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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Guy B. Johnson, December 16, 1974. Interview B-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Ames's efforts to maintain the Southern Regional Council

As a leader of the Southern Regional Council, Jessie Daniel Ames tried to revive interracial commissions in southern states while maintaining the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. But most members, especially black members, had already drifted away from the organization, and its funding was inadequate.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Guy B. Johnson, December 16, 1974. Interview B-0006. 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

What was she doing, exactly, at that time? Dr. GUY B. JOHNSON: She was, as I recall, carrying on correspondence with these various women's groups that she was working with, through ASWPL, but nothing very active in the field at the moment. I don't think that she went out anywhere on any field trips. Well, I . . .
Well, she had been trying for the last few years of the Interracial Commission to revive the state councils, the state interracial commissions. Had she been successful in that at all, or . . . Dr. GUY B. JOHNSON: No, not much. They were all sort of declining. Partly, I think, this was financial, in that the Southern Commission for quite a while, you know, had a fair sized budget and could give a little bit to the states, but the General Commission budget in Atlanta decreased, and as we mentioned the other day, Dr. Alexander was gone practically all the time. So, there was some lack of leadership at the top and some lack of interest in seeing that they got funded as they had been. And the result was that the state commissions were not getting as much help as they had been. And then also, their newness, I think, had worn off and many people had gotten sort of tired and disillusioned with them. They didn't have very much that they saw that they could do, except hold meetings and talk. And many of the blacks, of course, had gotten fairly disillusioned with these things.
Do you remember how that was expressed? I mean, do you remember particular blacks . . . Dr. GUY B. JOHNSON: Oh, mostly, they just stopped coming to the meetings. And I'm sure that in several of the state commissions, the meetings just dwindled down to almost nothing. So, these things were dying on the vine and there wasn't much chance of trying to revive them, unless you had some more vital program and you had some money, especially some money. And here, the SRC was in a bind also, because it didn't have any money. Do you know what our budget was that first year?
What? Dr. GUY B. JOHNSON: About $40,000. Today, that would pay the executive director's salary, George Esser, for a year.