Roy Wilkins

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Civil rights leader Roy Wilkins (1901 - 1981), executive secretary of the NAACP, at a uinon convention, May 21, 1958.

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

Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, answers questions about integration in the south, particularly in Little Rock.

Jay Nelson Tuck moderates.

Panelists: Stan Siegel, Henry Kurtz, Ed Stover and Geri Ferraro


The situation in Little Rock is changing every day. They aren't sure if there will be troops. The Governor is predicting violence if Negroes do try to attend. Predicts that Arkansas will follow the Virginia plan which calls for closing schools that are integrated. The NAACP can't prevent a state from closing its schools if it chooses to do so. Parents and taxpayers can take action. Evidence in Virginia that some plan to go to court. Recommends the Missouri system or the Oklahoma system, to go ahead and desegregate from top to bottom. Arkansas voters did not come to the polls. Campaigning in Arkansas on integration was on stationing Federal troops in the state. A great many citizens felt that they had to stand up for states rights. If it were left up to parents, you'd see a greater deal of integration. Residential segregation does tend to build racially segregated schools. No plans for deliberate transportation of students solely for the purpose of setting up a non-segregated school. Opposed to redistricting to exclude Negroes. Trade unions open to Negroes. Eisenhower has declared he will enforce the court order, and the southern governors should do the same.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72187
Municipal archives id: LT8235