Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
  Skip to content  collection home browse advanced search preferences my favorites help   
add to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next
Negro youth interview subject 06
Open PDF in new window | Go to PDF description

TitleNegro youth interview subject 06
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]
# 6

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]
Caretaker -- down-
town bldg.

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]
Civil serv.
mail clerk

10. [3rd choice]

11. [How do or did you like school?]
I like it very much

12. [How treated by teachers?]
All right

13. [How treated by coaches?]
Same -- in gym

14. [How treated by white students?]
Some were unpleasant -- the lower
classes -- the "smart alecs" -- most
were OK.

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
Couldn't play basketball -- they always
had some excuse -- the real excuse was
that they were afraid we couldn't get
along. We had to wait till after school
hours to go in swimming -- after the white
students had finished using the pool.

16. [What activities?]
None -- spent my time studying

17. [Were you encouraged?]
By some -- at times.

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
Never thought about it -- it is the
teachers place to act that way whether
they are or not -- no special interest

19a. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
I never asked much help -- listened
& did my work.

19b. [How did he or she help you?]

p. 2
20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]

21. [Employed?]

22. [Kind of work?]
Porter -- jewelry store

23. [How long have you worked there?]
3 1/2 month.

24. [Has it a good future for you?]
hard to tell -- hardly much future
in porter's work.

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
no def. [definite] plans -- may continue college (?)

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]
good books -- reading

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
tennis, travel

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Pub [Public] Library & home
b. Graham PK.

31a. [Do you date?]

31b. [Where go?]
respectable places -- very
few places -- the shows
(movies in winter). Friend's

32a. [Do you drink?]
a. no.

32b. [Where?]

33a. [Do you dance?]

33b. [Where?]
We have dances at the
Armory -- the whites in
the gallery -- seem to be amused
jud[g]ing fr. remarks & facial
express[io]n. I don't like that.
Otherwise the dances are OK.

p. 3
Very nice bands come here.

34a. [Church -- membership]
not a member

34b. [Church -- attend]
I attend

35. [Club membership?]
President of one --

36. [What club or clubs?]
Salsus Circulus

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

38. [What do they say?]
They hope to obtain their vocation

39. [Are they worried?]
Some are a little. Some seem to
see their way thru.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
I think it is all right. I attend. haven't

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
It has made some of the young people
interested. Make fine young women &
men out of some who may go the
other way. It keep them from
doing things they shouldn't do -- such
as drinking. Keeps [illegible].

42. [What more could it do?]
I don't think there's much. They invite
you to come. Try to make it pleasant.

43. [What more should it do?]
I don't know.

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
That depends on the man -- not the
party. Mayor Anderson has been pretty
fair. Don't have criticism of police.

p. 4
45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
Had no trouble -- know & worked for
quite a few. Once in a while in a chain
store they aren't -- polite. At Walgreens
I worked 2 yrs., overworked me.
As a customer I've been well treated in
all places.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
I think that as long as you're dressed
& act respectably you should sit where
you wish. Espe. at the Gala -- they
seat you where they wish or give you
your money back. If your eyes aren't
adjusted for that distance it is un-
pleasant. Other places it isn't so
bad -- you have more choice.

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?]
That place is still open -- place where
young folks can gather -- games -- now
they sell refreshments.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Movies -- the "center" (Berrien) the

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
No, because we have nothing there,
if you don't want to swim there's nothing
to do. It isn't properly fixed. I blame the
colored park board. They aren't active.

p. 5
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?]
In most places outside the conditions
are better. In Monmouth you can sit
where you please at the Show. Parks are
shared, eat any place in town. Treated
more respectfully. Abingdon & Knoxville
it's the same way.

53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
above 52

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]
Don't know -- further south, I suppose.
St. Louis, I think, but not sure. Why I
don't know.

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
It seems to be keeping some who didn't
have anything to do. They wouldn't have
food otherwise. It might help to make
some shifters. They don't have to look
for a job -- fall back on WPA & relief.

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?]
a. To go to college & medical school so
I could achieve my vocational objective.
b. Wish to keep my good health.

58a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in the U.S.?]

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

p. 6
59a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in Galesburg?]

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]

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 -- always agree on things.

65. [Have you a room to yourself?]

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]
They have never asked me to -- It's just
my own will

67. [How do you feel about this?]
It's a good idea.

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 6
add to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next