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Interview with William Breeding, June 19, 2023

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:06 - Family Members and Memories

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Partial Transcript: Before we do that, tell me about your parents, and go back as far as you can remember.

Segment Synopsis: Breeding details a condensed family tree and talks about each of his family members back through his grandparents, also mentioning 19th-century author Levi Branham as his third great-grandfather. He goes on to reflect on some positive memories with his mother and father, such as hunting with his father and wearing clothes made for him by his mother.

Keywords: "My Life and Times"; Ancestry; Charles "C.T." Thomas Gay; Charles Edward Breeding Sr.; Clothesmaking; Dalton, Georgia; Driving; Esternette Moore Gay; Family; Fishing; Grandparents; Greene County, Georgia; Guy Gay; Home Economics; Hunting; Levi Branham; Mary Gay; Mary Lynn Gay Breeding; Parents; Sally Miller Breeding; Seamstress; Teacher; William James Breeding

00:07:44 - Reflections on Grandparents

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Partial Transcript: Now let me give you a story, two of my grandparents on my mother's side...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding reflects on his memories with his grandparents, telling stories about his favorite things to do with them.

Keywords: Alabama; Baking; Cooking; Dalton, Georgia; Fishing; Horses; Grandparents

00:12:25 - Stories from School Years

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any fond memories of you being in the elementary school?

Segment Synopsis: Breeding tells stories of his memories from his time in elementary and junior high school, including stories about his penmanship, and people who took issue with his goal to become a janitor.

Keywords: Alex Haley; Booker T. Washington; Childraising; Custodial Work; Dalton, Georgia; Domestic Service; Elementary School; Grandparents; Handwriting; Integration; Janitor; Junior High School; Parents; Penmanship; Principal; Spirit; Sports; Daycare

00:22:26 - Integration / Beginnings in Track

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Partial Transcript: I think I was in the 6th grade when we integrated in Greene County...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding discusses the integration of the school system in Greene County before moving on to talk about the beginnings of his prestigious career in athletics. He remembers his first 440-yard race before detailing other track experiences that occurred during his freshman year of high school.

Keywords: Athletics; Basketball; Dominique Wilkins; Elementary School; Eugene Brown; Greene County; High School; Hurdles; Nathaniel Whitehead Sr.; Parents; Racial Relations; Running; Sports; Students; Teachers; Track and Field; University of Georgia; Integration

00:31:51 - Experiences in Track and Field

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Partial Transcript: Now Coach Whitehead had taught me a great deal about track...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding continues with his experiences in track and field, now detailing his high school years including his achievements like becoming the state champion in the 100 Meter and High Jump.

Keywords: 100 Meters; 200 Meters; 400 Meters; Athletic Scholarship; Cedar Shoals High School; Football; High Jump; High School; Lewis Gainey; Nathaniel Whitehead Sr.; Pacing; Practice; State Champion; Swimming; Track; Training; University of Georgia; Vince Dooley; Hurdles

00:41:58 - Importance of Communication

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Partial Transcript: He said "you should be able to stand up in front of anyone and speak for five minutes, period."

Segment Synopsis: Breeding mentions a piece of advice from a teacher of his that emphasizes how important it is to be able to stand up and speak in front of anyone, and how his children embody this advice.

Keywords: Bogart, Georgia; Children; College; Communication; Daughters; Fatherhood; Nicholas Antone; Parenting; Sons; Marriage

00:43:59 - Children, Marriage, and Parenthood

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Partial Transcript: I have five children...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding talks about his wife and five children. He describes the experience of becoming a father during his sophomore year of university. He then discusses becoming a father once more at 27, and the conflict behind naming his children with his wife.

Keywords: Athens Highway; Bogart, Georgia; Children; College; Facebook; Fatherhood; Grandparents; Naming; Parenting; Principal; Social Media; University of Georgia; Unwed Parent; Parenthood

00:53:51 - Time in Education

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Partial Transcript: ...some of those kids will not remember a thing that you taught them, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Segment Synopsis: Breeding describes his time in education, talking about lessons he learned and emotional payoff he felt from his 27 years of teaching. He takes time to reflect on the impacts people in the workplace had on him, particularly principals, and mentions the racism he has seen and experienced during his time teaching.

Keywords: Bethel Homes; Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School; Children; Education; Home Issues; Homework; Master's Degree; Parents; Principal; Racial Issues; Racism; School; Stereotypes; Students; Teacher; Educator

01:03:00 - UGA Teacher Study / Emotional Payoffs

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Partial Transcript: ...the University of Georgia wanted the professors to do a study on me...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding discusses a University of Georgia study he took part in that analyzed how students were treated differently based on race and gender using feedback from his actual students. He then reflects on the emotional payoff he has experienced from teaching.

Keywords: Burney-Harris-Lyons Elementary School; Chase Street Elementary School; Children; Education; Gender Bias; Homework; Principal; Racial Bias; Racial Differences; Racism; Research; Technology; White Supremacy; University of Georgia

01:09:51 - Parents' Achievements / Athens' Surrounding Communities

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Partial Transcript: ...but was he the president of the local chapter of the NAACP?

Segment Synopsis: Breeding discusses his father's role as a community member, serving in a leadership role of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, and as president of the Georgia Association of Educators. He also talks about the achievements of his mother, who was once Georgia's Home Economics Teacher of the Year, and his parents' dynamic that allowed them both to achieve at high levels. He then explains the interesting community dynamics in counties surrounding Athens-Clarke County.

Keywords: "Roots: The Saga of an American Family"; Africa; Alex Haley; Community Advocacy; Fatherhood; Georgia Association of Educators; Greene County; Howard B. Stroud; Mary Lynn Gay Breeding; Michael L. Thurmond; Motherhood; Oglethorpe County; Parenting; SCLC; Track; University of Georgia; William J. Breeding Sr.; NAACP

01:19:25 - Three Trips to Ghana

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Partial Transcript: I went to Ghana, West Africa on three occasions...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding reflect on his trips to Ghana in West Africa, explaining who he went with and the experiences he had each time there. He also shares information about the use of beads in trade in Africa, and the multitude of skin complexions present in Ghana.

Keywords: Africa; African Beads; African Heritage; Black History; Bonwire, Ghana; Complexion; Council for Independent Black Institutions; Ghana; Journey; Skin Color; University of Georgia; West Africa; Art

01:31:36 - Respect and Negotiating in Ghana

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Partial Transcript: You know kente cloth speaks volumes...

Segment Synopsis: Breeding discusses further his experiences in Ghana by talking about the system of respect he observed in Bonwire and how it related to negotiations in the marketplace. He also details the many meanings that kente cloths, Ghanaian textiles produced in Bonwire, are imbued with and how these meanings are interpreted by members of the community.

Keywords: Artisans; Athens-Clarke County; Black Culture Center; Bonwire, Ghana; Craftsmen; Culture; Government; Haggling; Katrina Breeding; Kente Cloth; Negotiation; Respect; Spirituality; Symbolism; Athens, Georgia