Interview with Carl T. Rowan, May 14, 1964

Project: Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Carl Thomas Rowan (1925-2000) was a journalist, writer, and television commentator. Rowan was one of the first African American officers to serve in the Navy during World War II. After serving as a communications officer in the navy, he earned a degree in mathematics from Oberlin (Ohio) College in 1947 and received a Master's in Journalism from University of Minnesota in 1948. Rowan was a copy editor for the Minneapolis Tribune and in 1950 he became one of the first African American reporters reporting largely on the civil rights movement. Rowan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State from 1961 to 1963 under President John F. Kennedy, Ambassador to Finland 1963-1964, and director of the U.S. Information Agency from 1964-1965. Rowan was the first African American to attend meetings of the National Security Council. In this interview Carl Rowan discusses the state of African American organization leadership, such as the NAACP, CORE, and the National Urban League, within the civil rights movement. He discusses the difficulty in making a distinction between the civil rights movement in the North and the South and describes the feeling of regional persecution throughout the South due to the prejudices of the northern states. Rowan also discusses the relationship between economics, race, and social class. He describes African American identity and culture and compares Southern whites and Southern African Americans. Rowan talks about militancy and its effect on the civil rights movement and leadership within the civil rights movement. He considers whether the civil rights movement is a revolution, discusses the meaning of the slogan "Freedom Now" and the symbolism associated with the colors "black" and "white". Rowan also provides his views of President Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

Interview Accession

2003oh028_rpwcr017

Interviewee Name

Carl T. Rowan

Interviewer Name

Robert Penn Warren

Interview Date

1964-05-14

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

No Restrictions

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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Rowan, Carl T. Interview by Robert Penn Warren. 14 May. 1964. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Rowan, C.T. (1964, May 14). 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.

Rowan, Carl T., interview by Robert Penn Warren. May 14, 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/xt7prr1pgw14


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