Steve Wise oral history interview, 2016-07-21

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 you're familiar with all this since you helped write it.

Segment Synopsis: Andy Reisinger begins the interview with a few disclaimers and receives verbal consent to record Steve Wise.

00:01:27 - Family

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So, the very beginning. Tell me a bit about when and where you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his childhood and family.

Subjects: Families

00:16:36 - School

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So tell me about your schooling and the social atmosphere of your youth in Newport News.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about where he went to school while growing up.

Subjects: African Americans; Schools

00:22:26 - Segregation in Virginia

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: At some point during the mid 50's mom and dad had a big porch attached to the house and this was before they had historical preservation --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his home and the issue of segregation in Virginia.

Subjects: Houses and homes; Segregation

00:29:11 - Religion

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And you mentioned the church at some point and then also mentioned in your dad's lecture to you about segregation that one of his --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his family and their views on religion.

Subjects: Church; Religion

00:32:09 - Hobbies and interests

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And what were some of your interests as a kid?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about some of the sports he played, books he read, and other influences growing up.

Subjects: Civil rights movements; Sports

00:37:10 - Moving to Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: I want to pick up on that but before there tell me of your impressions of Atlanta when you moved here in '61.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his experience moving to Atlanta in the summer of 1961 and his time at Georgia Tech.

Subjects: Atlanta(Ga.); College campuses; Express highways; Varsity Drive-In (Atlanta, Ga.)

00:47:49 - Atlanta vs. Newport News

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Was Atlanta significantly bigger than Newport News?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise compares Atlanta, Georgia to Newport News, Virginia. He describes the difference in population and construction between the two cities.

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Newport News (Va.)

00:52:05 - College

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Okay, coming back from a little break. Had just been talking about Atlanta and development of the city. I wanted to go back --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise explains the reasoning behind him transferring from Georgia Tech to Emory. He also talks about what he studied while in school.

Subjects: Emory University; Engineering; History; Universities and colleges

01:00:47 - Emory University

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: I continued on. The professors at Emory were very encouraging. The history department was kind of like a big deal at Emory and they would encourage me --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about some of his professors and his experience with the history department at Emory.

Subjects: Anthropology--Study and teaching; Emory University; Georgia State University; History

01:11:03 - Campus housing

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: So at Emory were you living in student housing on campus?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about where he lived while attending college.

Subjects: Housing

01:13:31 - Georgia Tech vs. Emory

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And when you moved to Emory from Georgia Tech, how did that sort of strike you as we talked before --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his transition from Georgia Tech to Emory University.

Subjects: Emory University

01:17:44 - Organizations

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And you mentioned meeting Gene Guerrero at Emory.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the different conferences he attended and speeches he listened to that inspired him and introduced him to the organized movement.He also talks about the newspaper he wrote for at Emory and the stories the paper covered.

Keywords: Free Speech Movement; Nazi

Subjects: Civil rights movements; Speeches, addresses, etc; Student movements; Student newspapers and periodicals

01:29:33 - Summer

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And so you graduate in '65 and go immediately?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about how he stayed busy during the summer. He talks about learning German, working at the shipyard, and traveling.

Keywords: Timekeeper

Subjects: Shipyards

01:37:58 - Films and books

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Was any music, film, art, books of this period really important to you? Were you following these things closely?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about where he used to go to watch films and some of the books he enjoyed reading.

Subjects: Books and reading

01:43:53 - Influences

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: So I went to the Institute for Policy Studies and one of the guys there, Robb Burlage, had a lot of connections --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his mentor and the other people who influenced him.

Subjects: Mentoring in education

01:48:22 - Antiwar news

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And you had already been turned on to sort of this evolving orientation while at UVA though.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about how he became interested in the Vietnam War and other anti-war news.

Subjects: Vietnam War (1961-1975)

01:58:55 - Movements

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: And he hated the war. Just hated it.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the different movements he was a part of and his experience going to a KKK rally.

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations; Civil rights; Ku Klux Klan (1915- ); Voting

02:11:01 - Racial tension

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: What was your impression of -- is it Dinwiddie County?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the racial tension that occurred in Dinwiddie County,Virginia and his experience going to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

Subjects: Civil rights; Ku Klux Klan (1915- ); Police

02:16:36 - Work

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: But it was a good introduction to civil rights work for me and I was glad I did it --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about some of the different projects he worked on and his experience working with unions.

Subjects: Civil rights movements; Underground newspapers

02:23:30 - The Institute for Policy Studies

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And then you went -- did you go back to Charlottesville then?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about some of the organizations he was apart of at the University of Virginia and his time at The Institute for Policy Studies.

Subjects: Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997; Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.); University of Virginia

02:30:34 - Barry Goldwater

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And so during these years what was the response of your family to your evolving interests and activism?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about why his family was disappointed when he didn't want to vote for Barry Goldwater.

Subjects: Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998

02:33:38 - Refusing Induction

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: I was arrested in Richmond for that and that was back in '69 --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his experience getting arrested for refusing induction. He also describes his time at the induction center.

Subjects: Jails

02:45:11 - Relationships

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: And in these years did you have any significant relationships or fleeting relationships that you recall?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about some of his most significant girlfriends he had growing up.

Subjects: Man-woman relationships

02:48:20 - Virginia Weekly and The Bird

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: Anne and I left the institute in August of '68 and came down here until about the middle of August.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about his experience writing for The Virginia Weekly newspaper. He also talks about his role at The Bird and some popular connections they had there.

Subjects: Advertising; Celebrities; Newspapers

02:59:41 - Audience of The Bird

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: You also mentioned the wide readership of The Bird beyond just hippies. Can you elaborate on who all you all --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the people who wrote for The Bird and explained how their columns affected the newspaper. He also talks about the type of audience the paper generated.

Subjects: Newspapers

03:03:22 - One of the first subscribers

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: And one of the first subscribers to the paper was Sam Massell.

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the paper's first subscriber, Mayor Sam Massell, and the conflict between him and The Bird. He also talks about the fire that occurred at the Birdhouse.

Subjects: Atlanta journal-constitution; Fires; Incendiary bombs; Massell, Sam

03:06:47 - 60 Minutes

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Partial Transcript: STEVE WISE: One of the things that happened earlier that really gave the Bird a good name was our appearance in --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about The Bird's appearance on the television show 60 Minutes.

Subjects: Newspapers; Television broadcasting of news

03:10:52 - Writing experience

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Well let's go back a little bit. You came down in August of '68? Where did you land in Atlanta, where was your first place that you set up to live?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about where lived when he came to Atlanta. He also talks about where his writing experience came from and describes the different styles of writing of the paper.

Subjects: Apartment houses; Atlanta(Ga.); Newspapers

03:20:24 - Political involvements

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: When you got back here to Atlanta after being gone for three or four years and settling at least in a different environment --

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about living on his own, his social life, and his involvement with various competing political visions.

Subjects: Newspaper editors; Newspapers

03:31:20 - Traveling and work

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Partial Transcript: ANDY REISINGER: Was there much travel involved for writers, staff people to go report on various topics?

Segment Synopsis: Steve Wise talks about the different places people traveled to for the newspaper and the experience they had while away.

Subjects: Newspapers; Travel