Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 08
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 08
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]

2. [Sex]

3. [Age]

4. [School years accomplished]

5. [Birthplace]
West Va. [Virginia]

6. [State or states lived in]
Ill. [Illinois] Ind. [Indiana] W. V.a. [West Virginia]

7. [Father's occupation]
dead (coal miner)

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]
Gov't employee

10. [3rd choice]
Travelling salesman

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

12. [How treated by teachers?]
Good treatment

13. [How treated by coaches?]
Fine -- swimming coach

14. [How treated by white students?]

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
Didn't have much chance -- perhaps
I had the chance but I didn't take
part. In some things I might have been
included had I showed an interest.

16. [What activities?]

17. [Were you encouraged?]

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

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
Mrs. Whipple -- seemed to bring out
the problems -- (algebra) -- made things
clear -- easy to understand.

p. 3
20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]
Had to work to help support

21. [Employed?]

22. [Kind of work?]
Janitor -- store

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

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

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
Plan to enter the Chicago Tribune
music festival this next month.
Have almost completed the high sch-
ool course (correspondence) & I'd

26. [2nd year]
like to enter some college the second year.

27. [3rd year]
Like to be in college -- interested in
singing & physical education

28. [4th year]
[left blank]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]
shows, church
don't have much
spare time -- sing-
ing around -- travel
for concerts

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
don't swim --
drive out of
town; pitch

p. 3
30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Wherever we
are booked to

b. in our

31a. [Do you date?]

31b. [Where go?]
Shoes, Lake Storey
Church, riding
in my car.

32a. [Do you drink?]

32b. [Where?]

33a. [Do you dance?]

33b. [Where?]
Armory -- whenever
they have dances.

34a. [Church -- membership]

34b. [Church -- attend]
Yes 2nd Bap. [Second Baptist]

35. [Club membership?]

36. [What club or clubs?]

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

38. [What do they say?]

39. [Are they worried?]
Don't show any signs of worry. --
Taking like pretty nicely.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
Well I think the church is the
best place in the world -- best
place to be.

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
Seems to help their mischief.
It makes good citizens.

42. [What more could it do?]
I don't know anymore.

43. [What more should it do?]
They should get behind their
members & make them attend more.

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
The police seem to uphold the law
pretty good. Mayor does his share.

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
They're fine men. They are swell --
all that I've had any dealings with.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
They do a little segregating. I don't
like it myself. They sent you up in
front. I think we are all equal &
mix at other places. Movies should
be the same -- after you give them
your money. That's one reason
I like Chicago. There doesn't
seem to be any segregation there at
all -- Of course they have more
to work with there.

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?]

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Lake Storey beach. Shows. Church
at various homes around town. I
don't know many of them, only about 1/2
doz. [dozen]

p. 5
50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]

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?]
We don't have enough places to
enjoy ourselves around here. There isn't
enough in town for recreation. A YMCA
is what we need -- like in Evanston.

53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
Evanston -- because they have a
big playground for all ages & a
YMCA -- more places to go for

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]
Abingdon -- because there are only
several colored families living

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
I think they let people off who
should be on working.

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. Radio Artist
b. Own my own home

58a. [Who is the outstanding Negro man in the U.S.?]
A man down in some Southern
school inventor -- he can take plants
and make things out of them. -- Carver.

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

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

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
Not enough recreation. Lack of a
YMCA. There aren't enough of our
youths hired around here.

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]
No (father dead)

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

64. [What are the biggest points of misunderstanding?]
Haven't any

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?]
No more than right

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. Don't know of any --

Remarks: They had me help the girl in the
shipping department so I learned all about it.
When she had to go the boss asked me how I'd
like to work there. I told him, "Fine. I can do this.
I know how to figure percentages, how to make out
the shipping tags." Next thing I knew he took a
green young man out of the store. I had to show
him about half of what he did. The boss had to
be down to help him a lot. I could have taken
the work over, but being colored, I guess the boss
figured he wouldn't promote me. But he promised to.
Physical Description8.5 x 11 in. handwritten sheets
FilenameNegro youth interviews/subject 8
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