Interview 294a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Lufkin City Councilwoman Guessippina Bonner speaks about her life growing up in Fairfield, Texas and spending time in Mt. Enterprise, Texas. She remembers the stories her grandfather told about their family’s land and how they acquired an education from the segregated schools in this part of Texas. Dr. Bonner speaks about growing up in segregated East Texas, her family’s attitude toward education, and the strength of her family ties in the two communities. She tells about going to Dillard in New Orleans, one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the southern United States. This is where she first experienced life in a major city and witnessed the effects of the civil rights movement first hand. From Dillard, Dr. Bonner speaks about her experiences teaching science in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Houston, Texas. She then recounts her time in Boston, Massachusetts working as a lobbyist with the National Education Agency and teachers’ unions. The interview concludes with her speaking about moving to Lufkin to care for her family, running for and serving on the city council, and her vision for helping North Lufkin and the city’s African American community overcome its challenges.
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