Doris Adelaide Derby oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Atlanta, Georgia, 2011-04-26.
DD: So, I enjoyed that. During that time, uh, Adam Gifford from England, uh, was hired to make a movie, a documentary film, about that Head Start. They chose that Head Start center, and then, I was the lead teacher in that. The movie was called Chance for a Change, and they had different versions of it that they used for different reasons.
JM: Let me ask about, um, uh, [1:30:00] a next major, um, initiative that you undertook and were involved with for a number of years through the late ’60s, [clears throat] and that was the [clears throat] the Poor People’s Corporation, excuse me, and its connection, then, to its elements, including, um, Liberty House and Southern Media.
DD: Well, the Poor People’s Corporation was an umbrella organization to promote, especially to promote, uh, economic development, um, opportunities. So, um, one of the things that it had, um, that it promoted was the establishment - promoted and facilitated the establishment of cooperatives. Um, the majority of them were handcraft cooperatives. Uh, there were a few farmers’ cooperatives. And we provided assistance to people who wanted to start cooperatives. And so, it would be, um - they might be started by a group of individuals or by one of the grassroots organizations in a particular area. Um, so several - just promoting the atmosphere of self-help and cooperation, working together, uh, that was a move, a movement, really, that took hold in Mississippi and in Louisiana and in Georgia.
The Poor People’s Corporation, uh, started the handcraft cooperatives and the Liberty House, uh, marketing. We saw that if people are going to, uh, produce crafts, handcrafts, they have to have access to raw materials to buy in quantity. Then there has to be a place to store the raw materials and the finished goods. There has to be a place to keep the business aspect. Then there has to be an arm for marketing. So, all of that, we decided to have that - that was going to be in Jackson.
Um, the handcraft cooperatives were established throughout the state. Um, we had certain minimum requirements for persons who wanted to establish a co-op. One of the things I did - there were a handful of us - one of the things that I did was to, uh - we worked through SNCC, uh, offices in other parts of the state. And they knew that we would send someone to, uh, a group - meet a group of people who thought they would like to start their own co-op. Okay, so I would go out and talk to people, uh, “Okay, we need to have at least ten people to start this co-op. And you’ll have to have a little bit of seed money, and you’ll have to find a place, and here are some of the things that you’d have to do,” and so on.
JM: [Coughs] Excuse me.