Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Little Impact of Brown decision

BOND: Bob Moses, thanks for doing this interview. It's much appreciated.

MOSES: My pleasure.

BOND: This is a program called Explorations in Black Leadership and I have a set group of questions we've asked everyone of the 49 people who've proceeded you, so I want to begin with what did the Brown v. Board of Education mean to you at the time you heard about the court decision.

MOSES: Yes, in 1954, I was at Hamilton. And one of my thoughts was, well, I went to segregated schools and what's interesting when I said that to one of the professors in passing, he said, "oh, no, no, no, no, that's different." So, I grew up in Harlem. The elementary school, P.S. 90, was certainly all black and when it came time to go to junior high school, if you remember, right after World War II, they began this process of looking for talent and so New York City set up a system and took two or three kids from every 6th grade class in Harlem and the South Bronx and put us all together in P.S. 164 which was up on the hill there at the edge of Harlem and I think they did it so they could have— We had two white girls and one white boy in that class. So, the whole issue of school segregation - for me, the schools were segregated up north, too.

BOND: Did you think that an era of integration would follow the decision? What did you think the decision would mean to you personally?

MOSES: So I actually thought that the country would move ahead and you remember, there was a whole year and then the second Brown came out and the idea of all deliberate speed, but to be truthful, I was really in those years, '52 to '56, and then '56 to '58, I was just lost in this world of during college, during graduate school. I wasn't really up on what was going on, although I remember when Little Rock happened.