By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.
They first met on November 20, 1965, at The Palladium Ballroom. This connection began after a Texas Southern University and Prairie View A & M University ball game. It has now been 54 years since the couple first said “I do” on February 3, 1968.
William Carson was born on October 30, 1937, and grew up in a town called Midway, Texas. He resided there until he was 17 years of age, and then attended Prairie View A & M University for a little while. William then moved to Houston to find work. Maxine Carson was born on September 10, 1940, in La Grange, Texas, but moved to Houston with her family as an infant. The Carsons were born during the time of segregation, but their childhood, and early teenage years occurred during the onset of integration.
When William moved to Houston, one of the jobs he held was at Maxwell’s House, which is known for their coffee.
“Integration was coming in and they were hiring Black and white supervisors,” expressed William. Because of this, he was able to obtain a supervisor position to support himself and his family.
Before integration, Maxine attended Booker T. Washington High school in downtown Houston. After she graduated from high school, she attended Texas State University. She reflected on the times when she and other kids would ride the bus to school and would have to sit in the back of the bus. One day, they did not want to sit in the back anymore and decided to catch the bus at an earlier stop to “beat the white folks getting on the bus.”
She further mentioned that a white lady would purposely sit on the outside of her seat so no one would sit next to her.” She recalled how a boy climbed over the seat and sat down right beside the white woman.
“She did not like that and went to go tell the bus driver,” expressed Maxine. “We wanted them to let us sit where we wanted to sit,” Maxine said.
This was just one of many incidents the Carsons have had to go through with racism and discrimination.
A couple of incidents occurred when they went to purchase their new home in Shephard Park Terrace 50 years ago. They had issues with whites not being happy that they were building their home in the neighborhood. One white guy even asked what side of the house their bedroom was going to be on, because the guy did not want William to “look in at his wife.”
They also had people take down their Christmas lights, make comments, and even just gave different looks.
“They were very prejudice. They always think Black people are mad and ugly,” Maxine said. Despite everything they encountered with racism, they “endured.”
When discussing the society we live in today, William made it known that “we still have a long way to go.” Maxine discussed how she thought things were getting better, but they’re not.
“To me it’s coming back and you have to watch for it deeply, because some of them still have that mentality, and some have been taught to be that way,” she stated as she reflected on racism in the world we live in today.
Outside of racism, the Carsons have also had other challenges they have had to go through. On August 10, 2005, William got hit by a car and had to have brain surgery. This was a very challenging day for Maxine as this was also the same day her dad died. They were able to get through these tough times like they did with everything else, together.
Many may ask the question, how have they managed to stay married for so long? Maxine mentioned the three P’s which are prayer, persistence, and patience. William also expressed that patience and prayer have been a key factor for him and being able to do what makes his wife happy.
One piece of advice that Maxine has for young couples is to “always talk to each other, express yourself, and use your vacation time together” so that you can spend time with your significant other and continue to learn about each other.
They said I do 54 years ago, but the Carsons are still very much in love with each other. They are the epitome of Black love and what a marriage should be. The Carsons have five beautiful children between the both of them and several grandchildren.