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Jerome Smith interview, Part 1
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Jerome Smith begins the interview by talking about his upbringing in New Orleans, including his involvement in small Civil rights protests from the 1940s insisting that his mother be treated with respect in stores. He describes his mom's talents and strengths, naming her as one of the chief influences on his life. He mentions a time his father pushed the sign on the St. Charles streetcar indicating segregated seating to the ground and another time he did the same thing on the St. Claude streetcar. He describes how Paul Robeson was a major influence on his parents and in turn himself. He describes the physical strength of his father and how that emboldened him to stand up for his beliefs. Kim Lacy Rogers shifts the conversation to Smith's involvement in CORE. He notes that he was a Southern University student when sit-ins began in North Carolina, and how this student activism influenced him. He overviews the importance of organized labor in his family and on his life and career at points. He mentions that Oretha Castle his classmate at Clark High School. Smith remarks on the "absence of loneliness" as his greatest memory in his years with New Orleans CORE, and how the group united around causes larger than themselves. He describes the Civil rights Movement as a "prayer" and that any failures were their inability to "maintain that prayer of service." He overviews some of local CORE's work around the area, as well as in McComb, Mississippi. He discusses others involved in the group, particularly the Thompson sisters.
Amistad Research Center
Box 8, Item 6, Side 1, Kim Lacy Rogers collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
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