William Pickrum

On June 4, 2013 Nona Martin and Michael Derege interviewed William Pickrum.
Pickrum today
William Pickrum was born and raised at the site of the YMCA’s Camp Tockwogh around Still Pond Neck. Even though he was the black child of black workers, he still partook in many of the camp activities with its white residents, and did not quite recognize the issue of skin color until later in life He interacted little with children of his race until he attended Coleman Elementary School, a one room schoolhouse, until sixth grade. He remembers the small school as initially having no central heating or indoor plumbing. He later went to Garnett High School where many of the black students of the time went. He missed the integration of Chestertown High School, graduating in 1966. He considers this a fortunate event as he did not think much could match the nurturing, caring nature of his schooling.

In terms of the social atmosphere of Chestertown, he remembers there being a lot of de facto segregation. Tasty Freeze, which is now The Freeze, would not serve black customers inside is establishment; the Uptown Club was in its full height of popularity on the Chitlin’ Circuit, and places like Rock Hall, Tolchester Beach, and Betterton Beach were still clearly divided.

After high school, Pickrum went on to the Coast Guard Academy and traveled to different places like Connecticut and Pensacola, discovering racial problems still existed albeit at different levels. He now serves as the county commissioner. As the commissioner, he offers some unique insight on the current issues facing Chestertown today—namely education, public involvement, the continued problems with prejudice.

No comments:

Post a Comment