Civil Rights Memories from a grocer from Mississippi

Essay by coreyjacinto8High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2008

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I decided to interview James Newsome, a former employer of my uncle. He is almost 78 years old and is black. He lives with his wife (who is 52, I might add). He is a retired grocer. James was glad to reminisce on his thoughts on the Civil Rights movement. He was living in Missouri at the time.

He first started off by saying that he believes that the Civil Rights movement is the most important thing to happen to America since the Civil War. It was the biggest issue by far during its time. It was so powerful. Practically everyone had an opinion and a voice on the movement. It caused people to act. It caused an uproar in emotion, especially the black community .

He recalls how he was directly affected by the movement. He actually had a Caucasian girlfriend. He vividly remembers the looks of disapproval and disgust that he and his girlfriend would receive.

It made it very hard for them to maintain their relationship and they eventually broke up due to the constant social tensions. He cites that his father’s car was covered in red paint and trashed. The ongoing hate crimes had hit home and he took it personally. He notes this event as the thing that triggered his support for the movement.

Mr. Newsome informed me about how the media played a role in the movement. He believes that the television was the most influential media medium during the era. The graphics of the movement could be accessed by virtually everyone. He vividly recalls activists being hosed down in Alabama. Current bands would often incorporate their views on the movement into their music.

Mr. Newsome wrapped up the interview by relating the movement and its results to today. He tells me that...