The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Delene Case interviews
Repository: University of South Alabama. Archives
Collection Description (Extant): Nine oral interviews with individuals who participated or assisted with the Neighborhood Organized Workers (NOW) and/or other civil rights organizations in Mobile during the 1960s and 1970s. The interviews are recorded on cassette tapes and transcriptions are included in the collection. These interviews were part of Ms. Case's research for her M.A. thesis, "'Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around': The Black Freedom Struggle in Mobile, Alabama, 1902-1969" (University of South Alabama, 2004).
Short Biographies of People Interviewed by Delene Case, 2003-2004
Dora Finley is the daughter of James and Joycelyn Franklin Finley. Her father became vice-president of the Neighborhood Organized Workers (NOW) in 1968. Dora was a student at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic High School at the time, and she participated in NOW's protests. While in high school, Dora also worked closely with the American Friends Service Committee through a youth organization, United Student Action Movement. In these interviews, Dora recalls her protest actions and the arrests that followed as well as her experiences from participating in NOW. Dora's mother was present during part of the interviews but did not participate. James Finley has been deceased since 1975. More details about Dora and James Finley are contained within my M.A. thesis.
Gwendolyn Williams is the daughter of Dorothy Parker Williams, a founding member of NOW (1966) and member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), now deceased. Gwendolyn was referred to the interviewer by Dora Finley. Although Gwen was not a participant in NOW's protests, she gives interesting insight into Dorothy Williams' activities. Gwen also recalls her own experience in Montgomery when she attended Alabama State College in the 1960s. She also recalled the friendly relationship between Dorothy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including Dr. King's visit to Mobile.
Jerry Pogue was a founding member of NOW and had protest experience in Montgomery while attending Alabama State College in the 1960s. Gwen Williams, a close friend of Jerry Pogue, referred the interviewer to him. Pogue can be found in photos related to NOW, such as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March in 1968. In these interviews, Pogue recalls his experiences of participating in NOW's protests as well as the SCLC's SCOPE program in which he participated with Dorothy Williams.
David Underhill was also a founding member of NOW. He lived in Mobile while working for the Southern Courier, a newspaper that was based in Atlanta to cover the Civil Rights Movement. David Underhill and Jerry Pogue preferred to be interviewed together. During the interviews, Underhill also recalls his experiences of participating in NOW's activities.
Fredrick Richardson became the treasurer of NOW in 1968. At the time of the interview, Mr. Richardson was the Mobile city council representative for District 1. In the interview, he recalls his experiences as a member and officer of NOW as well as his memories of other members of NOW.
Sister Patricia Caraher is a Dominican nun who was involved in NOW's activities during the 1960s, and she continued to work with Dorothy Williams in the 1970s. She was a teacher at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church at that time.
Ned Milner was pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Airport Boulevard from 1966 until 1968. After resigning from Holy Cross, he became a student at the University of South Alabama to earn a teaching degree. At that time, he was also the assistant director of the Faith Committee for Human Concerns. Milner participated in NOW's protest activities and was arrested following a 1968 march in Prichard. Milner integrated Faith Lutheran Church. In this interview, Milner recalls these experiences as well as his other activities during the Civil Rights Movement.
Dallas Blanchard is a retired Methodist minister and retired professor of Sociology at the University of West Florida. He was not an active member of NOW, but assisted some of the members. While living in Mobile, Blanchard was a minister at Toulminville Methodist Church (white members) which became cooperative with Warren Street Methodist Church (black members) in 1966. Blanchard explains how the churches integrated and merged without official permission from the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Blanchard was involved in the Fifth City Project which targeted discrimination, and he participated along with Father Foley in the Human Relations Institute and the Alabama Advisory for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Melton McLaurin, professor emeritus of history at University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He was a history professor at University of South Alabama in the 1960s. He participated in NOW's meetings and was arrested in 1969 while participating in the NOW protest during the America's Junior Miss pageant. In a telephone interview, McLaurin recalls his experiences of NOW and the people and leaders within the group.
Collection URL: http://www.usouthal.edu/archives/html/manuscript/biographies.htm
Extent: .25 cubic feet
Interviewees: Dora Finley, Gwendolyn Williams, Jerry Pogue, David Underhill, Fredrick Richardson, Patricia Caraher, Ned Milner, Dallas Blanchard, Melton McLaurin
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
Civil rights movements--Alabama
Civil rights workers--Alabama