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Lolis Elie interview, Part 1
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Rogers begins by asking Lolis Elie about his law partners Robert F. Collins and Nils Douglas and their firm's affiliation with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in New Orleans. He describes how his firm initially became involved with CORE; essentially, his firm became involved by representing activists who often acted without regarding to the legal consequences of their demonstrations. After their initial involvement in Civil rights litigation, the firm became more emboldened to become more involved. Elie cites exposure to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.'s critique of the Vietnam were as key influences to his thinking in the 1960s. Elie discusses White involvement in CORE, who were often involved in Civil rights causes due to a lack of clear direction in life and who also craved "tacit acknowledgement"u2026 that they were somehow superior" to other Whites. He also describes a conversation with Oretha Castle Haley at a Louisiana state CORE meeting, where he and other African Americans in CORE realized that White activists held most of the leadership positions in CORE. He praises the leadership of the all-Black Consumer's League of Greater New Orleans and the leadership of A. L. Davis and Avery C. Alexander. Elie briefly describes working alongside the Deacons for Defense and Justice in Bogalusa, Louisiana, where the key leaders were primarily factory workers. He contrasts the activism in Plaquemine, Louisiana, where the principal African American leaders were from that community's economic and social elite. Note: Audio quality for this interview is poor for the first few minutes of the recording and in portions thereafter.
Amistad Research Center
Box 5, Item 7, Side 1, Kim Lacy Rogers collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
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