Carl Floto

As interviewed by Emily M., March 21, 2015
"We had some black students before the closure, not very many, and then we had a bunch. In the back of your mind, you knew things weren't right. "
Carl Floto

Introductory Profile: About Carl Floto

My interviewee, Carl Floto, was born in Tyler, Texas. This where this story takes place. Carl went to Robert E. Lee High School during the time of desegregation. His high school years were from 1971-1973. Carl lives in Austin. I know him because he is a devoted Christian at my church. During these years (Ď72-Ď73) Carl played football and track with both black and white athletes. In fact, he even made some good friends with his African-American teammates.

All of the problems started when the District Judge, William Wayne Justice, closed down the only black high school and forced all of the students to go to the two white schools. They had to get on a bus early in the morning and ride to a school that they didnít want to go to. No one like this big change. It not only angered the black community, but also the white.

Many fights and riots broke out, and they happened pretty frequently. For the white teenagers, it was an excuse to leave. The black kids were stuck there for who knows how long. They happened pretty frequently. The interesting thing is that mainly black students were protesting about it, which is quite understandable. The mascot of this school was the Rebels. The football team also ran under a Confederate flag before the games. In this time, African-American people were just getting a normal lifestyle, and becoming equal to everyone else.

The interview in my opinion went very smoothly. I didnít know much about this time. I also learned things from Carl that I didnít expect. For example, I learned that there wasnít as much racism as I expected. The sports and classrooms all seemed as if everyone was treated equal. Carl was very honest about his entire experience. Especially, all of the regrets and wishes that he wished he could have done different. In this interview I felt treated as an adult.

I thank Carl for giving up his Saturday to come and talk to me. We emailed a lot. I appreciated how much detail there was in his stories. I felt as if I were there, too.