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Calyen / Past Work and High School Sports, Part Two

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Calyen: --well received. Interviewer: During that time of you winning. Had whites’ teams in the area who won state championships, had they received rings and things like that or celebrations? Calyen: If I’m correct— Interviewer: Or where they not good? (laughs) Calyen: --no one had won a championship in Conroe. Booker T. Washington was the first school in the county to have won the state championship. I might be wrong, but I don’t think anyone else had ever won a championship before. Interviewer: So, you really did put Conroe on the map. Calyen: On the map, yeah. Interviewer: So, you mentioned that y’all were good at sports, particularly football. Were y’all able to—when you went to Conroe High, were you able to play on the football team. Calyen: There was racism. Interviewer: So, did you get a spot on the team? Calyen: Yeah, but some guys, you knew—you know it’s like to be in a business now and you’d be competing against someone. Some people that you just know you were better than, but you didn’t get that spot. Interviewer: Y’all had just won a state championship so y’all knew you were good, but you weren’t able to get starting positions? Calyen: No. Interviewer: Despite the fact that the Conroe team hadn’t won much of anything. Calyen: They hadn’t won. Won a couple of district playoffs but never a championship. Interviewer: So, in terms of Booker T. Washington won the championship, what league were you in? Calyen: Class 2-A. Interviewer: Was it the Prairie View League or— Calyen: Yeah, Prairie View league. Interviewer: So, you went to Conroe High, but they didn’t utilize your football excellence or the excellence of your team. How many players integrated into Conroe High that year in 1966? Calyen: Five or six, yeah. Interviewer: How difficult was it to make that decision to leave the school where you just won the state championship to go to another school? Calyen: It was a hard decision, but like I said, my mom put a trick question on me— Interviewer: She challenged you. Calyen: She challenged me. Said, you don’t think you can keep up with the white people. I said, I know I can. Interviewer: So, in that challenge, she definitely drew attention to differences in quality of education between the black school and white school? Calyen: Yeah. Jasmin don’t get me wrong, I think at that particular time with what we had a Washington school, we did good. Teachers were interested in the complete person. George Bush said no child left behind and there was no children left behind at Washington. They got a quality education.

Interview Interview with Henry Calyen
Subjects Family › Childhood Experiences
Housing › Neighborhoods
Education › Education and Integration
Tags Conroe High School, Conroe, TX
Booker T. Washington Junior High School, Conroe, TX
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Interview date 2016-07-06
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Calyen, Henry
Duration 00:03:20
Citation "Past Work and High School Sports, Part Two," from Henry Calyen oral history interview with ,  July 06, 2016, Conroe, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed June 25, 2024