AACHM Oral History: Patricia Manley
When: August 23, 2022
Patricia Ashford Manley was born in 1945 in Ann Arbor, and she was raised by her mother. She remembers attending Jones Elementary School and trying out for cheerleading at Ann Arbor High School. Manley graduated from Western Michigan University in 1970 and later earned her master’s in counseling from Eastern Michigan University. She worked as a teacher, cheerleading coach, and guidance counselor at Huron High School for thirty-one years, and was principal of Thurston Elementary School for ten years. She and her husband Lamont Manley enjoy traveling and going to concerts together. They have been married for 43 years.
- [00:00:15] JOETTA MIAL: [MUSIC] Hi Pat.
- [00:00:15] PATRICIA MANLEY: Hi. [LAUGHTER].
- [00:00:19] JOETTA MIAL: So happy you agreed to an interview.
- [00:00:23] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm honored to have been asked.
- [00:00:25] JOETTA MIAL: Oh my. Well, we're going to begin. I'm first going to ask you some really simple demographic questions. These questions may jog your memory for other events, but please keep your answers brief and to the point as you can and we will get a chance to go back and get more detail from you in the interview. Please say and spell your name.
- [00:00:58] PATRICIA MANLEY: My name is Patricia Ashford Manley. P-A-T-R-I-C-I-A A-S-H-F-O-R-D M-A-N-L-E-Y.
- [00:01:15] JOETTA MIAL: What is the date of your birth?
- [00:01:18] PATRICIA MANLEY: My birth, February 1945.
- [00:01:25] JOETTA MIAL: How would you describe your ethnic background?
- [00:01:32] PATRICIA MANLEY: Pardon me?
- [00:01:33] JOETTA MIAL: How would you describe your ethnic background?
- [00:01:37] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm African American.
- [00:01:39] JOETTA MIAL: What is your religion, if any?
- [00:01:44] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm Baptist. I belong to Second Baptist Church of Ann Arbor.
- [00:01:51] JOETTA MIAL: What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?
- [00:01:57] PATRICIA MANLEY: Master's degree.
- [00:02:02] JOETTA MIAL: Did you attend any additional school or formal career training beyond that?
- [00:02:08] PATRICIA MANLEY: I had a course here and there, but not to actually get a certificate. Just different classes that I picked up here and there.
- [00:02:20] JOETTA MIAL: What is your marital status?
- [00:02:24] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm married to Lamont Manley, and this year it makes it 43 years.
- [00:02:30] JOETTA MIAL: Oh, my wonderful. Congratulations.
- [00:02:35] PATRICIA MANLEY: Thank you. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:02:39] JOETTA MIAL: This question, I know it says, how many children do you have, and I know that you do not have birth children [OVERLAPPING] but you have hundreds of other children.
- [00:02:50] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes. We do not have birth children, but we got children nieces and nephews.
- [00:03:01] JOETTA MIAL: How many siblings do you have?
- [00:03:03] PATRICIA MANLEY: I have one brother and he's five years younger than I'm.
- [00:03:11] JOETTA MIAL: What was your primary occupation?
- [00:03:16] PATRICIA MANLEY: I was educator.
- [00:03:21] JOETTA MIAL: At what age did you retire?
- [00:03:25] PATRICIA MANLEY: I retired from Ann Arbor Public Schools at the age of 66. Then I ran for and was on the Board of Education for Ann Arbor Public Schools for four years and when that ended, I was 73.
- [00:03:51] JOETTA MIAL: Now, Part 2, I'm going to ask you to remember something about your childhood and you. What was your family like when you were a child?
- [00:04:08] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, I grew up in a one parent household. Was just my mom and then of course my brother came five years later but in our house, it was like the stop and go place because all my mom's relatives from South Carolina would come and stay with us for a while until they could get on their own. Our house was always full but as far as, there was just my mom, it was a single-parent family.
- [00:04:45] JOETTA MIAL: These relatives would come and live with you till they got on their feet?
- [00:04:49] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes. They would come from South Carolina and they'd stay with us a couple of months and sometimes a year. [LAUGHTER] until they got on their feet and got their own places. Yes.
- [00:05:05] JOETTA MIAL: What is one of your earliest memory of your childhood?
- [00:05:15] PATRICIA MANLEY: I remember a lot of things. It's funny that I can remember this. Or maybe it was just because my mom told me, but I remember I was in the bed with my mom, I had to be maybe 3, 4 years old, and my mom pulled me close to her all of a sudden. When she did, it was just in time because the cement from the ceiling fell down right in the spot where I had been laying. Had she not have done that I wouldn't be here now. That was the first memory but I remember, I guess you would say we were poor because we had a coal furnace and I remember my brother and I walking up and down the railroad tracks, picking up coal and bringing it back so we can have heat in the house. That was another thing I will always remember.
- [00:06:26] JOETTA MIAL: Were there any special days, events or family traditions that you can remember from your childhood?
- [00:06:33] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, my birthday. Mom would always make sure that I had a birthday party, whether it was little or big, and then she would always make sure. Birthdays were always special. Also, going to church back then at Second Baptist, they had family dinners. We would go and family dinners at the church. We would go on the church picnic, which was at Belle Isle that was in Detroit. That was always exciting to us kids because most of the time we didn't get out of Ann Arbor. Going to the church picnic was big fun. Then many Sundays in the summer, after church, mum would fix up a picnic basket and then we would walk over to Island Park and we would have our dinner over Island Park and then at that time, you could actually swim in the Huron River. Now you can't, but actually at that time you could play and swim in it. Those are the things that I remember and enjoyed.
- [00:07:48] JOETTA MIAL: That was big fun for you all?
- [00:07:50] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes. [LAUGHTER] Big fun. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:07:55] JOETTA MIAL: How were the holidays traditionally celebrated in your family?
- [00:08:01] PATRICIA MANLEY: We celebrated all the holidays. Of course, Easter was super special because for us kids, we would get our new Easter outfits and our shoes. We would just think we were all that, you know, piece of cake. But we celebrated all of the holidays, even Halloween, not so much celebrated, but we dressed up, we walked and we did a trick or treat all around the neighborhood and we weren't afraid and our parents are afraid that something was going to happen to us. At least they didn't let us know that. It was only when we got older when we started hearing about people putting razors and glass and stuff in the treats that my mom said, oh no, you all can't go anymore. You'll have to go to organized Halloween party that was given by a group or something like that. But Christmas, we always had a tree. One thing I remember about Christmas when I was little was that since my mom didn't have much money, we went to the YMCA and the YMCA gave out Christmas toys to children. That's where we got our toys from. From the YMCA, I remember that. But it was always a nice Christmas. We always had good food. We always had relatives stopping by. So yeah, we celebrated all of them.
- [00:09:51] JOETTA MIAL: All of the holidays. Even though you said you were poor, you really were not poor emotionally and physically?
- [00:10:04] PATRICIA MANLEY: Say that again. Sorry.
- [00:10:05] JOETTA MIAL: I said even though you said you were poor, you thought you had a good life and it was good [OVERLAPPING] emotionally and physically?
- [00:10:14] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah, we did. It was only I maybe it was in high school that my mom's told us that we would walk through elementary school and back and we come home for lunch and we go back to school. It was only when I was in high school and my mom would tell us that sometimes she had to pray that when we got home for lunch, we'd have some food because sometimes she didn't have anything and she said, God would always answer her prayer. Somebody would stop by and drop off something, or the next door neighbors would say they had extra or something but we didn't know. We just knew there was something there to eat. I don't know if you would say it was a whole lot. But we weren't hungry.
- [00:11:09] JOETTA MIAL: Now, you said you had a master's degree so this question is redundant. What was the highest grade you completed? [OVERLAPPING] You finished high school here?
- [00:11:23] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah. I went to K through 12, yes, and then I went to college.
- [00:11:30] JOETTA MIAL: College. I didn't ask you early on and I can't remember whether it's on any of those questions, but were you born here in Ann Arbor?
- [00:11:38] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes, I was born in Ann Arbor. I was actually born at 1022 Fuller Street. I was born in the house, I wasn't born in the hospital. I was born at 1022 Fuller Street, where we lived until I was a sophomore in high school.
- [00:12:02] JOETTA MIAL: When you said the relatives came to visit you from South Carolina, is that from where mother was from?
- [00:12:09] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah. My mom was from Reidville, South Carolina.
- [00:12:15] JOETTA MIAL: When did she come too?
- [00:12:18] PATRICIA MANLEY: My mom, I don't know, about years. It was in the 30s. Because she came here to take care of her great aunt who had gotten ill and wanted someone to come and take care of her, so my grandparents sent mom to do it.
- [00:12:44] JOETTA MIAL: Did you play any sports or join any other activities outside of school?
- [00:12:51] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes. Can I back up for a minute?
- [00:12:52] JOETTA MIAL: Yes.
- [00:12:52] PATRICIA MANLEY: I wanted to say my mother. That is that she only went to 6th grade. When she was in 6th grade, they took her out of school to make her work in the fields. She worked in the fields picking cotton, whatever, until they sent her to Michigan to take care of her great aunt. As far as school extra-curricular activities, my extra curricular activity was cheerleading. I wanted to be a cheerleader, so I was cheerleader in high school and that was my extra-curricular activity.
- [00:13:32] JOETTA MIAL: Wonderful. What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
- [00:13:48] PATRICIA MANLEY: First of all, in elementary school, I went to Jones Elementary, which was pretty much where most of the Black kids in Ann Arbor attended. It was segregated for the most part. There were some white students there, but it was mostly the Black students until I got into 4th or 5th grade, and then many of the students who lived on the west side started going to Matt. That was the slip. But other than that, majority of the Black students in Ann Arbor went to Jones. In middle school, where we called it junior high, I attended Tappan. Tappan, it was a good experience, but I felt more segregated at Tappan than I did at elementary school, of course, because they were more of us at Tappan. There weren't that many of us and so we were split all around, and I didn't have many of my Black peers in my classes. The same was true with high school. I didn't have many Black students in my classes. In elementary school through high school, the only African American teacher I had was Mr. Mial, your husband, Joetta [LAUGHTER], Harry Mial was the only African American teacher I had in K-12. Now there were some African American teachers at the high school, but I was never placed in their class. But I am so thankful for the experience that I had in 6th grade with Mr. Mial because he really helped me get my head together and realized that I could be more than just a housewife or a day worker like my mother was or having a bunch of babies. He really made sure that I understood that I had potential. Then if I wanted to, which I did, I could be whatever I want it to be. I will be always thankful to him for that. Even in high school when I got some pushback in different ways, I would always remember that he would tell me that all I had to do was have confidence and just keep going.
- [00:16:41] JOETTA MIAL: Wonderful. Now, all of your experience, how did you feel it's different today from your school experience?
- [00:16:56] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, the curriculum is much different now. When I was in high school, we had what you call tracking. There was four tracks. There was a general track, a business track, a college prep track, and a university prep track. Students were, for the most part, put into those tracks. A lot of my friends were in the general track or the business track. But they did ask you if you wanted to be someplace else. I wanted to be in the college prep class because I wanted to go to college. The university prep class was more for those students who were APAC level. I wasn't there, but I know I was good enough to be beyond general and business. Today, the students have so many options. They're not put in a track. Necessarily ''they can choose the classes that they want to take.'' They can experiment more. We didn't have all the options as far as courses were concerned. It was straight, English, math science, social studies, and then elective. That was it.
- [00:18:28] PATRICIA MANLEY: The big difference is the fact that there's no tracking per se now and that the students, they have more options and they also have more people, teachers and counselors and social workers and stuff to look after them to help them. We did not have that. I had a counselor in high school, at least by name. I never knew that counselor until I was ready to graduate and I wanted to get some help and go on to college, which he decided he wasn't going to help me. I didn't need to go to college. I had taken these business courses, I had done well in them. I could be a secretary, make some good money, and be happy. I had no help whatsoever, and which was bad because I had not had any experience with the ACT or SAT. Then I found out that many schools, the school that I wanted to go to required SAT. I had to take it cold. I had not had a pre-test or anything. Of course I did not do well on it. I took it the summer before I was to enter college. I didn't have an opportunity to take it a second time. However, Western Michigan University did not require it at that time. It was recommended, but it wasn't required. I was able to get into Western Michigan University with no help from my counselor. As I said, unfortunately, my mom could not help me because she only went to sixth grade and she was just hoping that I would be able to navigate all of this myself, which I did.
- [00:20:25] JOETTA MIAL: Boy, you just pushed it on through?
- [00:20:29] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes.
- [00:20:31] JOETTA MIAL: Good for you. Did your family have any special sayings or expressions that you can remember various time?
- [00:20:41] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes, it was two. One, was being bullied or being called names or other kids talking about me and I come home crying and all that. My mom would say, they talked about Jesus Christ. What makes you think they won't talk about you? You didn't need to suck it up. [LAUGHTER]. More that she was saying and the other say we had was this too shall pass, that a one. Things were right. My mom would be humming her hymns and cooking our food and this too shall pass.
- [00:21:21] JOETTA MIAL: Mom sounds like a really strong woman.
- [00:21:25] PATRICIA MANLEY: My mom was very strong. She had disabilities. She was only four foot eight. The reason for that was when she was a child, she broke her leg and my grandfather would not take her to the hospital so that they could set it correctly. He decided that he would do it himself. Therefore, it grew out in a bow. It never straightened up. She always had that disability which people would look at her funny because she was so short and then she had this disability and she had a job at the University Hospital, cleaning. That was when I was born. But then when she had my brother, they fired her because she got pregnant and she wasn't married. She couldn't go back to that job. That's when she started doing day work for different families.
- [00:22:37] JOETTA MIAL: Were there any changes in your family life during your school years that impacted you?
- [00:22:46] PATRICIA MANLEY: No. Not really. My mom was the constant, no matter what, so there was no change.
- [00:22:55] JOETTA MIAL: When thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at that time and how did they personally affect you and your family?
- [00:23:11] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, I don't remember many social events for elementary and middle school, but in high school, the civil rights movement had been done. You learn more from TV and radio. What was happening to the students in the South and the bus boycott and the drinking fountain, all of those things were happening when I was in high school. It didn't affect our family per se because we were here at Michigan and there was segregation, of course, but we knew where we could go and shouldn't go. We kept out of that, when you want to call it, kept out of the realm of always having to face it. But mentally, it bothered me because I felt so bad for those young people there. I couldn't understand why the people were so mean and why they put the dogs on them and all of that. It was just more than I could take because I was quite sensitive about the whole thing. My mom actually stopped us from watching it so much on TV and everything so that, but you still heard about it. That was the main thing that was going on when I was at high school that I remember.
- [00:24:58] JOETTA MIAL: You've answered some of this next questions. You lived during the era of segregation, can you speak about that? Was your school segregated? And you said that Tappan was segregated, right?
- [00:25:16] PATRICIA MANLEY: Jones School was more or less segregated, but not middle and high school. Some of the things I remember well, they weren't there and it was when I got in college. The things that impacted me a lot was, as I said, the civil rights movement, the assassination of Martin Luther King, of JF Kennedy, of Malcolm X, of Robert Kennedy, and 9/11. Those things impacted me a lot and more recently, I should say it would be 9/11 because that's when I started as principal of an elementary school that year, September of 2011. I had only been a principal a couple of months, not even a whole month before this happened. That really impact and of course, made you more cautious and more aware of what was happening outside of the United States and how they felt about the United States that really came home to me with that.
- [00:26:41] JOETTA MIAL: Was Jones School near your home?
- [00:26:45] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah.
- [00:26:45] JOETTA MIAL: Did you walk to school?
- [00:26:47] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah. We walked to school. It was like, you go Fuller, State, over, it was about five blocks from where I lived.
- [00:27:04] JOETTA MIAL: Now, you said Harry was your only Black teacher at elementary school. Were there any in high school?
- [00:27:14] PATRICIA MANLEY: No. He was my only my Black teacher K through 12. There were Black teachers at the high school, but I was never in their class.
- [00:27:26] JOETTA MIAL: Were there very many of them?
- [00:27:31] PATRICIA MANLEY: At the high school, there were, let me see, science.
- [00:27:39] PATRICIA MANLEY: No, I'd say maybe five. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:27:45] JOETTA MIAL: Were there any restaurants or eating places for Blacks where you lived? Or do you know anything about how Black visitors were accommodated when they came to Ann Arbor?
- [00:28:02] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, I don't remember a Black restaurant, but I know that on Ann Street in Ann Arbor was where the bars were and the pool hall and things like the barbershop and I think there was a hair salon within the barbershop. That was the main place people would go to meet other people if they wanted to. But I don't remember there being a restaurant. Most people just ate at home. You went to A&P, bought your food, cooked your food and you ate at home. I'd never went out to eat till I was in high school and I went to McDonald's. [LAUGHTER] I was like, "Boy, this is special." Yeah, I don't remember that.
- [00:29:00] JOETTA MIAL: Do you know anything about when Black visitors who came to town where they had to stay or how they were accommodated? Do you remember anything about that?
- [00:29:14] PATRICIA MANLEY: There were some houses that Black people owned, that they would rent out rooms and stuff and allow people to stay. One example of that is now Kerrytown. Where Kerrytown is now the Kerrytown Hall, where they have the concerts, that was owned by a family and their daughter and I were good friends. I know that they rented out the rooms to people. It was a pretty big house, so they rented the rooms out. Some people may have been like our family, they moved someone here and they just stayed with them for a while until they could get on their own. I know from history that for University of Michigan, there were only certain places that people could stay. But what wasn't really in touch at the University of Michigan, to be totally honest, I knew it was there when I was in high school, when I turned 16, I got a job working in the Michigan Union, cleaning tables and doing dishes, and stuff like that. I knew about the students there that they were having a tough time finding places to live and all that, but I wasn't really involved in it so I can't speak to that.
- [00:31:00] JOETTA MIAL: We're going to go on to Part 3, adulthood, marriage and family life. This set of questions covers a fairly long period of your life, from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force until your children weren't there in the home, and you and or your spouse retired. We might be talking about a stretch of time spanning as much as four decades. After you finished high school, where did you live?
- [00:31:46] PATRICIA MANLEY: After I finished high school I lived at home with my mom and then I went to Western and I came back home and stayed with my mom. My schooling, it wasn't a straight four years. I went to college and I was there for two years and I came out and I had to work because I didn't have the money to continue on. I came out of school after two years with a secretarial degree, even though I told my counselor I didn't want to do that. [LAUGHTER]. But that's all I came out of. I got jobs in Ann Arbor in different companies like Edwards Brothers lithographers, Bendix Aerospace. I had a pretty good job as a secretary. So I made the money, then I went back to University to get my degree in education, which was my goal. When I got my degree in education, I went back home and stayed with my mom. My mom lived next door, by that time we had moved, we lived next door to the then assistant principal at Huron High School and he was instrumental in getting me a job right after I graduated.
- [00:33:18] JOETTA MIAL: Where did he get your job?
- [00:33:19] PATRICIA MANLEY: I mean, at Huron High School.
- [00:33:27] JOETTA MIAL: You said this assistant principal got you a job right out of college. I said where was it?
- [00:33:36] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well I graduated with my degree in education, Al Gallup was the assistant principal at that time. They lived next door to my mom. He helped me get a position at Huron High School, that fall of 1970.
- [00:34:05] JOETTA MIAL: I'd like you to tell me a little bit about your married and family life. Tell me about your spouse. Where did you meet? [LAUGHTER] Tell me what was it like when you were dating? When in life?
- [00:34:25] PATRICIA MANLEY: Lamont and I met, I had been teaching for four years and I'd finally made enough money to get my own apartment. I got an apartment. I was living in apartment and then a year later, Lamont moved into the same apartment building. He was in the front of the building. I was in the back of the building. Anyway, so I met him because he was living in the same building. We would pass each other. We were dating other people and all that, but we did become friends. I don't know, one thing led to another and his relationship didn't work out, that he had and mine didn't either. [LAUGHTER] We decided, well we didn't decide. He had tickets to a concert and he had nobody to take. He asked me if I would go to the concert with him. I'm like, "Sure I don't have anything else to do.'' We went to the concert and then we just started doing things together. That's how our relationship started. We really became good friends. His parents were really, really nice and he was quite a family person. I could tell because he was respectful and the love he had for his parents made me feel good because sometimes you could meet people and they aren't kind to their parents, or anybody else as far as that's concerned. Anyway, Lamont had graduated from the University of Michigan in engineering. When I met him, he was working for General Motors. He had an engineering position for General Motors. Which he held for a long time, even after we got married. We dated for about two years, two-and-a-half years before we got married. As I said, when we got married, he was still at General Motors and I was at Huron teaching.
- [00:36:44] JOETTA MIAL: Were there any personal favorite things you all liked to do for fun, you and Lamont?
- [00:36:57] PATRICIA MANLEY: We like to go to concerts. We'd like to travel. [LAUGHTER] I would say, I like to travel and so he has to come with me. [LAUGHTER] Let's see. We don't have a hobby that we both do because he golfs, I don't golf. I like to dance, he doesn't like to dance. [LAUGHTER] Mostly it's just, like I said, we like to go to concerts, we like to eat out, we like to travel, and we like to just sit back and relax and talk. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:37:45] JOETTA MIAL: Let me back up just a little bit to catch up. You said, how many years before you got married?
- [00:37:54] PATRICIA MANLEY: About two, two-and-a-half.
- [00:37:57] JOETTA MIAL: Two-and-a-half. You want to tell me about your wedding?
- [00:38:02] PATRICIA MANLEY: We got married on August 3rd, 1979, at Second Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, which then was on Beakes Street--on the corner of Fifth or Fourth--I don't know, I always keep getting them mixed up. But anyway, it was on Beakes Street. It was a wonderful wedding.
- [00:38:32] PATRICIA MANLEY: I had seven bridesmaids. We had seven bridesmaids and blues man that I had. My flower girls were actually my nieces. We had a great reception because at that time there was an actual reception hall that was off of liberty. Then for our honeymoon, we went to Montreal, Canada. It was great.
- [00:39:09] JOETTA MIAL: I was there at your wedding. One of the things I remember was you all jumping the broom.
- [00:39:15] PATRICIA MANLEY: Oh, yes, we did do that. [LAUGHTER] It was so funny because I kept thinking. Before the wedding I said, "Lamont, don't trip and don't push me." [LAUGHTER] We actually did together. One thing about our wedding though, since you were there, you will remember. This is funny. I had always said that my wedding was going to start on time no matter what, because I had gone to other ones and they did start, I know people hate waiting. I said, we're going to start on time. All my bridesmaids and everybody knew that. Right at the time it was supposed to start. I can remember 5:00 or 6:00, anyway. I'm ready to go. I'm downstairs, prepped and everything, ready to come up and start the wedding. Nobody comes to get me. I'm like what is going on? I want to start on time. I don't want to be late. Finally, one of my friends came down and she said, "We can't start the wedding now." I'm like, "What do you mean can't we start to wet it now?" As far as I want it to start, I don't want it to be latest. Well, your in-laws are not here. Lamont's mother and father are not here yet. Oh man. [LAUGHTER] I was really upset about that. But the pastor, which was Lamont's parents' pastor from Detroit, he married us. Apparently he was so good. He kept people calm and it was so hot that day. But he kept people calm and I guess he told them a story about some airplane. I don't know what it was, but people were saying that he was really good and keeping everybody interested and calm but it was so hot that by the time the wedding started, my makeup had melted. [LAUGHTER] If you see my pictures, my face is just shining. I was so upset, but yeah. Other than that, it was a great wedding. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:41:31] JOETTA MIAL: We're going on to part four. This is a set of questions that covers a fairly long period of your life. From the time you entered the labor force and remarriage up to the present time. What was your main field of employment? How did you first get started? You said a little bit about that?
- [00:41:59] PATRICIA MANLEY: I got started with the help of the assistant principal Al Gallup. I started out as a business education teacher. I was teaching typing and shorthand and money management, whatever but for a while. Then I became a coordinator of the Jumpstart program, which only lasted a short period of time, but it lasted a couple of years. That was to help students who came from middle-school adjust and be able to handle the pressures of the high school and the classes because some of the students were getting lost and not doing well. But anyway, so I was coordinator of that. Then you, Joetta, became the principal of Huron High School and once you were principal after a few years, you selected me to be a counselor, I was selected to be a counselor. I was a counselor. My alphabet was H, I, J, K. I always know, I see students out in the community and they'll say, "You were my counselor." I say, "What was your last name?" It was H, I, J, K. Then I would remember who they were. But yeah, I was a counselor for quite a few years. Then after you left and Arthur Williams became principal, I was selected as a class principal. I class principal for the class of 2000. But I got it late. They were already juniors when I started with them. I really only had them for two years. Then that started over with the class of 2001. But I was only with them for one year because then I left the high school and became principal of Thurston Elementary School. It's really funny because I never thought I would go to the Elementary School. I didn't think I could deal with those kids. I just like, no, I'm not a kid person, that young person, I can't talk to them. [LAUGHTER] But anyway, I decided I wanted to be the principal of an Elementary School because I figured I had gone to some conferences where they talked about if the child doesn't get a solid background in elementary, they're not going to be successful as they moved on. I wanted to go to the elementary to try to make sure that happened, that they gathered good base, that they were solid as it moved on to middle school and hopefully carry that on to the high school. I became the principal of Thurston Elementary in the fall of '71. I was there for 10 years. Because I retired in 2011. I loved it. I loved the kids. The parents were great. They're always hitches here and there. But for overall, I loved it.
- [00:45:31] JOETTA MIAL: Oh, what got you interested in education in the first place of being a teacher, administrator? How do you think you got interested?
- [00:45:44] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, from being a secretary and working [LAUGHTER] with the people that I was working with in those competencies, I just decided this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life, it's not fun. It's not exciting. There's nothing different. Every day, every month, every year it's the same old. I'm like, no. Also, I liked working with young people and I wanted to be able to make a difference. I wanted the young people to not have to go through what I did as far as not having a counselor to help them and not wanting to navigate for them if they didn't have that from home. I wanted to be able to help them. What made me decide to go on into education was I wanted a career where I could make a difference and I didn't feel I make a difference as secretary.
- [00:46:50] JOETTA MIAL: Wow. What was a typical day like during your working years. Now you've worked at different levels. Maybe you can talk about each level. [LAUGHTER] How a typical day went?
- [00:47:12] PATRICIA MANLEY: A typical day in high school was arriving before the first-class, whether it was at 8:30 or or 7:45. I think it was 7:45. Arriving in time to be prepared for your first class. You either had five or six classes depending on whether it was a five-hour day or six-hour day. But you would have one hour. I say free time, but more or less as prep time. To get your lunch and what have you. That was high school. That was teaching. As a counselor, I didn't have to worry about hour to hour. Just to have to be there and determine when I was going to have my lunch or what have you. Then just be there to meet with students on a regular basis, ask you, throughout the day, and throughout the week, throughout the year, I met with all of my students at least twice. Hope more for some, but less for others. As a class principal, as an administrator. Again, you had to map out the time when you're going to have your lunch, but other than that, you are on call all day for whatever comes up, whether it's disciplinary issue or assembly that you're in charge of or what have you. Yes. Then at the elementary school, as a principal 24/7, [LAUGHTER] no. You have to be ready from the time you enter that building to the time you leave. Because there's always something coming out with the classroom, the teachers or parents, the kids whether they get sick and you have to take care of that or an injury. It was 24/7 as well. [LAUGHTER] I did say about elementary, but I really enjoyed it. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:49:40] JOETTA MIAL: I want to back up just a little bit. At at high school you talked about your academic. You left out all the additional activities you did as cheerleading coach, advisor, and I don't know what else. Do you want to say a little bit about that?
- [00:50:00] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes.
- [00:50:05] PATRICIA MANLEY: My first year at Huron, soon as I got there, I wanted to work with the cheerleaders, but they already had a coach. That first year, I was put in charge of intramural sports for girls. That was funny because I had to learn and teach them the rules for baseball, and basketball, and field hockey. Every night I was reading my book, so Lamont would just laugh at me. He said, ''What are you doing?'' I said, ''I've got to teach them how to do these things.'' Well, no. He wasn't there then. My brother was the one that would laugh at me and ask me what was I doing, not Lamont. But anyway that was the first year and second year. At the end of the second year, that was when the women's sports--not act but, what do you call it?
- [00:51:13] JOETTA MIAL: Title IX?
- [00:51:15] PATRICIA MANLEY: That's what I'm trying to say. Title IX was enacted and so then women's sports became sports instead of intramural, and they could do more things and play more sports. The woman who was the cheer leading coach, she wanted to do that, which was fine with me because I was just pacing, feeling my way every day. I said to the principal well, I would like to be the cheerleading coach because I have experience from being a cheerleader in high school, I think I could do a good job. I became a cheerleading coach, and we had a great time. As a matter of fact, I just saw on the chat some of the cheerleaders are planning to have a cheerleading reunion next summer, and they kept saying, ''Where is Coach Manley?'' I finally answered them and I said, ''Yeah, I will come.'' That's going to be exciting.
- [00:52:22] JOETTA MIAL: That will be fun.
- [00:52:22] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yeah. All different levels, all different grade. It wasn't just one particular year, and they've been sending the messages, and I've seen a lot of names. But anyway, I coached as cheerleader for 11 years. We went to tournaments or competition per se , and we did pretty well. We came in second and one and third and the other. I really wanted us to get a first place, but our cheerleading style wasn't quite the style that the judges were hoping for. We were too hip [LAUGHTER] and we weren't the strike. That was the first time and the reason that we got second place the next time was because I worked with them to do more of a straight arm things and less of the swing stuff that we like to do. Anyway, yeah, cheer leading was great. Then the Black Student Union was being run by Bob Brown at that time for a long time. He decided that he wanted to back up and concentrate on some other things, and so I said, ''Well, I could do that.'' I started to work in where the Black Student Union, and we did a lot of things. We used to meet monthly. I would have speakers come in and talk to them to work on their self-esteem and then make them aware of what their possibilities are. We did fashion show, we did talent shows. I even had a connection with an African American teacher at Community who was into the arts. She came over to Huron and directed some plays for us. One of them was The Wiz. That was really great. Then I also worked with the young educators. There was a club for young educators, and so I was the coordinator for that. We went to Michigan State and U of M as groups and participated with other groups and learning about the universities and what their expectations were. I don't know even if I did anything else or not. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:55:22] JOETTA MIAL: Well, that's a lot. What do you think the biggest difference in your field of employment from the time you started until now?
- [00:55:41] PATRICIA MANLEY: Once again, I'd say well, technology, the biggest thing is technology. We didn't have it. We had electric typewriters. That was about it, but we didn't have the computers until later on. But when I first started, we didn't have that by the time I finished the high school, we did have that. Tech, but we didn't have all the other things. These kids they're so fortunate to have always all the technology in the classes so that they learn how to do all these different things and be prepared when they get out of high school really if they're good at it to go walk right into a very high paying job because they've learned the code and all those other things. I would say technology was the biggest difference. Other than that, I would say that the diversity of teachers is larger now than when I started. When I started at Huron that same year about eight of us came in at the same time. There was a bunch of us that came in at the same time within the next two years. But then after that, there were very many new African American teachers hired for a long time. But now there is quite a diversity and the students have more options as far as finding somebody to be a mentor than they used to.
- [00:57:34] JOETTA MIAL: What did you value most about what you did for a living?
- [00:57:41] PATRICIA MANLEY: What I value most about my career was it shows up when I see young people in the community or anywhere, and they come up to me, and they say, you don't remember this, but you were so helpful, you helped me when I was going through this problem at home or when I had this problem with a guy or whatever. You helped me to get into college. I remember there weren't that many African American students taking APAC classes, and I was determined that if they got into those classes, they weren't going to get out. I've had some students come with me and say, ''I remember coming to your office crying and telling you I had to drop that class, and you told me, no. Even if you got a C in the class or a D in the class you're staying in the class.'' [LAUGHTER] I said, ''Yeah, I remember that.'' Because I wanted them to understand that they could do it. They may not get the highest grade because that could have been some bias on the teacher's part or whatever. I don't know. But the point was that if they were in the class, they were learning, and they were learning the higher skill things that would get them through life. I just wanted them to stay there. I am most proud of the difference that I made in some students lives. I'm really proud of opening the eyes of the Black students to Black schools, HBCUs, because there had been so much negative comments about, "No, you don't want to go to an HBCU. You don't want to go to a Black school, blah blah blah." But their understanding of it improved after I created the Black college tours. I'm just proud I did everything I could. Maybe there was more I could do there probably is, but I feel good in that I did all I could to help the citizens getting self-esteem and to push forward and be proud of who they were.
- [01:00:03] JOETTA MIAL: Well, the students certainly benefited from you being an educator.
- [01:00:15] JOETTA MIAL: When thinking back on your working adult life, what important social or historical events were taking place at the time? Did they personally affect you and your family?
- [01:00:36] PATRICIA MANLEY: I can't think of anything other than what I've mentioned earlier about the assassinations. One thing that has affected more recently was the election of our first African American President, Barack Hussein Obama. That was uplifting. That brought in a breath of fresh air and gave people hope again, that of course it was destroyed after that. But anyway, [LAUGHTER] so I don't know, I can't think of anything else.
- [01:01:16] JOETTA MIAL: Well, you had mentioned the Civil Rights Act.
- [01:01:18] PATRICIA MANLEY: Yes.
- [01:01:19] JOETTA MIAL: Kennedy. How did your life change when you and Lamont retired?
- [01:01:29] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well, Lamont's not retired. He's still working. [LAUGHTER]
- [01:01:34] JOETTA MIAL: Okay.
- [01:01:36] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm retired and it changed. I don't know. It hasn't changed that much [NOISE] because I've gotten busy in different organizations and groups. I'm not just sitting around twiddling my thumbs, I'm still pretty busy. The only time as you know, since the works, there are times when I get bored because there's nothing to do. I've created a lot of different things over or go places and do things to fill up the time. But no, not much has changed overall.
- [01:02:22] JOETTA MIAL: Okay. Well, we're coming near the end. Part 5. Tell me how you felt about living in this community.
- [01:02:36] PATRICIA MANLEY: Well since I was born in Ann Arbor, raised in Ann Arbor, I feel fine about it. I've been here all my life. I mean, there's some things I wish could be different. I feel bad, not feel bad, but I hate the loss of community that we used to have. We used to have the west side of Ann Arbor where most of the Black people lived and then some lived where I did when I was in elementary school around the university and St. Joe area. But I miss that sense of community that we used to have with all the people. Other than that, the only change is that. Okay, let's see. As far as going places in Ann Arbor, you can go just about anywhere in Ann Arbor and may not feel comfortable and every place in Ann Arbor, but you could go anyway. There are only a few places where in Ann Arbor now where you probably won't want to go as an African American or try to go because you know that you're going to get some pushback. But for the most part it's fairly open. It was less open when I was growing up and you knew where you could go. Even like to go shopping for clothes or go to the grocery store or whatever, you only went to certain places because you knew that you would be treated fairly at those places.
- [01:04:23] JOETTA MIAL: When thinking back over your entire life, what are you most proud of?
- [01:04:31] PATRICIA MANLEY: I'm most proud of what I have done with my life. I can remember my mom saying, because she had both of us, me and my brother out of wedlock. I can remember my mom saying to me as I was growing up, to be careful to be on my p's and q's, because "everybody's expecting you to get pregnant and have babies, they're not expecting no more of you." She just drilled that in my head for the longest time that that's what people expected because that's what had happened to her. Then, with her only having a sixth grade education--but she always pushed us. She always wanted us to do the best. When she started working, day work for different white families, she would come back and tell us what those young people were doing, or maybe their kids were getting ready to go to college and getting ready for college. She would just keep us, make us aware of the possibilities if we just didn't do anything wrong. "Stay out of trouble, don't get pregnant, don't go to jail"--all the stuff she would say to me--"you'll be okay." I am most [NOISE] proud of the fact that I came from--I won't say nothing, but it was close--to where I am now. At any point I could have fell off the ladder. But it seems like either my mom was there praying. I know she was because God carried me through a lot of things to get to where I am now.
- [01:06:43] JOETTA MIAL: Wonderful. Okay. What were you saying that has changed the most from the time you were a young person to now.
- [01:07:03] PATRICIA MANLEY: Technology.
- [01:07:06] JOETTA MIAL: Okay.
- [01:07:07] PATRICIA MANLEY: I can't think of anything else.
- [01:07:09] JOETTA MIAL: Okay.
- [01:07:12] PATRICIA MANLEY: There's great people. There's not so great people. But technology has been the biggest difference.
- [01:07:20] JOETTA MIAL: Okay. This is the last question. [LAUGHTER] What advice would you give to the younger generation?
- [01:07:32] PATRICIA MANLEY: I would give them the same advice that Harry Mial gave me. "Believe in yourself and be determined. Do not let anybody hold you back from your goal. You can do it. It may not be in a traditional way, it may take you longer, but you could do it if that's what you want." I would say to younger people, as you know, stop listening to other people. Listen to your heart. Listen to your elders. Be joyful. Now, don't be envious and putting yourself down all the time. Just be determined that you are going to make it and you will.
- [01:08:24] JOETTA MIAL: Thank you so much Pat for sharing your life so real. [LAUGHTER] Thank you so much.
- [01:08:35] PATRICIA MANLEY: You're very welcome. I hope I did a decent job.
- [01:08:38] JOETTA MIAL: Yes, you did.
August 23, 2022
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Ann Arbor Public Schools - Teachers
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