Interviewer 1: Michelle Clarke, Marymount Student
Interviewer 2: Jane Bottner, The Hudson River Museum
Interviewer 3: Michael Murray, Folklorist, Westchester Arts Council
Date: November 20, 2001
Location: Nepperhan Community Center, Yonkers, NY
Interviewer 1: "This is a black migration project for Marymount College.
Uh, my name is Michelle Clarke and I'll be interviewing Mr. James E. Green,
Jr. Hi, Mr. Green. Nice to meet you."
Narrator: "Nice to meeting you too, okay."
Interviewer 1: "I wanted to just start out, um, before you left the
south. Um, where - can you tell me where - and why you left the south?"
Narrator: "Well, I just gotten out of military service - out of the
air force, okay. Um, I married my wife, okay. And, uh, we came to New York
- to Saint Albans - to, uh, I guess start a life. And of course, uh, we resided,
uh, I think it's on 176th Street, Saint Albans, uh, there. Uh, and I worked
with the New York City Youth Board. Protestant Council of New York City, okay.
And I worked with the problem youngsters, uh, in Brooklyn in Bed-Sty. And,
uh, eventually I guess it - uh, an opportunity arose in Yonkers. Uh, because
of the way I worked with young people, people advised me to come to Yonkers
because there were a lot of child care agencies in Yonkers and I was made
aware there would be also employment for my wife. You know and, Mr. Green,
with your athletic background, you're the cl-. Well, I came to Lincoln Watts
Children's' Home. At that time, it's a lot different then it is now. We had
sports there and whatever. And, They're just dying to have someone like you
to coach football! And things like this and so, so and so and so. So I moved,
uh, to Yonkers. Worked at Lincoln Watts. My wife worked there also, okay.
She was a child-care worker. And of course, uh, I was a football coach and
athle - and, um, assistant, uh, recreation - weekend recreation supervisor,
okay. And, uh, I stayed there. And, of course, some people, I guess, in (laughs)
the neighborhood had said that the difference I made in their neighborhood
and what - they were upset to see me leave. But, I got back into teaching,
okay. In Yonkers, in Yonkers High School because at that time there I was
recruited to come into teaching because, Mr. Green the way, uh, you work with
young people and you're very - your background working with young people,
uh, it would be ideal if you work in the public schools. So, uh, I began work
at Yonkers High School. And, uh, of course, I didn't stay in the classroom
very long because they want to take me out of the classroom for, uh, management
of students, okay. And so, uh, I eventually became - and it wasn't that title
at first - the first, I guess, dean of discipline. In other words, because,
it's unusual to take a teacher out of this classroom and just used for just
discipline, managing the hallways and having squads to help you in the schools.
So I worked at Yonkers High School, uh, and I also taught career education
there. And I worked in an alternative program in Yonkers High School until
1982, okay. And, of course, uh, uh - oh no, prior to that though something
did happen in my life. Uh, in 1980, my wife succumbed to cancer, okay. And
that was sort of traumatic because when she died my son was a freshman in
college. My daughter was a freshman in high school, okay. And, I guess, just
- but uh, the whole community was empathetic to me because, basically, I had
to manage all by myself then, you see. And, of course, uh, my daughter eventually
she graduated from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. But, there
was a lot of haggling to try to get her through school. My son graduated from
Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. In fact, they both graduated with honors
and I was happy about that. My son went on. Uh, and, of course, my mother
jives me about this, you know, 'cause he was, uh, an all-American football
player and was also an all-American power lifter. Her jive - my mother's jive
- was that I made him play football because, uh, because of my athletic experiences
and later on in life he did what he wanted to do. He became a writer 'cause
very - they both were very good at English, okay. But, yeah, that - I guess
- that was the most traumatic part of my life, okay. Going through that without
my wife, okay. And, of course, uh, my wife was a very intelligent person.
Uh, I, uh, I didn't pay attention. One day she came to me. She said, feel
here, I've got cancer. I said no you don't have cancer and no, we'll go to
the doctor. Yeah, we went to the doctor. They said, yes. It was advanced.
And here in Yonkers they wanted to cut the breast off. And my son went to
Riverdale Country School, okay. And, of course, there were some peop - Mr.
Green, get your wife out of Yonkers. We're gonna get your wife into the best
hospital, which they did. They got her Columbia Presbyterian, okay. The doctors
- that's where the best doctors, I thought. Uh, one way I knew she had the
best doctors because I saw her doctor with, uh, the girl works the Today Show.
What's her name? I can't think of her name. Anyway, it was fruitless though.
That the point. It was fruitless because, basically, they did everything they
could with her, you know. And at once point, uh, Dr. Tredder - I think was
her name - uh, she said were my children mature enough to talk about their
mother. She wanted to talk to them. Oh sure, sure, sure! (laughs) I shouldn't
have been so brave. She said - she told us all - said, look, your wife, she's
- your mother - she's not gonna die, she's not gonna live. She's gonna pass.
Whatever. And, of course, I regret that because I don't think they were strong
as I thought they were, okay. But, she announced that. So, basically, it was
right after that 'cause she died in August of 1980 so it was all up hill from
there. And, as I said before, I was in Yonkers High School in 1982. And my
children - yeah, my son graduated from Lafayette College in 1983 and my daughter
graduated from University North Carolina, Greensboro 1987. And, uh, I continued
in the Yonkers Public School. I guess I was pretty much known as, hmmm, actually
the guy whose try to keeps with discipline. Whatever, okay. I floated from
place - whatever. That's what most of the people in Yonkers know me for, okay.
Uh, maybe I can show you some - even some picture of 'em. Like when I was
in Yonkers High School. What I was. How I was known for keeping order in the
schools. And, of course, I worked in the public schools until 1991. And, of
course, I retired. And, uh, of course, I wanted something to do working with
young people. Uh, but I didn't want it to be a job that would affect my retirement
pension, okay. Because if I had worked for the state or the city or the school
system, uh, my earnings - I could only earn so much because if I go beyond
that then my pension would be affected, okay. So, uh, I'd heard a lot about
Nepperhan Community Center. And I think it was 1993 I thought it an ideal
place to work with young people and I came to Nepperhan and I'm still hear
at Nepperhan. And, but, I didn't escape the school system because (laughs)
ever since I've been retired, uh, the school system has been calling on me
to work with problem young people, okay. I guess, in a lot of respects, I
have - well, I'm happy with it - been the guy that usually works with the
problem kids - that put aggressive young ladies, aggressive young men out
of school or whatever. You know? And I'm usually first called to work with
them, all right. And, of course, right now at the present time I'm in this
Act for Youth program here, which is also working with young youngsters that
are out of or temporary transferred in the public school system to the Act
for Youth program here at Nepperhan, which I, I guess I'm paid for by the
Board of Ed. It's a strange situation. I, I, I'm still teaching with the Board
of Ed. working with the youngsters here, okay. And, of course, I don't do
the individual work for the Board of Ed. anymore because I can't do both of
them, okay. So I've been in the Act for Youth program here for the last two
years. And, uh, basically that's where I am now."
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Um, I'm sorry, can you tell me where you left
Narrator: "Goldsboro, North Carolina."
Interviewer 1: "Okay."
Interviewer 1: "Um, were there any reasons, um, that you can think of,
of why you decided to leave?"
Narrator: "Well, I was gonna get - well we got married. My wife and
I, we got married in Goldsboro, alright."
Interviewer 1: "Um-hm."
Narrator: "She felt the job opportunities were better in New York, okay.
And I knew, that, uh, my aunt lived in New York."
Interviewer 1: "Okay."
Narrator: "And my aunt always wanted me to be with her, okay, when we
came to see - so we came to Saint Albans, okay. And, of course, we started
- as I said, uh, uh, I was working with New York City Youth Board in Brooklyn.
And, uh, uh, uh, my wife, uh, would but she worked. She was a psychology major
in college. She wanted a job where she could draw supplementary income. So
it was an ideal situation in Yonkers, okay. So because people said, look I'm
telling you they could use you in Yonkers. But the suburbs, I guess, that's
where children's agencies were. Where they flourished, okay. So we came to
Yonkers and we started at Lincoln Watts, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Um, did you have any images of the North before you
Narrator: "Not really. See because, basically, as far as the south is
concerned, I was pretty much, in a lot of respects, divorced from it. Because
I had gone to college and I'd gone - I was in the air force. I, I'd - you
know I was, uh - it's not a hotshot job, but I was an intelligence operations
specialist, okay. And, of course, a lot of people considered the word intelligence
very important. My mother, who was a schoolteacher, my father was a schoolteacher
- they liked the title because for me to even be an intelligence, I, first
I had to get a secret clearance, okay. And she liked the fact that people
come around asking everything about me. Because, uh, and I think at that time
it cost ten thousand dollars for you to get a secret clearance, okay. And,
uh, she loved that, okay. (laughs) No difference to me. And, uh, while I was
in the military, well, I was stationed-"
Interviewer 2: "What year are we talking?"
Narrator: "Okay. We are talking - well, first - as far as - well, okay
I'm jumping back here. I, I see what you're sa - uh, she asked me when I,
when I left the south, okay. I was saying the reasons I left the south or
whatever. And I said technically I wasn't really living in North Carolina.
I'd just gotten out of the service, okay."
Interviewer 2: "Okay."
Narrator: "And, of course, basically, uh, I came to New York because
I got married, okay. And there was a job for my, for my wife and myself, okay."
Interviewer 2: "Um-hm."
Narrator: "So I just happened to mention - you said something about
what I, what was I doing and so forth or something like that, okay. And I
was telling you why, uh, there wasn't - after I got out of the military -
there wasn't too much of a, a tickling (???) for my, uh, profile except -
but, I wasn't F-B-I material or anything like this, okay, because of I had
secret and top secret clearance. I couldn't because most of the people who
work for the F-B-I and, uh, C-I were police officers anyway, okay. You - then
they would send you through their schools or whatever. So the best opportunity
for me was in New York, okay."
Interviewer 2: "Okay."
Narrator: "So, I don't know if that answered."
Interviewer 2: "Yeah. Well, it did."
Narrator: "Okay. I - cause, I, I -"
Interviewer 2: "I was just think - I just wanted to know what year."
Narrator: "That was 1960, uh, when I, when I came from North Carolina
to New York, okay."
Interviewer 2: "So, when were you in the military?"
Narrator: "From '56 to "60. Okay. Okay. All right. Okay. I'm -
okay, all right. I'm sorry.
Interviewer 2: "It's okay."
Narrator: "And in the air force. But, I - what I did primarily, well,
I was in intelligence operations. But, here again, I guess I - my notoriety
in the air force still was playing sports, okay, because although I was, uh
- I didn't waste the government's money I don't think so because basically-"
Interviewer 2: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "They expected you - if you were in intelligence operations
- what you were supposed to do is - you were almost, like, locked to a tent.
Or before that, right, do it reading maps of the en - whatever, okay. But
even in intelligence school, I played down at Wichita Falls with Jim Sears
from southern California, whatever. And then I went to my base in Ohio. I
still played football. And then I went to Morocco and I stilled played football
and baseball or whatever. But, here again, it's hard to distinguish, well,
what was I doing. Was I, was I intelligence operation specialist or was I
an athlete? I guess I made a big, pretty big splash in the air force as an
athlete though, okay. And I continued that. That's one of the reason why I
think they thought I should come to New York because my athletic background,
et cetera, cetera, cetera, okay, that it would work out at a - with these
children's agencies there's a lot I could impart to youngsters in because
of my background."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm. And you said that you didn't, you didn't really
stay in Goldsboro. Did you grow up in another place?"
Narrator: "No. No. I grew up in Goldsboro."
Interviewer 1: "Oh okay."
Narrator: "No. I grew up in Goldsboro."
Interviewer 1: "I misunderstood."
Narrator: "And I went to college. Tennessee State University, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Oh okay."
Narrator: "I believe four years of football there, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Um-hm."
Narrator: "Uh, I went to college in 1951, okay. Played four years of
football. Tennessee State University, okay, and, uh."
Interviewer 1: "Oh, alright. Um, can you tell me a little bit more about
school when you were in high school? What kind of, um, environment was it?"
Narrator: "For me, it was a strange environment. So, like a protected
environment because my father was assistant principal in the schools, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Um-hm."
Narrator: "And in school, I tried to stay as far away from my father
as I could because youngsters would look at you, Oh you're father - you're
like-. I was a privileged character, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "And, of course, uh, I - and sometimes we would travel, uh,
travel by bus to other places, okay. And my father went to the game. He was
assistant principal so he ride the bus. I would sit in the back because I
didn't want to be - I didn't want to stay. Your father's here. Yeah, but I
was a pretty good football player. A lot of football scholarships and so forth,
so on. And, uh, of course, uh, when I graduated there were two schools that
wanted, really wanted to give me scholarships - uh, uh, Tennessee State and
North Carolina College. It's North Carolina Central now. I think it is. And,
of course, Arthur King (???) at that time was supposed to be the dean of all
black coaches in football. He coached at Tennessee State. So, uh, coach Riddick
- I think it was - at North Carolina Central told me that everything was okay.
He was - had a, what, a - two guys were bring me up to the college in Durham.
I'm all set to go there, but I think the impulse to Tennessee State, which
was the top power in black college football at that time, sort of drug me
on, okay. So then sent the plane tick - uh, not plane tickets - train tickets
and I went to Tennessee State. And then Riddick and North Carolina Central
was pretty mad at me because, basically, I didn't come there. I had some friends
of mine that went to, uh, North Carolina Central, played football. They would
say, Riddicks'd kill Green if he get a hold of him ' cause, you know, it was
like they thought I reneged on a bargain. But I never reneged. I always wanted
to go to Tennessee State."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "Because, basically, there were friends that wanted me to
go there so."
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Was this - um, your high school - was it segregated
Narrator: "Yeah. Oh no. Definitely segregated. There was a black high
school and white high school. There was Dillard High School. There was a Goldsboro
High School. And, of course, of course now, you know, it's uh, completely
changed now, okay. And, uh, during the years - in other words - something
I might add (???). After, well after I had, uh, well after I started teaching,
something else came up in my life that I was very proud of, okay. I think
my father or my mother died, okay. And there's a New York Times book, okay.
It's a pictoral book and I looked - with Mr. Luther King - and the first people
on the bus were my three uncles, okay. Well, well I'll show them - I don't
still, still have those. There was R.G., Sam and Uncle Raymond, okay. The
woman I lived with in Queens - was Uncle Raymond's wife, okay. And, of course
I show those quite off. Quite, quite a bit, whatever. My daughter she goes
crazy over 'em, okay. 'Cause she met her uncles. Yeah, but they all taught
in Atlanta, okay. Except for Raymond. He taught in South Carolina, okay. And,
of course, his daughters came to my mother's funeral - I think it was - okay.
They had never seen the book, okay. They went crazy trying to get the book,
okay. It's a New - in fact last year - it's a big New York Times book out
in Barnes and Noble. I purchased that too, okay. Because it shows in steps
who were the first people to get on the bus. And there were Raymond, R.G.
and Sam. I know, I felt quite, quite proud of that. My daughter feels pro
- she always takes them with 'em or whatever, okay. But, uh, as I said before
I guess my life really, in a lot of respects, took off after one - after I,
uh, - I hope I'm not jumping around too much - started working in Yonkers
Public School system. Because - I hate to use the word - popularity, uh, just
sort of like took off, okay. Simply because of the way I work with young people.
I, there (laugh) - detective come over last years. Talked to the boys. Was
telling them about how they should do. And I was there (???) (unintelligible).
Mr. Green - tell you guys something - Mr. Green threw me out of school. I
said, Oh my God. I tried to think what he's gonna do. This was a, uh, detective,
okay. And this was just last y - I said, Oh my G, this is, this is ri-. And,
uh, just this past year I was in Barnes and Nobles shopping. This guy was
six foot two, Caucasian. You're Mr. Green aren't you? Yeah, I'm Mr. Green.
He pulled on my coat and said, You know you had me arrested! So? No, no Mr.
Green, I deserved it! You're revered! I said, Oh my God. They - it's sort
of good. I'm always caught by surprise because, basically, when I was at Yonkers,
the discipline, I, uh, administered - Mr. Green one day I'm gonna ge-, I'm
gonna shoot you - or whatever. Now they come - Mr. Green thank you. Thank
you. Whatever. I wish the kids had that now. And I haven't seen a person yet
who's said to me-. Like, uh, kid in our program over here, her mother was
in the programs and her mother talks the wonders of me. In other words, basically,
back in those days - back in the se- uh, seventies and eighties, okay. They
weren't used to being suspended if you're hanging out around the grounds,
if you weren't going to class or whatever, okay. And then they found that,
you know, they were made believers of. I guess that probably was the most,
the biggest influence that I've had in Yonkers, okay. Because that's what,
basically, what everyone thinks of me as, okay. The guy that kept everybody
in line and things like this, okay. So that's been, ooh, well, I guess that's
what I'm most proud of in Yonkers. The way that young people and their mothers
and fathers now - I've got about three generations that remember me, okay.
And, uh, that's I guess a good feeling, okay."
Interviewer 2: "Do you think that your father had an influence over
you? The assistant principal I mean."
Narrator: "Yes and no. A very positive influence, yes. Uh, the only
thing I didn't like - I, I didn't want to be a mama's boy, a papa's boy, okay.
That's what - the thing about going, uh, riding the bus, okay. When we went
to football games he'd wanna go. Uh, I go to church. Not every Sunday, okay.
But, when I was a kid I had to go to church every Sunday, okay. One, yes my
father was a teacher, okay. Also a minister, okay. And I had to go to ch -
every Sunday I had to go to church, okay. Every Sunday. But, yeah, I had,
uh - I think life in the south, in Goldsboro, I think was fine. I loved it,
okay. It's, uh - I've been there, back there several times and, uh, you see
the people. Yes, you don't want to use it comparatively because you enjoy
living both places, but you like it as a place to go back to and visit and
whatever, okay. So, uh, yes as I say that - I'm in my sixties now, but you
have these feelings for places like Goldsboro, whatever, okay, there. (unintelligible)
Interviewer 1: "Um, I was also wondering, um - you'd mentioned before
that there's not really a lot of or a person like you, um, that is in the
school system now to help."
Narrator: "Well they, they have people in the system now. Basically,
what they have in the schools is security, okay. What they do is with grades
are concerned they have a principal, assistant principal. They have deans.
The deans may be, be in charge of ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth grade. People
that take care of the hallways, you know, you're gonna get are security guards,
okay. They report to the deans or the whatever, okay. Back in those days there
were no security guards. And prior to - it was something new in Yonkers High
School that did develop when I came to Yonkers High School, okay, because
they's felt my understanding of young people. In fact when I came into the
system, uh, I was introduced (???) or interviewed (???). Mr. Green, let me
tell you something. If you ever have any problem with young people, with -
uh, no - principals or whatever. Because you probably have more understanding
of young people than the principals' do or whatever, okay. So I didn't stay
in the classroom long. I, uh, well, handled student management, okay. And
- no I don't have those - I might have something out there. I know I have
the yearbook, but showed and there were, there were various comments, okay.
If you were seen in the hall by Mr. Green or whatever. Getting' ki - you're
probably run over, hit by him getting kids out of the hallway. I've got, I
have a - there's a copy of that -way Yonkers. Even the student said was a
- also their favorite people. And I was supposed to be a guy that would get
you suspended or whatever. But, teachers they remembered. The most memorable
person was Mr. Green, okay. (laughs) I still have that book and I was supposed
to be the bad guy, okay. Not the bad guy. I wouldn't say the bad guy 'cause
they liked me, okay. But they hated - uh, even when they were breaking up
fights. We did have the cops that, who were stationed at the school, uh, and
were supposed to - and sometimes the policemen would get angry at me because
if there was a fight occurring I'd use my walkie-talkie to call them, okay.
And uh, well (laughs) some say what do you want now Green. Now don't call
me unless we're gonna arrest somebody. (laughs) In other words, basically,
yeah, now don't take me - well, I don't want to say anything negative, but
they didn't want to get - they didn't feel they were supposed to break up
the fights or whatever, okay. And the youngster knew that I would break up
the fights or whatever, okay. But there was like, uh - nah, I can't say anything
negative about 'em because the guys I'm talk-, most of 'em turned out to be
my friends or whatever. But when, but every little thing or every little disruption,
since they're working in the school, I wanted them to come up and assist me,
okay. (laughs) But, they didn't like me be calling all the time to come up
just to break up a fight or whatever, okay. But, uh, yes, those were memorable
years and that's sum of my high school or some of it. I do have some pictures
of that, of course. What people thought of me, what they called me and things
of this nature or whatever, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Yeah, sounds like you touched a lot of lives."
Narrator: "Well, that's - thinking back I guess I did because I hear
it all the time now. How everyone of the kids parents, Oh my God Mr. Green,
you did this, you did this, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, it makes you feel good,
okay. So, basically, at my age (unintelligible) you know, it makes you feel
good now. Ten years ago I wouldn't have thought anything of it, okay. But
as you - as, as life progresses, yeah, it makes you feel good or whatever.
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm. Do you think, um, with raising children now, um,
compared to raising children in the south, do you think that they would be,
it would be harder here in the north to raise children?"
Narrator: "Yes. In fact, I don't think it would be, I know it is. However,
even, for example, in Goldsboro and a lot of cities in the south it is not
necessarily segregation, okay. First I went to a black high school then after
desegregation the schools were totally desegregated, okay. Gradually they
became, for some one reason or another, segregated again. Whites and blacks
still go to school. The - a large number of the whites would move out into
the suburbs, okay. They would still want the district incorporated by the
city. So, I guess, funding or whatever, okay. But some of the schools, like
Goldsboro High School - I would, I don't know now. I guess the population
of Goldsboro High School would be - well, I know several years ago it may
have been - eighty to nine, eighty to ninety percent black, okay. I don't
know what the status is now, okay. But, what I'm trying to say - one period,
I guess, say through, uh, the mid-eighties it was just about equal. White,
black, all down, you know. Whatever. And historically throughout the country,
okay, once you get a lot of, large group of minorities in the school, okay,
uh, the non-minority population will want to go to school in the suburbs and
so forth and so on. But, yeah, it's still, still, uh, it's still a nice place
to live. Still a wonderful place because it isn't, uh - if you call it segregation
it isn't, uh, division. Blacks here on this side. Whites here on this side.
People still got along wonderfully, okay. But, when it comes to school, there's
this where-. Why don't you go to school in Macon? Why don't you go to school
in Eureka? Or someplace, whatever, okay. And, uh, but still it's a wonderful
place to live - the south. Yes."
Interviewer 1: "Yeah. Okay. Um, I also - I wanted to go back actually
to Greensboro again."
Interviewer 1: "Goldsboro. I'm sorry. Um, I was wondering about - you
said there weren't very many jobs that were available when, before you left.
Your wife was looking for a job-."
Narrator: "No. The type jobs that you could have in Goldsboro, uh, factory
jobs or mill jobs. Uh, the jobs for a college graduate who were black were
primarily in the school system. There be some jobs. You could work in healthcare
or whatever. Very few, okay. And, of course, there was also a big employment,
uh - not necessarily for her or for me - there was a big air force base, there.
Seymour Johnson air force base, okay. Which, uh, had B52's there for a while
there. I still think they have. I'm not sure - Seymour Johnson which, what
kind of planes they have there, okay. But, that area of the country is sort
of militaristic too because Captain June is not too - marine base - is not
too far. Cherry Point - air force base - Cherry Point marine air force is
not too far from there. But, uh, did I say - Seymour Johnson is a large air
force although I was never at Seymour Johnson, okay. It had nothing to do
with my joining the air force or whatever, okay. Uh, but uh, as I said before,
yeah, it's a nice place to live. I think. As far as jobs there now, I really
don't really know what they - I mean there's still, professionally, there're
jobs. You can work in city government or - it's, it's difficult to say you
can get the same jobs that a non-white person - well, well you'd get the same
jobs as a white person would get, okay. There is a difference, okay. And,
of course, I guess that's the world over, okay. In Yonkers, okay, there's
certain type jobs you can get. You might know the people in power. Someone
might pull you into a job that you never could get, so forth and so on. So,
basically, uh, uh, equality as we would want to know it is hard to come about.
There is still some choices or delineation in terms of skin color, okay. And
do I feel it's prejudice? No, no, no. Not in that sense, okay. Opportunity,
yeah. There's a difference opportunity-wise, yeah."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "That's all over."
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Um, I was also curious about if you had a favorite
story or memory of your time in Goldsboro."
Narrator: "Hmmm. I guess all my favorite stories at that time would
have been athletic, okay. In other words, uh, here again, playing football.
It would be athletic. And, of course, I was, I guess, the star football player,
okay, and Raleigh was the capital, okay. And, I guess, whenever we played
- I think it was - Le Garnet (???) High School in Raleigh - we went there,
uh, hoards of people would come, okay. They wanted to see me against Le Garnet
(???) or whatever, whatever. I - and I also had a friend. He wasn't as big
as I was in football, okay. Me and him were very close, okay. We played basketball.
He was our best basketball player and we both went to Tennessee State because
we were friends, but he played basketball at Tennessee State the time when
Tennessee State won three N-A-I- A titles. First black school to do this or
whatever. And he was a star basketball player. In fact when we graduated from
college we were put in the paper together. Green and Altman graduated from
Tennessee State as frien - blah, blah, blah. They both, uh, graduated with
honors from Tennessee State. They were friends in high school. Of course he
went a little further athletically than I did because he - basketball-wise
- he played baseball also. He wound up playing for the Cardinals. Played in
the all-star game. And he al - his latter years he came and played about a
year, year and a half for the Mets, okay. And, yeah, we're still friend too.
Yeah. But, yeah, memory-wise, I guess most of my memories were athletic, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm. Did, um, he stay in Goldsboro or did he migrate
Narrator: "No. He - when he graduated, uh, he immediately started an
athletic career in baseball, okay, and he played in the Cardinals chain. Eventually,
he played for the Saint Louis Cardinals for some time. Played in an all-star
game, whatever. We separated for a while. Because we stayed in contact, uh,
letter-wise or whatever, okay. But, he came to New York about, oh, in the,
about '92 or '93. They had some type of memorabilia thing out at Shea Stadium.
But, not - no, it wasn't Shea - uh, in New Jersey. The one in New Jersey.
What's that - uh, uh, the lands? (laughs) I forget the name of it. The -."
Interviewer 3: "Meadowlands?"
Narrator: "Meadowlands. Yeah. They had some big, uh, extravaganza out
there, okay. But, yeah, he's still active and going around the country promoting,
uh, uh, Blacks and Afro, African-American, Black leagues and whatever, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "But, yeah, I guess the, one of the biggest memories of getting
out of high school was that, uh, because we were friends we went to college
- went to Tennessee State - together, okay. And, of course, that wasn't, it
wasn't all that much of a big choice because, basically, I had a scholarship
to go to North Carolina Central. He wasn't involved in that because he was
an outstanding basketball and baseball player. North Carolina Central primarily
wanted, uh, football players at that time, okay. And back in that, back in
that era there were some outstanding basketball players in that era 'cause
there was Sam Jones, who had later played for the Boston Celtics, went to
Central. Uh, in fact, we were recruited together, okay. And I played against
him in high school and, of course, we got to know each other, but it branched
off 'cause I went to Tennessee State, all right. And, uh, yeah, high school
years in a, in a nutshell were great years for me, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "I can't relive them though, but they were great. They were
great. And, in fact - college I said - and after high school I guess my most
memorable years were in the air force because we played the marines, we played,
uh, naval stations and whatever and I made quite a name for myself in the
armed services athletic, uh, whatever, okay. Because - and when I would play,
uh, and I was in Morocco, I guess, uh, it was - became (unintelligible). The
Moroccans. That's why I knew so much about what happens in the Middle East
because I was stationed in, uh, in, in Morocco, uh, (unintelligible). I played
baseball there and football and there was a lot of billing Green and the air
force against the naval stations and the whatever, okay. Everyone would come
out, see the football games or whatever. And, of course, I have some pictures
of things of that, you know. Green against Walker. Walker played for the marines,
okay. I guess athletically, that those were some of the brightest moments
for me, athletically, because in that area, you would go to Spain. You would
go to, uh - you would because our all star baseball game was played in Spain.
We came in, uh, we won the Spain and Morocco championship. We didn't win the
European championship, but we triple played baseball there. It was just a
wonderful time my last year in the military, okay. And, I guess, that is where,
uh, those years (laughs) I can't forget either, okay. It was tremendous, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Definitely. That's nice to be able to travel the world
Narrator: "Oh it was, it was, it was. And I got to travel the world,
but, here again, my mother, she's real keen on that type of stuff, okay. Not
me. My sister, okay, my sister - she worked for the government for so long.
Worked for the government, okay. She got a high rank. I forgot what. She died
about, oh, about four or five years ago, okay. You - she started working for
the U.S. Information Agency. She's proud of what her children would do. In
fact, she was in charge of her office, okay. All of a sudden she'd send me
clippings because they would just take her entire office and go to Europe,
Asia or whatever. And see, she would just have clippings of - Oh, Clydelle
was doing this, Clydelle was doing it. See, my sister went to Hampton. Hampton
in Virginia, okay. And, uh, see she's all for this and as far as I'm concerned,
I used to say - if my father or someone wanted to brag about it - stop, stop
this now. I don't want to hear it, whatever. But, (laughs) I guess it was
fun that way. I appreciate it now though, okay. I can look back and, and look
at certain things I've accomplished and, yeah, I feel good about it. Uh, even
some of the people - I saw - they have after school here. Afterschool teacher
who came in here, she showed me one of her teaching friends. That's Mr. -
I said, Oh my God. Mr. Green, you know what you used to do to me? I said,
Oh my God. Yeah, I am living the life of Reilly now in terms of people seeing
and me seeing people and the memories. They all have seem to make up fond
memories, yeah. I said I thought you'd shoo-, I thought you were gonna shoot
me when you go to be an adult. No, Mr. Green or whatever. Yeah, I enjoy that.
I enjoy that.
Interviewer 1: "Well, it sounds like success is part of your family
Narrator: "Well not necess-"
Interviewer 1: "Your sister and you did very well."
Narrator: "Well, success - I guess I did several - are those decades?
What do you call them - uh, of success and good feeling. I think through the
eighties, all after my wife died, everything was what my children were doing,
okay. My daughter because I don't think anyone ever thought my daughter would
go to college, okay. When my wife died in 1980 I thought I was gonna lose
my daughter. She took it hard. My son, he was a freshman at Lafayette College,
okay. And he went on to a lot of praise. All-American football player at Lafayette
and whatever and my daughter got through college with honors. That - the,
the eighties -were very good for me in terms of them. Everything transferred
to what my children doing. See these things I have of mine? I have as many
of them on my children. What they accomplished - I felt very good about it,
okay. Everything they did, of course. And as I look at it now, yeah, you,
you miss your wife, but you look at what they're accomplishing. And I'll show
you. Even now - I don't - even, like, my son here writes for everybody. Uh,
he, uh - last summer, two summers ago he was working in Florida, in Jacksonville.
He stopped working because there was a - what do you call these thing when
you go? At Columbia - what do you call it? A fellowship. He got a fellowship
to Columbia and to do work. And he's already been working for magazines and
so forth and so on. So he came here. Spent a year up here, whatever. And,
yeah, I was happy with it. Felt good about it because my mother felt that
I, I wouldn't, uh - if he didn't play football (laughs). And he's, he's into
music now. He writes for music magazines - Vibe, Spin or whatever, okay. And
I, I appreciate it, you know, and I love him for it, okay. And some people
say to me, All you want him to do was be a football player. Yeah, I love it."
Interviewer 1: "(Laughs) Well sports was very big for you."
Interviewer 1: "So you always want for your children what you have -"
Interviewer 1: "What you have and more."
Narrator: "And, and my d- not just my son - my daughter. She writes,
uh, she tutors right now at Westchester, okay. And she writes, uh, in, I guess
independently. She didn't work with the state and I guess she's written about
fifty articles for the state senators (???), okay. She's written for U-S-A
Today and things like this, but, here again, I'm just as proud of her. Even,
I probably even more so than of my son, okay.
Interviewer 1: "Uh-hm. Sounds like you gave them a lot of support."
Narrator: "Oh yeah."
Interviewer 1: "And a lot of help. Do, did your parent do the same thing
Narrator: "Oh yeah. Yeah, we were number one. In fact, as I was growing
up it was hard because if you were a child of a, a professional parent, okay
- they both taught - and you didn't want - you felt like the other guys were
looking down on you, whatever, because I was above them because my parents
were professional people, okay. And in the south, the way you were a professional,
as a rule, you were a schoolteacher or something like. There wasn't much professionalism
in other areas, okay. And it was almost like I was a special kid back in those
days, okay. That was sort of - I didn't like for people to think that I was
better than them because I, uh, my parents were professional and things like
Interviewer 1: "What did your parents do?"
Narrator: "They taught. My father was assistant principal. My mother
- she didn't teach because she really became a homemaker, okay. But, uh, after
my father died she went back - not as he died, became ill, okay - she started
working with the school system again, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm. All right. Um, I just wanted to, um, just check
back with you again about leaving, um, Goldsboro. You left with your wife
you said. Did you have children when you left also?"
Narrator: "No. No. My son was born in Yonkers, okay. They both were
born in Yonkers. After we left - excuse me - Saint Albans, okay, my son was
born in Yonkers, okay. My daughter was born in Yonkers. They both were born
in Yonkers, yeah."
Interviewer 1: "Oh."
Narrator: "That's where we started raising our family, yeah."
Interviewer 1: "And you left Saint Albans and came to Yonkers in what
Narrator: "Nine, nineteen sixty, exact - aw shucks. Late sixty-one?
My son was born nineteen sixty-one. He was born in Yonkers. Nineteen sixty-one,
I think. Nineteen sixty-one I came to Yonkers in sixty-one 'cause my son was
born in Yonkers in nineteen sixty-one, yeah."
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Um, do you, can you tell me where in Yonkers you
lived when you moved?"
Narrator: "Well, when I first came here I was at - see at that time
I was, I had the privilege of living on campus at, at, uh, Lincoln Watts,
okay. It's not that way with children's institutions now, okay. People who
were, like, in charge of things, okay, and whatever. You could live, but they
-all children's institutions have changed now, whatever. That is why even
over at Lincoln Watts they say, Oh Mr. Green, why don't you come back. Simply
because I was like a fixture. Like a fixture there, okay. Uh, we lived, we
lived right on campus, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm. And after you left there, you moved again. In
Yonkers, was it?"
Narrator: "Yeah. I moved to where I, I'm living now. Uh, 159 Hawthorne,
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Um, what did you think of Yonkers compared to
Narrator: "Put it this way, I liked what I was doing in Yonkers, okay.
I don't think the south, as I knew it then - I don't think, uh, as far as
I'm concerned I don't think the north compared, okay. Because although it
was segregated, okay, the fact is the way - as a teenager, okay, opportunities
I had as a teenager - not job opportunities, okay. Because I was popular in
my high school and so forth and so on. And maybe I didn't have some of the
worries because the fact my parents were professionals or whatever, okay.
I, in fact, even going back, okay, oh in the mid-eighties I thought the south
was really flourishing. And it still is, okay. I think the one thing that's
going downhill in the south, uh, the schools, okay. Because in the mid-eighties
the schools were totally integrated, okay. And, in fact, I thought the schools
in North Carolina were better than the schools, uh, in New York or whatever.
The way they were functioning. And, in fact, some of that is born out now.
When you look at the stakes now that put stress on education with master teachers
and things like this. That would have the - North Carolina puts a lot of stress
on that. I think it is first or second with the most masters' teachers, whatever.
Education is very, uh, is mandatory in those areas, okay. Uh, as I said before
Goldsboro, Greensboro, those are nice places to live, okay. Those are nice
places to live. And that's it. I had most of my, uh, a large part of my enjoyment,
my fulfillment in the south. And I guess really, uh, Lincoln Watts brought
a lot out of me because, I guess, because of the way the community appreciated
me. A lot of things that people remember me for at Lincoln Watts is what's
going on now. In other - well, I shouldn't say that. What I came to be at
Yonkers High School, okay. That was it."
Interviewer 1: "And you mentioned the community - a sense of community,
um, at Lincoln Watts. Is that what you were saying?"
Narrator: "Yeah. Well, the whole surrounding. In other words, Lincoln
Watts is over on Hawthorne Avenue. All the neighbors, everybody around remember
me, whatever. You coached football there Mr. Green. You did this, you did
that, you were this, you do that. In fact, some of the things - in fact at
one, one point somehow I was given Yonkers African-American Heritage. I didn't
want it, you know. No. So - I'll never forget - Clifford Cook (???) he said,
Mr. Green you are gonna take this honor because we remember what you did over
there. I said, Oh my God, please don't do that, okay, and said no. But, yeah,
I had a wonderful experience so far and I, uh, I can look back and say all
of my experiences were wonderful, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "Uh, I think the, the biggest joy I have out of when I see
people on the street, people who you would say would hate your guts - I said
I thought you were gonna shoot me. No sir, Mr. Green. If you'd please, you
go back to the school. I can appreciate that, okay. Then it was why didn't
you leave us alone and things like this. I work with, uh, the superintendent
now, Joe Farmer, okay. He was the principal at Yonkers High. He, at Yonkers
High School, gave me a opportunity because he was, he is the person who took
me out of the classroom, okay. He said, No, you're gonna handle the discipline.
You're gonna do this. In fact, when they gave, uh, gave me this honor for
Af - I said look, I told him. I'd said, Mr.- you did this. He said no Jim
you did it yourself, okay. Because, basically, it's that most of the people
now, some of the people in the system I work with - Brent Rosshill (???),
deputy superintendent - all those people who've been at Yonkers High School,
they gave me all the support that I needed, okay. Lou Constantino. All those
people. They were (unintelligible) everything that I do. Oh good, oh, uh oh,
I made a boo-boo. (laughs) No, no I was supposed to make a call to another
person. Ivan (???), who was at Lincoln. The reason why I said I made a boo-boo
he told me to call him back about this time. See, well (laughs) I had a question
to talk to him - call me back tomorrow at this time. But, yeah Ivan Topper
(???) who's the principal (unintelligible) and all these people - a big support.
And I was supposed to call him back today, but I'm (laughs) talking to you.
I'm glad I mentioned that because I promised I would call him back today."
Interviewer 1: "Well we won't keep you too much longer (laughs). Um,
I was curious to know if the - you - it seems that, like, um, what I'm getting
from you is that there is a sense of community, that you touched a lot of
children's lives and you knew a lot of the children through the school system.
Um, and I imagine - did you get to get, um, have a relationship with these
children's families also?"
Narrator: "-families because after I retired - usually when a student
is put out of school, okay, they would like to get teachers to go to their
homes or whatever. I guess, where you take the projects Slaubaum, School Street
of whatever - I probably, for a while, was probably the only one would go
down to Slaubaum or School Street and, you know, work with kids there. Usually
they don't like for a male to work with girls, okay. They would send me down
to girls house. I used to get very upset. I'd go sit in one of the girls houses
and I'd - and the moth - oh, uh, Mr. Gr - I, I've got to go. You know, stay.
I want you to stay. Mr. Green, we trust you. Stay here, stay. I didn't like
it then. Of course, uh, I was - there one I tried to reject. Several years
ago there were, two girls, sisters in the house. They had babies within two
weeks of one another. Mr. Green will you go down and work two of these? I
said, I don't want, you know. Mr. Green you don't w - so I would go down there,
okay. And, of course, basically, I also got annoyed at the mother 'cause she
felt I was there, it was safe. She wanted to go to the store, go wherever.
I - please don't go, stay. No, but, uh, I have a - parents, the relationships
I've made with parents, okay, gets me through working in the projects with
those people. Yeah, whatever. In fact, some people - I don't know if you saw
it this weekend. You watch t-v much?"
Interviewer 1: "Not too much."
Narrator: "Okay. VH1, uh, they had, uh, the life of Mary J. Blige, okay.
People used to hate Mary. I was the one person who to speak up for Mary J.,
okay. They had a whole hour special on her, okay. And she was singing her
song, whatever, and, uh - kids used to tell me, Well, oh Mary J, she was a
this, she was a that. Yeah. It came out in the - it came on three times Sunday,
okay - just how hard her life was and everyday if Mary J. thought about fighting
after school, I would follow her all the way from along from the middle school
up to Slaubaum so she wouldn't fight. In fact, our relationship came as such.
I think - what, what year was it? It must have been two years ago. Vibe magazine
called me. Mr. Green, we hear you were Mary J. Blige's teacher. What kind
of person was - I said I thought that she was a wonderful person. They had
heard too that people were always talking. Oh man, kids would come in, Mr.,
Mary J., she ain't nothing but a so and so. That's because your mother didn't
like her, okay. But, I thought she was a wonderful person. And they are -
she and her sister LaTonya - they are wonderful people. I saw LaTonya in a
bank last year. She was standing in line in front of me. You're Mr. Green?
Hi, Mr. Green! I said, Hello LaTonya. How you doing? Oh I still sing. You're
singing back up for Mary J. right? No Mr. Green, I'm her business manager.
I said, Oh my God, you're keeping all the money in the family. (both laugh).
Okay, no, no, no. No but, that's the way it's kinda - they, they, uh - I always,
I don't care what anyone says about 'em. I think they're, they're wonderful
people, okay. But, yeah - Mr. J. - and I looked at, uh, this hour long thing
on VH1 on Sunday, okay, and she was very clear about the things she's gone
through and drugs and so on. And now they're calling her - and I like they
way they say- she is the queen of hip-hop. She is the number one hip-hop singer.
I said all right. I felt so good about her or whatever, because every time
someone said anything negative about her I said, nah, you're forgetting. Your
mother might have said that because the parents who grew up with Mary J.,
a lot of people are jealous of her. That's what I told Vibe magazine. Were
just jealous of her, okay. I thought she was a won- 'cause she never did anything
negative towards me. Sure, I knew she had problems, okay. So, if she wanted
to fight after school I would follow her out or whatever. I know, uh, one
time I was following kids out of school, the principal came and told me, said,
Mr. Green we've got word from the superintendent. You're not supposed to go
out into, the street and break up fights. You're not insured for that. But,
I'd go and whatever, okay, because you didn't want to see the kids fight in
the street or whatever. But supposedly - but that's one of the reasons why
I was in Yonkers High School as a dean, uh - the union felt like I shouldn't
be compelled to go outside the school, you know, because teacher's jobs are
in the school, okay. And they don't want to have teachers to be out breaking
up fights or doing anything else, but I did.
(laughs) I did all that."
Interviewer 1: "Mmmm."
Narrator: "I said no and I - well, so far I'm still here, you know.
Interviewer 1: "Uh- Hm."
Narrator: "But no, uh, uh, they want to make sure. Teachers aren't supposed
to be out, you know, doing discipline."
Interviewer 1: "Yeah, well the kids surely appreciate it, I'm sure."
Narrator: "Oh the kids, yeah. Well, I feel they appreciate it now because
what their parents say. Their parents would come over, some would give me
a hug and things like this. That make me feel good, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Yeah, and they recognize you now and you are still well
recognized in the community."
Narrator: "Well, yeah. Yeah, but see some of the youngsters I'm active
working with now they'll hate me. They'll love me tomorrow though, whatever,
(unintelligible). No, it's like, I hate you Mr. Green. (both laugh) The negative,
negativism might come from some of these young people that I work with as
a group, okay. But individual - I go to the projects to work with 'em. Yeah,
I still, uh, I feel good about going down there. Everyone starts yelling,
Hey Mr. Green, whatever, you know. A lot of whatever it is so I feel good
about that. Feel good about that."
Interviewer 1: "And it sounds like you have, um, - how can I say this
- a strong sense of community that you want to reach out to other children
and other families, you know, that are African-American also."
Narrator: "Well not necessarily African-American. Yes and no. I have
two people on my, in fact, on my agenda. One boy is from the Dominican Republic.
I have worked with him for the last two years. He finally got - well, I won't
tell the whole story of him. He, uh, - I got him into a G-E-D program. He
wouldn't do it. He hates his mother, was hating his mother. I talked to probation
office trying to keep him at, at bay. And, uh, he finally moved out with his
mother about four months ago. Now, probation officer - they revoked him his
probation, okay, because of things he been doing. I called - he didn't do
people respectful. I said look, turn yourself in. I said I spoke to your probation
officer. She said nothing they could do about it, but they will take that
into consideration - you turn yourself in. He was very respectful. Nah, Mr.
Green I can't do that, I can't do that. Think about it. Three weeks ago he
and his boys were arrested in Greenburgh on a felony. Been calling the mother,
but wouldn't speak to him. She wouldn't. Spoke to her yesterday. He's finally
saying I'm sorry mother. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Yeah, he's learning now, okay.
And I, and so I thought she really hated him. She said, Mr. Green, I'm his
mother. I was happy to hear her say that because she - I could be the only
one that said anything nice to him. She said no, Mr. Green. I'm his mother
and I still love him. I said I'm glad to hear you say that, I said, because
no matter what I say or what the probation officer says, you're the mother,
okay. So you - so it doesn't just limited to black kids right now, you know.
'Cause I got (laughs) - there's a Hispanic girl come from Miami in this month,
okay. I've got her mother and I brought the two of them together. Father's
in Florida. She done went back there. Every time she come back, oh boy, she's
trouble. But, right now there has to be some empathy for her because she has
cancer. And I've got to remind the mother to make sure she gets all the information
from the hospital there in Florida before she comes up here because she doesn't
need to go from first base here because she is a girl that won't keep any
of her appointments, okay. But the mother said it might be serious and I,
uh, - she was here about two months ago and she stayed over near Elliott Avenue.
And everybody is after her. She said a girl came charging out. Where's Peggy?
What the - and she, she got on the plane. Went back to Florida right away.
I hate to see her come her, but, you know, it's a long story. No, it's just,
not just African-Americans. Yeah, I have taught a lot of African-Americans,
Interviewer 1: "Well, okay. Well, I, I see that you - your help- you
like to help. Actually, it doesn't matter. You don't discriminate who you
Interviewer 1: "I was wondering also if that was something that, um,
you feel you might have gotten from somewhere. Your family or, or-."
Narrator: "Like in what respect?"
Interviewer 1: "Um, I was just wondering if, if the type of - it seems
like you wanted to help."
Narrator: "My background, you mean. You're talking about family. The
way I was raised. Yeah, I could say, uh, to a certain extent, yes because
in a lot of respects both my mother's side and my father's side, okay, it
was a lot like, uh, Georgia, Atlanta. Atlanta, Georgia, okay. All of my brothers
- my mother's brothers, okay - were involved in some type professional or
whatever type activity or whatever. Just like I told you about the - my uncles,
uh, uh, marching with King and getting on the bus and whatever, okay. And
my father was from Newport News, Virginia. He was a, a professional. My, uh
- it came to my sister too. My sister graduated from Hampton. In fact, the
entire family. My sister, my sister's daughter, two daughters - one went to
William and Mary, one went to, uh, Penn State. The one who went to Penn State
and me again - my mother likes to kid me because I used to go to Falls Church
and asked her, you know, if she wanted to run because my daughter was running
track. And she was running. She'd run and she, eventually, she won the Virginia
State Championship. She went to Penn State. She was captain of Penn State
team. In fact, even now, she works in Annapolis, okay. She cooks in Annapolis
now. She's about thirty. She's a little younger than my daughter, okay. And,
of course, the entire family. I guess that motivated - for my mother and my
father - just about everybody in the family went to college and graduated,
okay. Guess, it was motivat- for her motivation, I guess, because she bo-.
She really cra-. No. She didn't want do any - even for my, my children. She
wanted to - don't you let them do. They want to, they gotta do this or whatever,
okay. She didn't want me to be hard on my daughter, my son or anybody else,
okay. She would laugh at me if they got their way and I didn't get my way,
okay. See, I told you. Let Tony do what he wants to do. Things like this,
Interviewer 1: "(laughs) Oh, That's interesting. That's good also, I
Narrator: "Yeah. Yeah, it's very good. No, I can appreciate that. There's
several things that, I guess, are real glaring. I think I mentioned, the fact
that I made a mistake in letting Dr. Tredder at Columbia Presbyterian tell
my children that their mother was gonna live, wasn't gonna live, okay. I didn't,
uh - and I took a masculine view. And although one of the things they wanted
to do was painful. Meaning they tried everything. In fact, my wife, uh, uh,
she lost the ability to speak or whatever. And the doctor, I think the psychiatrist
down a Columbia Presbyterian - I had seen something on television. The New
York Giants - one of the player, players had cancer. They put a Omaya (???)
reservoir, I think, in his forehead where the fluids would run down the spine.
I said try that on her, okay. They did (laughs) that. That still didn't work.
And, uh, the last straw, just before they said she wasn't gonna - there's
another chance. Well, there's one more Mr. Green. She can get a spinal tap.
Said if the cancer is in the spinal fluid there's no hope, okay. Now I'm seeing
painful. I should've been thinking of my wife more than whatever, but I said
- I just was trying to save her. I said, no, no, no, give her the spinal tap,
okay. We'll know the results tomorrow morning. They tapped her spine and they
said Mr. Green it's in the s-. There's no hope, okay. That's when I should
tell my kids about it, whatever. I guess I could regret that though, you know,
whatever, because I'm talking about saving her life, but yet it was painful
with her. Although, probably she was semi in a coma or whatever. She didn't
feel it, but, uh, I think I took the masculine way out, okay. Yeah, do it,
do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it , whatever. Talk to my kids? Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. They can take it! Yeah, tell'em about it. (laughs) I don't think
that was all that wise, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Well, how do you think that you helped your children
to move through that period?"
Narrator: "Well, right after that I, I, you know - it was - they were
both in school. She was in high school. They were in - he was in college,
and, basically, we just regrouped period, you know. And I helped them. I was
always available, okay. I just, you know, gave my whole life to them right
there until they got out of high school and college, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "And I'm not sorry about it though, you know. It's-."
Interviewer 1: "Yeah. It's hard to lose someone you love."
Narrator: "Yeah, but as I say - everything - my children still alive,
put it this way. And, uh, I think they realize that I've, uh, paved a way
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm. All right. Um, I was curious also about, um,
do you ever return to the south?"
Narrator: "Yeah, I've been to North Carolina several times, but I haven't
been there in the last couple of years, okay. Um, I would go down and, of
course, I enjoyed, uh, all my frie-. In fact, I'm lacking because the school
was Dillard High School in Goldsboro. And I read something in the Washington
Post several years back and I was proud of it. It has the biggest high school
reunion in America, okay. It was in their opinion column, okay. Black school
in North Carolina. Became - it's very - they sent out circulars all over,
you know. But, everybody - they even have a yearbook of the reunions and whatever,
okay. And, uh, but I didn't go. They sent me out a - even this year it said
it's gonna be in May. They want me to come. This year, yeah, this would've
been our fiftieth reunion, okay. No, I didn't go. Didn't respond. Excuse me.
Maybe I should've, but it's always a big reunion there. Big reunion there.
And it's recognized all around the country, okay. A big, uh, alumni reunion.
But, I didn't go back.
Interviewer 1: "Is there any particular reason?"
Narrator: "No. I'm just all tied up. You know, I'm wrapped up right
now. Uh, even in travel - I (inaudible), I just don't have time to travel
a lot now, whatever, okay. I'm that used to it."
Interviewer 1: "When, when you go back to the south, is it usually for,
to visit family or for re-, um, holidays?"
Narrator: "Well, that's what I used to do. Now, my wife's family. Now
I go down and see them or whatever you know."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "But, that's about it, whatever. Now, I don't even see my
nieces as much as I should. Of course, they're both doing well. Kimberly's
working in a government job somewhere in the Washington area. And, of course,
Carmen coaches at naval academy. She coaches track 'cause she was a great,
you know, track star at Penn State, okay. She, I think she went out to Nebraska
for a while and she was working and I don't think she would have made it,
but she was a good track person. She wanted to go one of her coaches to L-S-U
to do, uh, uh, - he - see she been training for the Olympics. She never, uh,
got that far, uh, her status. Yeah, she was a good track person. She set all
the track marks in Virginia at Falls Church and whatever. That's why she went
to Penn State. However, uh, I think she's happy what she's doing now because
she's very intelligent, very smart, very business-like and she's coaching.
I don't know if she's the head - I don't think she - she might be the head
women's coach at Annapolis. I don't know. I know she coaches female track
in Annapolis now, so."
Interviewer 1: "Okay. Um, what, how do you feel when you return back
Narrator: "Well, I see a lot of friends. Uh, and I try to make as many
rounds as I possibly can, okay, to let people know that I'm still alive, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "But, usually I spend time at my in-laws and whatever. Because,
basically, I have no - how do you call it - first person family there now,
okay. But, my wife's family is still there, okay. Some of them, not all of
her family, okay."
Narrator: "Mmmm. Are there things that you miss about the south?"
Interviewer 1: "Always will do that. In other words, basically, I can't
say th-. It's more of a homely environment, a whatever. Uh, here again, as
I say it's changing. It's becoming more just - is there a word, such a word
as - a job oriented whatever. Like, just like in New York. People want to
be in New York for jobs or whatever. Like in Goldsboro, you have a job, but
you don't want to live there, but it's still a very comfortable environment.
If I could, uh, if they had I-B-M there or if they just had a something I'd
be in charge of there, okay, (laughs) I probably would live there, okay. It's
a very comfortable environment. Very comfortable environment. Very wonderful
Interviewer 1: "What kinds of things make it comfortable?"
Narrator: "Well, I have a lot of friends there. Lot of friends there.
In fact, a lot of my friends stayed there and taught school because once you
graduated, if you came back to Goldsboro, you want to make money, you're gonna
be a teacher. There are a lot of schools there, okay. And junior high schools,
high schools and (unintelligible). Yeah, a lot of 'em are, are teachers, some
of them principals there. But, I think one guy, two guys I knew there were
principals have retired there, okay."
Interviewer 1: "Uh-Hm."
Narrator: "But, yeah, but that's the most, uh, comforting thing about
Goldsboro. Is seeing friends, okay. People you knew."
Interviewer 1: "Hmmm."
Narrator: "And sometime when you see them you say (laughs) I wish I
had stayed, okay, because they look so comfortable like that. You know. The
way they settled there (???)."
Interviewer 1: "Mmmm. Did you, um, find any Greensboro people here in
Interviewer 1: "I'm sorry. Goldsboro."
Narrator: "I said - the reason where Greensboro 'cause that's where
my daughter graduated University of North Carolina, Greensboro. No, uh, recent
- no, I, I haven't run into too many Goldsboro because I don't get to New
York City much, okay. Yeah, there are Goldsboro people in New York City. I
don't know where they live, okay. There was one girl I kept up with because,
uh, she ran track and I used to go down there and she made a splash, but she
also made a scandal because she came to New York. Now, she was - ran track
there. You only hear about her running track, but she was smart. I think she
went to Howard University. Then, for some reason she came to New York and
ran as Miss New York and she won and there came the scandal. What happened
is she started, uh, hanging out and flirting with this guy who was the husband
of the wife - one of the big shots at Essence magazine. Her name was Goldsville,
okay. And they - she was in - all these people struggling to take her cr-.
They finally took her crown, okay. She kept it for about a year, okay. But,
uh, I don't know if she's married or got or whatever. There was a lot of scandal
about that, okay. Uh, but Helen Goldsville was her name. That happened about
four, five years ago, okay. But, uh, yeah she was Miss New York and she wouldn't
give her crown for anything, okay. In fact, what happened was she was at -
what's the name of this place? Was it Sears? I think it was Sears. She came
to Sears in Yonkers, okay. She never really knew me or may have known me.
I went to her. Oh, thank you Mr. Green, you know, whatever. I was so proud
of her and then this scandal broke. I said, Oh my God. And really - underneath
- I was, I was in favor of the girl that, uh, worked for Essence, okay. Because
I really felt she was a (laughs). I felt ashamed of myself, okay. Kept all
the pictures of her and I gave the pictures - I think I said did you people
know this in Goldsboro because New York papers built it up quite a bit, okay.
Interviewer 1: "Wow. Is there other things about living her that you
tell people in Goldsboro?"
Narrator: "No. I don't know. It's so many things, uh, well, I guess,
when you get older. In my life there's some things - come and they go, okay.
Uh, tomorrow I think of something else that I liked and didn't like or whatever,
okay. Even talking to you. It just - things I never would have thought of
is come to mind or whatever. It's so many things, so many things, so many
things. Uh, back when I first started playing football, uh, in the forties,
okay. People coming back from the war, they were allowed to play football.
In other words they were drafted, they went into World War, uh, in 1946/'47,
they went into services. But, they were allowed to come back and play in high
school as they got out, all right. Maybe were twenty. State didn't have any
regulations on that. Uh, I was in ninth grade. My mother was afraid for me
to play football and I learned my lesson 'cause you wear cleats, metal cleats
or whatever, okay. And I will never forget, I came home after the ga- we played
our games at night - my hands all bloody because we wore metal cleats. I still
have some of the marks, okay. I was blocking something - my hands got on the
ground - someone stepped on my hands. I thought my mother would die, okay.
She didn't want me to play football in the first place, in ninth grade, because
I was playing with men, okay. Because men could come back from the war and
they could play because, uh, the only reason why they went into the army is
because Uncle Sam said you had to go defend our country, so."
Interviewer 1: " Well, I think we kept you for a while (laughs)."
Interviewer 1: "I just wanted to ask if, um, there was anything you
Narrator: "No. In fact, uh, what you did - you jogged my memory. Things
that I never would have thought of like as - I think it was a good experience,
okay. Bringing back memories, in fact (???), that I never could have catalogued,
okay. I think about every now and then, okay, but it brings back memories
Interviewer 1: "Yeah. Well, I'm glad to have all of -."