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Guide to the Charlie Cobb Interviews, 2012-2013

Summary

Audio interviews and programs recorded by Charles E. Cobb, Jr., from 2012 to 2014, with members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and others around the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and for research for Cobb's book, THIS NONVIOLENT STUFF'LL GET YOU KILLED: HOW GUNS MADE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT POSSIBLE.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11333
Title
Charlie Cobb Interviews
Date
2012-2014
Creator
Cobb, Charles E., Jr.
Extent
98 Files, 85 audio files (MP3), 13 document files (Microsoft Word), 3.04 Gigabytes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Collection Overview

Audio interviews and programs recorded by Charles E. Cobb, Jr., from 2012 to 2014, with members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and others around the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and for research for Cobb's book, THIS NONVIOLENT STUFF'LL GET YOU KILLED: HOW GUNS MADE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT POSSIBLE. Transcripts are available for a portion of the interviews. Interviewees and speakers include: Shawn Leigh Alexander, Carol Anderson, Annie Pearl Avery, Willie Blue, Julian Bond, Simeon Booker, Taylor Branch, Fred Brooks, Patricia Ann Brooks, Dorothy Burlage, Jackie Byrd, Clayborne Carson, Hodding Carter, the Chinn Family, Purcell Conway, Mac Cotton, Courtland Cox, Connie Curry, Dave Dennis, John Dittmer, John Doar, Ivanhoe Donaldson, LC Dorsey, Myrlie Evers, George Greene, Carol Hallstrom, Vincent Harding, Jessie Harris, Don Harris, Bruce Hartford, Charles Jones, Lonnie King, Dorie Ladner, Bernard Lafayette, Jim Lawson, Worth Long, Deborah Well McCoy, Chuck McDew, Charles McLaurin, Leslie Mclemore, Bob Moses, Christopher Parker, Willie Peacock, Bernice Reagon, Willie Ricks, Reggie Robinson, Cleve Sellers,Charles and Shirley Sherrod, Jane Stembridge, Patricia Sullivan, Flukie Swarez, Corey Walker, and Hollis Watkins. Topics include: civil rights, SNCC, non-violence, guns, and the backgrounds of interview participants.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Charlie Cobb interviews, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Brown Oral History 20141106 Annie Pearl Interview.mp3
(0:59:40)

Discussing growing up in Birmingham (partially) then moved to Pittsburgh for a while then back to Birmingham at 14yrs old (late 50s) and the trauma from that. Discussed the turmoil/racial unrest in the south that surrounded the late 50s, how she got involved in the movement, she heard about the freedom riders she bought a ticket from Birmingham to Montgomery, met Wilson Brown at the Greyhound station, Wilson brown explained nonviolence and she decided she didn't want to do it so she got a refund on her ticket, Wilson invited her to a SNCC meeting in Atlanta, she went to the meeting with Nathaniel Lee and Wilson Brown. At the meeting she met Julian, Reggie, Bob Mants, Diane Nash, Anne and Carl Braden, Bob Zellner & Ella Baker. Discussed Marietta GA incident and almost getting killed on the way back to Birmingham. Attempting to meet Rev Shuttlesworth in Birmingham and the white girl was with them and they asked for directions in Marietta and people spotted them and had them followed by police. Wilson is in jail, Annie and the white girl started looking for black people, they went back to the bus station, bought tickets back to Atlanta, Nathaniel had a number and he called the SNCC office. The Associated Press started calling after Nathaniel called the SNCC office in Atlanta and asked if they were alright. A mob had gathered and they were beating on the seats. Howard Moore (attorney), Julian and someone else in a black car and they lead them back to Atlanta, Forman suggested they stay in Atlanta the night then went to Rev Shuttlesworth house (Birmingham), After this, Annie begins going to the mass meetings. Rev Shuttlesworth, Pfeiffer, Willis, Billups and Oliver part of the movement in Birmingham. Went to the second Atlanta conference, then she went down to Albany GA to demonstrate on Bob's request, she was arrested for the first time there. Participated in sit ins in Birmingham, Gaston, AL, Discussed what did family/friends think about her involvement in movement (appeared happy), thought it was dangerous, discussed the different places she worked in the movement on and thoughts on guns.

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Brown Oral History 20141103 Mac Interview Audio.mp3
(0:46:50)

From Kosciusko, discussed how family reacted to his movement work, MS, Discussed attending Tougaloo College and movement beginnings there. Bob Moses asked Mac to go to McComb County then he went Wallflower County (MS).Discussed his movement experiences in Wallflower, secret black society in Wallflower that protected community, the community's reaction to SNCC, discussed working in the Mississippi Delta. Attitudes about black people in Hill country had about plantation country in the Delta.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Brown Oral History 20141103 Mac Interview Audio.mp3

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Brown Oral History 20141104 Carol Hallstrom Interview Audio.mp3
(0:51:39)

Charlie asks Carol to discuss how she got interested in the movement with her background. Carol explains her history of her family's experience with persecution & having to flee Russia, Ukraine (Jews) and when she heard about the Greensboro sit ins their courage struck her to be involved. Carol discusses her beginning in the movement, she connected with those in Philadelphia and coordinate efforts to go into Baltimore. Discussing integrating restaurants, Recalling her first arrest which was in Cambridge, how she was ostracized by the college community who found her involvement embarrassing, Encountered SNCC through Reggie Robinson, Discussed Gloria Richardson who lead CNAC (Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee), Also worked in New York SNCC office identifying people who could support the organization, Carol took an integrated group of high school students by bus down to Amite County(Spring 64) to expose them to how it was in the area, discusses how ended up working as a field secretary in Amite County (through Mr. Steptoe), work in Amite County, guns and complications of being a white woman from Brooklyn, NY traveling with Herbert lee Jr and E.W Steptoe in Mississippi (she said she had to be willing to listen to listen more than talk), had to be willing to not talk , taking chances rather than talking about taking chances, discussed Andy Goodman (She's the one who recruited him). Discussed how Amite County whites reacted to her presence (negatively). Ended with discussing leaving Amite County.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Brown Oral History 20141104 Carol Hallstrom Interview Audio.mp3

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Brown Oral History 20141105 Worth Interview Audio.mp3
(1:04:18)

Discussing his beginnings in the movement in Arkansas (ARSNCC) and becoming a member of the SNCC staff, the term unviolence, 1960 Raleigh conference, local people and their use of unviolence, Hartman Turnbow( Holmes County), Worth discusses his role as field secretary in SNCC, He gets to Selma, AL because couldn't get anyone else to go so he signed up, taking refuge with the nation of Islam temple , getting arrested and beat up. Discussing how the local people felt towards SNCC: those of the status quo didn't receive them well, others appreciated SNCC.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Brown Oral History 20141105 Worth Interview Audio.mp3

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Brown Oral History 20141104 Willie Riks Interview Audio.mp3
(0:58:57)

Coined the term black power, discussed: The march/rally when which Black Power was first said, The issues between SNCC and SCLC, Growing up in Chattanooga, TN, Freedom Riders/Fred Winter came through Chattanooga (that's how he first got involved with movement), getting arrested in the sit ins, intimidation for local whites, Discussed hearing of SNCC in 1963 and how Ruby Doris Smith called on him to work for SNCC in Atlanta (1963), Also the movement work he did in Gaston AL, Birmingham AL, then was assigned to SW Georgia (until Selma). Discussed first time using "Black Power", Discussed his pan Africanism and back to Africa ideas.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Brown Oral History 20141104 Willie Riks Interview Audio.mp3

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Brown Oral History 20141105 Reggie Interview Audio.mp3
(0:53:09)

Discussing his involvement Civil Interest group (affiliated to SNCC), after dropping out of high school, he went to Cortez Peters business college, Dean of his school Walter Dixon (first black city council Baltimore), Dixon asked Reggie to become a part of the student group (Civil Interest group), Dixon introduced a public accommodations bill and Reggie was the eyes/ears of the student interest group, became treasurer of the Civil Interest group, Voter Registration(preparing people for the voter registration tests), Discussed how he became the representative for SNCC for the big Kentucky meeting, and how he was presented by Ella Baker at the Kentucky meeting. Reggie was asked to go to Mississippi (McComb). Discussed staying at Mama Cotton's house in McComb, setting up freedom school, Voter registration tests in Mississippi, SNCC's first tragedy: the murder of Herbert Lee, SNCC got scared and Amzie Moore convinced them to stay and they turned the funeral into a mass meeting and continued to do work. Situation had gotten out of hand and they had gotten back to Atlanta regrouped and decided who would go back to Mississippi.

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Brown Oral History 20141103 Group Audio.mp3
(1:48:41)
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Brown Oral History 20141104 Group Audio.mp3
(1:55:19)
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Brown Oral History 20141105 Group Audio.mp3
(2:01:16)
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Brown Oral History 20141106 Group Audio.mp3
(1:50:49)
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rev. Willie Blue.mp3
(0:10:50)
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Mac Cotton.mp3
(0:25:52)
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George Greene.mp3
(0:37:16)
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Jessie Harris.mp3
(0:39:55)
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Charles McLaurin.mp3
(0:37:49)
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Leslie Mclemore.mp3
(0:36:37)
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Hollis Watkins.mp3
(0:29:58)
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pp_podcast_alexander.mp3
(0:20:40)

University of Pennsylvania Press podcast. Stephanie Brown interviews with Shawn Leigh Alexander on his book Army of Lions.

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Carol Andersn 09112012.mp3
(0:55:35)

(Poor quality). Discussing inner conflicts blacks had in fighting in WW2 when freedom wasn't available at home. Black men came home and protected home with military precision. To arm or not? You can't give something that's already ours, you can only take. Role of the veteran in the movement.

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Julian Bond October 12 2012.mp3
(0:39:05)

Telephone interview. Charlie asks Julian about the founding SNCC conference in 1960. Discussed: feelings about nonviolence, experience with guns, Discussed the conversations SNCC as an organization had about guns, Local people and their guns.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Julian Bond October 12 2012.mp3

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Simeon Booker July 1 2013.mp3
(0:29:22)

Telephone interview. wife Carol McCabe Booker also. Discussing interviewing in the south with the danger, Discussed Amzie Moore (one of his best contacts in MS), Aaron Moore, Medgar Evers. Discussed what it was like for Johnson Publication to come down to the Deep South. Discussed covering Emmet Till case.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Simeon Booker July 1 2013.mp3

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Taylor Branch conversation August 13 2013.mp3
(0:31:39)

Telephone interview. Discussed nonviolence and armed self-defense. Also discussed the perceptions of nonviolence, like that it was passive.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Taylor Branch conversation August 13 2013.mp3

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Fred Brooks June 30 2013.mp3
(1:12:38)

Telephone interview. Klan attacks freedom house in Jonesboro,LA, Deacons for defense

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Fred Brooks June 30 2013.mp3

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Patricia Ann Brooks on Columbia Jan 30 2013.mp3
(0:18:09)

Telephone interview. discussed the riot in Columbia TN

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Patricia Ann Brooks on Columbia Jan 30 2013.mp3

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Dorothy Burlage 1 May 25 2013.mp3
(1:02:05)

Telephone interview Part 1. Desegregation caused the resurgence of KKK and white citizens council, discussing the white reaction to blacks organizing and being involved in the movement. Discussed movement people. Opinion on nonviolence vs violence. She's a pacifist but not judgmental of those who chose to use weapons.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Dorothy Burlage 1 May 25 2013.mp3

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Dorothy Burlage 2 May 25 2013.mp3
(0:07:42)

Telephone interview Part 2. Short interview, discussing Robert Williams, who he wasn't that different than mainstream, discussed the NAACP was suspicious of Medgar Evers.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Dorothy Burlage 2 May 25 2013.mp3

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Jackie Byrd in McComb July 20 2012.mp3
(0:19:20)

In person/background noise. Recording began in middle of conversation, they are discussing bombings, CC Bryant church bombed, Mr. Bryant brought Bob Moses down to McComb county MS. Bombings began patrols with guns. Also discussed the camaraderie and unique sense of community McComb had. Shortly discussed the "crazy negro" idea and why they were left alone.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Jackie Byrd in McComb July 20 2012.mp3

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Clayborne Carson April 11 2013.mp3
(0:12:01)

Telephone interview. Recording began as talking had already commenced, SNCC wasn't built around a particular viewpoint, except the statement of purpose. Violence vs nonviolence, Believed more in unviolence which is more of self defense.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Clayborne Carson April 11 2013.mp3

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Hodding Carter Aug 26 2012.mp3
(1:40:15)

Difficult to understand/Carter is muffled. In person. In relation to Charlie Cobb book, Fear of black insurrection comes out of the knowledge of violence done to blacks through years, Beginning of fear of blacks,Self defense,

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Hodding Carter Aug 26 2012.mp3

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Chinn Family 1.mp3
(1:10:55)

(Poor quality). A lot of background music/noise. Discussing the atmosphere and environment in Mississippi during the 60s, commentary on modern events , Trayvon Martin, war, C.O Chinn, story of him wearing a pistol in court,

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Purcell Conway 1 December 6 2012.mp3
(1:04:01)

In person. Palm Coast, Florida. Discusses Purcell's early life in St. Augustine, FL/Lincolnville FL, Conditions in Lincolnville were dismal, Influence from Florida Normal College students to become more aware of movement, nonviolence, Self. defense, Lincolnville was different in that they would protect their own with violence, the whites there normally didn't come into black community to violence but they community responded with violence. Caused whites to be afraid to come into black communities of West Augustine and Lincolnville. Discussing early interest and beginnings of being in the movement, Parents thoughts on the protest/movements, and the racist element followed MLK Jr and severe violence began then. And talks about WW2 veterans including Purcell's father.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Purcell Conway 1 December 6 2012.mp3

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Purcell Conway 2 December 6 2012.mp3
(0:19:07)

In person. Short Interview, discusses racial issues within masonry class in Daytona Beach, firing from working in the Post Office in NY because of racism and having to get an lawyer to get job back and he got the job back.

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mac cotton on SW Mississippi.mp3
(0:13:56)

In person. Short Interview on SW Mississippi. Discusses the local people who helped to protect SNCC and Guns.

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Courtland Cox part1 Jan 6 2013.mp3
(0:18:19)

In person Part 1. In Washington D.C: chronological interview, attended Howard University, A member of NAG/SNCC, did sit ins at Howard, Discussion about non violence, he says people believed it was a good tactical move/strategic, you engaged in non violence because you didn't have enough force to confront the opposition. States Nonviolence appealed to outsiders to address fear. Spoke on NAG. Advantage of nonviolence is it was relatable to the dominate religious narrative, the only way people could understand and not be afraid.

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Courtland Cox part2 Jan 6 2013.mp3
(1:23:46)

In person Part 2. Doesn't think the movement could have survived without the non violent component, allowed the movement to grow. Albany GA and Nashville groups were philosophically nonviolent. Honor roll students in the movement, Sterling Brown: mentor of NAG,not allowed to be a campus organization, talked about Howard University faculty and their relationship with the movement and NAG students. Howard University administration didn't want anything to do with civil rights but didn't condemn students for off campus activity. NAACP resentment towards SNCC and Dr.King.

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Connie Curry February 9 2013.mp3
(0:22:55)

Telephone interview. Recording began after conversation started, discussion of Medgar Evers and his guns, discussion about non violence as a way of life vs tactical non violence. To her knowledge it was never suggested that SNCC accept non violence as a way of life.

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Electronic Record (Use Copy) : Connie Curry February 9 2013.mp3

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Dave Dennis April 9 2013.mp3
(0:43:12)

Providence, Rhode Island at Brown University. In person. discussing Northern Louisiana, Deacons for Defense. Started in Jonesboro, Louisiana. 1957 in Shreveport, LA the first "I have a dream" speech by MLK Jr. Organized with men who worked in paper mills and worked with longshoreman union in New Orleans. CORE group began working with Deacons because they were resistant to outsiders telling locals how to protect their communities. CORE organized in Louisiana around 1960. Dave Dennis went to hometown (Shreveport) to establish CORE there, NAACP was already there. Deacons operated to protect the churches then eventually spread out to protect community as a whole. The Deacons were called by a different name at first. Northern Louisiana: staunch segregation and Klan territory , southwest Louisiana: integrated living, Voter Registration and CORE's involvement.

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Dave Dennis3 June 23 2012.mp3
(0:28:55)

Telephone interview. Recording began in middle of conversation: Discussing New Orleans core group members: George, Jerome Smith, Doris Castle held group together and committed were committed to nonviolence through Jim McCain (CORE national chapter). New Orleans group sort of a renegade CORE group. CORE disintegrated after Floyd McKissick was voted in. CORE Louisiana group stopped organizing chapters, started working with local people.

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John Dittmer at Fannie Lou Hamerr Institute.mp3
(1:04:34)

John Dittmer at Fannie Lou Hamer Institute (poor quality) . Lecture is mostly focuses on Mississippi and McComb County specifically. Talks about government and voting (specifically the poll taxes, laws and literacy tests that made voting difficult. Briefly discusses the White Citizen's Council. The rest of the lecture is Q & A.

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John Doar june 26 2012.mp3
(0:22:48)

In person/background noise/Poor Quality. Talks about meeting Mr. Steptoe, Guns, local people protecting themselves with weapons, tension/violence in the south,

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Ivanhoe Donaldson1 april 23 2013.mp3
(0:35:32)

Transcript available. In person at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Discussed when Donaldson first hear the name SNCC and thoughts. Discussed SNCC beginnings, was apart of October meeting that SNCC began formalizing SNCC. Issue in SNCC regarding direct action vs nonviolence, In MS nonviolence, ex: sit ins were direct action. Discussing how he got his start into SNCC in Louisville. Donaldson didn't think of nonviolence in a philosophical way, religious people in SNCC were philosophical committed to Nonviolence, others weren't but worked together. Donaldson wasn't with the gun people or the philosophically nonviolent people. "Can't beat a tank with a Molotov cocktail", impressed by people who can be pacifists, requires lots of inner strength. Discussed grassroots organizing and discussion of nonviolence with the local people.

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Ivanhoe on nonviolence August 15 2013.mp3
(1:20:45)

Transcript available. Telephone interview. Nonviolence is the way to survive the future. Human beings are violent, either by running, hiding or participating in it. Violence has never changed anything, it makes realignments of power and authority. Culture we grow up in says you step to me, I'll step to you. Culture of the human race. Incarceration of people, majority in prison for drugs. No voices were there to speak about nonviolence after the movement. Post Civil Rights era: discussion of non violence never center of the discussion was used as a means for the movement. There's no values training, The philosophically committed to nonviolence still exist but they don't organize in the communities. The Rev Lawson type of people have always existed, their tools became relevant because of the mission of civil rights, the mission got consumed by reform politics, e.i: voting rights, immigration, etc. When the generation fulfilled it's limited mission, it ended. A nonviolent movement against violence (Of all sorts/across the board), you have to have a conversation about violence itself, sort of like groups like the quakers, Jim Lawson (Bernard lafayatte who was a student of Lawson), Thoreau. No one wants to hear about violence as a concept, we deal with it more as an issue for example, "domestic violence", get boys to stop being on girls. Deacons for Defense and groups like that protected nonviolent people, nonviolence made the change not the guns. Guns never allowed for discussion. People romanticize guerilla warfare. Discussion of Stokely Carmichael's call out about Black Power= how did it get interpreted as violent: white guilt and white arrogance. Marion Berry: uppity negro, white people resented him. Violence or the threat of violence being used to enforce boycott, The demands on MLK were just too phenomenal.

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Transcript_DonaldsonIvanhoeonNonviolence_CobbTNVSGYK.docx
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LC at Fannie Lou Hamer Institute.mp3
(1:11:57)

LC at Fannie Lou Hamer Institute (poor quality). A recording of a lecture. Discussing experiences during the movement, confronting the KKK who were outside her house and they left, comparing the community today compared to the past, Conditions in the south for Black people during the movement time. (The last half of the interview is a Q & A session)

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Myrlie Evers at Alcorn July 26 2012.mp3
(1:11:16)

In person. Discusses Medgar's life/attitude before/after serving in the military, Charles and Medgar's thoughts about the Mau Mau movement in Kenya & forming one in the US, The changing of the name of their child on the birth certificate, meeting Medgar for the first time, anecdotal and biographical information about Medgar Evers.

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vincent harding1July 19 2013.mp3
(0:06:03)

Part 1. Telephone interview. Very short interview. Harding is giving edits to Charlie's book.

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vincent harding2 July 19 2013.mp3
(1:04:17)

Part 2. Telephone interview. More edits/comments/suggestions on Charlie's Book draft. Discussing SCLC and who might be able to discuss SCLC best.

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Don Harris September 14 2012.mp3
(0:56:24)

Telephone interview. Thoughts when first hearing about SNCC: Didn't know anything about what they were about. Thoughts on non violence: He was not thinking about non violence, it wasn't a factor in his interest in SNCC, he supported students being involved in the movement. Sherrod: nonviolence as a tactic, Thoughts on guns and local people protecting them with the guns. Guns presence in rural south minimized violence. No intense SNCC conversations/arguments about guns.

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Jessie Harris July 24 2012.mp3
(0:52:07)

In person/background noise. Discussed how people resisted the violent actions of white supremacy, experiences in the movement in SW Mississippi, Security group w/ CC Bryant, Guns, Citizenship classes/Freedom schools, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, nonviolent workshops.

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Jessie Harris2 July 24 2012.mp3
(0:09:37)

Part 2. In person/background noise. Very short interview. Discussed support of local community of the movement, armed protection, playing golf tournaments, brief insight into school background and Atlanta SNCC conference.

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Bruce Hartford July 26 2012.mp3
(0:57:36)

Telephone interview. SCLC in Tuscaloosa,al was protected by group of Korean war veterans. He was on the field staff, very hieratical organization, SCLC staff meetings where about getting the work done, tactics not really philosophy, strategics, non violence and violence like SNCC. Debate between philosophical non violent (minority) and tactical nonviolent (majority), (I'd rather but caught with it than without it) non violent was a given on protests, debate came with local people and armed guards at night and carrying guns outside the demonstrations. Experiences in Selma,Grenada,Crenshaw County,AL. Also worked with CORE, SCOPE, he had workshops with young people.

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Charles Jones June 7 2013 Part1.mp3
(1:18:23)

Transcript available. Telephone interview. biographical, discussed his movement beginnings divinity student at Johnson C Smith University, attended festival in Vienna, Austria and was asked to sit before the House committee on Un American activities, joined Woolworth's sit ins in Greensboro. What nonviolence is? To Jones it is a lifestyle. Beginnings of SNCC, He may have been the one to include "non violent" to add the nonviolent to student coordinating committee. Voting registration is direct action

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Charles Jones June 8 2013 Part 2.mp3
(1:10:29)

Transcript available. Telephone interview. Harry Belafonte invited McDew, Diane, Sherrod, Jenkins to come to Washington DC for a concert, talked about the next phase of the movement, this interview is largely focused on voter registration, McComb Mississippi, everyone had gotten arrested and he asked Harry Belafonte for help with money and he sent some money. Effect of SNCC presence on the community, it introduced a different type of violence. SNCC left McComb to regroup in Atlanta once they got out of jail. Results of meeting; voter registration was an essential move to empower blacks in rural south. Albany,GA bus boycott & mass meetings. First freedom singers: Charles Jones, Sherrod, cordell,Bernice and ruthie harris.

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Lonnie King February 11 2013.mp3
(0:46:36)

Telephone interview. Has been transcribed.

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Dorie Ladner May 30 2013.mp3
(1:16:22)

Transcript available. Autobiographical interview for most part. First experience handling a gun, Deacons for justice, Charles Evers (Not a fan), discussed Medgar Evers: a role model/someone to look up to, first time in the Mississippi delta was in finding COFO there (curfew was unusual). The rest of the interview discusses experiences in the movement and people in the movement.

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Bernard Lafayette March 1 2013.mp3
(1:07:57)

Telephone interview. Where did the name SNCC come from? Said Jim Lawson may have a better idea of the answer. Nashville group was unique, 3 months of training by Jim Lawson, committed to nonviolence. Theme: Nonviolence, what is it? & feelings/thoughts behind it. Believed in King-ian nonviolence: passive resistance not pacificism. Leon Sullivan boycott, gang tactics to enforce boycott in Philadelphia. One girl told him not to interfere with her suffering. Nonviolence is not passive. 3 state conspiracy to kill him, CORE and Medgar evers. Non violence sometimes unnervered attackers, practical i.e jail time or worse, un-violence between violence and non violence lodged in community. Grew up around guns.

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Jim Lawson conversation August 5 2013.mp3
(0:13:58)

Telephone interview. Short interview: Talks about the correlation between guns and southern culture, because it was a hunting culture, mostly every household had a gun. Also asks goes over how SNCC got its name, Lawson thinks he suggested the name SNCC. Speaks briefly about Nashville Group.

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Worth Long March 24 2012.mp3
(1:31:46)

In person. Jackson, MS. Discussed using the term unviolence and how it was applied and thoughts on nonviolence as a philosophy or as a way of life, His role in the movement (becoming a replacement for Bernard Lafayette after he was beaten and asked to go to Fisk), Watts Line, Gangs and their protection of movement people, being armed with guns plus guns and its impact on Southern culture, Little Rock community protected itself, the Bates family and using weapons to protect the house in Little Rock, deacons for defense and justice, Self Defense, Citizenship school, a little historical talk of slavery & freedom.

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Rev Deborah Well McCoy.mp3
(0:13:57)

In person in Albany, GA. Short Interview. discussed how father in general and how he was nonviolent to the core, no guns.

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Chuck McDew March 23 2012.mp3
(0:28:05)

Transcript available. A lot of background noise (Jackson, Mississippi): Talks about the idea that they decided not to leave local people behind when violence ensued, SNCC would not leave once things got tough. Mentions Natchez, Mississippi. Steptoe in Amite County, decided Steptoe was right and that they couldn't be there without guns. Black girls at southern university were sponsored by white men in Natchez, so It was dangerous because people weren't trustworthy. He said philosophically he never believed non violence would work, never believed in it from the beginning. He wasn't actively pursuing violence but would kill if necessary. More typical attitude in SNCC minus Jim Lawson students. More discussion on violence vs non violence and incidents of violence.

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Chuck McDew on SNCC founding January 31 2013.mp3
(1:25:13)

Transcript available. Telephone interview. "which cheek you gonna turn?" SNCC founding. How was the name SNCC proposed? Someone from the Nashville group proposed the SNCC name, believes it was Diane. Talked about SCLC meeting/conference that SNCC was created out of, how many students were ministerial students who defying powerful ministers of SCLC. After the second day of conference the Nonviolent was added to the SNCC organization name. David Forbes convinced McDew to stay. The third day SNCC was an organization that had plans for future. SNCC statement of purpose was a collective effort, did not reflect the way most SNCC members thought, not written by Jim Lawson.

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Charles McLaurin March 23 2012.mp3
(0:24:23)

Transcript available. In person. Jackson, Mississippi: discussed anecdotes about Mississippi, Starts talking about the movement in the Delta, Fannie Lou Hamer really got it going. Freedom farm. Briefly discusses guns and place in the home, mostly for food.

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Bob Moses April 25 2013.mp3
(1:40:58)

Transcript available. In person. Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. Ideas about nonviolence? Non violence offense; the act of going to the courthouse is the attack itself. Conversation on the use of guns, Ella Baker was not into nonviolence, felt it was viable though. MS staff and discussion/debated/argument of guns? It didn't really happen, they knew that in McComb that there was self defense. After Stokely says black power, there was a shift. FBI reports of people commenting on non violence. Not a lot of self defense on the road

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Christopher Parker November12-2012.mp3
(0:24:45)

Telephone interview. Discussing WW2 time period groups organizing specifically with black WW2 vets, black veterans on average more often resistant to white supremacy than guys who haven't served. More educated blacks more likely to be selected to serve. Desegregation of the military by Truman. White military leaders mostly southern.

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willie peacock with tom dent.wma
(0:31:58)

Background noise. Discussed Mississippi and Guyot

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willie peacock with tom dent2.wma
(0:10:25)

Background noise. Short Interview. Discussed organizing within the community and making organizers out of the local people.

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Bernice Reagon march 22 2012.mp3
(0:11:46)

Transcript available. In person. Jackson, Mississippi. Discussed first encounter to the name Student Nonviolent coordinating committee. The word nonviolent, what it meant, love for your fellow man=nonviolent? From Albany, GA, Grew up around guns. Took a long time to develop a concept of non-violence that worked for her. Father was active in the movement.

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Reggie Robinson 1 June 6 2013.mp3
(1:12:19)

Telephone interview. Discussed Cambridge movement, Pops St.Clair (wasn't nonviolent) undertaker and his family was a prominent Black Family in Cambridge , Gloria Richardson (niece of Pop's St.Clair), Discussed how Reggie got involved with the Cambridge movement (he was working in Baltimore with CORE/SNCC) then was told he could be of assistance in Cambridge,MD, Herb St.Clair made his house in Cambridge the SNCC headquarters, Local people in Cambridge supported SNCC, Discussed how he got to McComb County Mississippi.

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Reggie Robinson 2 June 6 2013.mp3
(0:07:12)

Short interview: Briefly discussed Bob Mants, Monroe Sharp, Guns and nonviolence.

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Cleve Sellers August 1 2013.mp3
(1:22:47)

Telephone interview. Reaction to the name SNCC, students stuck out in his mind, Believed nonviolence was philosophical not tactical, He was in high school when he heard about SNCC from Ella Baker, Grew up with guns, self defense was understood to survive, white citizen's council became a more acceptable group. Philosophical non violence vs Tactical, most believed in Tactical. Discussed Meredith march.

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Sherrods.mp3
(0:56:24)

Transcript available. In person.

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Jane Stembridge 1 May 15 2013.mp3
(0:43:34)

Telephone interview. discussed SNCC beginnings, felt that the organization never would have become an SCLC youth group because most youth were skeptical of the adults, wanted their own voice. Discussed the meetings that led to the establishment of the permanent SNCC group. Discussed how she met Dr. King and was put into contact with Ella Baker, this was prior to the creation of SNCC. Discussed meeting Bob Moses and Bob's experiences in Mississippi. Discussed how the conversation of Voter Registration began.

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Jane Stembridge 2 May 29 2013.mp3
(0:35:11)

Part 2. Continued conversation of Voter Registration. Discussed the differences between students from the cities and country side & north and south=they came in with different backgrounds but became one. Jane and Charlie discuss letters she wrote to Bob Moses. Jane wrote letters to introduce Bob Moses to local people including Amzie Moore.

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Patricia Sullivan October 17 2012.mp3
(0:53:21)

Telephone interview/bad quality: Discussing NAACP, DuBois, Johnson and White, Discusses the WWI period and WWII veterans

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Flukie Swarez1.mp3
(0:04:08)

A lot of background noise. Short interview Discussed C.O Chinn and Billy Noble, C.O Chinn and Billy Noble relationship, Noble respected C.O more than any other man.

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Flukie Swarez2 main interview.mp3
(1:41:40)

Further discussion of C.O and feeling regret regarding how C.O was treated. Unique individual, provided much support to SNCC and the movement. Chinn lost everything (he had rental properties, nightclub and land) when SNCC left, but there was nobody who looked out after him. Movement people were too caught up in own priorities to help. Flukie left Mississippi and was torn up over Chaney killing.

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Corey Walker May 1 2013.mp3
(0:45:32)

In person. Secret societies (prince hall masons), freemasonary, Concerns about masons, period. Gabriel's Rebellion, Nat Turner said to be a freemason.

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Dave Dennis Part 1 May 10 2013_ Tougaloo College.mp3
(0:38:05)

Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. In person Interview Part 1. Talking about C.O Chinn, gun toting individual and he openly carried, Bill Noble of Canton,MS sherriff had mutual respect and disdain for one another. Discussion of blacks like Chinn that defied the status quo and being considered "crazy". Legacy of C.O Chinn, children became successful and the city honored him. (Canton,Madison County MS), C.O Chinn and family long time registered voters welcomed in SNCC because of the common goal of voter registration despite ideological differences. They weren't into the integration piece, more interested in political power. Discussion about CORE and policy on communities that refuse to disarm: we should not work with them, but Dave Dennis group believed they had no right to tell local people what to do. When New Orleans CORE people became involved with Deacons of Defense, there was a split became CORE South. Deacons became connected with Longshoreman union( powerful political group). Football, Jim Brown and actor Fred Williams: adopted Jonesboro group, supplied money and weapons. Chilly Willy organized Bogalusa group.

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Dave Dennis Part 2 May 10 2013_ Tougaloo College.mp3
(0:02:26)

Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. In person Interview Part 2. Short clip discussing armed guys protecting churches in Shreveport and police would arrest them so bombing could commence and it was open war fare in that area.

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Hollis and Charlie discussion with teachers july 18 2012.mp3
(0:58:37)

In person. Question and Answer session with teachers. Hollis discusses the moment he joined SNCC, formed Pike county non violent action committee attempted to integrate business there, Discussion of SNCC vision statement, said it was written by Nashville group and Jim Lewis, Attitude about nonviolence about a tactic, self defense is not the opposite of non violence, people compare being defensive with being violent. Students ask Hollis and Charlie about their relationships with white Mississippians. Explanation of "crazy negro" white people called black people who stand up for themselves that as a way to explaining why they leave them alone. Discrepancies between white Mississippians and later accounts of MS and what actually happened

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hollis and cobb.mp3
(0:03:42)
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hollis at Fannie Lou Hamer Institute.mp3
(0:43:43)

(Poor quality). Discussing experiences in McComb County MS, his movement beginnings: Got involved with NAACP in McComb before he got involved with SNCC, How freedom schools began: students involved in movement got expelled so it began as a way to educate them. Discusses work in Hattiesburg, MS as well, spent 55 days on death row and went into solitary confinement (The Hole). There is also a question and answer portion where Charlie Cobb and Hollis Watkins respond. Q and A's asked about women in the movement.

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hollis fannie lou hamer institurte lecture.mp3
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Hollis Watkins June 4 2012.mp3
(0:48:07)

In person in Clinton, TN at the children's defense fund. Discusses Hollis reaction to the name Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, name startled him. First heard of SNCC when he got to McComb, he believes he heard it in Bob Moses office. Hollis thoughts on nonviolence and violence, was reluctant about nonviolence. Nonviolence was just talked about in the workshops. Discussed Vernon Dahmer who also wasn't nonviolent. Discussed Crazy Negro terminology, and Man Porter, a local "crazy negro" , Hollis says the crazy negro terminology was a way of explaining why they would leave black man who spoke their mind and stood up for themselves, Ex: why would you beat up a crazy man?. Also discussed when he took a shift guarding the home with a gun from a couple who was allowing him to stay at their home.

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part 1 Hollis and cobb3.mp3
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Transcript available. Hollis and Cobb, (poor quality).

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part 2 hollis and cobb2.mp3
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Historical Note

Charles E. Cobb, Jr., was born in Washington D.C. in 1943. He became active in the Civil Rights Movement while studying at Howard University, and in 1962 traveled to Mississippi, where he was a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1963, Cobb advocated for Freedom Schools as a way to develop political awareness and involvement by African Americans in Mississippi. After leaving Mississippi in 1967, Cobb helped found the Washington D.C. bookstore Drum and Spear, continued his efforts in African American education with the Center for Black Education, and began a long career in journalism, working for WHUR Radio, National Public Radio, Frontline, and National Geographic. Cobb has been a visiting professor of Africana studies at Brown University, an analyst for allAfrica.com, and is a founding member, and hall of fame inductee, of the National Association of Black Journalists.


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Provenance

The Charlie Cobb interviews were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Craig Breaden, November 2016.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0197.