Oral history interview with Daphne McClean, 2005


McClean, Daphne (Interviewee)
Michaels, Sheila, 1939-2017 (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Daphne McClean, 2005
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Daphne McClean, 2005; Oral history of Daphne McClean, 2005
Daphne McClean describes her early life in Reserve, Louisiana; her experience growing up in the Great Depression; her attendance at an all-Black Catholic high school; and her thoughts on the mission of the civil rights movement. McClean explains how she became active in New Orleans Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). She discusses the sit-ins and pickets in downtown New Orleans and their reception. She talks about her trips to New York and California, and her return to Reserve. McClean describes the organizational structure of New Orleans CORE and the Black community of Reserve. She discusses her family's religious background, her sisters’ experiences in the Black public school system, and the economic landscape of Reserve, which was once dominated by a sugar refinery. McClean ponders the prevalence of cancer in the area and the treatment of mental disabilities. She describes the membership of New Orleans CORE, including Aretha Castle and the Smith family. She cites Sue Smith, the mother of Pat and Ruby Doris, as a source of support and inspiration. She describes the logistics of demonstration planning and shares anecdotes of memorable demonstrations. McClean concludes with recollections of neighborhood race relations, the importance of storytelling, and the issue of interracial marriage
Collection Name
Sheila Michaels civil rights organization oral history collection
Civil rights movements--History--20th century.--United States; Civil rights demonstrations--Louisiana; United States Race relations 20th century; Reserve (La.) History; McClean, Daphne; Congress of Racial Equality
oral histories
Physical Description
58 pages
Note (Biographical)
Daphne Wallace McClean was raised in Reserve, Louisiana. McClean grew up in a large and supportive Creole family as the seventh child of Willy and Alberta Wallace. McClean joined New Orleans CORE in the early 1960s as a student of Southern University at New Orleans. She participated in demonstrations in New Orleans before traveling to New York and California with Pat and Ruby Doris Smith in 1965. McClean eventually moved back to Reserve, Louisiana. There, she married Steve McClean and taught elementary school. At the time of the interview, McClean was working with disabled children and adults
Interviewed by Sheila Michaels on June 12, 2005
Note (Provenance)
Sheila Michaels, Gift circa 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.