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Title: Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Young, Louise, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hall, Jacquelyn
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 276 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-31, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0066)
Author: Jacquelyn Hall
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0066)
Author: Louise Young
Description: 346 Mb
Description: 85 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 14, 1972, by Jacquelyn Hall; recorded in Memphis, Tennessee.
Note: Transcribed by F. Bellamy.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series G. Southern Women, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972.
Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Young, Louise, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LOUISE YOUNG, interviewee
    JACQUELYN HALL, interviewer
    BOB HALL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LOUISE YOUNG:
When they first came to Memphis they had a real nice grant for it. I don't know if it's finished or not. And my sister has a . . . ten o'clock every other Thursday, something like that. And, lets see, I forget the name, Ray Hill.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is he still running things?
LOUISE YOUNG:
He still runs it and I've gone once or twice with her, but it's very interesting and I've tried my best to get something like that going here. I haven't had any luck. That's a wonderful paperback bookstore down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well tell me first, where did you grow up.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I grew up in Memphis and very near where you went to college. [Southwestern at Memph. I grew up on a farm on the corner of what was then Springdale Avenue and the Old Morley Road. It became Springdale Ave. and I believe they call it Jackson now. And Springdale Church, Springdale Methodist Church was then a little country white—frame church that my father and my grandfather helped to build way back soon after the Civil War. And our farm home was right across the road. And the key to the church always hung in our back hall. And one of the men who worked on our farm cleaned it up. And my father or somebody lighted the lamps at night and opened the doors and shut the door. And I was right there. We were a big family, and we went to school in Memphis. We had to walk from there up to where the sort of thruway goes through the park. It was built for the streetcars you know. That was about half a mile I suppose. And my father, there were eight of us, on the average of five of us, going to school at a time and we

Page 2
traveled there to catch the eight o'clock car. And I didn't start school until. I was eight because it was pretty strenuous you know. And I went to a little private school, Mrs. Thomas' school, for four years, and then over at St. Mary's, the Episcopal Sisters, school, which was then very near where the cathedral is now, the Episcopal Cathedral. And the sisters really headed it . . . This is sort of a nice place, and we have a little paper which I edited. It's a very homemade sort of thing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you Episcopalian?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, Methodist, but St. Mary's at the time was the best college preparatory, and we were supposed to go to Vassar. My oldest sister went to Vassar, but the girls were supposed to go to Vassar and the boys to Vanderbilt. My grandfather had quite a part in the founding of Vanderbilt. My Methodist preacher grandfather. But his name was there is a cute story about it too. His name was William Crockett (W. C.) Johnson and this is a little picture of him. My sister . . . Vanderbilt is to soon celebrate its 100th anniversary.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What a wonderful picture.
LOUISE YOUNG:
And my grandfather grew up in East Tennessee and wanted to be a lawyer, but he decided he'd better be a peacher instead. He was Presbyterian, I think, in background. Anyway he read the Bible, the story goes, he read the Bible through on his knees trying to decide whether to be a Methodist or Presbyterian preacher and he came out a Methodist preacher. And he worked very hard for the founding of Vanderbilt as central university for all the Methodist small colleges in the South. And wrote the charter for it and the plans for it and so forth. And then when it come to Vanderbilt being into big money he proposed that it be Vanderbilt University instead of Central Univ.

Page 3
and was on the first Board of Trustees and was on the Board of Trustees until his death. So my sister was asked to write some recollections of Vanderbilt you see, and did, and found this picture and had it copied for us. And this is a funny story which shows you how people carried on.
I was asked to look after a lady who was supposed to be quite lonely here, German born and so on. So I asked her and her son to come and have dinner with me. And as they came through that door, it was after dinner, I turned on the light and this was the first thing she saw. And she said, oh, Lincoln. My grandfather would have been shocked. He was a good old fellow, but it was the style that's all. So she said, oh, Abraham Lincoln. This shocked me. I hadn't noticed it. It was just my grandfather.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where are the records that your sister wrote, or . . . are they published somewhere?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, they're at Vanderbilt in the alumni office there to try to be used perhaps in the celebration of Vanderbilt's centennial which I think is '75.
BOB HALL:
Was he involved in when the Methodist back in, I guess 1916 or 1919?
LOUISE YOUNG:
When they so-called lost the college. No he had died by then, but I was at Vanderbilt. And when the time came my brothers were at Vanderbilt and so on. So we decided to skip Vassar. I went to Vanderbilt instead of to Vassar.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you decide to do that?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well, I don't know. You know we were a very united family. That's really true. Things, decisions were sort of made in the

Page 4
air or somewhere or other you know. It was deeply distressing, well it's a long story but my oldest sister was at Vassar and my next sister was ready to go. She was in very poor health at the time and the feeling was that rigorous northern climate would be more than she could take. So the idea was to just, my mother thought it up and my father said, well we'll just send them to Vanderbilt. So my older sister went to Vassar and my freshman sister went with her you see. And the aunt, the Vassar aunt who had really told us we were all going to Vassar, my mother's sister, was in Europe at the time or my mother said she would not have had the courage to get us away from Vassar.
So I recall writing my aunt in deep distress, your Vassar niece. I was gonna stand by the old guns you know. But by the time my time came somehow or other I had shifted. I was right in front of my brother who was here and this sister was still here you see, so there were three of us here. Then they graduated. My younger brother. And so I was here with my brother.
BOB HALL:
It was co-educational?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, it was coed then and there were not more than forty of us in college, altogether.
BOB HALL:
All the girls?
LOUISE YOUNG:
All the girls. There were some hundred boys I should guess, and only forty girls. And there are various stories you will hear about that, that girls had an awful hard time, so on and so forth. And certainly boys in general you know sort of like to have their own boys college in those days. But there were always quite a few boys that sort of liked to hang around the girls, including the coeds you

Page 5
you see. So we lived on campus in faculty homes for the most part, with old family friends. That's the way it was set up there. My brothers were in college. We didn't feel neglected at all. We had a very good time.
BOB HALL:
A very good social life?
LOUISE YOUNG:
A very good social life.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had your parents gone to Vanderbilt?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, you see my grandfather was really one of the founders, so they were too old. No, my parents grew up in . . . during the Civil War and the hard times afterwards. My father was born in '52, and my mother in '59 so that they were children through the war.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they remember the war?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. They told a lot of stories about it and I was brought up on good Civil War stories. And not a word about how hateful the Yankees were.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh really.
BOB HALL:
Did they call it the Civil War?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, they called it the Civil War.
BOB HALL:
And not the war between the states?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Not the war between the states. And we did not belong to the Daughters of the Confederacy. My father felt the war was over. And we didn't need to keep on fighting it. But most of our friends and relatives were and we never heard an ugly word about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had their parents slaves?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes indeed. And my father had a very nice story about Yankees, and this is my favorite Civil War story, Father was a little boy and had his pony. They had refugeed from Memphis because their house had

Page 6
burned and so forth, and out in the country. And on a plantation there that they both belonged to, and father was riding his pony down one of the country lanes, and a soldier came and the Yankee said, well the soldier stole this pony. And father was small enough I think to be weeping when along came a Union officer with his aide and so forth and stopped and asked the little boy what he was crying about. And he said the soldier had stolen his pony. And the Yankee officer said, which way did he go. He went that way. So he said to the aide, my father would tell it very dramatically, go bring the little boy's pony back. So he went and overtook him and came back with the soldier and the little boy's pony. And the soldier just give it to the little boy and he threw it to the little boy like that, this was dramatically told you see, just as my father told it. And he said, "Hand it to him like a gentleman." So the soldier had to hand it properly to the little boy, and he asked him where he lived. And it was close to where he lived, across the fields, and so he told the soldier to tear down the little red fence. He said, I don't think you'd better go by the lane because somebody else will steal your horse. Just ride across the fields to your house.
The soldier had torn down the fence for him to ride and he said, now won't you give three cheers for the Union? And father said, no sir, but I'll give three cheers for you. Now you see that's really as good a story, with as little of North and South in it. All the soldiers that passed through, Northern and Southern of course would steal. Not all of them, but I mean every group that went by. They would have some folks who would pick up fruit, you know, vegetables

Page 7
or horses, or cows, or dogs, chickens or anything else. They were all hungry, especially the Confederate soldiers were very hungry. So it was just a human interest story.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What part of the South was this in?
LOUISE YOUNG:
This was in West Tennessee, Fayette County, and Hayward County. They're adjoining. And I think [unknown] my grandfather's place sort of crossed the county line, but it's rather near, lets see, Summerville. And I believe Summerville would be the nearest railroad station.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they talk about Reconstruction?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. About how hard times were. Everything was gone and my grandmother was going down to Alabama where her kin people were, right after the war I think or possibly in the midst, in a carriage and it overturned, or she couldn't get across. Anyway, as she was trying to get down to Alabama to her people to get help, and so she turned around and went back. And she wrote a letter about it to her brother and never sent it to him. And it was found by my sister in her things, and she said, it was just too sad to send. And my sister almost tore it up, but I think it's still there. I've never seen it. But it was just tragedy itself. Everything gone and you couldn't even get to your brother, you know, who was down there who might have been able to help.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you have family papers?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes I have some, a few. I have some from that and I have a filing case that I was able to get into my little kitchen and I've got one drawer that's full of family stuff that I've never sorted out. But that was my father's picture and my grandfather, my mother's

Page 8
father was a chaplin in the Confederate Army and they had their troubles.
But I was going to tell you about my father. Then his father died and he had to look after, as a young teenager, a late teenager, he was to look after his mother and his young brother and young sister with nothing to go on. Everything had disappeared one way and another. And so an old friend lent him enough money to rent a farm on the edge of Memphis. And father and an old Negro man who helped with it and so forth, but father would take things to the market, to the wholesale market in Memphis. And he, at one time, cut timber. There was a lot of wood fire burning done you see. And in the long days he was able to take two loads of wood to Memphis in one day. And the short days he couldn't do that, but he could take the first load and come back and load the second load and get it part of the way in and then make three loads in two days. And that was the difference, my father used to tell us, between getting ahead and not getting ahead. He was a very good story teller. But he would tell about going to market and how there were a great many Italian farm market people there. He would tell us about them. And how some of the people at the market, after market time, at six or seven o'clock and they hadn't had any breakfast, they would spend 50¢ for their breakfast. And father would get 5¢, some big thing, I don't remember what he called it, and it seemed so sad to me that I began to weep. Poor father so hungry and just couldn't have anything but this 5¢ thing you know. And he at once realized he'd made it too vivid. So he said, "why child that was nothing to that. I knew it wouldn't last." And you see that really is the key to a man with security in his background and in his constitution. And a man with that security

Page 9
he never doubted that he would make it. That's really human nature.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So by the time you were growing up . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well, we all of us got to college, several of us to graduate school, and two brothers went to Yale for law and so forth. And my father bought more land you see. And farmed it. Father used his head, so he kept records as few farmers did on each of his plots of land. How much fertilizer was put in it. And when he planted it, what the return was. So the next year he would check on that you see. He and my uncle, his younger brother farmed together. And uncle Will operated the farm and my father did the business end of selling and so forth, and then my father was the county tax assessor for Shelby County, the county in which Memphis is, for two terms I believe. And the extra money was important to get us ready for college and through college. And then for a time he was chairman of the . . . county chairman for the Democratic Party, so he had great interest in politics and religion and the church and so did my mother but their chief interest as I was thinking it through today really, was their big enterprise of keeping heads above water for a family with eight children. And getting us all educated.
My father said that if he had to choose between sending his sons to college and his daughters to college he would send his daughters.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Because his sons would have contacts that would give them a broad view of life without college, but his daughters would have a very narrow life if they didn't have a good education. Which I think was . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was good. That's really something.
LOUISE YOUNG:
That's really something. He really believed that. If he had

Page 10
to choose between sending his daughters to college and his sons to college he would send his daughters, I heard him say.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you went to Vanderbilt?
LOUISE YOUNG:
So I went to Vanderbilt and maybe the most interesting thing I did, I belonged to Kappa Alpha Beta, and we were the oldest national fraternity. And you see there were just two, Tri Delta and Kappa Alpha Beta. And we had our chapter house which was half of a servant's house for one of the professors on the campus. And we became very ambitious and decided that we should have our own chapter houses as the men had for their fraternities, though it was to be just a lodge, not a place to live. So a friend of mine wrote up the letters for the alumni to send us five dollars or ten dollars or some such monies. We bought the lot and back where the Vanderbilt Theatre is now, and then were told that if we owned our lot, by this time I was president of the chapter, we could get it built for us with a mortgage on the land. So I went back to Memphis with everything all in mind for summer before I was a senior. And lo here came a letter from the contractor folks that, though that was usually done that the record of the Vanderbilt men was so poor, the Vanderbilt fraternities, in paying all these mortgages that they wouldn't risk a fraternity with that sort of proposition. And we'd have to put up some cash. So I was distressed and I just asked my father if he wouldn't lend us the money. And mother didn't think that was very good. Your father likes to have his own investments under his own eyes to lend money for something in Nashville. But father thought it was a very good idea, so he did lend us the money. And we built the house and had it all ready for the Fall. And we

Page 11
proudly said that we paid our father back exactly on time, I think a little ahead of time. You see it's just the things one remembers are the success stories.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So what did you study. What did you have in mind to be?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I was gonna be a teacher because I so loved and admired the Episcopal nun that was the principal of our . . . of St. Mary's in Memphis. Sister Mary Moore. She later became the Reverend Mother. She was an Englishwoman. Just lovely. So I wanted to have a private school of my own, preparatory school for girls as much like St. Mary's as anything could be, because I liked it so well. And I had gone to college at 16. So it was agreed that, I mean I had finished college at 16, that I was due from the family another graduate year you see. So I went to the University of Wisconsin expecting to major in English. We hadn't really majored at Vanderbilt in those terms. All of us had to have Latin and Greek. But when I got there I hadn't had enough English to qualify for a Masters Degree in English but I had had enough philosophy. So I shifted to a major in Philosophy with a minor in English. Had a lovely time there and to my amazement that Spring my professor asked me to wait after class. And I was afraid he was going to tell me that I wasn't doing very well. And he asked me if I would be interested in a fellowship to Bryn Mawr? And I said, what is a fellowship? And when he told me I said, well could I write home about it? So actually this first fellowship, I had forgotten was a fellowship for Wisconsin for a second year there. So I wrote home explaining it and it was very generous cash as well as tuition. I knew it wasn't quite enough and I wrote my parents about it. And they wired back congratulations. And certainly,

Page 12
certainly, take it.
And the next year this gentleman, Mr. McGilrey of the Philosophy Department asked me the same question about going to Bryn Mawr. So I went to Bryn Mawr the following year and was supposed to go on and get my doctor's degree in philosophy at Wisconsin. And I was learning "Th eories of Consciousness" and "Recent Realism" and I think of such things. But by now this was 1917 and my brothers were officer's training camp, all three of them, on their way to France. I was in Bryn Mawr when the war started, for '16 and '17. And that Summers I was at Wisconsin writing on my thesis. And three of the boys were in officer's training camp, the summer of '17 you see, ready to go to France that fall, and coming home for a little while. So I ditched what I was doing and came home to see my brother. And meanwhile was signed up to be a Dean of Women at Hamlin. University in St. Paul.
So I went on as the Dean of Women . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that a girl's school?
LOUISE YOUNG:
That's a coed school.
BOB HALL:
In Minnesota?
LOUISE YOUNG:
In St. Paul, Minnesota. And I was, the girls told me, the youngest dean in captivity. I was one of the youngest deans in captivity. And my job was to keep them from just dying of homesickness and lonliness for their sweethearts who were in France. My brothers were in France. So we consoled each other. And I was dean there for two years. And . . . now you stop me when I'm talking too much. You know you can get anybody to talk about themselves, especially an older woman.
BOB HALL:
That's the idea.

Page 13
LOUISE YOUNG:
That's very nice. A very nice idea. Well, at that time there were almost no Negroes in St. Paul. This was 1917, 1919 that I was there and but one very light colored woman came and gave me a shampoo in my own quarters there. And she was from Mound Bayou, Mississippi and she was lonely for the South and she and I would discuss southern problems everytime she came to wash my hair. And I think she said there were only twenty Negro families in St. Paul at that time. I don't think she really knew but there were very few anyway. So she kept alive my interest in the South. And she and other people there would ask me things I couldn't answer. I was ashamed of myself and thought I should know. So I decided that the way to learn was to teach in a Negro school in Memphis. Was going back home and teach in a Negro school. And my mother assured me that the Negro teachers, I mean the Negro schools were all taught by Negro teachers. There were no white teachers for Negro schools in Memphis. But she said, we, the Southern Methodist Church it was at that time, did have a so-called college for Negroes in Augusta, Georgia. And my mother really said I might look into it. And I did. And applied for a place and they had never had an application from St. Paul let alone from a southern white woman who had graduated from Vanderbilt and so on and so forth to come down to teach. So I went down there and most of my friends and family just threw up their hands. This was in 1919, this was really a disgraceful thing to do. One young man told me he would rather see me in the penitentiary, he'd rather see me in prisoner's garb than to see me go down there. That's how deeply people felt about that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your family feel the same way?

Page 14
LOUISE YOUNG:
My family, my brothers felt that way and my family thought it was just too too bad. My father had died while the boys were in France. Mother was very much shaken by his death, but they were all completely loyal to me though they thought I was just making a serious mistake. And my mother tried to tell me something about lynchings, so on and so forth.
BOB HALL:
You mean rape?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Rape and so forth. Why people were lynched. And I said, no they shouldn't be lynched. I didn't need to know why to know that they shouldn't be.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why had she suggested that you look into . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I wonder, because she apparently . . . you see it was a church enterprise and we were very devoted church people, and I suppose it's like being your home missionary and if you're going to do anything like that you'd rather do it under church auspices than the public school. But it really was strange. It was quite inconsistent because I recall that she pleaded with me. I used to say I wanted to be a lawyer with my brothers, but we would have Young, Young, and Young for our firm. And she said, wouldn't I like to go to Yale to study law and practice with my brothers instead of going down to Augusta . . . [Phone ringing] We're in all stages of health in this place you see.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were you so determined to do that in the face of so much opposition?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I think for two reasons. I really think the first reason was that I was asked so many questions about Negroes in the South

Page 15
that I couldn't answer.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you hadn't really thought about those problems before you had gone on to . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No I hadn't thought about them because things went very happily with all the Negroes that I knew on our place. My father was very liberal and the men who worked for him were very good workers. He always called them the men on the place. I don't ever remember . . . he once heard me or my brother, we were together, use the word nigger and he said to us, that word is never used on this place. So he was really a different, and why he was different I don't know. He just was smart and thoughtful, good intelligent man. And since he would send, he had this little controversy with my mother which I heard the story of several times, when our washing as we called it, not laundry, our washing was taken to Maggie down the road in the spring-wagon and Maggie's money went in an envelope . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's amazing.
BOB HALL:
What was the name, Mrs. Maggie Taylor.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Mrs. Maggie Taylor. That's what he would call her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your father was more . . . he was more liberal than you mother was?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, and you see father had knocked up as a young man, with really nothing.He himself was well-born and well-bred but he had been thrown with new Italian immigrants and poor people and knocked around in that wholesale farm market in Memphis. And he really had seen all kinds of people. And he had respect for them all. And he just was an independent sort of man and just used his own head and came out at a sensible place I would say. But my mother was

Page 16
liberal and was wonderful with all of her children. Naturally among her eight children she had all sorts of degrees of conservatism and something a little different. She was oh so close and good with all of us, and all of us had all of our friends. We kept open house in our big country house. So she was very open but she was nothing like as liberal as my father. She hadn't been exposed to as many different kinds of people. And . . . now don't let me talk too much.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What time do you have to go to dinner?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I don't have to go to dinner until six o'clock.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You felt that if you were a southerner you should know . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I should know something about it don't you see, and I knew only the servants on our place and the workers on our place, but at that time Bob Church, a Negro of mixed blood was a great Republican leader, Negro Republican leader. And I recall my father saying, I'd heard about him. I'd never seen him. That he didn't see how anybody could fail to respect Bob TAylor when he'd done so much for his people. That was all that I can remember of Negro leadership. I recall my father saying that one time.
But the other thing was that our little church, Sunday school, and our home and St. Mary's where the sisters were all you might say biblical Christians in the best sense, not concerned so much about the second coming in that sense, but very should I say, sound Christians. And it was just no doubt, if you read the Bible, that all men were brothers. And this carrying on of Negroes being so different just plain doesn't fit the Bible. So that I thought of this when somebody over television introducing a sermon I suppose, and describing Jesus' childhood, and what he heard at the Synagogue, and what he heard

Page 17
at home. It was not a shadow of difference. And I would say the same, that there wasn't a shadow of difference between what I got at church and at school and at home. There wasn't any other way to read it. Each reinforced the other so I just couldn't understand . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Other people in your family didn't draw the same conclusion from the same teaching?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, no they didn't. No they didn't, and I don't know how that was, but that I think explains mine. And when I got down there, to Paine, right at once. I spent the first night in a hotel in Augusta and the president met me I suppose and was taking me out the next day.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was his name?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Dr. Betts, a South Carolina man, and quite a missionary family. A lot of his children and kin . . .
BOB HALL:
He was white?
LOUISE YOUNG:
White? Un huh. There was a white president and a white vice-president and then I. There was just the three of us and about fifteen or sixteen Negro teachers. And he was taking me out to the campus and to the first teacher's meeting. I was seeing it all. It was a . . . the school was founded about the time that Vanderbilt was. There were magnolia trees and an old brick house on the campus. But it was very sort of shabby. We went to his office and it was a very small room, not any bigger than this, and one corner of it was the bookstore. And his black secretary was sitting in the chair there. She was black, overly plump, and not very much in character for a secretary of the president of a college. And he said, he introduced me to Miss Richardson. And it was the first time I had met, face to

Page 18
face, a Negro with a title. I'd seen my father write the letter but I'd never heard anybody in my presence call a Negro by a title. And here I was meeting Miss Richardson who didn't look as though she suited the title. So I feebly responded. I don't know just how I responded, but I at once knew that I was not measuring up in any sense. I had just fallen on my face. So he escorted me on upstairs to the teachers. And it was an old building with long stairways landing in the midst, you see, and I said that I think this is a good test for most anybody. I had a liberal education, as I walked up those steps. I was going to meet my colleagues on the faculty, and I had come, to my mother's great grief. So I said to myself, as I walked up the steps, is that the best you can do when you come down here just practically at great cost to your mother, and if you're not going to do any better than that you'd better turn around and go home. So by the time I got to the faculty meeting I really think I'd grown quite a few inches. And in the faculty there, about sixteen or seventeen Negroes, were several very fine people. Some of them weren't so fine but several very fine, very able, well educated and just very lovely people. So that I learned a lot just to start and I taught a little of everything.
And I'll tell you that one of my students. He's Charles Gomillion, and he went on and got his doctor's degree at the University of Ohio in sociology and taught at Tuskegee and was dean there for awhile I think and has just recently retired. But his big claim to fame was that when the town of Tuskegee undertook to disfranchise the few Negroes who were registered within the town of Tuskegee they wanted to perpetuate a mayor and his crowd there, and say four-hundred Negroes who were within the town limits and had

Page 19
the vote would vote the other way, they changed . . . the town had a shape sort of like this and they gerrymandered its borders like this until it had seventeen different borders.
BOB HALL:
Zig-zags.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Zig-zags, but yet I think all but seventeen of the Negroes were put out. So he took the case to the court and lost and took it to the next court and lost and took it to the next court and lost and won it with the Supreme Court.
BOB HALL:
How do you spell his name?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Gomillion, Gomillion and the story was told in the New Yorker in a series of three. It was written up as a paperback. And the title of the book and of the case is Lightfoot vs. Gomillion or Gomillion vs. Lightfoot, I forget. He was the mayor. But you know, when you have a student who comes out like that you know . . . I was having an awfully good time teaching. But the other part of it is that in three years I was there, aside from the home in which I had a room, and I won't tell you that story, I was invited to only one home in those three years. And my family and friends and my uncle and so on wrote various people there of my presence in the city and told me who they were so I'd know when they came to see me. Not a solitary one of them responded.
BOB HALL:
Did you live in a home in a white community?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I lived in a white home. That was my salvation. But aside from that I was literally living in a Negro world. And my realization of it was that when I was on the street, I caught myself in this, I would just realize that there were white people passing. But if it was a Negro I would look at him because I might know him. So I was

Page 20
living that much in a Negro world.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you feel about that?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I just had a wonderful time, because I enjoyed my teaching and several of my colleagues were very congenial. Of course there was . . . in the social life . . . it was spelled with a capital "s", there was none. But . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
I guess the black teachers were very isolated themselves in the sense that they were isolated from the rest of the county, from probably black people who lived in the town.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I imagine . . . there were a fair number of them, you see, much more than there was white people, but I think that they had status and probably had contacts with folks there in the town of their status as they saw it, and also they weren't far away from home most of them I imagine. I imagine there were . . . they were around there. It was quite a status for the Negroes and the, just a mark of the town, the city itself had no high school for Negroes. So though it was called Paine College, it was mostly high school.
BOB HALL:
How old would the students be?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well they would just be average age. I think we didn't have any elementary classes, but the high school classes were just like any high school and we had college. And I . . . my teaching, I taught English and philosophy in the college. But our principal you would be interested to know was a black man, with a Master's Degree from Clark University and just out of the Army. This was 1919. And he later became Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Washington, D. C. The ranking Negro you see. He was very able and was conducting various psychological tests at the time and liked to test me because

Page 21
he was trying to test white against black. And so we had a great deal in common and he felt that the whole school needed re-organizing. And I'm sure he was right. He was Academic Dean and Dean of Men and I was Dean of Women and also teaching a full schedule. So whenever there was a teacher out and they needed a substitute, either he or I taught all the high school classes, to take a look at them. And so in that way I did quite a little high school teaching. And talk about having a good time, to teach Shakespeare to high school Negroes who can declaim so — they just loved it. And it was just brand new to them. So that their response to my classes in Shakespeare were just enough to thrill any teacher, and to hear them read it.
So I had an awfully good time really. And then I had my summer vacations. And friends would come down for Christmas. We didn't have any holiday to speak of at Christmastime, but friends, I had a Minnesota friend who came down. She had never been South to Chicago. She got as far South as Augusta, Georgia and she was all excited just as though she was travelling in Zanzibar. So she and I over the long New Years weekend took a trip to Charleston. I remember the thrill of that. She . . . her first look at the South was of interest to me. And a Saturday afternoon I recall as the train was pulling through these little towns on the way to Charleston, Negroes would be at the station. And they really would frighten even me because I had known Negroes all my life but not deep South plantation Negroes, sort of undisciplined and unorganized, you see, hanging around the railroad station Saturday afternoon. And they were just as different from our Paine College students who were neat and courteous, ambitious, well disciplined. In

Page 22
other words just the way you might feel if you had always been with respectable white people, to find yourself in the midst of a . . . just a terrible gang sort of crowd. So that my early experiences, most of my experience with the Negroes has been rather idyllic I know. I've known very priviledged Negroes.
But I was there until my brother's death, the brother who was nearest to me in age. Then I all of a sudden found I was isolated. I hadn't known it until. But I couldn't pull myself out of that and . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
You started feeling very lonely?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, I just was not . . . there was a little incident that told me so. I was down in an office building going to a doctor, and I found that I went up and down the elevator without getting off at the proper place and I had never done such a thing. It just meant that I really was allowing myself to be disoriented. So at once I resigned from my place there and said I knew I should get somewhere where I'd be more with people, but I wanted to work with Negroes. So I was referred to Will Alexander at the Inter-racial Commission for help.
BOB HALL:
How old were you?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Then, let's see, I had taught two years before I went off to college, so I was born and I'm going to be 80 next month. I was born in '92, and this was 19 . . . I left there in '22. So when I left there I was 30. And this Will Alexander found two places for me. One was, and this is very amusing, . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you go to Atlanta to his office?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, I just wrote to him, and he was interested so, and he was awfully nice. So one was Birmingham Steel Company. I forget the long name of it, but they have their big works at Bessemer.

Page 23
BOB HALL:
U. S. Pipe and Foundry?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No it's called Steel I think. I forget. It's a huge steel thing around Birmingham. And they had villages, company towns and I was asked to . . . I was suggested for, to be director of all the welfare work in these Negro villages.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The steel company welfare work?
LOUISE YOUNG:
The steel company's welfare work. Of course that was quite the pattern at that time, see, this was the early twenties. So I went there and took a look at that on my way home to Memphis. And the other thing was a position here in Nashville in charge of the student work at Bethlehem Center, which you may have known. And the third was Dean of Women at Hampton Institute. And I took a look at all three of them and chose Hampton Institute. So I was there for three years as Dean of Women. I don't know whether you know Hampton Institute. It's in Norfolk, [Va.] you know, at Old Fort Comfort in the town of Hampton.
BOB HALL:
What was your impression when you went to Birmingham? I mean, in terms of, did you think that was not a good thing for a company to do?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I thought that I really wasn't qualified for it. I think that's mostly what I thought because it wasn't teaching. And it really was social work and I had no training in social work. And also it was administrative and it just . . . I had a very interesting visit and I don't think that I disapproved of it. I rather just felt that I wasn't . . . it wasn't my dish of tea.
And the thing here at Bethlehem Center, they had none up here, but I was interested and that was quite challenging. But I was to be

Page 24
in charge of Fisk students working there. But they had another lady who was the head of the settlement. And when I took a look here I was just sure that she and I would come into conflict. She had never worked with Negroes. She had worked on the Mexican border and she knew Mexicans but she didn't know Negroes and here I was to direct the work of Fisk students coming there. And she was the head of the work. It just wasn't well set up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long had she been director of the center?
LOUISE YOUNG:
She'd just come. She was brand new. And I would have been new.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was the main thing that the Bethleham Center tried to do work with black people?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No. You see, this was for the Methodist Church too and it was a Negro community center. And they hadn't known that I was leaving Paine College. You see, when I was at Paine College I was under their direction, under the direction of the Methodist church. And they liked what I had done there so they said, why not come here. And if they had known it in time they would have made me director. If they had offered me that I don't know whether I would have taken it or not. But since they had already engaged this other woman, all they could do was put the student in. They knew she wasn't . . . she didn't have a college education and knew she couldn't work for the Fisk students as they felt she should [unknown] So they thought they would take us both. I was sure that our . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it her attitude toward black people that made you think you wouldn't be able to work with her?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, I just felt that I knew more about it than she did. And yet that she, very naturally, she was in command as she was. So that

Page 25
I really wouldn't have a free hand with what I wanted the Fisk students to do. And that she not only didn't have the understanding of Negroes that I had but she didn't have the college education that I had and she wouldn't have the student understanding.
So I took the Hampton position, then I left there three years later to come back to Scarritt College where I taught for 32 years. A gentleman who thought I was doing very wrong said I didn't seem to understand the social prestige that went with teaching at Hampton Institute. And I was able to tell him that it had no social prestige in this part of the country, teaching at Hampton Institute, a Negro college and it wasn't social prestige in any sense that had drawn me there. But I tell you that story because it really did have great social prestige in the North. It was founded by Congregationist, Boston folk for the most part, and General Armstrong was a great character and so on. There really were delightful Northern people there. Very well educated, it was very well endowed and it was beautifully equipped.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were most of the teachers and administrators white?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. There were white Northern people. I would tell them it was not Hampton Institute Virginia, it was Hampton Institute Massachusetts. And it very much was. And I was the only . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Abolitionist . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
That's right. And the only other southern white person . . . I want to make sure of this . . . the only other southern white person on the faculty was a Quaker who taught weaving. She was from North Carolina. She said, I've been waiting for you for twenty years. But she and I were the only southern white people on the faculty. And of

Page 26
course the Negroes who mainly taught in the trade schools, but some of them in the college too some very able gifted Negroes were on the faculty. If you happen to be musical you know the name of [unknown], the composer. He was in charge of music. But it was really a very lovely delightful group of people from the standpoint of social amenities.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The students were very much from the upper middleclass?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, the students were very much like our Paine College students I'd say. They were poor a lot of them but they were ambitious. I think that in my experience the ambitious, well brought up, well behaved poor people are, especially from the South, they have just as good manners and, I mean there's no breach there. It's been poor people are not ambitious and are not well brought up, and are not courteous. And I really think if you want to say one good thing about the South you would say that the rule of courtesy goes . . . used to anyway . . . almost all the way down. However poor people are, they tend to be gentle and courteous to each other and it's partly the rural of it maybe, I don't know what it is. So that the only really strange group at Hampton of Negroes were the gullah [unknown] Negroes from the South Carolina coast. And they could really hardly be understood. They were very black and their speech was difficult. And they were so shy that it would be that they would have to be on the campus six months or so before they got over the strangeness and we got over the strangeness of their speech. But the other Negroes were almost all of them southerners. A few northern Negroes would come down to Hampton.
But now if you talk about isolation, they were just as isolated

Page 27
but it was a very rich community.
We had, well for instance in our student series, that everybody has now, the Don Shawn dancers came down and we had performances brought to the campus like that. I remember that one because the nearby Langley Field folks and [unknown] Road, a lot of military things around there you see, liked to come over and get tickets around special performances. And they would want . . .
BOB HALL:
Black soldiers?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, white soldiers. And they would want a segregated seating and we wouldn't give it to them. So we finally learned . . . the story was that the men would come over for the tickets, especially for the Don Shawn dancers, that was one of our special popular features, and when they found out that they couldn't have reserve seats just for white folks they would go home without the tickets. And their wives would send them back, if they had to see the Don Shawn dancers even if they had to see them mixed. So they would come back and Mr. [unknown] did such a smart thing, the music man who . . . we had a beautiful auditorium and beautiful fixtures and curtains and everything else, and he saw to the lighting. And we were told that those lights could be trouble and everybody was wrought up about it. And so he saw to it that the lighting of the dancers who, of course were in tights I presume, and the thought would be that it would be rosy lights. But Mr. D. had it like marble sculpture. And it was nothing like as suggestive and nothing like as indecent as we would have said in those days, as if it suggested a fleshly thing you see. He was very pleased with that. He did that and he told me about it. He said that he had thought it through and was pretty sure that that would

Page 28
help. And we got through the Don Shawn dancers . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were people afraid would happen?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well they were afraid that . . . I think he was afraid of two things. He really . . . you see it was not without risk to show white dancers to 750 black men. You see our students were . . . we had about 750 men and about 250 girls. There were about a 1000 students there. And I think he would have felt that to have this white troupe of dancers showing to a big group of Negro, young Negro men, had its risks maybe. And then anything ugly that happened even in terms of applause or lack of or excitement or anything would especially reflect on the general community and would get us in sort of bad with the Langley Field people and so on. And he of course was very anxious. The Don Shawn dancers were, I presume, at the very height of the theme and it was unusual for them to come down from New York just to play for us there. So he was greatly concerned for it to go well.
BOB HALL:
Was that particularly because of the white people who were in the audience?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I had thought so at first, but if you ask me about it, it might have been for the other reason. I had thought that he was taking care of them and of course they would have been very critical of such a stage show for a big group of Negroes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever feel any uncomparable incidents happened as a white woman teaching in a black school?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Not at all. Never once.
JACQUELYN HALL:
People were probably afraid of that.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I suppose they were but I never had the slightest feeling of

Page 29
that sort. And I can see now the good manners of those girls . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LOUISE YOUNG:
. . . I wasn't very much on dancing and was very much amused when I . . . the distinction I drew, when is it round dancing, when is it square dancing and so forth, but I was the arbiter of when it's round and when it's square. And I can see those little girls now, those young girls bringing their escorts up to meet me. And their manners were just as delightful and, by the way, the girls glee club was entertaining the boys glee club and they came to me to get their date approved. And the good old northern strict folks had warned me that this was quite a question as to whether the girls glee club should entertain the boys glee club. And it seemed to me a very nice idea so the girls came in to me to talk about it. And being duly warned I said, what sort of party had you planned Phyllis? And she hesitated and then she looked up to me just sweet as sweet . . . and said, "an uplifting party."
So it really was. I went to the party and I assure you it was an uplifting party, just a lovely party. But the good manners of those young people, of course, let me see now, what made that trouble? Oh yes, I'll tell you.
One conflict we had there, the only conflict we had during my years there, the girls waited on tables in the big student dining room, took turns at it and were paid for it you know. And it was the days when your waistline was . . . coming down here the style was to have . . . I forget what we call them, just a long waistline to your hips you see. And the aprons that the girls wore were all regular waistlines. And so this little girl waited on tables in the student's dining room, put her apron on in this stylish way. And the

Page 30
matron, a New England matron who was looking after Miss Clark told her to put her apron up where it belonged because of the way it was cut. She didn't do it. She told her to again. She didn't do it. And so, according to rules, Miss Clark told her to go up and just report to the office. So she went over to take off her apron and wash her hands and go up to the office, and right next to her was one of the few, right next to the spot where she was washing her hands was one of the few boy's tables. Most of the tables were mixed boys and girls but there weren't enough girls to go around. So this would be the boys' table. And the boys thought that it was a great reflection on them to be put at the boy's table instead of with the girls. And maybe they were a little more rambunctious boys I don't know. But Miss Clark went over to hurry her to go on upstairs. You see, she was seeing to the meal and she must have touched her. I don't know what she did to her. But the boys rose as a group to defend this colored girl against this teacher that was pushing her or slapping her or something, I don't recall what they said, but I can't conceive of Miss Clark doing any of those things. But that's the way the boys started. So I had a call pretty soon that this girl had been mistreated and so on and so forth. I called them into our office, including her brother, and he was defending his sister he assured me and had telephoned his parents to come and continue the protection of his sister. I had miss Clark in, the matron, and we talked it all over and they decided that nothing was really meant. There was no harm to it. So he agreed to telephone his parents not to come and everything was settled. And then, lo and behold, they would blow up again. I'd call the boy in, the brother in, and he would say, well Miss Young,

Page 31
when I'm here talking with you it's alright. But when I go out there the boys say, I'm not protecting my sister. So they . . . my rooms were right over the entrance to the huge dining room and ordinarily as they came into breakfast, at that time I was dressing, they would sing. It was delightful for me to hear it. Good voices you know, seven hundred boys marching into breakfast. And their favorite song was, Yes We Have No Bananas. I don't think you go back far enough to have ever heard it. It was very delightful. But during this troubled times they would come in silence and it was very striking to me, very striking to me. So I knew things were still bad and the president of theStudent Council persuaded everybody to hold tight until time for student council and then we would settle it there. So student council time came and I expected the students to bring it up and they didn't. And we went on through student council and it was dismissed. And after it was over I asked Mr. Lassiter, the President, I thought the students were going to bring this up. Miss Young they thought you were going to bring it up. So I said, well, lets call the student council back together tomorrow and I will bring it up.
So I put it all before them and said, now Miss Clark has been here a long time. I've talked with her and I've talked with the girl and would you really like me to dismiss Miss Clark? Do you think she should be dismissed? She said she was sorry, and everybody is sorry, what would you like me to do about it? What do you think I should do? And I said, now I think this . . . some people would say this is just a teacher-student mess, but I said, I think it has racial overtones and everybody that comes here to Hampton knows they're coming to a mixed

Page 32
racial situation and I think we're all under obligation not to let the racial factor touch us. But I think it has in this case and do you really think that I should fire Miss Clark? She has already said she's sorry. What else would you like her to do? And they faced up to it and said they didn't really want Miss Clark fired. And they felt the best thing to do was to forget it and it not only was forgotten but we were in a campaign at the time and the students were asked to respond, you know, making their pledges. And I'm not telling you how faithful they paid them up. I don't know, but they responded in pledges very generously which was counted a wonderful test of their general morale and they began to sing as they came to breakfast, every morning. But that's the only racial conflict I ever had a part in in the six years I taught in Negro colleges.
BOB HALL:
Do you think the fact that they did respond so much was because there were other incidents going on and this just happened to be one that was very clear? Or do you think it was a really unique situation?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I really think that . . . people say now don't they that a teacher should not put their hands on a pupil. That it's always subject to misinterpretation as to whether . . . and I'm sure that the teacher was annoyed and that she pushed, you see. And of course I'm not saying that these . . . I think in that day and time anyway there was obliged to have been race consciousness between the teachers and the students. Especially since the teachers were northern teachers, and they really came down much in a attitude of superiority. I mean they came from New England to help the poor Negroes. And it was accepted as grateful

Page 33
and all that sort of thing, but by 1925 which was when this happened, Negroes were more and more independent and after all some of these were college men. And they, I'm sure that there was a latent racism in them. And I'm also sure that Miss Clark was an old-fashioned teacher attitude and the child wouldn't obey her you see, so . . . but that really was the only racial flare-up.
And it is very likely to be, I think, across sex lines as well as race lines. For instance the trouble here at Fisk and some trouble at Hampton I know was not to be too strict in restrictions on boys and girls. For instance at Hampton, a little later I think, about, or possibly while I was there, we . . . the question arose as to whether when you went to a movie you should have the lights on, or how dim they should be, under what balcony and all that sort of thing. Well now the students thought of that as a lack of confidence in their relationships with the girls. And similarly whether you should . . . how far you might walk home with the girls from classes and all that sort of thing. It was those disciplinary matters that these good old New Englanders had conflicts with in the twenties. Over at Fisk I know and at Hampton too. They had been too New England strict in their rules about the boys and girls and it was at that point that the rebellion came, I think.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So then you were . . . how did you happen to go to . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well, Scarritt was being moved. It was a Southern Methodist Church and it was being moved from Kansas City here and being related to both Peabody and Vanderbilt. And they asked me to come because I was the only Southern Methodist woman they knew that had had this experience. And I was to be head of the Dept. of Home Missions which

Page 34
for the old southern church meant race relations really.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, it did at that time. I worked at Bethlehem Center for instance and I worked with the Negroes. Anyway, that was a part of it that they wanted to emphasize. And so they asked me to come down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the idea behind home missions? Was the idea to save the souls of blacks or of bringing black people into the church, or was it a more social service idea, or were the two combined? I mean was it more on one side or on the other?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well the general church, as some people would say, the men, but the general church was, it was church extension almost wholly, to build another congregation.
BOB HALL:
Numbers?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Numbers yes, but for instance, you would build this congregation very possibly in the slums, or very possibly in a distant rural place or build it of Spanish speaking people, or something or other. It wasn't . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
But it would be a congregation of the colored Methodist church or would it be a congregation of black people within the . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
It would be a combination of . . . it would be a congregation, this was aside from the blacks now, this would be a church that was needed for a group that weren't able to supply it for themselves. And it would start out maybe with 50 members and they couldn't support a preacher. They couldn't put up a building. But if you could help them with it through church extension funds, why it would, and make something pretty good there, they would win other people. And this

Page 35
largely unchurched area, maybe a rural area or a Cuban area, Cuban refugees, that was home mission for the church at large. But at that time the women had another thing. The women were after it in terms of social work almost totally. Social work and teaching.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was there that difference do you think, between the women's department and the church as a whole? Why were the women more sensitive to those kinds of needs?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I think that it's quite a natural, a southern woman, middle-class, we used to not want to be middle-class. We thought we were upper-class. But the . . . she was very much protected and her contacts were personal relationships. So that she was naturally sensitive. And she saw life personally and was sensitive to personal needs. Now the man on the other hand had to bring in the money and so forth, so he was exposed to much rougher tougher world. And when I asked an older woman one time why it was southern men let their wives do these things that were so outrage ous you know, like various race relations things. They said, "Let them child, why they're so proud of them they don't know what to do." She said, they're so glad that they can do things, the women can do things their husbands couldn't get away with.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And in your experience do you think women could get away with things men couldn't?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. Here's a lawyer for instance. Now if he's too liberal, I expect he, or a businessman, or a banker, he's not safe.
BOB HALL:
He'll lose his business.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, but here's his wife whose husband is going to support her and she is just a little odd maybe or something like that. And she

Page 36
is sensitive to these things and goes out for them. And, of course in our church and in other churches the independence of the women's organization varied from time to time. Sometimes it was completely independent. And then the church would get kind of excited about it and would pull them in a little bit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Can you remember when that . . . the periods when that happened?
LOUISE YOUNG:
It was in 1910 in the Southern Methodist Church at the General Conference of 1910 that the Woman's Missionary Council, the Woman's Missionary Society was brought under the general Board of Missions. Before that they had been quite independent. And they thought it was going to be terrible. And it might have been . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
The women were upset?
LOUISE YOUNG:
The women were very much against it because they thought it would lessen their freedom to do these different things. But after a little while, and maybe right away I don't know how long, it became purely a nominal thing. And the men never tried to stop them. The women would do all their business and put down all their monies they wanted to use for this and so on, and then bring it to the general board of missions and it was always confirmed without a penny difference made so that it was just a matter of form when I knew the church best. But I know there have been these upsets and there is one now in the Methodist church in general. The women's division has been counted too free and there has been a tousle over that and Thelma Stevens could tell you much more than I could. That's where it is now, I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Can you remember any time in the past when there were the conflicts between the women's division and the general conference?

Page 37
LOUISE YOUNG:
Between the general . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Between the Board of Missions and the Women's Council?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I think you saw it on the foreign field a little bit. The women managed their money very well, were good at raising money. And the women never, in the days that I knew, never went into debt. They always had a reserve. And the men were not as . . . didn't, weren't careful, weren't as careful with their finances. For example, they would want to build a hospital in the Congo. And the men and women were to bring, were to build it together. And the men were to put up $50,000 and the women were to put up $50,000.00. Well the time would come and the women would have their $50,000.00 and the men wouldn't. So they wanted the women to put up the whole $100,000.00 when they had this money in the bank. So you'd have trouble like that. And also, the women always supplied their workers in the Congo with their, what they call their, I don't remember, their little expense fund.
BOB HALL:
Stipend.
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, their salaries, the money they would run the business with. Well, I don't know, run their automobiles with. They furnished them cars for instance, gas, and all those sort of incidental expenses. And the men didn't have such things. And the men's wives wouldn't have anything to go on like that don't you see? So, in the Congo anyway, and I knew that very well because I had a friend who was secretary for that, it was a matter of money and the greater freedom that the women missionaries had over the missionary wives. And when the men came home on furlough, when the women came home on furlough, why they did what seemed best. Studied or talked and so on. The men

Page 38
had to raise enough specials to support them don't you see. And of course it goes back to the fact that the women had a very good educational program going all the time among the women who had leisure time, who came to missionary meetings and learned about it and paid for it you see. Whereas the rest of the church, the men we'll say, didn't really know what was going on and didn't have much chance to study, and there weren't many materials ready for them to study, so that their support varied greatly with inflation and depression, prosperity. So that I think that was a source of conflict in the church, both the old southern church and the United Methodist church. And just where it is now I don't know.
Thelma Stevens, of course, was a student at Scarritt in my early teaching years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you came to Scarritt as head of the Home Mission Dept.
LOUISE YOUNG:
The Home Mission Dept. and the teachers, the Missionary Teachers at home of course had Peabody to go to. You know that Scarritt is located there. They could get their education courses over there. And their biblical courses were supplied of course, and I was to help them really in their race relations because in their attitudes towards Negroes and to prepare them for working with Negroes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And how did you try to do that?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I came down and I stopped in New York and did a little library research. And in my first classes down here I . . . my first course was the Negro in America because I said, you couldn't study race relations where you're gonna try to relate white people that you knew something about to Negroes that you didn't know anything about. So I would not have a course in race relations. It wasn't

Page 39
open to anybody that hadn't had my course on the Negro in the United States. So we didn't have many books and we had to explore everything. We were new you see, just moved down here, and my first chores were to find the books . . . become acquainted with them myself. And my biggest help was Fisk University. You see, I had been . . . I had known priviledged, gifted, Negroes as colleagues and it wouldn't occur to me to be any different to them than anybody else. And I came down here and Bethleham Center was supposed to be a somewhat cooperative venture between Fisk and Scarritt with white and black college students doing a lot of the volunteer work and getting credit for it. So that I soon became chairman of the board at Bethlehem Center. And our charter called for so many Fisk faculty and so many Scarritt faculty and so many black and so forth, and the rest from the general community. So that Dr. Charles Johnson of Fisk University was . . . came just a year or two after I did, and he and his wife and I were on the board together for 19 years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was Mrs. Johnson active?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Mrs. Johnson was treasurer . . . I mean was secretary of the board most of those years. She was very active.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And in other things too wasn't she?
LOUISE YOUNG:
And in other things. She was a very active person.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is she still alive?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No she died I believe in sixty-two or something like that. About six years after her husband's death in fifty-six. I'm very much interested, since you're in Atlanta, I'm sure you know Bennie Mays, Dr. Benjamin Mays.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I've never met him, but . . .

Page 40
LOUISE YOUNG:
Have you read his book?
JACQUELYN HALL:
I've read some of it.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I'm impressed with the difference between him and Dr. Charles Johnson.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How is that?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well he grew up in South Carolina, pretty bad, and . . .
BOB HALL:
Mays did?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Mays did. And this book is . . . while he was one of my students, and I visited in their home and I think he's a wonderful man. But he, in this book, just tells you instance after instance of discrimination that he suffered as a Negro and it's just clearly . . . has such a big place in all of his memories. This book is just full of it. And Charles Johnson, on the other hand grew up in Bristol, Virginia which is on the edge of Tennessee. Bristol, you know, there's Bristo Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia twin cities. And went to Virginia Union to college. Bennie Mays went to Bates in Maine. And Dr. Johnson had a relatively mild racial experience in Bristol, Virginia. And in Richmond, Virginia where he went to college and then he was in the Army in World War I and came back and his better experience was in Chicago. He edited the book "The Negro in Chicago", a study of the Chicago race riots. And what he saw on the streets there during that riot, the brutality towards Negroes, was what threw him into that for his life. And he was in New York with the Urban League for quite awhile and edited Opportunity, their journal and really had quite a big part in the socalled Negro renaissance, publishing things of young Negro poets like Countee Cullen and so on and so forth. And then he came here to Fisk in sociology and

Page 41
he was much more objective and much gentler and I think he and I just, I think there was very little color between us. We just didn't . . . and I think he was an acknowledged scholar and was moved right into scholarly associations. And his color was relatively minor. I don't mean to say that . . . was relatively minor. Whereas Benjamin Mays was raising money for Morehouse. He was president there. So he had not a great deal of time for scholarship. His job was to make contacts to get money. And then this sort of deep South background. So the difference between those two men, I know Bennie Mays quite a little and as I say, I admire him what he's doing now in his work with Rural Development Fund I believe they CALL it to help Negroes in poor farm counties with cooperatives though there are some whites with them too, rather than to have them continue the cityward migrations and the building up of greater ghettoes.
Well my 32 years at Scarritt were largely given to . . . field work. We would have about 75 Scarritt students spread around the town.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would these be mostly women?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, mostly women. Not all women. A young man who became head of the Seaman's Union in Chicago, New York, came to Scarritt at the same time that I did. We had a few men in those days, but many more women. And they worked in field work in city churches and country churches and small churches and rich big churches and in white settlements and Negro settlements, rural areas. It was a very widespread . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
. . . in the Nashville area? And they were trying to do something

Page 42
in race relations?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Not always you see, just in a great many different things, and I was director of field work for awhile as part of my . . . well from the beginning I was though I didn't continue that. And so I had to find these settings for them. So that it gave me a very broad view of very interesting contacts across Nashville. We worked on a Jewish settlement for awhile where they taught English to people, and it was a wonderful opportunity here. But again not a social activity, a work opportunity you see, those contacts were professional and human relations and church relations and so forth. And . . . Scarritt is so small in comparison with the other colleges here. As a graduate of Vanderbilt I had contacts there, but I soon learned that I couldn't keep up, and I mean on the basis of time and strength, I couldn't keep up my old Nashville interests, relatives and friends and fraternity mates, Vanderbilt and so forth and do the things that my job called for at Scarritt so that my life in Nashville was very job centered and again very interesting and very diverse. And I had . . . I was at Chapel Hill studying quite a lot and I had a sister living in Cleveland, Ohio, was there often through summers. But my Nashville life was very much work centered.
BOB HALL:
So you lost a lot of your social life?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, that's true. And it was in a different locale, that is my social life was in Cleveland or Chapel Hill or New York. I was studying at Union certain summers and so forth, but Scarritt, being small and we had great freedom there. People were . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

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. . . and the interesting way that happened . . .
BOB HALL:
This is the . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
This is Tennessee law . . .
BOB HALL:
Prohibits black students . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well co-education of the races.
BOB HALL:
I see.
LOUISE YOUNG:
And a student applied, this is relatively accurate but not necessarily absolutely accurate, applied for law at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. And was not allowed to come in. And instead the state offered to pay their tuition outside of the state to go to law school. That didn't suit you see, so the suit became . . . the suit was drawn and the alternative was build a law school for Negroes in Tennessee as good as the law school in Knoxville or else let them in at Knoxville. So they let him in at Knoxville and this was, I think the law, the statute on the state books was never taken off but this Negro was admitted to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. So we had been urging our trustees to let us have Negroes and they said, we couldn't disobey the law. But when Knoxville was disobeying the law we could. So that we had our first . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did a great many of your students go on to become involved in different aspects of inter-racial work, in the Inter-racial Commission, or the Association of Southern Women, or Bethleham Centers, or race relations in the church?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well most of our students in those days worked with the church. That is they would go into religious education. And I really think that all of them had a much broader than usual attitude on race and probably for the general exposure, more than anything I taught anybody

Page 44
in the classroom, that is when you saw Negroes coming over to address a class, and when I had a Negro speaker I usually opened it to anybody that wanted to come and moved to an assembly hall. When you would hear a person like Dr. Johnson and he had very distinguished visitors here always and they very often came over here, when you'd hear them talk and when you'd see them at lunch in the dining room it did something for you. And also our students worshipped a great deal at Fisk Chapel. They had excellent ministers at that time. One of them was John Knox who went to Union. And then Mr. FAulkner, a Negro chaplin followed him and our students liked both of them very much. And the music at Fisk, of course, was just much the best in the city. So a usual thing at the beginning of college, we had . . . we all had our meals together for the first years I lived on the campus, we'd just barely sit down to a Sunday dinner and the new student would say, Miss Young have you ever been over to Fisk Chapel? And they would have gone there the first day. And it would just open the eyes of a little girl from Mississippi, or Louisiana, or Georgia to hear that beautiful choir and to hear this wonderful sermon. There was nothing in town that would top it and very few things would match it. And she would have come probably from a small place. So that all those things were very liberalizing. And our chapel, see this was 1928, and there was no segregation in our chapel.
I'll tell you an ugly story. The Congregational Church here was having a district meeting and asked to use our chapel. And it was arranged and we went over for some of the evening meeting and

Page 45
Miss Derricotte [unknown], Juliette Derricotte whose name you should know, she was a wonderful Negro woman, was Dean over at Fisk. And she came over with some friends to this Congregational meeting. And the ushers wanted to keep her in the back and wouldn't let her go where she wanted to go. And Dr. Cummins my president heard some sort of disturbance in the back and went back to look at things and brought her forward to sit toward the front where she wanted to sit with him probably. But for a southern methodist to call down a Congregational church meeting like that, I mean it showed how consistent we were at Scarritt in our attitude and also how out of line the town was. And nobody called us bad names. They just didn't follow along with us. But they didn't call us bad names. But that was, I think it was the general atmosphere that was good and I think that all of our students took some of that with them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Can you remember specifically if any of your students that I might come across as I go through this?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. Of course our students . . . Thelma Stevens, well I will say this. Scarritt College furnished quite a slice of the leadership that went to New York, the women I mean, quite a slice of the women leaders that went to New York. Sally McKenna for foreign work and Thelma Stevens and her friend Dorothy Webster . . . not Dorothy, I forget her last name, and the girl for Korea. More than half of the executive secretaries of the Women's Division were from Scarritt because they were better educated than the other secretaries. But except for that group who went forward to executive positions in the church very few of them, they were missionaries and religious education

Page 46
workers. They were social workers in church institutions and were really pretty much, well they were commissioned for life to work with the church so that very few of them really became prominent except . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were they working in local churches?
LOUISE YOUNG:
They worked in local churches and they worked in local community centers and they taught in mission schools. And to get up the ladder the only way almost was maybe to teach in a Methodist college or to be a secretary up there in New York or something like that. But it was almost confined to the Methodist circle one way or another, because most of them were commissioned to . . . Scarritt was training for the church and their church was the Methodist church. So that's where they were though our students were, we had a good many non-Methodist students.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were your contacts with Will Alexander after that, after he'd gotten you that first position? Did you work with the Interracial Commission at all?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, I was a member of the . . . I don't know whether they call it the Board or what . . . but we would go down to Atlanta once a year and I would see him there. And I recall his telling me a very true thing about his first church, his first appointment here. I don't know whether, I was trying to look it up in Seeds of Southern Change which you've read I'm sure, and I don't know whether it's in there or not, but he was, his first pastorate here was at Belmont Methodist church and this was when cotton was 10¢, this too was just as the war broke out about 1914 or 1915 around in there and we couldn't get our cotton across the seas

Page 47
to sell you see. So when cotton was 10¢ the word down here that you used to hear, they were awfully hard hit, soup lines and so forth and Will Alexander worked down by the river at the soup lines instead of calling on his parishioners. And he explained it to them from the pulpit that he knew from the way they looked out the windows that they weren't always glad to see him anyway. And that if they wanted to see him why to let him know and he'd always come. But he thought that he was representing them and the church. And he went down to the soup kitchen and worked with them. That was one of his stories he told me.
Another one was how he would walk around and come to the edge of the hill and this was sort of his parish, and he'd look over going down you see and that was largely the Negro area. And he would wonder what that line meant and why his line stopped just at the ridge. And he then went to Murpheysboro. You'll tell me whether this is in "Seeds of Southern Change". I haven't checked it, but he told it to me. And there was a rule that you couldn't keep, the law was new and was instituted, that you couldn't keep young boys in the jail. And that the white boys were easily cared for, but the Negro boys, you could get a family to take care of the white boys but here this Negro boy would come. So he went down and agreed to take care of all the Negro boys what couldn't sleep in the jail. And that made trouble at Murpheysboro.
And I think that it was just about that time that he quit and went with the YMCA to . . . in seventeen probably, to Europe you see. I think he began to preach here about thirteen or fourteen or something like that. And after these few years in this area, he went as a YMCA

Page 48
man to Europe and then immediately after that founded the . . . And of course he's right severe on the church. I'm sure you've gathered that. And I quite agree with him. It's just a mystery to me how the church can take the position it has on the race question and do so little about it, and at the same time they would support other people that are doing. They would support us at Scarritt but they wouldn't move themselves. They'd support Paine College but they wouldn't move themselves. And it's a very devil thing to experience. And I can understand how. Will Alexander is quite hard on the Methodist church.
BOB HALL:
Would you go to the general conferences and to different organizations within the Methodist church with a group of other people and try to push for those reforms . . . I mean for the people there . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
For the black people to come in you mean. Well . . . lets see if I've ever done that. Yes, I did it once but not in the Methodist church. When I was new at Hampton, student volunteers were having a meeting and it was at Radford. And strangely enough, it was all white of course, pretty much all white, but Hampton Institute received an invitation to come to the student volunteer meeting. And I was not doing anything. I was sitting by the side of an older lady that wasn't gonna retire til she checked me and thought I was safe. So they suggested that I take our colored students, Hampton's colored students to this student volunteer meeting in Radford, Pennsylvania over the mountains. So we went. All of them were black of course, men and women, and they were gonna stay in homes. Whereas the white ones were

Page 49
staying in the dormitory. And I, just like any dean or chaperone or anything saw, wanted to see where all the girls were going to stay. And the boys went with me, and the Negro boys and I would escort this girl to a Negro home and so on, and then we went on to the general meeting. We sat together the first time and then an effort was made when it came time for the discussion group. So the Presbyterians would meet in such and such a room, and the Methodist in such and such a room. This was one of the break-ups. And the colored students would meet in such and such a place. And we couldn't take that. So we protested it, and I don't remember whether we all walked out, anyway one of my future students was there, said that she saw this, I was young at the time, this red-headed woman marching out the door followed by all these black students. We took it up with them and so they corrected it and sorta to help us out we were invited to a white church. We could go anywhere to church that Sunday. So the colored students and I went . . . to church. And we walked the streets, just me and the blacks you know. So that's one of the few instances that I remember. Of course that was . . . you couldn't have done anything less.
Now as far as my taking some of my Negro friends to West End Methodist church I haven't got a one that would want to go. Not a one. And I wouldn't go out and hunt up some strangers and ask them to come with me. But, of course we do have Negroes occasionally at West End. They come largely through Scarritt. They'd be Scarritt students, Africans and black persons from the Fiji Islands. I recall sitting by the side . . . wear the regular Fiji hair you know. It was

Page 50
very interesting.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were involved in the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching weren't you?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. And before that, let me see now, what did we have? We had Mrs. Tilly, and I first met Mrs. Tilly with a group that was interested in women and children in industry in the South. That was one . . . that was child labor, and long hours for women and all of that. And that preceded quite a little bit, that was in the twenties I'm sure and I think you would like to look that up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was in it?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Miss Tilly was one of the people. She's dead and gone. Mrs. Underwood was head of it. And Mr. Underwood was a senator I think. And . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was part of the Inter-racial Commission?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, this was before, no this was at the same time. But it was a separate thing. And I was also on the national board of the YWCA and on the local board here of the YWCA. The committees I would be assigned to would either be Women in Industry or Race Relations. Those were the two things I was always called to.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then, at what point did you get . . . were you on the board of these Association of Southern Women . . . or the central board or . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I don't remember. I might have been. I knew Mrs. Ames well of course and it was . . . we tried to do something here in Tennessee. And the thing I gave most time to was always local things. And we had our own inter-racial committee here in Nashville and we had that through the years. And we organized, I mean in fifty-eight, the

Page 51
Tennessee Council on Human Relations became active and I was our first executive director. And worked across the state and so forth. But before that I . . . my work has been very largely Nashville because . . . I rather think because, I rather think because I was on the national board of the YWCA. But people would get my name and a strange procession of folks from outside the South asked to come in and talk with this strange southern woman. And they were always convinced I was . . .
BOB HALL:
Strange.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Maybe strange too, but I was that sketchily known in the North, enough to be invited to have several northern positions at different times or other . . . and I always preferred to stay here because I didn't see anybody to do the work I was doing. But my actual work was very much local. Very much Nashville, after I came here in twenty-five.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you know Mrs. Ames?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I knew her . . . Will Alexander asked me to suggest somebody to succeed Mrs. Luke Johnson. And I can see us now walking up and down Atlanta as he told me what he wanted, what the person needed to be and what kind of work. I kind of think he was feeling me out, and I think he decided I was in no sense the person. I quite agree with him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of person did he want?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well he wanted a person that . . . he thought she could be sort of politically minded and organizationally minded. He described pretty well what Mrs. Ames really became. Of course when she got in there I'm sure she was kinda too strong for him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I get that impression from . . . paper. There seemed to have been

Page 52
quite a bit of conflict . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, because she's an organization person and she's a hard-hitter and all that and Alexander was really a persuader. And of course, also, he . . . pretty soon you know he went up to Farm Security. And then Mrs. Ames was left in charge for a little while wasn't she before Guy Johnson came for the Southern Regional Council. Guy Johnson and I were great friends at Chapel Hill and so I think she was just too strong for him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Too strong in the sense, not in her stands on issues?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, but just in her . . . she knew what she wanted to do. It wasn't exactly what Will Alexander would have done. She didn't go about it the way he would. And so that sort of annoyed him I imagine even whether he felt responsible or not. It didn't seem to him the way to do it. And when they talk about it why she was sure it was the way to do it, and he was pretty sure it wasn't, after all she was in charge of women's work and he was in charge of the total, it was sort of like the Home women in the church situation.
BOB HALL:
Was it really? Was it in that sense of the difference between a man and a woman?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I, no, I didn't mean to say that. I shouldn't have said it that way. It's just that she was in charge of the department and he was in charge of the total. And, of course a department really should bow to the authority of the head man. But on the other hand the woman's work was so different that it called for autonomy. But the actual structure didn't . . . you see and that's really the way it is in the church. There's no reason why every organization in the church

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. . . within the church shouldn't be under the control of the overhead. But when the overhead, when this woman's group is dealing with such different things in such a different way they just naturally seek autonomy.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you recommended Mrs. Ames?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, I didn't know her. I didn't know her at all. But I just recall his search for her. And of course I knew her as she . . . and of course that work she did for the primary was really the wonderful thing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In Texas?
LOUISE YOUNG:
In Texas wasn't it, yes, that the primary should be open. You see, if Negroes couldn't vote in the primaries it wasn't much good voting down south. And the primaries undertook to be a private matter and not a governmental matter, and the court said no that they were . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
And how was she involved in this.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I don't remember, but I know that she had a very, and you should look it up, I think if you're really interested, she had . . . that was one of her big contributions I think. And I don't know if it was made in Texas or Georgia or in the national organization or whether she just was a very vigorous participant in the whole thing. But to my mind that was really a great contribution that she made. Of course what she said about the lynchings and the courts and all that, was just that women should step out and they should present themselves. And if they couldn't go singly they should get a nice bunch of them and go and sit right under the judge's eye and see that he behaved himself. And it's very

Page 54
effective to this day.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did women in Tennessee . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes indeed, quite a lot of that was done.
BOB HALL:
That was a program of the Association?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, wherever there was a lynching and it was being investigated and there was any court survey of it, any court investigation, the women should be right there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you do any of this?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, I didn't. And you see, very often I have done some of this over the telephone in the middle of my teaching. But I've carried a teaching schedule.
BOB HALL:
Did you sign one of the pledges?
LOUISE YOUNG:
For lynching, do you remember what it was, what did it say?
BOB HALL:
What did it say honey?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Well, it . . .
BOB HALL:
I promise to do everything in my ability to prevent lynching . . . there were about forty thousand women in the South who signed it.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Oh yes, sure I signed that. Yes indeed, and got a lot of other women's signatures. I just don't remember it, but I'm very sure that I would have helped with that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now what part was Mrs. Tilly playing in all of this?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Mrs. Tilly preceded Mrs. Ames.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh is that right?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well now . . . rather she followed her wasn't it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was my impression.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Really I'm not sure so don't . . . just check it for yourself, but

54a page
Mrs. Tilly's work . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
She and Mrs. Ames were very different.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Very different, very different.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did they work together?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well I don't know and I suspect that you're right, that Mrs. Tilly succeeded Mrs. Ames. And Mrs. Tilly's big time came after she was on the President's Commission.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Right about . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
When was that?
JACQUELYN HALL:
That was in 1948.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well it was after that that she had her big days.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And Mrs. Ames had retired about '44, but they worked together for awhile, for quite awhile on the Association.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well Mrs. Tilly's approach was quite churchly, no I mean quite missionary society, women's church groups was her entry. And Mrs. Ames was much more political and sort of like the League of Women Voters and that sort of thing. Those were the two different approaches.
Mrs. Tilly was delightful in the support she had from her husband and in her appreciation of it. He must have retired. I think he was in labor union work somehow or other. And so in that way she worked for this women in industry, Southern Women and Children in In dustry. I think that's where I first knew her. And he would stand by her and drive her to the train and meet her and bring her back. I think he must have been retired by then, and would tell her she must go and buy herself a new hat that would make her feel better. So their relationship . . .

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Hadn't Mrs. Ames worked with . . . she worked an awful lot with church women and I wondered how she was able to relate to the women in her organization that she tried to work with. I get the impression that she was a very different kind of person from most of the women that were sort of her followers.
LOUISE YOUNG:
That's right she was. She was sort of a public figure. Not a domestic woman, not a housewife. And what was it about her daughter. Her daughter was afflicted in some way?
JACQUELYN HALL:
One of her daughters had polio.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Uh huh, I thought so. And she was a loyal wonderful mother of course and family woman. But her manner and her general interest were public, and Mrs. Tilly's was church. And you could sort of see it and in the constitutents they attracted. But Mrs. Ames was an excellent speaker.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh she was?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Of course. No woman that had had any protection herself but was horrified at lynching . . . I don't know about half of these stories about women that they would want a souvenir of lynching, you know, that they saw the lynching and that sort of thing must be true, but I never knew a woman in my life that wasn't horrified at lynching. And I think that was the sort of women that would come to hear Mrs. Ames. And all you wanted to know was, how could I stop it? It's heinous, it's horrible. But it's completely out of my province. I never would see it or know what it was all about or anything like that. And to get such women to sign would be very easy. Now to get them to say that they would go and visit the judge and say to do something about the Ku Klux Klan was something different, but she

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would show them how and they'd be ready to do it.
BOB HALL:
Well would she be the kind of woman that could get them to go see the Klan, or go see the . . . ? Was she that kind of persuasive?
LOUISE YOUNG:
You see, the climate was set for it. She didn't have to persuade them that this needed to be stopped. She just had to tell them how they could help to stop it because they were already charged up to stop it, any woman that would come to such a meeting. As I say, I . . . the incredible thing is the story, well documented about the crowds at a lynching you know, which included women too. I'm sure they must be true but I never saw such a woman. And I just can't in any way picture any sort of woman that would ever . . . whose path I'd ever crossed that would do a thing like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I know that the Association was mainly, well, all white women, but in the women's division of the Commission, there were black women in this weren't there?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes indeed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How important a part did they play in the Inter-racial Commission? Were they . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
I think the Inter-racial Commission was dominated by the white people. I think the Southern Regional Council has given Negroes much more leadership opportunity, much more participation.
BOB HALL:
That's not much.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Not much? . . . I mean, after all I think that a big part of this story is, when Negroes had come since sixty-five, there were a number of them that were educated, a number of them that have written books . . . and that have been exposed to enough of the world and succeeded

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enough in it to have ambition, I think that the Negro now is very different from the Negroes I knew in my childhood. And they deserve a different type of treatment. They can live up to different tasks to make these things, to expect these things of Negroes when I was a child would just be absurd or to imagine them. They weren't ready for them. They had had just one generation of education for the most part, even elementary education. And now there are many Negroes that come from homes of education so that they, I think that . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
LOUISE YOUNG:
. . . high . . . there's a higher visibility of the Negro so that he didn't get into the mainstream. I think there are two things that make the Negro different, the Negro situation different, are his slavery background which is inevitably in both his mind and the white person's mind and his color. When you see me you don't know whether I, my folks a hundred years ago came from Scotland or Ireland or France or Russia or where they came from. But when you see a Negro you know he came from Africa, and you know he came from slavery. And they can't get away from either one of those things, in their own minds or in the minds of whites. It's real . . . if we could manage it, why it . . . And I remember the way things were. When I went to Paine for instance and where they are now you thought that we'd come along but you'd never dream that we could come this far in my lifetime frankly.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I have other things that I want to ask you, but what time is it? You're missing dinner.
BOB HALL:
6:30
LOUISE YOUNG:
It doesn't matter for me. I have, I mean we all have bitty little

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kitchens you see, and I've got plenty of things in my little kitchen. Of course that doesn't matter. If it isn't too long for you. I mean this is your best chance isn't it. You can't come back very well.
BOB HALL:
Do you want to take a break?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well lets see. Would anybody like a little orange juice?
JACQUELYN HALL:
I'd like a glass of water.
LOUISE YOUNG:
You'd like water, okay. You can have water or . . . Thelma Stevens sort of protective of me you know . . . look after me and take care of me. I'm very fond of her and I really did help her to come here, come to Nashville to settle, and she's very happy about it isn't she?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes she is. She really thinks of you as a person who has had a lot of influence in her life. You really inspired her.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well she had . . . I don't know how much she told you about her life in Mississippi but it's just wonderful that she has become such a very able national leader and she is a national leader.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You know she did tell us quite a bit about her family and childhood in Mississippi and really, gosh.
LOUISE YOUNG:
It's incredible. I . . . how in the world she took it, well now, whosoever will . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you aware at all or involved in the Sufferage Movement? I know Mrs. Ames was very much involved.
LOUISE YOUNG:
She was very much involved. I really wasn't. What did you say?
JACQUELYN HALL:
She's older than you?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I don't know, is she?
BOB HALL:
Oh yeah, eight to ten years.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Is that so. Well I've always thought, I never knew I wasn't

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liberated and I never knew my mother wasn't liberated and I never thought much about the vote I suppose because actually of course, down South you weren't so democratic in our voting you know. So that I . . . well lets see, it was the Suffragettes in Britain, the Pankhursts was it, that was really the first time it was very vivid to me. And I mean I didn't take voting as seriously as I should have and perhaps as I would have if I had been in another part of the country. And my . . . I was asked to join the League of Women Voters long long ago and I just thought I didn't have time for anything more, but since I retired I joined the League. And there I get more interested in politics than I ever had. MY father and mother were very interested in politics, but I don't know, it didn't seem to me quite a matter of votes though.
BOB HALL:
In your experiences at Scarritt, did you . . . you mentioned industrial work and labor regulations, did you have contact with the labor movement that was going on, organizing in the South?
LOUISE YOUNG:
What's the name of that, Industrial Democracy wasn't it, League of Industrial Democracy. Those lecturers used to come and we'd always take a nice good crowd down. But of course we were much further from the labor movement and I knew that . . . I knew very little about it. So in my department I, we needed to get another person, and we went after a person with economic background, more than I had. So our course on labor relations was in our curriculum and I would always put my students through it if I could but I didn't teach it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about . . . you were at Scarritt during the depression and the New Deal, what kind of impact did all of that ferment have on the

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students and the things that were being taught and talked about at Scarritt?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well, I expect that we were somewhat protected from it really. Our salaries were never high and we went on through the depression and were finally reduced to a little bit for a little while I think, but money went further. So personally my hard times financially were in the forties, and then immediately after the war when the controls were lifted, and I was still on the same . . . in other words our salaries were modest at Scarritt but were sure. And until after the war and controls were off it was alright. But it was pretty tough then after that for awhile. And our students had a good many scholarships and so forth and we always lived simply, so I expect actually on the campus we felt it less. And I had friends . . . what this story is.
I . . . a friend of mine was in charge of the, was certainly high up in the WPA, worked for Tennessee, she wasn't the commissioner of it but she was the first professional person. Of course you know about Mr. Weatherford? A little bit? Well the depression hit him awfully hard. He had the YMCA graduate school here at the time and also was trying to keep Blue Ridge going. And so he was very hard hit. And his teachers were not paid for a long long time, and in compensation they were given free rent in an old tumble-down building that he owned and had their meals in this cafeteria, they and their families. So my closest personal touch with the depression was what Mr. Weatherford's faculty people who were tied in with Vanderbilt too, some of them were friends of mine, and I shall not forget I was ill at the time, and

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this friend came to see me to ask if I could help get her a WPA job in recreation. She was a white . . . one of these professors who was living in this tumbledown place with her family and eating at the cafeteria, her husband and family and children free. It was terrible. And she was a graduate of Simmons with a major in physical education. So she was highly qualified. So I told my friend who was in charge of the Works Program, I was ill as I said, and of course she called her up and gave her the job right away, WPA job you know but heaven sent. And I shall not forget the beautiful extravagant flowers that she sent me. And I knew it was the first money she had had ahold of. Well I was ill but, and I remember once a man selling artificial flowers right in front of Scarritt, all scrubbed up and so forth, and I was in a hurry and didn't buy any and it's been on my conscious a little bit every since. But that shows how little touch I really had with it.
But now this book, I read it and I'm gonna have to review it for a group here, is of great help to me because this is very much the background of my own life.
BOB HALL:
Eleanor and Franklin.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Eleanor ands Franklin. I was born in ninety-two and I think Franklin was born in eighty-two, and Mrs. Roosevelt in eighty-four or eighty-five. But a lot of this thing was sort of a background for my life that I had forgotten a little about, and it's a wonderful way to review those years.
BOB HALL:
Who are you writing the review for?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I'm not writing it. I'm just going to give it orally here. WE

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have this . . . you'd be interested at the thing we had this morning. You know the name Smiley Blatten perhaps. He was a psychiatrist and he and Norman Vincent Peale are very different people, organized the Institute for Religion and Psychiatry in New York. Well, his widow is living here and she, this morning at this group that I have to review this for reviewed his diary which he made when he was being psychoanalyzed by Freud.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's interesting.
LOUISE YOUNG:
He didn't put it out in his lifetime but kept it, and so she has had to edit it. And it was published about three or four months ago. And so she really talked about that this morning and it was really just superb. You wouldn't find anything more interesting anywhere in this town as far as I know of. So I've got to be sure I can do a good job on Eleanor and Franklin.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the research that I've been doing and reading those kinds of background things about the thirties and forties, I've really been . . . I grew up in the fifties, you know, in a time when the kind of silent generation was on the campuses and in which we were always very . . . my parents were very liberal about race, but there was just very little social consciousness and the kinds of things that we know . . .
BOB HALL:
Conflict between the classes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yeah. So I've just been really amazed at how many things were going on in the South in the thirties and forties. The kinds of books people read and the kinds of things that they talked about. The Southern Tenant Farmer's Union and the effort of the CIO to bring

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black people into the union and I wondered whether the . . . were a lot of people moving from . . . a lot of people members of the Communist Party or simply talking about, you know, using Marxist analysis without feeling that it was, you know, that it was a scandalous thing to do at all. But just as one way to try to deal with social problems. And I wondered whether at Scarritt, probably now I don't know what Scarrit is like now but I would imagine . . . I wondered whether Scarritt in the thirties and forties was a much different place than it became in the fifties and sixties like the colleges that I went to.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I'm sure that you heard of Highlander Folk School.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you involved in Highlander?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yeah a little bit. And when the boys came down from Union . . .
BOB HALL:
Myles Horton?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Myles Horton . . . to find a place down here and it was labor you see, they were interested in, not race, they stopped here in Nashville and I was at the meeting of six or eight people to hear what they had in mind and help them plan it. And they went on up to Mounteagle and got their place there and, lets see, Jim Dombrowski became one of their staff.
BOB HALL:
Did you know him?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I knew him very well, was very fond of him.
BOB HALL:
You'll have to say a few things about him later on.
JACQUEYN HALL:
We want to meet him.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Okay. Well now that's about as near Communism as I came in a sense intimately. I don't know, Jim Dombrowski, see his name is Polish and it sounded very strange for the South, but it wasn't. He

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was just a regular southern family man. I don't know how far back his Polish name came from. But to prove what kind of status he had, he was alumni secretary for Emory University for quite awhile. You know Emory University wouldn't have had any oddball for their alumni secretary. And he was a very polished gentleman. He went to Union and wrote his dissertation on . . . [Phone ringing]
I was telling you about Jim Dombrowski and the folk school thing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What were they trying to do at Highlander Folk School?
LOUISE YOUNG:
They were trying to promote the organization of labor in the South. You know, trying to get these southern farm boys that went to town to get a job to be ready for union membership. That was a real party line as I saw it. And a woman gave them her home and farm up at Mounteagle and they settled in there and spread out, but they felt the depression. And I remember being up there, I was just up for a weekend in Mount Eagle with friends, and went over to visit them because I'd known about it . . . And we stayed for Sunday dinner. And it was black bread and maybe an egg or something. It was as beautifully served and as meager . . . I shouldn't say meager, as inexpensive a meal as I ever sat for. And a long polished table with no cloth or anything don't you know.
BOB HALL:
Do you remember the year?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No I wouldn't. It was in the thirties, but that's all I could tell you. And Jim Dombrowski was, they were criticizing very well and he said, they say we're dirty. Now he said, I wish you would just look around here and see if you see any dirt. I couldn't see a speek. Oh it was wonderful. It really was clean living and high thinking if I

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ever saw it. And we had dinner with them. And after that, when Jim Dombrowski came to town he often stayed with us, making his speeches you see. I liked him very much.
Now this is pure gossip, but the time came, I literally don't know what it was all about, but was he married or wasn't he married and what about his wife and so on and so forth? And there really were strange silences and I hadn't the slightest notion, I don't remember much. And that was his dear friends here said, Jim's just been in New York too much with the Communists. And I don't . . . that's just as vague as it is to me now. I don't know at all what it was about.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There was a lot of antagonism toward Highlander in Tennessee.
LOUISE YOUNG:
There was a great deal, a great deal.
JACQULEYN HALL:
Violence?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, a good deal of violence, yes indeed, and it really in my judgement is rooted in the labor work not in their race work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Although they did have integrated gatherings . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Of course it turned when the race question became more pronounced in the south. It turned to race almost wholly. But they already had the antagonism of capital in a big big way. And of course they could play on the ignorance of the mountain people around there. YOu know they had race prejudice and so on. But the thing is they couldn't really handle, in my judgment, is the way those coal people in Grundy County, that's a coal mining place, and the way the coal companies and the big folks felt about them. It's my judgment, in my judgment it's the thing they couldn't handle tied in with the prejudice of ignorant

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. . . the prejudice of the ignorant folks around them. But Jim then moved to Nashville. I was away that summer and this was his head-quarters for promotion I suppose, and the B [unknown] so the story was just ran him literally out of town. The National B [unknown] you know is very illiberal and that they went after him so hard that he moved down to New Orleans I believe, or Atlanta. I forget where he moved. And I've seen him hardly at all since. I understand he's in a wheel-chair with arthritis or something, but I haven't seen him for over twenty years I reckon. But I think he's a very gifted man and a very charming man, whether he's a Communist or not search me.
I taught at Highlander. I led discussion groups up there and was on their list. I don't know what you'd call me, but anyway I would appear on their publications and was directing this that or the other thing. And I said, and this shows you how [unknown] I am, that that's alright. Just so you don't involve Scarritt. But of course as soon as it was put in the paper I was identified as a Scarritt teacher. I should have known better. But . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did that cause any . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I know that it did but I thought it was unfair because Highlander was in such a mess, you see, so much disapproval that I didn't think I had any right to put that sort of burden on Scarritt along with the other things that were . . . So I ceased to go up there when I found that my going was giving something for Scarritt to struggle over. I didn't think that anything I did up there was important enough.
BOB HALL:
In the thirties you're talking about?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Uh huh . . . thirties and forties . . . I went up there once when

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Mrs. Roosevelt it seems to me.
BOB HALL:
Mrs. Roosevelt went there?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there other teachers at Scarritt that got involved in things?
LOUISE YOUNG:
. . . this friend of Jim Dombrowski's, Barnett, whose widow lives in Atlanta now. He was on the Emory faculty after he left us. Albert Barnett. He and I were supposed to be sort of the running mates on these sort of liberal things. He taught the New Testament, fitted very well you see.
BOB HALL:
Barnett huh? There was another man named Matthews?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. He got fired poor man. You know that story, you got it from Thelma? We had very fine people at Scarritt but we have lost several of them through just the pressure that was brought from outside. And when I say we were protected I suppose this contradicts that. I was protected because I didn't talk very loud. Neither did I speak in the middle of the road or anything. And the course the men were . . . they were ministers and more in the limelight than I was. We did lose at least three good men.
BOB HALL:
Three, because of their left leanings?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. Matthews and Barnett and Sylvester Diebold.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to Barnett?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Our trustee here he was very much a man interested in labor. And our publishing house here wasn't then organized. The Methodist Publishing HOuse. And their head man was one of our trustees and he became chairman of our executive committee. No not Wickey, that

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was Ben Whitmore. And Ben Whitmore and Albert Barnett were just like that. Albert Barnett was invited to come up to the University of Chicago . . . faculty, and of course it was very flattering. They offered him a lot more money. But he wanted to stay here. He had an idea that this was an interesting place to live, a pleasant place to live, a wonderful opportunity. So he wrote them a letter. We had a new president. Our old president had just gone out. This was the first executive committee for the new president. Albert Barnett wrote them that he'd had this offer but that he would rather stay at Scarritt, but he would like a sort of token increase in salary. The salary increase he was asked was nearly twice as much as he was getting and he didn't want any money like that but he would like to token increase as a vote of confidence or something like that.
And Ben Whitemore of the publishing house, when the letter was read, Albert should have known better than to have done it this way. He didn't have to you know. He said, well I would pay him that much to leave. So the whole thing was . . . there was nothing he could do but leave. I don't know just what the terms were but he left anyway and went to the University of Chicago. He taught there for awhile a then and oh so loved the South. So he wanted to come back to Scarritt and did his best to get back. Couldn't manage it but did get to Emory . . . And he was there until his death several years ago.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And it was just his sympathy for the labor movement that caused him trouble or . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, for instance when the taxicabs had a strike here, the taxicab drivers for better terms, he worked with that and he wrote and

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talked for them . . . the disgrace that the Methodist church said in its discipline, they believed in collective bargaining and yet they ran this big publishing house and wouldn't let them unionize. So he was quite [unknown]. He was a preacher you see. He would preach it and talk it in his classes and attend the meetings. He was very interested in the League of Industrial Democracy. I would usually back up anything that he was interested in and he would back up what I was interested in. And he did the labor thing mostly and I did more with the race.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Now Sylvester DieBold, now he was the one who had the wife who wrote all those books about family life?
LOUISE YOUNG:
With the family. And that is really a story of the Middle AGes. He was head of religious education and he was such a good man. And if you wanta know, as pure as the driven snow. And he was asked to teach classes for Sunday school teachers around the country. And we had scoured for a training direction of religious education so our men often went around and the women too when they wanted to, but it was too strenous for me, but the men would teach courses in religious education and Bible or what have you. And things would run five nights a week say in the evenings and he was teaching such a class in Chattanooga at a church with a very conservative pastor. And he passed out some . . . it was a young people's group . . . he pased out a questionnaire for them or something or other as to their sex relations and whether they'd had any before marriage or something or other. I don't remember what it was. But anyway the pastor got hold of it and the man could never come in his church again. And he wrote all the officers of the

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church. And what it amounted to was that Sylvester Diebold, head of our Department of Religious education could never teach a class around the country under our Board of Education. But you really couldn't support that kind of thing, you know, of our teacher of religious education couldn't teach in the Methodist church extension courses in religious education. And as I say, he was as pure as the driven snow and it was just awful for him. He said to me . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who made that decision that he couldn't . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
The church board wrote . . . you see the pastor of the church that he held his course in, complained to the accrediting board of the Methodist church and board of the church passed it onto Dr. Cunningham, the President of the college. And they said, of course they couldn't use him anymore or something. And of course that was just an impasse to have the head of your department, of religious education, denied entry to these, to teaching in these church-wide schools. So what Mr. Diebold said to me . . . he said, just say if it had been over something important like labor that'd be alright. But over a silly thing like sex, I just can hardly face it. It was really very hard for him to take. Very hard for him to take. But those three very gifted men.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he had to leave the college?
LOUISE YOUNG:
He had to leave and I don't know just exactly how, he was almost . . . it was a very bitter experience for him. It was the depression and he went North. He came from the North, Syracuse I think, and I know they had a church near Plattsburg. They told me how cold it was. One of these huge old church parsonages, and it cost a fortune to heat it.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

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. . . in Chicago. I forget the name of it. But it is a school for training YMcA secretaries in Chicago and taught there until his retirement recently.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She wasn't writing or teaching when she was here was she?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, they had little children. She came here as a bride and when they left she had just little babies really. Perhaps just her first child had been born. But she took over and has had quite a career of her own. But that was a bitter, a terrible time to lose your job in the depression of course. That's really the . . . I mean the thing that I had a few glimpses of, a person that was well qualified and seemed to be secure, but losing a job and you couldn't get another. If you couldn't hold the one you had you didn't have any chance of the next one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about your work with the YWCA. What role did the YWCA play in race relations?
LOUISE YOUNG:
They were very liberal and very much leaders.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would you say more so than the church?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Much more. And especially the student YWCA you see. Not so much the community though they were a little ahead I would say. And of course it's natural because if they want to they can choose liberal people from all through the church. Whereas any single church, any single denomination even tends to choose its leaders from its more affluent people so that it's like Church Women United, that tends to be a gathering of liberals from all the churches. And they don't have any budget to carry. Similarly the college YWCA had very little budget to bother then don't you see. So that they could preach the gospel as

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they said and Carrie Mills was my good friend. At the time she was secretary. Preach the gospel and pass on and preach it to another you know, and leave the campus where they had sown these seeds. Carrie Neares.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She was what?
LOUISE YOUNG:
She was southern secretary for this area. And she asked me to serve on her southern regional board. And we would meet in Atlanta rather often. And then, I don't remember, Mrs. Bethune was on the advisory committee. That was fun you know, knowing Mrs. Bethune. And some of her students would come. It was very interesting work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was this the advisory committee for the students?
LOUISE YOUNG:
The students. And I was also on the local community YWCA here and then through Carrie I was recommended for the national board of the YW and was on that board for awhile. And of course that got you on a list you know, and people coming down . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you spell her last name?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Neares. I'm not sure whether there is that second "e" or not. It's Carrie Neares. And she, I don't know why she left YW work. She might have felt that it was for younger women. And she went on into library work and had very interesting work at the public library in New York where she, her special work was advisor to club women that wanted help in setting up courses and study groups and so forth.
BOB HALL:
Is she still around?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, she's retired and is living in a retirement village sort of near Germantown in Philadelphia. I happened to run across her name in one of their little local publications.

Page 73
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things did the student Y try to do? They would go to . . . they had chapters on college campuses?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, and they visited those chapters and Vanderbilt was slow in getting a chapter because we had so few girls. But they would visit and they would give the girls a big shot in the arm when they came to Blue Ridge for their summer conference.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they have black girls?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well now, I would be inaccurate if I said . . . isn't that funny, I can't remember. Of course they were head of the YM on it. I can risk that alright.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was the YWCA so much more progressive than the YM?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well again you see the YM is supported and led by, largely by affluent middleclass men. And the YW is by these protected idealistic women, you know, who don't have to pay for their liberal ways. I really think that if a woman wants to be free she is a long sight freer than a man. I mean that's my . . . the things that I care about. Of course there are certain penalties people can place on you. In other words, if you want to run with people who differ with you why I mean you are penalized in your social contacts probably, but there are lots of liberal other folks you know that you can find out and so on and so forth, so there was no occasion for you to be isolated especially if you're not locally rooted. I am sure that if I had never been outside of the South I would have felt myself isolated. But after all I'd been two years in Madison, Wisconsin, three in St. Paul the other way around, Bryn Mawr and studied in New York at Union so that at . . . then at Chapel Hill, so that my personal social contacts are not local primarily. And you can take a lot locally

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and I presume I really had to take a good deal, then you can always have friends scattered here there and yonder. If you can't travel, can't get out of your local community I expect you could be very heavily penalized.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you never felt a lack of respect for your ideas and opportunity because you were a woman? You've never really had that kind of feeling?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, because I suppose I've never missed it. I never . . . I had other interests I suppose that was really it. I mean, I'm . . . I don't know whether this is a matter of South or generations or our family, but boys were supposed to hustle. Do you know the phrase ambitious woman? It's just a horrid phrase, and I never had any ambition.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you've done very unusual things for a woman.
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, but none of them very prestigious you know, or very . . . they were money-making and that sort of thing and none of them, I've never been interested in being at the top of anything. I've thought about it if you really want to be personal. I was in the middle of a big family and when you've got older brothers and sisters you'll never get to be the top in the family. You're just in the middle. And you're completely protected and you're completely loved, but dear me there's your older sister. You'll never be as old as she is.
BOB HALL:
Have you got a sister now that's older?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes I have two sisters older than I am. And we have a wonderful time together. And I grew up in the midst of my brothers, one older brother and two younger brothers right around me, so that these two

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sisters older than I had been very close. I really didn't even belong to that crowd until we all got real old. My brothers are gone now and I can run with my older sisters. ONe's a widow and one's unmarried and living in Memphis and one is in Cleveland, Ohio. And the best time we have is when the last two summers I've been able to rent a cottage at [unknown], University . . . It's a lovely place. And we three for a month have kept house there together and had a grand time. Some old friends around and just about 90 miles from Nashville. Lots of people come up. So I know I'm a . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever know Lillian Smith?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes.
JAQUELYN HALL:
I just supposed that because I went up to her home, Old Screamer Mountain last year and talked to Paula Snelling. It's a beautiful . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. Not long before her death she came here to write some articles about the situation here I think. What was the name of her friend, the woman who was with her a lot. Paula Snelling, the two of them were here just a little bit before Lillian's death. She was a missionary in China and [unknown] McKenna with whom I had a home here was a missionary in China and she and Lillian were there together. So I knew Lillian rather well.
BOB HALL:
In your experience with the Association of Southern Women, see one of the things that Jacquelyn is dealing with is the consciousness of women in their activity and in relating to black women, that they could bridge the gap of race through their relations as women.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
To some extent but then on the other hand I'm interested in how difficult it was for white women to relate to black women in these activities.
LOUISE YOUNG:
The easiest place for them to relate according to my experience is with the United Church Women. In this town the, in my judgment, the group that has done most for race relations is United Church Women.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How far back does that go?
LOUISE YOUNG:
That goes to in the forties.
BOB HALL:
What about in the Association?
BOB HALL:
Or in the Inter-racial Commission?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well Negro women were not much in that.
BOB HALL:
Did she talk, or did the Association talk at its meetings about we are women and this is our responsibility to other women, to black women?
LOUISE YOUNG:
The Methodist women did. Let's see now, I just read that story. Oh yes, it's in this "Seeds of Southern Change". If you don't know this you'll find a lot of material about this in here. And Methodist women went down to Tuskegee and talked with Mrs. Booker Washington and that story is told in here. So that the Women's Missionary Council of the Southern Methodist Church very much went after women helping women. I thought you were talking about the AUW, the American Association of University Women. They don't . . . that hasn't much . . . well there isn't a great deal of warmth, or intimacy, or real collaboration in that in my judgment here in town. But the church women here are very warmly related and Negroes have full leadership, Negro

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women have full leadership. And it's really a, I think I should have told you that as part of my story. I got leave from Scarritt for one year from '45 to '46, this is a race relations story. The United Council of Church Women had almost, were working on a shoe string in New York. There was just one full-time secretary, Mrs. Whorhol. And I was chairman of that committee on Social, Industrial and Race Relations and maybe they called it Social Relations. I don't remember. And Mrs. Emily Ross conceived the idea of getting enough money for us to have a secretary of social action for United Churchwomen. She thought the Rosenwald Fund would be a good notion and Charles Johnson was one of the three men that ran it. Charles Johnson and Will Alexander, and Mr. Embree. So they agreed to give us $20,000.00 which was like a million to us, for three years. It might have been $30,000.00 I'm not sure. And so I as chairman of the committee was to find a person. We had gotten the money really from the Rosenwald Fund, largely Mrs. Charles Johnson and Charles Johnson, Mrs. Ross and so forth.
So then you had to find a person. And I corresponded with as many people as I could and had no luck. So finally I agreed that I would take it and asked for a years leave of absence from Scarritt. So I set that up in New York and, of course I had to cease to be chairman of the Committee when I was going to be the secretary. And so Cynthia Goodell who is my vice-chairman became chairman. Cynthia Goodell who's now head of the Methodist Council of Churches and she and I . . . I became the secretary you see and she became the chairman. And we had an awfully good time. She's a wonderful woman. And she

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does believe in womens rights. I mean she's not a womans lib person in the ugly sense, but oh she's so much more a womans lib woman than I am. She enjoys and fulfills the top role, the public role. She speaks well, has a lovely voice, and she likes to, of course people always like to do what they do well, she does that well and it was very nice for her to be the first woman to be the president there. But she is with the Episcopal church of course and that was a very interesting year of mine in New York. That was in forty-five, forty-six when we were just recovering from the . . . we were just still absolutely destroyed about the bomb.
BOB HALL:
The bomb? The A-bomb?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes, the A-bomb. You see that had . . . the bombs over Japan were in August of forty-five. And I went to New York that September. And those . . .
BOB HALL:
You had a lot of discussion about the bomb?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes and the scientists came to us, Dr. Cezard and others of the scientists working on this, came to the women to see, they were really very moving, real scientists and I can see the men now saying my hands are bloody. And they had gone to Truman to try to get him to stop using it. But he, of course, felt that Roosevelt was committed to it and he'd just come into the office, so Truman went on with it. They couldn't stop him. And these men were in Washington on a shoe string, several of them, living in one room in a hotel as their office their sleeping place and all. And they came to us, Mrs. Harper Sibley was president of the United Churchwomen at the time and said, we're scientists but we don't know anything about religion. Can't you

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women do something? This thing is just, it should never have been done. But we in the laboratory created it. We can't stop it. We can't control its use, can't you women do something about it?
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you'll try to do?
LOUISE YOUNG:
There was nothing we could do much. Ofcourse you passed resolutions and we perhaps did something in public opinion. I remember McMann Committee on the use of Atomic Energy was appointed at that time. Of course all of us together hadn't been able to do anything.
BOB HALL:
What was that thing Howard was talking about, that investigation, congressional investigation that you say the women were so for?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh of the armament industry after World War I.
I feel we're gonna tire you out too much and you've given us a wonderful story. Do you have another tape with you?
BOB HALL:
Yeah, it's in the car. It would be nice to have your recollections of like Eleanor Roosevelt.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know Eleanor Roosevelt.
LOUISE YOUNG:
I saw her twice, close up. And they were very memorable. I'm glad to testify to what I think of Eleanor Roosevelt. She came here to Nashville one time, this is how hard times we were in those days, we . . . together though. She couldn't stay at the major hotels I remember because she was . . . Negroes . . . I don't know whether anybody was travelling with her but they would have free access to her. So they put her down to the third hotel instead of our first or second. I remember that.
BOB HALL:
She insisted on that or who . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
She insisted on being accessible to Negroes. And they wouldn't . . . of course, and she went to Memphis. I'd love to talk about Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I'm amazed that the President's wife was working for money. See I show my southern lady breeding, was working for money all through those years when she was the wife of the president. But she was working for money which she gave largely to the American Friends Association for work for the causes in which she believed. But she worked and made money through her column, through her books, through her various articles in women's journals, etc., and through her public lectures.
And when she would be around the country, of course people would think of her as the President's wife, naturally. That's what she was, but here she was Eleanor Roosevelt making money on lectures and wanting to make money, seeking to make money, because she had such good uses to which to put it. And she was in a delicate position. In Memphis she was introduced to the woman's club, I just heard this. I wasn't there but I heard this. Of course the woman who introduced her just said, everybody loves here . . . Mrs. Roosevelt. And she got up to acknowledge it. She said, you're mistaken. There are a great many people think very poorly of Eleanor Roosevelt.
But then the other story they told was that the police had been alerted to give her an escort, and according to the story this policeman that was to be the official special protector, security guard or something had had his suit cleaned and times were hard and all that sort of thing, and she declined to be, to have this sort of escort. And it hurt his, it was a disappointment to him of course, and so it was held against her by some Memphis people and I tried to understand it. But I think she was in the position of feeling that she shouldn't be treated as the President's wife.

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JACQUELYN HALL:
Well you certainly, from that book, get a sense of what a separate life she did lead. She was very . . .
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well then the other time I saw her, and you can remember this, she spoke on a mountain in East Tennessee, or maybe it was in Virginia, I kinda think it was Rome Mt. but it was a beautiful mountain there that was rarely scaled. And to have her speak they had to build a road to go to the top of the mountain for cars you see. And it was just the one way up there and very tricky at that. So for certain hours of the day it was up and certain hours of the day it was down. I drove up there with friends. I was the driver. And we just went at a snails pace, bumper to bumper, everybody getting up there you know. And we had to stop at Miss Williams to spend the night in a schoolhouse, just lying flat on the floor there, and then get up the next morning and drive on up to the mountain.
And there was a tent up there for Mrs. Roosevelt and she was perfectly wonderful in the way she talked. And she was full of reminiscences of the fact that right in that area her father, who was an alcoholic you know, had worked in the mines there. She adored her father. And he had written all about it and she had sent a doll there to the little girl that he knew. And the woman had received the doll was an old lady then, of course, she was coming in to see Mrs. Roosevelt. But the way she spoke of her father and of her own childhood, and her ability to handle the situation with all these country folks and us from around the cities who had climbed up that mountain to hear her, and the personal

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questions that were asked her and her ability to answer them, especially the way she talked about her father I thought of when I read this book.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was she speaking on top of a mountain?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Well, I don't even remember under what auspices and I'd hoped that she would mention that in this book, but she doesn't. Now lets see, who might it have been that was having her up there. I really can't . . . as close to the Negroes as she was to the white people. It seems to me that the Fisk students sang Ballad of America at that meeting, I'm not sure of that, but she was a wonderful person.
Oh yes, and the other time that I really saw her close up was about forty-five or forty-six when I was in New York. Her husband had just died and she was wearing black and it seemed very much widow's weeds. She was tall and pale and very dignified but a tragic figure. And she was working with the little Girl Scouts or anybody that wanted her. I went to a meeting where she was speaking to about ten little Girl Scouts or something or other and it was when we were concerned about how little food people had in India or somewhere, and our lunch was a fig and a nut or something like that. And there was Mrs. Roosevelt with these little girls and this tall dignified widow, giving her time to this little meeting. Just doing her best at it and just one with those little girls. It was lovely. And I think she had, was as motherly a manner . . . I thought of it again as I read this . . . after all she did bring up five children was it, or four. And she had to bring them up by herself pretty much. I mean, FDR didn't do much of that.

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So I think that in her very good relations with young people it was never as one of them as much as it was a reassuring mother and an appreciative, responsive, listening mother. And I got that in my contacts with her there. I never knew her really.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I wonder if you can think of anyone else who was involved, any other women who were involved in . . . that I might talk to?
LOUISE YOUNG:
. . . my letter, and they wrote me and said that they were coming in full force and as far as they knew they might stay forever.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who wrote to you?
LOUISE YOUNG:
I don't remember, but my [Southern Conference for Human Welfare] invitation was virtually withdrawn. So I'm pretty sure I didn't go, but I went to so many meetings I'm not even sure I didn't go. I remember that. And of course it was . . . and it was very interesting. The people that went into it for awhile, our Bishop Kern was the president of it. For all of the talk of Communism and everything Bishop Kern left his church and he just wouldn't let them . . . he would let them talk all they wanted to but he remained on the letterhead as the president of SCHW.
So I really missed a big lot of fun by not getting in on that. But I went, I didn't go but the one time, I never did . . .
BOB HALL:
Did you know the Bradens, Carl Braden, head of the Southern [Conference Education For . . . ?
LOUISE YOUNG:
A little bit, yes. And I met them at Highlander when he was up there. But that was towards the latter days of Highlander and I hadn't . . . I was closer to Jim Dombrowski than I was to Myles Horton. Myles has certainly done a wonderful job though. He's . . . I don't know how he handles it, but he gets his money. And it's very interesting the people you run across in Chicago and around the country, California,

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and everywhere. He does mighty well.
[unclear] . . . and I had retired from Scarritt. And there's just one sad note about it. The president thought I was executive, see I had a free hand to just set it up. Nothing had been done before, so I really had . . .
BOB HALL:
. . . they just began?
LOUISE YOUNG:
They had been on paper but they [Tennessee Council on Human Relations] hadn't had a full time worker. So I was the first person to give full time to it. And Walter Sharp whose wife was a Cheek, and you know the Cheek name or do you? They're supposed to be the richest people around.
BOB HALL:
In Nashville?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes. The Cheek, the Nashville Coffee folk I think. Anyway, they were . . . he married this very wealthy woman and he was teaching art at Vanderbilt and he was a very fine person, and he wife was a very fine person. So he was president of the Tennessee Council when I was secretary. And he was excellent in publicity and knew all the rich. He was beautiful on a platform and all that sort of thing. And I had . . . he said he'd never had a course in sociology so I told him he didn't need one, just needed to have good manners which he had. The same manners that . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he able to raise money for the Council?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, at that time we were supported pretty much from Atlanta and my salary was very modest, and that was okay, I was retired and had a little something. So Walter Sharp and I, between us, really had a wonderful time. And the sad thing is he committed suicide a year ago. And he was just subject to melancholy people said. I

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really don't know. But the reason I had such a good time was I . . . the part I don't like to carry is the front page, head of the platform part. I like to do my work over the telephone, and face to face, and plan the programs, and set up the committees and that sort of thing. And I had a free hand at that.
We had sit-ins, and the sit-in people would tell us when they were going to sit in. And we'd have observers there to see that the police didn't beat them up, you know.
BOB HALL:
Did you organize the sit-ins?
LOUISE YOUNG:
Yes they were organized sit-ins.
BOB HALL:
I mean did Tennessee Council organize them?
LOUISE YOUNG:
No, they . . . the sit-ins would be organized from the Fisk end of town, but they'd tell us when they were going to sit-in and where. And we would have observers there to see that the police didn't beat them up, and if they did to testify against them don't you see. And the sit-in folks, sit-in leaders would come over and have tea with us. And we gave a party for them and so forth. Though we didn't do any sitting-in, but it was all black, here in town. This was fifty-eight to sixty. And we really had a wonderful time. And the men that sort of protected me you might say, and did the public work for me were Dr. Hugh Morgan who is the head of medicine at Vanderbilt. And Walter Sharp who was teaching art at Vanderbilt and had this, lived in this beautiful mansion built by the Cheeks, and Macklin Davis whose father was . . .
END OF INTERVIEW