Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 20
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 20
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]
Ill. [Illinois]

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

7. [Father's occupation]
Tie carrier

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]

10. [3rd choice]

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

12. [How treated by teachers?]
All right -- did me

13. [How treated by coaches?]
It's hard to say. Hard to figure out.

14. [How treated by white students?]
Some were fine. Some were ugly.

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

16. [What activities?]
Played soft ball

17. [Were you encouraged?]
By some of them

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
No. I didn't

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
One teacher -- extra help after school

20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]
I figured I didn't have the proper
clothes I should wear.

p. 2

21. [Employed?]

22. [Kind of work?]
Not been employed at a steady job

23. [How long have you worked there?]
Have helped at the stand at the
beach this summer -- 6 wks ago.

24. [Has it a good future for you?]

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

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
Soft ball

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Out Clay's woods
b.Different towns --
practice at Cook
School -- regular
colored team

31a. [Do you date?]

31b. [Where go?]
Lake -- shows movies

32a. [Do you drink?]

33. [Do you dance?]

34a. [Church -- membership]

34b. [Church -- attend]
Tent at Harding &
Brooks -- just
this summer.

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 seem to be. I'm not.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
No personal feeling. They are important, though.

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
It helps some of them a little.

42. [What more could it do?]
I don't see how it could.

43. [What more should it do?]

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
No feeling.

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
They're all right.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
In a way they're OK. They should
let us all -- colored & white -- sit toge-
ther. It wouldn't do any good to
get sore so I don't. I don't blame
them so much.

47. [Did you go to the NYA recreation center on West Berrien Street?]
Yes. It was all right.

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?]
Not allowed in town. -- Go to lake.

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

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

p. 4

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
Couldn't hardly say. Don't
know much about these other places.

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?]
Don't know.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]
Very little

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
a. Stay young
b. --

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?]

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
Can't say, really don't know.

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?]
Good idea. I'd gladly give it,
but I don't get much.

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 20
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