Dr. Rufus E. Clement

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Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of US and wife of former President Franklin D Roosevelt, with Mrs William Green and Rufus E Clement during a visit to Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1960.

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

Jay Nelson Tuck moderates.

Guest is Dr. Rufus E. Clement, President of Atlanta University, and the only Negro member of the Atlanta School Board. He discusses the school system in Atlanta, and school segregation.

Panelists include Bernie Lufkowitz, Chris McGrath, and Jerry Ferraro.

Clement speaks about the differences between white and negro schools in Atlanta. Though they are similar in terms of buildings and curriculum, the teachers at white schools are more schooled.

Atlanta University does not take all applicants, it is selective and produces successful teachers, social workers, and librarians, among other professional fields - the highest degree is the Masters degree. Placement for graduates from the university is very high.

Clement speaks about his election to the school board in Atlanta. He ran on his background as an educator, not on his race. He won 5-3 against a white man who ran on his race and his beliefs in segregation. He mentions that there is currently a case in court against the school board by the NAACP and parents of negro school children. Clement is a member of the NAACP.

He thinks the NAACP must pick his battles and admits he wouldn't want to attempt to integrate Mississippi.

Regarding the United Negro College Fund, he mentions that the "Negro" schools are in fact integrated. There is also one "white" school in Georgia that is integrated.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72101
Municipal archives id: LT8364