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PAGE: ONE SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS BLACK 12A

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN






F: So, where are you from ?

V: Miami.

F: I see. How long have you been here ?

V: Since September.

F: Where did you go before ?

V: I went down to---I went to college in Jacksonville, Edward Watersod. I'm

a grad student here.

F: Oh, I see. Wh---what field ?

V: English, and here, I'm in English Education.

F: Uh huh. So you're a 6-ED ?

V: 7-ED.

F: 7-ED.

V: Right.

F: Was Edward Waters a four year school ?

V: Yeah, four-year.

F: I'm from Jacksonville too, originally.

V: Oh yeah ?

F: I didn't know it was four year, somehow I thought it was just two. I don't

know.

V: It was two years up until 1957, '59, something like this.

F: Uh huh. I guess I just had that impression, and it just never changed.

V: Yeah.

F: I see. Which school did you go to in high school ?

V: Uh, Miami NorthWestern. ---

F: I see,

V: I was in high school there.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





F: Uh huh.

V: I came to Jacksonville to go to Edward Waters.

F: You went from Miami to go to...are there many out of towners...? Also, maybe

it was a misconception of mine, I don't know, but somehow I thought it was

mainly students from Jacksonville that went to Edward Waters ?

V: There are. There are a few out of town students there.

F: But mainly it was---

V: Mainly most are from Jacksonville.

F: ---most are from Jacksonville.

V: Right.

F: I see. How old are you ?

V: I'm twenty-two.

F: So you just finished college, and came straight on to graduate school ?

V: Right. I, I went to Florida A.&M. for a quarter.

F: Um huh.

V: After I graduated. I got out in June, and summer quarter of last year, I

went to Florida A.&M., and took a few hours there, and then came here.

F: I see. Why did you switch ?

V: Well, I had planned on coming here from the beginning, but I...I didn't have

anything to do during the summer, so I just went to Florida A.&M.

F: I see.

V: I didn't want to work, so I said, "Well, I might as well go to school."

I had a few friends going there also during the summer, so I just

followed the crowd.

F: Uh huh. Did you...uh...apply anywhere else to graduate school ?






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Well, I applied for the uh, Ford Foundation Fellowship, and I applied to

quite a few schools, in the...well, the only thing that kept me from

really applying to a lot of schools, was the uh, admission fee, $10...$15

here and there...

F: Yeah, right.

V: So I ended up, I was, I...before I finished I already planned on coming

here, you know.

F: Um huh.

V: So, this was my first step.

F: That's interesting. You went to graduate school for one quarter at Florida

A.&M. ?

V: Right.

F: Were you apprehensive about coming here at all ...after having been in all

black schools ?

V: A little bit, yes, I, you know, I've...there's be---there's been talk that

the University of Florida had a reputation for being a racist university.

F: Um huh.

V: And...these were my apprehensions about coming here. I'm coming to a

predominantly white school, inta reg---,a reg---red-neck town, and to a

white racist university.

F: That's several times I've heard that phrase. Is that a pretty common...uh

...feeling around the state, that Gainesville's a red-neck town ?

V: Right. It is.

F: What kind of things are said ?

V: Well the...the uh...the natives of Gainesville...

F: Um huh.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Uh...I don't know...Southern...white Southerners, have a reputation for being

prejudiced in general...

F: Um huh.

V: And, uh, Gainesville is one of these towns that has that reputation.

F: Have you heard anything in particular, or is it a general kind of...

V= It's a general conception about the...the town.

F: Uh huh. iw~~, yoM never heard any particular stories, or happenings,

or something to support that ?

V: No.

F: What kind of things did you hear about the university...that would make

you apprehensive ?

V: Well, this was about two years ago, I've heard...I heard about the uh...

well, this is a comparison between the University of Florida, and Florida

state.

F: Um huh.

V: And, here I compared the two, and found that...uh...Florida State was more

liberal than the University of Florida...as far as the races are concerned.

F: Um huh.

V: Concerned.

F: So why did you choose to come here ?

V: To find out what it was really like...really. I, you know, I've been

going to black schools since I was in...since I started school...all black

schools, ad--ll "ay-seh So I figured I would...I'd rather be...I, I'D

rather come to a change...

F: Um huh.

V: Predominantly white, uh, you know, with a small number of the students on

campus was black, and see what it would be...and see what it would be like

4






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: ...coming here, you know.

F: Since you've been here...have your apprehensions been justified ?

V: Not really...no. I don't think so. Because...I found the students here,

in general, were the ones I've been in contact with, you know, very much

like students everywhere else. Uh...color makes no difference...in general.

F: Um huh.

V: I haven't been...I've never been...associated with any extremist type

students, you know, ultra-liberal students, or down to earth red-neck

students, &f these white students at least...you know.

F: Um huh.

V: I've never come in contact with...if I have, I haven't, you know, I haven't

known about it.

F: What about academically, how are you doing ?

V: Well the first quarter I came here, I wasn't pleased with my...uh...record.

I got a 2.6 average...

F: Um huh.

V: Taking fourteen hours. And I was a little shaken up then, but wha---I

blamed it on my...trying to adjust I blamed it on that. And for the

second quarter I was here, I...it jumped to a 3.5 average, you know...

F: Oh Wow! That's a real major jump.

V: Yes, out of fourteen hours.

F: Um huh. Do you think the work got easier, or you just adjusted ?

V: I believe I adjusted, you know, I...the first quarter I was here, I was

frozen up, you know...

F: Um huh.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





Vr I wasn't too particular about making friends, because I knew...well,

the work was hard, you see, when I came here. You got to get your work,

you know, and I was really shaken up, and I...I tried hard the first quarter

I was here, but...maybe I tried wrong. I tried...I used the wrong

techniques, I don't know, but the ser---the second quarter I loosened up

a little bit, and I got, you know, I got more involved with students and

classroom and so forth. I was...anyway...I was as a e the first

quarter I was here, you know, something...so...

F: Um huh.

V: Something like that.

F: You know classes...you say, that for the most part you don't feel that this

school is any different from the schools that you've gone to before, and you-

said that the schools you've gone to before were---were predominantly black

schools. Now, you really feel that way ? That's good, in other words,

I would like to think that was more often the case, but go ahead.

V: As far as the uh...myarelationship with other students, now I'm not talking

about the administration, I'm not talking about uh...the teachers attitudes

in general...you know.

F: Um huh.

V: I don't know, I can manage on this campus, you know.

F: I suppose for the most part, stud---what is your relationship with students

here ? Do you think you get along fairly well with students ?

V: I get along fairly well...I don't have too many...I wouldn't...I don't have

any close friends, I would call on campus...

F: Um huh.

V: Black or white.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN






F: Do you live by yourself ?

V: No, I have a...I live in Towers. I have four roomates, but uh, you know,

we're...I'm there by myself sometimes, you know, we... not a close

relationship between my roommates and me... So...

F: Are they white or black ?

V: They're white. I have, uh, one from Japan, one from Ireland, and another

one from New Jersey, you know, Im the only black there.

F: Um huh. Do you come in contact with many black students ?

V: Uh...in a way I do...I'm working with...I was working with a...I'm working

with Operation Outreach...

F: Um huh.

V: And it's consisted most...mainly of blacks there, and I have quite a bit

of contact there with blacks...on campus.

F: Now did---you differentiated between uh...students, and faculty, and

administration as far as the way things have been here ? What about

faculty ? What kind of feelings do you have about that ?

V: Well, I believe the faculty...according to my experiences...here on campus,

the faculty is uh...they're more rigid than the students. The students

are, you know,used to having things loose, the faculty is more...I don't

know, it could be me. It's---I feel like---I feel like it's hard to talk

to faculty members...very difficult to talk to faculty members, as compared

to students...

F: Um huh.

V: And somebody...in some cases I think it's a lot easier to talk to the

students here. Some of the students...moreso than the faculty members.


I






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





F: Has anything happened in class, with teachers, in an academic situation, which

would sort of stand out as being different from the things that you've

experienced elsewhere ?

V: Well)as far as races are concerned, yes. Uh...I was in a play,

White America, last week, and uh, if I were in an all black school, this

wouldn't have never happened. The play was stopped, halted, by the BSU,

There were four blacks in the play, and five whites. And the uh, the

boy---the boycott of the play was lead by Roy Mitchell. And uh, well, if

I were in an all black campus, this would never happen. And I got...

sympathetic feelings 4lr my class mates. I wouldn't have gotten this

necessarily at an all black school.

F: Why did they boycott that ?

V: Well, the feelings were, that the play was...uh, unjustified, and uh, it

dehpianized the black man. they may be right, I don't know. I had

good intentions when I participated in the play...

F: Um huh.

V: But uh...I felt differently after the whole thing was over with.

F: You have changed your mind ?

V: A little bit.

F: How is that ?

V: In there...well, in the play...it seemed as if the white man was justified

in having slaves. It really seemed that way, and the black man didn't have

a chance to speak out as strongly as he speaks out now...

F: Um huh.

V: And this is what the uh...BSU didn't want. I didn't realize this, you know.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEW: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





F: They actually physically stopped the play ?

V: They came on stage. They marched on the hall---down the aisle, about 50,

or 75 of them. In Norman Hall, marched across the stage, and stayedL here,

and chanted, "This play is a disgrace to our race." While the play was

going on, so we had to stop. Then they gd/up and left, and the play

was stopped right there.

F: What was the reactions to them ?

V: Well, the audience sympathized with us, with the uh, the participants in

the play. And uh, well, knowing that Roy Mitchell led...led the boycott...

F: He was there himself ?

V: Yes, he was...I invited him to see the play. I didn't know what was going

to happen. And uh...they didn't...anyway, they denounced Roy Mitchell,

because of the way...what happened, you know.

F: Wait...now I must be mixed up. Roy Mitchell led the boycott ?

V: Well, he...anyway, yes, I would say he led the boycott.

F: And who denounced Roy Mitchell?

V: Well somebody in the audience, some...uh, she was a white student I think,

and, you know, she said that the play was...we were right in what we were

saying in the play. She could have been wrong, and she said Roy Mitchell

was wrong in what he did. He could have been right. I don't know.

F: Did he physically get on the stage ?

V: No, he didn't get on the stage, see the president of the BSU got on stage

with the uh...along with the members...

F: Um huh.

V: And they said the play was a disgrace, and so forth.

F: Was that reported in the Alligator ?

V: No.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





R-II-NN-G

F: I never get a phone call, except when I'm in the middle of an interview.

Hello ? No he's not Paul. Uh huh. That's my---office 9kn all the time.



F: Why do you think it was not in the Alligator ?

V: I don't know. Maybe...I heard it on a news spot on WGGG, Saturday, and

that's all I heard of it. I, I've been hearing it in my classes, some of

my classes they were talking about it.

F: Why do you think Roy Mitchell led that ? No---N--Not his paiils e reasons

for doing it, but what makes you think that he did ?

V: Well, for one thing...uh, the BSU was having a meeting elsewhere, during

the time of the play...

F: Um huh.

V: ...and Roy Mitchell was in the audience, and at the end of the first act,

he left. Well. he came back stage, and said he didn't like the play, so

he left, and got the members of the BSU to come down.

F: Oh, I see.

V: But I...he...I believe he was in a way justified in what he did, you know.

And I...when...you know, I talked to him after, the day afterwards, and I,

you know, saw his point. He was right. The play did dehumanize the American

Negro...or the black man. Uh...we didn't have...uh...in the play we didn't

have a black man that...well, really...to...speak out to the white man, you

know, about his wrongness he had committed on the black man...

F: Um huh.

V: ...at this time. But the play was based upon documents, from slavery, up

until 1957...and during this time we didn't have many...well, we had people






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: ...to speak out against the white man, but you know, well, according to the

play, they weren't speaking out strong enough...and this is what the play

didn't do.

F: Who was that play written by ?

V: Uh...I think it was Ralph Doverman...it was written in 1963.

F: Black man ?

V: No, he was white.

F: Well, what did---what was the purpose of putting on that play initially ?

V: Well, it was sponsored by the Black Students Union in Education, it's a

department. And to the mo---I guess to promote better racial relations.

F: Um huh.

V: Which uh, I think it did the opposite.

F: When you initially, you know, began to participate, you thought you were

doing a good thing ?

V: Yeah, I thought I was doing a good thing. That's why I, you know, I was

telling my friends about it, and so forth, and I told Roy, he...I've known

him for about four or five years...

F: You knew him from Jacksonville ?

V: Yes. Well, he went to the same undergraduate school. He went to Edward

Waters...

F: I see.

V: And we were members of the same fraternity and so forth...

F: Oh, I see.

V: So, I told him about it in good faith, and uh, this is what happened.

F: Can you think of anything else ? That's pretty traumatic, no doubt, but

things, let's say more subtle, let's say in classrooms...because of being

black, that things might have been different.

11






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Well, we wou---well, we were--we were having a discussion today in class.

I was, I was the only black in class and you know, some of the students who,

who were striking, you know, ask permission to speak to the class.

Really, we...we didn't have class...we started talking about the war, and

so forth...well, I was far removed from what they were talking about.

They were talking about...the war, and some people agreed that President

Nixon...by helping other countries...uh...would promote better international

relations. Well, they were talking about that one thing, they were talking

about American overseas, in foreign countries. Well I think, thinking

about America at home...

F: Um huh.

V: While the war is going on...people are dying of starvation and so forth.

This is what I was thinking about. I, I didn't bring it up to the class,

I just, you know, sat there and listened to what they were saying. I was

just so far removed from the conversation, that I...you know, I felt like

leaving the class. Because they were...well, they were white middle class

Americans...thinking about their own wellfare...

F: Um huh.

V: And I was thinking about...well, people in our...I'm from a poor family.

Most American lacks are from a poor family see, and I was thinking about

our wellfare...

F: Um huh.

V: At the time. The strike, and the protest against the killing of students

at Kent University is all good and well; but...people are steadily dying

here, in America. Their own people are dying, and we're not helping them,

we're not striking for them. Nobody is helping the poor people of

Mississippi and Alabama, you know, Florida, Gainesville, and you know, I

12






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

IIIT-RVIE'lER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: ...just got a little bit up tight about the whole thing.

F: Do you have any contact with the administrators here ?

V: No.

F: What about, say staff help, people at the secretarial level ?

V: When I first came up here, I felt that they were very impersonal...

F: Um huh.

V: They treated me like I was a number...really, you know. I had a...I think

the quarter before last, I had a bad experience in trying to get my money.

I'm...I have a National Defense Loan, and it took days and days. I

couldn't even get money to buy my books...to go to class...I think it was

last quarter. And the...well, the money got held up in the office some-

where, I don't know how it got held up; but uh, I was just treated so

coldly, you know...

F: Um huh.

V: I was sent here, and I was sent there, and nobody seemed to help until

the last minute, you know, almost until somebody did something about.4i

one of the Loan Offices in Tigert, you know. They started calling and

finding out where my money was...until I got some action. Up until then,

I was, you know...

F: Well,Verman=I think that'seems likeia ;complaint that I hear from white

students a whole lot.

V: Well, that's my own experience of, you know, with the staff...

F: Um huh.

V: Situation as I see it.

F: Yeah, right.

F: Do you think that it had anything to do with...with being black, or do you

think it was just because this is a cold place of 20,000 some odd students ?

13






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: That's the reason right there.

F: Yeah. See, that's a little different. Not then...I agree that that probably

happened to you. Trying to figure out why it happened is something a little

different.

V: Um huh.

F: Some people would say, it was because I'm black, and some people say, "I don't

know, a white guy in front of the line had the same exact experience."

What about social life on campus ?

V: Uh...I don't have too much of a social life on campus. Uh...I've gone to

a few parties, and most...well, most of the people at the parties are white.

F: Um huh.

V: Except for one party I went to, the first quarter I was here, it was given

by an African student, and uh, quite a few African students were there, along

with some who were whites, and there were about three American blacks there,

you know, about three American blacks, about ten or fifteen, well, about ten

African students, and the rest were white. And uh...the rest of the parties

I've...I've been to with my date, that I...she's black, and white students.

F: Um huh.

V: And I know I was...uh...uh...I was invited to dinner by a white female student

here...now, we, we ate dinner, well, we had dinner at Towers, -h a itwih

---... I was the only black there. I felt comfortable then, but after

dinner, we had nothing to do. So, we had two cars, so we went riding

around. Now then, I felt a little bit uncomfortable, because we rode

around, and we went to Jerry's, in the parking lot. And uh, I felt kind of

scarry then, because I felt that...well, they see a black guy here with a

white girl...anything might happen...

F: Um huh.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Because I had a bad experience in Jacksonville a few months ago...I went on

a date with a white girl, and uh, I was hissed at, and booed, and...we went

to a bar you know. And I didn't know what was going to happen, so I've

been a little sceptical ever since.

F: Was it a black bar or a white bar ?

V: A white bar in downtown Jacksonville.

F: What bar ?

V: I don't know the name of it, but most of the patrons in the bar were white.

There were a few blacks there, but most of them white.

F: You don't know the name of the bar ?

V: No. It was...I think it was on...was it on Pe4rj.? I don't know where it

was, but...I thi...it was on Bay Street I believe. I forgot the name. I

4on't know the name...and I've been feeling kind of sceptical ever since

about having a white date.

F: Um huh.

V: Especially when we're Eja4t...when I'm going in public, you know.

Because I don't know what's going to happen.

F: Have you dated mainly blacks, or mainly whites ?

V: Well here...I've only dated one black girl, and I've been here for quite

some time.

F: You mean you date the same girl ?

V: Yeah.

F: I see...and you just had that one date with that one white girl ?

V: Um huh.

F: What about most 4. black students...do they date blacks and whites, or

what ?

V: Well, I think most of them date blacks, but there are a few, I guess, who

15






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: ...would date...who date white girls, you know.

F: Um huh.

V: I don't know of any cases any whites...black girls date white guys, you know.

F: Why do you think that's true ?

V: Oh...I don't know...well, maybe...I don't know, really. Now I've heard some,

you know, some reasons that maybe ... white girls are more forward than white

guys. White girls are more forward toward black men, than white guys are

towards black girls.

F: Do you think...uh...there's resentment among blacks...as far as dating

whites here ? Have you ever felt that, or seen it, or heard...about some-

thing like that ?

V: Umh...nothing particular. Uh...I don't know, well, I guess it's the attitude

of the, uh, resen---well, the resentment of the blacks dating whites comes

mainly through the whites. Uh...a black, well a black will be...will

easily accept a date from a white, morjso than a white will easily accept

a date from a black.

F: Um huh.

V: That's the way...that's the way it is. I think the whites are more

apprehensible in accepting black dates, than blacks are in accepting

white dates.

F: What kind of things would you have on campus to give you more things to

do here...if you had sort of, you know, if you had the power for awhile

to be able to create things on this campus ? What kind of things do you

think are needed socially ?

V: Well, since it's very hard to get into a white or---fraternity or

sorority, I believe black fraternities, and black sororities would help.

F: Um huh.

16






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Would be a step in the right direction.

F: Do you think most black students would be interested in joining something

like that ?

V: I would think so.

F: At Edward Waters,wwere fraternities pretty active ?

V: Right.

F: Is there any move, that you know about, of any black fraternities, let's

say, moving to a university like this ?

V: Yes. The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, of which I'm a member, has a chapter

at Florida State.

F: Um huh.

V: And uh...they have a few more chapters at other...very large universities,

where a majority of the, uh, population is white.

F: Have you heard about anything as far as a black fraternity coming here ?

V: No, I haven't.

F: You think it would be a good idea though ?

V: I think so.

F: What else, let's say as far as universitywide, what kind of things could

be done ?

V: Oh..what kind of things could be done ? In otherwise, as far as...

F: Well, as far as socially...before we talk about some of the others.

VBxyWell, in the intramurals, I...I passed by the field over here at Norman

Hall, I don't see any blacks participating over there. We're just

excluded I guess...in intramurals on the other side of the campus. I don't

see any...well, unless they don't just participate, but I...I've never

seen any blacks participating in those.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





F: Well, do you think that they wanted to enter tkBins, and they don't let

them ?

V: I think they woul...well, you may be right, I think they would. But uh,

I saw one fraternity playing another fraternity over here. I saw one black

student participating. I don't know he was a...I don't know if he was a

member or not...

F: Um huh.

V: But, that's the only one I've seen participate in intramurals. I've never

seen anybody else go out. In my estimate, participation of blacks in

intramural would be helpful, and uh, if we could have black entertainers

come to this campus...as often as, let's say at Florida State, Florida A.&M.

have coming to their campus,

F: Do they have a lot of black entertainers...entertainers at FSU ?

V: Well since Florida A.&M. and FSU are so close...

F: Um huh.

V: Most of them go to Florida A.&M., and I would assume, if Florida A.&M. weren't

there, they would go to FSU, but it just doesn't happen here. Well, Sly and

The Family Stone, will be here in a couple of weeks...

F: Um huh.

V: That's the only group I've known to come here since I've been here.

F: You think that would be important ?

V: Yes.

F: To have more black entertainers ? It seems....let me see if you've thought

about this, it seems like more white students like black entertainers more

than black students like white entertainers...do you think that's true ?






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: It probably is.

F: Why do you think that ? You know, I think that's sort of a common kind of

thing, that you go in a black restraunt, and you know, there'll be no, like,

white musicians on the jukebox at all. But a lot of white kids dig a lot

of black musicians.

V: In general, black students don't like the style...a lot of, you know, white

kids play...

F: Um huh.

V: Now, there's a trend now...hard rock...and stuff like this that whites are

getting into, you know, I like, you know, like Tom Jones, and uh...I don't

know about any other...a lot of white groups, but there are a few moving

towards this direction...

F: Um huh.

V: Uh, who are singing soul songs, who are singing songs with a funky beat,

and so forth, well in general the black kids like this. This is the kind

of music we like, you know...

F: Um huh.

V: And uh, there's a trend of the black entertainer, singing songs of the,

uh...that white groups like. Only because...mainly because of the audience.

F: Um huh.

V: You get a better audience if you mix all your songs up, you know, soul, and

a little white music here and there.

F: On this campus, black students themselves sort of differentiate among people

who are black, and people who are Negro, and people who are colored...

what do you think you are ?

V: I used to be called colored, Negro, and black...really...because I'm not,






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: ...you know, I'm not...I'm neither,, I'm not black, I'm brown, but uh,

since...well, since there's a trend to be called black now, I accept it.

F: Um huh. What would you rather be called ?

V: Well, if I had a choice of colors...brown...would suit me.

F: Um huh.

V: You could call me by my name, or call me, you know, brown.

F: Um huh.

V: Brown people, or you know...

F: That's a phrase that's almost never used, "Brown"People," right ?

V: Right.

F: Why do you think that is?..I mean obviously you're right...I mean it's

much more accurate...to 99% of the people. They're not really black

people...

V: I believe history really did it. The slaves were called black by their

masters and so forth...Negros, and Niggers, and so forth, and well, Negro,

is aterm you designate black...

F: Um huh.

V: ...and this has been a part of history. And now we are called...

F: But now, black people...have done that by choice....see...and they've

changed what they've been called. Up until five years ago, no one was

called black. Neither...the blacks didn't call themselves black, nor

were they called blacks by other people...for the most part. They were called

Negros, or colored people, or something. Now, the blacks have made the

choice themselves...why do you think that they, you know, decided to use

something which it isn't exactly fair to say that's history, because they've

chosen their own...to get away from something they've been called before ?






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Well, I don't...I really can't tell you, because...I, well really, I think

they feel that Negro has been given...is a name given to them by the white

man.

F: Um huh.

V: And, while black is a...well, it's not just a name, I mean it's something

that...I don't know...that everybody used once upon a time, well, it's

still used...

F: Um huh.

V: And, well...the term Negro is just obsolete...it's just obsolete now.

I...I can't tell you why it's been changed from Negro to black.

F: One of the...but I think more than just, uh, description, physical

description, that there is a certain amount of a political connotation

involved. When someone says, "Oh, you're a Negro," by another black person.

Do you...do you sort of get what I'm saying ?

V: I think so, I'm not too sure.

F: Well, in other words, it's sort of a proud thing to say, you know, "Well,

I'm a black person, but you act like a Negro." I've heard that several
oc k5
times. Because they'll say someg'B a 'Tom', or you know, someone's

trying to be 'White', or someones an 'Oreo', you know that expression ?

V: Um huh.

F: You know, that kind of thing. Have you ever umh...had any umh...confron-

tations with blacks on this campus about not being black enough ?

V: The only time I had that confrontation, was the time...was last Thursday

night, at the...during the play. That's the only time.

F: How did that make you feel ?

V: It wa---it made me feel kind of guilty, for one thing, Uh, you know,

because I wasn't sure what I had done, you know.

21






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: I thought I had done something very terrible...that's the attitude I got

from them when they came on stage...that's what I was thinking they were

thinking towards me...that I was not all black, something of this nature.

F: How did the, what did you say, there were three other black students in the

play, how did they react ?

V: Well, one girl in the play...she haae outlash the BSU, and...

F: Right then ?

V: Right then.

F: What did she say ?

V: Well, she was for unity, just plain unity, you know.

F: Um huh.

V: She figured there was no human race...I mean, there was no black race and

white race...she told them there was only one race, and that was the human

race...and that we were ethnic groups...and the play was for the betterment

of racial relations.

F: Um huh.

V: And from there they call here an 'Oreo'.

F: What about the two others ?

V: Well, the two others said...well...she was the only one that spoke up. The

rest of us stayed silent...because I was afraid of what I might say. It may

be detrimental to my relationship to...toward the black students on campus,

so I didn't say anything.

F: Um huh.

V: Well, I guess they saw the same way in general.

F: Afterwards, you said you changed your feeling about it ?

V: A little bit. Towards the play I did, you know.

F: Um huh.

22






SUBJECT: VERMAII WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: The play should have had a little bit...the play should have been more

stronger than what it was...as far as the black man was concerned. It

just wasn't strong enough.

F: But you didn't notice that before ?

V: No, I didn't notice it before.

F: Have you spoken with the other black students, who were in the play, since

then ?

V: Yes...well, the girl that spoke out I spoke to...I was talking to her.

F: Um huh.

V: She has the same attitude she had the night of the play...although, mine

has changed a little bit.

F: Who would you consider to be the black leaders on campus ?

V: Well, I'll start from the top...Roy Mitchell, for one, and...uh, the president

of BSU, uh, Mitchell Dasher, and some other...well, some other person, I

believe...uh...I don't know, Sam Taylor.

F: Um huh.

V: I don't know him 6a person4,'4ut I think he's, you know....

F: Why did you name those people ? Roy Mitchell, ffor obvious reasons...why

the others ?

V: Well, Mitchell Dasher for obvious reasons...he's president of the BSU...

F: Um huh...go ahead.

V: Sam Taylor, I don't know him, but he...he has some authority over something,

I don't know, on campus, and that's why I named him.

F: Um huh. Do you think it would make a lot of difference if we had more

black professors here ?

V: Yes I would...ay would.

F: How is that ?






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Well, we would have.....I...well, with more black professors, I think we

would have more of a...warmer atmosphere on campus...towards...black

toward white, white, and so forth.

F: Explain that...go ahead.

V: Well, with the...well, for one thing, the black students on campus don't have

anybody to identify with, except for Roy Mitchell...

F: Um huh.

V: And, well, the girls...they don't have anybody to identify with, and Roy

Mitchell...is only an administrator, he's in his office, he's not a teacher.

And Atudents identify with there teachers most of the time. Especially,

when you just come out of high school...come to college and so forth.

You don't have anybody to identify with, except for Roy. Yo---you...there

not fond of a white professor...except for Steps, you know...you might be

called an 'Uncle Tom', you know, so it's better to have...

F: You mean, you think, if somebody were friendly with a white professor,

that he might be called a 'Tom', just by being friendly ?

V: No, not friendly...no, he wouldn't be called a 'Tom' just by being friendly.

F: Um huh.

V: But...a black student would be more comfortable having a black professor

as a friend...than having a white professor as a friend.

F: Do you think it would make any difference in academic instruction ?

V: No. I think there would be more ease ath learning with black professors

here.

F: Why is that ?

V: Well, you feel at ease...more at ease, with somebody...who is a part of you,

you know,..

F: Um huh.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Somebody who is experienced some of the things you have experienced.

F: Do you think...most black PhD.s are sort of easy for the average student

to identify with ? In other words, there's talk to the fact, tthat a lot

of black PhD.s...are blacks who have made it. You know, just don't have

that much in common with the average black man on the street.

V: I don't know about that, because...I really can't...I really don't know,

but I feel that...there no...there no different from anybody else, any

other black man.

F: Um huh.

V: With a little status...he has a PhD. They aren't any different from a black

man with a masters degree...except for the education.

F: What about...

V: But you...you find some who would automatically get uppity after they get

there degree..

F: Yeah, that's what I was wondering about. Did you have kri4k professors at

Edward Waters ?

V: I had a few...yeah.

F: Were they...did you feel comfortable with them ?

V: Yes, I did, because...well, to me they were sort of liberals, and the---well,

they seemed...they seemed to understand the problems...

F: Um huh.

V: You know, when you asked them why they come to Edward Waters, and not a

bigger school...because they wanted to help...us students. That's there

reason for coming, you know.

F: Right.

V: And here we find...then we figure we have a friend here, you know, We've

got a friend who is willing to help us.

25






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS

INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





F: Um huh.

V: Other than that he wouldn't have come here...to an all black school like

that.

F: What about more black students ?

V: On this campus ?

F: Um huh.

V: It would be a great help if you had more black students on this campus.

F: How would that happen ?

V: The atmosphere...I...you know, the atmosphere would be, I don't know, it

would be just more lively. The atmosphere of the black students on campus

right now is kind of cold, because we're a...it's a very small number, you

know. We don't see each other often...very often, you don't...you know ,

I go to class. I see about one...once a day, or something like that,

you know, I don't pass by that many...

F: Um huh.

V: ...going to classes.

F: You think it would be a warmer feeling...just blacks in this field...

V: Right...just to see somebody black, you know...

F: Um huh.

V: ...every once in awhile, but the way they...the way things are now...you

just don't...you just don't see black students on campus...they're so

scattered around, and once we're scattered, we're just lost...lost in the

crowd. We don't see each other.

F: Can you think of anything else you want to talk about ? You know, things

you've been thinking about...about...in relationship to the kind of things

we already have talked about.






SUBJECT: VERMAN WILLIAMS


INTERVIEWER: FREDRICK SHENKMAN





V: Not in particular...I don't think I can think of anything right now.

F: Umh...let me just turn...







END OF INTERVIEW




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