Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Quinton E. Baker, February 23, 2002. Interview K-0838. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

How Baker wants to be remembered

Baker fears that all he will be remembered for are the protest from the 1960s. He describes the ways that his focuses and concerns have changed since that era.

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

You said something to the effect of, "I want to be known for something, I don't want my legacy to necessarily be just the civil rights movement and my activism that I was involved in the 1960s, If I am remembered, I want to be remembered for a broader picture." I think that is the idea that you expressed to me. Correct me if I am wrong. Why don't you tell me a little bit about this and for the people who will be listening to this, what you want to be remembered for beyond just the Civil Rights Movement. Maybe that is just a facet, but other things.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
Well, a significant amount of my energy and my life has been spent on issues of justice of issues of fairness and equity; I have been involved in a lot of efforts with communities and strengthening those relationships. I would like for my legacy to be the totality, excuse me, of my life. I have also spent a lot of time with people about relationships and how we are friends and how we are not friends, or how we accept people. It is all connected to what perhaps, prompted me to be involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but I think I have made significant contributions to life and the well being of mankind since 1960, my life did not stop with 1960 and so if you are going to talk about me, talk about what I am doing currently, if you want to relate that to my work in the 60s, that is okay, but just don't talk about what I did in the 60s, or what radical I was in the 60s. I am not the same person I was in the 1960s, I mean—.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You are still a radical now.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I am radical in different ways. I won't march. I will not march. [said with emphasis]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Would you go to a Pride Parade?
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I don't go, I don't march for anything. [Laughter]
CHRIS McGINNIS:
You have done your dues.
QUINTON E. BAKER:
I have paid my dues in terms of marching. I have been to a Pride Parade. The only Pride Parade that I have ever been in was in Boston, and that was really at a very controversial time, because it was a time that I was in a stock brokerage firm. I mean I have made my statements, but I have to do it the way that I do it. I cannot do it the way that people think it ought to be done. When I came back here, many people in the Chapel Hill community wanted me to be the same person that I was when I left in the 60s. Or that they knew and how they related to me. I am a different person. My analysis of conditions and problems that we face are different now. And my actions are predicated on that analysis, not some analysis before. I would like people to stop marching every Martin Luther King Day. I mean, you would think that the only legacy that he left was marching. [Laughter] In terms of that, we have to find a different way. So, that's all my statement means. I am doing different things, they are all connected to what I believe is right and just in this society—look at the total picture.