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Interview With Oliver W. Hill

Elwood, William A
Format
Online; Online Video; Video
Date
2006; 1985-05-25
Duration
2:04:59
Summary
Part one. Civil rights attorney Oliver Hill recounts his childhood in Roanoke. High schools for African Americans there were at least 100 miles away, so he moved to Washington DC to go to Dunbar High School. He recalls knowing Charles Houston in the early 1930s while at Howard Law School. Hill discusses the difference between desegregation and integration. Part two. Mr. Hill examines his first civil rights cases, the most important being Alston v. School Board of the City of Norfolk. He discusses the differences between trying a case in front of Virginia federal court and Virginia state court. Part three. Mr. Hill explains the civil rights court case strategy to force the “separate but equal” doctrine to be observed, which would be expensive and difficult, so the only reasonable alternative would be to integrate. Mr. Hill observes that it was essential to eliminate the disparity between African American and white teacher salaries because the South needed to retain good teachers. He won the Alston case then went off to World War II. He describes what segregation in the Army was like. He also discusses taking the Morgan v. Virginia case, which was based on federal interstate transportation law, to the US Supreme Court. Part four. Mr. Hill thinks that the war retarded the growth of the civil rights movement. He recalls the Tunstall case concerning traditional African American railway jobs as firemen. He was also involved in one of the five court cases that led to Brown v. Board of Education, the Prince Edward County case, chiefly concerning equal education facilities. He talks about the judges involved in Prince Edward case. Part five. Mr. Hill continues to discuss the judges involved in the Prince Edward case, including Judge Sterling Hutcheson. Mr. Hill explains that 10 years after the Brown decision there was no integration in Prince Edward County because the Supreme Court didn't order desegregation. Hill points to Harry Byrd as the chief antagonizer in Massive Resistance; Hill says that if Harry Byrd hadn't opposed the Brown decision, integration would have happened much sooner in Virginia. Part six. A message to young people from Oliver Hill: we have to stop thinking of ourselves as colors or ethnicities or nationalities and start thinking of ourselves and each other as humans. Interview ends at seven minutes. Footage of Old Dominion Bar Association convention begins at 7:10, conversations among bar members and William Elwood, chiefly concerning Samuel Tucker.
Creator
Elwood, William A
Interviewee
Hill, Oliver W., 1907-2007
Language
English
Notes
Digitized by: Cincinnati, Ohio : The PPS Group, 2006.
Source footage for the documentary, The road to Brown : the untold story of “the man who killed Jim Crow” (California Newsreel, 1990), about the life of Charles Hamilton Houston, his crusade for civil rights, and the events that led to Brown v. the Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared the doctrine of separate but equal to be illegal.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Collection
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
Related Resources
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Related Items
Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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Part one of six.

Part two of six.

Part three of six.

Part four of six.

Part five of six.

Part six of six.