Hinds – People/Persons

Armstrong III, Thomas Madison: Oral History

Thomas Armstrong participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He says that one of Ross Barnett’s speeches encouraged him to participate in the Freedom Rides, because Barnett said that Mississippian’s were happy with the present conditions. The video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

 

Thomas Madison Armstrong III from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

His oral history may also be viewed here.

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Thomas Madison Armstrong III

Date: November 10, 2001

Place of Interview: Jackson, MS

 

 

Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 Jackson, MS; Naperville, IL; United States Postal Service; family religious background
2:00-4:00 Family reaction to involvement; Tougaloo College; Ross Barnett; Mary Harrison Lee; arrest at Jackson bus station
4:00-6:00 Jackson City Jail; disturbing the peace charges; trial
6:00-8:00 June 23, 1961; reaction to being in jail; Freedom Songs; “We Shall Overcome”
8:00-10:00 SNCC; voter registration; sit-ins
10:00-12:00 Mississippi Freedom Summer; voter registration; McComb, MS
12:00-14:00 McComb, MS; Freedom Riders; Stokely Carmichael; Julian Young; Martin Luther King, Jr.
14:00-16:00 Kansas City, MO; return to Mississippi; influence of involvement on his life
16:00-18:00 Influence of involvement on his life
18:00-20:00 Involvement since movement; participation

 

Winter, Gov. William F.

Gov. Winter

Born in 1923 in Grenada, Mississippi, William F. Winter served in the armed forces in World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded a BA from the University of Mississippi in 1943 and an LL.B. in 1949. He has since been awarded over five honorary degrees. His credentials within the academic community are long standing: Jamie Whitten Professor of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi School of Law (Fall 1989); Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies at Millsaps College (Spring 1989); Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University (1985) and President, Ole Miss Alumni Association (1978). He continues to practice law with the Jackson, MS, firm of Watkins Ludlum Winter & Stennis, P.A. which celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 2005.

William Winter is most well known, however, for his role in leading the charge for publicly-funded primary education while he was the fifty-eighth governor of Mississippi from 1980-1984. His governance echoed his belief that all people, regardless of race or class, should be entitled to the same rights and privileges as the most privileged enjoys. In a substantial way, Governor Winter’s accomplishments were honored in 1997 when President Bill Clinton initiated “One America,” an unprecedented national conversation on race. Winter served on the board of One America, helping to bring the only deep-South public forum to the University of Mississippi. President Bill Clinton has called Winter a “great champion of civil rights.” Positive changes stem from great leadership, and William Winter is one of many guiding lights for Mississippi and America.

In 2002 on his 80th birthday, the Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi was renamed the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in his honor. On May 12, 2008, Governor Winter was honored at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Click here to read his acceptance speech.

Start here for video of Gov. William Winter:

Gov William Winter on his childhood from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

Other videos featuring Gov. Winter can be viewed here:
Open Doors and John Hope Franklin Lecture
Gov William Winter on his childhood
Gov William Winter on his grandfather and the Confederacy
Gov William Winter on inequitable education in Mississippi during his childhood

Source: 

“About Us.” William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. U of Mississippi. http://www.winterinstitute.org/pages/aboutus.htm.

Nixon, Sandra: Oral History

Sandra Nixon participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. This video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

Sandra Nixon from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

Her oral history may also be viewed here.

 

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Sandra Nixon

Date: November, 2001

Place of Interview: Jackson, MS

 

 

Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 Desire Housing Project, New Orleans; Isaac Thomas; child protection services, New Orleans
2:00-4:00 Fergus & Cecilia Pierre; family history; Southern University; Castle Haley; Doris Haley; Jerome Smith
4:00-6:00 CORE New Orleans; nonviolence training; father WWII vet
6:00-8:00 Family apprehension; May 30, 1961 trip from New Orleans to Jackson, MS by train; arrest
8:00-10:00 Charged with breach of peace; arrest; Jackson City Jail; Hinds County Jail; Parchman Penitentiary; conditions in Parchman
10:00-12:00 Parchman experiences; “Oh Freedom”
12:00-14:00 Personal experience; Strive Towards Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr.; Southern University
14:00-16:00 New Orleans; Jerome Smith; Aretha Haley, Doris Castle; CORE demonstrations; New Orleans City Hall
16:00-18:00 Legacy of involvement
18:00-20:00 Legacy of involvement, movement

 

Singleton, Robert: Oral History

Robert Singleton participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He describes being arrested in Jackson and the conditions in the city jail. The oral history was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

 

Robert Singleton from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

 

His oral history may also be viewed here.

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Dr. Robert Singleton

Date: November 8, 2001

Place of Interview: Jackson, MS

 

Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 Philadelphia; Los Angeles; UCLA; Army
2:00-4:00 Sit-ins; President of UCLA NAACP; CORE; family background; South Carolina
4:00-6:00 Family concern
6:00-8:00 UCLA; raising bail money; New Orleans orientation; Jackson
8:00-10:00 Arrest; Jackson City Jail; Hinds County Jail; Parchman Penitentiary
10:00-12:00 Parchman; Deputy Tyson; singing in jail
12:00-14:00 Deputy Tyson
14:00-16:00 Parchman experience
16:00-18:00 LA Woolworth’s boycotts
18:00-20:00 Reflections on experience
20:00-22:00 New Orleans; Freedom Songs
22:00-24:00 Parchman experience
24:00-26:00 Release from Parchman; Philadelphia; UCLA
26:00-28:00 Returning home; LA City Schools cases; Serrano vs. Priest; continued education
28:00-30:00 Posterity needs access to this information

 

Hall, Carsie; Young, Jack; and Brown, R. Jess

Carsie Hall, Jack Young, and R. Jess Brown were the only African American lawyers who were licensed to practice in the state in the early 1960s. They often served as local counsel with out-of-state attorneys who had not been admitted to the Mississippi bar.

Sources:

“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).

Filner, Robert: Oral History

United States Representative Robert Filner participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He explains the conditions at the city jails, the county jails, and Parchman State Penitentiary in Mississippi. The oral history was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

Robert Filner from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

His oral history may also be viewed here.

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Congressman Bob Fillner

Date: November 10, 2001

Place of Interview: Jackson, MS

 

Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 Congressman from California’s 50th District (San Diego) in fifth term; previously city councilman, school board member, professor of European history at San Diego State University
2:00-4:00 Organized students for Student March on Washington in high school; studied at Cornell University; reaction to seeing burning bus in Anniston, AL on television; only two students from Cornell participated in Freedom Rides, travelled to Nashville for day of training and was on one of the first buses to Jackson, MS
4:00-6:00 Sentencing and jail experience, conditions at Hinds County Jail and Parchman Penitentiary
6:00-8:00 Cell mate went stir crazy and had to be removed from cell; called into city police chief’s office
8:00-10:00 Family response to involvement; relationship between Jewish religion and civil rights movement
10:00-12:00 Relation between Jewish American and African American experience
12:00-14:00 His children also politically aware; John Lewis’ pilgrimage with members of Congress to Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham
14:00-16:00 Impact of pilgrimage on his daughter; key changes in the South
16:00-18:00 Most of his fellow Congressional representative from the South are black; housing segregation
18:00-20:00 Strategies of Freedom Riders
20:00-22:00 Wishes for more visible activity in present day movement
22:00-24:00 Ways to get involved
24:00-26:00 Ways to get involved influenced by personal experience
26:00-28:00 Involvement; his work organizing constituents for change
28:00-30:00 Empowerment; continued racism; must find issues everyone can relate to
30:00-32:00 The man who arrested he and John Lewis also became a Democratic Congressman
32:00-34:00 Freedom Riders were ordinary people doing special things and forced to be leaders
34:00-36:00 Changed the course of American History

Young, Jack

Jack Young was a self-taught civil rights attorney. Young lived in Jackson with his wife, Aurelia, and their two children. A former letter carrier, Jack Young was admitted to the Mississippi bar in 1952 and became a point man in civil rights legal battles. Most African Americans engaged in civil rights activities in Jackson were protected from direct economic retaliation by whites through either federal civil service laws or by providing services directly to the black community. The Young home was a headquarters for activists who streamed in from across the country. Aurelia Young noted in her diary, “Our house is no longer like Grand Central Station; it seems more like International Airport. It is the only place in Jackson where people are integrated – they are even segregated in the jails.”

Sources:

“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).

Davidov, Marv: Oral History

Marv Davidov participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He describes the conditions at Parchman State Penitentiary. The video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

Marv Davidov from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

His oral history may also be viewed here.

Interview Data

Name of Interviewee: Marv Davidov

Date: November 10, 2001

Place of Interview: Jackson, MS

 

Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed
0:00-2:00 From Minneapolis, grew up in Detroit; reasons for participating in Freedom Rides and how he became involved, June, 1961
2:00-4:00 Because of David Martin (the “first hippie in Minnesota”) attended meeting on Freedom Rides organized by Zev Aelony; bomb threat at meeting
4:00-6:00 Greyhound Station in Minneapolis; travelled to Nashville, TN for orientation and then on to Jackson, MS; one of the first “Minnesota Beats [beatniks]”
6:00-8:00 Older rider in his group (29 years old); Bob Baum, Claire O’Connor also on ride; books he took with him for the trip; met Nelson and Marion Fulson in Nashville, Quaker couple
8:00-10:00 Housed by the Fulsons, who both taught at Fisk University; orientation led by Diane Nash and John Lewis
10:00-12:00 Taken one at a time to Greyhound station in Nashville and given instructions for ride
12:00-14:00 In Yazoo City, MS, white youth looking for Freedom Riders on bus; Emmett Till; currently teaches course on active nonviolence at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and teaches in justice and peace department as adjunct professor
14:00-16:00 Fear; arrival at Jackson, MS bus station and arrest by Captain Ray; arrest details
16:00-18:00 Interrogation; Jack Young, black attorney, met with Freedom Riders and discussed details of trial
18:00-20:00 Trial and conviction; Hinds County Jail
20:00-22:00 Support from Jackson’s black community; getting to know other Freedom Riders; transport to Parchman Penitentiary by Capt. Ray
22:00-24:00 Transport and reactions to Parchman
24:00-26:00 Parchman
26:00-28:00 Heath Rush cellmate in Parchman; service held by Freedom Riders in Parchman with Henry Thomas, Cordell Reagon singing
28:00-30:00 Reactions to situation
30:00-32:00 Sheriff Tyson of Hinds County Jail; treatment of prisoners
32:00-34:00 Punished for singing; religion vs. spirituality; treatment of prisoners
34:00-36:00 Minnesota group visited by their state’s Assistant Attorney General and shared truth about conditions treatment of SNCC members with Atty. General and Gladys Brooks of the Governor’s Human Rights Commission, in front of Sheriff Tyson
36:00-38:00 Never received any mail after telling Atty. Gen and Governor’s rep. about treatment; Parchman; Warden Fred Jones
38:00-40:00 Meeting with Warden; Parchman experiences
40:00-42:00 Parchman and release from Parchman
42:00-44:00 Post-release conversation with detective who interrogated him
44:00-46:00 Arrival in Minneapolis
46:00-48:00 Reasons for participating; return to Mississippi for arraignment; Stokely Carmichael; Bill Conslar, Jack _____, and Carson Hall, attorneys for Freedom Riders
48:00-50:00 Chicago Eight; American Radical Movement for Justice and Peace; arrest record
50:00-52:00 Integrated Peace Walk, 1963-64 (Georgia); travelled to Cuba 6 times; met Martin Luther King, Jr. a couple of times
52:00-54:00 History; social change; hopes for future of America; “revolutionary nonviolence”

 

Bates, Mrs. Gladys Noel

Mrs. Gladys Noel Bates was an eighth grade science teacher at Smith Robertson School in 1948 when she filed a lawsuit, later joined by R. Jess Brown against the Jackson public school system to equalize salaries for white and black teachers. A local NAACP board member, she and her husband, John, also a teacher, were fired form the school system later that year and blacklisted so that they could not teach in the South. The Mississippi Association of Teachers in Colored Schools paid Mrs. Bates’ salary for a year. Mrs. Bates’ father, A.J. Noel, was a leader in the Progressive Voters’ League in the 1950s and a NAACP local chapter board member.

Sources:

“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).

Siegenthaler, John: Oral History

U.S. Attorney General’s Assistant John Siegenthaler observed the Freedom Rides in 1961. He speaks about the violence at Anniston, Alabama, and his attempt to convince Diane Nash to end the Freedom Rides on behalf of the federal government. He arrived in Montgomery before the Freedom Riders and attempted to prevent violence. In the mob in Montgomery, he tried to stop the violence and was beaten unconscious. The video excerpts come from the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).

 

John Siegenthaler from Winter Institute on Vimeo.

His oral history may also be viewed here.