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Interview with: Cameron Wells Jr.
Interviewed by: Nicolas Castellanos
Date: January, 13 2010
Number: OH GS 0006
Nicolas Castellanos (NC): Good afternoon, and today is January 13th 2010, and we are here at the oral history project for the city of Houston, at the African American Library at the Gregory School, and we are joined here by a gentleman, would you please state your name.
Cameron Wells Jr. (CWJr): I am Cameron S. Wells Jr.
NC: And Mr. Wells, where were you born?
CWJr: I was born in Houston, in Hermann hospital, 1930.
NC: 1930, in a hospital, ok, and, your contributions to Houston, and the Houston area is great. You are a retired colonel, and what branch of service was that?
CWJr: Army, infantry.
NC: And you are also a former teacher.
NC: Ok, what school district did you work in?
CWJr: I worked in Houston Independent School District. For 37 years.
NC: You are a retired teacher, and you had mentioned earlier that you were a substitute teacher at some time here at the Gregory School.
CWJr: When I came out of the military in 1954, I started doing substitute work for HISD.
NC: Ok, and what if you would, we just want to ask you some of your memories, any memories, that you have of the people, or the place that is the Gregory School.
CWJr: Well, I have memories of the principal who was here, I think she was the seventh principal at Gregory Elementary school, that was Ms. Lois Brantley, Ms. Brantley was a friend of my Mother’s they were classmates at Prairie View in 1930.
NC: You also played a part in creating the troop, or starting the Boy Scout troop, here in Houston, Texas, and at Prairie View, would you talk a little bit about that, how that became about and your involvement.
CWJr: That goes back a long way, when I became a Boy Scout myself, my father was scout master, he was a purchasing agent, there at Prairie View. So I lived on the campus, I grew up on the campus. We, when the Boy Scout troop was organized, I became a member of that, and my dad was a scout master. We had some fond memories of scouting in those days. I don’t know if you know, or recall, but would know about it, but during the day there was segregation and all the Boy Scout troops in the state of Texas would come to Prairie View, and campout, and they called it the “Camp-around.” I went through some of the old annuals and I found some pictures of the “Camp-around” group, we had quite an experience. As a matter of fact, one of my classmates at Prairie View and I were both designated as official buglers, for the camp at Camp Straight, that was the first year, I think, Blacks were aloud to attend Camp Straight.
NC: Let me ask, out of curiosity, do you still have those bugler pipes?
CWJr: I don’t think so, I don’t think so.
NC: I bet you were an excellent bugler, now you had said that many people around Texas would come to Prairie View for the experience.
NC: How many, just roughly, how many would you say?
CWJr: I would say any where from 600-700.
NC: That is quite a number.
CWJr: They had different troops spread out across the terrain out there at the campus which was located at the North East end of Prairie View’s campus.
NC: One last question, do you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts today.
CWJr: Not recently, I did have experience working with the Boy Scouts when I was a teacher, in Houston, at Crawford Elementary school, and then later, worked with the Boy Scouts at Jack Yates high school, when I was an ROTC instructor there, and later I worked with them when I became a principal, and an assist principal at Blackshell elementary, and then when I became principal of Bruce elementary in Fifth Ward, I worked with the Boy Scouts there. I did work with the explorer program at Jack Yates and that was the extent of my experience with the Boy Scouts.