Civil Rights Today

Billie Mohair, black resident of Denton, Texas, discusses civil rights today 

Evelyn Black discusses the election of Barak Obama and contemporary issues in civil rights.

Evelyn Black discusses the 2016 presidential election.

Alma Clark discusses civil rights today.

Dororhy Adkins discusses civil rights in contemporary times.

Dorothy Adkins discusses the election of Barak Obama and its affct on Civil Rights

Mae Nell Shephard discusses race relations today and the need for fellowship

Linnie McAdams discusses civil rights today and how much farther we have to go as a country

Linnie McAdams discusses being invoved and working together to bring about civil rights change

Pat Gulley discusses race relations today

Members of the Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship (DWIF) who were re-interviewed in 2017 could not help but share their thoughts on the current state of civil rights in the Denton and the United States. 

In 2017 the women of the DWIF still kept up with what is going on in the area of civil rights and had some very strong opinions on it.  They spoke on subjects ranging from Black Lives Matter, to the election of the first African American President, the 2016 election and discrimination today.  When comparing the forms of discrimination the DWIF combated to current forms, Dorothy Adkins felt that “the discrimination that is on now is not the overt discrimination we had when we were fighting.  We were fighting obvious, overt, things you could see.  Now its attitudes.  Its, um, people’s ideas of other people.”[1]  Ruby Cole feels like “we still have a ways to go… it’s a lot better, but we still have some more work to do.”[2]   One thing they can agree on is that the election of Barack Obama was a major step forward for the U.S.  Evelyn Black felt that “it was so wonderful to me to have a bi-racial president.  I thought that was just a great step forward.”[3]  And Alma Clark felt, “pleased, that America had enough confidence that they felt like that a black person was capable of running a country of this magnitude.  I was pleased with it very much.”[4]  Dorothy Adkins felt like “it was a great moment.  A moment of great expectations.”[5]  Linnie McAdams had a more measured approach to President Obama’s win.  She spoke about African Americans' expectations and the fact that some African Americans expected him to work miracles.  She said, “He’s President, he ought to be able to do these things.  But unilaterally, you can do very little by yourself.  That is just not the way things go.”[6] 

While the election of the country’s first African American President was a great moment, these ladies weren’t fooled.  They know that we are not done fighting for civil rights.  Pat Gulley said “I think I’m very sad that they haven’t progressed more, and I think I’m very surprised.  I think that there is a lot of polarization today.  A lot.  I think a real need in this community is something to bring Hispanics and both races together.”[7]  And that something is clearly not the election of 2016 which was not what many people expected would happen.  Alma Clark said, “It was a shock.  It was a shock.  I thought Hillary would win.”[8]  Linnie McAdams was shocked as well because she thought his election spoke not just about Trump, but also about those that voted for him.  She said, “Trump’s language has been such that its just appalling that people would say now… I agree with everything he’s done, he’s doing exactly what he’s said he was going to and I agree with all of it.  You know and you think, my God, what kind of person are you?”[9]  However, Mrs. McAdams did see there being hope with civil rights today in that she felt that “Black Lives Matter got a conversation going that wasn’t going before.”[10]  And that will push the bar forward to continuously improve civil rights today and tomorrow.

[1] Oral History Interview with Dorothy Adkins, 2017.

[2] Oral History Interview with Ruby Cole, 2017.

[3] Oral History Interview with Evelyn Black, 2017.

[4] Oral History Interview with Alma Clark, 2017.

[5] Oral History Interview with Dorothy Adkins, 2017.

[6] Oral History Interview with Linnie McAdams, 2017.

[7] Oral History Interview with Pat Gulley, 2017.

[8] Oral History Interview with Alma Clark, 2017.

[9] Oral History Interview with Linnie McAdams, 2017.

[10] Oral History Interview with Linnie McAdams, 2017.

Civil Rights Today