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Wilborn / Why He Became Involved with Politics

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Interviewer: Talked about you basically got into politics to help people. Would you explain that more? Why you got into politics? Wilborn: We have a tendency, the whites. The ones in charge when I say that. They were white. They have a tendency—they even get whites, not just blacks, they get people they can control. I’ve always been one—I was taught from as long as I can remember, do your own thinking. Don’t allow people to tell you what to do. They got two legs, two arms, and they want you to do something, let them do that. I didn’t understand that. My mama was talking one day—until one day I was in a grocery store, fella said “Bring me that bag. Bring me that bag.” And I didn’t. Another fella brought the bag out there to him and they realized that they hadn’t been paid for. Everything in that basket hadn’t been paid for. The fella took off running and that fella got caught with the basket. I could have been that person. That’s what my mother was trying to tell me. Why didn’t she just go on and tell me. Gave me parables likes this. Made it much simpler. I was also in elementary school, I can remember, I picked up—fella found a handkerchief, had twenty—dirty handkerchief, white, but it was dirty (inaudible.) Had twenty—he tried to get me to pick it up. I wouldn’t. You get it. You the one saw it. He did, reluctantly, it was so dirty. Opened up there was a twenty-dollar bill. I wanted him to share it with me. He wouldn’t. No. I would have. He said. “I saw it. You wouldn’t pick it up. It’s all mine.” Boy it hurt me. My principal taught me elementary school to walk high and keep your head up in the air and I did that. Lot of things I walked over were valuable, I had my head so high on the air. In the long term it paid off. Those things, what she’s saying, to help folks. I want to do right for folks. I want to make an assessment of the conditions before I make the right decision. Some conditions I already knew because I been part of the conditions. Part of the problem. I knew what was needed. Some people, I would say that’s obligated (inaudible) these people in charge own them. They going to tell them everything. Make themselves (inaudible.) They lie on a lot of things and don’t need it which is not true. So, I just told them. Matter of fact, I had some of them tell me—I was coaching little league, this is a good example. We integrated now. Somebody said, “Why don’t you have any blacks on your team?” I said, “Yes I do.” “You’re lying Wilborn.” I said, “Craig Rambo.” Well he was black, but he was just as light as any whites you’ve ever seen. I went on to tell them, I said “I could have whites on there, but you fellas won’t draft according to the best talent. You’re going to draft all the white talent. So, that leaves me all the black talent. That’s why I win every year.” I won eleven straight years, little league, see. I said, “That’s the reason. (inaudible) Because I was teaching some in elementary school and I knew what they could do.” Like I said, I taught—I was teaching sports over there. I was in charge of P.E. Taught math. I pretty well know them. They didn’t give me an opportunity. This is why I know. I had one fella, he taught at Texas Baptist University over there. He said, “Wilborn’s telling the truth. That’s what we do. (inaudible)” So, when people have you in their back pockets, they don’t do what’s best for the community in need. They always tell the person in charge, the boss or whatever you want to call him, what he wants to hear. That’s what I mean by being responsible. Some integrity in your decision making and trying to do what God really asked us to do. To help folks.

Interview Interview with John Wilborn
Subjects Family › Parenting
Community Organizations
Race Relations › Black-White Race Relations
Education › Elementary Education
Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics › Local Elections
Tags East Texas Baptist University
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Interview date 2015-06-23
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees Wilborn, John
Duration 00:05:17
Citation "Why He Became Involved with Politics ," from John Wilborn oral history interview with ,  June 23, 2015, Marshall, TX , Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed December 10, 2019