This interview with Anthony Foxx, United States transportation secretary, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. Tell me about your early years.
A. I grew up in Charlotte, N.C. The year I was born, the school system had just been through a major desegregation case that legitimized busing as a means of implementing Brown v. Board of Education. Charlotte was a bit of a test bed for busing, and it was very successful for my years through the school system.
I was the first person in my family to go to integrated schools, and that was a formative experience for me because it really showed me on a daily basis that I wasn’t better than anybody, but I certainly wasn’t any lesser than another person, either.
My family unit was my mom, who was 19 when I was born. My father wasn’t in the picture. My grandparents and my mom basically raised me. But my mom interrupted college to give birth, then went back to school, got her master’s degree and then did a variety of jobs around the country. I stayed in Charlotte with my grandparents, and they were like parents to me, as well.
They were both former teachers, and the type of teachers who would spend extra time with students after school helping them. And so my days after school were filled with them asking me how I was doing on my homework. And if I wasn’t doing particularly well, I got the help I needed. So there was a lot of reinforcement of education.
Were there signs of leadership abilities at a young age?
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