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Mississippi - Greenville: Johnnie E. Walls, Jr. Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Jonnie E. Walls in Greenville, Mississippi. Dent asks about the Delta Foundation and Walls says he met the leadership after he moved to Greenville in 1974 but had heard of it before when he was still in Greenwood from 1971 to 1974. Wall states he went to undergraduate a Jackson State and Law school at the University Of Mississippi and grew up in Clarksdale. He said he met the leadership of the Delta Foundation (Bannerman, Ed, Owen), after his move to Greenville and was impressed by the high level of intelligence of those involved in the foundation. They discuss his personal relationship with the leadership and his relationship with various members. They discuss the emphasis on politics and economics within the movement and the various approaches and ideologies of certain members. Dent comments on the changes over time in the foundation and the ways it fell apart as time progressed into "dog-eat-dog" tactics. They discuss the benefits of the Foundation, including providing Blacks access to arenas they had no experience in previously. Walls insinuates that Bannerman, a founding member, worked too closely with Whites. He was malleable to what they wanted and acquired a lot of land as a result of being helpful to them. As a result, Walls states that the community did not really trust the Foundation, even though they spoke for the community to many of the White communities and lent money to a lot of small Black businesses. Dent discusses the tendency of some Blacks to "fall in love" with Mississippi and "throw their lot in with the South." He calls them "expatriates" and Walls says "carpetbaggers." Walls says there is a mixed perspective on these people in the south, some resented them and some appreciated them because they were Black and not White. Walls states they became more popular and respected when they decided to stay and settle in the community rather than return to the north. He said many of the next generation saw these men as role models. They discuss the social tendencies and illness of Bannerman and its effect on the community. They also discuss Bannerman's relationship with the White community specifically his tendency to utilize White attorneys. Dent points out that those working with Bannerman knew very little about his background and origin. He states that would have been very unusual in New Orleans and Wall states that most started working with Bannerman after he came to power and his origins did not seem relevant.
The recording has some inconsistant sounds and cuts out often. The sound of a fax machine can be heard in the background.
African AmericansCivil rights leadersOrganizationsUniversities & colleges
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 154, Item 6, 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.