This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. William A. Drury (CN 492, T6) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of though within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of a incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Robert Shuster and Jennifer Taussig and completed in February 1998.
Collection 492, T6. Interview of William A. Drury by Robert Shuster, May 19, 1994.
DRURY: ...police referrals. It's [pauses] kind of an involved thing. But they have a thing called Parent Youth Aid Referral Committee where kids who had a brush with the law and were back on the streets, they were brought before the courts and had their wrist...hand slapped or whatever - and Parent Youth Aid Referral was part of Youth Conservation Commission, which was part of the Welfare Department. Youth Conservation Commission got the referrals from a gang-control unit of the Philadelphia Police Department, which was just beginning at the time. And gangs were just beginning. These were very official looking slips that you would get from PYA. I...I didn't...I had the Board of Youtharama, but I didn't even tell them what I was doing, because I...I...I think they would have put the skids [fired] to me before I quit. And I went out, had a...had a ex-gangster, Bob Gray [sp?], who had served time in a maximum security prison.... He...he was the head of the union, floor covering union.... Still a Christian guy, but, you know, Mr. Tough Guy, you know.
DRURY: And he went out, and another guy [chuckles]...another guy's got a very, very good job today at a Christian college. These three of us, we went out and called on these referrals in the mini-blighted poverty pocket of north Philadelphia behind Town Hall. I mean, that thing would spread like a wildfire, as far as the ghetto. It's been said that you've got more people in north Philadelphia than you've got in the state of Alaska today, jammed in, congested, volatile, high crime rate situation. So I went out with fear and trembling, and I called on...on...on these ghetto kids. I was born in poverty, but not high crime rate, volatile, violent neighborhoods that the kids today are, you know.
DRURY: I could go on and on. It's just the plight and the blight of...of these young people. And I went out in fear and trembling. Almost got myself killed when I was doing referrals. I was walking down either Mt. Vernon or Wallace Street, and these black guys were sitting there, and we were white, this fellow Bob Gray who was Mr. Tough Guy Christian. And we walked by the little house, the steps, and this guy had a pig sticker which I hadn't seen, a large kitchen knife. And he, half-stoned out of his gourd, I guess, his cage, and he bounded off the steps and tried to bury this knife in my back. Didn't know him, no reason, no confrontation, no nothing. And he missed. I was on the inside, Bob was on the outside. And Bob said, "Let's go get him." I said, "YOU go get him." [Shuster laughs] I said, "Dear God, teach me how to fly." They didn't chase us, you know.
SHUSTER: So he just took a swing at you and then ran?
DRURY: He stayed right there. I ran. I ran. I don't know whether he...he...he lived there or not. It was a tremendous amount of racism and hostility. And humanly speaking, I shouldn't have been doing what I was doing. You know, going into...into a predominately black and sometimes Puerto Rican neighborhood. You're not wanted. You know, and they knew that. And I knew it. I knew it. But I...I wanted to find out...I wanted to find out whether Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the God of all miracles, whether He was relevant to this type of youngster. You know. [chuckles] Could Jesus really cut the mustard in the lives of ghetto young people who were brought up in a violent, hostile community? And I called on these kids, and, you know, they would say again and again, "Who cares, man? Stick it in your ear, hang it on your nose." I would put out my hand...put out my hand, and say, "Hey, baby, I care. I'm here. I'm here." And they thought I was a narc [drug enforcement agency police or spy], and they thought I was the fuzz [police], you know, that I was the narcotic agent.
SHUSTER: So you'd go to the house, you'd knock on the door, you'd say, "I'm Bill Drury." And what kind of...what would you....?
DRURY: I didn't even have a name. I...well, I had a referral slip...I had a referral slip. Well, I had the name of PYA. And I would knock on the door, and say, "I'm Reverend Drury." And they look at you. And they...they knew you were lying through your...that you are a cop, because no white man walks up to people like I just did. And I said, "I'm from Parent Youth Aid Referral Committee. I'm not a cop, I'm not part of the establishment. I understand, I know for a fact that your son or your daughter has been in trouble with the law. And I want to see if I...I can talk with him or her and see if there's any way we can help." Half the time you got through that you were legit, you know. But my frustration was that, what do you do with them? You don't have any organization, you don't have anything. And the more I talked with the kids, you know, "We need our place, we need some place to rap." And so on and so forth. And then, as I said, I was doing several different things. Youtharama, calling on these kids from PYA, I was holding a Bible study for a retired major in the Salvation Army - Lydia B. Ridgeway. She was the old type Salvationist. I mean, she was what "pistol-packin'...." She didn't really have pistols [chuckles], but...but I mean, she was....
DRURY: She was from the old-school Salvationists. I read an interesting thing in Decision magazine about how that thing [The Salvation Army] got started, with...with....
SHUSTER: With William Booth?
DRURY: Yeah, William Booth and how he was de-frocked and all of that. I'm sure you've got that story at the Archives. If you don't, you should. But at any rate, I had Bible studies for her when the neighborhood was white (low income white, low income white) but it was changing. On Sunday afternoon, with all the other things I was doing, I would go down to 1911 Mt. Vernon Street, and I would hold Bible studies for her, because she was just about defunct, you know [wore out]. She was up in years. Another woman wanted to work with her. [Chuckles] She called me up one time. She had read something by Dawson Trotman [founder of the Navigators, an evangelistic organization], Born to Reproduce. And she called me up. And you'd have to know this one. She called me up. I didn't know her, but she called me up. She said, "Are you Bill Drury? I understand you know something about this reproducing business." [Shuster laughs] I said, "I beg your pardon." It sounded like an old woman. I said, "I...I...I...I know, I mean, I...."
SHUSTER: [laughs] You got back your stutter.
DRURY: Starting stuttering all over again. So anyhow, I got to know this very godly, godly evangelistic personality. And she said, "I'm not doing too good with my...can you come down and meet with us?" So I did. I went down. And I introduced her and the other women (she got a couple more people)...I introduced them to the Nav Scripture memory program.
SHUSTER: The Navigators?
DRURY: Yeah, the Navigators. She memorized Scriptures like nobody I knew - letter perfect, letter perfect. The reference, the title, the verse, the King James. Letter perfect. Then she told me about this thing on Sunday, and said, "Would you come speak to our kids?" And I came. I saw the need. I saw the need. My heart bled for these kids. They were thrown out of Sunday schools, and stuff like that. A lot of the neighborhood was changing. Those churches all moved out, Bob. They're all history in north central Philadelphia. So she knew what I was doing with these referrals, and she said, "We've got to reach these hoodlums. We've got to reach the gangsters, we've got to reach these young gangsters, or they are going to go to jail." And I didn't tell her that most of the kids I'd been working with, or talking to, had already been in jail for thirty, sixty, ninety days. So she said, "Why don't you buy my house." She said, "I want to...you know, I want to move out." The house was $3000. And I didn't have $3000. I, you know.... So the upshot of it was, I...I went to the clergy who I knew because of Percy Crawford. And they said, "You're stark raving mad." Because some of these guys had already been down there, you see, and they moved out. I won't name the names, but there were some big names of big, big, Evangelical-Fundamental churches in north Philadelphia. And...and they said, "You're crazy, you can't cut it," and so on and so forth. "It's a bad investment." I went to the business community because I'd been in CBMC. I went to the banks. All I needed was $3000, Bob. And on the application you have to tell them why you want the money. And when you tell them in that area, they...they say you're out of your mind.
SHUSTER: And what did you say on the application? You wanted to buy a youth home?
DRURY: Well, to...to.... Maybe...maybe I had a name for the organization by that time: Teen Haven. But to have a youth center. To...to.... And I remember this one banker said, "You're going to invite violent young people in to destroy this building, and you want us to...?" I thought I could sign a note for $3000. But this was thirty years ago, and $3000 to them was a lot of money, whatever. So the upshot of it was, that I was praying with my wife, up.... We lived in a detached house, I guess, the one on Oliny Avenue. I lived in a row house originally, then moved to Oliny, off of [unclear]. And while I'm on my knees, I got the message, which my wife thought that I was mentally deranged. And everybody told me to go see my brother, who was a psychologist, to get my head examined, that I was even attempting this type of thing. And by now I had already left...left Youtharama. They found out what I was doing, and "Thank you. God bless you." ["Good-bye"] And living hand to mouth, not having any income and.... I did get some income. I managed a travel agency to keep bread on the table. But I said to Dorothy...I said, "I know how I'm going to get the money." She said, "Do you really? How's that?" I said, "I'm going to take out a chattel mortgage on our house." We had this house listed for $7500. So what I had to do, I...I went to see Jack Stewart. I'd spoken for Jack Stewart at one of his secular businessman luncheons, so I went down to see him. [Pauses] What was the name of the Savings & Loan? I said, "Will you give me a loan on my house, a chattel mortgage?" He asked me about the equity. I said, "I've got a '61 Plymouth that's paid off, you know." He said, "Yeah. But you're going to lose your house and your car both." I said, "That's the whole roll of the dice. That's the whole nine yards." So we...we bought 1911 Mt. Vernon Street, and that was the first place we would call Teen Haven.
SHUSTER: And that was in '63?
DRURY: '64. June of '64. I did the street work in '63. I interrupted because I went to Korea to look in on a King's Korean Mission which Percy Crawford had started. They had this thing over there that people were trying to raise money for and support. And all of these things were separate. There was not one umbrella for Percy's things. His...he had Youtharama and all these other things, the camp was separate from the college, and so forth and so on. So I went over to Korea in November of '63. I spoke to the troops up in Paengnyong, at the 38th parallel, and that's a story in itself. But I (excuse me)...I came back, and I got back on the visitation thing with the PYA referral slips. And before you know it, well, that building was firebombed twice by the Moroccos. The ghettos spread fast.
SHUSTER: The Moroccos were a street gang?
DRURY: Street gang. You're...you're from Philadelphia, right?
SHUSTER: Yeah. Well, Hatboro.
DRURY: Well, I don't know whether you know the city or not. But this is Fairmont Avenue. And we called it the Berlin Wall back in those days. The gang thing and the ghettos spread like wildfire. What was never said about the ghetto, at least I didn't read anything. The guys that I call blood-suckers, and I know that's a very cruel...were real estate brokers...
DRURY: ...were real-estate brokers. They did the block-busting, the neighborhood-busting. And...because I lived at 29th and Lehigh. There wasn't a day that went by, Bob, that I didn't get a card in my door, either delivered by the mailman or somebody going door to door. "We have a buyer for your home. We have a buyer. Now is the time." It was really hate mail. [Laughs]. I mean it was a racist type of thing. But at any rate, it spread like wildfire, the...what we now know as the ghetto.
SHUSTER: And block busting, in case anyone listening to the tape doesn't know, would be selling one house on the block - on a white block - to a black family so that the other families on the block would sell...
DRURY: Would panic and move.
SHUSTER: ...at a lower price.
DRURY: Yeah, they could be black, could be Hispanic, could be Haitian today, could be anything. But you went into a white community, and you get somebody.... And the people who moved in first.... It's where the church of Jesus Christ was out to lunch. The people who moved into the neighborhood could afford to buy a home. They were blue collar workers. I don't know what I got for my house, I paid $55...and I stayed to the last minute. I was called "nigger lover" and...and...and "Shine, coon baby" and the same names that they addressed to the blacks, you know, and all of that.
SHUSTER: Who called you that? Your neighbors?
DRURY: Friends. Friends in the church that I went to, you know. I...a guy, white guy [laughs], a very devout Christian, racist, bigot from the word go. And...and...and most of the people were...[they'd] never admit it, they wouldn't even understand what a racist is. They were racists. Loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, they just hated blacks and, you know, Puerto Ricans. I don't know that it's that much different today. We take our kids to a certain church that shall go unnamed. And we take some pretty large-size godzillas, big guys - 6'2", 6'3", weighing about two sixty, two eighty. And if they're coming through this one corridor in this church, white people will back off and sometimes go down the stairs and walk around to where they want to get to the main auditorium, because black skin scares white people. And......and...and that's historically...and that's the way.... Getting back to Fairmont Avenue, it was the Berlin Wall.
SHUSTER: So that was the dividing point between the gangs?
DRURY: Right. Yeah, between Sixteenth to Wallace, the Imperial Tenderloins, which is one and the same gang, and the Moroccos up here. Some of them are...the Philadelphia Inquirer [a daily newspaper] said that the Morocco was the largest organized gang in Philadelphia. And they boasted anywhere from a thousand to fiteen hundred members. That's mind-boggling, mind-boggling. But you show me any church in America that has a thousand teenagers in their Sunday school department, or fifteen hundred. Jerry Falwell [a prominent Fundamentalist pastor] or anybody. You know, fifteen hundred teenagers. And these were teenagers. Although, later on, the gangs...the gangs...the breakdown of the gang...it began with the midgets and the squidgets. These are little kids, the...the runners and the corner boys. The warlords and the older guys, the graduates who carry the heat, they kept the weapons for the guys who were going to use them. And then, of course, the zip gun came along, and you could make a gun easily. These kids could make.... If you look at out at my car, I was out in Philadelphia yesterday. You'll see the antennae is...is bent. Back in the old days, most people thought they used these for some kind of whips. They used them to make guns. The antennae could...could...you could put a 22 bullet in the antennae, take the antennae, cut a piece off, put it on a piece of wood - attach it to a piece of wood, get a bolt (one of those sliding bolts that you use on a screen door or whatever), hone down the...the...the front of the bolt (the thing that slides back), and get that thing sliding real good. Then, on the top of the bolt, is a little thing you pull back, a little knob, I don't know what they call it. Well, they...they...they would affix that to, preferably, a piece of an inner tube, okay. And when, you know, you wanted to use it, you would.... They're not very accurate, but for close combat, if you're standing in an alley and you're waiting for the dude to get up real close, then you would...you would jump out and.... And some were rather elaborate. Some were very elaborate.
SHUSTER: We had some zip guns that were given (in the Museum)...that were given...handed in a Graham crusade, which were essentially little kids' cap pistols which had been adapted.
DRURY: Yeah, yeah. And forks. They...they would take a table fork. Kids carried table forks. They would take a table fork. And a fork has four prongs like that. And they would turn two prongs down and two prongs up. So you can use it this way or you can use it that way. They would take a single-edged razor blade...single-edged razor blade and put it between two tongue depressors and put the black power colors on it, and then wrap it. And we...one of our men took one of those weapons, the tongue depressor type things, from a youngster at our camp, back in the early days of our own camp. Now kids brought weapons back before we had our own camp and we used Pinebrook. But this boy, a ten year old boy, had another boy on the ground and was ready to shave him or cut him up, or whatever, and that's how I got a hold of the weapon. Because this guy who was a summer staff took it off the kid. But up at Pinebrook, when we were up at Pinebrook, we had, at one time.... There were 360 vicious, violent, organized marauding gangs in Philadelphia. The FBI said in the '60's that Philadelphia was the worst gang-ridden city in America. Not LA, not Chicago, not...
SHUSTER: New York.
DRURY: ...the Five Boroughs [New York]. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And I appeared as a witness before every gang investigation that we had. We had at least three, four...four. There were two by the attorney general...William Bennett, Bill Bennett was the attorney general [of the state]. And he had two gang investigations. And it was just a showcase to bring money. Lyndon B. Johnson [unclear]. And the City Council and the United States Congress came in...Claude Pepper [senator from Florida] came in. So we had these gangs - vicious, violent, organized, marauding gang. The Daily News [Philadelphia newspaper], one time, Bob, had a center spread on the gang killings the night before. The night before, whenever they did this article. But it showed clang gang and chain gang and Germantown and Haines, and it went clear up into Germantown - not up into the northeast, but what we know as central Philadelphia. (You have to define central Philadelphia.) But there were 360 vicious, violent, organized, murdering gangs. These kids killing kids. You did not have the drug problem back then, that you have to.... And people say, "How did you ever get rid of the gangs in Philadelphia?" When drugs moved in (and like the ghetto and everything else, the whole thing moved like a tidal wave), when...when... at least in Philadelphia...they say they had mixed both out in LA today, with the Cripps [a Los Angeles street gang] and I don't know who all out there. But when drugs came in and kids got on drugs, they had to supply their habit. No one else was going to supply their habit for them. (Except teenage girls who became prostitutes, someone would supply their habit.) But when drugs moved in, gangs moved out. Only because they were.... And I think that drug dealers knew that. I...I...I think that the right pushers back in those days primarily.... It's a very interesting thing, again, when you look at the church, whatever the church is. Theologically we come up with semantics that really doesn't hold water, doesn't amount to a hill of beans. But a drug pusher, a white pusher driving his Cadillac, Lincoln Continental, Rolls Royce...not Rolls Royce, but Mercedes...know full well when they go in to sell their product it's for cash. You don't buy drugs with a credit card, okay. You do not buy drugs with a credit card. And when they go in they know that every customer of theirs is a candidate to kill them, knowing full well that this guy is loaded with cash and if that customer of yours doesn't have any bread to buy the drugs, you're a candidate to be killed, by...by the very guy.... And we can't get God's people to come in [to the inner city], you know, with the greatest gift in all the world. You see the contrast?
SHUSTER: So drug dealers will go in to situations of great danger to sell their product, and...
DRURY: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, constantly...
SHUSTER: ...Christians won't go in to spread the gospel.
DRURY: ...incessantly. They do it in LA, they do it in Chicago, they do it in [unclear] in Cleveland, you can go on and on. And I have been in these neighborhoods. You know, when we started Teen Haven in Chicago, and Cabrini Green and these various places....
SHUSTER: I want to backtrack a little bit. You said that when you were working for Youtharama they found out you were doing these referrals and they asked you to leave? Is that accurate?
DRURY: Well, I left on my own volition, you know, before....
SHUSTER: But they were opposed to you doing it?
DRURY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SHUSTER: Why were they opposed?
DRURY: Well, for the same reason that over the years we have tried to bring our kids to certain churches and camps...camps. When we had sixty kids lined up to a Christian camp, sixty gang kids in the summer of '64.... I bought the house in June of '64, and in August this certain Christian camp.... And this is the same thing with Youtharama. What they were saying with Youtharama is that, "You cannot integrate this type of kids that you're calling on into the realm of.... And if you do, whether it's one or ten, people find out and they're going to stop bringing their kids in to Philadelphia [for the Youtharama rally] when they find out we have that kind of a condition, and we are deliberately, willfully trying to invite these kids to this predominately, almost exclusively white...." We had some Christian black kids from some Christian churches. But the churches...the...the churches have said repeatedly, "We're not equipped to handle that kind of youngster. We're...we're not...." We were taking kids to a certain church here in Lancaster. And our numbers (it was either the Awana program [church program for young children] or one of those programs)...our numbers got so.... [break in tape]
SHUSTER: This is a continuation of the interview with William Drury on May 19, 1994. You were talking about the church in Lancaster where you...they asked you to stop coming.
DRURY: Not only that, but going clear back to the days of Youtharama.... I had reached a hostile white young man and I tried to get him plugged into the...into the church, into a certain church. And he went there for a while, and...he's a street kid. And he's a street kid. They called me and asked me if I could find another church for him. The Church of Jesus Christ is not geared.... Number one, the Church of Jesus Christ historically cannot meet the needs of a changing community. It doesn't know how to do that. In our unadulterated hypocrisy we say we can go to other regions beyond, and reach people of other skin pigmentations, ethnic barriers we break down, and...and all of that. A clear-cut illustration is that a certain guy who was trying to take over a big Christian camp on the East Coast called me up and he said, "Can we have lunch?" We met out at Valley Forge at the old Howard Johnson's and he said (and you would know this individual)...he said, "Our first and last weeks of camp are down, and I understand that you're working with poor kids." I...I said, "Right now, we're working with gang kids. They're hostile, they're violent, they're uncouth, they're profane, vulgar, morally degenerate, all of that. They need Jesus. Those are the kids we're...who are not just poor old runny-nosed kids on the island of Haiti or wherever. But these are hostile young people." "Great! That's the kind of kids we ought to be reaching," he said. "How would you like to bring some of these kids to the last week of camp?" I said, "No sweat. We can't afford....?" "No, no, no. It's free." I said, "What would you suggest?" He said, "Well, half a dozen." And I said, "No sweat." And I...some of the guys we'd already touched base with and slowly but surely were getting acclimated to the Teen Haven scene. We wound up with six kids. I called them up and said, "I got six kids." With the black kids, you don't have to delouse them. White kids, you've got to delouse them, you know.
SHUSTER: Why's that?
DRURY: White kids get lice. Black kids don't. Don't ask me why. I don't know whether their hair or whatever.... Because of the close-knit hair, whether lice suffocate in there or what. I don't know why, I never found out. But when we took white kids back in the days of Major Ridgeway, and she was working with low income white kids, they had to be deloused. So....
SHUSTER: You went out to the camp.
DRURY: I called him up, said, "I've got the six." He said, "Make it twelve." I made it twelve. He said, "Make it twenty-four." I got the twenty-four. Gospel truth - I had sixty kids lined up before the last week of summer in August. And he called me up. And, I mean, he was the mover as far as the board was concerned. What he wanted, he got. And he called me up and he said, "Bill, I met with the board [takes a deep breath and coughs], and they've realized that we...we... we just can't service this type of youngster." And I said, "You can't do that to me." I said, "I have promised these kids that they were going to camp. Now I've promised and they've been lied to again and again." And "Well, I'm sorry. But it's already settled that we can't take the kids." He said, "I'm going to send you a check." Then my Irish got the best of me. I said, "And I will tear that up in shreds, and I will come up and I will feed it to you. You tell that to the board of directors. And if I ever see any one of those board members, I will...." And I went on and on. And, "Bill, that's not Christian." I said, "What you're doing is satanic." I said.... Bob, I was beside myself. We were in a virgin state. And I called around, and I called camps. One of the gentlemen, you know, that you mentioned before.... I called various.... I did not know how I was going to get these kids there, or whatever, but I did not want to go back to them and say, "Hey guys, we're not going to camp." It was just guys. It was not girls. And I called and called and called and called. I came up with a camp, Camp Hallawasa over in New Jersey. It means, "Hallelujah, what a Savior." I called Charlie Ashman. Charlie Ashman's cut of the same mold that Bill Drury was. I called Charlie and I told him my plight, problem, whatever. [Drury swallows a drink of water] (Excuse me.) He said, "Well, I've got a small group coming in, that...the camp is not full." He said, "If this pastor says it's all right...." So I called this pastor. He had just read Jim Vaus' book.
SHUSTER: This pastor was bringing his group into the camp?
DRURY: Yeah, to this camp Hallawasa. And the camp is...is set up that you've got two mini-lakes. And they would house (if they had more than one group) one group on one side of the lake, and one on the other. I called this guy, and he had just read Jim Vaus' book - his wife's book, They Call My Husband a Gangster. And he said, "Oh, yeah. Praise the Lord!" he said. "We've got to reach these hoodlums, you know. You and Dave Wilkinson." [Drury laughs] And he said, "Yeah, sure." I called Charlie back, and I said, "Fine." And he said, "You told me that this other camp was going to....?" And I told him the name of the camp. I...I...I didn't care. I was so stinking mad I didn't care whether anybody went to that camp again. And he said, "I can't do it for free." And I said, "Charlie, how much?" He said, "Twenty dollars a head." That was twelve hundred bucks. That's like twelve thousand, a hundred twenty thousand today. I said, "Charlie, I don't have twelve hundred dollars." I'd remortgaged my home and my car. I said, "But I'll owe you the money." I said, "My word is my bond, if I have to sell the clothes off my back," I said, "you'll get your twelve hundred dollars." "Well, raa, raa, raa [making noises indicating hesitation], yeah, okay, I guess so." Well, we went over there and we destroyed that camp.
DRURY: We ripped off ...well, I say. The kids...we ripped off the snack bar. And one of our [laughs]...a guy got saved and actually, he became my first field director. Luis Torres. He's built like a Chinese pagoda and he got saved in Korea. He coldcocked [punched] one of those kids and I thought he broke every tooth in his head, you know. He'd just had it, you know. And he'd just gotten back from Korea. He was at PCB [Philadelphia College of the Bible]. He's Puerto Rican, and he belted this kid. But we...we did a lot of damage. I told Charlie, and Charlie, bless his ever loving heart, said, "This is the greatest thing that ever happened to this camp." He said, "This is what we've been telling the world that we're supposed to do," and so forth. I said, "Well, your snack bar...." "Ah, it's only food, you know," and so forth and so on. The following week...the following week I was at a church over in York County [Pennsylvania]. And Pastor Weaver...Pastor Weaver is retiring right now, after all these years, he's retiring from the pastorate. He said, "Do you have any major problems?" I said, "Do I ever!" I said, "I need twelve hundred bucks." He raised seven hundred dollars. This was 1964. He raised seven hundred dollars, which I had heard Jim Vaus and these other guys talk about these great miracles, but they'd never happened to Bill Drury. And...but he raised seven hundred bucks. A lot of money, a lot of money for a church offering. And he told the people, you know, in Sunday school. So anyhow, he got his twelve hundred dollars paid off, I got the building paid off, and then as I started saving the Moroccos came down and firebombed 1911 Mt. Vernon Street because they knew that Sixteenth & Wallace was hanging out there in this building, and it...there were gang headquarters.
SHUSTER: So they didn't particularly care about what you were doing...
DRURY: Oh, no.
SHUSTER: ...but that knew that their enemies were...it was a hangout for their enemies.
DRURY: Firebombed twice. The kids of the streets, some of the kids we weren't even ministering to, from 19th and 20th Street, came tearing down the street with their jackets in hand to put out the fire. A couple weeks later the insurance company, fortunately.... I...I had to take out insurance to get the loan, so the building was.... The insurance company was working on it, Bob, when they came down again. And we were told they were coming down. And we told the police, and the police supposedly had the building staked out. Their idea of a stake-out was that they had police cars on 19th Street. They had.... We're in the middle of the block. They had one car sitting here, one car.... I don't know whether they came through the sewers, whether they came over the rooftops, whatever. But at the appointed hour, these kids had a label on one of the whiskey bottles. What they would do to firebomb is get a wine bottle or whiskey bottle, put gasoline, put a fuse, seal the thing, and then light the thing and throw it.
SHUSTER: That's a Molotov cocktail.
DRURY: Molotov cocktail, which was used in Finland in World War II with the Germans, with the Tiger Royals, the big tanks and all of that. But they came and they hit us with three Molotov cocktails. One of them burst on the street and the fire department came. Our kids were there before the fire department, beating out the thing. And we had people living there! [Chuckles] We had staff living there. This one girl came between the two firebombs. She's still with us, twenty-seven years later. She said, "You really give people a warm welcome when...." So they came and, you know, firebombed, but we stood our ground, and we stayed there. We used Pinebrook in the Poconos [Mountains]. We had three hundred fifty-seven gang kids up there at...at one time. Did I give you that clipping?
DRURY: A newspaper clipping.
DRURY: It said, "Three hundred fifty kids enjoyed...
SHUSTER: A xerox of it.
DRURY: "...a little bit of heaven in the Poconos." Something like that. And again, we broke seventy windows and we had the biggest rumble they ever had in the Poconos. And it was an insane thing to do. Because sixty kids...I went from sixty to a hundred fifty to two hundred to two hundred fifty kids, to three hundred fifty-six. I mean, organized gang kids from various gangs and factions, to bring them to one turf , Pinebrook in the Poconos. And so we had a big rumble. We had one hundred fourteen inexperienced quote unquote counselors. And it was a wild, wild weekend. Believe me. I didn't sleep. I...back in those days I didn't sleep when I went to camp. I slept in the daytime. You have [unclear], when they are in activities, different things. I didn't sleep at night. I stayed up all night. But kids got saved, kids got saved. Over at Hallawasa, Lenny Wood got saved. They called him JFK because he looked so much like John F. Kennedy. And he got gloriously saved. Three months later he got killed...he was dead. Lenny Wood.... We had live-ins back in those days. We had live-ins and outreach and we had to ascertain what we were going to do. Do you serve twelve kids in a building, or do you try to serve the neighborhood? You can't do both, you can't do both.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. And what did you decide?
DRURY: Outreach. Outreach. A diversified, multi-purpose ministry. Did our...tried to do everything, we did a lot of things where we fell on our face. We had cooking classes and shop classes, which are very expensive and very dangerous. It sounds great to teach these kids how to make things. [chuckles] Not when you're working with a cross-cut saw and some of these other things and drills. And so, we...I put the kibosh to [ended] a lot of things. One time...one time a guy at our camp I didn't even know, he...well, he's still with us. He was a hunter. He's got a variety of guns. And I went over there, and here we've got a rifle range! And I said...I went down there back in the woods and here these kids lined up.... I said, "Forget it." You know, "We...we...we are insurance poor." With the very [unclear] of insurance we have to take out [unclear]. And then we had them in archery. And I said, "That doesn't fly either," you know. I keep asking the staff to come up with new ideas, new means, methods. And sometimes when they do I have to veto them, you know. But God blessed, and souls were saved in those early days. And some of those kids have gone on to become family men and...and doing some pretty wonderful things.
SHUSTER: Did any of the Moroccan gang leaders ever come talk with you to find out about...?
DRURY: Oh, yeah, sure. We...we...Crazy...Crazy was one of the gang members. The names, the street names. You wonder why in God's heaven.... Slime and Slop and Ten Cents and Twine and Crazy and Demon was up in Morocco turf. And they came to me, I came to know...and they said, "All we're saying is that we want one of those things in our neighborhood. If...if...if Sixteenth & Wallace can have one, you know, we want one." So we bought...still have that building on 20th Street. And we were right in the heart of Morocco.... And we brought Morocco and Imperial Tenderloins.... And I...I was more talk than walk. But one...one of the women who came as a volunteer up to Pinebrook in the Poconos said when I got up on the table (not a chair - just for effect, you know) screaming at the top of my lungs at these kids, "I'll screw your cotton-picking heads and play basketball with it...," you know. I thought, if they ever challenge me I'd be dead. All they had to do was....
SHUSTER: You were screaming at them to keep them in line?
DRURY: Oh, yeah. To keep them in line. John Wayne type of jargon, you know.
DRURY: I used to wear...I used to wear a weighted belt - a belt you could take off and probably drive somebody into the next century with it, I don't know, you know. I did a lot of things like that. For a while I carried mace with me...never used it, but carried mace when mace was a big thing. But she said...this one woman who finally came on our staff, she said, "Mr. Drury, I was more afraid of you than I was of those kids." She said, "You really scared the daylights out of me. I...." But we...we began to work in Morocco turf. We...we bought 20th Street for four thousand dollars. You know, the exodus had begun then, and people were.... The original house I paid three thousand dollars for. As Franklintown extended, you could not buy that building today for one hundred fifty thousand dollars. And some of the houses.... A completely renovated townhouse are now running for a quarter million dollars north...north of Spring Garden Street. Franklintown is a very posh area now. It's equivalent of Society Hill over by the river and....
SHUSTER: Let's talk about...I mean.... At Teen Haven at the beginning, what were you doing at the house? I mean, what was going on? What was the...?
DRURY: Bible study. Well, like I say, you know, we did a lot of things. We did cooking classes, we had shop, we had weight lifting, we had boxing. And then we decided.... Well, plus the fact that we would have all those little sermonettes, like they do in Sunday school, you know. You'd sing, "Happy birthday...16th" and then if you'd have a twenty minute....
SHUSTER: And this would be...so you'd have these sermonettes every day?
DRURY: Oh, yeah. And whatever the activity was, you know, you'd have a gospel message. And then we realized...realized that if these kids are going to cut it and make it in their neighborhood, in their home, in the classrooms, that were becoming slowly but surely.... And today are very, very violent scenes. Every school in every blighted area, you know, you've got kids (you hear it on the networks constantly)...kids carrying guns to school and all of that. That we're really going to have to bear down. A couple of our staff said to me, "Really, what we ought to do is have quality, quality Bible studies." And it was Teen Haven...Teen Haven until a nine-year-old girl got cut down with the crossfire with Sixteenth... Twelfth and Oxen [?] and Sixteenth and Diamond. And the media said the next day...the press, "innocent bystander...she was in a war zone, and she got killed." And Barbara Staples, who was on our staff, said, "Mr. Drury, that ought to tell you something. We ought to start to work with pre-teens." So we had a breakdown. We... had pre-teens...and to this very day, we have pre-teen clubs every afternoon before five o'clock, from the time school is out to five o'clock. Then in the evening...in the evening...it was much the same. We didn't have as many Bible studies, like now we have them every night. But the thing has grown. We will go out like in Philadelphia with four maxivans and...and...and.... Different neighborhoods. We might go to south Philadelphia and borrow a church or rec center down there to have a Bible study. Up in Germantown we were using V. Sam Hart's church. And...and I think his son...his other son....
SHUSTER: I am going to be seeing Tony Hart on Friday.
SHUSTER: The son of Sam Hart.
DRURY: Yeah. I'm...I's not sure that that's where we have our clubs today. John Schleigh [?] could tell you exactly. We have one up at Sixth and Kayuga [?]. Dr. George Meiser [?], he had that church when it was lily white. And today the church is covered with graffiti, it's covered with graffiti. And the whole neighborhood. I thought, "Why?" When you think of this kid getting caned over there in Singapore, and the big hullabaloo that we made about that. [In 1994, there had recently been a news story about an American teenager who had been caned by the police in Singapore for vandalism.] "Where are the thinking people? When people are spraying things, doesn't anybody ever blow the whistle on these people?" But at any rate, we...we had Bible studies. And when they came, we told them that, "The most important thing that we can do for you.... We can have basketball teams and softball teams and all of that, and take you on...you know, to see the 76ers. But the most important thing we can do for you is to train you to be men and women of God so you can make it...so you can make it. Then when the drugs come your way, and the brown bag...the bottle, and everything, comes your way, then you can cut it...you can make it." I think...I think today we have some of the finest Bible studies in America bar none and barring.... Even with Billy Graham.... I said, and I'll back it up, and I think Billy would agree, that we've got the best follow-up program in America. I know what is done at a crusade, I know what's supposed to happen, but it really.... Because I was involved in a 1960 crusade (in Philly, the first crusade [the crusade was actually in 1961] ) and I know they're excellent. The best part of any crusade, and I think Billy would agree with me, is the pre-training...is the pre-training, of people being trained...
SHUSTER: To be counselors?
DRURY: ...witnesses.... To be counselors, to get them a fervor for evangelism. Believe me, I...I don't know what they thought of this last crusade in Philadelphia [held in 1992].
SHUSTER: The last crusade in Philadelphia.
DRURY: Yeah. I think it bombed, really. I...the weather.... Billy...Billy told the Inquirer that he was totally frustrated with the acoustics and....
SHUSTER: Well, go ahead.
DRURY: Well, anyhow....
SHUSTER: I was just going to say, what is your follow-up program?
DRURY: Follow-up program...okay.
SHUSTER: What does it consist of?
DRURY: The front gate of the ministry or gateway to Teen Haven would be the camp. The camp runs year-round, it runs fifty-two weeks a year in Brouge, Pennsylvania. We try to take a hundred young people every weekend during the academic year for forty weekends. And in the summer we take a hundred young people for a full week, for eleven weeks. And that's eleven hundred kids, okay. The youngster makes a decision at camp. He comes...he completely....
SHUSTER: Are the kids coming to the camp brand new to Teen Haven? Or are these kids who...
DRURY: Not all of them.
SHUSTER: ...have been coming for a while?
DRURY: Some of them, some of them. In the summer only...any one kid can only go once the entire summer. On the weekends we have...I think they call it four quarters, and they can only come once any one quarter to...to.... I don't know how that breaks down as to how many weekends they can....
SHUSTER: Do they pay something toward this?
DRURY: They pay registration fee...that's all they pay.
SHUSTER: What's that, usually, about?
DRURY: Five dollars. Something like that. Ten dollars, maybe, in the summer. If they can come up with it. If...and it's difficult...of course, we go into projects. We go into projects, and they can't afford....
SHUSTER: Housing projects?
SHUSTER: Housing projects.
DRURY: Yeah, housing. Overcrowded, congested, rat-infested, cockroach crawling, urine-smelling, cesspools where we as American people warehouse people. We warehouse people. I don't know whether you've...you've heard that term or not, but we literally warehouse people. Like you go down on the pig farm, or whatever. We do that in America. We did it for free. Like....
SHUSTER: At the camp....
DRURY: Hallawasa, the other weekends. And...and [laughs] we had to stop destroying camps, and I decided I was going to have my own camp. And that's what we're talking about now, our own camp, that was started up in 1966 in Brogue, Pennsylvania. Bought forty-six acres of wood. And today we have one hundred ten acres, and can house one hundred forty-eight beds if...if...if we...and we do fill up. On the Spanish weekend we'll pack it out. I don't know where they sleep, they sleep in the gym, sleep in the....
SHUSTER: So the camps are the gateway to Teen Haven program.
DRURY: Yes. And we did it for free. And even today, the mindset of people...they don't know. They think.... This is part of the welfare syndrome. The kids...the parents would come to register their...their...their kids.... We did it for free, back at the beginning, didn't charge anything. And the kids spit in our faces. And the parents.... And even today the parents give you so much flack and garbage and hostility and...and...oh, I could tell you story after story after story. Why our staff stay with the ministry, I don't know. The camp is a gateway and they get saved, okay. We take every first-time decision, every first-time...and we send it to Libby Minsek, she's the wife of a psychiatrist. You'd have to go to her home and see this big walk-in closet where she has all these Bible studies, you know, chronologically. And she has the, whatever, on how many of our dozen Bible studies, you know, in our series. And she will...she said...and you'd have to see them. The...the...the spelling is horrendous. You'd think all these kids are foreign kids. Not all of them...not all of them, some of them.
SHUSTER: These are the cards they fill out when they are saved?
DRURY: No, no, no. It's the Bible study that they get to take home with them.
SHUSTER: Oh, I see.
DRURY: She gets the names, then she sends out the initial Bible study, then she gets that back.
SHUSTER: They send it back and she corrects it?
DRURY: What marvels me (they say in Lancaster county "what wonders me") is that the kids complete the...the.... And you know the most difficult thing with the Billy Graham Crusade is to get that counselor who worked with that guy to follow up that person. Theoretically it's fantastic, but practically, when somebody is...and they came from all over four or five states to the Crusade to get somebody from south Philadelphia to work with somebody from Wilmington, Delaware, or Harrisburg - it just doesn't fly. And I've analyzed that.
SHUSTER: This is after the crusade, you mean.
DRURY: Yeah, yeah. [phone rings] I don't know whether they're trying to reach me at the...from.... So anyway, she gets sent.... Then on...these kids come from cities where we are working, I mean, we are stationed there. And then on...on Monday, Tuesday at the latest, they will make out a card at camp. The cities will get copies of every kid that made a decision with their.... Some of them don't have phones, and that's another story. We will call them and tell.... And they are told at the camp before they leave, you know, about the programs. "We have some tremendous programs." And we whet their appetite with trips to the zoo, and, "We go down to shore, and we go to.... We have some fantastic Bible studies," but we always throw out the net, as Percy would say, you know, [Shuster laughs] and bait the hook. If they don't have a phone.... First they'll be called, and then visited. If they don't have a phone, they'll be visited and integrated in....
SHUSTER: And encouraged to come to the local Teen Haven.
DRURY: Right. And then...and then if we meet again, I.... [phone rings] Yeah, that's for me.
SHUSTER: Do you want to get that? [tape recorder turned off and on again] Reverend Drury had to take a phone call for a second, but this is a continuation. You were talking about the follow-up system: first the camps, then being contacted by the local Teen Haven, then going on to the Bible studies.
DRURY: Yes. I believe...I believe the demands that we make, Bob, of our kids.... The fellow who's on staff who was going to be my Timothy (but it didn't work out), and he said...he said he did his "due diligence", he called it, or obeisance, or whatever. And he went out...before he came on staff he went out with one of our vans in Philadelphia. We have four vans and we have four bus routes. They're not bus routes, but routes these kids will be called before.... There's a lot of work involved. They are called.... Before they get in the van...before they get in the van they have to show their Bible, they have to show their homework book (their notebook), and they have to quote the verse that they learned...learned the week before. Now if they do this, that's fifty-two verses a year. How many people do you know that memorize fifty two verses a year? How many pastors memorize fifty-two verses a year? And then they get in the van....
SHUSTER: And if they can't do it, they're not allowed to come?
DRURY: Can't get in the van, don't get in the van. We are trying and we tell these kids, "We are training you to be Christian gladiators. So you can cut the mustard. You can walk down any street anywhere in America, and put your shoulders back and your head up high, and say, 'I walk with God,' and you have the tools to stand with God," and so forth and so on. We have somebody who rides shotgun in the van. When the kids get in the van, they have to explain the three quiet times that they had that week. Now try to imagine this in any Sunday school in America. Before you come in to church, you have to show your notebook, you have to quote a Bible verse, you have to...you know. Churches would be vacant. That's what this fellow Rich Smythe said. And he goes to a big Evangelical Fundamental church outside Philadelphia. He said that, "If we made those demands," he said, "my kids wouldn't go to church!" His own kids. He's got five kids. He said, "My kids wouldn't go to church." And then I go in every year to speak at the clubs in Philadelphia, because this is our biggest operation, in Philadelphia. I said to John Schleh, who's our field director.... John got saved at Princeton and went on to Grace Seminary [in Winona Lake, Indiana] and has been with us for twenty-five years. And when he invited me in to speak to the clubs.... Cold, cold winter night, and I could see these kids standing outside the van. But when I said to him, "John, how long do I speak?" He said, "Oh, about fifty-five minutes." I said, "No, no, no, no, no. How long do I talk?" He said a very profound thing. He said, "About fifty-five minutes. If you want to go an hour, that's all right." I said, "I get to talk....? All of the lies have been told, and you believe the lies. You know, the inability to make these kids listen, with their short-term mentality, and whatever. He said, "Mr. Drury, we only have them for an hour." [laughs] And in church...black churches are different. But the average white church would only have the people for one hour on Sunday morning. And maybe you might get a twenty minute sermon that's supposed to last you for the rest of the week. Now I know you should read the Bible on your own, but kids go to school for six, seven, eight hours a day, whatever it is now, six hours a day. He said, "We only have them for one hour." And I spoke to those...I spoke to all the clubs, you know, different nights. And they are allowed to ask questions as you go along, you know. I will not tolerate them sitting there with their hats on, you know. It's very interesting.
SHUSTER: Because? Why don't you want them to have their hats on?
DRURY: Disrespect; to show respect for God. It's very interesting. The first time I ever heard it down at Vets Stadium the other night. I was there at a ball game. They asked that the...asked that the folks take their hats off when they sing the national....
SHUSTER: The national anthem?
DRURY: So we...we have a quality program. I think we have a..... And we've got kids at Lancaster Bible College and we've had them in Millersville [College], we've had them at Word of Life [Bible Camp]. And we're trying to train up quality young people, you know.
SHUSTER: You mentioned they had to explain their three quiet times. What's that about?
DRURY: They...they are given a passage before they leave in the Scriptures. It might only be half a dozen verses, it might only be one verse. And they've got to read that, and reread that, and then they've got to explain what that verse means, and how they would apply it in their Christian life, you know. So they....
SHUSTER: So they have a quiet time three times during the week?
DRURY: We have it five times. But the mandate is that they have to have it three times. Or you do not come...you might come to Bible study that night, because you are already in the van. But it's.... And they have workbooks, they have workbooks, and they have homework. I don't know how many churches give homework. But they do have homework.
SHUSTER: Well, I think that's...you given us a great deal of time this morning, and would be a good point to stop for today.
END OF TAPE