Interview with Ernest Green
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

GRADUATION.

Ernest Green:

Graduation was the end of May. Uh, interesting thing about graduation, uh I was being the only senior I'd given up all the graduation activity that had gone on in the black high school, you know the, the school play and the, the prom and all of those kinds of things. And uh, sometimes because of not having that activity, uh, thought that uh, I would really feel isolated you know, because I wasn't going to Central High School's prom and I wasn't going to be invited to be in the school play at Central, I mean I was already, uh, in enough play form. Uh, but uh, all of the black students at Horace Mann which was the school that I would have graduated from, invited me to all the activities, included me in all of it, uh, really made me feel a super part of it. So that I had the best of both worlds. I had cracked this white institution, and still had all of my friends who were uh, super-supportive of what I was trying to do so, uh, that graduation and going through the ceremony and, and one the participants in the ceremony was uh, Martin Luther King who was speaking at the black college uh, a couple of days before. Uh, I figured all I had to do was walk across that big huge stage which, which looked the length of that football field, I'm sure it was very small. But anyway that night before I had to walk up and receive my diploma, uh, it looked very imposing. It looked long and uh, I kept telling myself I just can't trip [laughter]. With all these cameras watching me. Uh, but I knew it, once I got… as far as that principal and received that diploma, that I had uh… I had cracked the wall. And uh, interesting thing, there were a lot of claps for the students, you know, they talked about who had received scholarships, uh, who was an honor student and all that as they called the names off. When they called my name there was nothing, just the name and there was this eerie silence. Nobody clapped [laughter]. But uh, I figured they didn't have to ‘cause after I got that diploma that was it. I had accomplished what I had come there for.**