Oral history interview with Arnold Goldwag, 2001


Goldwag, Arnold (Interviewee)
Michaels, Sheila, 1939-2017 (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Arnold Goldwag, 2001
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Arnold Goldwag, 2001; Oral history of Arnold Goldwag, 2001
In this interview, Goldwag discusses his work with the Brooklyn chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and race relations in New York City and in the northeastern United States during the civil rights movement. Goldwag describes his family and upbringing, including politics in his family and the development of his political philosophy. He shares his opinions on nonviolent protest tactic s, recalls his time at Brooklyn College, and discusses his experiences with law enforcement. He addresses police brutality and the discriminatory police practices of the 1960s. Goldwag compares these memories to the 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo, a recent event at the time of the interview. Goldwag describes Brooklyn CORE's relationship to National CORE and the surrounding community. He explains his role as the community relations director. Goldwag describes Brooklyn CORE's main concerns, including: the limited availability of fresh food in black neighborhoods; the inadequate garbage removal services in Bedford-Stuyvesant; the sale of apartheid-era South African products; gerrymandering along racial lines by the Board of Education; blockbusting and white flight; Elaine Bibuld's legal case against the Board of Education; and the actions planned for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Goldwag details the controversy of the World's Fair protests, including: how the idea arose; how it gained momentum; its repercussions within CORE; and how it was both a success and failure. He addresses his work in Eastern Maryland to desegregate restaurants in Baltimore and along Maryland's Route 40. Goldwag discusses Roy Innis's leadership of CORE, the changes Innis made, and how the movement dissolved. Finally, Goldwag discusses his thoughts on the state of racial equality in America at the time of the interview
Collection Name
Sheila Michaels civil rights organization oral history collection
Civil rights movements--History--20th century.--United States; Civil rights demonstrations--United States; Police brutality--United States; Discrimination in education--New York (State); United States Race relations 20th century; Goldwag, Arnold; Bibuld, Elaine; Innis, Roy, 1934-2017; Congress of Racial Equality. Brooklyn Chapter; New York World's Fair New York, N.Y.) (1964-1965
oral histories
Physical Description
247 pages
Note (Biographical)
Arnold ("Arnie") Goldwag was born on January 18, 1938. In the late 1950s, Goldwag became involved with the Brooklyn chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and attended Brooklyn College. As Brooklyn CORE's Community Relations Director, Goldw ag was responsible for press relations, publicity, and coordination with communities and demonstrators on the organization's direct actions. Goldwag participated in demonstrations in New York and Maryland to desegregate public facilities and restaurants. Goldwag's activism led to several arrests and a thirteen-month prison sentence in 1964; he served one month of the sentence in the Rikers Island Prison Complex. Brooklyn CORE was one of the most radical chapters of the organization due to Goldwag's leadership and planning. Goldwag participated in one of Brooklyn CORE's controversial Stall-In at the opening of the 1964 New York World's Fair. After CORE, Goldwag worked for the New York City Human Resources Administration and subsequently for Social Service Employees Union (SSEU) Local 371. Goldwag died on August 9, 2008
Interviewed by Sheila Michaels on April 23 and May 5, 1999 and March 9, 2001
Note (Provenance)
Sheila Michaels, Gift circa 1998-2005
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
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Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
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