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Alabama - Selma: Chuddy N. Okoye Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Chuddy N. Okoye in Selma, Alabama. He talks about Hank and Rose Sanders. He discusses the "big name" Black families in Selma, who build their names working with White people and being subservient to them economically. The younger generations have the frame of mind that the dependence needs to continue. Dent compares what Okoye is saying to what Albert Turner had to say to him about his family's independence. He talks about how the Sanders have retained to Afrocentrism of the 1970s, which distances them from the church. Okoye says it is all a misunderstanding. He says the system in the South can do things for you or do things to you. He conjectures why Turner's father was not bothered. Dent talks about the "plantation mentality" in Selma. Okoye thinks most Black people in Selma admire the push for change, but have too much to lose. Transplants put locals at risk be antagonizing the White community. There is no "Black front" because there are too many segments to the community. He talks about the increase of Black Republicans in Selma. They discuss Democrats in the South. Okoye explains how he came to live in Selma. He attended Morehouse through a scholarship program. He is from Nigeria. He came to the United States in 1963 with a group of 79 African students. Four attended Morehouse and two attended Spelman. Dent says there was no effort to acclimate foreign students when he attended Morehouse. They both knew students who felt pressured to make good grades there. They went on to success. Okoye recalls being pulled over by the police. The older student with him told him he did not need to call the policeman "sir." Okoye majored in pre-med, then went on to medical school at Emory University. They discuss mutual acquaintances at Morehouse. Okoye finished his residency at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. In 1976, Black physicians did not have privileges at any hospital other than Southwest Community Hospital. He talks about the old Good Samaritan Hospital, where the civil rights marchers were treated. He was invited to Atlanta by John Crear in 1976. He stayed until 1978. The hospital [Good Samaritan?] closed in 1980 or 1981. He talks about his impressions of Selma. Before arriving, he knew of the city's civil rights history. He was concerned there would be a problem, but his medical practice took off immediately. His four children did very well in Selma. His wife is from Malawi. They met when she was at Spelman and he was at Morehouse.
Civil rights demonstrations
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 151, Item 8, 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.