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Oral History


Acc #: 328; JLFT 002

In this recording, Ossie B. Purifoy is interviewed by John Beebee about his memories of John LeFlore and the Civil Rights Movement in Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Purifoy shares that he was born in Andalusia, Alabama, and moved to Mobile to sell life insurance. He discusses meeting Mr. LeFlore, and becoming friends with him as they worked together on social issues over the years. Mr. Purifoy also shares some reflections on how John LeFlore navigated racism and race relations in Mobile, and the work they did together, particularly in the Non-Partisan Voters League. He also talks about the challenges they faced, and some of the violence and threats of violence that they had to confront. Mr. Purifoy offers contrasts between John LeFlore’s approach to activism and that of Dr. Martin Luther King, and describes some examples of LeFlore’s work such as Vivian Malone integrating the University of Alabama, the Birdie Mae Davis case to integrate Mobile public schools, and the Wiley Bolden case that changed the form of government in Mobile.

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