Oral history interview with Donald Gammon, 1999


Gammon, Donald (Interviewee)
Michaels, Sheila, 1939-2017 (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Donald Gammon, 1999
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Donald Gammon, 1999; Oral history of Donald Gammon, 1999
Gammon's interview begins with him describing his childhood and early engagement with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He describes his parents, who came from Arkansas. Gammon attended a business college and entered the United States Air Force. After serving for three years and six months, Gammon left the service in 1958. Gammon recalls instances of job discrimination he experienced as a Bla ck man upon returning to St. Louis. After receiving his certification as a nurse practitioner, Gammon worked as an operating room technician at the Barnes Hospital and the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis (Barnes-Jewish Hospital). Gammon describes his medical work and his work as a salesman, beginning 1964. Gammon describes the racial environment of St. Louis in the mid-sixties, including issues of segregation and black unemployment. As chairman of CORE's Employment Committee, Gammon describes organizing a boycott against Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch with help from Ron Dellums and Delores Alleyne. Gammon also recalls other boycotts and anti-war activism across St. Louis. Next, Gammon discusses a broad range of issues impacting the Black community of St. Louis at the time of the interview. Gammon mentions discrimination against Black patients in Barnes Hospital. Gammon describes CORE St. Louis in the 1990s and early 2000s, headed by Solomon Leroy Rooks. He recalls the actions of Percy Green, his brother-in-law, and Ivory Perry, a fellow CORE activist. Gammon speaks about his sister's death; meeting his wife, Evelyn, in CORE; and his annual walks around the Jefferson Bank with his granddaughter. Finally, Gammon muses on the Democratic Party, anti-miscegenation laws, the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Founding Fathers
Collection Name
Sheila Michaels civil rights organization oral history collection
Nurse practitioners; Civil rights movements--History--20th century.--United States; Discrimination in employment--United States; Discrimination in medical care--United States; Peace movements--Missouri; Boycotts--Missouri; United States Race relations 20th century; Gammon, Donald; St. Louis Committee of Racial Equality; Barnes-Jewish Hospital; Anheuser-Busch, Inc; United States. Air Force
oral histories
Physical Description
60 pages
Note (Biographical)
Donald Gammon was a member of St. Louis CORE from 1963 to 1985. While in CORE, Gammon organized several boycotts and served on the Employment Committee. A lifelong resident of St. Louis, Gammon was born in 1933 and served in the United States Air Forc e from 1955 to 1958. He worked as a licensed nurse practitioner and liquor salesman before retiring at age 63
Interviewed by Sheila Michaels on September 14 and September 16, 1999
Note (Provenance)
Sheila Michaels, Gift circa 1998-2005
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
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Available digital content for this interview.