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The Honorable Mary T. Christian

Educator and politician Mary Taylor Christian was born on August 9, 1924 in Hampton, Virginia. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a businessman. In 1941 she earned her high school diploma from Phenix High School in Hampton where she was a member of the National Honor Society, basketball, drama and debate teams. After graduation she married her high school sweetheart and by the time she was 19 she was a divorced mother of two.

While working in the laundry at Hampton University she began taking typing courses and eventually landed a secretarial job at the University. She was encouraged by her mentor to further her studies and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1955. From 1955 until 1960 she worked as a teacher at Hampton city schools. During the summers she attended Columbia University, where she earned her Masters degree in Speech and Drama in 1960. In 1968 she earned her PhD from Michigan State University while working as a professor at Hampton University. In 1968 Christian helped organize a voter registration drive at Hampton which resulted in more than a thousand people registering to vote.

In 1980 she was named the Dean of Hampton's school of education. Christian was the first African American to serve on the Hampton City School Board. She worked as a campaign manager for four political candidates and in 1985 decided to take the plunge into politics herself. In 1986 she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and became the first African American since reconstruction to represent the state's 92nd district, the city of Hampton.

Christian served seven terms in the Virginia General Assembly where she championed legislation on education, healthcare and prescription drugs. Christian was among three African Americans appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She also served on the Education and Rules Committees.

Christian, affectionately known by her thousands of students as "Dr. C" is professor emeritus at Hampton University. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her community and humanitarian service.

Accession Number

A2004.100

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/20/2004

Last Name

Christian

Middle Name

T.

Organizations
Schools

Phenix High School

Union Elementary School

Hampton University

Columbia University

Michigan State University

First Name

Mary

Birth City, State, Country

Hampton

HM ID

CHR01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

To God Be The Glory

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

8/9/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb Chops

Short Description

Education professor and state delegate The Honorable Mary T. Christian (1924 - ) was the first African American to serve on the Hampton City School Board. Christian was also elected to the Virginia House of Delegates to became the first African American since reconstruction to represent the city of Hampton.

Employment

Hampton City Schools

Hampton University

Hampton School Board

Virginia General Assembly

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Mary T. Christian's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her father's personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her father's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian recalls her father's storytelling

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian recalls how her whole neighborhood in Hampton, Virginia helped make her homecoming queen outfit

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about her maternal and paternal family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her early school experiences and childhood insecurities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her childhood neighborhood on Lincoln Street in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her childhood aspirations and experiences at Union Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about being raised in the church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her experience attending George P. Phenix High School in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about becoming a young mother and working at Hampton Institute after graduating from Phenix High School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian recalls learning about racism for the first time

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian explains how she completed her undergraduate degree at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian reflects upon being a single mother in the segregated African American communities in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian recalls teaching at Aberdeen Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia before attending Columbia University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her experiences studying speech and drama at Columbia University in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about earning her doctorate from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian recalls organizing a voter registration drive in Hampton, Virginia and the opening of the Y. H. Thomas Community Center

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes the political activism and community service of Hampton Institute students

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about being the dean of Hampton Institute School of Education and Human Development

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian explains her decision to run for the Virginia General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about being elected to the Virginia General Assembly as an independent

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her experiences in the Virginia General Assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about successfully sponsoring a bill requiring insurance companies to pay for bone marrow transplants

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about white teachers' expectations of African American students

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian explains why she thinks history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian talks about the Virginia's government under Governor Mark Warner

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Mary T. Christian narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
The Honorable Mary T. Christian describes her early school experiences and childhood insecurities
The Honorable Mary T. Christian explains her decision to run for the Virginia General Assembly
Transcript
Dr. [HistoryMaker Mary T.] Christian if you will please share with us your earliest memory of growing up? What's your earliest memory?$$Oh my goodness, well my earliest memory growing up I think was, it was in high school. I-- during my childhood at the time I went to school if you could read very well, you were skipped from one grade to the other. So I went to school a year ahead because I went to kindergarten and a lady named Ms. Violet [ph.] taught me to read and I was doing the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm and all of that and my great aunt who reared me after my mom [Viola Webster Robinson] moved to the other house, I stayed with her and that was our birth place on Lincoln Street [Hampton, Virginia] and she would parade me up and down the street. I did a lot of recitations of poems and stories and so forth. So I went to school, I was really two years ahead of myself because I went one year earlier and I was skipped to the second grade and so I got to the fifth grade and I was still the smallest person in the class. And I can remember Mrs. Broadfield [ph.] was the teacher. It was right around Christmastime and they were giving their experiences about Santa Claus and so she said--we were talking about Santa Claus and how we used to think and somebody was pointing at me and she said which one are you pointing at and she said everybody knows--[HistoryMaker] Mary [T. Christian] don't you know who Santa Claus is and I said yes ma'am, he is a big fat man, I'm in fifth grade, a big fat man with a white beard and big tummy that shook like jelly and the class roared. And I was never-- so when I had to ever counsel parents and children my grade to skip, never skip because you're chronological age and your social experiences is far below. So I was just so devastated about that, that I repeated the fifth grade, I just would not do anything. I wanted to be with my peers and so forth. So I think I started growing up during that time but when I was a freshman at [George P.] Phenix [High] School [Hampton, Virginia] that was when I think I really knew that I was growing up and I was in the choir. I was always tiny and very skinny and I didn't want to wear silk hose because in the choir you had to wear silk hose. So I dreaded it, I was so much younger than the others and small in stature. Had I been larger, I wouldn't have been so much aware of it. My growing up days were--when I first started growing up and I was in my older sister-- the same grade with my oldest sister [Lillian Robinson] and peers. So my growing up days were not as happy as theirs because I was always very ashamed of my size and everybody would say little Mary. I just remember those days when I was in--my dad [John Robinson] called me when we were growing up, string bean and those were the names that stood out in my mind. I remember when I was going to high school and all of the people were developing and so forth. On little story. So at that time people had their Sunday clothes on and my mom had one pair of silk stockings and we had to dress up that day and I took my mom's silk stockings and I tucked them down to make them look like (unclear) and so I actually forgot to put them back. So this Sunday morning, my mother said, "Where are my-- who has seen my silk stockings," and I had the silk stockings and I had fabricated to make myself look like I was older than I was. So I had to share that I had my mom's silk stockings and also when we went to get weighed at school, in high school and all of the children-I didn't weigh but like seventy pounds and everybody else weighed about 110 and so forth. So this particular day when we had to go to the weight room, I got violently ill and so they had to take me to the clinic. I was just so sick because I didn't want--they call out your weight after you lined up and they call out your weight. They would say Lillian, Lillian Brown [ph.], 110 so and so, Mary Robinson sixty-two pounds and everybody broke out laughing. So I learned how to get ill when that happened and then they had to weigh me separately. So it was coming up that I always had this-- I always wanted to--I would always say oh God if I could just have enough hips to wear a girdle. Now I wish I didn't-- but that was what my growing up years were and then when I found out people accepted me, I think I was in the National Honor Society and then I was Miss Homecoming so I had arrived because people had accepted me and then my early growing up days were much more comfortable but I just had that.$We did black poetry and I had a singing group and a poetry group and a speech choir and all of those dramatic kinds of things and people would give us money and then we'd go and put it in Pine Chapel [Village, Hampton, Virginia] for the quote, unquote poverty kids. So it was a very enjoyable experience. I carried my students to do voter registration; I had them during the elections. I worked a lot in the community. I was appointed to the [Hampton] School Board and I was on the school board for six years and I've had the students but at the time they said Dr. C [HistoryMaker Mary T. Christian] we don't mind working but you never have a candidate who wins and I said but we keep plotting, we had no blacks on anything. So anyway there came an opening at the [Hampton] City Council and so the folks came to me and said Dr. C. you've been in the community all these years, we'd like to run you for city council. So I said, in a very cavalier manner, I said, "Look I have paid my dues at the local level, I have worked hard on that school board, should anything come in Richmond [Virginia] or Washington [D.C.] then you come and get me." Knowing that we had a white representative and knowing there wasn't going to be anything, I just shooed them off. Dick Bagley [Richard M. Bagley, Sr.] who was in the [Virginia] General Assembly was leaving to throw his hat in the pool to be governor so it left the delegate from Hampton [Virginia] slot open. So people came knocking on my door, "Dr. C. you said and something has come open in Richmond," and I said, "What?" They said, "We want you to run for delegate in the general assembly." I said, "Now wait a minute, I'm a behind the scenes person, I'll do voter registration, I'll work to get people"--I said, "you know how I work but I don't want to be the delegate." I said, "If I'm that I can't mobilize the community, that's my gift getting people together," but they insisted. They said, okay we're going to all put in a hundred dollars and everybody here will put in--one person was a doctor who put in one thousand. I said, oh my God, I don't know what to do and so that night--I'm religious, I go to church and but I didn't--I was exhausted. They're trying to convince me, I didn't get down on my knees to pray but as I step into the group I said, oh Lord what in the world am I going to do. That morning I woke, there was no ambiguity, I called my minister at the church, I said, "Revered [Jason Carl] Guice, I'm making a decision, I decided to run for house delegate." "Go my child with your blessing." I called [HistoryMaker] Dr. [William] Harvey my president [at Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia], I didn't ask him could I go, I said, "Dr. Harvey I'm going to run, I made a decision, I'm going to run for delegate for the general assembly." He was getting ready to go on a trip and he said, "Okay why don't you"--and I said, "I've got to make my declaration today." He said, "Why you do it under the Emancipation Oak that's historical and that's where the Emancipation Proclamation was read at the big oak." I did all of that in two hours, had all the politicians there, had the press there and I made my declaration to run for the [Virginia] House of Delegates. The Democratic committee was there, students came and oh it was a big time. So I had to go and speak in Baltimore [Maryland] and coming back I said oh my God what have I done, all of this before me. So I said oh my goodness, what have I done. They said you have just become a candidate, my family said, that's what you have done. So anyway people were rallying toward me and so forth. Less than two days before and what had been our plight is that too many African Americans--blacks would run, split the vote and that's why we never had anybody anywhere. So as fate would have it, there comes a black minister who was running, there is a white commonwealth attorney who was running, I was going to run against him. Now the vote is split, here we are just before the primary, just before I had to send in my petition of voters. So I'm at this dilemma and I said what am I going to do, you're black, you're female.

Howard "Pete" Rawlings

In his twenty-three years of service in the Maryland House of Delegates, Howard "Pete" Rawlings advocated tirelessly for affordable housing, accessible healthcare, and minority opportunities in higher education. Raised in Baltimore's Edgar Allen Poe housing projects (the first public housing units in Baltimore); Rawlings went to Morgan State University, where he was inspired by a math professor to pursue studies in mathematics. After graduating with a B.A. in mathematics, he continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin, receiving a M.S. in mathematics.

While pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Maryland, Rawlings became interested in increasing the opportunities for African Americans in higher education. As an organizer and co-chair of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Black Caucus, Rawlings gained experience in coalition building and legislative advocacy. This led to a position as head of the healthcare advocacy group the Maryland Community Health Counsel, and his decision to run for State Delegate in 1978.

Rawlings was elected in 1979 to the Maryland House of Delegates, to represent the 40th District in Baltimore City. Rawlings became a key player in the legislature, making contributions in the areas of housing, health, education and economic development. As chair of the Appropriations Committee, he wass one of the House's most influential members. Rawlings was at the forefront of reforming inner city public schools and has authored legislation that would ban racial profiling in Maryland.

Rawlings sat on numerous boards including the Maryland Education Coalition, the Maryland Historical Society and the Maryland Low Income Housing Coalition. He has sat on various statewide and national task forces including the Governor's Task Force to Reform the State Personnel Management System; the Task Force on Education Funding Equity, Accountability, and Partnerships; and the Task Force to Study the Governance, Coordination, and Funding of the University System of Maryland. In 1997, Rawlings received the Education Commission of the States' Chairmen's Award for Outstanding Service, and in 1999 he was named by Baltimore Magazine as one of the Baltimoreans of the year.

Rawlings lived in the 40th District, in Baltimore City, with his wife Nina. They have three children. Rawlings passed away on November 14, 2003.

Accession Number

A2001.063

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

2/25/2001

Last Name

Rawlings

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Peters

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Phillis Wheatley Elementary

Morgan State University

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Howard

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

RAW01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Pfizer, Inc

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/17/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

11/14/2003

Short Description

State delegate Howard "Pete" Rawlings (1937 - 2003 ) was elected in 1979 to the Maryland House of Delegates, to represent the 40th District in Baltimore City. Rawlings became a key player in the legislature, making contributions in the areas of housing, health, education and economic development. As chair of the Appropriations Committee, he was one of the House's most influential members.

Employment

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Maryland Community Health Counsel

Maryland House of Delegates

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Howard Rawlings reveals how he received his knickname

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Howard Rawlings interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Rawlings's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Rawlings remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Rawlings describes his family life in a Baltimore, Maryland housing project

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Rawlings details his school life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Rawlings discusses the role of education in his life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Rawlings evaluates his academic performance throughout his secondary education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Rawlings assesses his early interests and avocations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Rawlings discusses his pursuits in mechanical engineering and his mentor, Clarence Stephens

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Howard Rawlings recalls his experience as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Howard Rawlings recalls courting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Rawlings continues to discuss his courtship and marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Rawlings details his graduate school experience at the University of Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Rawlings remembers Baltimore, Maryland, early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Rawlings discusses his employment at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Rawlings discusses his community involvement, Baltimore, Maryland, 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Rawlings explains his decision to run for state office

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Rawlings details his election to the Maryland House of Delegates

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Rawlings discusses his tenure as Chair of the Appropriations Committee for the Maryland House of Delegates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Rawlings shares his views on education reform

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Rawlings responds to his critics

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Rawlings discusses the state of education in Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Rawlings addresses political affiliations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Rawlings calls for an evaluation of black educational institutions

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Rawlings emphasizes economic and political empowerment for African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Rawlings considers his parents' reactions to his political success

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Rawlings considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Howard Rawlings discusses his community involvement, Baltimore, Maryland, 1970s
Howard Rawlings details his election to the Maryland House of Delegates
Transcript
What do you do at this point?$$Well at this point, we had our first black superintendent in the Baltimore City Public Schools Roland Patterson, he knew of my leadership. He knew of my work and he offered me a job, but he could only offer me a job for two weeks in September when the schools opened again. Otherwise he would have to go bring the consulting work contract to the board. So I had a job for two weeks and then one of the schools, Wallbrook High School which is on a trimester system. They needed a math teacher so I taught high school for two years. During that same period after I left the university, because of my work in higher education, addressing black issues, opportunity access, retention, graduation, minority business activities, a group of community leaders asked me to chair , the Maryland Community Health Council. It was a group--it was during a period when [Gerald] Ford was [US] President and health planning was becoming very big in the country. Where you're supposed to involve the community and the public in the planning process. And that would help reduce the cost of,of health care. And there were these systems created in states called, I forgot what they're called. Oh boy I can't remember the name. But these health care systems were created these planning groups, with boards and meetings, and, agenda, and staff. And they asked me to take over the leadership which I did. And we were--we were pretty effective. ,We one of our targets was Jo--Johns Hopkins Hospital [Baltimore, Maryland] that we had a fundamental impact on the president at Hopkins at that time Heissel,every time I see him, he jokes that he made me, a delegate. He said, "Because of the work I was doing there and the advocacy helped raised my profile and created a, a, environment for me to pursue politics." I actually pursued politics because I found out that a lot of things I wanted to dohad their solutions in (unclear) in state government. Oh these systems were called Health Systems Agencies that they were created during--eve--every jurisdiction had a health system agency and that was a statewide planning group that they were all connected to. And we wanted to make sure that the minority agenda in healthwas aon the front burner when they were dealing with these planning issues. , That was pretty we were pretty effective.$$And who hired you to do that?$$Now I wasn't hired. This all--$$You were--that was volunteer?$$All this was volunteer. all these, all these activities--$$Okay.$$That you're hearing about--the only time I was hired was by the Labor defense Fund. And that was mainly a--I mean , relative--it was not you know real pay with some consulting. Very limited consulting fee.$$But you were teaching high school though?$$I was teaching high school when I was dealing with the health issues.$$Okay. That's right.$$On, on the higher education, I was teaching, I was a faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. But no I was--these were all volunteer--I was spending my money for stampswhen we had to mail stuff, reproducing s--you know. And I said, "Hell I ought to run foryou know for the House of Delegates. They'll pay you for this. And they will pay for your stamps. And, and you could have impact on the system that could solve some of these problems." And I also knew that the people who representing me weren't doing a good job. I was not pleased with how they responded to these issues. I was not pleased at their aggressive--you know their lack of advocacy for these issues. And so I decided to run. I had a reputation by then also.$I ran with senator Verda Welcome, the first black woman to be elected to a state senate in the country I believe. And she brought me in on her ticket and she even did something special for me because we had--there were three delegates run--three people running for delegates, one of them an incumbent. And she did a special mailing for me near the end of the primary election. She told me--I had started late. The other one was a reverend who had been campaigning months before I even started. And to give me some kind of advantage. she did a special mailing. Which they resented but I guess it was a statement on her part that she knew that we needed you know the kind of, of presence I would have brought to the general assembly. And I won by, maybe about 115, 120 votes. And the person who was a part of our ticket did a recount and I, and maybe it had gone up to about 150 votes but I, I won. I came in third.$$So how did you feel at that time? Because this is a whole--this is a different role now. It's about--$$Well I mean I saw this as a vehicle to continue a agenda that I was on--I mean I was pleased. We had worked hard, we were involved--we had involved in my campaign a lot of people, you know, hadn't been involved in politics before. so I, I--you know I was very, very plea--in fact my first fundraiser was a dinner and Jean Fairfax was the keynote speaker, for me. And I have a picture somewhere that my daughter Stephanie--after the program was over, she had gone to the podium and she was up at the podium like this was her, day of be, you know showing off. And she would go out campaigning with me. She must have been around eight or nine years old then and she enjoyed it. when I would have events and she wouldn't shy away. She became immersed in them. She would engage adults in conversation I mean at a young age. She knew how to do the chitter chatter stuff the light conversation which I was not good at. and she would walk up to people shake their hands and introduced herself. By the time she was a young teenager, she was so good at it, I would have her introduce me on stage, and then I would, you know, speak after she would introduce me. It was very clear that she, she liked this environment and she was good at it. And she would work hard during the campaigns. And when she went to Oberlin [College, Oberlin, Ohio], she majored in governmental politics and economics. And ran for the state central committee which is the Democratic Party. You know, the parties have these state central committees, and she came in second and got so many votes, it was amazing. Then she ran again and got more votes than anybody. And her name--there were about fifteen or sixteen people running. Her name was stuck in the pile somewhere and you had to go find her. And you select the top five candidate and she did--I think she did so extraordinarily well both times, that she felt that she could run. so after she finished law school she passed up the bar in July and decided to take it in February which she passed on the first go round. But she ran for office and won big time.$$So you have its, it--you almost have a dynasty here.$$Well I wouldn't call it a dynasty.$$(laughing)$$She, she's good.$$She's good.$$Yeah.$$But I want to go back. So you're here you are, you've, you've been elected this--and it was very much a family affair in many ways.$$Well yeah a lot of my family and, and some friends who, and people I had worked with in doing my advocacy.$$And so what was that whole experience like? You, you went on--your background was strong in the human--I mean I'm sorry in the health arena.$$Well, health and higher education.$$Education.$$Yeah.$$And and so what is--so that was the platform you really sort of campaigned on.$$Well you--$$Sort of?$$You, you really would have liked to believe that there were a lot of issues, that people discussed. the important thing for us is that we knocked on every--almost every door in our district. And they needed to know that I was an advocate, that I provided leadership in these areas for our community. They needed to know that I was a Morgan [State College, now University, Baltimore, Maryland] graduate, that I was well educated. And they needed to know that I was part of their community. There, there weren't issues per se. I mean the system doesn't work in our, for our advantage. And they knew that I was a person who would stand up for their interest. They've seen me do it as an advocate, and they've seen retaliation against me and it didn't keep me down so, I just made sure they knew who I was. And my wife, is a pediatrician and she worked in a clinic that served a lot of families in part of my, my district. And the Rawlings family name had been around the, the city for some time. So all of that accumulative may help. Because, I made a decision to run at a period that most people would think is late. I had my first fundraiser in June I think, near June. The deadline for filing is July. Most people out there, you know, engage in, in political activities. And I'm not a speaker. I mean I'm not a person who likes, I'm very you know just I don't give speeches well. I mean I'm I just talk about things that I have to talk about. And you almost like mathematical theorems. You know start off here and you know with the hypotheses. Then you site all these related theorems or truths and you go, you know you go down this path to a conclusion. And that's how I deal, I, I don't--I'm not an emotional, politician. I, I speak very clearly about you know, you know problems that we have. And I think people know that committed to changing, the, the relationships that exist.$$Now you what is interesting about this is that typically you come from a whole different background that a lot of, you know, politicians.$$Yeah.$$I mean you definitely came from an advocacy standpoint but even your whole discussion right now about how you approach and all that a lot of people--$$Oh, it is different. I mean I--it, it, its an asset and it's a, a problem. It's a weakness for many--I mean I've met with, watch and observe, interacted with a lot of black politicians, all over the country. And we, we have such extraordinary power that, that we don't use it. I don't, and, and--I don't know. I, I'd like to solve problems. I like to focus on them. I, I like to strategize and deal them. I'm, I'm not gonna spend a lot of time preaching on a problem, whipping you up emotionally about it and having you leave feeling good and then the problem is still there when you wake up in the morning. I just believe--I, I just like a certain level of honesty that I don't think exists. and I think a lot of our leaders take advantage of, of that behavior and mislead our, community.$$Now so this is this, this is interesting. You start out really as a rookie though you've got a, you know a some one who is (unclear) this, this person. The wa--$$Yeah. Well she, she, Verda Welcome is a clubwoman. She--husband is a doctor. Very, very middle class. She came out of a group of women, you know. These clubs, you know they meet in their basements, they have prepared nice food and, you now they contribute to the hosp--the black hospital, Providence, you know they give scholarship balls. she's a--and she was a woman who I knew had integrity. she was committed to do these things, to improve our community, but she, she was always right on the issues. But she was in an environment where she was the only woman. She was disrespected by a lot of white men, because she was a woman, first. And the system in, in this state which much--was much cruder. And, and she kind of--and, and the blacks before me I will acknowledge created an environment which a guy like me could work better. in, in terms of opportunity, in terms of sitting at the table when decisions are made. And when I sit at the table, I, I am mindful of the sacrifices--And I am also mindful of the kind of character. I mean, she was a person with a great deal of integrity. a person who, was always impeccably dressed. she, she treated people with respect. and she would plead her case, to, to folks. probably, I mean I don't take insults from anybody. I mean I don't allow people to disrespect me. I, when, when you, you know. When there's any evidence that you are not treating me as a, a person, in the authority that I worked hard to get, I let you know in a minute. I mean I'll never forget. I also have a light sense of humor or wit when I run my committee as chairman of the house appropriations committee. Kind of irreverent sometimes. And I had this white guy from Montgomery County, who I kind of put in his place, you know kind of lightly put him in his place. He probably didn't like, the fact that I had done that. And, and so he wanted to meet with me. And he comes into my office, we sit down and he told me he, he just didn't like the way, that I ran the committee. And I asked him why. And--you know he talked around the point. So I looked him in his eye, I said, "Look. Why don't you just tell me you just can't stand this big, big black man running the Appropriations Committee. And then we can move on from there. And that you gonna have to get you know." I said I, I even promised I'll try to be more sensitive to your feeling but you're gonna have to get adjusted to the fact that I'm gonna run this committee." And we've been kind of friends. We've gotten along better since then. In fact about two or three weeks ago, he wanted to give a cocktail reception in his Montgomery County [Maryland] District with a lot of high rollers, you know. They, they were one of the wealthiest counties in the United States of America. You know so I can introdu--he can introduce me to some of his friends and colleagues in Montgomery County. But you know I tolerate no disrespect.