High School Teaching

High School Teaching, 1959-1961.

In 1959, I began teaching 9th grade social studies – first in Atwater and then in Pacific Grove, California.  My homeroom quickly became a hangout for marginalized youth in the school. We worked together to improve their sense of self worth and their learning skills. As a class exercise, we did a community study to determine the racial boundaries (zones) maintained by the realtors in PacificGrove, California. The study caused a public furor as it exposed the racist nature of the housing industry in that religious community.

 

H.S. Students Study Race in America

One of the subjects I was to cover in the 9th grade social studies classes was race. Well, I told the class, we are not going to spend time discussing Apartheid in South Africa, nor would we discuss race relations in Little Rock, Arkansas where the High School had recently been blown up. I said, let us take a good look at our own town of Pacific Grove, California, this nice little Methodist Church community (the West Coast copy of Ocean Grove, New Jersey.) PG still had ‘blue laws’ and no alcoholic beverages were sold in shops in PG. You had to go across the border to Monterey to buy a bottle of wine or spirits. And, of course, the town had lots of lovely old churches. But underlying all this pious façade was a racist attitude that reflected many values to be found in American communities in the 1950s and 1960s.


Sure, we did the intellectual trip but I wanted the students to experience race prejudice so I assigned the class the task of locating the Relator’s ‘red line’ beyond which a home would not be sold to a minority person. I brought to class the deed on the property that I owned on which was written “This property is not to be sold to or occupied by any person of African lineage, Native American lineage, Oriental lineage or whose ancestors have ever lived under the domain of the Ottoman Empire (that kept out the Jews.) Samuel Morse, founder of Pebble Beach and formerly owner of all this property placed these covenants on all his property. I then related to the students several public protests when a Chinese or Korean instructor at the local Army Language Institute tried to purchase a home in Pacific Grove in the area protected by these covenants.


The students went out in pairs to do their field research. Two girls went to the Chamber of Commerce where they were met with indignation by the secretary there. She was outraged that their teacher was spreading lies and stirring up trouble. She insisted that there was no such line and sent them to see the City Manager who should know these things. Well, the City Manager was new to town so he called a friend who was a Realtor and asked him about the race line. His friend said, “Of course there is a line. Beginning at … “ he described the line as the City Manager marked it on a small city map. When he was done talking with his friend he got out a very large city planning map and with a red marker made a heavy line indicating the Relator’s ‘red line.’ The City Manager was appalled at this information and wished the girls luck in their research.

I secured that large map to the wall of the classroom and then asked the students to find as many stories as they could dealing with attempts of minorities to purchase or rent a home in the red-lined area.  It was noted that the vice-Principal of the school led one of the neighborhood protests against a minority moving into his neighborhood.


Well, as you can imagine, the ‘stuff’ hit the fan. Not only did the Board of Realtors get after the Principal of the high school, they protested to the School Board and all of this became part of the class lesson on “Race in America.” The Principal told me that I had been called some very uncomplimentary names but he agreed that the students certainly got a vivid lesson on the role race plays in their own small town, but, he said, “Please George, stick to South Africa next time!”


BA, MA, PhD

Monterey Peninsula College, 1954-1955.

I enrolled at MPC in Monterey, California and was elected President of the International Relations Club. I began  to collect material aid for Korea and sent over 20 tons of assistance while a student at MPC.

 

 

U.C. at Berkeley, 1955-1959.

At UC- Berkeley, I was elected President of the Association of International Relations Clubs of Northern

California Universities and Colleges and began working toward a broader public understanding of international relations.

As a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, the professional foreign service fraternity, I helped organize student conferences on international relations.While earning a BA in History and an MA in Sociology, I also studied Chinese Mandarin and Tibetan languages. My Masters’ thesis was on social change in 19th Century China and the role of the western missionaries.

 

 

Ph.D. studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1964-1967

From 1964 – 1967, I pursued my graduate studies in sociology with an emphasis on community sociology and voluntary organizations. My doctoral minor was in Latin American Studies. Doctoral language exams were in Spanish and French.

My Ph.D. dissertation was an analysis of the power structure of Manizales, Colombia and how the elites infiltrated, co-opted and/or destroyed voluntary organizations of the poor to prevent the formation of interest groups that could challenge their power.

Photo:  Roy, (left) with friends having a picnic dinner with Mary Ann, David and me at Eagle Heights, U.W. student housing yard.


Personal Museum

Photo taken at Monmouth Council Merit Badge Show in Asbury Park. Date? Probably in 1947. My booth which I set up by myself as a Lone Explorer Scout was next to the Cycling Merit Badge booth. Little did I know then the role Cycling would have later in my life.

It seems all children in grammar school somewhere along the line are exposed to dinosaurs and fossils. When I learned that one could find fossils in coal I took it upon myself to look for such in our coal bin at home since our house was heated with a coal burning furnace. After several hours of sitting on the coal pile and examining hundreds of chunks of coal I had a few nice specimens of ferns. I also had some VERY dirty clothes and badly needed soap and water myself. Therein began my collection of fossils, rocks and minerals.

A year or so later I spotted an interesting rock in an empty lot not too far from our house in Irvington, New Jersey. It had impressions of shells on it. As I recall, the rock was about six foot long and about two foot wide. I did not know how deep into the ground it extended. With a big hammer and chisel I broke off a piece and took it to the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey. Someone on the staff identified it as fossiliferous sandstone containing brachiopods.' In 1943 I donated that specimen to the museum and shortly received a note of appreciation with an indication where my donated rock was now to be found on display. Woopee! At age 13 I had my own fossil discovery on display in a real museum with my name on it! With that I started collecting rocks, minerals and fossils in earnest. When at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1946 I collected all the rocks I could and ended up with a knapsack with 34 lbs. of rocks which I ended up shipping home to Manasquan from the scout ranch.
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A photo of George with his skull collection
In Manasquan High School I built my own beam balance and jolly balance to ascertain the specific gravity of minerals. I studied how to use the Bunsen burner and various reagents to test for the chemical content of minerals I was analyzing. In school I took on the role of maintaining a science display in the school library. One of my teachers was taking Saturday classes at Rutgers University and I would ride with him there from time to time and then spend the day in the museum. Not being shy I soon got to know a number of the staff. Before long I was borrowing material to take back to Manasquan High School for display in the library.
Not satisfied with that I would take the Jersey Central or hitch hike to New York City and spend delightful hours visiting the laboratories and offices of staff that were 'behind the scenes' at the American Museum of Natural History. I would gain access to the staff scientists' offices by taking a fossil or mineral specimen that I wanted help identifying. It worked and I am sure I became a real pest up there.

Lone Explorer Scout George Drake in his 'Rocks and Minerals Merit Badge Booth' c. 1947
(Why is it when you think you have a good photo of yourself there is always a little kid in the foreground picking his nose?)

Once I took my collection of rocks and minerals to a Boy Scout Merit Badge Exhibit held in Asbury Park, probably in 1947. There I had my own Rocks and Minerals Merit Badge booth next to the Cycling Merit Badge booth. It was a job to get that display case to the show but somehow I was able to con friends into letting me put it on their truck and get it there and back.

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I also had my collection of skulls, pressed flowers, woods (tree cross sections), shells, Indian arrow heads, plaster of paris casts of wild animal foot prints, butterflies, natural and man made textile fibers, beetles and whatever else caught my fancy. I had my own museum in the attic of our house. It was fun, educational and a great hobby. For the most part my collections were based on things that I could collect myself in their natural environment. I probably could identify every wild flower within 20 miles of my house, knew where to look for arrow heads, fossils of various sorts, etc. That is how come I got the job as Nature Counselor at Camp Cowaw at the Delaware Water Gap in 1948. There I collected snakes. Lots 'a fun.

When I graduated from Manasquan High School in June of 1948 I donated most of my natural science collections to the school for use of other students.