McDew, Charles “Chuck”: Oral History

Charles “Chuck” McDew participated in the civil rights movement in many parts of the American South, including Mississippi. He was a pivotal movement activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In this interview, he begins by discussing segregated seating laws in the South versus elsewhere. He then describes the Greensboro sit-ins. He concludes by discussing his hopes for change in Mississippi. His interview is featured in the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

Chuck McDew from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

His oral history may also be viewed here.

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Chuck McDew

Name of Interviewer: Susan Glisson

Date: April 10, 2004

Place of Interview: Oxford, MS


Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 Jim Crow
2:00-4:00 Plessy vs. Ferguson; Sumter, SC; arrest
4:00-6:00 Arrest; train travel
6:00-8:00 Segregation; language of segregation
8:00-10:00 Plessy vs. Ferguson
10:00-12:00 Taxes; equal facilities
12:00-14:00 University of Texas Law School; Mr. Sweet
14:00-16:00 Inequality in Southern schools; separate but equal
16:00-18:00 Nonviolent action
18:00-20:00 Brown vs. Board of Education; Montgomery Bus Boycott
20:00-22:00 Montgomery Bus Boycott
22:00-24:00 February 1, 1960 – beginning of sit-ins
24:00-26:00 Sit-ins; desegregating buses; Ohio
26:00-28:00 Segregated bus travel
28:00-30:00 Bus travel; Anniston, AL
30:00-32:00 Freedom Rides; SNCC
32:00-34:00 Freedom Rides; SNCC; violence
34:00-36:00 Mississippi
36:00-38:00 Sit-ins; wade-ins; Mississippi; desegregation
38:00-40:00 History of race relations in Mississippi
40:00-42:00 Mississippi; Ross Barnett; Ole Miss; SNCC in Mississippi
42:00-44:00 Atlanta; Mississippi; Pell City, AL; Jackson, MS; Ku Klux Klan sign in Mississippi
44:00-46:00 Racial conditions in Mississippi; Emmett Till; racial violence
46:00-48:00 “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round”
48:00-50:00 Mortality; changes in Mississippi; McComb, MS; Chatawa, MS; Amite County, MS; fear
50:00-52:00 Dante’s Inferno; Amite County, MS; Freedom Rides in context of larger movement
52:00-54:00 Freedom Rides in context of larger movement; significance of Mississippi in movement; Christianity
54:00-56:00 Morality; humanness; change; ability of young people to make change
56:00-58:00 Change in Mississippi; courage
58:00-60:00 “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round”