UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Cornelius Wadsworth Grant, April 28, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:28 - Youth in Jacksonville

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, we're speaking with Dr. Cornelius Wadsworth Grant...

Segment Synopsis: Cornelius Wadsworth Grant was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1931. He discusses his family's roots, tracing back to Southwest Georgia. He recalls life in Jacksonville, growing up and the different businesses he worked for. He didn't plan to attend college until the President of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association offered to help.

Keywords: Florida A&M University National Alumni Association; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU); Ku Klux Klan (KKK); Lee County, GA; Lucille G. Coleman; Tallahassee, Florida; Terrell County, GA; The Great Depression

00:05:14 - Experiencing Racial Limitations

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Had you, um... what would you do...

Segment Synopsis: Grant mentions his extracurricular activities as a high school student athletics coach. He recalls a memory of being stopped by police on a sports team trip and explains how families taught children how they should respond in such situations so as not to get hurt. He also discusses how his generation knew what was and was not acceptable for a black man to do.

Keywords: Alfred Ely Beach High School; Booker Taliaferro Washington; Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, GA; Stanton High School

00:12:06 - Remembering His Father/ Growing Up

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell me about your father.

Segment Synopsis: Grant remembers his father, Edward Vernon Grant, who served in World War I, worked at the Naval Air Station, and was a minister. He recalls lessons his father taught him growing up and the differences in discipline in his youth versus today's. Grant also discusses his mother's death when he was young and how it affected his upbringing.

Keywords: Jacksonville, Florida; Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jacksonville); WWI

00:21:25 - Education and Intelligence

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So then, so, at what point did you...

Segment Synopsis: Grant explains that he did not think he was smart until Lucille Coleman arranged for him to attend college. He does suggest that he gained intelligence while serving in the Army for three years. He shares his experience of being in the military before and during integration of the Armed Forces. Grant also discusses his reason for joining the Army and life after leaving.

Keywords: Executive Order 9981; Harry S. Truman; Non-commissioned officer; The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill); United States Army; World War Two (WWII); segregation

00:25:35 - Education and Employment After Military

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, and I went finished my undergraduate work...

Segment Synopsis: Grant remembers going back to school after the military and being in a better position economically. After law school, he began work for a housing corporation, who had a plan to build houses on black owned land for the owners. He explains how he came to work at Florida A&M and Albany State, as well as meeting his wife along the line.

Keywords: Albany State University; Coral Gables, Florida; Dr. Velma Fudge Grant; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU); Perry, GA; Thomas Miller Jenkins; Velma F. Grant Honors Program

00:32:50 - Assassination of MLK Jr.

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, at what point did you first get to...

Segment Synopsis: Grant shares his experience of MLK's Assassination while he was attending a Tuskegee Choir concert at Albany State. He details the state Albany was in when he arrived and comments on the progress made.

Keywords: Albany James H. Gray, Sr. Civic Center; Albany Movement; Albany State University; Albany, GA; Martin Luther King Jr.; segregation

00:38:36 - Living in Albany

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, there was a lot of...

Segment Synopsis: Grant explains his living situation the first few years of being in Albany before buying land and building their current home. He details the process they went through with the banks and family in order to accomplish their project.

Keywords: Albany State University; Albany, GA; Perry, GA

00:44:04 - Previous Albany State Presidents/ Opinions

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, when you- Albany State has a long...

Segment Synopsis: Grant recalls reading the files of Albany State students expelled for their involvement in protests. He comments on public opinion of previous Albany State president William S. Dennis, as well as MLK's success in the city and Albany Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett. Grant also opines on the attitude of today's youth and shifts in disciplinary response.

Keywords: Albany Movement; Bertha Gober; Blanton Hall; Dr. Aaron Brown; Joseph Winthrop Holley; Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK); Rosenberg Brothers Department Store

00:50:02 - Influential People of Albany

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Wha- so the MLK assassination...

Segment Synopsis: Grant shares his feeling of responsibility for protecting the students of Albany State and lessons he tried to teach them. He relays his conversation with Taxi Smith regarding a bus route to the university for the students. Grant also recalls his memories of C. B. and Slater King.

Keywords: Albany State University; Albany, GA; Chevene Bowers "C. B." King; James Warren “Taxi” Smith; Johnnie Johnson Jr. and the 1972 City Workers' Strike; MLK Assassination; Sheriff D.C. Campbell; Slater Hunter King

00:59:43 - Changes in Public Attitude

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, there was that older generation...

Segment Synopsis: Grant opines that he thinks some white people of his generation have changed because they had to, but that all the young people changed because they wanted to. He discusses the role of hatred and racism in recent elections. He recalls his run in with William Wright and reluctance to change.

Keywords: 2008 United States presidential election; Barack Hussein Obama II; Charles Sherrod; Donald John Trump; Douglas County School District

01:05:50 - Flint River Flood

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, one of the thing that I want to write...

Segment Synopsis: Grant discusses the arguments between the black and white community after rumors started about flood water being purposely diverted into black communities. He describes his experience of seeing the Albany State campus under water. Grant declares that for the university and much of Albany, the flood was a good thing in the long run.

Keywords: Albany, GA; Jesse Louis Jackson Sr.; Radium Springs

01:19:21 - Closing Remarks

Play segment

Partial Transcript: In other words, um, the- looking back...

Segment Synopsis: Grant discusses struggles he faced that are no longer a problem with today's generation. He mentions his medical treatments and how he came to accept them.