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Oral history interview with Broadus Mitchell, August 14 and 15, 1977

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Creator:Mitchell, Broadus, 1892-1988
Creator:Frederickson, Mary
Creator:Mitchell, Louise Pearson, 1906-
Title:Oral history interview with Broadus Mitchell, August 14 and 15, 1977
Date:1977 Aug. 14-1977 Aug. 15

John Broadus Mitchell was born in Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1892 into a family with roots in religion and education. Mitchell describes his upbringing and the strong influence of both his parents. Mitchell discusses his father's education and career as a professor of history, his parents' liberal political leanings, and their community involvement. Mitchell also describes his perceptions of race while growing up in Kentucky, Virginia, and South Carolina. Mitchell became an economic historian; he describes in detail how the textile industry shifted its base of power from New England to the southern states in the late nineteenth century, and he talks at length about the impact of industrialization on southern communities. Mitchell became particularly interested in the politics of labor and race. He explains the purposes of labor education programs, notably the Summer School for Women Workers at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and the Southern Summer School for Women Workers in North Carolina, and his participation in those endeavors. In the 1920s, Mitchell moved to Baltimore to teach at Johns Hopkins University. In the 1930s, he came under the administration's scrutiny when he publicly spoke out about a lynching in Salisbury, Maryland, advocated for the admittance of an African American graduate student to the university, and began to embrace socialist politics. He resigned in 1939. During the years of World War II, he worked briefly at Occidental College and New York University before finding a tenured position in the economics department at Rutgers University. Mitchell continued to be involved in leftist politics during the 1940s, and in the 1950s he participated in a movement at Rutgers to combat McCarthyism in academia. Throughout this interview, Mitchell emphasizes the influence of his upbringing on his political beliefs, and he relates his own experiences to those of his siblings who also were engaged in activism related to labor and race. Towards the end of the interview, Mitchell's wife, Louise, joins the interview and discusses her career in teaching, her own community involvement, and her efforts to balance the demands of work and family.

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:Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956 | Mitchell, Broadus, 1892-1988 | Mitchell, Louise Pearson, 1906- | Virginia--Race relations | Teachers--Southern States | Socialists--Southern States | Southern Summer School for Workers in Industry (U.S.) | Southern States--Race relations | Southern States--Politics and government--20th century | Textile industry--Southern States--20th century | Industrial revolution--Southern States | Textile workers--Southern States--Social conditions | Johns Hopkins University | African Americans--Civil rights--Southern States | African Americans--Segregation--Southern States | Lynching--Maryland--Salisbury | Salisbury (Md.) | Wicomico County (Md.) | Baltimore (Md.) | Virginia
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
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 February 12, 2008).

Interview participants: Broadus Mitchell, interviewee; Mrs. Mitchell, interviewee; Mary Frederickson, interviewer.

Duration: 03:53:51.

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 Mike Millner. 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-0024/menu.html