Title: Wanda Dickson
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Title: Wanda Dickson
Series Title: Wanda Dickson
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'A 10;1 A /1(11

Wanda Dickson being interviewed by Fredrick Shenkman

Side One:

F: What classification are you?

W: 1UC

F: This is your second or third quarter here?

W: Third.

F: Can you move closer here so we make sure we don't.., boy

F. Where are you from?

W: Cottondale.

F: Pardon me?

W: Cottondale.

F: Where is that?

W: Um it's in Jackson County. It's near Mariana and Panama City,North West

Fl6rida, that area.

F: Where do you live here?

W: Yulee.

F: That's co-ed now?

W: Um huh.

F: Yeah I can't get used to the idea that some of these dorms are co-ed

that used to be stri...

Do you know what you are going to major in?

W: I'm undecided right now. I want to go into medicine, some area of medics

F: You mean not necessarily like a medical doctor but -

W: No, but some area yes.

F: What did you think um like when you got the qestionaire ?

W: Well --- well really I just thought it was one of those things,because

I think I've filled out about two of them since I've been here, and no

results, and I said well,this is just one of those things. But...


Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

F: Why did you fill it out ?

W: Well, well I was talking to Thomasina, and she told me that uh this was

different because,well she said you were going to do something with it.

She didn't really explain it to me, but she told me that uh she was get-

ting paid for it, and so ...

F: Yeah Tommy and Glenda Barry I guess you know something about are helping

me work with this, because there is some difficulty reaching everybody

by myself, and uh just to send out the questionnaires without someone knowing

a little more about it, at least from a friend, I thought that would uh,

you know result anything.

F: Why did you come to the university ?

W: Well -- uh, mainly because I was given more money here. I had a scholarship...

F: More money, as opposed to what ?

W: Florida A. & M. I was only given uh $2500 for four years, and that was uh,

well that wasn't enough. So here I was given a loan, a grant, and a


F: Uh, amounting to more than $2500?

W: More than--you're right. For four years. Yes.

F: Any other reasons?

W: No that is all.

F: I mean, everything else being equal you would have gone... if you had got

an equally amount of money at Florida A. & M. what would you have done ?

Would you have gone there ?

W: Well --uh, maybe I would have then, when I was making my decision to come

to college, but now I don't think I would have made that decision. If I

knew that--that what was offered here at the University of Florida, if I

had known about all the advantages that I would have had here compared to A. & M.

I would have made that decision to come here.

F: UM huh. Like what kind of things have you found out about that you weren't

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

F: aware of before ? /

W: Well uh... I like the dormotories better than at A. & M. and uh I like the
library facilities more --- well they're much more than there. I was

visiting there, well about two months ago, and uh--- well I guess I like

the privacy that I get here.

F: That's uh... What do you mean by that ?

W: Well, I can study more because I know that if I was there with more black

students, I wouldn't be motivated to study as much as I do here.

F: You mean because there's less to do?

W: Well uh...yes.

F: Well, that's interesting. You know, there are a lot of black students

complaining because there aren't enough black students to socialize with,

and that's sort of a different perspective to say: "'!ell because there's

less to do you have more of a chance to study."

W: Well --- well I say that for myself, because I was never a very outgoing

person, and I don't know, I can do my work more--I guess I can do it better

when I'm alone, and when I'm not bothered, and I know that if there were

more black students I would be tempted to... I mean I'm not against more

black students coming, but it's just that there's a time for everything.

But, I know that if I was at A. & M. I would be funin' all the time.

That's what my best friend is doing, she tells me that she goes to a

party almost every night, you know and....

F: Did you think of going anywhere else besides A. & M. and here ?

W: Well, I was thinking about Chipola Junior College, and that is in Mariana.

F: Right.

W: That's at home, but I wanted to get away from home.

F: Would you have had to live at home ?
W: Right.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

F: Yeah, that's always an advantage, going away to school.

F: What about where there are a limited number of black students here ?

There are 153 black students here.

W: Um huh

F: Do you have much social contact with them or do you more or less stay

by yourself ?

W: Well, I could have more than I do now if I wanted to, but, but...uh,

well my problem is that I'm trying to pull a 3.5, because once I was

thinking about pre-med, and uh, I have to have a 3.5, anW that takes all

&d of my time. But, uh, Oh I go to parties sometimes, but I just get

tired of the same old thing over and over again, so well, I go to church

quite a bit, and I like that here.

F: Where do you go to church ?

W: The Church of Christ.

F: Where's that ?

W: 14th.

F: Alot of students, white and black students, quit going to church when they

come to college. They feel that, either they're sort of used to their

preacher at home, or they're used to going to church with certain people,

and they're just turned off. Most students just don't go to church here.

What, do you feellretty comfortable at the church ?

W: Yes, I do.

F: Made friends ?

W: UM huh.

F: What about, you know as I said before some of the things you said seem

sort of different. How, what is your perspective of the way most blacks

seem to feel around here, after having come ? You seem to have, umh come

more optimistic about things here, and it seems to me a lot of people go

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

F: the other way. What do you think ?

W: Well, I think that since I've been here they umh probably-- they would

probably say that they would rather go to Florida A. & M. or other black

schools, but I aS.,tenthinking they too see the many opportunities here, and

the many advantages; but, well, I think that the only reason they would like

to go to a black school is for the umh social reasons.

F: But, you think that there is more academic opportunity here ?

W: Right. Yes.

F: What makes you think that ?

W: Well ... Well I don't know,T, I just feel like a white school is more

qualified to...to give a -- I guess a broad education; in comparison to a

black school.

F: What kind of high3chool did you go to ?

W: It was a black, predominantly black.

F: Predominatly black ?

W: The faculty was integrated.

F: But, virtually 100 % black students ?

W: Right.

F: That's typical, so would you say then that the black students here say

they wish they'd gone otherwise it's not because of academic reasons,

it's because of social reasons ?

W: Yes, that's the way I see it.

F: Um huh, what about well uh, how well are you doing academically ?

W: Well, uh, the first quarter I had 2.6, and the last quarter I had 3.3


F: That's really great.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

W: I don't know how I'm doing now. I guess I'm in the middle right now.

F: Are you taking mainly 'C' courses?

W: Uh, I have Calculus and Chemistry, and uh Institutions and English.

F: Who do you have for Institutions ?

W: Umh, what's his name ? I can't pronounce it. It's G-i-

F: Giannini.

W: Right

F: Umh.

W: Right.

F: But, so you say you really think you can do better than you've been doing.

But that's pretty good. What did you get a 3.3, uh, What would you change

as far as your academics ? Anything ?

W: What do you mean ?

F: Well, in other words, frankly, you know you seem to have a pretty different

perspective than most people. Most people have found a lot of problems in

their classes, and in their background, their preparation. You don't seem

to find any of this.

W: Well, I did the first quarter, especially in my English class.

F: Why ?

W: Well, in hig school we had Englis but we didn't write as much as we do

here in college...

F: Um huh.

W: And my writing showed this. You know. Well you know through the director

of minority affairs we got tutors for the black students, and through my

tutors I began to write, well, in such a way that my grades improved, and

last quarter I got an 'A' in English, and this quarter in English I'm

writ ng papers all 'A', 'A-', 'B+', it's been, you know like that, where-

as, the first quarter they were 'D';and 'C'I

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

F: What, what was wrong with your papers ?

W: Well, the main thing was she told me I was writing well, but it was too


F: Um huh.

W: And I didn't support what I wrote. I just wrote general statements, and didn't

support it; whereas, in highschool that's what I did all the time, you know,

and I got marked A's on it.

F: So, do you still have tutors in any areas ?

W: Well, yes, uh, the 'C' courses, and Chemistry has.

F: You have tutors in 'C' courses ?

W: For Institutions and English.

F: Who tutors you for that ?

W: Umh, the people were gotten through the office of minority affairs, umh,

Gary Steele, he's a graduate student, in English,and---umh, well, (Carus

Mart) for institutions. He's a student here, a freshman student.

F: And he tutors ? He's a student and tutors ?

W: Right. Yes.

F: He must be quite a student !

W: Yes, he's always nice and prompt, he's, he's good.

F: Right, yeah, that's very good.

W: And there's another student who's tutoring in physical science, along with

Mrs. Killian--Killiam--Killian, yes, she's in Chemistry, and,uh,I guess

that's about all there is.

F: What about social life here ? Although you don't seem to miss very much.

What do you think about, 7he opportunities for social life for blacks ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Well, it's not much, except maybe, we go out in the city, but still I mean,

girls are limited. The way I see it, because if guys don't ask them out, they

would usually stay home. That's what I do, usually stay home, because I'm not

asked out. Maybe when I'm asked out, sometimes, you know, I don't really want

to go to some of the places where they're going.

F: Like where ?

W: Well, there's this place over in, umh, East Gainesville, I'm not sure which

section, but they call it "Pop's", and mostly kids like to hang out there.

I've been once or twice, but I don't particularly like it.

F: Um huh.

W: Then, there's sometimes I'm ask to the movie, and I go to the movie, and

there's this night club called "The Village Gate", and you have to be over

21 now, but I went once, and I guess they didn't check my I.D. Well they saw

it, but they didn't check uh, for the age. And, uh, that place is all right,

but it's so far out, and then, most of the guys from campus don't have cars,

and that limits us.

F: So what do you do usually if you go out on campus ?

W: Usually I go to a movie or a party on campus, or a party in the city, umh---

that's all I guess.

F: Um huh. Do you date guys of campus ?

W: I have been doing that,,yes.

F: More so than guys on campus ?

W: Evidently nodded her head affirmatively.

F: Why is that ?

W: Well, usually the guys off campus have cars.

F: Um huh.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed
by Fredrick Shenkman

W: And, uh, a car is an advantage I think, in Gainesville, and the guys on

campus --- well, the first of the quarter, we had this thing about, uh,

they didn't want to date us. They wanted to date the white girls. Well, I

guess that, I guess that's the way it seems to me, and they didn't ask us

out, so well, the only alternative we had was to go in the city, you


F: Um huh.

W: And, I guess that's how I got involved with, you know, some of the guys in

the city. Even now most of the black guys on campus, uh, well, they ask the

black girls out sometimes, but, uh, I think most of them really are going

the other way.

F: Dating white girls...

W: My personal opinion. Pardon ?

F: Going the other way, you mean dating white girls ?

W: Yes. Some of them anyway.

F: Do black girls date white boys ?

W: Well, as far as I know, I've seen only one.

F: Um huh.

J: Whereas, the black guys, I've seen, oh...

F: You see that a lot more often.

W: Yes.

F: Why don't you think black girls date more white guys ?

W: I don't know.

F: You must have thought about it.

W: Well... Why do, white girls do not date...

F: Yeah. In other words, you said it seems a lot more prevalent, that black

guys are dating white girls.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Right.

F: And, you said black girls... I get mixed up, don't date white guys, you

know, as much, and I was asking why you thought that was true.

W: Why do I think it's true ? I mean, I don't understand...

F: Yeah. Well it's not a question, uh, uh, I mean the phenomenon exists.

W: Oh. Why does it...

F: I'm asking why.

W: Why

F: Yeah. Right.

W: Well, I think the reason it all started the first quarter, was that uh, there

were more black freshman girls on campus than any other girls, any other -

black girls, and, uh, well, well, this is the way the guys put it: they said

they ask us out, us out, and we would always tell them we had to study.

F: Um huh.

W: And I've said it once or twice, but I was being sincere about it, and, uh,

well, they said they weren't going to ask us any more, so. And as far as the

uh, black girls and white guys are concerned, I don't--- Well I have some

white friends, I mean guy friends, but I guess, I don't know, I can't, I

don't know why.

F: Do white guys ask black girls out ?

W: I don't know. Well, I've never been asked, I don't think any of my friends

have. So, I can't really say.

F: Would you go ?

W: Where did I go ?

F: Would you go, if they asked you ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: I don't know. It's a matter of opinion. It's accor... If I know him, I


F: Um huh.

W: If I think, if I think he's a nice guy, and I think, if I think, that he is

uh, not uh, I guess a false liberal. You can, well, I can tellthem.,

F: You can always tell, huh ?

W: Um huh.

F: You can just spot the people just walking down the street.?

W: Well, not really, I have to uh, well talk to him first, then if, I don't

know. It comes out.

F: Um huh.

W: Somehow.

F: Do you think,(I know this is just an opinion, and that you can't, it's hard to

speak for other r'peple.) do you think other black girls would date white guys

if they were asked out ?

W: I don't k4ow. Well, I know my best friend will not. She told me, well she told

me uh, she would rather have a black guy. I would too, but it's just that, uh,

I would go out with a white guy, but I think I would be doing it just to show

the black guys that we can do what they are doing.

F: Um huh. Do the black girls resent black guys dating white girls? They do ?

W: Very much so, yes.

F: Do they let them know ?

W: Well, I know at a BSU meeting it came up once, and uh, a lot of girls had

something to say about it, because, well, the way, the thing is, uh, first

quarter we had a Bsu meeting, and the guys were telling us that uh,they

better not see us with a white guy, because, if they did they wouldn't

speak to us anymore, and so, so we, you know, we watched our steps. But,

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: then, well, they are with white girls in front of us, and... Well, the

thing is I don't really care what they do, but it's just that they disrespect

us, you know, when they are around the white girls.

F: I've heard that. Why ? What are you saying is happening ?

W: Well, I know at, uh, we had a meeting once, and certain important people of

the BSU came. Well, it was uh, black and white students there. And, certain

important people of the BSU came in, and they, well they spoke to us, but uh,

then after that it was as though that we weren't there, you know, and I mean

they were talking with the white girls, and woofing on them, well, "Trying

to book them," as Mitch put it. And, uh...

F: You mean Mitch was saying bad things about that ? About that behavior ?

W: No, I didn't mean that, no I didn't mean it like that. He was, uh, this is

confiden--confidential isn't it ?

F: Yeah. Right, right.

W: Well, well he was one of the guys that was, uh, woofing on the white girl,

so to speak, but, uh, he wasn't saying bad things.

F: No, no, see I misunderstood you. I thought that you meant that you said that

he was putting the other people down, and now you are saying he was one of

the people.

W: Right. Yeah, he wasn't...

F: That's different. He's married isn't he.

W: And--- well, I guess it doesn't really matter to me, but they disrespect us,

the black women.

F: Do you let them know ?

W: Well, we have, well at the BSU meeting that time, we were telling them about,

we didn't like what they were doing, and thewere telling us that they were

uh, (Let me see how was it put ?) uh, it was a political move to uh, they said


Wanda Dickson beinginterviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: they were going to do anything they could to out do the white men, if they

wese this woman, you know,they would do it. Their reason was, it was a

political move.

F: Do you believe it ?

W: Do I believe it ?

F: Um huh.

W: No.

F: Nor has any black girl I've ever spoken to believed it. That's sort of

funny, but I don't know, I guess black girls are supposed to be naieve or

something, you know,you know the way everybody says,"oh yeah really, that's

right, "You know we don't really dig those girls, we're just, we're just

using them, you know, we're just getting back for what's done to our

women all the time."

W: Yeah. That's what they say, but I don't believe it.

F: Yeah,and as I said, nor has anyone else I've ever spoken to believed it.

I wonder if they believe you know sometimes people say things, they

convince themselves, and actually start believing it themselves, they've

told it so many times. What kind of social things do they have on campus for

black students ? -P their or not they're organized specifically, what kind of

things do people wind up doing ?

W: Oh, we have a party almost every week, sometimes twice a week, on weekends

that is.

F: Um huh.

W: And uh, I guess that's about all. That go-on-on campus,that happens on campus.

Nothing else, except maybe something we organize ourselves, I guess, uh, we


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: have, well sometimes we have uh, uh, a ball game, I guess, A football game.

F: On Saturdays ?

W: Right.

F: Um huh.

W: And sometimes we go swimming, well they have done it. I guess about twice.

Swimming at the pool. And, uh, that's about all I can really think of, that

we do, I mean, you know, on campus that is.

F: O.K. I, I think the black white issue aside, I think, uh, it's sort of

interesting, that here, what we're talking about, reported from guys is so

terribly different, in other words, the accepted common opinion is, is that

the black girls on this campus are snobs.

W: ;ho said this now ?

F: Most black guys, and the black girls -,- they tried to go out with you, and

&Wt you just wouldn't, and you're all the time making up excuses, and you

just expect too much, and put them down, and would rather go out with guys in

the community that you can feel superior to. What's your comment to that ?

W: I disagree.

F: Well, you've got to do more than that.

W: I disagree.

F: Go ahead.

W: Well,it's not that uh, we want to feel superior to the guys, well I'll tell

you from my own personal experiences...

F: O.K.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Some of the guys that asked me out on campus were, well I thought they were

nice guys, and then when I went out with them, I mean they tried to take

advantage of me, and well, uh, I'm against that.

F: Um huh.

W: And, uh, I mean, like I know there's this guy, who I went out with last

weekend, I mean, I hate this the thing to say, but he just got on my nerve.

F: Um huh.

W: Well, we argued so much, but most about religion, and--- I guess I'm

different from most girls, but there's some black guys that just get on

my nerves. That's all.

F: But you feel you can get along better, let's say, with the guys off

campus ?

W: Umh--- No not really. No I wouldn't say that.

F: See, the guys have suggested to me that they think it's a real slight,

in other words, a girl would rather go out with a guy with a car, who's

a truck driver than go out with a guy who, here, who, doesn't have a car.

And, they figure, well, that's crumby values. Is tAft true ?

W: Well, I don't know. I guess it is.

F: The girls that date guys off campus, what, what do those guys do usually ?

Let me know.

W: I guess they're usually students at Santa Fe.

F: I see.

W: I guess.

F: So, you're including those people, as off campus people, as Santa Fe

students ?

W: Right. Those are the only guys off campus I know, the ones who are at

Santa Fe.

F: Um huh.


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: You seem to be pretty optimistic about the kind of things that have

happened here so far. Can you think of, let's say, well, your relation-

ship to white students ? How is that then ?

W: Well, it's, it's, well, as much as I can expect, I mean...

F: Well, what about it ?
W: They, they treat me nice. I don't know wether it's real, or what. I mean,

well, I guess it would have bothered me, I guess about--- maybe the first

quarter, but now I say what the heck, you know. They're white, and they're

but, I mean they're stereotyped is the way I'm saying it.

F: Um huh.

W: I guess I'm stereotyped for saying this, but, I mean, they're white and

I'm black, and if they can't accept that, you know, but so far nothing

really has, bad has happened to me. Except, maybe, my roommate moved out

the first quarter, but that was...

F: You originally roomed by chance, had random sele--- Would you excuse me I

may have a phone call. Let me just see if this is for me. Social Sciences.

---- O.K. just a minute. I don't--- Uh, have, what happened with your

roommate ? You just wound up, and you, well, the first day you found out

she was, uh, white ? Well, uh, were you there both at the same time ?

W: No, uh I was there, I guess about two days, but I knew she was going to be


F: How did you know that ?

W: I don't know, I just figured that. I just figured she had to be white.

F: O.K.

W: And uh, well really I wanted her to come on so, you know, we could get

the meeting over with.

F: Um huh.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: But, she was about two days late, because she was here during summer

quarter, and she had registered already. And uh, well, that night, I

think I went out to, uh, I went out somewhere,anyway when I came back

she was in her room unpacking, you know, and so the girl next door came,

and says, "Wanda your roommate is here." I said,"Really?" So I go in my room

F: That is for me. Excuse me again. I'm sorry. --- O.K. I'm sorry.

W: Well, uh, well we meet you know. We start talking about, you know the, I

guess the-- everyday stuff. You know, where was I from ? And...

F: Yeah. Right.

W: You know, things like that. And then, uh, about the next week we got on

very well, you know, we talked, and uh, well I'd always been very quiet,

you know, and uh, I talked, I guess, well I would never really start the

conversation first. She usually did that, and then when she did that I

would just talk, you know. And uh, I we... went to bed pretty early then.

There's nothing to do. I got my studying done, so I went to bed. And then,

I guess about, uh, two weeks had passed, and she invited her boyfriend over,

And uh, she asked me could her boyfriend spend the night there, you know,

I said it was alright. So...

F: Where were you going to be ?

W: I was in there. He slept on the floor.

F: Everybody was going to be there ?

W: Right. And so, uh, well I got up the next morning. I was getting dressed

to go to church, you know, but I thought that she was going to ask him to

leave that morning. But he was there, you know, I guess, 'til about twelve,

and I had to get dressed. So, I had to go in the bathroom to get dressed,

And then,the next weekend, she asked me was it all/ight if he came up. I said

yes, but, and she said was it allright if he, see if he could stay, and I


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: yes. And so, I thought maybe she meant he was going to stay just one night,

but uh, he was there the whole weekend, and so I told her, I felt uncomfort-

able, you know, when he was in the room. And uh, well, I guess, I came in

one night, and he was on the floor, no she was on the floor, he was in bed,

and, that's when she woke up, and that's when I told her I felt uncomfortable.

F: Um huh.

W: And uh, well I got ready for bed, you know, I went to bed, and the about,

I guess about an hour later, I guess it was about three o'clock--- I got

in about one I guess, I guess, yeah about two hAours later, that's about

three o'clock, she uh, she woke him up, and she ask him to leave. And so,

he left. And, the next morning I got up and I spoke to her, and she spoke to

me, good morning and all,and she didn't say anything else to me that day, and

the next day she didn't say anything. The next day she didn't say anything,

and uh, I asked her was anything wrong, and she didn't say, well, she said,

"No nothings wrong." And then one day, I was in the room, at my desk writing,

and she had lost her keys, and uh, I guess she didn't want to say anything,

well, to me, so she wrote a note, and left it on the dresser, and told me,

told me not to lock the door. So, well, I figured then, that she didn't want

to say anything to me, and so I didn't bother to speak to her anymore. And uh,

I know I came home one day, and one of the girls, who lives over at Wheeler,

met me in the bathroom, and said, "Are you Wanda?" And I said, "Yes." She

said, "I hear that your roommate is moving out, is it o.k. if I move in with

you?" I said, "No my roommateisn't moving out. And she said, "Well, I

hear she is." Well, I say, "I don't--- No I don't think so." And she said,

"Well if she does move out is it o.k. if I move in with you ?" This was a

white girl. So I said,"Yes, it's alrightt" And, uh, I ask her why, why did

she want to move out ? And she told me her roommate was a bitch, you know,

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: So, I said, "Well, if you want to, if you think you can stand living with

me you're welcome to move in." She said, "O.K." But, uh, my roommate came

back in the room, and I asked her, I said, "Are you moving out ?" She said,

"Yes, I'm moving out." I said, "Where you moving ?" "Well I'm moving down

the hall with Kay. And I asked her why, and she said, "Well, I think that,

uh, if you,wanted to maybe one of your black friends would want to move in,

and you'd probably get along better than we, we did." And I said, "Alright,

fine with me." Then she was moving, and I ask her did she want me to help her,

and she said, "No, she could do it on her own. That's all. And she left, and,

well, she, she lived down the hall, I guess about, three doors down.

F: Um huh.

W: And she didn't say anything to me anymore. Oh yes, except well, I told Roy

about, you know, her moving out and all, and uh...

F: Roy Mitchell ?

W: Yeah. I, uh, I told Mr. Mitchell about it.

F: Well you can call him Roy. I just wanted to make sure I knew who you were

talking about.

W: O.K. And uh, Well he, he talked to housing about it, and housing talked to

her about it, and she came and asked me why did I do,,it. Well, I told her I

did it because Roy told us to report anything that happened, you kniow, why our

roommate moved out, anything like that, and I did. And you know, she, well she

was kind of upset about it. Then she didn't say anything more to me, and I

didn't say anything more to her. But, her roommate spoke to me. I don't know

whether it was uh, you know, pretense or anything, but she spoke to me. She

still speaks to me now and then. But my roommate then did not come back this

quarter. So...

F: Um huh. You think it's because you're black ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: hie moved out ? No, I'm thinking she moved out because uh, because I

didn't want her boyfriend spending the night, and that's yhe main, that's

why I think she moved out.

F: Um huh.

W: She may have moved out because I was black, but from the first week, I

mean, it didn't seem as if she minded.

F: Yeah. You think basically it was a conflict about the roommate, rather than

black or white ?

W: Yes.

F: What about anything outside the dorm, on campus, as far as, you know, the

way you feel black students have acted towards you? The relationships

you've had ?

W: Well at church, it's uh, well, I guess I li--, I like to go to the church,

because there's so much love there, I mean they're considered black and white,

I guess.

F: Do you go to an integrated churQh?

W: Yes.

F: Where is it ?

W: The church---well, it's not really integrated, it's about three or four black

people I guess.

F: Oh! It's mainly a white church ?

W: Yes.

F: Oh, I didn't know that. Where is it ?

W: On 14th St. over by --umh-- Krispy Kreme, somewhere over there.

F: Um huh.

W: And, well, they've been so wonderful to me there. That's why I keep going

back. But uh, I guess I have, I guess I haven't run into any real problems.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: What about the teachers ?

W: Well, my English teacher the first quarter, I said she didn't like me

because IV black, because of my English papers. But, you know, I was

just saying that. Some excuse. But, now I'd say it was my--- really me,

because the way I was writing. And uh, well, I know sometimes in class,

she would uh, well usually there was this white girl that sat next to me,

and we would talk a lot. But uh (cough! excuse me), she did most of the

talking. And uh, the other people in the room would talk to, but she didn't

say anything to them. I mean usually when this girl start talking to me, you

know, she would say something out-loud, you know. Interupt the class, and say

aL&C we were interupting the class and all. So, I guess that's about all.

Nothing really has happened to me. I guess I've been lucky.

F: Any other classes either ?

W: No, nothing. Nothing open that is. It may have happened, I mean, but I

didn't know.

F: .hat about, have you had any dealing with any administrators ?

W: Well------, no other than the people in Tigert, I guess.

F: Pardon me ?

W: No other than the people in Tigert Hall.

F: You have come into contact with them ? Howlve;your relations been with them ?

W: 'Well, I don't know, I guess they seem---well, I guess they would do the same,

the same thing for a white student that they did for me, but, uh, I don't

know. I don't know how to say it. Th..., I guess they seem neutral.

F: Um huh. You feel that, you know, whatever relationship you have had with

them, has been pretty much the way they treat any other student, you know ?

W: Right. I guess so.

F: Same thing with, umh, possibly the staff, secretaries; You ever have

anything ?


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Well, other than the girls on the desk at my dormitory. They seem to be, uh,

I don't know, I guess, when I go down there for something, I'll usually never

try to go during the day, because I don't like the way they act toward me.


F: What, what do they do ?

W: Well, sometimes, I know once I went in, and I asked for a--- well I was

standing there, you know, and I thought maybe she was going to say, "Could

I help you?" and, she didn't say anything, and she wouldn't even look at me,

so I asked for a, uh, whatever it was I was, I went down there for.

F: Um huh.

W: And uh, she said uh,"Yes, just a minute." I mean, hhe was very short with me.

And, I said, "Than+ou." and she didn't say anything. And, I think it

happened about three different times. I went down there for something, and

they were very short with me, and so I,I don't bother, well, I try not to

go down there during the day; unless I really have to. And then at night,

they're, well the night people are very nice. I mean I can just talk to them.

Well, they're old ladies, but still I can talk to them.

F: Um huh.

W: You know, about general things that is. But uh, I try never to bother those

during the day.

F: Umh--- A lot of black students here, seem to differentiate, you're probably

familiar with the terminology,They say there are some colored people on this

campus, there are some negros on this campus, and they say there are some

black people on this campus. What do you consider 6durself ?

W: Oh, that's a hard question. Well, I would consider myself black.

F: Um huh.

W: But uh, I'm quite sure some of my ultra militant friends would consider me

Negro. I think I've passed, in their eyes, I think I'm passed the colored
stage. But uh...

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: But, was there a time that you were, in the colored stage, at least the way

you feel these people received you ?

W: Oh yes. I guess when I was in highscholl, I guess about 10th, 11th, 12th


F: Why was that ?

W: Because I, I don't know, I guess I never identified with the black movement,

or the black people, until, I guess, after my senior year in highschool, when

I went away to Massachusettes. I mean I saw what it was really like, what it

was really like, and then I cou-- well, I don't know, I guess I never really

thought of it. I mean, it was just something, you know I, sa..., that's

happening up there, this is 'Cottondale' nothing is happening here, so...

F: What kind of place is Cottondale ?

W: It's a hick town. It's very small.

F: Mainly black ? Mainly white ?

W: Well, there are more whites than black.

F: Um huh. But, you just, were you just removed from any kind of thing, or are

you just, you know ?

W: Well, I guess I lived about three miles from the town.

F: Um huh.

W: There were two white fab--families out there, but we never, you know, really

had anything to do with them, oa they didn't have anything to do with us.

And then uh, I went to a black school. I guess the only white people I was

in contact with, were the faculty there, and they treated me all eight.

And, I guess I've never really had, had to many contacts with white people


F: Um huh.

W: Except maybe, well, my junior year in highschool, I was a student down here,

in a summer program, and I had a white roommate then, and she was pretty nice.


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: Um huh.

W: That was about my first time.
F: So you mean lack of contact with whites made you a c ored person ?

W: I guess so.

F: And you feel that the more you come into contact with whites, the blacker

you get.

W: I see what they are. Right, right.

F: What changed you in Massachusettes ? What did you do ?

W: Well, I worked at a, at a one of the companies there, a insurance company.

Yes. And uh, there were about,I guess there were about uh, in the particular

department, where I worked, there were about five black employees.

F:Excuse me. We'll take a minute. The secretary came and got all that stuff,

and left you a note.

?: Gail, o.k. Thanks.

F: Um huh.

?: Pardon me for interupting.

F: That's alright.

W: There were about five black employees, maybe a little bit more than that,

but uh, I guess there were about 150, or so, in the department. And uh, all

the other, well all the others were uh, you know, people who just,you know,

brought the paper in, and stuff like that.

F: Um huh.

W: But, I was lucky. I was on a calculator. I passed a test, and I did pretty

well on the test, so they gave me a desk job. And, uh, I guess that was when

I really, first time, being in contact with so many white people, you know.

And uh...

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: So how have you changed ?

W: Have I changed ?

F: How/ have you changed ?

W: Well, well I guess it would have bothered me if I had, if I knew I had to be

around so many, you know, white people all the time. Now it, I mean it doesn't

bother me. Well, once I was worried about what they were thinking about me,

because I was black, you know, and maybe they didn't want to be around me.

But, now it doesn't matter, It's just--- one of those things.

F: So, back in Cottondale,you said because of your lack of contact with white

people, you just sort of weren't too aware of racial tension, and because you

just, more or less, stayed with black people. And that, you became more aware,

of the differences, after you'd come in contact. So you say you've become

blacker. This applies to you several times. So, how have you changed your,

your feelings about that ?

W: About white people you mean ?

F: Um huh. What about yourself ? You said you've changed. Do you feel differently

about yourself then ?

W: Oh yes.

F: How ?

W: Well, I guess once there was a time, I guess I would have been ashamed of

to be a black, but now I'm, I guess I'm proud of it.

F: I see, in other words, when you were,.although you were, you know, had very

little contact with white people back then, you still felt that you were a

colored person, and somewhat. But now you feel you've come in contact with

whites, and you sort of can be proud of being black. How would you define

what a Negro is ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Oh well, I guess, that's a person who doesn't really identify with the

black movement, and who's not, you know, militant in a sense. But is a,

and he isn't, you know, "Tommin' all the time, but he's just, I guess,

in the middle, you know, he's, he knows what is going on, yet he doesn't

identify with it, yet he isn't like the uh,people who knows what's going

and don't care, I guess.

F: You said you've been accused of being a negro, or a colored person since

you've been here ?

W: Well, not a colored person, Well, I guess I was, but I think it was all

in fun. But uh, well, my English class one day, well we uh, well, it's,

it's a totally black English class with a white teacher, and uh, one

day the guys asked, uh, Dr. Hodges why we didn't have a black professor,

(cough) excuse me, he, well he was explaining, uh, I think the reasons

he gave were logical, but they disagreed, so they walked out. I didn't

walk out, so, they told me I was a Negro.

F: When did they tell you about it ?

W: Umh, I guess after I came out, I guess. Well she dismissed the class

after they walked out, then I came out, you know, and they were start

talking, you know, and they said,"Well, Wanda is a Negro. I thought you

were going to walk out with us," you know.

F: What percentage of the class walked out ?

W: I guess about --- there were about 20 in there, and about five walked out,

I guess.

F: Twenty were in there ?

W: Approx...

F: Approximately, in round figures,and five walked out, and all fifteen

that stayed were Negros, because they wer....

W: That's what they said, yes.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: And, well uh, in the, in the uh, BSU we have this, newspaper,..

F: M-16 ?

W: Yes, M-16, and uh, some of the guys that walked out said they were going

to put us down as oreos of the week. So, I got into a heated argument

with one of the guys about that, and I told him that, I didn't see where

he had the authority to say who, who was black, and who was a Negro.

F: Um huh.

W: And uh, well he said, anyone who doesn't believe in the cause is a Negro.

But I...

F: In other words, a black person couldn't agree with a white person against

a black person, and still be black ?

W: Right. I guess that's the way they say it.

F: Were there--- any kind of meeting, if I said something, and uh, Mitch

said something, and you said, well uh, "I think Fred is right, then

they put you down ?

W: Right.

F: It couldn't be possible I was right ?

W: Well, you could be right, but they would say that uh, you were right

in a white, in a whites man point of view, I guess. Something like that.

F: Even about objective things ?

W: They would probably say that too.

F: Yeah, in other, some uh, if you could say, you know, you know, there

are, uh, three million blacks in the state, and someone says they are in

seven millions, we're not, we're making something up, and they said "If

you agree with him, it's because you're "Tomin'," or something." That

can be very frustrating, can't it ? In other words, you, you can't really

follow your own conscience. You have to have a black conscience, and a

black intellect. Even the things you know intellectually to be correct.


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: you have to know through a black frame of reference. Is that what

you are saying ? Have you had any other confrontations like that ?

W: No. I guess they were fun--funin' when they called me colored. You

know, like sometimes, uh, uh, maybe we'll be at a party, and someone

will say something like uh,"Are you going to march with us ?" And I

say no, and they say t"h, you're a colored girl," you know, something

like that, but I guess that's about all.

F: What kind of changes would you like to see made here ?

W: Well, I would like to see more black students.

F: What do you think that would accomplish ?

W: Well, it would make the social life better.

F: Also hinder your studies wouldn't it ?

W: Well, --- well, if I wanted to.

F: Yeah. That way you would have the op..., you would be able to make a

choice then ?

W: Yeah.

F: Umh, what else would you like to see ?

W: I'd like to see more, more blacks on the faculty I guess.

F: How do you see that as being important ?

W: Well, well mainly I think that, uh, bla--black people are more

qualified to teach about black subjects. In some areas, and I'm

thinking that if we have a black studies program here, uh black

students, black teachers can do more of a efficient job, than I

guess a white students, white teachers, that is.

F: Um huh. What about do you think is important for a black teachers to

teach a subjects that are unrelated to blacks ? You kn...


Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Do I think that is important ?

F: Yeah.

W: Oh yes. I think that, uh, well I guess it wouldn't matter as long as

there are some black faculty members here.

F: What kind of change do you think that would bring ? Why is that

important ?

W: Well it, well uh, I guess it would give white students a chance to

be taught by a black professor; something that they have never done.

F: In other words, in addition to being better for black students, you

feel it would be an opportunity for white students ? "'I'U LE

What about, aside from the dating, do black students here have much

of a uh, relationship with black people in the community, outside

the school ?

W: Well, yeah, I would think so.

F: Do you have ?

W: I guess so.

F: What kind of things do you do ?

W: Well uh, well, I guess I don't really do anything, but uh, I know

when I first came here, uh I started to go to church in a black

community, and, well I guess, well I've become quite friendly with

some of the maids and janitors, but I guess they would be connected

with the school. But uh, I associate with some of the people, but I

mean I don't really do anything.

F: Um huh. Are you active in BSU ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Well, not in the sense that the administrators are. Well, I did my

part I think.

F: Do you go to most of the meetings ?

W: Only last quarter, but I haven't been going to much tis quarter,

because uh, I'm the floor rep. for my floor. We have a meeting the

same night, but the way I've been doing, I've been alternating.

F: I see. Have you ever held any kind of position ?

W: Let me see.

F: Committee chairman, or something, for BSU ?

W: No, but I, I've worked on a committee.

F: What committee ?

W: Well, a minister communication ditr u y.

F: Communications ?

W: Um huh.

F: What kind of things did you do ?

W: Well, well I guess, no one really has been doing anything, I quess

last quarter...

F: What does that mean ? Oh! Go ahead, I'm sorry. Better clarify that.

No one has been doing anything ?

W: Well, we have been doing something, but usually, we uh...

F: Tell me, just the people on your committee, or BSU in general ?

W: Well, I guess the BSU in general.

F: You really feel that way ?

W: Well, I guess, the only time we, we do something, when something happen,

like the incident last quarter.

F: Um huh.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: I mean, that was when we really got to working then. Except, I mean,

we've had some social events, like we had a big dance one night, and,

but we haven't really done anything. The way I see it.

F: What would you like to see Black Student Union do ? More than it is ?

W: Well, I guess, I guess now, since that incident happened, we have been

doing something, because, well, we've been trying to do something.

We started this free breakfast program in the community, and a few

other things we're doing, but uh, I guess that's, I don't know what

is, what else that there is that we can do. I, I don't know.

F: Well this ques---it's, uh, it's--- I want to ask you to name who you

thought were the four, let me state it two different ways, whom do

you think, who are let say the four, outstanding black student leaders

on this campus ?

W: Outstanding black student leaders. Well I would say Mitch, and I

would say roy mitchell...

F: Um huh.

W: And uh...

F: Well obviously he's administration, but uh these are students.

W: Does it...

F: Yeah. Well o.k., it doesn't matter.

W: I excluded Roy. Uh, I'll say Mitch, and I'll say Rosalin Ward, and-----

well Larry Walls, but...

F: Larry Jordan ?

W: Yes, I say Walls but he doesn't seem to identify with us any more, somev~.o

I'm gig t y he was kicked out of the BSU. Does that...

F: Pardon me ?

W: Well, I've heard he was kicked out of the BSU.

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

F: By whom ?

W: I don't know.

F: Can you be kicked out ? Just, I mean, you know...

W: I don't know. I guess it was a matter of speaking, but uh I don't know,

I haven't seen him in a meeting. )

F: Well who, who has said that ? I mean, you have to name names, but it

won't matter if you did, because no one would know, but I was jus...

W: Umh--- it was one of the ministers. I think it was Steve, I'm not sure.

F: Steve Baker ?

W: Yes. I'm not sure who it was, but uh, it was...

F: What was the context? I mean just bring it up that Larry was kicked out.

W: Well it was all, during the campaign, and uh...

F: Student Government campaign ?

W: Right. Yes. And uh, Steve Youthfellow, I believe, had asked Larry,

what, what could he use for, you know, his platform for black students,

and Larry told him, well don't bother,us, we don't want to identify with

you. Don't bother us, you know, leave us alone. And uh, well, when Steve

Youthfellow came over to my dorm, you know, to speak, I asked him about

it. What was he going to do for the black students ?

F: Um huh.

W: And he told me that, you know. So, I was mentioning it one day, uh, we

were in the BSU office, and uh, uh, well somebody said, that uh, well,

I don't blame Larry, but I don't think Larry could speak for all of us,

because he was kicked out of the BSU. So I say...

F: Did you ask why ?

W: No. I mean, I just, I know Larry, and some of the things that he does

uh, uh, well unbecoming. So, I think...

F: They're what ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Unbecoming I think.

F: I, I...

W: Unbecoming

F: Oh! Unbecoming.

W: Yes.

F: Oh, I see. Like what ?

W: Well--------- well---- I guess they are unbecoming to me. For one thing,

he doesn't date any of us, he dates, uh, he goes out with the white girls

quite a bit, and uh, he disrespects the black girls when he's around us.

F: What does he do ?

W: Well, he well he speaks and all, but he, he will usually have a white

girl with him, then after that he doesn't --- say anything more to us.

And then I know one day he was--- talking to a white girl, and a black

girl passed by, and she spoke, but he didn't say anything, you know, so...

F: The reason I, you know, I don't care about Larry --- in particular, but

I think most white students on this campus, in addition to white teachers

or administrators, feel that he is like a real strong leader among black


W: Oh, he is, I guess he is.

F: Who else would you name ? You named Mitch, and Larry.

W: Ros.

F: Rosalind Ward.

W: Umh, I guess Emerson Thomas. I think that's his name, Emerson Thomas.

F: Yeah, in fact I'm going to see him tonight.

W: I think he is a very good leader.

F: Is Steve Baker respected among those people ?

danda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Well, he's respected, but I--- not in the sense that Mitch, you know.

F: Well, what's the difference ?

W: Well, the way I see it...

F: Right. I'm asking the way you see it.

W: Um huh. Well, how do I see that ? I don't know why I say that, but I,

I don't relate Steve with, uh, you know, being as great a leader as

Mitch or Larry is, you know. I'm saying that Steve is in his own way,

but--- well I guess the way that I can put it, if he wants something done,

he will have a hard time trying to convince us. compared to Mitch or

Larry would.

F: Why is that ?

W: I don't know how to put it, but--- I guess, I don't know, I, I...

F: Well, obviously Steve is not polished, you know, the way Larry and

Mitch is. I don't think he has the same kind of, you know, appeal. He's

a little more crude, and this is, you know, I'm just trying to see if

that was the op, you know, this is my conception of the way that--- in

other words; one is, you know, is I say more verbal, more articulate,

and one is a little you know, uh you know what I mean, more crude. I

think that is apropos. You think that is the way people feel ? You think

by sending, in other words, these three guys represent, you know, black

students, you know, do you feel that some lack students feel funny that

one of them is Steve Baker ?

W: No. I guess not.

F: 1Why, I mean I was just guessing, I, I don't knowBut you said you were

having trou---, you felt that was true, but you had trouble expressing

why it was true. I was just wondering. Well, can you think of any other

changes that you would like to see ?

Wanda Dickson being interviewed

by Fredrick Shenkman

W: Well, I wish they would have more social activities with black students.

F: Do you think black students would socialize with white students more than

they do if given the chance ?

1: Well, yes, I think the black students now socialize with the white stud-

ents quite a bit, but I don't understand more, why you say more.

F: Well, I, I think uh, people say there aren't enough activities, you know,

sort of on campus that black students have a chance to go to parties with

a good black band, or something, that everybody was invited to. And it

seems that there are some black parties that uh, some white people that

happen to be friends with some black people go to, but there are no, by

definition, sort of inter-racial parties, you know. Would you like to

see more of those ?

W: Yes, I would.

F: I guess we can turn this thing...

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