Title: Oral History Interview with William and Josephine Clement, June 19, 1986. Interview C-0031.
Interviewer: Weare, Juanita
Interviewee: Clement, Josephine
Subjects: North Carolina--Race relations African Americans--Education--North Carolina School integration--North Carolina--Durham
Abstract: William and Josephine Clement were married in 1941 and first moved to Durham, North Carolina, during the 1940s. Both were born and raised in the South, had always been strong advocates for racial progress, and quickly became involved in community organizations, particularly in support of school integration. Josephine eventually was elected to the Durham City Board of Education in the early 1970s and became increasingly involved in local politics after that. In this interview, both Josephine and William discuss their family histories and cover a broad range of topics while doing so. Josephine speaks at great length about her experiences growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, during the 1920s and 1930s. She emphasizes the examples her parents set for her and her sisters. She explains her father's inclination towards radical politics, his efforts to challenge and break racial barriers, and the presence of strong African American woman role models. In addition, she describes her own education and her strong dedication to her family. William likewise describes his family background, but focuses more on his involvement with the Masons and his work with North Carolina Mutual. Throughout the interview, the Clements stress the importance of confidence and self-esteem for African Americans, as well as the importance of group solidarity in achieving progress for changing race relations.