- Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
- Oral history interview with William Gordon, January 19, 1991
- Gordon, William, 1919-
- Contributor to Resource:
- Egerton, John
Southern Oral History Program
- Date of Original:
- Civil rights--Southern States
Southern States--Race relations
United States--Officials and employees
African American journalists--Georgia--Atlanta
African Americans--Civil rights--Southern States
African Americans--Segregation--Southern States
United States Information Agency
- Gordon, William, 1919-
- United States, Georgia, Fulton County, Atlanta, 33.749, -84.38798
oral histories (literary works)
- William Gordon was born in 1919 and was raised primarily in Mississippi and Arkansas. He describes growing up in the rural South, focusing on race relations, and explains what life was like for his sharecropping family. Sent off to school in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager, Gordon excelled in his studies and went to Le Moyne College in the 1930s. Following his graduation, Gordon enlisted in the army and fought in World War II. Gordon focuses on race relations in his discussion of his school and military years. He describes various customs associated with Jim Crow segregation in the South. Following the war, Gordon attended graduate school to study journalism. Gordon wrote for the Atlanta Daily World beginning in 1948, during which time he formed a close friendship with Atlanta Constitution editor and anti-segregationist Ralph McGill. Gordon also formed close connections with Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. He discusses in detail his perception of changing race relations in the 1930s through the 1950s and argues that desegregation required legal action. Nonetheless, Gordon acknowledges the role of white leaders, such as McGill and Talmadge, who genuinely sought racial change. In the late 1950s, Gordon began to work for the United States Information Agency (USIA) and spent many years traveling through Africa and Europe.
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.
- Metadata URL:
- Title from menu page (viewed on July 23, 2008).
Interview participants: William Gordon, interviewee; John Egerton, interviewer.
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.
- Contributing Institution:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)