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Interview with Bertha Maxwell

Maxwell, Bertha
Rieke, Robert
Date of Interview: 
Faculty - University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Brown v. Board of Education; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Black Studies; Race Relations; Integration; Carver College; Charlotte.
In this interview with Robert Rieke, Bertha Maxwell talks about UNC Charlotte and the issues of racial dualism and pluralism in the way the university functions. As a faculty member, Ms. Maxwell talks about the slow changes that have occurred at the University, specifically in reference to racial relations between blacks and whites. Ms. Maxwell, who teaches in the department of Black Studies, discusses how UNC Charlotte has changed from being a very segregated institution to being a more integrated institution after the civil rights act was passed. She acknowledges these changes but also discusses how attitudinal change among the administration and faculty members is still lacking. She acknowledges the progress in moving towards a more integrated institution but still lacks the optimism of other faculty members.
Charlotte, 1970s
UNC Charlotte Memories
Interview Audio: 
BM (Bertha Maxwell): This is beautiful.
RR (Robert Rieke): Isn't it lovely?
BM: This is better than your office. Now I know why you're smiling and carrying on.
RR: Sure.
BM: You mean the moment you walk in the room you start taping?
RR: Well, of course. Otherwise we'd never know when to stop and when to start. Now let's see. This is, today is, this is the Great Liberator's birthday, Bertha. This--.
BM: No.
RR: This is February 12, 1974.
BM: Abraham Lincoln?
RR: Abraham Lincoln, and you're Bertha Maxwell and I'm Robert Rieke, and we're here to talk to each other.
BM: How are you, sir?
RR: Good morning. Now you were saying about Ed. What do we have to do for him now is that?
BM: Well, I should have brought those questions with me. We're going to have to explain the curriculum rationale. He was concerned about the fifteen; you remember that budget where I had a position for $15,000. The first position. Well he's concerned about--.
RR: That's the coordinator.
BM: Yes, he's concerned about in lieu of the fact that the morale and everything in the College of Humanities about the salaries being as it is now, how it, could we think of offering somebody that much money.
RR: Well, how does he know? That's, that's the outer limit. They will be hired in accordance with their qualifications. We didn't say the rank--, did we say the rank on that?
BM: Yes, we did. We said assistant professors.
RR: Well, that's a little frightening, but--,
BM: But then, too, it's a twelve-month position--,
RR: It might be an assistant professor who's had lots of experience outside; in terms of total experience their, their qualifications are high, but in terms of academic experience, they may not be such. The rank may be lower and the salary higher I mean that's--.
BM: Well, anyway, I, I called and you know talked with him and let him know that we appreciated his interest in it, and that I felt that his questions certainly were questions that--, they should have an answer, so what I'd like to do is have him join us in that conference.
RR: Well, when's that going to be?
BM: I don't know. I'm waiting for Darryl to tell me, since he addressed the letter to Darryl, I will have to follow that same line of communication; so and--,
RR: You didn't get there yesterday to hear Julia Fields.
BM: Yes I did.
RR: Were you there when I came in?
BM: Yes. You didn't see me back there holding my daughter?
RR: No. I finally saw Ann. I didn't know--,
BM: Yeah. I was back there with, Duana was on my lap. They brought her over from the Optional School, and I was there. I say you when you came in. You were late.
RR: Yeah, I was late.
BM: I thought the attendance was rather poor faculty-wise,
RR: Yeah, yeah.
BM: And especially from the English department. I just--.
RR: Well, there's a whole great mystery and tragedy. Here's Elizabeth Sewell on campus, and you'd think the English department would go crazy, and there are only one or two people around there who knew her. It's, it's pathetic.
BM: Now I'm wondering--,
RR: Now it's partly because people don't have time. I think Ann would do that if she had time. She doesn't have time but the only people as far as I know who are doing anything are Ann Newman, who was in a modern poetry class, and then there's a chap in my--,
BM: Well, she's meeting with our staff on Friday.
RR: Well, yeah, she's going around meeting with various departments, but there isn't anybody in the English department who's having more or less continual contact with her.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: Julian, maybe, a little. He wanted more, but she was blocked out of the hours when, the hours when she was going to offer, for example, her romanticism seminar. He couldn't get into it. That was unfortunate. Have you ever gone along to the Friday meetings? 11:30.
BM: No I haven't had time.
RR: They're beautiful.
BM: I haven't had an opportunity. I'm sure they would be, but I've had some personal contact her at various levels and--.
RR: I know you've known her before she even came here.
BM: Well, and then I've had some personal contact since we've, since she's been on campus. She came to my human experience, you missed that.
RR: Which one was that?
BM: That was that Sunday night. You didn't make it that Sunday night, did you?
RR: Well, no. But you've got tape you're going to show me.
BM: Yes.
RR: I wanted to go there. I was thinking about you when it was happening, but it was just one of those things I couldn't--,
BM: It was beautiful.
RR: Well I know. I could see from the way it was set up it would be.
BM: And then on the tape I was surprised that I was able to capture as much of the real spirit, but still with something the whole presentation. OK. What are we going to talk about?
RR: Anything. Maybe for the record we should get some things down here that you and I already know, about the mustard seed or the war, and how this environment here, which was not really fertile soil, did yet begin to nurture an idea, a pain, a cause that was just too powerful to be held back--,
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: And, this has been documented, documented in a number of places, and I know of some of the things that happened before you came to the program, but let's start with where you came in.
BM: Well, Bob, I tried to go back, you know, in my work before Union Graduate School and tried to pull it up to date, and I treated this in what I call "Black Studies at UNCC, a Paradox with a Promise," because I felt that throughout the history, even of the development of the school here, that there were a number of paradoxes.
RR: I'd like to hear the way you set those up.
BM: OK. Well, I think when I started this I looked at first of all the very seed of the, and I started out with something like the seed is planted. That was my first little beginning of the whole concept of UNCC, back to the early 40s when it started out as two extension schools, which I'm sure you're going to be treating in your document.
RR: No, I'm not. I'm not going really go, way that, except in a very cursory fashion.
BM: OK. Well--,
RR: We'll be talking about things. That's all right. I want the paradoxes.
BM: OK. Well, I felt that it had to be shown especially in black-white, because I think that the whole thing of Black Studies grew out of something where is mores and attitudes to things that had existed, from the whole dualism of our society.
RR: The black-white dualism.
BM: Yes. Going back even to the Plessy vs. Ferguson, yes, the whole thing of separate but equal, and I treated this in a very brief way, you know, in the document, giving just a slight background on this decision, then starting with the development of this institution, with the two extension set-ups that they had here, one for white and one for black--,
RR: Right, right.
BM: Bringing this up through the 1954 decision,
RR: Uh-hum.
BM: which was really, the Brown I decision,
RR: Yeah, yeah.
BM: Which was really kind of a paradox. Here you had money problems throughout the country as far as education was concerned, and yet you had two separate things going for returning veterans, one for black and--,
RR: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
BM: One for white. Also, I looked into the minutes of the, finally after the tax was passed and this became a, a part of the community college system; it was very interesting to note that seventy percent of the tax went to white and thirty percent to support the black college, which at was Carver College.
RR: Right.
BM: And yet I think the thing that following this that kind of stuck with me, and what I felt was the planting of the seed for a perpetuation of something which could have been corrected at that particular time, but was not. For some reason, the powers-to-be seemed to have treated it, this is my own perception--,
RR: Well, it was the powers-to-be, but remember those powers rested on community sentiment.
BM: I know it did.
RR: Not only in the white community I mean there were--,
BM: I know, but this is the thing about it. In the black community there, and if you look at the minutes of the development of this whole college, and it's down there in black and white.
RR: Yeah.
BM: There appeared before the Board, first of all Fred Alexander, as representing the Negro council of PTA's, requesting that they not build the dual system, that they have one school, and when you look at the minutes you will also notice there is something like the curriculums are similar, you know, that kind of thing. There was always a money problem with Carver College, but if the faculty and if the student body had been integrated, desegregated at that particular time, I think it would have not laid the seeds for what happened here in 1969.
RR: Now this was after '54?
BM: Uh-hum. Throughout '54.
RR: Yeah, yeah.
BM: It's also interesting to note that in the building of this school, when this finally became Charlotte College, there was this still dualism, the community was saying they could not, they were going to desegregate, they were going to put white or black over on Interstate 85. So in order to do this, it was really a very subtle kind of thing, like they changed the name from Carver, as if changing a name would make it a different institution.
RR: They changed into Mecklenburg.
BM: Yes.
BM: Then the next thing I thought was significant was that that school, because, well they had two architectures, if you look at the cost of the land over then on Interstate 85, and the cost of what they could have bought a parcel that would have been added to this and made it one institution, they paid almost as much money for the tract of land on Interstate 85, just to--, and to me, it was a perpetuation of the whole dual thing, and yet this was after a, a, a Supreme Court decision.
RR: Right, right.
BM: Then the next thing, I think that was significant in planning this whole thing, was this becomes a four-year institution. The counterpart of the same institution, which started out at the black part was phased into the whole Central--.
RR: Piedmont.
BM: Piedmont.
RR: All right.
BM: OK. Then I looked at some of the hiring practices. No blacks. A few black students. Yet, I know Johnson C. Smith was there, but this is a State supported institution--,
RR: Right.
BM: Which lowers tuition and all that kind of stuff, but no real means of getting out to really make certain that blacks were involved here, because I'm sure that were a heck of a lot of blacks that didn't even know this school existed as a four year institution. Then finally when they, you know, the 1964 decision, Civil Rights Act, when all of a sudden it was necessary for colleges in order to get federal support--, I don't know how much federal support. It's very difficult to tell from all the documents and looking at various things around here, how much actual federal money came into this, but I'm sure that there had to have been some pressure brought on this school in some way--.
RR: Well, even if there wasn't, there was a feeling that it could be brought. Let's not, let's avoid that.
BM: Yeah.
BM: So, and I think even with getting the small student that they did, they didn't really carry a program that would fulfill the needs, realizing that you're bringing in a different culture, and I think that that was another, I don't know whether you want to call it a paradox, but it certainly was significant to me, inasmuch as here you are recruiting students, and yet you are not looking at the fact that you're bringing in another, you're not looking at this whole thing as a microcosm of a pluralistic society, as far as curriculum or anything else is concerned.
RR: Well, Bertha, we can go back and whip these dead horses. This is the past,
BM: Yeah but I think--,
RR: and it's been done; and it documents a certain attitude, but that attitude is changing, and we're part of the reason why it's changing.
BM: Sure.
RR: And I want to get to where--,
BM: Well wait a minute. There's something else. I'm not so certain, Bob, with some people they are changing, but you're talking about mores, you're talking about attitudes, you're talking about very deep imbedded kinds of things that they don't just pass because a few people all of a sudden come together, you know, and, and, and although you say it's changing, it's changing some but very slowly, and, and I think that all too often we're prone to be extremely optimistic, because say, for instance, where you're looking at it, because you're filtering in only those good things that you see. You understand?
RR: I don't deny that the problem's still there.
BM: Uh-hum.
BM: And I don't but neither do I want it to--, because you see it as being of some great changes, it's not just that great. From my perception, where I'm coming from--.
RR: ( ). It's still too little and too late.
BM: Yes.
RR: I know, but it's--
BM: And what I'm saying is--.
RR: It's not going backwards.
BM: I'm not really certain about that. Bob, you want me to be as optimistic about it as you--.
RR: I don't.
BM: And I don't feel that way. And I want to go on to talk about now, since that's what you really want.
RR: Yeah.
BM: You want to move towards. I say that there are some people, but the awareness is not deep enough that we could say that there is this, the magnitude of the change is a great as you, you know that you feel that it is. And that's because you're looking at it from a different point of view than me.
RR: Well, let me tell you where I am looking at it.
RR: It, it, it. The change that you are looking for is an attitudinal change that has to be a deep and [pause] and completely honest transformation on the part of a single individual.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: Look at myself. I come from the North, and when this thing happens, I, I look at it with an outsiders eyes. Then I come to the South and I, I was indoctrinated in Charleston to see the black problem the way it really was.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: Not the way the Southerners thought it was now--,
BM: But you're talking about exceptions.
RR: Well, yeah, it's an exception, but, and then things start on this campus, and, and I'm sympathetic. I'm a humanistic concern. I mean I just feel I have to be honest and look at this thing, and I get into the Black Studies Committee; and I, I wasn't a hundred percent convinced for the first few years, but I kept trying.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: Well now I've reached the point where I don't even have to try anywhere, because I'm with it, but it's been a genuine change in a single person; and that's the way, it's the only way it's going to happen anywhere else and the only way it's going to happen is, is, is by individuals, you can't convince groups--,
BM: You see that's such a slow process.
RR: Well, but it's the only real process, it's the only genuine--, anything else is going to be superficial and--,
RR: And just tip the other way with the first blow of the wind.
BM: OK. Well that's what I'm saying. OK now you've hit on something that's most significant, inasmuch as you said that it's going to be an individual change. Now look at the people that we're going to have to break down one by one--.
RR: How does this Black Studies thing work on this campus? Only by breaking people down one by one.
BM: One by one. That's what I'm saying. OK. So, therefore, I can't say that it is such a dramatic all-of-a-sudden awareness on the part of people and the change has been that great, because it's been a very, very slow process--.
RR: But the change where it has occurred has been genuine.
BM: In some instances, in most instances. But that's, then look, look at what you're talking about. You're talking about approximately, not even one-fourth of the, an entire faculty.
RR: I, I know that.
BM: OK. So, you're talking about, about maybe, out of a faculty of what, 300 administration and all of that thrown in, we're talking about ten good people, and that represents a hell of a lot of change, and you know? It's going to be another 300 years before we're going to be able to get this thing together, you know.
RR: Well--.
BM: Now.
RR: Look, [laughter] there comes a tipping point, there comes a point where this acceleration picks up and all of a sudden it just moves--.
BM: It hasn't in 300 years.
RR: I know, but, by golly, we're lot further than we were, I know I'm further; now does that mean I'm blind.
BM: No. That means that you're part of the slow process of change. That's what it means. It means that it's good to have you, but in the meantime we still have a greater majority of people out there whose attitudes have not changed substantially. If we had, if we had twenty-five Bob Riekes on campus, then look where we would be, because then twenty-five committed Bob Riekes could touch twenty-five more Bob Riekes, and it would make, it would speed up the process of change. But as it is now, you can actually look around and see those people who firmly support this program; and there are very few Bob Riekes, Ann Carvers, or I feel that, now I feel a very strong support from Ann, St. Clair.
RR: Yeah.
BM: And Loy Witherspoon.
RR: Oh yeah.
BM: These kinds of people you just don't find. There are some who, like, I think I'm beginning to warm vibrations from DiCecco--, and I hate to call names because you won't erase that tape, and I'm not really certain that it's just that, you know, real, where I'm really willing to stand up and fight now, and what I see about you and somebody like Ed and Ann, I'm willing to go out there and fight where I know, where my, you know, not over here with the black people--.
RR: But you're not fighting alone.
BM: I know that. That's better than it was five years ago, but still--.
RR: Well, let me give you a little confession. I went to this chairmen's meeting in Gastonia you were there.
BM: Yeah and I want to talk about that, too.
RR: All right. Well, yeah, I never understood what you said at the end, but I'll, maybe you were saying the same thing then that you are saying now. Let me, let me tell you something. No, when that tape was played.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: I looked around, you know, everyone was turned off, looking somewhere else, just, I was reading faces, I went around and looked carefully and then went around and looked again, I was looking for audiences for my history, and the way I conceive this history now, is the way I can figure it out, there were only three people in that room who would even understand what I'm trying to do, let alone understand the thing when it's done.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: Well, what could I say to that? Rieke give up, because you might as well not even do this thing. It's, it's, it's a throw away exercise. The thing I want to bring out in this history is, is something that's going to wake people up or at least cultivate those attitudes and strengthen those attitudes that I think are good and sound and moving in the right direction. Well, I could be as discouraged as you are. I said, what the hell am I doing? Spending all this time on this project. But if I don't do it, if this isn't done, well, nothing will ever get done, and that's what sort of like where you are.
BM: Well I, but you're perceiving that I'm discouraged. I'm not discouraged, because if I was discouraged--,
RR: You wouldn't be doing anything.
BM: I would, I would quit you see. But I'm not discouraged. I'm just trying to face the reality that this, that--.
RR: I'm facing it, too.
BM: Yeah, OK, that I'm not going, that I'm not steeped in pessimism, being so pessimistic that I can't look for another day, but neither am I going to allude myself into some great optimistic aurora, you know, so that I miss something in the meantime. And so that's the only thing I'm saying is just trying to find that reality.
RR: Uh-hum.
BM: Out of which I can operate, and the reality for me is the fact that the changes have been very, very slow and that I am fighting 300 years of tradition, and it's not to go back and dig up anything, because I'm not, I'm not, I can't deal with people who've got to you know go through these guilt things. That's not where I'm coming from, and when I go back to dig it up, I'm only going back to say, "Look, I recognize why the change is so slow."
RR: Yeah.
BM: And it's not that, and so I don't want you to pick up that I'm being very pessimistic
RR: No.
RR: or that I'm discouraged, because I'm not going to do it. I'm not, I'm not going to stop, because I have a commitment to a cause, and I'm going to, you know, but I want to talk about what I felt in that Gastonia meeting, since you brought it up, because I'm, I'm sure that my message didn't get through.
RR: It didn't. I'm not even sure I got it.
BM: I knew from the response, I felt that maybe one or two people, Glenn definitely picked it up. Now what I was saying in that committee, in that meeting--.
RR: It was toward the end--.
BM: Yes.
RR: Right at the very end, and you were bringing out the minority--.
BM: Yes.
RR: Point of view. All right, what did you say now?
BM: What I said was, first I asked the group if they knew, if they had had any feeling about my presence there, as a minority, and what I was trying to elicit from them was, "Have you been aware of the fact that there is, that you have one, black sitting in a position here, carrying on some type of dialogue and working through these things, have you been consciously aware of my presence?" And they should be if they, if they weren't, not that I'm trying to elicit sympathy.
RR: Right.
BM: But just an awareness that here is a black.
RR: All right.
BM: Not only that here is a black that is sitting here with a very nebulous position, huh.
RR: Uh-hum. Right.
BM: OK. What did I pick up to show the level of awareness on this campus about me as a black person, about Black Studies, about a whole lot of things.
RR: Yeah.
BM: I picked up one, "Well, Reed Adams isn't here, Reed Adams isn't here so that puts you in the same bag that law enforcement ( ). That wasn't what I was talking about. They cannot dismiss the fact that first of all they don't have any black administrators on this campus, that they can even pull over to Gastonia for a retreat. And for, and if the change is, as you said, occurring as rapidly as you know--.
RR: I don't say rapidly.
BM: OK. Well you say that there are great changes. Well, whatever you said. OK. Now the second thing I wanted to--, how many of those people would have been functional in a reverse situation, where they were, found themselves the only white in a black situation. Very few. I think the only person that I really felt knew where I was coming from, two, other than Glenn, because he came and talked to me on the side, was Joe Schell, because Joe said something about, "I have been aware of this, and I have thought about this as I have looked at you in this meeting."
RR: Yeah.
BM: That was significant. But at least there was a level of awareness on his part.
RR: Well my problem, Bertha, is then I look around the room and I see you, I don't think black, because I think of you as a human being. Now is that right or wrong?
BM: That's what Glenn said. I'm not talking about my little group, because you all have very much accustomed to working with me and dealing with me, so. OK, you have moved to another level--.
RR: Yeah, right.
BM: But one thing about me, you are operating with me at that level, but in the meantime I'm representing something there which cannot be allowed to just be integrated into the whole thing without, that is an integrated attitude that you are talking about here, but the society in this whole university is not functioning as an inter--, integrated community; because, if so, then there would be more than one token black there. And what I felt like, and what I wanted the people to feel, was the fact that I was having the feeling of being the token black, and that made me very, very uncomfortable. But nobody picked that up.
RR: Well why should you be the token black when--.
BM: Well, there were no other blacks there.
RR: Yes, but this was the department chairmen and ( ) representatives and people in charge of academic programs and you fit that category, that's why anyone else who was brought in, just because they were black, wouldn't have fit, felt ( ).
BM: Well, doesn't that say something about what the university?
RR: It sure does. It sure does.
BM: And that's the only thing. I'm willing to bring to the awareness of the people at the end of that meeting.
RR: OK. Yeah, all right.
BM: That's all I'm saying.
RR: Well
BM: Do something for real, not for something that's just, you know.
RR: Well maybe it's because I already knew that that I thought you were saying something else.
BM: Well, maybe OK then. You've transcended that, but look at other people who have not. Look at Schley Lyons, look.
RR: Oh, Lord.
BM: Oh well look at the, you're going to have to erase that.
RR: No I'm not.
BM: You're going to get more.
RR: I say it the way it is. He was the one person there who needed the most help, and he was the one person convinced that he didn't need any help.
BM: Everything was right. OK then there were, I think my feeling was that a lot of these people had really had no contact with blacks, because there a lot of with no blacks in their department at all.
RR: Yeah, yeah.
BM: And the mere fact that, I have observed, well she can talk, maybe the sentences aren't coherent, well, my God she can talk, you know; well, my God, she really can think.
RR: Yeah.
BM: You know, it's just so obvious, the little kinds of--, you know. I think that Barb felt it quite keenly, too, because--.
RR: Barbara?
BM: Yeah, Barbara Goodnight, because she made a statement something like at the end, "Well, Bertha, I do feel what you're, you're talking about." She said, "Being a, a woman, and so often the minority in a majority environment, as a woman, I, I do understand what you're talking about, and the mere fact that--, now this was my view of what she said--, we have to have a sense of humor about this thing." And I said to her, "Well yeah, this is one thing that we as blacks to learn quite early as a matter of survival, is the fact that we have to develop a coping technique of, of humor." And I don't think that I made anybody miserable during that meeting--.
RR: No, no. Hell, no. Maybe you should have.
BM: No, that's not my style. I think that the level of awareness must come a different way. That's just not my style, for making people uncomfortable. I, I believe in confrontation as a healthy way of dealing with real problems, but I just don't see that as being my role. That's not my style. I tried to create an awareness first of all by functioning and then trying to have them assess at the end.
RR: Well, you, you noticed a couple times when I was asking you to plug in, and I was saying rah, rah and clapping.
BM: Yes.
RR: And so forth, but you see. You were giving a message probably that we weren't even ready for yet. In other words, this idea of being open and honest and sharing our feelings and of letting everything hang out, mean that was not even really beginning there yet. Only, only those of us who have already done it were doing it yet
BM: That's right.
RR: But the others weren't catching on. You know, this is so typical of Schley Lyons. He was saying, you know, it looks as if all the problems are in the humanities, because they're the only ones--. God, they must have awful problems, but the--.
BM: But the openness and the honesty that existed among us, you see, that's what I told Glenn. I said, "Well, you see, I feel very comfortable in our own little group.
RR: Yeah.
BM: I feel very, there's no reason for me to, to--.
RR: But there was a time when you didn't feel comfortable.
BM: Yes, that's true. I went through a heck of a lot of changes in order to function there with that group.
RR: Did you have to change yourself in order to?
BM: No. Yes, I did. I had to not change myself, I think I had to change, I didn't trust.
RR: Yeah.
BM: I had to create a level of trust.
RR: Yeah.
BM: And I guess maybe I'm trusting now more than I've ever been able to trust by white people. Because there's just nothing in my life experience that would lead me to, you know, and I've learned this. I've learned this from Ann and learned it from those people in that, from Bill Mathis and from you people. I've learned to trust, as to a level; I can't say that total trust is there, because I don't know any human being who would trust another human being completely. I think I learned a lot from Bob Wallace, when as far as trust is concerned. So I have to, so any change that you've seen, it t not been a modification of my behavior to fit into this group--.
RR: Yeah, yeah.
BM: But I felt an outreach from the people in that group, I felt a, a, a people standing up fighting for my cause, like you and Loy, and I've seen Carl reach out a very, not overt demonstrative ways, but very quiet, supportive kinds of ways, you know, and I, I, I've seen my decisions respected in that group. I've seen support for what I'm, what I'm about, so, with Bill Shumaker, that's why I couldn't stand to see him suffer as much as he was suffering in that meeting over there, and had Bard not spoken out, I had very definitely had planned to bring that to the attention of that group.
RR: Well, I saw more suffering than you, because I was with him in the discussion. In fact, I talked with him before he went over there, and he was about as miserable as anybody, well, I've never seen anybody so miserable. He just thought the whole thing was a game, and we were going over there because the administration wanted to sort of con us into playing games so we could come back and feel like we could support a school.
BM: But I don't think Bob feels like that now.
RR: Bill.
BM: I mean Bill.
RR: this was all anticipated on the part of, maybe not the administration, certainly the man that runs the show, knew it was going to happen. Bill Mathis knew it was going to happen.
BM: I knew it was going to happen.
RR: If it could happen, it was going to happen.
BM: That's right.
RR: And there was a transformation in Bill at the end when he realized we were getting down to where our problems were, and--.
BM: And the thing that I thought I saw our group coming together as a very cohesive group in supporting each other--.
RR: Yeah.
BM: Because I could look around, I could read some of the behaviors, I could see DiCecco and what he was putting out there, which was himself, and I could see your support coming through, I could see Loy being very supportive; and the only thing I could say, and I came back and told Bill Mathis this, he ought to get down and, and say a lot of Hail Marys, because that group has come together.
RR: Oh yeah.
BM: And I think it's one of the most effective groups on this campus, because I've been around here some other departments, and I have seen them function, and I know what's going on, and the level of awareness is almost nil, their concern for each other as human beings almost nil; and even some of the little sub-conversations that I had, I, I, I can pick up the, you know, it's not all organization. This is a point I was trying to make at the end of that conference, that you can have ever so many administrative structures, you can have all kinds of programs, like this, but if you don't learn to relate at a human level--.
RR: I was trying to be so careful to make this thing as much dependent on the spirit as I could. If you build a structure and it is ahead of the spirit, why you've already killed something. You didn't dare, I mean when Vic Pollak got all excited about giving papers, why that was a nice idea, but I mean that, that, that would kill the thing the first week. Who in the hell wants to sit down and write up a position paper?
BM: Well, you see, I had planned not to attend. That was already my built-in bias to the whole proposal, and I like Victor as a person, I think he's a beautiful--, I really like Victor. He's a scientist, but he's there, Victor is a very warm person, and I need that--.
RR: He is a warm person.
BM: The thing that disturbs me, another I feel, I feel that these people according, have developed intellectually, you know, this cognitive development is so high and the effectiveness of their development is just so, so very low, when somebody feels like that if I can balance my budget, if I can make the people in my department do da, da, da, da, according to such and such a thing, well then I've finished, I've finished my job, and anybody who's doing something at a feeling level--.
RR: Do you want to know something about my history?
BM: What is it?
RR: Do you want to know how I'm laying it out?
BM: At a feeling level?
RR: Hell yes. You have no idea how I'm going to shape up this history. I want you to know it's a secret.
RR: Because if it got around what I'm doing, people wouldn't even come talk to me. But I've got some crazy ideas, and I've been led to believe and Elizabeth. She said unless you let your ideas come out completely crazy, unless your willing to trust thoughts that are nonsense--.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: You'll never have the courage to come forward with something different and original. And I'm not saying this is original. I want you to help me on this.
BM: I don't know whether I can or not. [laughter] What time is it? You know I got to get out of here by--.
RR: This is ( ) I'll let you go in a minute.
RR: Let me just give you an idea of what I'm trying to do. I have divided my history. I don't even call it history I call it retrospective vision, into five chapters.
BM: Uh-hum.
RR: I figured--, I picked the number five out before I even knew what I was doing. I just said five chapters about right.
RR: And so what sense does five make? What's five? What are we talking about here? OK. The organic process. You know what an organism is. It's alive. Well, what's wrong with the five senses?
BM: That's beautiful. I like that.
RR: So then I started out, and I said for now I'll rank them. What's the highest and most obvious sense? Seeing
BM: Seeing OK.
RR: And then hearing, and the nose, then the mouth, and then the feeling. Now some people say feeling goes somewhere else but my chapter titles let me change to reflect this five-fold structure.
BM: Oh, that's beautiful.
RR: No but look, it's more beautiful than that. Now, there are some other things. Now it's the carryover; let me show you another little sign; all these senses are related, and what I'm trying to show is that the eye carries over the ear, the ear carries over the nose, the nose carries over the mouth, and the mouth, all these things, carry over the body, and the body comes around, and it's really a part of the eye. It's a circular thing here, and what do these things mean? Well, they mean a lot of things, but the idea of vibrations in there is important, the light is the, is the, manifests the highest vibrations, that's why it, it's the thing that is developed highest first. The vibrations, the area of sound, are lower range, and then you get to, I don't know what happens in smell and mouth, but certainly when you get down to the deep feeling, of the rhythm of the metabolic process, you've got a slower kind of rhythm than you have up here. Well all this is pulled together, you see, now, and well it allows you to do a lot of other things. For example, one thing I've got one real wild idea; the other thing, the big dimension in education today, we've got to remember that our job is education, it's not ( ) ourselves or teaching others, in a certain narrow range, it's education. Education of the total body, education of the total spirit, education of the total community; what do all these things mean? Well, the biggest thing we're for getting is that we and this is right where you start in, we've picked out a target of what is comfortable and what has come to us, what we've identified as that which should be educated, and we've talked to that audience. We've forgotten about well we said eighteen to twenty-two, and then we said white, but we've forgotten about all these other things that are there, that are part of the whole process of life. We've forgotten the other ages, we've forgotten the, the different economic levels, the different social levels, the racial levels, all of these things have got to be brought in. They're hungry for it, and here we sit trying to, pushing a machine--.
BM: ( ).
RR: Pushing our papers around, doing what's comfortable, and this has just got to be opened up. Now this is what this thing is all about.
BM: Can I say something else?
RR: Sure, now, now say something.
BM: OK. What I want to say is when I talk about a pluralistic society, that's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a society, which really addresses itself to the total everybody in there. The aged--.
RR: Yeah.
BM: Because you see, and I think this is why in the black studies program, this is why we send those kids over to Green Acres Nursing Home, because actually it's a shame that you can stand here and look at that over there and realize that this community is not connected to that community over there. You know?
RR: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
BM: And, and we're talking about, when I talk about pluralistic society, I'm talking about if they can bring those babies on campus here in psychology, then it's being functional. This, this, this whole university is really embodying the whole thing that I hear Dr. Colvard talk about when he says this is a community, this is an urban institution; and if it's an urban institution, then it's got to talk about the people, the everything, not just something down there in the institute. But, and to me I think this is going to be beautiful, if people are going to really be sensitive to and understand, but you're going to be dealing with only a few people, and I think you're right.
RR: Well, I'm going to have to reinforce those that already understand it, and--.
BM: I think it's beautiful but you know I knew something was happening to you over here in this room, and I told Ann Carver that and you can get Rosemary to erase this, but I told Ann, I said, "Have you seen Dr. Rieke lately?" because I've always felt that you were a hundred percent in support of what we were doing. I've never felt that, you know, there were times when you would ask very piercing questions, but I always took that to mean that either you wanted something for clarification for your own self or you wanted us to think a little bit further than what we were thinking, but I have seen, since you've been in this little room, a transformation which, and I, I said, well, maybe you're just damn glad to be out of the position of--.
RR: Well, that's part of it, but I know there is a transformation.
BM: There, there is an aura about you that's very different, and I stand, call her in some time and ask her, what's Bertha been saying about me? Because you are, you're very different, and what I can see now, because you've immersed, you have become immersed in this kind of thing where you really are finding some beautiful things to do. And I've got to go talk to Betty Chafin.
RR: Well, thanks a lot for being with me. If I spoiled your morning--.
BM: I'm coming back.
RR: You can come back.
BM: I'm coming back.
RR: We'll stop now.
BM: All right.
RR: Thank you very much.