James Farmer

Wednesday, December 18, 1963

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

Speaker James Farmer of CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) speaking on his recent experiences in Mississippi, the recent death of President Kennedy, the atmosphere of violence in the country, and the non-violence of the Civil Rights movement.

Host introduces Farmer. Farmer talks about events in Louisiana. Assassination of President Kennedy brought home the danger of the climate of violence. He recounts his experience running from a lynch mob of state troopers, interacting with African-Americans to promote non-violence. "Absolute imperative on more training and stress on non-violence." CORE training sessions to promote non-violence.

Impressed by President Johnson, even though he is a Southerner. He finds that converted Southerners are more impassioned against discrimination than Northerners. He may even be more effective than President Kennedy because he may be able to speak the language of other Southern politicians. Maintain activities and demonstration to maintain pressure for rights.

Where will CORE go after desegregation? How will the goals of desegregation be accomplished? "Negroes will remain the low man on the totem poles": last hired, first fired; starting at the bottom; educational discrimination for 300 years. Need for a massive program of remedial education and retraining in order to solve economic problems of minorities. Only the federal government can tackle the problem: $3 billion a year to reach 1 million youth and adults with remedial education for five years. Our whole economy suffers by lack of skills caused by discrimination. Doing so could add $17 billion to the GNP.

CORE is seeking support of other minorities to help them. March on Washington cut across racial and religious lines. "Withholding of patronage is probably the most effective tool we have in the Civil Rights Movement." We need Americans of all backgrounds.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 5721
Municipal archives id: T356


James Farmer


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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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