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Oral History Interview with William and Josephine Clement, June 19, 1986. Interview C-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • 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.
  • Pushing for school integration in Durham during the 1950s and 1960s
  • African American Masons and family tradition
  • Family background
  • Race relations in Atlanta during the 1920s and 1930s
  • Public roles for African American women in Atlanta during the 1920s and 1930s
  • Courtship, marriage, and family connections
  • Family relationship to Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Impact of racism on radical politics
  • Motivation to pursue change and its required characteristics
  • Opportunity for involvement and personal growth in Durham
  • Working for North Carolina Mutual
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Race relations
  • African Americans--Education--North Carolina
  • School integration--North Carolina--Durham
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.