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Christia Adair: civic leader, Houston judge

"When [Warren] Harding was running for president, the railroad company always sent special people down into that section. Because of my husband's seniority, he was one of the brakemen that was on the train that would go to bring these home seekers and officials and things like that. And so my husband went on the train that went to bring Mr. Harding down.

"Somewhere between Washington, or wherever they were coming from, to Kingsville, [Texas] my husband observed that people were bringing schoolchildren to the train to shake hands with the candidate. And so he called me long distance and told me what was going on. I went over to the school and asked the teachers if they would take their children. And when they didn't have time, or didn't want to or something, I asked them, if the parents consented, could I take some of their children? And I did have 11 or 12 children and I took them to the train. Well, meeting the trains to get my husband when he's come off the job, I knew just about how the trains stopped and where the location of cars would be, so I knew where to place my children to get the best attention.

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"And when the train stopped, well, my husband was the rear brakeman, and he came out to open the observation gates so the candidate could get out to talk with the people. And so my children were right at the steps. And some white children were there by white teachers or parents, and he -- MR. Harding -- reached over my children to shake hands with the white children and never did pay attention to my children. And I pulled my children out, hurt, disappointed, and sorry for the children. But in my own heart, I said, 'If that's what Republicans do, I cannot be a Republican. I'll have to change parties. From here on out I'll have to work for Democrat presidents.'"


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