Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 13
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 13
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)
Transcript1. [Name]
# 13

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]
Civil Service

9. [2nd choice]

10. [3rd choice]

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

12. [How treated by teachers?]
Square break

13. [How treated by coaches?]

14. [How treated by white students?]
Excellent -- no trouble

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]

16. [What activities?]
In one play -- I sort of stayed. Inter-
class basketball in Jr. H. [junior high]

17. [Were you encouraged?]

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
Seemed to be interested in everybody --
no particular person --

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
Not much individual help -- we were
all assisted in our progress -- all
got the same back.

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

21. [Employed?]
Not regular -- full time -- carry papers every

22. [Kind of work?]
[arrow pointing to 21's job description]

23. [How long have you worked there?]
1 yr.

p. 2

24. [Has it a good future for you?]
No future

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
Jr. [junior] in High School

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]
I'll be trying to get work &
& taking Civil Service exams.

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
Ride around on my bike with other kids --
learning to swim --
work for me

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Orpheum on Sundays
b. Storey

31. [Do you date?]

32. [Do you drink?]

33. [Do you dance?]

34a. [Church -- membership]

34b. [Church -- attend]

35. [Club membership?]

36. [What club or clubs?]

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

38. [What do they say?]
About what they hope to do -- sometimes
at school in class -- not much outside.

p. 3

39. [Are they worried?]
Some are -- if they have enough money
to carry out their plans they aren't. If
they haven't they are worried.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
Every one should belong even though
I don't.

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
It shows them [illegible]. How to keep
on the right track.

42. [What more could it do?]
It would make better people. It could
cut out prejudice -- it (white churches)
could teach against color prejudice.

43. [What more should it do?]

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
They're all right. Not old enough
to take much interest in politics.

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
I suppose they're all right. My
contacts in the store are satisfactory.
I go in, buy what I want & leave.
I washed windows one place each
week. Always paid on time.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
They're all right -- never any trouble.

p. 4

47. [Did you go to the NYA recreation center on West Berrien Street?]
Never went there.

48. [Is there any substitute for that center -- now that there is no NYA center?]
Don't know of any.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Beach mostly. Shows, private homes.

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
It's all right. It could be better --
nothing to do except swim & play ball.
I don't do either very much.

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

51b. [Why don't they?]
--(May not have a way to get out.)(?)

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
I don't know.
I've read various Negro papers. It
seems as if they have more & better re-
creation centers in other places. Maybe
they don't. I haven't been in other

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

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

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
I read in the papers about the strike.
It's better to have something for those
men to do than to have them sit
around & loaf.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]
We were on relief -- they were pleasant
and friendly. They come around and
check up -- courteous.

p. 5

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
a. That prejudice vs. Negroes in America
would be destroyed.
b. That I could go to college.

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

58b. [Who is the outstanding Negro woman in the U.S.?]
Mary Bethune
head of Negro NYA.

59a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in Galesburg?]
If there is one I'd
like to see him.

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
The same as it is all over: race
prejudice. It's a hard time to get

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]

63. [Do you have any conflicts or arguments with them?]
No -- never

64. [What are the biggest points of misunderstanding?]

65. [Have you a room to yourself?]
No -- share with sister

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]
No -- I don't make enough -- just
enough to keep myself going in clothes.
I bought my own books the 1st yr in
Sr. H.S. [senior high school]

67. [How do you feel about this?]
If I made enough I gladly

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 13
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