Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History


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Interview with Andrew Turner, 27 July 2005

Audio Recording

About This Recording

Andrew James Turner is a long-time educator in Wicomico County, serving at WorWic Community College and Parkside high school. In this interview, he describes his upbringing in the midst of segregation as an African American and his experience with the desegregation of Salisbury, MD. He also describes his various employments including law enforcement, Principal of a night school, and being a Pastor.

This interview is part of the Teaching American History Program. For more information, see the Edward H. Nabb Center Finding Aid.


[This interview was recorded in two parts. The second part will play automatically after the first; to skip to second part directly, click the forward button on the audio player]

(First Recording of Interview)
Michael Golnick (MG): Test. One, two, three.

Andrew J. Turner (AJT): You just want me to start?

MG: Yeah.

AJT: My name is Andrew James Turner III, I'm 50 years old. My parents, my father has died and my mother is still living. I was raised by my grandparents here on the Eastern Shore. Grew up on a little farm, just on the north side of Salisbury. I have two brothers and two sisters. Two sisters are older and my younger brother, well, I guess he's younger [Laughs]. My oldest sister has a college degree. My younger brother has a college degree and my sister in the middle has about two years of college in her background. I'm married, and I married a young lady out of college. We've been married for 27 years. We have two children, a boy and a girl: our daughter has graduated in the last two years and she's a school teacher now, and my son has an academic scholarship at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in criminal justice. After finishing high school here in Wicomico county, I decided to go to college and I went to school at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania. I've continued my education. I have two master's degrees, one in education from Salisbury State, or Salisbury University, and the other one from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. The first one is in instruction, and the second one is in counseling and I'm currently working on my doctorate degree in education, leadership and innovation through Wilmington College. I've got two courses and a dissertation to do to finish, so hopefully that'll be finished in the fall. I've had a number of work experiences since finishing college. I was a law enforcement officer for the city of Salisbury, I was a chief of police for University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. I was a full-time faculty member of Wor-Wic [Community College], teaching in the criminal justice program. So, I taught in the police academy and also in the correctional academy.

MG: Was that, E.C.I. [Eastern Correctional Institution]?

AJT: No, at that time the academies were hosted here by Wor-Wic. They were located on Lemmon Hill Lane at that time. As far as hobbies are concerned, I guess maybe real hobbies other than I really enjoy racquetball, which was something I wasn't introduced to until I became a policeman, the chief of police introduced a group of us to it and just recently I've picked it back up as a form of exercise.

MG: It's kind of interesting, yeah. You know, somebody our age not really having hobbies and I don't like to read, but you probably do the same thing but if you're still working on your doctorate...

AJT: That's not a hobby! [Laughs]

MG: Yeah, that's not a hobby.

AJT: I have to make myself do it. As far as future goals are concerned, I've been a local pastor for the past three years. So, after I finish my doctorate, I plan to attend seminary and get a Masters in Divinity, a Masters of Divinity so I can become an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.

MG: I've got a question on that: Okay you're going to become a doctor, are you going to retire from teaching and become a minister like our friend Mr. Miles?

AJT: Well, I'm currently doing that now so I'm looking at it as a second career. I've got about six years left in the school system, so I thought now is the time to start working on retirement goals, because I'm so young [both laugh] and it was interesting is that I pastor a white church. It's a white congregation in rural Somerset, Maryland. Somerset county, Maryland.

MG: Do you run across (inaudible)?

AJT: Yeah, every now and then, yeah, we're down in that same area, you know?

MG: Yeah, because I remember he told me he was down in that area and he seemed as happy as—I mean he always seemed happy, of course he was getting married too, and all that but I mean, when you see people happy, you know how they walk around with a smile on their face that's more cool things about it. The purpose of the interview is to talk about life in the sixties in Salisbury, and you being a young African American man from our conversations years ago, I thought maybe you could kind of relate that to some of the people so they could have it in an oral history. So I have some questions there if you want to follow up or discuss, however you want to do it, we'll follow that track.

AJT: Well, growing up in the sixties, I was raised on the farm. So, a lot of my encounter with whites were rather limited. I mean, the doctor was white. The shoe salesman was white. The person that I met at the Johnson's and Johnson's clothing(?), all those folks were white. We went into grocery stores and clerks and salespeople in there were white.

MG: Schools were segregated?

AJT: Our schools were segregated, we didn't have any white teachers until I got into the sixth grade.

MG: That was...?

AJT: '65, '66.

MG: Right before the...

AJT: Integration?

MG: Yeah.

AJT: And, you know, me and you as kids, there's certain, certain students were selected to go into this classroom with the white teacher. Not everybody did that. It seems like the kids that we thought they were really bright and really intelligent went in with the black teacher and the ones that weren't quite at the top of the scale went in with the white teacher. I went in with the white teacher, I did okay in school but I wasn't always an A student, so.

MG: We're sort of smiling because I think we both want to say that.

AJT: Yeah, I mean, I did what was necessary.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: and I thought it was a tremendous experience because what he told us is that he was preparing us for the next year and he taught us things about being honest and looking someone in the eye, and using a lot of manners and being respectful of yourself. Coming from a white male was pretty interesting, it's pretty interesting and the following year was a total immersion. We went from an all black situation to an integrated situation and the way that I was placed, I was placed in, they called it. they would go by ABCs, they were tracking them and I was in the BC group. So, it means I didn't get the top group, but I was in kind of like the middle, kind of, and those classes were relatively, I'm not saying that they were balanced, but the higher it was as far as academics were concerned, the less Blacks were in those classes and we found that a lot of the smart Blacks weren't together. They kind of spread us out, and you know, we had different friends from different places going and then going to different schools even, because the same kids that we used to go to church with aren't going to school with us, they were going somewhere else in the school district.

MG: Do you think that was the bussing in balancing the school's job?

AJT: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. The way they drew the lines were rather interesting, we thought. You know, whereas before we were growing up we were friends because we went to the same church, but then we become rivals because we go to different schools. So that was a kind of a separation there.

MG: You still see that today.

AJT: Mm-Hmm.

MG: Yeah, because I know a lot of the kids that go to Bennett Middle will come to Parkside or go to Bennett, or some of the kids that go to one middle go to Parkside and go to Wi-High [Wicomico High School].

AJT: And what I find is that because of that division that was created, it created, and even today it creates hostility between neighborhoods. Whereas before, we didn't have that because we were all under one umbrella. You know, it was pretty much of a common cause.

MG: So almost just like a negative.

AJT: Well I think when integration hit it was a total immersion, and no one had time to prepare for it. I think the white teachers and white administrators during their time didn't know how to respond to us and of course, we didn't know how to respond to them. The white kids that came in were curious about black kids and black kids were curious about white kids but no one took the time to really talk and help us work things out. I think someone thought by natural progression if we keep them in there long enough, it'll work itself out but that's not necessarily so.

MG: Like I was telling you, from a little kid all the way up to when I was, you know, old enough to go to school, or even when in school, our schools are mixed because I was in Montgomery County outside of Washington, different area I think than here. I think ‘55 or ‘56 theirs integrated because you know, I was little.

AJT: Yeah, and we kind of, you know, looked at it realistically. They wanted our athletes. You know, they didn't have a problem putting our athletes on their teams but then after the season was over, then our athletes disappeared. When it came to student government kinds of things that I was interested in because I wasn't an athlete, it was interesting, I was elected home representative and those kinds of things, but when it came time to become student government president, or student government president then you saw the real divisions as far as blacks and whites, because blacks voted for blacks and whites voted for whites just because. And even in the lunchrooms, blacks sat with blacks, white sat with whites and you very seldom crossed it because if you crossed it then you were looked at funny because even though we were integrated in the school, we still lived in the black neighborhood and we still went to church with black people on Sunday. So, they were the kinds of pressures that you were born with, and then every now and then you'd have administrator that would pull you in and want to know what black people were thinking about in the school. That was rather interesting and that was not only in middle school but that was in in high school, too. Certain styles came into play. The cornrows were in. I think they started—they had really tight pants back then, the afros came in, and because of my grandfather's beliefs I really didn't wear an afro until I went to college, but before that time I always kept my hair cut close and I always tried to, I didn't wear any styles that were in vogue. I was pretty conservative. So, every now and then I'd be pulled in by an administrator. They'd want me to help them understand what it was they we're seeing in the black population of their school and whether it was an issue or not. Such as cornrows, cornrows, when came in, first it was a way of styling one's hair, so that when you took it out it would blow it out and you'd have a big afro. Then after a while, kids just started wearing it and one administrator one day pulled me out one day wondering what I thought of it. Did I think black men and black boys should wear cornrows to school? and I said, you know, if it’s a style, then that's fine, but if it's for grooming, no. So, I tried to keep him, still keep him thinking.

MG: We're all kind of interesting, and you know, today, we would never have that. It's kind of a completely different thing, seeing how things have changed since that was what? ‘67? ‘70? and this is 2005, so.

AJT: Yeah, even to what kinds of bands we would have play for the dances, but it was going to go white band, it wasn't going to be a black band, it wasn't going to be an integrated band. We had, you know, discussions about that.

MG: Well, while we're talking, the radio wasn't great. If you listened to the radio, at least listened to the pop radio stations...

AJT: Well the radio down here [Pauses as phone beeps and speaks] the radio down here that was one of more popular channels was WJBY, 1470 [laughs] and it played predominantly white music. Every now and then it would sprinkle in black music, but most of it was white.

MG: I want to say I guess that’s the problem about living in the city. You know, we grew up with Elvis, and [Rick] James and Marvin [Gaye] and Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole and people of that nature and you sort of assume...

AJT: Well, living here in rural America, you know, you only have a few stations, so you listen to what you have. Now, other folks had access to that but that because they were going outside and bringing it back, but for my upbringing, I wasn't familiar with all those different black artists.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: You know, I knew some, but I was more familiar with the white artists and that's because of the environment.

MG: What about tensions of the community? You said you lived in the farm and came into to town and there was a quite a bit of tension in the middle of the 60s.

AJT: Well, more 1968 with the assassination of...

MG: Dr. King.

AJT: Dr. King. I was about 14 and I remember this was one of the rare times that my grandparents let me go get a haircut by myself and it was on a Saturday [pauses while phone beeps and then a woman speaks], and after that, my haircut, I decided to go to the poolhall, which was just within the same block, and when I went in there, there was a white guy that was sitting on a stool waiting to play. I walked in, he said, "You want to play?" I said, "Nah, I don't know how to play." Another guy walked in, very angry: "They just killed him, they just killed him, they just killed Martin Luther King!" and he looked at the white guy and said, "You did it! You did it!" and he beat him up, I mean, just--

MG: Wow.

AJT: Just beat him up and kicked him out into the street. I had never seen violence like that before.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: Never. Then after that, then there were threats of rioting, in Cambridge but also in Salisbury, and by nightfall, the National Guard had come in and there was a curfew. Now, I don't know too much about it because living on the farm we didn't come into the city, really come into Salisbury, we stayed out on the farm. But what was interesting is Monday morning, when we went to school, we could see the National Guard located at different intersections all the way to school.

MG: There weren't any guards in the schools or anything like that?

AJT: No, nothing like that, and we heard tales that, you know, you had to burn a certain light that weekend, you had to burn a certain light in your window. That's to let the people who were going to set fires know that you were a black family, so they wouldn't set fire to your house and that kind of stuff and you've caused me to remember some stuff that I had forgotten a long time ago, put it back in the recesses of my mind.

MG: Well, it's kind of like I was telling somebody, I can remember that good because I was driving a newspaper truck, The Washington Star, and riding through from Southeast Washington to Northeast Washington, through the streets, and you know I'm just a skinny little white boy riding through here and there's all these black people out there and they said "Keep your doors closed," It was too hot like it is today and I said "Hey," to people, and they said "Hey," to me, and some guy asked me, "Oh, do you have paper?" I flipped him paper and Shoot! and I'd be gone, see that light was green, and that's not all these people, but I mean, it was, it was really weird, I mean, and I still to this day feel like I don't know what was going on, you know, because I always got along with people and talked to a lot of people and to see that the unrest and the bad feelings, and...

AJT: ...And I remember going to church that Sunday that Martin Luther King was killed and Pastor Matt was preaching peace and non-violence and preaching that the people responsible for his death, you know, would be captured, you know, God's going to take care of it, stuff like that. Really didn't feel a whole lot of tension in school.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: Because the school didn't deal with the issue.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: You know, all the student’s issues, it was just about education.

MG: Yeah. That's kind of interesting, you know. Because there's, there was a talk.

AJT: Sure. They did more with President Kennedy's assassination than anything else. We were in school when that happened, too. Third grade.

MG: Yeah, I was in the 10th grade or something like that.

AJT: Yeah, I was in the third grade. Teacher cried.

MG: Okay, one of the questions I have in here about the beginning of Integration in Wicomico County schools and you did allude to that a little bit. Did you ever see, you said that the races were kind of at lunch and things like that, when did you see the beginning of the integration of the races as sort of like sitting together at lunch and maybe hanging out, or?

AJT: I don’t know, I think that wasn't really my period, I think that was kind of sporadic when you had blacks and whites hanging out together, it wasn't anything that was really common, even for the athletic teams. You know, they hung out together while they were playing the sport, but after that sport was over, that season was over, they went back, they went to their own. Just like being in the band, at lunchtime, I mean, when we're in band practice and band performances, you know, we're all together.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: But outside of that, you know, we're separated in our own groups and we took that as a way of being normal, because it was comfortable to be in our own groups. I think that we were suspicious of the motives of, you know, white people. You know, we didn't feel as though they really wanted us there, but the law was saying we had to be there and so it was something that was being forced on them. We didn't want to be there, it was something that it was being forced on us too. It always seemed that everything was fine as far as sports were concerned but when it came time for academics, that's when the separation came. You know, in the upper level classes they had, you know, what we would think would be our smart blacks didn't get in the top classes, for whatever reason.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: You know, and we really didn't think that was fair. When it came time for graduation awards or whatever, no matter how much work you did in school, it seemed as though the whites were the ones getting the money and the blacks were just getting recognition. So that didn't seem fair and I think that still holds true today.

MG: So, not knowing anything about how the awards are divvied out... [Audio Fades]

(Second Recording of Interview)

[Recording begins, interview resumes at 00:09]

MG: I've had immigrants in the area I talked to a gentleman from Greek about that, about being a first-generation family who had, since the seems like the year 2005 we have a lot of immigrants in this area and I said, "My question to you is, what about the immigrants in this town, did you see any?" and [audio skips] of course, today, I think a lot of the immigrants in the area should work on the farm, you said you worked on the farm, I guess back then.

AJT: When they're working on the farm back then, the immigrants that you see today weren't the immigrants that you that you see now. Back then there was a lot of, there were a lot of immigrants coming up from Florida. These are African Americans who were living in northern Florida and they were traveling through the East Coast, doing farm labor, picking tomatoes and watermelons and things of that nature. So I didn't know anything about Mexican-Americans coming in and doing what they do today. As far as Asians were concerned, there were very few. We have a much larger population now than we, than we ever had. Before the 60s there was, all I knew about Haiti was that it was an island and it wasn't until the Haitians came in the late 70s to 80s that I started realizing the Haitian populations of—we didn't have much interaction with them.

MG: Yeah and that's kind of interesting. He said that everybody seemed to get along and it's the thing that came up in our workshop was that it seemed like the immigrants were given an open hand to assimilating into U.S. Society where the Blacks seem to be still pushed aside.

AJT: That has always seemed to be the case that no matter where you come from as long as you're not an African American, you can get a break.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: And I think my own personal reason for that is that we are the only human beings in the United States that it took an act of Congress to recognize us as human beings. So, someone had to put us in the Constitutions for them to recognize us as human beings. Everybody else walks in as a man under the sun. Asians can come here and not speak the language and go to a bank and get a loan. (inaudible) can do the same thing.

MG: and We're providing classes for them here so that they can learn the language. What was it? ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages]?

AJT: Right and even back to even back to at least 20 years ago when I was a detective, my wife and I wanted to buy a home in Kilbirnie, which was an exclusive white neighborhood and when we went to look at the home, the realtor didn't know we were Black and because we were Black, we were discriminated against and didn’t get the home. The home couldn't sell for some reason. But then as soon as we started looking at it, it sells in three days. I had a, you know, it was a, you know, you can feel discrimination. A couple times, well maybe the time I went to the bank to build onto my house and the bank president, his name was Dave Rogers(?) of First Shore Federal and I met him through what was called a cultural awareness seminar where the city of Salisbury through the commerce, the city of commerce decided to educate minorities, which would be Blacks into how to network resources to get things done. And I met Dave Rogers through this because they invited me to join it, and we did! We met all the rollers and all the shakers in Salisbury over like a 14-week period. Every week we'd have a class, you know, like a three-hour class and I ran into a problem trying to get a loan. So, I went to him about it, and he said "Andy, show me your plans". I showed him the plans and he said, "Okay, I'll get it through for you." After he signed it a couple of days later, there was something else that needed to be signed on it. So, I took it to the, took it back to the bank, and Dave wasn't in and I took it to the loan officer and the loan officer said "How'd you get this?" I said "Dave Rogers," Dave Rodgers is white. I said, "Dave Rogers did it." He says "Good thing he did it because if I'd seen it he'd never have gotten it."

MG: This is back in?

AJT: This would have been ‘80, no, this would have been. This probably would have been about ‘79.

MG: Okay.

AJT: This might've, yeah, it might've been about seventy-nine, right after we were married.

MG: You know I told you in the article, that I went to school in North Carolina. In Salisbury, Maryland where I came down here to work reminded me of North Carolina with (the creator of the integration?). I saw a lot of that, you know, discrimination, and really, I'd never thought of it because I had never seen that before, but that's, again, coming from the city.

AJT: Well, one of the things that they taught me as a kid through church and through school is that, you know, and I think Dr. Martin Luther King phrased it correctly: One thing they can't take away from you is education, and if you, if you demonstrate your character through your work, there's nothing that they can do about it. So that's one of the things that I've always tried to do is to make sure that my character went first.

MG: I was going to ask you, you know, your varied background, you know, as a law enforcement officer, you went over there and then you go into education. How come the career switch, and then now we are talking a little bit about maybe possibly becoming a, going to seminary?

AJT: Well, I've always been, I've always wanted to help people, and I think as my wife can tell you that I have a passion for the underdog. Those folks that haven't been dealt a good hand in life, and as a policeman I always tried to treat people with the utmost respect, and I've always thought, "There by the grace of God, go I,". So that means that just because it's them, don't look at yourself as being better than just look at yourself as being fortunate. So I've always tried to help people no matter what, what I've done but—

MG: Excuse me if I'm interrupt but it is kind of interesting how people today sometimes look at our law enforcement officers is, I don't think they get the respect that they deserve anymore, yeah.

AJT: Well, I think the change is, the change is that when I was in law enforcement, I did it because it was a, it was a career that I thought that I could really help, that I could really make a difference. I never viewed myself as God's gift to law enforcement. I never viewed myself as a savior but I viewed myself as a way that people could be helped, and one thing that I told young officers is don't put the man, don't put the badge before the man, put the man before the badge. You know, because just like you received it, you could lose it.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: So. You know, one day you won't alwa—you won't be a cop and you want people to remember that you treated them with respect and you tried to help them.

MG: I think that's true of any job or field, it's like I tell student teachers now: you better earn kids respect, I said, if you don't earn their respect, you know what.

AJT: And um, so, one of the reasons I got into education was because in law enforcement, I gave it a hundred, a hundred and ten percent, but in giving that 110% that meant that I was going to be away from home. So, I was basically leaving Debbie(?) home to raise two kids by herself, and that wasn't fair to her. So, I chose to go in education so that had more time to spend with the kids and with my family, and maybe do some more things that were more interesting to me. You know, because locking up everybody else's child isn’t doing nothing if mine are running wild too, so.

MG: What about you? I know you're proud of your two children.

AJT: When they got in middle school, both of them, I told them they needed to start thinking about scholarships, and that's because I said, "Dave there's only two kinds of people that" [Audio skips, snippets of conversations play before interview begins again at 10:01]

MG: ...Continue talking about the transition from law enforcement to education and into the ministry.

AJT: Okay, well I needed to spend more time at home because I was spending too much time involved with the law enforcement and I had an opportunity to take a workshop, and not a workshop, I took a class through Salisbury State that was sponsored by College Park and I met a fellow there by the name of John Hollis(?), who said, "I'm looking for a Black counselor. Would you be interested in coming to Seaford to be a Black counselor in the high school?" And I said, "Sure" and at that point, they were paying $6,000 more than Wicomico, so I went and I spent five years there. Two years in the high school and then three years in the middle school and then they created these human relations positions for Wicomico county and I applied for that and was assigned here to Parkside. And the minority liaison position, minority relations liaison position is basically a position to investigate minority issues and complaints in the school.

MG: So, a little bit like the detective work.

AJT: Right, right, between students and teachers, students and administrators and even students and parents, or parents and teachers. If it involved a minority then I was to be involved in that. That met with some resistance because there were times when kids would get in trouble, and I would tell them "When you go to meet with the administrator you need to ask if I can be in there too." And a lot of times the administrator would say that "we don't need him in here. We'll handle this." and I felt that the kid came out with the short end of the stick. But, in my position as long as the kid was in school, or was able to get back in school in a short period of time, I didn't want to make an issue of it, but during the year that I was here, Parkside's suspension rate went down. Went down the lowest point that it's ever been, and it hasn't been there since. [Laughing]

MG: Well, I thought you did a good job you know, having you around because, yeah, we got a lot of (inaudible), and that's, and I thought, and I think that's, you know, good role models in the school, we just don't have enough male African American role models in the school and I think that's a negative. But you know, trying to encourage, you know, well that question here is, you know, about the 21st century and trying to encourage some of these guys but, you know, there's not a less of people, I guess, still will always be gravitating towards money and there's not a lot of money in the school system but there's a lot of gratification of seeing people smile at you, and say thank you, if you've done a good job like you were talking about, wanting to help the underdog.

AJT: Well then at the end of my first year here in Wicomico county I was offered the job as principal of the alternative school, dealing with kids who have disciplinary problems and I spent five years there and after that, I felt that five years was enough and I asked to be placed somewhere else. And with that, they created a principal position in the evening high school for me. So I'm still I'm dealing with kids that dropped out of school and want to come back. I'm still dealing with non-traditional kids, underdog kids.

MG: Which you kind of talked about.

AJT: Yeah, and we've been rather successful. There's basically no [Audio Cuts] minorities who have come back, Blacks who have come back to school, males and females that they're given a sense of hope, that they can do it and we push very strongly that a high school diploma is the first stepping stone to anything that they want to do in life to succeed in their dreams. In the meantime, I've been involved in the candidacy program for ministries through the United Methodist Church, and after completing that course of study, I was asked to pastor a small church in Somerset county. This church is all white. I call it predominately white because my wife and I go down and integrate it on Sundays, but other than that it's all white and it's a struggle and it reminds you very much of the Deep South. There are some who don't come to church because they have a Black pastor at that church. So, that's their problem and the lord will take care of that.

MG: That's really admirable. I mean, it's you know. Of course, you know, I said to you I kind of was kind of attracted to you because I just thought you were a good role model. I guess we'll sort of come and conclude this a little bit. What do you say about race relations heading into the 21st century? And today I see a growing mix of culture and lifestyle amongst the young people that I think, to me, there's always going to be some problems somewhere, but I think there's a better mix than there is, than everybody, maybe you have a better perspective on it maybe than the other side because you see it through the mainstream.

AJT: Well, I look at it this way: some people used to think that the United States was a melting pot. In a melting pot, everything goes into the pot and kind of loses its individuality, individual flavor and it kind of becomes the same. I kind of look at this more as a salad bowl and no matter what happens, you know, you're always going to be white, I'm always going to be Black, this guy's going to be Asian, this guy's going to be Haitian and this guy's going to be Mexican. But the only thing that's going to pull us together is a crisis, is that when crisis happens and we all become one, we become Americans where we don't have a color division, and then after the crisis is over then we go back to what we are. Now we have grown from that crisis because it's given us an opportunity to learn a little bit more about each other because we've had to work with each other but I think it's more of a salad bowl that we're going to see, and then what we're going to look at the strengths of each culture and look at the strengths of each people and use that to our advantage rather than our disadvantages. We're going to start looking at our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

MG: But that's a great line. A salad bowl. You gave me some stuff to talk about. Any closing comments? [Loud beep, audio skips]

AJT: I guess the closing comment is that I think this is a good exercise because this caused me to reflect on things that I have packed away in the recesses of my mind and I brought those thoughts forward and it has caused me to wonder: have things changed or are things still the same? and I'd like to say that in some areas, they have changed, but some areas they've remained the same. I think that the playing field is still unlevel, I think whites still have an advantage over Blacks in this country. I think anybody coming from anywhere else around this world has an advantage over African Americans. Just the mere fact that we have that history of slavery in our background and people will still look at us as being inferior. But I think we are making some headways because the Blacks that are moving up into leadership positions. Look at it this year: there's a Black principal at Wi-High [Wicomico High School].

MG: Yeah.

AJT: Never had a Black principal at Wi -High before. Had one at Bennett. They haven't had one at Parkside yet.

MG: Yeah.

AJT: I think we've had one at Mardela.

MG: Taylor.

AJT: Yeah there's Taylor. So, I mean, we're making strides. Look, we have a Black superintendent. Who'd ever thought about it?

MG: And she's a lady, too

AJT: Yeah, and she's a female. So, I mean, we're making some strides, we're making some strides. So, and I’ll put this other plug in here too is that growing up on the farm, my grandfather instilled in us a great work ethic. My cousin, who is Edwin Lashley(?), is a retired Navy with the state police, became second in command of the Maryland State Police, which was known as a racist organization. Purely racist organization. Fifties and sixties. This guy went in in the seventies and came to the top. So, is there a future over there? Oh yeah, there's a bright future for Blacks.

MG: Well, Lieutenant Governor Steele.

AJT: Yeah.

MG: You talk to him, maybe being, running for the Senate seat, which I think he would probably fit him better as governor. But, you know, I don't know where you can do the best job.

AJT: Mmm-hmm.

MG: Well, thank you.

AJT: Thank you.

[Interview ends]