Interview with Unita Blackwell
QUESTION 9
JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, give me a sense of that, that feeling that you get of finally being a citizen and realizing that what you're involved in is not just White folks' business now, that you have some control.

UNITA BLACKWELL:

One of the feelings of, ah, that happened for, for, for me, and I guess for, for others, also, the War on Poverty situation is when we came into, ah, training sessions and learning now that we are newly franchised citizens, um, some of us was ready to, to vote, others, the passing of the Civil Rights Bill, 1965, that we had, um, moved into telling people that they don't have to do all these interpretations of the Constitution anymore. And all of that, those victories that we came through, but what is we going to do with it? And, ah, with our newly, ah, thing that we had come into? And then, that's when, um, that we had to learn, what, what do a board of supervisors do? What do, um, city councils do? What do mayors do? We never bothered with that before because, ah, that was, that was White folks' business. They was the only one that was in charge. And, um, some people said, "Well, did you learn that in school?" Well, I'm sure it went by us, you know, in, in some places you saw the government was this and that kind of thing, but it wasn't ever spelled out that the way that we were trained, what it is that these people do. And what it is that, that we could plan our own lives to help develop things to better our every day living conditions. And, um, and this was really exciting, you know, to, to be in this position of learning that. I never knew that the board of supervisors could do the things that they could do. I never knew what mayors could do. I read it when we were going to school, you know, there's, there is a mayor, this is the local government, bloom, bloom, bloom. But it did not say that you could make sure that the people in your community, you know, would have adequate food, or you would try to get up and do these kinds of things. You would find that we should have health care. We would try to get these things. We, we would cooperate with the state government, the local government, bringing all these forces together to meet the needs of the people--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Just a second. That's it.


JUDY RICHARDSON:

Try to give me that, because that's perfect. OK, we're ready.