Interview with Jane Duwors

Now in the same time period we're talking about the summer of '74. Can you describe to me what the work was that went on to organize and then to sustain the boycott?


Well, I think it was something that just sort of happened, piecemeal. This, ah, information center was going to be a bike shop. Two fellows were going to open up a repair shop and sell new bikes. And when we saw that there was no preparation for the White children, no news coming out about what was going to happen, who could they go to for help, we decided to open up this information center where people could go to for rumor control to, ah, see what was actually happening. We had to have a place and that's how this place was born. There was three months rent paid on it. The keys were given to us and we were told go ahead and do your own thing. We put a table out on the sidewalk with a sign that said, "We need your help. We need volunteers. We need some money to get this place going." And the people by the hundreds came. Within the first weekend we had about $3,000. We had about 3,000 names and we had this place packed from the front room to the back room. We ordered telephones, supplies, materials to get it open. And we had a lot of, ah, we had a lot of input from what we called our own home and school associations. Home and school associations were always well attended. We had, the parents would always join. They would always help to volunteer in the school. It was a way of taking of your child's education to make sure that, you know, they were learning the things that they should learn in school. And so we had, ah, people that knew how to get things done. Although we were typical families, mothers used to staying at home taking care of the children, fathers out working. We had the knowledge of how a PTA was run so we just enlarged it. We had block captains. We said, "Well, how would we get someone to know something at one end of South Boston and, you know, someone at the other end of South Boston at the same time." So we developed block captains. A block captain had a list of ten people and called those ten people. Those ten people would call ten more people. And that's, that's the way we organized. And as we got together, ah, we had people who had expertise in one area. People that knew how to type. People who knew about mailings. People that knew how to staff a center to keep it fully occupied. People who knew about talking with news media. And that's how it all came into being.