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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

The long civil rights movement: the South since the 1960s

Repository: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Southern Oral History Program

Collection Description (Extant): Under the leadership of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, the Southern Oral History Program launched a major new initiative, "The Long Civil Rights Movement: The South Since the 1960s." This project collects interviews with men and women who in the years following the sit-ins and protests of the 1960s fought to keep the doors of equal opportunity open and to extend the civil rights struggle into new arenas. The interviews for this project document activism in a wide range of communities across the South. Intensive field work sites include: Charlotte, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Louisville, Ky.

The interviewing for this project generally focuses on three main areas of civil rights activism: 1) Race and the Public Schools: In most southern communities, school desegregation did not reach significant levels until more than 15 years after the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. These interviews consider how the process of school integration--and more recent trends toward resegregation--have transformed southern communities. Many interviewees share memories of the segregated schools of the Jim Crow era and reflect on what was both gained and lost in the process of school integration. 2) Economic Justice: Even as the popular media in the 1970s and 1980s hailed the South as the nation's new hotspot of growth and opportunity, a broad range of activists drew attention to the limits of Sunbelt prosperity. This series captures the voices of those men and women by examining movements for affordable housing, residential integration, equal employment opportunity, labor organization, welfare rights, and environmental justice. An additional series of economic justice themed interviews looks at those who mobilized in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and confronted anew the region's enduring inequalities. 3) Gender and Sexuality: The South played critical, if contradictory, roles in shaping the women's movement and the gay liberation movement. It was during the South's black freedom movement of the 1960s that many second-wave feminists and gay rights activists first gained experience as grassroots organizers and extended the goals of freedom and equality to questions of gender and sexuality. Yet the South also earned a national reputation for its organized resistance to the Equal Rights Amendment and gay rights initiatives. These interviews look at second-wave feminism and gay rights activism in the South and how both movements were inflected by issues of race and class.

The interviews in the "Long Civil Rights Movement" collection are organized according to both location and the chief area of civil rights activism discussed. Yet since the movements of the "Long Civil Rights Movement" often overlapped in time and leadership, users of the collection should be aware that many interviews speak broadly to the civil rights landscape of the post-1960s South.

SERIES U.1. INDIVIDUAL BIOGRAPHIES: This collection of interviews contains oral history interviews unaffiliated with specific projects. Currently, the collection includes three interviews. The first is with Philip E. Bazemore of Union County, N.C., regarding his charge against the state of North Carolina relating to discrimination against African American county extension agents. The interview also discusses the role of county agents; racial politics in Union County, N.C.; and Bazemore's career as a public official. The second interview is with Abie Wilson, Director of the Williamsburg Arts Council in Kingstree, South Carolina. The main focus of the interview is the Southern Negro Youth Congress. Wilson also discusses growing up in South Carolina and his family history. The third is with Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, long-time civil rights activist who has been active in the African American freedom struggle since the early 1960s. Chavis Muhammad discusses his family history, childhood protest activities, and student activism at Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C., and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The fourth interviewee is Anton Gunn (three interview numbers), who discusses his role in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign as well as his upbringing and family relationships in the South as a member of the "Hip-Hop Generation."

SERIES U.2. SCHOOL DESEGREGATION IN ROBESON COUNTY, N.C.: Interviews focusing on the process and challenges of tri-racial school desegregation in Robeson County, N.C. Interviewees discuss the internal political dynamics of the Lumbee and Tuscarora Indians of Robeson County, as well as black and white, white and Indian, and black and Indian race relations. While these interviews focus broadly on school desegregation, they also range over multiple facets of the civil rights movement in Robeson County, 1954-1988. The mechanics of segregation and desegregation, interviewees' experiences in a tri-racial community, and present-day attitudes are discussed.

SERIES U.3. SCHOOL DESEGREGATION IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.: Interviews focusing on daily life in Birmingham, Ala., schools in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, with an emphasis on the first years of student and faculty desegregation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Interviewees include students, administrators, onlookers, and a civil rights attorney, but most are with former teachers within the Birmingham Public School System. Experiences in elementary and high schools are examined, and some interviews give a broad perspective on school desegregation and the scope of Birmingham history in this period generally. Interviewers include Willoughby Anderson, Kimberly Hill, Timothy McCarthy, and Joseph Mosnier.

SERIES U.4. SCHOOL DESEGREGATION IN LOUISVILLE, KY.: These oral histories, conducted by David P. Cline, Elizabeth Gritter, Timothy P. McCarthy, and Joseph Mosnier examine school desegregation in Louisville, Ky., with a focus on the impact of court-ordered busing beginning in the fall of 1975. At that time, Louisville also merged its city and county school systems; local law required this action because the city school system had gone bankrupt. Though Louisville was famous in 1956 for its peaceful, "successful" integration of the city schools, the schools had re-segregated. The advent of busing sparked widespread violence and opposition, and countless articles at the time compared the city to Boston, Mass. These oral histories are largely of administrators, teachers, and students who experienced busing, but also include such other figures as pro-busing activists and a national guardsman who rode the buses with the students. Each interview subject describes his or her assessment of busing. The interviews also cover a range of other topics, including segregated Louisville, school desegregation efforts in 1956, connections between social movements, and the impact of class on education.

SERIES U.5. MEMPHIS CIVIL RIGHTS AND POLITICS: Interviews focusing on politics and the civil rights movement in Memphis, Tenn., in the 1950s and 1960s. More broadly, these interviews cover the national civil rights movement, Memphis from the Edward H. Crump era until 2004, and southern and national politics. Topics include black electoral mobilization, the sit-in movement, the John F. Kennedy administration, local civil rights leaders and grassroots organizers, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People nationally and locally, and women's political involvement. Interview subjects range from white male political leaders to black female grassroots activists, from a lawyer who defended the city against the NAACP lawsuits to the NAACP lawyers who carried them out. Interviews were recorded by Elizabeth Gritter, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who used them for her masters thesis.

SERIES U.6. REMEMBERING BOMBINGHAM, REMAKING BIRMINGHAM: Interviews are part of research by Willoughby Anderson on the legacy of the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Ala. Interviewees include community leaders, attorneys connected with the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing trials, individuals involved in municipal government, and other citizens of Birmingham. The interviews are in general life history format and focus on school desegregation, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, the 1977 Chambliss trial (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing trial), the 1979 election of Richard Arrington, the creation of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in 1992, ongoing race relations in the city, and the 2000 and 2001 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing trials.

SERIES U.7. ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN CHARLOTTE, N.C.: These oral histories broadly explore economic justice in Charlotte, N.C., focusing on the period from the 1960s through the 1990s. They address labor activism, community activism, racial discrimination in employment, the civil rights movement, politics, law, and the struggle for access to affordable housing, all within the broader context of desegregated work environments and post-segregated Charlotte. Other topics include the health care field, increased educational opportunities for African Americans, and recent social and economic trends within Charlotte. Some cover the time period prior to the 1960s and give a picture of life during the Jim Crow era. The oral history of James Knox Polk Sr., an African American, takes a life history approach and includes a discussion of sports. The interviews with Sarah Coleman, Doretha Davis, Thereasea Elder, Dorothy Howell, Gerald Johnson, Thomas Moore, Beatrice Thompson, and Clara Williams examine corporate desegregation. Thompson and Williams, early entrants into the field of broadcast journalism and television shows, and Davis, who may have been the first African American saleswoman in a white establishment in Charlotte, uncover their memories of racial and gender discrimination. Thomas Moore assesses the impact of church integration in Charlotte.

SERIES U.8. ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN LOUISVILLE, KY.: The first 18 interviews, conducted by David P. Cline, focus on the Park Duvalle neighborhood over time and the impact of industrial pollution on Louisville's poorer communities. The Park Duvalle neighborhood, located on Louisville's west side, has long been home to a majority African American population; at one time the area was known as Little Africa. Urban renewal brought two large public housing projects to the area: the Southwick Homes and the Cotter & Lang Homes. The projects and the Park Duvalle neighborhood in general became known throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and into the 1990s as the locus of much of Louisville's crime and most of its drug traffic. The housing project was razed at the end of the 1990s and replaced with mixed-income public and private housing called the Villages at Park Duvalle. Park Duvalle was also the site of a War on Poverty-funded medical center and neighborhood center developed in 1969, both of which successfully operate today. Park Duvalle is one of several neighborhoods that bear the brunt of the airborne industrial pollution from the city's chemical and rubber plants, mostly located in the area known as Rubbertown. Each interview subject describes his or her impressions of the changing face of poverty and community involvement in the Park Duvalle neighborhood and the relationship of race to poverty and environmental pollution. The interviews cover not only those subjects but also a range of other topics, including segregated Louisville, school desegregation efforts, connections between social movements, and the ongoing struggle for complete civil rights. A second group of interviews, conducted by Sarah Thuesen, explores the work of economic justice activists in Louisville, Ky., since the 1960s. With one exception, the dominant theme is labor union activism in Louisville. As Louisville experienced industrial decline in the 1970s, the health care sector became an increasingly vital source of employment and labor activity. Several interviewees played leading roles in the locally based Nurses Professional Organization and its efforts to organize nurses in Louisville since the late 1980s; another interviewee organized for several unions. There is also an interview chiefly focused on housing and the women's movement. Other themes in many of these interviews include the black power movement, school desegregation, and the role of race in southern politics.

SERIES U.9. ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.: These interviews are part of the economic justice series, and the interviewees are activists, union organizers, lawyers, ministers, and long-term residents of Birmingham, Ala. Some interviewees discuss local poverty, neighborhood transition, and efforts to revitalize African American neighborhoods and defend workers' rights over the past 40 years; others discuss the evolution of labor union activism in Birmingham since the late 1960s and the recent emergence of an immigrant rights movement relating to Hispanic Americans in Birmingham.

SERIES U.10. HILLSIDE HIGH SCHOOL: These interviews were conducted by Gerrelyn Chunn Patterson as part of her research for her dissertation, Brown Can't Close Us Down: The Invincible Pride of Hillside High School (University of North Carolina, 2005). Patterson, who attended Hillside High School in Durham, N.C., 1972-1975, interviewed other Hillside alumni about the historically African-American high school during school desegregation. Interviewees represent alumni from the 1950s to the 1970s, some of them teachers at Hillside at the time of the interviews. The interview with Evalee Parker discusses the experience of a white student at the school in the 1970s.

SERIES U.14. PRESERVING THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN PAMLICO COUNTY, N.C.: This series is an oral history and photography project that documented the history and heritage of Pamlico County, N.C., from 1930 to 1965. It includes oral histories with elderly citizens of Bayboro, Oriental, Florence, Arapahoe, Mesic, Maribel, and Grantsboro, N.C. Segregation is discussed in many of the interviews.

SERIES U.15. ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN CHARLESTON, S.C.: These interviews, conducted by Kieran W. Taylor in summer of 2008, examine economic justice issues in Charleston, S.C., since the 1960s. They explore a 1969 hospital strike with participants and political figures; a racial discrimination lawsuit against BellSouth; local and national politics, including Barack Obama's candidacy in the 2008 presidential election; desegregation and other challenges in public and higher education; the NAACP in South Carolina; and the grassroots activism of economic justice advocates.

Access Copy Note: Some interviews are restricted or closed as noted in the finding aid.
Interview transcripts are CLOSED while they are being digitized. Please contact the The Southern Historical Collection for more information.
If an interview has been transcribed, researchers should quote from the transcript. If no transcript is available, reference to material in the interview should be taken from the audio recording. Some interviews have restrictions imposed by the interviewees or interviewers; restricted interviews are clearly marked. Researchers may, for example, be required to obtain written permission from the interviewee or interviewer to quote from the interview.
Use of audiotapes or videotapes may require production of listening or viewing copies.

Collection URL: External Link

Digital Status: Yes

Existing IDs: Collection Number: 04007 U

Extent: 342 items

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Philip E. Bazemore, Abie Wilson, Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, Young H. Allen, Martin L. Brooks, James Dial, Cecil Hunt, Elisha Locklear, James Arthur Jones, Mac Legerton, Carnell Locklear, Robert Lee Mangum, Luther Harbert Moore, James Moore, Barry Nakell, Henry Ward Oxendine, Willa V. Robinson, Gerald Sider, Bruce Jones, Purnell Swett, Angus Thompson, Sr., Frank E. Adams, Jr., Frank E. Adams, Sr., James Armstrong, Julie Armstrong, Una Battles, Craig Battles, Peggy M. Benefield, Dorothy Elizabeth Brown, Geraldine Bell, Washington Booker, U. W. Clemon, Dorothy Craig, Solomon Crenshaw, Willie Mae Crews, Leda Dimperio, Lillie Fincher, Cleopatra Goree, Ethel H. Hall, Helen Clorinda George Heath, Harry Hopkins, Bessine Jones Ingram, Joy Kemper, Edward LaMonte, Edward LaMonte, Tondra Loder, Carol Poe, Linda S. Ross, Pamela Holcombe Thompson, Glennon Fletcher Threatt, Virginia Volker, Raquel M. Williams, Yvonne Williams, Frances Bloom, Dennis Bricking, Robert M. Cunningham, Raoul Cunningham, Michael L. Daniel, Sheri Duff, Darnell Farris, Benetha Ellis, Bonita Marie Emerick, Georgia Eugene, Dawne Y. Gee, Michael B. Gritton, June Mildred Hampe, George W. Jansing, Vincent H. Jarboe, Laura Kirchner, Helen Longley, Clint Lovely, Philip Lawrence Mahin, Joseph McPherson, Doris Miller, Kenneth L. Miller, Bernard Minnis, Jane Froh Ramsey, Don Randolph, Diane Robertson, Kenneth George Rosenbaum, Charles Rich Summers, Deanna Shobe Tinsley, Linda Turner, Carman Weathers, Daniel Withers, Jennie Mary Betts, Josephine Wainman Burson, Fred L. Davis, Lewis R. Donelson, III, Jimmie Wall Farris, John T. Fisher, Samuel B. Hollis, James Hunter Lane, Jr., H. T. Lockard, Henry Gregg Loeb, William N. Morris, Jr., Charlie Simpson Peete, Johnnie Mae Peters, Thomas R. Prewitt, Sr., Anne Whalen Shafer, Pete (Thomas E.) Sisson, Maxine Atkins Smith, Vasco Albert Smith, Russell B. Sugarmon, Jr., Helen Goldstrom Wax, Lillie Jones Wheeler, Bill Barclift, Bill Baxley, Douglas Carpenter, Arthur Hanes, Jr., Alan Heldman, Sr., Bill Ricker, Odessa Woolfolk, Al Allison, Jesse Atkins, Alfreda R. Barringer, Pressly Franklin Beaver, Nancy Lee Berry, William Moore Brawley, Napoleon Bonaparte Chisholm, Lewis Cardenal Coleman, Annie Harrell Cox, Adrienne White, Doretha Roseboro Davis, Florine B. Dennis, Paul Wayne Drummond, Thereasea C. Elder, Diane English, Annie R. Bradley Fiadjigbe, Ted Fillette, Betty M. Fleming, Pat Garrett, Bert Green, Shirley Lucille Hailey, Girvaud Justice, Dorothy G. Howell, Nancy Simpson Hudson, Gerald Oren Johnson, Hoyle H. Martin, Mary Campbell Martin, Mary Carol Michie, Carol Simpson Miller, Thomas Lewis Moore, James Knox Polk, Sr., Gus Psomadakis, Rosetta Joseph Robertson, James Lewis Ross, II, Hattie Scott, Beatrice Thompson, Thomas Malik Brown Tillman, Clara Little Williams, Marvin Wilson, Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, Margie Ann Thompson Worthy, Tim Barry, Melvin D. Bethel, Sherman L. Biddix, Eboni Neal Cochran, Mark K. Gray, Earl J. Hartlage, Lula B. Hodges, Benetha Ellis, Georgia Eugene, Charlie Hunton, Mattie Jones, Mattie Mathis, Tom Moffett, Sterling Neal, Jr., Henry Owens, Manfred Reid, Alice Wade, Ira Grupper, Ann Hurst, Suzy Post, Joanne Sandusky, Kay Gemma Ziegler Tillow, Scott Douglas, III, Parnell J. Jones, Jr., Willie Mae Jones, Martha Jane Patton, Albert H. Rohling, Annie Marguerite Bascomb Warren, Roger A. White, Robert L. Wiggins, Jr., Abraham Lincoln Woods, Jr., Angela Wright, Charles Boyd, Willie Carghill, Winston Thomas, Chris H. Doss, Jack Drake, Dorothy Farrior, E. B. Rich, A. D. Thomas, Larry Locke, Andrew Broadnax, Al McCullough, Mary Moore, Helen Rivas, Isabel Rubio, Guy Tipton, Gwendolyn Curlee Chunn, Yolanda E. Ford, Minnie M. Forte, Barbara P. Foskey, Sterlin Holt, Eleanor Johnson, Beverly Washington Jones, Jeanne H. Lucas, Valerie J. Miller-Cox, Elton M. O'Neal, Evalee S. Parker, James E. Pointer, Heshima Pugh-Du Ewa, Jackie Robinson, Ellis H. Smith, Barry Stanback, Carolyn Thornton, Jacqueline Williams, Marva Shuler, Erma S. Bell, Kenneth M. Bell, Sr., Vernon Cooper, Elnora K. Finch, Frederick W. Fisher, James Jacob Fulcher, Sabia Ruth Gibbs, Siddie Cooper Green, Joseph O. Himbry, Jr., Sadie Ollison McGlone, Eula Felton Monk, Kenneth Bell, Ida Bell Ollison, Neva Jones Roberson, Annie Rachel Squires, Julia Ann Jones Squires, Roosevelt Stokes, Jr., Charlie Styron, Johnie Tripp, Cody Z. Ushry, Joseph A. Darby, Linda Dingle Gadson, Theodore R. Lewis, Morris David Rosen, James E. Sanderson, William J. Saunders, Dorothy Simmons Scott

Rights (Extant): When the copyright has not been assigned to the University of North Carolina, copyright is retained by the interviewers/interviewees, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


African American students
African Americans--North Carolina
Civil rights movements--Alabama
Civil rights--Economic aspects
School integration--Alabama--Birmingham
School integration--Kentucky--Louisville
School integration--North Carolina


Sound recordings


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