Lewes man writes book about his journey as a black educator

‘A Black First’ is Peter Carter’s autobiography
July 4, 2020

Although he is now retired, Lewes resident Peter Carter spent 36 years of his life as an educator. 

His career started in New Castle County, where he was a principal for five years. He was then a principal in New Jersey for five years after that, before spending the rest of his career as a superintendent. 

Carter says he was inspired to become a teacher because of the very good teachers he had in high school.

“I said, ‘I think I’d like to become that and share knowledge with young people,’” Carter said. 

Recently Carter wrote an autobiography, “A Black First,” that spans from his arrival to the United States from Trinidad, West Indies as a 2-year-old, to his retirement at 60. “And everything in between,” Carter said. 

Both his daughter and the president at Fordham University inspired him to write his autobiography. He says his daughter had been telling him for years that he should write a book. The president of the university had also told him, “You could write a book about some of those things,” when Carter had told him about his career firsts as a black man. 

A moment in his life that stuck with him, and that Carter writes about in his book, was when his mother took him with her while she applied for citizenship. Carter says he was not allowed to go back into the room with his mother, even though all of the white children there were. His mother did not tolerate that and Carter was eventually allowed to go back into the room with her. 

Even though Carter was only 5 or 6 at the time, he says it was this moment that taught him he was not going to be discriminated against. This spurred him on to move forward and accomplish everything that he did in his life and career, Carter said.

Some of the firsts in “A Black First” include him being the only black student in his school for four years, and the only black student to graduate. Carter said even in elementary school, there were only two or three black students. 

A key point that Carter says he would like people to take from his book is that there are a number of obstacles for a black man, even a highly educated one such as himself. 

“We can certainly grow and live with each other as human beings. We don’t have to hate each other or call each other names, or anything of that nature,” Carter said. 

“A Black First” is available both on Amazon and at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.

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