The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Renee Alexander Craft on learning from the legacies of past social movements

Excerpt Description: Renee Alexander Craft explains how students can learn from the legacies of past social justice movements through academic study.

Interviewee Name: Renee Alexander Craft

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “All of us reinvent the wheel, so I’m going to say this and I know it’s going to happen anyway. I was going to say don’t reinvent the wheel, but of course all of us try to reinvent the wheel. You know, thinking back to the most powerful takeaways that I got from looking at movements, and that the civil rights movement in the sixties and I think all smart movements take advantage of, whether it’s the movement of labor rights, women’s rights, you know, African-American mobility and civil rights, there is always an academic component. There’s a study group. There are people going, “Well, let’s look at what the Marxists were doing. Well, let’s look at what the thinkers at this moment were doing.” And that has to be, because, if not, you don’t have the vocabulary or the understanding of how true power works to fight it effectively. And so I would say, you know, it’s important to keep looking at those moments and movements to see what they did well and do more of that, and what they didn’t do so well, and why should you stumble at the same place they did? They didn’t know any better, but you do, so do something different.”

Organization: BCC MovementBlack Student Movement

Excerpt Length: 1:14

Interview Date: 2/2/2017

Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Campus Space: The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Citation:  Interview with Renee Alexander Craft by Charlotte Fryar, 2 March 2017, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.