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Cross / Getting Paid

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Cross: I was driving a bus. Every out of town game, I drove a bus and so, I didn’t think anything about it because everybody else was driving. All the men. So, I was talking to a white guy one day and he said, “Well, I’m going to have some extra money this payday.” I said, “Extra money? What you mean?” He said, “Well, I worked two football games—or three football games. I drove the bus and so I’m going to have a check for that.” I said, “You get paid?” he said, “Yes.” I said I can’t believe this, so I went back to Dunbar and told all the men. I said, you know, “The whites are getting paid. They get paid for driving the busses. They get paid for working the games. I don’t know how much they get, but we need to talk to the principal.” So, we got all the men rounded up and we went to the principal’s office and we all got in there and he said, “What y’all want?” Nobody said a word, so I said, “We want to get paid for driving the busses or we not going to drive.” Another man said—I won’t call his name, but he said, “No prof, we don’t mean that. We going to drive the busses, but we want you to see if you can get us some pay for driving the busses, but if we don’t get the pay, we still going to drive the busses.” I said, “No, that’s not what I mean. I either get paid or I don’t drive the bus. That’s it.” So, he said, “Well, let me talk to the superintendent.” Then, about a week passed and we had a meeting and he said, “Well, the superintendent said it’s not on the budget for this year and he’ll see if he can work it in on next year’s budget.” So, I just stopped driving busses. So, the principal came—we had a trip to Pittsburg. He said, “We need a bus driver.” I said, “I’ll drive,” and he said, “How much you going to charge me?” I said, “Pittsburg? That’s a long way. Thirty-five dollars and I want my pay up front before I get on the bus. I want to be paid.” So, he brought me the money and I got on the bus and drove it. Then the next week he came back, said, “You going to drive again?” I said, “Give me the money.” He said, “Nacogdoches.” I said, “Nacogdoches? Twenty dollars.” So, he brought me twenty dollars and I drove the bus to Nacogdoches. I drove the busses that whole year and I’m the only one getting paid. The only one getting paid. We had some confrontations. Like when I told them—we had original football game in Corpus Christi and I’m supposed to go and keep statistics. The principal’s called me into the office, said, “Now, we can furnish your transportation, but you got to pay for your own hotel stay and your food.” I looked at him and I said, “Are you kidding me?” He said no. I said, “I ain’t going.” So, I didn’t go. Then, since they did that to me I said I’m not going to keep statistics anymore. So, the next year, the principal got up and he was assigning people and said, “Mr. Cross, you keep statistics.” I raised my hand and got up and said, “I’m not going to keep statistics.” He said, “Did you understand what I said? You’re keeping statistics.” I said, “Did you understand what I said? I’m not keeping statistics.” Well, I had to go see the superintendent. Defying him in an open meeting. So, I went to the superintendent and he said, “Well, the principal said you defied in him a staff meeting, in a teacher meeting.” He said, “Well, the principal said you defied him in a staff meeting—in a teacher’s meeting.” I said, “I sure did because I didn’t sign a contract to keep statistics for the Lufkin Daily News.” Superintendent looked at me and he said, “Well, I know how you feel. If you don’t want to keep statistics, you don’t have to keep statistics.” So, I went on back to my school.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Occupations
Work › Working Conditions
Work › Discrimination at Work › Discrimination at Work: Race and Ethnicity
Education › Teachers and Administrators
Education › Extracurricular Activities › Sports
Tags Dunbar High School, Lufkin, TX
Equal Pay
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Locations Corpus Christi, Texas
Duration 00:05:08
Citation "Getting Paid," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed June 22, 2024