Interview with Ezell A. Blair, Jean Wheeler, Stokely Carmichael, Lucy Thornton, March 4, 1964

Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) was a civil rights activist. While a student at Howard University, Carmichael became leader of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), an affiliate of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). By 1966 he had become Chairman of SNCC. Prominent in the Black Nationalism movement Carmichael coined the phrase "Black Power". As his message became stronger he was asked to leave SNCC in 1967 and joined the Black Panther Party. Carmichael then left the Black Panther Party in disagreement with the notion of working with whites for the revolutionary struggle. He moved to Guinea and changed his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael died in Guinea in 1998 of prostate cancer. Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (1941- ) was a civil rights activist and one of the Greensboro Four who, in 1960, sat-in at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina to challenge the store's refusal to serve African Americans. While at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Blair was elected president of the junior class, president of the student government association, the campus NAACP, and Greensboro's chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE). In 1965 he moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts after finding life difficult in Greensboro for a labeled "troublemaker". In 1968 he joined the Islamic Center of New England and changed his name to Jibreel Khazan. Lucy Thornton was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. Jean Wheeler was a civil rights activist and attended Howard University. This interview begins with Ezell Blair, Jr. describing his involvement with the Greensboro sit-ins. Blair explains what inspired the sit-in, those that were involved, and the role that NAACP and CORE played in the sit-ins. Stokely Carmichael and Blair also discuss the relationship between the NAACP, SNCC, CORE, and the SCLC. Blair discusses the effectiveness of legal and nonviolent methods in the civil rights movement while Carmichael joins to discuss mass movements. Blair also discusses the concept of the "New Negro". Lucy Thornton enters the conversation with Blair and Carmichael to extensively discuss African American identity, integration, and cultural assimilation in America and the importance of taking pride in African culture. White southerner identity and culture is also discussed. In the second part of this interview, Stokely Carmichael is not present. Jean Wheeler and Blair discuss the importance of history, education, wealth and political power in the civil rights movement. Thornton, Wheeler and Blair each respond to the question "What is a Negro?" and consider the revolutionary aspects of the civil right movement including a change in American morals and views. The differences between the North and the South and between different social classes in the civil rights movement are also discussed. Additionally, the growing impatience in the African-American community and the possible resulting violence is addressed. To conclude, Blair and Wheeler discuss violence within the civil rights movement.

Interview Accession: 
Interview Date: 
LC Subjects: 
African American leadership   African Americans--Civil rights   African Americans--Cultural Assimilation   African Americans--Economic conditions   African Americans--Education   African Americans--Race identity.   African Americans--Relations with Africans   African Americans--Segregation   African Americans--Social conditions   Blacks--Race identity   Carmichael, Stokely   Carmichael, Stokely--Interviews   Civil rights demonstrations--North Carolina--Greensboro   Civil rights leaders--United States   Civil rights movements   Civil rights movements--United States   Congress of Racial Equality   Khazan, Jibreel, 1941-   Khazan, Jibreel, 1941- --Interviews   National Association for the Advancement of Colored People   Nonviolence   Nonviolence--Philosophy   Race relations   Sit-ins--North Carolina--Greensboro--1960   Social classes--United States   Southern Christian Leadership Conference   Southern States--Race relations   Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)   Thornton, Lucy   Thornton, Lucy--Interviews   United States--Race relations   United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964   Whites--Southern States   Young, Jean Wheeler Smith   Young, Jean Wheeler Smith--Interviews  

No Restrictions

Submit a request for access to a copy of this interview. If you do not have an account, you will be prompted to set up an account in order to submit this request. If you already have an account, log in to your account when prompted.

To request an interview using our request system, you have accepted (or for first-time users you will need to accept) the terms of our user agreement below.


This AGREEMENT is for materials whose intellectual and physical property rights reside with the University of Kentucky (UK) through creation, purchase, gift/donation, or has been assigned to the University of Kentucky for the purpose of research or publication.

Use of materials is expressly limited as described in this user agreement. As a condition of UK providing recorded interview(s) THROUGH THIS ONLINE PATRON ACCOUNT OR OTHER DELIVERY METHOD, and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such, you agree to strictly abide by the following:
Copyright to the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such remains with the University of Kentucky and when use is permitted appropriate copyright credit must be given to UK:

© University of Kentucky, all rights reserved, (Project Name), Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

WHEN permission is granted, it is for one time use only and any subsequent use, including reproduction of recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such will require an additional user agreement.

While the University of Kentucky asserts ownership of the items, your use of the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such is strictly at your own risk. The user agrees to hold harmless UK, their officers, directors, employees and affiliated entities, any and all of them, against and from any liability, loss, cost, or expense whatsoever, including attorney's fees, arising out of or relating to use of the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such. UK is solely responsible for making the recorded interview(s) and/or subsequent transcript(s) of such available to you pursuant to this user agreement.

User agrees that any violation of this user agreement will cause irreparable harm to UK, agrees that injunctive relief (a court order directing that you cease activity) is an appropriate remedy and consents to such relief. Injunctive relief will be in addition to any and all remedies that may be available.

I understand that I must provide the University of Kentucky Libraries two (2) copies of any published work (includes books, journals, pamphlets, flyers, buttons, labels, video productions, etc.) free of charge. Ship to the address below:

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
Special Collections
University of Kentucky Libraries
Margaret I. King Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0039



Persistent Link for this Record: