Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Angus Boaz Thompson Sr., October 21, 2003. Interview U-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fighting against accomodation in black community

In this excerpt, Thompson remembers the attitude of many members of the black community: to comply with the white community's demands in order to achieve a degree of financial and social security. African Americans were thirsty for black leadership that would push for advancement, not accommodation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Angus Boaz Thompson Sr., October 21, 2003. Interview U-0017. 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

MM: How did you get the money to pay Julius Chambers? AT: Out of our pockets. MM: How did you raise it? AT: Out of our pockets. In fact, I told them. At that time I knew all we needed to do is take care of his expenses from Charlotte. He wasn’t coming to be charging us. I think the first time he came down it was about thirty-five dollars. That was all we gave him. Thirty-five dollars, that was big money then. [BOTH LAUGH.] AT: But he loved it. That was the point of it. NAACP was paying him. Of course the NAACP has never been a money maker. You don’t make nothing too much. That’s like my son. As soon as he came out they took him there and he was made state NAACP lawyer. All that stuff worked well. MM: Were there members of the black community who were not part of the NAACP and who resisted what you were doing, or disagreed with it? AT: No, no, no, no, no. MM: No. AT: Well, at the time you know I hate to tell you, but at that time most of the blacks—the whites had picked out a leader for the blacks. The white people had picked out a black leader for the blacks. When I say the white, even if we elected them, especially at that time, blacks were not thinking for themselves like they think now. The status quo was this. If you had some education or not, they were looking for somebody to follow. Not thinking for themselves, what did they know about laws and all that stuff? None of them had been exposed to that stuff. So we had a black leader. Personally, I didn’t agree with everything that these black leaders said because our black leaders ( ). They’d been to me and said, “Now, Angus, you come on and help push this bond issue. Your wife’s teaching, and she’s got to have a job” and all this. All that kind of stuff. That was the attitude and the way they felt. Go along with these white folks so we could get the little cheese. I don’t even want this to go in there, but I think our black leader was getting the money put in his pocket. I don’t know that. Anyway, I told them, I said, “Well, I’ll do anything. I’ll run like a rabbit before I send my people down the streets. [SOUND OF TELEPHONE RINGING IN THE BACKGROUND.] MM: Let me just cut this off. [TAPE IS TURNED OFF AND THEN BACK ON.] MM: Okay, go ahead. AT: The mass of the black people at that time, they were looking for a leader, and we had black leaders. But I’m going to tell you today, that’s about faded out. Mass of the black people, you could give them a dollar, two dollars, and they’d vote for anybody you said. They knew nothing about who’s qualified or elections. They didn’t know anybody who was on the ticket, and rightfully so. They didn’t know about stuff like that. I used to ask them a whole lot. When I’d be in meetings they’d come and say, “Well who are the white leaders in here? You talking about the Black leaders? Who you all got leading you?” That was natural, somewhat comprehensive. Integration has brought about now where the mass of the blacks think for themselves. And that’s why they think for themselves now. It’s integration. I was out there by myself fighting.