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William Dixon

Page history last edited by gjsands@k12.carr.org 14 years, 10 months ago
William Dixon
"I think that all of us exhibit a certain amount of prejudice—that’s human nature.  And you can hate this or hate that. But I think when you apply that to a group of people, and deny them their basic rights, then that is racism.  And I have always believed that, and I will believe it until I die.”
“…Later on, the school board provided buses.  In the early days, the students and the bus drivers and the teachers had to find a pool of money to buy themselves a bus, especially the sports teams.”
“Many of the bus drivers were either teachers or students themselves, so they had to do double and triple duty.”
"We developed a rock and roll band back in the fifties...you can imagine how much I was revered by the administration.  We called the band ”The Five B’s”…because all of the band members’ names started with a “B”.  And, of course, the administration didn’t think that you could combine that horrible rock and roll and learn at the same time.  ."
  "[Robert Moton] was one of the greatest educators in his time."
"Life lessons?  I think I learned that education was one of the most important things that you could have.  It’s the only thing that kept in school, along with playing in a band, believe me."
"My happiest moment?  I had many good moments at Robert Moton . . ."
"We used to play for  a lot of the YMCA’s and all of the things around Carroll County.  But we always noticed that they put us in a back room for our breaks, so that we wouldn’t associate with the white kids."
"My father ran movies at all of the theaters in Carroll County…One of the worst things in the world—this is where it affects the pocketbook— this is where it gets serious--and he was never allowed to join the Motion Picture operator’s union—and so he worked for 45 years and never got a pension.  Why?  Because he was black.  I hated it, and I hate it even more because it cost him a lot of money, and he could have enjoyed that pension."
"I always had a job to go to after school—I worked at a shop on Main Street called Rosenstock’s Ladies’ Shop, and it was a lot of fun.  But then when you realized that blacks weren’t allowed to try on clothes.  If you came in, you had to buy whatever you touched. You couldn't try on hats; you couldn't try on anything.  Of course, the basic idea being that you were dirty."
"I was playing music, and people payed for music.  There was a time in high school when I made more money than my father."
"My main job was a microbiologist for the state of MD."
"[Integration]  wasn’t an immediate process.  I learned this myself a while ago after talking to a friend, Ronald Hollingsworth, who attended Francis Scott Key.  The supervisor at that time…his idea was that blacks could never learn like whites…He figured that, rather than open the floodgates, he’d pick a couple of us to go as a trial thing.  So they were allowed—they picked three or four of us out of the community, and sent us to white schools to see if they could make it.  Many of them exceeded…remember they integrated [schools] in 1954, but it didn’t really happen here until 1964 or 65.  Actually, we were very happy in segregated schools. Because the competition was amongst the black schools around, and we enjoyed it.  It was only in Baltimore that integration meant that there were 28 black kids, and two white kids.  Up here, it meant that you had one black kid and thirty white kids…We had a very good time here.  Integration sounded good, but it wasn’t always the best thing, as far as I’m concerned.  ‘Cause I’ll tell you—everyone who left Robert Moton knew something…the teachers made sure that you learned, because they were working with the parents, and they made sure that you learned, which is what I think is missing in this world today." 
"[Obama’s election] was a vision.  I think everyone assumes that one day it is going to happen—that somebody is qualified enough, and the stupid prejudices that we live with every day are gotten rid of, it can happen…If you pulled the skin off of every one of us, you couldn’t tell the difference."
"My mother was a very quiet, stately woman wanted education.  She knew that was the way out of the life that we were living.  My dad…loved having a good time.  But he worked a job and he took care of his family."
"There’s no message—I just think that people need to love each other—that’s the most important thing in this world.  I think the hatred…that we harbor and keep in our mind is the worst thing that we can do.  People need to control their tempers.  Their words can hurt people in more ways than one.  Road rage…drugs…the problem facing you today is the most scary thing that I can think of today."
"College was not a question for us.  When you finish high school, my mother said, where do you want to go?  Do you want to take a year off, I’ll wait—no, we went!  And I think it’s the best thing that could ever happen."
"You know, everybody has things that they like to remember in those quiet moments, and things you’d like to tell your kids about, especially my grandkids, because they don’t have any idea about what we experienced, and when you tell it to them [they say], “oh granddad, Dad, that never happened.”  It did happen, and I don’t think anybody, any black person, should not understand what we had to go through.  We’re not bringing up the past—I mean, people ask you, “Why are you bringing up the past?—it’s over.” But if you don’t change the present, you are doomed to the past, and it can happen."

View the video interview for William (Bill) Dixon 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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