Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 03
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 03
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]

2. [Sex]

3. [Age]

4. [School years accomplished]
12 yrs.

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?]
Very well

12. [How treated by teachers?]
Fair treatment from teachers

13. [How treated by coaches?]
Got on very well

14. [How treated by white students?]

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
Not given a fair chance to participate
in lots of things we'd like to have " [participate]d

16. [What activities?]
We girls could play basketball in
inter club competit[io]n. Club include
d both colored & white stuents.
Reflectoview. Singing chorus.

17. [Were you encouraged?]
By Miss Cox especially -- less by teachers.

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
Some teachers were interested to a certain
extent. Miss Nichol -- helped me write my autobiography

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
In music Miss Terry helped a lot with
my voice. She'd give me extra time -- stay
after school.

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

p. 2

21. [Employed?]
Not employed

22. [Kind of work?]

23. [How long have you worked there?]

24. [Has it a good future for you?]
Try to take up a business course

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

26. [2nd year]
Hope to go to College

27. [3rd year]
This would lead to teaching

28. [4th year]
[left blank]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]
Reading, sewing

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
Beach also

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Home b. Lake Storey

31. [Do you date?]
No special dates -- go with a group.

32. [Do you drink?]
Don't go to dances or movies.

33. [Do you dance?]
Don't drink or dance.

34. [Church -- membership & attendance]
Israel of God's Church -- member -- attend

35. [Club membership?]

36. [What club or clubs?]
[characters "Thespian Literary Society in H.S. -- no other" crossed out]

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

38. [What do they say?]
Here in G-- [Galesburg] the standard
doesn't seem to be so high; when I was in St.
Louis they wanted to be teachers or beauty

39. [Are they worried?]
Some are -- if they came out of a large
family -- wonder if they can go on.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
Attend regularly 2 in the week & 3 on

p. 4
41. [How does it help young people like you?]
It helps to influence them along right
lives. It helps to have a higher ideal, your
moral character is higher.

42. [What more could it do?]
No. They are awfully strict. That's

43. [What more should it do?]
[left blank]

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
Don't know about city officials.

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
Where we trade we are well treated.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
Don't go. Know what I've heard. Don't
like to sit in balcony.

47. [Did you go to the NYA recreation center on West Berrien Street?]
Yes I did go quite a bit.

48. [Is there any substitute for that center -- now that there is no NYA center?]
No substitute

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Don't know about them. Think they
go out to beach -- Sat. night

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
I like it. They are improving it, but
it needs more.

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

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
A lot of diff. [difference] between kids here & other
places. Here all the colored people are
on the same level. There isn't a higher level
of colored people here as there is in Detroit
& St. Louis.

53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
We have a fair chance to get an educat[io]n

p. 4
here, but here we can't put it to use. In
St. Louis they can use it -- go into

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
I guess it's all right. It was better
before they passed the new law. No
criticism of local admin.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]
I've talked with them personally about
a job.

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
a. I don't know. One would be to be
able to teach in the South & really be able
to help the children there.
b. I'd like to do something so the
colored in G-- [Galesburg] would stick together
better than they do.

58a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in the U.S.?]
Joe Lewis gets the most publicity

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

59a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in Galesburg?]
Mr. G.G. Fletcher

59b. [Who is the outstanding Negro woman in Galesburg?]
Don't know

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
I guess the greatest -- they don't have en-
ough encouragement after they get
out of high school.

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]

63. [Do you have any conflicts or arguments with them?]
I'd like to get out & have a little more

64. [What are the biggest points of misunderstanding?]
I want to leave town & get a job. I want

p. 5
to earn so as to go on to school. I'd like to
go to Chicago. Parents object.

65. [Have you a room to yourself?]
Share room with my 15 yr old sister.

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]
They do expect me to contribute. I took
care of 3 children last summer. I did
ironing & housework for wages -- part itme
work this year while at school.

67. [How do you feel about this?]
It is perfectly all right. I owe it to
them to help all I can.

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?]
Everything covered.

Remarks: It seemed[?] in the shift fm. [from]
Jr. High to Senior High there was a
vast difference in the attitude of the
white students toward me. They seemed
to have a more grown up attitude -- they
were more courteous -- friendly. Now
there are four clubs -- no dues -- parties
banquets -- each chip in. In the Ref -- rev --
the colored dressing room was always
crowed[?] with white & colored students.
They all congratulated us. If they had any
candy they shared it naturally.
Physical Description8.5 x 11 in. handwritten sheets
FilenameNegro youth interviews/subject 3
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