The Eagle’s News Nest
by Raven Jones, BTW Student
The Washington Eagles celebrate our roots and accomplishments by cherishing those who have helped to line our paths with privilege and dignity. We take a moment to peer into the memories of Mrs. Maloney Johnson.
Raven: When and where were you born?
Mrs. Johnson: I was born November 10, 1920 in Bellville, Texas. I am ninety six years old. I grew up during a time of absolutes and inequality. I remember from my early years playing with white kids although there were some lines that were not meant to be crossed. It didn’t seems so bad back then because it (segregation and discrimination) was all we knew. We didn’t feel isolated because everyone lived within the same neighborhood. I remember those times but it was not until I got older that I realized what was really going on then.
Raven: What was life like growing up in Bellville, Texas?
Mrs. Johnson: There were not many opportunities for Blacks in Bellville. I really did not become aware of how crippling the discrimination there was until I left and moved to Houston when I was a young teen. I noticed that life was much better, although still it was limited, for Black people here. They had a wider variety of jobs available to them.
Raven: What were the qualities that were most important to your parents to instill into you?
Mrs. Johnson: They wanted to make sure that we understood the importance of education. They were not able to get one but they wanted to be certain that we received one. They always wanted us to get our education. After high school, I earned my master’s degree from Prairie View A & M University. I spent more than 50 years as an educator in Bellville and in Houston.
Raven: What qualities do you think today’s generation could benefit most from?
Mrs. Johnson: Be a better listener. It seems today that young people think they have the answers to everything and they are not interested in hearing sound advice that could help them along the way. It is frustrating to see even my young relatives make decisions without listening to someone who can guide them in order to make their lives more pleasant and less stressful. Listening to someone other than yourself can be a valuable skill that can take you a long way in life. The benefit of listening is that you can start right so you can end right. Listening is a little thing that can take you a long way in life.
Raven: Has the importance of education changed over the years?
Mrs. Johnson: No, it just seems like today’s children do not take educations seriously. Many parents don’t make it important enough in the home.
Raven: What message would you give the younger generation about life or success?
Mrs. Johnson: They should know that life is not always easy, but you have the power to make it better. Do things in life that make sense and never be too smart to shut up and listen.