Partial Transcript: I’m John Cruickshank, it’s Wednesday, February the 10th, 2016, it’s 2:32 PM and today I’m interviewing …
Segment Synopsis: In this section, Mr. Goodrum discusses his early life in Griffin, GA, his family, and his grade school years. He talks about the segregation of schools and the sports he was involved in, saying that black and white children were not allowed to compete with one another.
Keywords: AZ Kelsey Academy; AZ Kelsey Junior High School; Broad Street School; Cabin Creek School; Fairmont Georgia; Fairmont High School; Griffin; Griffin High School; Integrated School; Integration; Jeremiah Bond; Rosenwald School; Segregated School; Segregation; Spalding County; Spalding County School System; Vocational High School
Partial Transcript: How would you describe Jim Crow in Griffin in your early adult life in Griffin? Was it alive and well and functioning, and to what extent?
Segment Synopsis: Goodrum discusses the institution of Jim Crow segregation which existed when he was growing up in Griffin. He also relates several stories about his grandfather, who chastised him for saying that he "didn't see anything wrong" with blacks and whites going to school together.
Keywords: Black Codes; Civil Rights; Fairmont; Georgia; Griffin; Integration; Jim Crow Laws; Plessy v. Ferguson; Segregation; Separate But Equal; Spalding County; United States Air Force
Partial Transcript: So, at some point there was a transition … I want to get to two things, one, I want to get to your college carreer a little bit, but I also want to get to the transition from … in Griffin
Segment Synopsis: In this segment Mr. Goodrum discusses the end of his high school career, his millitary service in the United States Air Force, and his education at Fort Valley State University. He talks about making Caucasian friends in the Air Force that encouraged him to get a college education.
Keywords: Fort Valley State University; Jim Crow Laws; L.C. Hefner; Mitchell AFB; Morehouse College; Plessy v. Ferguson; Segregation; Separate But Equal; Stuart AFB
Partial Transcript: So after fort valley state …?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment Mr. Goodrum talks about his time following graduation from Fort Valley State University as a Physical Education teacher and athletics coach. He discusses what it was like being in the middle of the transition from segregated schools to integrated schools and relates the story of the walk-out by African-American students of Fairmont High School.
Keywords: Desegregation; Fairmont High School; Gray; Griffin High School; Integrated School; Integration; Jones County; Phillip Hood; Rosenwald School; Segregated School; Segregation; The Roxy Theatre; Walk-Out
Partial Transcript: Well because of your success and your leadership, it paved the way for other folks to be able to come behind you and get those kind of positions I assume.
Segment Synopsis: Goodrum talks about how he wanted to get a job at the Roxy Theater as a janitor while he was in high school. The owner, H.T Stafford, said that he would give him the job only if he stayed in school and continued to pass his classes. Goodrum says that Stafford became a mentor to him and taught him the value of a dollar.
Keywords: Fairmont High School; bank accounts; college; dropout; football; football scholarships
Partial Transcript: In general, what was the economy like as you grew up, for African Americans in Griffin?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment Mr. Goodrum discusses the economy of Griffin during segregation and the opportunities that were available to African-Americans during that time.
Keywords: A.C. Touchstone; Ed Faunfill; Georgia; Griffin; Otis Head; Pete Lovett; Phillip Head; Please You Cleaners; Raymond Head; Republican Party; Spalding County; grocery stores
Partial Transcript: Now tell us a little bit about your principalship. You did get to be a principal during the transitional period.
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Goodrum talks about his time spent as a school principal during desegregation and the athletic facilities that were available to African-Americans in segregated schools in Griffin.
Keywords: Fairmont High School; Griffin High School; Molette’s Gym; Principal
Partial Transcript: I’ve often heard about festive parades and that kind of thing in Griffin during that period of time …
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Goodrum recalls the festive atmosphere that surrounded Fairmont High School football games and the parades put on by the Fairmont High School Band.
Keywords: Fairmont High School; Fairmont High School Band; Majorette; Parade; Veterans Memorial Park
Partial Transcript: So overall what are your feelings about integration … was it all good? What were the bad aspects of it? Were there bad aspects of it?
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Goodrum shares his final thoughts on the effects of integration and its effects on the African American community. He believes that Griffin has "come a long way but still has a long way to go."
Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Civil Rights; Desegregation; Fairmont; Fairmont High School; Georgia; Griffin; Integrated School; Integration; Orville Lindstorm; Segregated School; Segregation; Separate But Equal; Spalding County; St. Phillip's Church; mule hole
JOHN CRUIKSHANK:I'm John Cruikshank. It's Wednesday, February the 10th, 2016.It's 2:32 p.m. And today, I'm interviewing...
JOHN D. GOODRUM:John D. Goodrum.
CRUIKSHANK:And I also have with me today, to join in the discussion...
BE-ATRICE CUNNINGHAM:Be-Atrice Cunningham.
ART CAIN:Art Cain.
JEWEL WALKER-HARPS:Jewel Walker-Harps.
CRUIKSHANK:And so just to start off, Mr. Goodrum, could you please tell us whenand where you were born, and where you grew up.
GOODRUM:I was born in Rearden, Griffin, Spalding County. Attend school in theGriffin, Spalding County School System, and this is my one and only place, as far as living was concerned, in Georgia, right in Griffin, Georgia.
CRUIKSHANK:And tell us a little bit about your family now. Did you00:01:00have any siblings? Where were your parents from?
GOODRUM:My father was born in Monroe County. My mother was born in Riordan,Griffin, Spalding County. And the two of them was married forever and a day. (laughter)
CRUIKSHANK:And what do you remember about your grandparents?
GOODRUM:Well, I remember my grandmothers used to kind of pull straws over me,because I was the oldest grandchild, and mother would have to go between the two of them and make sure, you know, that they had equal time as far as who was going to have the grandbaby. And I was real blessed to have super parents and real great grandparents, too. Real fortunate.
CRUIKSHANK:Do you have any children?00:02:00
CRUIKSHANK:And what schools did you go to?
GOODRUM:[Broad Street?] Elementary School, Cabin Creek Elementary School, KelseyJunior High School, vocational, and later on, Fairmont High School, in Griffin, Spalding County.
WALKER-HARPS:The first one was what kind of creek? Ball Creek, did you say,Elementary School, before Cabin Creek?
GOODRUM:No, Broad Street.
WALKER-HARPS:Oh, Broad Street. Okay.
GOODRUM:That area that's where Scott's Service Station is, the school's rightlocated there.
WALKER-HARPS:Okay, okay. And Cabin Creek was basically where MooreElementary... 00:03:00
GOODRUM:That's true, but it was a big building once, kind of a privateschool for African American youth, and it became somewhat along the line a part of Griffin, Spalding County school system.
CAIN:So if we back up, were you an only child?
GOODRUM:No, there was two of us.
CAIN:There was two of us. So you did have a sibling.
GOODRUM:One child died, I think was about three or four weeks old. I was theolder of the three, and then Jay, the one that died, my brother Eddie, who is now deceased.
CAIN:So what was it like in the community around your house? Did you have otherkids that you grew up with, that you were close to, friends, that kind of thing, those folks who you may have maintained relationships with over periods of time? Period of time? 00:04:00
GOODRUM:Well, there's one guy I would say that stands out above all the others,Jeremiah Bond. We lived close together, but not right in the same neighborhood. He was a couple years older than I. He is a couple of years older than I am, and he was formed with a good mind, what have you, good athlete, and I admired an awful lot of the things that he was able to do, so I kind of patterned -- I tried to, rather, pattern myself after him a lot. As a matter of fact, we do a lot of talking now between Malden and Griffin. We're still good friends.
CAIN:And I understand you were a pretty good athlete.
GOODRUM:Well, it depends on who's (laughter) passing the judgment, I guess. Iwas fair. I was fair, I think. 00:05:00
WALKER-HARPS:So which sports were you involved in?
GOODRUM:Well, track, football, baseball, and... That's going to be about thebest of it. Track and football were my best sports.
WALKER-HARPS:You were in a situation, in both situations, where the schools wereintegrated, and before they were integrated, in terms of sports. What difference did you find when you were at Fairmont and what you experienced when you were in the integrated system?
GOODRUM:Well, the situation was totally different because of the facilities, andthey improved the building, the equipment, and everything. You had a 00:06:00shortage of equipment or what have you because we didn't quite get the same amount of financing that the Caucasian kids would get. So we had to do a lot of begging and, as a matter of fact, when I played high school football, we used to go over to Griffin High school, and they had an old box, and they had head gear, shoulder pads, and all things, they'd put it in old boxes. We'd go over and talk with the coach, and he'd let us go through and get some equipment that we could use for football.
WALKER-HARPS:On a performance level, how would you rate yourselves, inparticularly in comparison with the Caucasian children?
GOODRUM:Well, I could outrun all of them. (laughter) I was truly blessed to havequite a bit of speed. The first state track meet that I participated 00:07:00in, I won second place in the finals, and I placed in the long jump and all that other. The Good Lord kind of blessed me pretty well when it comes to having an athletic build
CAIN:Probably at that time, there were separated athletic associations, so thatyou all went to -- you competed against other African American schools around, maybe, Georgia at the state level, versus competing against schools that were primarily by white kids. And so when you say you finished second, you finished second statewide in the hundred or two hundred in the African 00:08:00American association, athletic association, whatever that was. How did all that work?
GOODRUM:Well, first of all, it was against the law for there to be anyparticipating between African American and Caucasian. So we didn't even go on the same field where Caucasian were. You know, as a matter of fact, you know where Mount Sinai Baptist Street is over on Taylor Street? Well, that parking lot which is across the street down Forrest Street, that's where I went to seventh grade. All the African American children in this county attended school there in the seventh grade at that building, and believe it or not, because I'm not pulling your leg one or the other when I tell you this: the 00:09:00Griffin High School capital there, which is right across the street from where we were at Kelsey, but I don't ever remember taking a real good look at it, because it was just... It was a no-no. You don't bother with that. You don't touch it. You don't cross the land or anything. So it was foreign property. It was on the same street and all, only difference on the other side of the street, but it was in another world.
WALKER-HARPS:Was that the site of the Laver and the little green buildingthat was for African Americans -- wasn't there Laver in that area --
GOODRUM:Well, that's the site where we went to what we called Kelsey Junior HighSchool. That's where we went to seventh grade. Across from that is the Coca-Cola Company, which has long been defunct. But the amazing thing about 00:10:00that: the Caucasian children could walk across our property, our school ground, going home or coming to school, but we couldn't cross that, you know. (laughter) It was a no-no.
CAIN:You went to first grade through the seventh -- or seventh or eighth gradeat Kelsey Junior High?
GOODRUM:It was one grade. It was just seventh grade. All African Americanseventh graders attended Kelsey. Just one -- it was a one-year step. We would go to elementary school, one through four, then we'd go over to... what is now the morgue building, Cabin Creek, it was called then. We'd attend the Cabin Creek until the sixth, and then we'd go over to Taylor Street for the seventh grade.
CAIN:So three facilities.00:11:00
GOODRUM:From there back to Fairmont.
CAIN:Remember who your teachers and principals were in those various schools?
GOODRUM:Oh, let me see who I think it was...
CAIN:Or was it just one person who was the instructor for each grade? How didthat work?
GOODRUM:Well, grades one through four was at the elementary school which wasBroad Street Elementary School, and Ms. Millett. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I had her name wrong, I just forgot her name. Goldwire, 00:12:00Mrs. C.B. Goldwire, was the principal, and she also taught the fourth grade. And we would be there for four years, and then we would go over to...
GOODRUM:Cabin Creek Elementary School, and we'd be there for two years, fifthand sixth grade. Then we'd go over to Taylor for one year. Then we had the three years' stay at Fairmont.
CAIN:So what's now eighth, ninth, and tenth was at Fairmont.
CAIN:What about in eleventh and twelfth grade year?
GOODRUM:No twelfth. There was no twelfth grade until... '50 -- '53. That was thefirst graduating class was in 1953. Twelfth grade was in 1953. Twelfth grade. And we -- I finished the eleventh grade and that was the end of High 00:13:00School. That was the extent of being in school then.
CRUIKSHANK:Was their twelfth grade for Caucasians?
GOODRUM:Yes, that was the...
CAIN:So did that -- did you all have any problems with things like gettingadmitted to college as a result of just going to the eleventh grade? Was it strictly vocational? Tell us a little bit about how it was set up academically.
GOODRUM:You mean for the entrance requirements?
CAIN:Yeah, in other words, obviously there were a lot of bright kids who camethrough, and -- who may have had an interest in continuing their education at college or something like that. I just wondered if there were any impediments if you didn't have that twelfth grade year.
GOODRUM:Well, that was the requirement, you know. Once you complete theeleventh grade, and you forfeit all of the academic requirements, 00:14:00then you would be eligible to attend an African American college in the state of Georgia.
WALKER-HARPS:What do you remember about C.B. Goldwhile?
GOODRUM:She had a nice house down on the corner of Chappell and Second, and shewas mean as all getup. (laughter) The meanest old lady I've seen. But she was a good lady. She did an awful good job of running the school, and there was no fooling around. You had to be about your academic business for as long as that lady was there.
WALKER-HARPS:Is there a relationship with -- between Paul -- Ms. Goldwhile andthe Bodgins Nursery, or am I talking about two different establishments?
GOODRUM: You're talking about two different establishments. Ms.00:15:00Goldwhile might have been instrumental in the school, but then she was with the public school system over at Broad Street. The other one was kind of a public thing, a public affair.
WALKER-HARPS:How would you describe Jim Crow and Griffin in your early adultlife? Was it alive and well and functioning, and to what extent?
GOODRUM:(laughter) Jim Crow was alive and well for a long time after my schooldays. We -- and believe it or not, it's one of those things that you were born into, and that was just a part of life, and, you know, we didn't really make it -- any fuss about it, because the only thing you were going to do is 00:16:00dig your hole deeper, and you're going to really be in trouble, so mind your own business and do what you're supposed to do, and if you lived to be in a good christian household, you didn't come out with a lot of crap. You just had to do what was right, and don't do anything that you were not supposed to do.
CAIN:So do you --
GOODRUM: Even listen to my father.
WALKER-HARPS:And not supposed to do at that time from your elders meant what?
GOODRUM:Well, first of all, you don't talk back to adults. You do what you weretold, and you had to have something to do to keep you busy. One of my dad's favorite sayings was, "Idleness is the devil's workshop." So get busy. And then I think he produced two pretty fast sons. Sons, I'm trying to say. 00:17:00
CAIN:So did you have any experiences living under Jim Crow, where you kind offelt like you were being mistreated, or did you have any experiences where you tried to get access to some kind of public facility, and as a result of Jim Crow laws, you weren't able to? Were there experiences that you had that you might be able to share to give us some flavor about how it was at that time?
GOODRUM:Well, the truth of the matter is, there were rules. There were rulesthat govern anybody, but then when it comes to certain things that were advantages and privileges that Caucasians were permitted, things that we would dare not even think about, because we know it was a cardinal sin to do so, and the only thing we were going to do is make that mess worse, so 00:18:00consequently, you just had to grin and bear.
CAIN:Movie theaters? Did you go to the movies?
CAIN:And how did that work?
GOODRUM:Well, they had their movies, and we had ours.
GOODRUM:Definitely so. Definitely so.
GOODRUM:Water fountains, all that. Everything was separate. Separate but equal,Plessy v. Ferguson, which I'm sure you've heard of one time or another, but it's just something that you're born into, you're reared in it, and you didn't question it, you know. You just -- knowing if you deviate from the norm, then you're up the proverbial creek.
CRUIKSHANK:But you must have questioned it in your own head, didn't you?
GOODRUM:Well, thoughts that went through my mind, say, "Well, why do00:19:00they have those good things that we don't?" But then -- I'm going to say something, and -- my grandfather was my mother's father, and I was in college, and he asked me to come out to -- he was in my grandmother's house, and that Sunday, we got ready to eat, he said, "Boy, I'm going to talk to you." He called all of us "boy." And he said, "I want you to tell me the truth now don't you tell me a lie." "All right" he said. And if you would excuse me. He says, "What do you think of N's going to school with Caucasians?" I said, "Well, Pa" -- I'd been in the Air Force and all that stuff, you know, 00:20:00and -- I said, "Well, Papa, I don't see anything's really wrong with it. It's just crazy, you know, to look at any other way." Well, my granddaddy wanted to decapitate me. He said, "You know that is --" my granddaddy was a man who did not take any pushing around for anybody. He was a mean man. Nobody bothered him. My grandfather shot into a bill collector who came out to collect some money. He sent the money that he had, that he could afford to pay, to town by my grandmother, and they were going to rip my grandfather, and he shot at that man's car. You know, they were going to go along, and he said, wait just a minute, I got it in here, went into the house and got his gun. When they pulled off, he shot. Shot that rear glass of. So what I'm going to show you, he was, he wasn't scared. He wasn't afraid of dying.
CRUIKSHANK: How did he ever get away with that?00:21:00
CRUIKSHANK:How did he ever get away with that? Wouldn't that have been retribution?
GOODRUM:I don't know how Papa -- I don't know how Papa got away with a lot ofthings. But everybody ok. Oh, when Papa died, oh, his neighbor, a Caucasian, was at the funeral, and he had a word for Papa. He says, "I've known Uncle John a long time. He was a good, honest man. He didn't take any foolishness from anybody. Leave Uncle John alone, and you had no trouble out of him, but if you ever wrong him, and you get ready kill him." He lived by that, and he never went to jail for it. Everybody knew, if you just leave him alone, and just let him do -- he wasn't going to break the law and 00:22:00all that. He wasn't going to steal, and he wasn't going to have anybody do anything wrong, but don't bother with he and his family. And if he told you something, you can take it to the bank.
CRUIKSHANK:But what I don't understand is how it -- I mean, in everything I'veseen, media, everything I've read about history, I mean, you have -- a black man tried to stand up for his rights, he would be lynched. I mean, how could that be? How could he get away with it, and stand up for his rights, and be okay?
GOODRUM:Everybody knew that John Thomas Crawford was a man. If he didn't likeyou, he wouldn't go to your house. He wouldn't drink water that came from your well. He wouldn't do anything that had anything to do with you if he didn't like you. So everybody knew that he minded his own business. And if something went wrong, somebody forced him to do it. I don't ever -- I don't remember 00:23:00ever hearing anybody said that Papa had gone to jail or had trouble with the law, because he minded his own business. But he'd take in charge, now, you can take that to the bank. How he did -- as a matter of fact, we discussed that, why somebody didn't shoot him or something, but he got away with it.
CAIN:So he was a strong man and strong figure.
GOODRUM:Oh, yeah, he was, he was.
CAIN:But his mantra to you was, "Things are kind of the natural order of thingsand they should stay kind of like that."
CAIN:Roughly, when was he born, your grandfather?
GOODRUM:I think it was '88, 1987, '89, somewhere about that --
GOODRUM:-- 1887, '89, yeah, thank you.
CAIN:Okay, I've got you.
GOODRUM:I think that's what I remember.00:24:00
CAIN:So, at some point there was a -- I want to get to two things, one, I wantto get to your college career a little bit, but I also want to get to the transition from -- in Griffin -- from a segregated kind of society to an integrated society, and the changes, and the adaptations that had to happen as you made that transition from the way things used to be to an integrated kind of setting. So if you could tell me, I guess, first, about -- you mentioned college, and leaving Fairmont, and going to college after that. Tell us about where you went and what you majored in. I know you came back and you've been a stellar person in the community.
GOODRUM:Well, let me be totally upfront and honest with you. I was a00:25:00pretty fair athlete, and things worked quite well for me athletically, and then after a period of time, other things kind of got in the way a little bit, and not that my daddy knew that, but I didn't put the emphasis I should have on my books. I was good, still, at one time, but then when it came time for me to go to college, I was kind of scared, because I put the athletics ahead of academics. And consequently, I was given the offers to play on scholarship. As a matter -- given a scholarship to play football, I'm trying to say. And Mr. Daniel, who was principal of one of the schools that we played at 00:26:00one time, brought this doctor to me who promised to pay my way to college if I were to go Morehouse College and play football, but I had gotten a big head with this kind of thing, and I was afraid to even think about it, and I was -- pretty stiff requirements now. So I had to kind of really, really take a real good look at myself and what I -- how I had misused some real great opportunities I had. So the only way for me to try to redeem myself was to join the Air Force. So I joined the Air Force, which was really, truly -- I tell people, I've been to college twice. I went in the armed forces, and then, after I completed my -- I took them courses when I was in the Air Force, but I wouldn't take any credit, because I told people, hey, when I go to 00:27:00college, I want to start anew. I want everything to come to (inaudible). I don't want anything. So incidentally, that worked out quite well for me. And I ran across some people who very, very instrumental -- and this is a long way from Griffin, Georgia, because some of the people that helped me so much were Caucasians. And as a matter of fact, L.C. Healthlaw, tall guy, and he said -- he called me George, so, for George. "George?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "What do you--" I would talk about when I get out. I said, "Well, think I can get out and go back down home and get, well, a job, and, you know, whatever going to do." He said, "Well, what are you going to do about a job?" I said, "Well, I'll just go get a job." He said, "Let me tell you something. You'd be a sore, sore fool to go back down south--" and this was in the state of New York, at 00:28:00Stewart Air Force Base. "If you go back down south and don't have -- the number one thing on your list is education, you'd be a fool as a black man." He said, "Look, a white man from Alabama, I'm telling you this, because you and I know what you've been through." So that put me under a different mindset, and things just worked better from that, you know. And I had some real good breaks. People saw that I was really trying, so consequently, it worked out quite well for me. But one thing that I would say that molded my determination more than anything else: there were two fellows that I thought they were college grads, and I had friends in high school, and I was talking with these 00:29:00fellows, and they were in the Air Force too. And I said, "Hey, where'd you guys go to college?" And they both looked at me and laughed. "What's funny?" He says, "Us, go to college? We're high school dropouts." Wow. And I talked to them, and I said, "Look. You guys mind if I kind of join the tour for a little bit and see what you guys are doing?" They said, "Well, tell you what. If you're willing to do what we do, okay. But if not, you can't." "So what have I got to do?" "You got to read a book a week. You even drink one beer, drink one beer, and that's all you can have during that week. But you have to share the contents of the book that you read. And if you want to do what we do, the way 00:30:00we do it, then that's fine." Those guys put my mind on the right track. And I tell you what, things just got better and better and better from there.
CRUIKSHANK:What years were those?
GOODRUM:Nineteen fifty, '51. Stewart Air Force Base, Newburgh, New York. It wasabout 12, 15 miles from the West Point Academy.
CAIN:Were you involved in Korea in any way?
GOODRUM:I spent 11 months, 11 days in Korea, from December of '53 to November,eleven months, eleven days. Eleven months, eleven days in '54. I rotated to the States in '54. I went to Mitchel Air Force Base at that time. That's where I did my last seven months, and I got out of there and went to Fort Valley State, and I made up my mind as I went to Fort Valley, before I went to Fort 00:31:00Valley, rather, that I didn't want to go to a big school, because I had been in New York. I was in New York, Stewart Air Force Base, in New York, Mitchel. And I had all of these fantasies, things, getting in the way, what have you. I want to go to Fort Valley State and crunch down there for very few distractions, or what have you, and I went down, and whoom, I made the honor roll, things just went well. Went quite well.
CAIN:So after Fort Valley State...
GOODRUM:Fort Valley State?
GOODRUM:Well, I didn't really go into -- for graduate -- working all right then,because I'd married, and when I went to school, that little gal that I'd been in love with all those years, well, we got married. No children, but we both went to college, and I had to work my fingers to the bones, but I went 00:32:00down to Fort Valley. She went, because she was a much better student in high school than I was, and -- I made three B's and an A when I got my first grades, and she said, "What were your grades?" and I said, "Three B's, an A." "Three B's and an A?" (laughter). I could breeze through that school if you have three B's and an A. But she had difficulty keeping up with me, though. I was not the same little wild buck, you know, that she had known before. So the thing just went well, and we got on through college, and I taught Jones County for six years, then Caleb High School in Gray, Georgia, and the basketball season of 1964, I was coaching 00:33:00basketball -- I was head basketball coach at the Caleb. And Philip Head, Philip Hood, There was a Philip Head in Griffin, too. But Philip Hood saw my team perform in a tournament, and he came, and we've known each other all of our lives. He said, "Johnny.". "Yes" he said,"Man, when are coming back home?" I said, I cant get back home, I cant get a job there. He said, "Well if I can help you get your job, will you come back?" He said, "We need you in Griffin." "Okay." So I left Gray in 1965, came back to Griffin, and been here ever since. And that little gal went right along with me. (laughter)
CAIN:So when you came back to Griffin, you had a job.
GOODRUM:Oh, yeah, no doubt about it. No doubt about it.
CAIN:And what was the job
GOODRUM:Well, I was teaching PE, and driver's ed, and this kind ofthing, but I had really done my work and all, what have you, so I was firmly set 00:34:00for that, you know, and we... I stayed at Fairmont for five years, and then, that's when we consolidated after that.
CAIN:So that was from '64 to '69 or something like that?
GOODRUM:Well, the school year '70, '71, I left Caleb High to come to Fairmont,and then I stayed there until '70.
CAIN:So you were at the forefront of much of the change from Fairmont to GriffinHigh, is that right?
GOODRUM:Smack dab in the middle of it.
CAIN:Tell us about that.
GOODRUM:Well, during the process of making the transition, doing all of thethings, school colors and what have you, who was going to be coaching for sports and what have you, the kids who were working as -- young people who were working on that, Caucasian and African American, they kind of got in a little conflict about school colors and this kind of thing, and so they had a lot of difference. And God knows, this is the truth. I had asked for a raise because the difference in pay in African American coaches and the Caucasian coaches. So I went over to the superintendent's office and asked Mr. Christian about that. So the proposition was, in order for me to get the raise, I could coach at one 00:35:00school and work at the other. We would-- I didn't want to do that. So I told Mr. Christian that that wouldn't work, because I've got two bosses, the one who is in charge of academics, he's -- that part of it, though, that was in charge of athletics, wouldn't want that part of it. I might have a conflict, so I will not do that. So anyway, then Mr. Christian told them that he -- them being the students, the athletes said, well, we better bring him over to Griffin High in order for him to get the raise in pay. So then the children, the young people, didn't like that. So from that sprung this dissention. Not anything real bad, but they didn't like the idea of them taking some of their boys and their best coach and sending him to Griffin High. I agreed, though, just to hold off for it, and they would take care of it next year. So 00:36:00somehow or another, they got into school colors and all these kind of things, and someone over their head kind of had some word, and the African American children felt that they were not being treated fairly, so they came back to school and spread the word to what had transpired, then they just walked out. Schwoop! Headed for Griffin High, they went straight over there. And I was there in the gym, and I said, "I'm not getting involved in all that mess, because it's going to be the biggest mess I've ever heard of in my life. I want nothing to do with it." So I went back to the gym, locked the door, and all the kids were gone. They had gone over to Griffin High School Somthing told me, "Now, look". No, I'm not going, I'm not going. But all the sudden it hit me, boom, you better go. So I ran outside, jumped in my car, and I got there just about the same time they did, and as I walked up the steps, Mr. 00:37:00Christian, who was the superintendent, he said, "Coach Goodrum! Oh, that's Coach Goodrum! Coach Goodrum out there! Come up here." Well, I had to go up on the stage, and that proved to be one of the best things I'd ever done when I got over there. Mr. Chris had kind of valued my opinion, how I felt about things, and consequently, he pretty much didn't let me have my way, but he kind of let me, you know, have some sense of things, and he was honest with me about what they -- I had been the head track coach at Fairmont, and I won the -- no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Track was at Griffin High. Baseball. The head baseball coach. And you know, I wanted to be the baseball 00:38:00coach at Griffin High, too when I was working during Pierce, and they were just playing out front -- said, "Look, we've got to have a black in charge of something." And the track team was the worst sport they had at Griffin High. So we're going to make you the track coach. What was I going to tell them? Give me the money I'd asked for. Well, but I didn't like it, and I said, well, this thing is going to pan out for me, it's going to pan out. I started those boys to work, and I worked every hands -- I mean, I worked, I worked. The next seven year span, I won four regional championships and two state championships. That was the most productive program in the whole athletic program. And it was all 00:39:00because Mr. Christian's twist my arm and said, "We're going to make you the head track coach." None of the other teams had anything comparable to that.
CAIN:You know, but you bring up a great issue, and that is leadership during thetransition, and how personnel were chosen to take leadership in various areas, and how political it was, whether there were racial implications about the choices, those kinds of things, who was appointed -- you're in an integrated situation, you've got coaches coming from Fairmont, you've got teachers coming from Fairmont, you've got teachers at Griffin High, you've got teachers, athletic personnel at Griffin High, you've got administrators at both of those schools. Who gets what leadership position, how that was determined? 00:40:00
GOODRUM:Well, I don't think I was as good as people said I was, but I had a waywith the kids, you know, and I didn't play with them and all that, I was family to them. But hey, I had a life philosophy. People might outplay us, but they won't outwork us. We're going to be as prepared as anybody within hit, whatever activity we're in. They might beat us, but hey, they won't put any more into it than we will. And you might not believe this, some of the kids kid me -- we're men now. They kid me, because we had this embankment. We were going up the bank. We'd go up the bank and we'd do that every day. Every day, for conditioning. And those fellows, some of them thank me right today for 00:41:00doing that. It was all because, hey, you don't outwork us. If you've got more building we can't -- we can't do a thing about that. But we will work with the best of them, and if I get a little kick out of anything, it's having the boys just tell me that "You're a crazy old man" or "You made us do that." I said, "But it worked. It worked."
CAIN:Well, because of your success and your leadership, it paved theway for other folks to be able to come behind you and get those kinds of positions, I assume.
GOODRUM:You know, this is probably irrelevant to this whole thing, but I went tomy daddy, and I asked him about me playing football, and he said, "Boy, I don't know a thing about football." He said, "You -- those are my boys," and he said, "If something happened to me, somebody got to look out for your mother and your brother." He said, "If you can find you a job that will let you play football and go to school -- go to school and play football, and that'll be fine, that'll be fine." He said, "But you've got to go to school, because you've got to know how to make a dollar sign. Something happen to me, you're going to be up the creek." So this is the gospel truth if I've ever told it in my life. A few days after that happened, a man named H.T. Stafford, xaucasian, who was in charge of the Roxy and the Imperial Theater, and I heard that Mr. Stafford had a vacancy as is for a janitor at the Roxy Theater. I went to ask him about it. He knew I played football and all that, or I would play football, that was 00:42:00then. And he said, "Johnny," he said, "now, I'm assuming you want the job so you can play football." I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Okay, now, let me tell you something. Now you remember our agreement. As long as you go to school and you pass, you can have this job, but the day you come up and tell me that you want to go full-time as a janitor, and quit school, I don't want to see you anymore. I don't want to see you anymore. That's it." "Yes, sir, I understand." That same man, H. T. Stafford, one summer, he came -- Piggly Wiggly's right beside where the Imperial Theater was, and I had gone and bought, I bought a -- I think a double cola, some big drink, I bought baloney, a banana, 00:43:00whole lot of stuff, and Mr. Stafford came in, and he says, "Johnny, who's going to eat all that food?" I said, "I am." "Do you eat like that every day?" "I do." So that's crazy. He says, "Tomorrow, you don't buy your lunch. I'm buying you lunch." He said, "You don't eat until I get here." So the next day, he came in, he went next door to Piggly Wiggly's, he bought two coca-colas, and two loaves of Besserall bread. We went back to the theater, he went up in his office, took the bread, pushed it together, opened the bag, opened the drink, saw it and said, "Let's eat." We ate. Okay, he says, "This is what I want you to do every day. You're eating more money than you're making. You eat up all your money. That's crazy." All right, the same man started going to my football 00:44:00games, you know. He knew more football than my football coaches, to tell you the truth. He did. And he called me up to the office one day. "Johnny?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "You ever had a bank account?" "No, sir." He says, "Let me ask you something. Would you like to have one?" I said, "Well, I wouldn't mind." He said, "Well, we'll start you one," he said, "and get this situation set up for you, and I'll take money from your check, put it into the bank for you every week." And this is the gospel truth if I ever told it in my life. That man taught me the value of a dollar. Now, he was such a good man. That much is the truth. That man was in some ways as close to me as my daddy, and he would fuss at me. He'd never curse, but if he saw me doing something he thought was 00:45:00wrong, but he would chew my rear end up one side and down the other until that man made me -- now, my dad was a real biggie, but as far as teaching me about money and how to work with people and how to get the best out of anything you do was done for me by H. T. Stafford. And he was from Alabama too, by the way, but he was a dang good man. Good man.
WALKER-HARPS:A. T. what? The last name.
GOODRUM:H. T. Stafford.
WALKER-HARPS:Oh, H. T. Stafford.
GOODRUM:H. T. Stafford. He was a good man. And I tell you what. I wish I couldhave kept track with him to let him see how the things that he did for me paid off for me. He was a fine man. Fine man.
CAIN:I know you passed it forward to other people, which is what you do.
WALKER-HARPS:In general, what was the economy like as you grew up for AfricanAmericans in Griffin?
GOODRUM:Well, people were doing domestic work. Can't remember what my mom made aday, I mean a week. Wasn't very much. Daddy worked at the mill, so they had little salaries at the mill, and well, Daddy supplemented his income, his 00:46:00salary by -- they called them cesspool during that time, septic tanks. And Daddy and his buddy on the job, Mr. Joe Chandler would dig septic tanks after they'd get off from the mill in the evening. Dad would go to work in the mornings, and he'd come back by the house after he'd clean up the three offices, and he'd work from then, he'd go to the mill and work. So, well... My brother and I would always talk to him about that.
WALKER-HARPS:Who were the -- were there many African American entrepreneurs? Iknow we talked earlier about John Simmons -- or black businessmen, or professional blacks who were very, very active in the community? 00:47:00
GOODRUM:The Head brothers, you know, Raymond, oldest, and Phillip, their father,who owned Paytonville Pressing Club and several houses throughout the city, and they had a lot going for them, and more so than the average Afro-American, because they owned properties or what have you, and they had avenues that opened up for them that weren't necessarily open for the average African American. There weren't too much poverty happening along the socioeconomic lines.
WALKER-HARPS:Not much black ownership, excluding all service industries, likebarber shops, and gift shops, and funeral homes, things that would apply specifically to African Americans. 00:48:00
GOODRUM:Mr. Hector had Please You Cleaners, the Heads had CleanWell,John Summers had the store that (inaudible), there was several blacks that were with small businesses, but nothing really -- A. C. Touchstone. He was the wealthiest African American in Spalding County. As a matter of fact, he was the head man of...
GOODRUM:No, no, no. I'm trying to think of... who's he? The political -- whatare they -- political...
WALKER-HARPS:Oh, the Republicans?
GOODRUM:Yeah, he was the head Republican. Mr. Turnstone walked in -- the head ofthe Republican Party, and they took him down when he was in there. He was the head for a long time.
CAIN:Say that name again.
GOODRUM:Oh, oh, oh, oh. A. C. Turnstone.
CAIN:Turnstone, got you.
GOODRUM:Turnstone. You know Frank Turnstone? You remember Frank?
CAIN:I've heard of him.
GOODRUM:But Mr. Turnstone had major, major bucks. Big, big money.
CAIN:What about grocery stores? Did you get food through grocery stores, werethere gardens in backyards?
GOODRUM:Well, you had to have a garden in the back yard, but -- John Simmons,you know where John Simmons used to run the store?
GOODRUM:Okay, that was a -- can't think for the man's name now -- but anyway, hehad a nice store there. Ms. Clara Lovett had a little store on Solomon Street. The Matthews had one, or somewhere -- I didn't go to South Side too much, but there were black businesses, but there weren't that much, but... The store where Simmons was, that man had a pretty nice business. And that was several little stores.
WALKER-HARPS:Yes, the gentleman on Solomon Street, oh, gosh, on the corner ofSolomon and --
GOODRUM:Are you talking about Snow's?00:49:00
GOODRUM:But that -- what am I saying -- Pete Lovett, Mr. Pete Lovett had thatoriginally. I'm sorry.
WALKER-HARPS:Snow and there was another gentleman everybody knew here. Flosses --
GOODRUM:Oh, Ed Farmville.
GOODRUM:Oh, that's right, that was a service station on the corner of Fourth andEast Sullivan. You're right. That's an awful lot to be pushing it so much. (laughter)
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah, there are some names that ring true that were out there in1961 when I came to Griffin. Now, tell us a little bit about your principalship. You did get to be a principal during the transitional period.
GOODRUM:Oh, yes, yes, yes. I don't know. I guess my going into the armed forceskind of gave me a chance to really see different people when they would help people. And I learned a lot from that, so as a result, I never really had any real major problems with students. Somehow or another, I impressed people like Mr. Christian and the rest of them, so I didn't apply for a principalship, to tell you the truth. It was something that was just volunteered -- they voluntarily did for me, you know, and they saw something in me I guess I didn't see in myself.
WALKER-HARPS:Did you ever get to visit [Mollett's] gym? Were you ever behindMollett's gym? I understand that was an interesting place to be. And the woodshed... 00:50:00
GOODRUM:Well, that was the only gym... Or were you talking about something else? (laughter)
WALKER-HARPS:There was, I heard said, there was one principal who had a record oftaking you to the woodshed. I don't remember exactly his name, but... And nobody wanted to go to Mollett's gym, because usually, that's where things happened.
GOODRUM:Well, Mr. Mollett left before I got there, and the countybuilt the addition to Fairmont, so we used to use Mollett's gym, but we had our own gym, so there was no need to go over there.
WALKER-HARPS:Was Mr. Mollett a naturally a flaunt, you might say, or he build thegym out of necessity. 00:51:00
GOODRUM:He build the gym as a moneymaking project.
GOODRUM:See, we didn't have a gym, and most of the African American schools hadbasketball, far and near. We played our basketball games outdoors, and Mr. Mollett built that gym there. So we were able to play basketball inside because of Mr. Mollett's gym. So he made money on that thing.
CAIN:What year was that?
GOODRUM:Now, that was done when I was -- before I got big enough to be allconcerned about that. But it was that -- I'm not sure what year it was. But it was there for a good while.
CAIN:I've often heard about festive parades and that kind of thing in Griffinduring that period of time. Bands and -- we were talking about majorettes before. What was that whole thing like, and how did that -- how did the community receive that kind of festive activity?
GOODRUM:Well, originally we used to -- we. The principal would get bands to comeout of Atlanta for more of the many schools in Atlanta that had bands, and they would pay them to come down and perform at halftime and march, going over to the stadium and what have you, and going back to what Gary was talking about a little while ago, Gene -- they used to parade over at Fairmont School all the way over to Memorial Park, and where people would be parked, we used to stand on a long road. Well, I'd never get to see any of that when I was playing football because, you know, I was with the team. But they 00:52:00would have a big, big crowd, and people would just have a ball. And on the Friday before the game, they would play through town, and they would just have one heck of a time, you know. I've talked a lot and said little. Has anybody got any other questions?
WALKER-HARPS:You've said a lot.
CRUIKSHANK:So overall, what are your feelings about integration? Was there --was it all good? Was it... what were the bad aspects to it, or were there bad 00:53:00aspects to it?
GOODRUM:You mean as far as experiencing it, doing the transition...
GOODRUM:Well, you know, without the efforts of good Caucasians, that situationwould have been a real ugly one. But as always, there are always those persons whose heart's in the right place, and we had a lot of people whose hearts were in the right places. And they stepped in when they really had to, you know. And the transition in Griffin, Spalding County, was -- I think it was kind of smoothly done, and I -- I'm trying to think of football coach's name now -- Max. Well, Max Dowells was the coach during that time. And I remember vividly when there was a little ruckus, kind of blew up between the football players, African American and Caucasians, and Max got everybody together, 00:54:00settled down, and he says, "Listen. I want everybody to know one thing. I ain't got no white football players. I ain't got no black football players. I got football players. Now, if you don't like that, get the crap out of here. I got football players." Something came up, and somebody was mouthing. Coach called us back in here again, and he says, "Listen. I'm going to tell you something. I'm going to tell you this one time. And this will go over you people, your dad's a doctor, what have you, and those of you who's daddy are just plain old working folks. If I have to tell you this again yonder is the gate that's it." See, Max Dowells was a strong man. I'm going to tell you something. Max Dowells never let a boy get hurt, going to bed at night, without him going to that boy's house and taking care of him. That's the kind of man he was. Max -- I'm sorry about that. Max, he took real good care of us. But he didn't take any jump, now. He was -- he demanded a lot, but he'd give a lot too. He was one heck of a man, one heck of a man.
WALKER-HARPS:Sounds like you had some interesting experiences with veryimportant and influential men in your life -- 00:55:00
GOODRUM:Oh, there's no doubt about that --
WALKER-HARPS:-- to shape you to what you are today.
CRUIKSHANK:But I was kind of curious, one day, a few months ago, I was workingaway in my office, and this former professor came up to me. He used to work here. Orwell Lindstrom. And he said, "You need to interview this guy, this Mr. Goodrum." He said, "We're good friends. We go out and have a coffee every day, and we're talking, and talking, and we're talking about the internet, and he said, and he's saying that you were talking about, "Oh, you'd never find your name in the internet," so they typed in -- I guess you guys typed in your name, and up came this stuff about Fairmont High School. So tell me, how did that relationship get started there? I mean, it sounds like it's pretty close.
GOODRUM:Well, we are, we are. Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We work goodtogether. He didn't come this morning, so we've got to boot him for that. But, you know, I don't really know how it got started.
CRUIKSHANK:Well, how long has it been? How long have you been buddy-buddy.
GOODRUM:A good while.
CRUIKSHANK:Long time, mm-hmm, years and years. Well, how did you meet? He's aprofessor here, I think.
GOODRUM:Yeah, he is. How did we meet? Something... It was somethingconcerning race. We met at Saint Phillip Church, and I can't remember just... Just what it was that had transpired, but Orville and I was just casual acquaintances at that time, and that night, Orville came to the meeting, and somehow or another, we just kind of hit it off. But I can't remember exactly what happened originally. But he's a super guy. A super guy. If he tells you 00:56:00something, you can take it to the bank.
CRUIKSHANK:Well, he was... He said you have some great, great storiesabout being on the bus back from New York or something and having to take a back seat, or... Do you remember stories like that?
GOODRUM:Okay, we can talk about that. You know, if you're in the Air Forceand -- for planes going in the air -- like, I was coming to Griffin from New 00:57:00York. Okay, so I went down and put my name in, and, what you call, hitch and a hop, wanted a ride, in other words, on the plane. And we flew from New York to Birmingham -- no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Yeah, we did fly to Birmingham. And we got off the plane, and we went down to the bus terminal, and these guys -- there were five of us -- and I was the only African American. And we had breakfast in the same building, we flew down on the same plane, and these were people that I worked with and all that every day. So when we get to Birmingham, we walk in the door, and everybody looked at me, and I went, "Well, what's going on?" And I was all eyes. "What in the world is happening?" Now, I'd been away from joining that long, but, now, I'm with these same guys I'm working with, I'm eating with every day, and then this guy -- "Bus is now leaving for 00:58:00Birmingham." Oh, man, I'm in Alabama, and I mean -- I ran (laughter) -- I ran down there, thinking, "What if somebody's stabbed me?" But I got out, and then I got to the halfway house. It was raining, cold, and I went -- the little -- went to the little place in back, where the little hole is, let us go back there, and then be accommodated. And then I -- they had closed that place up. So I went back up front, and me and my little bag, I stepped inside the door. I wasn't trying to get where the people was, but I was trying to get out of the rain and all. And the man came over and says, "Hey, out." So another gentleman stood up and said, "Hey, that guy's in uniform." Guy says, "I don't 00:59:00care what he got on. He'd better get his black you-know-what out of here," you know. So I left -- I knew that wasn't a good sign, so I left. And a guy who's -- offered to bring me to Griffin, driving the bus, he said, come on, get in here." He said, "Where are you going?" I said, "Griffin." "Get in, get in the truck." He says, "It's a little out of my way, but I just can't stand that. I'll take you to Griffin." I said, "No, sir, I appreciate that, but I wouldn't put you out of the way that much. It's not that bad." Got on the bus. And we'd, I guess, gone five, ten miles, stopped another place. Lady got on the bus, and she's all built like this, they made me give her my seat. (laughter) Yeah, that 01:00:00happened, that's... But those things happened. But I'm going to tell you one little... I was in New York, and I hadn't been in New York but a couple, three weeks, and this lady got on the bus, and there were all kinds of seats in there, and she was a Caucasian, and boy, that was a hard -- for me to sit there. I started to get up, but I said, no, and nobody even noticed that. But it was just... It was just a big change in the way things worked.
WALKER-HARPS:Was that before or after the Mule Hole was a significant featurein Griffin? 01:01:00
GOODRUM:Oh, well, see, none of that happened in Griffin. What I'm taking abouthappened --
WALKER-HARPS:Yes, I know, but the Mule Hole was one example of the same kind ofthing there in Griffin.
GOODRUM:I know, I know. But the only thing I ever did with the new hole was passit. I never went in the Mule Hole. They said they didn't have any concrete, there was no floor, it was just a dirt floor in there. I never did go in that.
WALKER-HARPS:I may be the only one who has heard of the Mule Hole.
CAIN:I was going to ask what the Mule Hole was.
GOODRUM:It was a place where Mr. Charlie would let you go in andspend your dollars and buy his beer and that kind of stuff, but there was no place for you to sit, and it was just the walls and dirt flooring.
CAIN:So it was like a little bit of a bar, a little bit of a --
GOODRUM:Yeah, it was, but -- there was a Caucasian portion of it out front, andyou go around --
CAIN:To the back.
GOODRUM:-- to the back, and you go in there, yeah, and -- I'd never go in there.
CAIN:You could buy, but you couldn't stay?
GOODRUM:Oh, you can stay in there you can stay and stand up in that dirt.That's right. You know where the old East Street church is in downtown Griffin?
GOODRUM:All right. Just across the street from Main Street, if you're lookingacross in the -- that building on the other side of there, that was new..
WALKER-HARPS:That was a site for most African American businesses, and Iunderstand that, as far as the community was concerned, that was a kind of booming area.
GOODRUM:Well, but you see, Raymond Head and those had --
GOODRUM:Triple-H and --
GOODRUM:Let me see, they had the Pressing Club, Triple-H, then there was a shoeshine things, and now... Mr. Hector had -- that was before he moved the We'll-Do-It cleaners back on the other -- whole other end, and then there was several cafes too in the same area. Griffin is... it's come a long way. We've still got a long way to go, but, you know. Thanks again, Pa.
CRUIKSHANK:Well, I guess we can stop here. Anything else that you wanted to say,anything you wanted to talk about before we close here?
GOODRUM:Well, I hope I wasn't a complete bore to you people today, and willappreciate the invitation, and, you know, keep up the good work.
CAIN:For my part, I can say it was very, very interesting, and we appreciate youcoming and sharing with us. It's something that will be archived and folks 50 years from now, you know, how long, will be able to listen to it and get perspective on how things were.
GOODRUM:Thank you, thank you.
WALKER-HARPS:Thank you, and thank you to the staff who gives its timeso graciously to come and do this. We do appreciate it.
CAIN:You all have mentioned Otis Head more than --
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