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Oral History Interview with Guy B. Johnson, December 16, 1974. Interview B-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Dr. Guy Johnson was an author, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the first executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC). This interview focuses on his work with that organization and with the North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation in the 1920s and 1930s. Johnson also promoted the education of blacks in the 1920s with Dr. N. C. Newbold, and he discusses other colleagues in that endeavor. Johnson describes the annual meetings of the Interracial Commission and the role of women and church groups in the organization, especially Gertrude Weil, Mrs. W. H. Newell, and Charlotte Hawkins Brown. Johnson's growing dissatisfaction with the Interracial Commission led him to accept the leading role at the SRC in 1943. He describes the forced resignation of one of its key members, Mrs. Jessie Daniel Ames, and some of the work she did in the early days of the SRC. As the new director, Johnson dealt with the difficulties in staffing and financing the SRC. He also witnessed controversy among the people with board membership in the SRC and the Committee on Interracial Cooperation. The issue of segregation proved highly contentious for the SRC, leading to disagreements among black and white members. Among the activities of the SRC during the first year were attempts at mass membership and the creation of publications. These activities also fueled conflicts between the SRC and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, a more radical organization. The interview concludes with Johnson's analysis of the influence of foreign politics in the Southern Conference and the attempts of the SRC to emphasize and deal with post-war economic problems of the South as well as the racial issue. His wife, historian Dr. Guion Johnson, also contributed to this interview.
    Excerpts
  • N.C. Newbold's efforts for black students in North Carolina
  • Methodist women held a special interest in interracial cooperation
  • Women's roles in the Interracial Commission constrained by family responsibilities
  • Black members of the Interracial Commission disillusioned over organization's effectiveness
  • Black activists should have built a broader base in the 1930s
  • Black newspaper mistakenly accused Guy Johnson of opposing equal voting rights
  • Ames's efforts to maintain the Southern Regional Council
  • Ames's last speech as a leader in the Southern Regional Council
  • Southern Regional Council debated the adoption of an anti-segregation statement
  • Competition between Southern Conference for Human Welfare and Southern Regional Council
  • The Southern Regional Council transitioned to operating with a board of directors
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Southern Regional Council
  • North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation
  • 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.