Interview with William Coleman


William Coleman:

Well, it was a moment of happiness, but obviously a court decision is just a decision. Uh, we did feel or we hope that the country then would get behind the decision and that would end segregation. We all know that didn't happen. That the South uh, really started resistance uh, in the North things did not change that much, in the schools they did not change that much. In fact, nothing really happened until the days of the sit-ins and that's when uh, people then began to face up to the fact that this country was going to have to change. But it took a lot of effort and as I said earlier even today, it hasn't, it isn't over, when I became Secretary of Transportation, when I walked in the department of transportation, less than seven percent of the people were black. Uh… we were spending something like fifteen billion dollars a year uh, for, for work, but less than twenty million of that was going into the black community. Uh, I began affirmative action programs and did other things to change that so that now the department of transportation is a much better department with respect to race, though still not what it should be. And I think that's true of the whole government.