Partial Transcript: A conversation with Mr. James Farmer.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer briefly discusses his childhood and lack of knowledge of segregation. He also talks about the founding principles of the Congress of Racial Equality as well as the great debate between African Americans regarding integration and separation.
Keywords: Achievements; African American community; Approach; Black colleges; Black community; Campus; Challenges; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Conscience; Consequences; Contradiction; Debate; Direct contact; Duties; Efforts; Energies; Eric Lincoln; Evil; Experimental; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Henry David Thoreau; Ingredients; Integrationist; Intolerable; Involvement; Mahatma Gandhi; Malcolm X; Mass movement; Nonviolent direct action; Organization; Principles; Professors; Rejection; Separation; Stimulus
Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Social conditions; Boycotts.; Childhood; Civil rights movements--United States; Integration; Segregation
Partial Transcript: Now, I am an integrationist.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses the question of who will lose their racial identity should the races start to live together in the same neighborhoods, marry and have children. He also discusses the concept of quota systems.
Keywords: Absorption; African tradition; American pluralism; Choice; Collisions; Color blindness; Dangers; Employees; Ghettos; Housing; Integrationists; Jobs; Numbers; Open society; Population; Pride; Quotas; Skin; State employment service; Suburbs; Unity; W. E. B. Du Bois; White culture; White society
Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; Civil rights movements--United States; Desegregation; Discrimination.; Identity (Philosophical concept); Interracial marriage; Segregation
Partial Transcript: You have read Oscar Handlin's little book "Bell in the Night" that recently come out?
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about the practicality of withdrawing children from public schools and enrolling them in private schools instead of busing them for the sake of integration.
Keywords: Children; Dangers; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Nonsense; Oscar Handlin; Private schools; Public school systems; Quality education; Quota systems; School zones
Subjects: Busing for school integration; Education; Equality.; Integration; New York (N.Y.); Segregation in education; Washington (D.C.)
Partial Transcript: You were saying that you were inclined to believe--correct me if this isn't right--that the, uh, hung jury in the two trials of Beckwith were honest, but not rigged for public consumption.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about the jury in the first murder trial of Byron de la Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council who was tried for the murder of Medgar Evers. He also describes the civil rights activity in Mississippi that followed, as well as the procedures Medgar Evers followed when driving his car before his assassination. He also discusses getting out of jail and the fear he felt for his life.
Keywords: Accidents; Awareness; Brothers; Changes; Charles Evers; Conviction; Evidence; Experiences; Fisk University; Freedom Riders; Freedom Rides; Freedom songs; Highways; Hung juries; Lynching; Mob; Monolithic; Nashville Press; Nonviolence; Police state; Political power structure; Reporters; Robert Williams; Ross Barnett; Serenade; Speedometer; Van; Voter registration
Subjects: Beckwith, Byron de la; Evers, Medgar Wiley, 1925-1963--Assassination; Mississippi; Nashville (Tenn.); Segregation; Violence--Mississippi
Partial Transcript: Let me go back to a topic, uh, suggested earlier by your remarks about CORE.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about having white members in the CORE organization and the role of white liberals in civil rights organizations in general. He also discusses the civil rights movement and how it compares to other national issues in terms of importance.
Keywords: "Uncle Tom"; Activists; Adam Clayton Powell; African American community; Black community; Civil liberties; Civil rights organizations; Civil rights revolution; Conflict; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Contributions; Criticisms; Difficulty; Domestic issues; Funds; Health; Impact; Interracial character; Interracial experiences; Irrelevant; James Baldwin; Louis Lomax; Membership; Money; Motivation; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Open occupancy housing; Open society; Poverty; Ralph Ellison; Roles; Secondary leadership; Suspicion; Unemployment; White liberals
Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973; Leadership; Liberalism; Segregation
Partial Transcript: Adam Clayton Powell said to me some weeks ago...
Segment Synopsis: Farmer denounces the statement by Adam Clayton Powell that the old leaders and organizations of the civil rights movement are declining, as well as discusses the leaders within the civil rights movement.
Keywords: "Mature negro politics"; Adam Clayton Powell; African American community; Ambition; Attempt; Black community; Black leaders; Chapters; Civil Rights Leadership Conference; Competition; Conflict; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Contradictory; Council for United Civil Rights Leadership; Diffusion; Ferment; Freedom Rides; Growth; Hollow; Impulse; Liability; March on Washington Committee; Members; Militancy; Montgomery Bus Boycott; Motives; Newspapers; Peak; Power; Promises; Realities; Revolutions; Rhetoric; Roy Wilkins; Sit-ins; Speeches; Tension; Turning point; United Civil Rights Committee; United front; Unity committees; Verbalism; Whitney Young
Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights movements--United States; Leadership; Malcolm X, 1925-1965
Partial Transcript: Let's turn from that a moment to the matter of demonstrations.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer defines the various types of demonstrations, their functions, and when they ought to be used. He also discusses the significance of demonstrations and justifies the use of nonviolent demonstrations.
Keywords: "Freedom Now"; "Negro Revolt"; "Uncle Tom"; Acceptable boundaries; Accusation; Action; African American community; Black community; Campaigns; Category; Churches; Civil rights bill; Civil rights revolution; Courage; Dialogue; Dr. Kenneth Clark; Flexible; Gains; General strike; Generalization; Guidelines; Inappropriate; Influence; Louis Lomax; Militant; Momentum; Motivations; Negligible; Negotiations; Nonviolent demonstrations; Oscar Handlin; Polarization; Profits; Progress; Protests; Psychological; Responsible; Security; Seed; Sit-ins; Social structure; Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); Targets; Unity; Valid; Victory; Whitney Young; Woolworth's lunch counter; Work stoppage
Subjects: Boycotts.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights demonstrations--Alabama--Birmingham; Civil rights movements--United States; Communities.; New York (N.Y.); Nonviolence; Protest movements.; Violence
Partial Transcript: James Baldwin and others report that the Southern mob does not represent the majority will of the South.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses the effects of demonstrations in the South as well as James Baldwin's concept of the Southern mob's representation of the South. He also discusses the shifting of Southern stereotypes.
Keywords: Activeness; Black community; Charles Evers; Communication; Congress of Racial Equality; Contradictions; Courage; Crisis; Crying; Economic elements; Ignorant; Image; Issues; James Baldwin; Majority; Mass demonstrations; Minority; Negotiations; Opposition; Passiveness; Paternalism; Police brutality; Poverty; Psychological need; Respect; Richmond News Leader; Settlement; Sit-ins; Slavery; Southern mob; Southerners; Violent mobs; White woman
Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Communities.; Identity (Philosophical concept); Segregation; Stereotypes (Social psychology)
Partial Transcript: You said you had carried certain white workers, uh, to the Plaquemines, uh, office--
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses the relations of African Americans with whites as well as other African Americans in different classes.
Keywords: Adam Clayton Powell; Adaptability; Alienation; Anger; Books; Class delineation; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Danger; Destructive violence; Development; Distrust; Education; Expensive; Gap; Human being; Ignorance; Individuals; James Baldwin; Leadership class; Lower class; Malcolm X; Middle class; Nonviolent direct action; Prominence; Ralph Bunch; Rhetoric; Slum leadership; Status symbol; Success; Temporary; Upper class; Violence; Vocabulary; Whitney Young
Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights movements--United States; Classism; Leadership; Race relations
Partial Transcript: Now, the other question that came to mind out of what you said earlier was this...
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses recognizing prejudice and the "good vs. bad" approach to the civil rights movement. He also discusses what comes after achieving equality.
Keywords: Activities; African American history; Beast; Biases; Black history; Boss; Confederacy; Contributions; Cultures; Evil; Fair employment; Focus; Good; Human condition; Integration; Leadership; Legislation; Liability; Malcolm X; Moral issue; Mutual pride; Nonviolent movement; Platform; Preach; Proud; Psychological tactics; Racial prejudice; Responsibility; Revolution; Risk; School boycotts; Segregation; Separation; Slogan; Social solutions; Trade Union Operation; White backlash
Subjects: African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Equality.; Prejudice
Partial Transcript: Let's shift.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses Abraham Lincoln and his objectives in freeing the slaves, John F. Kennedy, Birmingham, civil rights, and John Brown.
Keywords: Civil rights leaders; Deification; Emancipator; Evidence; Growing; Harry Golden; Historical context; Historical relativism; Inferiority; John Brown; Moral judgments; Objective; Opinions; Roles; Society; Symbol; Thomas Jefferson; Union; Watershed
Subjects: Civil rights movements; Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 --Views on race relations; Symbolism.
Partial Transcript: Well, I, of course, was unaware that the president had made any such request that there be a cooling off period or cessation of demonstrations.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses Roy Wilkins' plea to the civil rights groups to accept Barry Goldwater's call for a moratorium on demonstrations during the presidential campaign.
Keywords: Bank accounts; Budgets; Claims; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Demonstrations; Funds; Giving; Moratorium; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Opponents; Presidents; Pressure; Roy Wilkins; Sources; Statements; Strategy; Tradition; Verification; White backlash; White citizens
Subjects: Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Elections; Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998
Partial Transcript: Well, I read it with much interest and, uh, I find it, uh, basically sympathetic and good.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer attempts to explain the summer project in Mississippi and the reception the white students received from the people there.
Keywords: African American community; Black community; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Educational qualifications; Effects; Fourth Congressional District; Identity; Local people; Registration; Resistance; Self-expression; Student movement; Students; Summer project; Territory
Subjects: Civil rights movements--United States; Mississippi; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
Partial Transcript: Let's go back to convention for a moment.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses the concept of compromising within the civil rights movement and the Edith Green Proposal.
Keywords: Accurate; Administration; Attitudes; Campaign; Civil rights organizations; Commitments; Compromise; Convention; Credentials Committee; Delegations; Edith Green Proposal; Evaporating; Green Resolution; Liberal Democrats; Morally right; Politically wrong; Pressure; Reactions; Robert Moses; Roll call; Stokely Carmichael; Suspicion; Vote; White support
Subjects: African American leadership; Civil rights movements--United States; Labor movement.; Mississippi
Partial Transcript: Now, another, uh, thing that seems to come out of Mississippi--I haven't been there in quite some months now.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about the screening and training of the volunteers sent to Mississippi. He also describes Mississippi's reaction to the present state of affairs following civil rights actions.
Keywords: Acceptance; African American community; Alliance; Black community; Boycotts; Businesses; Chains of command; Companies; Conviction; Decision making procedures; Democratic Party; Democrats; Difference; Division; Economic pressure; Extraordinary; Federal government; Financial leaders; Freedom Rides; Funds; Grassroots participation; Highway; Horrors; Identification; Indications; Indictment; Information; Justice; Law enforcement; Manipulation; Money; Murder charges; Natural; Order; Peace; Policy; Possibility; Power structures; Public attention; Republicans; Resistance; Screening; Segregationists; Split; Statements; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Summer project; Techniques; Theorizing; United States Constitution
Subjects: Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination.; Ku Klux Klan (1915- )--Mississippi; Leadership; Mississippi; Mississippi--Social conditions; Racism; Racism--Mississippi; Segregation
Partial Transcript: What about the, the debt theory, uh, there being a debt owed, uh, to the, uh, uh, because of slavery, uh, to negroes?
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about owing African Americans reparations for slavery and discrimination. He also discusses how civil rights efforts are expanding.
Keywords: "Negro Americans"; Activists; Agreements; American life; American society; Awareness; Catalysts; Catalytic agent; Citizen's right; Complex; Economic structure; Education; Equality; Ethnic origin; Freedom; Ghettos; Lyndon B. Johnson; Minority groups; Moral debt; Moral justification; Necessary; Objectives; Political involvement; Revolution; Social movements; Technology; Theory; War on Poverty
Subjects: African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Social conditions; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination.; Slavery
Partial Transcript: What's the next, uh, general move aside from, uh, what you were just saying in terms of the, uh, civil--not civil rights, now, but the general, general, uh, movement?
Segment Synopsis: Farmer talks about the expected results of integration. He also discusses the steps that are next in acquiring civil rights.
Keywords: Alliance; Allies; American condition; Awareness; Contributions; Cooperation; Crucial; Freedom; Give; Housing; Integrated society; Judgment; Labor; Racial restrictions; Rejection; Sentiment; Share; Suspicion; Unions
Subjects: Civil rights movements--United States; Identity (Philosophical concept); Integration; Segregation; Societies
Partial Transcript: As far as I can make out, there's a, uh--I understand the last five years there's been a real change in awareness and attitude among a large number of, uh, the white people I'm acquainted with one way or another.
Segment Synopsis: Farmer discusses why demonstrations are needed and how they have proven beneficial to the people seeking rights.
Keywords: Anti-poverty campaign; Awareness; Boycotts; Congress of Racial Equality; Good will; Historical moments; Housing; Human recognition; Judgment; Justice; Memories; Moratorium; Observations; Picket lines; Population; Pressure; Sit-ins; Targets; White people
Subjects: Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination
WARREN:--a conversation with Mr. James Farmer, proceed. Let's see ifwe're getting that.
[pause in recording.]
WARREN: Uh, Mr. Farmer, I remember reading somewhere a remark of yoursthat for you at least, segregation had been a challenge and a stimulus, that though you had never felt yourself inferior, nevertheless this gave you, uh, a focus for your energies. When you were young.
FARMER: I think that's true. You must understand, of course, that, uh,my childhood was somewhat unique, and that my father was a professor at a college practically all of my early life, and I lived on the campus, and thus was insulated and isolated from, uh, some of the problems in the community.
WARREN: In a way then, you could have whatever benefit there would befrom the challenge, uh, without--the deadening weight of direct contact 00:01:00with the process of segregation.
FARMER: That's right, yes. That, I would say that that's true. Iwould not want this to be interpreted as, uh, um, a justification for segregation.
WARREN: [telephone rings] I think we can avoid that.
WARREN: That interpretation. Now, challenge is the very essence ofachievement though, isn't it? What kind of challenges do you see as, uh, normal, uh, for the child or boy, as different from the challenge of segregation?
FARMER: Hm, well, let me put it this way. I think the greatestchallenge that, um, I faced as a child was to prepare myself to try to get rid of segregation. To do what I could to oppose the thing and to bring it down. Um, my entire life was dedicated to that proposition.
WARREN: Let's see, CORE was founded in what--'42--00:02:00
WARREN:--1942, what, uh, particular need, what vacuum, uh, did youconceive of this organization as filling at that time?
FARMER: Well, at that time I was working for the Fellowship ofReconciliation as race relation secretary. Now the Fellowship is a religious pacifist organization. And in the course of my duties, I had been studying a great deal about Gandhi, uh, Mahatma Gandhi, his works and his life. And, uh, more recently had taken a tour through the South, a speaking trip, visiting negro colleges. This was my first trip south since leaving the South, um, in 1938. I visited the South on this tour in the fall of 1941 and came back to Chicago, which was my 00:03:00headquarters then, convinced that something had to be done that was not now being done. That the current approaches to the problem were not adequate. And therefore was determined to use the Ghandian techniques in a battle against segregation. We wanted to add new ingredients to the struggle that was then going on.
WARREN: That's, as, as opposed to the legalistic approach, is that rightfor one thing?
FARMER: Yes, well, not really opposed to it--
WARREN:--I don't mean--as distinguished from it, I don't mean in placeof it--
WARREN:--I don't mean in place of it--
FARMER:--yes, we saw our approach as supplementing that approach. Wefelt that the new ingredients that needed to be added were as follows: uh, one, involvement of people themselves. That's the rank-and-file, uh, not relying upon the "Talented Tenth," not relying upon the experts and the professionals to do the job. Two, a rejection, a repudiation 00:04:00of segregation. In the past, we've felt that too many people had lambasted segregation verbally, and had then gone ahead and allowed themselves to be segregated. It was a contradiction, and we felt it was important for individuals to remove themselves from the support of segregation. This was following, in a sense, the views of Thoreau, Henry David Thoreau. And third emphasis upon nonviolent direct action. That is, putting one's body into direct confrontation with the evil and the perpetrators of the evil and accepting the consequences of one's action. So it was on these, uh, principles that CORE was founded in 1942.
WARREN: Now, there are several questions come out of that, I'd liketo have you speak about. Uh, one, what results did you look for? I don't mean necessarily practical results. Clearly you are looking for the abolition of--segregation, but what changes or by what process 00:05:00of change do you expect this to come about? Moral awakenings on the part of a white community, for instance? Moral awakenings on the part of a negro community? What various, uh, results has steps toward the achievement of a practical end, as you envisioned (??)?
FARMER: Hm. Well, we saw--first I ought to say that we looked uponour efforts in the early forties as being experimental. Experimenting with a new technique. And, um, we longed for and dreamed about the development of a mass movement, which fortunately we do have now. But, uh, we saw it as first appealing to the conscience of the majority. And second, making the continuation of segregation so expensive that it would become intolerable.
WARREN: Now how would you describe that process?
WARREN:--it was, it was already damned expensive.
FARMER: It was already damned expensive, yes. Um, and what we wanted00:06:00to do was to use the economic power through the boycott, and to do that effectively required larger numbers than we had, uh, at the outset. We wanted also to get people in their withdrawal of themselves from the support of segregation, to withdraw their money from support of segregation. Um, in terms of financing and subsidizing and investing and so forth. These are all a part of the plans, uh, initially in CORE.
WARREN: I was hunting a quotation here that runs something like this.It's, it's from Eric Lincoln Uh, he says that the question, uh, has been at times whether the negro--with this hypothetical, the negro is, you know--
WARREN: --wants real integration or whether he wants a kind of00:07:00superficial integration, uh, which allows him to feel himself equal in, uh, in principle but withdrawn in practice--as if in his own community (??).
WARREN: Now, I assume-- I won't speak for it, but I assume that you,uh, are interested in actual integration, not superficial integration, that--but then in that case you have a problem with your negro community, don't you, too?
FARMER: Yes, I think this is the great debate that's going on in thenegro community at the present time.
WARREN: Good, please analyze that will you?
FARMER: Well, I think that most negroes--I don't want to use theterm the average negroes because I don't know what that is--but most negroes, the rank-and-file, the ordinary John Does whose skins are black--excuse me. Linda, yes? 00:08:00
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: I'm sorry, go ahead.
WARREN: Yes, please.
FARMER: Um, most negroes are not really concerned with the issue of,um, segregation, of separation versus integration. The real issue for them is getting the heel of oppression off their neck. They know something is hurting them; they're not sure what it is. And they want it removed. Now Malcolm X and I can address a mass rally. The same audience. He can get an applause talking about separation; I can get an applause talking about integration. And I think this is a significant fact. Now, it's the responsibility of leadership to analyze this heel of oppression that's on the neck and--define it and come up with, uh, ideas as to how it can be removed.
WARREN: You mean isolate the actual aspects of the practical problem.
FARMER: That's right, yes. And, uh, so the debate that's going on is00:09:00among leadership. Now I am an integrationist. I believe that the solution is not separation but is integration. But it is important for us now to define that integration. What do we mean by it? Do we mean that the negro as one tenth of the population in this country would be absorbed into white culture, into white society, and thus would disappear and lose his identity?
WARREN: Even the bloodstream disappears?
FARMER: Yes. And I, I think not. This is not what I am searching for.This is not the type of integration that I am looking for. Instead, I am looking for a situation whereby the negro has pride in his culture, his history, the contributions that negroes have made in American history and before that in Africa. Uh, that he has an identity. That he knows who he is and has a pride in it. Thus, he can come into an integrated society as a proud and equal partner who has something to 00:10:00give, something to share, and something to receive. Now, that to me is more in line with, uh, American history than, uh, any idea of a merger or an absorption, disappearance. We've had the concept in America of, um, unity through diversity, and, uh, I think that the same thing should apply to the racial situation in our country.
WARREN: This reminds me of the many discussions that appear in the workof DuBois, you know--
WARREN:--on the question of the split in the negro psyche--
WARREN:--the pull toward, the pull toward an African tradition or atleast toward the, um, American negroes cultural tradition as opposed to the, you know, all the other things (??). Now, that's, you don't see that as a real problem. You see, it solved in terms of American pluralism (??).
FARMER: That's right. It's a problem for each individual negro. AsDuBois put it, um, every thoughtful negro at some time has asked himself the question, "Is he an American negro or is he a negro American?" 00:11:00
WARREN: Yes. Now, a man may not search--uh, search is the word you used,I believe--for, uh, absorption, blood absorption but it may eventuate.
WARREN: Now, uh, for some negroes at least, in the fact of eventuationis--comes the withdrawal from it. A loss of (??) their identity through that absorption. Some do say this.
FARMER: Of course, yes. I would not shrink from it; however, I thinkthat, um, this should be a permissive absorption. An individual negro chooses to marry an individual white person, and then fine. I do not think that this would happen with most negroes or most white people, indeed. Um, nor do I think that most negroes will choose to live in what are now lily white suburbs. I believe, however, that they ought to have a choice. And that it should be an open society. If the negro 00:12:00wants to live in lovely gardens or lovely lane, then he should do so. But in the foreseeable future, most negroes are going to choose to live in what are now the ghettos.
WARREN: Now this is about a choice, you say.
FARMER: Yes, it should be a matter of choice, not a matter of compulsion.
FARMER: That's why we--I prefer at this stage to speak of it as a battlefor desegregation, rather than a battle for integration.
WARREN: Um-hm. Because that is what is going (??), that's the firststep, if not chronologically, at least logically the first step in the process.
FARMER: Yeah, yeah.
WARREN: That's, that's what you've saying--
FARMER:--that's right. This ties in also with another debate that'sgoing on in the whole American society now with regard to race relations, is whether we want to be colored blind. Whether the color blindness is a thing to be sought. Um, many of our civil rights laws have been based upon the premise of color blindness in jobs and in housing and so forth. You can't have a quota, you can't look for negroes, you know, certain number or percentage of negroes in the 00:13:00housing project. It's illegal to ask the race or look at the race, when you seek employees. You cannot seek negro employees or white employees; you must seek employees, and so forth. Well, I, I think this is a fanciful notion. I don't think that, uh, color blindness in the American concept is a realistic one at all. Uh, I think that instead of feeling that we should sit beside a negro and say, 'I don't see the color of his skin, I don't know the color of his skin,' We should be able to say, 'Yes, I know the color of his skin and he's black, but so what?' And that I think is more American.
WARREN: Now, a university or college (??) that I know, uh, they havea very large fund (??) given them, uh, to encourage the attendance of negroes at Swarthmore (??).
WARREN: It is against the laws of Pennsylvania to inquire into the, uh,race, religion or color of applicant or possible student.
WARREN: So here you find a strange collision between the--and they haveto get around this.
FARMER: That is right and I think the laws are wrong. I think the laws00:14:00are outmoded now and need to be changed. We ran into it, uh, in a little campaign we had in seeking jobs for negroes in a small chain of restaurants. The owner, the manager finally, uh, agreed to meet our demands of hiring a certain number of negroes, but he said, "But we get our employees through a state employment service. And we certainly can't go to them and ask for twenty-five negroes. That it would be a violation of the law." Well, I checked with some friends in the state employment service of that particular state and they said that, "It's very simple. Have the man call us and, uh, we will notify our office, which is in the heart of the ghetto, and tell them to send this man, uh, twenty-five qualified persons regardless of race, color, creed or national origin."
FARMER: Yes, that is what it is, yes. (laughs)
WARREN: Sure, it's bootleg. (laughs)
FARMER: I think the laws as they are now worded are wrong--
FARMER:--and we cannot be color blind. Now we've to have a colorconsciousness aimed at wiping out discrimination.
WARREN: This leads to a matter of, of quotas, doesn't it?00:15:00
FARMER: It does.
WARREN: How do you conceive the quota, as a, as a provisional, uh,transitional, uh, device?
FARMER: Yes, uh, in housing I think quota is necessary, in order to, toavoid resegregation. You know, the, the tipping point after an area or project becomes more than a certain percentage negro, then it tends to become all negro. I think in order to avoid resegregation, we've to have a benign quota. Um, I am in favor of such a quota in employment for tactical and practical reasons, we do not call for quotas now in employment. We call for numbers instead in order to see faces, the black faces there.
WARREN: You mean the number of negroes, you mean, instead of a quotaof negroes.
FARMER: Instead of a quota of negroes then a number of negroes asa start.
WARREN: The quota system does have, uh, in extension some very gravedangers, doesn't it?
FARMER: Of course it has dangers, yes. We in the past, you know (??)00:16:00and fought against quotas in colleges and universities--
WARREN:-- (??) yes, yes--
FARMER:--because we felt that quotas were used to discriminate; but nowour quotas can be used to eliminate discrimination that has existed and to create a more equitable situation.
WARREN: You have read Oscar Handlin's little book, [Fire-] Bell in theNight that recently come out?
FARMER: No, I haven't read it.
WARREN: He makes--he's very much opposed--I wouldn't say opposed. Notthe word. He is, uh, keenly aware of the danger of quota systems if they are not boxed around by a control which recognized as limited (??) devices.
WARREN: Because they can spread in all kinds of directions.
WARREN: Defeat the very purpose for which they are intended--
WARREN:--but he also, uh, makes a remark the--one of the dangers in thepresent situation is that integration has become a shibboleth. The very word "integration" and has let to unrealistic, uh, readings of 00:17:00actual situations.
WARREN: That equality is the key, not integration because in a situationyou can't integrate, uh, by any, uh, immediate process, as he refers I think to the Harlem schools situation as an example of that--as several people do (??)--an example that.
WARREN: Where you can conceivably aim at equality and work towardintegration, but you can't make up the--the testing point in an, in an overall way of say a New York or Washington school situation. How would you respond to this, uh, notion?
FARMER: Well, there I think it has to be both equality and integration.Um, our experiences in the past have indicated that in the school system, you cannot have equality under segregation.
WARREN: That's back to the past; there is no question about it. But whatdo you do in a city like Washington, DC, when there aren't enough white school children in the public schools to go around to integrate city? 00:18:00
FARMER: Well, in that case, you do as much as you can--
WARREN:--as much as you can--
FARMER:--you do as much as you possibly can, given the situation.
WARREN: There are some people, um, some negroes I know who say thereshould be a law to go out in Virginia and corral them and bring them in.
FARMER: Well, that's nonsense. That's sheer nonsense. I think now inthe New York City situation, a great deal more can be done than has been done to create integration, and I believe that on the, um, public school level, integration is terribly important. We see it in the development of the--we see the dangers in not having integration in the development of national sentiment among negroes and anti-whites sentiment. That would be offset if our children studied in the same schools and became friends. I think it's terribly important even to take artificial methods, such as busing sometimes or such as pairing (??) of schools, um, changing the, the school zones, in order to achieve integration for the sake of letting our children get acquainted. 00:19:00
WARREN: Uh, Dr. King and I were talking about this a few weeks ago,a couple of months ago now. And he was saying, well, some breaking point in time. Thirty minutes might be the upper limit of time on the bus for a child of a certain age, you know. He was saying--not lay down a program. He was saying there is some point where we've to, uh, have other considerations modify the possibility, sort of a common--common sensible view of this. Where you break this, you see. Uh, 2 hours each way on a bus is one thing, 30 minutes or 45 minutes is another thing on a bus for children of certain ages. He was simply recognizing--he was not laying down, say 30 minutes or 45 minutes-- those were the 2 times he used.
WARREN: He was saying the, the situation have, have a gentle context forthe benefit of the child.
WARREN: That, uh, he was, as I say, was not legislating or laying down aschedule of distance--
WARREN:--he was saying we must see a context for the child's benefit,00:20:00the individual child's benefit that's involved in this.
FARMER: Yeah, well, I think that the issue of busing has been greatlyoverplayed and exaggerated because in any of the solutions that have been offered, the proposals that have been offered for providing integrated quality education in Northern cities, busing has been a minor part of such plans. There'd be a limited number of children bused and for comparatively short distances. Also there is the fact that the people who have opposed busing most vehemently have said, "Uh, if you bus our children, we'll pull them out of the public school system and, um, send them to private schools," where incidentally they would be bused for long distances.
WARREN: Very often, yes (??)
FARMER: Yes, many parents bus their children all over the city to attendgood schools, private schools. Also, um, in the, um, rural areas, in the counties, busing has become an integral part of the educational system with the central schools established, you know, for the sake 00:21:00of quality education. So that I think that the issue has been greatly exaggerated and has become, um, something that has--hung up for discussion.
WARREN: Smokescreen for some, uh, (??) in discussion, anyway.
FARMER: That's right.
[pause in recording.]
WARREN: You were saying that you were inclined to believe--correct meif this isn't right--that the hung jury in the two trials of Beckworth were honest, not rigged for public consumption.
FARMER: Yes, I am inclined to believe that. I see no evidence of, um,of any rigging of the jury in that regard--
WARREN:--do you think there is some--I beg your pardon.
FARMER: Um-hm. I think that the state, uh, knew very well that it wouldbe impossible to get twelve men or women for that matter, in the state who would vote for a conviction. And, um, they probably assumed that 00:22:00there would be either an acquittal or a hung jury.
WARREN: (pause) You said that there was a change in Mississippi, thoughin--recent times of attitude. Is that this exposure to, uh, public glare of publicity?
FARMER: I think so. Mississippi heretofore has felt that it was anisland. It--it didn't care what the rest of the country or the rest of the world thought. And that what happened in Mississippi was the business of Mississippi and of nobody else. But that came to a rather abrupt end with the Freedom Rides, and 225 people were jailed then and these people were from all over the country. Their home communities became greatly concerned about it. In fact, one state sent a delegation down to look at conditions in the state penitentiary where the Freedom Riders were. Well, ever since that time, there have been, uh, activities in Mississippi. Voter registration, demonstrations 00:23:00against segregation and so forth, so that Mississippi knows now that if one negro dies, is killed, or if a house is bombed, or shot that it becomes headline news throughout the country. And, um, Mississippi cannot stand aloof from this sort of thing.
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: Say, I am not, um, convinced that the new awareness inMississippi of the fact that other people's eyes are on them will effect changes in the segregation system. I think that they are just as, um, convinced, just as determined to maintain segregation as they were five years ago, or more. But now they realize they have to be a little more sophisticated and subtle about it.
WARREN: Let's sort out who is the "they," you see.
FARMER: Ah, yes, that's a very good question. I think that Mississippi,as far as the political power structure is concerned, is monolithic on segregation, on this issue. And more than any other state in 00:24:00the country, any other state in the South, it is a police state and is a controlled situation, so that I think there is some basis for people's suspicion that the jury might have been rigged. I don't think that there, that massive violence occurs in Mississippi without prior approval. There are no accidents in that sense. If there's massive violence and then the word has been given, and violence can be prevented in Mississippi. For example, when the Freedom Riders came into the state, uh, everyone knew they were coming in, they knew when. Yet, Ross Barnett who was governor at the time, went on the air, went on television, and every day, before the Freedom Riders came in, telling people the "race mixers," as he called them, "are coming into our state. Forget about it," he said. "Don't come into town. Don't get your guns. Don't do anything," said, "Let us handle it. And we will handle it according to law and order and we will see to it that 00:25:00the state segregation laws will be supported and maintained. Upheld." And that's what happened. There was a crowd of people at the, um, bus terminal, but these people were largely reporters, plainclothes men and policemen. There were no mobs. They stayed home. Now, in Alabama, uh, you can have accidental mob, mass violence because it is not, um, that efficient in its police operation. The police in Mississippi are more efficient than police I have seen operate any place else in the country. It's like clockwork--(snaps fingers)--with precision.
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: About a month before Medgar Evers was shot, I was riding withhim from Greenwood to Clarksdale to see Dr. Henry. And, uh, night had fallen. He had asked me to go along with him partly because he didn't want to drive alone at night. As we drove along, he told me, 00:26:00um, that he didn't really go along with nonviolence as completely as some of the people in the movement. And if I looked in his glove compartment, I would find a loaded .45 there. And furthermore, every time he gets into his car, he checks under the hood and under the seat and everything else. Well, we--he said in addition nothing passes him on the highways of that state at night. We were going, uh, about 70 miles an hour and after a while he commented to me that the car behind us, which had four men in it, had been with us for fifteen miles. And "we've got to lose it," he said. We went up to 80; they stayed with us. We went up to 90, up to 100, and then speedometer registered 110 before we pulled away from them. He told me that, uh, he doesn't let anything pass him because he has had too many experiences of, um, being stopped at night or attempts being made to block his car or force him off the road. And, uh, also there have been many cases recently where 00:27:00people have had rather surprising accidents on the highway, um, which he does not believe were accidents. He said in addition, lynchings still go on in the state. Dead bodies not infrequently, uh, black bodies that's floating down the Pearl River.
WARREN: There have been five unexplained killings--I read in the paper--since, uh, uh, last January.
FARMER: Five unexplained killings.
WARREN: Yes, it said this (??).
FARMER: Were they all negroes?
WARREN: All negroes, yes.
WARREN: This is my recollection of some news story.
FARMER: I know, um, when I got out of jail, out of ParchmanPenitentiary, on that particular day I was the only male who was bailing out. There were several girls who were bailing out. There were two vans to take us back to town, back to Jackson. I was put in 00:28:00the large one, all alone. The girls were put in the small one. Well, I later found out why this was done. It was to give me a rough ride, you know, starting suddenly, stopping suddenly, hitting curves, and have me tumble all over the huge van. But, uh, before we got in the van, a van drove up with, uh, new girl Freedom Riders who were being brought to Parchman. Some of them recognized me and began singing freedom songs. It was a serenade. There were two Mississippians, uh, standing there, chewing tobacco, or smoking. One of them said to the other, and he looked at me, "He must be one of the big shits." And the other one said, "Yeah, if I could get my hands on him, he'd be a dead shit." This was said just loud enough for me to hear. I found out the man who made the latter comment was the driver of the van taking me back to Jackson. Here I was, locked into the huge police van with this 00:29:00driver. And he made it a very rough trip and when I would look out of the barred window and see that we were approaching a bridge, I, in my mind's eye, could see him turning the steering wheel and jumping out. It was a rather horrifying trip.
WARREN: I'll bet. Did you read the report in, um, the Press aboutCharles Evers's speech at Nashville?
FARMER: No, I didn't.
WARREN: At the NAACP dinner?
FARMER: No. What did he say?
WARREN: Well, I don't know, you see, all I know is the Press. I don'tknow anybody who was actually there. The--this was, uh, it may be verbal. It maybe, uh, something more than verbal. You reminded me of it by speaking about his brother, uh, brother being, uh, armed which I knew. Of course, Mr. Lawson told me and others have told me that.
WARREN: But, um, anyway--in Nashville, according to the Press, the00:30:00Nashville Press, he said that, uh, he preached unselected reprisal. "If a church is bombed, we will bomb a church." He was using the word "we." "We decide (??)" was actually his phrase. "If the children are killed in the church, we will bomb a church with children." Uh, nonselected reprisal, you see, straight down the line. And I, uh, wrote him about this, and he said that he was misrepresented.
WARREN: I checked back on the reporter, the other reporter's a negroreporter, a graduate of Fisk University (??), wrote the report (??), and--he was called in by the editor of the newspaper, "Do you, do you stand on this? Are you, sure have (??)," and he said, "Yes." And from there we rest, you see. And, uh, some people will say that he, um, simply, got, you know, carried away with the occasion. This didn't represent his responses.
WARREN: I don't think it's very important but it is--was used very--I00:31:00think--very unfortunately, uh, by people against him. I don't think it happened that way, if it did happen.
FARMER: I don't know Charles Evers's views. I have met him only onceand that occasion I didn't have a chance to talk with him, but I do know that such views would be in conflict with the official views of the NAACP.
WARREN: I know that, too; I know that, too.
FARMER: I remember Robert Williams' case--
WARREN:--sorry. End of tape 1 of the conversation with Mr. Farmer, seetape 2.
[tape 1 ends; tape 2 begins.]
WARREN: Let me go back to a topic, uh, suggested earlier by your remarksabout CORE. I know some of the criticisms and difficulties that have come to NAACP because of interracial character. Now, uh, have you had the same experience with CORE?
FARMER: Because of the interracial character?
WARREN: Yes. Yeah, some of the criticisms have reached, uh, the NAACP00:32:00on that basis.
FARMER: Yes, yes.
WARREN: Lomax, by--Adam Clayton Powell, uh, Adam Clayton Powell. Bymany other sources.
FARMER: Um-hm. Well, Powell, uh, included us in his criticism of theNAACP.
WARREN: That's right, yes.
FARMER: He criticized NAACP and CORE for having white people inpositions of leadership. Well, CORE from its very beginning has been an interracial organization and this with us is a matter of principle. We don't see how we can fight for an open society through a segregated organization. Um, and this is a policy position which we intend to maintain. There, we've an interracial, um, staff at all levels. Uh, offices are both negro and white. Uh, membership in all of our chapters except the chapters in the deep South are negro and white. We expect to maintain it. Of course we run into difficulty. I expect that this difficulty will increase rather than decrease in the next few years. 00:33:00
WARREN: Okay, what kind of difficulty, Mr. Farmer?
FARMER: Well, there are many, many negroes, um, who do not work,will not work in an organization that's interracial because of their suspicion of whites, because of the distrust which they have for whites. Some of this suspicion and distrust is the result of bad experiences of the past, but more basically I think it is the result of the fact that we've lived in separated worlds for so long. Negroes have grown up in a black world, whites in a white world. Many of the youngsters who have, uh, come into the civil rights movement within the past two years have had no interracial experiences at all. The only white people they have, um, had any dealings with have been their landlords or their bosses.
WARREN: This leads to something else now. For instance, um, the most,00:34:00uh, publicized remark (??) is from James Baldwin. That is--"The white liberal is an affliction," his famous remark. And you hear, uh, in many forms elsewhere. Uh, what is the role of this, uh, character, "the white liberal"?
FARMER: Well, as you know--
WARREN:--does he have any role--in the, uh, negro revolution or whateveryou choose to call it?
FARMER: A "white liberal" has become a bad word.
WARREN: It's a bad word.
FARMER: Like "Uncle Tom," like "moderate" (??), you name it. Uh, Ithink the white liberal does have a role. Uh, at the present stage of the civil rights struggle his role cannot be one of leading the struggle. He cannot be the top leader of any of the civil rights organizations, if those organizations ought to have any impact in the negro community right now. Uh, if there is a white leader of the organization, then the organization will become irrelevant as far as 00:35:00negroes are concerned. I think that the white liberals, um, must and certainly should be willing to work within the organization in the rank-and-file and in roles of secondary leadership and as technicians. That is, persons that have certain skills which cannot easily be found in the negro community now because, um, negroes have not had the opportunity to develop them. Part of CORE'S strength is the fact that we've an interracial staff.
WARREN: Uh, what about the white, uh, man who is outside theorganization? He comes in for a little bit different treatment. Say a fellow traveler (??), put it that way. The person who's concerned with, uh, the state of the health of the entire community and subsumes 00:36:00the negro situation under this, under this, uh, bias (??), or under this idea (??), as it were, or this idea rather than in terms of organization. Do you know that kind of man (??)?
FARMER: Yes, I do. I do, indeed. Um, I was just thinking about it fora moment.
WARREN: President Johnson is one for instance (??).
WARREN: We trust (??).
FARMER: (laughs) Yes, he is. On President Johnson, I'd say that I thinkhe has, um, a real dedication and commitment, uh, on the civil rights issue. His speeches, especially his speeches in the South have been, uh, very significant in my opinion. Furthermore, he has taken some stands which do not seem to be, uh, calculated to help him politically. It's a matter of conviction, uh, and a feeling, an emotional matter with him, too. So I respect him for it. I, um--
WARREN:--I do, too, (??) I am not (??) at you.
FARMER: Yes. But the question you raised is a good one, a valid one.00:37:00The feeling in the negro community now is that this is the key issue. And all of the other issues must be secondary. And if there is any conflict between two issues, this one must prevail. If there's a conflict between fighting militantly for civil rights and a civil liberalist (??) point of view, for example, then the civil rights issue must prevail. Uh, my own view is that, all of these issues are so definitely interrelated. That while the civil rights issue is the key domestic issue of our time, we've got now to begin bridging the gap, and, uh, showing the relationship between the struggle for equal rights for negroes and the struggle for a stronger and better America. Uh, I think the civil rights movement can make as one of its most significant contributions, providing motivation and thrust, for example, toward 00:38:00solving the problem of poverty in our country. Solving the problem of unemployment because it happens that negroes are the poorest of the poor. With the most unemployed of the unemployed and we have the poorest houses of the house and we have the worst health of the, uh, the poor health, the poor people of poor health.
WARREN: You find situations like this: a white man that I know who isquite a distinguished writer has had some pressure for him to become an activist, at least associate himself outside. He has written very eloquently and is planning on something that's very important, uh, which would be on this subject. Now (??) be totally committed to. Yet, he has come in some, uh, very, uh, harsh words because he won't go march.
FARMER: Oh, yes. Well, we've gone through that stage and I think itis just a stage and I think we're just about through it now. Where we feel that the, where the feeling has been that the only important contribution a person can make is in the streets. There are some 00:39:00people who will not be in the streets for various reasons, marching with us. But there are other things that they can do, and, uh, in a sense it has been our failure in not having pointed out the specific things which they can do to help the revolution, the civil rights revolution. If the civil rights revolution is to succeed, then we've got to work out methods of using people at the level in which they are able to operate, to help the cause. We've haven't done that effectively. We are trying to do it now.
WARREN: You'll find this also about certain negroes. Ralph Ellisoncomes to mind. Uh, he is a man of enormous, uh, talents and high distinction.
WARREN: Did you see in Dissent last fall, the article, uh, by IrvingHowe called "Black Boys and Native Son"?
FARMER: Yes, yes.
WARREN: And Ralph Ellison replies in the New Leader?
FARMER: I didn't see the replies.
WARREN: He wrote two very eloquent pieces in reply. He said Irving Howe00:40:00is a new kind of Bilbo, "He's picked my place out for me and puts me in it." There's Ralph's role is (??) outside of activism but enormously effective.
WARREN: He has come to a great deal of criticism from both, uh, peoplelike Howe and certain negroes I know.
WARREN: Because he hasn't been in the streets. The same thing, uh, moresharply focused.
FARMER: Yes, well, in the case of Ralph Ellison, I--I don't know whetherthe criticism is only that he hasn't been in the streets. Baldwin, for example, has not been in the streets.
FARMER: But his writing has been oriented toward the streets.
WARREN: Well, the "Invisible Man" has had an enormous impact. Ralph'snovel--
FARMER:--it has indeed (??).
WARREN: (??) any single impact (??).
FARMER: Yeah. That's true. I'd repeat or I'd reiterate what I've said.That I think now we've got to find roles that others can play to help 00:41:00the revolution, which will not necessarily be picketing or marching or sitting in.
WARREN: Black or white.
FARMER: Black or whites, we need their talents. I attended aninteresting meeting yesterday, uh, which there was discussion of a relatively new idea, of urging people who have money and who invest that money to tithe in their investments. In other words, to see to it that one tenth of the funds which they invest are invested in a planned and deliberate attempt at creating open occupancy housing. And that they also follow the other money they invest by seeing to it that their money is not unwittingly being used to support to maintain segregation. I think that this is something that people can do.
WARREN: Adam Clayton Powell said to me some weeks ago, "The leadership00:42:00of the organization is finished. They are dead. Nine hundred thousand people altogether, a lot of those (??) are duplicates. Their phase is over." (Farmer laughs) Well--I know you don't agree with that, but now would you argue it (??)
FARMER: Well, I'd say that, uh, reports of our death have been greatlyexaggerated. I would say that Adam Clayton Powell would have great difficulty, um, um, mobilizing nine hundred people, not to speak of, um, nine hundred thousand people. I'd say, uh, as far as CORE is concerned, we're growing constantly. We're doubling at least each year and have been growing at that rate for the past three years and I see no end to it in sight.
WARREN: Now, the big change in the role of CORE was where--let's see--in, uh, fifty, um--the sit-ins--the big turning point, wasn't it? 00:43:00
FARMER: That was one turning point, yes, that was the major one in 1960.The students sit-ins of the South (??). I would say that we had an earlier, uh, spurt of growth about 1957, as a result of the Montgomery Bus Boycott under King's leadership. Then at that point, you see, the technique of nonviolence became popularized and this was a technique CORE had been using for some fourteen to fifteen years. Uh, we had a growth in 1960. Then we had additional speedy growth in 1961 with the Freedom Rides, which were a CORE project.
WARREN: Yes, I remember that.
FARMER: So that 3 years ago, we had 23 chapters and about 12,000members. Now, 3 years later, we have 175 chapters and at least 75,000 00:44:00members, so our day is not ended. We haven't reached our peak.
WARREN: In the question of, uh, leadership, general leadership of themovement, in ordinary revolutions, its (??) considered we find that the tendencies are always toward centralization of power winding up usually in a person.
WARREN: That's the pattern.
WARREN: Who has a symbolic role as well as a practical role in power?
WARREN: Do you see this, uh, tendency in the negro movement for thecentralization of power?
FARMER: No, quite to the contrary. The present tendency is towardproliferation of leadership and diffusion of power. Uh, there is no one negro leader now. There are negro leaders on local levels and regional levels. And more or less national levels, springing up every week as the movement becomes larger. And I, myself, do not see 00:45:00this as a liability. I think it's much more of an asset. I think it strengthens the total movement. It creates ferment within the movement and tension/contention (??) within the movement, that's true. But it keeps all of us on our toes.
WARREN: Now, this ferment in the movement, contention within themovement is, uh, pulling against the notion of a united front, though isn't it? In leadership or in policy?
FARMER: Well, no, I'd say that there are two trends. There's a trendtoward proliferation of leadership and there is also a trend toward, uh, greater coordination.
WARREN: Now, these, these are--at first glance are contradictory, aren'tthey?
FARMER: Yes. But actually I think they are not. You will find thatwithin the past two or three years, there's been a rash of unity committees or councils on local levels. Almost every major city has its United Civil Rights Committee, which includes CORE, NAACP 00:46:00and frequently the Urban League and so forth. On a national level we've a number of such groups. We have the Civil rights Leadership Conference, of which, uh, Roy Wilkins is chairman. We have the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, which includes, uh, six or seven of the major civil rights organizations including CORE, with a rotating chairmanship. My, my time is next. Currently, uh, Whitney Young is chairman of the group and I'll follow him. Um, we have the March on Washington Committee, uh, which was a unity committee, too. So I think that you'll find this development running parallel with the proliferation of leadership.
WARREN: There's another question that's always, uh, emerging inthe discussion of popular debate movements or in revolutions. As leadership is open, up for grabs, you know--
WARREN:--ambitious men, uh, act ambitiously. (Farmer laughs) There is a00:47:00kind of overreaching in terms of promises.
WARREN: Promises to the public--
WARREN:--or overreaching in terms of appeals to all sorts of dark, youknow, motives of, uh, violent expression and emotionalisms of various kinds. Now, clearly (??) in the newspapers one can see some of that going on inevitable.
FARMER: Of course.
WARREN: Inevitable. Now, do you expect any real danger from that or isthat--how is that to be contained? Let's put it that way. This human and natural impulse (??).
FARMER: Well, I think that this, this tendency will go on. I don't seeany way to avoid it. There will be jockeying for positions of power. Jockeying for leadership. There will be internecine warfare. This is inevitable, because the, the stakes are so high and the prize is so great that ambitious men will let their ambition, uh, run rampant. Um, I would say--that actually--(pause)--it's not a bad thing to have 00:48:00this bidding for leadership. The competition in itself tends to be good. The competition is good in that (??) it keeps us on our toes. If we go to sleep, then somebody else is going to replace us. We cannot afford to rest. We cannot not afford to sleep but we must, uh, keep on the alert. I would say in addition that there is a tendency within the movement now for verbalism to be substituted for leadership, or to be confused with leadership. One can gain a following, at least temporarily.
[tape 2 ends; tape 3 begins.]
WARREN:--with Mr. Farmer--
[pause in recording.]
WARREN: You were saying, Mr. Farmer, that there's a kind of--pureverbalism involved in the competition for, uh, control or for the 00:49:00enforcing of certain policies.
FARMER: Yes, right now it's easy for a man to become a negro leaderor to be accepted as a negro leader. If he makes speeches which are militant enough, if he makes speeches which capture the press sufficiently, then he becomes recognized--at least temporarily--as a negro leader on the basis of pure verbalism--without having any following, without having any organization behind him, and without taking any action. One example of that incidentally, is Malcolm X. Malcolm, um, has done nothing except verbalize. His militancy is a matter of posture (??). There has been no action thus far. Well, Malcolm can survive a long time on that, because Malcolm happens to be a man of, uh, of rather unusual abilities.
WARREN: Great magnetism.
FARMER: Great magnetism. Charisma or whatever you want to call it. But00:50:00there'll come a point where Malcolm's going to have to chirp or get off the perch. Or he's going to have to take some action or stop poking because the words will sound hollow, and I am sure that he realizes this dilemma that he's facing--he's not an activist, really.
WARREN: Do you think he's moving toward, uh, a political action,political involvement, or is that an appropriate question?
FARMER: Well, he says he is. He says he believes that he's trying todevelop political activity within Harlem.
WARREN: "Responsible, mature negro politics." "Mature negro politics,"as he phrases it.
FARMER: He says, "mature negro politics," yes. Well, here Malcolm needsto define what he means by "mature negro politics."
WARREN: He defined to me in this way when I asked him. He said, "Thismeans making our negro representatives really responsible to us, the negro community." If you ask, "Do you accept the proposed?" There's 00:51:00no answer.
FARMER: Yes, well, this is the problem with Malcolm right now. He'strying to evolve a position; he's trying to find a platform. The old script that he had was taken away from him when he left the Nation of Islam. And now he is, uh, floating around, trying to bring together a new script and I don't know where he is coming out. I suspect that he is going to be an integrationist before long. And I think that he was trying to prepare the grounds for that when he sent back those various letters and postcards from Africa. I got a couple of them here which he indicated that, uh, his old anti-white views apparently did not hold up to the realities that he found.
WARREN: Of the white, uh, member of the Mohammedan faith.
FARMER: Of the Mohammedan faith. Now, um, I would say on the questionof leadership, too, that, um, Whitney Young is absolutely right. That the press has been irresponsible. Partly out of ignorance, I think, and sometimes, I suspect, out of, um, a deliberate attempt to create, 00:52:00um, conflict within negro leadership and negro community.
WARREN: You think that really some of this deliberate, uh, divide-and-rule policy?
FARMER: I think there is some of that. There's some divide-and-rule.And also the fact that a reporter wants to make it; he wants to move ahead with his paper. And this is always news--conflict is news. Agreement is not news. But we find that, um, on occasions, some fellow who happens to be a negro who makes a speech, gets the ear of a reporter, uh, and whispers something that happens to be newsworthy at that point, finds himself overnight a negro leader. He can't maintain that position because he has no following and he doesn't have the substance. But for the time being, he is a negro leader.
WARREN: Let's turn from that a moment, to the matter of demonstration.Let us say that--I know your view on it--the nonviolent demonstration; clearly, that's clear. I'm not talking about that distinction, violent 00:53:00and nonviolent. I'm talking about what it might be called "legitimate nonviolent demonstration" as opposed by "illegitimate nonviolent demonstration," or do (??) you recognize the distinction of that sort? Let's take a practical case. Clearly you're opposed to stall-ins
FARMER: Um-hm, yes.
WARREN: That, for some reason, is illegitimate in your mind, or at leastinappropriate.
FARMER: Inappropriate, I would say.
WARREN: I'm groping to see the distinction in terms of social, generalsocial reference. Between one kind of demonstration and another kind of demonstration. I'm groping for some kind of distinction of that sort, if it exists in your mind.
FARMER: Well, you see, it's difficult for you to lay down guidelines,uh, as a generalization, as to what is acceptable as a demonstration and what is not acceptable. This fact was pointed up to me this morning in the New York Times where Javitz is calling upon negro leaders, uh, statements, to issue statements saying the acceptable 00:54:00boundaries for demonstrations. Where do we stop? And what is acceptable and what isn't. I don't think that it is possible to do that because what may be acceptable in New York is not acceptable in Chicago. What may be acceptable in Plaquemines, Louisiana is not acceptable in New York City.
WARREN: Or around the other way.
FARMER: Yes. What is acceptable today. Or what is not acceptabletoday may be acceptable a year hence. For example, the stall-in. I was not opposed to the stall-in on principle. I was opposed to it in tactics and timing. I considered the stall-in to be essentially a revolutionary tactic which requires a revolutionary situation, revolutionary circumstances.
WARREN: Now explain that, will you please, sir?
FARMER: Well, I'll try to. I would consider a stall-in--a massivestall-in to be in the same category with a general strike, a general work stoppage, the revolutionary tactic. And I think it requires 00:55:00certain, um, prerequisites. It has certain prerequisites: one, unity in the negro community; two, an almost absolute polarization existing between the races. Neither of those things were true in the New York context at this time.
WARREN: That would be a desperate measure.
FARMER: It would be a desperate measure.
WARREN: A revolutionary measure.
FARMER: Yeah. In Plaquemine, Louisiana, I've recommended to the negro,I have recommended to the negro community there that they, um, explore the idea of a general strike, work stoppage. I think here you have the total polarization. Here you have absolute unity--
WARREN:--here being Plaquemine, you mean?
FARMER:--Plaquemine, yes. In Plaquemine. So that, uh, such an extrememeasure would be justified in my view and would be workable. In New York it'd be neither justifiable nor workable.
WARREN: In other words, uh, you're saying that two questions are--if I'm00:56:00trying to paraphrase (??) you, to yourself, to be sure understanding what you are saying. There is the element of a social reference involved in the matter of--in two ways: one, the social reference to the nature of this total community--[telephone rings]--this being "illegitimate"--we'll say in quotes; whatever that word might mean-- "illegitimate" when there's an (??) opinion in the overall community. There's no polarization, very little polarization because, uh, you do not want to violate the social structure, as it were. The (??) guy hurrying to deliver a baby. Two, the second kind of social reference would be the amount of violence, violence which has been practiced against the negro movement.
WARREN: Those, those are the two kinds of social reference that areinvolved here.
FARMER: That would be true, yes.00:57:00
WARREN: These are guidelines of another sort, from what Mr. Javitz isasking for, is that right?
FARMER: I would agree, yes, to that. Also the extent to which you'vebeen able to get dialogue otherwise, and in New York, at least we've had dialogue. We haven't made the progress that we've wanted. But I did not feel that the stall-in tactic was justified at that time.
WARREN: Oscar Handlin says there's a danger in certain Northern citieswhere, uh, there is a dialogue--use your word-- going on, and some gains are being made. And some (??) being successful. In using the demonstration for what can be achieved by the dialogue, the possibility of overplaying the demonstration. Now, I assume he's talking about the two events in New York City, the stall-ins and boycott--the context of this passage in the book--I assume he's talking about that. At least 00:58:00he is much concerned about that question of, 'What is the--relation of demonstration to negotiation?'
FARMER: Well--I think that they are not contradictory at all; they'renot mutually exclusive. We find that demonstrations are frequently the catalyst that gets action in negotiation that spurs the dialogue. Sometimes demonstrations actually start the dialogue.
WARREN: You can't, uh, lead except from strength.
FARMER: That's right, yes, except from strength. Before demonstrations,uh, started--and by demonstrations I mean massive demonstrations- -say from Birmingham--there's very little discussion, constructive discussion. Lots of talk but no real action. And the talk went on interminably and the gains were negligible. But, uh, after the demonstrations began people recognized the urgency of it. We would like to even have had a Civil Rights Bill introduced in Congress. 00:59:00
WARREN: I was coming to that. Birmingham was a catalyst for the CivilRights Bill.
FARMER: That's right, yes. Birmingham movement failed in Birmingham, itsucceeded elsewhere.
WARREN: How much of a psychological element is involved in (??) ofdemonstration--simply the affirmation of, uh, identity, the affirmation of self and of courage on the part of the negro community, the demonstration. Is that a significant factor?
FARMER: I think that's a very profound point; it is indeed. Um, Iconsider it to be one of the most valuable functions of demonstration. To weld a group of people together in unity; to, um, stimulate their motivation; uh, and to recruit. Many people will come into the movement because they see action in the street. They can see it. It's visible. They can participate in it. They can walk and get tired.
WARREN: Robert Moses.
FARMER: Yes, yes, exactly,
FARMER: Of course. They can walk and get tired, then they're doingsomething, and they will never be the same again.
WARREN: Now tell me this: on the other side--I read this in--Louie, uh,01:00:00Lomax's book--not the Black Muslim, but the other one. Dirty one.
FARMER: The Negro Revolt.
WARREN: The Negro Revolt, yes. That even in--Montgomery, he's puzzledon this fact. That a short time after the victory there, you see, and Montgomery Improvement Association (??) victory, that, uh, the first time there was a general state meeting of the SCLC in Birmingham for the rally on the last night, no, uh, church was made available. Not even the one Dr. Abernathy had previously held, and Dr. King and Dexter, too. Something had gone, something had happened there, despite this victory, something had happened in the community. Do you know anything about the situation?
FARMER: No, I don't. I didn't remember that passage from Lomax's book.01:01:00
WARREN: Now, wait a minute--I'm wrong. Lomax says something that'sequivalent to that. Little was achieved in Birmingham. He's puzzled about the fact that little was achieved in Birmingham. No, this, uh, citation of fact was from Silberman's (??) book.
FARMER: Oh, yes.
WARREN: He--uh, quotes Lomax in connection as supporting efforts ofthat (??).
WARREN: He's puzzled by it too; he trying, he doesn't even know theanswer to this.
FARMER: Um-hm. Well.
WARREN: Something, something had happened in the negro community there--something had happened but he didn't know what.
FARMER: Well, I, I suspect that one thing that had happened was, uh,some internecine warfare within the movement, and that frequently happens as you're approaching a conclusion.
WARREN: Well, of course, Lomax does make a great point about the factthat not readiness of Wyatt Walker (??) in many communities.
FARMER: Yes, yes.01:02:00
WARREN: Wyatt Walker very funny about (??) on this question, by the way(??), he said that, "He was perfectly right about me, but he's wrong about everybody else.
FARMER: Oh, really.
WARREN: "He was right about me," (Farmer laughs) very charming way, youknow (??) (Farmer laughs) Then he attacks Lomax as being irresponsible reporter in general (??). He said, "On that point, he is right."
FARMER: I see.
WARREN: No, that question--what I am getting at is this: what isthe--seed planted by the demonstration in a general negro community, nationwide community or local communities? Is it psychological or is it (??) or both? A matter of practical gains, a matter of participation, what is this, this significance? You have already answered one thing-- the psychological.
FARMER: I think it is psychological; I think it's organizational, too.And that it helps to recruit. It helps to build a movement. We found that we've have to have demonstrations, if we are building a movement; they are absolutely necessary. 01:03:00
WARREN: You can't build them on paper.
FARMER: You can't build them on paper, nor can you build a movementon negotiations. And this poses a dilemma for us. Very often our campaigns are successful in the negotiation stage, and then you find that you lose your momentum, and you find another issue and it becomes all the more difficult to regain the momentum and take action. That's why it is hard for the civil rights movement or any part of it to call off demonstrations which have been planned. It's extremely difficult to do that. We've called them off. We do it because we think it is necessary to do it sometimes, if there progress is being made in negotiations. But we recognize that we may be killing the movement. In North Carolina, um, negotiations got under way the summer before last. And even talked with the governor and he made certain promises and set up committees. On this basis of this we called off demonstrations. Held them in abeyance. The governor's committees were, uh, unsuccessful. They gave a progress report, after we were 01:04:00insistent upon it. The progress report was "no progress." Well, we had lost momentum. We had lost all the steam and it took us another year to get things organized again. This time we didn't make the same mistake. So I think we've to have demonstrations. Um, we've to be flexible. We've to be prepared to call them off at times. But when you call them off, we've learned that we've to have some other action for the people to get involved in immediately.
WARREN: Now, what about this distinction--this is really getting atit but I want to try to, um, get it clear in my mind, if possible. Demonstrations with a target, you see--
WARREN: And demonstrations' mere expression (??). Now, there is apositive/logical (??) distinction, isn't there?
FARMER: Yes, there is a distinction. A very important distinction. Ithink under certain circumstances both are valid. Uh, demonstration as a protest is a valid thing.
WARREN: That's--what I'm talking.
FARMER: Without a target, without a target; just protest against01:05:00segregation. As many of the marchers in the South--the marchers in Birmingham, the marchers in Albany, and that sort of thing--targets were not specific there. This was a protest against segregation, a demand for "Freedom Now," which is a slogan and not a program, of course. I think it had validity. I believe that it is more valid and more meaningful, however, to have specific targets picked out with accuracy. And, uh, the action tailored to achieve the objective which you have in mind.
WARREN: In that case when you have a target.
WARREN: That means that you can have also leadership control more easilymanipulated (??), isn't it?
FARMER: Yes, that's right, and also you have a chance of winning thevictory, and victory is important now. The reason the civil rights revolution is in trouble is because victories have been too few in the past year.
WARREN: Now, are you following the same line of thought that WhitneyYoung follows there?
FARMER: How is that?
WARREN: Uh, we must have victories, uh, in order to maintain responsible01:06:00control.
FARMER: Well, I would say, to maintain direction; I wouldn't saycontrol. I don't think we've ever had control, really.
WARREN: Well, I don't think--he said to maintain responsible leadership,I think he said.
FARMER: Yes, well, my only argument with Whitney on this is the meaningof responsible.
WARREN: Well, let's go into that.
FARMER: Yeah. You see--[telephone rings]--um, I've been accusedsometimes of being irresponsible; other times I've been accused--and I'll use the same word--of being responsible. Because of the current civil rights contacts, it is an accusation to tell a negro leader that he is a responsible person because this means then that, uh, he is alienated, or there is a gap between him and the people he's supposedly leading. It becomes a kiss of death.
WARREN: You mean (??) responsible (??) means (??) Uncle Tom.
FARMER: Yes, to put it bluntly, that's what it means. Usually weconsider a person responsible who agrees with us or who is not militant (??).
WARREN: If a white press calls a negro responsible, he's calling him an01:07:00"Uncle Tom," in the eyes of--negro, negro leaders on that same piece of paper, same newspaper--
FARMER:--that's right. Yeah, I don't want any reporter to call me"responsible," or to call me a "moderating influence." Some have; I denied that; I'm as militant as the next.
WARREN: Well, your motives are different. (Farmer laughs) You're stuckwith that, aren't you?
FARMER: Of course I'm stuck with it.
WARREN: Well, this is back to you and Dr. King and some others. Of thenotion--the one that Dr. Kenneth Clark has analyzed--that this, uh, the nonviolent, Ghandian, Christian, (??) approach means that the white is loaded to a sense of security. If he doesn't get shot in the back at retaliation, he says, "Okay, you don't have to do very much."
FARMER: Well, I don't think that this is true at all. I discussed it01:08:00with Ken Clark. I don't agree with Ken Clark on that. I think that nonviolence in its classical sense, or in its practical sense as used in this country can lull anybody to sleep. Look at what happened to Woolworth in 1960, during the student sit-ins. There was a nationwide boycott, which is a classical nonviolent direct action technique. Woolworth admitted in its annual report to its stockholders that they had, that profits had gone down in the year 1960. Doesn't mean they lost money, but it means that the curve of profits went down. And they gave as one of the three reasons for that drop in profits a nationwide boycott against their stores. I don't think that anybody's going to be lulled in a sense of security while he's losing money. Many people would rather have you hit them over the head than hit them over the pocketbook.
WARREN: James Baldwin and others report that the Southern mob does notrepresent the majority will of the South. That's the phrase that, uh, 01:09:00(??). Baldwin uses it and others repeat this phrase.
FARMER: Well, I would in general terms, agree with that. I am inclinedto think that what exists is a continuum really, with a few persons at both poles of opinion in the South--as in the North, for that matter-- being somewhere in the middle, various places on the scale. And I think that the mob, the violent mob represents one extreme which has the sympathy--either varying degrees of activeness or passiveness--of the large part of the population, generally.
WARREN: It's permitted, anyway.
FARMER: It's permitted, yes, and sometimes it's permitted. It's whippedat and sometimes supported. 01:10:00
WARREN: According to some commentators, analysts, the whole negromovement is based on a crisis in the discovery of identity, history, personality, identity. My relation as negro to the world around me. My definition of myself. You know, of course, I've read this (??) a thousand times. I want to proposition (??): there's a similar crisis of identity for the Southerner. There're some things that underlie segregation--or the opposition to desegregation. That the Southerner sees it to be himself. To be a Southerner, he must support a certain definition of his role as his identity. Now, if he is ignorant, he sees segregation as part of that definition himself. That he's also 01:11:00having a crisis of identity. His relationship to America and the human race involved. He has a real crisis of his identity. That's why it is so fundamentally, uh, uh, difficult for many Southerners to cross that line. They feel they are selling out some (??) Also selling out, themselves in some way. Does this make sense to you?
FARMER: I think that it makes a great deal of sense. I hadn't thoughtof it in exactly those terms.
WARREN: Well, I'm a southerner (??) people who are stuck with that.
FARMER: I think it makes a great deal of sense, indeed. I don't thinkit's the whole answer.
WARREN: No, (??) economic elements involved.
FARMER: Yes, of course, there're economic elements. Then there areproblems--maybe this is a part of this struggle for identity of the Southerner that you were talking about, that the poorer Southerners have a psychological need to feel superior to somebody. And it happens 01:12:00to be the negro.
WARREN: It happens to be the negroes. Between them and the bare blackground.
FARMER: Somebody told me a story of a mythical city--of a hypotheticalcity, rather--that had, uh, voted to move negroes out of town. All the negroes would be removed from the city. And a reporter saw a white woman standing on a corner crying. He said, "Why are you crying?" She said, "They are going to move all the niggers out of town." He said, "Do you like niggers?" She said, "No, I hate them." "Then, why are you crying?" She said, "Well, who am I going to be better than?"
WARREN: That's the old story.
FARMER: Yes, I think it is.
WARREN: Admitted by many.
FARMER: One sees it particularly in a state like Mississippi--to go backto Mississippi again, where poverty is so deep among white as among, as well as among negro. And generally one finds greater anti-negro sentiment among the poorer whites who have nothing to be proud of except their skin color. 01:13:00
WARREN: Charles Evers and, uh, many other people, including Ms. LucyFountain of Harwood, have said that they have hopes for a settlement in the South. Even in Mississippi, says Charles Evers. Before and elsewhere and more fundamental settlement. Uh, Mr. Evers says that the staunch segregationists--to use this phrase (??)--some primitive code respect for courage. He's having to face now for the first-time, straight, simple raw courage on the part of a number of negroes. He may not like it, he respects it. This gives a basis for communication, or will give he says (??). Another thing he says, just the minute he talks to you to negotiate, he has crossed the line already (??). He says he bases his hopes on that.
FARMER: Frankly, I think he's being naive.01:14:00
WARREN: Tell me about it.
FARMER: I think he's being extremely naive. Well, first of all,negotiations have been going on in the South for many, many years, ever since slavery. Um, negotiations were temporarily broken off about 1954 at the time of the Supreme Court decision. The question was not negotiation or communication; the question was the agenda. And the fact is the agenda has changed now. Heretofore, the agenda was moderating segregation, um, or making it more acceptable, more humane.
WARREN: Isn't that the pattern of all revolutionary movements? You movefrom the (??) to, uh, the moment, to the unveiling of the real issues?
FARMER: Yes, yes, I think it is, and I think that that's what hashappened here. As to whether the, the Southern white man has gained a great respect for negroes because of their courage, I'm inclined to 01:15:00doubt it now--
WARREN:--you really are?
FARMER: I'm inclined to doubt it. I think that this was true in the1960. That many people changed their image then when they saw the student sit-ins.
WARREN: Do you think that the change is back now to the early image?
FARMER: No, I just don't think that it has moved any further in thatdirection. Um, I think the student sit-ins did a great deal to shake up the image. Even on Southerners such as Kilpatrick, editor of Richmond News Leader had, uh, much quoted editorial at that point. Pointing out there was almost a switching of stereotypes. Um, the well-dressed negro college student sitting there reading (??) while the mob outside, leather-jacketed, duck-tail haircut, boys swearing and grinning silly, uh, waiting for them. But I think that with the mass demonstrations of negroes, you have not seen any noticeable change in 01:16:00the respect that whites have had for them.
WARREN: Well, I'm thinking merely I guess of what my limited observationwith Southerners I know and some Northerners, too, in my, insofar as you can have your own little poll taking, how it has been effective.
FARMER: You think it has been effective?
WARREN: How do I know? For fifty people I can say, they have felt likethis. How does this stacks up. These are preselected, too, just by way of life. Let me ask you a question different from that. The negro's stereotype of the white man. But the inversion is stereotype of the negro in certain quarters. What about the negro stereotype of the white man? What was it to begin with and what is it now? What was it fifteen years ago?
WARREN:--there probably had contradictions of the white man to the negro.
FARMER: Of course there were contradictions, yes, but let's look at theSouth, you know, how difficult it is to generalize anyplace. But, um, 01:17:00in many communities in the South, negroes felt that there were good white people. That, uh, there was this paternalism which was accepted. Now, this is changing. I look at Plaquemine, Louisiana, and after the massive police brutality of the tear gasses, the cattle prods (??) and the horses that trampled people. The saying in negro community then was, "The only good white man is a dead one." "Say, did you know that, um, old Mrs. Johnson's boy was riding one of those horses with the cattle prod (??), I always thought he was a good white man. And here he was hitting negroes over the heads with sticks and, um, sticking them with cattle prods (??) and riding the horses." So I think that the negro image of the white in the South has hardened.
WARREN: In general or--
FARMER:--I think in general. In general.
FARMER: This has run parallel with the development, the rising of thenational sentiment of negro community. 01:18:00
WARREN: Is it only in the South or is that all over?
FARMER: (pause) I think to some extent it is applicable all over, but itis more sharply seen in the South.
WARREN: In Cleveland, I'm told, it's very sharp. This Is Ms. Turner--
FARMER:--oh, yes, yes (??)--
WARREN:-- (??) spend an afternoon with her. She said this. Thispolarization is almost absolute there.
FARMER: Is that so? This is very interesting. This is one of thereasons that CORE feels very important to have white staff members as well as negro staff members. Now, in Plaquemines, Louisiana, again, after the polarization had became complete and the negroes thought that all whites were against them, I made it a point to call an office and have them send in some of our white field secretaries to work with the negro community.
WARREN: In Plaquemines?
FARMER: In Plaquemines, yes. And, uh, it tended to work--well, it workedin a way, in a subtle way. To say that they accepted these persons--
[tape 3 ends; tape 4 begins.]01:19:00
WARREN: Tape 4 of a conversation with Mr. Farmer, proceed.
[pause in recording.]
WARREN: You said you had carried certain white, uh, workers to thePlaquemines, uh, office--
WARREN:--in the hopes, uh, of modifying the, uh, blanket anti-whitesentiment there.
FARMER: Yes, it appeared to succeed at least in part. I don't know howdeep the success was, but these individual white persons were finally accepted by the negro community. They were accepted as individuals. And in a sense, uh, removed from the white race and accepted into the negro race. They were considered exceptions. As in case of one young lady who was working for CORE down there, it becomes really a part of the negro community. And I visited later was talking with some of the negroes and they said, "Well, yes, she is white but she is the blackest 01:20:00white woman we've ever seen." So I am not sure if there is a carryover from their response to these individuals.
WARREN: You mean the real carryover--if I am interpreting you right--would be to say, uh, "Not the blackest white woman," but, uh, a human being.
FARMER: A human being, yes, exactly. I suspect that we are in for notonly a long, hot summer, but to use that now cliche, but for a long dark night of, um, polarization between the races. I think it's a temporary thing and that we will get over it, uh, if we can avoid, uh, destructive violence in the meantime.
WARREN: There are two thoughts that come from that from what you'vesaid. One is this: uh, speaking of the--widening gap between, uh, negro and white you were talking about, what about the widening 01:21:00gap, uh, that's pointed out by--well, many people. Uh, Mr. Whitney Young being one. Between the--negro masses in the slum and, uh, the successful middle-class, upper-class--
WARREN:--the draining of leadership, you know, in terms of economicsplit.
FARMER: Yes, I was just about to come to that. This is, um, heighten--heightening very rapidly in the negro community now. You find this schism (??) between the middle-class and the working class negro. You find it within CORE.
WARREN: Non-working class (??)--
FARMER: --non-working class--the unemployed, yes--
FARMER:--yes, we find it within CORE, since the CORE chapters havebecome mass movements. Um, people walked in off the streets and joined the organization and we've wanted them. We have longed for their presence in the organization, so we are pleased that this has happened. Yet we find that increasing tension between the established negro middle-class and the, uh, negro "lower-class." Sometimes it shows 01:22:00itself in, um, superficialities such as who wears a coat and a tie and who doesn't wear a coat and a tie. Um, who has a car and who doesn't have a car. Who lives in a house in the country and who lives in--a tenement slum in, um, New York. Sometimes it becomes a status symbol to live in a tenement slum.
WARREN: Inverted status.
FARMER: Inverted status, yes. I think this is very unfortunate. Ifthere is anything the negro in this country cannot afford, it's that class of delineation and conflict. We can't afford that kind of division.
WARREN: Either way.
FARMER: Either way. Either way.
WARREN: Now what can be done about it? If as this, uh, uh, distrust orlack of contact where the leadership has come from, uh, it's bound to come from the educated class of negroes. Now if there is a loss of 01:23:00contact there, then what's the next thing? What's the danger of the next thing?
FARMER: I didn't quite understand your question--
WARREN:--the leadership, by and large, naturally has come from, uh,and it always does come from people of education and--who had the opportunities and the chance for reflection. It comes from middle- upper-class negroes. College people--
WARREN:--and with a few exceptions but by and large. Now if the gapis widening between that class and the masses, of unemployed and unemployables, and the slum and the slum casual worker and these people, the--oppressed and depressed mess, if that gap is widening, then what?
FARMER: Well, I think what, we're, we're finding happening now isthat, uh, a number of new negro leaders are springing up from the negro working class and, um, the lower-class generally. Um, many of 01:24:00these persons have not had much education. They, uh, have developed a feeling, however, for the struggle for civil rights. They've developed some (??) in the use of the techniques of nonviolent direct action. And, uh, I suspect that some of them will grow into prominence.
WARREN: If they belong, follow that general line of growth, good andwell--
WARREN:--but there are so many possibilities of other lines ofdevelopment from because of this split; theoretically, it would (??) seem to be. (??) if the nonviolence and the general policies that, uh, you represent are, are taped as belonging to the now alienated middle- class, upper-class negro, educated negro, then the other leader has his, has his (??) denying that policy, I mean possible (??) leaders. What 01:25:00signs of that danger are, are there now, if any? Am I making myself clear?
FARMER: Not quite clear.
WARREN: This, I mean--if there is a real alienation or, or movementtoward alienation between the now, uh, leadership class of the negro movement. People of education. Um, people of, of various sorts of contact with the world outside. This class alienated (??) from the slum negro. Now the slum leaders as they arise--some as you've indicated--will follow the same line that's now followed by a basic negro leadership.
WARREN: But there is also a great temptation either for power or out ofignorance and, uh, sense of oppression and desperation to follow a line 01:26:00of violence in the slum leadership. It was seen in the cards.
FARMER: Well, I am not sure that that's true really. I think that, uh,one finds just about as much anger now among the negro middle-class, uh, as one finds among the lower-class.
WARREN: But does the lower-class identify with this anger in the middle-class? Or is the gap so great that, so he can't conceal that the middle- class looks like an alien to him?
FARMER: It looks like an alien. He looks like a person who, um, is nolonger black. Uh, he's white, with dark skin--
WARREN:--the white collar makes him white.
FARMER: Yes, makes him white. Um, a favorite saying now among negroesis, um, 'Oh, so-and-so, um, he used to be black.' I heard somebody refer to Ralph Bunch in that way. 'What do you think of Ralph Bunch?' 01:27:00You know. 'Well, he used to be black but now has become white.' Uh, I think what is more apt to happen is that, um, there will be great attrition among negro leadership now based in large part upon the fastest of the footwork. Uh, whether people are able to, uh, adapt to the, the, um, vocabulary and the terminology--
FARMER:--of the masses, yes. Uh, look at one man who has such fastfootwork and adaptability is Adam Clayton Powell. Now Powell has no real relationship with the, uh, rank-and-file, lower-class negroes.
WARREN: He feathers (??) himself but he hasn't. He feathers himselfthat he doesn't have one thing that he claims to have--
FARMER: --yes--he hasn't really--he is far removed. Power with threehouses and four cars, and, um-- 01:28:00
WARREN: He says, "I am the only slum dweller among all (??)."
FARMER: But he's not a slum dweller. He keeps officially a littleapartment someplace in Harlem, but this mansion in Puerto Rico and a house in White Plains and everything else. Uh, yet Powell knows the rhetoric, he know the rhetoric and he can speak to it. He can use it and he becomes thus a lower-class negro leader, which is the most ironic thing you could imagine. Malcolm, another one. Now Malcolm is not lower-class. Malcolm has a home out in Jamaica, and Long Island, a house and yard. Malcolm drives, uh, a new Oldsmobile. Malcolm wears two-hundred dollar suits and, uh, expensive handmade shirts. But Malcolm has a rhetoric and the footwork to keep in pace with the changing mood of people. He doesn't lead them but he reflects and verbalizes what they are thinking. So I suspect that there is 01:29:00going to be an attrition among negro leadership depending upon their adaptability to this, and their ability to speak, uh, with the proper, uh, vocabulary. Now Baldwin is a writer who has that vocabulary and thus has appeal to the lower-class negro. I have been absolutely amazed to see lower-class negroes, working-class unemployed and unemployed negroes reading Baldwin's books, probably the first books they've read. Reading them laboriously, but reading them. I am sure not understanding what he is saying but getting a feeling. That I dig this guy because he digs me, he's saying what I would like to say.
WARREN: Now the other question that came to mind out of what you saidearlier was this. About the gap between the white man and the negro, you see, the decreasing gap.
WARREN: Many people tend to think of the problem as one of (??)01:30:00prejudice, and stamping it out, putting it out, putting it out. Now, maybe there isn't an immediate problem on the part of white man or negro either, you see; there's mutual prejudice.
WARREN: And in some quarters increasing prejudice, as you have pointedout. Maybe the point is to know what to do with the prejudice. What's recognized. Transcend the prejudice in terms of not saying, 'Take it, we don't have it,' but say, 'What do we do with it, now that we've it. We've got it.' It's a, that's a different problem psychologically, isn't it, and morally.
FARMER: Yes, I think it is, I think it is, very much so.
WARREN: But isn't there kind of sentimentality, uh, on both sides ofthe fence among certain people, that you extirpate (??) prejudice for social solutions and then get your social solutions?
FARMER: Yes, there is, indeed. Runs into a great deal of it. Sometimesit's put in the context of whether we are for legislation or not. You 01:31:00cannot legislate the prejudice out of the hearts of men; somehow you have got to find some way of getting it out otherwise--the law don't (??) reach it, but actually the laws don't try to speak to prejudice. They merely try to control men's, uh, behavior, so that part of the prejudice they have does not, uh, illegally damage other citizens.
WARREN: Now if the stage to make them confront their prejudice, ratherthan try to persuade them that they don't have any--
WARREN:--now they try to say they don't have any (??)--
WARREN:--that's what I am getting at, you see, (??) the sentimental viewis to say, "Well, you don't have it. I don't have it."
FARMER: Yes, yes, exactly. This is what we've been trying to say in theNorth. And the reason we started stepping up our demonstrations in the North more than a year ago because so many Northerners, um, deceived themselves into thinking that they were not prejudiced. The ideal thing was to be without prejudice, so they asserted that they were without prejudice, when nothing could have been farther from the truth. Uh, we hoped through some of the demonstrations that we undertook 01:32:00to force them to confront their own prejudices and to admit that they existed. Then determine what they were going to do about it. I think we partially, partially succeeded in that.
WARREN: That's the point I am getting at.
WARREN: As opposed to the sentimental view that you persuade each otherthat you don't have it.
FARMER: Yes, right. I think, uh, that this is a more realisticinterpretation of what is happening today than the concept of the white backlash. People are confronting the feelings which heretofore have been submerged.
WARREN: Now, a question relating to that: there are some people, uh, whotake the negro movement or revolution or problem in the light of good guys against bad guys. Evil against good.
FARMER: Um-hm. Well, I, of course, do not believe in the devil theoryof history. Um, nor do I think that there--these are angels and that 01:33:00anyone who happens to be opposed to us is, uh, a completely depraved human being. What we always try to say in the nonviolent direct action movement. And I confess that as we grow larger, we get farther away from it. We try to look at the enemy and say, "There but for the grace of God go I." And to realize that he is in large measure, the creature of his environment and of the conditioning, the social conditioning, and that if our--our experiences have been identical with his, then we probably would share many of his present biases. Um, it is this belief and this platform which has, uh, served as the philosophical 01:34:00theoretical basis of the nonviolent movement.
WARREN: Now, to say it back--do you, uh, you place the moral issue inthe context of human conditions?
FARMER: Yes. Yes.
WARREN: In other words, the conditioning is the equivalent of, offorgiveness.
FARMER: Exactly. And also it recognizes the possibility of human change.
WARREN: By the same token.
FARMER: By the same token.
WARREN: Let's jump ahead a second. Let's take a time, date unspecified,when there'll be, uh, fair employment, you know, practice and there'll be, uh, a decent housing legislation with some teeth in it and things, uh, uh, you know, voter registration, all the rest, those things, obvious things. (??) points of struggle. Then what? What remains to 01:35:00be done?
WARREN:--suppose you have those things, you see--
FARMER:--well, assuming that then we've broken down the wall.
WARREN: Broken--you have, you have at least, uh, official integration,you have, uh, reasonable fair employment, situations, uh, integrated schools, those things, then what?
FARMER: Right, then you have to build the bridges. First the walls comedown, then the bridges go up. Then if the, uh, thrust changes from desegregation to integration. And here one's definition of integration becomes, um, very pertinent.
WARREN: At this point.
FARMER: At this point.
WARREN: At this point, what is the negro's responsibility? (pause)What's his--in this phase-- 01:36:00
FARMER:-- (??) phase (??)--
WARREN:--what's his responsibility?
FARMER: Well, he has many responsibilities. One of his chiefresponsibilities is, uh, to prepare himself to live in an integrated society.
WARREN: You have (??) a parallel over the white man's problem, then.
FARMER: Yes, that's right. And, uh, it is a difficult situation becausewe are moving against that now. Moving away from it. In the negro community, there's a greater sentiment toward nationalism. And--after we've broken down the walls, it's--really a contradictory and confused type of struggle. Many of the same people who speak in behalf of segregation are one day or the next day fighting against specific forms of segregation. Um, Malcolm X's, for example. When Malcolm joined the second school boycott, which was obviously, uh, for desegregation, of the schools, yet he speaks for separation. I've sort of lost the point here, now. 01:37:00
WARREN: We're talking about the paradox of, uh, the negro'sresponsibilities being parallel with the white man's responsibilities, on the question of integration. After we've the formal, the formal matters taken care of, you see. You know, after we've desegregation of schools, you know, uh, fair employment, uh, practice with teeth in it these things--civil rights, and so forth, voting.
FARMER: After we've all of that, and if these laws we've areimplemented--
WARREN:--let's assume, let's assume that--
FARMER:--then negro leadership will either have to change its focus ornegro leadership itself will have to change, or be changed. Uh, it's pretty much like the trade union operation. I spent some years as a trade union organizer. And, uh, when the organizers began organizing and preparing for (??) election, we had to be agitators. Our work was an agitation work. "The boss was a beast," uh, had to be the, the 01:38:00slogan. But then after we had won the election, we found that we had to live with the boss. We had to sit down with the boss and we had to negotiate a contract, uh, which controlled our activities as well as his activity. What we usually had to do was to pull out the organizer and then send in others. Send in negotiators.
WARREN: Who wouldn't have to take it back.
FARMER: Who wouldn't have to take it back, but they could start fresh,you know. 'Well, that was somebody else who said that.'
WARREN: He was mistaken.
FARMER: (laughs) Yes, I am saying something different. Now, sometimesyou find a rare individual who could do both, but that's extraordinary.
WARREN: Now we are up against the question of the--tactics.
WARREN: Psychological tactics. Uh, on one end, if you preach say, uh,the state of the negro history-- 01:39:00
WARREN: Uh, it has a double appeal. One is bound to be the (??). Toerase superiorities, inevitably we've that, only it the component (??) enters into it inevitably. There's a casualty possible there, like the casualty in the study of Southern history--
WARREN:--the Confederacy has become the city of the (??)--I want to keepthe facts straight. That liability to build great reasonable (??) to build irrational pride Baldwin's (??)
FARMER: That's right.
WARREN: Does leadership just simply (??) this problem as, uh, aninevitable, uh, risk, or is it can be (??), uh, kept on a rational level in the process?
FARMER: I think it can be kept on a rational level in the process. I01:40:00think that it is important that in the teaching of negro history in the schools, and not be taught as a separate subject, but be taught in the terms of the negroes's contribution to American history, just as we study the contributions of other peoples in American history. I think it is possible. I certainly think it is possible for the negro to be proud of contributions that have been made by people who happened to have been negroes. But to be equally proud of contributions that have been made by other peoples, and equally proud of the cultures which other people represent.
WARREN: It's tough, though, isn't it?
FARMER: It's tough. But I have seen, uh, this sort of mutual pride inindividuals, and I think it can be true in groups (??)
WARREN: It can be but in certain obvious limits. Let's shift. What doyou think of Lincoln?
FARMER: What do I think of him?
WARREN: Yes, as a man, how do you assess his--not his symbolic role, buthis, uh, human and ethical role? 01:41:00
FARMER: Well, it's so difficult that, uh, this far removed from him tolook at the real Lincoln as opposed to the mythical--
WARREN:--it's difficult, yes--
FARMER:--Lincoln, and, uh, I am not a Lincoln scholar or Lincolnauthority, so I'm not sure how is myth and how much was the man. My own opinion, however, is that, uh, Lincoln was not the great emancipator, emancipator, as, uh, he's generally pictured to be. From some of his quotes (??) which I do not think were taken out of context, uh, Lincoln's--
WARREN:--there's a strong bit of evidence right at that point.
FARMER: Yes, that his objective was not really to free the negroes; hisobjective was to save the Union.
WARREN: He said so.
WARREN: He also was a racist, in the sense--
FARMER:-- he didn't believe in intermarriage, for one thing.
WARREN: He just said inferiority, period.
WARREN: So did Jefferson.01:42:00
FARMER: Of course. I think, I think though, that, um, here you havegot to look at these men and their historical context. They were not omniscient. And, uh, were not able to speak from the vantage point of the anthropological and sociological and psychological knowledge that we've now.
WARREN: Dealing with the de facto inferiority, they said, this is, uh,this is not historical-- this is historical (??), but this is absolute."
FARMER: Yeah, that's right, of course, it's absolute. Well, peoplealways consider things to be absolute when they are not aware of the historical context.
WARREN: True. What you are saying--I say it back to myself--that youwere not make abstract moral judgments, you will say you must put them in their historical context.
FARMER: I think we must, yes. I think we must.
WARREN: Tie that to your previous remarks about anyone's prejudices atany one given moment. You see, you see, it's conditioned by history. 01:43:00A personal history--
FARMER:-- (??) prejudices (??)--
WARREN:-- (??) conditioned (??) by his personal history and the societythat he has grown up in.
FARMER: Yes, that's right.
WARREN: Tie this general historical relativism (??) to the other thingyou said about the, uh, personal prejudices. Say every person's raised with there, these.
WARREN: How he transcends conditions with them, how he transcends them.
FARMER: How does he transcend?
WARREN: You said that about, about growth in moral (??), but I, I, um,was just tying the general historical principles with what you said about individuals, that's all I am trying to do.
FARMER: Oh, yes, yes.
WARREN: I was just trying to put them in the same package,psychologically--
FARMER:--I would accept that.
WARREN: What about Kennedy?
FARMER: President Kennedy?
WARREN: Was--in the process of growth, do you think--or do you know (??)?
FARMER: Well, oh, I think he was growing some, uh, I certainly amalmost nauseated by the current deification of Kennedy, especially 01:44:00on the civil rights issue because this is not accurate, historically accurate, uh, if the relationship which I had with him were valid at all. I had several conversations with him. And my feeling was, um, that the President did intellectualize civil rights issue and, uh, intellectualized it well. But I saw no depth of feeling there on his part. It became a rather cold intellectual issue and a political issue with him. He moved only when there was sufficient pressure that he had to move.
WARREN: Birmingham being the big watershed.
FARMER: Birmingham was a big watershed, yes. It was only afterBirmingham that he came out saying, um, that this was a moral issue, you know. Before then it had been a legal issue.
WARREN: Do you think that part of deification has, uh, been because of01:45:00the negro need for a symbol?
FARMER: No, I don't think so. I don't think the negro had anythingto do with the deification of Kennedy. The negro merely accepted the deification which was, uh, with which he was, uh, stampeded through the mass media.
WARREN: As useful? Cynically, as useful, as a useful symbol or justignorantly accepting it?
FARMER: Oh, no, ignorantly accepting it. One accepts it, you know, it'ssuperimposed, and doesn't rationalize it, or think it through.
WARREN: Have you seen Harry Golden's book called Kennedy and the Negro?
FARMER: I have a copy of it, yes. I've only scanned it and haven't readit carefully.
WARREN: Well, you won't agree with it
FARMER: Yeah. I don't think I will agree with it.
WARREN: Not from what you said. I don't think I will agree with it.
WARREN: He makes him the second coming.
FARMER: (laughs) Oh, yes, well, this is not unusual, you know, for a manto become in his dead, what he was not in his life. On an issue like this. It's happened many times before. 01:46:00
WARREN: How did you take John Brown? Or you've read his story?
FARMER: Yes, I've read his works--
FARMER:--yes, I think he was, uh, an extremely dedicated person, and gotintoxicated, from what I observe. Saw this is his destiny.
WARREN: Yes, he did.
FARMER: I know, uh, speaking of the--very frequent, making a man whathe was not before his death (??) is going to give an award to, um, Sidney Hillman for civil rights activity. Somebody asked Dubinsky, but Dubinsky, "Sidney Hillman didn't do anything on civil rights. When did he become, um, a great civil rights leader?" But Dubinsky with his great wisdom said, "After he died." (both laugh) 01:47:00
WARREN: Yeah, when Lincoln died, (??) was going to keep a diary down inback room, you know, said "Now dies the man, now is born the myth."
FARMER: Yes, yes, yes. Well, I think, I think Lyndon B. Johnson is, uh,much more for civil rights than Kennedy ever was.
WARREN: That's my impression without knowing as much about it as you do.
FARMER: Yeah, yeah.
WARREN: I didn't mean to be sneering at Lincoln. I admire Lincoln. Ithink we were lucky to get him. Think what we could have gotten. I think he was a great man. I wasn't using that as a, as a coveted (??) attack on Lincoln. It was just a--well, um, (??). Let's knock it off.
WARREN: End, end, end, end of conversation with Mr. Farmer, end, end,end, end.
[tape 4 ends; tape 5 begins.]01:48:00
FARMER: Uh-hm. Yeah. Well, I, of course, was unaware that thePresident had made any such request that there be a cooling off period or cessation of demonstrations. I do know that, um, in August, uh, Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, called a meeting of the heads of the various civil rights organizations in his office. At that time, um, Mr. Wilkins offered a statement which he had prepared that attacked the white backlash, stated concern about it, stated concern about, uh, Goldwater and Goldwaterism. The threat of Goldwater particularly. And then, uh, stated that we were to have a moratorium on demonstrations until after the election. I did refuse to sign such a statement-- 01:49:00
FARMER: I declined to sign it on several grounds. One, I was notconvinced that the, uh, so-called white backlash was a, uh, significant factor, or would be a significant factor in the election. I, uh, did not believe that any substantial number of, uh, white citizens who formerly were for the civil rights movement were now against it. What I thought had happened was that the, um, people who had been against it all along had now become more vocal and articulate. And that some who had been, uh, had been apathetic, uh, now were becoming, uh, antipathetic, you might say. Um, to sign it (??), I did not consider it good tactic or strategy to, uh, announce to opponents that you're giving up your most potent weapon. Uh, so I declined to sign. Uh, 01:50:00John Lewis of SNCC declined to sign also.
WARREN: Yes, I know that.
FARMER: The statement was issued, however. There had been claims made,uh, subsequently that, uh, Johnson had asked for such a moratorium, but I've seen no verification of that.
WARREN: And you have, uh, seen no verification of a pressure, uh, onwhite donors to civil rights organizations?
FARMER: No. I have no evidence that there's been any such pressure. Iwill say that there's been a slight decline in the funds coming in to organizations. Um--I have no explanation for that.
WARREN: Of course, it may not be an appropriate question but it'sfrequently said that there's an unhealthy amount, that it would be a little bit healthier if there were, uh, somewhat more negro money, uh, in the pot, in the joint civil rights pot.
WARREN: That's said very frequently as a matter of--01:51:00
WARREN: How do you react to that? That notion?
FARMER: Well, I think it would be healthier. I think we ought toget money from all sources, white and negro. But, uh, it has been a lot of the tragedies in civil rights movements that, um negroes have contributed so little in terms of funds to the support the movement. And there're many reasons for that. There's not been a tradition of giving within the negro community. There's been a tradition of receiving instead. Um, second, we in CORE, um, raise about 80 percent of our budget through direct mail appeals, and, uh, replying to direct mail appeals requires a relatively high degree of sophistication and stability. One has to have a, a permanent address and stay there for a period of time and have a bank account, so that he can send in a check and so forth. So that's not conducive to, uh, large scale negro giving. 01:52:00
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: Well, I read it with much interest and I find it, uh, basicallysympathetic and good. My big concern is that, uh, CORE seems to be mentioned as an afterthought rather than as an integral part of the- -Summer Project. CORE has had rather, uh, large scale activities in Mississippi since the Freedom Rides in the summer of 1961--
WARREN:--I'll take care of that, yes.
FARMER: A matter of fact, Schwerner (??) and Chaney (??) were CORE staffmembers and the Fourth Congressional District where Neshoba County is, Marion County are CORE territory and the people there are CORE. We've had dozens of workers, uh, working in the Fourth Congressional District largely, and the CORE field secretary in charge of Mississippi, Dave Dennis, has worked as Bob Moses's assistant, assistant program director of COFO. So, CORE was in COFO at the very beginning and, uh, it was 01:53:00not a question, uh, as far as we're concerned, of our not being able to pull out because of state campaign initiative. We were in it from the very beginning and had no intentions of pulling out.
WARREN: What about the, uh, matter of the effect of the Summer Project?What, how do you assess the short, uh, range and long range effects?
FARMER: Well, I think the biggest effect was in, uh, in giving, givingthe negro community a sense of not being alone. That there were people outside who were interested. Um, another important effect was on the students who went down there for the summer. Um, they saw the horrors at first-hand and will not be the same again and will, I believe, be intimately involved with the movement from now on. In terms of numbers 01:54:00of people registered, those are very little. It is not significant.
WARREN: Dr. Henry said it's around four hundred. Other people havesaid it's as high as twelve or thirteen hundred after registration. He reported four hundred (??) in his book, his essay.
FARMER: Um-hm, um-hm. Yeah.
WARREN: As low as that.
FARMER: That would be closer to our estimate, too.
WARREN: Four hundred?
FARMER: Yes, around four hundred.
WARREN: Not that it really matters, that kind of margin.
WARREN: Uh, I'm told by people who have worked fairly closely with thestudent movement, have been there for two years, and that there was real resistance, uh, last winter on the part of the SNCC people, uh, to taking--and some other, uh, people in the civil rights movement in Mississippi--to taking on any substantial number of white students.
FARMER: There was some resistance to that (??), um, partly because ofthe new desire for self-expression on the part of negroes and a sense 01:55:00of identity and race pride, and that sort of thing.
FARMER: All similar to the nationalist emotional sentiment. Uh, and Ithink it was more than that. There was the fear that, uh, the white students would be better educated, better skilled and so forth.
WARREN: That's what Bob Moses was telling me last--
FARMER:--yes, there was that fear. Um, a result of the Summer Project--and this was somewhat unfortunate, I think--was that, um, the Project did not involve local people. In fact, in many cases our local people who had been involved in the movement pulled out when they saw these skilled youngsters from the North coming down. They couldn't type that well and couldn't write or read that well. So they pulled out and said, "Perhaps they don't need me." And didn't come around.
WARREN: Now this applied both to, uh, negro and white, uh, outsiderscoming in? I hear different stories on that, you see.
FARMER: Well, it applied mostly to the whites because the negroes coming01:56:00in, uh, did not have on an average the same educational and skills, qualifications that the white youth did. Um--it did apply to them to some degree. Now we find that after the students have left for the summer, some of the local people are coming around again and saying, "Well, maybe you need me again."
WARREN: Let's go back to the convention (??) for a moment. Um, I'vehad an account from--various people that you have to patch (??) these things together. You see that's only a matter of a half a page that I want, would have to be accurate is the main point--
WARREN:--I'm not dwelling on it. This is just sort of a footnote, yousee; this whole thing is sort of, kind of a footnote (??)--
WARREN: Uh, what was the pressure, uh, to accept a compromise when it01:57:00was finally offered?
FARMER: Well, there was no pressure on me and I did not ask them toaccept a compromise at all. I pointed out that I thought that the compromise--no, that the FDP's position in rejecting the compromise was morally right but politically wrong. And, uh, they had to make a decision on whether they wanted to be moral on this issue or whether they wanted to be political. Now I thought also that, uh, the compromise could have been made more acceptable. I think you indicate that in your notes here. Uh, if, uh, the Credentials Committee had not selected the two people who would be seated at large, and those negroes's predictable reaction was "We've spent too long, too many years having white people pick out leaders for us".
WARREN: It's tactless to say the least.
FARMER: Yeah, certainly. But I'm told that there was considerablepressure from, uh, the labor movement and from, um, Senator Humphrey. 01:58:00The labor movement through Walter Reuther and then Senator Humphrey. Presumably this came directly from the administration. Um, and we found after this pressure was applied, from whatever source that the support that we had in the Credentials Committee for the Green Resolution--Edith Green's resolution evaporated, and the, um, commitments that we had gotten--I spent a great deal of time speaking before, um, delegations from various states, uh, urging them to do two things; one, to support the Edith Green proposal and two, to, uh, to support, you know, a roll call to get a floor fight (??). But we found that the commitments that we had gotten on that--
[pause in recording.]01:59:00
WARREN: You were saying that you had--
[pause in recording.]
WARREN: You were saying that you had in strong support of the EdithGreen, uh, proposal.
FARMER: Yes, yes, uh, you know the Edith Green proposal--
WARREN:--yes, I do, yes--
FARMER:--that a loyalty oath be given to all and those who tookit be seated. Uh, we had gotten commitments from a number of the delegations, state delegations, that they would support that proposal and that they would support a roll call on the floor. We had a floor fight. We had enough to be assured of it.
WARREN: From the Credentials Committee?
FARMER: Yes, yes. But, uh, this support evaporated, um, after thepressure was applied.
WARREN: Now Dr. Henry says he, uh, threw out and had been strongly, uh,pulling for, uh, hearing from all of the leaders of the various civil 02:00:00rights organizations that he wanted to speak before a vote was taken. But the vote was not--this was not done. The vote was taken before there had been a chance for the leaders of the various organizations, uh, to express themselves and discuss the matter before with the--body of the Freedom Democratic Party.
FARMER: That is correct. The first vote was taken, uh, quickly. Uh,the motion was made by Bob Moses.
FARMER: And he insisted upon a quick vote on it rather than a delay,and it was, um, just two or three minutes after this vote was taken, which was overwhelmingly, um, to reject the compromise that we learned, uh, that Governor Johnson of Mississippi had rejected the compromise and had ordered, uh, his delegates to pack up and come home. (pause) 02:01:00It may have been--I don't know; this is purely speculative--but, um, if there had been a slight delay in the vote and we had learned of Johnson's, Governor Johnson's actions before the vote was taken, that the, uh, Freedom Democratic Party decision might have been different.
WARREN: Well, one of the SNCC people, uh, tells me that, uh, this wasnot known at the time of this vote that the support in the Credentials Committee had evaporated.
FARMER: Well, there were indications that it was evaporating.
WARREN: But it had not--
FARMER:--it had not completely evaporated at the time--
WARREN:--at the time.
FARMER: But we knew that the pressure was on. And we knew that thepeople were yielding to that pressure. 02:02:00
WARREN: Well, I understand, too, uh, that, um, for instance, um, whenthe compromise was offered that Carmichael, uh, Stokely Carmichael said in public outdoors, outside, you know, to the group (??) outside, "This proves, uh, that the liberal Democrats are as racist as any Goldwater." (Farmer laughs) Just this heat of passion, you know.
FARMER: (laughs) Yes. That undoubtedly was heat of passion. And, uh, Idon't think Stokely would try to defend that position.
WARREN: Well, my--my guess is he wouldn't. But, uh, the point I'mgetting at is this, uh, by some accounts, there's been a great hardening of attitude, uh, since the convention among the people who were active in Mississippi. I have--this is given to me by various 02:03:00SNCC workers, uh, who agree about this fact. What they tell us is that they're going along to cut off from, uh, outside support a growing suspicion of the white "liberal Democrat."
FARMER: On the part of the SNCC people you mean?
WARREN: On the--this is said about SNCC people, about SNCC people bySNCC workers.
WARREN: Now, uh, there's no way to--I should be asking--I am asking BobMoses some of these same questions, uh, but I'd be doing that, uh, I couldn't visit with him in town before he left. I'm going to get in touch with him again. In fact, I am (??) corresponding with him now.
WARREN: Do you have any impression of that sort that this, uh, theconvention really had, uh, and the Mississippi whole business had a hardening effect on, um, a sense of withdrawal from--white contact, white support?
FARMER: Well, it's a growing feeling, and it was growing before the02:04:00convention but perhaps was accelerated by events at the convention. That of, 'We've no friends.' I find this among the younger people especially in the South, the younger negroes, that there are no real friends who will stand up when the chips are down. Um, yet, it's contradictory in a way because the same people who, uh, adopt that position spend a great deal of time raising their funds in the North from, um, white liberal sources. Uh, money is given to support the campaign in the South. We find incidentally that, uh, many white liberals will give much more readily to support Mississippi than they will to support any activities in the North because it's way down yonder, and it's always easier to slay cobras in Borneo.
WARREN: That's right. (both laugh) But the "going-alone" attitude is02:05:00coming, its hardening out, you think, to some degree particularly among the young?
FARMER: It is, yes, but I think they're smart enough to know, um, thatthey can't support the movement without the help of such people.
WARREN: Now another, uh, thing that seems to come out of Mississippi--Ihaven't been there in quite some months now. I'm going back very soon now. But is this--this real split has developed. I suppose a natural split, but say between the--the theorizers of the movement--chiefly the young SNCC people but including some others, too--and the rank- and-file people, particularly the native Mississippians who, uh, have practical objectives. They just don't want a shot or, or they want a 02:06:00job. You know, a practical pragmatic approach as opposed to the, uh, high theorizing of the, uh, local, uh, you know, the local brass, the high command.
WARREN: And this split is becoming more and more marked. One thingbeing the notion of the association of the movement in Mississippi, uh, with the, uh, peasant revolt, the Worldwide Land, uh, Drive and these things.
WARREN: That kind of theorizing.
FARMER: Yeah. There is such a division developing. And it's shaping upas a division between the large group of staff people who have been the movement in Mississippi over the summer and the local negro community. The local negro community is not at all interested in the theorizing, and, uh, at this juncture (??) sees no real, um--um, identity, 02:07:00identification between their struggle and the struggle in Vietnam or anyplace else in the world. All they want is, uh, a right to vote and right to a decent job and a decent house and not to be pushed around.
WARREN: This goes back to the matter of, uh, the screening of the summer,uh, workers at Oxford, Ohio, or the lack of screening by all accounts. That, (??) who covered this for the Times and his pieces--these are some of the pieces that are not published. He has, uh, told me about, given me access to information. He said there's no screening. And he was very disturbed about some of the types who were admitted.
WARREN: He said that (??), as a, as a matter of policy, too, clearly, a02:08:00matter of policy.
WARREN:--and it's now reflected in this other alienation, you see, thatI'm talking about.
FARMER: Yeah. Well, I won't comment on the types who were representedduring the summer project, but I will state that there should have been more screening. And if there are any subsequent projects then there ought to be more screening. For/in (??) the Freedom Rides we tried to screen our people very well.
FARMER: We found it difficult, however, after it became a mass movement.
FARMER: But, uh, screening is absolutely essential. Some of theconflicts, some of the tensions could have been avoided. I will say also that there was inadequate, uh, organization, uh, in the Summer Project. Uh, the chains of command and who makes what decisions and that sort of thing. But, uh, the thing happened so fast and was so large.
WARREN: Yeah. A thing like that is not, is not subject to military02:09:00discipline. They take, they take their own shape more or less--
WARREN:--I think anyone would realize that problem.
WARREN: One other thing that, uh, I get again from actual workers,not from random gossip, but there's been a tendency in, uh, the growth of the Freedom Democratic Party to have more, one more sort of manipulation from above rather than actual democratic procedure, uh, in the whole, uh, operation of the party in Mississippi. Now this is--I say this comes from, uh, actual workers, not from--some say it's natural and some deplore it, put it that way.
FARMER: Well, I think, um, I'd say both things are true. It, um, maybe natural and it still might be deplored. I, I think that you'll find 02:10:00the same thing in the major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, that there is a great deal of manipulation from the top rather than real grassroots participation.
WARREN: Sure. That's, that's probably true.
FARMER: And I think it's true in the Freedom Democratic Party, too.Um, I, I think that, um, the decision-making procedures have not been clearly enough drawn up to allow for the, uh, grassroots participation.
WARREN: Let's turn to the matter of the, uh, segregationist resistancein Mississippi. There have been a series of indications that there are cracks developing in the resistance. This was yesterday (??) in the Times, they wrote a story about the head of the press, for the, uh, Mississippi State Press Organization saying now that we're looking at ourselves for a change. 02:11:00
WARREN: Find out what's really wrong with us.
WARREN: Us being, uh, the Mississippi power structures that we can'ttrust these people running the state now. He said, he said it in so many words.
WARREN: Of these various indications, like the McComb statement, howmuch, uh, importance do you attach to these, uh, indications?
FARMER: I attach a great deal of importance to it. It was Ralph McGillwho said, uh, several years ago that he felt, uh, segregation and discrimination would come to an end when American business insisted that it be halted. And I think that's true in Mississippi. Uh, it's significant that McComb the two men who took the lead in getting the statement out signed by 655 white citizens in the town are bankers. And, uh, obviously they were concerned that money wasn't coming into the town. That has been the case wherever there has been, uh, racial tension. 02:12:00
WARREN: Whole states dying (??), rapidly.
FARMER: Yeah, whose states suffer, yeah (??). Um, I think that we'llfind this crack widening even more, um, when and if the federal government follows through on Title XI of the '64 Civil Rights Act and withholds funds from projects and programs that discriminate. That would be practically all of the programs and projects in Mississippi. They're all subsidized by the federal government. Um, even more when, um, they really feel the pinch on nationwide boycotts. Uh, the position we've taken on boycotts in Mississippi is that we don't want to across the board boycott (??). We want to use two things. We want to use a stick and a carrot as well. So I'm sending a letter today to businesses, at least a hundred of the major businesses in Mississippi, 02:13:00uh, pointing out the horrors that have taken place in that state, and, um, pointing out their responsibility as, uh, financial leaders of the state to do something about it, and asking them specifically what steps they are taking and have taken or plan to take in the following fields: employment of negroes at all levels in their company; securing of effective equal and responsible law enforcement in the community in which they operate: statewide climate of acceptance of the mandates of the United States Constitution. And we're asking to hear from them on that. If we get an unfavorable reply, unresponsive reply, or no reply at all then there will be a boycott against those specific companies, but we will exempt those companies that are doing something.
WARREN: Instead of an "across the board boycott."
FARMER: Instead of an across the board boycott which does not allow02:14:00anybody any out. They might as well join force then with the segregationists for a mutual (??) defense.
WARREN: Tell me this. What are the chances, do you think, uh,psychologically of, uh, a crack in the arrest of the twenty-one, uh, who stand, uh, accused by the FBI participation that--this is guess work, but what about public opinion, uh, swaying toward an actual indictment or is that (??) too tight for that?
FARMER: Well, I think that there is the possibility of an indictmentbecause of--excuse me.
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: There's a possibility of indictment because of the desireof Mississippi to get off the hook and to escape, um, the economic pressure from without and to improve its public relations image, 02:15:00um, generally. It's tending to feel isolated now. I feel that it's becoming an island and that the rest of the country is pointing at it. [knock on the door]
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: So there is a possibility of a murder charge being filed by thestate and an, an indictment gotten. Uh, I am not optimistic about the chances for conviction because here you have to have twelve Mississippi jurors voting unanimously.
WARREN: Um-hm, yes.
FARMER: The best we could hope for I think is a hung jury.
WARREN: Um-hm. What about the notions that have tried developed --whichhas struck me in the last few months (??)--about Mississippi being off balance now, off stance? They've broken the basic, uh, technique of the, of the power structure boys to keep up order and segregation 02:16:00together. They try to keep order and have segregation. Now it just blew up, blew up during the Summer Project. Before this, both--the violence had been gathered--violence somehow to offices (??) of order or law. Now it's blown up entirely with the rise of the Klan and this big Neshoba thing and the rest of it.
FARMER: Um-hm, um-hm.
WARREN: Does that make any sense to you? That they're now off balance?That they have no way to get back on balance?
FARMER: Well, cut it off just a moment and we'll--
[pause in recording.]
FARMER: I don't think there's ever really been order in Mississippi.Um, the difference, big difference, uh, is that now the spotlight of public attention is on the state. Uh, in the past have been murders 02:17:00that the Klan has written. There have been burnings and bombings and that sort of thing. But it has been highly, highly, or widely publicized. Medgar Evers told me just a month before his death, that it was not extraordinary for a body to come floating down the Pearl River or the Mississippi or the Big Black River, or for some negro who had been involved in the movement to have a weird, uh, freak accident on the highway, and go off an embankment or over a bridge or something. Um, so this was not extraordinary, but now when these things happen, the whole nation and the whole world knows about it. Um, nor do I think that the, the extreme racists, the Klan, uh, and so forth, has become more active now. I think they always have been active, and 02:18:00my impression there has been an alliance between the law enforcement offices and these groups, the vigilante groups, uh, to maintain order. And order, according to their definition, was quiescence on the part of the negroes and acquiescence, acceptance, but, um, certainly there can no longer be that in Mississippi or anyplace else in the South now. And this has been the, a major point of the movement to, uh, to make it clear that there cannot be order and peace without justice.
WARREN: If Mississippi cracks, do you think the whole thing will crackall across the deep South? 02:19:00
FARMER: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. I think that, um, we willhave to do battle in Louisiana as we are doing battle in Louisiana now for the past two years without much publicity. We've had thirty and forty and fifty staff members working the whole state of Louisiana. And, um, this summer we plan to be stepping that up. I don't expect that the upper hardcore areas--Alabama, most of Louisiana, southwest Georgia, Northern Florida--will fall automatically if Mississippi falls. I think that we'll have to struggle county by county, city by city, town by town, state by state.
WARREN: What about the, the debt theory of there being a debt owed--because of slavery, uh, to negroes and distinguished from simply 02:20:00ordinary programs for education applied and across the board, the (??) ethnic or other considerations. Most of the emotional/moral (??) debt to the negro American because his great grandfather was once a slave?
FARMER: I'm not impressed with that argument and I've heard a great dealof it. I am impressed with an argument that's closely related to that, however. But, uh, because of the, uh, past and present discrimination against negroes, a special effort has to be made now.
WARREN: That's different, though.
FARMER: Yeah, that's, that's different.02:21:00
WARREN: That would--that apply to man of any complexion, any ethnicorigin.
FARMER: That's right. If you've been discriminated against anddeprived, then the society has a responsibility to help upgrade you.
WARREN: All poor and deprived people--
FARMER:--all poor, white and black.
WARREN: That's a matter of a, of a citizen's right and not a debt forthe grandfather, is that's right?
FARMER: No, I--I don't believe in this genetic guilt and that sort ofthing.
WARREN: Of course, that, that theory, uh, is a split right down themiddle of, uh, you know, the world.
WARREN: Dr. King, you see, is all for (??) the debt theory, you see,the moral justification.
FARMER: Yes, uh-hm.
WARREN: This back and forth, you know. There's no agreement on that.
FARMER: Yeah. Well, I'm, I believe in moral justification of whatwe're doing, but I put it in the basis of the present rather than slave 02:22:00period.
WARREN: How do you, uh, react to, uh, Mr. Erskine's notion thatthe--movement now is really a catalytic agent--one might say--for a big social movement that's about to come? This is, that the negroes's activities are kind of a pilot operation, a kind of catalytic agency for a big, uh, social revolution, you see, and order with automation and other technological changes.
FARMER: Well, I think certainly the negro revolution is going side byside with, uh, at least one other revolution and probably two. You've heard of the Triple Revolution theory. Certainly, automation, um, or 02:23:00industrialization (??), the revolution of technology is going side by side with the negro revolution and at some point they'll have to get together. And, uh, in a sense they have gotten together in the War on Poverty, um, Johnson's anti-poverty program. But, uh, the fact of the matter is that most of our activists throughout the country do not perceive of themselves as leading or serving as catalysts in any general, uh, social movement. They are interested in their problem primarily. If a man is in, uh, in a cave confronted with a tiger, he is not going to be very much concerned about the lion that's wandering around outside in the woods. (Warren laughs) He's going to be preoccupied with this tiger. 02:24:00
WARREN: (laughs) Yeah, yeah.
FARMER: I think that's true with people who are involved in our movementby and large.
WARREN: Well, there are two lines of theorizing that lead that position,of course. One being they want the world, you know, that the "peasant revolution," the world revolution, all of that, the Vietnam stuff. And the other being the, uh, the big overhaul of American society which is presumably a catalytic and a power, but you were asking the question.
FARMER: I would add something to it, to the answer, however. I wouldsay that the growing awareness in the civil rights movement now that our problems are not simple, but they're complex. That they're involved with economic structure and with--the problems of the minority groups and with politics. For that reason we are expanding our 02:25:00program. We're broadening it. We are insisting upon more political involvement on the part of our chapters and our members on a precinct level. Uh, perhaps, uh, Freedom Democratic clubs such as now are organized in Illinois, um, where we can help to determine candidates and put up candidates and lobby to get them nominated by the major parties. Um, we will try to do, to do less of speaking at the power structure, talking at them, and then protesting the decisions after the decisions are made. We will try to help determine the makeup of the power structure and be among the decision making in that manner. We also will broaden our program, um, economically which means two things: one, greater use of the economic weapon, um, to achieve our objectives- 02:26:00-the boycott, patterns withholding, selective buying and so forth; two, it means an attempt to upgrade economically the negro community--the ghetto. We realize the ghetto is gonna be with us for a long time. Even if negroes have the freedom to move out, to move elsewhere, many will stay there voluntarily and others will stay because they're locked in economically, even if there's no discrimination elsewhere. So we've got to upgrade it economically. And this means, uh, co-ops, it means credit unions, it means pooling of resources to start businesses and industries and that sort of thing. Not in the way the black nationalists speak of it as a rival economy, but, uh, in the sense of urging negroes to participate fully, fully in every aspect of American life. Third, educational. We realize that, um, even if we wipe out discrimination tomorrow, um, we might have achieved the freedom by 02:27:00which we mean freedom to make meaningful choices in housing and jobs and schools and so forth, but we will not have achieved equality which is essential to fully utilizing that freedom. So we are pressing hard for a remedial education program, uh, massive in scope, um, by the federal government. If it is not done by the federal government then we'll do it ourselves, um, on, on as large a scale as our resources allow.
WARREN: Seems that's a real must (??).
FARMER: Yeah. I think it's absolutely necessary--
WARREN:-- (??) a youngster can't read (??)--
FARMER:--yeah. If a youngster can't read, you're not going to be ableto fit him into an automated industry.
WARREN: Yeah. No, ever, ever (??) what's next, uh, general move aside02:28:00from, uh, what you were just saying in terms of the civil--not civil rights, now--but the general--movement? You've been talking about the economic side of it.
WARREN: Uh, what else do you see as--crucial or as important?
WARREN:--would it make for integration, would it make for integration,what does integration really mean in your, you know, in your long- range, uh, idea? What is the content of the word to you?
FARMER: Yeah. Well--
WARREN:--what type of world do you envision?
FARMER: What we mean by integration, an integrated society or an opensociety, first I can tell you what we don't mean. We do not see a society in which negroes will be absorbed and will disappear as negroes. Lose their identity completely. I think that's not possible. 02:29:00It's not in the American tradition nor is it desired by most negroes. There's now a growing awareness and self-pride identity among negroes. And this would run counter to it. Um, what we do see is a freedom to make meaningful choices. That is, um, no racial restrictions on where a person might live. If, uh, one wants to live anyplace in the city or in the suburbs, he should, he should be able to live there if he has the money to pay for the housing that's available. Um, in terms of jobs, the same thing would be true. If he has the skills and the qualification, he should be able to work at any job without any restrictions on him. So it would be a permissive society in that way, 02:30:00but, uh, I do not see it as a society in which negroes would lose their identity. I think that, um, negroes could only come into an integrated society, uh, as an equal, proud and equal partner, uh, who are proud of their own heritage and traditions and subculture. Um, and come in because they have something to give and something to share and are willing to receive what others have to give. And, uh, this pride does not mean--in my judgment--uh, a rejection of the contributions of which others have made, nor does it mean a counter hate.
WARREN: How much of this withdrawal we've talked about in, um, amongsome of the people in Mississippi, the going along, the hardening up 02:31:00of attitude, the growing suspicion of any white, uh, CORE operation or the suspicion of white sincerity? How widespread is that do you think? This, this growing sentiment? Do you sense it, as a growing sentiment?
FARMER: I would say it's a growing sentiment but only among the staffpeople. Um, I, I don't see it as a significant feeling among the rank- and-file negroes in Mississippi or anyplace else. But you must remember that the operation this summer--and this is one of its weaknesses--was largely staff operation, if you consider the volunteers as staff. And was not an operation involving the people of the community to any great extent. The people of the community don't have a "go-it-alone" (??) 02:32:00attitude now. The pros do.
WARREN: Does that seem realistic to you?
FARMER: Going it alone?
FARMER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. There's no hope in a "go-it-alone" policy as far as the negro in this country is concerned, in my opinion. Uh, I do agree with Ruston on this point that we've got to have allies. There must be allies, um. I don't agree with him, um, in his insistence that we've got to make power allies of labor and that sort of group because if we form an alliance, a formal alliance with the AFL/CIO or individual unions, we will be junior partners in such an alliance because--
[pause in recording.]
FARMER:--and this I would not accept.02:33:00
WARREN: As far as I can make out, there's a--I would say in the lastfive years, there's been a real change in awareness and attitude among a large number of, uh, white people I'm acquainted with one way or another. A sense of growing urgency, this matter has to be solved and solved with some justice and some human recognition.
WARREN: This is my range of observation.
WARREN: So, uh, seeing this among the people that I see or even have aslight acquaintance with--I mean, people who would ten years ago have been segregationists.
WARREN: Um, put on one hand the over guessed, the go-it-alone, the02:34:00hardened attitude among--among certain negroes. I see this as a, as a kind of a sort of built in necessity, I guess, historical moment (??) but I--I do feel it (??).
FARMER: I think you're right in judgment there. I think there isthat, uh, sentiment among whites, and, uh, it's apparently a general feeling. Um, I'm sure that this is because of the pressure that we've maintained through demonstrations and so forth, and I also know from my, um, little study of history that people's memories are very short. And I fear that this sentiment will die down if the pressure is removed. And this is one of the reasons CORE cannot, could not during 02:35:00the summer and cannot now have a moratorium on demonstrations.
WARREN: Some people, of course, think the demonstrations in the Northwon't work. That they're really a comedy of Southern operation. They don't have the effect in the North because the targets are too lawful (??).
FARMER: Now this I would say is nonsense really. Um, really, inCalifornia, our CORE chapters, 26 of 28 chapters out there, they had a statewide campaign against discrimination in Bank of America, the biggest bank in the country, if not the world, involving demonstrations, picket lines, sit-ins and so forth. They won. They won 8,000 new jobs for negroes and this is a victory. And there have been other such victories in stores, Safeway stores, A & P stores, um, 02:36:00and other companies. We had a boycott here with demonstrations two years ago against a brewery company, and it was victorious. It won. The demonstrations work if they're focused, but obviously they're more complicated here. We've had demonstrations in housing that have won. Won minor victories such as opening up, um, apartment (??) or housing development to negroes, and they've been carried out, uh, successfully by sit-in demonstrations. So, the demonstrations work. Um, I, I don't see a demonstration as a rabbit's foot, however, or as a fetish. But, um, I'm not (??) wherever you have a problem, you wave a rabbit's foot and the problem somehow disappears. The demonstration has to be 02:37:00geared to the nature of the problem. The tactic that you use has to be so geared.
WARREN: I was talking the other day to, um, um, a Mr. Myers of--he'sa professor of sociology at Yale. He said as far as he can now see, we are doomed to a 6 percent sort of--of blank population. That's the people who can't take care of themselves and will never be able to soar economically or socially. And, uh, this is not a question of race. Uh--just, just a 6 percent dead weight.
WARREN: This will gradually, the level of that group will gradually02:38:00raise just by sort of the aimless American goodwill will raise it a little bit, you know, subsidize it.
FARMER: Yeah, yeah. Um-hm.
WARREN: Well, he said there's (??) indicative that you'll never get afigure lower than that as of now.
WARREN:--excuse me, please.
FARMER: As of now--that's if we don't use some different methods totry to elevate them, I think he's right, but I don't think that we can afford to rely upon aimless American goodwill to elevate them. I think we've to have a crash (??) program aimed at that as a part of the anti-poverty campaign. And this is why I'm so much interested in the remedial education program that's massive. Not only to teach people how to read but teach them the elemental, sensible--
[pause in recording.]
FARMER:--what they mean. And to teach them to comprehend when they read,02:39:00and this can be done. We've techniques now that have been developed.
[tape 5 ends.]
[End of interview.]