Dr. Love Henry Whelchel Oral History Interview: The Civil Rights Movement in Alabama

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Dr. Love Henry Whelchel, Professor Emeritus at the Interdenominational Theological Center, begins this interview with a synopsis of his family background, education and career and how this influenced his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The focus of the interview is the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, AL and Dr. Whelchel’s involvement in civil right actions during his pastorate at the Metropolitan C. M. E. Church in Ensley, AL from 1963 through 1969. Of note is the discussion of the Ensley Easter boycott that forced the city to install a traffic light on a dangerous intersection in the Black neighborhood. Dr. Whelchel talks about the formation of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights in response to the state of Alabama banning the NAACP as a subversive organization and the radical and fearless leadership of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth in fighting against segregation in Birmingham. He discusses the structure and significance of mass meetings, the contributions of women, and the importance of the youth crusade in sustaining the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. Dr. Whelchel talks about the fight for voting rights and speaks briefly about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Poor People’s Campaign. He concludes with commentary on the social justice movement of today, how it was influenced by and also how it differs from the 1960s. In his final remarks Dr. Whelchel notes the value of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and in particular the Atlanta University Center (AUC) institutions as an asset to the city of Atlanta. He also compliments the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library and its importance to the AUC community.


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