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Cross / Teaching in Lufkin

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Cross: So, I started working here in 1954—Fifty-eight, because I went to college in 1954. Nineteen fifty-eight I started here in Lufkin and when I got here to Lufkin, I had never seen this many black folks in one place in my life. I called home and I told my mother and father, “You got to see this. I didn’t know there was this many blacks in the world anywhere and I have never seen this many black people in my life. They’re everywhere.” So, then I started teaching in Lufkin. You know, after I thought about it—afterthought—I had to work harder than any teacher in Dunbar High School because I had five different subjects I had to study for. Most people were teaching all math or all English or all science. I was teaching business math, business law, economics, beginning typewriting and advanced typewriting. I was teaching all those subjects at one time and so I just had to work harder, but I didn’t think about it at the time until I’ve had time to pause and think about it. I said I’m working harder than any other teacher in the whole place, but I just made the best of it. So, we started out and everything was going just fine. First thing we had to do, we had to make a speech before the student body the second week of school. The women were first one week and then next week the men. Of course, I had public speaking and all that. All the old teachers were saying we just—we don’t write out anything. We just go. I said, well, I’m going to write out something because—then, that day those men that were telling me they not going to write, I’m just going to impromptu, they got up there and pulled out a big old—but they didn’t fool me because I wrote mine too. We did the speeches and then we had different assignments. My assignment was to keep statistics for basketball and football. So, I would have to go and get up in the press box and I had a helper. I had a woman with me to write as I was telling her what to write. Then, if we were out of town I would call the Lufkin Daily News collect and give them the statistics from the game. Now, I didn’t get a penny for none of this and so I had to—now, if I were in town, I would just leave the stadium and go to the newspaper and give them all the information. Didn’t get a penny. I did that for seven years.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Occupations
Education › All-Black Education
Education › Teachers and Administrators
Education › Extracurricular Activities › Sports
Tags Dunbar High School, Lufkin, TX
Lufkin Daily News
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Duration 00:03:41
Citation "Teaching in Lufkin," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed April 15, 2021