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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., May 31, 1989. Interview L-0040. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

McKissick's effective tactics to bring about racial change

McKissick returns to an early childhood incident he experienced with police harassment. Here, he advocates for civil disobedience and direct action in order to force changes to occur.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., May 31, 1989. Interview L-0040. 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

Would you be able to connect your early experiences in McKissick vs. Carmichael with your later career as a civil rights activist in the 1960s?
Well, I think I've always been an activist in the civil rights movement. That started from the incident where I was beaten by the cops, I was telling you about, in Asheville, North Carolina. I have been active in demonstrations. I believe in civil disobedience and I believe that if you believe the law is wrong, then you disobey that law and you pay the consequences for it. And I believe that you have to resort to demonstrations where you have the lack of response to requests or lack of communications. There has to be a method of opening the doors. So there's no other method except an outward confrontation, and that confrontation has to be had and has to be had in public in order to bring about change. I still believe that. I still believe that there's a need for direct action in many areas today.
The experience of desegregating the University of North Carolina did not take place at the same time as the experience of desegregating the city of Chapel Hill. Did you play any role in that process at all?
Yes, it was the Congress of Racial Equality, I think James Farmer, who was the national director of CORE at that time and I was the chairman of the board of CORE, which was called the National Action Committee. We both participated in the demonstrations in Chapel Hill. We had a strong chapter of CORE in Chapel Hill in the city and a strong chapter in Durham. We both made a demand upon the city of Chapel Hill that they should desegregate by a certain date, which they didn't do and if they didn't do, we were going to have massive demonstrations and that we did. And eventually it came about.