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Cross / Being A Principal

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Cross: Then, another job I had that I would pass out the tickets. Take them to all the elementary schools and the barber shops and different places so they could presale the football tickets and the would pay me ten dollars a game. I probably burned up more gas than that just taking tickets out. So, we had played twelve games that year. At ten dollars a game, that was one hundred twenty dollars. I got my check and I had sixty dollars. So, I questioned the principal about it and he said, “Well, you’ll have to go see the superintendent about that.” Okay, I’ll go see the superintendent, so I go to the superintendent—well, it was the assistant superintendent and he said, “We only pay for in-town games,” and I told him that you can’t change no rules on me in the middle of the game. I worked all the games, in-town and out-of-town. They’d mail the tickets in and I distribute the tickets. So, I kind of got angry and I banged on his desk, I said, “You are going to pay me my sixty dollars!” He kind of perked up a little bit. So, then I had to go back and see the superintendent. Well, I went back to him and he said, “I heard you been pounding on Dr. Kerr’s desk.” I said, “I sure did and if I don’t get my sixty dollars, I may have to do more than pound.” So, the superintendent said, “Well, let’s see what we can do about it.” That Monday when I looked in my little slot for my mailbox, I had a check for sixty dollars. So, from time to time, I had to visit with the superintendent. I can’t remember all the different times I had to go, but I stayed in his office. Just there all the time. So then one day they said the superintendent wants to see you. I’m saying to myself, “What have I done this time?” I don’t remember I’ve done anything. I went to his office and he told me, he said, “We want to make you a principal.” I said, “What? A principal?” He said, “Yeah, we want to make you a principal.” I said, “Well, I’ll have to think about it, but I’ll have to have some conditions and I’ll give them to you now. I’ll hire my own teachers. I’ll make all of my decisions. I won’t be a puppet, you pulling strings on me and stuff.” He said, “You have to promise me one thing.” I said, “What is that?” He said, “If you have some concerns, I don’t want you to get up in a staff meeting and challenge me. What I want you to do if you have concerns is just call me and come over to my office and we’ll discuss it, but I don’t want you discussing it in the staff meeting.” I said, “Well, I’ll agree to that.” So, then they made me a principal at Brandon Elementary. So, I went to Brandon and about two or three days I was there, and I saw a teacher standing out smoking, kind of hiding. I went out there and said, “Why are you out here smoking? You don’t have a teacher’s lounge?” The teacher, I done forgot which one, said, “No. We don’t have a teacher’s lounge?” I said, “What? I can’t believe this, and I said, “Well, let’s get you a teacher’s lounge.” So, I got the maintenance people out there and I took part of the library, partitioned it off, and made them a teacher’s lounge. They said, “Oh thank you, Mr. Cross.” I’m saying the principal before me should have done this. You need a lounge, a place to relax or smoke or whatever you want to do and so I did that.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Occupations
Education › Elementary Education
Education › Secondary Education
Education › Teachers and Administrators
Education › Extracurricular Activities › Sports
Tags Lufkin ISD
Brandon Elementary, Lufkin, Texas
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Locations Lufkin, TX
Duration 00:04:50
Citation "Being A Principal," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed January 24, 2021