Still trucking after all these years


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NEW MARKET — Barred from riding a school bus, Lester Dorsey got a job driving a truck when he was 16. More than 66 years later, at nearly age 82, he’s still behind the wheel. “I’ve done it all my life so I have to like it,” Dorsey said.

He was reared on New London Road outside New Market and still lives there. After completing seventh grade, he started looking for a job because he didn’t have a way to get to school.

At that time, Frederick County Public Schools didn’t bus black students to high school, he said. His parents didn’t own a car and couldn’t afford to pay someone to take him. Walking the 15 miles to Frederick High School would have taken hours, Dorsey said. He got a job working on the railroad by lying about his age.

“I said I was 18, but I was really only 15,” he said.

No one questioned him, because at 5 feet 9 inches and 170 pounds, he looked older. When his supervisors found out his actual age, they fired him, Dorsey said. He worked as a farmhand for several months before landing a job with Hahn Transportation Inc. in 1941.

Dorsey had learned to drive a truck by riding with a cousin who worked for the company. He again lied about his age, but this time, his fib wasn’t discovered until Dorsey was nearly 18.

He stayed with the trucking company 42 years and, he believes, was the first black man to haul gasoline for a common carrier in Maryland.

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