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Andrew Young Interviewee: Atlanta, Georgia, 1980 August 20 [Box 138, Item 20, Side 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Young continues to talk about the Chicago Movement: living in tenements, working with labor unions and follwing their model of collective bargaining, and staff who worked on the movement. More on the Meredith March: hostility in Philadelphia, MS; the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner; being tear gassed in Canton, MS.
00:00 – Andrew Young continues to discuss the Chicago Movement. King came up with the idea for the SCLC staff to live in the tenements. Young was afraid. The west side was the center of crime in the city. 02:00 – Young talks about the process of renting the property and the conditions that lead to slums. 04:45 – There was a lot of press around the property, which operated as their headquarters, the first few days. The people on the street were cynical and unfazed. Conditions were cold and unheated. They ordered coal and set up an escrow account under the name Union to End Slums for the tenants to pay their rent into, instead of to their landlords. The money was used to pay for services. 08:30 – Renters operated like labor union members and bargained collectively. They had support from the United Auto Workers Union for the Community Union Movement. 09:30 – Young describes the apartment they were living and working in. Coretta Scott King and Juanita Abernathy cooked. Usually Young, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernard Lee, and James Bevel were in and out. They kept the apartment for about a year from 1966-1967. 11:30 – When the lawyers tried to sue to get the rent, they realized they were in a drawn out legal suit. They worked together with the City Missionary Society. Young was the Urban Ministry of the Congregational Church, organized by Archie Hargraves. 12:50 – Architectural planners had found that the buildings were structurally sound. They applied for a HUD grant to help rehabilitate the buildings and bought the properties from the owners. It took almost two years to complete the process. People ended up with newly renovated apartments. Don Benedict was Executive Director of the Urban Renewal Society, which headed up the project. 15:25 – People ended up owning their apartments as condominiums. It was a model for similar communities to find a way to put resources back into the community. 16:30 – James Bevel was the Director of the project. Bernard Lafayette worked with the Friends Services Committee. Al Sampson worked with the Urban Renewal Society. They worked out of the church offices. 17:40 – To address the issue of open housing, they began marching in the various ethnic neighborhoods of the city, which aroused resentment and drew mobs. They enquired about seeing homes in the neighborhoods. When real estate agents denied them, they marched. Mobs charged the police, producing tension in the political structure. 19:35 – Dent asks about Cicero, but Young says King never went there. Gage Park was a particularly bad conflict with White Power advocates. Bevel, Al Raby and Jesse Jackson organized the marches. Jackson primarily worked on Operation Bread Basket, Bevel on the Movement to End Slums, and Hosea Williams on voter registration. James Orange, Jimmy Collier, and Charlie Love also worked on the Open Housing marches. Staff numbered about twenty in total. 22:20 – Young recalls an incident involving a young woman who spit at King. King told her she was too pretty to let hate get the better of her. She came back to him at the end, now relating to him as a person with the hostility gone. 24:40 – People would throw bottles and cherry bombs from their backyards toward the marchers. The mob rolled the car Young had rented into the lake. The police sent for buses to get the marchers out safely. The police worked effectively. The march lasted about two hours. 27:50 – Rogers Park was a similar community, but the white residents did not throw things there, only called them names. They marched in eight or ten communities, but Gage Park was the worst. It was worse than most of Mississippi, and comparable to Philadelphia, MS. 29:00 – The police separated the marchers from the mob when they returned to Gage Park. The mob threw bricks and bottles at the buses as they left. Mayor [Richard J.] Daley asked them to halt the marches and start negotiations. He had previously denied that there was a problem. Daley agreed to enforce the Open Housing ordinances that were already on the books. [Recording ends 31:54, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 20, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.