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Violet Palmer

Basketball referee Violet Palmer was born on July 20, 1964 in Lynwood, California to James and Gussie Palmer. Palmer played point guard for Compton High School’s women’s basketball team. She earned her B.A. degree in recreation administration from California Polytechnic University Pomona, where she also led the women’s basketball team to two NCAA Division II championships in 1985 and 1986.

After graduating from California Polytechnic University Pomona in 1987, Palmer worked for Placentia Recreation Department, where she began refereeing high school basketball games. In 1991, she officiated her first Division I Women’s basketball game and, officiating the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 1994 to 1997. In 1995, Palmer began training as an official for the NBA. In 1997, Palmer officiated the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) championship during the association’s inaugural season. That same year, Palmer made history as the first woman to referee a National Basketball Association game. She became the first woman to oversee a postseason game for the NBA in 2006, when she officiated a postseason matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets. From 2009 to 2010, Palmer served as the coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officiating (WBBO) for the West Coast and Pac-12 Conferences. She became the first woman to officiate an All-Star Game in any major United States sport, when she officiated the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Palmer retired as a referee from the NBA in 2016, after dealing with a long time knee injury. Over the course of her NBA career, Palmer officiated 919 NBA games. Palmer was also the first openly gay referee in NBA history.

Palmer received many awards and honors during her career, including being named a member of the NCAA Division II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team. She was also honored with the 2013 WNBA Boost Mobile Pioneer Award, and served on the board of the National Association of Sports Officials. In 1999, Palmer was named Naismith Women’s College Official of the Year.

Palmer and her wife, Tanya Stine, have three children.

Violet Palmer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.115

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/17/2016

Last Name

Palmer

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Davis Middle School

Compton High School

California Polytechnic State University, Pomona

Dickison Elementary School

First Name

Violet

Birth City, State, Country

Lynwood

HM ID

PAL05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Aruba

Favorite Quote

If You Can Dream It, You Can Be It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/20/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Basketball referee Violet Palmer (1964 - ) was the first woman and first openly gay official in the NBA.

Employment

Placentia Recreation Department

National College Athletics Association

National Basketball Association

Women's Basketball Officiating for the West Coast

Women's Basketball Officiating for Pac-12

Rancho Cienega Sports Complex

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663428">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Violet Palmer's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663429">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663430">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer describes her mother's interests and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663431">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer talks about her family's move to Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663432">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer describes her parents' family backgrounds</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663433">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663434">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663435">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663436">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer remembers her neighborhood in Compton, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663437">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Violet Palmer recalls a burglary at her childhood home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663438">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Violet Palmer recounts a story about her mother protecting their home in Compton, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663439">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer describes her close knit community in Compton, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663440">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer talks about her early interest in sports</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663441">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer recalls her success as a high school athlete</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663442">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer talks about her sports idols</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663443">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer describes her position on her high school basketball team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663444">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her basketball team at Compton High School in Compton, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663445">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about her extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663446">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer remembers her favorite teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663447">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer talks about the difference between men's basketball and women's basketball</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663448">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer recalls her decision to attend California Polytechnic State University, Pomona</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663449">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer describes her college basketball team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663450">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the influence of her college basketball coach</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663451">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer describes her role on her college basketball team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663452">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer recalls her experiences as a park director in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663453">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer remembers becoming a NCAA Division I basketball official</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663454">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about the pay scale for college referees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663455">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer recalls officiating her first NCAA women's game</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663456">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer talks about her mother's support for her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663457">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the skills needed to be a referee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663458">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer recalls being approached to train as a NBA official</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663459">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about the rules of college basketball and the NBA</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663460">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer remembers discriminatory rules against African American basketball players</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663461">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer talks about the challenges of officiating NBA games</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663462">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer recalls becoming the first woman official in the WBNA and NBA</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663463">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer describes the responses to her hiring as an NBA official</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663464">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her first year as a NBA referee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663465">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer recalls being scrutinized as a female NBA official</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663466">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer remembers officiating her first NBA playoff game</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663467">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer recalls the brawl between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663468">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about Cedric Maxwell's sexist remarks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663469">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer describes her working relationship with NBA players</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663470">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her experiences as a role model for young girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663471">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer talks about the lack of female officials in professional sports</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663472">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer recalls a scandal within the officiating profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663473">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Violet Palmer talks about mentoring new referees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663474">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Violet Palmer recalls officiating her first NBA All-Star Game</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663475">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Violet Palmer talks about the highlights of her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663476">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Violet Palmer remembers marrying her wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663477">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Violet Palmer talks about her ESPN documentary, 'Queen Vee'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663478">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her health</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663479">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Violet Palmer describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663480">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Violet Palmer talks about her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663481">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Violet Palmer reflects upon the current NBA gameplay</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/663482">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Violet Palmer reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

9$7

DATitle
Violet Palmer describes the responses to her hiring as an NBA official
Violet Palmer reflects upon her experiences as a role model for young girls
Transcript
All right. So, but the reception, I mean, Charles Barkley announced that the NBA [National Basketball Association] is a man's game in--$$True statement.$$--in criticism of you.$$True statement. I think I pretty much got criticized by some of everybody, you know. And I can honestly say that not only did the players and the coaches bark about it, I think even initially starting out, my own colleagues, they wasn't too happy about it either because, again, it was--you know, the NBA was a good ol' boys system. It was a man's world, and now bringing a woman in--into it, they, they wasn't sure. They didn't--you know, and I think it was just the, the unknown. People tend to not like change, you know, and, and I think, for me, they wasn't sure. They said can we touch her? Can we yell at her? Can we still curse? You know, how is she gonna react? Is she physically fit to, to be able to go out and, and do the job? So, there was just all these unknown things and I think that was really--nothing personal against me. I think it was more so just un- that un- unforbidden territory that a woman had never--had never done, so that was all the negative things. And, and I can honestly say that, you know, after getting in it and, and earning my keep and earning my respect even for someone like Charles Barkley--I'll never forget. It was probably my third or fourth year, I was in Houston [Texas] and I had just finished working a game with Charles Barkley and I'm coming out with my, my partners and Charles came up to me and he said, "You know what? I was wrong. I stand corrected." He said, "For me to say what I've--what I said about you," he said, "I was totally wrong," and he pointed and he pointed at my partners he said, "because you're better than him and him." And we just kind of all chuckled and laughed and, you know--you know--you know, we just laughed and, and walked away. But, I said to myself, you know what? What, what great respect I had--for him to, to--'cause he didn't have to say that. He could've just, you know, thought it. But for him to literally say it to me after a game, I think that just really, you know, just meant, meant a lot and it kind of solidified that, you know what? A woman can do this, and not that I was really purposely going out to change people's perceptions or minds. I just felt like, you know what? I had prepared myself, I had worked hard, and I knew that I could do the job, and it was about doing the job for me. That was what's--what was most important.$$Now, did, did you consider or do you have any thoughts on why the NBA decided to, to hire women referees in the first place?$$You know, and I'm not sure. I, I, I think, you know, it, it could've been--you know, they had--at one point, they had another female, Sandy Ortiz [Sandra Ortiz-Del Valle]. I think she initially had started and was trying to work her way in the program and for some reason, she didn't make it, and I think she actually at one point tried to sue them. So, I don't know if that was the reasoning behind bringing us into the program; I have no idea. But, I can honestly say that for whatever reason they had, you know, and, and just knowing how the commissioner, David Stern, was. He was always extremely innovative in what he's done, you know, even bringing international players and how he's--how he would do contracts and, and bring in--how he brought in, you know, all the television and, and, and taking, taking in European players. So, for him to now open up that door to allow women into the NBA program, does it really surprise me? No, you know--$$The reason why I ask is because it's such a proactive move to do something that's diverse rather than (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right. Well, and I truly believe that the NBA is, is just a, a, a cor- company that that's just the way they are. They're very innovative and have always been.$(Simultaneous) No. And I've even--it--I mean, to even take it a step further, I've had several coaches say to me--Isiah Thomas, to be exa- I was--he was--he was the coach of the Knicks [New York Knicks] and I was standing there before the game and he told me, he says, "Violet [HistoryMaker Violet Palmer]," he said, "you know what?" He said, "I have to tell you," he said, "my daughter [Lauren Thomas] thinks the world of you and I have to applaud you for what you have done." He said, "Keep being the role model that you are for our young girls growing up because you have given all of them a--an opportunity and a chance to do something that has never been done." And I, I--that--you know, it's funny, certain things I, I haven't really paid much attention to when I--that players or coaches have said to me, but to hear those type of comments is just tremendous because I never even thought that they would even feel that way. I've had players come up to me, you know, at center court and say to me, "You know, my son or my daughter, you know, they're doing their, their, their history report on you for Black History Month that--you know what? And, and we applaud you for, for who you have become and what you--you know, what, what you say to young, young girls and young boys, but more so," it's always young girls, "that you have given young girls an opportunity to do this non-traditional sport and to be involved in it and that you're successful. You have no idea." And I have to sit back some time, you know, and just marvel over, wow. I never even--'cause that was never my intention, never even thought about it, but what a really positive thing for someone to say about you in your profession.$$Did, did you receive many letters when you were refereeing--$$All the time (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) from, from youth?$$No. I mean, literally, I would--and it's funny. The league did really well because they pretty much kept our addresses, you know, private. But, any letter that would--that's--that a kid would mail, I mean out of the country. It was--it--I, I used to get them from all over the place. The, the NBA [National Basketball Association] would actually send them to me and I would be able to read them. I've had several of our--my colleagues. I just had one, Bill Spooner, his daughter just did her report on me and, and, and she's in high school. And he sent it to me and let me read it and I--and I was like, wow, this is incredible. So, you know, to have those type of things or have those--have a young girl write something and feel like that I'm a role model for her and, and just what I've done, it's just incredible.

Kenneth Walker

Educator and basketball referee Kenneth R. Walker, Sr. has devoted his career to serving his home state of Rhode Island. Born in East Providence on December 19, 1930, to Lillian and Frank Walker, Walker has dedicated his professional life to improving urban education.

Walker attended Providence College, where he received a B.A. in 1957. Upon graduating, he began teaching English and social studies for the East Providence School District while also serving as a guidance counselor. He earned an M.Ed. from Rhode Island College in 1962, where he worked part time from 1967 to 1969 as the assistant director of Project Upward Bound, a federally supported program for economically and educationally disadvantaged youth. Walker was promoted to assistant principal at Central Jr. High School before accepting a position as assistant professor of education at Rhode Island College in 1970. He remained on the education faculty at Rhode Island College until 1993, rising to the rank of full professor in 1989. Walker also earned a Ph.D. in education from Boston University.

During his tenure at Rhode Island College, Walker directed the Teacher Corps, a project of the college and the Pawtucket School Department aimed at raising the quality of education for low-income students. Walker also served as director of urban education at the university. In 1963, Walker became a basketball referee and officiated Division I games in the East Coast, Big East and Atlantic 10 athletic conferences. He traveled with a team of Big East all-stars to Angola in 1982. Walker also served on the Rhode Island Board of Parole.

In 1998, Walker joined Johnson & Wales University as an associate professor. He was a member of several educators and basketball referee organizations and served as president of the Big Brothers of Rhode Island. Walker was honored several times for his service to youth and education, and was the 1980 recipient of the NAACP Freedom Fund Award in Education. He married Gail B. Smith in 1955, and had three children.

Walker passed away on January 30, 2019.

Kenneth Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 13, 2003.

Accession Number

A2003.186

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/13/2003

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Virginia Union University

East Providence High School

Bliss Elementary School

Central Junior High School

Providence College

Rhode Island College

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

East Providence

HM ID

WAL03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Rhode Island

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Jeepers, Girl.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/19/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Death Date

1/30/2019

Short Description

Education professor and basketball referee Kenneth Walker (1930 - 2019) is a collegiate basketball referee and educator who has worked to improve urban education in Rhode Island.

Employment

East Providence School District

Rhode Island College

Central Junior High School

Johnson & Wales University

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168950">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Walker's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168951">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Walker lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168952">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Walker talks about his mother, Lillian Frye Walker's, family and how his parents Frank and Lillian Frye Walker, met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168953">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Walker describes his father, Frank Walker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168954">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Walker talks about his father, Frank Walker's, family history and lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168955">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Walker describes his earliest childhood memory of East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168956">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Walker describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168957">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Walker talks about Rhode Island's colonial history and its Portuguese and Cape Verdean communities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168958">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Walker describes his experience working on his father's rubbish removal truck</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168959">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Walker describes his experience as an African American in a majority white neighborhood in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168960">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Walker talks about Bliss Elementary School in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168961">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Walker describes his childhood personality and extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168962">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Walker remembers student teaching and serving on the faculty at Central Junior High School in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168963">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Walker talks about his basketball coach, Frank Saraceno, at Central Junior High School in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168964">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Walker talks about aspiring to be a teacher and his love of history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168965">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Walker describes his mentor Reverend Dr. Samuel D. Proctor, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168966">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Walker talks about playing sports at East Providence Senior High School, in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168967">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Walker describes the African American community in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168968">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Walker describes his mentor Reverend Dr. Samuel D. Proctor, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168969">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Walker describes his experience at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168970">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Walker talks about serving in the Korean War and finishing his undergraduate degree at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168971">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Walker talks about returning to teach at Central Junior High School in East Providence, Rhode Island in 1957</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168972">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Walker describes an incident of racial discrimination at East Providence Senior High School, East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435059">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Walker talks about working at a settlement in Providence, Rhode Island and teaching at Central Junior High School in East Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435060">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Walker talks about completing his M.A. degree at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435061">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Walker describes his teaching philosophy and the evolution of the use of slang by the students he taught</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435062">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Walker explains how he was recruited to teach at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435063">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Walker explains the Upward Bound program at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435064">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Walker describes the process of becoming a basketball referee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435065">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Walker talks about balancing being both a referee and a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435066">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth Walker talks about confronting disrespectful players and coaches during his career as a basketball referee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/435067">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kenneth Walker lists some of the places he's travelled as a referee and his favorite coaches</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168982">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth Walker talks about being paid off the books as a referee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168983">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth Walker talks about the demanding schedule of basketball officials</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168984">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth Walker lists his favorite college basketball players and talks about traveling in inclement weather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168985">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth Walker explains how he was appointed to the Rhode Island State Parole Board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168986">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth Walker describes the professional background of the members of the Rhode Island Parole Board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168987">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth Walker talks about the racial demographics of the inmates in the Rhode Island correctional facilities and the cost of incarceration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168988">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth Walker talks about the role of race in the United States' penal system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168989">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth Walker details the importance of helping inmates transition back into society</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168990">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth Walker talks about contractors who profit from the United States prison system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168991">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Walker remembers his daughter being afraid to be at home alone</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168992">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Walker talks about the Attica Prison Riot in 1971</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168993">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Walker explains how drug and alcohol addiction lead to incarceration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168994">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Walker talks about Federal Correctional Institutions in New England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168995">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Walker describes how he would change the penal system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168996">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth Walker describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/168997">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth Walker reflects upon his legacy</a>

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Kenneth Walker remembers student teaching and serving on the faculty at Central Junior High School in East Providence, Rhode Island
Kenneth Walker talks about confronting disrespectful players and coaches during his career as a basketball referee
Transcript
The interesting thing about Central Junior High School [East Providence, Rhode Island], I, you know, started there in the seventh grade, twelve years of age-- never thought I'd be talking about the future, never gave any thought to the future at that school. But after--I, I did my student, and to jump forward, I did my student teaching at Central Junior High School. I wanted to go back there to see teachers that I had had as a student. I did my student teaching there. And the principal, who had been the principal when I was there as a student--the last day I was there, I went in to thank him for allowing me to do my student teaching. And I was sitting there in front of him and he's sitting behind the desk. And he, he looked at me, and he asked me if, if I, if I would like to come back there to teach. I said, "Oh, absolutely." So, I went back to that same junior high school that I went to. I went back there as a social studies teacher. I left that school--I graduated from the ninth grade in 1946. And in 1957, I went back to that school as a social studies teacher, and stayed there until 1970 when I left to go to college. But I came in as a classroom teacher of social studies and, and left there as the assistant principal. Is that significant? It's significant in the sense that I was the second person of color to be hired--what, what, I'm sorry, I mean, the third person of color to be hired in the system, the first to be hired on the secondary level as a, not only as a male, but also as a black. And so, that was a, you know, I, and, and then I have youngsters who I taught, youngsters who I had to discipline, and now, you know, 19-, I mentioned I started in '57 [1957]. I left in 1970, so there's a period of unrest. And the, the black is beautiful and, and some of the young people did not appreciate some of the discipline that I had to dole out, especially some of the black kids they thought, he, he's supposed to be different.$And, and tell us some stories. You know, I had asked you earlier about just some stories from your, you know, from your time as a referee?$$I think of--well, I, I remember once I teched, I called a technical foul on this young man.$$What game is this, do you remember?$$No, no, I don't remember the game. But a coach, you know, I teched him. And the coach said, "Well, what, what happened?" So I said, "Well, I happen to know, coach, that my mother and father were married for at least a couple of years before I was born. And, and he called me something that--related to me being born out of wedlock." Well, the coach laughed. He thought, you know, he thought that was funny. He, "Wow, that's pretty good, Ken." I can think of being at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and it, the game was almost over and I, I guess, I guess Dartmouth had called a time out. We're ready to play and the team that calls a time out, when they're ready to play, you, you begin playing. You don't wait. And the other team has to be ready to play, too. Well, the other coach and I, I don't know, I may be illusioned. So, I say, "Okay, men, let's go, we'll ready to go." So he said to me, this other coach said, "Yeah, Walker, we know, you got to get back to punch a clock in the morning." I said, "What did you say?" Officially, you're not supposed to talk to coaches, see. I, I was, I'm always guilty of that. I mean, I could be indicted on that every day. So, "What did you say?" He said, "Aw," said, "yeah, you got to get, get back, got to punch a clock in the morning." "Well," I said, "let me tell you something. I got more degrees behind my name than the president of your institution, so don't give me this business about, I got to punch a clock. As a matter of fact, I think I'll stay over and do some skiing," which wasn't really true. So the next time I saw him, he, he, he said, you know, he said, "Gee, you know, we had those words." He said, "I, I wasn't really, you know, I just had something to say." I said, "Well, I work too long and hard for what I have for, for you to make, and you, you probably did think that I was a blue collar worker." I said, not to (unclear) being a blue collar worker, but I'm not a blue collar worker. He said, "Yeah, and I heard that, yeah, yeah, you, you're a doctor, right? I, yeah, yeah, you're right." So, and so that, I mean, I think of those two stories. I think of, of going somewhere. And I, I had been chairman of the Rhode Island Parole Board for a number of years. And someone had seen me, had seen at least an article or something I had done--he said, "Gee, you, you, you, you, you lead a different type of life. I guess, see, calling a ball game is easy, huh? I mean, when you're making decisions on people." I said, "Yeah, it's," I said, "but it all affects people one way or the other, whether it's there or there." So, yeah, but it is different, so, you know, you, so and it, and as I said, there are some coaches that are just good people and there are some others that, that--$$Who--(simultaneous)