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Oretha Castle Haley interview
Haley, Oretha Castle
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Haley continues to name the nucleus of CORE in New Orleans, however her listing of individuals most involved in the group is lost between side A and the continuation of the interview on side B of the audiocassette. Haley discusses a large influx of White students from the University of New Orleans and Tulane University, particularly White males. She discusses that there was a perception that CORE was an organization where White men could meet Black women willing to date them. She continues that this proved to be a distraction for the group, and local CORE leadership decided to remove members whose priorities did not align with the group's overall mission. Sandra Nixon chaired the membership committee at the time, so ultimately this was her decision. Haley suggests that the legislative gains of the Civil rights Movement "u2013 the Civil rights Act and the Voting rights Act "u2013 are of lesser importance than the transformation which occurred among African Americans and their ability to see themselves as part of the essential fabric of America. Rogers asks Haley how much things have changed in New Orleans; Haley answers that there are many opportunities available for African Americans which did not exist earlier in the twentieth century, including the desegregation of municipal spaces. However, employment opportunities are still quite limited for African Americans in New Orleans. She ultimately concludes that most tangible changes are more superficial, "surface level" changes. She briefly mentions the year she spent working for CORE as a field worker, primarily in northern Louisiana, starting in 1964. She considered the direct action projects she participated in in northern Louisiana as "grossly inadequate" absent a more politicized base of African Americans in those communities. Haley describes her more recent activism, including her work on education reform in New Orleans. She describes New Orleans' class consciousness and its origins in local education systems. She talks about the low expectations for African American students in public schools in New Orleans and curricula that are "compensatory" or "remedial" as a result.
New Orleans (La.)
Amistad Research Center
Box 5, Item 23, Side 2, Kim Lacy Rogers 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.