Students offer their views regarding African American leadership. The group discusses the Medgar Evers case, though without mentioning names. Students discuss how race discrimination is exercised differently in the North and the South, and the relative difficulties of fighting it in each section. One student describes the presumed freedom of the northern African American as a "simulation," and believes that if there were genuine equality in the North, it would spread to the South. Some note the disguised form of discrimination in the North as opposed to the openness of southern discrimination. A statement about equality of education as a civil rights goal leads to some general discussion of education and of teachers' and parents' roles in it. A number of students talk about which civil rights leader they would most like to be, and why. Some students say that they do not feel it is appropriate to choose one leader as a favorite. One student, William Lucky, is quoted in Warren's book, saying "I'd rather just be William Lucky."
The sound quality is variable because of the apparent size of the room, the large number of speakers, and noise created by the passing of the microphone or the tape recorder. Very infrequently there is too much noise to hear a speaker or they are too faint, but usually the voices are intelligible.
Audio Note: Part 2 corresponds to Transcript 3. Although Transcript 2 is complete, the corresponding audio is missing.
Audio courtesy of Yale University.
Jackson State College students
Jackson State College, located in Jackson, Mississippi, was founded in 1877. It is now Jackson State University. An estimated 10-15 students are heard in the recording. Some of the students identify themselves by name. Warren identifies them as students of "Jackson College." On May 15, 1970, Jackson State College was the site of an early morning violent student protest that ended with city and state police officers killing two students and leaving twelve others injured. This tragedy occurred ten days after a similar incident at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, which received more media attention than the Jackson State College killings.
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.]
ROBERT PENN WARREN BOX 10 JACKSON COLLEGE STUDENTS
MR. WARREN: This is the beginning of the interview with students at Jackson State College, Jackson, Mississippi. When you speak, give your name. it might be useful, you see. When you have something to say, you say "my name is so-and-so" – just say your name, and we can keep a record. Let's begin with a general question – a general topic. What would you expect from Negro leadership – any impression of that? (pause) No taker? I don't want to act like a class and point fingers, you know – speak up.
JAMES CRESSWELL: My name is James Cresswell. To me, a leader should be one who thinks of all humanity in such a way that he'd rather think that he is approved by everyone. Therefore (I might be generalized to some extent) I think in Mississippi that the Negro leaders are not up to par as they should be. I think –
MR. WARREN: Would you want to be more specific about where they've failed here in your opinion?
CRESSWELL: In my opinion, in the boycotting of different – various supermarkets, I feel – my personal belief is that I feel that Reverend L.T. Smith one of the local civil rights leaders is using his store as a place to gain profit for himself, without trying to benefit humanity, as I said before.
MR. WARREN: How about you?
ALEC SANDERS: My name is Alec Sanders. In respect to the question about Negro leadership, I think we need more leadership in the smaller communities, especially in the state of Mississippi, and in the areas of teaching and in religious leadership. I feel that we fail in these areas – small areas in the immediate community, where incidental education goes along with formal. In many cases, we find ourselves falling short after coming to college and seeing a broader perspective of life, as compared to our provincial areas. And to work in this area i.e. improved leadership in small communities is the place where we would really begin to solve the problem. To begin with – well, we – if you will permit me to use a trite expression – the leaders of tomorrow – are being made now. If we could get better religious leaders, teachers, principals, administrators and businessman in smaller areas, some improvements could perhaps be made and future leaders will be better prepared.
MR. WARREN: If anyone wants it, there it is.
DELLA BURT: My name is Della Burt. First of all I would like to say that I expect a Negro leader to guard the mass with their best interest in mind, and also in the field of education. Because the Negro is struggling for his rights and so forth, I feel that we should have Negro leaders who will help us in the field of civil rights and education so we will be qualified at that time.
MR. WARREN: Well, Miss Burt, it is sometimes said that the mass as you call it, has been ahead of leadership. The leaders seem to have moved in and used the direction already manifested in the mass. The mass has not been passive in the recent years, waiting for leaders. They have provided the energy, and the leaders have stepped into a moment created by the mass unplanned for them – such as Montgomery. That is, no one planned Montgomery situation. Then leadership used it.
MISS BURT: Yes, I think that that is true too. But in this case, as in the Montgomery case, the mass undoubtedly was very strong, as there were leaders in the mass. And at this time the leaders really came out. It was a – the mass supported the leaders, and in this way the leaders came out to help guide the mass into what they had intended to do.
MR. WARREN: They emerged from a spontaneous action?
MISS BURT: Yes.
MR. WARREN: They didn't plan the action – they emerged from the action – just as out of the troubles here, which were spontaneous, I gather. The leadership might have emerged in this direction or that direction – of course, in a mass action always leadership does emerge. This was spontaneous ___________ Who wants to talk?
JACQUELINE SHARPE: I am Jacqueline Sharpe, and I think that in your smaller cities in the South, where you need leadership, you find none. I mean, you find some, but it's not on the same basis that you find it in the larger cities, say, for instance, Jackson. You would find more leadership in Jackson than you would find in the smaller cities – my home town, for instance – Grenada, Mississippi. I think that our leaders need to make themselves known. I think that they are either afraid of losing their jobs or being outcasts or something. That we really need more leadership and – what in leadership I look for – people that I can look up to in cases of emergency, to confirm statements, to answer my questions and in general to always – there is always someone you can go to and know that you will receive some response, either pro or con.
MR. WARREN: Is this changing in the smaller places in Mississippi now? Is it changing?
MISS SHARPE: Well it's – within the last past five or six months I think that the Negro leadership is becoming more prevalent than it has been previously here.
MR. WARREN: What about the educational program for registration – has that had any marked effect?
MISS SHARPE: In your larger cities, yes, and in your smaller cities, I would say it's about the same.
MR. WARREN: You see no signs of leadership beginning to emerge in the smaller places?
MISS SHARPE: In my home town I've found that there has been none.
FRED MCDOWELL: Well, I find that the leadership is coming into the small communities from the outside. Now, we have had for a long time, people in a given community who were willing to say house or feed leaders who would come from the outside, and they themselves, not having the educational level that is needed, the intellectual insights into the key problems, having had no real formal education in these things and no understanding of really what's going on – the workings of them – that they would foster a program in helping others to carry on the work that they should be prepared to do themselves, and in this way I think that in cities and towns like Grenada, __________, Greenwood, etc., - the leadership is coming from the outside and trying to train leadership within the communities.
MR. WARREN: Did that happen?
FRED MCDOWELL: Yes.
MR. WARREN: What is your home town?
FRED MCDOWELL: Greenwood.
MR. WARREN: (Indistinct – laughter) By the way, speaking of Greenwood, sine I've been there – some years ago – people of Greenwood, what do you make – any of you – of the of the mistrial – how do you interpret it?
FRED MCDOWELL: This is my interpretation –
RPW: Let's have it.
FRED MCDOWELL: At first, there was a great bit of anxiety on my part, going through the trial – the daily trial – and I'd expected a clear verdict, not guilty. And to have this sort of opinion coming finally out of the trial, was a little encouraging to me. And perhaps at the next trial he will get a not guilty verdict, but this was –
RPW: Do you think this was rigged?
FRED MCDOWELL: (Laughter) Yes – I would like to think so. It's –
RPW: I mean, if it really was rigged merely for the purpose of seeming to the outside world –
FRED MCDOWELL: (General comments) It went so smoothly – and to have the prosecuting attorney say that he had not received threatening phone calls – everything had gone so smoothly – and this would seem to indicate a very good legal and public front maneuver.
GIRL: (Indistinct) (Could not find out who spoke here)
JACQUELINE SHARPE (?) There's so much happening that you can't find logical reasoning for it – really, you can just about say anything about it, because you really don't know.
RPW: No, we don't know.
SHARPE: And you can form your own opinion about it because so much is undercover that was going on.
FRED MCDOWELL: And I think that I was greatly embarrassed by the gross immorality of a key figure, coming up and shaking a man's hand who was on trial.
RPW: Yes – it is rather strange, isn't it.
FRED MCDOWELL: Yes – that's immoral, to me.
RPW: Unusual in a courtroom, anyway.
FRED MCDOWELL: To have the high priest come in and –
GIRL: (Indistinct) (Could not determine who spoke here)
FRED MCDOWELL: I think, too, on occasions before the trial, he has had opportunities to write or get letters, just through the outside – through the news media here – many of the editorials and the local papers have mentioned favorable comments for this man, which gives rise to a suspicion in the execution of his case. Of course, as many others here, I thought that it would be a flat not guilty verdict, and of course there were other possibilities, such as being decided mentally incompetent or temporary insanity. All of these things can come into your mind, but never had I suspected a hung jury.
RPW: Let's assume, just for the moment, that it was rigged, that it was planned and acted out as a little drama – what would that imply? That hasn't been the case in the past, has it?
FRED MCDOWELL: Well, I would like to think of why (laughter).
RPW: Let's assume that it was rigged – then what is the meaning of that side?
ALEX SANDERS: It means that our system of justice will have to be revamped, especially on this level.
RPW: Well, why would they take the trouble to rig it? They have never tried to rig in the past – never bothered to rig it in the past.
BOY: You must remember that Mississippi is –
GIRL: (Could not determine speaker here)
BOY: (Possibly McDowell) Very much so – much more than we have seen within the last few years, and to have this case, with the tension and the pressures that are now coming to bear, and to not sort of appease a certain community, you see, would give rise to numerous demonstrations that they have not had before, and –
RPW: You mentioned ________________ of appeasement – what would the local community or part of the local community, the Mississippi community, or the outside world in this case?
RPW: Both. That is, there is a part of the Mississippi community to be appeased – is it just the Negro community or part of the white community too – that needs appeasement that way – any of you?
FRED MCDOWELL: Let's look at it this way – certain things that they would do, let us say, with the – a few weeks ago – last week, I believe, they sent one hundred thousand five hundred dollars – something like that – to Washington – to defeat this bill, and a few days ago the mayor was on TV asking for additional funds to build additional compounds to hold the prisoners that they are expecting during the summer months I'm sure. All of these things are pointing toward a rise in
Of course, to me, to send a hundred thousand dollars away when you need it at home, and you're asking the legislature to give you more money –
RPW: We need it at home to build more compounds with. (laughter)
(end of tape)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.]
ROBERT PENN WARREN BOX 11 JACKSON COLLEGE STUDENTS
TAPE #2 FEBRUARY 12
RPW: Well, where were we when we knocked off on the other – back to the trial, I guess. Let me try this statement on you, to see how you respond to it. James Baldwin said in his last book that the Southern mob which we find _______________ Little Rock a few years ago or in New Orleans more recently, does not represent the will of the Southern white majority. This is said by many people – some deny it. What do you think about it?
FRED MCDOWELL: Well, I would not venture to say no or yes to the question. However, from living in the South I find that in many cases each one individual is afraid of the other. They're holding onto a dead past, and if I forsake this past my neighbor is going to ridicule me, and this is the sort of thing has been expressed in massive actions, not so much because of the individual convictions, I think, but more because of outside forces. This is being manifested I think a little bit more in the South as – you know, we have two parties in our last election, which is a thing that never happened in Mississippi, not in recent years.
RPW: You think, then, that there is some possibility of that being true – that the actual cutting edge of segregation does not represent the will of the majority?
FRED MCDOWELL: I dare say yes.
RPW: It does not – that intimidation and conflict of loyalties of various kinds prevents any resistance to ____________ segregation, is that it?
FRED MCDOWELL: Yes, this is what I am saying.
RPW: How about you?
GIRL: Me? Well, I don't – as you say, this cutting edge, well, it's just like the majority – I don't think it represents the majority –that's the impression that they want the outside to get, I think.
RPW: They want to act as though they were – present the idea that they are the will of the majority but you think they are not really?
RPW: Well, what prevents the majority, then, from exerting some sort of pressure? Do you agree with our last speaker?
GIRL: Yes – if I do, what will they think of me? And if I don't, it's just their personal convictions. I think the thing is a dead limb that they pass back and forth – everybody – they're either – they're going on with the program or don't say anything.
FRED MCDOWELL: I tend to go along with the editorial about three years ago in Ebony Magazine where the white majority was discussed and pointed out that there are many people who didn't agree with the bombings, the lynchings, and the harassment of Negroes, but because of the well organized forces of certain groups, such as the Sovereignty Commission or the Citizens Council, and the sort of police state in which you live, you find yourself, that people are just afraid to speak out and that as they weigh the cost of speaking out over and against their personal losses, they say, well, I have more to lose than, say, a Negro would if he spoke out, you see.
SHARPE: Well, in this case I think the silent majority – those people who are – sit back and watch these things going on and do not side openly with the Negro, it's just as bad as looking at somebody being murdered and don't try to stop them when you can help them. And I feel that the silent majority is just as guilty as those people who openly speak out against the Negro and their dislike for the Negro. It's something like silence is consent. But I feel the newspapers – the Southern newspapers – play this up big. I think they – they're for the purpose of selling and know what they're putting is – they're going to be bought by people and they're going to be read by people, and – they get the opinion that they want to convey to the outside – to outsiders – that it's the opinion of the majority. Well, really, it's just the few people that they happen to print it and word it so it seems like it's all – everybody.
RPW: Speaking of papers, did you see last Sunday, the Atlanta Constitution's article on the troubles here at your gate?
FRED MCDOWELL: Yes, I saw it.
RPW: By Martin – I saw that, but I compared it with some other reports that I read in the public press – it was quite a discrepancy, wasn't it? I read an editorial this morning in the Memphis Press Scimitar on the Civil Rights Bill – did anybody see that one? It was an unequivocal endorsement of the bill – a big editorial. It told of the endorsement of the bill and said the Senate had better pass it now – quick – in the Memphis paper.
JOHN D. SMITH: Well, I was about to say that in Memphis, although it isn't the Deep South, literally speaking, is no longer considered a city in the South. You will find that there are places in Memphis where Negroes are accepted as being men – regardless of their physical appearances. There are a few night clubs, restaurants there in Memphis who will accept the Negroes. ___________ before 1955, I think it was – maybe even recently than that – to not put pictures of Negroes, nor did they advertise Negro businesses in their paper. But now you find that in their – this high school thing that they have – their top students in Memphis – you have Negroes in there, and you have Negro pictures in their advertisements there in Memphis.
RPW: That makes it a non-Southern city, does it?
JOHN D. SMITH: Well, in the eye-sight of the white brothers – in the Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama area.
RPW: Does its new eyes make a non-Southern city?
JOHN D. SMITH: Well, as far as geographically, yes – racially, no. As far as the movement is concerned.
RPW: That is, in your mind, the Southern equals segregation, is that it?
JOHN D. SMITH: Not really. Their laws, yes, but there are some people here in Mississippi who aren't – we were speaking of this majority a minute ago – the silent majority – now, I see the line being drawn, as far as saying the white majority being silent on an economical basis, whereas they've always been pulling or should I say, fighting the Negro on one side and indoctrinating the mind of the poor white on the other side. As Mr. McDowell said a minute ago about the pressures that the organized groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Citizens Council, they now call it – keep them – keep the wealthy people, the educated white citizens of the state or the Southern region, I should say, from expressing themselves, like Mrs. Hanna said about the ridiculing they would get as a result of publicly stating their views. We find that among the truly religious people of the South, there is no real abhorrence – they don't endorse, I should say, the segregation issues that are presented, and if you'll notice in the demonstrations that they had here last summer, there weren't the leaders of the great white leaders – people who are well known, who actually beat these kids on the street. It was the poor people would lived around the city and here in the city who actually did all the dirty work, whereas the politicians will get up and endorse and suggest these things. If you notice this is being changed, I must go back a little farther – to – Governor Johnson's campaigning speeches were quite different from his inaugural speech.
RPW: I read it.
JOHN D. SMITH: And back to the trial – we – if it's O.K. – I don't think – well, there's a possibility of it being rigged, and a possibility that they will tie it up six-six – the vote – let him out on bond later to see how the public will accept him, and if he's not killed, then bring him back in and convict him. Now, it could be that. It could be that there's water going under the bridge, so to speak, that people are beginning to wake up and open their minds to the fact that this is wrong from the law and religious standpoint of view, as far as your rights and the equality of Negroes is concerned. In the past, juries have not hesitated to get a verdict right away – In other words, a trial has never lasted that long with a Negro killing a white man – and this time we had a week, and usually it's just a day – and the next day he's out again. Never before in history has a white man been kept confined to jail quarters, although he had an opportunity to have contact through mail with the outer world and visits. But history is being made every day, and I don't think we should look at this as saying that this is all rigged because of the great possibility that it isn't.
RPW: You speak of history – do you see any irony in the fact that the March on Washington came to the shadows of the Lincoln Monument.
JOHN D. SMITH: Well –
RPW: Of course I have had the answer that – where else was there to go?
JOHN D. SMITH: That is true.
RPW: Even so, was there any irony in it – or humor?
JOHN D. SMITH: I don't think so – this is a personal opinion.
RPW: I don't mean in the fact that they chose it, but in the fact that it is what they did choose – I mean, as I said, they had motives – that they had to go there. What was the purpose?
JOHN D. SMITH: I think the purpose was to wake the nation, here in Washington – I mean, there in Washington in the summer – it was something that brought world publicity.
RPW: But why the Lincoln Monument?
JOHN D. SMITH: Well, because – it's been written that Lincoln freed the slaves, although –
RPW: We judge a man by his motives and his attitudes and not by the accidental consequences – don't we?
JOHN D. SMITH: That all depends.
RPW: Just why did he sign the Emancipation Proclamation?
JOHN D. SMITH: On, now that – are there any historians in here? That was something about that in the news today. Did you hear or read in the news this morning – the Daily News – Jackson Daily News has now published some editorials on the – President Lincoln –
RPW: This is getting around. (Laughter)
JOHN D. SMITH: And they're trying to say that he endorsed segregation, and I remember distinctly this quotation they had there, that he emphasized in one of his speeches that he did agree to – and he did want – separate – how was it? - separation of the races, he wanted, in this particular speech,
FRED MCDOWELL: Well, let me say that a short while ago, I watched the documentary on the – on Lincoln – and of course I was interested in it – I had to go back and do a little reading, trying to find out, because I had heard in a previous lecture by a particular historian that because of the necessity of trying to save the Union, and not interested in the rights of Negroes particularly, that he – Lincoln – signed the Emancipation Proclamation. But in his debate with Stephen he brought it out clearly, to all people, that he stood for equality of the individual, and that basic rights should be a part of every man and whatever color. And I think that it was from a humanitarian point of view.
RPW: I will quote you something of this in a minute. I'm afraid somebody has misinformed you. I will say, then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social or political equality of the white man and the black race – Abraham Lincoln.
FRED MCDOWELL: From what speech?
FRED MCDOWELL: Between the debates?
RPW: December 18, 1858. Also, a fairly good – this is an important point, and what you make of it ________ you see – it is an important point.
(Section not distinct – see 185-189 ft. on dial)
DR. CLARKE: Well, it came to that point where he had to free the slaves, and he did not free them in those states or sections of states which did not secede from the Union. There were, e.g., parishes in Louisiana which were not in rebellion where the slaves were not freed, as well as other places.
JOHN D. SMITH: Just political expediency.
DR. CLARKE: Only those which had seceded from the Union – those were the only places – where slaves were freed. His main purpose was to save the Union, when he freed those slaves.
JOHN SMITH: Political expediency.
DR. CLARKE: Yes, against those rebellious states.
RPW: This is an interesting problem to get raised in this way. There was an emancipationist who freed the slaves of his own free will. Robert E. Lee was an emancipationist – he freed his slaves early, long before the Civil War. He didn't believe in it at all. This is a sort of funny situation, isn't it? Grant held slaves until after the war.
GIRL: I think that the March on Washington showed that the Lincoln Memorial has come to have a symbolic representation for Negroes too.
RPW: Different from its literal historical significance? This is the point I am getting at – it's a strange complication.
JOHN D. SMITH: It happens often, then.
RPW: It happens often. Now, what I am getting at is this, really – if in 1863 – '58 of this court session, but he still believed it after the Emancipation Proclamation – a delegation of prominent Negroes called on him at the White House – in '63 – to express appreciation – he said the same thing to them – slightly different words - ________ - Something has happened, then, from the days of Abraham Lincoln, who said that, to ________ the Press Scimitar. The little editor there in Memphis goes farther than Lincoln was prepared to go.
GIRL: (Possibly Della Burt) Yes – even for Mississippi. As you know, most of the Southern papers don't report the news – well, there' a slant to what they report – but in a –
RPW: True, too, of the New York times.
GIRL: (Possibly Della Burt) Yes. In certain places there are exceptions to the case. For instance, in my home town, Koseveko, where Meredith came home and was – he was stabbed by a policeman – well, the paper seems to have been on Meredith's side, because he said that Meredith had the right to come home, just as anybody else did, becausethis was his home. And this was an editorial in the local paper. And generally speaking, you would hardly believe that a white man would actually speak out in a small segregated town like that.
MCDOWELL: I think that there's a liberal – I think it's one of the papers in Greenville – that is quite liberal in its editorials about this – this has been – as early as, what, '58, '59 – when I was in high school – in many cases they have been ridiculed for it by many of the whites in that area, but –
RPW: He had a fist fight in the vestry one time.
BOY: (McDowell or Sanders) Oh – that was one other point I had thought of a minute ago, but I waited for an opportunity – a comparison of the – this case with the one in about '56 or '55 – Greenwood – the Till case – These men were protected and they never could find – they sat on the lawn and they ate – they just actually they had a holiday – and yet the moment they got off the trial, their whole race turned against them. They couldn't find a home. On the other side, I doubt –
RPW: The Melton case?
BOY: Yes – ever found out about this thing, but not – it was something else that they protected – not the individual. I think they were holding onto-
BOY: Their systems.
MCDOWELL: Yes – and this – that a white man can kill a Negro and be freed, but he wasn't accepted later. This may be the case in this matter. If he gets off, sure, for a while – but then what? And I think this is expressive of an undercurrent of this great and sovereign state.
RPW: There is something I am referring to on a question I am going to raise in a moment – I was talking recently to a very prominent Negro lawyer in New Orleans – he is very prominent in civil rights activities – he shall be nameless for the moment – an extremely intelligent man – and a man – a very thoughtful man, clearly, with high integrity. He said, I must say I have no real confidence in the white man. He said, no change has really taken place – I am surprise at myself, but I am becoming almost a Black Muslim. Henry: said, I am subscribing now to their literature. And then – another person I talked to recently, who is a very brilliant young lady – stands next to the top of a law class in a very good university – and she has been in quite a few jails – quit a few picket lines too – said she was born and raised on a little farm in Virginia – and she's been all through the picket lines and jails – she said, now I have come to feel that in the South we have a chance to work it out. She said, it's going to be – you know – rough, but she said, I believe ________ society if it works, because of the common history between the white man and the Negro and some sort of mutual recognition, even behind the system of segregation or under it or above it or somewhere. She said, being on the land together that long meant something. She added, I am afraid of Harlem and I'm afraid of Chicago an I'm afraid of Detroit – what has happened there. I don't see the society beyond that. She said the possibility of impersonal blood there. Now, these opinions are quite at opposite ends of things, you see. Both of these people were born and raised in the South. There are two extreme positions. Both of them extremely intelligent – clearly, and very thoughtful and serious people. And they arrive at these diametrically opposed conclusions. Now, the girl has had more rough stuff than the lawyer. She's had it rough. What do we make of this – if anything? Both of them are ________ in history – it isn't just – merely a matter of personal experience, you see. Who wants it?
MCDOWELL: Well, when I first heard James Baldwin speak last summer, to a group –
RPW: Where was that?
MCDOWELL: This was in New York – the first time he had spoken in Harlem for some time – he spoke to us on the demoralization and when he completed his speech, I remarked to my neighbor, I said, gee, I'm so happy he's not a Black Muslim. Because it seems – as you listen to him and you read especially his writings, you find that he sort of leans toward the doctrine of Black Muslims. And yet he says that the only solution for us is love. But I think that there are so many of our people who are becoming disillusioned as they grow older by many of the things that they see around them. As Martin Luther said in his – was it Martin Luther or Baldwin who said – just imagine yourself being told to wait, and these people are getting tired of waiting. And I suppose that it's just a matter of becoming disillusioned and not having the power to be optimistic about what can happen with people and with attitudes. And I think that there is a possibility of things changing, and I don't think that things are getting worse – personally I don't think so.
GIRL: I agree with you, Mr. McDowell. I think in the lawyer's case that he has – he seems to have become – to be bitter with life – thinking in that way. But as for the young lady, I think she's being very optimistic, and I can see a change myself – and she seems to be able to – she seems to be growing to me – any time that you can look out and see things for the better, I think you're growing. And I'm inclined to believe the young lady and to agree with her.
RPW: You're inclined to agree with her – cite one good reason.
GIRL: Well, I do agree with her. Because things are changing.
JOHN D. SMITH: And don't you think the races are becoming moreunited? Because, the white brother is beginning to know the Negro brother a little better in recent years – well, actually, this whole thing started right after the Second World War. But the paper media and the news medias have not given the other side of the thing as much as possible – or as much as they should have. The Negro is really waking up, and to look at his country and to wonder why is he taking this position as inferior – why can't I do what everybody else is doing – whereas I have – most of us have at some time asked why did a lot of Negroes sacrifice their lives for a country that they are not a part of, really.
DR. CLARKE: Why do you say after the Second World War?
JOHN D. SMITH: This is true. The great movement – the present movement in this era, I think started then.
DR. CLARKE: We wouldn't want to start before, you think, with the NAACP cases antedating the 2nd W.W. and paving the way and the gains which were made prior? I think you need a greater sense of historical perspective here – that there have been spurts in the drive for civil rights for Negroes going back at least as far as DuBois and the NiagaraMovement, even back to Fred Douglass and the abolitionists.
JOHN D. SMITH: Well, I didn't go back that far – I was just starting – after the Second World War – that was my point. Where I wanted to start.
DR. CLARKE: Well, the historical perspective on the part of Negro students generally about this emphasis is to narrow, too limited, to this movement and to see only a part of it in small measure which doesn't give you a sense of history nor a sense of any contribution and a sense of all the different factors which have gone together to make this kind of movement possible. I think here of all the work of those who contributed both before and after the Second World War.
JOHN D. SMITH: I really don't look at it from all attributes of what has contributed to the movement. We must consider people – great educators and people who sacrificed their life – to become educated, and their pride, to push that pride aside –
DR. CLARKE: Look at the people who are involved in civil rights movements themselves before World War II, just those who were primarily concerned professionally with civil rights. You don't find any or at least much of this mass movement in organized groups before World War II. You don't find any evidence of paid civil rights professional workers coming forth prior to World War II as you do afterwards.
JOHN D. SMITH: I find a – well, I see, through reading and from history that there were contributions made. I didn't – when I started out a minute ago I wasn't saying that nothing was done before World War II at all. I think great things were contributed before World War II, but that was only part of my point –
DR. CLARKE: During World War II, you were just beginning to get the masses – I think this is where it has been significant that since World War II, that you have begun to get the masses of people and, in fact, as you know yourself, you don't have the masses of Negroes with you inMississippi – when I say with you, I mean with the people who are concerned with civil rights – you don't even have the masses of yourstudents with you.
SHARPE: You're quite right, and one of these reasons, I believe, is the fear of losing their jobs. Because, as you know, the chief professional job that you have in Mississippi is the teaching profession, and everybody's afraid that I'm going to lose my job. And they just decide that so "I'll sit back. I agree with you on what you are doing – I'm with you wholeheartedly - -I'll give you a donation, but I can't speak out because then I'll get fired in the morning."
RPW: Is it true that students in this college can't participate in the local organizations that are involved in civil rights?
JOHN D. SMITH: This is not true at all, because I am very active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and I am a student here at Jackson and I live on campus. The president has said that it's perfectly O.K. if what you do does not interfere with your class attendance and this sort of thing. That's not true at all.
MR. CRESSWELL: I disagree. I have had a personal experience with Mr. Carroll and myself. Once we went to the president's office, here on the campus to have, to get his approval on having Reverend Shuttlesworth come to the college and speak to us on an objective basis and give us information that would be helpful to the students. And while we were there, the president, hearing the name Shuttlesworth, became angry – he became so frustrated that he ordered us out of his office before we had finished talking to him, but nevertheless we stayed on for a moment to talk further on. After three or four more words, he ordered us out again and still we stayed on. And after that I heard that in a faculty meeting the president raised a question concerning instructors who were instructing their students to do things that were not in order with the college, and he told us in his office that if we were to do anything like that again we would have to be dismissed.
RPW: How do you make those two pieces of testimony square?
CRESSWELL: I have another point. I found myself that Jackson is changing very rapidly. Many years ago my father told me that during his childhood the white man always told him to work and get something – don't go to school. But now I have found out, and I have been conversing with some white people for some time, that they always speak about Negroes going to school and getting an education, because some day they might be able to use it formally. And so I agree that it is changing quite considerably.
MCDOWELL: I'd like to make one remark concerning the young lady and the lawyer – I think that – I remember one particular incident where a young man who had come to a small town in northern Mississippi – a minister who began to arouse the attention of many of the whites and Negroes, had a conversation with a white social worker, and she became extremely angry during the conversation and there was a burst of emotion, but after the conversation she came back and said, never before have I known a Negro – never before have I associated with them in any other capacity than a work hand – someone to do the things that lower – people may say the dirty work in many cases, and after this I think that was a revival within her that this is an individual, and this is the case in much of the South. I think maybe because this lawyer is on a plane that he cannot really meet and associate, to get to know the individual for his work. He has taken this view where the young lady, who has worked with the groups on a lower level, has begun to understand, because of humanity, the worth of the individual and not govern themselves by stereotyped things.
RPW: This lawyer, you know ________ in the army, was in an integrated command in Korea – he went to an integrated law school in the South, had friends, and still in the course meets those friends and they go off and have a drink or have a sandwich, but still he says he feels this way – it has grown on him lately.
BOY: I think this is something individual too – I think person's prerogative – if he wants it, then let him have it.
RPW: It's his prerogative, sure –- we can't change that. I am just curious about how it strikes one. Well, I'm sorry that we –
(end of session)
Unintelligible handwritten note at bottom of page18
BOX 11 JACKSONCOLLEGE – TAPE #2
MR. WARREN: When you speak, will you give your name before you start speaking – that gives me some control of the – in case I want to check the reference, you see. Where shall we start, Dr. Clarke, this time?
DR. CLARKE: I think we should start out by finding out whom they would regard as "the" Negro leader of the civil rights movement.
JOHN BAYNE: Whom do you mean, someone such as King?
DR. CLARKE: Yes, like King or Randolph or Foreman or Farmer.
RPW: Excuse me a second – we'll have to pass this down, you see, to the person – not like this but out before you like that – and a normal voice will pick it up. It won't carry it quite that far.
BAYNE: Well, in relationship to this, we must be aware that we as students are not faced with these circumstances in which we would come in contact with any of the effects of this push for civil rights or for the advancement of the Negro.
RPW: This is where you would not come in contact?
BAYNE: Not so much as the Negro businessman or the person who is out of college or not in school. You see, we are in rather a type of closed society here. We don't come in contact with the white man too much. When we go home to our several different communities where we might live, we are faced with a form of a new way of life, you see. And when we get there we hear about what King has done, or we read about what Farmer has said, and we just get whatever we know about these people from reading about them, and we have to take our education but we are here in college and try to relate this to what we hear about these people, and then try to choose the best one, you see. But in getting an education I think that our – myself, have found my own principles about what I would think would be my right way to pursue equality if there is such a thing as equality. Now, I am saying if there is such a thing as equality, because I think in these terms – we as Americans – and when I say Americans I mean all of the several races which comprise the United State – face the same problem nationally. The best way I feel to gain any state of equality would be to start on a reshaping our economic status. Now if you could have a state or society in which the incomes of the people were on the same level or common level – and you didn't have too many poor people – or too many rich people – you couldn't feel too much of a difference between you and I – let's say, you as a college professor and I as a farm hand – well, we couldn't feel too much difference if we had about the same income, because money does influence the thoughts and actions of people. And so I agree that the best leader for the Negro, or for anyone, - that would be yourself. You're your own leader.
RPW: That was a good formulation.
CHARLES PUGH :I would, in addition to business, I would think that the Negro should try to, shall I say, raise the standards culturally rather than just basing it specifically on business. I think that we need to – I'd say, to elevate ourselves into society – trying to get the people to accept us – do those things which are acceptable to society as a whole, and not which are acceptable to the – I'd say, the white race, or Caucasians, or themselves, but do things which are acceptable to the American society.
RPW: For example – would you try to give me an example of what you're thinking about –
CHARLES PUGH: Take myself – we are right now acting for permission to go into bus stations and to be able to sit on one side, we sit on one side – whereas we will be integrated – like that. Whereas the present situation, we have to – they want you to go on one side over here – you sit with the Negroes – you come over here where the whites are, they threaten to jail you or they want you out. What we want now is to be able to mingle with these people – show them that we are actually as good intellectually as they are – by doing this, we can further influence them to support us, even though we are already supporting ourselves, in business.
RPW: Put your name on the record, will you please? Just tell me your name.
CHARLES PUGH: My name is Charles Pugh.
RPW: And what was your name?
JOHN BAYNE: Bayne – John Bayne.
RPW: John Bayne – the remarks just before these remarks. Isn't there a difference, though, between rights and acceptance?
JOHN BAYNE: I would think so – yes. Actually because, you see, in our – in the American society, there are – and in America there are different societies – based sometimes on economics and also sometimes the cultural traits of a particular group of people – also there are some traits in a certain community which are actually geared to one economic level – they cause certain cultural diversities – different cultural changes but they are, I'd say, related, based on religion, even if some of the things which are acceptable in one religion would not be acceptable in another religion.
RPW: Let's take this example – Several Negroes who are actively involved in civil rights movement in the South, have commented on this – the resentment – not universal and continuous, but sporadic and more than occasional – among Negro workers in the movement against white workers who came in – they're not accepted. This is for various reasons given for this by different people. There's a case of an acceptance -
CHARLES PUGH:From my personal point of view, I couldn't find myself resenting a person who is trying to help me to get something which I want. Now, for instance, if a white person wants to help me to enjoy my civil rights for which I am struggling myself, and I couldn't find myself rejecting someone who's trying to actually help me to get what I want, and I feel that if we can get the white man to support us and voice his support, we should accept him.
RPW: You're talking like a reasonable man, but there are very few reasonable men that know –
BAYNE: I look at everything- and I guess through this view – in fighting the war – now we'll liken this civil rights battle to a war – and war is won because you have a great general without type of motivation among the soldiers. There must be an individual effort among – well, the Negroes. I believe that in order to advance my race I must first advance myself, and that is, I think, the primary thing. I am aware that the white – I'll have to say the white race, because the majority of the group – American – as far as race is concerned – is white – the white race has an opinion of the Negro which is not too favorable ________ and maybe that opinion is the way it is because they haven't been in contact with the educated Negro or the Negro of the bourgeoisie. Now, I believe if we should pursue some type of goal, and set up within ourselves as set of ethical principles, let's say, and do this no matter what happens, I am aware that I am a man, that I exist, that I live – I will follow along these lines – if I do this I know it will bring up this person and – I know it will bring up me. If it doesn't have any effect whatsoever on the other race, well, it just doesn't, but I know I am bringing myself up. I'll get happiness in security, in making economic advances, in being able to have a nice home, in being able to know I can get a first class education because money will buy a first class education if it will not buy respect. And I believe that we should just make individual efforts – that would be-
RPW: Mr. Bayne, in your matter of equalizing income, how would you go about that – your remark of a few minutes ago? What machinery – what implements for that do you envisage?
JOHN BAYNE: Well, the first – the main implement which I would have to use would be education.
RPW: You mean bring it about through general education?
JOHN BAYNE: Education of the masses – the masses of the Negro. Now, you would be surprised how many Negroes actually do not have any education whatsoever. The high school education which we get – well, it's not really much of an education. Let us say I went to school – I went to school eleven years high school included because I got out a little bit ahead of time. But the average student, without any motivation whatsoever and with a poor background and with parents of a poor income, would not – be prepared to make any kind of advances or even to take on any jobs which would call for some kind of training, se. Well, we must better our educational system and I think this has been – perhaps the main reasons why we say we want to live integrated, we want to get into school. But I think – if I should – I feel that if I could get a good education and go back and sort of alleviate this vicious cycle of poor education – which is turning out the poor students – well, I think this would help quite a bit. It's up to us.
RPW: Let me change the subject a little bit and throw another question out – Dr. Kenneth Clark – you know, the psychologist at C.C.N.Y. – has recently done a piece which in substance attacks Martin Luther King's philosophy. This is very close to a quotation – I can give you the quotation if you want it. You'd like the quotation? Good – I'll get it. (Pause) Here it is. On the surface, King's philosophy appears to reflect health and stability, while the Black Nationalists betray pathology and instability – he had been talking about the Muslims before this, you see. But a deeper analysis might reveal that they have an unrealistic if not pathological basis in King's doctrine. The natural reaction to injustice is bitterness and resentment. The forms which such bitterness may take need not be overtly violent but the corrosion of the spirit seems 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 psychological burden upon these victims. He seems more emphatic later on but I won't continue it. In other words, to forgive is to get mentally sick. That's about it, under the paraphrase. What's your name, please – will you put your name on the record?
RUTH SPATES: My name is Ruth Spates. I think that Dr. Clark has almost forgotten the fact that Martin Luther King is a minister, and therefore most of his thinking will deal with the doctrines of Christianity.
RPW: ________ ministers get sick.
MISS SPATES: No, but I'm saying the he would go along with the teaching of Christ – King would say this – "that we must turn the other cheek", so therefore I would say that – one doesn't necessarily have to become sick to turn the other cheek, but it would go along with the teachings of the Bible, to turn the other cheek, to forgive your enemy. Because if you turn it over into the hands of the Lord, as they say, He will take revenge for you if necessary, so therefore this turning of the cheek is one method of turning it over to someone's hands who is much higher.
RPW: Does Dr. King say, trust the Lord and sit tight?
MISS SPATES: No, he does not, I'm not a student of the Bible and I don't believe the Bible says that either; I'm not quite sure, but I remember a statement made from somewhere that the Lord helps those who help themselves. So therefore he is not quite saying that we should sit tight. If we help ourselves a little bit, if we make the effort, the Lord will help us in this effort.
RPW: ________ What's your name, please, sir?
WILLIAM LUCKY: My name is William Lucky. Dr. King, when he says that one should forgive and forget – I go along with Dr. Kenneth Clark – However, I don't go along wholehearted when he says it creates a burden of sickness, but in accordance with this statement I think about this non-violence. Now, if a person hit me, truly enough I'm not going to forget it. But I would cast it aside. Because I have a purpose in mind, and until that purpose is accomplished, I tolerate it. And I think when Dr. King said that we should forgive, he knew altogether that we weren't going to forgive nor forget, we're just going to lay it aside until our goal was accomplished, we would just have to tolerate it because we would only get what we want through non-violence.
RPW: Will you give your name, please sir?
ROBERT WALKER: My name is Robert Walker. ________ remember that Dr. King being a minister – uses the basic idea of religion in appealing to the emotions of a person. All right, if something is done against us or we're trying to seek stability in society, well ________ can we get out and actively demonstrate for this – you know, let everybody know that this is what we want. So, in the long run people are going to, consider the facts and everything, and then by doing this you're going to cause the man to get in the struggle ________this individual effort, later causing mass exertion. You're going to do this in a way which will cause you to appeal to the emotions of the persons and then you can get the stability, the help and everything which will lead on to our high advancement.
RPW: Mr. Bayne?
BAYNE: I think another error that is being made by the Negro or by our leaders consists of the fact that we fail to try to identify ourselves in lieu of us having a definite heritage.
RPW: In what way do you mean?
BAYNE: Baldwin talked about this – the Negro identifying himself; now I will try to take this down piece by piece – I will say starting from the beginning – how I got my name – well, I will never be able to find that out and I can trace my founding on a line of my heritage, let's say not my heritage – my family line – back about two generations. I have nothing to lean upon – I have no way to say I'm of noble blood because my people came over on the Mayflower or my great-great-grandfather fought in – this battle in England or in – he was one of the Medici or something like that, you see. And we don't realize that in Africa, where we supposedly originated from, there are quite a bit of things which we have to be proud of, you see. And they constitute a heritage, and if we become aware of this, well, we have a good starting point – something to stand on. You see, right now we're a bit shaky – we just might be – ready to cross the river and you have to walk on the water – you don't have a boat to ride in, you see. And you just can't figure what might – go on – you don't know how the student is going to act when he's trying to be non-violent – you don't know how the common worker is going to act, and you don't know how the educated or the business man is going to act. You can just say that we hope they'll follow this path and one man will say this is right, but everybody, you know, has –
RPW: You raise a question there that's fundamentally interesting, I think. I encountered it first many, many years ago ________ boy – a long time ago when I was young – and it's had many formulations since then. Dubois says that a great split in the Negro psyche – the Negro soul – that on the one hand there's a tendency to identify himself and bring one's loyalties to the Negro-ness – emphasize this. To say he was in Africa today – he is inclined to make a mystique out of it – to feel some special affiliation, if not indeed with the African tradition in the sense of connection with that, at least with the Negro cultural unity and blood unity in America. Now, this impulse can go to the extremes of Black Muslims doctrine of exclusiveness and separatism and a ferocious sense of superiority and being somehow chosen – waiting for Armageddon or the Great Day when the white devils are all plowed under. That's an extreme form. But it's a question of the locus – the focus of loyalty. The basic sense of identification as Negro ________ The other thing that's split – pulls away and makes a split – would be the drive to identify with a Western European-American cultural tradition and accept its values, including Christianity or ________ Christianity. This creates a problem for some people – a real split – because ________ presumably insofar as the Negro enters that culture fully, his identify will disappear – it's been absorbed – lost – blood gone. It's suicide in one sense to enter that culture. Here's the split. Now, how much ________ of significance, you see, for individuals – because I think individuals are individuals. But you'll find it's a real problem for many Negroes and they have to have a solution for it.
THURMOND BEASLEY: I would like to say this –
RPW: Your name, please sir?
THURMOND BEASLEY: Thurmond Beasley. In accordance with what they have said and what you mentioned, we said that if we pull to the side our case will be lost. But then it's not really what I would think that we're really seeking for. Everyone has an individual talent, and as we go back to our heritage, we really cannot trace our heritage back far because we don't know – I mean, in coming up there was no record – no great deeds that our ancestors did. But we can say that the Negro of today is striving for a certain goal, and if he can obtain that goal he will not necessarily lose this goal or heritage, but he would just gain what he is seeking.
BAYNE: I think that we're trying to go back the way that the – let's say the English people did – the people from England – you know, in the formation of England as a nation, well, they started by people drifting into England or by the infusion of new groups into the several "tribes" that were already there and the people that went to Kent and all the other different – I think it was about several little countries there – were living there all the time and others came from different countries, and they were primarily I guess – primarily – you would call them barbarians. They were not really cultured or they didn't have anything to lean upon, they were not too many artifacts which would indicate – history of previous culture – but we see them today and we attempt to use them as something to lean back on – we are impressed by the struggles that they went through, you see. And the Negro is going through the same phase, you see. We started here in America. We came to America. Well, at first we were almost barbarians, let us say. Those were the characteristics of the – I guess you'll find them common to all humans which would indicate there is a possibility for us. But we have been trying since then to build up something, as I said, we want to have something to lean upon. If we don't have anything to lean upon I don't see the point of pursuing this struggle for equality first. You see, when the English people signed this Magna Carta – this was for the rights of the nobility it didn't matter if it did not benefit anybody but still it marked the onset a group of people struggling for rights. They didn't have that much of a heritage behind them, but they got recognition. And if you believe in the Christian doctrine – which sometimes you may find it hard to do – you're going to struggle for equality because you have to believe that all men are basically equal and brothers.
RPW: What do you gentleman think about this topic of – is there is a split in this matter of identify
OTIS SHEARD: Well, I'm Otis Sheard – and I think the African heritage of the Negro has little to do with the racial situation of the day. Basically, it's – the Negro is trying to reveal some heritage I would say for the coming generations – or make conditions so that they will have something to be proud of. And say it's – where we are today, we have little – we have something, but little to be proud of – of our origin in America, let's say. But the present-day Negro is trying to be something that the coming generations will have to be proud of – say that ________ something, you know. And when there is a force trying to obstruct him from building this heritage, that's where the Negro is failing today mainly.
ROBERT WALKER: My name is Robert Walker. I think that the Negro has finally come to the place where he realizes that he is a member of the human race and is an American, and according to the documents in the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that we know these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the Negro realizes this and he takes the initiative to fight for this. Because, not merely is he a Negro or a member of some ethnic group, but this is because he's a human being and – so far as the religious doctrine is concerned – well, we all were created in the image of Christ – and the Constitution states that all people born and naturalized in the United States are citizens of that state, and any state wherein they reside, and you know they have a right to what is theirs.
RPW: You would say – you would involve this question of split – the tendency between the two poles – the two kinds of loyalties – by saying that it's not ________ because it's a question of a human definition and not a cultural law – is that it? The identity of the human – I mean, in your – God relations rather than in your cultural relations?
WALKER: I wouldn't say cultural relations – I would say relations of a human – the Negro has realized that he is not just a member of the Negro race, but he is a human – he's a member of the human race.
RPW: That's where the question fo identity lies – the real focus – and not in a cultural affiliation – is that it?
WALKER: That's right – yes.
BOY: I have found – my name is Charles Pugh – I have found through observation that the white man or the Caucasians usually base their arguments upon, I'd say, culture. They try to evade the fact that we are actually of the same origin in God. Now, they use this – the argument because, well, they feel that if they find some Negro who is out here actually doing something bad – take, for instance, - if we are fighting or a Negro steals – he calls the Negro a rogue. But if a white man steals, he calls him a kleptomaniac –
RPW: Not always.
CHARLES PUGH: It's very seldom he's called a rogue. Whereas – and what we're fighting for now is to be able to just get them to accept us as people who can actually learn –
RPW: He's promoted to kleptomania – is that it? (Laughter)
CHARLES PUGH: But actually, what we want is – going back to the non-violent thing – when we get to the place where we are accepted by the white race – we want them to think of us as people, and those things which we suffer now in obtaining our rights –
RPW: Hold it – sorry – End of Tape #2, Jackson College – continue with Tape #3.
(end of tape)
(UNINTELLIGIBLE HANDWRITTEN NOTE AT BOTTOM OF PAGE_Collapse
TAPE 3 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.]
BOX12 TAPE 3 JACKSON COLLEGE (END)
A: My name is Clyde Wilson – what I said before, was I said, that's what the southern whites are trying to do now, they believe that, they believe in looking into the past, and holding on to the things of the past, and making them a one town trade. We all know that ________one time was a great industrial and economic center, ________ the ________different. This one reason, that is the southern white regard the Negro as his ancestors in the pre-Civil War days, as a means of a livelihood, he thinks of the Negro as an item of luxury. He fails to realize that the Negro is a human being and that the Negro is a person, I mean, not, he can be ________ trying to make you understand, but what the white man is trying to do, hold the Negro at a standstill where he no longer wants to identify himself with him, he wants to have the Negro in a state of what, in a state where the Negro depends mainly upon the white. He wants to hold Negro back, and not so much as economical advantage, but also socially.
Q: What about the fact that several Negro writers would say that you can't have a solution in the south, and still have it unchanged in the north? What does that mean to you? James Baldwin was one of the people most recently, who said that. You can't change the south until you have changed the north.
A: Being born in the south, mainly I know more about the south than I would about the north. And so whatever I say, would mainly be right here with the south. And that is this. If we can possibly clean up our own back yard, using the phrase, then I think the north will be taken care of in the long run. In other words, what I would to say, is that the north is already in a state of progress, that is so much more advanced that the south, we need to look at the south now.
Q: You know what Carl Lawrence says, about 17 years ago.
Q: He said, the troubles in the south will be a mere dress rehearsal for the real show in the New York, Chicago, and Detroit. He's a thoughtful man, well informed. Will you ________
WOMAN: Well, going along with Baldwin's theory that first of all you must clean up the north in order to bring the south in line, I believe that north, at least I know for a fact, that in the north, they're not quite as out, in the north, as they are in the south, because in the north they have a way of throwing the curve more or less. When you would go into a store, and you might want to buy something, well this price is always set a little too high, and you can't afford it, or if say for instance, you wanted to go into one of the better hotels in New York, well, the price is a little too high, you can't afford it. It's not so much a slam in the face, to be told that the price is say more than what you can afford, as it is when you come to the south, and they tell you well we simply won't serve you. Here, you have, in the north you feel that well, I better go out and get another job, and maybe make enough money where I can afford to go in, or I can afford to buy, but I cannot change the color of my skin in the south, in order to go in a store and buy something, so therefore myself, personally, I won't mind going to a store, and looking at a dress and the price tag might read $500. Well I just don't have $500. But if I go into a store in the south, and a dress only cost $7.50 or $17.50 and I have $17.50 in my pocket, but they tell me I cannot buy it, this is where the slam comes in.
STUDENT: That's the difference.
WOMAN: That's the difference. What is ________ talking about.
Q: What ________ others who talk that way, what do they mean?
A: My name is ________. I think that Baldwin is talking about, dates back to the Civil War, when the south was conquered by the war, and the slaves were free. In contemporary times, we find that in the north the Negro is still be discriminated against in the quest for better homes, Negroes in the north doesn't have the very best of homes, and even as far as education is concerned, in some of the northern cities. Well, in the south, this problem is common with the Negro also, and since the south was conquered by the north during the days of the Civil War, well, it's up to the north, to get the ________ ideas and then the south, you know, will go in, as long as there is discrimination against the Negro in the north, well, it will be in the south.
A: Name is William Leslie. I believe the reason they's saying the north have to clean up first, is that we do not have a model or something to go by, but the north conquered the south in the Civil War, in ________. So we find that in the north, that segregation is in a disguised fashion. Now we must have a model in order for the south to go by. And we can't ________ the people in the north, especially the whites, can't ________ about whats happening down south, without facing reality, what they're doing in disguise. The only difference in the two sections of the country, the people in the south do it and they don't care, when the south do it, they don't care; but the people in the north try to disguise it. Now that's the only way I can ________.
A: My name is William Coleman. Well, I think what Baldwin is talking about, is that a Negro is a Negro, wherever he is, whether he's in the south, or the north. He's still a Negro. And the freedom that the Negro in the south is seeking, is the freedom in the north that the Negro presumes to have. I think that is generally ________ see it. And what is actually the case up there, is the semblance of freedom, the Negro isn't really free. And by really making the Negro equal to the white, in the north, and then coming back to the south, it would probably be ________.
Q: There are people active and professional engaged in the civil rights movement, in this very state, who say that they will get a solution here before they get it in New York City. Reverse of Baldwin. ________
A: I believe that a person can be dealt with more, if not abstract, like in mathematics, you can deal with a ________ where you have to go about certain reasoning and do it. In the south, like I said, the people, the white folks here, they ________ you know in a fact, they cry out, loud and clear, that they are staunch segregationists, and they don't want to even intermingle with the Negroes. And so far as rights are concerned, I think the time will come, when we will have the same equal rights as them, but we won't be accepted by them. But in the north, that's what, that's just about the issue. You know, they have the same rights, but they literally are not accepted. And I believe that you can deal with the problem when you know the thing, everything, if it's given to you down pat, and you know just exactly what you're up against. Instead of going by what the guy says.
A: Your question ________ asking about as to whether the civil rights equalization would be obtained earlier in the south, quicker than it will be in New York City. I actually believe that it will be obtained in New York City before it will be here, because of the mere fact, that in New York City, we have Mayor Wagner and others, who are willing to, I think, sit down and negotiate, whereas here, the neglect is, we don't want to meet – make any plans at all, that will lead into integration.
Q: Perhaps the problems are more difficult there.
A: Where, here?
Q: There, perhaps.
A: Yes. I would think it is because of the fact that, as I mentioned before, New York is a state where people are all supposed to have equal rights, and it is publicized that the Negro is discriminated against in New York, well ________
A: My name is ________. In accordance to what is said, in reference to your question, I would think that with cases like Racine, and Chicago, New York is not as bad, but when you look at a place like Chicago, most of the people in Chicago, migrated from the south. And going up there, they carried the idea that conditions, which most people in this sector are prevented as you know, and in this, they migrated to the north, carrying the idea that ________ for freedom, and they brought it up in their church. And it spread over the north, just as it did over the south. So when we think of as James Baldwin, the problem in the north in comparison with that in the south, he problem in the north is not as great as that in the south, but the problems in the north, are covered up, where the people in the south say what they think. They can stand out on the corner, say they dislike Negroes, or they hate Negroes, and they're staunch segregationists. Where in New York, a person he would do that, he would not necessarily be mobbed, but he might be mobbed, because, I mean, they say that everybody has the same rights.
A: My name is Frank Galloway. I have one statement just to say that the people in the south, they must realize the Negroes are no longer with the ________. They are with ________ problems, no matter what. And that in this fight for civil rights, well, no matter what may come, well, even the leaders ________ even the leaders, after they may be gone, there will be some more Negroes that will stand up and fight fight for these rights.
Q: Now what do you think
A: I'm talking about ________ you know, in case they die, there are some other ones to take their place. They're more eager to.
A: (NEW SPEAKER) The conception I have of this, the Negro necessarily don't, I mean, we are fighting really for the next generation, we don't expect to win, ________ we don't expect to have the best education. If we look at the average small town in this, Mississippi, Tennessee, any southern state you want to, the Negro high schools, separate high schools in the south, do not have half the equipment that the white high school has.
Q: ________ or New York City.
A: Well, you should look at some of our schools, ________ but the teachers up there are pretty well up to date, where the teachers here in the schools are just now becoming A-rated schools. The colleges in the south. But our teachers from high school didn't migrate from up north back down south, you see, the teachers, most of the teachers from our high school, didn't come from any rated schools. We are handicapped, when we start to go to college, we have to study harder than anybody else, we were handicapped in high school, because we didn't have the proper teaching and training. And that's the only reason, one of the, not the only reason, but one of the reasons the Negro is fighting so hard. He don't want the next generation to come up in the same environment and under the same conditions.
Q: ________ motivation ________ quite the same.
(ALL AT ONCE)
Q: We have one more.
A: On the question of, well actually, I don't think the blame should be the teachers, the teaching should be set toward the college. I think this is actually, sort of a circle, where the consciousness in the home itself, first the fact that the parent, the child needs to be educated to the degree that cannot be realized by the parent. After ________ parent encourages the child to go to school. In his early years of school ________ try to get out of his ________ as he possibly can, by getting a good foundation in high school, taking the best of that which he has, even though he is in a segregated school, making the best of it. With enough determination to go to college, to find something he wants to go, work for it, use those facilities which he has in college, and then it is the responsibility of the college to make sure that the material which they turn, is material which is worthy of better foundation.
Q: I think we'll try ________ down here.
A: My name is Clyde Wilson, I would like to say something regarding the teacher instructor, and that is this, instructors, some of them forget that they have as much to do with students' mold of his life, as the parent, and the mere fact, I mean, and what what I want to say, is that the teacher has the ability to do just as much for the child, as the child's mother and father. See, instructor must realize that he can play an important part in molding this child in the way that he want him to go. The child spends almost as much time, perhaps he spends more, under the guidance of an instructor, than he does with his parents. As for myself, that's my case.
A: ________ those teachers must be more dedicated.
WILSON: Yes, they must be more dedicated.
WILSON: Yes, but the instructor plays an important in building, than the parents.
A: I'd like you have you heard the other side of the question, about how you feel toward the Negro civil rights leaders, what is the white students' opinion of it?
Q: White student's – here?
A: Yes, because these are the only people who will have to accept the Negro.
Q: Oh, I know something about them, but I just, you know, haven't made a business of it, I don't have to make a business of it, I see it. Oh sure, ________ I can tell you this, ________
A: (NEW VOICE) When he becomes six years old, when he is ready for elementary school, his personality are already molded. ________ We want the ability of the student to be developed to develop his potentialities, and the personality is the basic fundamental, but ________ personality more than anything. That's the parent's responsibility. We are trying to get at the idea whether a student, why is he handicapped, why is he fighting for integration, or equal rights, same facilities, as the white shave, we're not talking about personality, or how his personality developed.
A: (WOMAN) Well, in essence, about the question about the teachers, I believe that when a student enters college, he more or less is just put down to think for himself, and it is the teacher who, in voicing his opinion, and discussing the opinion of others, give the students, a pattern to go by in his thinking, and therefore he will eventually formulate ideas that he will consider his own. So therefore, if the teachers would view their ideas as well as others, and not say necessarily teach by a set pattern, in a school, whichever class, in high school. My sister went to a teacher, and I told her I was going to do the same thing, well I tell you what he is going to say, he says it day after day, year after year. But to change ideas to meet with the needs of the students, then, instead of the student, and here you would more less build more the character of the individual, more than his parents, because more in generally, the parents' ideas will only go so far. But the teacher has an opportunity more or less to make the individual into something greater, or say, to either to lower him in his direction. Because a lot of kids build more respect for their teachers than they have for their parents, on general views.
A: (NEW VOICE) In regard to what the effect the teacher has upon the student, well I feel that when a student enters college, the person has own outlook on life already developed. And everything is there set, and I believe it's really up to the individual themselves, because if the individual wants to, and wants to learn, he has books the same, he can read. I mean, I realize that, I realize that we have less equipment, but I still believe it is the individual himself.
A: WALKER: Well, are you going to change the topic now, or
WALKER: If I had the choice. If I had to be one other than myself, I guess I would certainly be Dr. King because it goes in with the principles of the Dr. King's dynamic personality, how he is able to capture the attention of the mass, and you know, cause them to get into ________, and then the leader, well, I would like to be a leader, and ________.
A: Well, I would hate to choose, patronize a certain person, but I had my choice, it would have to be Dr. King, because I mean, I don't get it on the line. I heard it stated before, that if ________ students, say that if they had a choice, they'd follow Dr. King anywhere. They admire him and he has inspired him that much. And I really believe that if we had a few more leaders like Dr. King, that we would have twice as much freedom as we do have now. It seems to me our main trouble is, no leaders. You cannot ________ being on his own. He must have a leader.
A: Well, in my opinion, I would go along with Dr. King because he's the man who seems as though he has some kind of ________ power in some way, and he's a leader of the ________ follow him.
(ALL AT ONCE)
A: My name is Clyde Wilson. If I had a choice, I would pick James Farmer, head of CORE, and James Farmer is a man who believe in getting down to the essential facts. He believes in sending workers to places where there has been a demonstration for, mass demonstration, but he believes in sending representatives there, to work not only on mass demonstrations for whatever the cause, the central point might happen to be, but he believes in one things and that is this. He believe in ________ people, educating people, in the rights of civil liberties. He believes in getting to the essential facts, and that is, giving the Negro his basic right, and that is the right to vote.
A: I'm ________. I don't think a Negro should start to take his choice in leadership, because all of these leaders that ________ they are trying to obtain the same goals, for the Negro, lead the Negroes to the same goals, why choose between them.
Q: Suppose one is right, and one is wrong.
A: (SAME SPEAKER) Well, we must assume that
Q: This is a possibility, assuming this possibility.
A: That one is right and one is wrong?
A: Assume the possibility, just for the use of a fundamental question.
Q: Well, it's according to which one is right, and which one is wrong.
FLOOR: ________ if you had to go to court, or if it meant praying.
A: I'd rather pray (Laughter).
A: I'm John Bayne, and since I've been used to struggling for what I wanted most in my life, and I believe that we never can be equal to someone by killing them, that you're equal with them, I'd rather be someone who will tell somebody that I'm superior to them, and then they would agree we're equal instead of you being better than me. And I don't necessarily, ________ peaceful negotiations, just that I'm not overtly violent, but I don't in letting anyone slap me and sit down and take it. I mean, and take it. So if I had to be anybody, I'd be Malcolm X, but I'd rather be just John Baynes.
A: I'm Roger Killens. So far as choosing one of the top Negro leaders as the one which I would rather be, I couldn't possibly do this, because I know that they are basically working for the same thing. The only difference is they have different methods about going about what they want to get. The different leaders, are going in the direction which will lead them to what they think is the end toward which they are working. But so far as my choosing one as being one which I would rather go after, I couldn't do. There was something else.
A: I'm Charles Fuchs. I have a problem of trying to decide as to whether I would choose Mr. Randolph or Dr. King, whereas in Dr. King, I admire his expression of nonviolence, and also, through achieving the same goal as the rest of these leaders, ________ I admire him ________, and also ________ same goal as Dr. King.
A: I am Ruth Bates, and I will have to go along with Dr. King as a Christian, but as a human being, I would rather go along with James Farmer. (This is the same speaker who was previously designated as "woman".)
A: I am ________. I don't feel that I'm in a position, to choose one, because all I know about it, is what I read, but really, the one that would like to follow most closely would be Roy Wilkins, because I like the way he works on an executive level. And, but because, but Dr. King is more or less a speaker and captures the audience, with his philosophy of nonviolence, but this is okay, but I go with Mr. Baynes, if someone hit me, I'd like to hit them back.
Q: Is that quite the way it presents itself?
A: (SAME AS ABOVE) Well, his philosophy say, to be nonviolence. If a person hits you turn the other cheek, and I remember, last summer, I think it's some white man here, and instead of doing anything, he turned the other cheek and hit him again, he ________. Now if I had been in that same situation, if he was to hit me the first time, I would have ________ because I would have ________.
Q: Who ________ of the emancipation of the Negro.
A: The way I figured it out, I would just chose the ________.
A: My name is William Coleman. Well I think it is using discretion among the leaders and I have two in mind, ________ as it stands now, I don't know what I really think, and by asking you know which one will I choose, it's similar to asking one of the southern whites, which would I choose – Governor Ross or Governor Barnett. And I think essentially, as we are the main, both of them are seeking the same thing, different tactics for doing so, a Roy Wilkins of the N.A.A.C.P. naturally he can do limited things, and Martin Luther King with SNCC, whatever it is, and I think essentially, main, they have the same purpose in mind, just have different types of ________.
Q: Thank you all very much indeed, you've been hospitable to me, I'd like to ask you ________
END OF INTERVIEW WITH THE STUDENTS AT JACKSON COLLEGE, JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI.Collapse