Galamison leading schoolchildren on a school boycott in Brooklyn, New York in March 1964.
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Image: Original caption: 3/16/1964-New York, NY- The Reverend Milton Galamison, leader of the March 16th school boycott, leads white children into the predominantly Negro P.S.21 in Brooklyn. Galamison said if the children were denied entry they would attend a freedom school at his Siloam Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. The boycott was not as successful as the first civil rights boycott of New York City schools on February 3rd, but still at least a fourth of the students stayed away from classes.  Copyright Bettmann/Corbis.  

Audio courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Milton A. Galamison

Date: 
June 17, 1964
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Milton A. Galamison
Milton A. Galamison Bio

Milton A. Galamison (1923-1988) was a minister and civil rights activist. A native of Philadelphia, Galamison completed his undergraduate degree at Lincoln University. He received a master's degree in theology from the Princeton Theological Seminary. Galamison worked as pastor of the Siloam Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York, one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in New York City, from 1949 until 1988. During the 1960s he led a number of protests and demonstrations in New York City. These included a September 1962 parent sit-in at the New York Board of Education to protest school segregation and a July 1963 demonstration to demand that more African American and Puerto Rican workers be hired to work on public construction projects. Galamison was arrested nine separate times for his participation in various forms of civil disobedience. In 1964 and 1965 Galamison served as chairman of the Citywide Committee for School Integration. In 1968 and 1969 he served on the Board of Education and became its vice president.

Abstract

Galamison describes what he desires for African Americans in terms of integration, and he discusses African American identification with Africa. Galamison contends that African Americans, by and large, are much closer culturally to the United States than they are to Africa and he claims that some degree of integration should be possible even in areas where people of one race constitute the overwhelming majority. Galamison contends that class discrimination exists in the United States alongside race discrimination, and he discusses proposals to integrate New York City's schools. He also discusses his decision to send his son to private school and the responsibility he believes people have to improve the public school system. Galamison considers the leadership and tactics of the civil rights movement, and he also discusses how desegregation might unfold differently in the North than in the South. Galamison contends that, during his lifetime, he has witnessed a decided shift in popular opinion against discrimination, and he closes the interview by claiming that an African American's duty to further the movement is to stand up against circumstances that victimize him or her.

Transcript

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