Roger Friedman oral history interview, 2016-07-14

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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00:00:00 - Disclaimers

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Okay, so just the formal part to remind you that this is not a private conversation but will --

Segment Synopsis: Andy Reisinger begins the interview with a few disclaimers.

00:00:55 - Culture of The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So last time we were talking we ended somewhere around the 1972 bombing of The Bird offices and also the --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about capitalism, socialism and the culture of The Bird.

Subjects: Cartoonists; Musicians; Socialism; Underground newspapers

00:16:27 - Social movements

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: The movement stuff you know, it was like it always in all of the mobilization meetings or --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman explains how The Bird fit into the context of various social movements, including the women's movement and the gay liberation movement. He talks about some of the politics, movements and organizations people were participating in at the time.

Subjects: Social movements; Underground newspapers

00:29:31 - Police and prisons

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: And so police was a big part of the sort of street culture that was going on.

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about conflicts with police and prison conditions.

Subjects: Demonstrations; Hippies; Police; Prisons

00:36:09 - Urban renewal and other issues covered by the Bird

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: There was labor, I mean there were lots of strikes that we supported over time and they were always well covered --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about some of the topics covered in The Bird. He also talks about urban renewal and areas that were being gentrified.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Gentrification; Underground newspapers; Urban renewal

00:42:35 - Southern exceptionalism

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Let me go back and follow up on a couple of things that you mentioned.

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about Southern exceptionalism and identity and how it operated through members of the Bird. He also explains how it affected the community both personally and politically.

Subjects: African Americans; Segregation

01:07:43 - Women's liberation

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So to follow up on a different point, when you were talking about the women's movement and the gay liberation movement and sort of where that fit in with the Bird --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about the women's liberation movement and discusses how it affected gender dynamics at the Bird.

Subjects: Feminism; Sexism; Women

01:21:53 - Living arrangements

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So you mentioned the different living arrangements and all-women housing, women and children. What were your living arrangements during this period?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about where he lived and who he lived with while working at The Bird.

Subjects: Apartment houses; Housing

01:24:28 - Working at The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So were you on paid staff while you were -- ?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about his role at the Bird, where he sold the paper, and describes what was in the classified ad section of the paper.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

01:28:15 - Leisure

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And what do you recall of what you were doing in your free time and for enjoyment during those years?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about what he liked to do in his free time.

Subjects: Concerts; Parks

01:30:12 - The Bird and friends

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: I was going for integration. Later on I've tried for distinct separation and I just sort of --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about his experience covering demonstrations.He also talks about memories of The Bird, the relationships he had with the people there, and how they all met.

Subjects: Demonstrations; Newspapers

01:43:32 - Leaving The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: When did you sort of leave The Bird or was it a staggered leaving of The Bird and why?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about the firebombing at The Bird and explains how he drifted away from The Bird.

Subjects: Incendiary bombs; Newspapers

01:46:50 - Georgia Power Project

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: In July of '72, The Institute for Southern Studies did an issue on Georgia Power and it went into its finances.

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about the Institute for Southern Studies' investigation into misconduct at the Georgia Power Company. He also talks about doing legal research for the Georgia Power project.

Subjects: Georgia Power Company; Legal research; Public utilities--Law and legislation

01:55:47 - Public Service Commission

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: I had this dark green polyester suit, okay, and like a green, and white, and brown polyester knit tie --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about complaining to public service commissioners about Georgia Power.

Subjects: Georgia Power Company; Public service commissions

02:00:00 - Finances

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: I mean I had always known -- not always known, but at from some point maybe around fifth grade I read a book about accounting --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about learning accounting and explains how his knowledge helped him investigate Georgia Power's finances.

Subjects: Bonds; Electric industries; Finance, Public; Georgia Power Company; Stocks

02:12:34 - Neill Herring

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: But at any rate, I guess it was during that time when Neill was remodeling his house --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman tells a story about his friend Neill Herring and describes his experience with the public service commission.

Subjects: Lawyers; Public service commissions; Railroads

02:26:33 - Law

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: That gets me sort of back to law again. I mean it may have been interrupted --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about self-supporting movement enterprises. He also talks about law firms, lawyers,law office roles, and explains how he formed a company involving court reporting and paralegal services.

Subjects: Law; Law firms; Lawyers

03:03:54 - Prison reform work

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: So during the time of the law project we also did prison -- we also worked on prison work --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about one of his mentors and describes the work that he did to improve conditions at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.

Subjects: Lawyers; Prison reformers; Prisons

03:08:16 - Working with computers, political activism

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Partial Transcript: ROGER FRIEDMAN: As I told you, I had bought this very early computer and so I started looking --

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about working with computers and becoming interested in Latin America. He also talks about his involvement in various political activist organizations.

Subjects: Bands (Music); Books; Computers; Demonstrations; Political activists

03:21:33 - Marriage, work and travel

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And what year did you get married?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about the work he's done to make a living and the different places he traveled to for work. He talks about his wife's career and his current involvements in organizations.

Subjects: Bands (Music); Computers; Married people

03:32:02 - Reflections on The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: How do you sort of reflect and feel about that era of your life, that era of time?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman reflects on his life around the time of the Great Speckled Bird.

Subjects: Nineteen sixties; Social movements; Underground newspapers

03:39:56 - Values, current activities and beliefs

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: You mentioned that you are doing volunteer work as an escort at Planned Parenthood. What are some of the other ideas or ideals that are most important to you at this point in your life?

Segment Synopsis: Roger Friedman talks about the ideas and ideals that are important to him. He also shares his views of the world and discusses who he still keeps in contact with from the Bird.

Subjects: Community organization; Social values