James Farmer

Wednesday, August 07, 1963

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Barrett McGurn introduces James Farmer. McGurn describes CORE as the "Marines of the integration program with the Urban League as the State Department and the NAACP as the Justice Department and CORE as the militant passive resistance troops breaking the way to a revolutionary realization of fundamental American rights."

James Farmer, National Director of CORE speaks about Civil Rights movement. He speaks of the long history of discrimination and inequality in the United States and the recent revolution to make changes in society. He says that there are no innocent bystanders and that we all share the guilt in perpetuating segregation.
He also answers why the movement is taking place now - not 20 years earlier or 20 years later. One reason is WWII, where young African American men were sent to fight against the idea of a master race. Another is Africa, young African Americans are identifying with the events in Africa.

Farmer notes that more than half of CORE members are white, and that white members face greater violence in the South than black members, he mentions the brutal beating of CORE member of Eric Weinberger in Mississippi. He speaks at length about the CORE commitment to non-violence.

Farmer speaks of the limitations placed in African American children: shorter life expectancy than other Americans, job discrimination and the impact of segregated Unions. He says that more important than creating laws that ensure equality is enforcing these laws.

During the question and answer portion he talks about the upcoming March on Washington and describes the plans to ensure it remains a non-violent protest.

He also talks about the CORE views on Black Muslims. He believes that theie views are at odds with the views of CORE, whom he calls a separatist organization.

Farmer gives his view on the Kennedy administrations reaction to the Civil Rights movement- he gives specific examples when the administration has supported the movement and when they have, in CORE's view, fallen short of protecting the people. He gives a specific example of atrocious treatment by local police forces in Alabama against CORE members that were not followed up on by the FBI.

He states that CORE is in favor of reduced representation of states that restrict the voting rights of African Americans.

He also notes CORE's attempts to battle housing discrimination.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 5723
Municipal archives id: T234


James Farmer and Barrett McGurn


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About Overseas Press Club

Comprised of both speeches and question-answer sessions, this news program brings together foreign correspondents and public figures from culture and politics.

The Overseas Press Club (1940-1967) contains voices from the past that help us understand their time and place in history. What sets these talks apart from others like them is the presence of a live audience of foreign correspondents — reporters with international perspectives and questions. The resulting sessions have a distinctly different dynamic than would those with an audience of American journalists of the period.

Speakers include the German writer Günter Grass talking about his fascination with American prize fighters; a fiery young LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) telling his audience "where it’s at with Mr. Charlie"; James Farmer on the civil rights movement and where it should be going; David Halberstam on the trials of covering the war in Vietnam; Josephine Baker on the focus of her later years, her adopted children; and Herman Kahn on being pushed to the nuclear edge.  Other notable speakers include the actor Alec Guinness, Richard Nixon, and a gaggle of early female pilots competing in the air race known as the Angel Derby. 

With presentations ranging from rambunctious and spirited to contentious and political, this collection provides invaluable access to the language and nomenclature of America's burgeoning global culture.


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