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Richard Haley interview
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Rogers asks Haley what kinds of legal change he had hoped for. Haley replies that at the time he and fellow CORE workers decried the emphasis on Voter registration but instead privileged social change instead of litigation: "The walls of Jericho were going to fall down"u2026 not by lawsuits." He then discusses Title VII laws and employment discrimination, concluding that he and fellow activists never expected change He describes a "small cadre of CORE that had always felt that Voter registration was one of the greatest weapons that we had and that we should never relax in our efforts to push Voter registration." He describes James T. McCain as perhaps CORE's most effective leader, citing in particular his emphasis on Voter registration initiatives. Rogers asks Haley if CORE had successfully implemented Voter registration programs in New Orleans. Haley answers no, unless that work predated his arrival to New Orleans in 1964. When Rogers asks why CORE was not involved in Voter registration in New Orleans, he responds that racial discord in New Orleans CORE, particularly at the time of his arrival in New Orleans, hampered a lot of that organization's effectiveness. He also notes that many African New Orleanians cited previous poor support from the larger African American community in the city during earlier sit-in demonstrations. CORE's strongest local leaders feared that any Voter registration initiatives would fail to "generate the enthusiasm" of the larger community. Haley overviews the work of CORE throughout Louisiana, particularly in smaller towns in the northern part of the state. He suggests that CORE in Louisiana worked closely with the national office, often bypassing Haley's own office in New Orleans. He downplays his own role as "southern director" of CORE. He discusses younger New Orleanians involved in CORE, including Jerome Smith, Rudy Lombard, and Dave Dennis and briefly mentions Tambourine and Fan. Haley details the dissolution of New Orleans CORE and the organizations that were working on related causes.
Amistad Research Center
Box 6, Item 1, Side B, 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.