Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Milton Galamison, June 17, 1964

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - African American racial and cultural identity

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Partial Transcript: New tape, new tape, new tape, proceed, new tape, new tape.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses keeping self-respect and identity as an African American while participating in equal opportunities in employment, housing, and education. He also talks about whether African Americans have more in common with African culture or American culture.

Keywords: Acceptance; Advantages; Affinity; African traditions; American culture; Assimilation; Education; Home base; Human beings; Insecurity; Intermingling; Jerusalem (Israel); Jobs; Mainstream; Opportunities; People; Richard Wright; Self-hatred; Status; Unity; W. E. B. Du Bois

Subjects: African Americans--Race identity.; Assimilation (Sociology); Cultural identity.; Identity (philosophical concept); Integration

00:08:17 - Discrimination and the concept of equality

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Partial Transcript: On the matter of integration again, Oscar Handlin's, uh, recent book 'A Bell in the Night' makes a sharp distinction between integration and equality.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses discrimination based on race as well as class. He also talks about the public school system and the path of action which African Americans will have to pursue to gain equality.

Keywords: Authors; Children; Class stratifications; Democratic systems; Employment; Failure; Housing; Majority; Oscar Handlin; Participation; Public school systems; Schools; Supreme Court; Victims

Subjects: Classism.; Discrimination in education.; Discrimination.; Equality.; Integration

00:14:43 - School desegregation proposals in New York City

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Partial Transcript: To what extent would you accept the present, uh, program of the, of the New York school system?

Segment Synopsis: Galamison talks about school desegregation plans in New York and the resistance to the implementation of them by the educational leaders.

Keywords: Academic performance; Allen Proposals; Classrooms; Committees; Demands; Desegregation program; Discrimination; Educational systems; Gross Plan; Illegal; Insincerity; Integrated school systems; Intent; New York school system; Open enrollment; Organizations; Plans; Prejudices; Procrastinating; Proposals; Public school systems; Racial supremacy; Segregated school systems; Support; Unite

Subjects: Education; Equality.; New York (N.Y.). Board of Education.; Segregation in education.

00:23:04 - The quality of teachers and education

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Partial Transcript: Frankly, I would say that the profession of teaching is suffering, as are many professions.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison talks about the lack of quality teachers and the effect it had on students and schools. He also compares public and private schools, as well as discusses the idea of integrating schools and the concept that a school without white children is inferior.

Keywords: Attitudes; Children; Choices; Dehumanization; Development; Enthusiasm; Expenses; Experiments; Fear; Foundation; Human beings; Inconveniences; Inferior schools; Integrated schools; Minority groups; Motivation; Motivations; Nursery schools; Opinions; Parents; Prejudices; Prices; Principles; Private schools; Professional deterioration; Professional pride; Public schools; Race arrogance; Repopulating; Reports; Results; Salary; Sons; Standards; Transfers; Values

Subjects: African American families; Discrimination in education.; Education; Integration; Race discrimination.; Schools.; Teachers

00:39:10 - The change in civil rights leadership

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let me ask you about, uh, the present collision between, uh, Dr. Kenneth Clark and Congressman, uh, Adam Clayton Powell.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses the political disagreement between New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and Dr. Kenneth Clark, including the fight over federal funding received from the Johnson Administration. He also discusses the shift in leadership within the civil rights movement and how that leadership needs to work with the prior leadership to achieve its goals.

Keywords: Adam Clayton Powell; Aspirations; Civil rights groups; Collision; Confidence; Dr. Kenneth Clark; Jobs; Motivation; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Operation; Organizations; Pace; Patronage; Personnel; Political operations; Social good; Sources; Support; Urban League; War Against Poverty; War On Poverty; White community

Subjects: African American leadership; Civil rights movements--United States; Communities.; Education; Grants and funding

00:45:10 - The protest movement of the masses

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Partial Transcript: How do you define the, uh, the nature of the new impulse, you say, that is, that is manifesting itself in the masses?

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses the rise of African Americans standing up for themselves, the involvement of white people in the civil rights movement, and the definition of a white liberal.

Keywords: Aspirations; Attitudes; Cooperation; Deprivation; Domination; Frustrations; Historic practices; Image; Impulses; Inferior; Influences; Injustice; Intolerance; J. Saunders Redding; James Baldwin; Liberal; Max Lerner; Meeting; Missionary-ism; Moral lapses; Participation; Paternalism; Plight; Pride; Roles; Self respect; Slavery era; Struggle; White people; White society

Subjects: African Americans--Race identity.; Civil rights movements--United States; Protest movements.; Race relations; Self-confidence.

00:53:36 - Dr. Kenneth Clark's resentment vs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolence doctrine

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Partial Transcript: Let me read a question--a statement rather--by Dr. Kenneth Clark about Dr. King's philosophy.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison tells how hatred of others leads to one's own destruction and talks about the use of violent and non-violent action. He also discusses demonstrations and how he defines them.

Keywords: Answers; Approval; Black Nationalism; Comfort; Conference on Nonviolence; Demonstrating; Destruction; Dr. Kenneth Clark; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Enemy; Evil; Harm; Health; History; Howard University; Humane enemy; Injustice; Necessity; Oppression; Passion; Philosophy; Principles; Psychological burdens; Psychologists; Resentment; Resolution; Rifle clubs; Right to bear arms; Stability; Status quo; Support; Violence; Weapons

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Hate.; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Motivation--Psychological aspects; Nonviolence.; Passive resistance

01:05:36 - Civil rights groups, leadership, and funding

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Partial Transcript: Well, we could scarcely assume that Mr. Farmer was defending the status quo when he opposed a stall-in though of Mr. Whitney Young.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses leadership within civil rights groups and where the funding for these civil rights movements comes from. He also addresses the subtle racism of Northern white people donating money to the South because they are supporting the movement, but not in their area.

Keywords: Adam Clayton Powell; Arrests; Clergyman; Communication; Competitions; Confrontation; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Efforts; Established civil rights groups; Failure; Funds; General strikes; James Farmer; Left wing; Liberal; Local civil rights groups; Methods; Objectives; Organizations; Policies; Rivalry; Stall-ins; Strategies; Support; Tactics; White money; Whitney Young; World's Fair

Subjects: African American leadership; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Funding; Leadership; New York (N.Y.)

01:14:05 - Integration and desegregation in the North vs. the South

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Partial Transcript: Switching to the South for a moment.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison talks about the rate of civil rights accomplishments in the North contrasted with the South and why this occurs with whites and with African Americans. He also discusses James Baldwin's belief that the majority of Southern white people do not agree with segregation.

Keywords: Apathy; Charles Evers; Effective; James Baldwin; Majority; Militant minority; Opinions; Revolution; Sophistication; Southern mob

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights movements--United States; Desegregation; Integration; Segregation

01:18:29 - Reconstruction and emancipation

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Partial Transcript: Let's go back to another, uh, topic of pure speculation.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses a hypothetical policy mentioned by Gunnar Myrdal about the concept of slave holder reimbursement for the loss of slaves after emancipation. Reconstruction and the Civil War are also discussed, as well as Lincoln's views on slavery.

Keywords: "An American Dilemma"; Abraham Lincoln; Army; Circumstances; Compensation; Dehumanization; Despair; Dignity; Emancipation; Emasculate; Frederick Douglass; Freedmen; Gunnar Myrdal; Harper's Ferry; Helpful; Historical accidents; Human beings; John Brown; Moral wrong; Morality; Payment; Plessy vs. Ferguson; Policy; Reparations; Resentment; Rights; Slave holders; Ulysses S. Grant; Unity

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Freedom; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Views on slavery; Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877); Slavery; Slaves--Emancipation.; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

01:29:06 - African American gains and attitude changes nationwide

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Partial Transcript: Your remark about the emancipation being an accident relates to a theory of all negro gains in this country, up to the present--not including the present--that negro gains by and large have been a by product of a general historical situation.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison talks about the gains and changes in attitude made by African Americans.

Keywords: Agnosticism; Atmosphere; Attitudes; Brotherhood; Communism; Confrontation; Democracy; Discrimination; Equality; Gains; Hatred; Independence; Isolation; Optimism; Pessimism; Prejudice; Public service; Racists; Radio; Television; White society

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Change.; Race relations

01:35:14 - Getting rid of prejudices

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Partial Transcript: Tape four.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses how to achieve a country void of prejudices, as well as the propaganda that spreads a false image of African Americans to the white populace.

Keywords: Anti-social act; Antidote; Behavior; Circumstances; Contact; Crimes; Criticisms; Equal basis; Eradication; Experiences; False security; Healthy attitudes; Housing; Human beings; Injustice; Jobs; National magazines; Obligations; Paternalistic basis; Psychiatrists; Responsibilities; Social failures; Studies; Unhealthy

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions.; Discrimination.; Integration; Prejudices.

01:43:32 - A false concept of approval

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Partial Transcript: Not long ago, I heard Dr. King--the last time I've heard him--and he wound up his speech at Bridgeport with a, uh, "be the best street sweeper".

Segment Synopsis: Galamison discusses the false belief that if African Americans look and act a certain way, then they will be accepted as equal in American society.

Keywords: Approval; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Education; Equality; Love; Person; Philosophy; Protestant clergyman; Values

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1929-1968; Social acceptance.

01:46:39 - The question of being involved

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Partial Transcript: One more question--it's a tough one, yes.

Segment Synopsis: Galamison talks about whether the picket line is a choice for aspiring African Americans.

Keywords: Contributions; Innocent; Interests; Medical students; Physicists; Schools; Selfishness; Social struggles; Social tide

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Careers; Civil rights movements