Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 05
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 05
DescriptionTranscript of an interview done by J. Howell Atwood. Atwood interviewed 22 Negro youths in Galesburg, Illinois in the late 1930s for the American Youth Commission as part of a larger research project investigating conditions and needs of Negro youth in the United States. Atwood's research informed the paper "Negro Youth in Galesburg, Illinois" published in 1941 in "Thus Be Their Destiny: The Personality Development of Negro Youth in Three Communities." Inteview questions are presented with the transcribed answers in the transcript. Interview subjects are not named.
CreatorAtwood, Jesse Howell; American Youth Commission
Time Period1930s
IdentifierJ. Howell Atwood Manuscript Collection (box 9)
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Transcriptp. 1
1. [Name]
# 5

2. [Sex]

3. [Age]

4. [School years accomplished]

5. [Birthplace]
Ill. [Illinois]

6. [State or states lived in]
Ill. [Illinois]

7. [Father's occupation]

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]

10. [3rd choice]

11. [How do or did you like school?]
Just fine

12. [How treated by teachers?]

13. [How treated by coaches?]

14. [How treated by white students?]
Didn't know any difference

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
Yes. I wasn't in dramatics, but I took part
in assemblies

16. [What activities?]
Clubs -- Polyhymnia -- literary programs,
club banquet, tea for mothers. (girls clubs)
Latin club (class) had both boys & girls.

17. [Were you encouraged?]

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
Yes, I think so, because they wouldn't have
elected me secy [secretary].

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
They all helped -- anything I asked for they gave
me the best assistance they could.

20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]

21. [Employed?]

22. [Kind of work?]

23. [How long have you worked there?]

24. [Has it a good future for you?]

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]
Playing piano

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
Attending basketball & football games.

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. home b. beach.
Like any sort of worthwile social function.

31a. [Do you date?]
Once in a while -- with the right crowd.

p. 2
31b. [Where go?]
Movie, parties if they aren't rough

32a. [Do you drink?]

32b. [Where?]

33. [Do you dance?]

34. [Church -- membership & attendance]
Not a member (not baptised)

35. [Club membership?]
None since h.s.

36. [What club or clubs?]

37. [Do you hear your friends talking about their future plans?]

38. [What do they say?]
One is going to St. Ambrose next
year; another to Burlington Jr. College.

39. [Are they worried?]
Wondering how they'll stand up in college.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
It is almost essential for a person if he amounts
to anything -- if you're trying to reach higher
standards of conduct you need the church.

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
There are a lot of young people who don't get the
home training. If they go to Church & hear a good
sermon it might help. They might come in con-
tact with better friends -- associates.

42. [What more could it do?]
Seems it is doing all it can. It lies with the

43. [What more should it do?]
It needs to keep up the present work -- the good
work it's accomplishing now.

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
They are quite efficient.

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
I know quite a few of them. They're all right.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
I attend them. There are things there I don't

p. 3
like. And there are conditions that could be improved.

47. [Did you go to the NYA recreation center on West Berrien Street?]

48. [Is there any substitute for that center -- now that there is no NYA center?]
The building is still operated. Mrs. Anderson
runs it -- the young kids go there. I guess it's
a recreation place.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
I suppose at the beach & the movies &
this recreation place on Berrien. But I don't really

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
Yes, but I feel that we all on both sides
should be able to go to each park.

51a. [Do you know young colored people who don't go out there?]

51b. [Why don't they?]

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
For a town of its size it compares with
others of its size. When you get into larger cities
it's different -- there are more people to work
with on both sides. I haven't heard comparisons.

53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
Larger cities on the whole.

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]
I've heard of towns in Georgia where I wouldn't want to live.
It was a slave state & there ideas still remain in some peoples minds.

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
Don't know.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
Let conditions for Negroes
in general be improved --

p. 4
58a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in the U.S.?]
Oscar DePriest

58b. [Who is the outstanding Negro woman in the U.S.?]
Marion Anderson

59a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in Galesburg?]
[left blank]

59b. [Who is the outstanding Negro woman in Galesburg?]
[left blank]

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
Among a few -- older head there is race-
prejudice. Then there is jealousy among ourselves.

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]

63. [Do you have any conflicts or arguments with them?]

64. [What are the biggest points of misunderstanding?]
-- None -- we agree.

65. [Have you a room to yourself?]

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]
No. Don't work & haven't any added income.

67. [How do you feel about this?]
I don't work.

68. [Is there some other problem which troubles you or your colored friends of about your age which hasn't been asked about in this interview?]
Physical Description8.5 x 11 in. handwritten sheets
FilenameNegro youth interviews/subject 5
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