Richard Polite, Interview by Kerry Taylor, 10 April 2009
Richard Polite was born in Charleston in 1951 and raised on Strawberry Lane before his family
moved to Cannon St. near President St. After attending Burke High School, where he played
football, Polite served in the U.S. Army and served one tour in Vietnam. In this interview, Polite
recalls growing up in segregated Charleston and later working at the Naval Shipyard. He
explains why he enjoys the job he has now held for 12 years driving a truck for the City of
Charleston's environmental services department. The job affords him the opportunity to serve
and interact with the public. Hazardous working conditions and mismanagement have
nevertheless led Polite and many of his coworkers to establish a union this past year. While there
is no shortage of dissatisfaction among his coworkers, fear of losing their jobs in a poor economy
has kept many of them on the sidelines.
This interview is a part of the COHP's "Working Charleston" series. Working Charleston documents the on and off job experiences of the longshoremen and lawyers, the bartenders and carriage drivers, hospital aides and high tech workers who make Charleston among the nation's prime tourist destinations and vital centers of global trade. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's website.