Title: Oral History Interview with Howard Kester, August 25, 1974. Interview B-0007-2.
Interviewer: Frederickson, Mary
Interviewee: Kester, Howard
Subjects: Trade-unions--Southern States Southern Summer School for Women Workers in Industry (U.S.) Young Men's Christian associations
Abstract: Howard Kester was a Socialist and Christian who advocated for social justice causes throughout the South from the mid-1920s through the 1960s. In this interview, he discusses his involvement with such organizations as the YMCA and YWCA, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen, the Committee on Economic and Racial Justice, the Penn School, the Southern Summer School for Women Workers, and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. Throughout the interview, Kester emphasizes his radical Christian values and Socialist leanings in relationship to his beliefs regarding fundamental human equality. Kester equates the struggles of African Americans with those of workers, and views social justice issues as relevant to all Americans, regardless of their social standing. He discusses both the progress made towards these ends as well as the obstacles that remained, primarily during the 1930s and 1940s. He also describes the leadership roles and beliefs of fellow social activists such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Elizabeth Gilman, Alva Taylor, Elizabeth Jones, Louise Young, Louise Leonard McLaren, and Kester's wife, Alice Harris Kester.