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Oral history interview with Percy Greene [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Greene, Percy, 1897-1977
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit) Transcript: 59 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Percy Greene (1897-1977) was the editor and publisher of the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi's oldest black newspaper. Having attended Jackson College, Greene served in the United States Army during World War I as a corporal and company clerk. He was part of the 301st Stevedore Regiment, the first black regiment to arrive in France in the fall of 1917. After apprenticing to a lawyer for five years, Greene sold insurance, developed black veteran camps across the South, and ran a paper called The Colored Veteran of the National Association of Negro War Veterans. Greene led the Mississippi Negro Democrats Association and the National Association of Negro War Veterans and was a lifelong advocate of African-American voting rights.

Scope and Contents

Greene begins his 1971 interview with Henry La Brie by describing his youth, education, and work for the Illinois Central Railroad Corporation. He recounts his service during World War I. The conversation turns to Greene's return to the United States, where he learned the law as an apprentice and became involved with the Mississippi Negro Democrats and the National Association of Negro War Veterans. Greene details the racist threats he received after the debut of The Jackson Advocate and his role in the unseating of former Mississippi governor and senator Theodore Bilbo. Next, Greene goes on to criticise the civil rights movement and compares black newspapers in the North and South. Greene then discusses equality versus integration, what he sees as the natural law, and the future of the black newspaper. The interview concludes with Greene's discussions of the Compromise of 1877, meeting with Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black, the evolution of newspapers during his lifetime, and the educational importance of daily news.

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