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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Howard Fuller, December 14, 1996. Interview O-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Impact of nostalgia on present social justice efforts

Fuller engages in a discussion about memory-making. While memories of past activism are important, their romanticization can hinder people from seeing the necessity of persistent social justice struggles.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Howard Fuller, December 14, 1996. Interview O-0034. 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

HOWARD FULLER:
Given that, when I came to this conference, I came here saying, it has to be not a conversation in the abstract, it has to be a conversation about struggle. And not so much the struggle then, as much as it is the struggle now. Because it's nice for you all to listen to our stories, and that's cool, and I'm all for that, really. But in the final analysis, the next time we meet, we need to begin with your stories, our stories. Not about the past, but about today. Because if this thing is ever going to work, that's what it has to be. Franz Fernand said, "Every generation, must out of relative obscurity, discover its mission and either fulfill it or betray it." So the question is, what was our mission? And the "our" I'm talking about is these people who stood up here. Cause you need to understand, the Fund was not a monolith. There was no single movement in North Carolina. Not all of us shared what a lot of us did. We had a lot of mad people—angry people. There was angry and mad! [Laughter] These young ladies sitting here know what I'm talking about. I made a statement in the other room—I don't want y'all to romanticize what happened in the Sixties. It's like, I went to the Million Man March, and I know twenty years from now, I'm not going to meet a single black man who wasn't there. [Laughter] The Million Man March gonna be a Zillion Man March, cause all of em was there. It's just like when people talk about the Sixties, you don't meet nobody who wasn't there! [Laughter] Except all of us who was there, and know that all of them people couldn't have been there! [Laughter]