Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Daisy S. Stroud

Interviewee: 
Stroud, Daisy
Interviewer: 
Metzger, Mary
Date of Interview: 
2005-02-03
Identifier: 
BBST0016
Subjects: 
Stroud, Daisy S., 1921-; Stroud, Gerson L., 1919-2006; Fayetteville State Teachers College; Billingsville Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.); Oaklawn Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.); Ranson Junior High School (Charlotte, N.C.); African American school principals; African American teachers; African American school children; African Americans--Civil rights; Fetal death--Psychological aspects; Plantation life; Race relations; Racism in education; School discipline; School integration; North Carolina--Charlotte; North Carolina--Rockingham; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
Abstract: 
Daisy Stroud (formerly Daisy Spears) recounts her life story, and in particular her experiences as an educator in Charlotte Mecklenburg schools. Mrs. Stroud’s teaching career spanned the transition from segregation to integration and took her from primitive one room rural schools to newly constructed post World War II urban campuses. Mrs. Stroud recounts many anecdotes to illustrate the inequities of the integration process, noting that black educators and students were handpicked to integrate white schools. Mrs. Stroud also talks about her husband, Gerson Stroud, a celebrated principal and administrator in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools system.
Coverage: 
North Carolina--Charlotte; North Carolina--Rockingham; 1940 - 2005
Interview Setting: 
Home of Daisy Stroud, North Carolina--Charlotte
Collection: 
Before Brown Collection
Collection Description: 
These interviews were conducted in conjunction with the Levine Museum of the New South’s award winning exhibit, "Courage: The Carolina Story That Changed America,” which was originally mounted in 2004. The interviews focus on the educational experiences of members of the African American community of Charlotte during the era of segregation.
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
MM: 2005 and I'm at the home of Daisy Spears Stroud and we are at 8470 Highland Glen in Charlotte. And Mrs. Stroud has a wealth of experience lots of memories that relate to education in the Charlotte area and Mrs. Stroud I was fascinated by your experience beginning as a practice teacher at Fayetteville State. Could you tell me what that experience was like when you worked first in a rural school and then went to a city-town school during your teacher training.
DS: One of the things that was so comprehensive because it gave us the actual experience of both situations. Fayetteville State University was just at that time just was primarily for teachers and everything was around teaching and so during the first two years we took our regular courses but the last two years we had to spend a whole year in observation. We had half the year of serving in country-a school in the country and then the other half of the year you're observing in a practice school that was right on the campus where you had ideal situations and then the last year we had to do our actual practice teaching and then we had to for the first part of the first semester we would go-we would be transported by school bus out to the country schools where we would be required to get there and make the fires and we'd have a potbelly stove and we'd make the fires and it was a one room school house where we had maybe 30 or 40 children at all age levels and we had to make our lesson plans, have them approved and go there and work for that town and being observed and then for the last half we had to practice teach in the practice school on the campus with ideal conditions like students taken from the city and brought in and different levels it was like an ideal situation and then we had to be judged for that. And only if you passed would it be sufficient-could you graduate and so passing or making a reputable grade was something to really be desired. And so I was fortunate enough because I think I loved it so much that I did graduate with a very-with a high grade. So then I went on and that my practice in university.
MM: And that happened-was that in the year that you did graduate was the practice teaching in the spring of 1941?
DS: Yes uh-huh I did that at that time right. So that was-I graduated in 1941 yes, yes.
MM: And did you know then where you wanted to teach?
DS: Well I missed my mother still and I wanted to come home and I moved to Charlotte all prepared to teach and then attempting to get my job I was told that because my two sisters were already in the system--.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: --that they would not allow anyone else from my family to teach there so in order for me to have a job I applied and I heard of a school rather that needed a teacher in Rockingham.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And so it so happened that my father was in insurance and Rockingham was a part of his territory.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So he knew all about Rockingham and so he took me there and so we just kinda scoped it out he said "This ought to be a pretty nice place for you." And everything they had a school for grades 1 through 11 I guess at that time. I know it wasn't twelfth.
MM: Oh.
DS: It was this one school.
MM: OK.
DS: And they had the primary, the elementary and the-let's see the high school was right in another building right on the campus but I was hired to teach in the first grade and when I got there the principal finding out that I happened to be good in typing asked me if I would do half day secretary and the other half teaching and so that was OK.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I did that and then also when I moved to Rockinghamthere was no central heating in the house this lady opened her house for teachers so we had to get up in the morning--.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And make fire to make the fire and everything and my father when he came to see me he told me-asked me "Is there a problem?" and so I said "I'm cold" and everything and so he said "Well we'll see about that." So he went to a local place and he filled up my coal bins and the wood and everything and had it chopped in the right way you know so I wouldn't have to do that but I lived there and I shared my room there with another teacher and we did not have twin beds at that time.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: It was just one bed so we had to get up in the morning, make the fire and then go up in the kitchen and fix maybe something for breakfast and come back and so that was kind of living and we walked to school but I would like to say that this was some of the most pleasant teaching that I had because I made such good friends and then the children were so appreciative of learning you know they really were appreciative of learning. So I think that situation was the most fulfilling although according to its living conditions some would say it wasn't but I think the camaraderie of the teachers that we had--.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: --and then the eagerness of the children meant that it was the most satisfactory. I enjoyed teaching at Rockingham I taught there two years.
MM: And was it an all black school?
DS: Oh yes it was all segregated yes all black.
MM: And the children who came to the school did they come in from the country--.
DS: Yes.
MM: --around the town as well as the ( )?
DS: Yes the country they had the buses.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And everything and some would walk to school. From the whole county I believe right.
MM: And you were there for two years?
DS: Yes.
MM: And what happened at the end of two years?
DS: At the end of two years this was during the war.
MM: Right.
DS: War had been-and so my boyfriend Gerson Stroud who really was the-he was the best friend of my brother John and so he was in Second Ward too. And he and my brother were just very good friends and I always tell people that with my brother being like he was called the apple of the eye of the Spears family because he was so talented he could do everything and so I didn't like him very much. [Laughter] MM: [Laughter]
DS: And anyhow because he thought he was so much whatever. But my husband was his best friend so in fact that was nothing I had nothing to do with that you know with him but then after what happened was my brother went to Hampton it was his senior year and he and my husband were in order to go to school they would wait tables in Loinrock, North Carolina and my husband's father was the maitre-d he was the--so he would hide them but anyhow its my brother and my husband now were walking from the dormitory and the dining hall bolts of lightening came and they were next to each other the lightening hit the tree and bounced off and killed my brother-electrocuted my brother but it didn't bother my--.
MM: Oh my gosh.
DS: Boyfriend I mean my husband now but anyhow that was the sort of relationship we had he was just like one in the family and so but after he graduated he went to Johnson C. Smith and after I graduated then that meant that the year that I graduated he still was at Johnson C. Smith because he had to after he graduated from high school he had to work for two years to make enough money to go to college so he graduated after whatever.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: But so-he and I decided he was called to the army to the army and he decided that since he was getting ready to go overseas he would like to know if when he had a furlough I would marry him and so that was during the last year of Rockingham and so in 1944 in July of 1944 he had a furlough for two weeks and I married him. We had a wedding had a wedding that was 60 years ago and that's my wedding gown and every anniversary I wear my wedding gown and he wears his solider suit and we've been doing that for 60 years. Anyhow--.
MM: You all were married July of 1944?
DS: Yes.
MM: Where was he in the army when he had his furlough where did he come from?
DS: You mean when he was in basic training?
MM: Well he--.
DS: He wasn't in the army he was just getting ready to go.
MM: Oh so he didn't have to come back from Italy or something.
DS: No no no this was prepared he knew that he had to go.
MM: Yeah, yeah.
DS: His name would be up. So he said "Before I go I'll have a furlough would you marry me before."
MM: Oh I see.
DS: And I said "OK." [Laughter] So my mother prepared this wedding to be prepared within I think maybe 7 or 8 days and I had 8 bridesmaids 8 grooms maids I had everything we did that within a two week period. And we had our honeymoon for-we were married July 24th on a Monday and then we went on a honeymoon we couldn't go everything was segregated so I had my honeymoon with a friend of mine in Virginia and then we had our honeymoon and so then on Friday he had to leave to get back to camp and I didn't see him anymore until 1945. I didn't see him anymore.
MM: Months and months.
DS: That's right he came back.
MM: Where did he go?
DS: He went to Italy.
MM: He did go to Italy.
DS: He was able to go to the University of Italy while he was over there. Yeah he was able to. We got off of school. [Laughter]
MM: That's OK but isn't that wonderful. Do you remember what university in Italy he went to?
DS: Yes he has his degree from the university but I'll have to get it but he has his degree.
MM: Oh my word.
DS: Right, right he was able to do that right.
MM: While he was away did you teach?
DS: Yes-no wait a minute while he was away I decided that-I still couldn't get a job in Charlotte.
MM: Right.
DS: So I heard of a job at Fairview homes and so I had a friend there that was the manager so I was the bookkeeper secretary at Fairview homes in Charlotte it's now gone they've taken it down but I worked there. So then after working there after my husband left I developed asthma.
MM: Hmm.
DS: All of a sudden I just developed it and my brother was in Detroit, Michigan and my brother and his wife wrote me and told me that they had at the University of Michigan they had an excellent department there that would address respiratory ailments.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I got on the train and I went to Detroit, Michigan and every day I would get on the bus and I would go there and then I had--first they injected different substances in my back.
MM: Hmm.
DS: To find out what I was allergic too and it was dust and feathers and then I had sense enough to know is how can I not-how can I live and not be around dust and feathers?
MM: Exactly.
DS: Right so I had to come home and I had to take all my covers and nothing feathers and I had to get rid of my pillows but anyhow I was there and when I was there then that was in the last of '44 and so then yeah '44-'45.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Yeah '45 and I got a letter from Gerson that he was coming home.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And so I heard he was coming home and so I left Detroit and came to Charlotte to wait for him.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And he came back in 1945 on New Years Day so that would've been yeah that would be 1946 yeah right '46 because it was in '45 in December and so New Years Day is January 1, 1946.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: OK so that was when he returned home and so when he returned home that was the time when we said OK because we were so far behind we would start on our family so we wanted to be-we wanted to have 5 children.
MM: Right.
DS: And so in 5 months-in 8 months-in September of 1946 I delivered my first baby but it was stillborn. It was stillborn.
MM: Oh I'm sorry.
DS: And so that was a setback. It was not coming-it was stillborn and so then about that time my husband this was in 1946 he was desperate for a job and the job was our savior so he said.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So that was the start of his time going into markets and managements.
MM: Yeah.
DS: That was in '46.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So he left in '46 and by the way the reason my baby was dead and I had a stillbirth is that I was at the Good Samaritan Hospital you know the only hospital for blacks.
MM: Right.
DS: And there is something about the change of the moon if that is true there is more going into delivering babies is something to do with the moon at least that's from my experience. But at the Good Samaritan there was one delivery room and one labor room.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And so the halls were lined with women in labor and do you know in order for us to be there the nurses would come and ask us to cross our legs to keep the baby from coming. And so my baby suffocated.
MM: Oh my.
DS: Like that. So you know I can remember the time it was gone. So anyhow then after that experience my husband went into-said he wanted to get into the GI Bill and that's where it starts with his going into the--.
MM: Right.
DS: Right.
MM: And you all went out to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
DS: Right that's right.
MM: And your husband started school.
DS: Yes.
MM: And you lived at a home with other wives whose husbands were also in school.
DS: That's right, that's right and I got pregnant.
MM: Yup.
DS: When I was there.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Right that's true. And not only did I get pregnant I had to deliver and have my baby and bring my baby back to that home with all these other people there and the--not the ladies not my lady friends but their husbands would be very mad at me because my child had colic for 3 months. And all night and they were saying "Get that baby to shut up!"
MM: [Laughter] Because they couldn't study.
DS: [Laughter] They were studying.
MM: Yeah.
DS: "Can you do anything about that baby?" Now that was some period but they didn't get mad but you have to understand they got upset and not only did they get upset but my husband he would say "Is there anything you can do?" [Laughter] You can't forget the baby. And so when the doctor-I called the doctor and the doctor prescribed something and I gave my baby one dose and its like somebody knocked the baby in the head.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I said to myself that's dope.
MM: Yeah that was.
DS: And I didn't give it anymore and the baby cried. [Laughter] I just didn't do it anymore but anyhow that was a beautiful experience because I met some beautiful friends there it was a beautiful time. I didn't start teaching anymore until my last child I had 5 children.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: The first one was still.
MM: Yeah.
DS: The next one was-the next one was still too. Yeah the next one-the first one was still the next one was still and then I had my girl I finally had a girl and then I had a boy and then the next one was still. But the one that was still after-no let me see the first one was still and the second one had to be still too because it was 1951 but the reason I say that I was trying-the first one was still and then the next one was Gerson Jr.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: He was he was that's the one that was born in Illinois and then what happened the first one was still then Gerson Jr. was born then we came back to Charlotte and then I got pregnant and my baby during the 7th month my baby stopped I could tell it was like one night I went to bed and like you hear a clock in the background ticking.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And all of a sudden the clock stopped. And then when I went to the doctor the doctor told me that my baby's cord was wrapped around its neck.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And that I could do one of two things. He would put me in the hospital and he would induce the labor or I could go home and when nature was ready my baby would be expelled.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So I chose that and so for two months everyone except my husband and I thought that that was a baby but I carried that baby still for two months.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: But it was a beautiful feeling because the reason it was just like a lump in my stomach but it was not taking anything from me so I felt perfectly well but when it was time I went to bed one night and I went into labor and I had the baby you know like that.
MM: Yeah.
DS: But then I had two other children and that's my daughter and my baby boy.
MM: Yeah.
DS: Right right so that was very good.
MM: And years earlier you and your husband had a plan--.
DS: Right.
MM: That when your youngest child was ready to go off to nursery school--.
DS: Yes.
MM: You would go on back to teaching so it that what happened?
DS: That's what happened.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: My youngest child went to school and it just so happened my husband was at York Road at that time and at Marie G. Davis they had a kindergarten and so he could take the baby.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: He could take him to kindergarten and I decided to teach and I got my first job at Billingsville in Greer Heights yeah that was my very first job.
MM: And what age children did you teach?
DS: First grade.
MM: First grade.
DS: First grade.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Uh-huh first grade. And so that was when I first started and my husband really until he was assigned to Oaklawn--York Road.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And we called a friend of ours to ask him to teach Gerson how to drive neither one of us knew how to drive. So he took driver's education and I didn't but when I got my job then it was necessary for me so I got my driver's license my first year of teaching so that's when I started driving too right.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I could drive to wherever. It was interesting at Billingsville because it was all on the campus you know they had the primary and the grammar and then the primary and grammar there wasn't high school.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Right so that was an interesting experience.
MM: Why was it so-what was interesting about it that you remember?
DS: Well it was interesting there because when I got there it was the first year that they had ever had two first grade teachers.
MM: OK
. DS: There was always one.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And she was-she was elevated you know everybody wanted their-all the community wanted their children to be in Ms. Hill's room.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: You know they would say "Oh I'll be so happy when my child goes to first grade. My child will be in Ms. Hill's room." OK because of the increased enrollment they had to hire another teacher I was the one.
MM: Right.
DS: So Ms. Hill having the reputation that she had chose all of the I guess quote better as far as achievement children. She had she chose you know the families that would be-that were noted for achieving she had a classroom full of children that were special.
MM: OK.
DS: And I had the classroom of children that were not special.
MM: At least that's how it appeared to Ms. Hill.
DS: That's how it appeared right. The families that whatever the disturbers or whatever you know I got those children.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I didn't realize that until the first day of school and the children would come in and they said-their mother's would say "Are you Mrs. Stroud?" and one or two would be very upset "I thought my child was going to be in Ms. Hill's?" I said "Well I'm sorry." Whatever.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: But anyhow these children would come in and most of the times you could tell by their dress they were very disadvantaged or they were belligerent they would come in you know slow or whatever and they were just the cast off children would be there. And we had joining rooms we could go through the rooms these would be the bathrooms on each side and I'd go in there and the little girls would be sitting in there with their beautiful little dresses and their little bows and they'd be sitting. You know all of that and then I'd go in my room and they're just doing everything. So I said OK so I said OK and I went in there and established what the rules were or whatever. But I had to-evidence of what happened to me was this I had to leave the room for some reason I don't know whether I had to go-not the bathroom because they were right there I had to go to the office for some reason but I always told my children if I ever had to leave the room I want them to behave in the same way--.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: That they would when I'm in the room. I said I want you to keep that in mind because I might one day have to leave. "What are you going to do?" and they would say that. Well on this day I had to leave.
MM: Yes.
DS: So it took a little longer and the principal for some reason I don't know why but she came into my room--.
MM: While you were in the office.
DS: While I was away.
MM: Right.
DS: Yes. So when I got back to my room on my chalkboard she had written she said "Dear Mrs. Stroudyour children are acting beautifully thank you for being a good teacher." That's what she put on the board and I them "Were you all that good?" And they said "Yes ma'am."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: Right you know.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So I enjoyed those I really enjoyed teaching those children I really saw that they were so changed and they would love you to death. They really did and the parents you know the ones and everything.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And so the experiences I had like that I've always enjoyed the challenging children more than the ones first in doing what they were supposed to do. I enjoyed the challenging ones. That was what I seemed to enjoy more and that was my adventure and after we moved to we built a home in Dilbrook and Billingsville was so far away and they were getting ready to build Oaklawn Avenue Elementary School.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: OK that was in my neighborhood kind of.
MM: OK.
DS: So I applied to leave Billingsville and come to Oaklawn.
MM: Yes.
DS: And they did not choose the principal really until the school was open and everyone was speculating "Who is going to be the principal?" You know we wanted to know.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And we couldn't get-a lot of names were floating around and about that time during that time at Biddlesville Elementary School there was a principal whose name was Sterletta S-T-E-R-L-E-T-A Sasso S-A-S-S-O .
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And she ruled with an iron hand and the teachers they said were afraid of her the children were afraid of her.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: She was just the kind of woman that would just make you afraid of everything and so some rumors spread that she was going to be the principal of Oaklawn I said "Oh no I don't believe that." Because she already had a job.
MM: Right.
DS: So the first day or faculty meeting we were summoned the first day of school the teachers were asked to come into the library because we would have a chance to meet our new principal and everybody was saying "Who is it going to be." And I was saying "I hope it's not Mrs. Sasso." So then Mrs. Sasso walks in--.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: And then one thing I remember from that session I never will forget I remember to tell you the type of person she was she says she was drafted to teach to come to Oaklawn School because they need someone to teach discipline and she says "I'm not speaking of the disciplines in a book." That's what she said "I'm not speaking about-you might think I am I'm not talking about the disciplines that are in a book." And then that stuck with me because she was saying to us you are-we are--we are not really qualified.
MM: Yeah.
DS: You would assume that the only kind discipline we might think about is the discipline of whipping of somebody we didn't know anything about the disciplines of a book.
MM: Yeah.
DS: But that was something but she and I when we were getting ready to leave we were very good friends because I think what happened with Mrs. Sasso and myself I couldn't be under an autocratic person and so she and I had an experience where she-for example there was something called new math. Do you ever heard of new math?
MM: I sure do remember new math.
DS: OK in new math and so Mrs. Sasso in order to be real effective said that every teacher each one of our teachers would be required to take to go to some classes so many afternoons and take the new math because she wanted her teachers to be well qualified.
MM: Yes.
DS: Now the year before they had called for-after school you could go and get like a smallery of new math I knew the rudiments of new math and I thought that was adequate. But she said "I don't care what you've had you are required." So she had us lined up to sign and she says "Sign your name right here." And so when she got to me she said "Alright sign your name." And I said "I'm not signing my name." And she said "Why?" So I said "I have had a course in it and it was limited and I feel that I know it adequately and I don't have the time to go after school." And she said "You will do that if you stay here." And I said "Well I'm not going to do it." And she said "Well I'm going to tell the superintendent." And I said "Well I tell you what you can tell the superintendent and I'd like to tell him too." And so then I said "I'll get his address and I'll tell him the same thing." And so then we walked on out and so then that afternoon she called me in there and said "Did you really mean that?" And I said "I did." And so I didn't have to take it I didn't I didn't have to take it I said "I'm not going to do that." But she and I got along beautifully after that we never had any problem after that everything worked out--.
MM: Yeah, yeah.
DS: Very good. Oaklawn Elementary was very good and I would've stayed there except integration came into and I was forced to I wanted to stay. MM: Oh.
DS: But they told me I had to go and so that's when I traveled all over Charlotte teaching.
MM: When you were at-the first school was Billingsville and you taught first grade.
DS: Yes.
MM: Do you remember the book that you used to teach reading?
DS: I really don't.
MM: OK.
DS: I don't remember.
MM: I just wondered because in the 50s-the 40s and 50s phonics was emphasized.
DS: Oh yes I got into phonics like that when I got into Oaklawn that's when we went into phonics and also the new math.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: You know all of that like after I left Billingsville.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Right.
MM: Was Oaklawn a new school?
DS: Brand new.
MM: Brand new.
DS: Right.
MM: How did it differ in terms of supplies or appearance from Billingsville?
DS: Oh it was just like night and day.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: It really was because it was a brand new school new furnishings it just was a joy to be there because everything was brand new and then they had something new this was the first experience we had the classrooms each had a glass petition and the principal could look in through the glass and see what you were doing you know.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: So that was good and bad.
MM: Good and bad.
DS: Both of them and so you could walk back there and another good part was that if she needed you she didn't have to come in you know she could just have me come there and so that was a new experience there. And so she didn't she did not like artificial things one thing about Mrs. Sasso she didn't like the children's work you couldn't go to the store and buy alphabets that were commercial she wanted the children's work only up there so that was very interesting.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So that made it very interesting because teachers would go to a store and fix the bulletin board up everything commercial. No, no, no not at Oaklawn it had to be only if the children did it. So I thought that was very good.
MM: And were you at Oaklawn Avenue School for two years?
DS: Two-maybe two or three years right.
MM: And that was--.
DS: Maybe 4 years because then I was under Glenda Cunningham after Sterletta Sasso retired.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And then I was under Glenda Cunningham I might have stayed there for 4 years.
MM: That would put us-were you there in the late 50s?
DS: It had to be.
MM: Right.
DS: Right.
MM: Yeah.
DS: That's right it had to be the late 50s.
MM: And at the time that Mrs. Cunningham was principal the schools were beginning to integrate and how did that affect you in terms of where you taught after you left Oaklawn?
DS: Well what happened was they told us where we would go in other words we were chosen we didn't have any voice in it. What would happen as I would understand is the principals in these formerly all white schools would have a vacancy and then they would be privy to the applications on the materials about the teachers.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I understand the teachers the principals would recommend certain ones maybe in the first grade if they thought they had a very good first grade teacher then that is what they would take my folder there and then the principals from the white schools would take the folders of the teachers and they would look through and you know everything and they'd say "I want that one." And they'd had a chance because of our credentials.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And it was interesting they didn't send according to their recommendations. They did not send one that would be not liked but they were considerably unqualified.
MM: Hmm.
DS: And that was something to me but its like "Well who's going to teach the children?" you know who's going to teach the children who are left behind? Are you going to take the best students?
MM: Yeah.
DS: You know but that's because I understand that some of the while principals would refuse to take them.
MM: To take some black students?
DS: Yes the teachers.
MM: To take some black teachers.
DS: Yes they wanted the best and I would too and then it had to be someone good because they wanted it to succeed.
MM: Yeah.
DS: They didn't want any problems so they wanted a good black teacher to come there. Demonstrated that they had good teachers to come there.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: You know because there would be problems to have someone come out there it's not good and they're black too.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: That would be a problem. And then I don't know why if I've done a good job here at Oaklawn.
MM: Right, right.
DS: And when I was assigned to Oakdale I had never heard of Oakdale and I said "Where is it?" I went to a place I'd never heard of Oakdale. Sent them out of waterworks somewhere.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: But anyhow I went out there and Oakdale was in a small knit community all Caucasian.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Everybody knew everybody you know the school had been there for so long that the grandchildren went there and the children went there they went there. And it was just a family school and neighborhood.
MM: Yeah.
DS: You know the only blacks that came there they went for work or something.
MM: Right, right.
DS: But not for school. And then-sending someone there they had to have someone they said that was very well qualified to go into a situation like that because the parents might revolt you know and everything.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And so the word spread that I was going there in the black community and it so happened to show you how racism works they relocated the black children out of the designed black community out to Oakdale.
MM: So at the same time they planned to transfer you to Oakdale--.
DS: That's right.
MM: They were going to take some children from Oaklawn.
DS: That was in the area.
MM: And bus them. OK uh-huh.
DS: They got bussed out there. And so my friends in this black community.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Like Julius Chambers.
MM: Yes.
DS: And several attorneys and everything we knew as soon as they found out I was going they called the principal and said "I want my child in Daisy Spears Stroud's room." And so they said that's where they wanted them and the principal would say I'm sorry her quota is up her quote is up. So I didn't get to get a lot of-but they were upset but they would say I'm sorry.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: I got Julius Chambers' son and I got attorney Calvin Brown-attorney Calvin Brown's daughter.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I got Lamar Barbey's daughter and it was one of the-I think I had 4 or 5 children that the parents had requested to be in my room.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Now I had to have a mix--integrated.
MM: Yup.
DS: They gave me they assigned to me the white children that according to appearances were the least likely to succeed.
MM: Hmm.
DS: And the troublemakers you know from the families or whatever.
MM: Right.
DS: I had a room full of-not full of it wasn't all the way some of them I had get a few in there to fill up the place but most of them were the children the parents of the children who were the poorest or had the name of troublemakers.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And so I went out there and I think it was a situation where I almost had to pray every morning before I went because I never did understand why I had to leave but yet after I get out there I said to myself I can't afford not to teach the children because its not their fault so I thought I'd go out there and do a very good job.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I think I got along very well out there it was very satisfactory I was kind of resentful in a way because I had to go such a long distance.
MM: Daisy Spears Stroud. Were you at Oakdale for 2 or 3 years?
DS: Yes.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: I was at Oakdale and one thing that happened at Oakdale I know during the first week that I was there this is before the children came I had an opportunity to go out and excuse me to you know clean the room and set the room up.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: They were supposed to have cleaned out everything but when I opened the drawers I saw a folded some papers that were folded over.
MM: Yes.
DS: And I took them out and it was an account of an annual Christmas program that they had at Oakdale and I saw something like Sambo or something and I look and I read it again and I can't find it now I had it for a long time do you know that for their Christmas program annually they would have Letface and they would have Rastas and Sambo and everything and all of those things would be-that was the annual Christmas fundraiser or something and I was thinking that with the parents that had had children in the past been there or were probably hearing about it you could see how they would not want a black person you know.
MM: Yeah.
DS: They would not want a black person to come out there you know they would not want that. And then another thing that I found when I got out there the principal Hugh Howell his name was he tried his best it was a real test for him but he was determined to you know to do as well as he possibly could.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: But when we'd have celebrations and the teachers would go out together maybe twice a year we'd go out and eat together as a community.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And the first time that we went there it was a place on Catawba River I don't know the name of it but I know that it was just before you got to the bridge it was a home that was converted into an eating place.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And like a big porch and rocking chairs and everything and then you go in they had this huge living room and then when I walked out there inside the place was a huge confederate flag that was on the wall and so when I walked out there and I walked in there and I was smiling and talking and then when I got in there I said "Oh!" like that.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And then I asked the other teachers "Has that been on the wall?" She said "What?" I said "That flag." She said "Yes." You know so as soon as it was over I went to we had about 4 black teachers then I looked at them I said--.
MM: Yeah.
DS: I said "I'm going to the principal." I said "Will you go with me?" The first one said "I'm not rocking this boat no." Maybe the next one no. The last one I went to was Rogerline Lee. She said "Daisy--.
MM: What was her first name?
DS: Rogerline.
MM: Rogerline.
DS: Rogerline Lee said "I'll go with you because I didn't like it either."
MM: Yeah.
DS: So I went-we went together and I told Mr. Howell I said "Mr. Howell I have been upset many times but you can imagine how upset I was when I went out and saw a confederate flag a reminiscent of slavery in a place where I was going to eat." And I said "I would like for you to do one of two things I would like you to request that they remove the flag when we come there or we go to another place." And he said "I'll have them take that under advisement." And so Rogerline said "I'm in favor of that too." And I said "Well if you don't do that I'm not going back."
MM: Right.
DS: But I know we were just didn't know what happened but-often they's watching us asked "How in the world did you do that?" but you know they took the flag down.
MM: They did?
DS: They really did I don't know what happened we didn't believe it.
MM: Wow.
DS: We thought maybe you know it wouldn't have-you know two black teachers wouldn't get it down but they actually down the flag down so in we went from then on.
MM: Yeah.
DS: But that was something-I was transferred again another principal wanted me and so they transferred me again. I hated to leave Oakdale in a way because I had gotten accustomed to him.
MM: Yeah.
DS: He and I got to be very good friends and then I liked it too so.
MM: Yeah.
DS: But that's the way it goes.
MM: Where were you transferred that time?
DS: You may not believe it but I transferred to a place and I think I've Xed that out of my memory. [Laughter]
MM: Uh-oh.
DS: Because Thomasboro-I think it was Thomasboro but I am not sure because that was an experience that I'll have to pick up again but whatever that was I was in a trailer there and because I was recommended to teach reading.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Get in a lab and type up one lab and that's the way I got away from that school. So they sent me to Ranson Junior High School and I taught reading to Junior High students and that was some experience.
MM: You had always worked with younger children.
DS: Always.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And what happened the first day at Ranson Junior High School I was teaching and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I had--well the worst students you know how they always-the new teacher gets the worst students.
MM: Hmm.
DS: I thought I had them pretty well under control and so one of the students in the back of the room held his hand up and I said "Yes?" and he said-so this student said "Where did you teach before you came here?" So I told them so they said "Was that an elementary school?" I said "Yes." "Well where did you teach before you went there?" And I named that. "Is that an elementary school?" And they just asked and a student said "Are these all the schools you taught in?" And I said "Why are you asking me that?"
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And they said "I'm asking you that because you're teaching us like we're first graders."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: And so I said "This isn't the first grade?" And he said "What?" And I said "You act like first graders I thought I was still in first grade." So he didn't say anymore. [Laughter] "Is this Junior High? I thought this was first grade."
MM: That's the way they always act. They're dareable.
DS: Yeah and so even though he didn't do that anymore and then another good thing that helped me at Ranson is the area that fed into Ranson was an area that came and had formally fed into York Road.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I got the children of the former students of my husband's.
MM: Oh yes.
DS: I got their children.
MM: Right.
DS: OK so what I would do the first day of school. This is the procedure that I did it just came to me. I passed out index cards and I wrote on the board "Name, Address, Parent's name, Telephone Number." Or something and at the bottom I said "Best time for me to call your parents."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: I said "OK everybody write that." And so they wrote it down and everything and I got it and this particular boy wrote down "Anytime you want to."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: That's what he said and he was a real troublemaker.
MM: OK.
DS: So his nickname Scooter. Everybody called him-and I asked him I said "What is your name?" "Scooter." I wrote down "Scooter." So that night at 12:30 at night.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: I called that number and I heard somebody "Hello?"
MM: [Laughter] DS: And I said "Is this-" whatever the number was. She said this lady said "Who is this?" I said "My name is Daisy Stroud I am your child's teacher." So she got real quiet so I said "Do you have a child that they call Scooter?" So she said "Yes." I said "Do you send your child Scooter to school to act like he's crazy?" "No is that what he's been doing?" I said "Yes." So I heard her say "Scooter get in here." I hear "Woo-woo-woo-woo."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: And so she says "What in the hell do you mean up there talking and acting like up in school? I spend my time working I ain't gonna have you doing that and everything and everything uh-uh I ain't gonna have you doing that telling her to call anytime you want to." Oh she was just fussing at him and he was just "Waa." She came back on the phone she said "I'm going to come up there to talk to you and I'm going to bring my mamma with me." So she said "My mamma had problems with me when I was growing up."
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: "And I'm going to bring my mamma because my mamma told me that she wanted me to not have the problems with my child that she had with me."
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: She says "Can I come tomorrow?" I said "Yes." and she told me the time. So classes end I heard somebody knocking and I saw this lady come in with an elderly lady.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And everything and there's Scooter sitting in the chair so we go in the back of the room. And she said "Listen." She said the lady told me she said "Listen." She said "Ma'am." She said "I have to work." And she said "I had to get off my job today." she said "I don't want my child to act like this and everything." And she said "Ain't there something you can do?" like that and everything and something entered my mind.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: I don't know what a lot of things enter my mind at times.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: I said "Are you from Charlotte?" I asked her the lady and she said "Yeah." And I asked her mother I said "Are you from Charlotte?" "Yes" she said "You know I gave my mother hell." So I said "Where did you go to high school?" She said "York Road." I said "Who was your principal?" She said "Mr. Gerson Stroud." I said "That's my husband." She said "That's your husband." So the mother said "Lord Ms. Stroud do you know if it wasn't for your husband my child wouldn't be right here my child was terrible in school but Mr. Stroud turned her around you ain't gonna have no trouble out of my grandson no trouble uh-uh." And she said "Scooter come here." And do you know she had that boy come here and she took his ear like this and she twisted it like that.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And as she twists she was talking to him she said "Tell Ms. Stroud you're not going to be any trouble." And so Scooter said "I ain't gonna be any trouble." [Laughter] That's the truth and do you know from that occasion with those children observing that I had no problems.
MM: So when Scooter's--.
DS: Because I knew then that most of those black students--.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: Had parents who went to York Road.
MM: Yup.
DS: All I had to do was call.
MM: When you described this I pictured the room empty except for Scooter.
DS: No.
MM: Oh they were all there.
DS: They were all there looking at it.
MM: So you had 30 witnesses.
DS: That's right they were witnesses.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: And when those parents-and then as they were going out she asked me "Do you have a piece of paper?" And she says-she wrote two numbers down she said "This is the number of my work and this is the number of my mother. If you have any problems with Scooter just call me." And she said "And I guarantee you'll never have any more." And then she said "Is that right Scooter?" "Yes ma'am you'll have no more problems."
MM: [Laughter]
DS: That aided my success up there with those big children they was as big as I was.
MM: Oh yeah.
DS: And I had no more problems you know like that.
MM: Were the classes integrated when you were at Ranson?
DS: Yes it was integrated and do you know that one method I've always had is calling the parents I got no kind of cooperation from the Caucasian parents they hung up on me. When I called and complained about their students.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: "Who is this?" And then I'd tell them.
MM: Oh boy.
DS: Why would they the students decide to act like when their parents would do that so most of the time I either had to deal with them or send them out because I got no cooperation from their parents. No cooperation at all from the parents. Except-now I got the cooperation from our parents.
MM: Yeah.
DS: Our parents. But not from them I think I was resented even then at that time you know even probably they had-they hadn't had any integration you know.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And then their minds are filled with the preconceived notions about black people and so that was just the way they were brought up.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: You know so that's the way--.
MM: Who was the principal while you were at Ranson?
DS: The principal was a former teacher under my husband Calvin Wallace.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And he in fact when I got assigned there I was telling Gerson I said "Calvin Wallace is the principal." So Gerson said "Well I know he's going to treat you right because I treated him very well when he was there you know we had a very good repore."
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: "And I knew its going to be well." But I think Calvin Wallace-Calvin Wallace was in a position of a striver.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And when you are a striver you have to do what is apropos if you want to succeed.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: You have to do whatever it is so I got no cooperation from him.
MM: Oh.
DS: Because he wanted to--.
MM: Go up.
DS: Go up.
MM: Yeah.
DS: He couldn't fight you know so he had to-and any decision that would come usually I would have to be portrayed as more of a troublemaker because he wanted to go up you know and if you want to go up then you have to dance. You have to dance to their music.
MM: Yeah.
DS: You know in a way you have to dance if you wanted to go up and that's the way it was. In fact it got so bad I'm the kind of person that I believe in going according to steps and I think there are steps to every solution. You go one level and if that doesn't work go another level and I believed that all the time so.
MM: Yeah.
DS: But I didn't get any help on this level I would always go to the next level so I was able to go to another level and I got quite a few things changed.
MM: Good.
DS: Right I did do it. So that worked out I wasn't afraid to ask the next in line I'm not afraid to do it.
MM: Yeah. Did you at any-at that point in your career think that you wanted to be a principal?
DS: I never wanted to be a principal.
MM: Hmm.
DS: I never had that desire to be a principal.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: I think my main desire was teaching little children.
MM: Yeah.
DS: I think that's what I loved more than anything else. Teaching little children is like a miracle.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: You know it is when they learn.
MM: It's like the light goes on.
DS: That's right little children you know.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And they're so appreciative little children. You know they're so appreciative I have-so many of my friends in fact I was in a fair not long ago and I still see this different people coming up but one thing that happened before that at the place that I lived in South Charlotte before I moved here.
MM: Yes.
DS: It was slated to be an active adults' community.
MM: Right.
DS: So because my husband was going to be placed in a facility on Park Road and I wanted to be near him I accepted being the first in this active adult community because it was close to my husband.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I was the first out there and it was a terrible experience because I stayed out there ten months by myself.
MM: Oh my.
DS: You know it didn't sell so stayed out there by myself but anyhow I was all the time calling and everything trying to get help you know in fact some man tried to come-I had a terrible experience but anyhow they had my patio home here and then there was a vacant one and then there was another one where the office was where the office people would come in case someone wanted to buy that was on display you know wanted to buy a model or whatever.
MM: Right.
DS: So anyhow this day I walked up there and I saw someone come up and I said--there happened to be an African American man and another a Caucasian man and they were in there and so they were dressed just alike and everything.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So I went in and I introduced myself and I came once more to say that I don't appreciate the fact that such whatever the trash and I was complaining about that.
MM: Right.
DS: And so they said "Oh my goodness I'll write that down." And so they were doing this and meanwhile this black man that was standing there he looked like he was probably in his thirties forties or something.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: He said "Does he happen-" He asked me "Does he have your name?" And I said "I think he does" and so I asked him I said "Do you?" And he says "No what is your name?" I said "My name is Daisy Stroud." This is what I told this man.
MM: Right.
DS: I said "Daisy Stroud." So we're getting ready to go and the African American man said "Excuse me Daisy Stroud." He said "Have you ever taught school?" I said "Yes." He said "Where did you start teaching?" I said "My first job was at Billingsville." And he said "You taught me in the first grade."
MM: Oh my gosh. [Laughter]
DS: He says "I have been looking for you. Let me go home and tell my mamma." He says "You look so young and you taught me? Man she taught me in the first grade." And I said "Well what is your name?" and he told me and I said "You were terrible in my room." And he said "That's right." But it's so amazing he's in his forties and he said "Let me go home and tell my mamma." And so he-that's when I met-and then I went somewhere recently and there was a young man in there who lived in my neighborhood his mother lived in my neighborhood but this particular man if he's the same one that I'm thinking about then I had assisted his mother in her pregnancy because his mother had problems.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So but he looked like the baby that could have grown up you know when you looked at him and everything so anyhow we were just talking and I said "What is your name?" And he said "Something Ellis" and I said "You look like somebody I used to know." And he said "Oh I do a little bit of everything." And he took out his card and he says "I can do painting I can do anything around the house painting and everything." And I said "Oh I might need you." And everything so he said "Here's my card." And he had on there shower replacement and everything. And so as the evening wore on I said "You just look like somebody that I used to know." So I said "Did you ever live in Dilbrook?" He said "Yes I lived in Dilbrook." And so I said "Is your mother Hazel?" He said "Yes." I said "I'm Daisy Stroud." "Oh you're Mrs. Stroud?" But anyhow--.
MM: Yeah.
DS: My neighbors called me out here and said "Daisy you need to have bars put on your shower." Because I live alone and if I don't have bars getting in and out I might fall.
MM: Yeah.
DS: So they're all very, very the people here are so concerned about me because I am alone.
MM: Yeah.
DS: And so they said "Why don't you find someone to put some bars on." And they gave me the name of a company and I got the price and when I got the price I think it was $1500.
MM: Big.
DS: And I said "No I can't do that." But something in my mind said "Look your pocket." I got Eric Ellis' out there.
MM: Yeah.
DS: He said "Mrs. Stroud I'll be out there." He came out here and he is going to put the bars.
MM: Good.
DS: In the place out there and everything so I said "Now I just want to know." I said "I have the price from the other place."
MM: Yeah.
DS: "And I need to know." He said "Mrs. Stroud we're not even thinking money." He said "I'm thinking privilege." And I said "What is privilege?" And he said "The privilege is to come out here and help you" I said "Oh my goodness."
MM: Oh my.
DS: But I was just thinking of the benefits you have.
MM: Yeah.
DS: You help somebody and it helps you on it like that but if I had to live my life over again I would be a teacher I really would I'd be a teacher I really would I think it's the most noble profession to be a teacher I really do so I'm just happy that-my mother was a teacher in fact my mother taught--.
MM: That's interesting. [Laughter] Your mother was quite a bit older?
DS: No we had two years.
MM: Only two years.
DS: In a country school in a one room classroom.
MM: Oh my.
DS: Yeah my mother during the time of her life because she ( taught ) early 1900s but anyhow during the time of her life she was a member of the family of the-of the owner of the plantation. Her grandmother was the owner's consort she had children for her owner of the plantation. OK So she-her grandmother what you call a house ( consort ).
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So in exchange for it all of her four heirs were taken care of by the owner of the plantation.
MM: Uh-huh
. DS: So in order to--for her in result of her sleeping with the master then the promise was that her heirs would get what was necessary even college.
MM: Really?
DS: That's right as an heir because they lived in the house they didn't have to live on the plantation so my mother during that time was sent to college in Barber Scotia.
MM: Yeah.
DS: Sent to Barber Scotia. And she got her education. MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And they sent her to nursing school so my mother was a qualified teacher and she was a nurse but in her class was my father who had no education except the one in the classroom.
MM: Oh my gosh.
DS: That's right but he did he stayed there in the one room classroom for about a year or so and when he tried to court her it was against the rules for a student to court a teacher so then he saw that she had some interest in him so he hopped a freight train and he went to New York City and he sold magazines up there and when he made enough money he sent for her. And so they got married.
MM: So were you-if could've happened that you could've been born in New York but you weren't.
DS: That's right.
MM: If they had stayed.
DS: I think everywhere they went they had children and had a child in Washington DC they had a child in Toronto. Everywhere my daddy would go my dad my father was a super salesman.
MM: Was he?
DS: In fact he finished I think he sold more insurance for North Carolina Mutual than any other agent and he retired as the-he opened the mechanics at Farmers Bank up there.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: He was a super salesman, a super salesman. He was super he really was he was a super and he made a very good living for my mother and what he did when he went to Greensboro when the family went to Greensboro he was selling books then.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So he went on A and T's campus--.
MM: Right yeah.
DS: And he told them that he would just like to have a trade off that in exchange for books he would like for them to give him an education because he wanted a degree from college.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So he went to school up there and he got an education.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: He was an enterprising man he was. So that's true it's amazing
. MM: I'll say it is.
DS: That's right it is amazing so he got to go into a fraternity.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: You know everything and graduated. He was an enterprising-he died when he was 96 so he had a long life.
MM: Oh my goodness.
DS: He died long enough to have been married to another woman for 25 years. My mother died early she worked herself to death.
MM: Oh my.
DS: She did. She took care of--.
MM: Oh wow.
DS: In other words I think about myself she took care of everybody but herself she did she worked herself to death. Right but that's just the way it was maybe that was her fate whatever but anyhow as you can see that I appreciate education yeah I really appreciate it I really do.
MM: Did you get transferred again after you were a few years at Ranson did you have to leave there?
DS: I retired.
MM: You retired OK alright.
DS: I had my 28 years.
MM: Oh my.
DS: And they gave me 2 years from Rockingham so I had 30 years.
MM: Wow.
DS: So I retired and my husband retired in 1981.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: And I retired in 1982 I got tired of leaving him in the bed. [Laughter
] MM: Because you had to be up so early?
DS: Yes.
MM: [Laughter] yeah.
DS: But I'm quitting too. [Laughter] Yeah but it was a beautiful occasion and my daughter is following where I move my footsteps she's a primary teacher too she loves school too.
MM: Where does she teach?
DS: She teaches in Alexandria, Virginia.
MM: Oh yeah.
DS: Right.
MM: Yeah.
DS: She loves teaching she'll have her 28 years in about a year or two
. MM: She's very young isn't she?
DS: Yeah right considering I think she is.
MM: Considering.
DS: She thinks she's old but--.
MM: [Laughter]
DS: Since she passed that 5-0. [Laughter]
MM: Yeah
. DS: Right, right but she's into teaching little children.
MM: Well Mrs. Stroud I want to thank you so much for having me out here to your home were there any thoughts you wanted to end with?
DS: Well the only thought I would like to say is I'll never tire of seeing how noble the profession of teaching is.
MM: Uh-huh.
DS: So when you called me I was happy to say that.
MM: Yeah.
DS: Because I never tire of that because it is a very noble profession and I was delighted to talk about it.
MM: Well I sure do thank you.
DS: Yeah no problem.
Groups: