Richard Dorsey was born in New Windsor, MD. Richard talks about growing up in Carroll County as an African American.
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: My name is Richard L. Dorsey Sr.
INTERVIEWER: Where were you born in Carroll County?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Born in Carroll County, born in New Windsor, Maryland back in 1944.
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell us where did you attend school then?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Robert Moton School in 1962– no, no, no, 1950. I came up in 1962.
INTERVIEWER: What was it like attending Robert Moton School?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Well, I attended first grade. My first grade has Mrs. Shockley. And she was a kind of mean school teacher.
INTERVIEWER: How was she mean?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: My name is Dorsey. I remembered that real good. Name is Dorsey. Dorsey was a tight family. They didn’t like my father that well. My father was a mean man in Carroll County. And when you mentioned the word Dorsey, they would kind of take it hard on you. Because we didn’t do that much work in school, because we did most of our work in the gardens, raising chickens, raising pigs, and all that. And my father was the type of person, whatever he had, he gave away. And Mrs. Shockley was not one of his favorite people.
INTERVIEWER: Can you talk about, was there diversity in your neighborhood growing up?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Well not us, because we– back then, in the ’50s and ’60s, most other families lived a distance away. The people that lived here on Charles Street and Southern Street wasn’t too much of a problem. Only problem is that they had much money because they didn’t have running water. They didn’t have inside bathrooms, and stuff.
Back then it was hard. I mean, you had made some sacrifices. But, everybody got along. Everybody picked their churches. And on Sunday, it was a good time for everybody because everybody got out and communicated with everybody. Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Coming back to the school, can you describe what was like? What were the facilities like– size, teachers, class sizes?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Well in my first grade of school, it was pretty crowded. Back then, we had– the best time for me was when the bell rang to eat. That was the best time, yeah. And we had times that we went outside and played. We probably only had one ball to play with.
It wasn’t easy then for [INAUDIBLE] in nobody, I mean? Some people who would go to school to learn, and some people would go to school to get away from home. We Dorseys was one of them.
INTERVIEWER: What was your interactions like with the other students?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: All right. I mean, we was all right. Mostly all the parents, they knew each other. The Dorsey’s knew the Simms. The Simms knew the Dornes. But we were all practical, basically in the area except Sagefield and [INAUDIBLE] area. But with the worst [INAUDIBLE] of the Carroll County, the Union Bridge and new ones, we practically knew each other because they all want to the same churches.
And then you have conflict, people down in my area– Sagefield, Eldersburg– they was different because they went to different churches. But basically, for 365 days that we went to school, we basically got along we were at [INAUDIBLE] for 12 years. I started going with my wife when I was starting in the sixth grade and I stuck with here until the 12th grade. So when you met somebody, you pretty well was stuck with them.
INTERVIEWER: What about the church? What was the history like? What did it look like? What was the community there?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: My church was the Robert Strawbridge Church in New Windsor, Maryland. Still stands. It’s been redone, looks good. But basically, that was the church that everybody goes to. People from West Minster, Union Bridge, New Windsor, and all around. Everybody was there because everybody a chance to see each other. You have cookouts there, different fundraisers. It was church. But basically, that was a place where everybody got a chance to show off their car and all the I things, yeah.
INTERVIEWER: If you were able to change something from your past. From growing up, be it some element you could make different, to make things easier. Would there be something like that?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: I tell you. Way thing is now, I would like to go back to the old ways. I like to raise my pigs and my chickens, and my cow, my goat. And prices wouldn’t be so high. I could slaughter my own meat, cut my own grass. Right now, you can’t do it. I raise my own garden. But now you can’t do it, you got to buy everything commercially in the store. The meat is high. The lard is high.
When my father raised us, he raised us to learn how to provide for yourself. And you get yours. Everything that’s left over, you can share with your neighbors. Right today, I’m 63 years old, we still do what he taught us. And I have a picture at home of my mother and my aunt canning food. The Carroll County Times took several pictures of them canning food for the other people.
And. I mean, I like the way things is now, because things now are much [INAUDIBLE], but the prices are ridiculous. I remember paying $0.25 a gallon of gas. Not now– $5.25.
INTERVIEWER: The experience that you had growing up as a minority in Carroll County, how has that changed for youths today that are minorities today growing up in Carroll County?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: To me, I left Carroll County in 1962. I played on the New Windsor baseball team, ran track. I played basketball, played in all the tournaments, soccer ball. I had no problem racial, no fights, no nothing.
The world is all together different. People are carrying knives. People are carrying guns. It’s just like, look over your shoulder because you don’t know who’s behind you. When you’re driving your car, you’ve got to be careful. You make sure you don’t cut nobody off because somebody might shoot you. It’s a different world all together.
Take me back. I’d rather go back to the old way.
INTERVIEWER: When you look back to the old way, what was your most vivid memory?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Can you explain that again?
INTERVIEWER: When you think back to your fondest time, the thing you enjoyed most about growing up in that old way of life–
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: Oh yeah. We had dances at school. We had different activities at the Westminster Fall Hall. We had [INAUDIBLE], the [INAUDIBLE] in New Windsor. We had a [INAUDIBLE] in Westminster. We had baseball games. Different activities during the summertime that everybody got to enjoy.
Robert Moton, they [INAUDIBLE] a softball league. And they had different leagues playing softball. I mean, it’s altogether different. Altogether a different people. I mean, now it’s like, go to work, run it in your house, lock your door. That’s the world we’re living in.
I mean, you can’t do too much because you didn’t get that much money that you can do anything with. I mean, you make $500 a week, $400 a week got to go for bills. It’s not much room now to save. Not much. Good to put a few dollars for a rainy day, but it seems like a rainy day is everyday.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you sir. That was a very great interview. Thank you for participating in the history.
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: What are you doing to do about the sports? Let’s talk about the sports.
INTERVIEWER: The sports? Which ones in particular?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: I want to talk about Robert Moton.
INTERVIEWER: All right.
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: How we got our ass kicked everyday playing soccer balls.
INTERVIEWER: Did you guys every win soccer?
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: We never won but one game, one. See, you’ve got to record this. Is that thing on?
CREW: It’s on.
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: All right, I’ll tell you. We played soccer ball. We played basketball. We run in track.
Soccer ball was very– I’ll tell you this. We played soccer ball. The white people was trying to kick our ass, and they did kick our ass.
So we got slick. We got some baseball guards to put on our legs so they wouldn’t hurt us too bad. So one day I decide I’m going to go downstairs in my father’s basement and steal me a gallon of home way wine. So I put it in my gym bag, took it to school. Put it in my locker. And I told the guys, look, I have to say, this is the last game of the season. We’re going to win one of them.
So we go all dipped these in home made wine. And we all got kind of toosy. We were playing Mount Airy. Don’t like Mount Airy, I’m telling you the truth.
So we’re playing Mount Airy, and one of the guys accidentally kicked the ball in a one point game. We won, they lost, only game we won all year.
That was a good thing. Ever guy that plays sports remembers that day, [INAUDIBLE] day. They say, Richard Dorsey– everybody here calls me Richard Dorsey. Nobody calls me– They know me because [INAUDIBLE], they come to me practically for everything. And if they were going to do something– we had a track team gone over to Western Maryland College.
We shouldn’t have done it, but leave it to me, I told them, let’s do it. We had a track team. One, two, three, four, we were running the 440 relay. Gary Hudson led off. I was second. Then Larry Rubaumb was third, and Hayes Knox was the anchor. And the damn fool Gary Hudson passed the baton to me. I passed the baton to Larry.
And Larry– we were way out front, way out front. He dropped the damn baton. And man said, we’d disqualified because we couldn’t win. You’ve got to have the baton in order to win. The damn fool dropped it, and we lost. All that running that we did, and he dropped the damn baton.
And we still remember that right to today. So when they see me out there, they see me and remember the soccer ball game, the guy that dropped the baton. You know, it’s all the craziest things.
But we had a good time. We all family. We enjoy each other. We had some good times, some bad times. But we’ve still got [INAUDIBLE], Mrs. Shepherd, and we still, you know, still do the same thing.
RICHARD L. DORSEY SR.: It was good.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you. Thank you Mr. Dorsey. We appreciate it.