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Revision as of 19:21, 22 August 2016


Transcript and audio of oral history interview, Charleston, S.C., 2013 March 04
Interviewed by Lashika Palmer, Graduate Assistant, The Citadel History Department.
Transcript 40 p., 1 CD 1:44:23.
Anthony Wright, renowned locally as "Tony the Peanut Man" was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 12, 1952. He grew up in the segregated Maryville community with his mother and five siblings. He attended Wallace High School and following school integration he went to Moultrie High. He was suspended for a year because he fought with a Caucasian student. He decided to quit school and instead earn his GED. In 1973 enlisted in the United States Army. After his service, Wright was employed by Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, and Lockheed in Charleston. When Lockheed closed, Wright struggled to get a good paying job. Mr. Marion Howard encouraged him to try selling peanuts in the Charleston market. Reluctantly, he decided to give it a try. At the beginning he was shy and other sellers in the market urged him to "be more like Mr. Ben," who was old and beloved peanut seller. Wright created a song and dance that helped him to increase sales. Wright sang, "I got some boiled and I got some toasted, got some stewed and I got some roasted. Oh, yeah, peanut man, uh-huh, catch him if you can because I got the right one baby, uh-huh." Wright's friendly and personable style made him successful and lead to appearances on television and a film. Moreover, his attitude and community involvement earned him the love and recognition of his fellow Charlestonians. Wright's entrepreneur spirit took him to write a comic book, Peanut Man. He used it as a tool to persuade children to follow their dreams. He also looked for ways to expand his business. In the interview he describes his struggles as an African-American vendor to be allowed to sell peanuts at The Citadel, Joe Riley Stadium, and the Daniel Island stadium and also the challenges he experienced when a fire destroyed his business and when a deal to sell can peanuts ended badly. In the interview he asserts being grateful for his life experiences and looking at the future with enthusiasm, "my goal is to be the number one peanut man in the world ... I just want to leave something behind that people can appreciate."



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