DR. CARROL WALTER WAYMON, along with his twin, “Harold,” was born on May 15, 1925 in Inman, South Carolina to parents, Mary Kate and Johnnie Waymon. Carrol grew up in Tryon, North Carolina and loved to sing, dance and play basketball. He would often brag that he sang for his sister, Nina Simone, the renowned pianist and Jazz performer/composer while she played the piano. According to Dr. Waymon, “The singing ended after I was hit in the head by a softball that caused me tone deafness!”
Carrol attended elementary through high school at Tryon Colored School in North Carolina. Upon graduating from High school, Carrol worked at Rector’s Cleaners and then enlisted in the U.S. Army in September of 1943 serving in France during World War II. After Waymon was discharged from the military, he continued his education. He attended Johnson C. Smith University, Temple University and Howard University. Carrol was always a high achiever and an honor student who excelled in subjects such as mathematics, science and psychology. Waymon grew up in a household of Methodist ministers; both of his parents and two of his sisters. At an early age, he exhibited a strong passion for community service, which became an integral as well as intimate part of his life.
In 1953, the Waymon family moved to predominately black Northwest Philadelphia, PA. He and wife later moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he became involved in the Civil Rights movement. He was hired by John Allen Buggs to work for the Los Angeles County Committee on Human Relations. The focus of the organization was on issues regarding racial discrimination.
In 1964, Dr. Carrol Waymon was asked to relocate to San Diego, CA as Executive Director of the Citizens Interracial Committee (CIC)—San Diego’s official Human Relations Agency. Dr. Waymon Fulfilled his mission; he developed an action plan bringing people together from diverse racial groups, cultures, and economic classes and engaging them in discussions and actions to heal the rapidly rising racial divisions. Waymon still remained active with the Los Angeles Human Relations Committee even during and following the Watts Riot. From 1964 to 1969, with numerous interactive meetings across San Diego county, Dr. Waymon succeeded in transforming a city of racial division into one which was more peaceful, accessible, and cooperative. Waymon served as San Diego’s official delegate to the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stated in an article, “I couldn’t imagine at that time in 1968 that we’d have a black president 40 years later.”
When Waymon first came to San Diego, he recalled, “Police beat up black kids and brown kids. There were restrictive housing covenants.” He championed efforts that succeeded in eliminating those official restrictions, not only helping to integrate housing communities for African-Americans, but also others. “When Jews couldn’t buy land in La Jolla, we helped remove restrictive covenants,” he recalled, adding that Dr. Jonas Salk helped in that effort.
Waymon, a teacher, led a series of historic City Hall meetings and grass-roots forums across San Diego four decades ago, following race riots around the nation, forever changing race relations in our community, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in a May 10, 2008 article titled “Remembering a Pivotal Time.” He also played a key role in a lawsuit which ultimately forced desegregation of San Diego City Schools. “That began in my office,” he said with pride. “We opened up the schools.”
More subtle forms of discrimination remain, as Waymon, author of 15 books, chronicled in “On Being Black in San Diego - Anytown USA”, published in 1994. Back then, he wrote, “To be Black in San Diego is to forever wonder why, on the one hand, this is such a great place to live, and on the other hand feel so isolated and oppressed at the same time. Why is it that so many Blacks in all walks and successful levels in this town feel that so few things have brought so little positive change?”
Waymon had seen progress since then, though he believed America - and San Diego - still have a long way to go. But he reflected on the progress we have made. “My Daddy was the son of a slave,” he told East County magazine. “My mother was born 35 years after slavery.” His library chronicling San Diego’s turbulent civil rights history has recently been acquired by San Diego State University to preserve it for future scholars and posterity. “Many young people have no appreciation of the struggle that Carrol Waymon went through,” Stated Clara Harris, a Lemon Grove resident who served as director of the Heartland Human Relations Agency in East County, a group that Waymon helped to establish, according to the Union-Tribune report.
By the time he ended his work at CIC, Dr. Waymon had woven himself permanently into the fabric of San Diego, where he remained active for nearly 50 years. He used his three degrees, credentials, and licenses serving as a school psychologist, guidance counselor, psychological examiner, trainer in Human Sexuality and Hypnosis, and his college & university professorship to enhance in numerous ways the quality of life of African Americans- and, more recently, the new African Immigrants who came to San Diego. Dr. Waymon’s most recent undertakings were to support “Somali Youth United,” and “Jackie Robinson,” YMCA.
Waymon served as President of the Association of Black Psychologists; President of the African Connection, a diverse coalition of East African groups; Mentor to Somalian youth; Chair of the Board of Trustees of Operation Samahan, a community clinic; President of the San Diego Howard University Alumni Association; Founder of Project New Village; and Co-founder of the San Diego Organizing Committee. He was also a member of Sigma Pi Phi Boule and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Faculty Association of California Colleges. He was a member of the Martin Luther King Democratic Club, and a charter member of The Black American Political Association of California. Dr. Waymon taught high school science and mathematics for five years before beginning a long teaching career at the college and university level. He was instrumental in establishing the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University where he taught and directed a teacher training program for student teachers of “inner city” schools. He also taught at the California School of Professional Psychology for four years as the Black Core Faculty Member. In addition, Dr. Waymon founded and co-owned the University of American Studies from 1992 to 1997- a school which trained graduates in psychology and counseling; directed a local counseling center for seven years; and established the first African American and Chicano Studies programs in the California Correctional System. He retired as a Mesa College Professor, where he taught Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology for 26 years.
Waymon received many awards and recognitions for his service. He was honored with the prestigious Local Hero Award, the Somali Youth United Community Award, and the Jackie Robinson YMCA’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Dignity Award.
Dr. Waymon’s advice for the next generation. “Be what you want to be. Accept whatever the limitations are, but recognize that if you cannot be that because of barriers, interpret them in a different way. Don’t let anyone define you. Instead, see the world for what it is—a big beautiful globe that we’ve messed up for a long time—and change it. Find out how to change it and let nobody stop you.”
Dr. Waymon departed this life on Friday, January 3, 2020. He was preceded in death by both parents; two brothers: his twin, Harold N. Waymon, Sr., and John Ervin Waymon; three sisters: Rev. Lucille Waddell, Dr. Nina Simone, and Rev. Dorothy M. Simmons.
He leaves to cherish his memories: one sister, Frances L. Fox of Riverdale, Georgia and one brother, Samuel L. Waymon of Nyack, New York; a host of nieces, nephews and extended family: Dr. Aliya Fonseca, Marjorie Jones, and grandchildren: Rochelle Heatly and Talesha Calhoun.
Visitation Service was held at Anderson-Ragsdale Mortuary, Memory Chapel on January 23, 2020 from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.. Funeral Service was on the following day, Friday, January 24, 2020 at Bethel Baptist Church at 11:00 A.M; followed by the Interment Service at Mt. Hope Cemetery with military honors.
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