This is Chip Shields interviewing Bill Simpson for the Park Forest Oral History Project, 11/7/80.
Q. When did you move into Park Forest, what year?
A.† I think it was December of 1963, it was the last day or something, so I suppose you would say ,1964, you see.
Q.† How did you find a house in this area?
A.† Well, my move here was a Civil Rights move.† See, during that time the Civil Rights movement† was beginning to get impetus, see.† In 1963, I think, approximately, President Kennedy signed a presidential proclamation, which had to do with fair housing.† Any houses that were taken over by the FHA or the VA were open to be sold to anybody wherever they were, see.† He signed a presidential edict to that effect.† And I read it in the newspapers, see.† At the same time, a newspaper that I read all the time, called the Chicago Defender had a writer named Lillian Calhoun.† Lillian became fairly well known; she wrote for the Chicago Reporter for a long time Ė I think it was the Reporter.† Anyhow, Lillian used to write a kind of miscellaneous column, she would say all kinds of things, and in one of the columns that had been repossessed by the government were for sale to everybody.† And she also raised the issue that this whole land belonged to all the citizens.† There were no such things as White areas and Black areas except that they were done that way by force.† Legally you move where you want to move, see?
Q.† Where did you live before?
A.† I was living in Lake Meadows, in Chicago.† I donít know if youíve ever heard of that.† Lake Meadows is a ... was at the time, and is now ... an integrated community, an apartment community on the south side of Chicago, over by Michael Reese hospital.† I donít know if you are aware of the place, if you know the place.
Q.† About 24th Street?
A.† No, well, the one at 24th is called Prairie Shores.† Lake Meadows is around from about 32nd to 35th.† But itís high rise buildings, and it is integrated.† And, in fact, the living conditions there were as good, or better, than they are here, see.
Q.† So, moving from that area and considering moving into this area was not a radical change for you?
A.† No, no, not ....
Q.† It wasnít ....
A.† ... not in so far as my neighbors were concerned, because on my floor where I lived† we were all integrated, see.† In the building that I lived in the school that the kids went to was all integrated, see.
Q.† Well, you say this was a Civil Rights move; were
Q.† ... Were you consciously testing the waters?
A.† I wasnít testing the waters, I was consciously taking advantage of opportunities as they came to be, opportunities that I felt were things that I felt were right, you see, which was that citizens in this country move where they want to move, you see.
Q.† You were married at that time, too?
Q.† Did your wife feel the same way?
A.† Well, she moved out here with me, but I think that she had other priorities, for moving out here than mine.† She may have had mine, but she had others, besides.
Q.† Now, how did you go about actually finding a house that was available.?† Through a realtor or ....?
A.† O.K.† Having once decided to move here, also reading in that article, I learned abut the private citizens out here.† Youíve probably heard the names before: Harry Teshima, the Wheelers, the Barrons, and maybe there were a couple of other private families out here, who in conjunction and coordination with a couple of housing organizations in Chicago, were making themselves available to Blacks who were considering moving out here.† What they would do is, feeling that the Blacks might be kind of timid about the move, they would say, ďYou come to our house, and we will take you around, and we will tell you about the community, and then we will take you around and show you what houses are available.Ē† Of VA houses, usually, you know.† ďThat way it makes it easier for you.† You donít have to go through all of the ----.Ē† And this they were doing on their own.† I think, at the same time, I think they were also instrumental in the first Black coming out here.† He, incidentally, he lived down in the next block when he was here, too.
Q.† Now, these people you mentioned Ė Teshima, the Wheelers, a few others Ė were members of the Human Relations Commission.
A.† Not that I know of.† They were their own ....
Q. Oh ....!
A.† they were their own, private citizens working on their own, not the the Human Relations Commission.
Q.† So, whose ouse did you come to and who showed you around?
A.† Teshima, Harry Teshima.
Q.† And he took you in the car and drove you around Park Forest ...
A.† Yes.† Yes.
Q.† .... gave you a tour, sort of?
A.† Gave me a tour, yes ....
Q.† What was your first impression?
A.† Of what, of the place?
Q.† Of the place ....
A.† I think it was beautiful.† I just thought it was a beautiful place.† You know, even then, the trees were starting to come up.† It was nice, you know, itís a quaint little place, anyhow.
Q.† And so, immediately, you decided that it was for you. That you would like to live here?
A.† Yes. Well, I think it was decided before I even came out here, because I tell you, this was more than just moving to a locale.
Q.† What was the next step?† Then, after you decided, what happened next?
A.† then, you find out Ė They also knew real estate agents, at the time, you know.† The federal government was allowing bonafide real estate agents to show these houses and they could sell them.† So I got in touch with one of those persons, and ....
Q.† You say mainly VA houses, is that because .....
A.† Yes, I think so.....
Q.† Oh, is that because mainly youíre a veteran or because ....
A.† No, thatís mainly that these houses were insured by either the Veterans Administration or the FHA, and the [owners] lost the houses, and, those agencies repossessed them.
Q.† I didnít know there were such houses in Park Forest.
A.† Oh, at that time, I would say in abut the sixties, all over the country you had people who had lost, for one reason or the other, had lost their houses, you see.
Q.† So, you were fortunate enough to even get a financial deal; I mean ...
A.† I wasnít fortunate, I mean, we qualified.
Q.† I see.† But what I mean is, was the house going for cheaper than privately ....?
A.† No.† No.† No.† Because the federal government didnít do things in that manner.† They had an appraiser come out and appraise the house.† I tried to get it cheaper, as a matter of fact, but they said, ďno dice,Ē
Q.† Now did what I described earlier, before I had the tape recorder on, the routine of people in the village knocking on doors and telling ....
Q.† ... neighbors that a Black family is moving in, was that your experience?
A.† Well, I understand that thatís what happened, but ...
Q.† Oh, they didnít tell you?
A.† They didnít have to tell me, see.† Because I understand that thatís what happened in blocks around here.† Iíve heard that, just as you have, see.† But, you know, to try to prepare the White families, who had never had Blacks in the neighborhood.
Q.† Well, what was moving day like?† Can you remember your experience, what you felt like?
A.† Well, in the first place, I moved on the 31st or the 30th of December, it is a winter day, itís pretty cold.
Did you have any trepidation on that day, any feeling of ...?
A.† No.† No.† No.† As I told you, I lived in an integrated† community, see.† Whatever trepidations I might have had came later, after I had been here awhile and I realized what a step it was that we had taken, I started thinking about it, then started being Ė some Ė small, slight repercussions out here, you see, that I could started thinking about, what really had transpired.
Q.† Well, letís talk about those things then.† When you began moving inthe house, did you pick up on the reactions of neighbors?
Q.† Didnít notice anything?
A.† No. Not that day, because we were moving in, you see, and youíre busy with those kinds of things, and at least, I didnít.† Maybe a more acute person might have.
Q.† What was your first contact with neighbors?
A.† I donít remember.† I think that one of the first, I think, the minister from one of the churches came down and invited the family to join the church, you know.
Q.† Well, maybe Iím digging for problems when there arenít any.† I mean, did you just arrive and become part of the community, or were there moments when you were faced with obstacles ...?
A.† Oh, sure.† There were some moments, small, slight.† You have, for instance, throughout the earlier years here, you had Ė and most always from young people, you have had young people around who do petty harassment, you know, call
Howíd you react to that?
A.† I didnít react in anyway much, except, maybe to come back home and report, you know, such, you know, the kids down there ... or, on a couple of occasions where I knew the kids, I called their parents and said, you know, ďYou ought to train your kids a little better.Ē (laugh)
Q.† What did they say?† Did you ever run into parents supporting their childrenís ...?
A.† Well, I think that any kid who will do that, theyíre being supported by their parents, either covertly or overtly, one way or the other.
Q.† What about businesses in the area?† Were you ever condescended to, when you ...
A.† I think, that occasionally, the businesses, per se, I would say Ė that thee is nothing that I can tell you on that.† I think, the case is, in earlier years, back in those times, you may have run across a clerk in a store, who would ignore you for a little bit.
Q.† Did they ever assume that you were from some other area, that you had come out here from Ė where they ever surprised when you gave them you address?
A.† I couldnít tell you that.† If they did, they cloaked it well, see, or, once again, I wasnít perceptive enough to tell.† Iíll have to admit to you that I am not the most astute person in the world when it comes to picking up individual reactions to me.
Q.† Well, now, what about your children?† Were they in a different situation from yours.† You are an adult, you have a sense of self-confidence, but children sometimes are more sensitive to other peopleís reactions to them.
A.† Alright, let us --.† See, all we can go by that, is to talk about results.† You were in school with my son, and maybe even my oldest daughter for a while, and didnít know it, see.† He did well in sports, both in highs school and in college, and as I mentioned to you, he is now working on his masters degree and heís also an instructor in a college.† My oldest daughter is in the last year of medical school.† My youngest daughter is now in her second year at the Air Force Academy, what can you say about what it did to them?† Would you say it did something to their Ė what did it do?
Q.† Nothing, evidently nothing but good things.
A.† Well, good or bad, you see, apparently they have their own resilience, or something.† Besides that, in this family, I think, we kind of downplayed the kind of special situation they were in.† We let them sort of ride through it using their own resources.
Q.† Now I remember your daughter, and she was attractive girl.† The one that was in school when I was in school ....
A.† Yes, Cathy.
Q.† Did you ever have a moment when you had to think about, for instance, interracial dating?
A.† Oh, oh, sure ... sure, sure.† Now you mentioned before about what our friends think about moving your kids to where theyíre going to be the only Blacks, or a few, see?† Thatís one of the big things that bothers our Black acquaintances, particularly where our girls are concerned.† Because as the society is sset up now, a Black boy in an integrated set-up is, where relationships between males and females are concerned, is not apt to have as many problems as Black girls.† The way our set-up is now, there is always a few White girls who find Black boys attractive.† But itís not the other way around, you see.† Black girls do not have as many opportunities when Black boys are short, for the boy-girl relationships.† They may some, but it is much more limited.
Q,† Itís probably also because boys do the asking and the girls have to wait to be asked.
A.† O.K.† For whatever the reason, it is an actuality, see.† So, many of our Black friends, realizing this, are very chary about putting their kids out in these kind of settings.† Because they know their daughters are going to be kind of left out in the cold. Q.† Now, were you worried abut this?
A.† I wasnít worried, no.† No, I wasnít worried, not strongly worried.† Itís something you thin about, but then you weigh things off, you see.† This society makes us have to take some things we donít Ė and some things we do, see, and we just have to balance them off.
Q.† Well, what would have been your reaction that Kathy dated steadily, say, a White boy?
A.† she did later on in school.† All interracial relationships are causes for concern, so far as Iím concerned.† I think, that, because of the complexities of the society and the results and everything, that they canít be Ė they have extra ... factors involved that should be looked into.† So, even to this day, even though my kids are all adults now, I still think this, I think that for any interracials, particularly Black-White,† because thatís the one youíre interested in; relationships have to be looked at in that framework.
Q.† did Kathy encounter problems?
A.† When you say encounter problems, ....
Q.† I mean abuse or remarks.
A.† She never brought them up.† We have never talked about them.† Last time I talked to her, which was two or three months ago, I started asking.† I asked her specifically because I know that she has had problems because of our choice.† I mean, she, you know, she has had problems with her social life, see, because of where she, what she has chosen to do, so I asked her, I said, ďYou know, we sometimes wondered if we did the right thing by bringing you kids out to this area, you see.† And we wondered if maybe we shouldnít have stayed in a Ė whether it would have been better , though itís kind of futile, since the time has passed, but as ----------- think about it.† ď And as far as she was concerned, she said, no.† Because of what she Ė her life has been such, and it has caused her to be able to think about things in a certain way, that, even with what she had to face and what she has to face now, she would have, on the balance she would have preferred the life that she grew up in, you see.
Q.† Let me see if Iím interpreting that right.† Thereís a question in your mind, or there was until you talked to Cathy, about whether it would have been better to have her grow up ...
Q.† ... in a typically Black world, where she would became accustomed to having Black friends, Black boy friends, Black culture as opposed to moving out mainly into a White world, and, allowing her to become used to this kind of lifestyle, which may be different from the way most Black Americans live.
A.† Well, thatís only part of it, you see.† You havenít covered the whole thing.† I think it would be covered more by saying that what happens to Black kids, at the outset, in so far as Black identity is concerned, when they are in a situation year in and year out, where they are one of two or three Blacks, see, that compasses more than the practical things you were talking about, see.† It encompasses some things about what happens say, -- I mean, the same kinds of questions that might be asked by† Jewish parents, who wonder about what happens to their kids when they move away from, you know, the place where there might have been a lot of Jews and close to a synagogue, and they move out in one of these suburbs, out here, and their kid is the only Jew in a Gentile school, you see.† That type of thing, thatís a little ....
Q.† Let me try another interpretation too.† You seem proud of the fact that you arrived here and made it.† You seem like someone who is ... proud of your identity.† Were you ever concerned that your children would lose their Black identity, that they would be someone who is caught in that twilight zone, between, you know, being Black and being White?
A.† Well, yes.† Iím concerned, sure.† Iím concerned about it right now, as a matter of fact, and the reason why Iím concerned about it right now Ė Iím probably more concerned about it now, then I was back in the Sixties, when we first moved out hereóbecause once again, I reiterate, when I moved out here, it was primarily for me.† The civil rights .... we were, we were talking about being proud of something.
Q.† Being proud of your identity and being concerned that your children might not be sure of their own.
A.† Yes, but I wish I could tell you, that I have a specific Ė see, I donít know how to explain this to you, have a specific kind of fear of that.† I donít.† I donít even know how to explain it to you, to tell you the truth. And I canít, in such a small space of time as we have ....
Q.† Well, I noticed you have books around her by W. E. Dubois...
Q.† ... and books on, The Welfare State is a title I see, and a few others, so obviously, you have gone to some trouble to teach yourself about where Black people have come from, problems facing Black people.† Now, have your children expressed an interest in that?
A.† No, No.† No, they havenít.† And that is a kind of path that Iím trying to find a way to, to get their interest, to pique their interest see.† With my daughter, because of the field sheís in in medicine Ė and she is, as a matter of fact, now doing some preliminary work in Harlem, in New York Ė she is beginning to come into contact with it, you see, and it will come to her.† With the young daughter, who is in the Air Force Academy , itís pretty ... integrated now.† So therefore, sheís meeting many more Blacks than she did when she was out here.† But, with the son, heís almost up there by himself, see.† And, so I think that the tide I think that the tide of the country now, which is swinging back more conservative than it was, which is not paying as much attention to civil rights and what have you, as it had been going to make it fairly important that he learn some things, too, that he didnít get by living out here, you see.† The† books were always here, but he was not forced to read them, you see, read abiyt all this.
Q.† Would you want your children to be examples of success for Blacks or do you want them to be people who live well anywhere in the United States?
A.† I want them to be Ė my first answer, first way to say is, (speaking a representative of the NAACP, who had come into the room on organization business.† Letís see† -- forty-five dollars.)
A.† I want them to be Ė my first answer, first way to say that is I want them to be examples of Blacks first.
Q.† We were talking about what you hoped your children would be, whether they would be examples of successful Blacks or whether they would be able to live anywhere in America.
A.† Now, now hereís the thing.† The question, as you put it to me, I didnít give specific thought to, at the time they were† brought up.† You get into situations and you do the best you can, you give it your best, whatever the situation is, you see. Whether theyíll be successful as Blacks, that might be part of it, but I really didnít give it much thought.† Thereís nothing I can tell you on that.
Q.† Now what have been your experiences in general Ė this might be too broad Ė over the last seventeen years, in Park Forest?† Looking back over it all now, are you satisfied in having moved here and ....
A.† Oh, yes, I think ...
Q.† Would you have advice for any new Black families moving in?
A.† Oh, yes, I would have lots of advice for new Black families moving in to any suburb. N Lots of advice.† As a matter of fat, in an organization of Blacks that I belong to out here, some years ago, we put together a little program.† We took a whole Saturday and we took over Freedom Hall and we invited Black families to talk about what kinds of things Blacks might be thinking about, or ought to be thinking about, with relation to their living in suburbs.† For instance, We talked about what education Ė what things do they have to think about, to confront if in the educational part of it, in the political end of it, in the economic† end of it, also in the social end of it.† We broke it down into those four.
Q.† Well, before, why donít we talk about those things in connection with you.† What political experience have you had here in Park Forest?† Have you found ....
A.† Well, youíve been away for a while and you donít know about me, do you? (laughter)† O.K.† You know, in 1972, Barney Cunningham named me to the Human Relations Commissions, you see..† As a matter of fact, I was there when Don DeMarco came, see.† I was the Chairman of it for a few months, and it wasnít very long before he was here that I quit.† There was a kind of a flap about that, you see.
Q.† Why did you?
A.† I quit because right off the bat, they started trying to introduce their program of integration maintenance, see.† And, I have been opposed to integration maintenance, see.† And, I have been opposed to integration maintenance from the start.
Q.† What exactly does that entail?
Integration maintenance?† Well, itsí a program Ė if youíve talked to them or if youíve read the papers around here, itís a program, from my point of view.† This particular community, and other south side communities, and other communities, are places that Blacks gravitate to when they move into the suburbs, which means that the Black population grows.† It must be, I would venture to guess 15-20% in Park Forest, now, certainly between.† Now, those communities that seem to be more attractive to Blacks, some of the people there felt that ďHey, maybe we ought to institute some programs to kind of balance off, stabilize the community, so that, you know, there wonít be too many
How would they do that?
A.† Well, thereís several ways.† First, much of that increase in black population comes about because real estate people steer Ė youíve heard of that, steer Blacks to certain communities and steer Whites to other communities. So one way to do it is to try one, part of the program is to try to keep real estate people from steering Blacks to certain communities and away from other communities.† And steering Whites away, say, steering Whites away from Park Forest, to other communities.
Q.† How can that be done legally?
A.† How can -- .† Well, I donít know.† First I guess you, you get cooperation you try to get the cooperation.† Then there have been agreements; the real estate people signed an agreement with the federal government that they are going to work, you know, to stop that kind of thing, so there are legal ways of doing it.† Also, communities themselves, such as Park Forest, pass ordinances which, in a way, in certain ways, try to control what the real estate people do.† As a matter of fact, if youíve been following your newspapers around in the south suburbs, there is a real estate firm out here, who has been sued several times by communities, because they claim that this particular real estate firm, some of its people were steering people here and steering people away from there, you know.† So, thereís a lot of suit filing going on, and everything.
Also, a part of maintaining integrated communities, whatís called ďstabilizing the population,Ē is done by the formation of housing centers.† Then, people coming in to a community are referred to these housing centers.† And these housing centers ... give certain information to the people depending on whether the people are Black or White, about things.† They will, for instance, as an example, they may say to the people, ď These places are open to you.† I know you wish to move here, but you should also know that you can move here, or you might want to look into this.Ē† Or they will say to White people, ďMaybe, you might like to move here,Ē trying to get some White people, who may be steering clear, say, of Park Forest, because they have heard that Park Forest has fifteen percent Black population.
Q.† And, why are you opposed to integration maintenance?
A.† Well, I think Ė Well, hey, I couldnít tell you in a short space of time.† Believe me, I quit the Human Relations Commission over it and Iíve been writing letters and complaining to the government Ė I, my wife both Ė about it and ordinarily when anybody with the press would ask me about it, I donít talk to them about it, because I donít feel that I can do justice to it in fifteen minutes, five minutes.† So ordinarily, I just pull away from it and say that I oppose it.† Basically I oppose it because I think it has as its end result to keep Blacks at a certain number in a community, and I feel that no matter what the good ends that we say thatís for, to keep the place integrated, I donít feel that you should [pounding on table] from moving where they want to move.
Q.† Have you been involved in village politics, previous to 1972?
A.† Not previous to 1972, no.† Well, only except to go to meetings and things, yes.† Go to meetings.
Q.† Have you ever been asked to get involved?
A. No. No.
Q.† Did you take that ,ever, as a slight?
A.† No. No.† I felt then, and I feel now, that if you want to be part of the village politics and things, you go down there and you participate.† You find out and I am particularly aware of that now, because lately, in the past two, three years, I probably attend more village meetings than anybody in the village, particularly in the last two, three years.† And I did run for trustee about four years ago.
Q.† How did that campaign go?
A.† It went just like the others; I lost.† But it was just a campaign, as far as Iím concerned.
Q.† Did you encounter any resistance to your candidacy?
No.† No.† I made all the mistakes necessary for it to fail. (laughs)
Q.† What was the black organization you referred to earlier?
A.† It was called Fellowship For Action.† It went on for about seven years.
Q.† About how many Blacks belonged to that?
A.† Oh, Iíd say, at one time, we had as many as thirty or forty.
Q.† What did you accomplish during that time?
A.† Well, for five of those years --† You know, when they desegregated the schools out here, the elementary schools, along with that the federal government, had a program called Title VII, in which community organizations who could quality received grants to carry on certain kinds of programs that were set-up to kind of ease the transition.† And this particular organization I was with was [like] one of the few in the country that got federally funded for four or five years, until the program, Yes, four or five years.
Q.† Whatís your views on integrating 163?† Do you thin it accomplished its goals?† Iíve heard accusations that there was some, -- that is led in the long run to a grim financial picture or those people.
A.† It may have.† Itís possible.† Wait, you mean for 163?
A.† Well, you see, the problem with that is that there are school districts around that are† not integrated, not , and they got grim financial pictures, too.† Grim financial pictures can come about for many reasons.† But, further than that, I suppose, one would have to say what is your priority, in certain things.† Well, my priority and apparently some other peopleís is that the citizens of this country are due the same equal treatment.
Q.† Were you involved in integrating 163?
A.† In certain ways, yes.
Q.† From the beginning?
A.† From the beginning, yes.
Q.† What did you think of the end result?† I know that it has been used as a subject of a university study on how successfully a community can integrate its school system.† Do you think itís an example of successful integration?
A.† I havenít followed it up that closely to tell.† So, I really couldnít say.† I wouldnít pass judgement on it.
Q.† Well, getting back, I donít think you had a chance to cover everything you wanted to advise Blacks about.† You said concerning educational opportunities, and ....
A.† Not just educational opportunities.† You see, we donít think of education opportunities, but your place in the (pounds fist on table) educational system.† How do Black families fit in the educational system?† After all, the educational system out here is going to be run by Whites.† Your kids will have very few Black teachers and, more likely, will have very few Black friends.† All of these kinds of things, you know, they have to be considered.† You have to consider what you think about the curriculum of the schools.† How does it fit Black kids, you see.† Thereís a whole slew of questions to be asked on education.
Q.† Youíre talking about, a curriculum that might be slanted toward a White point of view.† American History class that doesnít mention ....
A.† Thatís right ....
Q.† ...famous Blacks.
A. Well, not just doesnít mention famous Blacks, but American history, I doít know how they are now, but up to the ďXĒ number of years ago, not did they just not only mention Blacks by names, but they didnít even include the total Back contribution to the building of this society into the histories themselves.
Q.† Yes.† So you ....
A.† thatís what I mean.† Thatís just one of the thing I mean, I suppose we could go through many of the things to see how this works out.† We have to find out about the White teacher in relationship to the Black students.
Q.† How about your childrenís experiences?† Did they ever sense prejudice on the part of a White teacher?
A.† Believe it or not, we never discussed (pounds fist on table).
Q.† But, you probably went to Parent-Teacher night.† Did you ever ...
Q.† ... pick up on anything?
A.† Not that I could, not ... no, no.† It didnít come across to me strongly enough for me to really be worries about it.† See, I feel that the system, as such in the way it is set-up, it is unavoidable that youíre going to have certain kinds of problems and questions and issues (pounds fist on table),† I think itís just unavoidable.† I think just the very differences between Blacks and Whites, I think we are raised in a society that I feel has many institutionalized racist practices.† Which, is just in it, is jusst a part of the system.† Well, that was probably the case out here, but we, we didnít discuss it very strongly at all.
Q.† Are you familiar with the experiences of any other Blacks who have moved in to Park Forest?† I mean, familiar enough to talk about them; for instance, theHarts.† I thik Tim Hart was the first Black to attend Rich East.† Did you know them?† He worked for the CTA downtown.
A.† Yes, I know the Harts.† No I didnít know those Harts, I know a set of harts, but I didnít know them.† Insofar as most of the families in Park Forest proper (pounds fist on table) out here, some are dissatisfied with the way the system is operating for their kids...
A.† For what reason?
A. ... and some are not.† Well, they have this feeling that there is racism at work, but...
Q.† Can you put your finger on it?
A.† ... I canít put my finger on it for them, they would have to Ė since they are the ones theyíd have to talk Ė if you talked to some other Blacks, in Park Forest, maybe youíd come across them, see.
Q.† Have you ever known of a Black family in Park Forest who has left because they felt that they couldnít be happy or successful here?
A.† Well, let me think.† I canít call one off hand.† There my be, but theyíre probably few.† There have been quite a few Black families to leave but I donít know the reasons.† E never discussed the reasons.
Q.† Do you know where this incident happened, supposedly, where a Black family moved into Park Forest and the White neighborhood on one side painted their side of the fence black?
† I heard of that.
Q.† Is that ....
A.† I think I heard of that ...
Q.† Is that true?
A.† ... I think I heard of that when I was on the Human Relations Commission, you see, that being the case.† Yes.
Q.† but you donít know where that happened?
A.† I donít know where it happened.
Q.† Well, are there other things you think that maybe we should discuss about your having lived here for seventeen years?† Anything that needs to be down† on the record?
A.† I can only react to questions, and thatís all.
Q.† Can you speak for a moment for your wife?† Iím sure you discussed this enough with her that you probably know her feelings.† Are hers similar to yours?
A.† Similar.† Similar, but then she has some of her own, and she has had certain other experiences, like for instance, she was on the 163 School Board.† She was elected to it, and she served on it for a while.† So, she might have, you know, and, I am sure she has, other perspectives about it, that I donít have, see.† But, I donít know that because we think that the price is too high for the stabilization of a community, to make sure that itís a community thatís integrated, you know.† We donít believe that price should be paid for integration.
Q.† Well, just one final question.† Has anyone ever expressed surprise that you have succeeded here in Park Forest?† Has anybody ever acted surprised that your children have turned out to be successful† adults?† People like that would strt from the presumption that youíre laboring against, you know ...
A.† Oh, yes ....
Q.† Overwhelming obstacles, that kind of stuff.† Whether they be old friends, neighbors, or teachers.
A.† Not that I know of, no, I really donít.
Q.† Do you will keep in contact with your old neighborhood?† Do you ever see these people?
A.† Occasionally, I do.† As a matter of fact, I got a call Ė very, very surprising Ė I got a call from one of my old neighbors, hadnít heard from him in sixteen years, since I moved out here.† Asked me how --.† See, I wrote a letter to the Tribune and he happened to see it.† (laughs)† And he called me, and heís still there, and heís White, incidentally.† So, itís still an integrated neighborhood over there, too.† In Lake Meadows.
Q.† Was your letter to the Tribune related to integration maintenance?
A.† No, it was related to something else, though, I have had it in the Trib.† And lots of it in the Star. (laughter)† They just print everything I write. (laughs)
Q.† Is the Star pretty receptive to airing Black peopleís views?
A.† I think they are.† I think that the Star has been very good.† They seem to give it a real good try.† The society pages are, you know, contain ....
Q.† Events relating to Blacks?
A. ... events, events.† Right.† The wife just noticed the last one there, about of three or four of these womenís groups, you know have ---------- to see the womenís pages, so ....
Q.† Would, would you say thatís pretty typical of a lot of organizations around here?† Have you found that school boards, village governments, Kiwanis, that kins of thing, have been willing to listen to you, and to hear your side of it?
A.† Well, insofar as I ....
Q.† Have a side ....
A.† ... have Ė insofar as Iíve brought anything to them, which has been very seldom, see, to those organizations proper.
Q.† But you found that theyíve lent an ear?
A.† As far as I can see, they do.† You may hot win all to your side, but they lend an ear, see, sure.† O.K.