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Mississippi - Indianola: Carver A. Randle Interviewee
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Carver A. Randell in Indianola, Mississippi. Randell states they are in the home of BB king for the interview. Randell states his father is originally from Tennessee and moved to Madison County. He came to Indianola with the White people he worked for. He was a domestic chef/gardener. His father's employers were an established and respected family; he worked for them for about 30 years. Randell says he had three older brothers who went to college before him but only the oldest one graduated. Randell states his father was very supportive of higher education and worked hard to keep his sons in school, even when he was criticized by other family members. His father died after his first year of law school. Randell says he is sad his father never got to see him pass the bar and become a lawyer. Two of his bothers went to the same college he did, Mississippi Valley State College, the other went to Northwestern. Randell states SNICC was very active while he was in college but he did not get involved with it until after her graduated in 1965. When he did get involved he mostly focused on issues of equal education. Randell recalls that his father was concerned about his son's involvement in Civil Rights but he never forbid it. Some of his decision to become active in Civil Rights came from his Catholic upbringing. Randell recalls that his priest, Father Walter Smigiel, was very outspoken and inspired Randall to get involved. He said there had been an understanding in Indianola to not hire Catholics in the school system. It prevented him from getting a job as a teacher in his home town for a long time. He worked originally as a football coach and teacher in Batesville, Mississippi where he had limited interaction with the community. He would come home to Indianola over the summer and become active in social initiatives through the Indianola Development Association. He was active with this organization between 1965 and 1967. After that point, infighting started over the approach to education. Eventually, the Development Association fell apart they brought in a man named George Fluker to help set up a branch of the NAACP. Randell was elected as the first president of the new branch and organized school boycotts, economic boycotts, and marches. They addressed issues of education, such as poorly stocked libraries. They also addressed the lack of jobs available to Blacks in the economic downtown. Randell states that they were largely successful in their efforts. He ran for mayor in 1968 and lost by 35 to 40 votes. Afterwards, Randell was still unable to get a job as a teacher in Indianola;and had to work in a neighboring county instead. He went to Law School at University of Mississippi in 1969. Dent asks what progress Randell sees in Indianola since his childhood. Randell says there are some progressive people but most are only pretending. The general mindset has not changed much. He says there is a good relationship between Whites and Blacks but Whites are still unwilling to share enough to make the situation fully equal. This is particularly true with regards to government and city jobs. The Blacks that are in positions of power are not active enough to bring about change. His wife was denied a job based on her race and they took the case to federal court. Randell states that he has been called the most controversial person in Indianola in the past 15 years.
African AmericansCivil rightsEducationMusicRace relationsReligion
Indianola (Ms.)Madison County (Ms.)Batesville (Ms.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 153, Item 13, 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.