Gunn along with Ruth Turner, executive secretary of CORE's Cleveland branch, after negotiations with the Cleveland Board of Education.


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Photos:  Cleveland Memory Project.

The first page of transcript 1 is missing.

Audio courtesy of the University of Kentucky.

Richard Gunn

May 7, 1964
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Richard Gunn
Richard Gunn Bio

Richard L. Gunn (1925-1976) was an attorney and civil rights activist. A long-time resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Gunn was actively involved in the struggle to integrate Cleveland's public schools. During the 1960s he served as counsel for the United Freedom Movement (UFM), an education commission that advocated for the integration of Cleveland's public schools, and he helped negotiate with the Cleveland Board of Education on behalf of the UFM. In 1964 Gunn and the UFM delivered a list of demands to the Board of Education that called for an end to school segregation and also advocated for the hiring of African American teachers at previously white schools. Gunn was convicted of violating Cleveland's trespass statute in 1965 after he participated in a demonstration in front of City Hall. Gunn also served as president of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP. In addition to his work with civil rights organizations, Gunn served on both the Board of Trustees and as the Chairman of the Law in Urban Affairs Committee of the Cleveland Bar Association.


Gunn lists several Cleveland companies that employ and promote African Americans, and he also discusses black-owned businesses within the city. Gunn considers the current leadership of the civil rights movement, both in Cleveland and elsewhere, and he describes participation in recent school boycotts around the country. Gunn discusses the quality of public education in Cleveland and suggests that equalizing educational opportunities for schoolchildren may be more important than integration. He also discusses the position of upper- and middle-class African Americans within the civil rights movement. Gunn describes in greater detail several of the school demonstrations in which he participated in Cleveland, and he also considers a distinction suggested by Warren between general demonstrations and demonstrations with specific targets. He also discusses northern white reactions to events in both the North and the South and what he views as differences in race relations in the North and the South.


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