But We Made It!

Voices of Texas Country Teachers 1920 – 1970

BUT WE MADE IT! tells the story in their own words of Texas teachers whose careers spanned the 1920s to the 1970s. These decades produced major changes in the ways Americans lived, worked, and thought about themselves, and expanded opportunities for women and minorities to pursue happiness freely and equally. Thirteen rare oral histories of a Texas generation no longer able to speak for themselves reveal they made their own quiet contributions:

“When I came to Kerrville in 1940, they had a garbage man up here. He took out the garbage — a colored fellow. They paid that garbage man a hundred twenty-five dollars a month, and they were paying his assistant a hundred dollars a month. And they paid me to run that school down there, paid me seventy dollars a month. It’s still short of taking a tooth out.” — B.T. Wilson

“The supervisor was coming and wanted to see me. He was very frank about it. “You have these separate schools, and you’ve got to cut that out. Immediately you are to integrate your Mexicans and white children. You have a little more time for the colored.” — Read Morgan

“People forget that Texas was settled so much later than the eastern United States … Texas was really the place to pioneer. You know what I missed more than anything else when I first went out there to teach? Iced tea! No ice on the Divide, no electricity, too far out to buy ice. We finally got a kerosene icebox, and that was heaven to have ice and ice cream.” — Helen Hall Moffett

“I was hired for much less than a man teacher was hired for. The superintendent told me. The first year, in 1926, I got ninety dollars a month, and then I got ten-dollar raises until I reached one hundred and sixty dollars. The man got one hundred and fifty dollars to start with.” — Arthur R. “Pat” Folks