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Interview with: Clifton F. Richardson, Jr.
Interviewed by: Dr. Louis Marchiafava
Initial transcription by: Leon A. Richardson, Jr.
Dr. Louis Marchiafava: You’re a native Houstonian.
Clifton F. Richardson, Jr.: No, no, no native Houstonian, I was born in Marshall, Texas in 1910. My father and mother are natives of Marshall. My father came here to Houston, well let’s see, he uh first went to Calvert, Texas with a company paper in Calvert. I don’t recall. But he went to Dallas for the Dallas Express. I don’t recall the date. It must have been in the early 1910 or 1912, somewhere along there. And he came here around that time around in the early 1900s to work for the old Western Star which was a Baptist newspaper. He, uh, worked there a year or so and left there to found The Houston Observer. Move back, let me see something. Founded The Houston Observer with a fellow by the name of Campbell Gilmore. Then they printed The Observer for a year or two. Then they came to a parting of their ways. Then, I think it was back in 1918 or 19, I’m not sure, he founded The Houston Informer. Ran The Houston Informer by himself. Uh. In 1929, I think it was then he formed the uh Webster Richardson Publishing Company along with Carter Wesley who would later become the editor of The Houston Informer, Jack Adkins, Jim Mabry and George Webster. He, uh, ran The Informer until 1929, I think when he and Wesley, when they had a stock holders meeting and my father who originally had around 60% of the stock and had given 15% of that to one of the fellows who worked for him for a long time by the name of S. B. Williams. That left him with 45% and they had a stock holders meeting and they voted him out. So then he uh 1930 I believe it was, he started The Houston Defender, which he was editor of until his death in 1939. I worked at The Informer all those years and I worked with him at The Defender. Upon his death in August in 39, well my brothers and I took over the paper. They subsequently dropped out. One brother went to the post office and the other one started teaching school and we ran the Defender until the 40s in which time we stopped to take a job over at TSU as head of the department of photographers for around ten or twelve years. We left there and (became) managing editor of The Dallas Star Post for about a year. And we left The Dallas Star Post and we were editor of The Pittsburgh Courier Texas edition for a few years. And we worked about four or five years as a strings of correspondents for Jet and Ebony magazines. We also worked for The Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender. And then we resumed publication of The Houston Defender. Well it wasn’t The Houston Defender we started I think in the 50s a publication we called Inside Houston which was a name of a column that belong to Pluria that had such a following that we carried it over. And started Inside Houston with just a mostly an entertainment type deal calendar. Well the interest grew in it. So, we subsequently resumed publication of The Houston Defender making Inside Houston just a column in The Defender and we have run it up until this time. Of course all during that other time we were still running a job printing business here. The Richardson Printing Company which in connection with the Yates Printing Company was the first Black printers to do any kind of printing for NASA. We printed the NASA Roundup starting three years ago. Well, we were together in that about a year or better and I became a little ill and then at the end of the contract why then Yates and I parted and they gave it to him. And he’s printed it up until this time and I think this month will be the last month that he will print it because they will make it an in-house publication.
My father, well, he was one of the pioneers and giants living in Texas. He was also very well known. They called them radical in those days. He’s, he’s. Cause I don’t like the term liberal because a lot of times when you say liberal it might denote a class of people which you can only share one opinion. He’s was an activist. We did not call them activist in those days, we called them radicals. He along with the late Julius White; Carl Broding; Newman Dudley; Carter Wesley; Jim Mabry; Justice Goodman? ; another Black lawyer, fine Negro lawyer J. Vance Lewis; and a guy named Green I don’t remember Green’s first name. But it was a bunch of them and they had their own election. They won several offices but they took it away from them. They got lost in the counting process. That was the first and last year of the Black and Tan Republican Party. So they became active in the general election trying to do what they could in the general election when they couldn’t do that then the agitation began for the voting in the primaries. But it was a little difficult because state officials had the advantage of tax money to keep you from voting. So you were paying your taxes and they were taking the same tax money using it against you to keep you from voting and you had to raise all your money to vote. We got some funds from the NAACP but mostly they got funds by going to various Black churches Sundays and all after the eleven o’clock services or having evening services soliciting funds. That’s the way they got it. They made two or three appeals to primary conventions notably one in Beaumont. The state Democratic convention was held there but they were never able to get to first base since so far as voting in the state primary was concerned. Well about that time, the NAACP became active in Houston. They founded the Houston branch of which my father was president and then they had a Texas Association of Branches which was a combination of all the major cities in Texas that had branches and my father was the first president of that and they would pool their efforts and their information to try to get the right to vote in the Democratic primaries. A lot of people feel that the Negro didn’t have the right to vote. They always had the right to vote in the general elections but you couldn’t vote in the primaries. They had primary elections city and state level. Of course they could vote in the national election and most of them voted Republican. But what good was that since the South was predominantly Democratic. But after they got the right to vote, then a lot of the cities did away with the primaries just retained the general elections but they resorted to the rules of gerrymandering. And that in turn created problems.
But the NAACP during his lifetime problem was mostly. Well that’s the whole cliché about police brutality. But was, I would more or less call it maltreatment of Negroes and mal-administration in the police department. My father was active in that. He went to his grave with a v-neck scar right here where they took thirty-five stitches in his head. But 1928 cop stopped him and took him downtown for having a defective headlight. But actually they whipped for what he was writing about the Klu Klux Klan. Now Klu Klux Klan at that time was very active in state politics and still is. The Klan is still active here. You still got in the police department in the county government a hard core of guys that have been there a long time who are Klansmen.
LM: Do you know any specifically?
CR: Do I know any specifically? No what I know is that you still got a hard core of Klansmen down there. But most. (Phone rings). Pardon me. No, I don’t know of any people that I could name specifically. I know I was talking to Marvin Zindler here not too long ago and he was telling me the president of Heights Savings father was one of the biggest Klansman in town at the time of his death. I do know at one time it was earthly impossible to get elected to office here unless you were a Klansman. I know that Governor Ross Sterling was a Klansman. I know Oscar Holcombe was a Klansman.
LM: He resigned after one meeting.
CR: Yeah. Well, I don’t know about that. But I know he was. I know the Klan was real, real, real strong here. I know when Slim Kent and a bunch of them took that Black guy out and lynched him just before the 1928 Democratic convention that was here. Most of those guys are Klansmen. Of course, it has been said that Buster Kern was one of them. But whether that was true or not, has never been confirmed or nor has been denied. But the Klan was real active at that time and my father fought the Klan. At the time that he was fighting the Klan, there was a fellow by the name of Marcellous Foster they called meatball who was the editor of The Chronicle and later on editor of the, pictorial writer of the Houston Press fought the Klan with him. They collaborated in a lot of their editorials and news stories and along with them was a judge, J. B. Dannenbaum who fought it. And there was also Marvin Zindler’s grandfather continued to run advertising in my father’s paper, which was the Houston Informer at that time. Even though a lot of the other companies, Jewish and otherwise, refused to under pressure from the Klan. But he never did bow to pressure. He always. The Klan created a lot of problems because they were so strong politically. But after they had that situation up in Kansas where this guy sex-murdered this girl, well they kind of fell in disrepute and it carried on . But they kind of more and less went underground. The Klan did.
LM: There was a plot to kill your father, wasn’t there.
CR: Well, yes. They did have a plan to kill him. They had two plans. One of them, they were gonna, officers in Wharton were gonna arrest him and when they walked across the courthouse square, some sniper was supposed to shoot him down. Then there was another one was hatched here and that also goes to show you, you just never know. Of course the whites that were hatching this plan had a Negro waiter and he overheard the Klan but thought that he was one of those same “Ns” (offensive racial term) and they discussed anything in front of him. But a lot of people that they call safe are only safe because they have to be. But that basically all Negroes are Blacks at heart are what we call race people. And he called my father and told him that the plan was to lure him up to an office in one of the buildings downtown on Main, I don’t recall. They were gonna kill him and cut up his body and each one of them was gonna take a piece of it away so that he would disappear without a trace. But he got in the wind of that. Of course he had a lot of problems, they vandalized his office several times. They blocked ??????him to borrow money. Have any credit or all. He could more or less live with that.
Then the main thing they did was when they finally got the right to, they kept agitating for the right to vote. But my father died in 1939 and we didn’t get the right to vote until some years later in the forties. At that time I think, a person was Will Green, the other one was Fred Marshall, myself, I think we were the first three Negroes who were appointed precinct judges in the Democratic primary. There were quite a few others after then the first year. Then I remember back in 48, they had this big deal where Bob Morris ran for Sheriff and he lost. Somebody else ran. I don’t whether it was Mi Culp or Faye Julio. They got more votes than he did and he went into court to throw out the votes of box 48 and a lot of other boxes. Mainly box 487 which was a terrific Negro box. It was so big that they later cut it up into about five or six different other boxes. And at one time it had several thousand voters in that one box. So whoever carried box 48 was in good shape? The after that they had all this gerrymandering and all.
But my father and the NAACP, and Julius White and all those guys, they led the way because it was real, real expensive. Like the Smith-Alright case, they had a lot of problems with furnishing money for filing the fee and the lawyer would promptly serve without pay. It was still expensive. Stays and delays. They finally, they finally prevailed. Then they hooked in? with mixed emotions because they realized that it was just the beginning. The right to vote and then having your vote being effective. Then they had a lot of problems with thrown out ballots when they use to have written ballots. Then after the voting machines came in, most Blacks voted on the way to work in the morning early and a lot of the voting machines were inoperative. Then you had to call in to get the guy to come out there to fix it and he never got out there until around 10:30 or 11 o’clock. Well, most of the Blacks didn’t come back to vote. ????And that was a real, real touchy situation. Blacks like most people don’t vote for, they vote against. And that’s what they had to do back in those days.
But it is a little different now. But In those days, there were, all issues were black and white and by that, I’m not referring to race. I’m talking about the issues that were black and white. There were no degrations, or shades of gray in between. You were either pro-white or pro-Black. Like anything, that Blacks and the candidates that Blacks voted for, the whites were just instinctively against. But, it’s a little different now, a little different now. Not, you still have a specter of race coming up like Dick Gottlieb race for the last mayoral race. But most of it is sub-rosey. It’s undercover. They don’t, they not so obvious with it. It’s just like a, we have become like a man got a kept woman on a back street and tells her he makes an honest woman out of her when the man or his wife dies. Be honest now. You don’t lose cast when you appeal to Black vote. And that’s talking about most of these federal programs and a lot of other things. You have to ask me something else?
LM: Let me, just to go back a few moments you were talking about the police and being involved with the klan and so on. Have you seen any major improvements in the relationships between the Black community and the police department, over the last.
CR: Do you mean in attitude or in the way they’re treated?
CR: Well, yes here, it’s not as obvious as it once was. Use to be a time when we use to, noblely??? we use to judge progress in the city by the number of Negroes who were beaten in any given night. Cause every night someone was beat up, maltreated or taken to the police station. You can compare notes. Just like in the country, we use to judge biracial progress by the Tuskegee report on lynchings. And when it got down to where it was no more ten or twelve a year, they stopped keeping it. But I remember one time when it was up to 198 and 200 and something lynchings a year. By the time it got that low, they stopped keeping records.
But, we had pretty good rapport in the police department during the time that Hoffheinz was mayor, his father was mayor. Right after we started moving out here, they cleared out that area now. But a house over on Wichita that they bombed and HoffHeinz sent the word down to the police department and inside of five days they arrested the guy and inside of thirty days he was serving a multiyear prisoners Texas??? penniteniary for bombing. We had no more bombings out here. We had a lot of picture windows broken. Then last year or the year before. We’ve had, during the Short administration, we had several Negroes who were shot at on corners by thugs with shotguns and all. Just for no reason at all. Woman was killed out on, on East Tex Freeway by a bunch of white kids, looked right at her??????, boom, shot into her car. The attitude of the police up until the last Short administration was one that the police was like Caesar’s wife, above reproach, and they could do no wrong. And whenever they were, whenever they were just so far out in left field, when they were brought in they got a slap on the wrist. Maybe a two or three day suspension.
But even then the tendency on the part of the police department was to say well. Well, they equivocated a lot. Man has a problem with Blacks and whites, they say well we got lot of good Blacks and a lot of bad ones. A lot of good whites and a lot of bad ones. What does that do, it leaves you right where you are, on dead center. Hoffheinz has tried to change the police department, the attitude. In some respects it has. I’ve had several unpleasant experiences with them. But I’ve been able to do something about my experiences on account the publication. Plus the fact that I know Hoffheinz well, know people in the administration, we go right to the top. We get something done about it if it’s no more than just a reprimand to the people. But I don’t appreciate that. If it were’nt for the publication the fact that we could throw a lot of publicity on it, perhaps we would receive that type of treatment. But it’s, but 400,000 Negroes here. And it’s about two or three any good papers with any clout. So what good is that.
But, it’s just like the police department now where, where, everybody knows that it was rotten under Short. ?????????? come out or not. But you got. Yes Sir. (Interruption) Everybody knows that. Pardon me Miss Robbins, I set on three grand juries and the deliberations that I was privy too I couldn’t, can’t discuss. But I can say this much that a lot of the stuff that Short and Belcher and all came down there and told us, we questioned them about it. Cause I had firsthand knowledge (ok??) being out here in the Negro, in the Black community. A lot of the things that they said were happening, about to happen. ????? (Interruption) A lot of the things that I know that came up, we questioned because being in the newspaper business if any of those things were about to happen we would certainly know about them; a lot of them before they happened, certainly if they were about to happen, and most assuredly if they did happen. But the whites in the community were sold on the idea after they had this TSU situation, this shootout over at TSU, that the blacks were about to burn up, tear up the white community. So that anything was justified in keeping the “N”(offensive racial term) in his place which was akin to the same type of reasoning in the Nixon administration no knocking on?? Washington. So everything that they did well whites were involved they jumped when it was questioned, complained about, they say well this was necessary to do this and do this and that would stop that. But, you still got most of the officers protected by the civil service. You still got most of them who are the same type of thinking they did under Short. And it’s going to be real, real difficult until they have quite a few funerals down there and a lot of the guys are retired. And when I say funerals, I mean when death due to natural causes, it afford changes. And I don’t give a damn about how, how sincere Lynn and Hoffheinz. You can see now that the citizens should be grateful to Lynn for unearthing all that stuff. But now one of the publications, one of the daily publications, is trying to build a fire under Lynn based under some traffic tickets or something or fixing of traffic tickets. For in that’s a small aspect in comparison of fixing of traffic tickets, and tapping the people’s phone, and bribes. And even under Short, they had policemen who were kicked off the force for stealing or breaking in places. I know in one instance, they had what they called a “Cotton Ball”. And Blacks through and all the big shot Black gamblers come through Houston. And sometimes as much as $150,000 to $200,000 in the game, all cash. The guys coming in with attaché cases full of cash. So they had a game here, last year of Hof, Short’s administration. Cops raided it. They had about $25,000 or $30,000 on the table. They confiscated it. Guys went down and paid the fines for gambling. But they didn’t return the money. Well the local guys here a lot of them who had records, were reluctant to complain about it. Two of the guys, one of them especially from Memphis, hell he paid his fine. He had no record here and he wanted his money back. So he went down to the police station and talked to Short. Short got the name of the arresting officer and all and told the man to come back in a week or ten days. Well, the man didn’t go back. In a week after, Short called him and told him to pickup and there was all of his except about thirty dollars. And he told him that he knows there was a lot of gambling going on white and Black. When they are going to have these games and all, have it in a place and come there in a cab and leave the cars otherwise so there wouldn’t be a bunch of cars around there and know what was happening. That happened.
LM: How long ago was this?
CR: Oh, that was the last year of Short’s administration. Better than thirty thousand dollars. And then police records were????. In fact, they had guy down there. They had a. When I was on the grand, they had a. They kicked the guy out who was the head of the vice squad. And then one guy down there committed suicide and they found out that they were dealing in narcotics and what narcotics they had were dealing it back to guys on the street. A lot of narcotics they had down there was missing. A lot of stuff like Demerol and all that stuff was diluted, diluted with plain water. But it was hushed up. The grand jury refused to make them return an indictment ‘cause they said lack of insufficient evidence. Which was not at all true but they just didn’t want to tear up the community. Just like several years ago, when a guy who is now one of the top county officials was a member of the school board. He was selling insurance, he along with a member of the board. They were putting pressure on the school board members to buy this insurance. The Houston Post conducted an in depth study, one of their investigative reporters and found it all to be true but Miss Hobby wouldn’t let them print it because she said it would tear up the community. He subsequently didn’t run for re-election on the board and the other lady didn’t run for election. She was selling so much insurance, she made the million dollar table several times. But they were selling it under duress. So they, they get by with a lot of things in their own community as well as ours. Plus the fact that they are the only ones to tear up the Black community. Several years ago, they had a guy in the schools committed suicide. It was revealed that he was selling jobs, Black and white teachers. Mostly Black teachers. They had people who didn’t want it (Interview inaudible)
LM: (Question garbled, inaudible) Can you tell me a little about the TSU situation?(???????)
CR: Well actually what had happened , they had demonstrating over there for quite a while. (Very large segment of tape is Inaudible)
LM : Just one last question on this area. This goes back a ways during your father’s time and you may not even be, have any knowledge of it. There was a police chief by the name of Thomas Goodson.
CR: Yeh, I know Tom Goodson. Yeh, I know Tom Gibson.
Interviewer: Do you know anything about him. I, there are conflicting stories. On one hand, he was an ex-klansman and when he took over the police force, he tried to make radical changes in it. And I was wondering if you had…….
CR: Well I was real young at that time but I do know that he came up to the office to see the old man and he told him: “Richardson I understand that you carry a pistol and you keep a pistol with you at all time. He said “yeh I do.” He said: “I don’t blame you in doing it and as long as I’m chief you don’t have to worry about it.” But I don’t know too much about him otherwise. If he, if he were a klansman, if any public officiaI at that time was a klansman, well I wouldn’t be surprised. The mayor himself, Holcolm was a klansman. Anybody was a klansman in those days.
CR: It was the in thing.
LM: Well, the ironic thing about him was that after being a klansman he resigned and he took the job as police chief and uh apparently tried to make some changes.
CR: Well, I don’t know well so did. What’s this guy’s name on the Supreme Court?
CR: Yeh. Just any number of guys. Well hell, they say Lyndon Johnson was a klansman. Couldn’t prove it but they say he was. That was the in thing. You, in order to get a head, then you had to just like a lot of white guys had to belong to certain clubs and all. Since the thinking at that time was damn near like Dred Scott that the Blacks had no rights that whites had to respect. ???????us nothing. Kick a “N” (offensive racial term) like they kick a dog. They didn’t give a damn. You had no recourse. It’s not that way now. But, in those days it was. You wouldn’t dare open your mouth. It’s plenty of them just shot down. You say such and such a thing and that’s it. And they hated educated Negroes with a purple passion. Cause there’s so many whites that did not have training and education. And they come across a Negro with education and cops stop you and ask you who you work and you tell them that you are self employed, man the stuff was in the fan. But, you had a. The klan was not the beginning nor the end of the maltreatment of Negroes. It, just the thing to do.
Then they had a doctor here. I think his name was Cockrell. He was keeping company with a white woman and they found it out. Bunch of, guys took him out, white guys took him out and emasculated him. He left town. ??????Then what they call a goo-goo eye ordinance, white woman come down the street and claim a Negro looked at her. Something. Sh_ _, they arrest you. Or a lot of them was around with Negroes and when they get caught they holla rape and all that kind of stuff. That’s not true now. The justice department has cut down on a lot of that stuff. Then there has been a change in attitudes too. You got this new Black that’s coming in here, who this poor white, poorly educated white has got to compete with and that’s where most of the static is now. Blacks are moving in a lot of areas now and the guys have found out that it’s not only legal in getting rating and equally employed but found out it was practical. ‘Cause they found that the’re good employees as the white boy. They got to do them all because they got to have a little more on the ball. It’s just, just a, just a fact of life. It’s getting less and less but it still exists.
Interviewer Veronica Perry: Perhaps you could turn now to some questions about the media in general. First of all, I’d let to ask. Do you think that a Black press exists and what is your definition of the Black press.
CR: Well, I think Black press is necessary. I think it’s indispensable. The ironic fact is that the daily papers have a, each one of the daily papers has more circulation in the Black areas than all the Black papers in town put together. And yet they’re not sensitively attuned to the needs and complaint of the Black community. They just do the things they supposed to do or the things when they are more or less convenient despite the fact that two daily papers now have lots of Negroes in various branches, business, advertising, and reporters on down, have always had them in menial positions. But what you have to remember is that the Negro press has gone through several eras. We went through an era one time, when we, an area of agitation, when, where the attitude of whites and the white press was that first Negroes had no rights. The next place that even from a standpoint, a moral standpoint, a human relations standpoint that the white man had to respect. The next was that he didn’t, he had very little buying power so that no appeals were made to the Black market. Then since he couldn’t vote, why should they worry.
Well now a Negro can vote. They’re discovered the Black market. You see commercials on TV, commercials on radio. You see ads in the local and national media, Black models. You see open appeals made; sales and all that cater to the Black market because they realize how much the market is and the Negro, the Black is a quality buyer. He buys the best hats, the best shoes, the best liquor, and the best boat. And the best automobile even if he is broke on Monday, he’ll buy those things.
But still the Black press is, the bottom line in the newspapers is advertising. And I guess even the bottom line under that bottom line would be advertising for a major complex; Foley’s, Kmart, Levinson, Sears, and Montgomery Ward on a contract basis. Advertising on a transient basis where papers give Negroes, Negro papers ads one or two times a year, you can’t make it like that. You can’t cut it. Like bowling alleys can’t run unless they got leagues. That’s the way with Negro papers?????. Well the amount, the amount of advertising that comes from this transient ,hit or miss type advertising of the major white firms and the Black papers is not enough to allow them to become a viable force in the community like the Black, like the white paper. We don’t get the national advertising. We don’t get the volume of local advertising which would enable you to do things. But then in spite of that, the paper still tries to do the best it can under the circumstances. But there are a lot of things that happen in the Black community that will never see the light of day if it were not for Black publications. Even with that as much as the Black publications try to do for the community, they still, we still not bought in the same quantities as the white publications. That’s ironic but it’s true.
Interviewer VP: In view of the things you’re saying, do you see the Black press as having any specific responsibilities and functions as far as the Black community is concerned?
CR: No, I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree that the Black press owes the community anything anymore than a guy who, who opened up a liquor store and I’m going to give them a good product. It’s a little different from a physician who takes the Hippocratic Oath. He’s going to serve people whether no, do this, that and the other and they don’t do it. As a result, a lot of them taking medicine are now getting out of the profession on account of the malpractice insurance. If they owed them anything??? at all, he would stay there. But being a martyr, that’s really a poor??? profession.
But, the, at one time, if the Negro press didn’t agitate for voting, if it didn’t agitate, if it didn’t talk about, publicize maltreatment and here more recently mal-administration. Then a lot of it would never see the light of day. Because as much as a lot of people failed to realize it, it was the agitation of Black publications against what the Nixon administration was doing is eventually led to some of the things that brought it about. For an example, when Nixon impounded funds up there. When the court ruled that integration, busing, he declared a so-called moratorium until the cases then on the way in the court, on the way to the court be held. That was illegal. Spack????Cline came here, point man for Nixon for his last campaign. He had a press conference out at the Houston Oaks and we asked him this and he begged to question and tried to say it was not illegal. But if a man can declare a moratorium on any kind of court decision, he can impound any funds having to do with busing. He could do it with any other form of taxation and that’s what he did. That’s what brought about the Watergate affair. By letting him go and the things he was doing to the Black community, it ultimately carried over the in white community like the violence against the civil rights marchers, all against Blacks. Then they were against white men. Then they killed Mrs. Louisa. They killed white women. Then it got out of hand. The government had to, had to do something. But now the Negro paper had to do that in those days.
But now today, well we get desegregation, we got civil rights. OK, now what is the role of the Negro paper. They say tunnel vision is the price of living. Well, is it just a matter of more or less information now and seeing the instances of nonconformance or outright noncompliance are made known. But the tragic thing about it is that, we got suffrage, we got Blacks going to white schools, we got all these paid jobs, training programs. And yet the percentage of dropouts of Blacks is abnormally high, the percentage of Blacks voting in elections are abnormally low. The young Blacks who have gotten out and gotten these jobs are more less concerned with fringe benefits and security. They don’t concern themselves with the red issues in the community. They’re not taking advantage of the majority of the opportunities . And a lot of the things that we’re not getting, we’re not doing is because of ourselves. Shakespeare that man said: “???????????? that we are undolent. See that was old. Make yourself felt. Cause a practical politician weighs the number of white votes he will lose against the number of Black votes he will gain. Whatever the bottom line is, that’s where he is. He goes this way or that way. But we are too quick to forget. I remember my father use to say that: “ a Chicano never forgets the enemy. If you do his father, or sister, somebody evil; he will hate you as long as he lives. A white never forgets a friend. If you do something for his father, his children, his children, his children’s children; will be grateful to you and appreciate it and show it. A Black man will forget both, enemy and friend. And that’s true. We just don’t, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t remember.
So now the, the Negro newspaper to survive is, must go a majority of instance by the same yardstick as the white newspaper and that’s circulation. With circulation you got to have advertising. So the Negro paper tends to fall victim to the same type of thinking that permeates the white advertising community. That B. B. King says: “You pay the cost to be the boss.” If he’s got a big account over here like we got an account like, being General Foods that runs two to three thousand dollars a month. And they come up and say, like they have, saying that certain of General Foods products got a lot of sugar in them. That’s bad, bad publicity. A lot of times they ain’t going to run that stuff. ‘Cause you know if you run it, you lose that account. So we are, we’re getting just like the whites.
Interviewer VR: And let me ask you this question. What is your reaction to criticisms made of the quote, unquote Black press that it caters to reports of violence, shootings, and cuttings, and community ???.
CR: Well, I don’t.
Interviewer VR: Then on the other hand, it caters completely to social activities.
CR: Well, I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that. Now I don’t know whether your question is, stems from whether you are provincial in what you are talking about or you are talking about something national. Because we do have nationally, some Black publications that compare favorably with any in the country unless one exception would be the New York Times and the, the Washington Post. But now if you are speaking about locally, about a paper like The Forward Times which is just strictly a rip-off publication. And by the way that lady, who is the publisher of that paper, came by here last week raising hell with me about an article we had about, in our paper, about an item about her, which was no more than something we clipped from the daily court review about, about her buying her building for forty thousand dollars that houses The Informer. So, it was ironic to me that the publisher of a paper that dealt in rip-offs would come around here complaining about an article which was no rip-off. Now The Forward Times is strictly a rip-off publication. That’s the way, that’s the way it is. Now I don’t buy that, that that’s necessary for a publication to live. I believe that. Like you take your pornography, the movies that make the most money, entertainment that does best is family, family type entertainment. Pornography does all right for awhile. But this, after so long a time, what are you going to do for an encore? Once you’ve seen topless and bottomless, what else is there? And I think that there are more family people in the community than there are people who are non-family. Just like there’re more people married than there are people shacking because that’s the, the basis of our civilization.
So Negroes, more Blacks read white publications as I said earlier in the interview. You take The Post or The Chronicle, you take my paper, The Informer, Forward Times, Temple, Voice of Hope, and the daily paper publications several times that, very little of the news in there is about Blacks. So why do they buy it. Because of the desire to know what’s happening in government and know the ????.
Now the white papers run the same type of stories that we run. The only thing about it, it is they might be, might not be as explicit in their treatment or descriptions ?????. We might say that a man’s a bastard and they say that he was born without benefit of clergy. Something like that. It all depends upon how it’s written. It can be written in a different way. ???Reminds me of a story they tell about a catholic priest who had an accident with a brother. The brother just bought him a brand new Cutlass. He ran into it, broadside. They brother got out and began to curse the priest. The priest being true to the cloth just listened. So he said young that’s not necessary and I’m not going to endure ????? with you. I have insurance????. But he still continued to berate the priest in a certain term. The priest wrote down his address and all and gave it to him and told him to take this????. And said????? now I’m going to leave young man and said I’ll leave you with this word. He said, I hope that you will be able to make it home and when you do, when you get to the house, I hope your mother fall out from under the steps and bites you. Well, that’s the way the white papers write. We just tell it like it is, you know. It’s not embellished with, with anything at all. And that’s, that’s the lazy way to run a newspaper. You dig for the good hard news, interpretive news and all. But, it’ll take a little more time but I believe that we can do it.
We don’t, we don’t run any that kind of stuff. ‘Cause ours is not a newspaper, we call ours a publication. All we go out is entertainment and sports . Occasionally we might run editorials and all about something, no social news, and no crime. Because as such we have no society. We’re all, we’re all more or less the same level. There’s not much ??????. You might have a broad triangle like this and up here you have your doctors and dentists and a lot of other people who are making a hundred, and a hundred fifty, two hundred thousand dollars a year. But ooh, that’s a small percent. All the rest of us, well we just are more or less in the same boat. I don’t think we have any society as such. But there is a tendency on the part of a lot of people. Well just like they say, if you get mail every day, mail order houses, and various things and all, junk mail, you throw it away. Well, here’s a man that only thing people he hears from is his relatives. If he gets mail, he’s flattered. If you give him a business card, he’s flattered. So if anything happens to him, well he wants someone to know about it because he’s never, he’s never had any publicity. He feels a deep sense of accomplishment in what he’s done and he wants people to know. So we have no society. ??????That’s.
Interviewer VR: OK, in that.
CR: Not in Houston.
VR: In that respect, let me ask you this. What kind of impact do you think the Black press has on the community, oh the Black community. For example, one person says?? that the Black press molds opinion. Whereas another person says??? the Black press has to unmold opinion that’s ???????been formed by the larger news media.
CR: I don’t think that the Black press in Houston and that’s the only one I know about has any affect at all on opinion now. When I say opinion now, I’m talking about the, say the eighteen to thirty group. This is 1975. You take thirty from that, that be 45. And you go back or you take 1975 and you take fifty-four from that. That’s twenty-one. That be segregation then????? We had??? a whole new generation of people who formed the board base of a Negro population now who’ve come up and appear to know nothing about the klan. They nothing about the maltreatment of Negroes; mass brutality; the lynchings; disenfranchisment. They know nothing about that. They’re come up in a society now where they don’t want integration tomorrow, they want it rat know. And they’re not given to compromises. You just can’t talk to them like that. They do their own thinking. The majority of them, you got a higher level of intelligence. Back in the early thirties and forties and all, the Negro preachers and the Black publications were the only source of information for the majority of them. But now there’re well read. He knows now, the majority of Negroes that they are not newspapers, whether they??? white or Black, and especially white newspapers. But they are views papers. The papers represent in the majority of times not the news but that reporter’s version of the news. Like radio, like TV and radio, news is being replaced by commentators. And the best way to tell whether it’s news or views is to observe how much the commentator or the writer employs adjectives. I’m giving you an interview. You’re listening. The machine is running. She’s asking questions. No opinion, fact. Well I say she asks searching questions, opinion. I gave you a, a very lousy. She says, I gave you a very lousy interview, opinion. You read your news stories like that in the daily paper. They’re byline and every time I see a story that’s bylined, I get suspicious.
But this young Negro, this young Black, he does his own thinking, because back in those days, a lot of the people couldn’t read or write. It’s seldom ever you find anybody who can’t read or write now. And he is in a position to read the Black papers and the white papers and do his own thinking. The majority of them resent, just like you and I resent someone brining you something to you and say sign there. And becoming resentful, you want to read it. You can do your own thinking. The white man has done his own thinking a long time. That’s why they call them the “Silent Majority”. He just didn’t say nothing. You just saw it at the polls.
Now when my father was living, yes he did more public opinion. ‘Cause he had to get the right to vote. When Carter Wesley was living, yes he did more opinion because he was one of the writers of records in the cases and all that came up through the court. J, Roscoe Dunjee, of the former Black Dispatch. Abbott of The Pittsburgh Courier. This guy Van. Abbott of The Chicago Defender , Van of the Pittsburgh Courier. Back in those days, those guys did, but not anymore.
Interviewer VR: In your opinion, how many whites read Black publications.
CR: Well not as many as would if we got the message to them because they’re more whites who want to read publications than get them because they are difficult, difficult to get. And there’s, we have made no hard concentrated effort to get it to them. In that respects, I’m guess I’m about as guilty as any of the rest of them. Mine is a controlled circulation publication and unless we send it to them or help bring it to them or they come out in some of the Black areas, they don’t see it. But they want to know, they want to know what is happening in the Black community. And the majority of them, in fact any white who reads Forward Times, which gives them an entire, distortive and untrue picture of the Black community. Because they doing, when Julius was living, it did. It reflected the thinking of a lot of the people in the Black community, if not the majority. But it no longer does that. So as of now, unless I write something occasionally which at most of the time I don’t have the truth. There’s no Negro newspaper at present that you can say molds or has any great influence on the Black community. I guess you’re talking about politics now. They just read it and judge its news just like they do the white publications. That’s, that’s, that’s the broad base of people, at the broad base of the triangle. Now you get people up here like me sixty-five years or older, that for years that ???have come up. But this is where it’s at. This is where most of the action is for votes. So that you’ve got to appeal to him by mass media, radio and TV just like you appeal to anybody else. And I think a lot of the polls or politicians have been sharp enough to see that. And something else you’ve got to realize is that this is a new day in so far as politics is concerned.
It use to be a time when they came to the preachers and the certain Blacks in the community they thought had influence; same thing in the white communities. They no longer do that. They go to these big Madison Avenue type agencies and they make proposals and presentations, and they do research work, take polls and they sell a candidate like you sell Post Oaks. Like Nixon was sold. And in doing that, the demographers and all in the Black community, and the trends and all. And they have this approach to the Black and this approach to the white. And they have several different approaches in the city. They might ????sway it in Riverside this way and Kashmere this way and Denver Harbor another way, another way out in Memorial Park, another way out the Southwest Freeway. But the agencies control it. For awhile after the Black preachers were in decline, the Black lawyers were the ones who tried to fill the gap. It ain’t like that now. They use to have mass meetings and this guy say he controlled this and this preacher say he controlled that. But the Blacks don’t go to church as much as they used to and they found too many instances that the men of the cloth had feet of clay. Guy might go to a joint or a motel, pastor might be standing up there ahead of him at the register. So that they don’t hold them in awe like they used to. Cause in the majority of instances, a lot of instances, with the higher educational level of Blacks, most of the people in the congregation of the church, their background in too many instances was far in excess than that of the minister.
Interviewer VR: OK, you were saying that earlier the Black press really molded or really helped to.
CR: Well they looked at us like they looked to the preachers. They didn’t know. White paper didn’t tell them. So the only way that they had any information about a candidate, about the time to vote, or how to vote or this, that and the other, was through their Black paper. But that’s no longer true.
Interviewer VR: Thinking back under history of the Houston Defender, can you take some specific incidents where The Houston Defender really took a stand and the community really stood up and listened or you felt that it really made a difference.
CR: No, no we haven’t done anything since uh. Well we did one thing, most of the things that we’ve done during my father’s lifetime in so far as issues and all and voting which was the main issue. The only thing The Defender’s ever done, we helped the late C. E. King defeat a bond issue about low cost housing because we didn’t appreciate the place where it was going to be placed. That was back in the, in the forties. We’ve, we,ve done nothing recently that we can point to where we were, we thought that we were responsible for a change in the opinion of the public. Because at that time, we were a general news publication and now we are a general news newspaper and now we are not. Now we’re just a publication that more or less treats one segment of the news, that’s sports and entertainment. We don’t try to cover general news and a lot of editorials or anything like that. But that was back then. But I don’t, I don’t think any paper, even that’s been proven in the fact that how many issues the daily papers have, candidates they have supported and have lost. I don’t think people pay too much attention. Now, I think they listen and then they evaluate and then they make their own opinion. I don’t think this TV station come out for John Doe or so forth, Fred Hoffheinz against Dick Gottleib, that they can sway it one way or the other. I don’t think that’s an option. People are a little bit more sophisticated that’s voting, both white and Black. The Negro living and working in such close proximity to the white, apes his white peers and he tends to act more or less in the same and vote the same way they do except if it’s just out and out Black and white issues. And we’re getting fewer and fewer of those. Very few candidates now have the temerity to stand up and say that: “ Vote for me cause I’m a white man and vote against him because he’s a “N”. You don’t hear that anymore.
LM: I want to go back just a few moments and talk about your father when he was in the newspaper. Now you briefly mentioned his involvement with The Informer.
CR: Um, Uh.
LM: What happ?
CR: He started The Informer.
CR: Um, uh.
LM: What happened toward the end? He no longer had.
CR: Well they had a stockholders meeting and voted him out. That’s all. See Webster-Richardson, the Webster-Richardson Publishing Company printed and owned The Informer and the Webster-Richardson Publishing Company. He owned so much stock in the Webster-Richardson Publishing Company. There’s a Webster-Richardson Publishing Company, Real Business and Loan Association, the Safety Loan and Brokerage Company and one other company that Carter Wesley and Jim Mabry and my father and all was connected. Well you know what happened in ’29. The bottom fell out of everything. ????Quickly, they were building no houses, selling no mortgage. So the paper was the only thing that was making money. So they all got in the paper. Well when they started having problems, the next thing was then they. (Interruption). Straight to the back. Just go right on back to the back. By the machines now. On the left hand side of the machines, not on the right hand side.
They had a stockholders meeting and they voted him out. My father had a fellow named S. B. Williams that worked with him for years before they formed the corporation and my father owned sixty percent of the stock.
CR: So he, he, he in appreciation for what Williams has done, Williams was a school teacher but he moonlighted with my father. He gave him Williams fifteen percent of his sixty which left him with forty-five. Well when these other, when these other companies begin to falter. These guys got with Williams, told him they’d make him president of the corporation if he would vote his fifteen percent with them. But my father should have kept that one percent. He should have kept it. Because he was the majority stockholder, but he wasn’t when he gave Williams fifteen percent of his stock. Williams had been with him some twenty years but he voted with Wesley and Adkins and all of them and kicked the old man ??off. As simple as that. He was a better newspaperman and printer than he was a lawyer. And all these guys are lawyers, Wesley, and Adkins and all of them. My old man didn’t know about law and all. Damn good newspaperman. Damn good printer. But he damn sure didn’t know anything about that one percent.
LM: Then it was something of a coup, you might say.
CR: Well I wouldn’t say it was a coup, I’d say it was cold. So he founded The Houston Defender back in August or October I think in ‘39. You know what was happening in ’39.
LM: Was there a disagreement over policy of the newspaper? Do you think this is why your father was expelled?
LM: They wanted to do one thing and he wanted to do something else.
CR: No they just wanted control of the paper.
LM: I see. It’s just a matter of economics.
CR: That’s what I would say. ‘Cause I was pretty young then. That’s what I would say. That’s, that’s what happened.
LM: What did he do afterwards? Did he?
CR: Founded The Houston Defender. Stayed in the business, founded The Houston Defender. He went on founded The Houston Defender and his own printing company. See The Informer was the only paper here then. So when he founded The Houston Defender that made it two papers in town. You got about seven or eight here now.
LM: How did he fare against The Informer, the new leadership?
CR: Not too well. Not too well. Well now The Informer was no problem. He fared against them. But it was ’39. Starting a new business in ’39. It was in the thirties rather I should say. ’29. That’s when it was ’29 and he died in ’39. Actually that’s what broke his health, trying so hard to establish, to get re-established with, during that off period. My father wasn’t but forty-eight years old, forty-seven or forty-eight when he died. Much too young. But he broke his health. Broke his health. My mother didn’t die until she was seventy-eight and they were both the same age when they married. But he wasn’t bitter, he and Carter Wesley remained friends. They worked together on campaigns. They worked together in Jim ???campaign. They worked together in Mark ??? campaign. Worked together with another guy, named McDonald who ran for governor. Worked together traveling the state raising funds for the NAACP. Slept in the same bed, drank out the same glass. He didn’t hold any, any bitterness towards the rest of him. He just, he just should’ve known better. But he didn’t die with any bitterness. He didn’t die like Wesley. He didn’t know whether he was coming or going, chasing butterflies and all that type of ???. He died a horrible death. But it all came back to him. Cause he beat a lot of people out of money up in Oklahoma. He beat a lot of Indians out of oil land up there before he came to Houston. That’s a matter of record. Things I’m telling you are a matter of record they’re not, I’m not giving you basically my opinions. Just observations or whatever. But you asked me about present day newspapers. I, I just don’t know what the future of ????the Black publications is.
Interviewer VR: You spoke of the difficulty that your father had in establishing the newspaper. What do you think the chances are for Blacks just being trained in the newspaper business. As far as, first of all, maybe being hired by a white man.
CR: No problem. No problem.
Interviewer VR: Do you think that should be given???? a chance?
CR: Sure. They got, all they’re got to do is go down there to the Post and Chronicle and go through the plant. See more brothers and sisters now. Professionals, cause that’s what they are. Got a lot of Blacks are graduating from schools in journalism, professionals. Black publications now they’re got to compete with the white stations, and the white owned Black radio stations. That’s the Black publications. ‘Cause, my mother used to say, my mother used to cook green apples. I had green apples and put them in a square pan and cooked what they called apple cobbler. I don’t know whether you ever had apple cobbler. You ever have any apple cobbler? She knows something about it.
Interviewer VR: Yeh, I did.
CR: When they cook it, you know you could smell it for miles. So all the kids in the neighborhood when we have dinner and they come over, they didn’t want any dinner, they wanted some apple cobbler. So Momma say: you can invite your friends over here if you want to get some of this pie. She said: but the pan is just so big, the pie don’t get no larger, but the slicings, the servings get smaller. So that’s the way it is with the Black market. You get some, so many advertisers are going to spend so much, x number of dollars in the Black field. There’s just so much allocated. (Phone rings)
CR: Pardon me.
Interviewer VR: ??????????
Interviewer VR: Oh, about younger Blacks getting jobs.
CR: Well the future, you got a better future in Black, in the. Well just in the media period now. Because if there’ve trained in journalism, they can go in radio and TV, white or, white or Black newspapers. They got more of a future in white newspapers. Of course, unless they go to big metropolitan areas and that salary scale of a Black publication is so small. A publication like????, which is our premier publication in town, they found from the use of college graduates???that the starting salary scale that you get mostly high school and ?????high school dropouts. Put them on the newspaper. It’s just not true when they go in radio and TV in a Black publication. There’s not very much future for ?????a Black in Black publication unless ???he goes to Jet and Ebony magazine, Chicago Defender, ?????????, Mission???, Cleveland???, , New York Amsterdam News.
Interviewer VR: Well in general, what do you think the future of Black publications period is?
CR: Well I don’t know. I don’t know. A Black publication is more or less like a guy. ???????A guy I was talking about the other day, Martin Griffin went to KUIH and now that they’ve gotten on their feet, they don’t need him. So the more, the more proficient the Black publication has been in the past in so far as the things that brought about its, its, its beginning in the first place, so the closer I think that we come into knocking ourselves out of the classification of being a Black Publication so we eventually just have to be publication period. I think in the next ten years you’ll see quite a change in, in the makeup of strictly Black publications. They’ll be publications that perhaps will devote more of their news to Blacks but they’ll have just as much in there that’ll be interesting to whites, as although it is primarily about Blacks. ‘Cause they’ll apply the same yardsticks to Black publications when they, when the guy looks at you from the standpoint of you and your publication. “Cause most of them buy space now from these advertising agencies. You got to make a proposal and a presentation. Just like you go up to the bank to get a loan, he wants to see your balance sheet, financial statement. Just gonna phase them out, as a Black publication at this point???
Interviewer VR: So, ????you’re starting to have to meet new needs.
CR: Yea, just like got a,?????this time with these Black filling stations, service stations. Now they’re millions who use them and you can’t tell whether they’re Black or white when you go in there. So the Black papers perhaps have to do the same thing. You know they’re catering it mostly to Negroes, most of the help is Black. If it was an independent station, you can’t tell. Like this boy got the. Russell and Robertson got this Ford-Mercury dealership. You walk in there you wouldn’t know the owner is Black. They got more white salesmen up in there than they got Black. But when they started out here, we just had a Black automobile dealer. But that’s no longer true. He sells more whites than he does Blacks. This boy around here, I forget his name, not just automobiles, he sells more whites than he does Blacks, Bob Higgins. And the Blacks who work for the white sales, automobile agencies, sell more whites than they do Black. Although they got them there specif to begin with to sell Blacks. But A lot of whites would prefer to go to Black salesmen because they feel they are, are more cooperative. But they’ll rip them off just like the rest of them.
Interviewers DLM and VR: Laughter
CR: Sell you a car two hundred over list.
Interviewer VR: You don’t have to tell me. ‘Cause all mine we have??????
CR: Well you have to know. You gotta know how. Just don’t trust any of them. If you go there to buy a car, find out what the list is and they tell you about the drive price. What you want to know is what the cash price is. Subtract the cash price from the list price and divide it by the other, you get your percentage of discount. And the discount will be anywhere from six to ten percent, at least. They can go as high as twenty if they want. A lot of times when you do that, you’ll find out that you’re not, they’re selling you a car for this see. Then they give you twenty-five or thirty dollars off. You got all that to play with. He’s got a good twenty percent to play with off of list, if he just absolutely wants to make a deal. He still makes it. But the Blacks do it. I’ve been ripped off by several of them I thought were my friend. So don’t, don’t deal with your friendly automobile dealer.
LM and VR: Laughter. ?????? I know I’ve made two mistakes already.
CR: Well is that about all you want?
LM and VR: Yes, I think I have no other questions. ??????and this is a good place to conclude.
CR: Well if you want, anything else comes up and it can be arranged, I’ll be glad to tell you. A lot of more information I know about things, but it comes to me as I’m asked. I guess since Mr. Rice died here recently. Well, he was the last of the real, real core newspapermen. So I guess I’m about the oldest now. The next person would be McElroy, a guy up in The Informer. Everybody else has come in it, in the last fifteen years.
LM: Well ???
CR: McElroy and I, McElroy and I, we go back to ’28, back there. That’s, that’s a long way.
LM: Well we’ll want to take the option of coming back here. You’ve uh.
CR: Anytime, the only thing I ask is that you did like this. Call me and let me know.
LM: Oh sure.
CR: Then call me and remind me. “Cause as you can see, I stay pretty busy. And then it’s always. I don’t mind doing this because I think this serves a purpose. It’s always somebody doing a thesis and dissertation. They bring a questionnaire about this long and want you to fill it out and all. I got a young man that helps me here. It’s just the two of us. If I sit down and fill out a question or essay about his writing something about the Negro in Houston, the Negro press. Well, I couldn’t make a living. It isn’t that I want to be short to them. I have to screen their, screen their request. Just like this guy ask me to be on TV, with K, KPRC TV, whether or not. I’ll do it for him because I owe him, but I just had to cut down. Because they want you to be on this panel and that panel and I really got teed off after I found out that all the whites being on the panel are being paid and they stop me from my time and say thank you. I can’t buy nothing with thank you. But I’ll do this.
“Cause I think it would be a hell of thing the fact that when I die, a lot of stuff that I know, only I know, dies with me. And there have been so many misconceptions about things that have happened in the Black community. For the example, they had a fellow named Hobart Taylor died here recently. And they wrote it up in the paper that Hobart was responsible for Negroes voting, and Hobart did this, and Hobart did this, and Hobart did this. It was a damn lie. Hobart didn’t. Hobart was one of the biggest Uncle Tom’s there ever was. Hobart didn’t contribute to Negroes voting or legal funds. As I told you, they went around the country, raised that money. But what he did after a lot of these people died and that we got the right to vote, he said he did. I got put on the grand jury twice and he said that he was responsible for me putting on, getting on the grand jury and that was a lie. The man responsible for me putting on, getting on the grand jury was a janitor at a white school, who moonlighted for a member of the officer of the school system, who was a member of the grand jury commission. And he asked him to ask me if he named me, would I serve. ‘Cause he didn’t want to name me and I embarrass him by not serving. Then somebody else, somebody’s maid worked for a prominent white family and they told her to ask me. Well a lot of the people didn’t know that. So he claimed credit for it. When there was a matter of fact, he was one of the ones was around here trying to keep Negroes from asking for this, that and the other. It’s misinformation like this. And the man who wrote it, bless his heart he’s dead now. Had only come here within the last ten or fifteen years. He was just carried, passing along something he had heard. He didn’t know it to be a fact. Fred and I are going to these conventions, national and state. Been active, been part of the caucus, actively a part of the caucus. So what we’re saying is not opinion is just another thing that we know. So this other than some ???? importance, very few people are interested. But, it, it should be known, how those people gave their money and how they fought. And how John Ben Shepherd, what he did, to kill the NAACP legally in this state at a trial at Temple, Texas. I was working for the Courier then. You’ll find a lot of things, that now that they don’t even, when you mention them, the whites say well nothing is to be gained by rehashing all ???????that. Let’s forgot all that and go from this day forward. But it should be known. ‘Cause how can you tell, how much progress you’re made, ‘til you check on where you came from.
LM: Um uh.
CR: No way. And how can you learn the future except from the mistakes of the past? How can you appreciate it? That’s the reason young Blacks don’t appreciate it. They just don’t know. How Blacks had to be beaten and whipped. They went to the polls to vote. They took the vote away from you, until we began to get Black election officials . And a lot of the time, the officials couldn’t hardly read or write themselves. They just don’t know??. But it’s been so much, so I can understand the white man’s attitude. Just who wants to rattle the skeleton in his closet. Just like the racketeer. He makes his money in the racket then he wants to buy respectability. I know a lot of madams in this town. Black people, women who ran the whore houses catering to whites. Made a lot of money and got out of it. Now they’re the biggest women in the women’s missionary society. It’s true. ‘Cause the most of the money that could be made back in those days, were the women running these houses catering to whites. But you don’t read about it.
But I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m, I’m pessimistic and all. I’m a realist. I know from whence we’re come and what we’re done. I know how much farther we, I know what we’re got to do. And I appreciate. I can, I can, I was brought up in the schools here. I got a, I got a third rate education, fourth rate education. We used to go to school on a day like today in this rain, we had one incandescent, one of them old style incandescent bulb. It got dark they stopped classes ‘cause you couldn’t see. And I appreciate it. I was able to educate my daughter. She finished general hygiene at UT, Saturday night. She wants to go on now and get a dentistry of public health which I’m glad. We were all sitting there the other night, seeing all those kids. Black gal got up, doctorate of philosophy in????and public health; two Black guys dentistry; several of them got doctor of public health. And it wasn’t five or six years ago, they couldn’t go to UT. So you measure progress in about twenty year periods. This is a ten year. Every twenty years, you can only tell how much progress you made, I think by comparing twenty year periods. You can spot trends every ten years. That’s the way I do it. I got, I got several twenty year periods. And I can appreciate a lot of the those things they have ??????. I think this is a Section B. I know when lost my job over at TSU. I got fired there. I had several offers for another section in a printing ????. I figure that if a man can’t make it in Houston, a man, a woman, Black, they can’t make it anywhere??? That’s the way I felt then. I sure feel that way now. It wasn’t that I was so smart. I was just lucky. I just have confidence in the city and I do know. No other city like this. In the next ten, fifteen or twenty years, man this is, this’ll be a hell of a place for a young Black. It’ll be a hell of a city for a young white. It is that now. It’s getting better and better for Blacks, if they prepare themselves. Just the bottom line, the future belongs to those who prepare themselves. Just like insurance. You can’t buy a policy when you’re getting ready to die.
Interviewers DLM and VR: Laughter.
CR: Can’t buy insurance when you need it most. No way. But I’m glad to see you all are doing this. If I can co-operate in any way.
LM: Appreciate it.
CR: A lot of the stuff you get, if you want to verify. Not too sure. Well, I’ll give you my opinion. Well based, not my opinion but my view based upon my knowledge. Not my opinion. Because when you’re going in the archives, you’re not interested in opinions. You’re interested in records, facts.
LM: That’s why we try to keep the questions on the areas that you have firsthand knowledge in. For instance, ????? since you are in the newspaper business, so it’s likely that you would have firsthand knowledge.
CR: Well, I’ve been in it for forty five, forty five years.
LM: Right. Yeh.
CR: Yea. On the management end, so I guess I know a little about it. I know it objectively and subjectively.
LM: ?????On behalf of the Metropolitan Archives and Research Center, I want to thank you for co-operation and your generous contribution of your time.
CR: You’re more than welcome.
LM: I know that you are busy and I do appreciate it.
CR: You’re more than welcome.