Title: Oral History Interview with Alexander M. Rivera, November 30, 2001. Interview C-0297.
Interviewer: Taylor, Kieran
Interviewee: Rivera, Alexander M.
Subjects: Howard University--Students--History--20th century National Association for the Advancement of Colored People African American journalists Lynching--Southern States Rivera, Alexander M. Rivera family Riots--North Carolina--Wilmington--History--19th century Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 Pittsburgh Courier Military intelligence--United States--History--20th century Segregation in education--Law and legislation--United States Civil rights movements--North Carolina--Durham Ghana--Foreign relations--United States
Abstract: This is the first of two interviews with African American photojournalist Alexander M. Rivera. Rivera was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1913. His family settled there after fleeing Wilmington following the race riot of 1898. Rivera recalls his father's involvement in the NAACP during the 1920s and 1930s and the influence of his progressive racial views. Following in his father's footsteps, Rivera became a student at Howard University in the early 1930s but had to leave school to work during the Great Depression. It was during these years that Rivera first began to work as a photojournalist in Washington, D.C. His coverage of Marian Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial was the first major event he covered. In the late 1930s, Rivera returned to North Carolina and finished his education at North Carolina Central College. During World War II, Rivera worked for Naval Intelligence in Norfolk, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, he began to work for the Pittsburgh Courier, covering events in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. As a photojournalist for the Courier, Rivera covered such events as the Willie Earle lynching in South Carolina, the Isaiah Nixon lynching in Georgia, and the school desegregation cases of the 1950s. In recalling these events, Rivera illuminates the nature of race relations and racial violence that characterized Jim Crow segregation; the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the role of key players such as Thurgood Marshall; and the changing social landscape. Finally, he recalls his travels to Africa with Richard Nixon in 1957.