Bob Goodman oral history interview, 2016-07-25

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

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Segment Synopsis: Andy Reisinger discusses a few disclaimers before starting the interview.

00:01:33 - Introduction And Family Background

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: -- if you could describe a little bit of um, when and where you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman talks about where he was born and his childhood growing up there. He also discusses a little bit about his family's background and living in Missouri.

Keywords: Missouri

00:05:50 - Working And Childhood

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: I was also, um, pretty industrious from a pretty early age. I remember going around the neighborhood selling vegetable seeds and Christmas cards and things like that to make spending money.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman talks about the various jobs he took in his childhood and throughout his adolescence.

Subjects: Child labor; Working class

00:14:05 - Politics And Integration

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: What do you recall of, of the politics of the time?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman describes what the political scene was like around that time in Kennett, Missouri. He also talks about the changes that came with integration and what his interactions with black people were like before integration.

Subjects: School integration


Hyperlink:
00:17:42 - Religion

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: Well, one other thing I might mention about my childhood uh, I was very religious. I joined the Southern Baptist church when I was nine years old. Um, and uh, which is not unusual in that part of the country.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses religion and the role it played in his childhood. He also talks about his experiences with the church in relation to politics.

Subjects: Religion; Religion and politics

00:24:13 - Writing

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And you had mentioned also, when you had served as a janitor at the newspaper, that that evolved into doing some writing. What was the content of the writing you were doing?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his work at the newspaper and the types of news pieces he wrote about.

Keywords: Snakes

Subjects: Newspapers

00:28:18 - College And Religion

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Okay, so we were just talking about when and where you went off to college.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the influences that lead to his decision to go to college. He first attended Southwest Baptist College, but transferred due to the intense religious nature of the school.

Subjects: Religion; Universities and colleges

00:36:42 - Inclination to Social Activism

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: -- But uh, before I got to the University of Missouri, something pretty important happened to me. I had a summer job in Kansas City. I was working in a popsicle factory, but uh, during that summer of 1960 was when uh the sit-ins at Greensboro, North Carolina happened.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his inclination to social activism and recalls signs in his past that indicated this inclination. He also talks about how the sit-ins at Greensboro, North Carolina made him realize that he wanted to become involved with the movements.

Subjects: Social action

00:41:34 - Participating in Social Actions

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: So from there, uh, at the end of that summer I went to the University of Missouri and there was a CORE chapter there, the Congress of Racial Equality.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the various social actions he participated in.

Subjects: Segregation in higher education; Social action

00:46:24 - Higher Education

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Was, is it -- Southwest Baptist College, was it integrated while you were there?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses enrolling as a journalism major at the University of Missouri, but later switching to a history major. He also talks about the work he did at the time such as the college paper and internships. He obtains a bachelor's degree and master's degree in history and attends the doctoral program at Harvard.

Keywords: Harvard University

Subjects: Universities and colleges

00:58:58 - Moving To Boston

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: -- Your years in Boston, um, how did you find Boston, moving from smaller towns in Missouri and then the university town -- Columbia? BOB GOODMAN: Columbia.
REISINGER: -- To, to the northeast. To the coast.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses moving to Boston and his experience with activism at Harvard before dropping out.

Keywords: Harvard University

Subjects: Universities and colleges

01:04:56 - Family Response

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: In these years, as you're --becoming more oriented to academic study, you're pursuing graduate degrees, you're becoming more overtly political -- what sort of response did you get, if any, from your family?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his family's response to him becoming more political.

Subjects: Draft registration

01:08:35 - Moving To Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So in, '66, you then moved to Atlanta. Is that? BOB GOODMAN: That is right.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his move to Atlanta and what brought him here.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.)

01:12:45 - Teaching In Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And in your first year or two hear, and particularly being based over, around the Atlanta University Center complex, what do you recall of sort of the social and political atmosphere?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman describes his experience as a college professor at Spelman College in Atlanta and the factors that made him decide he didn't want to teach as a career.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); College teachers; Education

01:19:57 - First Encounter With The Bird

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: So I, um, I think I first heard about the Bird from Nan Orrock who was then, Nan Guerrero. When she answered an ad I'd put in the paper, when we were selling off our furniture, she came over looking at my couch.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his first encounter with the Bird and the changes to his life afterwards such as moving out of faculty housing and taking on a paper route.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

01:24:11 - Working For The Bird

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: -- I combed through a lot of the old Bird and actually used the online resource here to find things that I wrote articles about and I have a partial list here if you would like to hear --
ANDY REISINGER: Yeah. Absolutely.
GOODMAN: -- Some of the things that I wrote articles about.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the various pieces he wrote for the Bird with topics such as desegregation, textbook bias, Atlanta transit systems, and labor struggles.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Underground newspapers

01:30:38 - Reorganization Of The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Where were -- what sort of political trajectory was developing for you when you moved from working at Morehouse to the Bird? Was it sort of continued -- like a seamlessness or did things change in your worldview?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the lack of change in his worldview as well as the structural changes that took place within the Bird.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

01:37:22 - Problems And Reception Of The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: What do you recall about these other problems alluded too? I know that with the gender equity or that it wasn't only in terms of leadership but also content covered and advertisements that were accepted?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses some issues within the Bird as well as how the Bird was received by the general public.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

01:42:22 - Opposition To The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And then you said that there was also a pretty staunch opposition. Who, who comprised that group?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the opposition that the Bird received. He talks about the banning of the paper and the repercussions students would receive for being in possession of the paper.

Keywords: Censorship

Subjects: Underground newspapers; Universities and colleges

01:46:51 - Travelling For The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: -- I know in you, in you relating a selection of things that you wrote on -- which are largely local, did you do any coverage that was more regional or national that caused you to travel?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses travelling for the Bird. He discusses a specific instance in which he traveled to Washington, D.C. to cover the issues with the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC).

Keywords: Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC); Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Demonstrations; Underground newspapers

01:52:31 - Bird's Politics

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Where -- where did the Bird fall on the spectrum of -- the contentious politics within the left as things are evolving, splitting?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the Bird's place on the political spectrum. He also discusses other social organizations and movements he became involved with.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

01:55:37 - Relationships And Social Life

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So tell me a bit about the relationships, um, working relationships as well as professional and personal relationships among the collective.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the kinds of relationships people had with each other within the Bird. He also talks about his social life and what he did for fun while a member of the Bird.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

02:04:32 - Memorable Issues Covered

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Are there any particular issues or themes that the Bird covered that are most memorable to you?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses memorable issues that the Bird covered such as the women's rights issues and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.. He also talks about the Bird and its relationship to other underground papers.

Subjects: Underground newspapers

02:09:02 - Veceremos Brigade

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And correct me if I'm wrong, um, did you also go on one of the Veceremos Brigades?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his experience in one of the Veceremos Brigades. He discusses what they did, who he went with, and what travelling was like.

Keywords: Cuba; Veceremos Brigade

Subjects: Travel; Underground newspapers

02:15:45 - Second Wife

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So you had mentioned that you, that you met your second wife at the Bird, um and she was just -- an interested, interested party? Or friends of other folks?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman talks about meeting his second wife and what she became involved with. He talks about her work and the jobs she took on.

Subjects: Marriage

02:19:28 - Leaving The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And so you -- were on the Bird staff full time until 1972, sometime in '72?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses leaving the Bird to join the October League. He also talks about factory work and organizing within the factories.

Keywords: October League

Subjects: Factories; Underground newspapers

02:27:01 - Revolutionary Communist Party, October League

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: -- you, when you came to the Bird and were active in it, did you have a vision of what you hoped the Bird would accomplish?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses the issues he cared about and how different organizations focused on them differently. He also discusses various organizations such as the Revolutionary Communist Party and October League. He also talks about continuing his social life with the members of the Bird after leaving.

Keywords: October League

Subjects: Underground newspapers

02:39:06 - Work Life After The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And where did your -- your work life take you from that point?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman further discusses more jobs he took on after the Bird and after leaving the Revolutionary Communist Party and October League.

Subjects: Factories

02:44:45 - Staying Involved With The Issues

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So what -- what did you do with all your free time?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses how he stay involved in social activism after the Bird.

Subjects: China

02:51:32 - Raising Children, Meditation, UFO's

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Partial Transcript: BOB GOODMAN: God, we were about to get into other things that I've done with my life other than political things.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses other aspects of his life such as raising children, meditation, and UFO's.

Subjects: Children; Families

03:04:25 - Leftist Organisations

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Did it collaborate with any other groups or was it in concert or solidarity with, with some other groups like I know I, um, I know from the history of Atlanta that there were many left organizations.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses whether or not there were any collaborations between leftist groups in Atlanta.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Social action

03:06:40 - Influences

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And to get back to some sort of broad questions, framing out your -- your entire life, over the years have there been particularly influential figures or events, sort of milestone...?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses important events in his life. He also talks about significant pieces of literature that influenced his beliefs.

Subjects: Families; Underground newspapers

03:11:31 - Revival Of The Bird, Issues That Still Matter

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: I know there were a couple of attempts over the years to reinvigorate the Bird, one of which was actually Bird folks and another not so much. Were you involved in the 1984, '85?

Segment Synopsis: Bob Goodman discusses his views on the efforts in reviving the Bird as well as issues that matter most to him today.

Subjects: Underground newspapers