All interviews were taped and documented.  They are available through the Reference Department of the Teaneck Public Library.  The Library is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements nor does it necessarily endorse the opinions expressed.

NARRATOR: Archie & Theodora Lacey    (T) Theodora    (A) Archie
INTERVIEWER: June Kapell
DATE OF INTERVIEW:    June 5, 1984
TRANSCRIBER: Jackie Kinney (7/22/1985)

This is an interview with Theodora and Dr. Archie Lacey on Tuesday, June 5th,  1984 for the Teaneck Oral History Project by June Kapell.

(I) Theodora, or Archie, how long have you been in town?

(T) We have been in town for approximately twenty three years and we were introduced to the town of Teaneck through a chemistry professor that we both had at separate times in our lives.  His daughter had married and moved to Teaneck and he often talked about what a lovely, quaint town it was.  When he learned that we were moving to New York City, and looking for a place to live, he suggested that we contact Barbara Wood, his daughter, and visit Teaneck which we did.

(A) Well, we visited Teaneck I guess early in 61 one snowy day and we eventually decided after looking all over the New York metropolitan area for homes that it would be a nice place to move.  The house were not very expensive and the taxes were not too high, so we decided to come here and that was in 1961.  We bought the home in October '61 but we did not move into Teaneck until January of 62.

(I) You had been living in New York and working in New York?

(A) Right, I was working at Hunter College, City University, which incidentally was not, at that time yet, the City University but I was at Hunter College, one of the four city colleges of New York, one of the four senior colleges of the city university of New York.

(T) Having had very little experience in living in an apartment, I was anxious to leave the city and to get into a home.  That had been my experience living in a home with a yard and it was difficult with two young children and one on the way and so that pushed us to move as quickly as we could.

(I) Was that the only thing that lured you here to Teaneck?

(T) We were quite impressed with many of the things that we heard about the excellent school system and having spent all our lives in education that was of the utmost importance to us and the size of the town was impressive and the proximity to Archie's work because at that time, I was home with the children.

(A) I commuted at that time, it still isn't too long.  I still get to work with thirty minutes but after checking out all of the other commuting spots to New York, I found Teaneck to be very agreeable.  That is to say, I could be home in thirty minutes from my job or be at my job in thirty minutes and that is very, very important in my making the decision to move to Teaneck.

(I) Nice friendly neighbors too?

(A) Exactly.  We met very fine neighbors as soon as we got here.  As a matter of fact, some of the friends who knew we were considering Teaneck told us about people, introduced us to people before we got here and, of course, that beautiful letter from Brad Menkes who, I believe, that year, I don't know if he had already lost by one vote or won by one vote, but at any rate, he wrote us a beautiful letter and that was very helpful in getting us to feel very welcome to Teaneck.

(T) We did not, we must admit though, initially, we did have some problems that I didn't expect, I didn't think that we would encounter.  The neighbor to both the right and left of us, both were sort of hostile.  As a matter of fact, the one to the left of us refused to walk on the sidewalk in front of our house and would cross to the other side and never spoke to us and eventually moved and the neighbors to the right, of course were elderly white neighbors and I believe that while they were concerned about our moving in because we were black, they were equally concerned about our having children and they did not what that.  So it was not all it was not initially all pleasant.

(I) Were you the first Black family on your block?

(T) No, we were not.  We were not.  There were two other black families on the block.  We happened to have bought a house between two white families.

(I) Well, once you got here, it didn't take you too long to get active, become active in civic affairs.  What were some of the things that you did?

(T) Almost as soon as I arrived, because of my husband's position at hunter and having contact with several of the professors there who knew people in Teaneck, I had guests at my home three days after getting in, with all the furniture piled high in the corners.  Selma Kumin insisted upon my getting involved right away and took me almost immediately to my first activity which was the League of Women Voters meeting.

(I) Had you been active in civic affairs before you came to Teaneck?

(T) Oh yes.  I think our history, my husband often says that he married me out of protest.  He really, I don't think, actually means that.  He should be saying that he married me during the protest which was the Montgomery Bus Protest.  In fact, all of our early courtship days, were working and marching with Martin Luther King so that we had been involved quite a bit and so it was quite natural that I was willing to go with Selma to work with the League of Women Voters.

(I) And what did you do in the League?

(T) I never really took a very active role but I was, I attended the meeting and attempted to serve on a couple of committees but because I had an infant son and two small children, my time had to be, I couldn't give it the kind of time that I had wanted to so I had to acquiesce.

(I) Well then you did become active in the PTA once your children started school.

(T) As soon as our first child became involved in kindergarten, our neighborhood school was Bryant Elementary School and the principal Emil Massa almost immediately got me involved and we were responsible for establishing an after school program that ran for several years on Saturday mornings and it was the Lacey Household emptied with all of the children and Archie going with us to teach science and getting several other people in the community to teach art, music and other creative activities on Saturday mornings and that program continued for quite a few years.

(I) And while she was in PTA, what had you started doing in town Archie?

(A) Well, we pretty much have worked together through the years starting with the Montgomery Boycott, Martin Luther King. After we came here, while she was working with PTA, we were also getting a few another organization started, the north east community organization, because at that time, Teaneck was going through the throws of determining how it would integrate or to prevent segregation in the schools and we, working together in the community, we got started with a group called the north east community organization which included parents whose children were eligible to transfer and some parents who didn't have children.  Who just were interested in the community.  So we started the north east community organization.

(I) You mentioned parents willing to transfer, Would you just elaborate on that?

(A) Well, when we came to Teaneck in, we moved in January 62 and at that period or continuously during that period from 62 through 64 there was a growing number that, growing number of blacks moving into the north east.  At that time, Teaneck was not an integrated community.  Only one area, and that was what we call the north east community which is the north east quadrant, north of Route 4, east of Teaneck Road, that people were moving into.  So I lost my train of thought there, I lost the train of thought.  I am sorry.

(T)  Well really the north east NECO really got started in our basement and what had happened up to this time, after we became very involved in attending board meetings and council meetings and often, after these meetings, we would invite people over for a nightcap or something because we had small children and often and babysitting difficulty so we had to get home and it is convenient to have people drop over to discuss what had happened at these meetings. And it was as a result of these really just what initially started out as social sessions evaluating the meetings that we had attended that NECO began to develop.

(I) What was the original premise of NECO?

(A) NECO kind of got started. O might tell you before we had moved in, or when we moved in, there was a group called United Neighbors.  United Neighbors was I think more of a white oriented group and it started to again to try to maintain an integrated community or to prevent the community from going beyond what some magical thirty percent ratio of blacks to whites.  The group that started NECO felt that we could not control the percentages. We were not quota oriented.  We decided that we wanted a stable community, a community that would have a good family orientation and have the services of the town and we wanted to make certain that the town recognized that we were there in our homes were there and we wanted to keep the very best services for garbage collection, for police services, whatever the services the town had to offer.  We wanted to make certain that they remained as good as they were anyplace in town.  St that was the basis of the community organization and just by virtue, the very wording north east community organization, we said this is a community organization and we will be integrated whatever the group of people that are there, those are the people who will make up the organization.  That was our orientation.

(I) Now we can get back to the open enrollment.  That 's what we were getting started on, the enrollment.

(A) Well, by 1963, the school system had become about 40% black and again, considering these figures, these magical quotas, it had been said that when the school system passes 30 or when any community passes 35% or 30%, whatever the number is, that it goes black and the community, that's the board and everybody else, responded to that so in 63, the board fir said that any black children or child may go to any school, may choose to go to any school.  It was what we called freedom of choice.  Very few blacks went that year.  I believe there were thirteen black children.  And among those children was one of our children, our oldest son, Louis, went to the Lowell school there were other, some went to Whittier School and some went to other schools.  I don't remember the schools.  And that didn't work too well.  Only 13.  The next year, the board had to face the problem of whether it would allow the schools to go beyond that 40%, 30%, whatever.  And to become segregated as the definition apparently said that when you pass 50%, so the board came up with a plan which would integrate the schools and the plan was placed before the, it was placed before the electorate as a plan to integrate the school system in 1964.

(T) I think we must share that that was really not our plan or the one that we thought would be most desirable in terms of making the responsibility of integrating the town equitable.  We really and in mind something that would pattern more after the so-called Princeton plan but that was difficult to sell to the town and we were convinced that we had to do something and so that we then took, accepted this as a, as something that could possibly work but recognizing that the greater responsibility was placed on the north east section because it was the only section then that would be without a neighborhood school and all of the children in that section would be transferred out and that, of course, meant predominantly blacks because that was the largest percentage in the town.  We recognized that it really was not equitable but it was an attempt to do something to make sure that the town was integrated.

(I) Well what was the Princeton Plan idea?

(T) The Princeton Plan was more of a paring of schools, and, for example, Bryant could have been paired with Whittier, school in close proximity could have been paired together but because the other sections in town did not have the concerns really of integration because their, they didn't see the necessity of going with that plan, but and therefore they could easily accept, could accept it, the central sixth grade a little better, they were older children and they felt more comfortable with them traveling by bus and that sort of thing rather than having the younger children that would have been a different in the age movement and they would have not bought that. It was felt that they would not have bought that but personally, I was very much against that the central sixth grade plan initially because of the inequities in the

(A) The Princeton Plan would have been the better plan.  As she said, we discussed this many hours.  The Princeton Plan would have paired Whittier and Bryant and Irving and Field but it still would have been inequitable when you consider the other four elementary school would have been free of any intervention in that regard because there were actually no blacks living in the area of the other school except the Whittier and Bryant and Fields area.

(I) Did NECO stay in existence for very long?

(A) Yes NECO actually stayed in existence after the community organization and, as your might say, a monitor of these situations and that's what it was.  I would say NECO started in 1964 and it must have stayed in operation until about 1970.  It really did. It became a. in addition to a community organization, we had social functions and we had people, we began to invite people from all over the town.  We had people in other parts of town joining.  Because we had some wonderful, it was a wonderful family organization, home oriented and we had some beautiful affairs all over North Jersey.  At the Bergen Mall, Garden State Plaza, dances and parties and really NECO really got to be very, very fine for more than its function in the community.

(I) Well, was there another organization that took its place?

(A) The next organization that more or less filled in for NECO, there were actually town later groups, and they came for one reason or the other, the second organization was that we called BEAT, the black education alliance, and that organization didn't start until 1972. Yeah it was in 1972 that BEAT got started.  There had been an attempt to start an organization among the teachers but this group BEAT was parents and teachers.  We were concerned about the total education of black youths even though people moved into Teaneck, many people felt that their children just by virtue of being here, would be educated but we felt that that was not enough.  We had to have parents and community people involved and kind of giving the school a little push to help them to make sure that they were giving our children the full benefit of the educational system.  So that's the black educational alliance which were the parents and teacher organization, more parent organization.  Then following that, there was another organization that kind of, I think, that was a remnant of NECO and that was ACT.  That was the, I can't remember the title of that, that was the Gilchrist -- do you remember that? that was the last one.  You never got involved.  I'll think of that later.

(I) That's Leon Gilchrist?

(A) Leon Gilchrist, yeah.  Who has been very active in the town.  

(I) Who were some of the others who had been active in, well was BEAT organized in your home too?

(A) Not really.

(T) I think John Smith probably was the initiator of BEAT and John and Imogene Smith and then there was Thomas Scarborough and Charlotte.  Ollie and Frank Bryant and it really grew out of many, several encounters that they had experienced with their children and other parents, people had shared with them in terms of how black children were fairing in the schools while they were integrated in terms of class, the class setting, in terms of their real involvement and recognition, there seems to have been a great deal of questions about that and all of these three families that I have mentioned, of course, were very active and very aware of what was going on with their own children but know that there were many other people who were assuming that things were being cared for and they were not and so they wanted to make sure that they were more involved and that other parents were aware that you can't just send you children to school and expect that things will

(I) Well, what action did you specifically take?

(T) Well they met with the superintendent and met with there was a great deal of concern about psychological testing.  there seemed to have been some difference in the numbers of students that was heavily black that were the problem children and those that were being recommend for psychological testing, etc. and they made inquiries into that and they had forums to educate parents and encourage them to become active in the PTAs and to be involved.  it was an informational kind of

(A) I would say that perhaps one of the most graphic examples of was that we went to the administration when Mr. Simmons was retiring from, and more than anything else it was BEAT, I mean I don't know how you, how the record will show this, BEAT was responsible for getting Mr. Allen over at the Benjamin Franklin Junior High School.  We went and said that he should be given a chance and Mr. Allen, that was that organization reaching out to the community.

(I) Mr. Allen had been in the

(A) He was in the high school as a counselor, assistant principal.  But it was BEAT more than anything.  I am saying if you want to talk about accomplishments, when you consider what white people consider accomplishments, That was an outrageous accomplishment in that regard because we figured that he could help to at least give some role modeling for our children. And for the whole town.

(I) Do you feel that this has accomplished its purpose?

(A) Well we think that it certainly is important and we think that the town did, by that time, Teaneck was more than an integrated community and we think that by Mr. Allen being accepted as the principal there, that sounds almost kind of   to say it that way, but it helped to move out a lot of other pressure points int he tow, him becoming an administrator.

(I) I think we should make it very clear in the record that he was an absolutely capable and qualified person.

(A) Exactly, Exactly.

(I) After Dr. Scribner had left Teaneck as superintendent, did you find that the subsequent superintendents had the same commitment to a good integrated education or a good education for the black children?

(A) My own position is that none quite the same or in the same fervor as Dr. Scribner. Killory certainly worked at it.  It felt that Sher was, of course he came after Robitaille.  Robitaille I think was very, very pedestrian in this approach to the whole matter.  I don't think he had. I personally found no particular  commitment.  He did whatever he thought he had to do.  I think Sher was sincere he tried to carry the system in the way that he could but I think that he had problems just by being from within the system but I found Aubrey more willing to try to carry the ball, to try to do what Harvey Scribner had done, than any of the others.  I mean totally committed to it. That was my feeling.  All he had to do was understand what was he needed to do and I don't think he was very, he was no great leader who went out and said this is what we are going to do but once he understood what was to be done, he was ready to try to do it and I think he was an honest person.

(T) I think we have to recognize, well I recognize it, that Scribner was way ahead of his time in terms of many leaders I guess and in that he was willing to really put himself on the line for things that he believed in and he certainly thought that the quality of education was of top priority and he worked at that to try to devise every means that he possibly could.  It was just a part of his being and I could agree with Archie that none of the others had that kind of, well maybe I shouldn't say they didn't have that, I started to say they didn't have that kind of commitment but that may not be fair.  They didn't express it or didn't see it and pursue it as Harvey Scribner and I think that possibly Robitaille is the least of the group that attempted to though he was a very strong business person and was very much concerned in the fiscal side of the running of the district but in terms of the children and ultimately what they would come out of it as individuals relating to other individuals, I don't that that took priority.  And I would also agree with Archie that Aubrey Sher as a person was a very committed and sensitive kind of person but felt many constraints because of having been a teacher in the district maybe and being apart of so much of the district was somewhat timid in really making a strong stand and establishing regardless of where, what happened, establishing new kind of ideas and pursuing things that would help to really further the things that Harvey Scribner stood for.  (END OF SIDE 1 - BEGIN SIDE 2)

(I) In addition to your educational activities, there were also political activities.  Now you started very early to get into

(A) Yeah, well I got involved after NECO, I got involved with NECO, let me just say this June, for whatever it is worth, many of my involvements were caused by somebody else's push so to speak.  I mean not that I don't get involved but, for instance, every though NECO pretty well got started at our house and Tom Boyd's house, Tom Boyd would come around and say, man, we got to do this, we got to do the other. So it is pretty much the same.  I got involved in TPA, Teaneck Political Assembly the same way.  Tom said, come on, we gotta go.  So I got involved with the TPA the very first year.  I believe that was 64 which was a very  move by a group of people including Matty Feldman, so I got involved.  I got Started with TPA and I stayed with TPA until you and I and the last gasp of breath TPA.  I guess it was in 1980.  I may be off by a year.  Tried to carry TPA through. I took the co-chair with you.  I got involved in the Teaneck Citizens for public schools and I had been involved with them from the very beginning in 64 when, or even 63, before they brought Henry Lipman out here for the Human Relations Workshop and I eventually became chair of the Teaneck Citizens for Public Schools.  What I am trying to say is that wherever I found that there was an honest group of people who were trying to do things to better the community and if I felt that they were honest and they were really working on an integrated basis to include all people, I've tried to be involved so that I was first on NECO, then TPA (Teaneck Political Assembly), Teaneck Citizens for Public School. BEAT and then ACT which we can't even define the  in.  So I've been involved politically ever since I have been in Teaneck.  Any time there is an issue that seems to be addressed and if I can possibly do something about it and somebody comes and says come and let's do something about it, I get involved.  And my wife has generally been very cooperative on that and has also become involved when it became, when it came to something we thought that would help to stabilize the situation, to keep our town a stable place in which we would be happy to live and we've been very happy to be residents of this town.

(T) Archie is not a shy person but if you kind of look at the record, you might wonder why he was never involved himself in holding any political or educational position in town.  He was asked many times to run for the Board of Education and also for the council.

(I) And you too. Let's not be bashful yourself.

(T) But he never found himself doing that but if you look at the candidates, he must have served as the campaign manager, rather than to run myself even for the first time that Isaac McNatt ran for council, it was I who went and talked him into running and, of course, as usual, if you talk someone into running, you become the campaign manager.  I was his campaign manager, we lost by 64 votes and two months later, somebody died and we were in.  And so Isaac, from there, went on to become deputy mayor.  So as you look back through that, the history over those years, I helped to run, well actually went and got Jimmie Jones.  I was supposed to have been a candidate the year Jimmie Jones ran and I went and got him to run.  I helped to set up Ann Mersereau's first campaign.

(I) When you say Jimmie, you are referring to James Jones who is now on the state board of education.

(A) Dr. James Jones.  And it comes back one way or the other even when Isaac became a judge of the state compensation court, he invited me to come for his swearing in, to hold the bible.  When Jimmie Jones was appointed to the state board of education, he invited me.  So these are the ways that I enjoy my involvement.  I never really wanted those or felt the need to have those positions but I felt that those positions should be filled by good people and I am proud to help good people get into those positions. 

(I) And you mentioned Ann Mercereau and who else.

(T) I think you couldn't leave Bob Mandelkern out.

(A) I even served as his campaign manager and he lost but I still was out there trying to help him to become when he decided he wanted to run for the board.  I would say over the twenty years, I even didn't I serve as Tom's campaign manager too?  He lost.  I've had some losers.

(I) But you've had some winners.

(A) But we've had some very good winners and so I must not say any more about that except that we have been involved. We have been involved in every political move practically that has taken place in this town in the twenty years since 64.

(I) Some very quietly and some less quietly.

(A) That's sure.

(I) And there were also higher education that you've been involved in too.

(A) Well, I was a member of the board of Bergen Community College if that's what you have in mind.  I was the actually the first active member, Dr. John Davis was on the formative board.  He was on the board that formulated the concept but from the beginning of that concept, Dr. Davis stayed on I guess from 65 to 68 and I joined the board in 68 when we really began to build the college so I was on that board from the very, once the plan was conceived until the college was in operation.  So I stayed on the board from 68 to 72 when the college really opened.  So that's my involvement in higher education in this area and, of course, I must admit that I was recommended by a very astute and very well-known politician, Matty Feldman, who placed my name in nomination there.

(I) Now you have mentioned Matty several times.  You told me an interesting story of how you first met Matty.

(A) Yeah.  I met Matty at two, three houses up from our place, the very first year I was there and we've been friends ever since.  Matty Feldman is one of the finest persons that I've ever met.  He's honest, he's committed and he's a good human being and I met him in 1962, early in 1962 and we've been friends ever since.  And that's all I can say.  I will always life him high in the group of people that I've met in my lifetime as a friend and a person I can depend on.

(T) I guess really to attest to that friendship is that I just experienced last year Matty voting against the bill that was, as a teacher, was very crucial we thought.  But in spite of that, I always knew that he voted his conscience as he thought was right and I never thought and lost absolutely no faith in him as a person and the kind of things that he has been a friend of education in New Jersey for years and while some of my colleagues were not too happy with his latest stand, I hope that we will be able to convince them that we are right and I think that we will.  But he is and has always been a very open person, a very caring, a very sensitive person and my mother has a saying that teeth and tongue fall out sometimes and so but we don't    each other and that's the way I feel about Matty.

(I) I also recall the story.

(T) He had visitors from Nashville, Tennessee come to Teaneck looking for us and they were wandering around in the town because they weren't able to find our street and Matty Feldman happened to have been at the stoplight and saw that they were lost and asked it he could help.  He was Mayor of the town at that time.

(A) No he was a senator then.  He had left the mayorship then.

(T) And they asked him, he said to them, 'are you looking for someone?' and they said, 'yes' and he inquired who and they told him the Laceys and Senator Feldman directed them to our house and when the guests arrived, they explained to us that they had been lost and said some man by the name of Matty Feldman showed us the way and when we informed them that he was our former mayor and our senator of the state, they were most impressed.

(I) After you retired from the Bergen Community College Board, then what else did you

(A) Well, I've been reasonably active in the town but the main civic function has been as the chairman of the board of ethics for the advisory board on ethics, the Teaneck council.  I was nominated or elected or appointed as chairman from the very beginning. I believe that board really got started actively in 78 and I've been chairman since then.  We get all of the conflicts of interest cases from the town, the various boards and, of course, we don't look for them but we get them and that's what I've been doing and therefore I became a little less involved in other political activities because in order to rule on ethics situations, I kind of keep a low profile.

(I) You aren't running any school board candidates these days?

(A) No, no.  I have not been involved in any of those for the last five years, I really have not.

(I) How about you Theodora?

(T) Well I served on the board of business and industry, the advisory board  for the town, for business and industry and I didn't indicate earlier, after being involved in the PTA where I was president occasionally and chairperson of different committees.

(I) Mostly doing programs.

(T) Yes I became I started teaching in the district and that kept me quite busy.  I have been the vice president of the Teaneck Teachers Association for the last four years which has involved me with negotiations and having gone through a strike recently was one of our most trying experiences.  Hopefully we've done that for the last time.

(I) Could you elaborate on the strike a little bit?

(T) Well somehow we all feel that didn't necessarily have to be.  There was difficulty in lines of communication.  We were, Teaneck was going through changes with superintendents and much of that I think was part of our problem.  We were not mainly concerned about money though money is always an important issue but there were other issues that we were concerned about in terms of class size, in terms of working conditions.  In terms of substitute services.  The amount of funds that were being allocated for what we considered important things.  We though regret very much having to experience a strike because a strike is always detrimental and the children really pay a cost, a bit price for any strike but we do feel that, well we felt that it was important and it had to be.  We were dealt with every harshly to the extent that one of the schools was held as a jail which we thought could have been done, handled a little differently.  We are happy that that is over with.  We do meet monthly with the superintendent to try to keep a line of communication open and hopefully this, along with our regular attendance at board meeting and keeping informed and also sharing our concerns, will help to alleviated that kind of problem.  We will be negotiating our contract next year.  We settled on a three year contract in the past which was good and I hope that we can in the future also do more than one year because it helps to make... but it is almost a full time job.

(I) With the closing of the three schools, has there been a big problem with the teachers?

(T) Yes, we are now in the process of reorganization and, as you mentioned, three schools have been closed.  Among them one of the newest, Eugene Field, which had caused quite a concern among the community.  Emerson is also closed, it is one of the older and smaller schools.  That seemed to have been a pretty good rationale for that. And Washington Irving is also being closed.  We are in the process of renting them for educational purposes and if we are successful in that, then the revenue will help to compensate for the loss of teachers. We still don't know how many teachers will be let go.  That has not been confirmed.  The number has decreased though tremendously which we are very proud of and we are concerned about now more of our special areas like music and art.  We, last year, we have the last two years lost our librarians.  We were quite, most of our librarians, especially in the elementary level, we do not have.  We have library aides and hopefully one day they will be able to be replaced.  We will all suffer some from the reorganization that something had to be done.  As the Teaneck Teachers Association, we did not oppose a re-organizational plan.  We just hoped that it will not be a real burden and really rip too many of our teachers.

(I) Now I know many years ago, this would be in the early 60s, after the integration of the, the implementation of the central sixth grade plan, there were sensitivity training courses and, I also remember that as PTA, we fought very hard for human relations, money in the budget, is there anything like that in the schools now?

(T) No and we are very much concerned about it because we do think that that is important. We really valued that time that we spent in sensitivity training and I think if you refer to Reginald book Triumph In White Suburbia, you will, he recalls several incidents.  There were many things that teachers thought and felt because of lack of experience and you notice that our enrollment has changed.  We are no longer, the same picture is no longer in existence as it was even then.  Our population has changed drastically.  We have many students that are, have left the district, going in private schools.  We  have many students, because of religious reasons, are going to parochial schools of different sorts and the population, the racial population has changed so that it is a different kind of setting and it is most important that we do hire on our own.  It is encouraged and we do attempt in many of the classrooms to deal with human relations issues.  In the elementary schools we have an outdoor educational experience that is basically a human relations oriented experience.  There is also at the high school such an experience but at the high school, again, you don't get the bulk of the students involved in that and on the elementary, it is basically the sixth graders so it is not widespread and it is not as comprehensive as we think it should be. We do not have it now and we really need it.  I think that we will work, we are working, not only in terms of student/teacher relationship but in terms of teacher/teacher and teacher/administrator relationships there needs to be an effort made to re-institute that kind of plan.

(I) Have we missed anything in your history.  Oh you had told me one story earlier about working with June Handler that was quite interesting as far as sensitivity was concerned.

(T) Yes June Handler received her, was working on her doctorate at Rutgers University and she was trying to determine I guess how early certain prejudices were set in the minds of young people and did a study with attitudes and inter-reactions of young children with dolls, white dolls, and black dolls, and I've worked with her in doing the research among students at Bryant kindergarten and Washington Irving kindergarten and it was a most interesting study to see how certain attitudes and behaviors are established at such a young age in terms of the selection process.  In terms of students selecting dolls because of their color or lack of color and students choosing to dress them because of stereotypes in terms of as they saw them.  For example, many of the students did not see the black dolls being dress in clothing other than menial types of clothing which of course reflects the kind of experiences that they had been exposed to.  It was a most worthwhile project and she did bring it to fruition and receive her doctorate and I am not sure how much has been exposed since then but it was a very interesting project.

(A) I would think, if I may just on that whole score, a lot of things have changed since than and I think you'd find a different kind of behavioral pattern.  You can see that my wife Theodore has been in some ways much more involved than I.  My involvement has been peripheral in the last.  I would say the last eight years.  I have not been as involved in other things except when I saw you or worked with you at the TPA but I still will come back if there is an instance where we feel that we can be helpful in the community because we are community people. I think that's about the way to end this.

(T) I just want to say that you are absolutely right and I am glad you said that because since that study, if you'd walk into a classroom and see the kind of interactions, especially on the elementary, I'm not too sure what happens as they continue, but I do believe that there is a difference, that the interaction is much more positive and while I am not sure what the real meaning or the positive and while I am no sure what the real meaning or the impact of the Cabbage Patch Doll has had on youth, it is amazing to walk into a classroom and see white girls and white boys holding a black Cabbage Patch Doll in a very close, affectionate kind of way and vice versa so that things have changed.

(I) Well it there nothing else that we can thing of to talk about?

(A) I can't think of anything else.  We've pretty well hit on all of the major high points.

(I) Well, I still you've both been very modest about both of your contributions to this town which have been very large whether you say peripheral or not, they have been large contributions.

(A) Well, thank you for saying that we tried to help to make it a good town and I do like to believe that the town is certainly not worse since we've been here.

(I) I would say considerably better.  Thank you very much Theodora and Archie.

(A) Thank you.

 

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