Herman Blake (left) grew up poor in the early 1940s living with his mother and six siblings just outside New York City.

At StoryCorps, he and his brother Sidney (right) remember a domestic worker named Lillian Tinsley who had no family of her own and little money but she made sure that he and his siblings all stayed in school and went to college.

Herman received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to become a professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz and a founding provost of Oakes College from 1972 to 1984.

Originally aired April 26, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.