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Oral History Interview with Stetson Kennedy, May 11, 1990. Interview A-0354. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Veteran activist Stetson Kennedy describes his desire to strike down segregation in the American South and some of the ways he translated this impulse into action, including his infiltration of racist organizations. Kennedy describes himself as utterly opposed to segregation and racism, and his total devotion to a broad cause allowed him to avoid the internecine battles of the civil rights era. Despite his satisfaction with some of the victories of the civil rights era, Kennedy is not optimistic about the future of race in the United States.
    Excerpts
  • Need for activism was evident in civil rights South
  • Progressive racial outlook alienates white southerner
  • Working to "soften up" the segregated South
  • Continued need for racial justice in the South
  • George Mitchell's gradualist philosophy
  • Lillian Smith's strong attacks on segregation
  • Segregation in United States was worse than South African apartheid
  • Lost promise of reform impulse during Great Depression
  • Social progress comes from national, not state, legislation
  • Infiltrating the KKK and other groups
  • Kennedy favored many-fronted attack on segregation
  • Desegregation under cover of darkness
  • Pessimism about America's future
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Southern States--Race relations
  • Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.