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Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

Pastor and civil rights activist Wyatt Tee Walker, also known as “The Harlem Preacher,” was born on August 16, 1928 in Brockton, Massachusetts to John Wise and Maude Pinn Walker. He attended primary and elementary schools in Merchantville, New Jersey and went on to attend Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, where in 1950 he earned his B.S. degree in Chemistry and Physics, magna cum laude. He remained at Virginia Union and attended the Graduate School of Divinity, where he received his M.A. degree in 1953. Walker was heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement as president of his local NAACP chapter and state director of the Congress of Racial Equality. He met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at an interseminary meeting, forging a connection that continued until Dr. King’s assassination in 1968.

Walker, together with Dr. King, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957; he served as the organization’s third Executive Director in 1960 and helped Dr. King organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1964, Walker left the SCLC and worked as a marketing specialist for the Negro Heritage Library, which aimed to make African American history a more integral part of the revisionist school curricula. Three years later, Walker became the Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City, where he would serve for thirty-seven years. At Canaan Baptist, Walker reenergized the music program, leading it down a new path to several choral albums. In 1975, he earned his D.Min. degree from the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, where he wrote his dissertation on the music of the black religious tradition. The urban affairs liaison for New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Walker served on the National Committee on the American Committee on Africa, which brought many African leaders to the Canaan Baptist Church, including Nelson Mandela. He concerned himself deeply with the apartheid struggle in South Africa as founder of the Religious Action Network of the American Committee on Africa in 1988.

Walker was a published author of many essays, including “The Soul of Black Worship: A Trilogy – Preaching, Praying and Singing” in 1984. He was named as one of Ebony magazine’s “15 Greatest Black Preachers” in 1993. After experiencing four cerebral strokes in 2002 and 2003, Walker retired from his post at Canaan Baptist Church and moved to Chester, Virginia with his wife Ann in 2004. After his retirement, he continued to speak and make appearances and was honored with induction into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.

Walker passed away on January 23, 2018 at age 89.

Accession Number

A2010.069

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2010

Last Name

Walker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Tee

Schools

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Virginia Union University

Merchantville High School

First Name

Wyatt

Birth City, State, Country

Brockton

HM ID

WAL14

Favorite Season

None

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/16/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

1/23/2018

Short Description

Civil rights activist and pastor Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker (1928 - 2018 ) founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1957. He also served as the senior pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem for thirty-seven years.

Employment

Canaan Baptist Church of Christ

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Gillfield Baptist Church

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverent Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes growing up in New Jersey and his father, John Wise Walker

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his experience at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls Samuel DeWitt Proctor, and becoming pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes serving as pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia and president of the Petersburg NAACP

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recounts his civil rights activism with the NAACP, CORE, and the Petersburg Improvement Association in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls when he first met the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recounts how he grew the membership and budgets of the NAACP, SCLC, and the Petersburg Improvement Association in Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls becoming the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes the relationship between SCLC and SNCC

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains the strategy behind SCLC's 1963 Birmingham, Alabama campaign, Project C

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker recalls his and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 arrests in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes HistoryMakers Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Reverend James Bevel

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker remembers the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes becoming pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his work as a cultural historian

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his work against South African apartheid and meeting Nelson Mandela

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker remembers where he was during the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker talks about his family

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains how he financed his education at Virginia Union University

DASession

1$1

DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker explains the strategy behind SCLC's 1963 Birmingham, Alabama campaign, Project C
Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker describes HistoryMakers Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Reverend James Bevel
Transcript
Tell us about Project C with SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference].$$[Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] said if we could crack Birmingham [Alabama], we could crack the South. Birmingham was the largest and most racist city in the South. And he told me to develop a plan for attack. And [HM Reverend] Fred Shuttlesworth wanted us to come. And he, it [Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights] was our strongest affiliate. So I developed Project C, which was accepted by Dr. King's Executive Committee without changing a comma or a period. And that was the plan for attacking segregation in Birmingham. And everybody, expert or naive, would agree that Birmingham was the chief watershed of the nonviolent movement in America, and led directly to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which had an effect of desegregating America. And I think that was my chief organizational accomplishment, the planning of Project C and executing it.$$Now, what were the key components of Project C? What was supposed to happen?$$Well, using Christian nonviolence as a means of desegregating Birmingham. And the calculation that [Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene] "Bull" Conner would do something to help us, and he did.$$Now, what did he do to help?$$Well, his brutality, the water hoses, the dogs and the unsolved bombings.$$So his predictable brutality--$$Yes.$$--basically dramatized--$$Dramatized our struggle.$$Okay. All right. Now, did the--what difference did the media make in all of this?$$They made a tremendous difference because they publicized during the Cold War, that peaceful demonstrations in the South were being attacked by dogs and dosed with water hose, pneumatic water hoses, and while we were trying to influence, spread our influence to the Soviet Union. So we were the counterpoint of international diplomacy. And that helped propel the [Civil Rights] Movement against desegregation into an international issue.$Let me ask you about the, some of the other personalities involved in the [1963] Birmingham campaign [Birmingham, Alabama]. Tell us a little bit about [HM] Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.$$Bravest man I ever met. Bravest man in the Civil Rights Movement. And they have named the Birmingham airport [Birmingham-Shuttesworth International Airport] after him and erected a statue in Ingram Park, and he deserves all of that because he kept the fires burning in Birmingham, regardless of the brutality they imposed upon the black community. And he never waivered.$$Okay.$$He tried to send his children to integrated schools. They beat him with chains. He's in ill health now, but he's a great person. If it had not been for Shuttlesworth, we would not have won Birmingham.$$Now, what about [HM Reverend] James Bevel and the youth march?$$Well, he organized the children, for the children's march which broke the back of resistance in Birmingham of the mercantile industry. When people saw television pictures of fire hose washing youngsters down the sidewalk in Birmingham, they, they said, this is enough. Segregation must end. And the children's march [Birmingham Children's Crusade] broke the back of resistance in Birmingham.$$Okay--$$And James Bevel was responsible for that.

Dennis Terry

Nonprofit executive Dennis Leon Terry was born on October 26, 1944 in Smithfield, North Carolina to Daisy Smith Williams and Kelly Terry, Jr. He grew up in the segregated South and experienced racial segregation and the overwhelming presence of the Ku Klux Klan. He attended North Carolina’s Lucille Hunter Elementary School and Springfield, Massachusetts' Buckingham Junior High School and Springfield Technical High School.

In 1964, Terry attended Howard University, where he majored in economics, was a member of the Howard University track team and was involved in Howard’s work study program. In addition to being active on campus, Terry also volunteered within the community. In 1968, Terry graduated from Howard University with his B.A. degree in economics.

After graduation Terry became the operations manager for the Long Island Lighting Company. In 1971, motivated by the concept of “diverse cultural groups coming together to produce the common good,” Terry and others founded the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council (MBSCC). The MBSCC was established as an advocacy group for the elderly focusing on the deteriorating areas of New York City’s South Bronx community.

In 1972, Terry became the chairman of the New York Urban League’s Bronx Borough Board and attended the National Black Political Convention held in Gary, Indiana. From 1976 until 1996, Terry was a board member of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), a company that sought to reverse the flight of jobs and business from the South Bronx. Terry was also a board member of the Bronx Lebanon Hospital from 1981 to 1982.

Terry is retired and currently resides in the Bronx, New York.

Dennis Leon Terry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 25, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.303

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2007

Last Name

Terry

Maker Category
Schools

Buckingham Junior High School

Hunter GT/AIG Magnet Elementary School

Elias Brookings School

Central Junior High School

Springfield Technical High School

Howard University

First Name

Dennis

Birth City, State, Country

Smithfield

HM ID

TER05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/26/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Nonprofit executive and civic leader Dennis Terry (1944 - ) co-founded the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council, and was a board member of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporations, an organization that sought to reverse the flight of jobs and business from the South Bronx.

Employment

Long Island Lighting Company

Mid Bronx Senior Citizen Council, Inc.

Potomac Electric Power Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dennis Terry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dennis Terry describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dennis Terry describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dennis Terry talks about his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dennis Terry describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dennis Terry recalls the entertainment and political centers in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dennis Terry describes the community of Washington Terrace in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dennis Terry remembers his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry describes the residents of Washington Terrace in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry remembers Lucille Hunter Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry talks about his educational experiences in the South and the North

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dennis Terry describes his awareness of racial discrimination in North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dennis Terry recalls a teacher at Elias Brookings Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dennis Terry describes the demographics of the Old Hill neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dennis Terry remembers Classical Junior High School in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dennis Terry describes his secondary education in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry describes his experiences at Technical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry talks about his experiences at summer camp

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry remembers his doo-wop group

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dennis Terry describes his decision to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dennis Terry recalls his first year at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dennis Terry remembers Ewart Brown and Jerry Guess

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dennis Terry remembers the riots of 1968 in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dennis Terry describes his position at the Potomac Electric Power Company

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry recalls his first role at the Long Island Lighting Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry describes how he came to work for the Long Island Lighting Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry describes his experiences at the Long Island Lighting Company, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dennis Terry describes his experiences at the Long Island Lighting Company, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dennis Terry talks about his career at the Long Island Lighting Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dennis Terry describes his community involvement in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dennis Terry describes his volunteer work in the Bronx and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry talks about the demographics of the Bronx, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry recalls the New York City teacher's strike of 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry remembers the formation of the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dennis Terry describes the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dennis Terry talks about the housing facilities created by the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dennis Terry talks about Andrew Freedman and the Andrew Freeman Home in Bronx, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dennis Terry talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dennis Terry describes the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dennis Terry recalls the National Black Political Convention of 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dennis Terry reflects upon his honors and awards

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dennis Terry talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dennis Terry narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Dennis Terry describes his experiences at the Long Island Lighting Company, pt. 2
Dennis Terry describes his volunteer work in the Bronx and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City
Transcript
So I gained perspectives of--about the company [Long Island Lighting Company] and about the officers that ran the company that however, didn't ev- that never translated into a big job for me (laughter), because I guess I also had a lot of questions and even some answers to some of the questions. But I met good people, learned a lot about the industry, and got an awful lot--an opportunity to do a lot of interesting and good things. I eventually was offered a job back in the sales department, which I took and it started that I was an analyst and that eventually as the analyst of the jobs of assisting either doing budgetary work, working with preparing indices for the salesmen to use when they went on their routes selling our products of gas and electric. They would have to make estimates of customer usage for heating, for their appliances and things of that sort. So I got a chance to do a lot of work in that area pulling together these estimates of appliance usage and comparability, I guess, between oil, heat--electric heat and gas heat for comparison for selling purposes. If you're going to sell you want to demonstrate that your product is either more efficient or cheaper, which ever works. So they had a lot of challenge in doing that. I was also responsible for doing a lot of work on demographic analysis in putting together sales territories for our salesmen so that meant we had to use the census information to age, to get some idea of the age of the home and make determinations about the age of the heating equipment and then to determine what was potential within a given area so that we did give them a territory that would have to convince them that look you can make a living here. They never enjoyed any of that stuff, we call that the egghead work (laughter). Those guys, they in many occasions I think their gut instincts were right about what management was attempting to do to them. But I was the young management trainee that had to go find the empirical evidence to support and implement some of these initiatives and beliefs that our management felt in those areas. I was young so I--it was something that I was learning and I loved it. I eventually got to be in charge of the budgeting for the sales department and the preparation of their budgets and also to oversee the technical supports to our salesforce and we had three or four sales offices at one time, so they would come in and bring the work back to our sales assistants and they would prepare the comparative heating analysis and these guys would then take back to the customer and things of this sort. So we got to do that. I got to also computerize a lot of that stuff, and use portable computers at a time when they were just starting. But I never go to be a department manager or division manager for a host of reasons but I was able to learn a lot about my industry and to--I had a lot of leeway, I had a budget, I prepared the budgets for the department and I had a lot of, since I processed all of the budgets, my signatory authority was probably comparable to that of departments and some assistant VPs. So it was, I guess it was a taxonomy or contradiction that I would have such financial prerogatives and not have an organizational status.$$Will you tell us any of the reasons that you think you did not become a department manager?$$Oh, sure.$$Or were not named as such at any rate?$$Well, I think you don't have in any corporate environment like that, in any corporate environment I believe, I think you need a mentor, you need to be connected to some political system. Ability alone will not do it. I remember one department manager telling me that if he needed brains he could always buy those and I said to him, "That's why I didn't work for you" (laughter). But that's how they sort of treated intellectual ability, so if you were thinking you were going to think your way in a job they didn't necessarily think that way. Also it was--they told me that I didn't live on the island [Long Island, New York], but I didn't think that was the case.$So you got involved in the evenings--$$Yes, and that led me to paint the church basements and to help establish free childcare and to also create a community free health clinic that included working with the Panthers [Black Panther Party]--local chapter of the Panthers, as well as doctors from the local hospital who volunteered their time and we've operated out of a church basement until the insurance committee of the church reminded the pastor that (laughter) such activity wasn't covered. But nevertheless it was an enriching experience and it gave me a renewed commitment to that kind of work. I eventually got invited to the board of the New York Urban League's branch auxiliary in the Bronx [New York] through my inquiry efforts and I served that institution for over twenty years in many capacities on a volunteer basis. So I was able to be inside, I guess a civil rights institution from the inside while, of course, working--well I'm still working by the way and raising a family and I'm getting involved in my local community in the civic life of my local community. Politics of course was something I had thought about, but I--the more I worked in my civic activities the more it became evident that I didn't have a connected base that would do me--that would serve me well in elected politics. I made one run--one attempt to do that and--$$What did you run for?$$I ran for school board and that didn't pan out so is was--so I just decided I'd just continue to do this work.$$And did you choose your work based upon what you saw in the South Bronx [Bronx, New York] in terms of need? Did you choose your projects?$$Well, I think I did. I thought maybe that I could bring some of the skillsets that I was acquiring in my work in some of the analysis, analytical work associated with doing graphic analysis and things like this and apply that to making a case for more services. I thought that would be an interesting approach to what were some of the conditions there. Of course in the '70s [1970s] you had the community control issue, school decentralization was, powerful issues here in this city, (unclear) with the Ocean Hill-Brownsville experiment [Ocean Hill-Brownsville Experimental School District], powerful things. Al Shanker [Albert Shanker] drove many of the attitudes about education, or education reform was driven by Shanker and his point of view. It was not a conciliatory time, it was very strained the relationships between the communities and you of course had riots.

Patricia Stephens Due

Patricia Stephens Due has been a lifelong civil rights activist. For over forty years she has been steadfast in her commitment to the modern civil rights movement and in teaching younger generations about the history of the Black freedom struggles during the second half of the 20th century. Due was the leading force in the nation’s first “Jail-In”, as a college student at Florida A&M University in 1960, she chose a jail cell rather than paying a fine for sitting at the “Whites Only” lunch counter at a Woolworths store in Tallahassee, Florida.

Due was born in 1939 in Quincy, Florida to Lottie Mae Powell Stephens and Horace Walter Stephens. She was a middle child of three. Her sister Priscilla was born in 1937 and her brother Walter in 1941. Her childhood years were spent in an area of Quincy called St. Hebron (a rural family community) and in Miami and Belle Glade in southern Florida. At age 13, she and her sister defied segregationist laws in Quincy when they stood in the line at a Dairy Queen marked WHITE ONLY, ignoring the COLORED WINDOW. Due graduated from high school in Belle Glade and entered Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee in the fall of 1957.

During the summer of 1959, Due and her sister attended an interracial workshop on non-violent civil disobedience sponsored by CORE – The Congress of Racial Equality. After that, she organized FAMU students and led her sister and five others in a lunch counter sit-in. Thus began Due’s life-long commitment to the civil and human rights struggles of black Americans.

In 1963, Patricia Stephens married FAMU law student, John D. Due, Jr., a prominent civil rights attorney. In 1964, Due was selected by CORE to serve as Field Secretary for the organization’s first voter education and registration project in North Florida. Due’s North Florida CORE Project registered more Blacks than any other region of the South.

Due continued to be involved with protest marches and boycotts after her successful voting rights work. Although, she was suspended several times from FAMU for her activism, her speaking and fund-raising tours also interfered with her studies. Due did not receive her degree until 1967.

Due’s dedication to the Civil Rights Movement has inspired a generation of young Black and White students to make extraordinary sacrifices to secure the rights protected in the Constitution for all Americans. Over the years, Due has given lectures, presentations, enactments and workshops on civil rights history to thousands of high school and college students, parents, teachers and to church and civic groups across the country.

Due co-authored with her daughter Tananarive Due, Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights (ONE World/Ballantine, 2003). The book, too, is both a detailed history of the 1960’s civil rights activism in Tallahassee and across Florida, and a personal, intimate and painful look at the sacrifices and consequences to one family who gave their lives to the Civil Rights Movement and progress. Due and her daughter chronicle the price of activism both on their family and on the families of other civil rights activists they knew and worked with.

FAMU awarded Due an honorary doctorate degree. She is also the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Leadership, the Ghandi Award for Outstanding Work in Human Relations from FAMU and NAACP Florida Freedom Award.

She and her husband live in Quincy, Florida. They have raised three daughters: Tananarive Due, a prize winning novelist, Johnita Due Willoughby and Lydia Due Greisz, both attorneys-at-law.

Patricia Stephens Due passed away on Feburary 7, 2012.

Accession Number

A2006.122

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/17/2006 |and| 10/18/2006

Last Name

Due

Maker Category
Middle Name

Stephens

Schools

Anderson’s Kindergarten

William S. Stevens High School

Lake Shore Junior Senior High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Gaston County

HM ID

DUE02

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Just Do Your Best And That's All You Can Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

12/9/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni and Cheese

Death Date

2/7/2012

Short Description

Civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due (1939 - 2012 ) organized Florida A&M University students in lunch counter sit-ins in Florida and served as field secretary for CORE helping register more blacks to vote in north Florida at that time than any other region in the U.S.

Employment

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Community Lawyers, Inc.

Lee Park Task Force, Inc.

Citizen Dispute Settlement Center

Miami-Dade Community College

NAACP

University of Miami Upward Bound

Christian Community Service Agency

New Horizons Community Mental Health Center

University of Miami

Favorite Color

Black, Purple, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Stephens Due's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due talks about the demographics of Gadsden County, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her childhood in Quincy, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers Belle Glade, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her mother's influence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls segregation in Belle Glade, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her experience of sexual harassment

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her activism at Lake Shore Junior Senior High School in Belle Glade, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls protesting segregation at Dairy Queen

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her peers at Lake Shore Junior Senior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers her early perception of civil rights activism

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls studying music at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her invitation to a CORE conference in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers a CORE conference in Miami, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls founding a CORE chapter at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers the sit-ins at F.W. Woolworth Company

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers sitting-in in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers sitting-in in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes the university's response to the CORE sit-ins

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes a tear gas attack during a demonstration

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her jail sentence in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her parents' reaction to her incarceration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Stephens Due's interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due remembers her nonviolent protest training

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her time in Leon County Jail in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her lecture tour upon her release from jail

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her second arrest for protesting

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls demonstrating around the time of her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her husband's civil rights activities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the tension between civil rights organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls becoming a CORE field secretary in Gadsden County, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls voter registration in Gadsden County, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the reprisals to her voter registration activity

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due describes legal action during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls having her children

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her husband's suspension from the Florida bar

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her children's education

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her book, 'Freedom in the Family'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her daughters' work on 'Freedom in the Family'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls the publication of 'Freedom in the Family'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Patricia Stephens Due describes her educational programs about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Patricia Stephens Due recalls her sister's departure from the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Patricia Stephens Due talks about current social activism

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Patricia Stephens Due reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Patricia Stephens Due narrates her photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$5

DAStory

8$2

DATitle
Patricia Stephens Due describes a tear gas attack during a demonstration
Patricia Stephens Due recalls the reprisals to her voter registration activity
Transcript
In the meantime, we continued to demonstrate. Some A&M [Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida] students went to McCrory's and got arrested and I actually didn't get arrested that time. I went back to campus.$$How long did you stay in the vault, in the bank vault?$$Well, probably just an hour or two, fingerprinting us and someone coming down to get us out, but I rushed back to the campus to tell students that more of our students had been arrested. So, a march was organized. About a thousand strong to--we, we hastily made signs. It's probably what that photo with Larkins [William Larkins], "Give us back our students, we are Americans too." We marched down, I believe it was Adams Street. We crossed the railroad tracks which was the dividing line then, between the white and colored towns. Now, as CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] members what we had learned when things happen, you try to negotiate. Before going down, we tried to call the city police, the county police, the state police and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. Nobody would talk to us, but when we approached those railroad tracks they were all there, and they had tear gas. Now, they claimed they gave us time to react. One police officer saw me and he said, "I want you," because I had been involved before, and he threw the tear gas canister right in my eyes. I could not see and I--but I could hear and I heard the students screaming, because they were being attacked. You know when we talk about other countries and all of this, war was declared on us. A young man, and to this day, I don't know his name, took me by the hand. He said, "Come with me, I've been in the [U.S.] Army. Take this cloth, don't rub your eyes just put it over your eyes," 'cause I still could not see, and he took me to a church not too far from campus and left me there and although I was sitting there blind, I could still hear the screaming of the other students, and they were the ones arrested. They were arrested.$We did go to Escambia County in Pensacola [Florida], but there was a lot of in-fighting with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and some others, so we decided to drop that county and concentrated on others, including Jackson [Jackson County, Florida] where Marianna is, and Madison [Madison County, Florida]. Madison was predominately black. Jefferson County [Florida] which was predominately black, now Suwannee County [Florida] where you have the infamous trial and Ruby McCollum, where allegedly she killed a white doctor who was her lover and was sent to Chattahoochee [Florida] and then the whole story was killed. They locked her away. Now, ironically one of her daughters participated with us in the demonstrations. I was really, really shocked, but this is how we started the voter registration. We had guns shot at us. I had what was called a freedom house here in Quincy [Florida]. Eventually, we were given a place for our voter registration project and Mr. Witt Campbell who had been a principal was the one, the Good Shepherds, was the name of the organization and he proposed that they let us use the house behind their building for our headquarters, and we did this and Ms. Vivian Kelly, who was another foot soldier who died a couple of years ago, and the first black Democratic chairwoman in Gadsden County [Florida], but when we went there we were shot at, and we had a close neighbor who happened to be a relative, and he said he wasn't nonviolent. But when we were shot at, time and time again we called the city, the county, the state and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation]. No one would come to our aid, and they had to know because every time I went anywhere in Gadsden County, a police officer followed me. If I stayed ten, two hours, three hours, he stayed two or three hours. Everywhere I went I was followed by a policeman and, and twofold. First of all, he wanted the people I was talking to, to know that he knew that they knew, that they were talking to CORE [Congress of Racial Equality], and secondly, he wanted to intimidate me, and a lot of people were nervous. It, it took, a lot to get people to just decide that, "I am going to register. I am going to vote," and to do it. When we would have workers go in some of the plantations, they would try to hurt them. They would put dogs on them--Mrs. Kelly, and, and Stu Wechsler [Stuart Wechsler] who was one our workers from the North. We had an integrated, interracial staff who came down. We had lawyers who came down and there was violence all the time, all the time but we tried to warn them. Every staff person going to their particular areas had to call us within thirty minutes of their scheduled time to get there, because we knew something could happen. The cars we rented were turned over, were burned. It got so the rental cars didn't want to rent cars to us because they were always destroyed, and we knew if we had people who were an hour late that we had cause to worry. So, it was a time when our communities, our state and our country have really declared war on us, and it was like a war, except it was a war where only the officials, the government and, and the criminals were using weapons against us and we were labeled as the troublemakers. This is what Gadsden County, right where I'm sitting today, was a plantation. This is where Leon County, Suwannee County, Alachua [Alachua County, Florida], which was Gainesville, Madison County, Jefferson County, all of these counties where there were people who just wanted to register and to vote. I mean they were not asking for money, you know they weren't asking for those forty acres and a mule, which we should get and translate it to what it would be now. They just wanted to go and register to vote without fear of losing their lives or their jobs (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Well--