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Cross / Having Multiple Jobs

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Cross: So, that’s the reason—of course, I have always spoken up. I don’t think it. I’ll say it. I’ve never been afraid of losing my job because I know I can get another job. I’ve done any kind of work you can name, I’ve done it. Construction. I got a job in the summer at the Texas Foundry. My wife wasn’t working. I said I need a supplementary income, so I went out to Scott Sayers and he hired me. I worked one day and one of the Dunbar’s teachers called me. I answered the phone. They said, “You’re not working at the Texas Foundry, are you?” I said, “Yes, I got a job.” “You can’t work out at the Texas Foundry. We’ve never had no teachers work at the foundry.” I said, “I need the money. So, I work at the foundry and if it bothers you, it’s sad and bad, but I’m going to work at the foundry.” I worked out there. I worked a wheel abrader and then I fed the burners. That was my second job. I’m getting paid by the hour and these burners are getting paid by the pieces that they—they just got a torch and they cutting all the excess off of the part. I got to put them up on the table and they’re pretty heavy. Then they just cutting everything off and then I have to take them off the table and put some more on the table and I did that all day long. Then, the last thing we did, we painted the whole roof, but you couldn’t stay up there until about ten o’clock. Then you have to come off. It had Texas Foundry on the top of the roof. Black and then silver all around it. So, we had to do that. I worked out there three summers. Then, two more men came on with me. One worked in kind of the cafeteria. He ran a cash register. The two guys with me, we were dead hard work. I’m not afraid of hard work. I’ve done construction. I’ve worked on pipelines. I worked on a pipeline and this is something else. Good pay. Only thing they would do was taking the pipe out of the ground because it was at Camp Walters and they were selling everything, and they sold pipes in the ground and this company was taking them out. My job was I had a steel brush, kind of like a drill, but it had a steel brush on there. I would clean the end of the pipes when they would take them out of the ground. Now, I don’t know a thing about creosote. Nothing. That first day, I cleaned those pipes all day and I had on a thing like a diving mask and it was putting oxygen or something into—and I had a window. I just get there and clean the end of those pipes. It was kind of burning a little bit and I said I can’t wait to get a bath. I got home and bathed, and it seemed like it burned more. That creosote was eating me up. I went back the next day and did it. Went back the next day and did it. I said that’s it. That creosote was just burning me up. Never heard of creosote. That was a hard job. I’ve worked some of every job. You name it. Then kids think if you’re a teacher, that you haven’t done anything, and I’ve done some of everything you can name. I bailed paper at a box factory. I’m going to give you a resume because it was a guy— (video cuts) Cross: --sharpshooter. Leo Corrigan got hotels all of the world, Europe and Asia, you name it. He got hotels, and he bought the Crazy Hotel and he was going to change it up.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Work › Occupations
Work › Working Conditions
Tags Lufkin High School, Lufkin, TX
Lufkin Foundry
Construction Work
Pipe Line Work
Camp Walters
Crazy Hotel
Corrigan, Leo
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Locations Lufkin, TX
Duration 00:04:39
Citation "Having Multiple Jobs," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed December 15, 2018