Edwin Caldwell recalls a lifetime of political organization and advocacy.
Leroy Magness describes his belief in avoiding conflict, and how that belief shaped his response to the civil rights movement.
Activist and politician Eva Clayton describes her years of service in and out of politics in Warren County, North Carolina.
African American Birmingham city council member Richard Arrington discusses the slowly increasing presence of African Americans on Birmingham's political landscape.
Birmingham politician Arthur Shores offers his thoughts on the intersection of race and politics in his home city.
Pharmacist Robert Sampson describes how urban renewal efforts dispersed a thriving black business community in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Rita Jackson Samuels, coordinator of the Governor's Council on Human Relations in Atlanta, Georgia, describes her role in expanding the presence of African Americans in Georgia's state government.
Madge Hopkins, a graduate of West Charlotte High School and the vice principal of the school at the time of the interview, describes her experiences with segregation and school desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Birmingham lawyer and politician U. W. Clemon describes his place in Birmingham politics and the city's continuing problems with race.
Modjeska Simkins describes growing up in a prosperous African American family, going to school, and her thoughts on "color consciousness" during her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina. In addition, she discusses her involvement in the South Carolina Commission on Interracial Cooperation and other race organizations beginning in the 1920s, her thoughts on women's unique capabilities as leaders of social justice movements, and the nature of racial tension in the South.
Henry Frye grew up in a segregated farming community in North Carolina during the 1930s and 1940s before becoming a lawyer. He went on to become the first African American elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and to serve on the state supreme court. In this interview, he describes race relations, his career as a lawyer, and his experiences in politics.
Pauli Murray was a prominent legal activist within the civil rights and women's liberation movements. In this interview, she discusses her childhood and her education, the events leading up to her decision to pursue a career in law, the evolution of her career, her decision to enter the seminary, and her thoughts on civil rights and women's liberation.
John Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1963 to 1966. In this interview, Lewis outlines his role within the civil rights movement through his participation in the sit-in movement of 1960 in Nashville, the Freedom Rides through Alabama and Mississippi in 1961, the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, the Selma voter registration drive in 1965, and the shift towards the politics of black power within SNCC by 1966. Throughout the interview, he situates the activities of SNCC within the civil rights movement more broadly, focusing on issues of leadership, religion, and politics.
Bishop Paul Hardin helped bring about racial integration of the United Methodist denomination in the 1960s. He recalls several points in his long ministry career when white and black pastors opposed his efforts to move ministers to other districts, accept church members of other races, and dissolve the Black Methodist district. Supportive church members helped him withstand criticism of his personal stance, even when he faced pressure from conservative ministers on one side and Martin Luther King on the other.
Brenda Tapia, one of the first African Americans to attend North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, North Carolina, describes an alternative view of desegregation.
Architect and politician Harvey Gantt describes his ascent from a childhood in segregated Charleston, South Carolina, to becoming the first black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. As a southerner, he sees the accomplishments of the civil rights movement as dramatic; as a member of the black middle class, he leans toward negotiation rather than revolt.
Asa T. Spaulding, the first African American actuary in North Carolina and former president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, remembers and reflects on community activism in Durham, North Carolina.
Sociologist Guy B. Johnson describes his path to sociology and recalls his participation in the Southern Regional Council in the 1940s.
Elected in 1977 at the age of 73, Isabella Cannon was the first female mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. In this interview, Cannon describes her involvement in the United Church of Christ, her support of the civil rights movement, and her advocacy for community revitalization and development. In addition, she recalls her major accomplishments as mayor and the challenges she faced in implementing her long-range comprehensive plan for the city.
Georgia politician Herman Talmadge reflects on race in southern politics and the intrusive process of desegregation.
William and Josephine Clement were both born and raised in the South. They describe their family backgrounds and education. Josephine focuses on race relations in Atlanta and her father's radical politics, while William describes his participation with the Masons and his work with North Carolina Mutual.
Charles Adams was a teacher and coach in Wake County, North Carolina, during the 1960s before becoming the assistant director (and later the director) of the North Carolina High School Athletics Association. In addition, Adams's father was a leader in the effort to desegregate Wake County schools. Consequently, Adams offers an insider's perspective on the process of school desegregation, focusing specifically on Cary, North Carolina, as a pioneer and model for other local schools.
Two-time mayor and newspaper publisher Floyd Adams Jr. describes urban renewal past and present in Savannah, Georgia, and its impact on the black community.
Laura Waddell describes her successful career as a tailor as well as her civic activities in Savannah, Georgia.
Jessie Streater describes Mormon belief and practice and shares her thoughts on the place of African Americans in the Mormon religion.
Dentist George Simkins describes his efforts to desegregate hospitals and other facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina.
African American civil rights activist Modjeska Simkins describes her upbringing in a prosperous family during the early twentieth century. She charts her work with the Tuberculosis Association, the NAACP, and the Richland County Citizens' Committee. Throughout the interview, Simkins offers telling anecdotes about racial tensions in South Carolina, the inner workings of civil rights organizations, and relationships between leaders of the movement.
Sociologist Hylan Lewis describes his experiences with race in the American South in the post-World War II period.
Grace Towns Hamilton was raised in Atlanta, where both of her parents were involved in community service and issues of social justice. Following family tradition, Hamilton was an active participant in the YWCA during the 1920s, and during the 1940s and 1950s she was the director for Atlanta's Urban League. She describes her work with these organizations, focusing on issues of segregation, education, voter registration, and housing.
Journalist Hodding Carter describes the changes wrought in Mississippi by the civil rights movement.
Howell Heflin, who sat on the Alabama State Supreme Court in the 1970s before a two-decade tenure in the United States Senate, discusses the post-segregation Alabama judiciary.
Nelle Morton served as the general secretary of the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen from 1944 to 1950. In this interview, she describes her perception of the leaders of the Fellowship and the organization's aims and strategies in advocating for various social justice causes, including racial integration and labor rights. In addition, she describes her leadership of a male-dominated organization and how her work with the Fellowship raised her awareness of the need for women's liberation as well.
Julian Bond recounts a life of civil rights activism in the American South. He discusses his work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and his connection with other activists, including Ella Baker, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Stokely Carmichael.
Journalist and activist Daisy Bates recalls working for civil rights in desegregation-era Arkansas.
H. M. Michaux, a Durham, North Carolina, state representative, describes the role of black electoral politics in North Carolina's state government. He reflects on staying power of the Republican Party in southern politics.
Ruth Vick describes her tenure at the Southern Regional Council (SRC), an interracial organization committed to racial justice in the South. The SRC supported the direct action strategies of the civil rights movement that emerged in force in the 1950s and 1960s, but chose study over sit-ins as a means of change. This interview addresses this decision as well as decades of internal disputes.
Harold Fleming recounts how he became involved with the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and the criticism he faced for opposing racism in the 1940s and 1950s. He describes the effect of the Red Scare on limiting the involvement of racial progressives in the organizations like the SRC. Additionally, Fleming compares the leadership styles of those he encountered within the organization.
Civil rights activist and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) mentor Ella Josephine Baker outlines her family history, traces her growing radical tendencies, and explains the catalysts that pushed her into public activism. In this interview she discusses her work not only with SNCC, but also with the Workers' Education Project, the Cooperative League, and the NAACP.
Albert Gore Sr.—a politician from Tennessee noted for being one of two southern senators to refuse to sign the Southern Manifesto, a 1956 document decrying the desegregation of public spaces in America—summarizes his senatorial career. He discusses his opposition to the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as his activities on a variety of Senate committees.
Mabel Williams, wife of civil rights activist and advocate of armed self-defense Robert Williams, remembers her husband's efforts to overturn segregation in Monroe, North Carolina, in the 1960s.
Salter and Doris Cochran reflect on the many challenges that faced them in their efforts to desegregate medical care and public education in Weldon, North Carolina.
Clark Foreman worked in the Atlanta Commission on Interracial Cooperation, the Roosevelt Administration, and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare from the 1920s through the 1940s. This interview traces his efforts to provide equal social services and political rights for African Americans through these organizations and explains how he developed these goals. He also discusses his travels in Europe, his work with Black Mountain College and organized labor, and his criticism of the Red Scare.
Septima Clark served as a board member and education director for the Highlander Folk School and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1950s and 1960s. She links her activism to the memory of her parents' struggles with poverty and racism. She also describes how community relations functioned within the NAACP and SCLC. Her plans for increasing community involvement, protecting the labor rights of black teachers, and educating black voters were often ignored because she was female. She discusses why these types of gender roles persisted in the SCLC and the role of leaders in the black community.
Richard Bowman reflects on growing up in segregated Asheville, North Carolina, and facing racism during his employment with the army and the Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles. He also discusses his work to improve the current Asheville school district and rebuild his old high school. He lived in Los Angeles for four decades and experienced two major riots.