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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Anne Queen, April 30, 1976. Interview G-0049-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Class tensions among social activists

Queen describes an incident that happened while she attended the Missionary Union Training School in Louisville, Kentucky, during the mid-1940s in preparation for her graduate work at Yale. Queen explains how the school seemed to define her by her working-class background. As a result, she explains how she became determined to prove that she was just as able as students from more privileged background. Her comments reveal class tensions among social activists.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Anne Queen, April 30, 1976. Interview G-0049-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JOSEPH HERZENBERG:
Well, you are leaving Berea and you are going via Louisville to New Haven?
ANNE QUEEN:
Yes… Well, my year in Louisville was good and it had mixed blessings, but it helped me to sort of separate some of my thinking. I couldn't enroll at the Seminary because women didn't enroll there, they had to go to what was called the Missionary Union Training School. I didn't take it, I took only courses that I had to to make it possible for me to have a bed and board there. I took very little work at the Training School. Everything I took was from Dr. Binkley. And then there was a professor there named Dale Moody who had dared to leave the South and go to Union Seminary to study with Tillich, and then he had become a very good student of Karl Barth. I took one course at the Missionary Union Training School, but it was just like Sunday School work. I remember that one day I had washed my hair and I was sitting under a hair dryer and I picked up a periodical which had been published by the Missionary Training School and it was an article sort of analyzing the background of the students who had come to the school. The president of the school was a very proper woman and she had written this article and she talked about the outstanding background of the students and she commented that, "we even have one person who comes from a working background." Of course, I knew exactly who she was talking about. This didn't anger me, it didn't hurt me, but it just made me determined to prove to this woman that I had as much as the other students although I came from a very deprived background economically. I talked to Dr. Moody. Dr. Binkley was a kind of saintly character that you didn't discuss this kind of thing with, but Dr. Moody was young and had a kind of rightous anger about him and I confided in him. He was just outraged. Well, I told Dr. Binkley that I had gotten all that I could from him and I would still like to go to Yale and he said that I had gotten all that I could from him and he encouraged me to go. So, he got me a scholarship and I entered Yale the next fall.