Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Richard Gunn, May 7, 1964

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - African American employment and business ownership in Cleveland, Ohio

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Partial Transcript: This is tape one of a conversation with Mr. Richard Gunn in Cleveland, Ohio, May 7.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn talks about the limits in job opportunities for African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio, pointing out the few exceptions. He also discusses the African American-owned businesses in Cleveland.

Keywords: Bar exams; Cleveland Business League; Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company; Couch's Sausage; Craden Sausage Company; Industries; Insurance agencies; Laws; Marginal businesses; Ohio Bell Telephone Company; Plants; Quincy's Savings and Loan; Secretaries; Supervisors; Supreme Life Insurance Company

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American businesspeople.; African Americans--Employment.; Businesses; Cleveland (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio)--Race relations; Kansas City (Kan.)

00:05:29 - Civil rights organizations and civil rights demonstrations

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Partial Transcript: I was talking with Adam Clayton Powell the other day and one of the first things he said was the old organizations, the old leadership is finished.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn discusses the idea of the old leaders of the civil rights movements being outdated, as well as the different groups that endorse boycotts and other demonstrations.

Keywords: Adam Clayton Powell; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Editorials; Efforts; Freedom Fighters; Leaders; Meeting; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); News releases; Newspapers; Organizations; School boycotts; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Support; United Freedom Movement; White community; YMCA

Subjects: African American leadership; Boycotts.; Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.); Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio)--Race relations; Integration; Kansas City (Kan.); New York (N.Y.)

00:12:15 - Integrating education

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Partial Transcript: If the matter of, of unity, uh, may or may not carry a price tag with it, of course, from one case to another.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn discusses Galamison's quote about it being better for the school system to be wrecked than for it not to be integrated according to schedule. Gunn also talks about education quality.

Keywords: Children; Civil rights organizations; Cleveland Board of Education; Colleges; Competition; Elementary schools; High schools; Honor Society; Honor roll; Junior high schools; Libraries; Milton Galamison; National Merit Scholarship Examination; Parent-Teacher Association; Price; Public schools; Pupils; Purpose; Quality; Recommendations; Scholarship winners; School boycotts; Shaker Heights; Study; Suburbs; Teachers; United Freedom Movement; Unity

Subjects: Cleveland (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio)--Race relations; Discrimination in education.; Education; Integration; Segregation in education.

00:20:39 - Community Action for Youth in Cleveland

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Partial Transcript: Have you been, uh, following this HARYOU program in Harlem?

Segment Synopsis: Gunn talks about the Community Action for Youth organization in Cleveland, Ohio, and school integration in places where there are more African American children than white children.

Keywords: Assistant directors; Children; Community Action for Youth; Dr. Kenneth Clark; Equality; Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU); New York intercity school system; Oscar Handlin; Physical barriers; Rivers; School systems; Staff; Temporary programs

Subjects: Civil rights movements; Cleveland (Ohio); Education; Harlem (New York, N.Y.); School integration; Segregation in education.

00:25:45 - Press coverage of the civil rights movement in Cleveland, Ohio

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Partial Transcript: Your situation as far as I can make out is somewhat, uh, distorted or, or given incomplete coverage in the national press.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn talks about the national and local lack of media coverage in Cleveland, Ohio of the civil rights movement.

Keywords: Board of education; Junior high schools; Local press; National press; New York Times; Newspapers; Press coverage; Supreme Court of the United States; White citizens

Subjects: Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); School integration.; Segregation in education.

00:29:11 - The conflict of African American identity

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Partial Transcript: This is tape two of the conversation with Mr. Gunn.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn discusses the loss of African American identity, as well as why many African Americans do not want to assume leadership roles within the civil rights movement.

Keywords: "New Negro Movement"; "Uncle Toms"; Antagonize; Church affiliation; Civil rights organizations; Class movement; Conversation; Criticisms; Decision; Governmental agencies; Impulse; Income; Jobs; Leadership groups; Masses; Meeting; Privileges; Split; Success; Young fellows

Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Race identity.; Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); Identity (Philosophical concept)

00:37:20 - Legitimate or illegitimate demonstrations

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Partial Transcript: Let me cut to something else, uh, Mr. Gunn.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn discusses the different types of demonstrations, as well as the concept of withholding the law or breaking it for the civil rights movement. He also talks about discrimination in the United States of America vs. Europe.

Keywords: Anti-social; Arrests; Belligerent; Bill of Rights; Board of education; Children; Christian nation; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Constitution; Dissatisfied; Europe; Fairground demonstrations; Fundamental; Highways; Hotels; Illegitimate demonstrations; Law violation; Lawyers; Legitimate demonstrations; Murray Hill School; Necessary; Newspapers; Offense; Peaceful demonstrators; Picketing; Pickets; Police; Punishment; Restaurants; Rights; Society; Stall-ins; Targets; Victims

Subjects: African Americans--Relations with Italian Americans; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); New York (N.Y.); Race discrimination; Segregation in education.; Violence

00:48:36 - North vs. South in terms of discrimination

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Ellis, Charles Ellis, uh, told me a few--well, two or three months ago now, that he had much more hope of an early settlement in Mississippi than he had for it outside of the South.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn talks about racial discrimination in both the South and the North. He also discusses how the civil rights bill would not affect the northern states because all of the laws were more or less already implemented.

Keywords: Businesspeople; Civil rights bills; Criticisms; Fair employment laws; Hatred; Misconceptions; Nationality; Newspapers; Patience; Police officers; Public accommodations laws; Repercussions; Restaurants; Targets; University of Mississippi; White people

Subjects: Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); Segregation in education.

00:53:45 - Discrimination against African Americans

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Partial Transcript: According to the last poll results I saw, you have about 70% of Northerners favoring the accommodations section of the civil rights bill, but about, uh, 65% saying they'd move out if, or consider moving out, if, in that section, negroes moved in.

Segment Synopsis: Gunn compares the North and the South in terms of integrated housing, giving his personal opinions on the topic. He also talks about the race-related dialogues in Cleveland, as well as the fear white people have of being incriminated by their white neighbors for inviting African Americans to their home.

Keywords: "Uncle Tom"; Associations; Dialogue; Exposure; Home; Interracial discussion groups; Labor farms; Neighborhoods; Neighbors; Paradoxes; Prejudice; Prisons; Public accommodations; Radio; Restaurants; Schools; Television; Tests; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Subjects: African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights movements--United States; Cleveland (Ohio); Cleveland (Ohio)--Race relations; Race discrimination.