Farmer Lecture: Overviewing the Civil Rights Movement

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Farmer Lecture: Overviewing the Civil Rights Movement


Recording of a lecture from James Farmer’s The Civil Rights Movement in the 20th Century class. Farmer discusses Booker T. Washington (00:00), W.E.B. DuBois (06:55), the struggle against lynching (25:11), the desegregation of schools (29:08), the early days of CORE (31:20), the Montgomery Bus Boycott (32:39), the Greensboro sit-ins and ensuing nationwide movement (34:23), the formation of SNCC (38:38), the Freedom Rides (31:39), and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts (44:06). Farmer then moves to discuss the continuing struggle against racism (44:32). He addresses continuing racial disparities in education, income, health, and family structure (45:32).


James Farmer


Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Mary Washington




Hist 428 Spring 2020





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This climb, and part of that climb is catalogued in Booker T. Washington's autobiography Up from Slavery, which by the way you should read, if you have not read. Washington is a controversial figure, but indeed most of the important persons and personages in the struggle have been controversial. He's considered far too moderate and too accommodating, but Booker Washington was born in slavery. He was just a few years old, a small boy, in the time of emancipation. And as often happens when people are born during torrential times, they grow up early. They grow up fast, and he became a man quite early, matured soon, quickly. By the time he was twenty, he had already started, had founded a college, a school, an institution which became Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama, and that became his life's work, really, his idea of the kind of education which blacks should undertake as their road toward freedom if not toward equality, their road toward advancement, and that was at once his strength and his weakness.

Booker Washington argued that we should cast down our buckets where we were. We should not attempt to become the social equals of whites. He was opposed to social equality and this endeared him to whites, even, indeed, to white Southerners. His famous speech, which I trust you'll have an opportunity to read during the rest of your college career, was his speech in Atlanta. It must have been before the turn of the century, probably around 1890. And that was a speech at a crowded convention hall of people involved in the cotton industry. There were both blacks and whites in the audience, but they were thoroughly segregated. Blacks were over there in one little roped-off section, sitting quietly.

Most of the people there were, of course, white. They were planters and large landowners of the great cotton industry. Booker Washington had been invited to speak because his views were those which most of the white Southerners would accept. He was not
threatening to it. He was a good speaker, so they tell me, I never had the opportunity to hear him. He was dead before I was conscious of what was going on in the world, and there he electrified his audience - told a nation of blacks, and looked to the section where blacks were seated, to cast down their buckets where they were, the water was good there. And they should seek industrial education. Vocational education, that is.

He spoke out against social equality. He said we can be as separate as the fingers on the hand in all things social, but then in all matters of mutual concern and patriotism, we will come together like the fist. And his audience stood and applauded - that is, the whites, who were the bulk of the audience. They stood and they applauded, gave a standing ovation that went on for many many minutes and his speech was interrupted many times with such ovation. And some of the blacks were weeping. Just dabbing their eyes with handkerchiefs, probably not really knowing why they were crying. Maybe crying partly because here was a black spokesman who was speaking to a large white audience and they were listening to him. Maybe they were not sure what he was saying, but somehow the whites in their audience felt it was good. Or they, the whites, were not threatened
by what Booker T. Washington was saying.

He then became the darling of Southern whites and, indeed, many Northern whites. Philanthropic money poured into Tuskegee Institute and it mushroomed in size. This became the symbol of industrial education and vocational education for blacks. It is the same idea, by the way, which led to the birth of Hampton Institute in Virginia. They're the same kinds of institutions. Booker Washington was lionized all over the country. Presidents invited him to the White House to consult with them. He was the only black spokesman who had the ear of the nation, and the ear of the press especially.

He had detractors, especially black, and his chief detractor was a brilliant, aristocratic, then-young black intellectual and scholar: Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. The first black to get a PhD from Harvard University. Dr. Du Bois was born up in Massachussetts, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Probably, this family was the only black family in that little town of Great Barrington. He had a brilliant academic record in elementary school and high school. Then he went to Fisk University, a black university in Nashville Tennessee, and that was his first introduction to the race problem, and he observed it and studied it.

Then he went up to Harvard, PhD in history, studied sociology and economics as well, then went over to Germany and studied in, studied at Oxford and came back as the most learned black man of the nation had yet seen. He was just a few years younger than Booker T. Washington. And when Washington made that great Atlanta speech of his, Du Bois immediately labeled it the "Atlanta Compromise." And then the debate was on, and the debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois raged across the country, with Du Bois arguing that he would reject the notion that blacks should be pointed to industrial education and vocational education exclusively. That he was opposed to the development of a permanent color labor caste, with black people working with their hands and white people working with their brains. Instead, he says blacks should go do academic feats as well, and should become scholars, and the talented tenth of the black community should be the black leaders. And those should soak up as much education as they could in all fields of Arts and Letters, and that was the argument between Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.

Actually, the press picked it up and made it a question of either/or, either this or that, when really what each one was saying is that his view was that the emphasis be on one kind of education as opposed to the other. Later in DuBois's life, as he was an old man, he
pointed out quite candidly that he and Booker Washington were not as far apart
as they'd been made to appear. That it was just a matter of emphasis. He of course believed in vocational education, but he believed that we needed at that time in our history to concentrate more on academic education.

And Booker Washington believed on the contrary that we should concentrate more on vocational education. Washington was an accommodationist; he felt that he was not going to attack segregated education at all. He was not attacking the unequal status of the races in this country. He felt that theonly way blacks, or Negroes as they were called then, could survive was to accept their role of social inferiors and become the best that they could at whatever jobs were available to them, and if they became so good at those jobs which were available, then the nation would rely upon them, would need them. And furthermore there would be no conflict with the whites because they would not be threatening to the whites.

And Du Bois insisted we must be threatening to them, of course, because anything that they have, we too must aspire to. And we must seek social equality, we will seek all things that are available to any other American because we are American citizens. Well, Du Bois, who would seem like an egalitarian, really was not an egalitarian, he was a snob and an aristocrat and an elitist.

I'll never forget meeting him for the first time. Well, meeting is hardly the right word. Seeing him and accosting him, more like it. I was 21, and this is 1941, December, right after Pearl Harbor. I was seated in Union Station, the railroad station in Washington DC, just arrived there by train, and before going to my parents' house I had decided to sit there at the station for a while until there were taxis available. The taxis were taken up with men in uniform and their lovers, their girlfriends, their wives, or what have you. Everyone was standing there holding everybody else and people crying kissing and so on and the taxis were all clogged up, and the streets were clogged up, too - so I sat just to
wait this out out a while, and I suddenly looked up and here was this unmistakable figure.

A short man, meticulously attired in a three-piece suit, and he had on spats - you know what spats are? They go over your shoes, you know, part of your shoes, they cover the place where your shoes and socks come together. He had on spats, he had a gold chain in his vest, and he had a little Van Dyke beard. His head was bald, he walked along with his hands folded behind his back, and looking up as though he was studying the scenery or lost in thought. It was probably the latter.

And he walked down the street with measured steps. Immediately, I recognized him as Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. So I smiled, stood in his pathway, and said, "Doctor Du Bois!" and extended my hand. He paused, frowned a bit, reached in his pocket and got his pince-nez. Clipped them on his nose, looked up at me and said, "Let me see. Do I know you?" I shook my head and said no and sat back down. And Du Bois walked on. So that was Du Bois. He was fond of people, but not often.

But a great scholar. He wrote his own, I guess, 15 books or so. There are good ones, there are great ones, they are all solid scholarship. One of his best-known works of scholarship with a history of the Reconstruction period entitled Black Reconstruction. It's a massive book.

His most famous book is beautifully, artistically written, almost prose poetry. It was one that he wrote as a very young man at the turn of the century, 1903, I believe. The Souls of Black Folk. That's a classic, an undying classic. And you should read if you have not read it. He wrote many other books - Dusk of Dawn, et cetera. Booker Washington pretty nearly controlled money that came into the black community. Before any person receives any cash, any black person receives a grant for any idea that he had from government or philanthropy, Booker T Washington was consulted, and if he said no, that person did not get money. If he said yes, the person did get the money and he built what was called the Tuskegee Machine. That was the machine that dominated the black experience and black leadership for a long period of time.

Du Bois suffered from that, and yet he was able to start the Niagara movement and attempted building a protest organization which lasted, oh, just two or three years until the NAACP was set up. And Dubois was one of the originators of the NAACP, that was 1909, and he became editor of the NAACP's publication, Crisis Magazine. Finally, Du Bois was kicked out of that job, he was fired and forced to resign because the NAACP had an official position on an issue and Du Bois was not interested in what the official position of the NAACP was. He was only interested in what his official position was. And so, frequently, the Crisis Magazine took the position which was opposed to that of the organization, and the Crisis Magazine was the official publication of the organization. So, the Board of Directors of the NAACP decided that the official journal of the organization could not take a position that is diametrically opposed to that of the organization.

So Du Bois just had to leave, and went down to Atlanta University, that great complex of black colleges and universities - Clark College, Morehouse, Spellman, et cetera. There in Atlanta, called the Athens of black education and was a professor there, and a researcher, until the president of Atlanta University, who was also black, had to get rid of him. It had come to the point where it had to be decided whether he, the president, was going to run Atlanta University, or Dr. Dubois, one of his professors, was going to run it. The Board of Trustees decided the president would run it, so DuBois left again and he moved from job to job in academia and wrote books and lectured around the country but contended that, as he put it, he would constantly assail the ears of the nation with the story of how the strong restores the Negro. And he did that, from platform and with pen.

He was radical, and in his later years he was accused of being a communist in the McCarthy period. You are familiar with the McCarthy period, are you? Of the early fifties, Joe McCarthy, who made it a practice of calling people communists, without proof usually. "Within the State Department there are 568 communists!" During that period, Dr. DuBois was charged with being a communist and was finally arrested in New York, handcuffed, his imminence got, Great Scott, great thick ones, handcuffs him on and charged with being an unregistered agent of a foreign power. Can you imagine handcuffs on this little man? You've gotta shoot somebody. This picture was on the front page of the New York Times and DuBois, of course, was just outraged.

He was an old man then when he got out of jail, and he called a press conference on his 80th birthday. And said to the press: "Gentlemen, I have called you here to help me celebrate my 80th birthday. I'm going to celebrate that birthday by giving up my citizenship in the United States of America and moving to Ghana, in West Africa, where at the invitation of Ghanian President Kwame Nkrumah, I shall undertake the task of preparing an encyclopedia of Africa. He said, that's the first way I'm asking you to join with me in celebrating my 80th birthday. The second: I want to announce to you, and I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear this, that I am so puzzled by the fear that strikes at the hearts of most Americans when they hear the word 'communism'. The fear that put handcuffs on me and put me in jail. I cannot understand why that is so. In order to find out, I have today, on my 80th birthday, joined the Communist Party."

So he said, "I ask you to join with me in celebrating my 80th birthday." Well, it was quite a raucous press conference, I'm told. One reporter said, "Dr. Dubois, one question." "Yes?" "Isn't it a bit pretentious of you to undertake the preparation of an encyclopedia of Africa, a massive job, at the age of 80?" Du Bois shot back, "That is a pigheaded question." He said, "As long as there is a breath in my body, I will continue working and fighting and speaking and writing and teaching what I believe to be right." Well, he died in Africa. The encyclopedia of Africa was never finished. He died in 1963 on the eve of the March on Washington, and that was announced at the March on Washington that W.E.B. Du Bois had died.

One of the great tragedies in the cycle of tragedy of his life, whole life, is that is he now lies in the virtually unmarked and unkept little grave. I was talking to a friend a personal friend who was in Ghana very recently, the friend being a tourist with his camera, and he was across the field looking for a certain castle and he stumbled suddenly, fell to the ground, got up and found he had stumbled over the headstone, the grave of Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. Grown with weeds around him. That's most unfortunate, because he was really one of the greatest men that America has produced, I think. In spite of all the warts and the blemishes, he was a fine scholar.

Those were truly great men who set the framework for the struggles that were following. The NAACP continued its work of fighting against lynching, trying vainly, it is true, to get anti-lynching legislation. By the turn of the century, there were at least two recorded lynchings per week, more than a hundred per year. There were many others that were not recorded. The NAACP fought unsuccessfully to get such legislation, federal legislation. The thing which served as their greatest obstacle was the concept of states'
rights. Many in Congress held that they include not telling the states how to deal with such a problem. As mentioned, that was a matter for the states, and if the federal government tried to establish such a law, it would be a violation of the rights of the states.

When lynching did decline around about the forties, many believed that it probably did not decline in numbers but it went underground, as it were. Rather than having screaming mobs abducting the accused and stringing him up to a tree or tying to a post and setting fire to him, the person would simply disappear in the dark of night and the body was found later, maybe much later, floating in one of the rivers, the Mississippi or Alabama. It was nonetheless lynching, but did not fit the classic mold of lynching. But it did decline, it declined gradually.

One of the last highly publicized lynchings was that of Emmett Till, young Emmett Till of Chicago.A 14 year old kid who went down to Mississippi to visit his uncle. A fourteen year old Chicago boy, with I think his cousin, went shopping at a country store. And the fourteen year old kid, swaggering like many fourteen-year-old boys, wanted to impress his cousin with the fact that he wasn't afraid of anything. He looked at the lady behind the counter in the country store and whistled at her and, allegedly, rolled his eyes. Whistled. [Whistles]. Well, she reported that to her husband, and her husband and his brother went to the house of the kid's uncle, where he was visiting, at night and took the boy out of bed and killed him, beat him up, shot him, tied weights around his body and dumped him in the river. The wire rope with which the weights were tied around him broke, and the body surfaced and was found. That was one of the last highly publicized lynchings. There are others, the Klan has been revitalized recently, but the NAACP put enormous work in slowing down lynchings, reducing the numbers of them, and it was on the forefronts of other fronts, too.

One of the most significant was, of course, its efforts to desegregate the school. At first it was a battle to equalize separate schools, the separate but equal concept, Plessy versus Ferguson. And finally it became clear that separate could not be equal. In fact, the NAACP argued before the court, said that the very fact of separateness made it unequal. The court agreed even though a law school would just state the bill for blacks might objectively be equal to that for whites, in terms of this library, in terms of its
professors' training and preparation, in terms of the building's physical plan,
it could not possibly provide an equal education because it could not provide the tradition. It could not provide the privilege to its graduates of being alumni of the same institution from which the judge had graduated. The graduates could not go into the judge's chambers and talk to him about old times at the Alma Mater, and they could not compare notes with peers in this profession or from major law schools in the country.
And for that reason the separate law schools, though physically equal, could not provide an equal education. So the NAACP evolved in its arguing to the point where it argued that segregation was first stage inequality, and they won in Brown Vs. Topeka Board of Education.

Well, prior to that decision, back in the forties, a group of young pacifists, black and white, including me, were studying Ghandi and experimenting with Ghandian techniques of non-violent direct action, nonviolent resistance, including non-cooperation, civil disobedience, willingness to go to jail, willingness to accept the consequences, and we were having sit-ins in 1942, 43, and throughout the forties. That was in an organization known as CORE, The Congress of Racial Equality. We organized similar groups in twelve or fifteen other Northern cities, organized a national organization, and throughout the forties and the fifties CORE was active and winning victories, but they were unsung because there was no television in the forties, the early days. Forties. Television came after World War II, and did not become widespread in use until the fifties.

So the movement of nonviolent direct action did not take to the skies, did not take wing, until the Montgomery Bus Boycott triggered by Rosa Parks, this black seamstress, who was tired. She wasn't a crusader, she wasn't trying to start a movement, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was just tired. And she didn't sit at the front of the bus, the Montgomery City Bus, she sat in the back where she was supposed to be. Then a white man got on the bus and the bus was crowded, and he wanted to sit where she was sitting, so he told her to get up and stand so he could sit down where she was sitting. She said no, I'm not getting up. She was tired of getting up. The bus driver told her to get up. She said no. So the police carted her off and arrested her and that started the movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. And Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to the occasion and burst upon the American scene never to be forgotten. A star was born, as it were.

And the movement took wing, the imagination of people was captured, throughout the country, all over the world. Youngsters, young black college students inspired by the example of King and having talked with a white merchant in Greensboro, many people are not aware of this. A white merchant, name of Johns, I forget his first name, who had been on the CORE mailing list for quite a few years. He knew of CORE activities. Johns had been trying to get some some students in Greensboro, some black students, to sit in at a Woolworth lunch counter for years. No, no, no. Was the guy crazy or something?

But finally, he convinced four freshmen: that's generally not known, but he convinced them. These four freshmen went downtown and made their other purchases in Woolworth's. "Are you ready, man?" "Yeah." "Let's go and get some coffee." The others said, "Dig it." They went over, they, they sat down, they sat not at the end of the lunch counter where blacks traditionally sat where there's a sign saying "Colored," but at the main section of the lunch counter, where there was a sign saying "White Only." They sat there and asked for coffee or whatever it was, a hot dog, and they sat until the place closed and they decided to do it again next day. They called on Dr. Simpkins, a black dentist who was the president of the local branch of the NAACP, for help.

And he called CORE because he too knew CORE's work. He called CORE's headquarters in New York and CORE sent one of its two teen secretaries down there and said that he set up an institute to train in nonviolent direct action but the students joined in the city. By this time, the TV cameras were there. The next day, the next day, and the next day. And the crowds of people going to sit in that lunch counter grew, white students in Greensboro joined them. Finally there's no place for anybody else at Woolworth! Everybody there was waiting to sit in at the lunch counter! There were dozens and finally hundreds waiting to sit in at the lunch counter.

Oh, it was up and running, and since this was on TV, other black college students throughout the South saw it on the tube and said "Hey, man, look what our brothers and sisters are doing there in Greensboro. What's wrong with us? Let's do it here." And they did. It spread, of course, like the birth of a wildfire. What really broke the camel's back, the camel of segregation at the lunch counter, was the nationwide boycott of the variety stores in support of the Southern students' efforts to be desegregated at the lunch counter. And that brought them to their knees, and they desegregated. Woolworth, in its annual report the following year, reported that the curve of profits had gone down in 1960. They didn't lose money, but the curve, which had been up, that fallen down. And they gave the first reason for that to the nationwide boycott of their stores in support of the desegregation efforts at the lunch counters in Southern stores.

Well, the next year I should point out that SNCC was organized out of the southern student cities. SNCC was not really an organization, it was set up to be a temporary thing. In fact, that was its first name: the Temporary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Finally, they dropped the T and it was just SNCC. And the
press gave it the nickname "snick," S-N-C-C. I think they had their tone of the
cheek when they called it "snick", like "snake." And SNCC began calling SCLC "slick", to show them what they thought of it. There's a tension between the two organizations that were SNCC and SCLC.

1961: the Freedom Rides. I won't go into details on that, but what started out to be a lonely little idealistic ride of 13 people, roughly half-white, half-black, and the process in which one man so badly beaten he had stroke and had been confined to a wheelchair - ever since that day in May 1961, still in a wheelchair. Another man, also white, was so brutally beaten, he had to have 56 stitches taken in his head, and partly as a result of that beating, I think, he has suffered a series of strokes and is now in a nursing home in very bad shape. Those two men,
incidentally, have sued the FBI successfully, because we learned that I sent copies of our itinerary to the president, the Attorney General, the FBI, the ICC, Greyhound, and Trailways before the ride began. The FBI gave these copies of our itinerary to law enforcement offices in the state of Alabama whom they knew to be leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. As a result, the Klan had a warm reception for us at every stop in that state, and on the basis of that knowledge, which we gained from Senate hearings, they sued successfully, and I don't know how much money they got. One of the men sued for two million and the other sued for one million. They didn't get anything like that, but they got a nominal amount for damages.

We were victorious. This little group could go no further when some SNCC students joined by CORE students picked up the Freedom Ride in Birmingham, and I rode with them from Montgomery and to Jackson and to Jackson Jail. We filled up the jails of Jackson City, the Hinds County jail, the Hinds County Prison, then the maximum
security unit to the State Penitentiary at Parchman in Misssissippi. Well, we were staying in as long as we could, and still filed appeals. That was 40 days of Mississippi law out of the one year sentence. Every day, some new Freedom
Riders coming in on virtually every bus, so many more were pouring in. As few bailed out, more poured in. And we won. Missisippi called on the federal government to do something. And Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy as the attorney general, asked the ICC to issue an executive order which he then enforced.

The ICC issued an order that on November 1st, 61 all "For Colored" and "for white" signs must come down from the buses and the terminals used by interstate passengers, and would be replaced by signs saying "segregation by race induced in these facilities is unconstitutional. Violation subject to fine and/or imprisonment." This must be posted on all buses used by interstate passengers and all bus terminals similarly used. And printed on all tickets for interstate passengers. We tested the enforcement of that order on the effective date, November 1st, and it was enforced. It was completely successful. The ride was an absolute success. Won its objective.

The movement of the early sixties won its objective too, its objectives, which were legislative. The Civil Rights Act of 64 and the Voting Rights Act of 65, the two major legislative components of the movement of the sixties, the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. What we did in the 60s was not to eliminate racism

There is still a lot of racism in this country. What we did was to regulate practices, behavior, by the enactment of those laws. Since the prejudice is still there. They threaten to pop out at any time. Whenever the enforcement becomes lax, they bubble up to the top, out a game or when those with the strongest prejudices find a loophole or ways to maneuver around the laws, they do that. And so eternal vigilance is called for.

But now, today, our problems are even greater than that. We've got to close the gaps, the gaps in education. We still have kids in the ghettoes and barrios of our cities graduate from high school functionally illiterate, only a reader to a fourth or fifth grade level. Outrageous. Gaps in income, median average income of blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans less than sixty percent of the median income of whites.

Health, infant mortality rate, of those nonwhite minority groups, more than twice as high, in some cases much much more than the national average. And the life expectancy gap is widening among males. Worse than that, the life expectancy of the black male has dropped in the past few years, dropped from 64 to 61. We die down before we collect social security. We don't know all the reasons for that, but we can speculate. Part of it's success. More of us have moved into the middle class as a result of the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, the 60s. New jobs, untraditional jobs move in without the preparation and training for those jobs as we work all the harder trying to keep the guy behind you from getting your job, and trying to get the job of the guy in front you. You know, legal records. The system.

And hypertension goes up. Oh, the hypertension rate is much higher in the black community. It's gone up remarkably. So there's been a great rise, rapid rise in strokes and the heart attacks. The cancer rate has gone up too, maybe it's
because some of us smoke too much. And the suicide rate has gone up. That too is a part of success people who are in the rat race tend to commit suicide.

Not the bottom of the ladder. I remember Dick Gregory back in 1961, and in the Q&A period someone said, "Well, Mr. Gregory, if things are as bad as you say they are black people, quite a little more of you commit suicide, why don't you kill
yourself?" Dick said, "Two things: one, we have to spend so much time and energy trying to keep people from killing us, we don't have time to think about killing ourselves. And second," he said, "do you ever hear of a cat jumping up out of a basement window?"

I thought that was very perceptive. It's the person who has moved up on the ladder that jumps down to bash his brains out. The guy who's at the bottom can't go any lower, so he doesn't commit suicide, he spends his energy trying to keep alive. One of the other reasons, however, the treatment in the mid 60's to the mid 70's of soul food, which is just Southern food, really, and it's it's greasy fried food and that may taste awfully good, but it's not awfully good for you. There's a lot of cholesterol and a lot of fat and everything else, and we tend to use a lot of seasoning, a lot of salt and other kinds of seasoning which aren't particularly good for you. So there are many reasons for it, but the life expectancy of the black male has dropped. There are indications that the drop has not hit rock bottom yet.

Then, finally, we have become painfully aware, that awareness has become a national issue now, of deterioration within certain segments of the black community of the black family. I hasten to say 'certain segments' because one of the errors of much of the publicity of this issue is that it gives the impression that that is THE black family. It is not THE black family. It is a portion of the black family. It is a large portion of the black family of the lower economic classes, but not of the middle classes. The middle-class black family adheres with greater tenacity to the same values that the white family respectfully adheres to. Just about the same as the white middle-class family, but more so. In a way it's an adaption, you might say an imitation, and like most imitations it exceeds the prototype.

We get the impression from some of the stories and documentaries that that is the black family. But yet it is of great enough magnitude that we must give time and attention to finding a solution. Nor is the problem of teenage pregnancies a 'color problem' exclusively. Teenage pregnancies are in the white community and the rate of them has been going up. There are one-parent households in the white community, and their rate has been going up, too, not as rapidly as in the black community, but remember that poverty is not as widespread in the white community as in the black community. There is more correlation between poverty and those problems than there is between race and those problems. Yet since they affect those of color, civil rights advocates and leaders must now give major attention to them, otherwise they would be derelict of their duties.

Well, now that's kind of a running summary hopscotch, skip, jump over what we've been talking about, or haven't been talking about, or should have been talking about over the past semester. And I conclude by saying that I've enjoyed immensely and have found your questions and comments to be stimulating. Most of you are lower-class, lower class for students. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
So I look forward to a great future for you, not only in academia but in life after academia. And indeed, there is life after academia. Thank you.





James Farmer, “Farmer Lecture: Overviewing the Civil Rights Movement,” James Farmer at Mary Washington, accessed August 11, 2020,

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