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Oral History Interview with Al Lineberry by Wayne Jordan


Date: February 1, 1988

Interviewee: Albert S. Lineberry, Sr.

Biographical abstract: Al Lineberry served on the Greensboro school board from 1965 to 1973 and as president of the chamber of commerce from 1968 through the 1970s.

Interviewer: Wayne Jordan

Description:

In this transcript of a February 1, 1988, interview conducted by Wayne Jordan with Al Lineberry, Lineberry recalls his first experience with segregation and the Greensboro community's response to desegregation efforts. He recalls his work for the chamber of commerce, including facilitating discussion between races. He also talks about his involvement with the school board after the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education decision. Topics include enlisting the aid of church leaders, discussing busing at open forums, and inequality in school resources. Other topics include state policies in the eighties, including redistricting.

Subjects:

Format of original: Oral History

Collection: GreensboroVOICES Collection

Repository: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Item#: 1.10.1154

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Civil Rights Greensboro and the appropriate repository.



Oral History Interview with Al Lineberry by Wayne Jordan

[Note: No audio recording was available for this interview. Therefore, CRG cannot guarantee the accuracy of the transcript following the end of the tape recording.]

Wayne Jordon:

Mr. Lineberry, to begin the interview I'd like to get a little biographical information of when you were born, where you [were] born, and when you came to Greensboro.

Al Lineberry:

I was born in 1918 in Memphis, Tennessee. I came to North Carolina around 1940—'39-'40. I came to Greensboro in 1955, I've been here ever since. I find it the most enjoyable place in the United States to live, and I've spoken in most all of the states in the Union at some degree or another, on some subject or another, at some time or another. I find myself at a very integral position and I've been blessed with many, many good friends and people who've done more for me than I could ever do for them.

WJ:

Since [the] focus of this interview will be on race relations, and you are a native of the South, when did you first become aware that segregation played a role?

AL:

Well, I became aware of it in Memphis, Tennessee, growing up as a boy riding street cars to and from downtown Memphis. I had always noticed that the black folk would sit at the rear, and we would sit at the front. And as a young boy in my mind I questioned that as to why we had to have a distinction. And I can remember certain instances would happen where people had confrontations one with another. And [unclear] change. I guess that brought a lot of my thinking along.

It wasn't until I came to Greensboro in 1955 that it really had to come home to me in a strong way. I was sitting in a little Greek restaurant on East Market Street just across from Jefferson Standard Life Insurance right behind, right across then from Belk's. I was sitting there one cold morning eating some country ham and eggs and [as] I did so, I looked outside the window and I was warm and comfortable, and there was a mother and she was black. She had two small children that couldn't have been over maybe five and six years old, four and six or something like that. And she was looking in the window at the cook [unclear] cooking at the grill and she finally came in— leaving her two children outside—and she stood and waited and waited and waited for someone to wait on her, to take her order, and finally the gentleman did. He wasn't rather busy, I felt, but I mean that bothered me a little bit. But then once she got her order and paid for it, she had to take that food back outside on the sidewalk and then let those children eat their food in the cold weather.

That picture has never been erased from my mind. I guess if I had a real strong caring for it, that was probably one of the keys to it. Because I could not understand why human beings had to be treated so differently. And later on I became more involved in things—of course, that was early '55 which, I mean, we hadn't been into this very long. Then I had the opportunity to see things and try to make things happen.

The community was on its own and the people here, they've got this community pretty well, I think [unclear], I began to formulate my thoughts, see. They had seen these types of things also and, as a whole, this community, I think for so long has really tried to remedy that situation. There were some thoughts—I mean there were some actions that [unclear] brought in strongly in my mind, like the sit-ins and this type of thing, but that came later. I think the people were really ready for some activity to take place early in the fifties. I think the people here held out for the last [unclear] but those people were doing so out of the best intention. I don't think there was really a vengeance about it or anything like that.

Today, of course, we find those people are very strong. In society, as long as it's developed like an egg, it's not all yolk over here and the other over here. It's one giant egg, and we have to piece it together and let it blend itself in order for society to do its work [unclear]. Yeah, I think it works fairly well.

WJ:

When—being as actively involved in the community as you are, how did you see the community role in changing?

Using 1954 with the Brown [v. Board of Education] decision with the integration of schools and even through the fifties and in the sixties, did you see—this probably touches some of your earlier comments—the community though, as you were saying, making a gradual shift?

AL:

I have to say first as far as the Brown decision was concerned, I think there was some opposition, there was no question about that. The opposition was honest and good, it was not a derogatory kind of opposition, not that I knew about at least, and yet that had to be addressed. And there were people here in the city that did address it and addressed it in a strong, strong way and constantly weren't able to bring people together in a thinking pattern that I think evolved later on in the sixties. [unclear] opposite position.

WJ:

What were some of the white leaders that you see as helping the black community bring in to see change?

AL:

[unclear] Jim [unclear], just a whole list of people that you could go through. [School superintendent] Phil Weaver, George [unclear], many people who may have gone on now and are not with us anymore. There's a long list of people in this community who put things into action and stood up for what they knew and [unclear] was right. There's a whole—they overcame obstacles, but frankly we didn't have to go through too much traumatic difficulty in bringing peoples' minds together.

WJ:

Well, [unclear] you were quite involved with the chamber of commerce here in Greensboro and with the school board. How did you see—let's start with chamber, which has gotten a lot of credit with helping race relations—how does the chamber come to see [unclear] as bringing about change?

AL:

Well, I believe the chamber [unclear] itself and it's a necessity and [unclear] and that it needed it, it's going to be a chamber of commerce in the community. They need to give the commerce a chamber of all the people. And certainly at that time and stage of the game, about that time I got on the membership committee and [unclear] relations committee through a period of the years. We certainly were on the opinion that there was not a representative within the black community. And if you're going to represent, you're going to be in the chamber of commerce, [and] you're going to represent all the people. We did not have the education [unclear] black community involved in the chamber.

As I recall them now, we did not have business people from the black community, maybe one or two, that would be about it in the chamber. And so we made a concerted effort to bring those into the chamber and give them some reasons to coming into the chamber and especially educational [unclear]. And now that we started on and start[ed] participating together and finding areas that we could lead together under a common law. I think the chamber took a great lead in all of this. And did a [unclear] job. We had two, three, or four-hundred black [unclear] of individual numbers. Those numbers were [unclear] here which a community [unclear] whatsoever. We led it away [unclear].

Yes, the discussion [unclear] public relations for the chamber as I recall now. And then the next year I was president and we had planned on those units. It brought it all out between black and white communities on all levels, educational, business, professional, and anyone else that wanted to attempt. These [unclear] and establishing a relationship between the black and white communities. And I say that for several reasons. One is—here we are after the first time with any regularity sitting down having breakfast in one of the black restaurants so-called in [unclear] city. The whites responded, the blacks responded, the same thing on the other side and before we, we found ourselves sitting there talking about questions, very difficult questions and sharing viewpoints which were quite vocal and quite different in those days. And yet, at the same time we could come out of there.

I know we even checked in this book, when speaking of the commerce [unclear] mentions discussion [unclear]— feeling that we had accomplished something. And these meetings had needed to go on for some time, and any time we got into a real difficult situation, or we heard of a situation where maybe someone had struck a match, we'd go see if we could put that fire out between these units of the chamber of commerce used. And we found in many cases we did this.

I recall one particular situation was very harsh at Belk's, where we learned that something could take place within the store, and we got back together the next week and sat down in these meetings and discussed this at length, and we [were] reviewing who to talk to and how to talk to them. And [then we would] sit down and let everything take place. So I think the chamber took a strong step in creating those particular [unclear] or units or however you want to call them. It really started a good dialogue between the black and white communities in Greensboro. I'm not ashamed to take credit for that.

WJ:

And so you would agree the chamber goes out beyond the business community and into the community as a whole.

AL:

The community as a whole. Many [unclear] wanted to but [unclear] was members and by this time we had several hundred members from the black community in the chamber and in the educational field, the business field, the professional field and so forth. And so they had their representation and political fields were there. So an interesting thing about those meetings. We allowed no press. No one felt any pressure, [unclear] ones. No press and no one was going to report it and this type of thing. At times it got rather heated, there's no question about that. But sometimes [unclear] today with certain situations before you can get a [unclear] place to start with. But I feel very strongly that those types of meetings were a real strong step in the right direction back in those days to help the dialogue started to where we could eventually come back together in different ways.

WJ:

Also there was somewhat a feeling of distrust among some segments in the black community, [unclear] above the chamber.

AL:

No question about that.

WJ:

How do you think the chamber did in reaching out to this segment?

AL:

Well, we tried in every way. There's always one segment that is going to not be able to reach and bring into your pattern of thinking. Everyone is not going to agree with everything that you want or everything that I want. And so there was a segment there and a guy named Johnson who just was on our back constantly.

WJ:

Nelson Johnson?

AL:

Nelson Johnson, just on us constantly. And [unclear] with all that but at the same time there were people in the black community who were attending some of these meetings with us, and they would listen to both sides and they did have some report, and at times they have [unclear] down to certain things that were willing [unclear] being better for the whole community. And I feel sure that some of those meetings had an effect on some of the things we'd like to have happened to one of those groups that you know [unclear] everything will get better.

WJ:

Let me give you one more chamber question here or while we're on democracy. One of the reasons the chamber was successful was that it had these discussions, it let them go, let people be open so nobody was really trying to control. And that way I'd say it was able to build some bridges, some blocks where that could bridge the gap between some whites and the sections of blacks [unclear].

AL:

The agenda was never set, the agenda was what developed that morning.

WJ:

To change the subject a little bit, knowing that you were quite involved with the schools in Greensboro, being on the school board and—that's really interesting. Before you were on the school board, how did you become interested in the schools, in the public schools?

AL:

Well, I've been in some public schools for a long period of time. As a matter of fact, the first of August [unclear] on the school board in Guilford County up in the Asheboro area before I came to Greensboro. I had that interest. Though [in] Greensboro at that time, the school board was appointed by the city council and I was asked by the city council if I wanted to sit in the school board, and later on was asked to be chairman of the board, which I did. Only at that time, I think, I was down there one day as the chairman, and the next day the court order was handed down to desegregate by busing. I get lumpy getting assignments like this. I didn't mind. I didn't relish the assignment but I didn't exactly mind it, because I had a pretty good peace within myself that this needed to be done from the standpoint of education for the total masses of children.

And during that time I did one thing to start that situation when the order came down from the courts. I went to the ministers of every church in this city in the beginning and told them or let them know by letter or by phone what was going to take place, because the courts had asked and you don't defy the courts. And I asked them if they would say something in their church to help the people—their people understand a little better as to what was going to take place and they ought to go to different sections [of neighborhood] and look over these sections because people have not seen—there were good people who [came] from different school areas [and] had never seen Grimsley High School or had never seen the elementary schools. There are people in the Grimsley area or Mendenhall area that have never seen Luther Street. And yet they're sitting there criticizing each other.

So I asked the ministers to try to prepare their people, and to the best of my knowledge every minister that I asked, they went to their pulpits, they talked to their people, and helped their people to see the need of what was taking place. And they all didn't agree, there's no question about that, but they all did see that something had to take place. And [there is] only one minister that I know of that took the opposite viewpoint. You can have that right because I have my rights. But that was a big help to people in this community to go through the school situation that we were about to go through.

The chamber of commerce came back in after that and created a committee that helped tremendously, and people you see in accepting this [a]cross town—not accepting it totally, but accepting the fact that something was going to be done and had to be done. They pointed out the different schools and located the different schools. They gave the teachers introductions to one another. They were trying to get people to organize a bus situation. The parents could ride the buses from one side of town to the other, [because of] the possibility their children may be going. They just did all sorts of things like this on a public relations level that was a big help to people because—

I don't know if you're addressing this now, or if you want to. But when Ciba-Geigy [Company] came to Greensboro, I was asked if I would go up and talk to the people who were moving here. And this is a family [unclear], it's not a school situation, [unclear] Greensboro. And I went up and there must have been one hundred people or more there that night from New York. And of course they had no concept of really what Greensboro's like or what the school systems were like, they had heard everything in the book. And we talked about them about the school situation. I explained to them the type of school situation we had and how well we were getting along on this thing. And they asked me a question, and then come to find out when they got here they were so pleased that they came. I don't know but one time in the day that [unclear]. The point I'm trying to make is the people you see [unclear] with everything that had to be done with busing, they were not from the white communities, they were willing to say, “How could we put it together [so] that the children might get a better education?”

Well, you take [unclear] and you say “Well, you're saying that you're improving education.” I was asked that question, I made 111 talks in a little over two years in this city on this subject to church groups and [unclear] groups and [unclear] to school, after school, after school, after school. Anybody that had anything to say, I'll go. And I was asked that question over and over again. You've had an attitude of lowering the quality of education by insisting busing. I said, “I didn't insist on bussing to start with, the courts said that.” But I have to answer them with, “No, I don't believe so.”

My further mistake to them—the reason I say that if you're talking about whether we're ruining the problem of education for my child or your child [unclear]. I'd say we probably did, but if you're talking about the thirty thousand children in this whole system, I'd say we've raised the level of education. And I said, “That's the problem. I think we have to look at—we can't just look at one area of our community and say this is it, this is the way it's going to be.”

We did not have equal buildings, we did not have situations in teachers. We did not have even an all-white school at one section of town, and an all-white school at another section of town. There was no equality there, because one affluent section and another affluent section could do things with the affluency of that school that the same school in another area of town couldn't afford to do. So there was no equality for them. And certainly the [unclear] were not of equality, whether it was all-white or all-white or all-black or all-black, it was just—the equality was not there. And we had [unclear]. These are problems with [unclear], not that we ever cured them, but we did raise the level of education for the masses of children. We've seen some of that proven after that. I thought by this time we'd be back closer to a [unclear] structure type of local school situation—neighborhood expanding type of situation than we are, because I felt by this time the housing patterns would have changed more than it has for the percentage of relationships. I feel like that's kind of happening, but in the meantime there are other problems.

But anyway, the people of this city really did their very best. I have to make this statement, I know you'll remember hearing it. To my knowledge no one has ever discriminated against us. Greensboro is the only city in America that has been put on the [unclear] to desegregate its school system by busing but was relieved of that order in two years. So I think that speaks well for the people in Greensboro.

WJ:

Well, thanks. Starting with the schools, you spoke both in 1970 with the decision of the court order to desegregate schools. How would you and others in the school board and people who worked with the school system seek to calm the fears, because I know there must have been many fears coming out in the [unclear] of 1971, in that school year.

AL:

Well, we have to back a little bit to realize that we had been trying to set up a [unclear] situation here, a freedom of choice to where any parent could choose any school for his child to go to, giving freedom of choice of any school anywhere. And we had tried that and thought we had it worked out, in terms of a sensible way, and the court came in and said it won't work. Now once you have tried all of these things, that helps people to know [unclear] accept some [unclear]. So the people were way out there, pretty off trying to [unclear]. That did not analyze the fears of some persons who's going from Dudley [High School] to Grimsley or Page [High School], or from Page to Dudley. These types of things were still there in people's minds, and it was a bad situation in the minds of many, many people.

I recall, oh, a couple of years—a year or year and [a] half after we were into this, I received [unclear] letters—of course, you can imagine that—I received threats on my life and threats on my family and me, and all this kind of stuff which is, that's always hard on you. But I got many, many letters. And I went through those letters when I finished my term on the board and—I kept them all—I went through them and was going to keep them, and the longer they laid out [I thought,] Why keep any of these letters? There were two letters that I couldn't throw away. One was from a businessman, a well-known businessman, who was so critical and [unclear] us so much because we would dare to do this type of thing in busing students. But he didn't consider we were under court order [unclear] that had nothing to do with it, we could have defied that so on and so forth. That's—

One of them I received was from a young girl who was to go to Dudley High School. She'd been going to either Grimsley or Smith [High School], I don't know which one now; I'll have to look at the letter and see. And she knew that her education in her life [unclear]. Well, I'd taken those letters and I threw them away. Now I know the young lady and I know where she is now, I know what's happened to her. She has one of the finest executive positions in one of the [unclear] companies in this country and is doing super.

I talked to her father not too long ago and her father was so radical with me and he reminded me of this less than two years ago. He said [unclear] that he had had it. All these years and I had never thought about it. He came to me and he said, “You and I, we are alike.” He said, “I couldn't understand you [unclear].” He went on to tell me about his daughter. Well, I could tell [you] story after story like this.

I could tell you about the young guy who came by my house one day and I used to [unclear] trim the trees. I was talking to him and he and his wife were in the army and they were driving back from Colorado or wherever it was and someone stole their van. They finally got back to Greensboro and now he is trying for [unclear] and accepted in their school. [unclear] Well, so we said, “Yeah, go ahead and trim the trees.” Well, he got it all finished, I tell you, [unclear] I said, “There's something but I can't [unclear].” He started telling me about his brother, his father, he really gave us a hard time, [unclear] because of Dudley, they went to Dudley. This young man is the one who told his father that they [unclear] from our school. This young man is the one who said, “Please don't [unclear] education.” Now he's coming back to me. Story after story.

That's not to say that they're not the other side of the stories too. Because there are some tragic stories in the middle of those. But I have to still say what we do [unclear], number one had to be done in court action, and number two, it had to be done by people and by treating people like people. And you cannot, you cannot make laws that's going to make me like you. Now if I can live within the law and subject myself to know you, the chances are about 90% that I'm going to like you. And that's the thing that we try to do, I think it was a success.

Well, I guess we needed it. For instance, I was interviewed one time on television and I'm not totally sure what it was for. One of the people at the station who works there, who still works there today as a matter of fact, said to me, he said [unclear] black school. He said, “Well, I was just upset because I told you not to go over there.” He said, “I asked her if she'd ever seen a [unclear] in school.”

She said, “No.”

He said, “Have you met your principal?”

She said, “No, [unclear].”

He said, “Then why are you upset about it?” And he said then when she went over there and met the principal who was a lovely, lovely person, was a marvelous preschool teacher. And the school was the classic A-1 school in the community. But that we were going to see [unclear]. This transition, rather, this transportation situation really opened up a lot of the inaccuracies that we saw on both sides, it also opened up some of the advantages of both sides, the situation that they had. And I said [unclear] town, not people. And I think you see, when you look at what has happened in the South and southeast Greensboro in home lives, subdivision lives, business lives, building lives, and you see how all these things have happened there in the last twelve or fourteen, fifteen years, you have to know this made a difference. Look at the subdivision that you can find down South Elm Street, beautiful subdivisions down there. The same thing back in the eastern part of our city. Look at Market Street, how it's completely opened up. It used to be a two-laned street, it's a four-laned street, the post office is down there, business after business. It all has to have had its affect to some of us.

Look at what's happened at Mendenhall and Page and Grimsley. We don't have to have traumatic situations everyday. We've got a problem today with the [unclear] drugs and stuff that we shouldn't have. That to me is not because we should [unclear] buses across town. I can show you school after school, whether there's busing or not, there's still a drug problem. So you can't put that all away. But I can show you so many things that have been elevated, so far as people are concerned, since this has happened. And that I'll have to say to you that I'd love to see the day when a child can see in a relatively neighborhood type of concept. I think it's healthy—

WJ:

Through keeping up with the schools, what were your observations? You've probably touched upon all this earlier, but when did you start seeing a little more acceptance when people were suddenly saying, “Well, this isn't all that bad after all?”

AL:

Can I make one comment about the chamber of commerce? We have this [unclear] director here by the name of Bill Little with us. And to me I guess we're probably one of the top five chamber of commerce here in America. I think he [unclear], Bill had some difficulty with his personal life a few years after this, but Bill Little in his own quiet way led us a great deal in understanding the blacks. That man today of course is chairman of the chamber in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and just finished being the national president of the national chamber of commerce for the United States. So we had a good leader that the lead would go on in an effective way and many of us have [unclear] too. Because Bill came from [unclear]. But anyway, I did want to mention that because I think he did have a good part in history there.

WJ:

Let's change the focus a little bit from your involvement, let's say, from the legislature to more on a state-wide focus here. First of all, how long have you been serving now in Raleigh?

AL:

Four years.

WJ:

Four years. What were some of the things you could see on the state level in benefits and how it's been affected by—

AL:

I don't believe there's any affect on it. Just having an affect by being beneficial to the state. It's brought a great population to our state. Into our resources that we can gather information, ideas, depending on how others [unclear] different aspects of what governments have thought and total, again, population whether it be a segment into just one or the other. We are drawing people like Dan [unclear] who's a legislature from a large area. Dan's a very sharp and very outspoken attorney, but very much concerned about the future of a lot of the children. Not just the black children. Dan has just as much concern about my grandchild as he has about his little child. And I found that the source of his [unclear] value to the legislative process as I've seen it, I think it would be traumatic today for us not to be in it, to draw of 30% of the population of the state. I think I'm correct on that.

You see, as we go along now in America—I think the projections are not only here in 2010, there will be three Hispanic born to every white in this country, there will be two blacks born to every white in this country. That doesn't mean they're going to change the majorities and this type of thing. It just simply means that we're going to have an increase greater in those two races than we have in the white race.

With the economy in this country having to grow—it has to grow or else we're in trouble sure enough—and with our economy growing and as we go into more jobs and more jobs and more jobs, if we don't have in place—which I think the more we do that I think today it will place an educational system that will educate those young people and they can walk out of here and go on to these new jobs—if we don't educate those people now, we're in trouble. And we have in place—because of what we've been talking about and because of impressive people like Dan and others—we have in place a system that will educate those people, and therefore America has to get greater, has to get better, because we're utilizing more people and they're educated to do the jobs.

It is estimated that there will probably be a million jobs more when we've got people who [unclear]. Now whether that's wrong or not I can't say, but that's one of the connections. If we keep this integration kind of going, we will have, all of our people will be educated.

WJ:

Staying with legislature and the state-wide outlook, how do you feel when redistricting came in in the early 1980s? What response do you get when you're out in the community?

AL:

Well, I had some problems with redistricting for some. Are you talking about redistricting for the state?

WJ:

The state.

AL:

I had some problems. You've done two things. First of all, you've given an identity and you've given guarantee that we'll have [unclear] legislature and that's—I appreciate that. I have hopes that we can find another way for that assurance in the future, because it also stigmatizes sometimes where an individual is elected from and they lose sight that it's stat-wide. It's not just me, it's not just my area in Greensboro, or just my area in Guilford County. I've got to look at a vast larger scale than that. The redistricting, a lot of [unclear] it does tend to leave some to think of it, I can't have it and I want it right here and [unclear] for the rest of the state. Well, that's not necessarily true in those cases at all.

I would like to see us find a way where we don't have everybody represented, but not the way [unclear] to put one district against another as to whether my county gets this and your county gets that. You know, laws are made, if they're not made for the better of the people, then they're bad laws, they're bad laws. If you can't make laws that are good for you, and for me, and citizens of North Carolina, then we've made the wrong law.

WJ:

Okay, the next question here would be, being a life-long Southerner, how have you seen, looking at it from the wide perspective—we're still looking at it I guess in Hudson's [unclear]—but how have you seen like Southerners to change in their way of life with improvements, supposing in that way of life through your lifetime?

AL:

Well, I believe there's a lot of things that I see, think, and do in compassion for my country. And I can't believe that's part of what every American's about. It doesn't mean that I've stood here and agreed with everything that's taken place, so far as the desegregation and so far as that's concerned. We've dealt with the children and it's been very traumatic. We [unclear] situation then to the educational level of where we [unclear] this child [unclear] this child, and find various ways not to beat each other back and forth on this. So I have a lot of problems still [unclear]. But I think we suddenly have probably perforated any other group of people recognized the fact that, look, you're all put here as God's children. He didn't wave a wand and say, “Well, I'm going to favor the blacks or the whites and the ones that are black will be all my children.” And being all my children—and then there are only equalities in so far as the political governmental services and certainly [unclear] one to another. That's the whole area where I come from. There's value in each one of us and I look for [unclear]. I find that value.

I have a famous [unclear] that have ever worked for me for years but retired a few years ago. He was in charge of all our staff here, there were about forty people on our staff. And he told me occasionally, he'd say, “I think so and so ought to be fired.” I said, “Why? You can fire him. Fire him, but before you fire him remember there are two things that will have to take place, you will have to do your work and his, or you have to find somebody who will do his as well or better than he's doing.” And then he began to slow up a little bit, and that's the way I look at people, there's [unclear]. It doesn't make a difference to me whether they're white or black, they're good people.

The evaluation I tried to come to in my own life is—priority is, first of all, is God. The second thing is to be with my family, and the third thing is friends and people. Who is this for? That's the priority I try to get. I don't always get it done, but I strive too. So [unclear] happened I believe in all that we've been talking about, the goodness [that] comes from it is the fact that [unclear] accepts more now than ever before people as people. Yes, you've got your other aches and I guess we'll always have them [unclear].

During these days of integration by busing we had a group that we were opposed to, but the most that group ever got in as far as a board meeting is concerned in an organized way was about fifteen people. A guy by the name of Brown, I'm not sure, Joe Brown?

WJ:

I'm not familiar with it.

AL:

All right, he got this Joe Brown, nice guy. I didn't have anything against Joe Brown, but he did not understand or he would not understand what we were up against or what we were trying to alleviate and he didn't have the concept. I can't say that, he did have the concept [unclear] but he didn't understand what we were trying to [unclear] from a legal standpoint. So you're always going to have that, but I could not conscientiously go through with it. Had I not seen that guy as a human being and I saw people who today are great people, good strong people in this city, and I don't believe they would have been that strong under the old setup. I used to hear people say to me, they'd ask me a question, “You're holding my child back.”

And I'd say, “What do you mean by that?”

And they would reply,] “He runs faster than other people do.”

I said, “Well, that's interesting, because I went to school with Dr. James Riley, he's one of the better-known [unclear].” And I said, “I went with him through the second grade to the twelfth grade and James was an A student all the way through. And I was a C student all the way through and I don't ever [unclear].”

And I think that's what we were talking about, we're not holding anybody back [unclear]. If you can live your life and you live it by the sense of what you think is responsible and you see people out there that you don't know [unclear].

WJ:

Thanks, Mr. Lineberry.

[End of Interview]