Interview with Jean McGuire

OK, so, I want you to speak as someone from Boston's formerly timid Black community to the process of self-definition that was part of this whole bigger process.


I feel that my memories bring back to mind that, although there was fear out there, whether you'd lose your job if you organize, people began to redefine who they were to change their name. You know, I asked Jesus if I could change my name, and he said it would be all right if I changed my name. That was a very painful experience. Black teachers organized at the NAACP office in 1961, at the beginning, people concerned about desegregation, and continued that process by organizing the Massachusetts Negro Educators Association and then later on the Black Educators Alliance in Massachusetts. But, in an over-arching way, there were new organizations, SNCC, and CORE, and all kinds of groups, say even like the Black Panthers, tutorial groups, the Ford Hill Mental Health Chapter formed by Barb Elam, where people said, "This is what we need--"