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Patton, Curtis, 2005 April 21

 Part of Collection
Call Number: RU 1055, Series Accession 2008-A-001

Scope and Contents

Born in Birmingham in 1935, Curtis Patton began to fight for civil rights from an early age, a commitment he carried with him to Yale in the 1970s. In high school, Patton joined the youth division of the NAACP. He remembers hearing a 1951 speech by Mordecai Johnson, the president of Howard University, which predicted the coming Civil Rights movement. After graduating high school, Patton attended Fisk University which he describes as a center of civil rights activism. At Fisk, Patton's professors encouraged disobedience as a way to protest segregation. He recounts occasions when he broke racial barriers in movie theaters and on trains. He also remembers the two times he encountered Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1955 Montgomery and at Fisk the following year. Patton attended the University of Michigan during the 1960s and discusses watching events unfold in Alabama from afar. In 1970, he became an assistant professor at Yale. A large portion of the interview focuses on Patton's hero, Edward Bouchet, an African American servant to a white Yale student who earned a Ph.D. in physics from Yale in the 1870s. Patton concludes with a discussion of the Black Power Movement and how it differed from the Civil Rights Movement.

Interviewer: Koh, Emily, and Greer, Bryan

Length (min): 58


  • 2005 April 21

Conditions Governing Access

As a preservation measure, original materials may not be used. Digital access copies must be provided for use. Contact Manuscripts and Archives at to request access


1 Computer Files (.wav)

1:56:11 Duration (HH:MM:SS.mmm)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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