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Interview with Larry Caldwell, August 30, 2019

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:39 - Growing up in Springfield

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Partial Transcript: Well I was raised up right here...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about his childhood growing up in Springfield, Georgia. Caldwell describes the poverty of his neighborhood, as he grew up in a segregated African American community. Caldwell relates how his father provided food for his family as a child.

Keywords: farming; mill; poverty

00:09:21 - Life as a golf caddie

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Partial Transcript: When the crop got ready, when the hogs...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about the community of his hometown, Springfield. Caldwell relates his experience as a golf caddie and talks about one of his friends, Jim Cercy. Caldwell explains how his understanding of World War II influenced the way he saw himself in regards to the daily racism he encountered.

Keywords: Jim Cercy; Springfield; World War II; caddie; racism

00:17:01 - After Vietnam

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Partial Transcript: I'd join the Marine Corp., plus I told...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about his time serving in Vietnam, and how his experience brought insight after returning home during the Civil Rights Movement. Caldwell explains how he went to Griffin Technical Institute and worked in automobile repair and welding, and how he eventually came to work at General Motors.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; General Motors; Griffin Technical Institute; Vietnam

00:24:22 - Effects of the Vietnam War

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Partial Transcript: And I tell them, how I did it...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about how once he got out of the Marine Corps he worked to help young men freshly out of the Marines get jobs. Caldwell shares stories about the people who influenced him as a young man, including some of the teachers he had. Caldwell describes the ways in which the Vietnam War mentally effected his emotional state, as well as that of community members returning from war. Caldwell explains how he dealt with his PTSD following the war.

Keywords: General Motors; Griffin Tech; Joe Baker; Vietnam War; William Walker; post-traumatic stress disorder

00:31:25 - Teachers and the Griffin Community

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Partial Transcript: We were partying so hard at the time...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about how he decided to join his community's church. Caldwell describes the impact teachers had on his upbringing as a kid. Caldwell shares stories about his children, Ophelia and Demarcus. Caldwell talks about raising his grandson.

Keywords: Demarcus Caldwell; Just Wings; Ophelia Caldwell; Savannah State University; church

00:39:06 - Family

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Partial Transcript: Ophelia's oldest boy, the one...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell describes the rest of his family. Caldwell talks about his love for his family, and the way his upbringing with his mother influenced his parenting style.

Keywords: Ophelia Caldwell

00:45:59 - Grandchildren and family history

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Partial Transcript: Do what you can to help...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about the ways in which he helps take care of his family. Caldwell explains how his father influenced the way that he raises his own children. Caldwell relates stories of his grandfather and how he made money making syrup and bootleg whiskey as opposed to accepting the life of a sharecropper.

Keywords: children; church; plantation

00:52:56 - Caldwell's grandfather (cont. ) / The Civil Rights Movement

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Partial Transcript: She wouldn't let him buy land...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell describes his grandfather and the uses of syrup during his childhood. Caldwell recalls the impact that the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. had on his decision to join the Civil Rights Movement.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; Griffin High School; integration; segregation; syrup

01:00:14 - Civil Rights Movement (cont.) / The Griffin Pool

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Partial Transcript: They would tell us to go...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about resistance methods used by Civil Rights activists in Griffin, Georgia shortly after the death of Martin Luther King. Caldwell shares stories about the actions some members of the white community would take to stop integration. Caldwell relates a story about a pool in Griffin.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; segregation

01:08:07 - Griffin High School integration

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Partial Transcript: When we was in school...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about the integration of Griffin High School, especially the integration of the football team. Caldwell explains how many black students were not able to play on the football team after integration. Caldwell relates how the integration of football teams resulted in better performance across many universities.

Keywords: Alabama State University; Griffin Eagles; Griffin High School; football

01:15:11 - Racism and Discrimination growing up

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Partial Transcript: Everybody knew Mahalia...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about the most influential moments in his life concerning the civil rights movement. Caldwell discusses the hate taught through the racism he often encountered growing up.

Keywords: Mahalia Jackson; Marine Corps; racism

01:22:04 - Racism and Discrimination (cont.)

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Partial Transcript: I said, 'You taught her that, mam...'

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell shares his belief as to the origin of racism in the United States. Caldwell explains how he was often discriminated against by police as a child. Caldwell recalls how black police officers were not allowed to arrest white people shortly after integration.

Keywords: Sam Bass; discrimination; police; racism

01:29:50 - Inclusion and the Civil Rights Movement

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Partial Transcript: All of them wasn't like that...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about some of the positive experiences he had with white people growing up, and the importance of white people in the Civil Rights Movement. Caldwell talks about the importance of taking care of others in the community.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; discrimination; religion

01:36:42 - Friendships (cont.) / Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Do you have anything else you...

Segment Synopsis: Caldwell talks about some of the white friends he had growing up, and the ways they defied the discriminatory precedent. Caldwell shares some of his experiences as a kid growing up in the Griffin community.

Keywords: friendship