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Dr. John Cashin

Dentist and political activist Dr. John Logan Cashin, Jr. was born on April 16, 1928 in Huntsville, Alabama to Grace Brandon Cashin, a school principal, and Dr. John Logan Cashin, Sr., a dentist. He and his older brother, Herschel, who were always in the same year at school, were co-valedictorians of their Alabama A&M High School graduating class. He spent two years at Fisk University and then attended Tennessee State University, both located in Nashville, Tennessee. Cashin then received his D.D.S. degree from Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee in 1952.

Immediately after Cashin graduated from medical school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he was made a first lieutenant and Chief of Dental Services for soldiers stationed near Fountainebleu, France. While in France, Cashin became familiar with a number of African American expatriates, including writer Richard Wright and Ollie Stewart, from the "Chicago Defender."

After two years in the U.S. Army, Cashin returned to the United States, where he became active in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1967, he helped found the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA) and was elected as the organization’s first party chairman. He led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1968, challenging the representative nature of the regular delegation and its loyalty to the national Democratic Party.

Cashin ran for Mayor of Huntsville, and in 1970, he was the NDPA’s candidate for governor, where he ran against George Wallace. He received more than sixteen-percent of the votes in that election. Between 1968 and 1974, the NDPA facilitated the election of more than a hundred African Americans to public office in Alabama. In 1974, the Alabama Democratic Party surrendered and integrated their ballot.

Cashin passed away on March 23, 2011 at age 82.

Accession Number

A2007.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

Cashin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Logan

Schools

Alabama A&M High School

Fisk University

Tennessee State University

Meharry Medical College

William Hooper Councill High School

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

CAS03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alabama

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/16/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit

Death Date

3/23/2011

Short Description

Political activist and dentist Dr. John Cashin (1928 - 2011 ) helped found the National Democratic Party of Alabama, and led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Cashin also served as Chief of Dental Services for U.S. Army soldiers stationed in France in the 1950s.

Employment

United States Army

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. John Cashin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin describes the history of Brandontown in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin describes his maternal family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin describes the black business community in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. John Cashin describes his paternal grandfather's book, 'Under Fire with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry'

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. John Cashin talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin describes his relationship with his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin recalls the end of his relationship with his white playmates

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the Grove neighborhood of Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin describes his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin remembers Alabama A and M High School in Normal, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin talks about the Alabama Constitution of 1901

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin describes his childhood pastimes

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his experience of discrimination at the YMCA in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin describes his involvement at the Lakeside United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin describes his educational influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin recalls attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his reason for leaving Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin remembers learning to fly airplanes

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his workload at the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls taking courses at Fisk University and Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his admission to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his admission to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the American expatriate community in France

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his friendship with Richard Wright

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to leave the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his classmate, Robert Ellis

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to join the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his commitment to civil rights

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his marriage

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to join the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. John Cashin recalls the end of his relationship with his white playmates
Transcript
Well let's, let's get back to you going home (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) In other, in other words--$$Let's get back to you going home from, from France. What--$$It was a come down.$$Okay, (laughter) tell me why.$$Well, having lived in a society where race, race didn't matter, it was quite a shock to me 'cause I didn't know people could get along like that, and I enjoyed being a human being. Fifty million Frenchmen can't be all that wrong.$$So you decided to come home. Did you know what you would do or how you would participate in what was going on--$$Yeah.$$--in America? Tell me (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I knew, I knew. As a matter of fact, one of the first things when I hit the doggone concrete was right across from my office, Dr. Fearn, Helen Fearn, our next door across the street neighbor. Told me when I was knocking on the door, within thirty days of the time I got back and Helen Fearn who was a high school principal, looked at me with tears in her eyes, said, "John [HistoryMaker Dr. John Cashin], I don't want you to get in any trouble now. You don't need to get involved in all of that old stuff." This is principal of the high school [William Hooper Councill High School, Huntsville, Alabama]. That I'm not man enough to take care of myself. She don't know me at all. The [U.S.] Army made a killer out of me, but they don't know that. And nobody directs it but me. So, I knew that I was going to take some active role, and I did. And since I was a reformed Army officer, I was privy to a whole lot of things that they don't particularly care for any officers to make.$Up comes eleven, eleven and twelve years old. And at age twelve Herschel [Herschel Cashin] and I were confronted with this racist image that they were white and we were black and if we're going to keep this thing together, we gonna have to call, y'all call Dick [Richard McCullough] and Squirt [James Euclid (ph.)] mister, when that announcement was made by Shelby McCullough, a grocer. Herschel and I started laughing and I don't think we quit laughing yet.$$So you had played with these boys all your life and then when you become eleven and twelve, was it their father's idea to tell them that they needed to start calling (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It was their father, their whole family.$$The whole family. Okay. So they decided that you needed to call them Mr. So and So.$$Mr. Euclid and Mr.--what, I can't remember what Dick's, Richard, that was Dick's name. It's funny.$$Did that stop the friendship because you refused to call them mister?$$Of course. Like I said, it was all over but the laughing.$$Okay.$$It was funny. So, oh man.$$Okay. We were talking about the community. So you had this group even though you played together, even though you were--$$Up to the point that we were lectured by the white grocer's wife, to be sure they understood that we were colored and they were white and Herschel and I, if we were gonna keep your group together, you have to call them mister.$$Where did you play together?$$All over the backyard. We had a big backyard [in Huntsville, Alabama].$$Okay. So they came to your house?$$Yeah, house, like I said our house was the--$$Was the place to hang out.$$--it was the headquarters.$$Okay. All right.$$(SHERYLL CASHIN): How was your house compared to the other houses on the block?$$We were two story brick.$$(SHERYLL CASHIN): Were there any other houses like that?$$Not two story brick, no.$$So think of the, a square block of where you lived. Tell me what you see or what you smelled or what you hear if you walk that square block from your house all the way around the block.$$Well I'll say--I'm still trying to get around the, the language handicap.$$Okay.$$Like I said, mixed in with that laughter. (Laughter) These idiots couldn't draw a straight line without referring to me and Herschel and here we have to call them mister. Where did they get this from? Heck, the only place they could get it from was from the white supremacists. Yeah. And these people actually believed that crap (laughter).