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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Injustices that still need to change

Post reflects on all the things she had hoped would change which haven't happened yet. Of particular concern to her are the ongoing issues of unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing. She also worries about the prison system.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. 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

Looking back on your whole career of activism, were there any civil rights changes broadly defined that you had really expected to see by now that you haven't?
SUZANNE POST:
Yeah, I don't know expected. I think I hoped to see some kind of public policy requiring health care for everybody, access to health care. Now I'm not talking to Medicaid and I'm not talking about Medicare. I'm talking about equal access to good health care. I think I had hoped that we would be closer to my ideal in terms of economic justice, that people got what they needed to live on. I always loved Eugene Debs and ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to his needs.’ I really hoped that at some point, we could at least start a dialogue like that. And instead, I'm seeing a country that has become more and more of an oligarchy. It's just, it's really ugly what's happened in this country, this amassing of incredible wealth and the rape of ordinary people and the rape of the land. I just sort of can't believe that's what's happening has been allowed to happen. I keep thinking, "Where are you, Michael Harrington, now that we need you?" It's not like everything that he recommended got done, but Johnson sure paid some attention to that and so did Bobby Kennedy. Who's looking now? So yeah, it's pretty grim. I used to love this country and I don't love it anymore. I'm ashamed of it. That's sort of sad.
SARAH THUESEN:
Are there any issues that have progressed more quickly than you imagined when you first became an activist?
SUZANNE POST:
This is such a silly, simple answer. I think the fact that half of all law schools are now female and half of all medical schools are all female, I mean the classes, ah, I mean so fast, because we're so smart as soon as they get the roadblocks out of the way. I just think that's fantastic. I wish that African-Americans had progressed that same degree in terms of the proportionality in the population. I don't know what the figures are. Years ago when I was at the Human Relations Commission, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and maybe you can find this, put out a report called "Social Indicators of Equality in Minorities and Females," and distributed it and I used it widely in community organizing, because it had some really damning data in it. This was in the 70s. I would love to see something like that done again and distributed. I suspect that it's not being done, because it would be so damning. So yeah, there are a few things that have happened that amaze me and there a few things that haven't happened that amaze me. I think job opportunities for black women is pretty discouraging. Oh, and I think that the prison population problem, God, what Angela calls a prison industrial complex, I mean, gee, how terrible is this that children are being raised with no fathers because we lock them up for practically nothing? I really do blame that largely on the drug war and the outrageous sentencing. That all got started with Rockefeller. And so expensive.
SARAH THUESEN:
If only all that money could go into the public schools.
SUZANNE POST:
Oh, my God, the public schools and housing, medical care.