Seeds of Discontent, episode 19 (African American junior high students)
- Publication date
Seeds of Discontent was a 1968 radio documentary series that explored discontented social groups and organizations attempting to improve their conditions in American society. Created by Hartford Smith, Jr. and Wayne State University’s WDET in Detroit, the series addressed topics including race relations, civil rights, poverty, youth, and crime. Smith’s connections with the community as a social worker allowed him to record hours of interviews with people about their lives and their opinions on contemporary issues. This episode features interviews with African American junior high students.
The series, distributed by the National Educational Radio Network, was made publicly available as part of the Unlocking the Airwaves project, a digital humanities initiative from University of Maryland and the University of Wisconsin-Madison launched in summer 2021. Learn more at https://www.unlockingtheairwaves.org/.
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- Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53704, telephone 608-264-6466. For reference inquiries or questions regarding specific titles in WCFTR's collection, please email our digital reference service at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2021-12-07 21:49:30
- Stephen P. Jarchow
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- Speaker 0 00:00:03 This is the 19th and a series of programs, entitled seeds of discontent here to present. The program is Hartford Smith, Jr. Supervisor of the screening and intake unit maintained by the Michigan department of social services, delinquency rehabilitation program. Mr. Smith tonight's program brings to close our presentations on the subject of the discontent of American Negroes. We have attempted to bring this problem into focus by using various points of view of Negro citizens, occupying various levels and reference points within the total society. In spite of these many reference points we have seen for the most part considerable consistency and concern about what has not been done and what needs to be done. The only real point of divergence among the attitudes to express was how it wants to be done while most felt that a more relevant educational system, more jobs, housing, and a massive re-education of white society, where the most crucial problems facing any strategy, our possibility of change for the better. Speaker 0 00:01:08 Some did express the opinion that the most crucial problem is community safety. That is a Negro should band together for the purpose of defense and black communities. It was felt that the winds of the future were steadily blowing in the direction of even greater repression and hardship, whether or not this is a reality. The situation remains to be saying there is some evidence in both directions. In any event, we're going to close this phase of programming on a futuristic note, we are going to the Negro kids who must someday find their place in today's complex and contradictory world. We have selected children from two inner city schools that provide educational services for large numbers of youngsters from two large predominantly Negro housing projects in the city of Detroit. These schools are Spain, junior high school located just north of Brewster Douglas housing project and Jefferson junior high school located just east of the Jeffreys housing project. Listen, as they attempt to explain their feelings and thoughts about the world, that lies ahead from the point of view of their own lives and the lives of American Negroes, Speaker 1 00:02:25 It gets started by asking you to imagine yourself, uh, to be in the future about 10 years from now, what do you see for yourself? Let's get started with you. What would you want to do? And do you feel that you're going to be able to do it? Speaker 2 00:02:48 Uh, I feel that in the years to come Negroes would have things opened up to them in some ways. Um, and I feel that I, things I'm going to be as they were in 68 people. Won't be, I think that the slums won't be here anymore. I think everything will be, uh, a very rich part of the city because right now things are going up fast, very fast. We have new buildings and everything around and, uh, by the time we're all grown and, uh, bought in our 32nd things that we have opened up. Speaker 1 00:03:30 What would you like to see yourself doing at that time? Speaker 2 00:03:34 Well, I'm interested in, um, being a secretary and, uh, I feel that probably I'll be in some kind of high store. I mean, higher office working, making. Speaker 1 00:03:48 Do you feel that you, do you see any problems that you might face in that area? Do you feel in terms of finding a job as a secretary because you are a Negro? Speaker 2 00:03:59 Well, not actually because, uh, people, uh, most of them nowadays, they don't be you as a Negro because if you got it, you cannot get to be a secretary of anytime. Speaker 1 00:04:15 How about you young, man? What do you think it will be like say 10 years from now, by the time you reach adulthood? Speaker 3 00:04:23 I think, uh, the lack would be better for everyone and that, um, people who want to get jobs will have a better chance to, because you have the qualifications. I think that used to be, to do what you have. Rather, if you have the knowledge to adjust the bed, to do this, if you feel that you want to, not for me, well, I'm interested in sports and I like to be a basketball player. And I feel that if I have the qualifications of being a basketball player, uh, anyone else I said had no trouble being a basketball player. If I, if I'm good enough and I try to do a best, I can now to live a good life of the people today, won't act as act like they have a racial problem, hope that people, some that together, some people do live together, mix up the, where else would be better 10 years from now. Speaker 1 00:05:32 How about you? Speaker 3 00:05:35 Well, I think that, you know, the world and my future, I don't think that it will become perfect, but it will have grown better. And people have learned how to live together. You know, like now it's not like it is, it used to be back in the 19 hundreds down south where it was saying, I mean, but I think that everyone, you know, they would be, um, integrating more and not as segregated as they were then. And then, uh, the Negro, uh, should be able to get, uh, a job, whatever his, uh, skills we'll, let him get one. And, uh, Speaker 1 00:06:33 Um, do you feel that you as a person will be able to do that, um, in your lifetime or, or do you feel that, uh, you were going to face some of those same problems that, uh, your, uh, ancestors did? Speaker 3 00:06:48 Um, no. No, I don't count. Uh, no, I feel that if you want to learn something and you will take the time and trouble applying it, you shouldn't have any problems in the future. Speaker 1 00:07:07 Okay. How about you in late? What did he say 10 years from now? Speaker 4 00:07:13 I don't think that it all contained within 10 years, you know, it may take longer, but I think things will be a little different and then they will, we'll have more opportunity than he has now, but, you know, 10 years is not enough time. Speaker 1 00:07:30 How much time do you think it's going to take 15 more? Speaker 4 00:07:38 Here's 10, isn't enough. You know, it's, it's pretty good now for the neighbor, you know, people have changed and, you know, they, they have, you know, considered him as a Negro, you know, just as what he can do for them. You know, if he, if a man has a Negro, he, he, you know, he doesn't think of him as an immigrant, just what he can do to help his company or, you know, to help his business. Speaker 1 00:08:07 Okay. What do you see for your show? What would you like to be? And you feel that, uh, you will be given an opportunity to do that. Speaker 4 00:08:15 I hope to come, tend to my education, go on to college. And I like to be a teacher, teach any English. I like to major in English and be an English teacher. And I think it will be easier. I mean, not easier, but, you know, I can't, I couldn't get a job as an English teacher and it wouldn't be as difficult as it was, you know, a while back on Speaker 0 00:08:47 The youngsters that you've just heard were from Spain junior high school. We moved down to the students from Jefferson junior high, later on in the program, we will combine the dialogue of boat groups as they responded to the same set of questions. While listening to the student from Jefferson, it should be remembered that they lived through the frightening events of last summer from a geographical location that was very near the center of mass destruction and suffering, Speaker 1 00:09:15 Looking at where you are now, your age now, and looking into the future show you about 10 years from now and you become an adult or do you think it's going to be like, Speaker 4 00:09:28 Well, time's a bit worse. Like the sun would come sometimes I hate to think about it because I think the Rives probably start again. Maybe, Speaker 1 00:09:42 Um, I feel things are going to get worse. Yes. Okay. How about you? I think Speaker 4 00:09:50 It's going to be better. Speaker 1 00:09:53 How about you? What do you think about 10 years from now? How old will you be? Speaker 4 00:09:59 Um, either 22, 23? Speaker 1 00:10:03 Yeah. I'm wondering, what are you seeing? Uh, things being like at that time, Speaker 4 00:10:08 I do me times. I getting worse cousin. It seems like to me a long time ago that they weren't as bad as they used to be. It's that times right now, a long time ago, they wanted as many riots as they, I want as many things going on. Um, people taking his walk, people didn't use to just walk up in front of somebody most of the time and do anything they want, but now they do this sometime. And I think they could be worse because I don't think they're getting worse because in this riot, more people look like more people got shot and there was more fights and more breaking in stores and more property getting torn up and that's, and that money is our Texas. So then we couldn't hardly do nothing about it if it wasn't for the police and all the troopers and the guys there. Speaker 1 00:11:10 Okay. I want to go back and asks the same question to you in a slightly different way. Look at what you want to do with your life. You know, what you want to be, what you'd like to do, what you'd like to be, and look at it from that point of view, it's still fielding. You feel you're going to be given an opportunity to do that, or do you feel that, uh, it won't make much difference for, Speaker 4 00:11:46 I want to be a doctor, but it's still, I don't think times will get any better the neon now to say, I still think the same. It'd be better. Cause if people try hide it, you know, get together with each other and try to work it out. I think it would be, you know, better. Well in the future, I want to be a teacher and I don't, um, I think that I'll be able to do what I want to do. I don't know about people, stop me from doing my job and doing what I want to do. I don't think that cousin, I don't think it'll get that worse, but I'm talking just about the law. I wasn't thinking about what people want through about like, if the good people I think will always be able to do mostly what do the tech do? The job that they want to get in? Something like that. They try to have enough. Well, I'd rather be a doctor because like, to help people in all kinds of ways. And like personally, they help out. I'll be happy to help them out and all the times, but she'll start riot. It's been so bad, more. It was more people injured than I have seen in a long time. Speaker 1 00:13:15 Do you feel that then if you try hard enough that, um, that the world out there, or, or the people that you have to, uh, meet with, uh, the people that you have to deal with in the future? Well, um, well in any way, stand in your way, do you feel it's going to be difficult for you? In what way? Speaker 4 00:13:42 And the way I believe that's the, like the summit probably be a race ride, then it'd be real worst shit in Speaker 1 00:13:52 Now, based on everything that, um, that you've been telling me up to this point, all of you, you seem to feel that, um, I, things will get worse because of the riot. Is this what you're saying? Or that there will be more Ryans if you feel there are going to be more? Speaker 4 00:14:13 I don't think so. There might be, but in other ways they might not be. I think there might be a little more, I'm not sure, but, but, um, this one was closer. Um, most got close enough to a race ride. And I think that the net, if there is another one like this, it just might turn out like that. Well, I don't think it was a restaurant. They said it was amazed by it. I don't think it's just, uh, it wasn't leaving, you know, just breaking in the store because the, um, right person was helping me focus in my chest. The Negro was helping me. Why, Speaker 1 00:14:54 Why do you think this happened in the first place? What do you think? Some of the reasons Speaker 4 00:15:02 I Speaker 1 00:15:03 Don't want to know what you heard, really? What do you think your own personal feeling about? Speaker 4 00:15:10 They just got tired of, um, well, um, they just got tired, you know, sitting around and having people, you know, break into their homes and having this stuff taken and everything happening and people getting killed and other, um, places getting burned down and churches getting blown up and people dying all the time. So I guess they just wanted to break in and do the same thing. I guess they think two reds make a room. Okay. We've had one riot, you know, it did make some people set up and take notice of the nigga and what he wants, but there are still some people who feels that maybe they just wanted to do it because a lot of other cities did it, you know? And I think that the ride was, it wasn't really necessary. Well, maybe it was. Yeah, it wasn't necessarily because they've been trying for a long time, uh, different ways. And none of them have seemed to work. You're not to have them sit up and take notice of the nigger. But when the riots came along, everybody decided, well, maybe this man really wants something. Maybe he's willing to fight on this, give up his life for him. And I think that will be more riots richer. Speaker 2 00:16:40 Um, I think there will be more rise too, because, uh, after the riot happens, people, they begin to think, well, some people low rated Negro because of his color. And by the way, some Negroes at, uh, do me, I'll say, well, not all new girls are, like I said, some of them, uh, can say perfect, but some are all right. They they're the same as us. But, uh, some will say, well, this Negro there, nothing not, but there will be other riots I'm just feeling. Speaker 1 00:17:22 Do you feel that, uh, that our government, um, our leaders are, are, are attempting to do the right things? Or do you feel that that, that enough is being done, uh, to avoid these kinds of things happening again? Speaker 3 00:17:41 Well, um, they're doing the right thing, but to me, uh, not enough is being done, uh, said, um, um, the Congress won't pass the open housing bill and that would benefit Libra and everyone else a whole lot. But the kindness, just what I was saying to take time for it, to see how really important it is to everyone. That's the way I feel. Any other Speaker 1 00:18:17 Ideas. Speaker 3 00:18:22 I don't want to say that most knows that writing because a lot of them live in areas where they have a lot of trash and houses stuck to got me up made on together and then not enough room for them where they want to live. And most of them for, I mean, trying to do this for the government to take notice that they want to be out their area clean, like everyone else Speaker 1 00:18:48 Think about your city, the city that you're living in and your state and your government, the people who are supposed to pass laws who are supposed to get the job done. Do you feel they're really interested in you as a human being as an, as an individual? Speaker 4 00:19:11 Well, speaking of police only most police, what do you smell? Some of them are. I know some, like take care of them. Some of them don't. I mean like sometimes, like when incidents happened, having a girl house, we would call it police. No, they half the time they don't live, come with some. Speaker 1 00:19:36 What about the people who run the country? The people that you think you run the country, you think they really interested in you? Speaker 4 00:19:45 Yes, I think so. How about you? Well, I think they'd be interested in you. If you're interested in yourself, Speaker 1 00:19:57 She liked dancing. Speaker 4 00:19:58 I said, she said, because like, like for instance, press with the school when it's personally cared for, they still didn't anything. Yeah. I don't think did the school care for them leave? Um, I think so. Speaker 1 00:20:22 Yeah. Speaker 4 00:20:24 I don't think of person from . So then they can get along with other people. Speaker 1 00:20:30 How about you? Speaker 3 00:20:32 Yes. I asked him, so Speaker 1 00:20:36 How about you Speaker 3 00:20:41 Now? Negro? I was anticipating everything seems like a Congressman made errors of them. Big sports, just everything Speaker 1 00:20:58 You were going to say something. Speaker 2 00:20:59 Yes I do. Because the black now everyone, well, almost everyone knows that it's no difference between the Negro and any other race, race up a person because all of us are human beings. Speaker 4 00:21:16 I think people have finally, you know, decided that when they go, it can't be that bad. And we ought to give the guy a chance, you know, and they are opening things up to him and giving him opportunities to do, you know, as he, they don't seek him and gives him a chance to try and accomplish what he uses to accomplish. Speaker 1 00:21:40 All right. Any of you at all frightened about the future? When you think about the future, the years ahead and the least bit frightened about what may or may not happen? Speaker 2 00:21:54 Well, I'm not fighting, but in a way I'm looking forward to seeing Speaker 3 00:22:02 I, the only one thing I'm worried about is that the war just off the subject, but normally Speaker 1 00:22:06 It's not off the subject, if you feel is important. Speaker 3 00:22:09 Well, what kind of point about the war? Because all along, we've been fighting with, I guess, other countries and we've been going over there by their lane, I guess one time they going to feel that we've been bothered. They land long enough that they had come over here and stopped buying enough. Yes. To war to, um, like he said, uh, we have been going and over to someone else's property and find your nail for someone else. He said, they make, get tired of this income, violent enough. But I do sometime I do doubt my future. And sometime I thought Speaker 4 00:22:57 Through a Korean thing, taking a sip and, um, you know, the crew and all, and want me to turn them. And, you know, they say we weren't, they weren't as, and he said, we less all mixed up and confused. And then, you know, they like, everybody gets mad and says they don't get back as simply gone declare war on them. You know, if Korea, Russia is on their side and Russia is just as bad as we are, you know, they had their missiles and bombs and all, and they can decide that they're sick of the us bother. And everybody, you know, messing around, you know, fighting other people for something that, you know, barely has anything to do with them. And, you know, they didn't, they said I'm tired of it. They will promise you. Speaker 1 00:23:47 Are you afraid when you think about the future, this is frightened you? Speaker 4 00:23:51 No, it doesn't worry me if, you know, if I work it, see what's happening. Now, if the riots get too close, you know, like fighting and killing identify. Speaker 1 00:24:05 What about other things besides the riot though? Is there anything, is there any other kind of thing that, that frightened you a lot when you shut down and, and think sometimes Speaker 4 00:24:14 It scares me a little bit. If I think that it is gonna, um, people, I, right now, you know, uh, robbing banks and then breaking into people's homes to find a place, to hide all different kinds of things and stealing. And I just think that one time when I'm grown, somebody stealing something out of my house, and then I come in, as soon as they're getting, I come in and they see me, and I just wonder what happened to me then scares me mostly, uh, men, you know, attacking ladies in the street. That's really one of the reasons why the times I don't get closed, because I mean, look, when people are doing them now, just think in the future, how to be in. Speaker 1 00:25:00 Do you think people have learned anything, um, after all this has happened, do you think people are going to try to change? They're going to try to do better. Speaker 4 00:25:10 I think some people are trying to change this. Some don't I think, I think in a way, in my opinion, I think it's not going to tell him because the police, the ones that, the ones that carry the guns, see if they, they didn't hit him guns, they wouldn't be nothing. They'd be all by himself. Cause when they see like black, if you get in a fight with a white person or something like that, and then the police, they won't hardly do nothing to them, but they'll get, you'll get most of all the trouble you get most of the blame. Speaker 1 00:25:49 Yeah. So you don't feel the police are going to chain Speaker 4 00:25:53 Some of the police. I good, but there are a lot of beliefs and not all. I mean, all of the police are like that. The police, the police have really, um, pretty, some of the police are really nice, but some of the police, uh, I just like regular people. They have bad people that they don't care. And they asked them that they think about what they're doing. Some people, people would just walk away if they see some, some police might just walk away. If they see something happening, people laughing doors when they, um, when kids, uh, uh, something was going on out in the street and black, they don't wanna let anybody in who's out on the street and anything might happen to them. Just like some people I liked. Speaker 0 00:26:46 Although we have taken Negro children from two schools, providing educational services to neighborhoods, having strikingly similar socioeconomic backgrounds, the responses that you've heard shows many different patterns of hope and a fear. There is also considerable agreement about what is wrong. It will be incumbent upon American society in coming years to more completely recognize shades of opinion, attitude and responses among American Negroes. And to take more action on the basis of this recognition, there must be also more than anything else. A true recognition of consistently agreed upon specifications of problems by Negro citizens and children, and on the establishment of the necessary priorities to bring the long promise state of equality into effect. Although there is discontent fear and anger, the struggle and the striving. So the vast majority of Negro men, women, and children towards the American dream continues if American society turns its back and attempts to regress to the old myths, the old repressions, it logically follows that the anger fear and resentment will be two-fold. And we may very well run the same course of widespread rebellion, revolution and murder. That has been the history of Europe for the better part of this century. Some final comments from the children who participated in this program. Speaker 4 00:28:18 I think you should, um, they should happen cleaner places to live. And, you know, so when people get, um, germs and diseases, you know, they can, you know, go into a mental reaction or maybe it could be, you know, have better attitudes towards each other. And you know, they say, love thy neighbor, but maybe that neighbor won't love you. So, you know, you should try to understand those things. I can do things be, um, you know, I think that if the white person could understand the Negro a little better, I don't think like the Ryan, I don't think that would've happened. I think that, that we all can, and they should all try and get together and try to keep up a nation and try to keep it well in order. Speaker 3 00:29:17 Well, I think I can make it the best I can with who is with the people living in as well. Speaker 0 00:29:25 Next week, seeds of discontent will focus on the rising level of discontent on university campuses. We will present the concerns, reasoning, and feelings of student activists, who are challenging, what they call the establishment. You have just heard Speaker 5 00:29:41 Hartford Smith Jr. Supervisor of the screening and intake unit maintained by the Michigan department of social services. Delinquency rehabilitation program seeds of discontent is produced by Dave Lewis for w D E T and engineered by David Pierce. This is Wayne state university radio.
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