Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Negro youth interview subject 17
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TitleNegro youth interview subject 17
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]
CBQ roundhouse

8. [1st vocational choice]
mail clerk

9. [2nd choice]

10. [3rd choice]

11. [How do or did you like school?]
Pretty -- about 1/2 & 1/2

12. [How treated by teachers?]

13. [How treated by coaches?]
All right -- square deal most of the

14. [How treated by white students?]
Most all right. Some seem to have
more prejudice than some. Some don't
show much pr [prejudice ?] -- in front of me. Have
some really good friend among white
boys, but don't go around with them
away from school.

15. [Did you have a chance to take part in the school's activities?]
No. Had a chance, but couldn't
take it. I had to work after school
Sport Club in Jr. High

16. [What activities?]
Would have liked to play baseball.

17. [Were you encouraged?]
Some of the teachers encouraged me.

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

19a. [What teacher seemed of most help to you?]
One I had in the 1st grade to the 5th
grade was the most helpful.

19b. [How did he or she help you?]
She could explain especially well. She liked
all the students -- took a personal
interest in all.

p. 2

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

21. [Employed?]
Yes -- during the summer free time
& part time during school yr.

22. [Kind of work?]
Janitor work

23. [How long have you worked there?]
7 months

24. [Has it a good future for you?]
no future -- just a way of getting
some money.

25. [Your plans for future -- say next year?]
10th grade of school & my job

26. [2nd year]

27. [3rd year]

28. [4th year]
quit -- try to find a good job

29a. [Favorite pastime -- winter]

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

30. [Where enjoyed?]
a. Lake Storey,
Colored beach -- don't
use the Lincoln PK.

b. vacant lot
in the neightborhood.
Sundays at Lake
Storey; kids of
the neighborhood;
no league.

31a. [Do you date?]
Once in a while -- 3-4
times a month.

31b. [Where go?]

p. 3

32. [Do you drink?]

33a. [Do you dance?]

33b. [Where?]
Armory when they have
a big dance & at Lake
Storey -- vender music

34a. [Church -- membership]

34b. [Church -- attend]
attend SS. at Church
of God in Christ -- about
1/2 the time. Mother en-
courages to go.

35. [Club membership?]
None outside school

36. [What club or clubs?]

37. [Do you hear your friends talking about their future plans?]
Sometimes -- not often

38. [What do they say?]
Say what they'd like to be. Plan on
a certain job: mechanics, mail clerks,

39. [Are they worried?]
No evidence of it.

40. [What is your attitude toward the church?]
Think it's a place every body should
go to & learn all they could about
the Bible. This would make a better world
-- less drinking &
bad habits.

41. [How does it help young people like you?]
I don't think it helps
them in the present, but
it might when they die. It
might help to keep me from using liquor,
although I don't want it anyway.

p. 4

42. [What more could it do?]
Most of the young don't come.
The church can't do much more.

43. [What more should it do?]
Nothing I know of.

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

45. [How do you feel toward the Main Street merchants?]
No trouble. Treat me OK. Courteous.

46. [How do you feel toward the various movie theaters in town?]
Some don't seat you like white
people -- make me sit up in front --
Gala. West & Colonial you can sit
where you want to -- unless it's crowded.
Orph. have to sit up stairs -- I can't
see so well 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?]
The place -- "social club" -- is about the
same, but only for men. "Center"
continues, but I haven't gone.

49. [Where do the CCC boys spend their free time when they're in town?]
Storey, center, shows, "social club."

50. [Do you like the colored beach at Lake Storey?]
Pretty -- not perfect. It could be
improved, bigger pavilion, better
ball park. The [diamond?] hasn't any
seats. It's used every Sunday. One
org'd team places other town
teams. There are two local groups
-- east & west end who play.

p. 5

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?]
About the same

53. [Name a place you think is better. Why is it?]
Some big city like N.Y., Chicago, Detroit --
where they can get better jobs.

54. [Name a place you think is worse. Why is it?]
Most of the south is -- the times are
hard the N. [Negroes] can't get jobs.

55. [What do you think of the WPA set up?]
I don't think there's any good future
in it for young people. It has helped
those who've been on it a lot --

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. Wish I could live so I could have
plenty of money to spend & a nice
b. That's enough --

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?]
Rev. Green

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

60. [What is the greatest obstacle in the way of Negro youth here in Galesburg?]
I don't know -- (not sure of"obstacle)

61. [Do you live at home?]

62. [Are both parents living?]

p. 6

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?]
Some if they need it. I buy most
of my own clothes -- my bike.

67. [How do you feel about this?]
I'd feel that I owe it to them.

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?]

Older people play policy -- over
18 or 20 yrs of age.
Physical Description8.5 x 11 in. handwritten sheets
FilenameNegro youth interviews/subject 17
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