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Mississippi - Jackson: Oliver C. Rice Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Oliver C. Rice in Jackson, Mississippi. Rice says he grew up in Natchez, Mississippi. Rice talks about Wharlest Jackson, a CORE member from Jackson who went to the same church as Rice and was murdered 1963. Rice was in Tupelo attending college from 1962 to 1968 so he was not home when it happened. Rice says there is a good night life in Natchez with live blues bands. A club burned down at one point and a number of people were killed. There is now a monument for them. Rice states industry was really concentrated in Natchez because it is on the river. Even the Black community was generally well off. Rice thinks many of the Blacks were not very active in Civil Rights because they did not want to threaten this financial stability. Dent asked who killed Wharlest Jackson and Rice says no one was ever arrested. There was little effort to memorialize him, though Rice thinks there should have been. Rice states he went to Tupelo College and majored in Mathematics. He went to Gradaute school at DePaul University and taught Mathematics at Norfolk State University for a year. He was invited back to DePaul to serve as Assistant Dean of Students for three years and was then invited to Tupelo College to serve as Associate Dean of Students for twelve years. He resigned when the President retired and taught mathematics in the Jackson public school system. In 1972 he helped create an NAACP chapter. The first president was a teacher of Sociology at Tupelo named Dr. Amos Isaac. Rice was elcted afterwards in 1974. Rice has served from 1974 until the time of the interview. He states their main efforts are directed towards the public school system. He has worked closely with the Canton Superintendent, a White man named Robert Cox. Eventually Rice reached out to other schools in the area, which were mostly all White. His goal was to help those communities become more active. Rice helped raise a suite over the uneven allocation fund between the three high schools. Eventually one of the schools decided to pull out of the Madison School County District in the mid-1980s. Rice brought another suite against them for not integrating. Rice believes the Blacks on the school board were not assertive enough. Rice feels that they might have been intimidated, perhaps threatened with removal if they were too active. They eventually won the suite and forced the school board to remove the separate school system and equalize the educational programs and funds.
The tape cuts out a few times in the beginning.
African AmericansCivil rightsDiscrimationEducationMusicNightlifeRace relationsUniversities & colleges
Natchez (Ms.)Jackson (Ms.)Tupelo (Ms.)Canton (Ms.)Selma (Al.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 153, Item 14, 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.