Ruth Turner Perot attending the We Speak for Ourselves conference, April 3-5, 2008, hosted by the Robert Penn Warren Center at Vanderbilt University.

Audio:

Part 1
Part 1
Part 2
Part 2
Part 3
Part 3
Part 4
Part 4

Notes:

David Cohen joins the interview late in the conversation.

Photograph of the young Ruth Turner courtesy of Ruth Turner Perot. 

Photograph from the 2008 Vanderbilt conference courtesy Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

Audio courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Ruth Turner

Date: 
May 7, 1964
Related Documents: 
Ruth Turner
Ruth Turner Bio

 

Ruth Turner Perot is co-founder and executive director/CEO of Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc., established in 1997 to work to eliminate health disparities and assist communities of color in attaining optimal health. She also served from 2008 to 2013 as managing director of the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, founded in 2008 to help ensure that communities of color and other underserved populations benefit from health information technology initiatives and advances.

Since 2001 Ms. Perot has championed the collection and reporting of racial, ethnic and primary language data. She has also provided leadership since 2000 as co-founder of Out of Many, One, a national multicultural advocacy coalition. In addition, Perot currently leads SHIRE’s D.C. campaign to combat childhood obesity and promote wellness in the District of Columbia. She also led SHIRE’s activities in support of the DC Health Benefit Exchange, enrolling uninsured individuals under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act.

Perot played a key leadership role in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) as executive secretary of Cleveland CORE from 1963 to 1966. She was an influential member of Core’s National Action Council and provided key staff support for the formulation of Core’s education and community development policies. Perot is a recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust’s Healthcare Hero Award and Families USA’s Consumer Advocate of the Year Award. 

Image courtesy of Ruth Turner Perot.

Abstract

Turner discusses the reasons she decided to leave teaching and devote herself fully to CORE (Congress on Racial Equality). She states that events in Birmingham had a profound effect on her decision. Turner describes the role of the "white committed" in the civil rights movement. She explains her views on why blacks in Cleveland are not as organized as they are in some southern cities. Turner states that the situation in Cleveland is just as precarious as the South, but Cleveland looks better on the surface. Turner also explains that her parents and the parents and grandparents of other civil rights workers helped to propel the civil rights movement forward. She describes the struggle between African Americans and other minorities, such as Italians, in Cleveland. She mentions school integration and her belief that it is as important to look at the quality of education as it is to look at integration. David Cohen, a white CORE worker who teaches at history at Cleveland's Case Institute of Technology, joins the interview late in the conversation. He describes the poverty experienced by many blacks in Cleveland and explains that social, economic, and legislative changes are needed to fulfill the goals of the civil rights movement.

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