Interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton
QUESTION 16
JACKIE SHEARER:

How did you understand what was commonly referred to as the backlash phenomenon in 1968, say?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON:

Well, there was a hell of a concern in the movement about backlash, um, we had known only a White resistance to integration and equality, so that we feared that every advance we made would meet its own counter-move, and we called it the backlash. We were sure that that would happen from the sit-ins, we were sure it would happen from the march on Washington, we were sure it would happen from the urban rebellions, the great riots that swept the cities. Frankly, we thought White America had a very low tolerance for actions by Blacks to cor--to correct their conditions, and certainly for unlawful actions. The rebellions, the city rebellions, of course, had a, a, high unlawful content, and you began to hear the language of law and order. The code words that came to be applied to movement activity even that was not unlawful. As it turns out, backlash, full-face, did not emerge until around 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Great, cut.

JACKIE SHEARER:

How much do we have left on this?

JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, now, this is the last block. And, um--

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON:

There's only two blocks to go.

JACKIE SHEARER:

This is for a show that's looking, um, um, at--


JACKIE SHEARER:

We're waiting for the sound of silence? [TEAM C]