Whitney Young

Title

Whitney Young

Subject

African Americans--Civil rights
Race relations
African Americans--Segregation
Civil rights movements--United States
African Americans--Race identity

Description

Whitney Young, a civil rights movement leader affiliated with the National Urban League, discusses multiple issues facing African Americans during the 1960s. Young begins with the history of the National Urban League, and its contemporary role in the movement. Next, the historical events that led up to the culmination of the civil rights movement are listed. Whites and their recent participation in the movement is documented, as well as a discussion of W.E.B. Dubois' concept of the split in African American culture. An exploration of Young's writing and interpretations of it are also given. African Americans' financial contributions to the civil rights movement are illustrated. The American class system and how it relates to the problems of Blacks is investigated. Additionally, Young compares the situations of segregation in both the north and south. Young ends with discussions of American history, with an emphasis on the Civil War, newfound Black solidarity, and the challenges of integration upon the country.

Format

audio

Identifier

2003oh048_rpwcr037

Interviewer

Robert Penn Warren

Interviewee

Whitney Young

OHMS Object Text

5.1 2003oh048_rpwcr037 Interview with Whitney Young, April 13, 1964 2003oh048_rpwcr037 01:58:22 ohrpwcr Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Collection rpwcr001 Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries (Exhibit) African Americans--Civil rights Race relations African Americans--Segregation Civil rights movements--United States African Americans--Race identity National Urban League W.E.B. Dubois Assimilation Pluralism Equal opportunity Whitney Young Robert Penn Warren 2003oh048_rpwcr037_young_acc001.mp3 0 https://oralhistory.uky.edu/spokedbaudio/2003oh048_rpwcr037_young_acc001.mp3 Other audio 0 The National Urban League --on April thirteen. Young describes the National Urban League's purpose within the civil rights movement. Statistics on the league are given, including the race and average educational attainment of its employees. The league's role in policy-making (in all levels of government) is also emphasized. Corporate community ; Employees ; Equal opportunity ; Freedom Now ; Interracial ; Labor movement ; Laws ; National Urban League ; Opportunities ; Philosophy ; Policy-making ; Politics ; Private sector ; Professional organization ; Professionals ; Public sector ; Research ; Resources ; Solutions ; Standards ; Support ; Urban settings African American leadership ; African Americans--Civil rights ; African Americans--Politics and government. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Societies, etc. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Racism 17 218 Progression of the civil rights movement This leads us to a, a fundamental difference between, uh, your organization and, uh, some others and between your philosophy and some other philosophies of these matters. Young expresses his opinions on a quote by James Baldwin. This brings into account statistics upon the percentage of whites who are involved with the movement. Young also reveals that, as of now, whites are faced with the reality of the movement as it has come into the mainstream in recent years. Tensions resulting from these events are said to be positive and a motivation for social change. Active indifference ; Attitudes ; Boil ; Condescending ; Confrontations ; Consequences ; Decision-making ; Denial ; Fear ; Feelings ; Generalize ; Good will ; Hostile ; Ignorance ; Ill will ; Insecurities ; Integration ; James Baldwin ; National Urban League ; Organizations ; Philosophies ; Quotes ; Race relations ; Slums ; Spectator sports ; Status quo ; Subconscious ; Summary ; Tensions ; Vices ; Virtues ; Wall Street Journal African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 539 Historical context for the civil rights movement Taking that, uh, two ways from this point. Young discusses the historical events that influenced and led up to the current civil rights movement. Origins are traced to the upward mobility for African Americans following post-war economic growth. Principal events of the movement are documented, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and events at Tuskegee, both in Alabama. Abuse ; African independence ; Aspirations ; Byproducts ; Cold War ; Democracy ; Drive ; Education ; Forces ; Freedom ; Historical forces ; Impatience ; Misery ; Mobility ; Montgomery Bus Boycott ; National crises ; Pride ; Rosa Parks ; Sit-ins ; Technology ; Tuskegee ; Upward mobility ; World War II ; WWII African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; History ; Integration ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. ; World War, 1939-1945 17 747 Change in thought and culture It's the conception among negroes--or conceptions because I'm sure it's not one--of the role of the white man. Young explains African Americans' change in perception of whites following the civil rights movement. An example of this is the desire to remain within black culture regardless of income. This is opposed to the previous notion of emulating a white lifestyle when one acquires more money. Additionally, Young contemplates the concept of white culture as a positive connotation and value system. A desire to change culture to reflect inclusiveness is also described. Black Muslims ; Compassion ; Conformity ; Exclusiveness ; Goals ; Housing ; Humaneness ; Immaturity ; Implications ; Inclusive ; Integration ; Maturity ; Middle class ; Negatives ; Norms ; Organization ; Reverse ; Robes ; Standard of living ; Suffering ; Symbolism ; Symbols ; Synthesis ; Theory ; Truths ; Value systems ; Values ; White America ; White society African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Social life and customs. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 1152 Whites and the civil rights movement Let's take it, now, a little farther. Young talks of whites and their relationship to the movement. Included is white people's misconceptions of the movement's leaders. The typical leaders that whites support and believe in are explored as well. The concept of white guilt is briefly mentioned. Malcolm X and the separatist movement is found to be especially popular as well. Adam Clayton Powell ; Black Muslims ; Cassius Clay ; Celebrities ; Contact ; Contemporary American writers ; Crime ; Demagogues ; Entertainers ; Experiences ; Gas chambers ; Guilt ; Integration ; Intellectualism ; James Baldwin ; Ku Klux Klan (KKK) ; Leaders ; Malcolm X ; Masochistic ; Mass media ; Opportunity ; Perceptions ; Reactions ; Revolution ; Roy Wilkins ; Separatism ; Social implications ; Struggles ; Vicarious pleasure ; Welfare ; White liberals ; Whites ; Willie Mays African American leadership ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 1499 Dubois' split culture concept / Whites Is there one thing more, uh--back to Dubois, for instance. Dubois' concept of the split within the civil rights movement is explored. It is found that the black solidarity movement (connected with an African identity) was done out of necessity, and not only as a split from American culture. Preservation of black pride in the face of mainstream society is discussed. Criticism of the movement by whites is examined. Stereotypes of whites in the North and South are found to be the opposite of typical assumptions. Africa ; Bigots ; Chauvinism ; Conflict ; Cultural heritage ; Dilemmas ; Fair-weather friends ; Inconveniences ; Independence ; Liberals ; Methods ; Minorities ; Minority groups ; Nationalism ; Picketing ; Pride ; Solidarity ; Survival ; Techniques ; The Great Split ; W.E.B. Dubois African Americans--Race identity. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Social life and customs. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Poverty ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations 17 1959 Young's writing Let me take a phrase or two out of some of your writings that I have, uh, been reading. Young elaborates upon the notion of black responsibility. This includes the social institutions created by African Americans prior to the development of governmental programs. Factors that prevent Young from talking about this subject are also highlighted. Young details his March on Washington speech and one of the central messages within it. How the dynamics of a speech change when the audience is entirely black is explored as well. Young also praises how responsible African Americans have been through the years. Advisers ; Barriers ; Booker T. Washington ; Civil Rights Bill ; Communism ; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; Immigrant groups ; Indifferent ; Inhibited ; March on Washington ; Morals ; National Urban League ; Providing ; Quotes ; Resources ; Responsibilities ; Self-help ; Speeches ; Standards ; Unknown ; W.E.B. Dubois ; Welfare programs ; Whites African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; Speechwriting ; United States--Race relations. 17 2539 Black philanthropy / Quotes from a civil rights leader There's a question relating to that--to this list of facts which, uh, you have, uh, given. Young gives the reasoning behind the lack of black philanthropy to charities and civil rights organizations. One reason is the relatively small number of African Americans who have wealth, resulting from the aging of the first generation that attained a higher standard of living. The false notion of all conditions for African Americans improving following new civil rights legislation is explored. Young also assesses a quote from a prominent civil rights movement leader on segregation and integration. Agencies ; Busing ; Factors ; Health ; Illusions ; Inferior ; Influences ; Integration ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; Principals ; Responsibility ; Security ; Services ; Solutions ; Wealth ; World War I African Americans--Economic conditions. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Education ; Poverty ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. ; World War, 1914-1918 17 3012 Assimilation / Pluralism And if I remember correctly--uh, let me ask about another, uh--about another question he raises. Young ponders a quote from a civil rights leader on the assimilation of minorities. Young agrees with this notion, and supports integration and assimilation for African Americans. Young cites the experiences of black professionals who leave their former communities and are successful as support of this statement. An unnamed man briefly gives his opinion on Jewish people and other white minorities and assimilation. The advantages and disadvantages of assimilation on society as a whole are also examined. Young's ideal version of integration involving pluralism is discussed. Origins of segregation are speculated upon as well. Assimilation ; Conformity ; Diversity ; Inferiority ; Integration ; Irish ; Italians ; Jewish ; Legislation ; Minorities ; Premature ; Security ; Separation ; Solidarity African American leadership ; African Americans--Relations with Irish Americans. ; African Americans--Relations with Italian Americans ; African Americans--Relations with Jews. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Social life and customs. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Education ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 3674 Class in relation to race But the question is: how far? Young establishes the differing worlds of urban poverty with large black populations and suburbs that are virtually all white. Middle class African Americans are faced with the choice of continuing to live in the inner cities or improving their quality of life in the suburbs. The lack of alternatives to these two choices is emphasized. The widening of the gap between poor and rich African Americans is investigated. This concept in both the North and South is examined as well. Additionally, leadership of the movement within this context is discussed. Choices ; Cities ; Demagogues ; Ebony Magazine ; Escapism ; Gaps ; Ghettos ; Income ; Lower class ; Mass media ; Middle class ; Money ; Northern United States ; Pride ; Solidarity ; Southern United States ; Suburbs ; Symbolism ; Unemployment ; Wealth African American leadership ; African Americans--Economic conditions. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Southern States. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Culture ; Economics ; Poverty ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 4236 Malcolm X / Adam Clayton Powell What do you think of the remark that one encounters now and then that the people who should be most alarmed about Malcolm X... A quote about Malcolm X is briefly mentioned. The reactions of African Americans and whites to Malcolm X are also documented. Next, Young interprets a quote from Adam Clayton Powell on civil rights leadership. Young expresses that Powell is displacing his frustrations on a lack of attention to his work for the movement. Powell's future use of political power is examined. Why African Americans are quick to defend Powell and Malcolm X is discussed. Additionally, the March on Washington and its organization are praised. Demagogues ; Despair ; Entertainment ; Frustration ; Hatred ; Malcolm X ; March on Washington ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; National Urban League ; Separatism ; Society ; Status ; Whites African American leadership ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 4674 White associations Tell me this: how much liability, uh, has the, uh, white affiliation of the Urban League and NAACP been, do you think? Whites and their association with prominent movement organizations is discussed. The impact of this upon the black supporters is described. Young emphasizes the interdependence between white and black society as a justification for white involvement with the groups. The varying roles of white liberals throughout the movement are documented. Criticism of white liberals' inconsistencies in the movement are illustrated. A possible change in the Northern, white attitude is also mentioned. Americans ; Cooperation ; Extensions ; James Baldwin ; Legislation ; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) ; National Urban League ; Preferential treatment ; Social reforms ; Society ; Solidarity ; Vulnerable ; White liberals ; Whites African American leadership ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 5335 Segregation compared in the North vs. South Do you find any truth in the speculation made, uh, by a good many negroes in the South... Young speculates that the South will have an easier time getting along once segregation is eliminated. This is because, according to Young, there are more commonalities between white and black Southerners than Northerners. Whites in the North also tend to have very little contact with African Americans compared to Southern whites. The lack of diversity in New York City public school principals is investigated. Possible reasons for this are described. &quot ; Colorblind&quot ; ; Consciousness ; Exams ; Hate ; Ignoring ; Inferiority ; Jobs ; New York City (N.Y.) ; Northern United States ; Principals ; Separate ; Southern United States African American leadership ; African Americans--Education. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; African Americans--Southern States. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 5587 Quotas / Employment I know you are opposed to the quota system in hiring and, uh, in other things. Young gives his opinions on the quota system. Young says that privately, these policies are okay in the context of organizations that label diversity as one African American working there. Quotas in housing projects are also supported by Young privately. Next, Young declares the need for equal opportunity employment for African Americans. &quot ; Benign quotas&quot ; ; Employment ; Free movement ; Integration ; Private opinions ; Quota systems ; Unemployment African Americans--Employment. ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 5858 White liberals I wanna get back to a point that, uh-- An unnamed man discusses white liberals and their true level of support for the movement, which came into question following increased radical protests in the North. Additionally, Young highlights whites' use of these new protests as a scapegoat to cease supporting the movement. The incorrect focus of the whites on very few people in the movement instead of the suffering that African Americans endure is established. Lastly, whites' criticism is found to be harsh and contains no suggestions to fix the supposed problems. Adam Clayton Powell ; Block voting ; Confrontation ; Diversion ; Double standards ; Emphasis ; Fright ; Indictment ; Malcolm X ; Northern United States ; Plights ; Politicians ; Preferential treatment ; Restraint ; Suffering ; Tactics ; Victories ; White liberals African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Poverty ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 6212 Historical events and people Let me change the subject back, uh, to something else for a moment. Young considers and agrees with a statement on a hypothetical, improved Reconstruction of the South following the Civil War. Young also analyzes the realities of Reconstruction. The morality of slavery before the time of Reconstruction is also investigated. Young expresses his opinions on former U.S. presidents Jefferson and Lincoln. Lincoln's abolition of slavery and the circumstances surrounding it are examined. Judging historical figures in the context of their lifetimes is accentuated. Lastly, a historical anecdote from the Civil War is shared, along with the importance of history in general. Abraham Lincoln ; Carpetbaggers ; Compensation ; Compromise of 1877 ; Distribution of land ; Expropriation ; Inferiority ; Payments ; Politics ; Realistic ; Reconstruction ; Slavery ; Society ; Thomas Jefferson African American leadership ; African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; History ; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 --Views on race relations ; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Views on slavery ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865. ; United States--Race relations. 17 6737 Solidarity / Integration Let me read you a quotation from, um, Myrdal's collaborator. Young examines a quote on the effects of group solidarity on African Americans. Young believes that this movement is beneficial when promoting equality to African Americans and to the larger civil rights movement as a whole. The reaction of whites to black solidarity is a determining factor in the degree of social change possible. Secondly, an unnamed man and Young describe the tendency of American society to act after events occur, not before. Lastly, how the United States handles integration is said to be a test upon the inherent nature of the country itself. Actions ; Barometers ; Chauvinism ; Equality ; Inevitable ; Inferiority ; Institutions ; Integration ; Nationalism ; Positive ; Problems ; Reactions ; Solidarity ; Temporary ; Tests ; Toleration ; Whites African Americans--Segregation ; African Americans--Social conditions. ; Civil rights movements--United States ; Education ; Race discrimination. ; Racism ; United States--Race relations. 17 interview Whitney Young, a civil rights movement leader affiliated with the National Urban League, discusses multiple issues facing African Americans during the 1960s. Young begins with the history of the National Urban League, and its contemporary role in the movement. Next, the historical events that led up to the culmination of the civil rights movement are listed. Whites and their recent participation in the movement is documented, as well as a discussion of W.E.B. Dubois' concept of the split in African American culture. An exploration of Young's writing and interpretations of it are also given. African Americans' financial contributions to the civil rights movement are illustrated. The American class system and how it relates to the problems of Blacks is investigated. Additionally, Young compares the situations of segregation in both the north and south. Young ends with discussions of American history, with an emphasis on the Civil War, newfound Black solidarity, and the challenges of integration upon the country. No transcript. 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 be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries. 0 http://www.nunncenter.net/ohms/render.php?cachefile=2003oh048_rpwcr037_young_ohm.xml 2003oh048_rpwcr037_young_ohm.xml https://oralhistory.uky.edu/catalog/xt7pvm42vb4w

Interview Keyword

National Urban League
W.E.B. Dubois
Assimilation
Pluralism
Equal opportunity

Sort Priority

0029

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Files

w_young_sm.jpg


Citation

“Whitney Young,” The Robert Penn Warren Oral History Archive, accessed December 6, 2019, https://www.nunncenter.net/robertpennwarren/items/show/121.