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Interview with William Stringfellow, March 13, 1964

Part of Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

Interview with William Stringfellow, March 13, 1964
Robert Penn Warren; interviewer. William Stringfellow; interviewee.
oral histories
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William Stringfellow (1928-1985) was a human rights lawyer, Episcopalian lay theologian, and social activist. At the age of fifteen Stringfellow entered Bates College in Lewisburg, Maine and during his junior year organized a sit in at a local Maine restaurant to challenge its policy of segregation. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1956, Stringfellow moved to Harlem, New York where he worked with poor African Americans and Latinos. He defended a diverse population including victimized tenants, poor persons who were victims of social exclusion, and sexual offenders. Stringfellow was involved with the World Student Christian Federation, the World Council of Churches, the Episcopalian Church (Anglican), and the Sojourners community of Washington, DC. Throughout the 1960s Stringfellow was actively involved in the civil rights movement and later became an activist in the antiwar movement. He wrote many works including My People Is the Enemy (1964) that described his life in Harlem. In this interview William Stringfellow discusses the civil rights movement, segregation, and American political leaders. He describes the role of nonviolence in the civil rights movement and proposes practical measures that could be taken to stop violence within the movement. Stringfellow talks about African American leadership within the civil rights movement and the state of the civil rights movement as a mass movement. He considers Reverend Milton Galamison's fight for school integration and explains the relationship between school segregation and segregated neighborhoods and housing. Stringfellow also provides his opinion of political leaders including Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Abraham Lincoln.
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
University of Kentucky
Stringfellow, William--Interviews, Nonviolence, School integration, African Americans--Education, Educational equalization, Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973--Views on race relations, Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963--Views on race relations, Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Views on race relations, Civil rights movements, African American--Civil rights, Discrimination in housing, Segregation in education--United States, Galamison, Milton A--(Milton Arthur),--1923-1988, Civil rights leadership, Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987, African American leadership, White civil rights workers
Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project
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