Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 10
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 10
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]
# 10

2. [Sex]

3. [Age]

4. [School years accomplished]

5. [Birthplace]
Ill. [Illinois]

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

7. [Father's occupation]
dead (Laborer in Brick yds.)

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]
Not doing exactly what he'd like -- prefers theatre management

10. [3rd choice]

11. [How do or did you like school?]
I like it -- got on fine

12. [How treated by teachers?]
Treated cordially by teachers

13. [How treated by coaches?]
Played F.B. well treated

14. [How treated by white students?]
Trouble with certain white students
-- nothing serious

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
Took part in some -- we couldn't
join the clubs -- & couldn't play

16. [What activities?]
basketball -- could play FB --
where you could break your neck.

17. [Were you encouraged?]
I got equal encouragement.

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
Dean of boys took most interest.
When I quit he came to my house & tried
to get me to return. Said I'd need school-

20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]
ing in future yrs. I'd have gone on
but for my sister's sake. Mother was a
widow. Sister made good.

p. 2
21. [Employed?]

22. [Kind of work?]
Brick yard car-rider.

23. [How long have you worked there?]
12 yrs.

24. [Has it a good future for you?]
No, can't say it has.
It isn't a full season job. I'd like
something better.

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
I can't say truthfully. Want a better
job or have a business of my own. Have
figured on several things. Not satisfied a
I have my home & intend continuing
to live here.

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. farms near here
b. Lake Storey

31. [Do you date?]

32a. [Do you drink?]
Beer only

32b. [Where?]
Only 1 place -- the
Hollywood on Semin-

33a. [Do you dance?]

33b. [Where?]
Where colored dances
are held --

34a. [Church -- membership]

34b. [Church -- attend]

35. [Club membership?]

36. [What club or clubs?]

p. 3
37. [Do you hear your friends talking about their future plans?]

38. [What do they say?]
Claim if there were more
openings they'd better themselves.

39. [Are they worried?]
Yes -- because there isn't any work
except for the white man. We N. [Negroes] know
we'll be rated 2nd.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
I don't think so much of the ch-- [church]
They mix politics. They aren't sacred

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
I do feel relieved when I go. There is
more good than bad of course. It certainly
don't hurt a man to go.

42. [What more could it do?]
It could be more sacred -- instead
of so much society -- any good job you
go after -- religion is mixed in somewhere

43. [What more should it do?]

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
Personally they never hurt me, but I
don't like the ring. If you don't fit in --
guilty or innocent you don't get a
sq. [square] deal in G-- [Galesburg].

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
Some -- quite a few -- aren't
bothered about N. [Negro] trade & they'll tell
you so. A man told me so the other day -- I
didn't have to trade in there.

p. 4
46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
Don't like them: I tend to my
business when I go to a public place.
I'm as well educated as the average.
There are good & bad in both races.
As long as I behave they shouldn't
segregate. They's what I'd like to
run a theatre. Segregation keeps me away.

47. [Did you go to the NYA recreation center on West Berrien Street?]
No -- not for an evening.

48. [Is there any substitute for that center -- now that there is no NYA center?]
Yes, but they aren't respectable. There
is no decent respectable place for colored
people in G-- [Galesburg] at present.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Beach, dump [?] -- not respectable
places, boys have to go somewhere.

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
No, can't say I do. We don't have
conveneniences. Nothing is sufficient --
lights inadequate, pavilion not large
enough -- that is in comparison
with the other beach.

51. [Do you know young colored people who don't go out there?]
No I don't know any who just stay away
But I heard them say they don't like
the conveniences.

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
Can't say -- haven't traveled much.

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

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

p. 5
55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
Don't think much of that. There's
not a colored man who has a rated job
in G-- [Galesburg] except Rev. Mc L. Dr. Bond Rev. Green.
They all class as common laborers. That
isn't quite fair.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]
Have had lots of contact. As a citizen
of G-- [Galesburg] I didn't get a fair deal when
on relief. I didn't go on when I didn't
need it. Necessisities I required were den-
ied me & residents not as long
standing got things I couldn't get.

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
a. Always wanted to see colored man &
white man on = basis the world over.
b. Always wanted to see colored of
the army & navy & aviation get an equal

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

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

59a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in Galesburg?]
Eugene Fletcher
editor of The Star

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
Lack of opportunity. They are willing &
energetic if they only had a fair chance.

Questions 61-67 don't apply -- married man.

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?]

65. [Have you a room to yourself?]

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]

67. [How do you feel about this?]

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?]
no --
Physical Description8.5 x 11 in. handwritten sheets
FilenameNegro youth interviews/subject 10
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