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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Father's attempts to change Baker

When Baker was young, his father realized that his son did not enjoy doing many of the things that other males his age did. In response, his father tried to force Baker to behave in more stereotypically masculine ways, a response that Baker understands in retrospect but did not appreciate at the time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

And so, I was not, I was never very good at doing those things that my father thought I needed to do as a male. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
To be a man.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
To be a man. And so, that always stood out.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was your father always kind of pushing you into the manly roles in general, or was there just a—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I think that my father knew that I was different, wanted desperately to somehow not, to correct this, to make me not different, so that he gave me a hard time often about being different. Sometimes he would raise questions with me like, "Why do you have to be so different?" And it wasn't like anything other than I talked differently than most of the people around me. The way that I did things was different, and so he would, I tended to talk more to adults than I did to people my own age, I think my father was just genuinely worried that I was setting myself up for a miserable existence and so he was trying to protect me.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I see.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It did not make our relationship work very well, but— [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But you knew that he had good intentions.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
[Quinton blows out air] Yes, I was born [pause] I am the youngest of the four. Probably, without being conceited, probably came out with a slight degree more intelligence, so for a number of years, I was very smart, quick to learn, very curious, very independent, not willing to be told, "Do it because I say so." And leave it at that.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, that sounds very familiar. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Always having my side of the story and my father was a very traditional man that said, "I say it, you do it, you don't question me, as long as you live under my roof, you do as I say—" And so he had difficulty with me just because of the personality. Also because I was the only kid that worked all of the time and had my own money, and then we had fights about money, because of course at that period, more so than now, if he wanted to, he could go and have my employer pay him and not pay me, so [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That could be a big sticking point.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, but he didn't do that, but he made—it was understood that I was to give him half of my earnings, how ever small they might have been. And that was kind of difficult when you are making thirty dollars a week or something like that, you have got to give fifteen to your dad. [Laughter]