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“Well, you know, I had an activist aunt. She was she was my grandmother's twin sister. And she was very active in CORE which was the Congress of Racial Equality and, and I remember, as a very young kid her running workshops in terms of what you, what you do when you have sit-in demonstrations, for example. How you protect your head? How do you, you know, carry out demonstrations that were nonviolent and the importance of nonviolent demonstrations. I think I must have been nine, maybe 10 years old when she would take me to those workshops. Most of the kids there were a little older than I was. But you, you clearly began to understand who you are. Yet you also understood the value of who you are. That you are valued, that you have a right to be here. There are times when you have to fight for it, but nevertheless, there's nothing valuable that comes easily. You fight for everything, you know. So, you know, very early in life you know you became familiar with your own identity. Plus, I had teachers growing up in elementary school and middle school who all were black. I didn't have a white teacher until high school. I had; I did not associate with whites until high school.”
“I think there's one important factor that I cannot leave out and that was the preparation prior to going to Miami Jackson. You clearly understood who your teachers were. You know, male teachers came to school every morning dressed in a suit and tie or sport coat in tie. Um, female teachers were dressed very well. Many of them with heels on. So, it was a very professional environment. Those were, you know, your instructors carried themselves as professionals. So that was the first exposure by many black students to individuals who were college educated who were considered to be professional. And they prepared us. You know, mediocrity was not something that was acceptable to them.”
“It became a matter for them, a challenge for them, to make sure that the kids that they were teaching became better than they were. And they had to be better than the than the teachers that taught them. And that type of handing, of passing the baton from one generation to the next through excellence or through achievement was very important to them.”