The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Andrew Heidelberg

Norfolk 17 member Andrew Heidelberg was born on November 6, 1943 in Norfolk, Virginia to Lena and Colonal Heidelberg. After desegregation rulings by federal judges in 1957 and 1959 against a fight led by Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Heidelberg began his education at Norview High School, five years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education. At the age of fourteen, Heidelberg joined sixteen other African Americans selected out of the 151 who had applied to attend all-white schools. Split between three junior high and three high schools, The Norfolk 17 started Norfolk’s schools’ integration efforts in Virginia. In 1961 during his senior year, Heidelberg made the school football team and was the first African American to play varsity football at an all-white public school in Virginia and in the South. That same year, his team won the Eastern District championship for the State of Virginia and brought together black and white families alike.

In 1967, Heidelberg entered the banking industry and worked at Industrial National Bank of Providence, Rhode Island. He became the bank’s first African American Branch Manager, Credit Officer, and Commercial Loan Officer before he left in 1976 to found Heidelberg, Clary & Associates, Inc. After the firm closed, Heidelberg worked at Barclays Bank of New York and Banco de Ponce-New York as a Vice President and Corporate Manager. In 2001, Heidelberg graduated from Norfolk State University with his B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. He went on to serve as Assistant Treasurer and Chief Deputy Treasurer for the City of Hampton in 2003. He returned to Norview High School in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of “Massive Resistance” in Virginia.

Heidelberg was selected by Governor Mark Warner in 2005 to serve a two-year term as a member of the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee. He was appointed to serve two additional consecutive two-year terms (through 2011) by Governor Tim Kaine. In 2006 he published his story in the book The Norfolk 17: A Personal Narrative on Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia in 1958-1962. Heidelberg also finished writing a screenplay in 2009 based on the book The Colored Halfback scheduled for publication in 2010.

Heidelberg passed away on July 6, 2015 at the age of 71.

Andrew Heidelberg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 10, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.015

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/10/2010

5/13/2010

Last Name

Heidelberg

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Norview High School

Norfolk State University

Oakwood Elementary School

First Name

Andrew

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

HEI04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/6/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Death Date

7/6/2015

Short Description

Banker, civic leader, and cultural heritage lecturer Andrew Heidelberg (1943 - 2015 ) was a member of The Norfolk 17 who strove for desegregation in the South in the late 1950s. He lectured at events about the impact of segregation and civil rights.

Employment

Norfolk 17: A Personal Narrative

Beacon At The Crossroads

Hampton Treasurer's Office

Eastland Savings Bank

Banco de Ponce New York

Barclays Bank of New York

Heidelberg, Clary and Associates, Inc.

Fleet National Bank

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:20980,529:26500,652:35434,765:37696,819:45808,1065:46120,1070:47992,1122:48304,1127:48928,1141:50020,1168:53140,1260:55012,1295:64486,1368:75172,1543:91750,1750:93350,1772:106410,1968:113750,2083:125560,2310:125836,2315:128818,2354:140719,2542:141556,2644:169079,2969:177912,3088:178304,3093:178696,3098:188759,3367:199446,3502:208028,3635:223230,3735:228724,3870:232984,3983:236463,4032:253937,4243:274378,4584:276625,4621:277267,4628:283882,4730:284226,4735:290934,4855:309360,5070:309878,5084:310248,5090:312570,5124$0,0:1810,16:37006,196:57300,255:61180,297:63350,348:63630,353:64050,360:66290,420:72290,481:73290,516:74590,532:95478,825:112856,949:116327,1110:123670,1240:124692,1268:125057,1274:125714,1434:147070,1619:148246,1638:148918,1648:153780,1709:155620,1785:156632,1834:164185,1892:173415,2022:173780,2028:174437,2038:175386,2053:175678,2058:176262,2068:177795,2110:182868,2179:186050,2274:196512,2413:196868,2418:205744,2575:208730,2640
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622421">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrew Heidelberg's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622422">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622423">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622424">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622425">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his father's name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622426">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622427">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his father's talents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622428">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his paternal grandmother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622429">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about the origin of his father's first name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622430">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his paternal grandmother's murder</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622431">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622432">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his father's occupation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622433">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622434">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622435">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about medical care available to African Americans in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622436">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his childhood homes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622437">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his jobs as a young boy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622438">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his personality as a young boy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622439">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls attending school at Bank Street Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622440">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers moving to Chesapeake Manor in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622441">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls attending Oakwood Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622442">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his desire to excel academically</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622443">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the discipline at Oakwood Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622444">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers how he came to join the Norfolk 17, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622445">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers how he came to join the Norfolk 17, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622446">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the organizing efforts of Evelyn T. Butts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622447">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes segregation in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622448">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the selection of the Norfolk 17</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622449">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about the admission process for Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622450">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his mother's advice about interacting with white students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622451">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers the closing of public schools in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622452">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his nonviolence training from the NAACP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622453">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his fear of desegregating Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622454">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about the emotional toll of desegregating Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622455">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls adapting to an integrated school environment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622456">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the effects of school closings in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622457">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the segregationist leadership in Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622458">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the reopening of public schools in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622459">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers walking to Norview High School on his first day</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622460">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls arriving at Norview High School on his first day</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622461">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his first day at Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622462">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls meeting a sympathetic student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622463">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers the African American workers at Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622464">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his lunch period at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622465">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg describes Norview High School's football history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622466">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his isolation at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622467">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his treatment at Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622468">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls playing intramural sports at Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622469">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers trying out for Norview High School's football team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622470">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls being rejected from the football team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622471">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the Church of God and Saints of Christ in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622472">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls joining the football team at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622473">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about the dehumanizing rumors about African Americans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622474">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls desegregation of Norview High School football games</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622475">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes integration at Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622476">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the fifty-year reunion of the Norfolk 17</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622477">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his football career with Norview High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622478">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls playing football in Prince Edward County, Virginia, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622479">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls playing football in Prince Edward County, Virginia, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622480">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers a racist encounter in a white community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622481">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls discriminatory refereeing during a football game</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622482">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the erasure of Virginia's desegregation history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622483">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg explains why he shares the history of the Norfolk 17</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622484">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his academics at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622485">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his good grades at Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622486">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his decision to attend Norfolk State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622487">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrew Heidelberg's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622488">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his reasons for attending Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622489">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his reasons for attending Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622490">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his college football contemporaries</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622491">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his motivations at Norfolk State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622492">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers his football career at Norfolk State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622493">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his academic experiences at Norfolk State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622494">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls being recruited to the Rhode Island Steelers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622495">Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers joining the Pittsburgh Steelers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622496">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his experiences at the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622497">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers his teammates on the Pittsburgh Steelers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622498">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622499">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622500">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg reflects upon his unusual name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622501">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls working at Industrial National Bank in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622502">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes a problematic advertising campaign at Industrial National Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622503">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls helping to apprehend a bank robber</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622504">Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about improving the diversity of an advertising campaign at Industrial National Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622505">Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls asking to join the managerial training program at Industrial National Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622506">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls being accepted to Industrial National Bank's management program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622507">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his promotion to branch manager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622508">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the history of Industrial National Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622509">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls managing a bank branch in Cranston, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622510">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his experiences in the credit department at Industrial National Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622511">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers his mentor, Arthur Lowenthal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622512">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the prejudice against his mentor, Arthur Lowenthal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622513">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls his plan to start his own business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622514">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls partnering with Anderson W. Clary, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622515">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers founding Heidelberg, Clary and Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622516">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls the aid of the Jimmy Carter Administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622517">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his earliest contracts with Heidelberg, Clary and Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622518">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls being hired at Barclays Bank of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622519">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg describes the racial demographics of Barclays Bank of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622520">Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his experiences at Barclays Bank of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622521">Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls leaving Barclays Bank of New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622522">Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers joining Banco de Ponce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622523">Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls investing in the film 'First Blood'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622524">Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers his client, Dr. Michael Truppin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622525">Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls leaving Banco de Ponce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622526">Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his return to Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622527">Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls returning to Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622528">Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers working at Beacon at the Crossroads in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622529">Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg recalls publishing his first book</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622530">Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his second book, 'The Colored Halfback'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622531">Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his hopes for his books</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622532">Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622533">Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622534">Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622535">Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Andrew Heidelberg reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622536">Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Andrew Heidelberg remembers the death of his brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622537">Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Andrew Heidelberg reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622538">Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Andrew Heidelberg describes his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622539">Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about The HistoryMakers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622540">Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Andrew Heidelberg talks about his religious faith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622541">Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Andrew Heidelberg describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622542">Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Andrew Heidelberg narrates his photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/622543">Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Andrew Heidelberg narrates his photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Andrew Heidelberg describes his first day at Norview High School
Andrew Heidelberg remembers the African American workers at Norview High School
Transcript
And so the bell rang (makes sound). So then Fred [Alvarez Gonsouland] and I, as slowly as we're walking, went up the steps [of Norview High School, Norfolk, Virginia]. And I really didn't, I had never been to high school, so I didn't really know what I was supposed to do, you know. And the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] had told us nothing about this. So I said to Fred, I said, "Where do we go now?" (Laughter) So, and I don't even know how he knew. He said, "I have to go, I have to report to the cafeteria. I don't know where you go." I said, "Where do I go?" (Laughter) He say, he said, "Well, follow these freshmen here." And it was a whole bunch of them. He said, "Just follow them." So, so, and when you got inside it was like, oh, they were all around you, you know. And so, Freddy went on his way, and that was the last that I saw of Freddy. Now--$$So you were by yourself in a sea of (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I was by myself.$$--white freshmen.$$Oh yeah, oh yeah. So--$$And were they doing the same thing--$$Oh, they were just calling names, and, and they couldn't even walk in front. They could turn around--"Hey we got a nigger here." "Why don't you go home, nigger?" "Get out of our school," you know, and all the way down, and, and, and, and I was just following them. And then we went on down, and then I saw the sign said gymnasium, freshmen--I mean auditorium, freshman. So then I, I turned the corner, and I was following, and I walked in, so. When I walked into the auditorium, man, it was like, they started to singing. I could hear it coming. I didn't know the school had a balcony in the auditorium. All I could hear was, (singing) "Fe-fe-fi-fi-fo-fo-fum, I smell a nigger in the auditorium, Charlie Brown." I mean, and, and it was, it was like, it was--you know how the rock singers sing? That's what they were doing. I mean they were like--and I'm saying, "Oh," and then everybody in there turned around and started looking. So then I looked and I saw down, the teachers were standing down in front of the stage, and they had tables. I guess they were giving the assignments, so. And they, they were just singing. They were all around us, "Go home, nigger; go home, nigger." So, I walked down. I said well, best thing I'd better do is go down here as close to the teachers as I possibly can because if they try to kill me, hopefully the teachers (laughter), you know, to at least try to stop them from killing me, right. So, I got, I got down to the--near the front, so. And then I saw a row, you know, and I went in about maybe four rows from the front and went in. I went into the aisle and you know, I walked and I sat down right in the middle. Man, as soon as I sat down, everybody in that row that I was (laughter) on got up and left. Everybody in the row in front of got up and left. Everybody in the row behind me got up and left. And all of a sudden, from the place being jammed packed, here I was sitting with nobody. And I mean they just like--and I, I really didn't even know what to do. And so the teachers called my name, "Heidelberg [HistoryMaker Andrew Heidelberg]," and so I went up. I went up, and she gave me my, my, my schedule, and I walked out. I didn't really know where--I had to go to the, my homeroom class, but I didn't really know where it was 'til I got back in the hall and I realized it was up on the second floor. And I followed, I followed that up to the second floor. And so I saw the numbers and went into the classroom. So when I got in the classroom, I wanted to sit--they had, the classroom had a window, the long windows on the side. So I said well, I'm gonna sit by the window, that way if they try to lynch me, I can jump out the window. You know, I was (laughter)--I thought that's my quickest ex- I mean, it, this was survival. You was thinking how do I get out of here if they--because I'm, I'm, I was so sure somebody, they were gonna try to kill me, and there was no question about it. So, so I go in, and I sat down right on the second row on the end, on the end, second row. The guy in front of me got up; the girl beside me got up; and the guy in the back of me got up, so again I had my own space. And you know, and the teacher was standing up there, and I'm saying to her--and they, they come in, "Why do we have to have a nigger in our classroom?" "We don't want no niggers in here." I'm thinking the teacher is gonna say, "Hey, hey, calm down." She just let it; she just (laughter) let it. I mean it just went on until the, the bell rang the second time, when you're supposed to be in your homeroom, you know. And so, so she said, "Well, okay, class calm down," and she started calling the roll. And I mean they were like, shooting spit wads at me, throwing paperclips, you know. And, and she never, ever, ever said a freaking word to any one of them. And it was, it was like--so then, I mean it, it, that, that first day was so bad. You know, like I, I--you, you know, you go to every class, and in every class it was the same exact thing.$So, I walked on down, and the line got shorter. And I mean, I got to the door where you go in, right. And one of the reasons--(crying)--whoa. I got to the door and like, there were like, black people serving the food. And they were so proud of me. I think about that 'cause, you know, all my life you done heard--you, you see movies, and, and they always have them Stepin Fletchit [sic. Stepin Fetchit] type people talking, who can't talk, and old slow talking and stuff like that. And when I walked in there, there was like, these two black ladies and, and a black guy, (crying) and I knew her 'cause I used to like--I knew her daughter. I used to like, go with her daughter. I didn't know she worked there. She said, "How you doing, [HistoryMaker] Andrew Heidelberg?" She just called my whole name loud. It just made me feel so good, you know, like, 'cause they didn't tell you that black people talk like that. She ain't scared of no white people, at all; you could tell, her voice. It just made me feel--and all the other white--other black ladies said, "Hi, Andrew Heidelberg." And then the black guy, he was--had a big pot in his hand, man, he said, "How you doing, son?" You know what I'm saying? And it's like, they didn't care that there were white people there; I mean it didn't mean nothing. I just can't tell you how, how it made me feel. It was like whoa, you know, like, thank you; I needed that. And they said, "What you want to eat?" You know what I'm saying, you know, like--and you know, you smile, man, and, and, and I--and they say, "You, don't worry." I mean the look on their face, I never seen people so proud of me. I, I, I didn't even know what I had done. But just the fact that I was there [Norview High School, Norfolk, Virginia], to them, you know, and, and, and that's when I knew that it meant something more. You know, you, you look at them, she was like in her thirties, and the guy was like--I mean, they were so proud, man. It was like whoa; I mean it gave me a whole different perspective of what happened, because it was like they, they, they were waiting. They, they, they waited. You know, it's, I guess it's the same feeling like I felt when Obama [HistoryMaker President Barack Obama] got elected. It was like whoa, man, look at this, I mean, the, the tears. I mean they were just, I mean they smiled and, man, they called my name so loud. I mean that was what got me. And they called my whole name. She said, "How are you doing, Andrew Heidelberg?" And man, and everybody in there looked around, and they weren't gonna say nothing to her. You know what I'm saying?