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oral histories of the American South


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Interviewer:Jacquelyn Hall
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1.
Septima Poinsette Clark, July 25, 1976. Interview G-0016.
Educator and Activist Works for Civil Rights in South Carolina: 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.
Interviewee: Septima Poinsette Clark    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 03:46:55     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 19 excerpts.
2.
Eula McGill, February 3, 1976. Interview G-0040-1.
A Southern Woman Becomes a Leader in the Labor Movement: Part I: Eula McGill grew up in Sugar Valley, Georgia, during the early twentieth century. Raised in a working class family, McGill had to leave school because of her family's economic hardships and began to work in a textile mill as a spinner at the age of 14. By the late 1920s, McGill had moved to Alabama, where she became a leader in the labor movement in Selma. Throughout the Great Depression, McGill primarily worked as a labor organizer, first for the Women's Trade Union League and later for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
Interviewee: Eula McGill    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 03:49:44     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 11 excerpts.
3.
Eula McGill, September 5, 1976. Interview G-0040-2.
A Southern Woman Becomes a Leader in the Labor Movement: Part II: Southern labor organizer Eula McGill explains her views on leadership in the labor movement and the role of workers' education. After rising through the ranks of the labor movement during the Great Depression, McGill continued to work actively to organize workers from the 1940s to the 1970s. She describes in detail various labor campaigns and strikes in the South, as well as her work with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and other labor organizations.
Interviewee: Eula McGill    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 02:13:11     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 8 excerpts.
4.
Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003.
Civil Rights Advocate Discusses his Work with the Roosevelt Administration and Civil Rights Organizations: 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.
Interviewee: Clark Foreman    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, William Finger
Duration: 04:55:32     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 17 excerpts.
5.
Guion Griffis Johnson, August 19, 1974. Interview G-0029-1.
The Work of a Female Academic at the University of North Carolina, 1923 to 1934: Guion Griffis Johnson was among the first generation of female professional historians and a pioneer of social history. In this interview, she discusses the work she did for Dr. Howard Odum of the University of North Carolina sociology department from 1923 until 1934. She also describes the research she did on St. Helena's Island and on antebellum North Carolina while working toward her Ph.D. She explains how she lost her job at the University of North Carolina in 1930 but continued to work until she and her husband transferred to Baylor College in 1934.
Interviewee: Guion Griffis Johnson    Interviewer: Mary Frederickson, Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:00:11     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
6.
Leslie W. Dunbar, December 18, 1978. Interview G-0075.
Former Director of the Southern Regional Council Describes His Role in the Civil Rights Movement: Former executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC) Leslie Dunbar discusses his involvement in the civil rights movement, focusing on changes that occurred in the early 1960s. Dunbar describes the SRC as an organization dedicated to changing people's attitudes about race. He emphasizes the SRC's attempts to work with the federal government—particularly the Kennedy administration—and other civil rights organizations, especially in the Voter Education Program.
Interviewee: Leslie W. Dunbar    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Helen Bresler
Duration: 03:34:07     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
7.
David Burgess, September 25, 1974. Interview E-0001.
Religious Activist Reflects on Southern Labor Union Work: David Burgess discusses how his religious faith fused into his life work of social activism. In particular, he explains his involvement in labor organizing in the South.
Interviewee: David Burgess    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, William Finger
Duration: 01:32:40     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 17 excerpts.
8.
Grace Towns Hamilton, July 19, 1974. Interview G-0026.
African American Civil Rights Activist Describes Her Work with the YWCA and the Urban League: 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.
Interviewee: Grace Towns Hamilton    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:34:37     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
9.
Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038.
Southern Sociologist Discusses Education, Career, and Her Mother's Life: Emily S. MacLachlan grew up in the early twentieth century in Jackson, Mississippi, in a family that advocated relatively progressive ideas about race. MacLachlan describes her mother's efforts to balance family life with social activism (specifically with the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching), her own academic endeavors, and her advocacy of civil rights and radical politics during the 1930s.
Interviewee: Emily S. MacLachlan    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:34:59     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
10.
Guy B. Johnson, December 16, 1974. Interview B-0006.
Leadership of the Southern Regional Council and the North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation, 1924-1945: This interview with Dr. Guy B. Johnson, sociology professor and author, focuses on his work as the first executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and as a member of the North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation. Johnson discusses the role that women and church groups played in the Interracial Commission, describes the debate over issues such as segregation among SRC members, and outlines the conflict between SRC leaders and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.
Interviewee: Guy B. Johnson    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 03:09:14     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 11 excerpts.
11.
Igal Roodenko, April 11, 1974. Interview B-0010.
Political Pacifist Explains the Founding of CORE and the Journey of Reconciliation: Igal Roodenko came of age during the 1930s and became increasingly involved in leftist politics during those years. During World War II he embraced philosophies of nonviolence and pacifism and worked in a camp for conscientious objectors during the conflict. He became a member of CORE during its formative years and participated in the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, an interracial endeavor to test segregation policies on buses in the South.
Interviewee: Igal Roodenko    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Jerry Wingate
Duration: 02:13:59     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
12.
Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034.
A Measured Push for Justice in the Pre-Brown South: Marion Wright was one of a group of white southerners who sought to tackle the entrenched racism of the twentieth-century South. As a member of the Southern Regional Council (SRC), he sought to do so without direct action. This interview is a portrait of a civil rights leader in the era before the movement was defined by public protest.
Interviewee: Marion Wright    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:43:13     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 14 excerpts.
13.
Ruth Vick, 1973. Interview B-0057.
A Look Inside the Southern Regional Council: 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.
Interviewee: Ruth Vick    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Bob Hall
Duration: 06:33:47     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 11 excerpts.
14.
Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, August 4, 1974. Interview G-0034.
Southern Writer, Academic, and Social Activist Discusses the YWCA, Race Relations, and Growing Up in the South: Southern writer, academic, and social activist Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin describes growing up in a family where the "Lost Cause" was heralded and her subsequent work towards promoting causes of social justice. In so doing, Lumpkin describes her work with the YWCA, her education, her career in academe, and her books The Making of a Southerner and South in Progress.
Interviewee: Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 04:14:01     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
15.
Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974. Interview G-0046.
A White Southern Woman Describes Her Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement: Frances Pauley was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, during the early twentieth century. An advocate for the poor and of racial integration, Pauley served as president of the Georgia League of Women Voters in the 1940s and 1950s, where she focused specifically on integration of public schools. In 1960, she became director of the Georgia Council on Human Relations and worked within the civil rights movement to promote African American leadership and interracial organizations.
Interviewee: Frances Pauley    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:56:44     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
16.
Thelma Stevens, February 13, 1972. Interview G-0058.
Building Bridges: A White Southerner's Devotion to Improving Race Relations: Thelma Stevens was the director of the Bethlehem Center in Augusta, Georgia, and the Superintendent of Christian Social Relations of the Women's Missionary Council for the Methodist Episcopal Church. In this interview, she describes her childhood in rural Mississippi, her education, and her work with the Methodist Church, all in relationship to her lifelong devotion to improving race relations in the South.
Interviewee: Thelma Stevens    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Bob Hall
Duration: Unknown     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 11 excerpts.
17.
Josephine Wilkins, 1972. Interview G-0063.
Southern Woman Describes Her Involvement in Various Organizations for Social Justice: Josephine Wilkins was born in Athens, Georgia, in 1893. In the 1920s, she became increasingly interested in issues of social justice. In the 1930s, she became the president of the Georgia chapter of the League of Women Voters and helped to found the Citizens' Fact Finding Movement. In addition she describes her involvement and perception of such organizations as the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, the Commission of Interracial Cooperation, and the Southern Regional Council.
Interviewee: Josephine Wilkins    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 02:59:17     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 4 excerpts.
18.
Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066.
A White Teacher Describes Her Work at Historically Black Colleges: Louise Young was an educated woman from Tennessee who spent most of her adult life working to promote better race relations in the South. Young describes her years teaching at African American institutions of higher education—Paine College and the Hampton Institute—during the 1910s and 1920s; her job as the director of the Department of Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, where she trained students at Scarritt College in race relations; her support of women's organizations, particularly the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching; and labor activism, as exemplified by the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.
Interviewee: Louise Young    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 03:09:02     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 13 excerpts.
19.
Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314.
Life, Work, and the Walk-Out Strike of 1929 in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Textile Mills: Christine Galliher describes life and work in Elizabethton, Tennessee, during the late 1920s through the 1940s. She also discusses their participation in the 1929 walk-out strike at the Bermberg and Glantzstoff textile mills; Christine's attendance of the Southern Summer School for women workers; life during the Great Depression; and balancing work and family.
Interviewee: Christine Galliher, Dave Galliher    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:57:27     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
20.
Howard Kester, July 22, 1974. Interview B-0007-1.
Southern Social Justice Activist Describes Views on Race, Labor, and Religion: Howard Kester was a pacifist and social reformer in the South from the early 1920s through the 1960s. In this interview, he focuses on his adherence to pacifism, Christianity, the Social Gospel, and Socialism. He describes his work to end injustices associated with race and labor, and assesses the work of prominent social justice leaders in the South during the 1920s and 1930s.
Interviewee: Howard Kester    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, William Finger
Duration: 02:58:02     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
21.
Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1.
Emerging from a Cocoon: How Virginia Foster Durr Became a Civil Rights Activist: Virginia Foster Durr discusses her early life and how she became aware of the social justice problems plaguing twentieth-century America. In this first part of a three-interview series, Durr describes her life on the plantation when she was a child; race issues in Birmingham, where she grew up; and how her views began to change when she left Birmingham to attend Wellesley College.
Interviewee: Virginia Foster Durr    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Sue Thrasher
Duration: 06:16:45     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 39 excerpts.
22.
Modjeska Simkins, November 15, 1974. Interview G-0056-1.
Social Justice Activist from South Carolina Describes Her Childhood, Her Work with the Interracial Commission, and Race Relations: 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.
Interviewee: Modjeska Simkins    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:34:55     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
23.
Modjeska Simkins, July 28, 1976. Interview G-0056-2.
African American Activist Describes Her Work with the NAACP and the Richland County Citizens Committee in South 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.
Interviewee: Modjeska Simkins    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 05:45:13     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 17 excerpts.
24.
Gladys Avery Tillett, March 20, 1974. Interview G-0061.
North Carolina Woman Describes Her Work with the League of Women Voters, State Politics, and the National Democratic Party: Gladys Avery Tillett was an advocate for women's suffrage during the early twentieth century and a participant in both state and national politics from the 1920s into the 1950s. In this interview, she describes her education, her work with the League of Women Voters, and her experiences as a leader in the National Democratic Party.
Interviewee: Gladys Avery Tillett    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Jacquelyn Hall, Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 02:04:33     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
25.
Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0106.
Sewing for a Living in North Carolina: Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron remembers her long working life in the clothing industry in North Carolina.
Interviewee: Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:31:21     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
26.
Eunice Austin, July 2, 1980. Interview H-0107.
A Woman's Work in North Carolina's Textile and Furniture Industries: Eunice Austin remembers her life in Catawba County, North Carolina, focusing on her many years working in the textile and furniture industries.
Interviewee: Eunice Austin    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:53:44     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
27.
Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108.
Skilled Labor and Troubled Love in the Growing South: Roy Lee Auton reflects on a string of jobs and a string of wives in this engaging interview.
Interviewee: Roy Lee Auton, Mary Ruth Auton    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 03:04:29     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
28.
Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115.
Workers and Witnesses: How Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton Saw the Southern Cotton Mills: Mareda Sigmon Cobb and her sister Carrie Sigmon Yelton both worked long careers in North Carolina textile mills, completing the family journey from farm to factory in the early decades of the twentieth century. Here they describe their family lives both as children and parents, the many implications of the Depression, working conditions in the mills, religion, and other themes central to social and labor history. The economic and material realities of textile employment are explored in detail; each suffered a major injury on the job, neither favored unionization (though their husbands did), and neither received a pension.
Interviewee: Mareda Sigmon Cobb, Carrie Sigmon Yelton    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Patty Dilley
Duration: 03:50:12     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 36 excerpts.
29.
Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143.
"I Was a Good Hand": Glove Maker Nell Putnam Sigmon Remembers Her Life: In this 1979 interview, Nell Putnam Sigmon describes her upbringing in a large family, her decision at age eighteen to take a job sewing women's gloves, her work in the mill, and her experiences as wife and mother of two children.
Interviewee: Nell Putnam Sigmon    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:50:32     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 20 excerpts.
30.
Arthur Little, December 14, 1979. Interview H-0132.
A Factory Owner Remembers the Glove Business in Newton, North Carolina: Arthur Little describes glove making from his perspective as the owner of a glove mill in Newton, North Carolina.
Interviewee: Arthur Little    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:49:31     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 9 excerpts.
31.
Kathryn Killian and Blanche Bolick, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0131.
Sisters and Glove Makers Reflect on Lives and Careers: Kathryn Killian and her sister Blanche Bolick recall their upbringing near Conover, North Carolina, and their careers making gloves.
Interviewee: Kathryn Killian, Blanche Bolick    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:00:42     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
32.
Gladys and Glenn Hollar, February 26, 1980. Interview H-0128.
Sharing Work and Life: A Couple Remembers Early Twentieth-Century North Carolina: Gladys Irene Moser Hollar and her husband, Glenn Hollar, share recollections about work and rural life in the early twentieth century.
Interviewee: Gladys Irene Moser Hollar, Glenn Hollar    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 02:17:23     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 12 excerpts.
33.
Mary Robertson, August 13, 1979. Interview H-0288.
Organizing Asheville: The Labor Movement in Western North Carolina: Mary Robertson offers an insider's view of the organized labor movement in western North Carolina.
Interviewee: Mary Robertson    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:35:09     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 10 excerpts.
34.
Robert Cole, May 10, 1981. Interview H-0311.
Strikes and Violence in a Textile Mill Town: Robert Cole recalls a violent strike in a textile mill located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Interviewee: Robert Cole    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 00:56:13     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 6 excerpts.
35.
George F. Dugger Sr., August 9, 1979. Interview H-0312.
Violence and Negotiation in the 1929 Elizabethton Rayon Plant Strike: George F. Dugger Sr. describes his family history and experiences as the plant lawyer during the 1929 Elizabethton Rayon Plant Strike.
Interviewee: George F. Dugger    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:27:39     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 5 excerpts.
36.
Don West, January 22, 1975. Interview E-0016.
"I Came by It Naturally": A Southern Leftist Tries to Change His Homeland: Activist, leftist, poet, and ordained minister Don West remembers a lifetime of union and civil rights activism.
Interviewee: Don West    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall, Ray Faherty
Duration: 02:17:46     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 22 excerpts.
37.
Arthur Raper, January 30, 1974. Interview B-0009-2.
Director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation Describes His Perception of Jessie Daniel Ames and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching: Southern sociologist and civil rights activist Arthur Raper discusses his interactions with Jessie Daniel Ames and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching during his tenure as the research director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation from 1926 to 1939. Raper describes Ames as an effective but contentious leader.
Interviewee: Arthur Raper    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:04:21     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 7 excerpts.
38.
Robert Coles, October 24, 1974. Interview B-0002.
Child Psychologist and Pioneering Oral Historian Discusses Methodologies of Oral History: Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist and writer at Harvard who was a pioneer in the emerging field of academic oral history during the 1960s and 1970s. In this interview, Coles discusses the purposes of oral history, his thoughts on academia and writing, and methodologies of oral history, especially in reference to the use of tape recorders.
Interviewee: Robert Coles    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 01:26:00     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 3 excerpts.
39.
Paul Green, May 30, 1975. Interview B-0005-3.
"To Know All Is to Pardon All": The Art and Activism of Paul Green: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and activist Paul Green—most famous for his symphonic drama The Lost Colony—reflects on social justice and art as he describes his work as a playwright and his efforts as an activist.
Interviewee: Paul Green    Interviewer: Jacquelyn Hall
Duration: 02:49:34     Annotated Excerpts: Listen to and read all 17 excerpts.