Oral history interview with Arthur Raper, January 30, 1974

Oral history interview with Arthur Raper, January 30, 1974

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Creator:Raper, Arthur Franklin, 1899-1979
Creator:Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd
Title:Oral history interview with Arthur Raper, January 30, 1974
Date:1974 Jan. 30
Description:

Arthur Raper was a noted southern sociologist and civil rights activist. During the late 1920s and 1930s, Raper served as the research director for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Focusing primarily on those years in this interview, Raper speaks at length about his interactions with Jessie Daniel Ames and the role of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL) within the Commission's broader program. Describing the ASWPL as a relatively small, independent branch of the Commission, Raper argues that Ames was both an effective and contentious leader. He describes her as an "excessive feminist" in this interview, explaining that she advocated for the importance and necessity of separate women's groups in dealing with social problems such as lynching. While Raper indicates that this stance was beneficial in allowing Ames to garner support for her declaration that white southerners ought not to use racist violence to "protect" white southern womanhood, he also suggests repeatedly that Ames's outspoken nature and ambition generated tensions between her and the male leaders of the Commission, including executive director Will Alexander and director of education Robert Eleazer. Raper cites only one instance in which he personally came into conflict with Ames, arguing that she sought to sabotage his testimony during the Senate hearings on the Wagner-Van Nuys federal anti-lynching bill because the bill did not reflect her views on how to best combat lynching. Raper concludes by discussing the contributing role of the ASWPL in the declining number of lynchings during the 1930s, and the exclusion of African American women from the organization. Researchers might find particularly interesting the ways in which Raper's assessment of both the negative and positive aspects of Jessie Daniel Ames reveal the underlying tensions and assumptions that characterized the challenges all women faced in public roles during that era.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories
Subjects:Raper, Arthur Franklin, 1899-1979 | Ames, Jessie Daniel, 1883-1972 | Alexander, Will Winton, 1884-1956 | Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching | Commission on Interracial Cooperation | Lynching--Southern States | Southern States--Race relations | Women civil rights workers--Southern States | Civil rights workers--Southern States | Southern States
Collection:
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:Southern Oral History Program | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project) | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library | Oral histories of the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project))
Online Publisher:[Chapel Hill, N.C.] : University Library, UNC-Chapel Hill. | 2007
Original Material:

Title from menu page (viewed on March 4, 2008).

Interview participants: Arthur Raper, interviewee; Jacquelyn Hall, interviewer.

Duration: 01:04:21.

This electronic edition is part of the UNC-CH digital library, Documenting the American South. It is a part of the collection Oral histories of the American South.

Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner. Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers.

Related Materials:

Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/B-0009-2/menu.html