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Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., December 6, 1973. Interview A-0134. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Floyd McKissick discusses a lifetime of politics and activism in this interview. McKissick was a devoted civil rights activist before and after World War II, integrating the law school of the University of North Carolina and aiding students in sit-ins in the 1960s. In 1966, he took over leadership of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the nation's most prominent civil rights organizations. Shortly thereafter, he left CORE to contribute to the development of Soul City, a town in rural North Carolina intended to showcase the economic potential of a new kind of community. In this 1973 interview, McKissick reflects on the civil rights movement and its legacies. McKissick held that African American leaders needed to find pragmatic solutions for solidifying the gains won with legal battles and public protests in the 1960s. One such solution, he believed, was to demonstrate the economic and social viability of a town free from racism: Soul City. In addition to considering broad themes of the civil rights movement and Soul City, McKissick moves through the interviewer's list of questions about race and rights, answering queries about busing, averring his support for the legacy of former Governor Terry Sanford, and offering one civil rights leader's evaluation of the movement and hopes for the future of economic and racial justice.
    Excerpts
  • A lifetime of civil rights activism
  • A cycle of liberalism and backlash in North Carolina's racial history
  • Two phases of the civil rights movement
  • Evaluating the Voting Rights Act
  • Whatever its tactics, the civil rights movement was about equality
  • Change in civil rights movement underway even before King's assassination
  • Black activists counterbalance the benign neglect of politicians
  • Legal and economic rights are intertwined
  • Soul City's goals
  • Terry Sanford allows protests and seeks to maintain civility
  • Separate schools are OK so long as they are equal
  • Soul City as heart of move toward social and economic quality
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.