In the interview, my grandmother talks about what it was like being exposed to racism and people of color when she went to school in New York. She talks about the Civil Rights movement, and she shares her deep, and insightful thoughts on the prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement.
During our interview, my grandmother said something that really stuck with me. She said, “I think it (violence) was necessary so that we could appreciate Martin Luther King's contribution as a peaceful movement”. I think that this is a very deep analysis of the Civil Rights movement’s most important leaders, and I do agree with her statement of us needing the more passive-aggressive Malcolm X, to appreciate the peaceful MLK.
It is like eating a ghost pepper and then drinking a cool glass of milk afterwards. If you just drank the glass of milk on it’s own, it is a pretty normal glass of milk. But, if you eat a ghost pepper and then you drink the milk, the milk becomes this marvelous nectar that saves you from the fiery pain that is burning your mouth, and you appreciate that milk for doing so. The same thing goes for MLK and Malcolm X. Malcolm X was a Civil Rights leader who promoted the defense against white aggression, and was famous for the line “by any means necessary”, meaning that African Americans should do whatever must be done to obtain freedom. MLK spoke out against violence, believed in passive resistance, and implored the African American community to participate in nonviolent protests. If there was no Malcolm X and the “by any means necessary” form of resistance, then MLK and peaceful protesting would be appreciated less. But, since there was a more violent resistance, MLK and the nonviolent protests are appreciated much more. I think that this is a very interesting idea that my grandmother touched on during my interview with her.
Max- I am interviewing my grandmother, Peggy Harris.
Max- What is your conceptualization of race, and how has it changed?
Peggy- I think as a young kid, I certainly didn’t have much to do with people of color, and I think that it was just, you know, where we lived; the location. So, I really didn’t have much exposure, and when I first went to school in New York City, it was my first time I had actually really interacted with other people like me, but of different color, and I went to school with them. And it was the first time that I had a relationship with others that- well it was a wake-up call for me because i never realized how prejudiced I was against color until I had the experience of having friends who were of other color. So, I think it has changed over time because I recognized how discriminatory I was, and it was kind of a real shock to me, I remember when it happened. And so, I think over time, I have begun to look at people not so much as color, but as to who they are, what relationship they have with me, things we have in common, and I think that is the biggest change I've had. And, it primarily has to do with the fact that I have worked with a lot of people of different color.
MH- In your opinion, what is the role of race in society? Or is there a role?
PH- Is there a role for race? No, I don’t think so, it shouldn't be. There shouldn't be a role for race. And I think that the more we integrate, integrate, integrate at younger ages, the more we will see each other as who we are; people. But, everybody’s different, and stereotyping is really something I find myself doing at times, still. I just hope that my grandchildren don’t do it.
MH- Do you think that the racism and prejudice, along with the stereotypes, do you think that they will eventually go away?
PH- I think it probably will, eventually, one day, I don’t really know. We’re lucky in that in Philadelphia, we really have a large mix of people from all over the world. So, I think that there is more opportunity for kids being raised in the Philadelphia area to stop being- to not even be racist, even at the get-go. It’s an opportunity, and of course a lot of it depends on the parents of each generation, as to how that’s all played out.
MH- Have you recently witnessed racial, cultural, religious, gender, discrimination?
PH- You know, I probably block a lot, so I can’t really think of it. I can’t really think of any time when I was looking at people
MH- What do you remember from the Civil Rights movement?
PH- Well the first thing I remember, I was still living in South America and I was a teenager, and I remember the news reports of the lynchings. The lynchings in the South. As the Civil movement starting to become noticed, there had been a lot of lynchings in the past, but now the news was really starting to pick up on it, and I was really appalled, I couldn't believe people would do things like that to each other. Living in South America at the time I was pretty well divorced from it, it didn't affect me personally, but to this day I remember those reports of the lynchings, and I think that was the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, when people became aware of what was really happening. And it wasn't just in the South, although the lynchings only took place in the South, but it was really all over the United States.
MH- What do you think was the most significant part of the Civil Rights movement?
PH- Well there was a lot of violence, and I was in New York in school, and I remember the violence with Malcolm X, and I have since read his autobiography, and I realized that in many ways he was right, about how you are going to change the people look at you. And I think violence, I don’t like it, but I think it was necessary so that we could appreciate Martin Luther King’s contribution as a peaceful movement. I think that really helped all of us. All of my generation to change, and adapt, and to rethink this whole business with color.
PH- I never quite understood the Southern idea of race, I mean like the bombing in Birmingham, and the five little girls. I could never really understand the violence, that I never could. But I understood the violence and the anger that came out of those riots, and of course it was a time where people were rioting, students were rioting against Vietnam, and there was just an awful lot of unrest in every which way, including women, who were unhappy with being relegated the role of housewife, and never do anything with their lives other than stay at home. Not that raising children and being a wife is a bad thing, but there is more to life than just that role, and I think women wanted a piece of the action out there.
MH- In recent events such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Ferguson, and Baltimore, what do you think about the rioting?
PH- I think that it is a wake up call again, and the news media has grabbed a hold of it, so people like myself who are not involved directly, are now involved on an emotional level. Do, I think that what is going on is racism, yes I believe so. Someone mentioned, with the police action, it was militarization of the police, and I totally believe that. No longer are you innocent until proven guilty, you're guilty! And that’s what we have been told to do you know? At airports, you’re told to look around for suspicious people and report them, and goodness gracious, I think that we would do that without being told, but now we look at people and think, well are they getting a cup of coffee or... It is just stereotyping, again, and we are just looking at people as though they are guilty.
Interview with Eoin Kelly
Max: What is your earliest memory?
Eoin: I was in preschool, I was about 4 years old, and it was like recess time and we were too young to go outside so we had to stay inside, and I remember this kid Christian, and I looked at him and I walked over to him and he said "Don't even think about it". So, I walked away and played with the Play-Doh. And it was really fun actually, it was very fun.
Max: Who is your biggest influence?
Eoin: I'm gonna say it has to be my brother. Even though we fight a lot, it's just he teaches a lot, he is a learning person, he teaches lots of good life lessons.
Max: What is the best thing about being a teenager?
Eoin: The best thing about being a teenager is like, walking up to someone and say "Yo what's up, I'm a teenager".
Interview with Anne Krawitz
Max: Do you consider yourself to be a part of the SLA Beeber community, and if so, how?
Anne: Well I’m a part of the community because I am your mother, I support you, I am excited about the school, I am a volunteer with the home and school, I participate in fundraisers, and I donate things to the school shop, so I try to participate as a parent as best as I can.
Max: Who is your biggest influence in life?
Anne: My biggest influence in life was the man who taught me bookbinding 30 years ago or more, his name is Bill Streeter, and he is the happiest person I’ve ever known, he always looks on the bright side of everything, he taught me to believe in myself and be courageous, and he always told me that I’m right where I should be, and he is still a huge support in my life.
Max: Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?
Anne: I’m hoping to transition into a different career, I've been bookbinding for 30 years and I’m no longer passionate about it. I’m currently going back to school to get my masters degree, so I am hoping to create another career out of writing, as well as teaching young people creative writing.
For my physics project sculpture, I chose make a small pyramid, with a drawn on eye in the center on all four sides of my pyramid, and at the center of the eye, a single red LED light. This sculpture is supposed to resemble the All Seeing Eye, which is an eye that is usually depicted in a triangle/pyramid. The All Seeing Eye most notably, is on the back of the dollar bill.I decided to choose this design for my sculpture because triangles are my favorite shape, and I also had prior knowledge about triangles/pyramids; they evenly distribute force (though that fact did not apply to my project, I still decided to make a pyramid). I also chose to make the sculpture the way it is because the All Seeing Eye is constantly linked to a secret society that once did exist (but doesn’t anymore) called the Illuminati. Some people still think that the Illuminati are around today, and that many famous people and powerful world leaders are in it. I thought it would be amusing to me and possibly others if I made fun of this part of our mainstream pop culture. The All Seeing Eye can also be linked to another secret society called the Freemasons. The Freemasons are an actual existing organization that (it is confirmed) many of the worlds most powerful people throughout history were apart of (you didn't have to be famous to become a Freemason, though). I have had family who are Freemasons and I decided to make my sculpture the way it is based on my interest on Freemasons.