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Cross / Testifying in court

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Cross: I testified in front of Judge William Wayne Justice in Tyler. I told him about—it was a coach—the principal was working on his PhD, so I was in charge. I’m the eleven-month principal, so I’m in charge. So, one of the assistant superintendents would come down everyday and help me open the school. He came up to me and said, “I just saw a woman go in the field house.” It’s about not-quite-seven o’clock in the morning. I said, “What? A woman in the field house.” So, I said, “Let’s go check on it.” So, he and I went to the field house. Knocked to the door. Nothing. Knocked on the door again because it was locked. Nothing. Knocked on the door again. Nothing. I’m saying, “Are you sure they’re in there?” and he said yes. This is the assistant superintendent. After a while, then, the coach came and opened the door and he said, “See, this English teacher was in here because I had some student that were failing English and I just want to know how she can help them out to improve their grades?” So, the assistant superintendent said, “Seven o’clock in the morning?” So, he just turned all kinds of colors. I told the Judge Justice that in the court that’s what happened, and they didn’t fire him. Then, there was another case where the choir director was going with another student’s girlfriend and he followed them. They met out in the country under a tree in the field and he came and told us, the girl’s boyfriend. We got the choir director in and told him he needed to get away from that girl and leave her alone. Then, he confessed in one of the classes and cried and said he was in love with the girl and he told the class. I said, well—they let him work until the end of the year and then they didn’t renew his contract. I told Wayne Justice that. I testified to all of that. Then there was another one—I’m telling it all! (laughs) Then there was another one. He was going with the drill-team instructor. He was taking classes at Stephen F. and she was taking classes and they would see them at the Dairy Queen having malts and all that stuff. We called them in and said, “What are you working on since you’re in college?” He said, “I’m just taking a course.” So, we told him, said, “You need to--don’t be around that woman. That course, you drop it, you don’t go to Stephen F. You drop it and you don’t take no course and just stay away from that woman.” He said, “Well, my wife knows about her. We play cards at my house. Her and her husband, and then we play at their house.” So, we said, “Well, we don’t care about that. Stay away from her. Drop the course and don’t go to Stephen F. with her anymore.” I told Judge Justice that too. I said, “Nobody lost their job and here this man, he just asked somebody out and he gets fired. That’s not right.” I told Judge Justice, you know. After I testified, I still had to get into the car with the principal, assistant superintendent, one of the teachers, and myself. We just hauled it all the way back to Lufkin. I said I’m just telling the truth and that’s what I did. He won the case. They had to pay him some money and stuff, but he couldn’t go back to the high school.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Discrimination at Work › Discrimination at Work: Race and Ethnicity
Race Relations › Black-White Race Relations
Education › Secondary Education
Education › Teachers and Administrators
Court Cases
Education › Extracurricular Activities › Sports
Tags Justice, William Wayne
Lufkin ISD
Lufkin High School, Lufkin, TX
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Locations Lufkin, TX
Duration 00:04:35
Citation "Testifying in court," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed September 25, 2023