Interview with Ruth Turner, David Cohen, May 7, 1964

Project: Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Ruth Turner (now Ruth Turner Perot) was the Executive Secretary of the Cleveland, Ohio chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and a member of the National Action Council. Turner was born in Chicago, Illinois where she attended Oberlin College and studied the German language. After her graduation, she received a grant and attended a university in Germany. A year after returning from Germany she received her Master's in Teaching from Harvard School of Education and taught German in the Cleveland Public Schools before becoming the Executive Secretary for the Cleveland Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Turner is credited with articulating the Black Power philosophy. In this interview Ruth Turner describes her involvement with Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and recalls the events in Birmingham, Alabama that convinced her to leave teaching and devote herself fully to the Congress of Racial Equality. Turner describes civil rights leadership within the white community and the role of the white liberal or the white committed. She describes the situation in which a white civil rights activist, Reverend Bruce Klunder (1937-1964), was killed during a demonstration. Turner discusses the civil rights situation in Cleveland and compares it to the situation in the South. She also discusses the lack of African American involvement in Cleveland in civil rights activities and proposes why African Americans in Cleveland are not as organized as they are in some southern cities. In addition, Turner explains the role that past generations of civil rights workers have played in pushing the movement forward. Turner describes the issues surrounding African American identity and the tension between African Americans and other ethnic minorities in Cleveland. She touches on school integration and explains her belief in quality education in addition to integration. A gentleman named David Cohen joins the interview late in the conversation and describes the poverty experienced by many African Americans in Cleveland. He explains that social, economic, and legislative changes are needed to fulfill the goals of the civil rights movement.

Interview Accession

2003oh032_rpwcr021

Interviewee Name

Ruth Turner

David Cohen

Interviewer Name

Robert Penn Warren

Interview Date

1964-05-07

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Restriction

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Turner, Ruth Interview by Robert Penn Warren. 07 May. 1964. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Turner, R. (1964, May 07). Interview by R. P. Warren. Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Turner, Ruth, interview by Robert Penn Warren. May 07, 1964, Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt76t14tj77q


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