin fall. It is not like these circuses they have now at Nacogdoches High School, you know. You go up to Nacogdoches High School and you think you're in a zoo. And the teachers really cared about us. They taught you how to read, write and arithmetic, and all of these things, was the main thing, and they taught us how to survive because it was during a segregated society. A lot of them had been away from here and they came back and they knew what we were going to be faced with in a segregated world and they tried, they taught us how to survive. They taught us how to care about one another. They taught us how to help one another and how to respect one another. As a matter of fact during that time Black teachers were respected. But now, teachers, nobody respects teachers. And ministers, they were respected in this area but now they are all hoodlums. The preachers are just as bad as the people on the streets. Back then it was a totally different thing. And like I said, on this street, they had everything. As a matter of fact they used to call it nigger main. This is what they used to call Shawnee. The old timers they called it nigger main because we had everything down here on this street. The grocery store, the post office, drug store, movie house, restaurants, all of this was on this street. Now today you look at it and you wouldn't think that. The only thing on this street today, like I said, we had two doctors and [the house] right across the street was a doctor's office, Dr. Hanson. He was a doctor. On the street by the brick building down there was Dr. Harris. He was a dentist. So everything was right here. And. today, as a matter of fact, right here [see image no. Whit003: Whit's Barbershop] was a restaurant. Not this particular building cause that building was torn down but we used to call it the Dragon Inn because we were dragons too. They called us the Black Dragons and the White Dragons. We were the Black Dragons, naturally, and the White folks, the White people, were the White Dragons. The only thing we really had in common is that we all played in the same football stadium. And when we played they were out of town and when they played we were out of town. So we were never there at the same time. The whites would come to see us because we had the best football team because they couldn't beat nobody. So . . . at the end of this street. Not the end of it. Just before you get to Martin Luther King that is when the pavement stopped. So this was the only street in the Black neighborhood that was paved and had some sidewalks on them. The rest of them, was red dirt. We walked to school every day. But you had to stay way pretty far in the rural before you could ride the bus. The teachers walked, the students walked, everybody walked. There were only three cars over there on that campus. Even the principal, W. Jones didn't have a car, he walked but he stayed right across the street there in that house right there [points across to a small house across the street] that is where he first stayed. Then he moved to a house across the street over there. As a matter of a fact, we didn't have a band until I think it was in 1950, when T. J. Cleveland came an organized a band.
HANSHAW: A marching band? For the school?
GLENN: A marching band, yeah. Cause we were having a parade and the way this came by is we were having our homecoming and we had a parade and they let us march downtown and we was going downtown marching and a White lady said well I never seen a parade without a band. She is the one that started the creation of it. And she went to the superintendent, C. B. Copeland; I think he was the superintendent during that era. That is what started us having a band. I think the band was created in 1950 it might have been '49 but I think it was '50.
JOHNSON: It must have been '50.
GLENN: Well one of the two. This is . . . it has been a long journey to here and like I said I graduated in '51 and I went in the military in '51 and I stayed, or I was gone for twenty-three years. I retired and I came back here in '73. And I never in my wildest dreams would have thought what the change would be. Because like I said this school [E. J. Campbell] was built . . . The Presbyterian Church was right there and Mr. Sadler had a funeral home right in that big building down right there. This new school was built after I had graduated and left. But, it was all one school and they had all one through twelve right across the street. And that's E. J. Campbell. And now, of course, now it belongs to alumni because we all go together and they, the school district, put it up for sale and we purchased the school. And our football practice field was on top of the hill over there. Anything else you would like to know while I am running? You kind of got me running now.
HANSHAW: You were gone until 1973. When you came back what was going on in the community? Had the schools begun to be integrated by then? Or was it still a new process?
GLENN: I think they had already integrated. Was it '70 when they started integration?
WELLS: Yeah it was around '70?
GLENN: I think it was '70 when they started integration because when I came back in '73 they had integrated. But I think it was '70 that was the class that came out of here. They had it where . . . they could pick and choose they could go the high school [Nacogdoches High School] or this one [E. J. Campbell] the first year and then the next one they wiped it totally out . . . I think '70 or I think '71 was the last class and then the rest went on.
HANSHAW: So then were there any problems in the community around 1970 or '71 when integration took place?
GLENN: I wasn't here during that period. They were here. Yeah I am sure they had some problems. You know, Yeah I know they had some problems.
WELLS: Mickey McGuire came in.
GLENN: What year was that? Must have been '71 or '72.
WELLS: I think it was '72.
WHITAKER: Yeah '72 when they had the march. They didn't have anybody working the bank. Anybody working uptown was either sweeping or [unintelligible]. They didn't have any salesman or bank clerks but after Mickey came in and marched they started to get people in the banks to work.
WELLS: And the stores.
WHITAKER: And the stores and all that stuff. He had a big march. What he did was he came in and organized this thing and he got some kids from the college because people in the community was scared to march. They though they might lose their jobs. They wouldn't come out and march and when he came to the barbershop we gathered money and he got students from the college and formed this big march. It was a big march. They had helicopters and all the highway patrol and everybody tried to march. They burned up one building down there. Burned a boat?
WELLS: They sure did.
GLENN: I think the integration of schools of minimal. They didn't have very many problems with the school integration.
WELLS: They didn't.
GLENN: But this was going on, this march, the big problem came from the employment and trying to get people working downtown. Like they said, most of the people down there were all janitors or something of this nature, you know minimum work. They weren't in no authority positions.
WHITAKER: During that time with the march, Strickland's and Smith Brothers they had these counters were you could go in and sat down and order a Coke and a sandwich, but Black people couldn't go in and sit down so the broke all that up.
GLENN: They broke all that up.
WELLS: They took it out because Black folks wanted to come in and eat and they wouldn't let them so they just closed the soda fountain. They closed the soda fountain and all that down to keep them from having to serve Blacks in the restaurant.
WHITAKER: So . . . we could go over there to . . .
GLENN: Perry Brothers?
GLENN: A five and dime store.
WHITAKER: Yeah, Perry Brothers. It was a five and dime store. They still have a little counter in there and eat.
WELLS: Tell her about that Polly parrot. When you walked in Perry's and the parrot would say, "Nigger stealing" [laughter].
WHITAKER: Yeah the Polly parrot.
BARBER: What was it?
WHITAKER: A parrot.
BARBER: They had a talking parrot? WELLS: Yeah yeah. He could talk.
WHITAKER: Yeah and when you walked in there he would say, "Nigger stealing, Nigger Stealing" [laughter as Whitaker mimics the squawk of a parrot].
WHITAKER: Then in the courthouse they still have Black and White fountains.
BARBER: Water fountains?
WHITAKER: Water fountains.
WELLS: Oh yeah.
GLENN: Well this was all over town when we were growing up and going to school. This was separate. All of this was separate, the whole town. So we basically, as my mother used to tell me a long time ago, I used to say "momma can I go downtown" and she would say "what you going downtown for." She would say you don't have no money so ain't got no business going down there. The only time we basically went downtown is when you were going down there for something and you got right back. Downtown Nacogdoches was not a place to hang out like we hanging out here. Everybody on the Black side, the majority hung out here or they hung out on Little Creek.
WELLS: At the creek right down there.
GLENN: They had another area over there on Bodock [phonetic spelling].
WHITAKER: Green Lantern.
GLENN: Green Lantern. This is basically where we were confined to because downtown was off limits in a sense for us you know. It wasn't off limits because you could go but you know you had to go and get what you had to get and then you was out of there.
WHITAKER: Yeah. Yeah. Then in the area where we were the police would come through and run you home anyhow, Roebuck and them. It was tough then and you had to walk the chalk line.
GLENN: I think Nacogdoches had two or three streetlights on Shawnee but the rest of the Black neighborhoods there wasn't no streetlights and after dark it was dark.
GLENN: Of course, most of the time we would be home anyway. Your parents knew where you were and where you was going because they was protective of us. They had to be because of so many things. If something happened to you, these White boys would drive through the neighborhood or whatever and catch you off somewhere by yourself then you might never be heard of again. So your parents knew there wasn't nothing that was going to be done about it. You were just another nigger dead. This is what would happen you know. [People] would say what happened to old Glenn, well don't nobody know. You was going to investigate it?
WELLS: Everybody knew but [unintelligible] they didn't talk about it.
GLENN: Well these are the situations we grew up under and came up under. As good would have it, you know, we overcame and we are living in a whole different society.
WHITAKER: Wasn't a whole lot of options but Lonestar, college.
JOHHNSON: Somner's Mill [phonetic spelling].
WELLS: You could go to a hotel and eat but you had to eat back there with the kitchen. With the cooks. You couldn't eat up there in the restaurant or sit down and eat.
WHITAKER: That hotel was built in '55.
WELLS: Yeah. It was built in '55.
GLENN: I was in Japan.
BARBER: Had you been there what kind of job would you have had?
GLENN: I probably would have, I don't know I might have been in Huntsville [laughter].
WHITAKER: Mr. Roebuck [M. C. Roebuck - Nacogdoches' Chief of Police] would have straightened you out.
GLENN: I would probably have worked for [unintelligible] or someone you know.
JOHNSON: I don't know what kind of [unintelligible] you would have had.
WHITAKER: It is just a blessing that you got up and got away from here.
GLENN: Yeah. It certainly was because I was pretty aggressive. Being an aggressive Black back then was not a good thing, it wasn't really a good thing to be.
WHITAKER: Theo you got anything you want to tell.
JOHNSON: He told it pretty good. [Background conversation in the barbershop]
BARBER: I was trying to get him to tell a story.
WHITAKER: He can't tell that about them [unintelligible] back in the day. He can't tell that.
HANSHAW: So, you mentioned that downtown the police force would run ya'll out of downtown. Was there a lot of conflict with the police in Nacogdoches during that time?
GLENN: Nah. Nah. There wasn't no conflict with them it is just that you know. It was a time that we lived in when we, as they say, we knew our place. We would rather have less contact with them. We didn't do anything that was going to cause them to be involved with us. Plus they knew all the families and just like the Chief of Police M. C. Roebuck. My daddy and all them grew up with M. C. Roebuck. So M. C. would say Glenn, little Glenn what you doing down here. Little Glenn what you doing down here.
WHITAKER: Does your daddy know you down here?
GLENN: Yeah. Does you daddy and blah blah. This is the way situation was because they knew all the people around here, all of the families. [They knew] them that was up and them that was down or whatever. We didn't have no major conflicts with the police that much. As we were growing up they would patrol through the neighborhood and come through but we were all of the streets growing up. People were at home with their children. Families were at home and that is the way this went. Well, M. C. Roebuck was mean man. He was not only mean to Black folks but he was mean to white folks too. He was just well he was hated but he was also kind of half-way respected. Like I said, he was a mean man.
WHITAKER: Everybody knew him.
GLENN: Everybody knew him from here to Houston. If you come through this town, 59 [U.S. Route 59] ran straight through town and they didn't have the loop [Texas State Loop 224] around then, if come through this town they stopped you before you got out of Nacogdoches. Especially if you come through here and you were Black and if you come through here from Houston nine times out of ten or twelve they put you in jail. Cause they want to know nigger where you going. That is the first they want to know is where you going and where you been. They figured you had some money and, of course, it didn't take but about twelve dollars when they put you in jail. Just twelve or fifteen dollars and you were out of jail. All these things went down during that period.
WHITAKER: Roebuck knew everybody and he'd come in the Black neighborhood and tell them I am looking for Glenn or whoever he was looking for and tell them to come down there when they see them. When someone says that Mr. Roebuck is looking for you, you were going to go down there and see what he wants because he's scared. He had that much power over the people. That's what he would do. He didn't have to took look for them just tell, you know, "Theo when you see old Glenn tell him I want to see him" and he is going to tell him. Otherwise he's going to tell him "You didn't tell Glenn what I said" and he's going to say "Yes Mr. Roebuck I told him" and so he was just that strong in the community.
GLENN: Matter of fact he retired after I came back here, as chief in '75, I think, is when he retired.
WELLS: Yeah because he became a private investigator after he retired.
GLENN: Oh yeah. He was the chief when I [came back] because he tried to get me to go to work on the police force and I told him you must be crazy. I said that ain't my lifestyle.
WHITAKER: You didn't recommend Theo.
GLENN: I sure didn't [laughter].
HANSHAW: Well going back, you mentioned earlier that there was a march that took place. Who was it that organized that march?
WHITAKER: Mickey McGuire.
GLENN: Where did Mickey come out of?
WHITAKER: He was from Houston.
GLENN: I wasn't here. They say he was from Houston.
GLENN: I think he was from Chicago.
WELLS: I think it was Washington or Chicago. [Overlapping conversation]
GLENN: They sent him in here to take care of this.
WELLS: Yeah. He wasn't from the South.
GLENN: No he wasn't from the South.
WELLS: They put him in jail too.
WHITAKER: They put him in jail and he was very flashy and he could talk. Very talkative and he talked people up for this [march]. So after he got a bunch of them college students a bunch of white and Black students [interrupted] . . .
WELLS: Not only Blacks marched but Whites marched too.
WHITAKER: Yeah. He got them from the college and he formed a big march and went down the street with at least seventy-five to a hundred people. So they would walk, hold signs and go all the way up in town in the daytime and protest these stores that people were going in. They were going to protest these stores unless they allowed in Blacks.
WELLS: They went to Lufkin. They carpooled to Lufkin to shop instead of going to places in town.
WHITAKER: They had stores down here; in fact, the Piggly Wiggly was right down here on Shawnee. All these stores and they started hiring Blacks.
HANSHAW: How long did the marches and everything last?
WHITAKER: I say about three months.
HANSHAW: Three months.
WHITAKER: I say about three months.
HANSHAW: Was there any other kind of conflict during that three-month period? Anything else that happened?
WHITAKER: No. They set a boat shop on fire. That is about the worst thing that happened during the march. Then they brought in helicopters and the highway patrol came in after they burnt that boat stand down. The march was very successful because after the march was over that is when they started hiring people in the bank, stores and everything. It was very successful.
HANSHAW: So then after the marches when places actually started to do more hiring were there any more changes in the community?
WHITAKER: Well during that era they started hiring at the telephone company and the light company. It was a time when they needed more Black people. So they started putting people in and hiring them at the right place. If you could go in and pass a test then you could get a good job. We got a lot of guys that are still working thirty something years ago that were hired like that and are still on the job. Like [sounds like] Danny Ray Upshaw he's been there for thirty-five years?
WELLS: Yeah thirty-five.
WHITAKER: Or Jimmy Curl. They went in on that and they were in the right place at the right time during this era when they were pushing it. They all got to have good jobs. The same job now you would have to have two or three years of college to get this job.
HANSHAW: What was the university like during that time?
WHITAKER: Well the university was like . . . if you were up there you had to be working. You know sweeping with a broom.
GLENN: Cutting the yard.
WHITAKER: Yeah. Cutting the yard because they didn't have no Blacks, unless you were cooking. I finished school in 1962 and two years after I finished school my friend Charlie Dale [phonetic spelling] Ridnow became the first Black to every play football up there. They came back and brought him because Texas A & M had come and they had a Black guy on there, Sidney Blanks. He played professional ball and he ran so fast that they couldn't catch him. The white boys couldn't catch him. So they came over and got Charlie Dale Ridnow and he was the first Black that every played football at Stephen F. Austin. He said that they had to come back because they wouldn't let him play down there [Texas A & M] and it was rough back then. The first person that ever graduate from there was Nate West. He was the first Black man and he finished school at E. J. Campbell and he was the first Black man to finish at Stephen F. Austin.
BARBER: Who was that?
WHITAKER: Nate, Nathaniel West.
GLENN: He is here in Nacogdoches still. He moved back and stays here on Lake Nacogdoches.
WHITAKER: Yep and finished out here at E. J. Campbell.
GLENN: He was raised right down the street there.
WELLS: Right down the street.
GLENN: Right down there and he walked to school everyday.
WHITAKER: He had the motivation to go and do that. He come on and got his education and he taught school in Houston for years. Now he has done move back but it was that era when people you know . . . we go to a football game and all the Blacks were standing on one side. We couldn't be mixing and mingling with the White because they wouldn't let that go on. They had the point of view of things we had to do. But now they got lots of people up there at the college and everything done changed now. Back then, I don't know what year it was, but wasn't Donna the first teacher up there.
GLENN: I don't know because she was teaching when I came back.
WHITAKER: What was her name Donna what?
WELLS: Who Donna?
WHITAKER: She was the first that taught up there and then Dr. Rose was next. Then we had so many more that came in and they set the goal for others to be in there. Everything done change and it is different but still we have to think about where we came from to now.
GLENN: It was a long struggle but we made it.
WHITAKER: I didn't ever go to the army but I've been here cutting hair for forty-eight years and I've been pretty successful in my business but didn't ever leave. I just stayed around here and knew the place to be when all this segregation and all this stuff was coming I know that momma taught us to stay away from the white girls. They taught us that but today people are mixing and mingling doing different things.
[End of audio two]
It is different than when we were coming up in that era. We knew not to be going out and rounding corners with no white girl because we knew what was going to happen. Forty years in the pen or dead.
HANSHAW: So then around what time did the community start to change? Did businesses leave or close down?
GLENN: All these old families died. These old people that owned all these things died and their offspring…integration came and this is the teaching of integration. The teaching of integration was this is best and what you have is not good. It is just like the school. This was a brand new school over here and when integration came this school wasn't ten years old I think. When integration came they closed the school and said you have to come up to our school because it is better than this school. This is what happened to most of the Black businesses. We as a young generation did not stay and keep them up and keep them going because we had the concept that the White man's stuff was better than the Black man's stuff. This is what they used to say as we were growing up. You know the white man's ice is colder than the Black man's ice. Ice is ice but we had no understanding that ice is not going to be colder because they are the same cold. Instead of patronizing the Black businesses, we started going to the white man's business. This is when all of ours started folding up and then we started getting slick with one another. We weren't treating one another right and so consequently we weren't doing business with one another so all of this starts crumbling apart. They stopped paying their taxes on it and stopped the up keep on it and as the older people died the businesses and everything died with them. This is what happened to Shawnee.
WHITAKER: Tell you another thing. In all the communities like over here all these places they had Black folks with little convenience stores like Weaver, Butler, and Homer Pyle. Little community stores and out there where I stayed my uncle, Hobart Whitaker, Mr. Luther [phonetic spelling] Stitam. Now they don't have a one.
WELLS: Not a one now.
GLENN: 'Cause they all dead.
WHITAKER: You can't do nothing but go to [Ken's Mini Mart] and Blacks are the ones that started the convenience stores back in the community. When momma needed a can of this then you run down to Uncle Hobart's store and come back so she can finish cooking. Like he said a while ago we quit dealing with each other and they had to go out of business. We started going to the white folk and won't buy nothing from the Black man. After all this integration came up then our stuff wasn't no good anymore. So it just kept on and [people] stopped paying the taxes and keeping up and so it all just faded away.
GLENN: Well this was the basic teaching of integration because the white man never really thought in his wildest dream that integration was going to come. So it caught them all by surprise when the Supreme Court came down and it all started. So their teaching was that ours is best and yours is no good. This is when we got into the concept and they went and got a few of us, picked us, handpicked and put them in charge and instead of doing us the right thing and giving us the teaching we needed to survive in an integrated world they kept a foot on us. Consequently we ended up uneducated about the whole system. Then when we knew anything we was totally lost in a new system that we weren't prepared to get in and they were teaching us to come my way because this is good for you. Then when we knew anything we were totally lost. This happened all over the South not just here in Nacogdoches but all over the South.
WELLS: All over the South.
GLENN: I had been all through the south during this time being in the military traveling through Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and you see the same thing even after integration. I went through before integration and have been back through after integration and you see the same concept. You drive through the Black neighborhoods and they are totally deteriorated. This was the teaching and it came from the whites. They taught this but we didn't see this.
WHITAKER: John Lightfoot used to work at the Lonestar down there and he decided to run for sheriff. So Mr. White said if you want your job you go down there and vote for Mr. Lightfoot. So Lightfoot stayed in office for twenty something years listening to what they told us to vote for him. He let them off the job to go vote and you couldn't go unless you were going to vote for Mr. Lightfoot. They wanted a job so they do what the man tells them. You vote for this one and these are certain things that because we couldn't get any jobs anywhere. People were hauling pucker wood and working for themselves but all that faded out when these big loggers came in and put them out of business.
GLENN: Of course here in Nacogdoches in order to vote back then during that time you had to pay a poll tax. If you didn't pay poll tax then you didn't vote.
WHITAKER: [Overlapping] I've got a poll tax receipt at the house.
HANSHAW: What was the tax?
GLENN: Of course back during that period a $1.75 was a lot of money.
WHITAKER: Yep. A $1.75.
GLENN: Back during that period it was a lot of money. That was a lot of money. So the majority of the Black people didn't have the $1.75 to pay for it. The rest weren't educated enough understand what the voting power was. We were not educated about voting because this didn't concern us in a way. We were just consumers in a way here in Nacogdoches, you know, because we didn't have a voice in the running of the community. They had four or five Blacks, you know, and they would call them in, or maybe ten, like I said they were the trusted [interrupted] . . .
WELLS: Hand picked.
GLENN: Yeah, hand picked and they were the trusted keepers of the Blacks. Instead of them educating us about what was going on they used it for their own selfish gain. This is what got us so far behind and I think [pause] I think that I probably won't live to see us over come this. The rut that we are in and how far we are behind because it seems like it is getting worse and worse. Our Black leaders, especially I find in the Black churches, from the pulpit is where we got a lot of our information. Now we have a lot of these slick cats in the pulpit and they are leading us in directions that has nothing to do with salvation. On every corner everybody you see wants to preach because there is money in it. Religion is the biggest moneymaking thing in the United States both Black and White. You see all these mega-churches and now Blacks are fighting to get into this mega thing now. But they are so far behind that they will never catch up and people are getting educating enough to leave a lot of this alone. This is one of our biggest; I think from, you know, from my experience, that has handicapped us more than anything else since integration I would say it is the Black religion. I am not anti-religion. I don't want you to think of that nature because I said Black religion, not religion, but Black religion. Black religion because they have us, they have more people under their control at one time than anything else. Instead of trying to educate on everything they try to educate us enough to where they can get the money from us. This has hurt us and then they are fighting among themselves. They say what they are doing over there ain't doing right. So this is what kills us and you can go in the Black community right here in Nacogdoches and I can show you at least twenty churches. We don't have fifteen maybe ten or fifteen thousand Blacks in the whole area but we have twenty churches. What do we need with twenty or twenty-five churches? There ain't no salvation in that is where we are. This not only here but you can go to Houston and there is one on every corner in the Black, fifth ward or third ward, in the Black area. On every corner and they are hurting us but they are doing all this in the name of God and we need to put a check on this. HANSHAW: You said that were people who were hand picked. What are some example of things that they would do that you think hurt [the community]?
GLENN: Well I will give you one good example and this happened after integration. Mr. Simon, he was elected to be on the city commissions and all this planning liked this loop. This loop was supposed to go around, and it did, around a lot of property on this, around this loop, on the west side. This was discussed at the city commissions meetings and instead of coming and giving the information to the Black community, he was the commissioner, he kept this information to himself. Then he went out and bought up all the property.
PATRON: All the property.
GLENN: All the property up and then sold it back to the Blacks. He cut it up in lots and then sold it back to the Black people instead of informing the people that owned the land, he didn't tell them and he goes and buys it from them. They were old and under educated. He does all this and this is what I mean when I say that we don't do the right thing among us. He was hand picked and was helped by the White man and us.
WELLS: I sure didn't know that.
WHITAKER: Old man Carol was one. That is what we were talking about because he should have come back informed us but instead he consumed for his pocket.
GLENN: He got rich. He took the loop and then cut it up and sold the lots.
WHITAKER: He knew this ten years ago but didn't tell anyone because back then money was money. They worked over at Lonestar for a $1 an hour and when they got through it was $40 but when they got through cutting them they got home with about $38 or $36 a week. That is all they were making over here at Lonestar was $36 a week. During that era everything wasn't updated and so everyone down there had a new car because rent wasn't but about $2. Still instead of doing this he went out and took land for $20,000, today is like $200,000 today. He stuck it in his pocket and resold the lots for about $20,000 each.
JOHNSON: We got to go we have groceries in the car.
GLENN: Don't let your stuff spoil.
WHITAKER: We'll have to be like Mr. Simon [unintelligible]. [Laughter.]
JOHNSON: You getting good information.
JOHNSON: We going to see this in the newspaper?
WHITAKER: You have to go to the college to get this. It will have your name in it. We will go in there and say old Theo told some of this.
GLENN: They are going to put this on the Internet and that is where you find this information. The college, the school, the internet and everything I know understand what they are going to do with it.
JOHNSON: Okay. [Mr. Johnson leaves.]
GLENN: Of course if we go further back to the hand picked people you know. They will say that naturally Dr. Hanson, the minister and people of this nature were upstanding in the community so they would get a lot of information but just enough to survive. They weren't necessarily going to share. The white mayor would come in and hold a little meeting with them and give them a little information and they all lived here on Shawnee. All this bunch lived on Shawnee. When you lived on Shawnee you had arrived. It is just like going up to Waterford today for the Black community. There were some nice houses on this street. Very nice houses and they kept them up but go up it now. You wouldn't even recognize it because half of them have been torn down. You will see the empty lots and those that are left you see reeling and rocking or have notices up on them to tear them down. It is just a totally different place but it was well kept. Shawnee was well kept when I was growing up as a kid. The elderly were very, well we were taught respect. Everybody was respected. Your schoolteachers or ministers that were in an authority position there was respect for them. All of this gone and you see what is around today and you wouldn't believe we were the same people.
WHITAKER: When I first started working on Shawnee back in '62 or '63 the city bus would run. If you were going to ride the city bus and you were Black you had to get on the back. You couldn't sit on the front. And a lot of time the city bus would come through and have all these peoples all in the back and two or three of them seats on the front. Aunt Sarah always would sit up toward the front. She would say "get over white folk I am tired" and she wasn't going to stand in the back.
GLENN: See they called you crazy. When you stood up for your rights they called you crazy or a fool.
WELLS: Back then if there wasn't another seat and a white person got on you had to get up and give that seat to the White person.
WHITAKER: Yeah you had to get up.
GLENN: Well this was all over the south not necessarily Nacogdoches. This was nationwide especially across the south. I tell a lot of people that I was born into segregation and I lived through integration. I have been in two worlds and of course right now it looks like we are almost getting back to a segregated society. We are almost back there again.
HANSHAW: How do you mean? What are some things that you see?
GLENN: Well you see how Nacogdoches is and very few White people live in these Black areas. There are some Mexicans and a few White folks but the majority of the White people live north. If you go up north and you can't the Black people on one hand. You go up past Nacogdoches High School and you can count the Black that live up there. You have all these outlying schools like Wooten and Central Heights and now Nacogdoches High is the Blacks and a few Whites. The rest of them you have a Blacks going to Wooten and few Blacks going to Central Heights or Martinsville.
GLENN: Douglass. Well this is just like, well, we are working toward . . .
WELLS: Up to about two or three years ago there weren't no Blacks going to Wooten.
GLENN: Seems like this is where it is going. It is kind of like an unspoken thing.
HANSHAW: I want to go back to when you talked about the students that left E.J. Campbell and went to Nacogdoches High School. Is that what it was called in 1970?
GLENN: Yeah E.J. Campbell and Nacogdoches High School.
HANSHAW: Okay. So they closed down E.J. Campbell and everyone went to Nacogdoches. Was there a difference in the high schools that would have made the move seem responsible or were they the same as far the facilities went?
GLENN: Well this was a brand new school. Nacogdoches High School was fifty years old or older. This was a brand new school but this wasn't no good anymore. They thought they had the best facilities.
WELLS: In other words they weren't going to bring all them White folks over here. That was the thing.
GLENN: Yeah that was the thing.
WELLS: They would take us to the other side of town but they wouldn't bring all them White folks to here.
GLENN: They weren't going to bring them to the Black community. They weren't going to dump all them white kids over in this Black community like we was going to eat them.
WHITAKER: Have all them young White girls running around over here with all them Blacks. They weren't going to have that happen so they picked up all the Blacks and take them up to there set them in the middle and they can watch them but they can't watch them here.
GLENN: That is when bussing really came into being during integration. Before integration when we were going to E. J. Campbell we walked. There were no busses to take you to school. You walked from way over on Mill Pond and I walked from way over on First Street or Wooten Road. We walked to school in rain shine or sleet and the roads weren't even paved like I told you. It was red dirt.
HANSHAW: So you said there wasn't a lot of problems or conflicts with school integration but what about with community integration? Were there any people who moved into this neighborhood or moved out of this neighborhood?
GLENN: Well most of them stayed put. Like I said a lot of these people owned their own homes and property. The structure didn't change much because of integration. Of course when I came back here there weren't many Blacks living up north. Mostly we stayed in these particular areas we were in when I was a kid. The east side and the west side haven't changed that much.
HANSHAW: During that time were there any political organizations that were in this neighborhood? Or that came into the neighborhood or came out of the neighborhood?
GLENN: Well the NAACP they were organized all during that period and the Voter's League. What else did they have out here that was in the political arena? Those two were pretty active but now the Voter's League fell apart and the NAACP is just there by name. They aren't doing anything because these young Blacks are living in a right now world and ain't interested in the future. Most of the people that were involved we have gotten too old and we see these young people and a lot of the, like myself, I say whatever is ok because I am all right. If they want to make it they have a chance to but if they don't' so be it because this is what you get. These young people here in Nacogdoches I don't know where they are going to be twenty years from now because the majority of them are unprepared and they are not trying to prepare themselves. Seems like those few that are preparing themselves are moving on and so we are left with the stragglers all back here. I don't know where it is going to be. Possibly twenty years from now you probably won't be safe of this street. You might be running for your life right now twenty years from now if these youngsters keep going like they are going.
HANSAHW: So do you think that the quality of education was better in this area before integration?
GLENN: Yes. Yes because now all they do . . . see you had to get your lessons because if one of these teachers picked up the phone or wrote a note home to your parent then boy when you got home they were on you. Like I said they were concerned about you and they cared about you because they knew what you were going to be faced with so they got a better quality of education. Now if you want to get it or it is okay if you don't then, for the Blacks, as long as you get over in the corner and don't raise no sand then you will be okay. WHITAKER: You can go all the way through and not know how to read.
WELLS: They don't care.
GLENN: Of course they have put a stopgap to it now because they have to pass that TAKS Test to get out. [The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is a standardized test used in Texas primary and secondary schools to assess students' attainment of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies skills required under Texas education standards.] Back prior to the TAKS Test all you had to do was go in there, sit down and be quiet. Nobody cared if you got an education. All they wanted was for you to be quiet and especially after integration first came. The majority of White teachers weren't comfortable with the Black student. They didn't know how to approach him. They didn't know how to teach him. They didn't know how to talk to them because we didn't talk the same language. Even today we still have slang or talk or speak that they don't really understand us. Of course after integration we had very few Black teachers. They took a few from E. J. Campbell because they had to. The government made them take a few but that was just a number.
WELLS: If they gave them that test a lot them wouldn't pass.
GLENN: Yeah so it was a situation and it really hurt both races, integration, it was the best thing to happen but it hurt both races. But Blacks were hurt the most because they didn't prepare us to live in the world whites live in. We weren't prepared. Then when they had integration they stopped all the discipline. The discipline system broke down because they didn't want the few Black teachers we had to whoop them little White children. Whoop us ok but don't whoop them little White children. You know they didn't want a nigger whipping their children so this was the concept. So they had to make up all these rules as they went along and they start writing up all these different rules and now it is out of control. They can't do nothing with none of them White or Black.
HANSHAW: So when they shut the school down they took a few of the teachers?
GLENN: Yeah. In fact here is one of them [refers to another patron] sitting right here. They took him and he was part of integration. He taught right over there and I remember coming home on leave and he was a schoolteacher right out of college teaching over there at E. J. Campbell. They took a few.
HANSHAW: At the high school after integration were the classrooms fully integrated or did they still have any type of segregation as far as the classrooms went at the high school?
GLENN: They were supposed to be fully integrated but I really don't know because I didn't have anyone up there going to school at the time.
WHITAKER: Ask him because he was up there. [Refers to same patron as Mr. Glenn did just minutes before.]
WHITAKER: He was teaching so ask him.
HANSHAW: What about within the community? Were they fully integrated after integration or was there still [segregation]?
GLENN: Well we are still segregated because we live over here and they all live over there. We are still segregated and the only thing is that you can go downtown and go in these places. You know but we are still segregated. We are still segregated but we can just go any place we want to go. [Laughter.] [Unintelligible conversation.]
HANSHAW: I think I have gone through the questions is there anything else anybody wants to add.
GLENN: I think maybe I have talked too much and by the time you get through editing that and getting it all in order you will probably have more than you will be able to handle for a long, long time.
HANSHAW: So you did that you think that things are not going in the right direction. What are some things that you think can be done that might possibly change that?
GLENN: You know if I had that answer I imagine that President Obama would be glad to have me come up there and tell him. This is not just a Nacogdoches thing.
WELLS: This is nationwide.
GLENN: It is a nation wide thing that we are dealing with and that the government is dealing with. They haven't got a clue at how to turn this thing around. They are just trying trial and error. They don't have a clue. HANSHAW: All right well thank you.
[End of audio three]