My Life: A Matter of Honor

Hunter Kiburz, Staff Writer

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Dr. Clara Small, a professor emeritus of history at Salisbury University in Maryland, came to speak about her struggle at a young age and the ability to overcome many obstacles to attend college and get her degree.

At a very young age she realized that her family wasn’t well off and knew that it would be a struggle to go to college, but that didn’t stop her from working hard in the classroom and even the basketball court. She said many teachers treated her unfairly, discriminated against her, but she tried to prove to professors, coaches and even white students who didn’t feel like she belonged there, that she did.

Small researched all the African American historians in eastern Maryland and wanted to dig deeper and see what they did.

“There is so much history that had been recorded, they would talk about this person or this person but never about a whole group,” said Small.

After her junior year in college she decided to switch her major from chemistry to history. She decided that she wanted to help bring this nation together as a family and strived to have equal rights for everyone.

Finally she was eligible to enroll at the University of Delaware and begin her master’s program in 1969. After graduating from Delaware she moved to a rural Virginia town and taught for two years. She decided it was time to move after being told that there was a new teacher coming who had never taught in a classroom and he would be making double what she had been making.

Small has already published two books on African Americans and the history behind them. She is starting her third book, which should be out before summer this year. The first book she wrote was a 32 page paper of all the famous historians and social reformers.

“The first one was that 32 page paper that I wrote all night, just a little snippet they were a page about Frederick Douglass, page for the first black radical person,” said Small.

She retired in 2013 after a 40-year career. She was recognized as one of the leading scholars and historians on African American history in Eastern Maryland.

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