In this book, I lovingly recount the unyielding love and encouragement of my parents, who instilled a deep sense of responsibility and unshakeable confidence in me as well as my four brothers and sisters. My story illustrates a family bound by tradition, loyalty, and love. As the son of a freed slave, my father saw first-hand the daily challenges and obstacles for African Americans in post-slavery America. Both he and my mother implanted in us a clear work ethic, family values, and commitment to education, foundations that have remained with and propelled me throughout life. Thats the Way It Was weaves anecdotal accounts of my educational, athletic, and professional experiences, often with humorous details and sometimes tainted with racial biases as was commonplace in a cotton-farming community deep in segregated, post-depression Mississippi. I share many examples of both throughout the book to provide a realistic view of the world I encountered and somehow navigated relatively unscathed. I would later go on to make history as the first African American graduate of the University of Kentuckys Dental School and as the first African American intern and orthodontic resident at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been fortunate enough to have had a remarkable forty-five-plus-year career in private practice, always fueled and driven by the unconditional love and support of my family and my small-town community. I hope my story can serve as an inspiration for the younger generations to stay committed to their goals, never give up, and always strive to make the most of their talents.