Excerpt Description: Renee Alexander Craft explains how strategies of direct action communicate to other students, faculty, and administrators on the campus in different ways.
Interviewee Name: Renee Alexander Craft
Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar
Excerpt Transcript: “Presence at marches and rallies, I think, accomplishes a couple of goals. One, it helps keep those active and interested and empowered. It lets them know you are in community. “We are in this together. We are okay.” So it gives you a renewed sense of community. It gives you a renewed sense of movement. You’ve done something. Two, it signals to potential allies on the faculty and in the administration what the temperature of campus is. So, faculty and administrators are often—we’re doing our own—we’re trying to move in the ways that we know how to move. We know about the students in our class. If you’re more active with undergraduate studies, let’s say, then you know about the students in your department, but you may not know besides what you’re reading in DTH, etc., what the temperature of campus is. So to have large bodies of students show up also gives administrators and faculty members who might have been more reserved, they are feeling the same way, but they may not want to step out on their own. It lets them know you got all these people behind you, you know. You have support. You can then be a support. I think it accomplishes that. And the third thing is presence and visibility make news and they bring the issue beyond your immediate local environment to broader state and national audiences. So the taken-for-granted traditions of your campus or the taken-for-granted traditions of your state then get productively challenged by people who don’t come from the same place, who aren’t part of the same system, and who can give broader feedback in other ways and then can form broader coalitions.”
Excerpt Length: 2:04
Interview Date: 2/2/2017
Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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.