Interview, Joe Sanders

October 1, 1979

Joe Sanders (b. 1919) was born in Mississippi and graduated from high school in 1939. He served in the military during World War II in the European Theatre and South Pacific. After his discharge in 1946, Sanders came to Rochester and worked for the railroad for 17 years. He then opened his own welding business and became a successful businessman. He participated in a variety of community organizations and recevied many awards and citations for his volunteer and entreprenurial activities. He was featured in a 1976 issue of About Time magazine, a Rochester publication aimed at black audiences. He also contributed articles to The Communiqe, another black publication.

In this interview, Sanders reflects on witnessing Rochester’s black population grow from about 3,000 to over 85,000. He calls upon blacks to register to vote and to actively participate in the community, and encourages young people to plan their futures and work hard to achieve their goals. Sanders expresses pride in being the first black man in Rochester to retire from his own business.

Content Tags


  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s