Stokely Carmichael, Lucy Thornton, Ezell A. Blair, Jr. and Jean Wheeler


Stokely Carmichael, Lucy Thornton, Ezell A. Blair, Jr. and Jean Wheeler


Carmichael, Stokely--Interviews
Thornton, Lucy--Interviews
Khazan, Jibreel, 1941- --Interviews
Wheeler, Jean--Interviews
Civil rights demonstrations--North Carolina--Greensboro
Sit-ins--North Carolina--Greensboro
United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964
African Americans--Civil rights
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
African Americans--Race identity
African Americans--Education
United States--Race relations
Blacks--Race identity
African Americans--Segregation
African Americans--Social conditions
African Americans--Cultural assimilation
African Americans--Economic conditions
Social classes--United States
Civil rights movements
African American leadership
Civil rights--leadership
Civil rights legislation
African Americans--Relations with Africans
Whites--Southern States
African American women civil rights workers
Southern States--Race relations


Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) was a civil rights activist. While a student at Howard University, Carmichael became leader of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), an affiliate of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). By 1966 he had become Chairman of SNCC. Prominent in the Black Nationalism movement Carmichael coined the phrase "Black Power." As his message became stronger he was asked to leave SNCC in 1967 and joined the Black Panther Party. Carmichael then left the Black Panther Party in disagreement with the notion of working with whites for the revolutionary struggle. He moved to Guinea and changed his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael died in Guinea in 1998 of prostate cancer. Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (1941- ) was a civil rights activist and one of the Greensboro Four who, in 1960, sat-in at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina to challenge the store's refusal to serve African Americans. While at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Blair was elected president of the junior class, president of the student government association, the campus NAACP, and Greensboro's chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965 he moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts after finding life difficult in Greensboro for a labeled "troublemaker". In 1968 he joined the Islamic Center of New England and changed his name to Jibreel Khazan. Lucy Thornton was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. Jean Wheeler was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. This interview begins with Ezell Blair, Jr. describing his involvement with the Greensboro sit-ins. Blair explains what inspired the sit-in, those that were involved, and the role that NAACP and CORE played in the sit-ins. Stokely Carmichael and Blair also discuss the relationship between the NAACP, SNCC, CORE, and the SCLC. Blair discusses the effectiveness of legal and nonviolent methods in the civil rights movement while Carmichael joins to discuss mass movements. Blair also discusses the concept of the "New Negro." Lucy Thornton enters the conversation with Blair and Carmichael to extensively discuss African American identity, integration, and cultural assimilation in America and the importance of taking pride in African culture. White southerner identity and culture is also discussed. In the second part of this interview, Stokely Carmichael is not present. Jean Wheeler and Blair discuss the importance of history, education, wealth and political power in the civil rights movement. Thornton, Wheeler and Blair each respond to the question "What is a Negro?" and consider the revolutionary aspects of the civil right movement including a change in American morals and views. The differences between the North and the South and between different social classes in the civil rights movement are also discussed. Additionally, the growing impatience in the African-American community and the possible resulting violence is addressed. To conclude, Blair and Wheeler discuss violence within the civil rights movement.






Robert Penn Warren


Jean Wheeler
Ezell A. Blair
Stokely Carmichael
Lucy Thornton

OHMS Object Text

5.1 Interview with Stokely Carmichael, Lucy Thornton, Ezell A. Blair, Jr. and Jean Wheeler, March 4, 1964 2003OH020 RPWCR 009 02:25:06 OHRPWCR Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project RPWCR001 Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries (Exhibit) Carmichael, Stokely--Interviews Thornton, Lucy--Interviews Khazan, Jibreel, 1941- --Interviews Wheeler, Jean--Interviews Civil rights demonstrations--North Carolina--Greensboro Sit-ins--North Carolina--Greensboro United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964 African Americans--Civil rights National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Southern Christian Leadership Conference Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) African Americans--Race identity African Americans--Education United States--Race relations Blacks--Race identity African Americans--Segregation African Americans--Social conditions African Americans--Cultural assimilation African Americans--Economic conditions Social classes--United States Civil rights movements Nonviolence African American leadership Civil rights--leadership Nonviolence--Philosophy Civil rights legislation African Americans--Relations with Africans Whites--Southern States African American women civil rights workers Southern States--Race relations Joseph McNeil David Richmond Franklin McCain National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Reconstruction Jean Wheeler Ezell A. Blair Stokely Carmichael Lucy Thornton Robert Penn Warren 2003oh020_rpwcr009_wheeler_acc001.mp3 1:|34(5)|57(12)|78(11)|93(7)|114(13)|131(3)|154(3)|175(1)|198(1)|220(3)|239(4)|285(7)|300(3)|316(7)|355(4)|405(7)|417(4)|429(8)|446(8)|461(1)|480(4)|494(8)|509(1)|520(4)|531(9)|546(6)|563(10)|580(1)|603(4)|626(3)|647(3)|674(9)|690(10)|704(1)|722(8)|734(1)|749(9)|766(14)|775(11)|789(5)|801(10)|821(8)|841(7)|855(15)|908(8)|928(11)|941(5)|959(10)|980(5)|998(10)|1014(7)|1027(14)|1094(6)|1106(6)|1124(8)|1139(13)|1170(9)|1194(9)|1228(6)|1239(13)|1259(9)|1271(2)|1285(5)|1298(12)|1317(5)|1338(13)|1361(6)|1383(13)|1395(11)|1412(9)|1429(6)|1451(7)|1470(7)|1486(8)|1502(12)|1520(1)|1532(5)|1548(7)|1556(10)|1574(4)|1599(13)|1619(10)|1642(1)|1664(2)|1678(13)|1696(5)|1712(3)|1726(3)|1741(1)|1754(13)|1773(1)|1796(3)|1810(3)|1833(10)|1852(10)|1867(11)|1891(8)|1906(2)|1925(10)|1947(6)|1959(11)|1971(12)|1987(5)|2005(4)|2021(1)|2044(2)|2067(2)|2077(3)|2094(4)|2115(7)|2164(2)|2179(11)|2207(5)|2229(11)|2245(8)|2279(2)|2304(8)|2318(3)|2342(3)|2366(14)|2390(8)|2412(11)|2434(2)|2448(14)|2466(4)|2491(7)|2506(1)|2527(2)|2539(11)|2553(10)|2567(9)|2582(3)|2599(10)|2615(13)|2636(2)|2657(12)|2681(4)|2699(1) 0 Other audio 1 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins--Planning Well, this is th, the tape with Stokely Carmichael, Ezell Blair, Lucy Thornton, and Jean Wheeler. Blair gives a brief history of the sit-ins at Woolworth's Lunch Counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, which began on February 1, 1960. He and three of this friends (Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, and David Richmond) participated in these sit-ins and became known as the Greensboro Four. Air Force ; David Richmond ; Franklin McCain ; Greyhound Bus Stations ; James B. Dudley High School ; Joseph McNeil ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; North Carolina A&amp ; T State University ; North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University ; Police departments ; Ralph Johns ; Reporters ; Sit-ins ; Wilmington High School ; Woolworth's Lunch Counter African American college students. ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Boycotts. ; Civil rights demonstrations. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Greensboro (N.C.). ; Segregation. ; Wilmington (N.C.) 17 266 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins--Ideology and supporters Did this have any relation to the old, uh, March on Washington Movement? Blair talks further about the beginnings of the idea of a sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina, which was originally thought of by his friend Joseph McNeil. He also discusses the civil rights organizations that offered to support the sit-ins and why they did not want their assistance. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) ; Dr. George Simpkins ; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; Gordon Carey ; Herbert Wright ; Joseph McNeil ; March on Washington Movement ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; Prizes ; Reports ; Student Executive Committee for Justice ; Talent shows African American college students. ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Greensboro (N.C.) ; Protest movements. ; Race discrimination. ; Student movements. ; Wilmington (N.C.) 17 SNCC Digital Exhibit about the Sit-ins in Greensboro 507 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins--A new action in the South Now, this is a rather important point in one way, uh, major way, but uh, some of the printed accounts say this, unless my memory tricks me, that, uh, the appeal was made--appeal, mind you-- Blair talks about the college students' rationale for not organizing the Greensboro movement through the NAACP. Appeal ; Catholic Church ; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) ; Criticisms ; Dr. George Simpkins ; Greensboro Movement ; Hierarchy ; Legal courtroom battles ; Members ; Membership ; Methods ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; New actions ; Organizations ; Personal consciousness ; Roy Wilkins ; Sit-ins ; Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) ; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) African American college students. ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Discrimination. ; Greensboro (N.C.) ; Oklahoma City (Okla.) 17 929 Direct nonviolent action vs. legal methods Now, not to nag at this question-- Blair explains why other methods of nonviolent action are needed beyond the legal action of established groups such as the NAACP. Carmichael discusses his opinion on Roy Wilkins's statement published in the New York Times. Conflicts ; Conservative ; Direct nonviolent action ; Legal methods ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; New York Times ; Roy Wilkins African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc. ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Discrimination. ; Segregation 17 1139 What is the meaning of the term &quot ; new negro&quot ; ? Let's change the subject a bit. Blair discusses the history of what it meant to be a &quot ; new negro&quot ; in the past and how that idea does not define what is taking place in the 1960s. &quot ; New negro&quot ; ; Character ; Direct action ; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; James Weldon Johnson ; Mass movements ; Militancy ; Radicals ; Roy Wilkins ; W.E.B. Du Bois ; Walter White African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Segregation 17 1277 A mass civil rights movement or specialized leadership groups? This would raise another question though. Blair explains the strength of the civil rights movement and talks about groups such as the NAACP and the Urban League that are made up mainly of the professionally employed and older persons, as well as groups made up of mainly high school and college students, such as SNCC. Carmichael goes on to discuss the rise of a mass movement. Agitation ; Bus boycotts ; College students ; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) ; Freedom Rides ; High school students ; Leadership groups ; Mass movements ; Montgomery Movement ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; National Urban League ; Police brutality ; Professional people ; Registration drives ; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) African American leadership ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Segregation 17 1511 The melting pot ideology This is from Du Bois. Thornton talks about how African Americans are Americans, but also continue to be &quot ; negroes&quot ; as a separate identity. Carmichael talks about the misconception of a black connection to Africa and how African Americans want the civil rights that are theirs by law. African culture ; American society ; Black bourgeoisie ; E. Franklin Frazier ; Escape ; Ethnic groups ; Melting pot ; Melville J. Herskovits ; Minorities ; Oppressors ; Racial integrity ; Revolutions ; Socrates ; Splits ; Traditions ; Values ; W.E.B. Du Bois African Americans--Race identity. ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. ; Identity (Philosophical concept) 17 1825 A discussion on James Baldwin and criticism of middle class African Americans Now, there's some people, uh, James Baldwin among them, uh, who will say, in part, at least, that negro is prepared to offer a fundamental criticism of middle class American values. Blair responds to James Baldwin's words about African Americans and the criticism of, or aspiration to, middle class status. They talk about a study done on black elementary school girls based on their choosing whether a black or white doll was prettiest. Carmichael talks about the potential adoption of middle class values. Lucy Thornton gives her take on African Americans as Americans. 'Nitty gritty' ; Aspirations ; Black nationalists ; Conflicts ; Dolls ; Home culture ; Interracial marriages ; James Baldwin ; Middle class values ; Minority ; Mutations ; Ray Charles ; White Anglo-Saxon Americans African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Desegregation ; Integration ; Middle class African Americans 17 2454 Blacks as Americans Let me ask another qu--uh, question related to this or say something for what it's worth. Thornton talks about racial pride. Blair talks about the difference between the Nation of Islam and the NAACP in bringing black people together. Blair also discusses middle class African Americans. Acceptable ; Attitudes ; Black Americans ; Black Muslims ; English literature ; Inferior ; Insults ; Juvenile delinquents ; Lawyers ; Low income families ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; Racial pride ; Values ; White society African Americans--Race identity. ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Segregation 17 2830 Hypothetical conversation on the white Southerner's cultural identity Let me ask a question related to that. Carmichael gives his take on segregation. Thornton adds her thoughts on the black man in the South. &quot ; The Southerner&quot ; ; Cultural identity ; Defensive ; Labor ; Non-recognition ; Old South ; Reconstruction ; Segregationists ; Society Identity (Philosophical concept) ; Race relations. ; Segregation 17 3145 Black history movement We were talking about some delusion that, uh, white Southerners have about their history. Thornton addresses the documentation of black history and the validation of the facts associated with it. Wheeler also gives her take on the black history movement and the lack of material sources about black history. Blair gives his thoughts on the recording of black history in text and the misconception that it is a distorted history. &quot ; Negro History Movement&quot ; ; American society ; Arnold Rose ; Delusion ; Historians ; Information ; Injustice ; John Hope Franklin ; Mandatory ; Past ; Race pride ; Re-evaluation ; Reality ; Reconstruction ; Reinterpretation ; Self-deception ; Slavery ; Truth ; W.E.B. Du Bois ; White Southerners African American--History. ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Propaganda. 17 3944 African Americans' use of money and place in society Let's turn to another topic for a moment. Wheeler talks about African Americans, their money, and how it is used. Blair gives his take on the acceptance, or lack of acceptance, of African Americans in employment. Thornton gives her thoughts on African Americans as neurotics and how they may have become that way. [There is a dog barking loudly in this segment.] Culture ; Fantasy ; Neurosis ; Obstacles ; Professional people ; Reality ; Society African Americans--Economic conditions ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Communities. 17 4388 The role of African Americans in the upper class On the question of, uh, class structure of the negro society, we find another quote here. Thornton talks about African Americans and segregation, their economic rise, and their place in the movement. Wheeler gives her thoughts on black leaders and their economic situations, in particular on black business leaders. Blair talks about African Americans who opposed the civil rights movement originally, but later joined the movement, becoming leaders. [There is background static.] African American community ; Bandwagon ; Black community ; Class structures ; Desegregation ; Dilemmas ; Dualism ; Education ; Educational training ; Interests ; Mass movements ; Public facilities ; Realizations ; Sacrifice ; Social segregation ; Systems ; Threats ; Upper class ; Upper middle class ; White community African American leadership ; African Americans--Economic conditions. ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Communities. ; Segregation 17 5028 Will African Americans maintain the power they gain? Let's try this little matter of a vested interest. Thornton gives her opinions on power and African Americans, as well as the inherent outcome and dangers of all movements. Wheeler also gives her opinions on the danger of power and change in all movements. [There is background static.] &quot ; New negroes&quot ; ; American society ; Anti-colonialists ; Danger ; Definitions ; Impact ; Integrated marriages ; Interracial marriage ; James Baldwin ; Melting pot ; Power ; Power structures ; Prestige ; Race pride ; Radicals ; Reform ; Revolutions ; Scrutiny ; Self-realization African American leadership ; African Americans--Economic conditions. ; African Americans--Race identity. ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States 17 5833 What is a &quot ; negro&quot ; ? What is a negro? Thornton talks about the use and definitions of the terms 'colored', 'negro', and 'black'. Blair and Wheeler give their thoughts on the use of those terms. &quot ; Negro&quot ; blood ; Accumulation ; American &quot ; negro&quot ; ; American society ; Definitions ; Invisible ; Purity ; Stigma African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc. ; African Americans--Social conditions ; Race relations ; Stereotypes (Social psychology) 17 6203 White mobs and police attitudes May I change the subject a little bit? Wheeler talks about her feelings of uneasiness, mob attitude, and the views of the police. Thornton adds her thoughts on the subject. [There is background static.] Attitudes ; James Baldwin ; Majority ; Moral vacuum ; Radicals ; Safety ; Self-preservation ; Social beings ; Southern mobs ; White society ; White Southerners African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Violence 17 6601 Reconciliation and coming to terms Let me just break in here a moment. Thornton discusses the idea of a settlement with the South being on the horizon. Blair talks about the treatment the Greensboro Four received during the sit-ins. [There is background static.] Charles Evers ; Common history ; Courage ; Guilt ; Optimism ; Poor whites ; Right to vote ; Segregationists ; Settlement ; Trouble ; Truth ; Woolworth's Department Stores African Americans--Social conditions ; Greensboro (N.C.) ; Integration ; Segregation 17 7025 What America has to offer African Americans You were saying, weren't you, before changing tapes, uh, Ms. Thornton, that America at least offered some, uh, theoretical background for the improvement of society. Thornton talks about what America can offer, both at home and internationally. Wheeler talks about getting rid of barriers and working together. Blair addresses the theory that racial conflict in the South is moving to the North. Automation ; Conflicts ; Courageous ; Distinctions ; Existence ; Goals ; Hatred ; Improvements ; Mechanization ; Mysterious ; Nationalism ; Payment ; Population ; Racial imbalance ; Subtle ; Sympathetic ; Troubles ; Unwillingness African Americans--Social conditions ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Leadership ; Race discrimination ; Race relations ; Stereotypes (Social psychology) 17 7848 Violence or nonviolence and the &quot ; new negro&quot ; Incidentally--now, this may not be in the interview--but, uh, several people (??) the nonviolent movement as moving from a nonviolent scale to a violent scale and I want to ask you all this question... Blair asks about the use of violence and nonviolence. Wheeler shares her thoughts on the topic. Thornton talks about mediation and the South, as well as the &quot ; new negro&quot ; . &quot ; Freedom Now&quot ; ; &quot ; New negro&quot ; ; Civil rights ; Common bonds ; Consequences ; Defense ; Impatience ; Justice ; Logic ; Massacres ; Moderate ; Negotiations ; Obstacles ; Organized violence ; Revolutions ; Tokenism ; Understanding ; Victory African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights demonstrations ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Nonviolence ; Segregation ; Violence 17 8661 [End] This is the end. Robert Penn Warren concludes the interview by saying 'end' over and over again. End 17 Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) was a civil rights activist. While a student at Howard University, Carmichael became leader of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), an affiliate of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). By 1966 he had become Chairman of SNCC. Prominent in the Black Nationalism movement Carmichael coined the phrase &quot ; Black Power.&quot ; As his message became stronger he was asked to leave SNCC in 1967 and joined the Black Panther Party. Carmichael then left the Black Panther Party in disagreement with the notion of working with whites for the revolutionary struggle. He moved to Guinea and changed his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael died in Guinea in 1998 of prostate cancer. Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (1941- ) was a civil rights activist and one of the Greensboro Four who, in 1960, sat-in at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina to challenge the store's refusal to serve African Americans. While at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Blair was elected president of the junior class, president of the student government association, the campus NAACP, and Greensboro's chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965 he moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts after finding life difficult in Greensboro for a labeled &quot ; troublemaker&quot ; . In 1968 he joined the Islamic Center of New England and changed his name to Jibreel Khazan. Lucy Thornton was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. Jean Wheeler was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. This interview begins with Ezell Blair, Jr. describing his involvement with the Greensboro sit-ins. Blair explains what inspired the sit-in, those that were involved, and the role that NAACP and CORE played in the sit-ins. Stokely Carmichael and Blair also discuss the relationship between the NAACP, SNCC, CORE, and the SCLC. Blair discusses the effectiveness of legal and nonviolent methods in the civil rights movement while Carmichael joins to discuss mass movements. Blair also discusses the concept of the &quot ; New Negro.&quot ; Lucy Thornton enters the conversation with Blair and Carmichael to extensively discuss African American identity, integration, and cultural assimilation in America and the importance of taking pride in African culture. White southerner identity and culture is also discussed. In the second part of this interview, Stokely Carmichael is not present. Jean Wheeler and Blair discuss the importance of history, education, wealth and political power in the civil rights movement. Thornton, Wheeler and Blair each respond to the question &quot ; What is a Negro?&quot ; and consider the revolutionary aspects of the civil right movement including a change in American morals and views. The differences between the North and the South and between different social classes in the civil rights movement are also discussed. Additionally, the growing impatience in the African-American community and the possible resulting violence is addressed. To conclude, Blair and Wheeler discuss violence within the civil rights movement. WARREN: This is a tape with Stokely Carmichael, Izell Blair, Lucy Thornton, and Jean Wheeler, at Howard University, March third-- UNKNOWN:--fourth, okay. WARREN: March-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: Uh, Mr. Blair, you&#039 ; re in the first sit-ins in Greensboro, weren&#039 ; t you? BLAIR: Yes, I was. WARREN: Can you tell us something about, uh, the origins of those sit- ins? How they were arranged beforehand, planned? BLAIR: Well-- WARREN:--how did it come about? BLAIR: The sit-ins originated, the idea originated with my roommate Joseph McNeil. Um, we were all freshmen at A &amp ; T College. And, um, one day, Joe--[telephone rings]-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: You said it began, the idea with your roommate whose name was what? BLAIR: Well, his name is Joseph McNeil. WARREN: Joseph McNeil. BLAIR: Yeah, right now he&#039 ; s a second lieutenant in the Air Force in Texas. But, um, the idea came about one day when Joe--came into the room and, uh, he had a disturbed look on his face and I asked him what was wrong with him. And he told me he had just come from, um, I think, the Greyhound bus station in Greensboro, and he asked to get served there at the lunch counter, and he was refused. So, I told him, I said, &quot ; Well, you know how things are. You know how segregation is. It&#039 ; s been here all the time. Nothing we can do about it.&quot ; WARREN: Was he from the South or was he, uh, from the North? BLAIR: Well, he was from the South. He was from Wilmington, North Carolina, and he graduated. He went to high school there and he graduated from Wilson High School. And, um, and I asked him, &quot ; Well, what can we do?&quot ; And, um, and he said, &quot ; Well, we ought to have something like a boycott.&quot ; And I said, &quot ; A boycott?&quot ; And he said, &quot ; Yes, we should go in and sit down at the lunch counter,&quot ; and he named Woolworth. And, uh, he said, &quot ; Ask for service (??) And if they refuse us, then we continue to sit there, and if we&#039 ; re thrown in jail, we go to jail. And then, we asked the people not to buy in the place.&quot ; So, uh--[telephone rings]-- [Pause in recording.] BLAIR: He&#039 ; s a cat, now ; you should meet him (??). WARREN: And then what happened? BLAIR: Um, well, we told our friends David Richmond, who&#039 ; s from Greensboro, and, um, um, Franklin McCain, who&#039 ; s from Washington, but he went to high school with us at Dudley High School where we went to school, David and I. And they, they like the idea. So, in the ensuing weeks, uh, which followed, uh, the day I talked with Joe, uh, we talked of our plans, things about the rights of man, and, uh, how we felt, you know, about being negro, and the way the rights, uh, we felt should be ours. And finally on January 31, 1960, night before we went down, Joe came into the room, and, uh, he asked us, were we ready to go? And, uh, we were. At first, I thought he was kidding and so were the rest of us. So, Frank, who was the largest guy in the group, said, &quot ; Are you guys chicken or something?&quot ; And we said, &quot ; No, we aren&#039 ; t chicken,&quot ; and he said, &quot ; Well, we&#039 ; re going tomorrow down to Woolworth to sit-in.&quot ; And I said, &quot ; Okay, we&#039 ; re going.&quot ; Like that. And, uh, we told a local merchant there Ray (??) John who where he&#039 ; d worked with NAACP. He&#039 ; s always, uh, he&#039 ; s always liked the go behind ideas, maybe revolutionary ideas but most of the conservatives in the NAACP at the time didn&#039 ; t like him because they said he was too much of a radical. So when we told him what we were going to do, he decided he would help us. Uh, we went by and we talked to him about the idea, and he said, well, he&#039 ; d, he would give us, would give us money to buy articles downtown Woolworth. And, uh, after we sat in, he said he would contact reporters and police department and everything like that. So, um, the scene was set. And around 4:15, there--January 31, 1960 (??), we went downtown, and we purchased articles at the merchandise counter at Woolworth, and then we proceeded toward the lunch counter, and we sat down, and we asked for service. So, uh, that&#039 ; s how the idea started. WARREN: Did this have any relation to the old, uh, March on Washington movement? Its theorizing. BLAIR: Well-- WARREN:--had you all read about that? BLAIR: Well, no, we hadn&#039 ; t. We had not read about any of the, uh, previous movements. WARREN: Of course, that was a long time ago. That was, that was back in &#039 ; 41. BLAIR: I asked Joe where&#039 ; d he get the idea from and he told me he got the idea from a, from a boycott which was, which took place in Wilmington in I think in 1959, when he, uh, he was a senior at high school there. He said they had a talent show at the school, uh, in Wilmington--not at the school, and it was sponsored by a, uh, local soda pop firm. I think it was Pepsi or Coca Cola. And, uh, well, they felt that the negroes--the prizes were given to all the whites, and the negroes didn&#039 ; t receive any prizes there at all. So, they felt there was some discrimination there, and they protested it by not buying the sodas from the, uh, from the soda firm, soda pop firm and, uh, the soda pop firm, uh, reviewed its policies, and they decided they would give the talent show over again, and they gave out prizes to negroes after that. So this is where Joe said he got the idea from. So, uh, we hadn&#039 ; t--I didn&#039 ; t hear of any previous movement. Of course, the only one that we knew about was Martin Luther King&#039 ; s movement. WARREN: Yes. BLAIR: And, uh, you know, in Birmingham--I mean in Montgomery. But otherwise than that it was the only movement that we knew about. WARREN: Have you read about the Washington, the March on Washington movement, uh, since then? The old one, twenty years ago? BLAIR: Well, I read about it. I read about this (??) summer, and this was through the, I think the Afro-American, the Afro Newspaper, or it was through a, uh, it was through one of the national, uh, national news, weekly magazines. WARREN: Now CORE was the organization that came in to back you up, wasn&#039 ; t it? BLAIR: Well, we had offers. I think it was on the second day of our demonstration, we called for the NAACP, uh, but CORE came down first. Dr. Simkins who was president of the NAACP at the time, called in-- WARREN:--the local president. BLAIR: The local president of the NAACP at the time, in Greensboro called in, uh, CORE, uh, Gordon Carey. And Mr. Carey came down and he offered his assistance to our Student, uh, Executive Committee for Justice. This was a student group which spearheaded movement. And at the time--we told any outside organizations coming in because of what town folk might say, that the movement was taking over by outside people. So, we thanked him very much for his aid, but we declined to take it. The next day, uh, Herbert Wright, who was then the, the youth secretary of the NAACP, uh, came down, but he can&#039 ; t offer too much of his assistance. He only gave us moral support, like, uh, &quot ; Good luck&quot ; and, &quot ; We&#039 ; re with you,&quot ; and so forth. But Gordon Carey, as we understood, had experience, and, uh, CORE had the experience to sit-in and so forth. So, we passed up both. WARREN: Now, that, uh, some of the reports on that, you know, are a little different from this account. Because some of them said that CORE came in immediately, you see, and was accepted. BLAIR: Well-- WARREN:--some of the accounts of it in print say that, you see. BLAIR: Well, uh, from being there at the meeting the night that Mr. Carey, Carey came down, this is-- WARREN:--but you know it cause you were there. BLAIR: I was there and our Student Executive Committee for Justice went on record for, as the client has helped to offer. We thanked him very much, but we told him we wanted to remain, as, as one student said, uh, &quot ; We appreciate your aid but we would like for it to remain, uh, a student movement at the time. And if we need your help, we will call.&quot ; And he thanked us, and he went onto Durham, I believe, the next day. WARREN: Now, this is a rather important point in one way, uh, a major way. But some of the printed accounts say this--unless my memory tricks me--that, uh, the appeal was made--appeal mind you--by your group to, uh, Mr. Simkins, is that right? BLAIR: Yes, that&#039 ; s true. WARREN: Mr. Simkins-- BLAIR:--Dr. Simkins. WARREN: And instead of--Dr. Simkins I mean--and instead of going, uh, going to the NAACP as might have been expected, he called in CORE because he assumed that the NAACP would be too, uh, legalistic and, uh, not militant enough. BLAIR: Well-- WARREN:--that interpretation is given in print sometimes. BLAIR: This is, to a certain extent this is true. I think the Greensboro chapter NAACP was, was sort of written on the blackness by national authors after Dr. Simkins did this. And I remember at 1960 convention that I went to, uh, Greensboro was the last city to be recognized for the sit-ins. Oklahoma City, I understand--I think this is where the young lady Barbara Posey is now--was given recognition for starting the sit-in. We didn&#039 ; t know anything about this in Oklahoma because, well, when we were in high school--I think this took place while we were in high school--so, we were told. Nineteen fifty-eight, but we found out later on that we started the movement that Oklahoma had similar demonstrations like this. That we got CORE information, but we found out then that these demonstrations, even those that were NAACP groups were organized by CORE, you see-- WARREN:--the earlier ones. BLAIR: Yeah, yeah, in Oklahoma, but we didn&#039 ; t know anything about this at the time. And so the, uh, NAA, as NAACP we called it, tried to write in this minutes at this convention that, uh, that the demonstrations were spontaneous, and that, uh, they were started back in 1958. The organization at the time didn&#039 ; t want to give credit to the, to the Greensboro movement. WARREN: Which organization now, NAACP? BLAIR: Yeah, this was NAACP that didn&#039 ; t wanted to give credit. WARREN: The national, to the national organization? BLAIR: Yeah, the national organization. And I think one reason was because, uh, was of Dr. Simkins&#039 ; s actions and of our actions because when we left the Woolworth store on February the first in 1960, uh, we were asked by a reporter from the Greensboro, the Greensboro Record, &quot ; Were we sent there by NAACP?&quot ; And we told the reporter, &quot ; No.&quot ; Although some of us had been prior members, uh, of the NAACP when we were in high school, but at the time none of us where members of the NAACP. WARREN: But you had repudiated both organizations as far as their help was concerned. BLAIR: Yes, this is true. WARREN: You had refused both with facts. BLAIR: It&#039 ; s true we wanted, uh, to sort of destroy the old idea that negroes have to be told everything to do by the NAACP or CORE. It wasn&#039 ; t that we had disrespect for the groups because we respected them very much, but it was just that the idea that, uh, college students coming downtown, sitting-in at the service couldn&#039 ; t do these things unless they were told to do it by somebody else. WARREN: That this was not motivated, the sit-in itself was not motivated by a notion, uh, a criticism of the NAACP&#039 ; s previous role. Is that right? BLAIR: Well, partially yes and partially no. [knock on door] One reason, one of the things that we--[knock on door]-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: Um, you said partially yes and partially no about the, towards the attitudes toward the NAACP. BLAIR: Yes from this standpoint, when we talked about doing something to remove segregation (??) in Greensboro, we mentioned the fact that the present methods, you know, the legal methods, which had been used by groups like the NAACP, while it was a good method and a lasting method to be put on the books and so forth, as lawful is concerned, it was not a good method when it came to immediate removal of discrimination. And we wanted something, we wanted to have a personal involvement in removing discrimination, which the, we felt the NAACP didn&#039 ; t, wouldn&#039 ; t, uh, wouldn&#039 ; t go along with. And if they did, then the national office would take about two or three months before it gave us approval. Uh, by that time the idea would be lost as many ideas of this nature were probably lost beforehand. WARREN: I see. BLAIR: And, uh. No, we didn&#039 ; t take a disrespectful attitude toward NAACP. Oh, we, we realized that it has been the forerunner of the civil rights movement for a long time. And we respect the organization very much for what it has done. But we felt that it was time for new action to be taken in the South. You see, to us, it appeared that it was something like the hierarchy, maybe like the catholic church, and no offense to catholic in the, you know, in Italy. Given all the orders, you know. And, uh, the loyal, none of this loyal affiliated (??) in other countries will make a move until, uh, maybe their, their ideas or objections that were positive were approved by the head office in Italy, and that in the Vatican City. And so, we felt the NAA [NAACP] was organizing on the same basis. And we felt that many times negroes felt discouraged in the South because it took too long for the NAA, or the NAACP to make up its mind what it was going to do. WARREN: Here&#039 ; s a remark attributed to Mr. Wilkins. &quot ; They,&quot ; --being SNCC, CORE--&quot ; furnished the noise but the NAACP pays the bills.&quot ; As bail, legal costs, and so forth of CORE, SNCC, SCLC. &quot ; Here today and gone tomorrow. There&#039 ; s only one organization that can handle a long sustained fight.&quot ; BLAIR: Well, does he mean the NAACP? WARREN: That&#039 ; s attributed to the NAACP. BLAIR: Well, I think at the time Mr. Wilkins made his speech it was probably due, uh, to, to the reason that the NAACP was probably seeking membership funds. Now, I really don&#039 ; t think Mr. Wilkins, uh, is sincere about what he said because I think as a result of groups like SNCC, or SCLC, CORE, and other groups working in the South, the NAACP, uh, is getting many of its funds to fight the legal battles. Uh, not taking anything away from NAACP. I think it&#039 ; s doing a good job, a very good job, and will continue to do so, but the movement since 1960 had switched from a legal courtroom battle, to, uh, uh, where, where you did with conformed their men on the basis of the law to, uh, a, a battle between men when it comes to personal consciousness, in, in regard to segregation. Now, I, I think this is, this is the basis, this is the basis of the present movement now. WARREN: Now not to nag at this question-- BLAIR:--yeah-- WARREN:--but you don&#039 ; t mean to imply do you that a matter of direct action, uh, nonviolent direct action should supplant the, uh, continued effort to set up the legal framework and the legal philosophy underlie even the, uh, the direct action. BLAIR: Well, no, I&#039 ; m, I&#039 ; m not implying that direct nonviolent action should supplant, uh, the, the legal method and the legal, the legal means of eradicating segregation. I think while, while, uh, it is good to establish laws on the books, uh, one of the main problems that we have been having now that we have many laws on the books, uh, in regard to segregation and discrimination in the schools and so forth, is that we are having a problem of getting people to accept these laws. And, um, this is where I think direct nonviolent action comes into play. Whether people--where we as a--uh, oppressed actually begin to practice, uh, what these laws say: no discrimination. So, we are seeking equal, equality-- WARREN:--the use of the direct action then is a way of implementing, uh, the law, is that your view? BLAIR: Yes, yes, yes-- WARREN:--and not as a way of supplanting the law-- BLAIR:--not as a way of supplanting-- WARREN:--as a method of achieving the desired ends. BLAIR: Yes. I, I think you&#039 ; re right ; that it is, is, direct nonviolent action is a means of, of, I think, of implementing, uh, the law (??). WARREN: This is not always what it said, of course. Sometimes (??) sometimes it&#039 ; s said differently-- BLAIR:-- (??) WARREN: Said differently (??), we have had enough of the law, but now this. BLAIR: Yes, um-hm. I think you can&#039 ; t separate the two. You need both but I&#039 ; m in disagreement with those who feel that the legal method is the only answer. And I am disagreeing with those who feel that the, the nonviolent method is the only answer. I think you can still use it, too. But where, uh, the conflict comes in is where one group feels that the other group is of no use to the movement (??) --[telephone rings]-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: Yeah (??) but this quotation from, uh, Mr. Wilkins, uh, you say, uh, Mr. Carmichael, is for the Time Magazine story. CARMICHAEL: Yeah-- WARREN:-- (??) cover story-- CARMICHAEL:--the cover story from the (??) New York Times, I, I think that&#039 ; s an unfair statement. WARREN: But they are to him or unfair on his part. CARMICHAEL: Unfair on his part. I don&#039 ; t think that he should have made a statement like that at all. Now, while I agree, uh, with Mr. Wilkins that the NAACP had been the organization that&#039 ; s been there since 1908, or I think 1911, as the case may be, and it has been fighting, it has been doing, I don&#039 ; t think that it is completely correct what he says that the other groups have come by here come by night. I think he thought that the NAA [NAACP] was attacked by a lot of other groups for being conservative, and he felt that the way to fight the attacks was to make this statement, putting the other groups on the defensive (??). My personal feeling was that it backfired. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: Let&#039 ; s change the subject a bit, uh, Mr. Blair, how would you describe first this so called, &quot ; New Negro&quot ; ? How would you distinguish this character from previous characters? Or, do you believe in this definition, this phrase covers anything? BLAIR: Well to the certain extent I don&#039 ; t think there is anything as a &quot ; New Negro.&quot ; I think what it is, is that more people now in mass are adopting the idea of a direct action. And more members, uh, of the negro race, as well as many whites, are, are now seeking, or now want to know more about the history of the negro, and the part used that to play in America. And, uh, this new idea of militancy as I said is being adopted by more people in mass numbers, there have been many people before us, such as DuBois, and, and Robeson, and, uh, Walter White, and--uh, Roy Wilkins, James Weldon Johnson, and so forth who have, who have been what they call, &quot ; Radical Negroes,&quot ; or &quot ; New Negroes,&quot ; so to speak. But they were only, only in small number. But now, since 1960, and since King&#039 ; s movement in Montgomery, they are multiple in mass numbers who are accepting these ideas and views that we must take, that we much do something personally to remove segregation. And so I think while the idea of the &quot ; New Negro&quot ; is still with us, uh, in many respects the idea is not a new one ; it&#039 ; s something that&#039 ; s existed all the time. WARREN: The very phrase &quot ; New Negro&quot ; dates back to the twenties. That whole group of the twenties, of the, of group (??) that Langston Hughes, uh, associated with. The word was applied ; the phrase was applied to that group a long time ago now, some forty years ago. BLAIR: Now catching on. WARREN: This would raise another question though. You say mass, uh, movement, has SNCC, or CORE, or NAACP, or any other organization actually worked in mass terms? Hasn&#039 ; t it been a matter of rather specialized leadership? BLAIR: You mean, so far-- WARREN:--rather than spontaneous movement from the negro masses, a, a movement within, uh, leadership groups, or potential leadership groups, say, college students, you see. BLAIR: Well, to a certain extent, SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I can&#039 ; t speak very much for, but still maybe Stokely can give you more information about. But from my observation it has been primarily composed of college students and high school students who want to do something about eradicating segregation. Uh, CORE is made up, basically the majority of CORE members are college students and high school students. Uh, the NAACP organization made mostly of professional people, and so the Urban League also is made up of professional people. But I feel that the movement now, since 1960, has become one of mass number (??). Well, in 1960, it was mostly college students. WARREN: Yes. BLAIR: But since then, and especially since 1963, the movement has become one which we have adults involved. People old enough to register to vote, people who have jobs, people who were, were seeking all these things that we&#039 ; ve been talking about--better job employment, release of police brutality, and so forth. WARREN: Two things, like the registration drives and the, uh, boycotts, including the bus boycott, have moved toward a mass base, is that it? BLAIR: That&#039 ; s right, yes. CARMICHAEL: I&#039 ; m not sure. Stokely Carmichael. WARREN: Yes, Mr. Carmichael. CARMICHAEL: I would, I would assume that, uh, if we start with the Montgomery movement that had mass movement in that everybody was a part of it. But that was a passive action. They just didn&#039 ; t take the bus. Wasn&#039 ; t anything that was going on in the street. Now, I would say the first mass movement that resembled the new wave ever since 1960, would have to (??) Albany, Georgia. We had seven hundred people arrested from the town. And once we got the demonstrations in the, against segregation, open facilities, and it was in that case also the part of all the indigenes of that town walking up and down the streets. Uh, since then, we&#039 ; ve had Cambridge ; we&#039 ; ve had Danville ; we&#039 ; ve had Birmingham ; we&#039 ; ve had Greenwood in Jackson, Mississippi. And it has become since then a mass movement. Now, there are a few professional agitators--I don&#039 ; t have qualms about using the word agitators at all--who do agitate. But once a movement gets going, in most cases, now, it&#039 ; s aimed at a mass movement. You go back to &#039 ; 61, the Freedom Rides, for example, wasn&#039 ; t even--when we were arrested, we just went into jail. Well, we&#039 ; re going to (??) get students into jail. But now a number of SNCC people came on decided to start agitation in Jackson to get Jackson&#039 ; s people to go to jail, and they got fifty people from Jackson, Mississippi, to go to jail. That was a big step up. And from then, started the whole thing about mass movements in jail. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: This is from DuBois: &quot ; The negro group has long been internally divided by dilemmas, as to whether its striving should be aimed at strengthening the inner culture and group bonds for intrinsic progress or offensive power, or whether it should seek escape whenever possible into the surrounding culture. Decision in this matter has been largely determined by outer components (??) rather than inner plan to this point.&quot ; In other words, over and over again DuBois, and the writings of other people, we find this notion of a fundamental split in intention. Actually divided desires to, uh, be, uh, associated with the negro tradition. That even with the, uh, &quot ; African Mystique&quot ; on one hand to preserve the racial integrity ; on the other hand to move into, uh, an integrated situation and adopt the, uh, Western European American cultural values, with perhaps a loss of, uh, even racial identity in the end. Now, for some people this is clearly, and for DuBois--a problem ; for others not at all. How would we react to that? Ms. Thornton, do you want to say something on that point? THORNTON: Yes, my first reaction, of course, would be, um, thinking of Socrates, &quot ; Know Thyself.&quot ; You would think that, um, the problem or the dilemma which, um, Mr. DuBois speaks of is one which is very common to negro Americans today because we do face the problem of, um, amalgamation into the whole of Americans, I feel, into the whole of American life. Being Americans for say or being what I would like to term, &#039 ; negro Americans&#039 ; or &#039 ; black Americans,&#039 ; I guess is even a better way of putting it. And I think that we as black men have an obligation to, as I&#039 ; ve said before, know ourselves. Know ourselves as black men. Be proud of what we are and contribute to America what we could actually offer to this culture. I believe that, um, there is something unique which the black man can offer to this melting pot, in so far that there is still a melting pot. I know that more and more today Americans are tending towards thinking of themselves as, um, some--let&#039 ; s see, some entity which is now, um, I guess some figure like the Jones. Or, there was some idea set up as to what an American man or an American women is, and I think that, um, because this has been the tendency in America it does not exclude, um, what other racial minorities or ethnic groups could in fact add to our culture to make it what America has always been in fact known to the world for. WARREN: Mr. Carmichael, how do you feel about this? Do you recognize a problem here or do you just say the problem doesn&#039 ; t exist for you, as many people say about themselves? CARMICHAEL: Well, it sort of exists, uh, but I don&#039 ; t go to the extreme as Lucy. (laughs) Uh, Professor Herskovits in this book The Myth of The Negro Past tried to show that negroes in America had some connection with, uh, with African ritualists in the African, uh, culture. Professor Frazier and Professor Parks, University of Chicago, as far as I&#039 ; m concerned, clearly answered him and showed him that, you know, that he was just all wrong on that issue. WARREN: That the culture (??)--that the negro is totally of the American culture. CARMICHAEL: Totally of the American culture. And that makes the negro a unique specimen in American because he is the only one who is totally American. And, uh, I forgot the name of the psychologist out of the University of Chicago who contends--he--he&#039 ; s Jewish and he was in one of these camps in Germany, and he wrote a book but I forgot the name of it also, in which he showed that the people who were repressed usually take on all the, uh, superficial and all the mannerisms of the oppressors. Um, this for instance would be a classic example of Frazier&#039 ; s black bourgeoisie. And that when the oppressed people take on all the characteristics of the oppressed, they exaggerate. Now, my feeling that as, as far as the movement has developed this far, it&#039 ; s not a revolution ; it&#039 ; s not even a reform. All of it&#039 ; s been (??) is the negroes have been trying to get into the established system as it is now. &#039 ; Let us get into your job, let us get into your restaurant, let us get into the housing neighborhoods, let&#039 ; s get into your schools. We just want to get into it.&#039 ; And now, that&#039 ; s the way it&#039 ; s been so far, and that&#039 ; s a fact. WARREN: Now, there are some people--uh, James Baldwin among them--uh, who will say, in part at least, that the negro is prepared to offer a fundamental criticism of middle-class American values. CARMICHAEL: Baldwin is right and he&#039 ; s not right. The negro who he speaks about is not the negro whom the white press allows to speak or the white man&#039 ; s communication allows to speak. The negro who speaks is the one who says, &#039 ; Yes, we, I am wearing a tie and a suit. I&#039 ; m clean. I&#039 ; ve been to a college in the South, and I&#039 ; m a college professor in the South, or I&#039 ; m a negro lawyer or a negro doctor. And my accent is clear. My English is superb, and I have a Cadillac in my car, and what else can you expect of me?&#039 ; Now, that&#039 ; s not the negro that Baldwin is talking about. The negro that Baldwin is talking about is the one who&#039 ; s down on the bottom with nothing to offer. In that sense, then we really have integration cause we talk about integration, we talk about bringing two things together. You know, I have my chitins, I have my wine on Friday night, I&#039 ; ll come in your house, you eat some of my fried chicken, and I&#039 ; ll eat some of your al la carte, whatever it is. But as far as it&#039 ; s seen now, it&#039 ; s just the negroes just fighting to get into something. It&#039 ; s like you&#039 ; re giving up everything. You&#039 ; re giving up your jazz. You&#039 ; re giving up your soul music, your Ray Charles or whatever. As we say, the nitty gritty, to get into this. WARREN: Now, we spoke earlier today, you and I, of Essien-Udom-- CARMICHAEL:--that&#039 ; s a (??)-- WARREN:--Essien-Udom-- CARMICHAEL:--right. WARREN: On the black nationalism. He makes the point--if I remember the book correctly--that even the separatists and the black nationalists, like the Black Muslims, are actually, uh, sealed way, perhaps unconsciously, moving toward a full acceptance of American middle-class values. That this provides a conduit. A, uh, backstairs ladder to the achievement of the middle-class values, even though they are not specified by that group. CARMICHAEL: I, I agree with that. WARREN: You think that&#039 ; s a fair diagnosis? CARMICHAEL: I think that&#039 ; s a fair diagnosis because negroes in America have not presented any other alternative, you see. I prefer to say the Italians were having trouble and the Italians were having some home culture to fall back on. We have no home culture to fall back on. None at all. WARREN: Now, of course, some negroes would not agree with you. CARMICHAEL: Of course they would not, but I would ask them for their own culture, what have we got? We have, we have a subculture within a main culture. And the main culture so suppressed us, but I bet you if you went South, and ask a negro girl or a negro boy to draw a picture of a man on the board, they would inevitably draw the picture of a white man or a white woman with features of a white man or a white woman. WARREN: The test that I know of at least has been run at negro schools in the South to associate qualities with color. CARMICHAEL: The doll test (??) WARREN: Uh, well, either the tests originated of sorts, a long time ago, Dr. Johnson in one of his books, he gave the results of it. Now this, I haven&#039 ; t seen--this was back in the thirties. It bored this out-- what you were saying--it bored this out (??). CARMICHAEL: Recently for instance they did a test from psychology. I think it was the (??) where they had negro, negro dolls and white dolls. And they would have negro girls come and pick which doll was prettiest. And inevitably they picked the white doll. THORNTON: And, of course, you know why--[knock on the door] CARMICHAEL: This is Jean (??) ; this is not Jean Wheeler (??). (several laugh) UNKNOWN: Hi. WARREN: How are you? CARMICHAEL: (??) UNKNOWN: (??) WARREN: Are you ready (??)? What about that topic for you? Emerges as a real question to you or a false question? BLAIR: Well, it poses a real question because, um, many of us in the movement now are going through these experiences, whether or not-- WARREN:--going through what? Excuse me. BLAIR: We are going though these experiences, you know-- WARREN:--yeah. BLAIR: Whether we should adopt the full values of--of the white middle- class society, or whether we should develop within ourselves and through this thing that we call the movement, uh--uh, an image of what we&#039 ; d like to think of as, as being ourselves. Being accepted (??) as negro, and not as white. I know many times I have confronted this problem of whether I should, uh, adopt the values of a middle-class, middle-class American society or whether I could be myself, the negro. I don&#039 ; t think all values, all the white middle-class values are good for negroes at--at this point. WARREN: Or for white people. BLAIR: Or the white people. Now, such things as many instances have given a monetary value for all of these. I don&#039 ; t think that we should, uh, that we should accept this value because, uh, while this is a capitalist society we live in, negroes who are many instances on the bottom of the income bracket could not accept the idea--I mean, could not think of maybe wearing a hundred dollar suit down the street every day, or driving a Cadillac. We just don&#039 ; t have the economic ability to do these things. So I think, um, I don&#039 ; t think integration is the best thing for us, and that desegregation is good. We already have interracial marriage. You can look around and see negroes of many different complexions. I do feel that we as a group of people should try to, to develop more unity among ourselves. And I feel this is one of the things that the, that the movement is doing, that the, uh, the civil rights movement is doing. Um, many young people now are beginning to feel proud to be black. Uh, whether time, there still is, I should say a greater sense that the negro turning into white. They use straightening combs. They--they, uh, process their hair. They used to imitate everything white, American white society does. But I hope to see how this movement, a realization of the fact that the negro will recognize the fact that once and for all that they are negroes. That we&#039 ; re black. Maybe we do it by changing being black. And--that there some values and many things that we can contribute to American society which is good. And that there already many values and contributions that we have made to American society. I hope this something that will be brought up. THORNTON: If you&#039 ; re not going up to the next question I&#039 ; d like to add to that. WARREN: Oh, please, please, please Ms. Thornton. (laughs) Go ahead. THORNTON: I am amused (??) in many instances listening to you, Stokely, of course, because I&#039 ; m very much aware of course of the people who, um, even within my own family, for example, who would very strongly say that we&#039 ; re so much American until, um, European background or the English background, which other men can claim when they say, &#039 ; Yes, we are white Anglo-Saxon American.&#039 ; So can so many Negroes to a certain extent stand in American and say the same thing. But, of course, they&#039 ; ve had a problem which has stuck with them throughout ; they were black men after all, in spite of this development. Yes, we have had imposed upon us white man society. But we have continued through out that, black men, even though there might have been a certain amount of mutation over into the other side. We&#039 ; ve gotten a certain amount of pass and we&#039 ; ve gotten this certain amount of acceptance. We&#039 ; ve got all of this. But the negro or the black man in this country still has to know and accept and be proud of himself as a black man. And have America to accept him as the same because--an example which I used to like to look at when I was in college. The black man can find himself lost in the white man&#039 ; s America. In other words he can do everything under the sun, which would make him ordinary, A-1 American man. And he thinks that he&#039 ; s been accepted not only by negroes but over the larger society as just another American. He reached the top of a ladder. He&#039 ; s become the peace leader for the world. He&#039 ; s with the UN. He&#039 ; s a great man in everybody&#039 ; s book. But it&#039 ; s gonna come back to him over and over, and as much as he wants to abandon the idea that I&#039 ; m a member of a minority, I&#039 ; m just another black man. When he gets to the top of it all, there&#039 ; s gonna be somebody who&#039 ; s in that majority, white and probably not worth one-ninetieth of what he&#039 ; s worth. He&#039 ; s gonna step on his toes and spit in his face, and say, &#039 ; Look, you&#039 ; re still black.&#039 ; And that really, that, that really I guess brings home the message to him, um, that he is--yes, he&#039 ; s an American, very much American. Probably more American than the person who just said to him, but keep in mind you&#039 ; re American, yes, but a black American, and you have a place, you know. CARMICHAEL: Stokely Carmichael. You see, I agree with you, Lucy, but I think the whole thinking just shows precisely what I was saying. That number one, the whole question here that you are posing is whether or not white people are going to accept black people, and, you know, I&#039 ; m not sure. You know, the question isn&#039 ; t whether, are they going to accept me? I should have to decide whether do I want to accept them? Now, that is an important point. All development is that because we don&#039 ; t have a culture, you know, what do, we can sit down and talk certain in jokes like for instance, we can say, nitty gritty and stuff like that. Amuse (??) a few white people. And now we can&#039 ; t even move them when we talk. And, uh, we can eat chitins, and Mr. Penn Warren probably knows more about chitins than we do. Uh, so, where&#039 ; s our culture? Jazz, we can listen to Ray Charles, but where is it? It&#039 ; s all so bound up in the American system. All our aspirations are typically American. We are more American than the American. And that&#039 ; s a fact. Whether we like it or not, whether or not we like it, it&#039 ; s still a fact. You can&#039 ; t prove contrary to that. WARREN: Let me ask another question related to this, or say something, for what it&#039 ; s worth. I was talking a few weeks ago to a very able, uh, lawyer in a Southern city. And he&#039 ; s a Northern trained, one of the better Northern university law schools. Practicing in the South, now. About middle age. He said, &quot ; I have in late years had to school myself when reading English literature,&quot ; or simply he listened to sermons and many aspects of life, &quot ; to refuse the metaphorical thinking which implicit in that literature in that life.&quot ; He said, &quot ; I live in a world where the metaphors are insults to me. Black versus white values, uh, sin versus virtue. Light, the wisdom, uh, intelligence, darkness, ignorance. This whole world of metaphor--I&#039 ; m living in, that I then can school myself to invert them.&quot ; Now, what&#039 ; s interesting here is, is, uh, that he believed it so keenly. He is schooling himself to invert them every time he hears, encounters this in, in his reading of literature, or, or in any common speech, or in the sermon anywhere. (several laugh) He&#039 ; s speaking, he&#039 ; s speaking very honestly and fully about his views, you see, about the, the white society in which he is living. Does that strike you as extreme? THORNTON: Well, I can, can say this about it. We do in fact live in times when black men can in fact be proud to be black. That is, a black American (??). I&#039 ; m sure the times which Stokely spoke of when he spoke of our beginnings, and when he spoke of, um, what negroes historically have been in America, and why they are so terribly American, I guess part of it being also that in white America we knew what standards represented. What is in fact America and usually they were contrary to what is in fact black or what is in fact the black man. So, that, um, the black man had to usually think in terms of the white doll with all of the caucasian features as in fact being beautiful. Anything separate and apart from that or anything that smacked of (??), uh, black or negro just happened not to be too kosher. But today at least, a black man can stand with his head erect and say, you know, &#039 ; I am a black man and I expect to be accepted for what I am.&#039 ; Black is not inferior. I mean, we&#039 ; ve had all of the scientific theories. We&#039 ; ve had these views and they&#039 ; ve been set to rest. The negro like any other man has the capacity, the ability and he in fact deserves to be accepted. He&#039 ; s not something that, uh, looks on from the backdoor at what happens in the big house and, you know, can say, &#039 ; That&#039 ; s what I want to be one day,&#039 ; including, &#039 ; I want to be white in a sense. This is what some of the reactions, I mean, can be in a society where being what you is is not acceptable. BLAIR: (??) commenting on what-- WARREN:--yes, Mr. Blair. BLAIR: Izell Blair. Well, to comment on what you saying, Lucy, I agree with you to a certain extent. And while many people, most of the newspapers are criticizing in fact the Black Muslims, I see the Muslims as having, uh, as having some good points about their organization. Now I don&#039 ; t agree with them on the bit about separation. But I do like some of the things that they are doing. Uh, I see nothing wrong with having another faith. I think, I think what the Muslims are trying to do is use their religion as a means of binding a people together and while, uh, the NAA [NAACP] and other groups they are using their demonstrations, and so forth, as a means of binding the people and building unity. They are using this Islam religion as a means of binding their people together and so forth, as the criminals are concerned or, or do now link this to concern among the members of the Black Muslims. It has been proven that most of their members, that there&#039 ; s a great decline among juvenile delinquency among those people who are Muslims. WARREN: That they have actually redeemed a great many people. (??) BLAIR: They have redeemed a great many people, so I, I think it&#039 ; s not all bad as a (??) organization--as a part of this organization. WARREN: You mean for whites as well as negroes? BLAIR: Whites as well as negroes. WARREN: The quest of learning of, of achieving a sense of self- acceptance and of identity that would prevent the man in the, the gutter from his, um, uh, doom. Save him from his doom. BLAIR: Yes. I think this is--see when I was growing up in school, everything that I saw was of the middle-class value. Even in our schools now, most of the predominant negro schools or segregated schools where I come from, the negro students are taught by middle- class people. Most of these students, the majority of them come from low income families and, uh, therefore accept the ways of the middle- class. So many of these kids can&#039 ; t stand up to this. And so, in many respects, I was told by some of my instructors, uh, &quot ; Well, I have mine and you have yours to get.&quot ; This is the attitude that many of the negro students in the South come up with. And so many of them not coming from these homes, they can&#039 ; t help it if they&#039 ; re dirty when they come school. And so what happens, they automatic reject then (??) and fall out of school because they say (??), &quot ; I never can live up to these standards.&quot ; And I think what we really need among ourselves, a/the (??) negroes, is a--is a sense of racial price. Not so much a racism, but a sense of accepting who we are and what we are and the roles that we have to play in our society. And not an inferior role. WARREN: Let me ask a question related to that. Is it possible to argue that the Southerner -- whoever the Southerner is--we&#039 ; ll say the segre-- segregationist--(unknown laughs)--who&#039 ; s short of a fanatic in it-- THORNTON:--not a good definition of Southern--if I could interrupt-- because I also call myself that. WARREN: Yes, all right, all right, now. (several laugh) All right, now. You say the definition, you see. You know that? BLAIR: You&#039 ; re a Southern belle. (several laugh) WARREN: Well, our Southern segregationist thinks he&#039 ; s defending, he says, &#039 ; The way of life, the Southern way of life,&#039 ; you see, all of this. When he&#039 ; s saying those things, he is trying to defend a cultural identity. In other words a self. He&#039 ; s got it mixed up with, uh, his view of a whole package of things including segregation. Now if he doesn&#039 ; t, uh, if he could, could be led to see that his identity does not depend on segregation--his cultural identity--then the whole pattern might change for it. Does that make any sense? I&#039 ; m not stating (??) that well, but do you see what I mean? He feels defensive. The, the white Southerner feels defensive. He feels his culture is being attacked, his identity is being attacked. He&#039 ; s being robbed of his identity, his history. And, uh, he, uh, has his notion (??)--the unlettered man or, or poorly lettered one or, or unreflective one--sees segregation as part of this tradition and part of his identity, a necessary thing for his identity. CARMICHAEL: Stokely Carmichael. Uh, did you want to say something? THORNTON (??): You can go on. CARMICHAEL: The whole statement is very, very ironic because if the white Southerner knew anything about his history, number one, he would know that after Reconstruction there was not official segregation state law, state law back to segregation. That negroes and whites went to school together because the South, at that time, just received free schools. WARREN: The Civil War generation thought segregation was preposterous. CARMICHAEL: They certainly did. And it didn&#039 ; t come until Mississippi started instituting the Black Codes, so that his whole tradition--he talks about tradition, he talks about institution, you can change institution, but you can&#039 ; t change people--his whole feelings were molded by institutions. WARREN: A generation back. CARMICHAEL: A generation back, so that when he tells me now that institutions--you can change the laws but you can&#039 ; t change the people, he evidently doesn&#039 ; t know what he&#039 ; s talking about. THORNTON: Yeah, I agree with that if I could--Lucy Thornton here--the, um, non-recognition of the existence of the black man in the South is quite an interesting thing for the Southerner because as Stokely has said, there has been a time when he-- WARREN:--white Southerner, you mean, now. (several laugh) THORNTON: Oh, yes (??) white Southerner. Okay. Also by the way, few negroes would say they&#039 ; re Southern. WARREN: I don&#039 ; t know. THORNTON: There are very few would dare say they&#039 ; re Southerners. And, um, this non-recognition of the black man, I, I would agree with Stokely that there had been a time when in fact the white man has recognized the black man&#039 ; s existence, and now, all of a sudden, he wants them erased from his mind. He thinks this is something that he&#039 ; s forced by law to put up with or, um, something to segregate out of his society, to keep out all together. I think that it would be at the mind of the new Southerner or the person who&#039 ; s interested in bringing the South out of what it has, in fact, gotten itself down into as non- recognition of a good part of its society. Um, and this non-recognition bringing with it the running away from the South ; not--I don&#039 ; t mean running away, but the moving away from the South of a good part of the population that is the black man, too. I think more and more the new Southerner will realize the black man has a place there in the South. That the black man can, in fact, help to make the South a great South again. In other words, they&#039 ; ll have to recognize that more than just the brawn and the labor of the black man which made what they call the &quot ; Old South&quot ; great. They&#039 ; ve got to recognize that this black man can stand side by side by them in education and everything else and make the South what it ought to be today. WARREN: Mr. Blair? BLAIR: Uh, you know, sir, I&#039 ; ve agree with what Lucy and Stokely is saying. Um, I agree with everything they&#039 ; re saying (??), especially the part when Lucy said about, uh, many people afraid to be called Southerners. I think what is happening is that-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: We were talking about some illusion, uh, that white Southerners have about their history. The problem that delusions among negroes, according to some writers, um, this being Arnold Rose the Myrdal collaborator I&#039 ; m quoting from. &quot ; The whole tendency of the negro history movement, not as history but as used as propaganda, is to encourage the average negro to escape reality of the actual achievements and the actual failures of the present. Although the movement consciously tends to build race pride, it also may cause the negro unconsciously to recognize that group pride is built partly on delusion and therefore maybe it&#039 ; s the devaluation of themselves for being forced to resort to self-deception concerning their own history.&quot ; Does that make any sense to anybody here? BLAIR: I don&#039 ; t (??)-- THORNTON:--I think it does in a way. WARREN: Ms. Thornton. THORNTON: Well, um, that&#039 ; s probably not in the way you mean does it make sense I&#039 ; m thinking-- WARREN:--I don&#039 ; t, I don&#039 ; t, I&#039 ; m not, I&#039 ; m (??). I&#039 ; m saying does it make sense to you? THORNTON: Although much--I shouldn&#039 ; t even say much--although some of the things which, um, historians, negro historians, and other writers have said about the negroes past or its history might be, um, based upon some delusion, I think that looking at most of what is in fact said about the negro&#039 ; s past, uh, as far as the glory of it is concerned has contained very, very little delusion, and I think that, um, the view which the negro today gets of his past, um, can have so little of what is, in fact, um, what is, in fact, the, um-- WARREN:--excuse me. Could we, um, kill, kill the mic. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: Kill the last few sentences and resume here. Ms. Thornton, will you speak again about the matter of delusion and negro history or the possibility of delusion in the negro history movement? THORNTON: Yes. I think that the negro has heard so little which, in fact, um, so little from the negro historian, which is, in fact, padding or which is, in fact, delusion as compared to what the white American has in fact heard of his heritage and his background and his history. For example, take any Southern school in the United States and take the history book that we in fact read in the Southern school. I&#039 ; m a Virginian, myself-- WARREN:--I know you told me months ago. THORNTON: And I know the history that we, in fact, have in school. I know what our legislature is, I know what the white Southerner wants and feels that we should, in fact, know and believe about history. I also know that, um, my brother is now, um, in teaching college history in the South, and I know also, um, efforts on the part of people who are supposed to be scientists or something moving pretty close to it. These people are historians who want the truth and the facts to be told. People, who have deliberately, um, put themselves into positions across the country wherein they could and (??) launch the pages of history, see to it that the South gets a good shape/shake (??) of it. See to it that history is written so that we don&#039 ; t look so bad or see to it that history is written for the sympathy of our cause. I mean, this doesn&#039 ; t happen as far as the negro history is concerned. By and large, the negro, um, years is mainly the black side of his history, and what he&#039 ; s getting today if it contains any delusion, I would submit that it&#039 ; s very little by comparison to what we get as to history all along. If you&#039 ; ve been writing out of history of the black man up to most recent times, and you can now condemn what the negro is getting by way of black history because it contains delusions or a bit of padding or gives them a false sense of pride, I think this is absolutely absurd when the whole system of history before that carried with it (??) the idea of cutting out the idea, anything that could have come out of black. WARREN: It did indeed. WHEELER: Yeah, I&#039 ; d like to add this, though-- WARREN: Yes. Jean Wheeler. UNKNOWN: (??) WARREN: I&#039 ; m going to cut this tape now and start another tape. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: This is the end of tape 1 of a conversation with Ms. Lucy Thornton, Ms. Jean Wheeler, Mr. Izell Blair and Mr. Carmichael. Mr. Carmichael will not be present for the next tape. Continued on tape 2. [Tape 1 ends ; tape 2 begins.] WARREN:--conversation with Ms. Lucy Thornton, Ms. Jean Wheeler, uh, Mr. Izell Blair, and now for this, this tape, Mr-- VINCENT:--Vincent, Vincent. WARREN: Mr. Vincent and Ms. Schneider, right? UNKNOWN: (??) [Pause in recording.] UNKNOWN: (??) UNKNOWN: It&#039 ; s all the same (??)-- UNKNOWN: (??) [Pause in recording.] WHEELER:--in, in (??)-- [Pause in recording.] WHEELER:--in response to-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler, you read the quotation again from, uh, Arnold Rose on the matter of the negro history movement and the possibility of illusion. WHEELER: Now, uh, uh, two things are important: uh, one, is that I think there&#039 ; s a significant negro history movement, um, in the sense of a propaganda movement. I think there have been scholarly works. I think that Frazier, um, um, John--what&#039 ; s his name--John Hope Franklin are good examples of good negro historians. And, um, I, I don&#039 ; t think that that&#039 ; s what Mr. Rose is referring to. As far as the kind of thing that you find in, uh, say negro periodicals like, &#039 ; This is what we used to be,&#039 ; I don&#039 ; t think that, um, that the information hits people hard. Um, I, I, maybe one good reason being is not of, of sufficient scope to hit hard. Uh, one article once a month can&#039 ; t make a lot of difference. Um, now, especially in the South, I don&#039 ; t think there&#039 ; s been any kind of negro history, um, movement of people. I met in Albany and in Greenwood were starved to know what happened before 1950. You know, they knew we&#039 ; re in slavery and so on, uh, but to name negro writers, uh, I don&#039 ; t think you could have gotten many people to name a couple negro writers to name, um, to tell you who (??). So, I would say that, um, the man&#039 ; s criticism is a good, um, guidepost for people who, who are gonna bring the--the history to these people because it is a necessary part of developing a spirit movement among (??) people, that we can avoid the problems he suggest (??). But I don&#039 ; t think that, um, they exist because I don&#039 ; t think that there is, is a large scale propaganda in the negro history movement. That&#039 ; s what I think. WARREN: Mr. Blair, do you want to talk on that for a moment? BLAIR: So far as negroes being having, having delusions of-- WARREN:--that&#039 ; s not exactly, uh, what Mr. Rose said, uh, you know, that passage that we quoted. This danger of history as propaganda, breeding delusion. BLAIR: Well, I think to a certain extent, now, negroes ever since the Reconstruction period, most of the history books dealing with the Reconstruction period of America have been somewhat one-sided. That of the, most of the white historians and they haven&#039 ; t given too much credit to negroes. Uh, in my state of North Carolina I always hear of the dark days of Black Reconstruction, but, uh, in John Hope Franklin&#039 ; s book From Slavery to Freedom, he seems to give a different point of view. Now, in my school in college, uh, it&#039 ; s mandatory to all students who are in education or social science or related fields to take negro history. And this is the book we studied, John Hope Franklin. I don&#039 ; t think its propaganda. I think instead--and maybe if it is propaganda it&#039 ; s a good thing that negroes get this because it&#039 ; s not, I don&#039 ; t think Franklin is the type of historian who would delude anybody to the facts concerning the, uh, the part or the role negroes had-- WARREN:--well, he&#039 ; s got, his reputation is very solid, of course. BLAIR: Very solid, it&#039 ; s very solid. And I think this is what we need as a group to, uh, sort of, uh, how do you say, how do you say build pride within ourselves as to the contribution that we play to America. I think a certain amount of propaganda is needed. After all, the three hundred years almost of injustice, I think, uh, it&#039 ; s about time we begin to, uh, to see those of us who have played a part in American society. WARREN: Mr. Blair, have you read, uh, DuBois&#039 ; s Black Reconstruction? BLAIR: No, I have not read it. WARREN: Have you read, uh, Vann Woodward&#039 ; s, uh, work on Reconstruction? BLAIR: No, I haven&#039 ; t. WARREN: Or have you read the, uh--this isn&#039 ; t an examination, I&#039 ; m just curious to know-- BLAIR:--yeah. Well, I understand. THORNTON (??): I know Black Reconstruction (??) WARREN: DuBois&#039 ; s? Then, you know Vann Woodward&#039 ; s Strange Career of Jim Crow, that book? THORNTON (??): Yeah. WARREN: I gather (??) that you have read, I assumed that. When you said (??) That whole revaluation of the Reconstruction is, uh, is one of the late developments of history. WHEELER: DuBois? WARREN: Uh, well, I mean, DuBois did not, always alone. You see, it was not a general evaluation (??). He didn&#039 ; t have (??). UNKNOWN: Oh, you mean-- WARREN:--you see, it&#039 ; s only in the last few years that this has become a, uh, a matter of, uh, of--you see, he was the voice alone for years and years and years. UNKNOWN: (??) WARREN: That&#039 ; s what I mean. And, uh, the reevaluation, a general sort of, uh, a general matter now is fairly recent. I should say, uh, it&#039 ; s in the last twenty years. He was alone , (??) in this. WHEELER: But in my, the greatest criticism I can make of, of Black Reconstruction and people that I respect would make was that--I mean the significant thing about it is the, the implication-- WARREN:--you mean the book by DuBois? WHEELER: Yeah. That is, um, the information is there. Now you are going to have to read around some--some Marxist reinterpretation, but if you can read around that, then you&#039 ; ve got more meat there than you&#039 ; re likely to find in most history books and therefore the book is worthwhile. Now, that&#039 ; s my understanding of, of how it goes and I, I can&#039 ; t make a generalization about the, uh, the reconstructing of Reconstruction, but I would see that as a very valuable contribution even with that reinterpretation that you have to deal with. WARREN: I think DuBois&#039 ; s book is a great book. It&#039 ; s a great monumental work. I mean, my own opinion of the book. And I personally (??) it&#039 ; s a great rhetorical thing, too, a great piece of writing. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: I&#039 ; ve lost posterity. THORNTON (??): It probably will be. Now, I was thinking in terms of, uh, some of the, um, latest historical writings which I&#039 ; ve in fact come across. They&#039 ; ve been writings, people who are, um, new in the field of history, or who&#039 ; ve just gotten their doctorate or gotten their masters who have dared to delve into subjects which have probably never been, uh, researched or covered before or have been covered and left on shelves of their universities unnoticed. And they&#039 ; ve gone into details as to, um, what might have appeared to be just an ordinary American historical occurrence and now they go into it and say, &#039 ; Yes, there was negro involved here, and here&#039 ; s how. I have the facts and figures to prove it. While George Washington&#039 ; --I&#039 ; m just using this as an example, of course. I have no proof of this-- &#039 ; while George Washington said one of his aides was a darkie, uh, now I know about that man, and the story, you know, in some way of checking it down.&#039 ; And some of these historians are negroes and, um, are able I guess using whatever, uh, fragmentary documents are available and whatever can be now recreated. They have rewritten, I guess, what has been left out of history all alone. So it might seem fairly elusive to a person looking at that because it would, of course, um, put some pride in a youth when he reads a book say like (??) called the black man or the negro&#039 ; s involvement in the American Revolution and finds out that after all, there were all of these negroes are involved in the American Revolution. And I thought that Christopher Atcheson (??) (??) just, um, an, an isolated incident, so that, uh, he does get the impression that even at that day negroes were involved, and, uh, that the historian is now bringing this to the forefront. WARREN: Let&#039 ; s turn to another topic for a moment. I&#039 ; ll use a quotation again to, uh, start us on this. This is a quotation: &quot ; Negroes of wealth and education whose only barrier to unrestricted participation in the complete life of the community is the fact they are negroes, probably constitute the largest single class of social neurotics.&quot ; That is, uh, light is fantasy to them (??) to dodge reality. That make any sense? Do you want me to read it again? WHEELER (??): (??) THORNTON (??): I think that (??)-- [Pause in recording.] WARREN: You think that makes some sense, Ms. Wheeler? WHEELER: I think there&#039 ; s--there&#039 ; s, um, a lot in it. I agree, I think that um, um, when Cadillac&#039 ; s and the, uh, endless parties that are, uh, are support of it, but I think that, um, if I had to make it into a, a percentage, I would say it was, uh, 60 percent of this kind of people but then 40 percent of negroes with money, um, have had a hard time getting it. And know--know, um, that which, um, they don&#039 ; t have to do now, uh, they would have to do but for the (??). And, um, are conscious enough of it to, to keep a hold on reality (??). Uh, I, I think 60 percent dominate. I think you see them in the newspaper and so on. But I can&#039 ; t help but remember, uh, a friend now that, that I knew through the older people, you know, in the, in the place I was from Detroit. And, um, this friend&#039 ; s, an old (??) man and he had a sense of, of understanding of how people are. Of, uh, how far they can go, and they can be pushed of, uh, of what was important, um. I think, even though, um, he was participating in this, this culture, within the negro culture. And I think that--that there are a good number of them. And I am gonna call it 40 percent. And I think that out of this 40 percent comes a few who, um, stand up and say, um, &#039 ; Well, I&#039 ; ve made it and I&#039 ; m going to, um, help the other people. (??), I think, in Washington is an example. I think she has money (??) and is, um, a concerned, um, citizen. And--and so I agree with the, uh, writer&#039 ; s general statement, but I think that it doesn&#039 ; t have enough flavoring of, um, the people who even though they have the money, uh, may be laughing inside themselves at the antics to anybody going through. Izell wanted to say something. WARREN: Yes, Mr. Blair. BLAIR: Well, uh, certainly as Jean was saying about, I agree with her, uh, with her wholeheartedly. I think, um, negroes are going through sort of a fantasy, uh, in as much as that they have a problem in trying to be, uh--it&#039 ; s an obstacle being a negro in the community, you know, as she said, an education and so forth, and then you find that you&#039 ; re a negro and then you still have to fall back to the same standards. Whites seem to (??) even look at negroes all alike. If once you are a negro, you are always a negro ; you never change. You can have all the education you want. Uh, this is a type of, uh, uh, people in the community that I live in now. Uh, most of them are teachers. Or they may be doctors, or lawyers, and so forth, but they still can&#039 ; t, they still can&#039 ; t, uh, reach a point where they blend in completely with the community. They can&#039 ; t be accepted as being lawyers or doctors except for being negro lawyers or doctors. And this seems to bother them. Many of them, many of them have expressed to me the, uh, the opinion that, uh, they just don&#039 ; t know where they fit in. They have all the education that they can get. Uh, they are professional people but at the same time they still have to be considered negro, and while they want to get, uh, (??) regard for the negroes or whites, they are still confused. They don&#039 ; t know where they fit in. And so, they have to fall back into the position of just, uh, taking on negro positions or teaching, teaching negro schools, and whereas many of them are qualified to teach in, uh, or work in positions, which are, which have not been for, uh, for what you might call negro positions. They are eligible to, to teach anybody or to work in jobs which have not been traditionally negro jobs. THORNTON: I&#039 ; d like to just--Lucy Thornton-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Thornton. THORNTON: I&#039 ; d just like to look for a moment at the source of this neurosis really. Um, in many instances it&#039 ; s because, um, as the author has very rightly said, the negro is not accepted into the larger community, but it&#039 ; s also because of the attitude which, um, as Izell has pointed out, uh, most of society has towards negroes in general, and because of this attitude much of it has, I suppose, gone over to the mind (??) who, as he has termed, the most neurotic group in American. Mainly because, um, all of society is saying within this group, &#039 ; We&#039 ; ve got so much that&#039 ; s no good, so much that&#039 ; s unacceptable and--[telephone rings]-- [Pause in recording.] THORNTON: In thinking in terms of the sources-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Thornton-- THORNTON:--neurosis, I&#039 ; m thinking, the whole of society has a way of looking at a negro and a, a negro has gotten to a position where he &quot ; has arrived,&quot ; and he has, uh, finds that he has arrived but arrived where? Who&#039 ; s going to accept him? So, I can see why this neurosis would set in, not just, um, because, um, now that he has arrived he, as a negro is still a negro. He&#039 ; s, um, above what I guess most society thinks is negro or what most society thinks is the black man in the country, but yet he knows that the major part of society will not accept him still as a man. So, you&#039 ; ve got a neurotic on your hands. WARREN: Well, he did in his dream of achievement without denying the fact that he&#039 ; s not accepted outside--I gather that&#039 ; s a topic-- THORNTON:--yes-- WARREN:--the point that is being made here. THORNTON: Yes, I could understand very clearly-- WHEELER:--you broke my (??) silly achievement. (laughs) THORNTON: Yes, I can understand, um, a negro very clearly even making the statement because many of the times that I&#039 ; ve come across negroes who have bent, bent over backwards to &quot ; arrive,&quot ; when they&#039 ; ve arrived, where are they? Arrived to what? You know, especially if they are willing to (??) in reaching this point of arrival forget the fact that, try to forget the fact that they are negro or black. WHEELER: (??) WARREN: On the question of, of class structure, in the negro society, we find another quote here: &quot ; The entire negro middle- and upper-class--is caught in a dilemma. On the one hand, they find caste wall blocks their entrance into general white society. On the other hand, they have--sometimes a vested interest in a social segregation because it gives them their only opportunity, the only opportunity they have.&quot ; To paraphrase that (??)--this is Myrdal, by the way (??)-- THORNTON:--yes, I can understand-- WARREN:-- (??)-- THORNTON:--if he&#039 ; s looking at black Southern society, I guess this is true-- WARREN:--not just Southern-- THORNTON:--you&#039 ; re a Northerner so you would know also what vested interest-- WARREN:-- (??)-- THORNTON:--what vested interest the negro leader in the North would have in keeping things as they are. But looking at them from a Southern point of view--I said Southern first, even more so than Northern because, uh, the vested interest which the negro has in segregation there is that, you know. You&#039 ; ve got the dualism which goes through all phases of life, from the cradle to the grave. So, that you&#039 ; ve got a negro chance to rise (??). Where in the white society it&#039 ; s not as clearly defined and white negroes (??) can after all go some places in town, so that the negro businessman or the negro businesses might be extremely limited. Uh, they might not have as much of an interest in a segregated society, or in, um, the whole system of segregation as the Southern negro because after all, as I said, you&#039 ; ve got Southern negro teachers. And when you stop to look for this class to the same degrees you won&#039 ; t find them anymore. You won&#039 ; t find a negro (??) (??) (??) I would think that on one side where these same people yearn for the walls of segregation to in fact collapse, say on the other hand realize that money wise, which after all is some standard of the country, um ; this might also mean their veneration to a certain extent (??). WARREN: This is a divided mind in, in certain negro groups about segregation (??). WHEELER: A manifestation (??), after all-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler. WHEELER: A manifestation of the situation that the, uh, the negro middle-class people find themselves in, um, is that when, um, people are going through town organizing, um, you don&#039 ; t start--uh, you start with people who--who&#039 ; ve already demonstrated a, you know, certain civic mindedness and so on. But you don&#039 ; t spend your time trying to convince the whole business community or the whole minster community or even a part of it that they have to be, they ought to be on your side because, you know, (??). With ministers, there&#039 ; s going to be two or three ministers and two or three (??) who are going to step up and they are going to be a few businessmen (??). The others are going to have to come in when the thing gets big enough, so that, so that they can&#039 ; t, uh, afford not to come in. And it&#039 ; s--it&#039 ; s (??) involved (??) I would think that it might not be so conscious. THORNTON (??): Well, you know, (??) the great man in the community. And, uh, you (??)-- WHEELER (??):-- (??)-- THORNTON:--sacrificing (??) changed them. WARREN: Do you think there&#039 ; s less of this dip between say negro business leaders and, uh, the civil rights movement (??). Split between a certain group, successful in both (??)--now talking about (??) upper- class, upper middle-class, uh, who might not (??) want to be identified with civil rights movement because they (??) segregation (??). Is there less of that now than there was? WHEELER (??): Yes. THORNTON (??): Yes. WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t think they can (??)-- UNKNOWN:--right, it&#039 ; s popular now to be, um-- WHEELER: --to be on movement (??). BLAIR: It&#039 ; s popular now to be on the movement. Like in, like in Greensboro, North Carolina, for instance, uh, uh, there was--there once was a time when negroes would oppose integration because, uh, negroes themselves on the whole were not in favor of it. Now since the idea of integration--uh, rather desegregation has come about--uh, through the, um, masses of the, uh, negro community, many of them have jumped on the bandwagon ; and they go along with it. And so, uh, now you see, uh, maybe this outstanding attorney, attorney in the community or this negro businessman supporting, uh, uh, desegregation within the community or integration or desegregation of the lunch counters or the jobs and so forth. WHEELER: But the thing, um--but the thing is that-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler. WHEELER: I think that they recognize too that desegregation is not a real, real threat to them. I don&#039 ; t think negroes are going to go outside the negro community. Um, as long as we live together, I think we&#039 ; re going to socialize together, I think we&#039 ; re going to, um, um, pray together and so on. And I think that probably, uh, having seen a few integrated situations and having found the negro still come back to the, um, to the cafe and so on because they--I don&#039 ; t know why ; I, I still go back to the cafe. Um, they, um, I think they can, they have seen the realization of--of the integration and have realized that, um, their interests are not so, so much in danger as they thought. And I think a further point is that, um,--oh gosh, I had it and forgot. I had something else to say (??). UNKNOWN: Along those same lines, too, I think the same group would realize that, um, what they might in fact, uh, lose as a result of the world of segregation, um, probably has lessened to a great extent, not only in particular what Jean has just said, that is that what they have to offer might after all still have a certain validity. Negroes might still want to come to the cafe but also because of the society in which they&#039 ; ve lived in they&#039 ; ve been forced to, in many instances, prepare (??) themselves to greater degrees than, um, people in the other, say the white societies. The teacher who, um, once was threatened with possibly losing her job if she&#039 ; s got a master&#039 ; s from some place, Columbia or NYU. I mean, I would feel less threatened by the coming of the world of segregation is that she knows that now, that, um, we&#039 ; ve got the, um, uh, system itself coming we are going to be looking at things in terms of who&#039 ; s prepared and not who&#039 ; s white or who&#039 ; s black. So that I think less and less there&#039 ; s been a more comfortable feeling on this level in that, &#039 ; Let it come. I think we can adjust.&#039 ; I think that the, um, popularity of the movement and the outcry against segregation is probably, um, less than we fear (??). WHEELER: The point I wanted to make is that--um, this is Jean Wheeler- -um, the emphasis itself, along with, uh, desegregation in public facilities, is, is getting people registered and is getting people voting. Now, I don&#039 ; t know why people always, people, people keep talking about desegregation as, as the focus of the movement. I think that surely a part of it, but I say that at least the, the other, you know, at least on par with that is the efforts to develop political strength in the South. And the people, the businesspeople know that when it comes time to find a leader, they are going to be the ones. If only because the things that they represent are the things negroes in general want to have. Um, everybody respects a man with education. Everybody. Especially if they are (??). So these people, I think, can see now, maybe gains where they couldn&#039 ; t see before for themselves because, um, when, when it comes time to, um, redistrict the town or when it comes time to send somebody to the, um, state--um, to Congress, it&#039 ; s going to be one of them. BLAIR: Izell Blair. I&#039 ; m not sure if I agree with you, Jean, because, uh, most of the people in, in the negro community realize that even though this is a movement of the masses of people, when they get down to it, it&#039 ; s going to be those people who have education and training and this is something that the negro community looked up to-- WHEELER:--invariably-- BLAIR:--invariably. They&#039 ; ve lived up to the man who&#039 ; s had training. But they are skeptical of the man who has training and who does not use it to the advantage of the--the freedom movement at the present. They are skeptical of the &quot ; Uncle Tom.&quot ; Uh, I think what is involved in the movement is the, uh, realization of negro leaders who have training, and who have experience in, in the political and business life of community, who are making a sacrifice and who are (??) in siding with those now who stand for equal rights and, and desegregation and the protest movement, as against those who have training and who have knowledge of business, and so forth, and of the economic wealth of a community who have headed, for taking a backwards stand, who have sided with the majority of the white community, and are keeping their, uh, negro community disfranchised from this right. I think, uh, uh, take for instance in North Carolina and other states, you can expect to see more negroes enter to the political realm or to run for state and national political offices. And you can then see the negro masses vote for them. Uh, it&#039 ; s the same people. The educated people are still taking on the leadership of the movement. But it&#039 ; s--it seems to be a new image on the part of those educated negroes, uh, to realize that they&#039 ; re fighting for the (??) masses of the people, and they are representing the people, instead of representing only a limited number of middle-class people within the negro race. WARREN: Let&#039 ; s try this little matter of a vested interest. This is, uh, a paraphrase and a quotation--now that they are distinguished (??)--as given by James Baldwin of the African Congress in Paris seven years ago-- WHEELER: -- (??) WARREN: Well, then you know the passage then. (??) &quot ; The greatest problem facing us,&quot ; that is the African negro, &quot ; was that we all negroes, what will we do among ourselves when there was no longer for any colonial horse to ride. The need (??). This was the horse on which a great many negroes who were,&quot ; in what he called the skin trade, &quot ; hoped to rise to power and prestige, power which would be in no way distinguishable from the power they sought to overthrow.&quot ; To paraphrase that, uh, the career of anti-colonialists in Africa can become, can become a power gain, not to be distinguished from colonial power in the end. Now this, can we transfer this to--to an impossible thing in the civil rights movement, the negro revolution? UNKNOWN: (??) WARREN: Careerists, who will exploit it and then when it&#039 ; s over, well, what career do they have? Except to maintain it. The interest is to maintain it. That&#039 ; s interested in keeping (??) it going. Is that a real danger? UNKNOWN: It&#039 ; s a real danger, oh yeah. WHEELER: It&#039 ; s a danger. It seems like it&#039 ; s not peculiar. (??) I don&#039 ; t think it especially applies to us. It just applies generally. And I&#039 ; d, I&#039 ; d say it becomes then a problem of people who are conscientious- -conscientiously involved in, um, it to always criticize, um scrutinize, themselves and their reasoning and to be very critical of those who take initiative (??). Um, Martin Luther King is, um, is criticized--I mean is--is scrutinized very closely, and I&#039 ; ve come up with a positive judgment of him, but I&#039 ; ll tell ya at least once a week a bunch of us--(laughs)--a bunch of us radicals sit around and make some statement about, um, him as the leader and so on. And I think that that kind of, um, scrutiny goes on at least among those who forgotten themselves as leaders or potential leaders. That it&#039 ; s always going to be, I think there&#039 ; s always going to be some kind of, some guard of people who are consciously involved. Maybe because they are just young idealists or something--(laughs)--who, uh, who will at least, uh, be, um, criticizing-- WARREN:--this, um--sorry--this danger then is simply a human danger in all, in all movements. WHEELER: I think so. WARREN: It&#039 ; s part of history, is that right? THORNTON: I would very definitely agree with that. In fact as you read that I kept thinking about a little analysis that we used to have in our history courses. It&#039 ; s anatomy of a revolution. WARREN: Brennon (??) THORNTON: Yes, when you analyze, um, any great movement, this is just the kind of danger which is inherent in it, really. And the kinds of successes and failures. It seems to be a least something that you can put into patterns, and I would think that level headed people, uh, are aware of the history of this kind of thing can, in fact, at least to a certain degree, uh, maneuver to that. In a given situation it happens to a lesser degree. But I do think it is a danger, at least (??). WHEELER: I&#039 ; d like to simply ask a question ; I don&#039 ; t know if it fits into the pattern. WARREN: Please. WHEELER: (laughs) I want to know what--you, too, Mr. Warren and think. Would you call this a revolution of reform, or keeping people busy, or? I really (??). WARREN: I think it&#039 ; s a matter of, I hesitate because it&#039 ; s a matter of how you are going to use a word. WHEELER: Well, would you call it, um, um, a movement toward a, a toward broad scale changes we need, the nature of American society-- WARREN:--society, no, I wouldn&#039 ; t call it that. As I see it now, and I may change my mind tomorrow, I should say that it&#039 ; s a matter of, uh, not changing essential order of American society but of absorbing, uh, peripheral (??) elements into American society by, by their own ethics, not by solving as an act of society but by the old efforts in the interim. WHEELER: Now, what do you think about the argument, that&#039 ; s very general, that we should go. Number one, you can&#039 ; t solve the negroes problem without solving (??) part of the problem (??) can&#039 ; t be solved without solving the, um, the problems of how the money, the economy--how, how the money is distributed going into defense and into, um, um, maintaining the Cold War. WARREN: You can&#039 ; t solve any single social problem simply. Actually (??)-- WHEELER: But that still doesn&#039 ; t give a great significance? WARREN: No, it means you--they are tied together clearly. How are you going to solve the school problem at Harlem without starting with other things about housing and jobs, you know. These things are all, but that doesn&#039 ; t say you should leave the schools alone meanwhile. WHEELER: No, but it does give a greater impact to the school effort it seems to me. WARREN: Sure it does. WHEELER: Now what I&#039 ; m trying, what I&#039 ; m wondering--I&#039 ; m not arguing with either side because I really am wondering a lot lately, um, does the- -can, can you say that the momentum, um, given to a particular issue by its relatives to the other issues, uh, makes it revolutionary (??). In once sense, can you say, um, that this problem is so deep that, and its, its relationship to these other problems is so tight, that nothing is going to be done, until they all get done and that that would constitute a basic change in the structure of society. WARREN: Well, I think we have to go back to the actual definitions of what we mean by saying revolutionary, as opposed to, uh, a fundamental reform. Would we call the nineteenth-- (??)--that is a revolution in American society or not? THORNTON: I think the most revolutionary thing about the whole movement is, I guess after all, when you think of the minority group being, um, accepted or assimilated (??) into American society, maybe this isn&#039 ; t a novel idea. In other words America has been, always has been known as the melting pot and minorities who catch a hard time eventually make it into the American main street. I think the most novel and probably revolutionary is that now you have the black man achieving a kind of self realization. You have him, um, not only moving into American society, but also standing and saying, &#039 ; Yes, I&#039 ; m willing to come into American society. I&#039 ; ve, I&#039 ; ve always wanted to be there. In fact, I always have considered myself as being a part of this idea even though you sort of put me over the side. And on the other hand, I&#039 ; m standing tall and saying I&#039 ; m a black American.&#039 ; WARREN: In other words--and this was what I was about to say a moment ago--that is, what is not a revolution for a total society may be revolutionary in terms of the negro society as separated, distinguished logically and otherwise from American society, represents a real shift of attitude, a revolutionary shift in negro society or the negro movement, but its effect on the total society will be a matter of, uh, you might say a fundamental reform but will not change the order of society. Is that make sense, staying together or not? THORNTON: Uh, slightly. I had one other thing that hit my mind when I thought also in terms of the black man standing, you know, a self- realization of the black man, I also thought in terms of world order WARREN: Yes. THORNTON: Because over the centuries now when you look at how things have stacked up the power structures. More and more, this self-realization I guess it&#039 ; s been in ferment throughout surely we would say in Europe first and then it spread throughout the world. So, you&#039 ; ve got now the black man in Africa not only realizing or achieving his own goal, standing as a man who will in fact control and rule his homeland, but also you have throughout the world now, and especially in the United States, which majority of the people are in fact white. Well, the black man who&#039 ; s there in that land saying, &#039 ; Yes, but I&#039 ; m a part of this society and these two things can harmoniously, um, be a part of each other. And, um, the black man can in fact be a part of the whole. He doesn&#039 ; t have to be something that&#039 ; s, he&#039 ; s a problem here and he&#039 ; s set off to the side. Instead it&#039 ; s revolutionary for America, too, because after all I think he&#039 ; s taking the whole of society or American society is taking another look at the black man. He&#039 ; s not just something-- WARREN:--that&#039 ; s true, that&#039 ; s true-- THORNTON:--humorous who&#039 ; s, um, um, we accept him, but we don&#039 ; t, or we mainly don&#039 ; t accept him, and he&#039 ; s just here, and he&#039 ; s a thorn in our side, and if we didn&#039 ; t have those ghettos. I think one more America itself even is taking a look at the black man. And sometimes we appear them be violent. You know, sometimes we appear anxious and restless, but overall I think, um, they are getting a picture of us and they are getting a picture--at least they know no matter what picture they get that the American negro is to be here, and, uh, he&#039 ; s fighting to fit into the overall scheme of America. It&#039 ; s, it&#039 ; s revolutionary probably that the black man is doing it in terms of standing up and saying, &#039 ; Yes, I&#039 ; m a black man, um, but as a black man I do in fact have something to offer. I don&#039 ; t have to&#039 ; --in fact, this is something that&#039 ; s always puzzled me, and, Jean, you might be able to help me work it out. I used to argue this with some of my friends. WHEELER: (??) (several laugh) THORNTON: Yeah, some of my friends used to always say, I go sometimes so far over to, maybe to the left in saying, um, talking about the black man and race pride, and about what he&#039 ; s achieved, and how he&#039 ; s doing it, and, um, what we want to do until--um, on the other side ask people who I suppose think they are level headed the right (??) some of my white friends would say--well, um, I would think in twenty-five (??), well, I would think in twenty-five years you won&#039 ; t have any problem because by then, um, everybody will look pretty much alike because by then we&#039 ; ll have sufficient integrated marriages. And you know, you won&#039 ; t, uh, be able to speak anymore in terms of the American black man. In other words, you will just have an American now, the negro is something who is fighting to be a part of that America, and what he will do eventually is, is lose himself so that (??). And when put to me like that, it somehow they become quite like-- WHEELER:-- (??) THORNTON: Right (??) UNKNOWN MALE: what many sociologists are saying (??) time (??), or maybe less maybe, negroes won&#039 ; t be negroes anymore (??) (??). It will be difficult to tell who is negro and who is not negro. Um, I think, um, (??) (laughs) UNKNOWN: (??) BLAIR (??): (??) But I think it&#039 ; s--one time I was in favor of the integrated, that, you know, everybody was like one person, but the older I get and the time passes I&#039 ; m beginning to realize that there are certain things called, um, like I said racial pride, or having a feeling that you are what you are. That even though you are in the culture, you have certain characteristics. Like Jewish people, for instance. You know, they are in American culture but they still preserve this identify that they have had over thousands of years. I think something that&#039 ; s negroes in our culture (??) should do. Now I realize through interracial marriage--not interracial marriage but what you, uh, uh, might call concubines (??), there are new negroes, for instance, who are different complexions, and eventually, uh, these traits may, um, may bring about, uh, uh, a person, a negro who is probably negro but who is so fair in complexion that it would be difficult to tell the negro from the white. This will, this will eventually come about. But until that time, negroes need to be build pride within themselves. WARREN: What is a negro? (unknown laughs) UNKNOWN: I had (??) THORNTON: We might become a lost race or something. Well, the American negro--that&#039 ; s something too. (??) What is the negro? I have friends who would prefer not to be called negroes, who, &#039 ; I&#039 ; m not a negro ; mainly I&#039 ; m a black man.&#039 ; To some others, &#039 ; I&#039 ; m not colored ; don&#039 ; t call me colored,&#039 ; you know, and very vehemently, you know. &#039 ; Negro is simply something they&#039 ; ve attached to me and I won&#039 ; t have it,&#039 ; you know. &#039 ; I&#039 ; m just another man,&#039 ; or you get these reactions over and over again to. Of course, some of them I must admit come from the feeling that the name, &quot ; negro&quot ; attaches a stigma to the person. WHEELER: That&#039 ; s not the worst ; that&#039 ; s the nicest of names. (laughs) THORNTON: Yeah. Yeah, that is the nicest of all those that they call them. But, in fact, um, negro, um, has such a stigma to it until-- WARREN:--but you see (??), it means black to you (??)? WHEELER: No, it doesn&#039 ; t mean (??) I think negro-- WARREN:--it&#039 ; s accumulated the other meanings perhaps. WHEELER: Well, yeah, yeah, but the accumulation of it is very significant-- THORNTON:--and that&#039 ; s probably where the reaction comes in. WHEELER: Yeah. BLAIR (??): Everything that&#039 ; s associated with the black negro in this country. Uh, you know, you are born in maybe a black neighborhood that&#039 ; s segregated. Or black is specifically evil. People die and very (??). Everything that is right is white. This is true (??) if you go to heaven, you see a white God, this type of thing (??). Even if you are the angel, the angel is white and dressed in a white robe. And you go, he&#039 ; s drinking milk and honey. And you&#039 ; re strolling down the street (??). This is the image the negro constantly has to face (??). And this is the image that I have faith, uh, in growing up in American society. That, uh, a black cat, you know, specifically evil. Everything white is pure. So you begin to wonder, what am I? You see. You feel like Ralph Ellison says you&#039 ; re an invisible man. Nobody even sees you. (??) THORNTON: Do you think it&#039 ; s a true definition or a true statement, um, I don&#039 ; t know I might be misquoting somebody, but the (??), nobody knows me, nobody knows my name. Don&#039 ; t, you know, they call me that but I&#039 ; m really, I know the man that I am-- BLAIR (??):--I ain&#039 ; t nobody and nobody knows me-- WHEELER:--I&#039 ; ll attempt the definition. I say, I think that a negro in the United States is anybody who has a tint of color, who is less than white looking. I think the appearance (??). Who is less than white- looking and who cannot prove that he&#039 ; s of another race. (laughs) Like any time I see-- THORNTON:--Indian. WHEELER: Yeah. THORNTON: Put those in, Indian or Puerto Rican, they are not negro-- WHEELER: I know, but whenever I see a Puerto Rican in New York until I find out that he has an accent I think he&#039 ; s a negro. That&#039 ; s what I am trying to say. If he can show that he is something else then it&#039 ; s all right. But as long as he&#039 ; s anything less than white then he&#039 ; s a Negro. THORNTON: Well, I think, I think that we are caught in this terrible bind because I have friends who are from Virgin Islands, from (??) other countries and right away sometimes going there, it&#039 ; s so funny how when you talk this kind of thinking, you go down the street and you say, &#039 ; That&#039 ; s a negro.&#039 ; &#039 ; Oh no, he&#039 ; s not a negro. That&#039 ; s a white.&#039 ; In other words, somehow negroes think they can tell other negroes and then, uh, my friends from Latin America (??) how you can speak that way because in my country, and this person could be black, typical, I mean, we would never call him in America anything but a negro, but to, uh, the natives from his country, they would prefer not to attach a name negro or anything else because part Danish, part Spanish and you saw, (??). How could that be negro when, uh, negro in the United States means something quite different. WHEELER (??): But until he comes up with that accent he&#039 ; s a negro. (several laugh) WARREN: Actually, the legal definition of negro has changed, uh, from time to time in this country. In Virginia, it&#039 ; s rightly gone, uh, uh, less and less, uh, &quot ; negro blood.&quot ; It is required to make a person legally a negro. Uh, it specified decreased the amount of negro blood which makes the person legally. Now, it&#039 ; s gotten to the point in Virginia (??) where any demonstrable (??) portion. (several laugh) (??) It started out as three-quarters something like. UNKNOWN: (??) THORNTON: I think our law also used to go as far as even if you&#039 ; ve got one-eighth of a drop of negro blood. I think that might even, something about the drops of blood might still read into the language because I remember once going into court. And the charge was that we sat in some place which was posted by law to be segregated, negroes and whites, in (??), and our attorney got up and said (??), &quot ; I want you to prove our client is negro.&quot ; Of course, we looked like we were and were from the United States, and some were clearly, you know, not obviously negroes and, um, he read out the statute. WARREN: Well, I can remember, too (??), my great-great grandfather with the whites. WHEELER: Mine, too. He fought in the Civil War. WARREN: Which side? THORNTON: Well, I won&#039 ; t tell you about mine. WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t know (??) THORNTON: My brother used to take some kind of--I don&#039 ; t know whether it was pride or anything, but he used to stir up the press. He used to say things like, you know, &quot ; One of my, um, relatives on my grandfather&#039 ; s side,&quot ; not too far down the line either. A few generations back, he said, &quot ; They just killed him right away.&quot ; They start sending me my equipment. &quot ; Is that your brother?&quot ; I know he always says that. And I just thought it was absurd when he started talking that way (??). I&#039 ; m sure everybody in Virginia would be shocked if they heard him say that, you know, whites from Virginia. WARREN: May I change the subject a little bit? James Baldwin says this, &quot ; The most stringent observers of the scene in the South, those who are embattled there&quot ; --that&#039 ; s you all--&quot ; feel that the Southern mobs are not the expression of Southern majority will. Their impression is that these mobs fill, as it were, a moral vacuum.&quot ; WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t believe that. I don&#039 ; t, I don&#039 ; t-- WARREN:--Ms. Wheeler? WHEELER: I have sat in, well, in jail in utter, um, um, just in fear, you know, (??) and when half of them, the whole group of people hate me that much. Um, and I mean, they were--I&#039 ; ve never seen (??), but everywhere I went down South, I would feel as if I had to (??) successfully have a press around me before I went down there. WARREN: Here being Washington, DC, you mean? WHEELER: And Detroit. WARREN: And Detroit. WHEELER: And Detroit. nice jail in Detroit (??) (several laugh) Um, everywhere I went I just had a continual--unless, unless I was high or--or, you know, just surrounded (??), I had a continual feeling that there was a white person around the corner waiting for me to step the wrong way to hit me. And, and I had no--I&#039 ; ve never feel like that- -that policeman was any--was an exception. I thought that he was the generalization of being (??), as being violent to people who lived on Oglethorpe Street or downtown, on the other side of downtown. And, um, um, I might not speak for, um, you know, I&#039 ; m really just speaking for me, but I never had a feeling when I talked to people, you know, who lived, uh, when I was canvassing trying to get congressional vote (??)-- WARREN:--where was this? WHEELER: In Albany, Georgia and Greensboro, Mississippi. And easy subject of conversation was, &quot ; Yeah, those white folks sure hate us,&quot ; and we could talk about that for hours. I don&#039 ; t think it was just--I don&#039 ; t think they thought it was just the mob. I really don&#039 ; t. I think they thought it was just every one of them that ever lived. THORNTON: I was kind of, too, on the other side, it seems the fashionable thing to--even if you had any kind of feeling, um, any good feeling about negroes or any feelings at all about their demonstrations, I suppose--it was the fashionable thing to keep it inside you and pray that, uh, something will change one day. I--I suppose I&#039 ; m really just, um, somehow imposing, empathizing with a white Southerner. I&#039 ; m just trying somehow. WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t think they need it. THORNTON: On the other side, um, thinking that if they had these feelings, and there might--in keeping with the author, there might be some majority, but the manifestations of this feeling, I mean, the feeling that&#039 ; s different from the, the mob, are so slight and so few and far between until a person within himself saying, &#039 ; God forgive me,&#039 ; or, um, saying, uh, &#039 ; If I wanted any soul,&#039 ; you know, knowing full well you helped everybody step on top every negro you saw on sight, it doesn&#039 ; t help. So, the more you do this kind of thing, the more guilt you get within yourself and, um, the, um, less of a chance there is for, um, the white individual to come across on the other side, I would think. And, of course, these things probably come up within the white person, uh, from his birth on up, I guess, even from within a society, he has learned a certain way, and most people are such social beings, they want to react, be just as their society demands. And few want to delegate so that if the mob is not representative in fact of what the majority of the people are, uh, the fact that the majority sits back and silently, uh, okays it or looks on and every once in awhile is ashamed and only when most blatant things happen says to itself, um, &#039 ; This has to change,&#039 ; and then on the other side (??) said, &#039 ; Oh, yes, it has to change, but you know, they are radical, far too radical.&#039 ; And, I mean, on one side he&#039 ; s hoping for the safety and security of what he knows to be white society, um, even if that means okaying the mob or sitting back silently and watching it happen. So that, um, if you&#039 ; ve got this feeling overall, it&#039 ; ll take, um, the manifestations of it aren&#039 ; t, aren&#039 ; t very, very encouraging, I would say. You&#039 ; ve got some people who would dare speak out against it. And, as natives, when they do usually they are ousted from the society, and the rest of the society realizes this so that the other souls who again would know of the examples. They know people that, in fact, have not been accepted into society, and it&#039 ; s just fashionable, uh, if this is any kind of majority feeling, not to manifest it. And when you don&#039 ; t manifest it-- WHEELER:-- (??)-- THORNTON:--yeah, you don&#039 ; t really have any sense of it. And I know, know people who say, uh, of course, in some cases it&#039 ; s the kind of thing that, um, an attitude or a kind of feeling which has grown up without any basis at all. For example, I remember once talking with some Southern white college kids who had--I mean, the kinds of things which happened in our little meetings were, white Southerners had never talked to a black Southerner. You know, kids who suddenly, uh, realized that, &#039 ; Well, this is a human being.&#039 ; You know? &#039 ; Everything I learned in my society--I used to stand back on the corner, too, and say, &#039 ; There goes a nigger.&#039 ; You know and &#039 ; get him&#039 ; and &#039 ; he&#039 ; s no good&#039 ; and &#039 ; yes, they&#039 ; re diseased&#039 ; and &#039 ; yes&#039 ; everything. Suddenly I realized that this is another man who thinks, um, and the kinds of feelings which well up into a person, but they are still in many instances victims of their society. They know and--they&#039 ; re practically (??). You know, they know what it&#039 ; s gonna mean if they dare to say to the mob, &#039 ; Go home. Don&#039 ; t do it today.&#039 ; You know, he might be mobbed along with the negro, and, um, those people talk about self-preservation, and this is one area where self-preservation really stands out. (??) quite big, so. WARREN: Let me just break in here a moment. Uh, uh, Ms. Thornton, when I, uh, sat by you at lunch back in November, the first thing--if my memory doesn&#039 ; t trick me--that you said was you had some uprooting for a settlement in the South. THORNTON: Yes. WARREN: That you--the white man and the negro had been on the land together. They had a common history which had some basis, uh, of a reasonable settlement, some human recognition in terms of this, this common history despite the, uh, violence of the present situation. You said this gave you some optimism for a settlement in the South to be reasonable. You also said--if I remember correctly, it was you saying so your memory would be better than mine on it--that you were frightened of big anonymous situations in, say, uh, Chicago, Detroit, New York. I can&#039 ; t remember which cities you named. THORNTON: Um-hm. WARREN: Is my memory playing me false on that? THORNTON: No. You&#039 ; re almost all correct. Almost, yeah. I was also thinking then in terms of the, um, something which, I guess, many Southerners have tried to--or people who call themselves Southerners (??)--have tried to placed their hands on--[telephone rings]--some people have segregated that as being-- [Pause in recording.] WHEELER:--gaining the ability, gaining the right to vote, you know. Isn&#039 ; t it really, um, (??) the adaptation for, um, the--for anybody white in a time when there was only a piano factory. And, um, say, you&#039 ; re smart in cleaning and so on. In a time like that if there are few jobs, it doesn&#039 ; t just a make sense that to, to just start off excluding 40 percent of the population to put yourself in a better position. WARREN: If you were in that situation, yes. WHEELER: (??) And that&#039 ; s not an unusual thing-- WARREN:--yes, but there&#039 ; s a great general argument that segregation has cost the country vast sums of money. THORNTON: We tell them, the country&#039 ; s own (??) is pretty concerned with preserving itself (??)-- WARREN:--all right. One little city in one little town, yes, but in the overall picture, uh, which would give an economic logic for integration rather than an economic logic for segregation. Now this is long before indicated (??) communicated this--a man is fighting for his job (??), you know, in that particular moment down the street. But this overall social argument is there, and I should hope that more and more people understand it that way. WHEELER: But again I think, I think it&#039 ; s more than just what&#039 ; s mentioned, that it&#039 ; s a, that we&#039 ; re talking about a local situation. WARREN: Yes. THORNTON: And if this man hasn&#039 ; t even been accustomed to cleaning outside of the dump or (??) certainly not outside of Mississippi but that&#039 ; s, that&#039 ; s conceptualized himself as part of the United States is quite a step, and to realize that there are other countries in the world that aren&#039 ; t necessarily bad, I think would be hard for most of them, well, for most of us. WARREN: Let me tell you what Mr. Evers said to me on such a recording session a few weeks ago. I asked him about Mississippi. Now I&#039 ; ll make it brief. He said, uh, &quot ; I have some optimism here. And the one thing, these segregationists, many of them are raised on some respect for courage that&#039 ; s in their tradition.&quot ; He said, &quot ; Once, once that they recognize that the negro is standing up and showing courage and facing him down, you have a kind of respect because there&#039 ; s a working basis for a settlement. There&#039 ; s respect for, uh, just, uh, straight, raw courage which is in their local tradition.&quot ; He said, &quot ; The other thing is, once he crosses the line and sits down to talk with you to make an agreement, he&#039 ; s probably going to tell you the truth.&quot ; He said, &quot ; I prefer dealing with him than any man I&#039 ; ve known who slaps you on the back and says, &#039 ; I&#039 ; m really on your side.&#039 ; &quot ; That&#039 ; s almost a direct quote from Mr. Evers, Charles. BLAIR: I agree with him on that statement. This is Izell Blair. I agree with him on that statement, in as much, when we started the sitting in movement in 1960, uh, we met the, uh, the mayor of Greensboro. We met, uh, representatives from, I think, from the Southern Region, Region Association, uh, associated with Woolworth&#039 ; s stores, and they told, these representatives and the mayor of Greensboro and these representatives from Woolworths told us that same thing. They were straightforward when they found out that we weren&#039 ; t, we weren&#039 ; t going to back down. They asked us--they told us that we were giving Greensboro a bad name so far as the sit-in was concerned and that this would hurt the city economically-wise, and we told them we weren&#039 ; t going to move. And then the gentleman told us, he said that he respected that--he came across, he told us, he said, &quot ; Look. We&#039 ; re not worried so much about you starting trouble.&quot ; He said, &quot ; What we&#039 ; re worrying about is, is the poor whites starting trouble.&quot ; He said, uh, uh, &quot ; You know, the fighting and so forth. We know that you&#039 ; re going to be nonviolent.&quot ; And then this was a great shock to me because this was the first time that I had ever come into contact with the middle-class or the upper, uh, upper white community admitting that--the poor whites would cause trouble, and this where I think, uh, he really came through in telling the truth on the matter. WHEELER: I&#039 ; ve got something to say here. BLAIR: Yeah. (laughs) I know that was the basis of it. This was a plot to keep the negroes and poor whites from apprizing each other, you know. This is, this was a plot. I realize that. THORNTON: Why can that be the truth then? BLAIR: But this, this is the first time I ever heard a white man admit, uh, to his guilt. He was admitting the truth, for one, once and for all he would admit this to us, you know, but he wouldn&#039 ; t go down in the white--the poor white section and tell the poor white people this, you see? WHEELER: Yeah, and he would tell the poor white people about you niggers. BLAIR: I know, I know. This is it. I realized what he was doing. THORNTON: But how does he come out with the truth, Izell (??)-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler. BLAIR: He was telling on himself. The way I figured he was telling on himself (??) WARREN: You could have fooled me. WHEELER: (??) It&#039 ; s an indirect telling on himself. BLAIR: An indirect telling on himself. WHEELER: That doesn&#039 ; t make it truth. WARREN: That, I&#039 ; m afraid, was not was Mr. Evers was talking about. WHEELER: (??) BLAIR: (??) WARREN: Just give me a second, I got to change tapes. This is the end of tape 2 of the conversation with Ms. Wheeler, uh, Ms. Thornton and, uh, Mr. Blair. See tape 3. [Tape 2 ends ; tape 3 begins.] WARREN: Conversation with, uh, Ms. Thornton, Ms. Wheeler, Mr. Blair, continue. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: You were saying once you--while changing tape, uh, Ms. Thornton--that America at least offered some, um, theoretical background for the improvement of society, is that right? THORNTON: Yes-- WARREN:--is (??)-- THORNTON:--yes, that&#039 ; s, that&#039 ; s quite true. And, and I was also saying that if the American black man does in fact achieve his goal here, I think that this actually strengthens, um, the theories of when this nation was founded. And also it strengthens, might strengthen what people are now talking of in terms of a lost ideology or a lost ideals, lost goals. In fact, it might even help to, um, reiterate, uh, what we have always, um, claimed to be true or what we&#039 ; ve always said is, is the nation&#039 ; s basis for existence. It might, um, help in fact to, um, bring America into the greatness which it truly could have in our modern times, as far as world leadership is concerned, as far as, um, the realization, um, as far as self realization is concerned, on, on an international level. WARREN: You mean the civil rights movement has the possibility of provoking some moral regeneration of American society in general, is that-- THORNTON:--yes-- WARREN:--paraphrases it. THORNTON: This, this I believe very very strongly. WARREN: Ms. Wheeler, you had something to say a moment ago. WHEELER: Um, I&#039 ; m especially concerned about, um, as a matter of fact it was a good while ago--of the idea that there were, um, good or bad (??) white people in the South, or courageous or not courageous negroes and so on (??). The whole idea of conceptualizing people and leaving it at that. And, uh, what I want to say is that both sides--cause, um, I&#039 ; m calling it a conflict between black and white people--uh, both sides of the conflict, um, use this idea of the mysterious, um, unwillingness to change on the part of the other one, to such an extent that often, it obscures, I think, their own ends, and, um, hurts. Now, uh-- WARREN:--could you be specific on that point please-- WHEELER:--yes-- WARREN:--an illustration. WHEELER: Yeah, I think that for--well, for me to say that, uh, the white Southern man has such a deep hatred for me that it will never change. Look he would rather, um, move out of town than live in a segregated town or let his child go to a--I&#039 ; m sorry live in a desegregated town, or let his child go to an integrated school. Um, I, I think when I do that I&#039 ; m, um, I&#039 ; m giving, maybe him some mysterious that a, that I don&#039 ; t even approach, uh--the possibility of me approaching him has been lessened by the mystery that surround him with. WARREN: As you give him a stereotype, too, is that it? WHEELER: Yeah. And I think similarly we are stereotyped-- WARREN:--indeed you are-- WHEELER:--I think everyone-- WARREN:--as you say-- WHEELER:--knows that the general stereotypes. Now what I am trying to say is that on both sides the stereotypes has to go because, um, it blinds us to avenues of action. That is, as long as, (??) and wondering why he hates me, I&#039 ; m not going to say, &#039 ; Well, whether he hates me or not he does want to keep his business open. Whether he hates me or not, he does want his child to get educated in some school. Now I think that, um, that when, when we start recognizing that, uh, we are being too mysterious about the whole thing--this is an idea which Howard Zen put forth in the, uh, American Scholar a couple months ago--uh, when we recognize that we are being so mysterious about the whole thing that we are losing track of what we are doing and--getting onto a, a track of, um, you know, of making the white man choose what&#039 ; s most important to him. And I&#039 ; m managing to go the other way around except I&#039 ; m more sympathetic to, in my direction. (laughs) Then-- WARREN:--you&#039 ; re stuck with that. WHEELER: Yeah. (several laugh) Then I think we&#039 ; ll have--we&#039 ; ll have put ourselves into a better bargaining position, and when we do get to that glorious time when we, when we have a problem of how to relate to white people in the South--and I think that&#039 ; ll be a long way away--then we won&#039 ; t have that mysterious cloak hanging around--uh, Howard Zen calls it the &quot ; Southern mystique&quot ; that won&#039 ; t even allow us to approach him. WARREN: Let me refer to, uh, uh, an article written some years ago in about &#039 ; 55 or &#039 ; 56 by Carl Rowan. And, um, in conversation with the same time, same period he said the same thing. That all the trouble in the South might be a dress rehearsal for the big show in the North. BLAIR: I agree with that. WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t understand it (??). BLAIR: I agree with that. WHEELER: Oh really. THORNTON: (??) WARREN: The big trouble, uh, the big trouble of, of, integration will come in the North. BLAIR: That&#039 ; s right (??). WARREN: That the Southern situation was a, was a dress rehearsal, might turn out to be a mere dress rehearsal for the big problem when the trouble starts. THORNTON: In other words-- WARREN:--this was ten years ago (??)-- THORNTON:--the more subtle problems that you have in the North really, um, what happens on stage down South in a sense-- WARREN:--I think he was referring to actual violence-- BLAIR:--that&#039 ; s right. WARREN: More potential in the North than in the South. THORNTON (??): More so than-- WARREN:--I think that&#039 ; s what he meant. BLAIR: I&#039 ; m agreeing with that. Izell Blair. WARREN: Yes, Mr. Blair. BLAIR: I agree that, uh, what&#039 ; s going on in the South now is, is actually a, a preview of what might happen in the North as a result of more negroes now living in, in the North and Western areas of the United States than in the South. I think only about--well, in the last, uh, ten years, or since 1941 about 51 percent of the negroes live outside the South nowadays. And most of them live in the North. Most of them, uh, who come from the South are not educated. Uh, they don&#039 ; t have the college degree. They&#039 ; ve gone to the North, uh, with the, uh, idea of the &quot ; glorious North,&quot ; or the, uh, the candy land where opportunities are bright and going there they find out this is only just a reverse. And many instances it&#039 ; s worse than what&#039 ; s in the South. And, uh, they are having to face up to realities now. And even with negroes having the right to public accommodations and so forth in the North, they stay out the face the problem of getting equal job employment on the basis of their ability to do a job and also of living in, uh, getting decent housing, uh, which in de facto actually in reality there is still segregated housing. And so many of them can&#039 ; t face up to this problem. Many of them can&#039 ; t meet, can&#039 ; t meet up to the educational standards which are needed to get decent jobs. And so you can/can&#039 ; t (??) expect in cities like Chicago, Washington, New York, or, or Philadelphia, or Los Angeles, and, and many other cities of this nature, over the next ten years, over populous, are still growing of the population of negro citizens, and, and as a result of this you can expect there to be more racial, I think, more racial imbalance and more racial conflict than there is in the South. Uh, I may be wrong in what I&#039 ; m saying but I&#039 ; d be willing to bet my top dollar on this. And I can say you can expect violence, at least more violence in the North than you can in the South. WHEELER: Let me, uh, let me say something-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler. WHEELER: Um, I think that, um, it&#039 ; s right that the negro in the North is not, um, in any kind of paradise. I think the negro has a bad time in the North because he&#039 ; s a negro. But I think that you have to admit the basic differences between the North and South and they tend to get obscured when people start talking about, uh, how when they went up there they lived in the ghetto and so on. I think that the fact that, uh, uh, a judge in Chicago couldn&#039 ; t give a girl, uh, eighteen months in jail and twelve months of hard labor for, uh, whatever it was--trespassing-- (??) or I can&#039 ; t remember the charge--I don&#039 ; t think he could get away with it in Chicago. WARREN: That&#039 ; s a real distinction, isn&#039 ; t it? WHEELER: I think it&#039 ; s a very big distinction. I think it&#039 ; s a distinction between a person being a person when he comes into court and a person being a block of--skin when he comes into court. When- -when you arrest, a negro arrested in the South is a negro whose going to pay a fine and go to jail, you know that. Alas it&#039 ; s not, alas true in the North either. (??) Sometimes it is. But take the Reed case in Connecticut. WHEELER: I don&#039 ; t know it. WARREN: You, well-- WHEELER:--I, I think--yes, yes-- WARREN:--well, you find (??) WHEELER: I believe it happens but I think, it couldn&#039 ; t--I couldn&#039 ; t have been raised with the idea that I was just as good as the man next-- well, he lives up a block away. (laughs) I couldn&#039 ; t have been raised with the idea that there was no difference between me and him, if I hadn&#039 ; t lived in the North, I don&#039 ; t think. It, it had never occurred to me that, that I was a negro, that, that being a negro meant anything until I came to Washington and got, you know, people started talking about it. I&#039 ; m--I&#039 ; m not trying to say in the North it&#039 ; s wonderful. I&#039 ; m just saying that the basic difference between North and South, and what I want to say further is that, um, the, the conflict you&#039 ; re talking about, the, the violent conflict and so on, uh, if it comes, it&#039 ; s going to be a nation conflict not just the North-- BLAIR:--well, I disagree (??)-- WHEELER:--I think that the things that people in the South are trying to do is get up, uh, you might say the negroes in the South would like to get up at least to the level that--that the negroes in the North are, and then we can all fight it out, but I don&#039 ; t believe it&#039 ; s going to be peculiar to the North. BLAIR: But--but realizing the negroes in the last, uh, decade or so, or since the World War II era drifted toward the city, and that negroes, uh, have sought the city as a refuge from, uh, suburban life in which they don&#039 ; t have too much chances, farms, and so forth. Uh, I realize that a definite power will be created instead of the problem being, uh, ameliorated or, or the problem lessened. There&#039 ; s going to be more of a problem for negroes who live in the cities, especially the large city areas, and that&#039 ; s what most of us are going into Washington, like I said, and Detroit, New York-- WHEELER:--what about mechanization of rural areas in the South, on the farm? BLAIR: Uh, uh, well, negroes to a certain extent aren&#039 ; t attracted to the farms anymore. I think they are going toward the cities-- WHEELER:--then they live in the cities, and the city is a common problem you&#039 ; re dealing with in the South and the North. BLAIR: It&#039 ; s a common problem in the South and the North but in the North more so to the extremes than in the South because negroes are just beginning to move to the cities. And, um, I must admit in the South, now negroes have a chance to own something. They have a chance to have something that&#039 ; s their own. They have a chance to spread out. To even own some property and so forth. Whereas in the North they are still cramped up in the rural housing and the buildings. Maybe I have a warped idea of the North but from living here in Washington, DC-- WHEELER:--I&#039 ; ve got grass around my house because I ain&#039 ; t got not money (??). BLAIR: I know, living in Washington, DC and seeing the situation, I cannot deal with much optimism as being, uh, uh, the best place for negroes to live. But, of course, home is home. (Wheeler laughs) And I would take a chance. I would live in the South than live in the--in the North, uh, considering all the situations and I know negroes get less payment in the South, but like I said before, I feel that there is a, uh, relationship between negroes and whites, um, when met at the tide or (??) that, uh, negroes and whites in the South will eventually work out their problems better than those in the North. I feel we are thirty years behind what&#039 ; s going on in the North. And eventually when we reach where the North is now, where the negroes and the white are in the North now, that, uh, that we would have a definite problem to meet. But I think that our problem will work out better because we know where we stand and that the New South which we will build up will be a South, I believe the South will rise again incidentally. UNKNOWN: (??) BLAIR: But this time I believe it will be with the negroes and whites on an equal basis, uh, solving, uh, their problems rather than, than just one ethnic or racial group being in the forefront. WHEELER: And I got a criticism. Oh, Lucy, go on-- THORNTON: Go on, Jean, cause if I talk it will be a long time. WHEELER: What I say, Izell, is, um, we&#039 ; ve fallen into a trap-- BLAIR:--yes-- WHEELER:--in the same way that nationalism I think is a trap for, for countries trying to achieve world piece. Um, um, a trap of, of maintaining the glory of the South or of the, uh, productivity and progress of the North. (??) negroes might end up in. Uh, I don&#039 ; t think it&#039 ; s significant that, you know, I mean I think it&#039 ; s significant that you can have a bad time in the North and you can have a bad time in the South. What I&#039 ; m trying to suggest is that, um, it&#039 ; s--it&#039 ; s the country really, you know. And--and I don&#039 ; t want to make it that general, but--the problem of automation is not the North&#039 ; s problem. It&#039 ; s, it&#039 ; s country&#039 ; s problem. Um, and when industry comes into the South (??), um, which, um, made us and other patterns to come to one town, take advantage of its tax exemptions, go on and leave, and go to another town, um, people are still jobless. People are going to be jobless- -people are going to be jobless when it&#039 ; s all over. The problems are going to be coming to the North and the South. Now, maybe the civil rights movement can speed up the pace at which the South has to face these problems but I believe they have to faced on a nationwide scale, and I believe any kind of fighting that&#039 ; s gonna be done is gonna be done on a nationwide scale, and incidentally I&#039 ; m not against fighting. BLAIR: Ahh, you--in a violent scheme now. Incidentally--this may not be in the interview--but, uh, several people themselves, the nonviolent movement as moving from a nonviolent scale to a violent scale, and I want to ask you all this question: do you feel that the present negro leadership now can hold off the negroes in the long run from retreating to violence? I mean like now, I&#039 ; m learning a law that a man who was attacked has a right to--to attack assailant (??)--(several laugh) --if there is fear of bodily harm, you know. Now this is a serious situation, no joke. Um, should negroes, if there, as a whole continue to take the nonviolent step or should we be like any other ordinary citizen, white, under the law, which he is in fear of bodily harm, and if he retreats to walk and can go no further, should he, uh, should he defend himself? Do you feel that this should happen? Do you feel that we should take, uh, maybe suits into court against the restaurant owners of a restaurant who use other persons to throw us out physically and maybe injure us? Uh, uh, to assault us, or cause damage, or, uh, battery to us? I think, Lucy, uh, Jean, how do you feel about it? THORNTON: Well, the only problem is I&#039 ; m going to really go astray. So, Jean, if you want an answer to that immediate problem I can say this that-- WHEELER:--I&#039 ; ve got an answer to that-- THORNTON:--to the most immediate problem--okay, good. Then I&#039 ; ll talk about both. WHEELER: I&#039 ; ve been talk-- WARREN:--yes, Ms. Wheeler. WHEELER: I&#039 ; ve been reading about revolutions and I&#039 ; ve sort of been disappointed because they are not mass things. (laughs) The, the mind of the people doesn&#039 ; t come together and--and try to right a wrong. Now I say, what a--any organized violence is going to be led, and we are going to be the ones that lead it. Now I think it&#039 ; s, I think there will be a conscious decision to--to change the tactics. It might not be all the, all the great leaders sitting in one room but I believe that, um, any, any change in the approach to the problem that has a wide, uh, effect is going to be a conscious decision on, on the parts of the people who take leadership roles, the agitators and so on. Now that&#039 ; s us and that&#039 ; s Martin Luther King and that&#039 ; s Abernathy and, and Wilkins and so on. So, I don&#039 ; t think that we have to worry so much about controlling violence. I think in, in one town to another there might be outbreaks that are, um, to the disadvantage of the movement because, you know, then, uh, everybody has trouble in court, and so on, and whatever. But I think that any large scale negro violent movement is going to be organized ; it&#039 ; s going to be somebody&#039 ; s fault. So I don&#039 ; t think we have to worry about controlling except for our individual problems with, with maintaining the organization as a civil rights movement in, uh, you know, Greensboro or what have you. Lucy? THORNTON: My comments will probably more in keeping with what we&#039 ; ve talked about for the last twenty minutes or the last half hour but anyway I think I&#039 ; ll probably encompass much of, um, we&#039 ; ve been saying at least what you&#039 ; ve said, Izell, and what you&#039 ; ve said, Jean. Um, but I&#039 ; d like to go all the way back to your comments, uh, as to what I said to you in November-- WARREN:--I was trying to reconstruct them. THORNTON: Yes. Back to that, um, my statements, of course, were very well rephrased by you but what I had in mind then is, um, a time which is not now unfortunately. It&#039 ; s a time when, um, when we in the South will have reached a point of mediation where negroes and whites can in fact sit down and say, &#039 ; This is how the South will be or this is how&#039 ; -- WARREN:--clearly not now. THORNTON: Clearly not now. Right. And I do think that we have some very strong things in our background which in fact could help us to, um, win a kind of victory which Izell has spoken of as being much different from what say when we do come up to the level of where Northerners are now. It might be a far better victory than Northerners now in fact have because the kinds of subtle, um, segregation on the kinds of subtle, um, leaving the negro out of society, um, would not, um, pervade as they do in fact now. Um, getting on though, that we do as Jean has alluded to have problems with the, um, &quot ; New Negro&quot ; in a sense because there is a large amount of impatience manifest throughout Northern and Southern negro because, um, of course, I guess it&#039 ; s part of the times really. You know, the man has fought a couple of wars side by side and he still doesn&#039 ; t have, um--when he comes home and there&#039 ; s no peace of mind he wants to know what in the devil did I fight for? Uh, you&#039 ; ve got more and more larger numbers of angry black men, and this is the kind of thing which is, um, not conducive to nonviolence. It is not conducive to, um, the kind of sitting down at a table and working with the basic things which we in fact have, so that this growing impatience unless things are worked out and worked out and worked out quickly, we&#039 ; ve got to set gradualism aside. We&#039 ; ve got to try, um, utilize what we in fact do have and if communication does not, um, I could say, again open up or does not, um, reach a better level in the South, uh, we might not ever be able to, uh, without the advent of violence, get to the point where, um, negroes and whites could sit and in fact mediate, come up with solutions, coming from a common bond which they in fact, uh, do have or which they might feel towards (??). Because now, more and more you can&#039 ; t blame a man for abandoning something which has never meant anything to him in the sense that it&#039 ; s always been a curse upon him, or you, uh, realize more and more that, um, the Southern, everything that I&#039 ; ve ever been taught, everything that I&#039 ; ve ever felt to be has come from something that has cursed me. Now I just want to get away from it as quickly as I can. Some people might still feel, &#039 ; I&#039 ; ll stay here and fight I&#039 ; ll try to change it,&#039 ; but basically, uh, the times are ripe for a man standing up and realizing that, um, even though there might be some things that I feel, um, or there might be a certain amount of understanding in me for what happens, or for what doesn&#039 ; t happen here, uh, I&#039 ; m alive now I&#039 ; ve got to live now I&#039 ; m impatient. And I can&#039 ; t wait for this kind of thing. And the more things happen, the further away a kind of victory that I&#039 ; d like to see, um, the further away this kind of thing becomes so that the impatience and, um, the feeling that if it takes violence okay, so we&#039 ; ll go to that. But these are also the kinds of things, which, uh, tend to, um, annihilate really the two groups. So that if you don&#039 ; t have--in the South, you don&#039 ; t have some very very quick, um, communication between the sides, the realization really on one side which might be right now thinking. Well, if they were just a little more gradual, you know. And if they wouldn&#039 ; t raise so much can, you know, or we&#039 ; re gonna give them some things, or it&#039 ; s coming due time. Instead of that there&#039 ; re a clear appraisal of what the situation is in the South, and really what the situation is in the nation and less of, uh, the attitude of, &#039 ; Oh, we&#039 ; re gonna fight this to the nail.&#039 ; Um, I think that, uh, we might really get much further along not only in our civil rights and in our present race struggles but as far as the whole nation&#039 ; s growth and welfare is concerned, you know. Izell? BLAIR: Oh, (??) I would said I would agree with you what you say, Lucy, but, uh, at same time (??), I think one of the main obstacles (??) that we have is, is the moderate in the, the civil rights struggle-- WARREN:--excuse me, the main what? BLAIR: I think one of the main obstacles that we have is the moderate in the civil rights struggle. He&#039 ; s the one who is never for violence. He&#039 ; s the one who always wants the community to return to normalcy, but at the same time, he doesn&#039 ; t want justice to, to prevail within the community. I mean, uh, he is the one--well, there was a time that the moderate was a good fellow. I think we need moderates, but I think at the same time we need a moderate in the community who&#039 ; s gonna say, &#039 ; Well, it is about time we come right, you know, for justice. Uh, we keep putting off, we keep giving the negroes tokenism, and tokenism and really even though we ask for a desegregation tomorrow, a freedom now, this is all we&#039 ; ll really get is tokenism. Each time, you know, after each movement we get a little bit each time.&#039 ; Now I feel this is what the movement is working on, tokenism. But I think unless something is done very seriously, that tokenism won&#039 ; t work. And I think the whole idea of, of the negotiations and everything to break down race discrimination in the community on a, on a wide level, on what we call across the border level it&#039 ; s really gonna break down. And when this does, I think we can expect the worse. Now, people say I&#039 ; m a, I&#039 ; m a pessimist ; I always look for the worst. But I look for the best. And I realize and even they ask for this across the board, discrimina--or, or across the board desegregation that we&#039 ; re gonna get tokenism each time. WARREN: Let me ask you question, Mr. Blair. If we come to violence, what&#039 ; s the consequence of violence? What is the, what&#039 ; s the expectation, or hope, or prediction for violence? BLAIR: Well, the way I can face it now that law is definitely against the negro in South. The balance would not work for us, even though in many instances it may, uh, it may be, uh, the answer to, um, many of the anxieties that negroes have, many of the frustrations which we have to, to really, uh, maybe vent our emotions against the whites (??) for many years. WARREN: It would be an emotional expression-- BLAIR:-- (??)-- WARREN:--but now--now what comes after that expression? BLAIR: If we had violence it would definitely be, uh, I think it would be against the movement, uh, unless there were some outside, outside aid from many countries, uh--uh, abroad to the desegregation movement. And I don&#039 ; t think we will get this from Panama from Cuba from anybody else. When it comes down to it negroes are prisoners within their own country and it&#039 ; s really going to be a fight that we have to stand alone. Uh, violence would not work, I don&#039 ; t think. It might work to a limited degree. We might get a, uh, a limited--we might get a limited, uh, answer or solution to our problem but if we use violence and we wheel that tact, which we don&#039 ; t have the weapons and everything to do, it will be, a, a--what you call a, like a massacre. It will be--we&#039 ; re outnumbered, number wise. We&#039 ; re outnumbered gun wise. We&#039 ; re outnumbered so far as the law is concerned because in most communities in reality and disregarded in the theory concerning the law, the police, which is supposed to be used to, to, uh, secure the community&#039 ; s peace, is really using it as for (??) to uphold segregation-- UNKNOWN:-- (??)-- BLAIR:--and if you look at the guards in Princess Ann (??) is a good example, in Birmingham. WHEELER: And what I think-- WARREN:--Ms.Wheeler. WHEELER: Um, I know the argument very well. That we are outnumbered, that, uh, it would be a massacre, and so on, and I, I agree with, and, and would plan in terms of our inability to, uh, really put up a good fight, but I say as soon as you start saying, &#039 ; We&#039 ; re beat before we&#039 ; re started,&#039 ; then the whole, um, the depth of what you&#039 ; re doing has been lessened because you are not willing to take it all the way. I personally am willing to take it all the way. If I get shot then I just have to get shot. And, um, I think if you have, I think as long as you say, &#039 ; Well, now, when my back is up against the wall, even though I can&#039 ; t win, I am going to fight anyway.&#039 ; As long as you let the, the--whoever&#039 ; s pushing you up against the wall know that, you have a much better chance of--of the in-between negotiations winning and maybe of when you are up against the wall and you stop, kicking back, maybe that will win, too. But, but I think that as soon as, that at the point in which negroes start saying, &#039 ; Well, we can&#039 ; t win anyway,&#039 ; they&#039 ; re very close to lost. BLAIR: Now I&#039 ; m not saying we can&#039 ; t win, Jean. I&#039 ; m saying that-- WHEELER:--I&#039 ; m saying don&#039 ; t let color, I mean let it color-- BLAIR:--no-- WHEELER:--but, but let your main, main working base, be I&#039 ; m in it all the way. BLAIR: I&#039 ; m in it all the way, true. But if violence came and I had no resort but to protect my home and my family, I would have to do this. I&#039 ; m not, uh--I don&#039 ; t read the same way Martin Luther King reads it. I read the whole civil rights, rights movement from political standpoint of view. I am not a minister, and I don&#039 ; t take the same views that many ministers take--the nonviolent attitude. I think it comes a time when a man has to stand up. And in America as--as it was brought out, people respect a man who is brave, who&#039 ; s brave, and who will stand up for a cause. Now, if this leads to violence, then I say let it come. Uh, as Franklin--Frederick Douglass said, &#039 ; Those people who would run away from violence are the ones (??) change, might as well be asking for (??). It&#039 ; s impossible for crops to grow without rain.&#039 ; It&#039 ; s impossible. You can&#039 ; t have the crops to grow without rain, you see. Or, you can&#039 ; t have the sea without its mighty roar. These things are impossible. And so, I say if violence comes, let it come. I&#039 ; m here. I&#039 ; m not going to stray away from it, but I don&#039 ; t advocate the situation. WHEELER: Now, I see--put it that way, I agree (??). [Pause in recording.] WARREN: This is the end, this is the end of this tape. No more on this tape, no more on this tape, this is the end, end, end, end, end. No more on this tape ; no more on this tape ; copy no more on this tape ; copy no more on this tape. This is the end on this tape ; copy no more on this tape. End, end, end, end, end ; copy no more on this tape. There&#039 ; s nothing else on this tape. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: There&#039 ; s nothing else on this tape. The rest of this tape is blank. Copy no more on this tape. [Pause in recording.] WARREN: This is the end of the third tape with Ms. Thornton-- [Tape 3 ends.] [End of interview.] All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries. audio Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections and Digital Programs, University of Kentucky Libraries. 0 2003oh020_rpwcr009_wheeler_ohm.xml

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“Stokely Carmichael, Lucy Thornton, Ezell A. Blair, Jr. and Jean Wheeler,” The Robert Penn Warren Oral History Archive, accessed August 14, 2020,