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Cross / After High School

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Interviewer: Where were you working at that time? Cross: You know, I can’t remember. I’ve had so many jobs. I think I might have been working at the Crazy Hotel as a hall-boy at that time. Most of us, probably, were working at the Crazy Hotel at that time. Interviewer: So, you mentioned the NAACP. Was the NAACP active in Mineral Wells prior to this? Cross: Yeah. Yes. They were active and that’s the reason they filed the suit, but we had some people to come out of Fort Worth. NAACP and the lawyers and all. They had pictures of every room at the Mineral Wells High School. They don’t know how they got the pictures. They had pictures of every classroom, every lab, everything. Then they would show at Mineral Wells High School, they had this. This is Dunbar School, they don’t have that, and they compared it like that. Like I said, we won the suit. One thing they did, when they integrated, they didn’t have to a court order or anything because they said we don’t have this many students to integrate. So, we can save money by just integrating. So, they just integrated. That’s one thing because they didn’t have that many students to integrate. About a hundred twenty-five in the whole system. Interviewer: About when did they integrate? Cross: I can’t remember because I probably was in Lufkin or somewhere when they integrated, but they just voluntarily integrated because they could save money. Interviewer: So, when did you graduate from high school? Cross: Nineteen forty-seven. Interviewer: Where did you go to college? Cross: Well, I didn’t go to college when I finished high school. I just got me a job and I was working. Then, during that time, they had the draft, and everybody had to be drafted. So, I think when you were eighteen you’d have to go to the post-office and sign up for the draft. Then, at twenty-one, you just automatically went into service. So, in 1951 I had to go into service. So, what I had to do, I had to go to Dallas. That’s where I had to go in. So, I went to Dallas and they would—seem like to me they were running some tests and things. Some of the guys were talking and they were saying that we going to the Marine Corps. I said, “No, we not going to the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps doesn’t draft. It’s a voluntary, so we don’t have to worry about that. Then, sure enough.” Then somebody said, “Well, we’ll be in San Diego in the morning.” I said, “No, it takes about three days to get to California. There’s no way we can get there in the morning.” Sure enough, we went out to the airport. They put us on a plane. Didn’t have any jets then. I’d never been on a plane. Nervous. They loaded all of us on the plane and we flew to San Diego, but getting over those mountains I said, “This plane ain’t going to make it.” It was at night. It was pop (inaudible), plane it was struggling to get over those mountains. I said, “Oh, I hope we make it.” I could see the mountains. This is at night. They have some lights blinking on the mountain. I said, “I don’t believe this plane’s going to make it,” but it did, and we flew into Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Working Conditions
Education › Education and Integration
Military
Military › Military Draft
Education › Education and Integration › Freedom of Choice
Tags Crazy Hotel
NAACP-Fort Worth
Dunbar School, Mineral Wells, Texas
Mineral Wells High School, Mineral Wells, Texas
United States Marine Corps
Ensley Marine Corps Recruit Depot
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Locations Fort Worth, TX
Mineral Wells, TX
Duration 00:04:41
Citation "After High School," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database, https://crbb.tcu.edu/clips/2389/after-high-school, accessed November 14, 2019