Clark opines on how integration in higher education will impact historically black colleges and universities, suggesting that white students might one day begin attending HBCUs. Asked whether and why African Americans' perspectives and identities have changed, Clark contends that such developments may be linked to the end of colonization and to worldwide movements for black political self-determination. He considers Du Bois' conception of double consciousness and contends that many African Americans long, above all, for white society to acknowledge their basic humanity. Clark discusses Martin Luther King, Jr.'s support for non-violence, and he considers the potential for African American equality in the North and in the South. Clark also discusses emancipation, Reconstruction, and Abraham Lincoln's legacy, and he briefly considers the criminal trial for the killing of Medgar Evers.
Both Clark and Warren are intelligible although there is intermittent humming.
Image courtesy of: © The Archives and Manuscripts Department/John B. Cade Library/Southern University and A&M College/Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Audio courtesy of Yale University.
Felton Grandison Clark
Felton Grandison Clark (1903-1970) was president of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from 1938 until 1969. Clark's father, Dr. Joseph S. Clark, founded Southern University in 1914 and preceded Clark as president of the university. Clark attended Southern and then completed his undergraduate work at Beloit College. He later received graduate degrees, including a doctoral degree, from Columbia University. For many years, Clark served on the advisory staff of the Journal of Negro Education. Clark's tenure as president of Southern included two incidents that attracted national attention. First, in March 1960, a small group of Southern University students participated in sit-in protests at several lunch counters in Baton Rouge; a much larger group of Southern University students, estimated at the time to number 1,000 students, participated in a demonstration on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol. Clark, reportedly bowing to pressure from Governor Earl Long, expelled eighteen of the students who participated in the protests. Hundreds of other students withdrew from the university as a result. Second, in January 1962, Clark temporarily closed the university to combat race-related student demonstrations.
Image courtesy of: © The Archives and Manuscripts Department/John B. Cade Library/Southern University and A&M College/Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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[These digitized texts are based upon typed transcripts created in 1964. 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.]
Pres., Southern U.
[00:00:54] Q: I have a general ______ I thought we might ask a general question -- integration is coming, there is no way to avoid that -- it’s on its way.
A: It’s inevitable, not only in education
[00:01:18] Q: Yes, it’s inevitable. What is the role of the now Negro university in this period, and after the transition is made. The institutional function. How will it differ.
a; You know, I wish I’d known you were gonna ask me that, because I wrote an article in the Journal of Negro Education about three or four years ago, on that very same thing, and as a matter of fact, the final statement that I used, was itself used by Martin Jenkins in his summary of the entire thing. And I said essentially this -- at that time, the function of the Negro College could be a good institution like another. Now, since our recent social upheavals, the social intensifications, as it were, I think there’s a secondary role, it is to emphasize a degree of thoroughness and aggressive perspective, that it might not have had beforehand, so that it can prepare itself to be the kind of quality institution that all the other institutions are. In other words, I think frankly, we’ve got admit, that we’ve playing catch up. We’re playing catch-up, and now it seems to me as though…….the distinct role of the Negro Collete is to emphasize the facts of that catching up process.
[00:03:03] Q: Now do you envisage, say, in a reasonable time, the registration of white students in Negro colleges, as Negro students register in white colleges. Double track operation.
A: Yes, as a matter of fact, the Baton Rouge paper yesterday, yesterday, carried a story of a southern white girl in New Orleans who has filed suit to enter Southern University. And I think this, I think, though, the process is going to be slower in Louisiana, because there -- social factors now, we won’t have the rapidity of movement here, I believe, that we have say in a border state like West Virginia, or Oklahoma, or Maryland, or Missouri, where we find in the what was once the predominant Negro College, we find anywhere from a third to a half and sometimes, even more, of the student body being white. I think in Louisiana, as good as Southern might be, that there will be some people who will see it as a Negro institution, and they don’t want the stigma of going to a predominantly Negro college. I think that underneath they would admit they can get just about as good an education here, as they could get in ________ in Mississippi. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, because this young lady filed suit yesterday. And she’s not a southerner, she’s not a crusader, she just said she lived in the area of the southern branch New Orleans, it was a good institution. However, she did say, that “I don’t believe in segregation.”
[00:04:44] Q: Obviously she doesn’t.
A: Yes. And she’s not flag waving, as we understand, she just has an honest conviction, and she’s practical minded, she doesn’t see why she should travel five or six miles to Tulane or Loyola, when she can go to ________.
[00:05:03] Q: Well, I suppose that the actual process, would be not in terms of what you call flag waving, but in terms of actual student preferences, and conveniences, and needs.
A: Oh, I believe, well, West Virginia State College, is a case in point. I won’t call the names of the other institutions, about 10 miles away, but I was told by a former president of West Virginia State College, that the president of this other institution, obviously predominant white one, said, well don’t raid our student body, because if you have a better institution than we do, particularly in the area of natural sciences, and they’re flocking there because Virginia State College is a good school, they have a good rapport between industry and the natural sciences department, so they were going to a good school, and also one that would give them entrée into industry where they could find good employment.
[00:06:01] Q: Let me leave this subject for a moment. This is a question I’ve asked other people, and I’ve gotten a range of answers, it’s a very loaded question. Why is this disturbance, this burst of anger among Negroes, this burst of resentment, and this highly articulate and high organized body of leadership, come now, why not in say ’32.
A: Well, I think in the first it’s part of a world movement, and it’s a world movement for freedom and expression, and for a sense of identity, and this world movement, has just, is just catching on now, and our consciousness is just beginning, to awaken. And we see that have other people who feel as we do, and these desires have always been in us. They’ve been latent. And this world movement, has intensified our consciousness, and has also given us the courage that we a part of the whole thing.
[00:07:26] Q: The world situation, the general breaking up of the colonial system, the rise of Africa, the rise if Asia, these things, have had a reaction on the American situation, is that you’re getting at?
A: Yes, plus the fact that even in America, we’re beginning now to talk about making democracy work, and making democracy real, when I said, the world, I would include us here, in other words, when I studied democracy, when I talked about democracy, I was pretty much using symbols, I was committing words to memory. But now we have Americans speaking out, saying that democracy must be a real thing, it isn’t just a theory, it isn’t just a ________. It’s something that has substance in it, and that is alive, so I would include this awakening of the colonial people, outside of the United States, but I would also include this dynamism of democracy, that really has accelerated here in the United States.
[00:08:27] Q: Well, another aspect of that -- how much do you attribute this to the rise of a whole generation, the new generation being anywhere from 21 to 55, or 60, while range of, the result of a long process of education and preparation.
A: Oh, I think a very significant portion, however, I would say this, I think that we have always had it. The old Negroes, the new Negroes, the newer Negro, but what has happened now is that it’s the methodology that’s different. In other words, whereas I might hesitate a bit, or you might hesitate a bit, this younger Negro now just steps right into the middle of the thing, you see. Then, again, his fears are being overcome. There was a time, when a Negro would see a policeman, and obviously in the south, a white policeman, and almost tremble. Well, now he looks at the policeman, who is a part of his society, who has certain duties to perform, he doesn’t look at the policeman, as a man who wields arbitrary authority, who can shoot him, or kill him at will, even though it’s still being done in Mississippi and some other parts of the country. So part of it is methodology, I think, that’s true, but always the Negro as a human being, has had a longing to be a human being, read the, listen to the Negro melody, listen to their content, read the history and the poetry of somebody like Harriet Tubman, and you’ll find that there’s always been this desire, to be a person, this quest for identity.
[00:10:15] Q: Well, let’s take that, ________ obvious that that is true, though sometimes neglected, the question is how the organization, the high degree of intellectual mobility, we have now, the rapport, the confidence, which we find in individuals but not in mass, in large groups. ________
Now this leaderships ________ -- hundreds of people involved, thousands of people, vast number of organizations, ________ March on Washington movement in 1942, I think Randolph evolved that program, the program was there, then something happened to it, during the war, ________
A: Well I think the Negro has seen parallels, he’s seen it for example, in labor, there was a time when Labor, as such, occupied almost the same position that the Negro had to occupy, but he has seen what organizations has done, he has seen what intelligence has done. In fact, I heard this years ago, there was a time, when capital and labor were in conversation, and capital was one side of the table, a well dressed man, Yale lawyer, Harvard lawyer, and the four laboring men, on the other side, in overalls, afraid to open their mouths. But now when labor and capital meet, there are two Harvard lawyers to speak to each other. Yale lawyers to speak to each other, you see.
[00:12:42] Q: One that has constantly fascinated me, I first ran across the notion long ago, in reading Dubois, and that was the ________ of you might say, cultural split ________ I even have a quote here from him. One the one hand, the loyalty, the sense of being a Negro, the continuity in African heritage, ________ on the other hand, the membership in American society, and ________ his racial identity as opposed to the individual identity, with a society which is ________ white. Now this division, is show dramatically with the Black Muslim movement as opposed to all the other ________, which lead towards integration. What is the ________.
A: I don’t think that this is as valid a point of view now as it might have been in the earlier days, because again, as I said, and again, this is one man’s opinion, I think that all human beings want first, last, and always, to be human beings. I don’t think that they want to be, at least, I don’t look at myself, as wanting to be an African, or even necessarily an American, I hope that doesn’t sound like heresy, I think that I have more in common with human beings, that I have with Negroes, than I have with Africans, than I have with Frenchmen, that I have with anybody else. And I think if Dubois wrote that then, which he did, he wrote it when we didn’t have the perspective, the world perspective that we have now. You see, Dubois was one of these persons who was way out in front, if you read his Souls of Black Folk, you can see, and then there’s a little bitterness in too, which everybody can understand. Here was Dubois, a man, who had he not been a Negro, could have really blossomed out into true greatness.
[00:15:21] Q: He’s a man who got trapped in the race problem.
A: Exactly, also Dubois, did feel very strongly about the African ties. I know what I’m talking about, I almost married Dubois’ daughter. We were very good friends for about five years, in fact, next to my own wife now, she is the only girl that I ever gave an engagement ring to, and he felt very strongly about the African heritage. But he felt just as much, just as strongly about being a person, and I think now, that even more than then, the Negro like anybody else, is dominated more by human drives, than he is all of these others. I think that the African relationship, and American relationships, are almost 100% cultural ones, in affiliation. But the main thing that he wanted, is the thing that’s put in him biologically. To be a human being, whatever the attributes of a human being are.
[00:16:29] Q: Now how does this relate to the notion, which has come up in many forms, that the Negro ________ as Negro, as opposed to the white stereotype of the negro, the white has defined the Negro in ways agreeable to the white man’s ________. And now ________ pride in identity, identity and pride in being a Negro. Now this is what has been happening.
A: Yes, well, I see two or three things in there. I think that the self-image doesn’t stop at -- I’m being proud that I am a Negro. But I that’s just one stage. You see, maybe there are three. Maybe the first one -- I’m almost ashamed, I am ashamed that I am a Negro. I’m almost ashamed that I am a Negro. I am proud that I am a Negro. I am glad to be a human being. I would sort of phase it that way on there. In fact, I know that’s my thinking. I don’t apologize, nor am I necessarily proud. I just want my freedom to be a human being. Because evolutionarily, in an evolutionary way, I don’t know who I was, maybe, 10 million years ago.
[00:18:05] Q: Who knows.
A: Or what I will be. In fact, Robert Embry, whom you may remember, of the Rosenwald Fund, wrote a book entitled Brown America. I think this is very significant. The title of this book was Brown America and this was written about 20 years ago. In which he predicted that in the next few years there wouldn’t be a Negro race in terms of the color factor.
[00:18:28] Q: ________
This is from Frazier -- 72% or 75%, of all American Negroes ________ white. And 30% ________.
A: Yes, well, I don’t know what the percentage is, but I’m sure that the trend is there, the implication is there, I think I heard, I hope I’m not wrong here, maybe I shouldn’t quote it, I thought I heard Margaret Mead say once, it was either Margaret Mead, or Myrdal, or Boaz, that there is not a pure Negro in America.
[00:19:20] Q: Some exchange students arrived last week maybe.
A: Yes. Yes.
[00:19:29] Q: Let’s switch to another ________. I read an article by Dr. Kenneth Clarke some time ago, on Martin Luther King, ________ “On the surface King’s philosophy appears to express health and stability, while the Black nationalists display pathology and instability. A deeper analysis, however, might reveal that there is an unrealistic if not pathological basis in King’s doctrine. Because the natural reaction to injustice ________ is bitterness and resentment. The form which such bitterness takes ________ violence, but the corrosion of spirit involved is inevitable. It is seen then that any demand that the victims of oppression should love those who oppress them, places an additional and intolerable psychological burden upon the victims…..” Masochistic man.
[00:21:03] Now this I found a very disturbing ________ I wonder how you would find it.
A: Well, I think you’ve got to remember that Kenneth Clarke is writing from the background of a psychologist, and he’s looking at it in the very raw sense, if there is such a way as raw sense. And again, as you were saying a minute ago, I think we’ve got to see it in the light of the fact that everybody has a point of view. Ghandi has the same point of view. Jesus Christ had the same point of view. I think that if Martin Luther King’s attitude is to love your enemy and to get your, attain your objective, through nonviolent means, he’s entitled to that point of view. Now, who knows whether it will work or not. I know that what, I think that what Kenneth Clarke says is true. Who was, James ________ The Mind in the Making, referred to the fact that one of the great struggles of mankind is to overcome his animal ancestry. Well, I think it is not only true of the Negro, of the Indian, of the American, but of anybody else. That’s the reason we have laws. Because the natural impulse if somebody does something to you, is to want to strike back, in the same way, in the same manner, in the same kind, if anything with a little more of the same. But again, as I said, we try to be civilized human beings, and we say -- no, there’s such a thing as justice, and there’s such a thing as motive, maybe he did that when he was in heightened passion, maybe it was not premeditated, and let’s think about it. So that would be my reaction to that, if I’m making myself clear on that. It’s the same principle as Christianity. Is that the way to do it. What is the Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ said I am the Prince of Peace.
[00:22:57] Q: Now Kenneth Clark calls pathology.
A: Yes. And again, if it’s pathology, I guess Christianity is pathology.
[00:23:05] Q: That’s the point of this. I think so.
A: And Martin Luther King, as you know, is a theologian primarily, he has his doctoral degree from Boston in theology, and he’s a preacher, and he is a Christian theologian,
[00:23:20] Q: I had lunch with Dr. Abernathy a couple of weeks ago, and he was answering some questions, and after the lunch was over, and someone asked him about the possibility of violence, violence initiated by Negroes, not violence initiated by ________. He says no, I think that the southern Negro is committed to the program of nonviolence. An organized program of nonviolence. ________
This is the Christian Chandian view. --------Do you know him, do you.
A: Yes, he’s been here.
In fact, all of them.
[00:24:22] Q: He says ________
and besides the white folks have no grounds.
A: ________ He’s got a wonderful humor.
[00:24:52] Q: One more remark ________ “it has been argued that the proper interpretation of King’s philosophy must take into account the Christian ________, is it correct for a minority of educated and philosophically ________ individuals, but it is unlikely that it can be accepted by the masses. Their attempt to cope with this kind of philosophical abstraction, in the face injustice, will lead to deeper and destroying ________ and guilt. So you have a Christian background, but not in the great northern cities where secularization has come.
A: Well, again, I said, I think he’s being consistent there, when you look at the circumstances.
[00:26:12] Q: ________ my point of view about the presence of any civil war between the north and the south. I suppose everyone agrees that the north is no more ready to go make the Negro a full citizen in ________ than the south was. ________ But, effect ________ now ________ recognition on the part of many Negroes that the problem is not ________ we have turmoil in every northern city -------- the drive for new relationship ________ Now this is not the way it was a few years ago. Now what effect does that have on first, the northern recognition of the southern situation, and the southern attitude toward the Negro in the south.
A: Well, I think this. I think it is bringing to light something that a number of us suspected and is making the southern white man, many southern white people, sort of lick their chops as it were, to say, well you see – we’re not the only vulnerable ones. We aren’t the only guilty ones. Simultaneously I think it’s many northern white persons search their consciences respectively, to determine whether or not they really are liberal, and whether or not they really have been thinking straight on this issue. I sensed this when I first went to New York, for example. I lived in 122nd St., which in those days, was the dividing line of Harlem, and I got a kind of preferential segregation, I was always put on the front row, the first or the second row. I would to the one place where we could eat on 125th St., where Negroes could eat, and there were always two highly desirable tables reserved for Negro people, and I subsequently found out that the racial prejudice was there, but just more subtly done, and in some instances, it was a kind of preferential thing. So I think that the main that that it is doing, is to shake the conscience of everybody, to say now, am I really as honest and as fair and as a good a sport, as I think I am. And by the same token, it kind of shakes us out not only into saying that -- well, you have the problem too, but it’s gonna make the south want to take pride and say – well, now, we gonna prove to you we are the friend of the Negro by doing things that a friend would do, rather than what we would think, the south always says that we are the best friends of Negros. That’s a kind of credit what I call a canine credit, like my dog, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my dog, but don’t forget, you’re a dog. Well, I think that the south is just gonna say, now, we’re gonna to prove to the north that are the Negro’s friend, by doing the things that a friend as a human being would do, rather than a friend, things that a friend would do for a sub-human friend.
[00:29:55] Q: Yes, I went to a conference on nonviolence, at Howard University in November, and at lunch I was sitting next to a young lady named ________ Hawkins, she is a ________ in the Howard Law School. And terribly bright, and ________ and she had been through the mill, she had been ________ on the line. The reason ________ she had no idea of who I was, this was a conversation ________ she said -- I have more hope, she says, now, of a reasonable settlement, in the south, than I have in the north. And I said, where are you from. She said -- I’m from Virginia. And I said –why? She said -- we have a common history, and a shared history, there is something common to go on, ________ recognition _________. She said -- I’m afraid of a big abstraction. Does she make any sense?
A: I think she does. I think she does. I don’t know if I would be as optimistic as she, but I would say, that again, in my opinion, that what she said was very logical. Like Lillian Smith, a few years ago, wrote something, what was it -- two men made a bargain -- I don’t know what the substance was, but the essence of it was, the Negro and poor white person had more in common than any other segment in the south, and if they could once realize that there was a minority to p peer that would push the two against together and come together, and and fight a common battle for a common cause,
[00:32:06] Q: The populist group ________
A: That’s right. We could get some place, you see, and I think that’s the kind of thing that she had in mind. The south is poor, the south has been urbanized, it’s beginning, to be industrialized, the south has been pretty much illiterate, it has been ignorant, and that is pretty much true as compared with the other parts of the country for the white south as well as the negro south, although the Negro south was farther down the line.
[00:32:35] Q: It’s said over and over again that the Negro solution in the south, or the solution in terms of justice for the Negro, is dependent upon such justice for the southern white, poor white. I must put a quote on that. “the Negro’s plight on that will be lightened substantially only when the poor white is lightened simultaneously.”
A: I wouldn’t say only, I would say that that would facilitate it, but I wouldn’t say only.
[00:33:14] Q: This is quoting Sterling Brown.
A: Is that so, I worked with him, at Howard.
[00:33:18] Q: You know him. What the Negro Wants, you know, 10 years ago.
A: Yes, the volume in which about 20 persons contributed.
[00:33:30] Q: Hancock,
A: Yes, Rayford Logan, yes,
[00:33:37] Q: ________ introduction.
A: Well, I think that is true, but it isn’t the only one, I wouldn’t say only I would certainly say, because again, I think that right now, the southern white man, most of the, large numbers of the southern white people look upon the Negro as competitor, and they foolishly realize that again, as Lillian Smith, said that we’re pretty much in the same boat, and if they get together, and work, as labor is doing. We see it in labor now. Very much, I mean, we find mixed locals, and we find an independent Negro local, or an independent white local, but they work together for common cause. They’ve forgotten that they are white or Negro, so they said, well we’re laboring men, now.
[00:34:16] Q: Is that true in Baton Rouge?
A: Yes. It’s true in Baton Rouge. It is true. It’s true generally south Louisiana, but not north Louisiana. You see, the labor unions are stronger in south Louisiana, south Louisiana is industrial, they are weaker in north Louisiana, and north Louisiana is primarily agrarian. It is becoming industrial, but not to the degree of acceleration in south Louisiana.
[00:34:40] Q: There’s been a shocking opening of information about the northern labor unions in the New York construction ________
A: Yes. Yes. Well, we know how that has come about, particularly in south Louisiana, having lived here, the Negro slave just kind of went into the building trades, and almost had a monopoly for the first four, five years on this campus, I’d say 75% of the construction work was done by Negroes. But of course, how, the whitepeople have come in, so the Negro’s fight now, is to hold his own in labor, you see, in skilled labor, that is.
[00:35:15] Q: Louisiana has a special situation, few other places in the south have such a situation. ________
Let’s go back to reconstruction for a moment. I remember Myrdal’s plan -- too late for ________, what was being ________ in reconstruction, and it went something like this, I have it with me. He said -- First there has been a ________ for the slaves, and and then ________. Second that there has been expropriation of land, ________. For the ex-slave. ________
Then the slave should have not been given the land, should be given amortized over a long period of time, at lower rate, ________ buy, rather than just give it to him, should have been purchased over a long period of time, at a very, you know, low rate, ________. He could not sell for a number of years, ________
carefully worked out education. And ________
and intellectual possibilities. What, in your mind, ________
Of course, this is ________ no one has
A: I was about to say.
[00:37:37] Q: But the mere idea of it, evokes so many kinds of resistances. Now what is happening. ________ Does ________make any sense to you.
A: Well, it’s so highly speculative, yes it was years ago, we don’t know what the attending circumstances were, for example, let’s take Liberia, something like that. Even Abraham Lincoln, w-________ if that’s the best way to solve the problem, was to let the Negroes go over and have a country of their own, and Liberia is having a terrible time getting on its feet. Well, you have again, you have a ________ right now in Africa. Of course, the people were not slaves there, I was thinking they were pretty close to it, when you look at it, what was really happening to them, should Belgium get out, should Great Britain get out, should France get out. Should she leave a few civil servants there? Should it educate, should it give them the land, or should it let the tribe still own the land. They seem to be happy doing that. I don’t know, it’s so highly speculative. I just don’t know.
[00:38:56] Q: The real point I get behind this, sort of speculation is here. That there have been some basis for cooperation ________ without the ________ on both side, ________.
This strikes me as a piece of irony, ________Abraham Lincoln was one of my heroes, and Lincoln believe ________
A: Let me interrupt you to tell you something if I may. I work pretty closely with the YMCA, and one of my creations is the Blue Ridge Board, the YMCA has this assembly facility at Blue Ridge North Carolina, which is about 15 or 20 miles from Asheville, near the Black Mountains. The main hall at Blue Ridge is called Robert E. Lee Hall, and as you could imagine, it has the columns up there, about 75 feet high, and Charlie Horton, who has just recently retired as the Executive Secretary for the Southern area Council of the YMCA, called me one day, he said, “Come, Dr. Clark, I want to show you something.” He said this is the only place where you’ll find Grant and Lee facing each other, and sure enough on one wall, there’s a picture of Grant and on the other wall is a picture of Lee, in the background is Abraham Lincoln, between the two. Go right on, I just had to share that with you.
[00:40:32] Q: ________ attitudes along the matter of race, as well as in the Emancipation. We know. Lincoln was a thorough going racist. ________ over and over again. And sounds like Bilbo, a mild Bilbo. ________ Now knowing this, ________ the March on Washington, at the Lincoln Monument, and the Negro ________ now what is significant. Is Lincoln understood, I don’t mean, the uneducated, I mean by the educated people. How ________ in the mind of the informed.
A: I, is in the preface or the front is piece, where the author says in reference to Stephe ________ “Judge him not on the basis of one or two things that he does, but on the manifest intention of his entire life.” I think that statement is made in introduction to The Cardinal. I think that our image of Lincoln, is that despite these things that he said, which the south frequently refers to, as you just mentioned, we think that the one or two big things that he did, such as issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, and the spirit of that sort of effused from these things, is sufficiently overpowering to say that he wanted justice and decency and goodness for everybody.
[00:42:56] Q: And his life was different________
As I was pointing to some historian about the question of Lincoln, some years ago, and he said, but you couldn’t fine the man who wasn’t a racist ________ you couldn’t find one. Where would you find him, who was he? ________ in South Carolina, was about the only one, ________
that change in a hundred years, is changed so radically, that the ________.
[00:43:45] Q: But, is it better for a Negro to recognize this evolutionary process in Lincoln, rather than take Lincoln ________
A: I would say the latter, which you just mentioned. I would say the latter. Yes, I would the latter, yes.
A: Well, in the ________ in terms of what you said, that this historian mentioned to you. It would be like, oh, the last ________ campaign in Louisiana, or I think one anywhere, I don’t study history. I remember one, when Earle Long was running for governor, he said, now listen, all of us believe in segregation, ain’t no point in talking about that. On the other hand, we never asked Earle Long for any help, that he didn’t make the effort to give to
us. But again, what person running for office in Louisiana, would say -- I’m for integration. I have had some politicians, if I call their names, you would know them, to tell me, Dr. Clark, I know what we ought to do on that, he said, but you people don’t have the vote. He said -- now when you get a half million votes, I’ll do that. He said -- now I’m a professional politician, I go where the votes are.
[00:45:10] Q: That’s honest.
A: Well, that’s the reason I believe very strongly in voting. I believe in a multiplicity of approaches, to any problem, I mean, social problem, I mean the vote is important. I’ve heard people say -- oh, education will solve that. Well, I know so many people who have all kinds of degrees and honors, and what have you, identified with the academic process, but I think they still are narrow in their point of view, they haven’t done it, so maybe they need some help, maybe they need some money, maybe they need some violence, maybe they need some nonviolence, maybe they need some everything else. I mean, what do we say, two thirds of our budget now, is for armament. We don’t expect to go to war, but if we have to go to war, we’re gonna go to war. We’re hoping we’re gonna settle this thing peacefully. Around the conference table, but, if we have to have a way, we’re gonna have a war, and we’re gonna say it’s a righteous war, it’s gonna be a just war.
[00:46:22] W: Do you think ________
that the segregation mob and segregation leaders represent a minority.
A: I don’t know, again, it depends.
[00:46:47] Q: This is not organized, ________ just the ________ legal steps of the law and not fight it. ________ exploitation by _________ the exploitation by emotionally _________
A: Well I believe, I would accept the premise, I just don’t know about whether they are the majority or the minority. Because again, there are so many facets to it. I think for example, a lot of people who believe in segregation because they’re ignorant. They believe some of these stories that they hear. They don’t know any better. I think on the other hand, there are some who don’t believe it, but who play the line, as you said, because they want to be elected to office, just as I told you this politician told me. He said, now, you get a half million votes, I’ll do that, I’ll do it openly. So I think as people become enlightened, I don’t say necessarily educated, yes, I think as people get enlightened, they will see what is best. It’s just like I’ll never forget I was taking courses in business administration in college, and I was shocked to find out that all of the dime stores were located next to each other, and I asked the professor why was that. He said, well, they found out that in the end, the competition is good for all of them, it makes all of them better, they all make more money. Now that was a hard thing for me to see, now here’s this man who’s your competitor, right next to you or across the street. He’s gonna take your business. I think the same thing is true here, that there are lot of white people who are so unenlightened, that they don’t realize what Booker Washington tried to say years ago, the best way to keep the Negro in the ditch, is for you to hold him down there. Well, immediately he went over and down there, you in the ditch too. You aren’t getting out of the ditch, you staying down, there. Well, a number of them can’t see it.
[00:48:42] Q: That’s ________ for a long time.
A: Yes. So I would certainly go along with the premise, you said, but I don’t know, and even the polls themselves switch as you know. You read the polls on a particular issue, one of the opinion poll reports, day before yesterday, on the switch of the public to the accommodation section of the proposed Civil Rights Bill, the majority of them favor it now, and a healthy number of southerners were for it. So this thing is constantly changing.
[00:49:28] Q: Do you have feeling that there will be a conviction in the Evers case?
A: No, not in Mississippi. This is difficult for me to conceive of there being that, I’ve seen the Emmett Till case in Mississippi. I’ve seen so many that are just about parallel to this.
[00:49:50] Q: I was in the ________ case.
________ of the Till case. And Kimball, was a kind of a third man in the murder of Till. I was in a town ________ talked with the _________ had a long talk with her.
A: Well, I think based on the history of Mississippi, and the temper of the times, I have my doubts about it.
[00:50:34] Q: ________ well, of course, there was an eye witness in the ________ case.
A: I hope I’m wrong.
[00:50:50] Q: I hope you’re wrong too. But I’m pessimistic.
I’m going to Jackson, see ________
A: Well, she can tell you much,
[00:51:55] Q: She knows the situation very well, and I’m seeing her Sunday afternoon.
A: Well, she quite interested in this whole thing, ________ she’s a girl who’s gotten around, and is sincere in what she’s trying to do, and she’s had a number of involvements, she’s worked at it from the angle of the church, and education, and business, and what have you.
[00:52:41] Q: I’m not going to keep you.
A: No, that’s allright.
[00:52:43] Q: 10 o’clock is here. I’ll ask one more questions. There’s a matter of speculation. It is possible that the psychology of the Negro ________ have a deep cause, without _________ in respect to his identification as American, and ________ double identity. Double origin. The southerner also has a deep criticism of American values, and I’m not talking about _________
and part of it is an un_________
Now, it is sometimes seen that this is parallel to the labor organizations, ________
where at least for the record ________
or at least recognize ________ outside the mainstream.
The most eloquent write is Baldwin. But all these things parallel the ________.
A: I don’t think it’s quite parallel. I don’t think it’s quite parallel. I think the white man really is the, the southern white man is the outsider. He’s obstructed. But I think actually that there’s a division, there’s a line between them. This southerner doesn’t go along, as you said, with the American concept. He really dcc dcis in another world. Now the Negro wants this thing that the American complex represents. But the fact is that there are barriers in the way of it. I don’t think he feels outside this. As I told you, I feel a strong identification with America and human beings, than I do to Negro people. Moreover, I think again, the south itself, when it gets enlightened, as it gets enlightened, it too wants to be a part of it. We see it right here in Baton Rouge. Now part of that, I’m sure is the migration of the white people from the Standard Oil Company into Baton Rouge, who bring this point of view, or from Salsburg, or from ________ Chemical, or from Shell Oil, or something like that, and they show this man the sheer stupidity, of saying, here we -- who is the man in the play that ran so long on Broadway, was it Senator Clyborne, who said, it was in Finian’s Rainbow, when he said, with our glorious south, and her sister commonwealth, be United States, forward to yesterday. Our south and her sister commonwealth, be United States, forward to yesterday, see.
[00:57:22] Q: I remember that.
A: Remember? Well, I think what’s happening, the Standard Oil Company, is not a Baton Rouge enterprise. They don’t make a single decision in Baton Rouge. And they begin to see that what goes in Venezuela affects them down here. Now there was a time when they didn’t think that. They raised all a scene about federal intervention, if the federal government, would take out of Louisiana the money for the welfare program, or the hospitalization program, or the education program, Louisiana would fall over on its back. And I think there are some people who realize this. And there are others. So I don’t think it is quite, I don’t think the Negro feels he’s the outside, if I’m making my point. He wants to be inside, but he wants to get rid of these barriers, the Negro is always for so-called federal intervention, because he feels that that brings him into the American ________.
END OF TAPE RECODING
FELTON CLARK -- Pres., Southern U., Feb. 5th.