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Gary Hudson

Page history last edited by gjsands@k12.carr.org 14 years, 8 months ago

Gary HudsonYou had to learn…it was almost like once they discovered that you really weren’t goofing off, teachers like Daisy Harris, she would get you and corner you and make sure that you got it…and they put pressure on you to learn. It was something like No Child Left Behind, but different.


I graduated in 1959, came from a school on the other side of Carroll County, Johnsville Elementary School, and I came here in 1963, I think it was.   During that time, it was a time of youngsters from all over the county came together, because this was the only school that we could attend.  And it was kind of a close-knit thing, because what affected someone in Sykesville affected the same up here in Westminster, so it was a time for us just to get together, communicate, and learn.  And learning we did, because the teachers here at Robert Moton, they didn’t let you get away with anything,


It [getting to school] did make us more appreciative of what we were getting.  Sally was a little closer to the school than we were.  There were a lot of occasions when there was inclement weather, once we got here, we learned that school had been closed an hour ago!


We started out something like quarter of seven in the morning. and didn’t get to school until quarter of nine, so we were on the road for a good two and a half hours, just getting to school to get an education.


[on the bus ride there] it depends on whether it was winter or summer.  In the winter, we all huddled together, because there was no heat on the bus…There was a lot of playing on the bus, but not playing to disrupt the attention of the busdriver.  It was just getting together to share what went on during the day with your friends.


When you talk about the buses, it would be interesting to know that some of our parents  had to go around and provide their own monies to acquire a bus for us to come to school.  It wasn’t that the county provided the buses for us.


We had to leave from White Rock, go to Sykesville, go to Johnsville,  then go up to Deer Park Rd., then go down on 140, then come to Westminster.  And sometimes we’d get up here and school was closed, and sometimes in bad weather, it’d be dark when we got back home, on account of it took so long on the bus.


I don’t think it ever dawned on us that it was unfair.  We were interested in getting to Robert Moton, or to the other school in Sykesville (the elementary school).  One thing that did take place for us in the Sykesville area was that we had to wait until the white students were picked up and taken to their school, for that driver to come and take us to our school.


In the earlier days the [bus] seats went the long way.


We were serious, we went to class, and we learned.  It was great.  If we wanted to be like some of our friends, like Brother Dixon (laughs), we played hooky!


It was great.  We were able to have sports…except it was not like it was in the other schools.  We had no equipment.  If we wanted to play football, we played touch football.  Not tackle, touch.  When it came to baseball,  It wasn’t baseball, it was softball, and our playground was just a dirt field, with rock.  And we made the best of it.  And we were happy.


I started out at Henrington in food services, at the hospital, and then transferred to Springfield, and I ended my career as an administrator.


Things are much easier for them today, and they can’t comprehend what we had to go through in order to get an education.  They go down and catch the bus and go to the nearest school.  We had to travel half the day just to get to school, then learn and travelhalf the night to get home, and start all over again.  So it’s really hard for them to conceive that, here they are today and there we were, back when…If you look back at the old pictures, and see some of the buildings that we were educated in, wood, painted yellow, pot-belly stoves, that at times, we ourselves had to make the fire.  No running water.  Every now and then the government would bring in some cheese or raisins and hand out to us. That’s unheard of today.


[I tell my children about Robert Moton] how we used to go to school in bad weather, not getting off at the first little snowflake, like you do…and physical education—my granddaughter doesn’t like physical ed.  She says they don’t have time to take a shower, but now there isn’t time to take a shower.  I was kind of shocked that they don’t teach that, in this modern world…


I had the chance to…integration came around, and kind of spoiled things for us.  I had the chance to go to an integrated school a year before I graduated from here, and I chose not to.  I just felt comfortable at Moton, knew everybody, and was pleased at what I was dealing with. The teaching that we got here, I don’t think you can beat it.  You could not have beaten it at that time.


[How many others made the decision you made, to stay at Robert Moton?] I think we had 27 in our class, and we graduated with 25 of us.  So there were two of them.  One of them went to Union Bridge—they elected to go up there.  I think there were two of them…  It was optional then.  It wasn’t mandatory.  We could opt to go to the integrated school or we could stay where we were.  This school closed down in ’65, I think—then it was mandatory...when integration began here, we had the option of electing to go, or to stay in our home schools. So there was very few in my class who elected to go to another school.


[Were you happy about the integration?] That’s a double-sword question.  Integration, to me…let me give you an example….equipment was very—null and void—as far as us getting it from the county.  When it came to materials—reading materials and those kind of things—we were happy if we got a clean book at the beginning of the year because it was new.  But then we’d get about halfway through the book and we’d see something like “John loves Jane”, from Westminster High School, so we got the hand-me-downs. Integration improved things like that.  The resources were there.  But as far as the learning techniques, I think we were just as equal as going to a white school.


As Sally said—two different eras here.  I guess when it came to my era, we were kind of resentful, hurtful that our parents were paying the same kind of taxes as the other parents were, yet we had to get second-class material.  During my high school years, there were three schools being built—two white schools and ours.  They got brick buildings and we got cinder blocks, painted yellow.  Those things worked on your mind, but not to the point that it degraded our education.  Because…we had some excellent teachers, excellent…


Like Sally said, my father had to walk three or four miles or more to catch a bus.  He lived in a little place called Gaithers, and he had to walk down the railroad tracks to get to a little black school in Sykesville.  And back then, they got called more names—well, we did, too—than we were…


I wish I could go back and do it all over again!


View the video interview for Gary Hudson at the Carroll County History Project website, "Carroll County - Through the Eyes of the Black Experience": http://carrollhistory.org/tebe.html

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