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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mabel Williams, August 20, 1999. Interview K-0266. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Materialism hurts the United States

Williams worries that the United States might be a failing empire, choking on its own materialism. She is hopeful, though, that a new kind of collectivism might enlist warriors in this fight for the country's spirit.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mabel Williams, August 20, 1999. Interview K-0266. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DAVID CECELSKI:
Now they can do this DNA thing to answer questions about George Washington as well.
MABEL WILLIAMS:
Yes, yes, yes. So. [Laughter]
DAVID CECELSKI:
No surprise.
MABEL WILLIAMS:
No surprise, no surprise. So—but that does not negate the fact that there still has to be ongoing struggle. There still has to be ongoing struggle in order to overcome all of the evils of the past. And I think because our capitalist society at this stage is so—. We have so engaged all of our people, black and white and all, into materialism that it is becoming more and more difficult to have any meaningful human struggles, social struggles that tie people together—that tie people together. And it gets back to those people who have opted for the good teaching their own—their young people that we have something beyond stuff and things. There's something important in this world that is more important than gathering toys and stuff and things. And there's a human element out here that we need to be concerned with. And I'm hopeful that that is going to happen. I'm hopeful that that is going to happen.
DAVID CECELSKI:
[unclear]
MABEL WILLIAMS:
Yes, yes, yes. But I'm—
DAVID CECELSKI:
[unclear] Monroe and I can see you wouldn't have got where you are without [unclear] that you seem to have. [unclear] exactly what' s in front of your eyes [unclear] further vision or something.
MABEL WILLIAMS:
Yes. And one of the things for me personally is that I think this whole experience of my life has taught me that where we are in the world today there is no set solution out there. That the—there's no ism that's going to do it. It is not coming out of any political, specific political force that's out there right now. It's something that's going to come out of something that we don't even have control over. But we know that once we identify with it that it's going to come. And I think it has to do with spiritual. We're in kind of a spiritual warfare. And I think that that's where the solution is coming from. I'm wondering if our country, our beloved country, this time is on the edge of the Roman—where the Roman Empire was before it went plummeting down. A lot of people don't like to think about that, you know. But everything lives—everything born lives and dies, right? And we would be blind if we didn't know that societies do the same thing. But then we have to have a belief and a hope that a society will be developed that can be better. We haven't seen the best of what this society has to offer this world. I hope not. I'm sure, I'm sure not. We haven't seen the best.