By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As part of a national program to share African-American oral history with the next generation, four Philadelphia “history makers” will head back to school Friday.
The HistoryMakers is a Chicago-based organization that maintains the nation’s largest African-American video oral history archive. The group conducted 2,500 interviews with African-American leaders and trailblazers of various professionals, both famous and unsung.
“I was the first African-American in Philadelphia to be the (city) managing director, and the first African-American to be mayor for two terms,” says W. Wilson Goode Sr. He will speak to students at Benjamin Franklin High School on Friday about growing up in the rural south as a sharecropper, moving north at age 15, and then transcending his humble beginnings.
“When I was in the cotton field with my father, he looked over at me and said, ‘Wilson, you are not like the rest of us. You will be someone important one day,’ ” he recalls. “I tried to live up to his expectation.”
Goode says he was a studious young man who loved to read and enjoyed challenges. He says he knew his life would not be limited by where and how he started.
Goode now runs “Amachi,” a mentoring organization that helps children whose parents are incarcerated.
“You can rise above your circumstance,” says Goode. “You can become whoever you want to become. There was nothing in my background that indicated I would be a trailblazer.”
Hear Cherri’s full interview with W. Wilson Goode Sr. (runs 13:42)…