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South Carolina - Columbia: Margaret Hammock Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Margaret Hammock in Columbia, South Carolina. She has lived in Columbia for twelve years. She was born in Atlanta and raised in Connecticut, then moved to Brooklyn, New York. She came to Columbia in her forties. When she moved, her brother warned her that the civil rights movement had not made much of an impact in South Carolina. She says leadership is still choses from outside. She uses I. DeQuincey Newman as an example. She talks about the presence of black gentry in the state since the 1700s as perhaps changing the way people perceive their condition. She describes her work in the South Carolina prison system, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world. She talks about the NAACP network throughout the state and how they tap into their base for political reasons. There have been a series of events in Columbia involving Columbia Mall, which culminated in the arrest of a young man protesting his treatment at the mall Chick-fil-A. He was a second year law student, and followed through legally. There has been no organized boycott of the mall. She talks about the importance of demands, such as a certain percentage of black workers for and event. Many inmates have “criminal career” backgrounds. She says black men are more likely to be arrested and convicted, and they are more likely to have poor representation. The disproportionate rate of incarceration among people of color is not being addressed. She talks about prisons as big business. People do not want prisons built in their communities, but they supply many jobs. She talks about the level of black employment at the prisons. The white leadership controls lawmaking and policy. Dent talks about Charleston being out of the way, which has hurt it in the flow of new ideas from outside. Hammock says Columbia has less of a tradition, generally. She talks about some of the inmates she has worked with, many of whom are first time offenders or unwitting accomplices. Crack is a problem in the community. They discuss the roots of modern policing in slavery. She discusses the Allen Ballard book, One more day’s journey: the making of Black Philadelphia.
Civil rights demonstrations
New Orleans (La.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 148, 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.