Harvey discusses her educational and family background and describes the influences that led her to civil rights work. She considers the influence of religion on the civil rights movement and non-violence as a tactic of civil rights agitation. Harvey also discusses African Americans' opinions of Martin Luther King, Jr., and she suggests that the slow pace of civil rights change may lead to violence. Harvey discusses the imprisonment of Freedom Riders in Mississippi in 1961 and describes how she organized local women to help provide for their physical needs during their imprisonment. Harvey claims that there is no single way to solve the racial problems of the South, and she considers whether it might be necessary to improve economic conditions in the South as one step toward solving the South's racial strife. She also discusses the extent to which the South's racial problems are an international problem. Harvey considers whether African Americans and southerners have split consciousnesses, and she discusses the extent to which prejudice is an inherent part of southern traditions. Considering the slogan, "Freedom Now," Harvey contends that it is a call for positive action and not a denial that change requires time. Harvey discusses African Americans' low rate of financial support for the civil rights movement and she considers class differences among African Americans. Harvey explains that African Americans have stereotypes of white people, and she also describes her efforts to promote interracial communication in Jackson. Harvey discusses Reconstruction and sectional differences in race relations, and she opines that the South will lead the way in ending racial strife in the United States.
Clarie Collins Harvey
Clarie Collins Harvey (1916-1995) was a civil rights activist. A native of Louisa, Mississippi, Harvey attended college at both Baldwin College and Spelman College, graduating from the latter in 1937. She later earned graduate degrees from Indiana College and Columbia University. Harvey served as president of her family's two businesses, the Collins Funeral Homes and the Collins Insurance Company, both in Jackson. In 1961 Harvey founded Womanpower Unlimited, an organization in Jackson that provided necessary personal supplies to the Freedom Riders arrested and incarcerated at Parchman Penitentiary. The members of Womanpower Unlimited also organized a network of safe houses in which civil rights workers could stay, and they collaborated with other civil rights organizations to register black voters. Harvey also organized the Chain of Friendship, a network of white women outside Mississippi interested in supporting female integration workers inside the state.
TAPE 1 Searchable TextCollapse
[These digitized texts are based upon 1964 typed transcripts of Robert Penn Warren’s original interviews. Errors in the original transcripts have not been corrected. To ensure accuracy, researchers should consult the audio recordings available on this site. Time stamps are included in the retyped transcripts to aid in this process.]
ROBERT PENN WARREN BOX 1 – MRS. HARVEY FEBRUARY 9, 1964
[00:00:57] Warren: May we talk about that for a few minutes? Or shall we start with something more general?
Mrs. Harvey: We can start at that point.
[00:01:05] Warren: We can come back to that point too.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, and I think we probably will be coming back to it, because I really don't know the answer to my immediate involvement in the Civil Rights Drive, except to say this that my background from student days has been in one of concern for the larger community. This started with student Y work, and attendance at the World Conference of Christian Youth in Amsterdam, Holland, back in 1939. At that – how personal do you want a person to be in this?
[00:01:43] Warren: Well, as personal as you can.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, all right. Well, at that time I was engaged to a person who was not interested, outside of business, and business was to be my background heritage, and when I came back with the experience of the Amsterdam Conference, we terminated our engagement, because I saw that the dollar was not going to be the thing that must determine my whole life pattern, but people must be that. And, I felt that life with him would mean that the dollar would be the motivating factor and the primary thing, rather than involvement and concern about people. So that I grew so much in just that one summer of experience from my exposure, that I felt that the sort of person that I would choose to spend my life with must be a person who had this other quality, rather than the business perhaps, unless I could find one that combined both. So that's my first part of my answer to your question of my interest in the Civil Rights drive. My own growth out of college, where I was concerned with people and how they developed and how they would become mature, and how they get the get price on things.
[00:03:14] Warren: Where had you gone to college?
Mrs. Harvey: At Baldwin College, in Atlanta, Georgia.
[00:03:19] Warren: Yes, yes. Where Clark College is –
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's right. And I became President of the student Y there, and went to student conferences, you know, in North Carolina, but the crowning thing was the overseas experience.
[00:03:35] Warren: Yes.
Mrs. Harvey: And we studied with Sherwood Eddy that summer. Remember?
[00:03:39] Warren: Yes, I remember.
Mrs. Harvey: And we attached ourselves as a student youth group to his economic seminars that he took abroad for many years, and we got to know Dr. David Lloyd George and – oh, any number of persons and – of national and international stature.
[00:03:58] Warren: Where were you raised?
Mrs. Harvey: I was born in Louisa, Mississippi, which is ninety miles from Jackson, where –
[00:04:04] Warren: Yes, I know where that is.
Mrs. Harvey: Where …….. are now, and we came to Jackson here when I was very young, and seven years old, and my family has been in the funeral business, and my immediate family – my mother's father has been in the funeral business since 1950, but this particular business which we associated with, started back in 1903, and my dad came here to take over – to buy this particular business in the 1920's and that's when we moved to Jackson, Mississippi, so that I grew up here in Jackson, Mississippi.
[00:04:50] Warren: Well, after returning from Amsterdam – that was in what year?
Mrs. Harvey: 1939.
[00:04:55] Warren: Just before the war, then.
Mrs. Harvey: Just before the war. In fact, the war started and I know some persons in our group were on the Athenia when it went down, and were out in the water for many hours.
[00:05:09] Warren: Yes, I remember that. Yes.
Mrs. Harvey: Of course, I think to the Y and its impact on my life, was the church, because we've been fairly strict Methodists. My father had national responsibilities as a lay person in the Methodist church, and I had traveled extensively with him to various Methodist meetings, and so forth. So, again, this is an exposure which made me interested in people.
[00:05:41] Warren: Now may I interrupt just to check that these – that nothing has gone wrong here, so as – little on the low side. When did you and Dean Harvey get married?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, we were married in 1923. And we met on this experience that I told you about.
[00:06:20] Warren: In Amsterdam?
Mrs. Harvey: We married in Berlin, prior to Amsterdam. He was traveling with the Methodist group, and he was one of the leaders of the World Conference, of Christian Youth. By the time I met him he had studied youth groups in thirty countries of the world and was quite an authority on youth movements and he had a background as president of the New York Youth Council, and the first Negro president of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America.
[00:06:53] Warren: When was that?
Mrs. Harvey: When was he president?
[00:06:56] Warren: Yes.
Mrs. Harvey: I don't know the year. That was prior to my meeting him.
[00:06:59] Warren: Oh, oh, I see, before that.
Mrs. Harvey: It was prior to 1939.
[00:07:02] Warren: I see. How much do you think the religious background is of any importance in this movement?
Mrs. Harvey: The movement as a whole?
[00:07:16] Warren: This is a controversial point, you know.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I would say this. That religion per se has not been active in the Movement, as I know the Movement, but many of the people who have been involved, have been involved because of their religious orientation and their religious background. I don't think it has been the initiative of the church itself.
[00:07:48] Warren: Not institutional you mean.
Mrs. Harvey: Institutional – within the Movement, but it has been religiously oriented people who have taken the leadership, like Martin Luther King, for example, but I don't know how many people in his church would even follow him in the Movement, you see.
[00:08:08] Warren: Yes, yes. But you find a great deal of bitterness here and there from responsible people, responsible Negro leaders, who say, "I am sick of Christianity. It's been a trap."
Mrs. Harvey: Yes.
[00:08:22] Warren: You know this argument, of course.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes.
[00:08:25] Warren: On the one hand that, on the other hand the attitude typified by you and by Dr. Abernathy and Dr. King – there's all sorts of shadings.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, you see I think this is because you have to differentiate between what Christianity has become, and the way it has been lived and practiced, and the way it has become institutionalized, and what Christianity really is – as Jesus – He didn't outline it. As we have it based on His teachings and His practices. And, I think this is where the problem comes – for example, going up again, back to the Amsterdam experience. Those of us from America thought that European Christians were great sinners because they sat in sidewalk cafes and sipped beer and drank champagne. And yet, when we went to take communion, they felt we were the worst Christians because we wore lipstick, you see. Well, there are many things that have become accretions to Christians – and we have said these are things that determine whether a person is a Christian, or whether they aren't, that have no basis at all in the fact. And, I think that's where the problem lies.
[00:09:50] Warren: Well, the accretions are personal and institutional and-
Mrs. Harvey: That's right.
[00:09:54] Warren: Generally social.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. That's right.
[00:09:58] Warren: May I read you –
Mrs. Harvey: And get away from the life of Christianity.
[00:10:04] Warren: May I read you a quotation here about Dr. King's philosophy? This is by Dr. Kenneth Clark, professor of psychology at C.C.N.Y. now. You know. "On the surface King's philosophy appears to reflect health and stability, while black naturalism" – he's been talking about the Black Muslims before, "betrayed pathology and instability, but a deeper analysis might reveal that there is also an unrealistic or pathological basis in King's doctrine. The natural reaction to injustice, oppression and humiliation are bitterness and resentment. The forms which such bitterness take need not be overtly violent, the corrosion of the spirit seemed inevitable. It would seem, therefore, that any demand that the victims of oppression be required to love those who oppress them, puts an additional and intolerable burden upon them psychologically." It makes for – well, what he says. To continue in the same thought – "It has been argued that the proper interpretation of King's philosophy of love, must take into account its Christian, philosophical and strategic significance. This argument may be perfectly correct for a small minority of educated and philosophically sophisticated individuals, but it is unlikely that it can be accepted with full understanding by the masses of Negroes. Their attempt to cope with this type of philosophical abstraction in the fact of injustice, can only lead to a deep and disturbing conflict and inner guilt."
Mrs. Harvey: Of course, I wouldn't be qualified to evaluate that because I don't know enough about psychology –
[00:12:25] Warren: But, you know people.
Mrs. Harvey: But my personal reactions would be these. The matter of non-violent action, I think, toward the dominant groups in American life has been the pattern of the Negroes generally, through the years. There wasn't – he'd take the razor to himself to get his frustrations off, or to – within his own racial group on Saturday nights. That's why you have these cuttings, or he'd beat his wife, but he would never take – I wouldn't say he never would, but very rarely – you didn't have this overt thing against the dominant group. You have an identification, a feeling and a concern for them, a sense of humor about them, laughing at them – their weaknesses and foibles and also a sort of out trying to outsmart them idea, which, I think, the Negro pattern of reaction in American life has been one toward this pattern of non-violence toward the other group, rather than away from it. Now, whether this has created within him additional frustrations, as Kenneth says that it would do, if – you know – the way it's used now, I don't know, but it seems to me that this is following a continuous pattern in the life of the Negro.
[00:14:03] Warren: This would deny the Christian premise entirely, wouldn't it – the Christian vein entirely – to give –
Mrs. Harvey: What would give?
[00:14:11] Warren: Dr. Clark's statement. According to him, to forgive means to accept greater conflict, which is unhealthy.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's right. That's true. Then the other thing is I think it doesn't reckon with the three kinds of love that Dr. King talks about, you know. That he's talking about when you love, must love a certain person, the type, where you love him as the person of worth and you love him because in him too is the same spirit that is a divine spirit that is in you. You don't love him as a brother, you don't love him sexually, you don't love him because of any of his physical attributes, and you don't love the things that he does to you – or against himself – but you love him because he's a child of God, just as you are a child of God. And this is the type of love that he's talking about – and I think it's very important that you must recognize it.
[00:15:16] Warren: You have known people, undoubtedly, who have been caught in violent situations in recent years – Negroes who have been caught in violent situations. Undoubtedly you know some who on grounds, not of fear, or of tactics, have refused to be violent, but have done so because of some theological or Christian or philosophical attitude. Do you see any corrosion of spirit in them, any extra burden of guilt, and any conflict – intolerable conflict in those people afterward.
Mrs. Harvey: No, I personally have not. I would think that they grow from this, rather than get depleted by it. Now, with our young people, much of the non-violence that they practice is they practice it, it seems to me, as a technique, rather than as a way of life, or as – well, they have had it explained to them as a philosophy, but it's not growing out of a deep theological rooting, or a Christian background. They have found it as a good technique, and of course many people have said that the non-violence that Martin Luther king advocates and practices is really not true non-violence, according to the way Ghandi had it. It's become a mixed thing, I should say; it has many factors; there are many aspects there.
[00:16:55] Warren: Dr. Clark, Kenneth Clark, says again that the reason that Dr. King has been applauded is because he comforts the white man. He continues to stereotype the Negro as, you know, non-resistant, passive.
Mrs. Harvey: Applauded by whom?
[00:17:22] Warren: By white people. He has been – you know, gets degrees and is advertised because he is comforting to the white man to think about.
Mrs. Harvey: I don't know. That may be true. I don't know.
[00:17:37] Warren: It's an idea, that you encounter elsewhere among Negroes?
Mrs. Harvey: About King?
[00:17:44] Warren: That the reason King is popular and is applauded by white people is because he flatters their preconception.
Mrs. Harvey: No, I haven't ever heard that. Of course – not among Negroes – I've heard that Black Muslims – I read that they say this about King.
[00:17:59] Warren: Yes, they say that.
Mrs. Harvey: But, I've never run into any individual. But, I have run into individual Negroes who react negatively to Dr. King, because they feel that he was agitating too much, and that –
[00:18:16] Warren: Too much?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that he was agitating too much. How confidential is this?
[00:18:22] Warren: Listen, I'll put it this way. It'll be totally confidential. We will make it – cut out – of this is – I will send a –
Mrs. Harvey: Well, you see one is – getting back to the original subject of – about my getting involved in civil rights. Again, in my family it goes back to the sort of family background that is mine. On my father's side of the family there were this eighty-five year old aunt who died right in this room here about three year ago, and had lived with us ten years ago. Father, who was my grandfather, tells that he and his brothers would not be beaten during slavery time, when they had some infraction, the master was angry with them, they would go hide out in the woods and stay until his temper cooled. And, then, they would come back. But, they were such good workers on the place, that he would give them some minor punishment – but this is sort of root background that I – this was right here in Mississippi. The family property is still down the
- but they still keep it in the family. Now, on my mother's side of the family, my people were independent merchants, dating back to my great-great-grandfather, who evidently must have been a slave. And, then, after slavery had set up a little business where he was a peanut vendor, and would sell peanuts at the trains as they came into the station there.
[00:20:02] Warren: After the Civil War. After the Emancipation.
Mrs. Harvey: After the Emancipation, in Meridian, Mississippi. Then his son, who was my great-grandfather, through hard work – my mother tells of him working so that when he would come in from the fields, you could hear the sweat sloshing in his boots – he worked so hard the perspiration, you know – that he got enough land in Lauderville County to have a plantation and to have many people working for him on the plantation and living as sharecroppers on the plantation. And, then, his daughter, who was my grandmother, married an Alabama man, and they were set up – instead of taking their share of the family property, acreage, they were given money to set up a business in Meridian, Mississippi. And I have in my files downstairs their contract for going into the grocery business, which was signed back in 1800, or something, where my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my granduncle all go in this grocery business – how much they put in and so forth – and the books of the business for years. Now this business was operated for about forty years, until my grandfather got too old and he retired and came and lived here. Then shifting back to my father's family again, my father was one of founders of the N.A.C.P. here in Jackson, Mississippi. He and a Mr. Noel and Mr. Dixon, Hadley started it. And, Miss Cox who spoke at the meeting today is an insurance agent that has been with us thirty years, and she tells that when my dad started the N.A.C.P. here that for two or three years, that only three people would meet – would be those three men. And then, finally when they were just able to get more people interested and working with it, and they started a youth council.
[00:22:07] Warren: What year was that – when it was founded, roughly?
Mrs. Harvey: It was in the twenties. Because you see my father came here in '24 – so this was '26, '27, 28, something like that.
[00:22:17] Warren: Pretty early then.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. And, then along probably in the '30's they started the first Youth Council and I was a member of the first Youth Council, along with the daughters of the other two men, and the daughter of one of the men became Gladys Noel Bates, as an adult, and filed the first suit for the equalization of teachers' salaries in the State of Mississippi. So here again is an explanation of why I'm interested, involved in the Civil Rights – its family background, tradition, the type of stock from which I come, that makes me interested in this sort of thing.
[00:23:01] Warren: And the special energy that's got, I should say, too, is clearly, clearly indicated by the history.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes, partly. Yes. Now, you were – we were talking about Mr. King and I would want you to say this, when I asked you how personal – how private this was – one of my daily burdens is my own immediate staff in the office. My secretary, whom I inherited from my mother – you see, my father's been dead since '39 – and my mother has carried the business on since, and it's just in recent years that I've had to start commuting, because her health had – the growth of the business has meant that she wasn't able to function as she had – and so that the secretary we have has been with us twenty-five years this year, and she is one of the ones – one of the sort of people that believes that everything white is right; and is definitely not for the movement at all. And then, also, in the office is my husband's sister, who comes from an entirely different background – the Northern background that he comes from – and all of that. And, yet, she falls right in the same pattern of this secretary who grew up here in Mississippi and worked for whites, and learned to feel that they were superior to Negroes and all the rest of it.
[00:24:31] Warren: Let me cut in on that point. You have raised a question I wanted to ask a little about. Some psychologists I know in New Haven told me that in the New New Haven Rebuilding program that is going on in the city, they have taken certain psychological tests with different groups, to get their image of themselves. And among these are the Negro groups. There's a test called the rumor test, where they take a picture, same picture or roughly the same picture always, several people are – we'll say a white man is in the foreground, a Negro here and a Negro there and they're just grouped around at random in the picture. There's no necessary relation among them. They're not involved in the same section. A white man, a white man in the foreground will have a knife, or a razor, with – making no threatening gestures – but is just holding it. Say ten or fifteen people are asked to look at the – one person looks at the picture. He then is supposed to tell the next person about it. The next person tells the next one. Then the description is taken at the end, what is in the picture, and you see, the nature of the test, of course, it's an image that puts the knife out the hand of white man into the hand of the Negro in the picture. This, he said, is almost infallible. Extraordinary. Now, there's a question, of course, what motives are secretly operating to make that transfer. One motive they attribute to it is the self-image – white man's image of Negro as potentially violent, or the associations, but is that all? Could there be other motives operating, you see, secretly in this transfer? When it's taken – when it occurs among Negroes in this series.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes.
[00:26:52] Warren: Could you think of any other motive that might be operating there, besides the self-image of the violent person?
Mrs. Harvey: You mean in the relationship to the people?
[00:27:02] Warren: Yes, when the Negro takes the picture – this is the picture and takes the knife out of the white man's hand and puts it in his own – in the course of it, of telling it somebody slipped, you see. Somebody transfers it.
Mrs. Harvey: Not at the moment. Because I was still on another track of thought.
[00:27:21] Warren: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Mrs. Harvey: That's all right. I’ll come back to it later. Maybe I'll have a reaction to it. What I was trying to finish –
[00:27:32] Warren: Please, please, I'm sorry.
Mrs. Harvey: When I was talking about these two persons in the office was merely to bring out the fact that here are two people who react negatively to Martin Luther King, and against what we are trying to do in the Movement, and I say this is a daily burden that I have to bear because I don't feel like I can communicate – that here's the employer-employee relationship, you see, which makes it very difficult for me to communicate with them. I try to keep posted on the bulletin board constantly all the things that are going on in the Movement, and whenever there's an opportunity we do discuss these things, but they are two people who feel that Dr. King isn't doing too much. I wish Martin Luther King would just go on home and tend to his business. But they feel that he's in it more for personal gain or merit, and so forth, rather than for the thing that Kenneth Clark was indicating.
[00:28:33] Warren: Yes, you encountered that notion here and there. How widespread do you think that notion is?
Mrs. Harvey: I don't think it's very widespread, but I think it's unfortunate that you have people who have a great influence on other people holding that point of view, and not really realizing what the Movement is about, and what is happening, and I just wanted to finish that.
[00:29:00] Warren: Please, please.
Mrs. Harvey: That thought – there was another thought back there when we were talking about a – oh, yes, that I wanted to get into, the hopper – when you were talking about this non-violence on the part of the Negroes. There is the feeling now, and the Cocoa people will verify this, perhaps. I got this from the Civil Rights hearings here recently and listening to people talk, that they feel that they have been patient too long, and that the Justice Department is not doing anything about this regress on their grievances, and, therefore, they feel that they must take things in their own hands, and here you have the possibility of violence erupting from the Negro against the white group.
[00:29:51] Warren: Is that – taking things in their own hands – what would that mean? What literally, concretely, specifically, would that mean?
Mrs. Harvey: Well –
[00:30:00] Warren: Or might it mean, of course.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, it would mean, it would mean a fight – it would mean the mob violence, it would mean physical action with knives, guns and what have you. Now what this would solve – it would solve nothing – it will compound the problem, is the way I personally feel about it, but they just feel that they – this stuff is just so built up in them and all these frustrations that – the things we heard today about going down and then there are no exemption slips, or one of the patterns that came out in the Civil Rights hearing was that they go down to register and the Registrar disappears, you know. And so they stay there all day and nobody there, you know, and then somebody comes in – "Well, we got to close up now. You have to come back tomorrow." You see, all these harassments and frustrations are just at the explosion point on a lot of people, and they think they'll just let it explode and spill all over, and the people who have been perpetrating it. So that – it's a very real thing now in Mississippi, and may get entirely away from all the non-violent sects. Martin Luther King is calling it preaching.
[00:31:16] Warren: Do you think this will spill over with selected targets, as it were – a white man, offends a Negro and –
Mrs. Harvey: No.
[00:312:24] Warren: And gets violence, or it will spill over by just indiscriminate –
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, indiscriminate. It would be uncontrolled.
[00:31:30] Warren: Just the explosion?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes.
[00:31:32] Warren: Any man, white – any child, white – anyone gets it if he's passing.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes. It would be uncontrolled as I see it.
[00:31:40] Warren: But before the break would come, it would reach the point of the indiscriminate.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. That's right. Well, this was a recurring thing – said over and over again at the last Civil Rights hearing here at the – United States Commission.
[00:31:58] Warren: I attended a non-violence conference at Howard University last November, and there was some talk – well, I’ll cut back. There was greater criticism of Dr. King's program –
Mrs. Harvey: I see.
[00:32:17] Warren: A great deal – but you had a kind of scale, a spectrum going down to the fear of violence of this sort – but before that a considered policy of brakesmanship of violence, or the violence short of the lethal – was discussed as actual policy, a coldly calculated policy. Not an explosion, you see, but a policy – say, not to kill, or to destroy property, or blow bridges, as a possibility, or – the matter of the – excuse me or the matter of the threat played with constantly of violence.
Mrs. Harvey: I see. Yes. Yes – come in. All right. This is Mrs. Moore, Dr. Warren.
[00:33:06] Warren: How're you, Mrs. Moore.
Mrs. Harvey: Warren, uh huh. Dr. Warren has written several books.
[00:33:20] Warren: Well, you were telling me at the table about the freedom riders and your entering the Civil Rights Movement.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. I really was trying to get back to a direct answer to your initial question of my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and the immediate thing that projected me into it at this moment was the coming of the freedom riders, back in May of 1961. Of course, you know from my book that – Warren, Power, Limited issued and I sent you earlier, that we had been sent by the bishop of our area, the Methodist bishop of our area on my annual conference on the coast, to Jackson to see the persons who had been jailed, and to attend the first hearing, and it was out of this first hearing that I noticed that some of the girls did not have sweaters, and when we inquired, we found that one needed a sweater, it was very cool, although it was mid-May – and our ministers, Reverend E.A. Mays of the Central Methodist Church, was kind enough to take one of my sweaters back to the jail and give it to the young lady. This was on Friday. I can give you the exact date if you wish it.
[00:34:54] Warren: If you have it handy.
Mrs. Harvey: Just hold it. This was Friday, May 26th, 1961, and then on Saturday, May 27th, at night, I was talking with Attorney Jack Young's wife, and she was saying that since the young people were not taking bond and were staying in the community, they found that they had many, many needs, and she had sent pajamas up by her husband. So this planted a seed within me – the need that the people were going to have if they remained in our community for thirty-nine days, when they had not come prepared to stay. And, the other factor was that at the hearing it came out very clearly that these people had never intended to be arrested in the first place. You see, they were sort of captured in coming from Alabama to Mississippi, they were escorted by the police on the buses and they were not allowed rest rooms' facilities, or rest rooms – there was no rest room on the bus – and they made no stops so that they could use rest rooms. And, the testimony at the trial indicated that one minister had, Wyatt T. Walker, had asked the person in charge of the bus –the military person, police power in charge of the bus, to please stop and let them use the rest rooms, and he had been told to just go up to the back of the bus and use it. And he said, "Well, there are women there". He said, "So what." So when they got to Jackson, all of them had this tremendous physical urge, and they drove up to the Greyhound Bus Station – no, the Trailway Bus Station, and the door to the, what was the Negro waiting room, had Out of Order sign on it, so that they were funneled by this line of police who were standing there into the white rest room – the white waiting room – and they rushed onto the white rest room, and there, in the process of bladder evacuation they were arrested. Well, now they hadn't planned any of this, - hadn't intended to do it, but they were forced into it – and to their arrest. So after it had been done, then they decided to make the most of it, and James Farmer was a part of that particular group. So, one of – so the next morning – this was Sunday morning, after talking with Mrs. Young on Sunday night right in this room, the idea came to me to call some of the churches and ask if they would make the contribution to help provide the – for the physical needs of the freedom riders who were going to be staying here, and to send me two women from each church. So, by Sunday afternoon we had twelve women and at least seventy-five dollars in hand. And, from that small beginning, we were able to get, oh a hundred and fifty, or two hundred women to work across the summer, providing for the needs of these persons. And, monies came to us from local groups and from individuals, as well as from people across the country. And we did – the sort of thing we did was to send them in clothes and toilet articles and writing paper and that sort of thing. We could not go ourselves as women. We had to send it by ministers, or by a lawyer – and we went on some occasions and we were constantly asked, "Well, are you a licensed minister?" "No." "Well, then you can't go in."
[00:38:33] Warren: Only ministers could – lawyers.
Mrs. Harvey: Only ministers, or a lawyer. And then, of course, they sent many of the freedom riders over to Parchman, after there was so many of them that came, and while they were at Parchman, we could do nothing for them. We sent things to them, but the things were not given them, and when they came back again, then we would meet them at the Jail and take them to our homes and churches and what have you to feed them and to get them cleaned up. And then, it was recorded in James Peck's book on the freedom ride, as well as in many articles – Ladies' Home Journal, Jet, Study, many of the national and local publications, Negro and white, recorded that many of the freedom riders said that their sanity was maintained while they were under torturous conditions, in this tremendous heat, and with the brutal treatment they were receiving up in Parchman, because they knew that back in Jackson, Mississippi, there were women who were concerned and interested and who represented something of the mind of the community. They felt that they weren't – that their efforts were not being wasted.
[00:39:47] Warren: You think that many people here were waked up by that change there?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think that the presence of the freedom riders did more for Jackson's Negro community than anything that I know has happened in my years of living here. Because we were very disunified. We had no sense of unity at all on social issues as Negroes, and I thought – I felt this way about it, that particularly for our young people who get in on the act and they got jailed with some of the freedom riders, that some of them heard of Yale University, for example, for the first time, because they were cell-mates with somebody who had studied at Yale, or who happened to mention Yale. They heard of universities and colleges that they had never heard of before. They heard of professionals that were open that they had never even thought – they never even heard of before – and they found out that Negroes did go into them. It gave them an ideal, and a cause and a hope – and an exposure that they hadn't had, and it was one of the best things in the world. So that besides unifying the community, it did tremendous good for our young people in giving them goals – some motivation to goals.
[00:41:05] Warren: I hadn't thought of that aspect of it.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. This was tremendous, and it also brought courage to them, which was another thing – that people felt – they began – we began to look at ourselves and say, "Well, you know, maybe we ought not to be just so satisfied living as we are. Maybe there is another way of life, that's possible right here. Maybe we don't have to send our children to Los Angeles and to New York and Chicago and Detroit for jobs when they get educated. Maybe they can get their jobs right here if we do certain things for ourselves within our community, as long as we have the people who are going to help open our eyes and make us opportunities that are right here, and who are willing to help us – well, why not stay here and do something about it?"
[00:41:52] Warren: James Baldwin writes in his last book, as a matter of fact, -
Mrs. Harvey: Is this the First Next Time?
[00:41:58] Warren: Yes. That the Southern mob does not represent the majority will of the South. He says that this is based on the testimony of those best qualified to observe – those people being the actual embattled fighters he says, on the Southern front. Would that seem to make sense to you?
Mrs. Harvey: Umm. I think that makes sense. I think, though, that it's the mob, of course, is the one that gets the publicity you see, and so forth, but I think that the real tragedy in the South is the people of good will who remain silent – who let the mob take over and exert the pressures and get the publicity.
[00:42:52] Warren: Baldwin goes on to say that the mob fills a moral vacuum – what you are saying, I guess.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, - about – yes.
[00:42:59] Warren: The other forces can't find any way of expression.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. Yes, the other forces are not courageous enough to find a way of expression. I feel that they could, if they would.
[00:43:12] Warren: Is it a problem of organization too? Fighting a focused organization?
Mrs. Harvey: A lot of the problem is probably of leadership. Now, this leadership may take a form of getting people organized, or it may not, but I think the lack of leadership has been great in the white group, as well as the Negro group, because so many of our best people have been siphoned off – white and Negro to other areas, because they haven't been able to find the job opportunities and the economic security that they needed within the community. You have thousands moving away every year, white and Negro – some of your best minds.
[00:43:58] Warren: Yes, Mississippi has been sort of the seed bag of manpower for the country for a long time.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. In these people that have left, there have been many resources that would have given us the sort of leadership that we needed to keep the mob in its proper place. Of course, they say this is why the Citizens' Council was organized – to prevent mob violence and to get moderate control, but it hasn't worked out this way.
[00:44:32] Warren: I don't believe that myself.
Mrs. Harvey: No. Well, there may – maybe it was just a statement. I mean, maybe this isn't the reason why it was organized, but this is what many – I have talked with some people who are Citizens' Council people, and they say this is why they came in – to give us moderates. But, if it is the reason, it's not the way it has worked out.
[00:44:53] Warren: No. No. There's another notion associated with that – this –
Mrs. Harvey: May I interrupt you?
[00:45:00] Warren: Yes, please do.
Mrs. Harvey: I'm still trying to – to not be a politician and go off on a tangent when answering your questions, but I think we ought to get into the hopper that thing that I was saying again – why I am interested.
[00:45:17] Warren: Oh, please do.
Mrs. Harvey: This involvement with the Methodist church on a national level, as a member of General Board of Christian Social Concerns – was another springboard, you see, for me to get into the present Civil Rights struggle in the local community. For me it was not enough to have a national responsibility, a national position with this Board, and do things nationally, and not get that same thing working within my local community. So now, maybe, I have answered fully your initial question.
[00:45:56] Warren: Well, we may have some more ideas later. The old question that we hear over and over again, in one form or another – can there be a solution for "the Negro problem", without a solution for "the poor white problem" in the South?
Mrs. Harvey: I would think not. I think the two have to go hand in hand, and I don't think you can help one without helping the other, and I don't think you should help one without helping the other. One of the major problems in the South that has affected both groups is economics, and it's reflected in poor education for whites, as well as poor education for Negroes. And, if this problem of economics is helped, then it should spread across the board and this will mean a tremendous amount to our State. One of the things that I'm tremendously interested in, and if you have any contacts that would be helpful, is to get into Mississippi and the small manufacturing businesses.
[00:47:10] Warren: I have none.
Mrs. Harvey: That would – I mean, contacts with people, to – who could tell us how you go about it. Something that doesn't require a lot of capital, but would put thirty or forty people to work and give them economic security, because this is a tremendous need here, which reflects in this lack of economic security – and meeting basic economic needs reflects in all of the aspects of our culture, and our isolation, ideas on religion, our Bible synod thinking there, and in our race attitudes and mob violence and other things. I think it's really fundamental.
[00:47:58] Warren: How is unemployment here?
Mrs. Harvey: How is unemployment?
[00:48:01] Warren: Yes.
Mrs. Harvey: It's – I couldn't give you percentages, but it's – we have more than we should. And, you see, much of this displacement in Mississippi by automation, the cotton picking machine. And you could see it for yourself if you just travel from here to Memphis, Tennessee, the vacant hovels on the plantations – just empty, you see.
[00:48:25] Warren: Yes. That was begun some years ago.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, it had begun several years ago, but it continues. And the migration into town, you see – they left the plantations and have come into towns.
[00:48:25] Warren: What about the relief situation? Is there discrimination on that in Jackson? Or does anybody know how much there is?
Mrs. Harvey: I don't know how much there is.
[00:48:51] Warren: I hadn't heard it said about Jackson, but it's said about other places.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes – I don't know. I wouldn't – Jackson is pretty typical of the other places, so if it's evident in other places, I'm certain it would be here too.
[00:49:13] Warren: You said earlier that improvement would have to come through a number of forces operating at the same time.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think I – I think that's it – that we were discussing this at dinner, and I thought you were saying that you had attended a conference where Martin Luther King and his approach was greatly criticized. And, that Mr. Clarence Mitchell indicated that he believed a great deal of it was a political approach, and other people at the conference felt that this was not good at all – and I was saying that it's my feeling that there's no one way to solve the problem, that's mutually exclusive of other ways. There must be many forces and different types of approaches to the problem, because you're working with different kinds of problems and you're working with different kinds of people in different situations. Therefore, what will be good in one place, may not necessarily be good in another. But, it doesn't mean that this is no good, because it doesn't work in a particular place. Therefore, I think there must be many approaches to the problem – many different fronts on which people work – and many different techniques used.
[00:50:32] Warren: Well, with that in mind, I'll cut back to the question of relations of the Negroes to the poor whites, the dispossessed white, or the ignorant, uneducated white. Can you envisage a policy which would involve the amelioration of the white man's situation too? Is there any basis for cooperation, or comprehension at that level over policy that could involve both Negro and white?
Mrs. Harvey: I think that there would be, from the standpoint of a policy which would have to come from above down, but I don't know how much cooperation you would get on this particular level unless you had very strong leadership. Would you hold that there just a minute? Well, now, getting back to this question of the poor whites and the poor Negroes getting rapport and a working relationship – I think it can be done; I can't tell you how – because I don't really feel that they have great antipathy for each other. I think this is – they have been used by the power structure – pitted against each other, sand that they really don't have deep-seated resentments against each other and could work together, given an opportunity to do so. And, certainly if they felt they were going to better themselves, each group better themselves by a cooperative working relationship. I had an experience the other day, sitting in the bus station in Hammond. I was sitting in what was formerly the white side of the station, and I was the only Negro sitting in there. All the other Negroes were sitting where they had been accustomed to sitting before the law changed, and I had eaten breakfast and took a seat – one seat removed from a white lady sitting there. And, she leaned over to me and said, "Are you an insurance lady?" And I realized that I had one of my business briefcases and that's why she asked that – and we began to talk and she didn't have any – she was definitely poor white, and she didn't have any resentment because I was there – and she didn't mind the other people staring because we were talking. And, she was talking about some of her personal problems – why she had to go to Baton Rouge, and so forth, and I think this is pretty typical of a private person is. If she could get a job somewhere where other people were working, and they were all going to be benefitted by it, I think we'd –
[00:53:27] Warren: To extend that – there's another statement that only the Negro situation tied to the poor white situation, with the other notion "the South cannot change until the North changes". This is said over and over again by Baldwin, by many sociologists – that the root lies – is a national root to the problem, not a sectional one.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes. Why I think the problem is an international problem, for that matter – the problem of race and the problem of minorities and the problem of using people is not, I think, colonialism is another face on the same type of problem so I think it's a world-wide problem. But, I don't think that you could say that the South won't change until the North changed. That would not be my feeling. I am hoping, and my reason for remaining in the South and working and struggling is because I am hoping the South will point the way, because the problem is so serious and intense here. I hope we can point the way for the whole nation, for that matter. And it's interesting, you know, noticing how peoples in other countries – Africa, particularly, are gaining respect for us in America because of the stand we are taking in the Civil Rights struggle. For example, when I was in Ghana in 1962; I was there for the World Without the Bomb Peace Conference, and Madame Jeggi, who is a judge in the Supreme Court there – a Ghanaian woman – said to me after taking Mrs. Wadsworth through the Y.W.C.A. in Ghana, "My dear, your American whites are so childish". And I said, "What do you mean, Madame Jeggi?" She said, "They lean over backwards, being nice to us here and yet we read about when they go home they kick you in the teeth." She said, "How do you think that the mother feels when they are nice to the mother, and they mistreat the child?" Well, now this was a different idea to me altogether, because the Africans that I had known who had come over here to study looked down on me, and other Negroes, because we have been slaves – our heritage is slave background and they said they'd never had – and they never seemed to want to identify with us socially, or any way. But, now, here's this whole new respect for us, looking upon us as the children of the Mother Africa because we are now asserting ourselves and really reminding the people in America that there are certain rights under the Constitution that were guaranteed to us – and we just haven't got them – we're a little late getting.
[00:56:42] Warren: Speaking of Mother Africa, that notion, many years ago in reading DuBoise, I came across for the first time in my experience a discussion of what I think he calls the split in psyche of the American Negro. He says on one hand there's the pull towards a mystical view of blackness, toward the African heritage – toward the community feeling and loyalties based on that inheritance, and on the not extensive social situation of cramp and oppression and exploitation, but some mystic identification. This being one impulse – the other impulse is toward entering the Western European, American cultural tradition. And, in the process perhaps, eventually, losing all identity. This division of loyalty – and excuse me -
Mrs. Harvey: Yes?
I hate to disturb you, but I just wanted to say to Dr. Warren that I'm getting old – and -Collapse
TAPE 2 Searchable TextCollapse
[These digitized texts are based upon 1964 typed transcripts of Robert Penn Warren’s original interviews. Errors in the original transcripts have not been corrected. To ensure accuracy, researchers should consult the audio recordings available on this site. Time stamps are included in the retyped transcripts to aid in this process.]
ROBERT PENN WARREN BOX 2 MRS. HARVEY February 9, 1964.
[00:00:11] Warren: Where were we?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I was about to ask you.
[00:00:12] Warren: I've lost track.
Mrs. Harvey: Uh, huh. Oh, we were talking about the mystic in the Negro, which –
[00:00:23] Warren: Oh, yes, expressed – expressed –
Mrs. Harvey: In DuBoise. Yes, now what was your question on that?
[00:00:27] Warren: Well, what do you feel about that?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I think the two experiences of my husband and I might be illustrative of the type of thing that DuBoise was talking about. Now, my feeling in Africa was one of complete identification, a feeling of going home, you know, being at home, and that I really had found my roots, you know, and all that. Well, now, my husband had none of that at all. Africa was just like going to South America, or India, or some other place to him – Europe. So, now, right here within my own family is maybe an illustration of the sort of thing you're talking about.
[00:01:16] Warren: Well, how would that feeling – your feeling for Africa, this sense of home, relate to your activity toward integrated, free society here, which possibly means a loss of identity as a Negro? How do those feelings square?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, all right. We'll come back to that.
[00:01:41] Warren: All right.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I can say this – it's being a feeling of home did not mean that I wanted to return there to remain –
[00:01:53] Warren: Yes?
Mrs. Harvey: It just felt – it made me feel that I had finally touched base, and that I had, you know, put my feet down solid on what my roots were. But, it's from this point I would want to move – move forward, and this would mean integration. This would mean working, even if I were in Africa for the abundant life for all men, and all people – and it certainly would mean this in American life. You see, I see – my feeling about mankind is that we all – no matter what race we are – are children of God and that He wants us all to have abundant life, whatever it means – whatever the abundant life means for you, whatever it means for me, based on what our individual personalities are – our backgrounds, our roots and so forth. I want to work for that wherever I am, and it's not a matter of feeling that because Africa gave me a sense of belonging and a sense of kinship, and a sense of being at home and a sense of finding my roots that I just want to sit down on those laurels.
[00:03:16] Warren: You wouldn't interpret it then as a movement toward Negro exclusiveness – approximating the Muslim –
Mrs. Harvey: No, no. Oh, no. Or the Zarviacs.
[00:03:30] Warren: Or the Zarviacs, or anything like that.
Mrs. Harvey: No, not at all.
[00:03:33] Warren: You find in terms of Christian religion then? Is that right?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I do. They way I interpret it, yes. And even in more than that because, I mean, this could be – let's say the Judo – the Judoist – pronounce it for me – Judeo-Christian tradition, because many persons that I work with are Jewish. And then, I've worked with people who are non-believers, for that matter. Certainly in the Peace Movement, many people are nonbelievers, some of them agnostics, and some are atheists. But, I see it from a framework of God's relationship to all of his children.
[00:04:20] Warren: Speaking of Jews, several Jews have said to me about this question of the split in the – or possible split in the Negro psyche, that they have the same thing. On the one hand, your identity as a Jew. On the other hand, the impulse to move into the main stream of American life and lose that exclusiveness, even lose the Jewish heritage perhaps.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, you see I feel that you may in the natural process of moving in, lose a lot of it, but I think if you are aware of what your background is, and you have respect and admiration for it; I think the split in the psyche comes when a person wants to move away from what his past was, and does not have respect for it and doesn't admire it – and therefore, he's trying to be absorbed by another thing. It's not that with me. It's recognizing what my past is, as a member of a Negro minority, with relationship and roots in Africa, but it's also working with all of the races, so that everybody gets their place in the sun.
[00:05:45] Warren: Do you see a parallelism between this problem for those Negroes for when it is a problem, and the problem of the Mississippians, or other Southerners – who on one hand feel the impulse to enter the mainstream of American life and who are committed to that in a way, yet who stand back defending some exclusiveness – some presumably necessary Southern heritage – split of that sort, that Mirdahl talks about – that many others talk about.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I guess there is.
[00:06:21] Warren: A division of loyalty is there.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I guess there is a parallel. But, you see, I don't think – I mean, although Mirdahl is saying this and DuBoise said it, and it does happen with people, I don't think it necessarily has to happen. I don't think one – you have to exclude one or the other.
[00:06:39] Warren: Yes, I understand your point of view.
Mrs. Harvey: That's what I'm suggesting.
[00:06:42] Warren: Many Southerners are in the position, I should think, of the Negro who can't reconcile these two impulses.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes.
[00:06:47] Warren: He also is in a split position.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right, that's right, absolutely. Because he said then, like black and white – was it Dykeman that studied black and white, anyway, that it was like spitting on the grave. You see, he really didn't believe all of this, but it was like spitting on the grave of his grandfather if he didn't act as though he believed into it and lived up to the Southern traditions and so forth. So this – yes this was the –
[00:07:16] Warren: Not an uncommon thing to find.
Mrs. Harvey: Why – why is this – why – well, of course Southerners in modern are just diehards, though, anyway. I was about to ask, why do you – they feel this tremendous tug of tradition on them, because part of it, I guess, is the whole isolationism of the people living in the South anyway, because they are isolated on issues of peace, they are isolated in economics, they are isolated in race – and this is a whole reflection, isn't it – on?
[00:08:01] Warren: They feel themselves a deprived minority, many of them do. Have the psychology of a deprived minority. Same psychology that can be found in any minority. This is complicated by defeated nationalism, I suppose.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes. And it puts them on a defensive position.
[00:08:26] Warren: Now my next thought – question, stemming from that would be this: Do you see any change for Southerners you know to keep their Southernness, their sense of loyalty to a personal heritage, and lose the Negro prejudice – or is the Negro prejudice a necessary part of the Southern heritage, or is it an accidental part of the Southern heritage. Do you see what I'm getting at? I'm not saying it well, but I –
Mrs. Harvey: I think – I –
[00:09:07] Warren: I'm blunting at something, anyway.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think I understand what you are saying. You're saying if they are going to hold on to what they believe is their Southern tradition and so forth, isn't the matter of prejudice and race a natural part of that?
[00:09:26] Warren: Yes, do they have to hang on to it, or can they say Thomas Jefferson was a Southerner too. Or Robert E. Lee was a Southerner too.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes. Well, let's say this. I would feel that there are good and bad things about any traditions, a Southern or what have you, and why not hang on to whatever the rich, best positive things are of one's traditions and let go of the negative things, and I think that this race thing is one of the negative things. When, the other thing I would say is that it hasn't always been race prejudice as a part of the Southern tradition. It's just been a failure to recognize that this servant, this slave who has become a servant, is a part of a people and not a part of a thing – and is not a thing which they own individually and which they love like they do their dog, or their cat, or their horse. But, that he is a part of a race that has history and tradition and so forth, and therefore, he is to be respected as an individual. And, I think this is a growth process that a person has to go through. Oh, I would say that I don't think it has to be a part – something that one holds up.
[00:10:56] Warren: Here's something related to that on the side of the Negro situation. Sometimes I hear it said, or read it, that the Negro has a great liability not merely imposed on the outside, but a self-imposed liability in using the deprivations imposed on him by history and by present society as a kind of constant alibi and a constant excuse for self-pity. Of course, I don't mean everyone does it – it's a human trait, anyway – but how would you assess that? Do you see that actually working around you?
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, yes. I think a lot of people, you know, excuse things on the basis of – I think, as you say, it's a human trait to try and find – to find excuses. This is a good one – good a thing as any. Poor me. The way I've been treated, and so forth, but I think we are getting away from it.
[00:11:59] Warren: Do you think there's a real change on that basis.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh yes. Definitely.
[00:12:03] Warren: Do you associate that change with the Civil Rights Movement?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. I don't think your young people would do any of that at all. They would recognize the fact that they have been deprived and neglected, and so forth, but they got to make this jump, just like the African nations, Ghana for example making a two-hundred year jump in twenty years – they hope to do.
[00:12:33] Warren: This puts us at Freedom Now, then.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's right.
[00:12:37] Warren: The content of the words – of the phrase – Freedom Now – let's come at that for a moment. Let me read something – may I first – quotation – this is from Dr. Hancock, written some several years ago now – the Negro sociologist-historian. The quotation is this. "The color question is a social problem and as much as not different from any other social problem, and by reason of this fact, it responds to the same process of adjustment or maladjustment. Social problems, by their very nature, do not lend themselves to instantaneous and absolute solution." You see this is a – one pole of a discussion. But this is one of the discussion and Freedom Now is the other end. Where would we come out?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, it seems to me that Freedom Now means that you must have a box in a way, a frame, that indicates Freedom Now for all people like the Civil Rights legislation. And, you'll find that people move into that frame and take their picture, places in the picture, pretty easily – once the frame is set. When I first started traveling out of Jackson, Mississippi, the only way I could get a Pullman reservation is that an attorney – Negro – doctor, or an attorney friend of ours, called the station master here and said, "My friend's daughter has to go such and such a place, and it's too long for her to sit up. Let her have a berth." Then I would get what they call Lower 13, the whole parlor car – I mean the whole bedroom with – for the price of a lower – you know, so forth. And had to have all my meals. Well, they've changed the decision that now people can eat in the diner, and then you got into that, but you ate behind the curtains, you see, and then later the curtains were removed, and you didn't find many people staring and not eating because they had to eat at a table with Negroes there. But you see, the frame was set. The box was put there, and they moved into it – very well and very easily.
[00:15:13] Warren: You mean – excuse me – please, please.
Mrs. Harvey: Go ahead.
[00:15:14] Warren: No, I'm sorry.
Mrs. Harvey: No, because I'm not explaining it clearly. Go ahead. Ask me.
[00:15:18] Warren: I think I'm following it. I was going to try to paraphrase it to you, see, be sure that I did, and if I haven't got it right, please tell me. That you would recognize time process either short or long, process, but in terms of clearly formulated objectives and a clear movement toward those objectives – is that it?
Mrs. Harvey: That's it. That there must be action immediately and positively, and that has teeth in it.
[00:15:51] Warren: But – that's it. The effects are clearly taking a long or short time, is that right?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes.
[00:15:58] Warren: It can be – there's no absolute solution.
Mrs. Harvey: No, no. And the time – and I want to say this – that I said before, that I don't think time is the issue. People are always saying, "Oh, but it takes time."
[00:16:10] Warren: Please develop that.
Mrs. Harvey: To do such and such – that's not the issue. The issue is whatever the particular thing is that we're talking about. And then, we see what happens as to time. But I think that there's much too much emphasis put on the fact that it takes time to do this – takes time to do this. I don't have time to do this – you know. And, this, is perfectly irrelevant, it seems to me. The thing is – does this need changing? Let's change it. Now, how do we go about changing it and so forth, and then you may find that it will take some time afterwards for people to accept it. It was just today, for example, talking about the fact that now the people can register to vote, but they're not doing it, you see. Well, now, it shouldn't have been – they have put the emphasis into the right place. They've gotten it so that people can do it. Now, you work to move people faster, into the particular thing, you see. And, the concern wasn't all in the fact that it takes time, and therefore we want to move fast because it takes time. And, we will slow it down because it takes time. You see, you forget that. Leave that out, and let time fall in where it should. I mean, where it does. Does that make sense?
[00:17:23] Warren: It certainly does. To me, it does indeed. And I have seen people sit in the same room and say "Freedom Now means now!" and the other person say, "well, it's all this talk or process. Let's just withdraw from the effort." These two poles of the book – it's utterly nonsense.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's right.
[00:17:42] Warren: But people – intelligent people hold them.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. You see, I guess you're seeing in the things that I say that I'm a sort of a blender, but I don't feel that it is a thing to mutually exclusive, you know, as people try to make them – that you've got to be at either pole, but there are all ways of reconciling the elements and each – of pulling them together, so that you move forward and that you – your major concern should be the forward move.
[00:18:17] Warren: I see, I see. Let us – that's a purely practical view of the matter, then. Use what you can and do what you can.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, and know where you're going.
[00:18:27] Warren: And, know where you're going.
Mrs. Harvey: And take the steps that get you there.
[00:18:32] Warren: Let me ask you two questions about Negro relations to the Civil Rights Movement, or to the whole question of the betterment of the Negro situation. Some time ago I read a Dr. Mays, Benjamin Mays on this matter, and I'm going to mention that I've read other things like the Pittsburgh Courier, Mr. Prentice in that, on the same subject – the fact that there's Negro philanthropathy, or Negro contributions to the causes of Negro life, runs behind the actual assets.
Mrs. Harvey: I was going to –
[00:19:17] Warren: This is a – and I have asked most recent, say, people in New Orleans and they would say, "Well, most of our financing comes from whites." This is a strange situation, isn't it, on the face of it. There tended to be good, natural reasons for it. Now, how would you explain that? What are those reasons?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, let's see now. Of course, there's several reasons. I think one, perhaps major reason is that the struggle has been so hard for so many Negroes, that when they personally, indivi – back how to say it; the first reaction is characteristic of people anywhere – purely selfish reasons, why they are not contributing in large amounts. When they individually have gotten over the hump of education, and been able to get into a financial, economic secure place, then they want to save themselves, and the results of their efforts – or the efforts of theirselves. And, this means the split-level house, the Cadillac car – and I have a Cadillac car, but I have it because we have a funeral business and the public demands it – this means the fur stole. This means all the status symbols and all the things that I couldn't have – all the things I saw the white lady wearing when I was a maid in her home. All the things that Mr. Bob gave his wife when I was portering or gardening in his yard, and I said, whenever I was able to do it, I was going to do it for my wife, too, you see. So it's getting this, you see, this taste of something, when they've had nothing. It's a short term thing, because it means that they lose sight of the fact that when they individually have arrived in quote - "arrived" in quote – according to American materialistic standards, that they still have not arrived, unless all the other people have arrived – white and Negro too, who are deprived. And that the only way that you help all of them is by sharing what you have, rather than pouring it on yourself.
[00:22:01] Warren: A comparison sometime is made between the Negro communities on this basis and Jewish communities. That's the common comparison.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes, and the Jewish do it differently, don't they?
[00:22:13] Warren: Well, the statistics would indicate that.
Mrs. Harvey: They do differently. They help themselves more. Is that it?
[00:22:17] Warren: That's the idea – give more. Not only to Jewish philanthropies, but to general philanthropies in relation to their income. One point, I suppose is this. See what you think of it. That – humanly, these are very similar, but the Jew has never felt the kind of deprivation, at least not in our historical time. He's had terrible things happen to him, say, in Russia and Germany and elsewhere, but the sense of having – at least looking back on grandeurs – looking back on the Temple of Jerusalem – is there to look back on, and so the modern fortunes is not as new as the modern fortunes to the Negro, who doesn't look back on the Temple at Jerusalem. There's some image there behind the Jew's mind that is not there in the ordinary Negro's mind.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. And also he's working from a base of not the kind of nose-to-the-grind – well, yes, he works –
[00:23:35] Warren: Some do, of course.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, but I think, by large wouldn't this be true in the Jewish group – that economic average as a Jewish group is higher than the economic average in the Negro group?
[00:23:50] Warren: Yes, he does not feel as excluded as a Negro. Even if he was poor on the day of arrival at Ellis Island, he had more hope –
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. He had more opportunity.
[00:24:01] Warren: And more opportunity, that's right. Both.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. Then the Negro. But the Negro has been right down there, you see, right down there in the dirt, and working in the dirt and sweating in it. So that when he gets his nose above it, he thinks of himself first, and I don't – I'm not defending – because I have very little patience with my friends who – I couldn't – they wanted me to be part of the Links, which is a – they have a charter group started here, in Jackson. And, I met with them for a while, and it got right up so that I – and I couldn't go on with it. Because here it meant that the Links in the Negro groups is synonymous with minks, you know, links-minks, you know. And here is a matter of going to somebody's house, and I spent forty, sixty and hundred dollars' fees, and they time, and you do that, and then we say that – well, they have something of a program. But, to me this is just wasted time, energy and money, you know, and all the rest of it. And, I'm very critical of my friends, who can think only of themselves and pushing themselves, far as – because I think this thing has got to be broad based, you know, if we are to get far. So that I'm not defending at all.
[00:25:24] Warren: Oh, I understand. What about the other factor that is sometimes mentioned, that the Jew, however depressed, deprived, was aware of an organized, cultural community behind him, an organized tradition behind him.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think that – and an organized traditional rivalry which we don't have in the Negroes – which we haven't had – only the little thing we've had has been the N.A.C.P.
[00:25:55] Warren: And the church organization.
Mrs. Harvey: And the church. Yes, and the church has gotten weaker and weaker from the standpoint of helping, you know, I mean I think back as a child that the Burial Societies and the churches were very strong. And, now you don't have them very much, because there isn't a need for it now because the Negroes can buy insurance and take care of their needs, but the church did something. But, you see, again, they didn't have as much of a pile of economic resources out of which to work as the Jewish group do, do you see? I think that this is – I think that is where you started from.
[00:26:41] Warren: Yes, there were no Rothchilds among the Negroes at the same time.
Mrs. Harvey: No, no, no. And you don't even know – your wealthy Negroes. You – down at the bottom of the heap, compared to a lot of your Jewish people.
[00:26:55] Warren: That brings in two more questions sometimes discussed. What is this? How much lack of communication – lack of rapport and sense of responsibility on the part of the educated, middle upper class of Negroes as compared with the masses of Negroes, as compared to the masses of Negroes – the bottom of the heap, how much of a split is there? Talk about how important is that split?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. Well, I think the gap is closing there.
[00:27:25] Warren: You do?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think you're getting more intelligent, middle class Negroes who are interested in the total American economy and in the total struggle of the Negro, than you had, say, ten years ago, five years ago. I think your most courageous people though, are the people that are down on the bottom of the heap, in the Negro group. The ones that you saw today, at the meeting.
[00:27:53] Warren: Yes, yes.
Mrs. Harvey: Because the hardest group to move are the teachers who have economic security. They skirt, you know – go around. And in Woman Power Unlimited, we have a few that come and work, but they don't know whether they're going to have their jobs next year. But they are at the point now where they don't care. You see, they believe enough in what's happening, to do it. So I think the gap is closing. The gap is closing. But, again, if you want to go back to time, it's not closing fast enough for me. But I hope – our hope is in our masses and that man that you saw today, who couldn't speak the English at all. One of the real .
[00:28:39] Warren: That was very touching, very touching.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, it was. But if you could have sat in that meeting all day today, you really would have gotten some moving things. And, if you can go to some of these Civil Rights hearings you really will get down to what they say – the nitty-gritty.
[00:28:58] Warren: Yes, yes. A corollary of the question that I just asked – there's the one – well, I'll read a quotation from Roy Otley. "Many a Negro – "
Mrs. Harvey: Is this part of his book?
[00:29:21] Warren: This is one of his books, yes.
Mrs. Harvey: Which book?
[00:29:21] Warren: Oh, I – New WorldAcoming.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, yes.
[00:29:23] Warren: "Many of them look with alarm," – this is many Negroes – "on a world where they must compete with whites and thus lose their unique situation, or status. They prefer, as one Negro observer remarks, the over valuation of their achievements and its position behind the walls of segregation, to a democratic order that would result in economic and social devaluation for themselves at that time." Now, the other – he follows though by saying this. "Nevertheless, this group, whatever its shortcomings, has provided a great economic and cultural progress, and constitutes the leavening group in the general population."
Mrs. Harvey: I'd agree with that.
[00:29:31] Warren: To the both things?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes.
[00:30:33] Warren: Is that changing in your observation?
Mrs. Harvey: I hope it's changing. I think the younger Negroes are more ready to compete across lines with anybody anywhere, and I think the very fact that my friend's children are going to prep school in the East indicates that they are preparing their children for the total society, where they must compete anywhere.
[00:30:33] Warren: There's a protection in segregation that's no longer important to the "privileged Negro"? He doesn't want to be protected – have his benefits only inside the walls of segregation, or his status. He wants to – he's ready to compete.
Mrs. Harvey: A large percentage of them are.
[00:31:09] Warren: Well, it would not be universal – anytime and any place?
Mrs. Harvey: No, no. Well, I don't want to indicate that this is a black and white thing – that they have changed completely over this way, but I think the move is in that direction – to compete, be able to compete with anyone anywhere, on any level, and get from behind the wall. It's something to give up segregation. I mean there are advantages to it, definite. There's a definite advantage – well, take my business – the funeral business, for example. One of the reasons that we have been able to do as well as we have in the funeral business is because we can only serve Negroes. And, the Negroes weren't going to the white funeral homes, so that didn't siphon off people to the other community, but with this thing coming, who knows, maybe you can just choose your funeral home, you know.
[00:32:22] Warren: Mr. Augustine told me yesterday, when I was having lunch with him, he said that the fact that the Hilton that has opened up in New Orleans means that many Negro caterers are being very badly hit – that they have actually organized and made protest to a Negro community for patronizing the non-segregated restaurant facilities. And he said there's some comedy in this.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, there is. There definitely is – but these are the things of which you must be aware when you fight to open these doors. You've got to realize you've got to pay the price for them being opened you know, and it means a loss of somethings to you that you've enjoyed. And, this is the thing that our mayor hammers on quite a bit. He tells the Negro teachers – "You see, if you get these integrated schools, look at all the jobs that you have now. All the money that you get and you won't be getting this any more." But, you see, the thing that we're working for is the step beyond that where everybody will have a place, not all the Negro teachers who are working now, because all of them don't need to be working now. They – so many of them are teaching now because there was nothing else for them to do, and they would be much better qualified doing something else. But, we're looking for the time where there will be integrated schools at every level, students and faculty, in the high schools and the junior high schools all across town, you see, and not that just Negroes would be knocked out of jobs and just white people employed.
[00:33:57] Warren: The president of the Negro Business Association – the Association in St. Louis, a few years ago, wrote an article in the St. Louis paper, saying that to encourage integration would be the death of Negro business. Do you find that attitude around here?
Mrs. Harvey: Well, no. No, not exactly, not yet, because we're too far away from that. St. Louis is a border-line and that would be more true there. But I see the – I mean I face that fact, and it will happen for some businesses, but the thing that I say to our staff here is that we want to be so qualified that we can serve anybody who comes, at any time, so then you don't fear that.
[00:33:57] Warren: You accept the competition.
Mrs. Harvey: No, no. Because we don't want to operate a Negro business. We want to operate a business that will serve anybody that wants to come, and if you do that sort of thing, some of them are going to be knocked out, and some are going to flourish, because then they will attract more than just one segment of the community. Yes, some people are going to be lost in the shuffle, individually and business-wise. It's just natural. And you've got to face up to this as a reality. If you've got the stuff, you know, to offer and the stuff is in your, you'll make the grade.
[00:34:49] Warren: It's the same problem of reaching out, unafraid of competition.
Mrs. Harvey: That's right.
[00:35:31] Warren: We all know a lot about the white man's stereotype of the Negro. What about the Negro's stereotype of the white man?
Mrs. Harvey: You mean what is it? Or is there –
[00:35:49] Warren: When is it – well, is there – and if so, what is it.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, yes. Oh, there definitely is a stereotype, I mean prejudices, didn't just find itself into one race. It's universal, among all people. I think in the Negro group it takes the form of feeling that the white man is dishonest and that he is two-faced. Is this the sort of thing that you mean?
[00:36:25] Warren: Yes, what his picture of the white man is. Even his contradictory elements, of course, is a contradictory element of the white man's view of the Negro.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes, that's right. Well, I mean, these are parts of the facets of it, and he feels uncomfortable. I mean, one of the contributions I have tried to make to the community, a couple of contributions I have tried to make in my avocational interests – well, as well as in my business interests too, is to develop leadership. I try to do it in business just from the standpoint that I can move in and out, and yet we are offering the same service whether I am here or I am not, because people are so trained to do that. In the community I try to do it within the framework of the women's movement, in that other women learn to accept leadership roles and carry them out and perform them well, and do it – because this is the way I feel that a community grows – not with just one person doing everything, but many people being trained and learned to do things. I've said so much, I've lost your question. I said so much of my background. What was the question?
[00:36:25] Warren: It was about the Negro stereotype of the white man, white person.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. Now, in helping develop these leadership roles, another thing that I've tried to do is to establish communication across racial lines, and this is the way our interracial prayer fellowship got started two years ago, which continues, here in Jackson, through Woman Power Unlimited, United Church Women, and A.M.E. Prayer Band, African Methodist Episcopal Church Prayer Band. And, the Negro women will say to me – again, communication. In these workshops that we've had these past three Sundays – these have been interracial workshops, where we had Milthrop faculty people and white people from the community and Negro people, sitting down and discussing these issues and raising questions about it. And the Negro women will come to me, "Do you think so and so is, you know, really sincere?" "Do you think they're really honest, you know – do they really mean it, or are just grinning in our face?" You see, so that this is very real, and I think that the only way that they can overcome it – white or Negro – is by some face-to-face contact and getting to know people better. A good example of it is Mrs. James Skut, whom you should really talk to. She's white – whom I've gotten to know in the last two years, and Mrs. Hawtin, who is Negro. Mrs. Tilley, you know Mrs. Tilley in Atlanta – was to Mississippi.
[00:37:37] Warren: Oh, yes, yes.
Mrs. Harvey: Wanted, sought a Negro woman to come to the fellowship of the concern two years ago. This was October of '61, following our work with the freedom riders, and someone told Mrs. Skut to call me and invite me to come, and I couldn't accept. And, I told her I'd get one of our Woman Power ladies to go – so I got Mrs. Hawtin, who is the wife of the A.M.E. minister. Well, Mrs. Hawtin had very little interracial contact, and very little leadership responsibility herself. She pushed her husband and he was, you know, in the forefront, but she never had done much, but he agreed that she should go, and so forth, so she M.G. Hawton and Jane Skut came back and started this interracial prayer fellowship, which continues, and this has been a tremendous growth experience for these two women, to get to know each other as sisters – and they love each other, you know. And, they – now they go to United Church women meetings together and they share the room together – they have brought in other white women into the experience of knowing each other. This is, to me, this is the only way you can do it, you know – get them together and get them to see that one doesn't have hores, and one doesn't like, cheat and steal, and smell bad and all the rest as they say it is.
[00:40:43] Warren: What is the economic-social background of Mrs. Skut? She is white, you say.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, she is white. Her husband is an engineer, and they are Episcopalian, and she would be midde-income. She's not in the top economic bracket, but she has been president of the advisory committee to the Civil Rights Commission, and her background growth has come, United Church Women work gave her her springboard – and then her other growth, and a great growth has come in her association with us in Women Power Unlimited – because I've seen her grow in these two years to a place where – where she used to be just debating, you know, whether this, that, or the other – and so forth, and now she has real convictions about what she should do and how she should move.
[00:41:39] Warren: I was about to talk myself – I don't want to now. I'll do it later. Mirdahl has a little passage in his big book on what should have been done in the Reconstruction – what policy would have been effective to –
Mrs. Harvey: To have presented all this –
[00:42:02] Warren: To prevented the whole – what would have been the effective policy? So – four, five points. I'll summarize them very briefly, and as you my questions. One: There should have been compensation for Emancipation. Two: Land should have been expropriated from Southern – white landholders, but it should have been paid for at a reasonable rate. Three: The land should have been turned over to the ex-slaves – enough to – for the great amount, but it should not have been a gift. A sale at some very minimal rate, but had to be amortized over many years. Four: There should be supervision and education in the transitional period, to prevent exploitation – peoples buying land and selling land, stealing it away, and to develop techniques. Again, some transportation – that is to the free lands of the West and colonizing out of the South to open up and to relieve the pressures and re-distribute the Negro population to a degree. Does all that make sense to you?
Mrs. Harvey: Very good sense. Yes.
[00:42:02] Warren: All right. There's no emotional resistance to any one of those – any one of those?
Mrs. Harvey: No.
[00:43:19] Warren: The reason I ask you is this – sometimes, as it was at that time, a Northerner, or a Negro would say, "Why compensate for Emancipation?" Or – "Why compensate for land from rebels?" You know, those arguments. Why – sometimes I find resistance now on those points.
Mrs. Harvey: No, I think that the Reconstruction period was just such a hit and miss thing, where anybody did whatever they wanted to and all of that – and nobody had any guidance or leadership, is one of the great tragedies, according to what we have now. I think if there had been some planning and some real thought, creative thought, put into what you do now that your decision is made, that we wouldn't have to be going through what we are going through now. There might have been other ideas to add to the ones of Mirdahl – has outlined – but I think that basically his thesis is absolutely correct.
[00:44:32] Warren: It's strange how you have found resistance a hundred years later on some theoretical point, whether rebels should have their land paid for.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, you see – you start thinking, and you're not thinking of people, you see. You're thinking of a label, "rebel" you see, and this is the thing that you want to get away with. You're thinking of people – rebel slaves – you see, and you say if you're talking in those terms, and you think that way, then of course, you build up your prejudices and your resistances. But, they were people, there were dispossessed people, there were dispossessed whites, there were dispossessed Negroes – there were dispossessed people – and how do you treat human beings who have gone through a serious, traumatic experience like a Civil War. What's the right, Christian thing to do for them – or the justice – the most just thing that you can do for them? Now, this is the way I think you should think.
[00:45:32] Warren: The probability appears again, doesn't it, that the picture of what will come after, say, legislative battles, legal battles have been won, is the big problem is –
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. That's absolutely right. The fact that even now, after the waiting rooms are open, people are still going into the same waiting room, and they are still going to the back of the bus, as they have done as long, you see, they still do. And, you've got to have this leadership to help them see that you don't still continue to do it the way you used to do. You have to do it a different way, and that when the Civil Rights Bill is passed in Congress, you need to have good, concerted efforts to see that its implementation is done immediately, and that you don't get this lag that you got after the Supreme Court decision, because if you do, you're going to have the same types of problems that you had the following year.
[00:46:31] Warren: There's another aspect to it, too. Suppose you have many Birminghams, what possibility of communication comes after that? How can you avoid the Birminghams?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's the big thing.
[00:46:47] Warren: So a society can be built afterwards.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, yes. And that what I hope in Jackson that we can avoid – avoid the Birmingham – and yet I don't know how.
[00:46:47] Warren: The young lady, Lucy Foreman, I spoke of earlier, did we put that down on tape or not?
Mrs. Harvey: No, we didn't.
[00:46:58] Warren: Well, I – her remark, -
Mrs. Harvey: You told me she was a student.
[00:47:05] Warren: She's a student at Howard University, second in the law class. She said to me, "I have some real hope about the adjustment, the solution in the South". And she told me she had been born on a farm and raised on a farm in Virginia, and under rather deprived circumstances of living, I believe, but she said, "I have great hope of a solution here, and a society that will be agreeable to live in afterward, and very soon," she said, "because the Southern white man and the Negro have both had a common history for a long time. We have some basis for comprehension, mutual comprehension," she said. "There's some." "And, following that line of thought, we have, both on the land and in the history together." She said, I'm afraid of Harlem. I'm afraid of Detroit, because I don't see what can bind them together when the big bang comes." "Later."
Mrs. Harvey: That's right. I agree with her.
[00:47:09] Warren: Does that make sense?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, and that's just what I was talking about a while ago when I said the South would point the way for these others, rather than the North giving the solution for the South. I think that we have more common bonds that will help us point the way, and we have the depth of the problem, and if we can solve it here and get the solution here, then I think it will be much easier for Harlem in the North. And then, we have a bond of affection among us that is very real. It's a personal thing, where maybe a white – the whites love a particular negro, or the Negroes love a particular white man – but it's real. It's genuine.
[00:48:59] Warren: Sometimes now, Negroes will say that it cannot be real, it cannot exist. It's only a fake.
Mrs. Harvey: No, that's not true. There's not, say, not the things, that –
[00:49:11] Warren: You know that line of thought, though, it's always been effective. There's no possibility of any affection between, - you know that's being said very widely now. It's all a fake.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I don't feel that at all. I mean I know that – I know that there – there's some – I mean, I know that there wasn't universal love in all cases, as we just said before, and that I know that a lot of times that a Negro in the home that whites think, -- "they just love me to death!" The Negroes didn't just love them to death – yes, they did love them to death – and all of that. But, I also know that there has been a lot of love between white and Negroes in the South. And it hasn't always been on the Southern case – it has even existed in the man – male-female relationship. That wasn't all exploitation. It was that – that there was no law that would permit the marriage, and no – I know right in my own association, a girlfriend of mine –you would never know that she was a Negro. When we would go, as children, up town, well people would stare us sick, you know. Her father was a pastor of the Methodist church here, and her mother – and they both were fair. And, I didn't know until I was grown how the fairness came, but a British land overseer was in love with her grandmother, and out of this issue came these children. And, he – when he was going back to Britain he wanted to take this Negro woman, and child with him to England, but she felt that being Negro that they would not be accepted, so she chose to stay here. But, he would have honored it, if he could have, and this is true in many cases. Now, another thing that is – something that you don't see in a text book, which is just personal theory on my part – that all of it wasn't exploitation by the male white with the Negro female. And a lot of these gals just made it too – so hard on the poor fellow that he couldn't do any better, you know. And a lot of times they did it out of resentment at the white woman. There was something she did, maybe, or said, and she said, "I'll fix her. I'll get him tonight". You know, so forth. So this was true. People were human, you know. I said this to a Negro group, in our Workshop the other day. I didn't say it in the Workshop, but a girl raised the question. A Negro girl raised the question. "How did Southern white women feel when they knew that their husband were going out and sleeping with someone in the quarters?", and so forth – and, "How much has this affected some of the problems and so forth?" And some white men in the Workshop deigned to answer it, white lady too, so I told her I had to. I said, "Now, you must remember," I said, "this wasn't always exploitation by the white male with the Negro female. The Negro female sometimes was guilty, too, you know." Just knowing people.
[00:49:11] Warren: Yes, you can depend on that. Whatever the motive was.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, that's right too.
[00:52:32] Warren: Here's Arnold Rose, the collaborator with Mirdahl, on the book.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, yes. That's right.
[00:52:57] Warren: "Negroes have too many problems to ever be happy. They are always seeking something. They use too many nostrums. Join too many organizations. Fell under the spell of too many movements – they are, thus, among the extreme victims of modern mass society and its instability.
Mrs. Harvey: Well –
[00:53:05] Warren: Big generalization, isn't it.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I think so.
[00:53:33] Warren: Is there some sense to it, though? How much or what? If so. Or, is that more true of Northern society, Northern Negro society than Southern Negro society?
Mrs. Harvey: That's what I was thinking. I was thinking of the Negro cults in the North, which have posed as churches, but – and what have you, but have been able to suck up whole masses of people because of the frustration of the people there. And they have a convict society, and then I think of the Black Muslims movement, and so forth. I think it would be more true in the North, than in the South. And, because, you see the Negro, as you are aware, went North with such tremendous hopes – he thought that the kingdom had come on earth. And that he would find it there. And, then he got there and he was just – he knew it wasn't here, you see. And, he didn't expect it here, but when he went there and didn't find it, and found that even a lot of times it was a lot worse than here – than he had experienced it here, from the standpoint of the fact that it required more money to operate and he was having to live in an apartment, infested with rats and so forth. And here, at least, maybe lived in a shack, but he could get out in the sunshine and have a little garden and have fresh vegetables and so forth. So therefore, it became much worse for him. The frustration was so much greater, you see. Then the pace was so great, see. He came from a slow-moving Southern society, you know. And then he had to jump, you know, everything, and so he would change. And, there is where it was difficult for them, a lot. But I think it's a great generalization, and whatever truth lies in it, I would say, would apply to the Northern Negro, rather than to the Southern.
[00:55:21] Warren: He said the mass society, as if it were something of the big city – I guess he had in mind, rather than even a Southern city. Let me tell you a little anecdote, back to Howard University. One of the speakers, one of the panelists – they have an enormous auditorium, like the auditorium this morning – big – fifteen hundred people, no standing room. It was packed. Three-quarters, at least, maybe four-fifths Negroes in the audience. This young girl, her name is – I forget her first name – Wheeler, Phi Beta Kappa, Senior, been through the mill – through the jails. Her skin is pale as mine. She has great, vital appeal, real projection. She's a real orator – very, very attractive looking, with this intensity of – quivering intensity. She said, her first words, "I have a great truth. A great discovery. I have a joy. I am black." This for a moment of – she held it for a moment. "Now, you and you and you, you see, every possible shade of complexion you see. You're all white – your skin may be this or that or that, but your heart is white. Your brain is white. You've been whitewashed. You don't know the joy." Brought down the house. This was the high point of the whole Conference, as far as popular response was concerned.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I agree with her.
[00:55:21] Warren: What's the moral of that story.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I don't know.
[00:57:11] Warren: That gets back to the question of Mother Africa, and the black mystique, doesn't it?
Mrs. Harvey: I don't know that I could comment on the moral of it, but I was thinking as you told this, about talking – oh, yes, I know who it was. It was one of our fellows – faculty wives. The other evening when you were there in Baton Rouge, we had to do some things together, and I was saying what a great joy it is to be a Negro and to be black, because at least I don't have to carry the burden of guilt for all the things that have happened in race relations, and she was telling about how her children, who are now eight and eleven, had grown up in an integrated community and they didn't understand anything about the race problem. And, they had said, one – her daughter had said, "Oh, I don't want to be black. I want to be white." And the grandmother had heard this, you see, and the grandmother had died with this on her mind, there here she was rearing her grandchild not to respect her race and love it and so forth, and, of course, the child was very young and didn't have understanding, but the grandmother was wanting her to know what a joy it is to accept what you are.
[00:57:16] Warren: That's a universal, human – accepting what you are is different from –
Mrs. Harvey: And, what your heritage is.
[00:58:44] Warren: And that. That's different though. Is it-from exclusiveness?
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, yes.
[00:58:51] Warren: We're back where we started. But this was – had an element –
Mrs. Harvey: She was not being exclusive – the one you told about. Was she?
[00:58:57] Warren: I don't know. I think she was driving for sympathy acceptance, but feeling some of the response was intended exclusiveness in terms of Black Muslim attitude –
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, I'm sure it – oh, I think –
[00:59:07] Warren: I'm sure some of it came that way. And, I was sitting – a person that I had just met a few minutes before was a young woman who is a professor of anthropology there. She's white. And she said, "for the first time in my life, teaching," all the life that she's been teaching in a Negro university, "it was the first time, right now, that I feel lost. I feel that I haven't made contact."
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, I see. Yes.
[00:59:51] Warren: She – she – it didn't effect on me so much. I didn't feel it this way, but she was really – she really had a real sense of of exclusiveness, of being cut off, and couldn't -
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, no I didn't – I didn't get it that way when you told me, but I was seeing it out of context.
[00:59:51] Warren: It's hard to know what – look, clearly everybody didn't feel the same thing.
Mrs. Harvey: No – no.
[01:00:07] Warren: But she brought down the house. Nothing I – had been like that. You know, you said you had to go at 4:30. And it's 4:30 now.
Mrs. Harvey: Now, if you don't have what you want, we could take it – go on tomorrow if you want.
[01:00:10] Warren: Well, this has been wonderful. Just couldn't have been better. Couldn't have been better. I may write – if I had my way and had, you know, all the time in the world I would certainly take you up on tomorrow. It's a little hard. I- want to see Mr. Moses. I haven't yet got a date with him.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, you haven't.
[01:00:47] Warren: No. This is the first time I've seen him. I've written to him, but he didn't answer.
Mrs. Harvey: Oh, I see. I didn't know that. If I'd realized that I would have let you meet him.
[01:00:47] Warren: Well, he was so – he was in control of the meeting.
Mrs. Harvey: Well, I know, but Mr. Henry, Dr. Henry was coming then and you could have cleared that. He would have –
[01:00:53] Warren: I'm clear with –
Mrs. Harvey: No, but I mean Dr. Henry had come in to preside.
[01:00:59] Warren: Oh, I see, I didn't get that.
Mrs. Harvey: Yes, you see. Moses was just handling it until Henry got in – because you know when Henry got there he said – "This is typical for the chairman to be late for the meeting". Do you remember? Yes, so that you might have called him.
[01:01:18] Warren: How would I get in touch with him? Do you know?
Mrs. Harvey: I don't know how you get in touch with him, today – except - but his office is on Lynch street. 1017.
[01:01:18] Warren: 1017. It's in the phone book?
Mrs. Harvey: Yes. I – Student Non-Violence Quarters Committee, is the committee proper, so that what I would suggest that you do is tomorrow morning when you move out that way, to – if you don't reach him -