Below are narrators who were interviewed on their memories, thoughts and feelings regarding the 1960s which are featured in Harford Voices.
Catherine Adams was born in July of 1930, raised in Southern Maryland and educated at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, known then as Maryland State University. She lives in Aberdeen, Maryland. Mrs. Adams shared her thoughts about raising her family of six boys through the sixties. She described the frustration she felt when her son was not allowed to enroll in the local school and had to be transported to the “colored school” several miles away. She shared what it was like to raise a family as a minority in the 1960’s, including her experiences with unfair housing practices and other discriminatory practices.
Michael Bennett was born in Madison, IN, and he and his family moved to the east side of Aberdeen in 1958. Mr. Bennett describes his childhood community as close-knit and enjoyable. He graduated from Aberdeen Senior High School, and was drafted into the army in March 1968. After completing basic training at Fort Brag, North Carolina, Mr. Bennett served as an Acting Corporal from November 1968 to November 1969. Primarily, he worked as an air traffic controller and clerk in Vietnam. After returning to Aberdeen, Mr. Bennett earned a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. He currently serves as the mayor of Aberdeen.
Richard Blackburn was born in 1944 in Pennsylvania. He grew up in the home of his grandparents in Pennsylvania and then later living with his grandparents along with his mother in North Carolina. While in North Carolina, he then went on to serve in the U. S Air Force as a mechanic from 1963 to 1969. He spent almost three years in Vietnam during the war. After the war, he decided to become involved with the Vietnam Vets against War while at college, first at Harford Community College, and then at Washington College on the Eastern Shore. During these years he meets his wife and goes on experiencing the Counterculture along with the Sexual Revolution. Today, he is a successful Sociology Professor at Harford Community College, and continues to share this riveting and influential story to many.
Frances Bond is a Harford county native. She was a middle- aged mother of 3 during the sixties. In this interview she talks about life as an African American woman before, during, and after this chaotic period in time. She participated in protests for both civil rights and the Vietnam war are discussed and she was involved in non-violent methods that were used to close the gap between the races. In her interview, Frances also talks about her hardships she faced gaining employment and the achievement of her husband’s dream of buying a farm which she still owns today. This interview gives an in depth look of how African Americans were treated by society in Harford county during the civil rights era.
Kathy Bond was born in Harford County in 1959 and has lived in Harford her entire life. During the 1960’s she was among the first black children to enter into a newly desegregated Dublin elementary school. Kathy tells about popular events that took place in the 60’s such as civil rights and Vietnam and how she viewed them as a child and also how she views them now in retrospect. This interview also talks about the concept of beauty in the society she grew up in and how minorities like herself dealt with the inability to fit the stigma. She discusses her family, how she was raised and how her parents differed from others. Kathy gives an interesting comparison to the interview done by her mother Frances Bond which gives viewers a child’s perspective.
Charlsie Brooks turned 21 years old in 1960 and became a teacher at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Maryland soon after. While teaching at Aberdeen High School in 1963, she met her husband Charles Brooks, who was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground. They lived in Germany, where her husband was stationed from 1963 to 1966. He served in Vietnam in 1967-1968, while she stayed in Aberdeen teaching high school. from 1967 until 1969, when she had to resign when she became pregnant with her first child. In the period of time in which she was away from the Harford County public school system, the schools had become integrated. Student began talking back to the teachers and the students made sure that they asserted their rights. When she began teaching in the beginning of the decade teachers had to wear suits and dress nice, women in business or fancy dresses with jewelry and men in suit, jacket, and tie. By the end of the decade Mrs. Brooks said women had begun wearing pant suits and some teachers even wore jeans and other 60’s attire. She also mention that women went from wearing their hair short to letting it grow long and the women had also begun to straighten their hair using straight-irons.
Joyce Byrd grew up in Harford County, where she encountered racial prejudice as a child. She attended Asbury Elementary School and Bel Air Colored High School before going to Morgan State University. After marriage, she moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, where she raised her family and taught English at an integrated high school. During her career, she was also a guidance counselor and vice principal. Her children were spared the majority of experiences with discrimination, simply because they lived in a “northern state” while she grew up in a “southern state.”
Orlando Correa was born in Puerto Rico and came to the United States when he was two years old. He grew up in New York, in a bit of a rough neighborhood, but he said that his family managed there fine. His two older brothers went to Vietnam, and he said that they really hated the war. Both of Mr. Correa’s brothers have post traumatic stress disorder from being in the war and he said that to this day, they are not the same. He described being for the war, because he believed everything that the president and government was telling him. After awhile, he stopped believing in the war because as he got older and went through experiences with his brothers, he realized the war was not what they said it was. After his realization, he started to become involved in anti-war movements that were located on his college campus. Some of these facts were the main experiences that he went through throughout the sixties.
George Evans was born in 1955 at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Parkville Senior High School and later attended Catonsville Community College. As a child of the 1960s, Mr. Evans has a homefront perspective on much of the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and cultural change. While not drafted in the Vietnam War, his brother enlisted with a friend and was stationed in South Carolina for the duration, while his friend was sent to the front. Mr. Evans’ perspective on the 1960s as a decade of change is broad and introspective.
Charles Gill Jr. is a resident of Edgewood, Maryland. Mr. Gill joined the Marines and became a Sergeant after high school graduation in 1965. He trained at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He wasn’t drafted. He joined just after the American Base at Pleiku was attacked and “Rolling Thunder” was implemented by the Johnson Administration and the first escalation of the war; important to note is that LBJ had enormous support for the war at this time. The time when the “search and destroy missions” with the ARVN were put into place with LBJ sending Marines to do the job. He wasn’t a “grunt” (refers to a foot soldier) and it was two years before he got orders to go to Vietnam; after getting some “advanced combat training” he became a “section chief” and an E-5 Sergeant. Charles came from a working, white-class family which was generally the group that enlisted to avoid the draft and to acquire more secure job training; as he did as a Specialist.
Jacqueline Hassell lives in Street, Maryland. She is from rural North Carolina. She graduated high school in 1963, and eventually became a teacher on Maryland’s eastern shore. Her career in education spanned 39 years. After teaching in a segregated setting in Virginia, she taught in an integrated setting in Maryland. She absolutely loved teaching, connecting with her students and sharing with them stories. Ms. Hassell’s faith is very important to her and was central to her family from the beginning. She was greatly impacted by the racism of her culture and personal circumstances growing up and very more impressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Patricia Lake resides in Elkton, Maryland. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literature from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in Publishing from Rosemount College. Mrs. Lake is currently as professor at Cecil Community College and Delaware Tech. She is the Creator, Editor, and Publisher of Green Delaware Magazine affiliated with Green Delaware Dot Com, Green TV, and other eco-friendly and sustainably life incentives for the local areas. The interview with Patricia Lake is focused on the environmental movements of the 60’s, counter and pop culture of the era, and starring in the first nude scene in Delaware theater history in Steam Bath.
Raymond Lancelotta grew up in Little Italy in Baltimore, Maryland where he attended St. Leo’s parochial school and Calvert Hall College High School. Upon graduating from Calvert Hall, Mr. Lancelotta enrolled at the University of Maryland at College Park, but decided to switch to a community college instead. While between schools, he was drafted into the army and served in Vietnam for two years, seven months, and five days. His interview emphasizes his experiences during the Vietnam War, as well as the rioting in Baltimore that occurred while he was serving in Asia.
Fred Posadas grew up in Manila during the 1960s, and provides an international perspective on the culture of the decade. He is retired from the Army, where he served 30 years, working a total of 40 years in the federal government. Mr. Posadas served in Vietnam during the war, and also participated in hippie and beatnik culture, traveling to various countries in Asia with a “psychadelic”-style band. He emphasizes how events such the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and the hippie/beatnik movement changed the mindset and political direction of the the world.
Patricia Riley was born in West Virginia in 1953, though she and her parents later moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Riley graduated from an all-girls’ Catholic high school in 1971 and later attended Cleveland State University. She married Robert Riley in 1976, and they have one daughter. Mrs. Riley’s interview recounts segregation and integration of black students, which was especially noticeable in her predominantly white, Italian neighborhood in Cleveland. She also discusses the sexual revolution and changes since the 1960s.
Robert Riley was born in 1949 and raised in Jarrettsville, Maryland. A long-time resident of Harford County, Mr. Riley grew up in a rural community where farming was prevalent. After graduating from North Harford High School in 1967, Mr. Riley worked at Black and Decker as a small cast machinist for 1 ½ years. He had planned to study at Towson University, but was drafted into the Vietnam War in March 1969. After serving in Vietnam as a medic for two years, Mr. Riley used the GI bill to go to the University of Maryland at College Park where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Fish and Wildlife Management. Mr. Riley also worked at Aberdeen Proving Ground in automotive and explosives testing. He married Patricia in 1976, and they have one grown daughter. Mr. Riley provides insight into the Vietnam War, cultural change as seen on school campuses, and cultural change during the 1960s.
Christine Tolbert, a life-long resident of Harford County, was very much a part of the change from segregated schools to integrated schools. She began her education at a small one-room schoolhouse in Darlington, the Hosanna School. Havre de Grace Coloured High was her first experience at a big school with large numbers of other African American children. She finished her high school at Central Consolidated High School. Ms. Tolbert went on to become a teacher in Harford County and was one of the first African Amerian teachers to be integrated into the all-white school system. Along the way, she took part in conversations with others to try to break down racial walls. Ms. Tolbert is an active citizen who just completed the restoration of the Hosanna School in Darlington.
Gladys Williams was born and raised on a farm in lower Harford County, near Aberdeen. She was one of eight teachers who were chosen to be the first African American educators in the integrated public school system. She shares about participating in the March on Washington, civil rights and public school integration.
Agnes Minor grew up in a rural area of Harford County without electricity and indoor plumbing. However, she graduated high school and continued on to Morgan State college to become a teacher. She was briefly involved in the civil rights movement when she was arrested for protesting the restriction against African Americans being allowed at the Northwood theatre. Agnes worked on Aberdeen Proving Ground for the U.S. Government Department of Defense for over 35 years.