Phoenix 'living legend' works to turn high school into cultural museum

The term "living legend" is thrown around a lot, but every now and then you actually meet one... like 90-year-old Calvin C Goode.

Mr. Goode spent 22 years on the Phoenix City Council helping improve people's lives and right across Phoenix City Hall is the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building.

"You have a building named after you while you are still alive and kicking. What is that like?" I asked.

"It is an honor and I appreciate the building and the artifacts in the building," Goode said.

Mr. Goode graduated from George Washington Carver High School just south of downtown Phoenix. The all-black school is named for the brilliant scientist, artist and educator, Maurice Ward, who also graduated from Carver, too.

"I am trying to imagine segregated Phoenix, fortunately, I missed it. What was it like?" I asked.

"Well, as an American citizen, I feel I was entitled to all the rights and privileges of anyone else born in this country, but we also had restaurants and theaters and schools that were segregated," Goode said. "I think that is wrong."

Back when Calvin Goode and Maurice Ward were in school, there were lines not to be crossed and Van Buren was one of them.

"When I was growing up, you could not go north of Van Buren," Ward said. "If you were found, the police would stop you. If you were not there to work in somebody's house or mow somebody's lawn you were sent back to the black section."

Buying a home on the other side of the line? There were rules about that, too.

"Now there was housing, if houses were to be sold north of Van Buren, there were codicils on the deed saying this house cannot be sold to Negroes or Mexicans," Ward said. "That is what I mean."

Carver High's distinguished days as a school are over. Now, Calvin Goode and Maurice Ward are committed to preserving its memory.

The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is very much a work in progress and Calvin Goode says he needs your help to make it happen.

There will be a fundraiser on Saturday, January 28 to honor Calvin Goode as he reaches 90. While raising money to finish work on the Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Calvin Goode has a message on Martin Luther King Day.

"Well, certainly we talk about America being a shining example [of] treatment of citizens," he said. "I hope wherever you live, think about equal rights for all people."