Sue McElligott

As Interviewed by Sofia Castano, March 24, 2019
"We advanced, and what was surprising to the nation was that this coach, Don Haskins, didn’t recruit people on the basis of their skin color, but of their ability, and his leading team was all African-American."
Sue McElligott

Introductory Profile: About Sue McElligott

For my Firsthand History Project, I decided to interview my grandmother, Sue McElligott. My grandma is a very special woman who grew up in Texas during the 1940s through 60s. She truly was able to experience so many monumental occasions in her lifetime. Sue was born in Elgin and was raised in El Paso. She went on to attend UTEP (formerly known as Texas Western College) where she studied to become a teacher. Eventually, she relocated to Austin so that she could be near her family. My grandmother is a very kind and generous lady, and instantly, people simply are able to connect with her. Fortunately we see one another quite often, so it was no surprise to her when I wished to interview her on her perspective and opinions on the Civil Rights Movement.

During my interview with Sue, we mainly conversed about the Civil Rights Movement and how it impacted her life today. I had many questions concerning that topic, and my grandmother gave thoughtful and insightful responses. However one that stood out to me was her reply to my question about Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. She recalled that when she first heard about his death, she and her entire family were in shock. No one could believe that the great man had actually passed. Additionally, she said that upon hearing about his death, she was quite sad and wondered what would happen because of his death. Thankfully, instead of hindering the movement, it only carried it forward. Throughout my interview, there were portions of it that were quite joyous, although there were also portions that reflected the unfortunate aura of that time period.

My grandmother’s perspective of the Civil Rights Movement was significant in many ways, however, mainly because it was able to answer my questions on what people and life was like back then. I am extremely glad that I got to hear her opinions and experiences, for they truly impacted my own understanding of that era.