Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 23
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 23
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]
Mo. [Missouri]

6. [State or states lived in]
Mo. [Missouri] Ill. [Illinois] Minn. [Minnesota]

7. [Father's occupation]

8. [1st vocational choice]

9. [2nd choice]

10. [3rd choice]

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

12. [How treated by teachers?]

13. [How treated by coaches?]

14. [How treated by white students?]
Majority were OK. some not so nice.

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

16. [What activities?]

17. [Were you encouraged?]
Not encouraged.

18. [Did you feel that they were interested in you?]
Not much interest in me.

19. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
Advisory teacher. If I had problems she
talk them over with me. She was an exception.

20. [If you quit before graduating from high school, please explain why?]
Mother had died & we girls had to help
to run the house for Father

21. [Employed?]
No steady work now

22. [Kind of work?]
Have done house work also
dish washing at drug store. The latter
is more definite, payed more & was steadier.

23. [How long have you worked there?]
Ford Hopkins for 2 yrs. until they closed.

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

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
Trying to save money to take a course
in beauty culture -- Chicago.


26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]
parties &

29b. [Favorite pastime -- summer]
croquet, baseball,

30. [Where enjoyed?]
b. pvt. houses
b. Storey, court at
Graham PK., Lake
Storey, "

31a. [Do you date?]

31b. [Where go?]
show, lake, play bridge
at friends' homes

32. [Do you drink?]

33a. [Do you dance?]

33b. [Where?]
b. Pvt. homes or Armory

34a. [Church -- membership]
Yes. AME

34b. [Church -- attend]
Yes -- about 1/2 the time

35. [Club membership?]

36. [What club or clubs?]
"What Next" and Girls Club

37. [Do you hear your friends talking about their future plans?]
Yes -- some of them

38. [What do they say?]
Two want to go into beauty culture as I do.
Another interested in children -- sort of
day nursey[?] idea.

39. [Are they worried?]
I'm not -- take things as they


40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
Believe in the church; feel every one
should attend. They benefit by going

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
If you go -- that's where nice people go --
cultivate their friendship. Helps your
character a lot.

42. [What more could it do?]

43. [What more should it do?]

44. [What is your attitude toward the city officials here in Galesburg? (aldermen, police, mayor)
Have none

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
Always have been treated nice.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
They aren't fair. Have a certain place
to sit & it isn't a good place; it is a
less desirable place. It gets tiresome
going to the same place always too.

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?]
Yes -- the same bldg. -- the older as
well as the younger go; when the CCC
were here they were so numerous & the
general effect wasn't good. I didn't
care to return.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Miss Ollie's place (center) & the Lake.

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

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

52. [How does life for young Negroes in Galesburg compare with life in other places you know about or hear of?]
In other places they have more places
to go -- more things to choose from
in the way of work & play -- not just
housework for girls.


53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
Minneapolis & Chicago; both give more
chance at jobs & more pleasures open to us.

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]
None known

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
It's good. Gives people a chance to work
instead of being on relief with grocery orders.
It's a good thing.

56. [What contact have you had with the emergency relief case workers?]
No contact

57. [If you could have two wishes come true what would those wishes be?]
a. That I could go to a school of beauty culture
& become established in that line of work
b. That my brothers & sisters could get
something successful to do.

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

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

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

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
They don't have any good jobs.
There are colored boys & girls who are
capable of holding good jobs, but their
color is against them.

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]
Mother dead. Father living.

63. [Do you have any conflicts or arguments with them?]
No. We may be cross at times. Get along
fine on the whole

64. [What are the biggest points of misunderstanding?]
No. No big misunderstandings. We have
small arguments.


65. [Have you a room to yourself?]
Share room with sister

66. [Do they expect you to contribute to the family purse from your earnings?]
Father doesn't expect it, but if there is a
bill & I want to pay it, I do. When I'm
not working & earning I can ask for
money & get it. When I was earning
I never contributed.

67. [How do you feel about this?]
Every child should be made to feel
responsibility -- that's a good way -- it
makes a better person.

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 23
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