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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Charles M. Jones, November 8, 1976. Interview B-0041. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Evaluation of the changes among students from the 1940s to the 1970s

Jones projects divinity students as the most active element of the student body in the 1940s and early 1950s. By the 1960s, student activism grew in popularity due in part to the uncertainties of life and the excitement of social changes. Jones notes blacks' social self-segregation by the 1970s and questions the long-term effectiveness of integration struggles.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Charles M. Jones, November 8, 1976. Interview B-0041. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
You mentioned the Dean of the Chapel at Duke being active in this. In the forties and early fifties, say, I don't have much feeling for any student activism at all at Duke. Was there something?
CHARLES M. JONES:
Yes, it came mostly out of the Divinity School. See, they've got a pretty large divinity school over there, and your people, most of them came out of divinity school. Some of them didn't. But now when you went into the demonstrations themselves…
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
In the sixties.
CHARLES M. JONES:
… by then there was a bandwagon going, and you had lots of students. The march we had from North Carolina College over, it was a lot of Duke students in that. Someday you may need to think about the effect of the wars [unclear] on these kinds of changes, because I have a feeling they prepared some students for this kind of, both emotionally and desire for this kind of thing to happen, particularly in the forties. I call the forties our best years, looking back at students. Brightest students, most active students, both intellectually and stern stuff of, were then. And I think that has something to do with these periods of activity, partly getting some excitement, but mostly because they knew what the world was all about. The kids now—it's real interesting to me—both black and white, they have no notion how they ever got here. [Laughter] Which may be all right. That might be better; I don't know. But it is interesting. Though when I go over to the Student Union, that's interesting; they've almost got a black section over there.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Yes.
CHARLES M. JONES:
[Laughter]
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
In the Frank Porter Graham Student Union.
CHARLES M. JONES:
Yes, that's right. So I don't know. Our conservative friends may be right; it may have to be done gradually. [Laughter] But anyway, they've got the right to do it, and that's what's important.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
I think I'd better go.
CHARLES M. JONES:
Well, if I can give you all any…. I guess I have. I don't know if I've given you much anyway. The problem with these kind of things—at least it would be for me—is you've got four or five tapes in there, and out of it you've probably got a half a tape of good stuff.
JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Well, that's …
CHARLES M. JONES:
[Laughter] And you've got to go through all that stuff to get…. It's kind of like.