- Southern Journey Oral History Collection
- South Carolina - Charleston: Andrew Young Interviewee
- Contributor to Resource:
- Young, Andrew
Dent, Thomas C.
- New Orleans, La. : Tulane University Digital Library
- Date of Original:
- African Americans
Strikes and lockouts
John's Island (S.C.)
- United States, Alabama, Jefferson County, Birmingham, 33.52066, -86.80249
United States, South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, 32.77657, -79.93092
United States, South Carolina, John's Island
- Tom Dent interviews Andrew Young in Charleston, South Carolina. Dent asks about Esau Jenkins and Young replies that Jenkins owned a bus and used to help transport workers from John's Island to Charleston. One of these people was Miss Septima Clark who helped him learn to read and write so he could register to vote. She eventually started a program to teach others to read and write while on the bus. Clark later partnered with Young to develop a citizenship education program which spread across the south. The goal was to bring education to those who had little access and teach them to teach others. Clark had in fact been fired as a teacher for being part of the NAACP, though she brought to case to court and received some back pay. Clark eventually brought Young to John's Island to meet Jenkins in 1961. Young says it had maintained a lot of cultural heritage from Africa due to its isolation (no bridges were built to the mainland until the late 50s). Dent adds that there is also a lot of West Indian heritage. Young comments that there is a very heavy accent on the island. Young describes Jenkins as a man of action who rose to every challenge, a sort of Patriarch for the island from his 30s. Young asks about Jenkin's involvement in the Charleston strike and Young comments that Jenkins was rather old by then and not very involved. Young says Jenkins was a quiet, serious man who only spoke when he had something to say. Young recalls that some in Birmingham felt left out of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. He recalls that the Institute was actually picketed. They discuss the difficulty of some of the most active people in the movement in transitioning from revolution to a nine-to-five job. He says it seems unfair that "those who risked all had less success" but states that most would not have made it at all without the movement. Young and Dent discuss the resentment that came from this phenomenon. Young states that the movement achieved many of its goals in broadening access to education but that there is still a lot of progress to be made economically and politically. He says that the current generation does not realize how much they owe to the movement. They take their opportunities for granted because they are not taught the history of Civil Rights in school. He states Dillard, Gilbert and Howard all failed, in his youth and currently, to teach the history of Black Activists. Dent and Young discuss the different fates of various movement members and their approaches to education, the movement, family, and economic success.
Music can be heard in the backround of this interview.
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- Amistad Research Center