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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Refuting Sears's work

Baker refutes the things James Sears had said about the homosexuals involved in the Chapel Hill protests and begins describing the ways Sears had misused the interview they had done. He continues to list discrepancies for several minutes after the end of this passage.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. 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

Jim Sears, let's talk about his work [Quinton moans indicating his disdain] and what he has done. When were you approached and was it, when were you approached and what was written? And let's talk about your thoughts on this.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Okay, I was approached, James Sears approached me, I don't remember the date prior to the book, but he approached me because Pat had suggested that he—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was this after you had moved to North Carolina?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Oh yeah, I was here. This was here [Hillsborough]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Early mid 90s?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I guess mid 90s, I don't. I think it was mid 90s, when did he do this book?
CHRIS McGINNIS:
May have even been in the 80s
QUINTON E. BAKER:
in 97, so he must have approached me in 96—95, 96. He came here and he had a.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was it similar to the interview that we are doing now?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yes, he was at the Holiday Inn in Chapel Hill. He had a room. I agreed to meet him there and we did the interview and we did the conversation. I would not have talked to Jim Sears, I had no interest of doing the interview, whatsoever, and the only reason that I talked to him was because Pat suggested that I should do him, talk to him. Pat thought that it was important, he thought that it was an important issue that we get out there. Pat has been very out and political as a gay person in Boston for the last, I don't know, the past, I don't know, eleven years, twelve years or so.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh, okay, so he is someone who actually transferred those skills to the gay rights movement.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, but he is still very much involved in community action and is still very much involved in civil rights and the issues of poverty, it is just that he is just very much out and makes it a part of his work, in that process. I simply, and so I responded to Pat. James, Jim Sears came, he did the interview, we talked, I thought that it was a fairly decent interview, I tried to tell him, pretty much, similar to what we had done here, a little bit more history about growing up and that kind of thing and then I read the, the Galleys, and I sent him a note back saying that this is not an accurate description of my life and what I told you—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What was inaccurate about it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
In order to give it more, I don't know, Interest or color, there were things that he said about my father, about my family working that wasn't true that I didn't say, how he described them, I don't remember. Oh, let's see [Quinton pages through his book].
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you make any notes in that while you were reading it?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, I didn't, because I never read the book. Once I read the other thing, I just said, "Forget it."
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Right.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
This was not a passion of mine; this was not something that I wanted to have happen. I was doing him a favor. I also felt that he lied because when he came back to do some work on [pause] See, this is the thing, he says, "My father had been convicting of assault and battery." That is not true.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh my goodness.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
My father had gone to prison, he had been convicted, but it was not assault and battery.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
That is a pretty big thing. [Laughter]
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah, yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
What had your father gone for?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I had forgotten what it was now.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
But it wasn't assault and battery?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
It wasn't assault and battery, no. And, I don't know.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Were there other inconsistencies? You said that he was trying to make some connection between the black civil rights movement and the gay—
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Yeah.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Did you feel that you were being lead in the interview, and in what way?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, I never made the connections; I never made the connections that he made in the book, once he wrote the book. It wasn't me that was saying that there was the connections that were there. It was him interpreting them. I am trying to find some of this stuff. [pause] No, see, "Growing up gay in the South for Quinton's generation meant being……Quinton's first knowledge of any type of sexual activity between the races came through Avery, who was making money hand over fist." I don't even know what he is talking about. Unless he is talking about Lester and changed the name, who was in fact, making money with—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Was he being a prostitute?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
No, in those days, you know, there was this thing of—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You had these sugar daddies.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Whites would come through the neighborhood and pick up black women or black men, whatever their proclivities, and take them off for sexual gratification and pay them some kind of thing. It wasn't the kind of formalized prostitution that you are thinking of, but it was really hustling, but it was not generalized hustling, because it was really directed toward white people in that process. And Lester used to do some of that. But the thing is that. I mean, I do talk about them riding through the community, but I don't know. He changed the names of some people, because he didn't have the permission to use their name. I don't remember, my feelings were, and maybe I felt a little bit about Jim Sears as I felt about, as I thought about John. My feelings about Jim was that it was an opportunistic interview that was not so much about protecting the truth about what it is I had to say, or the what the truth was, it was about getting a particular point of view that he had, and I just wasn't very comfortable with it. Also, he promised to talk to me again about— [END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A] [TAPE 2, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I am sorry.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
That is all right.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Okay, we are on the forth side of the interview with Quinton Baker, the number for this tape is, 02.23.02-QB.4
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I—the experience of having the interview, I guess I felt almost as if there was almost some kind of connection or some kind of a—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
This is Jim Sears?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Jim Sears—that there was some kind of—you know he talked about his relationship, his partner, his work, and then you almost felt that there was some kind of trust factor that was being built. Once the book came out and then he started—I felt betrayed by that trust factor.