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South Carolina - Charleston: Mignon L. Clyburn and Arleen B.C. Reid Interviewees [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Mignon L. Clyburn and Arleen B.C. Reid in Charleston, South Carolina. The two women talk about their feelings about Charleston. Clyburn was born at McClennan-Banks hospital. She left in the 1970s and returned in the early 1980s. She was in Columbia from age 10 to age 22. She attended the University of South Carolina Columbia. Reid has lived in Charleston aside from the year she spent at South Carolina State College. She attended Burke High School. They compare and contrast the cities of Columbia and Charleston. They agree that they like the culture of Charleston. They discuss whether or not the Black community in Charleston is different than other places. Is it more fractured? Are there fewer opportunities? They say the market is not geared toward professional Blacks. Clyburn says the African American community has not explored the possibilities of building a cohesive plan for business and economic development. Reid compares Charleston to the larger city of Atlanta; they have been able to successfully develop a Black economic base there that Charleston has not. With six Black members of City Council, it seems like more could have been done for the community than has been. They discuss what the first steps for economic development should be. Reid stresses the importance of the creation of a Black bank. They both think mutual support within the Black community is very important. They talk about organizations such as The Moles and The Links and the possibilities of Black tourism. They criticize the lack of Black artists and audiences at the Spoleto Festival. Even as more Black artists are brought in, they cannot imagine the audience becoming less White. Audiences in Columbia usually include greater numbers of African Americans. Clyburn stresses the importance of education for Black students and talks about the ways in which desegregation has been destructive. She sees a need for an all-Black, alternative school. They discuss whether the problem is a lack of Black teachers, a lack of support at home, or if poverty plays a role. They talk about the hard sell of getting young people to further their education. Charleston has a drug problem, which causes a lack of incentive. Clyburn uses the Oliver North case as an example of visible inequality in legal terms. There has been violence that is known to be drug related in the city, but information about the crimes does not go to press. They discuss the legal trouble Black members of the legislature have faced. Clyburn points out the economic vulnerability of many Black politicians and the lack of an economic base to back Black candidates.
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 147, Item 17, 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.