Interview with Unita Blackwell
QUESTION 7
JUDY RICHARDSON:

Let me ask you because you mentioned the students, what would you tell to young people? What would you say to young people? How would you explain the movement for those who don't really understand it now, those young people, what, what did the movement do?

UNITA BLACKWELL:

For the young people that, um, that we always together--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm sorry, I explained this wrong. How would you explain to young people what the movement did?

UNITA BLACKWELL:

Well, I can say to young peoples today, ah, the, the, the pa--the era, we called the era, people talk about the era of the Civil Rights Movement, um, it was a era to break open and start a process which I say to young people today that they are able to be, go to colleges, universities, different places that at that time, in my state, you, you, you couldn't do it. It was a lot of people like Meredith, you know, and the rest of them, you know, you had to have the guards and everybody around, ah, the brought out the troops, the Klans would move, the, the, it just, it was a time to get the process the way it is today, where they can choose, and I think the young people have to understand that movement was a process where that they could choose where they wanted to go to school, where that they, ah, had a right to vote or not to vote. It wasn't that you couldn't vote, because at that time we couldn't, we wasn't allowed to. You, you're life was on the line if you would talk about even registering. Your life was on the, the things that they talk for granted, I'd say that young people take for granted now, is just like an every day occurrence, that they can get up in the morning and get in a car, or, walk, or whatever, without always an incident. It was always an incident. You did not look a White person in the eye. You had to have your head bowed. You didn't meet a White person coming down the streets in a car better than theirs. Those shoes would be taken away from you, or they'd push you on the side, or whatever. Things you'd take for granted that you can just go up and says, "Give me some gas." You couldn't do that. You had to stand back. If a White person was there, then you had to stand back and wait till the White person get their gas, and then you have to, you know, be in this submissive situation of, "Please, sir, could I have some, ah, gas, sir." You know. They don't even do that. The young people take it for granted, "Hello. How you doing? Yes. No." And walk in. And I see them, and they just walk in and out and it's just fabulous to see it, you know, that the feeling of freedom. That feeling of freedom that the young people have now is what the young people before, in the '60s, fit for, died for, that they may have a right to continue. So we are now in a computer age. And our young people have a chance. We still got problems.


JUDY RICHARDSON:

Lets cut please. Before we move to the problems.