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The Honorable Freddie Pitcher

Former Judge Freddie Pitcher, Jr. was born on April 28, 1945, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1962 and earned his B.A. degree in political science from Southern University in 1966. He then received his J.D. degree from Southern University in 1973.

After completing his law degree, Pitcher established the law firm of Pitcher, Tyson Avery, and Cunningham. In 1983, he was elected city-wide as the first African American City Court Judge in the history of Baton Rouge. Four years later, in 1987, he ran a successful city-wide election for the 19th Judicial District. He was the first African American elected to this position. In 1992, he ran unopposed for the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals. Pitcher authored close to 200 judicial opinions while serving on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals. He has taught as an adjunct professor of law at both Southern University and Louisiana State University. He became a partner in the international law firm of Phelps Dunbar in 1997. His practice focused on the areas of commercial, casualty and employment litigation, and he was also a member of the firm’s appellate practice group. Since 2003, Pitcher has been a full professor and Chancellor of Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Pitcher has worked as a special counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana and as an assistant district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish. He also held the position of associate justice ad hoc on the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Pitcher is a member of the Board of Directors of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Baton Rouge Recreation Commission Foundation, Woman’s Hospital Founders and Friends Endowment, Our Lady of the Lake College, Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge and Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the G. Leon Netterville Award for Outstanding Achievement in Law from Southern University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from both the Political Science Department and Law Center at Southern University, “Citizen of the Year” by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Lambda Alpha Chapter) and the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Legal Profession from the Louis A. Martinet Society.

Accession Number

A2008.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/24/2008

Last Name

Pitcher

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

McKinley Senior High School

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

Valley Park Elementary School

Perkins Road Elementary School

Southern University Law Center

First Name

Freddie

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

PIT01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

4/28/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Law professor, state appellate court judge, and lawyer The Honorable Freddie Pitcher (1945 - ) was the first African American City Court Judge in the history of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He served on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, authoring close to 200 judicial opinions. Pitcher was also chancellor of Southern University Law Center.

Employment

Tyson and Pitcher

Community Advancement Incorporated

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Freddie Pitcher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about his mother's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his father's career at the Standard Oil Company

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his likeness to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his father's alcoholism

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls visiting New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his relation to Ralph Cato

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls the Valley Park community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his cousin, Alex Pitcher, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his cousin, Alex Pitcher, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his early activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his teachers at McKinley Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his decision to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls matriculating at Southern University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his summer program at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his social life in college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls the student sit-ins at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher describes his early interest in civil rights law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his U.S. Army service

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls being absent without leave from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher recalls his decision to attend law school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers Southern University Law School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about civil law and common law, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher talks about civil law and common law, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his first law practice

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers Southern University Law School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Honorable Freddie Pitcher remembers his first law practice
Transcript
Getting ready to enroll in law school that--for the fall and my wife [Harriet Pitcher] was pregnant, and, and I had to weigh whether or not I needed to work to deal with the pregnancy because we did not have any insurance at the time so I had to really make a call as to start school or work and, and take care of my obligations there, so I decided to go back to Community Advancement [Community Advancement, Inc.], work--said I was going to work for a year, we get through you know having a child and then I would start school the, the following year which and that's exactly what I did. I started school, law school [Southern University Law School; Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] in 1970, and when I started school in 1970, I also started an employment agency, my own employment agency. Well, I along with two other guys, it's called Fields Associates Incorporated [ph.] and this was based upon my experiences having been a job developer that time that I worked at, at Community Advancement and some people you know suggested, oh you could take this and turn it into something commercial and make a lot of money and but anyhow that lasted about just the first semester for me because law school was kicking my butt and I couldn't possibly work and, and be the kind of student I wanted to be so I sold out my, my little interest that I had in the business to the other two guys to concentrate on being a full-time law student, and my wife was teaching at the time so I had to rely on her income and you know she--we had the child and so we were you know rocking and rolling along. And then I was elected president of the student bar my second year in law school, which normally is a (unclear), your third-year person, a senior always get elected and I beat a guy out who was a senior. I became student board president. I graduated number two in my class, passed the bar on the first try.$$Now who was number one in the class, do you remember?$$A guy named S.P. Davis [S.P. Davis, Sr.] and I was--yeah it was kind of competitive between the two of us and my, my last semester in school I kind of ratchet things back and really started more concentrating on, on the bar, (unclear) bar then I was and the courses I was taking so--$$So, so when did you pass the bar?$$In July of, I graduated in '73 [1973] in May of '73 [1973] and I took the July bar and passed the July bar, matter-of-fact I was the only one in my class to pass the bar on the first try.$Now what did you do after graduation [from Southern University Law School; Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], did you try to get a job or with a firm or did you have to--did you join a firm or form one or go in (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) When I graduated I went to work for the attorney general's office [Office of the Attorney General], criminal division and, and I opened a small law practice on the side. I stayed with the--matter-of-fact I, I clerked my senior year at the attorney general's office as a law clerk and I along with Ralph Tyson [Ralph E. Tyson], who is now a federal court judge on the Middle District of Louisiana who--he and I became law partners, and just quickly on the side, Ralph and I met when I took a course down at LSU Law School [Louisiana State University Law School; Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana], my--the summer of my--betwe- the summer between my, my junior and senior year, Ralph was the only African American attending LSU Law School at the time and I was--I use to call, he was the resident black, and I was the visiting black, and so and that's when the two of us first met. We subsequently ended up clerking at the attorney general's office, criminal division at the same time, and after we passed the bar we both continued to work there and I opened a small practice and then he eventually joined me at that practice and we eventually formed a, a law partnership.$$Okay now we have here that you all formed Pitcher, Tyson, Avery, and Cunningham, was that--$$Right, it was first Pitcher and Tyson, and then we subsequently had several other persons to, to join us. We had about seven lawyers in that office at, at one point. We started off in a little building on Plank Road [Baton Rouge, Louisiana], matter-of-fact I rented the buil- we rented one side of this building for fifty dollars a month, and my uncle, who's Emmanuel Pitcher was a, number one finish carpenter, he--got him to go in and panel the place and he, he carved two offices in there for us and a reception area and a small library in the back. My father [Freddie Pitcher, Sr.] gave me as a graduation present money to buy the first part of my law library and one very interesting thing that happened when I went to Claitor's Bookstore [Claitor's Law Books and Publishing Division, Baton Rouge, Louisiana] was a law book store to buy some law books. The lady behind the desk said, "Look, let me suggest that you buy this book." And she pulled out this red legal secretary's book and I became a little insulted you know I said, "I'm a lawyer." She said, "I know," said, "but you take this book it's gonna make you more money as a beginning lawyer than all this other stuff that you're buying will make," and it turned out to be true. Because (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Laughter) How so?$$Well because in there--I mean in law school we didn't have a course, which eventually they put in here, as law of- called Law Office Practice. I didn't know how to--nothing about notarizing stuff, I didn't know anything about you know I--transferring a car title, or, or doing real estate transactions whatsoever, and all of that was in that legal secretary's book.

The Honorable R. Eugene Pincham

R. Eugene Pincham, human rights activist, lawyer, former judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois, was a strident critic of the criminal justice system. He was born on June 28, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois but grew up impoverished in Alabama. After his high school graduation in 1942, Pincham became interested in becoming a lawyer. He attended college at LeMoyne College in Memphis, Tennessee, and in 1944, he transferred to Tennessee State University in Nashville, where he earned his B.S. degree in political science in 1947. In 1948, Pincham married his college sweetheart, Alzata C. Henry, and that same year enrolled in Northwestern University School of Law. Despite the fact that he had to wait tables at the Palmer House Hotel and shine shoes as a full-time student, Pincham earned his J.D. degree in 1951.

Pincham then began to practice law as an attorney in the state and federal courts. In 1954, he accepted an offer to practice law with the firm that became Evins, Pincham, Fowlkes and Cooper. In 1965, Pincham was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1976, Pincham became a Circuit Court of Cook County judge and was assigned to the Criminal Division, where he served until 1984. He went on to become a justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois. There, Pincham gained a reputation as one who sought justice for the poor as well as the rich. Pincham resigned from the bench in 1989 and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. In 1991, he became the Harold Washington Party’s nominee for Mayor of Chicago. Although he lost, Pincham carried nineteen of the city’s fifty wards - a powerful endorsement from the African American community.

A member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a lifetime member of the NAACP, Pincham continued to lectured and instructed in trial and appellate techniques and advocacy after his retirement. He received numerous awards for his professional and community service and activism. Pincham passed away on April 3, 2008 at the age of 82.

Accession Number

A2002.176

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/13/2002 |and| 5/5/2003 |and| 1/17/2007

Last Name

Pincham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Eugene

Organizations
Schools

Trinity School

LeMoyne-Owen College

Tennessee State University

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

First Name

R.

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PIN01

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

Northwestern University School of Law

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

As For Me And My House, We Will Serve The Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/28/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Death Date

4/3/2008

Short Description

Civil rights activist, county circuit court judge, state appellate court judge, and trial lawyer The Honorable R. Eugene Pincham (1925 - 2008 ) grew up poor in Alabama before becoming a fixture in the Illinois legal system. As a judge Pincham, had a reputation of seeking justice for the poor as well as the rich.

Employment

Elvins, Pincham, Fowlkes and Cooper

Circourt Court of Cook County

Illinois Appellate Court

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:16093,153:16428,159:16696,168:26430,453:54552,725:102750,1373$0,0:56932,606:60200,683:60808,693:84919,867:94348,970:94758,1372:96398,1417:98120,1494:187180,2124
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of R. Eugene Pincham's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his maternal grandmother, Safronia Sowell

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his family's pride in their heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his mother's interest for education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham shares memories of his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the American Missionary Association and how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about learning to love his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his expulsion from LeMoyne College

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham describes how he met his wife at Tennessee State University

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his college experience at Tennessee State University

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham describes Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the 1964 Freedom Summer campaign in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his participation in the 1964 Freedom Summer campaign in Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the distinction between equality and integration

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about provisions against African Americans in the U.S. Constitution

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes working as a day laborer in the cotton fields

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the lessons learned from working in the cotton field

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his Christian faith

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham recalls working through law school at Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his wife's role in the courtroom

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his approach to the law

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his court rulings

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his children and marrying his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his wife's first job in Chicago, Illinois as a substitute teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the birth of his three children

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about spousal roles in his marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his three children

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his experience of racial discrimination after graduating from Northwestern University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes learning about being a front line lawyer

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his first appeal, which overturned a death sentence

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes inheriting Joseph E. Clayton, Jr.'s clients

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham remembers a case he took from Joseph E. Clayton, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about making ends meet

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his first United States Supreme Court Case, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his first United States Supreme Court Case, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about when there are biases from the bench

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his experience in Mississippi as a lawyer in 1964

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about racial discrimination in Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about successfully defending a white female demonstrator in Mississippi

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the personal impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his transition from Mississippi back to Evins, Pincham, Fowlkes and Cooper

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham describes People v. Alfano, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes People v. Alfano, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his transition from lawyer to judge

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about Mayor Harold Washington and Chicago politics in the 1980s

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the political turbulence in Chicago after the death of Mayor Harold Washington in 1987

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the low voter turnout in Chicago's black community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his 1991 campaign for Mayor of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his 1990 bid for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham reflects on his 1990 bid for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about systemic inequality and cultural indoctrination in the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the leadership vacuum in the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - R. Eugene Pincham describes what inspired the start of the non-profit organization Probation Challenge

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the memorable case that helped inspire the start of Probation Challenge headed by HistoryMaker Harold E. Bailey

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes two memorable court cases

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about People v. Smith

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham continues to recount several other memorable court cases

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his his work teaching appellate procedure and trial techniques

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the role of his wife in his career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham defends free press and talks about its role in the O.J. Simpson trial

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the impact of technological advances on the legal process

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham describes why he took on the Ryan Harris case

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the Ryan Harris case, pt.1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the Ryan Harris case, pt.2

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the media's role in the Ryan Harris case

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the Roscetti case

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of R. Eugene Pincham's interview

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the Ryan Harris case settlements

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham discusses the Anna Gilvis case

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about taking the Ryan Harris case to Terry Hilliard, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about why Superintendent Terry Hilliard may have failed to discipline his officers

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham assesses the state of black political power in the City of Chicago

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about apartheid in South Africa

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the necessary conditions for black political empowerment in Chicago

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about HistoryMaker Obama's potential presidential bid

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about HistoryMaker Barack Obama's presidential candidacy

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the impact of outsourcing jobs on middle class Americans

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham describes the consequences of African American underrepresentation in criminal justice jobs

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the cost of police misconduct

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the necessity of policing prosecuting misconduct

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham describes racial discrimination in Cook County's State's Attorney's Office

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the R. Kelly case

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about 2003 E2 nightclub stampede, pt.1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about 2003 E2 nightclub stampede, pt.2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about 2003 E2 nightclub stampede, pt.3

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about 2003 E2 nightclub stampede, pt.4

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the distinction between accidents and criminal conduct

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his case selection process

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham reflects on what he would do differently

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his heroes

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the American Missionary Association

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham describes meeting his wife, Alzata Pincham

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - R. Eugene Pincham describes his marriage to wife, Alzata Pincham

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about his children and grandchildren

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about educational inequity

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about the importance of improving access to as well as the value for education

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - R. Eugene Pincham talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - R. Eugene Pincham narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - R. Eugene Pincham narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
R. Eugene Pincham describes his participation in the 1964 Freedom Summer campaign in Mississippi
R. Eugene Pincham describes the lessons learned from working in the cotton field
Transcript
I was not in Mississippi attempting to aid black folks in becoming integrated with white people. That's not why we were there. We were there trying to break down the barriers of racism and discrimination. We were there for equal chance, equal opportunity, that's what we were fighting for. And down the road the mission was diverted from tearing down the barriers and making opportunity equal, to integrating, and that was a mistake that we allowed that to happen. But it happened on purpose. And the reason they did let it happen was because it was more economically feasible for the white power structure to offer black folks "integration" than it would be to make things equal. I had no desire to go to school with white folks. I had no desire to live in white communities. I had no desire. I wanted the right to have a school as good as the whites. I wanted the right to have a neighborhood as good as the whites. I wanted the right to have a--make a mortgage without being penalized and paying extra premiums on my mortgage because I was black. I wanted good policemen. I wanted black policemen in my community patrolling my streets, just as good as the white policemen. I did not work in the movement to change from where I was or who I was. I worked in the movement to make who I was better. And I don't believe that integrating is making me better.$What Ms. Mary [Brown] would do, she would take the center row and put me on her left, and put my brother to the row to her right. The sun would be eternally hot. The days were unmercifully long. The humidity, at 90 percent humidity was a dry day. And she would admonish us as children about drinking water, don't drink too much. And as matter of fact, when the water boy would come around, she would take the dipper and make us swish the water in our mouth, spit it out and take no more than three or four swallows because it give you cramps if you drink too much water out in the field. And being a child trying to cool off, you just go gulp it down and have cramps. And she would not allow us to over drink, and she would take the water and pour it over our heads to cool us off. And when we couldn't keep up, we would fall behind. And we'd get to a point where Ms. Mary was chopping our row and my brother's row and her row. So we got too far behind, she'd start chopping, hit a lick for herself, she'd hit a lick for my brother, then hit a lick on my row. So we got, say from here to Cullerton behind. We got there, she'd made up for us, we'd run, catch up with her. And in that way at the end of the day, the boss would pay us the amount he's supposed to pay the children, rather than not pay us anything 'cause we couldn't keep up. And my pet story is that story because when she'd hit a lick for herself, she hit a lick for me. She carried my row. And I grew up to think that when you are strong, you're supposed to carry somebody's row, supposed to help somebody else.$$So therein lies the, the reasoning behind your own approach for never turning anybody down when they come to you for--$$It's a sin. It's a sin. It's a sin. You supposed to help. Help. I'm here on somebody's shoulder; I didn't get here by myself. Those teachers that came down from New England who were ostracized in the community because they were white folks trying to help black folks. And they would tell us I'm here to sacrifice to try to help you. And when you get in the position, you gon' try to help somebody else.