“Learn About” Questions
- What was Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Commission? What was its focus?
- What role did Michigan State University play in the Civil Rights Movement?
- How has Central High School changed over the last 60 years?
“Learn From” Questions
- Have I ever been “the right person at the right time” for an important moment in my life?
- Where do I find my source of strength in difficult times?
- Have I ever been in a situation that required me to “ride it out” through a very difficult time? What helped me to make it through?
Well, it’s certainly a wide range of contacts. But I think the most important thing was that I was right to be there at that time at that moment. And what they taught me was the ability to stand my ground. I mean, we were in that school for 200+ days. So it wasn’t that you went one day and left, you had to continually go back. And I just recently attended my 60th class reunion and I said that, you know, today I can’t find anybody in my class that was opposed to my being at Central; everybody’s my closest friend now. But, the lesson that I learned that year and particularly with graduation, was that you gotta be willing to ride it out. And if you have a support team behind you, you can handle it. Now, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that we could’ve been harmed, we could’ve been shot, assassinated, you know, all of that, because this was before any idea of issues we face with guns and things now. But somehow I believe I was on the right side. I had a bunch of people who told me I was on the right side and I just went forward. Now, I thought from the very beginning, the reason I thought I was on the right side is because going to Central was a step up, better equipment, better facilities. And it was gonna help me do better in the next level of education. I didn’t realize until towards the end that having the scholarship to Michigan State was a tremendous boost because everybody else in my class was trying to get to the scholarship, or get accepted in college, and I had by December of that year, received notification that I had a scholarship waiting for me if I could complete that year. And so it turns out that, you know, that was a tremendous support, that I didn’t have to worry about it. I mean, and I told the people at Michigan State that I didn’t know where Michigan State was! I knew it was somewhere in the state of Michigan but as it turned out, one of the things that happened, the president of Michigan State was chairman of Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Commission, his first chairman, and evidently felt that this is something he ought to do so from his personal scholarship fiefdom, he decided to reach out for me. And it’s been a great relationship. The school has been very helpful to me and I think I’ve been helpful to the school. The family, the support, the ability to be there when there really were periods when you said, you know, I didn’t really sign up for all of this. Why do I have to go through out? And they would figure a way to give you, you know, a boost and to get through it to the next day.